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Azerbaijan, corruption, and ex-TD Michael McNamara April 23, 2018

Posted by Tomboktu in Azerbaijan, Ethics, Uncategorized.
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I don’t know if it’ll get much attention in the Irish media, but the Council of Europe published a report (219-page PDF here) last night on an investigation into corruption allegations. The investigators were three judges, including the former president of the European Court of Human Rights. The allegations were that members of PACE, the Council’s parliamentary assembly — MPs from the national parliaments of the Council’s member states sent to the Strasbourg-based body — took cash to vote favourably for Azerbaijan in their work in PACE.

One person (not alone, it must be said) who comes out well from the report is the former Labour TD, Michael McNamara, who was one of the Oireachtas members of PACE during the last Dáil.

In his oral evidence to the Investigation Body, Mr McNamara explained that when he had first become a member of the Assembly in 2011, the then head of the Irish delegation had invited him for a lunch in the Palais dining room with Mr Goris. Mr Goris had stressed that Azerbaijan was a country that was outward looking and that wanted to engage more with the world, and that sometimes there was criticism of it, some of which was unwarranted. Mr Goris had suggested that they should go there and see Azerbaijan for themselves, and that they would be provided with business-class tickets. He said that there might be a stopover in Istanbul, and if there was, it would be in a nice hotel, and that there were many nice hotels also in Azerbaijan. Mr Goris had insisted that it would be an interesting opportunity to see Azerbaijan and, perhaps, to dispel unfounded criticisms. However, when Mr McNamara had started asking about the issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, Mr Goris had ended the discussion and had never contacted him again. For his part, Mr Goris explained that he had not lobbied Mr McNamara but had simply wanted to advise him to discover Azerbaijan before he started to talk on issues related to that country.

 

FF on Brexit: They say they want to do something different, but what exactly? April 23, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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One of the more irritating aspects of Irish politics – in this state at least, is that generated by having two largish centre/right, right of centre parties vying for much the same political space. This manifests in numerous ways, but perhaps an example of one of the worst is evident in the following:

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that Ireland is being pushed further and further back in Brexit negotiations.

Addressing the Fianna Fáil 1916 Commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin, Mr Martin said Ireland could face enormous pressure to accept whatever is proposed – to protect the EU’s financial settlement with the UK.

But what in concrete terms would FF be doing that FG are not already? I don’t mean this as an apologia for FG, anything but. But it seems a stretch to think that FF could shape matters differently. Indeed one has to suspect that really all Martin is saying is that his optimal negotiation approach would be one where one M. Martin was negotiating rather than any particularly alternative approach. And while I’m rarely moved to say that Simon Coveney has a point, well, he may have a point when he (or his spokesperson) says:

“The Irish Government’s negotiating position on Brexit has been clear and consistent since the UK voted to leave the EU.

“Negotiations are sensitive and ongoing, so it is curious to say the least that – at a time when European backing of Ireland from Donald Tusk, Michel Barnier and governments across the EU has been rock solid – Fianna Fáil is trying to create division and fear on Brexit at home for party political gain and a few headlines.”

All this seems to be born of a need to throw shapes given the, frankly, far from great opinion polls for FF this last week or two.

That gap between FF and SF in the latest opinion poll… April 23, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Conor in comments had a very interesting point about the latest ST/B&A poll at the weekend. That was the one with the following results.

FG 33 [+1]
FF 25 [-2]
SF 21 [+2]
Others 10 [-2]
LP 6 [NC]
GP 2 [NC]
IND ALL 2 [-1]
SOL/PBP 1 [NC]
SOC DEM 1 [+1]
RENUA !!!!!!!!!!! 1 [NC]

He noted that this was the closest SF and FF have been for quite some time. That must, at a minimum be alarming for FF. But then seeing SF polling now constantly in the high teens and here in the low 20s must be alarming all round. Adrian Kavanagh’s projections demonstrate that, whatever the state of play at a local level on the day, SF must be looking at a substantial seat gain at the next election.

But what if a change of leadership and other factors conspire to see SF gain a bit more. It’s not unthinkable (indeed on past performance this is a necessity for SF given that at elections their vote tends to drop from opinion polling). What if FF and SF are level, or close enough. That introduces a most interesting dynamic. And you know, I sometimes think it is easy to forget just how bizarre it is that Fianna Fáil, the colossus that bestrode Irish politics in this state, is at 25% or so. Cast ones mind back to ten years ago and that would have seemed absurd. Yet again it is clear that the hill that party and M. Martin have to climb is remarkably steep, and hardly any less so than when they started this job.

Left Archive: Why is the Health Service in Crisis? Socialist Workers Party, c. 2005 April 23, 2018

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link. health_pamphlet.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who scanned and forwarded this to the Archive.

This document dating from 2004/5 and written by Dr. Peadar O Grady is a comprehensive pamphlet outlining in some detail the issues facing the Irish Health Service at a time when the Minister of Health was Mary Harney of the Progressive Democrats (in coalition with Fianna Fáil). Divided into four chapters it addresses ‘Why is the Health Service in Crisis?’, ‘Harney’s Ideology – Health and the Market’, ‘Who Profits?’ and ‘Capitalism and Health’.

It is notable as well for a preface written by Jo Tully of the Irish Nurses Organisation Executive writing in a personal capacity. She notes:

This pamphlet makes the case for a real fight to end the crisis and to stop the drive towards privatisation. It is an important contribution to the debate about defending health care as a public service that needs to be had, both in our unions and society as a whole.

