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Congratulations to the blog awards winners… March 28, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

You’ll find the list here and most impressive it is too.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week March 28, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in media.

In third place, just when it seemed that Eilis O’Hanlon was going to get through an article attacking the inefficiencies of major private companies without attacking the public sector, she can’t help herself .

My experience isn’t unique. There are thousands of people around the country on the receiving end of similarly appalling service every single day. Somehow you expect this kind of pigheaded obstinacy and unhelpfulness from the public sector. But if this is what we get from a private sector on which we are relying to get us out of the recession, then God help us all.

In second place. The CPSU, it seems, is behaving in the same way as the developers who played such a huge role in bringing about the crisis. At least according to Jerome Reily. Amusing attempt at guilt by association.

The CPSU delegates spent much of their three days at the five-star hotel — the favoured haunt of developers and other high-rollers at Galway Races week — blaming the media in general and the Sunday Independent in particular for the odium in which they are now held by many ordinary private sector workers.

In firs place, Marc Coleman’s hyperbolic assault on the STV system. All this talk of rooting out vested interests in the national interest apparently means reducing democracy.

Together with the Single Transferable Vote, this system allows the self-interested floaters to decide the outcome of an election while more loyal, nationally minded first-preference votes are taken for granted. As a result, some interest groups have more power in our democracy than some military dictators. By filling the Dail with TDs from lists selected by their parties — according to share of the vote as the Dutch or Germans do — we would eliminate multi-seat constituencies and transfers at a stroke, and end this tyranny forever.

On the other hand, I’d like to draw people’s attention to Eamonn Sweeney’s excellent piece reminding us that Garret Fitzgerald is not a national treasure, but in many aspects as bad as his late nemesis.

FitzGerald was the constitutional crusader who foisted the pro-life referendum on the country, the social democrat who gave us record levels of unemployment, the fiscal genius who made a dysfunctional economy even worse, the liberal who once proposed that married women be discouraged from working during times of high unemployment.

Ooops… March 28, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

… I’m sure that wasn’t expected to happen, this weekend of all weekends.

It will be interesting to hear more on her reasons for exiting.

And this months poll… March 27, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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Details here… something for everyone to think about – eh? More on this during the week.

The Lost Revolution and Alive! March 27, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

It seems that the recent volume of left wing history come to the attention of Alive! – super conservative Catholic magazine… as the following piece (kindly donated by someone I think I’ll keep anonymous to spare them inconvenience!) demonstrates…

Joe Little shaping the debate about ‘the failing of her members’… Hmmm.

Not sure why Alive! believes (alleged) membership of the WP and being a religious correspondent is somehow incompatible.

Coalition Government cohesion… March 27, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

Exciting scenes, no doubt, at the GP Convention. RISE at the doors (all 5000 of them, God love ’em), lending the customary air of protest… albeit with the protests outside rather than within or carried out by GP members. New Ministers having an opportunity to discuss their areas of responsibility. And some useful suggestions made by some outside the party aired at the Convention.

But, the thought has struck me – and if it has been raised elsewhere, apologies – that remarkably little has been made of the political effects of the rotation deal, as regards the coalition government. For, consider this from Bertie Ahern’s perspective. Here he was having to sign a deal (assuming that it was ever put to paper) that would have, if we are to believe Ciarán Cuffe, seen one set of GP Ministers replaced by another. Disaster for Ahern? Why no… not at all. Firstly there was the obvious issue of human capital in terms of knowledge suffering considerable attrition as Ministers moved in and others moved out – under the terms of the deal, something that could be shaped to the advantage of FF (albeit now we arrive at a position where the two senior Ministers actually remain in their Departments). But secondly, and more importantly, there was the obvious point that here was a means of locking the Green Party and its elected representatives much more tightly into the coalition.

