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SIPTU Mayfest Programme April 20, 2018

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Programme here…
Clé Club 2018 05 – SIPTU MAYFEST programme (2)

Teaching security solutions? April 20, 2018

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This from the Guardian is a very depressing article that shows how in the context of US school shootings there is no ‘right’ way to act. The guidelines are clear – when shootings occur teachers are to close and lock doors to class rooms – the logic being that shooters will think the room is unoccupied and pass by.

But, as is natural, some followed the guidelines, others didn’t and kept doors open past the point they should have been and some of the latter were shot dead. Some of the survivors have criticised those who locked doors – but, while that is entirely an understandable sentiment, in the context of maximising lives saved it is problematic. Allow a shooter access to a room full of children (which is of course what we are talking about here) and most or all of those children will be murdered.

Of course there’s a broader point that none of this should happen. Or to put it a different way:

Dewey Cornell, an education professor at the University of Virginia and one of the country’s leading experts on school safety argued: “We have to stop putting teachers in these terrible and impossible situations.” The key, he said, should be devoting more resources and attention to preventing violence. “We cannot turn every facility into a fortress or have armed guards at every door,” he said.

Ordinary people, even trained people, are simply not fit to make these sort of decisions. Even highly trained individuals fail in these contexts. Asking people for whom they are – one would hope – singular and appalling events in their lives to act in a manner similar to those who receive constant training is pointless.

…many teachers at Stoneman Douglas, including those who acted with spontaneous selflessness, said that it was unfair America should expect its teachers to be heroes, that this was the wrong way to deal with an epidemic of school shootings.
“We’re not soldiers that are trained to lay down our lives for people and to jump in front of bullets,” said Kurth, the culinary arts teacher.

Rospierski, who repeatedly took risks to protect his students from gunfire, said that was not a choice he should have been forced to make.
“This is going to sound kind of bad, but yeah … the school kids are mine, and I’m very, very protective of them, but I like me, too. And nowhere did it say, when I signed up to be a teacher, that said ‘Oh, yeah, by the way in case of an attacker you’re going to have to shield all your kids with your own body,” he said.

As to the risible suggestions emanating from the White House?

Many Parkland teachers – even those who are gun owners and support Donald Trump – have rejected the administration’s proposed solution to school shootings: arming teachers.
Rospierski used to teach hunter safety and concealed carry firearms courses, making him an ideal candidate for the additional armed security role Trump had suggested some experienced staff could take on.
But he called the president’s proposal to arm teachers “the cheap way out” and “the dumbest thing they could do”.
“I’ll never carry a gun and be a teacher,” Rospierski said. If teachers were required to carry guns, “My wife and I are looking for a new occupation.”
“I didn’t sign up to be a soldier. I signed up to teach kids. I’m not going to have reading writing and arithmetic and life and death.”
“Teachers are to teach, not to kill,” he said.

Seat projections… April 20, 2018

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Dermot O’Connor has noted that Adrian Kavanagh has already a projection based on the IT poll this week. Kavanagh suggests that:

Fine Gael 61
Fianna Fáil 50
Sinn Féin 39
Independents 6
Green Party 2
Labour Party 1
Sol-PBP 1

It’s very striking. And yet, I went looking at constituencies I have an acquaintance with and I had to wonder. First up I should say that on the macro level I think Kavanagh’s approach is robust. Without question there is a consolidation around the larger parties. But, and he says it himself, in terms of actual seats and numbers there’s a lot of room for flexibility.
For example, Dublin Central. Here he has SF winning two seats with one each for FF and FG. Now few would disagree that both FG and SF will retain their seats. But after that it gets murky. Maureen O’Sullivan got in by the skin of her teeth last time and I’ve not heard that she doesn’t intend to contest. But the SDs also appear in contention. And then there’s the question of candidates. FF hasn’t exactly sparkled in the last few elections. And what of a second SF candidate? Who would that be? Would SF want to risk a second candidate? Perhaps they would. Perhaps not. But this all seems very premature.
Or take Kildare North. Catherine Murphy topped the poll last time out and was elected on the first count. Yet the projections see her losing her seat. It’s possible, but one would wonder as well.
Dublin Bay North would see 1FF, 2FG, 1 SF and 1 IND. Possible.
Fingal, Clare Daly would be reelected. Wexford, Mick Wallace wouldn’t be.
And on it goes. I tend to the view that likely seat numbers are in the mid-teens for Ind/Others, lower for SF (which history tells us never polls as well on the day as it does in opinion polling), perhaps a little less for FF and a little more for FG.