The document is quite long but a sense of it is evident from the following quotes from the Introduction by Dr. O Grady where he notes:

We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and have some of the besttrained and most dedicated health workers. Despite this many people live in fear of ill health and we are often overwhelmed by the tasks of caring for ourselves and our network of friends and family.
In the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, average income rose, unemployment fell and the population rose by 10 percent. There was a widespread expectation of major improvements in health and quality of life. The reality has been very different.
For many, low pay, rising prices, indirect taxes, long working hours, long commuting times and increased work pressures have resulted in increased levels of personal stress and a poor quality of life.

And a case is made for a genuinely national socialised health service.

Change from below could win a universal, comprehensive, world-class health service for every citizen, funded collectively, free at the point of use and democratically controlled by the people who use and provide services. This is whysocialists must support and help to build a mass popular movement for changing health and healthcare in Ireland.

Sleeping in the light April 22, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I wonder about this. Sleeping ‘modules’ to be used on some large aircraft…

Inside, these modules look like a cross between an old fashioned sleeper train and an upscale, minimalist hostel. The surfaces are all finished in glossy white, with subtle lighting along the ceiling and floor. It looks like curtains could be added for privacy. This place isn’t for the claustrophobic: There are no windows, and the beds are narrow and stacked two high.

I wonder how comfortable one would be in them. Not very I would suspect. I’ve used sleeper compartments on trains and found them incredibly uncomfortable, though that might just be me. I just can’t sleep in that context.

Others no doubt can, and on longer flights they might make a bit of sense.

Air health… April 22, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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In this piece on the Dreamliner passenger jet, and it looks mighty fine inside – though I’ve always found Boeing’s a bit cramped compared to Airbus aircraft, there’s the following:

Flight attendants have one of the most unhealthy jobs in the world. It’s a job that is said to decrease a person’s lifespan by up to five years. Boeing Corporation has tried to take into account crew needs, both from an ability to conduct their work and from the need to maintain health, and to this, I’m thankful. Soon, my airline will introduce the Boeing 787-9, the larger, longer range version of the 8, equipped with more passenger seats and crew than “baby brother.” I’ll be sure and share the next office view with you. Hoped you enjoyed this tour.

Five years? Isn’t that incredible?

Sunday and the Week’s Media Stupid Statements… April 22, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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First…

“Even though we’re 10 years on [from the financial crisis], risk appetite hasn’t come back to the extent you might think,” says Dermot O’Leary, chief economist with Goodbody.

Second…

Women tend to be involved to a greater extent than men in church activities. Many of them find themselves these days on church councils and advisory bodies. Women with theological qualifications can be found in seminaries or writing and researching for leading Catholic publications.Tokens? Who says? Usually other women who insist their personal exclusion is due to their gender rather than other considerations.
Hmmm…

In international news…

Labour’s Diane Abbott has responded to criticism on social media for using a simulated image of a bombing raid in Iran while posting on Twitter about the UK’s participation in military strikes in Syria.…The Conservative MP James Cleverly had demanded an apology, saying: “To imply that this was a attack on civilian homes, as the picture does, is a vile misrepresentation and dishonours the RAF personnel involved.”

All contributions gratefully accepted…

Sunday Times poll April 22, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thanks to paulculloty82 for the following:

Sunday Times has 2% swing from FF and to SF, largely attributable to Mary Lou, as her popularity has risen 5%:

https://mobile.twitter.com/sob999/status/987782915798061057

That SF bounce is interesting. A lot more generous to Ind/Others than other polls with them over 20%.

Farewell the Screen cinema… April 21, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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THE DEMOLITION HAS begun of Dublin’s iconic Screen cinema.The building, situated just north of Trinity College and south of the Liffey at the junction of Hawkins and Townsend Streets, had proven something of a cultural landmark since its opening in the 1980s, but had been out of use since the cinema’s closure in 2016.The demolition had been in the works for some time. Last December, Dublin City Council provided planning approval for the demolition of the existing complex and the construction of a 10-storey mixed-office building.

I can’t tell how many films I saw in their over the years – and sure, it was surrounded by some of the less lovely buildings in Dublin and it was kind of tatty towards the end, but still somewhere I’d go quite frequently.

LookLeft 26 on sale… April 21, 2018

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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In Eason’s stores and hundreds of selected newsagents across the country now. Still only €2.00, the highlights of this issue include:

Time to Trust Women: The Battle for Ireland’s Soul – Francis Donohoe reports on the battle for reproductive rights in Ireland.

Debate: Is Labour Left? – Labour Party NEC member Paddy Cole and Independents4Change TD Joan Collins debate the credentials of the Labour Party.

Jobstown Media Analysed – Henry Silke assesses the media’s approach to Jobstown and the water charges campaign.

Build the Union – SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, talks to Deirdre Dunne.

Rogue Crisis Pregnancy Agencies – Cathie Shiels looks at the decade long failure to regulate bogus counselling services.

The Price of Loyalty – Sophie Long, former member of the PUP, discusses loyalism with Kylie Noble.

The ongoing crisis in Brazil – Donal Boushel analyses Brazil’s soft coup.

Organising Respect in Sport – Eoghan Gardiner details the growing demands for respect by women in sport.

Institutions of Division – Justin O’Hagan discuss the sectarian divide that underpins the Stormont malaise.

Emerging from a Nightmare – Peace activist Jules Fitzsimons gives an on the ground account of life in war-ravaged Syria.

Organising for Progress – Éilis Ryan meets Kranthi, an organisation of Indian Communists living in Ireland.

The Right Resurgent – Michael Taft looks at left strategy.

The Bolsheviks in Revolt – James O’Brien on the Bolsheviks and the struggle for democracy.

And much more….

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