For a deal that half way, or whatever, through the life of a Government almost all (bar one) would have tasted Ministerial office at junior or senior level must have had implications for the future cohesion of the Government. It’s not necessary to suggest that there was a malign aspect to this in terms of how the decision was arrived at, but to say that it provided yet another token to Fianna Fáil that the GP was in for the long run. Problem is that given the events of the following two and a half years from 2007, such a token was more of a hostage to fortune and was completely unnecessary. If anything the GP should have been playing much harder to get and pointing up the potential fractiousness of the house that Ahern built in terms of possible attrition of Independent TDs – and others – as time went on. As it happens I’ve never had much problem with the GP going into government. Fair enough, the opportunity presented itself. More troubling by far has been its subsequent acquiescence to measures great and small. One can certainly point to at least two instances reasonably early on where it could have left with its integrity, and its seriousness as a potential partner in government would have been unquestionable (and given the likelihood of an FG led coalition after any subsequent election their chances of still being there remaining reasonably intact).

As to whether any of this makes a blind bit of difference in the long run is an interesting question, but obviously unquantifiable at this point. As noted during the week, Ministerial office doesn’t reap inevitable rewards as no end of former Progressive Democrats can attest. Nor do protests from unlovable interest groups outside conferences, otherwise one suspects all parties would do better. It is more than possible that this year will mark the high water mark by the yardstick of Ministerial positions, Oireachtas representation, influence on policy formation and so on, for the Green Party in government in this generation.

Whether that is enough to assure the survival of the party as a serious potential partner for government post 2012, well, that’s another question entirely.

Speech by Mary White to Green Party Conference March 27, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in Greens.

The creation of the new Ministry of Equality, Integration and Human Rights could be a significant step forward. Or it could end up as a whole load of nothing, a bit like the NI Bill of Rights for the last 12 years. Here is the text of the speech of Minister for Equality and Integration Mary White to the Green Party conference. We’ll see how it goes.

Good morning everyone. It’s wonderful to speak to you for a few minutes on the new Ministry of Equality, Integration and Human Rights, which I have the honour to be looking after.
The reconfiguration of Government departments this week saw the creation of a junior ministry in which equality and human rights policy were transferred from the Department of Justice to the new Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. I will have responsibility for these areas, as well as integration policy, which was already in that Department. Some aspects of social inclusion policy will also fall within my remit.

For many people in this room, the transfer of equality policy from the Department of Justice to a new home, one where social policy is more central to the agenda, is very welcome. The move will allow equality to be given the kind of focus it deserves within Government.

We are all aware of the inequalities which remain in our society – be they economic or social. We know there are the homeless – short-term and long-term – on our streets, day and night. We know many families are struggling with unbearable financial stress. We know there are many travellers living in appalling conditions, with poor facilities and limited access to basic needs. We know many women in this country flee to refuges seeking protection from violence or abuse. We know people are still insulted, ignored or exploited because of their skin colour. Same-sex couples do not enjoy adequate rights. These inequalities require more action from Government, and I will deliver that action.

In this regard one of my aims is to look at how state structures and institutions active in the fields of equality and social inclusion could be better supported, bodies such as the Equality Authority, the Human Rights Commission and the Office for Social Inclusion. We have an opportunity now to create greater links between these organisations of Government policy.

Underpinning the challenge to create a more equal Ireland is the agenda of advancing human rights. The State, at times, has let its citizens down – dignity denied, protection inadequate, justice delayed. Revelations in report after report have illustrated this. I aim to reinvigorate the human rights agenda.

A reflection of secure human rights and equality in society is the real integration of its minorities. Ireland faces many challenges, both now and in the future, to provide our new Irish with the kind of opportunities – economic, social, cultural – which most of us enjoy. This party prides itself on long-term planning policies, and in my new role I want to ensure Government plans now for the challenges which our new learners will face when their school days are over. I want the employment prospects of children of African or Asian heritage to be the same as those of children of Irish parents. In parallel I will use every opportunity available to communicate to our citizens the importance of integration, the benefits of inclusiveness.

I am still in listening mode. To listen is to learn, and I aim to engage with groups of all backgrounds, learning from voices we’re familiar with, and those less often heard. Time is of the essence – we’re all aware of that in this party – but I share the determination and enthusiasm of all in this room to deliver quickly: sustainable policies for a fairer Ireland.