Irish Times poll on 8th April 20, 2018

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What do people think given where we are in the campaign?

47 in favour, 28 against, 24 DK/no opinion

Just to add Repeal down 9 – anti-Repeal down 1.

Rotating jobs… April 20, 2018

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Curious the rumbles in the Independent Alliance over the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works (OPW) job. As the IT noted:

Kevin “Boxer” Moran is to retain his position as a Minister of State following a meeting of the Independent Alliance to settle a dispute over an alleged agreement to rotate the role between two members of the group.
Mr Moran and Seán Canney, a Galway East TD, had been at odds over who should be the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works (OPW).
A statement from the Alliance on Thursday afternoon confirmed that Mr Moran will remain in his position for the duration of the Government’s term of office.

This rotating ministerial positions is a real problem. The GP ran into a not dissimilar situation when in government, the problem being that ministers would be just getting to grips with their brief before they were replaced by their colleagues. Not a great idea I’d have thought. Others may differ.

In the IA instance one has to wonder. Canney was in the role for 13 months. Moran has been in it under a year. And obviously some will calculate that it is better for a TD to be a Minister, junior or senior, when an election is called than otherwise. I don’t know, has anyone done the stats on this, whether it does give a boost?

I wonder what this tells us about perceptions of the longevity of the government too from a component element(s).

Tonight Wed 18st Apr 2018 – Cois Life Bar – Liberty Hall April 19, 2018

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Jim Connell (composer of The Red Flag) by Francis Devine

Clé Club Theme: Songs of Hope & Struggle

Note early start 7.30pm –11pm Doors open at 7.15pm – Subscription €5 – no pre booking

Cormac Begley & Special Guest

Songs & Tunes etc. from the floor

Venue: Liberty Hall – Connolly – Cois Life Bar
8.00pm –11pm Doors open at 7.30pm – Subscription €5 – no pre booking

Clé Club Special – Thursday 3rd May

as part of

SIPTU Mayfest – Liberty Hall

Signs of Hope – A continuing series April 19, 2018

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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

Any passport so long as it’s blue… or EU procurement rules preconceptions… April 19, 2018

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Here’s another laugh. Richard North has an excellent post on EUREFERENDUM on how there are remarkably embedded preconceptions in regard to EU procurement rules and their supposed scope…

[take] the decision that our new blue UK passports should not be made in Britain but by a Franco-Dutch firm. 

By many, this is being blamed on our slavish obedience to the “EU’s procurement rules”, which ordain that government contracts must be offered internationally and go to the lowest bidder. But, says Booker, even after Brexit we will still have to do this under the rules of the WTO: those very rules which ultra-Brexiteers fondly imagine will somehow solve all our problems even if we leave with “no deal”.

The problem is, as always, that so few people at the centre of what are laughably referred to as debates on these issues seem to know the basics. As North notes:

So often with EU laws, when we examine their provenance, we find that they have international origins

For North as a Leaver, though one convinced only EEA/EFTA status satisfy’s the needs of the UK and of Ireland, he believes that on balance that may be a price worth paying (again as long as the UK remains in EEA/EFTA). But he is clear-eyed about the realities of the situation. Would that others were too.

Plotting to bypass Britain..? April 19, 2018

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Here’s a laugh. Richard North reports on the response of some British media to the news that Irish shipping was planning to bypass the UK.

The most strident version was the Express, which headed its story “Brexit Punishment”, while the latecomer of the trio, The Sun accused European shipping companies of “plotting to bypass Britain when trading with Ireland after Brexit”.

The thrust of the story was that ferry company CLdN SA was preparing to deploy its newly-built, giant ro-ro ferries, the Celine and the Delphine on the Rotterdam-Zeebrugge-Dublin route, by-passing the UK route to the continent via Holyhead. 