This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Cathedral March 27, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Before it gets a bit sedate musically on the Lounge, a bit polite, a bit … middle aged even let’s shake it up by bringing in a bunch arriving at… er… middle-age themselves… with Cathedral, bizarre offshoot from the immortal (immortal for some, let it be noted) grindcore (don’t ask) band Napalm Death. Because Cathedral, who one suspects Lee Dorrian et al started as a bit of a lark after he left ND, have now been going since 1989. And going in quite a style, combining doom metal with… well, almost any other genre that comes to mind, albeit in tiny measured doses. If that sounds a bit like a stoner approach, as it happens it is. There are clear aesthetic linkages to the larger stoner scene. Black Sabbath like riffs? Check. Downtuned? Check. Hints of punk? Check. But… there’s a lot of humour in Cathedral which perhaps mitigates that. My favourite album of theirs is the mid-90s Supernatural Birth Machine which as the following selection of tracks will demonstrate isn’t quite as serious as a lot of doom metal. And also has that punk edge. Mind you, I’ve never quite understood the curious logo they use… like… why Irish styled text?


Suicide Asteroid

Fireball Demon

Stained Glass Horizon… I’d have preferred to have Urko’s Conquest (you’ve got to love the cry at the end, ‘Planet of the Apes’… for those in the audience who didn’t get the Urko reference… or perhaps for those who did) but YouTube appear to have pulled the track.

Autumn Twilight (from Soul Sacrifice or Statik Majik, I cannot remember which).

Dockland residents highlight Dail record on DDDA/ANGLO IRISH questions March 27, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Dockland residents highlight Dail record on DDDA/ANGLO IRISH questions

“Our concerns were not treated seriously, and could have prevented DDDA meltdown”.

Community representatives in the Dublin Docklands have today highlighted the Dail record from November 2004. At the request of residents , Independant TD Tony Gregory had raised concerns regarding a conflict of interest between members of the DDDA and Anglo Irish Bank. In a written reply from then environment minister Dick Roche , and a subsequent verbal exchange between Deputy Gregory and the Minister , “assurances” are given that no conflict of interest could arise , and that measures were in place to prevent this . This, of course, has proven not to be the case. These questions were raised primarily in relation to planning matters on the North Dock , and predate the Irish Glass Bottle Company fiasco by over 2 years.

(The question was prompted by the appointment of DDDA chairperson Lar Bradshaw to Anglo Irish Bank , where he joined fellow DDDA member Sean Fitzpatrick. This appointment took place a matter of weeks after Spencer Dock Development Company received a record breaking loan from Anglo, based on planning permission granted by the DDDA.)

These records have been released by Marie O’Reilly and Joe Mooney .Both Marie and Joe are long time resident representatives in the North Docklands . Both were involved in the landmark Spencer Dock appeal, and a number of other crucial planning issues involving the DDDA.The communities in North Port , North Wall and East Wall have consistantly raised concerns about the operation of the DDDA throughout the last decade . Local Residents, including Joe and Marie, were at the forefront of efforts to highlight conflicts of interest within the DDDA. They were amongst the first to question the role being played by Anglo Irish Bank , long before it became a household name.

Marie and Joe made the following comments today:

“We are drawing attention to these because they put the corrupt nature of the DDDA into it’s correct context. We are witnessing attempts to re-write history- with suggestions that the DDDA suddenly went wrong circa 2006 , and that we just need to get it back on track. As concerned residents, we have witnessed bad behaviour relating to the Docklands area for over a decade , and have worked to challenge this.”

” Throughout this time we received very little political support of any substance. If the legitimate concerns we raised were taken seriously at the time, we believe the worst excesses of the DDDA could have been prevented. While we welcome the attention now being given to these issues, we feel we must address the role of the opposition parties. While the blame ultimately rests with Fianna Fail and their government partners, others did not do enough. We wish they had been as vocal when we really needed them, when they actually could have made a difference. ”

For further information or clarification :

Marie O’Reilly 0851457058

Joe Mooney 0876698587

Ah… so, there was a rotation deal… March 26, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Well, well, well. What to make of that?

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