The tone of the media reports is sadly all too typical of the way Brexit is being treated, a tone that is generally inappropriate and, in this case, more than usually so. Virtually aspect of the reports is either wrong or misleading. 

Isn’t that attitude that he writes about amazing? What choice does Brexit leave this island and state? Increased costs due to transportation through a post-Brexit UK make alternatives ever more attractive (there’s another thought that in the long term this may have fascinating implications about this island and its broader relationships, but perhaps that is for another day).

But as North notes, not all this is to do with Brexit, and some of it isn’t anything at all to do with Brexit:

the works encompass the reconfiguration of Alexandra Basin, “allowing for the port to accommodate larger ships and to provide for a substantial increase in capacity through the provision of multipurpose berths for multiple modes”. Total cost has been in the order of €221 million, of which the EU contribution is ten percent. Completion is scheduled for the end of 2019, providing the facilities which can handle the Celine and the Delphine.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. The purpose of the funding is, as the programme title implies, to improve connectivity between European (EU) nodes and a condition of the funding is that it involves at least two such nodes. However, since with Brexit the UK ports are no longer in the EU, Dublin must look to other EU ports in order to qualify for EU money. 

Thus, by a coincidental combination of circumstances, Dublin Port is gearing up to handle a massive increase in traffic to Continental ports, benefiting from a programme that is part of EU core policy, devised a decade-and-a-half before the EU referendum. Far from intending to “punish” the UK, the programme was put in place and executed without any reference at all to Brexit. 

What is telling, and this dovetails with the nonsense from Davis and Gardiner the other day, is how ignorant the UK debate is (bar honourable exceptions like North).
North also points to a further dynamic, and one that will not be to the liking of Brexit proponents…

Doubtless, the Irish have seen the writing on the wall – and that would explain why they are so keen to see additional ferry services sailing directly from Dublin and other Irish ports to the Continent. 

Longer term, expansion of the deep water port at Cork could make it the destination of choice for US traffic heading for Europe, replacing other UK ports such as Southampton. As a distribution hub, it can service the UK and the entire EEA without goods having to make multiple switches between different customs administrations. 

And he continues:

Ireland’s gain, however, could very well prove to be the UK’s loss – especially as the UK could end up paying the EU for some of these developments. And where transport routes are diverted, and new trade patterns emerge, the problem between the Republic and Northern Ireland could solve itself, as the cross-border movement of goods dries up. 

With that, there is every prospect of the “remainer” nightmare taking shape – the UK as an isolated, offshore island, bypassed by the mainstream. For sure, the UK, with a population in excess of 60 million, will always be a substantial market, but dreams of the island becoming a major, international trading hub may well founder, brought down by the Irish question. 

One should not necessarily take this to be a foregone conclusion, but it is fair to say that the longer the UK takes to come up with its own coherent plans for Brexit, the more likely it is that other countries (and the EU) will step in with their own.

Now that’s a despairing vision of the future. But it is also an ironic one. Because the simple geographic reality that Ireland is west of Britain and still accessible to the continent by sea does begin to suggest a different dispensation entirely both in relation to the US and the EU. Though what of his thoughts on Northern Ireland.

But this idea of a Britain, too close to Europe, but too far from the US and the rest of the world. That’s something.

IT Poll FG down, SF up April 19, 2018

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From this morning’s Irish Times:

The state of the parties, when undecided voters are excluded, is: Fine Gael 31 per cent (down three points compared to the last poll in January); Fianna Fáil 26 per cent (up one); Sinn Féin 22 per cent (up three); Labour 5 per cent (up one); Independents/Others 16 per cent (down two).

The GP is 3%, Sol-PBP 2%, SD 1% [all three no change], I4C 1% [-1], IA 1% [NC], non-party Ind 6% [NC]. Other Parties and Groups 2% [-1].

Leader ratings – almost entirely useless I tend to think… Varadkar 55% [-5]

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin sees his rating fall marginally by two points to 40 per cent, while Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald debuts in the series with a 39 per cent satisfaction rating. Labour leader Brendan Howlin’s approval rating is unchanged at 18 per cent.

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