Posts Tagged ‘ Irish Politics ’

Letter to Seán Gallagher

I‘ll admit outright, I’m not a Gallagher supporter. I believe him to be coasting by on his relatively clean image, a campaign which has nothing to do with the office he seeks and generally keeping his mouth shut. But given his climbing poll numbers, he must be taken seriously, which is why I emailed a few points to his campaign for clarification. I do not expect a response.


I am just wondering about a few central issues with Seán’s mandate.

Ignoring the issue of whether or not even the government can actually create jobs in the private sector or merely create the conditions for the same, how does Seán plan to focus on job creation? If it is merely about creating the atmosphere and culture for jobs, there is little in the way oratory can impact on culture, given the slow changes that occur within it over time.

More so, the last constitutional group found “The cabinet, led by the Taoiseach, exercises the
executive power of the State, in accordance with the Constitution, and is accountable to the people through the people’s representatives in the Dáil. The President has no executive powers apart from some discretionary ones that make the President the guardian of the Constitution.” This is in line with the constitutional provisions set down in Articles 12-14. In exercising what is effectively the role of minister for trade and/or enterprise if he were to take an active role in job creation, he would be over-stepping the remit of his constitutional role.

Articles 28.1.2 and 28.4.2 go on further to assess the collective role of ministers in the delivery of government portfolios and in the first instance, how executive power can only be exercised by the government or under the authority of the same. Considering the government is unlikely to abolish the post of minister for enterprise and cede the power to Seán if he were to take office, he would essentially be exercising powers outside of the approval of the government and violating multiple constitutional provisions in the prosess, not just the accepted responsibility of the president.

As symbolic leader of the state, by focusing centrally on such a concern, there is also the potential for an ideological deficit, one not of social and intellectual discourse but one ignoring the issues that were created during the Celtic Tiger period that led to the collapse that followed. How can two such conflicting ideas of money/returning us to what most economists will admit was an anomalous period in Irish history, (especially given most of that money came not from individual enterprise but FDI) and the greed and individualism it brought be balanced against each other fairly and justly?

Many Thanks,
Charles O’Sullivan


What happened to rights?

So as I was getting ready this morning and flicked on the TV (in the interest of full disclosure, it was TV3’s Midday) to discover that they were talking about the CCTV cameras placed in the toilets of a Kildare secondary school and subsequent protest by students.
The full story is here but more than anything, I worry about the complete lack of any anger on the part of most people. Nora Owen, the former Minister for Justice stated when asked that she effectively saw no issue with the cameras as to the best of her knowledge, they would not be aimed at any area of the rooms that could violate privacy and that the only action on the part of the school that was somewhat reprehensible, was not seeking permission from parents. Well sadly Mrs. Owen, I think with such claims you just reminded me that you were one of those Ministers who wasn’t qualified to be in that position in the first place (She holds a degree in Industrial Chemistry).
Under Article 40.3.1 of the Irish Constitution, are the unenumerated rights, rights that have been discovered within others by the courts (more specifically Ryan v Attorney General was the first case to do so) and amongst these is the right to privacy created within Kennedy and Arnold (before this privacy only extended to marital privacy as in McGee) as “the nature of the right to privacy is such that it must ensure the dignity and freedom of the individual in a democratic society”. With the passing of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Charter on Human Rights is also fully incorporated in Irish law and the privacy right contained within it are binding against the State.

If the Data Protection Commissioner only has issues with the legality of the act, he really needs to go back and learn some basic law principles, because even if the handling of the video from the cameras is in a grey area, the installation of the cameras is not; if the school wants to prove their actions are constitutional, they’re going to need to prove that it’s a proportionate response, something I don’t think they can do. The problem is, if they say that the cameras will have a full view of the rooms in order to catch those bullying other students and vandalising school property, they’re going to have a tough time proving that the acts that they’re stopping are serious enough to warrant such a gross violation of privacy and likewise, if they are only pointed at certain areas of the rooms to minimize the intrusion, it will be difficult to argue the effectiveness of the cameras at all. More importantly, if we all think back to when we were teenagers, we would remember that if a teenager sets their mind to do something, they’ll do it, the cameras will more than likely just make them do it somewhere else on the grounds.

What irritates me most, is that so many people in this country only seem to protest or care about issues when it affects their wage package – a bill recriminalising blasphemy came into law without much, if any complaint from the general public but when the public sector have to take pay cuts, they’re out on the streets. When these kids have the balls to stand up and protest against something they believe in, that they know to be wrong, the general impression I’ve gotten is that they’re troublemakers, complaining about something that’s inevitable, they should just lie down and stop complaining.

Why should any criticise someone for standing up for what they believe in merely because it’s not tangible or currency? We need activism and protests because they remind us of why we shouldn’t stop caring about what’s going on around us, that there are slippery slopes where ‘one thing leads to another’ and suddenly we’re affected but just as we were complacent before, those remaining won’t help us.
I personally hope there are more of this kind of youth in future because ‘If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all their youthful vision and vigor then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.’ (Robert Kennedy)

Lisbon 2.0

It’s election time which made me wonder when we’ll have to vote on Lisbon again. Then I stumbled upon this….

Every action…

Damien has been following this a lot more closely than I have myself so he has something more concrete to share on the whole thing but anything to get the ball rolling even further.
One report has been issued on the subject of institutional abuse within some of the diocese of the Irish Catholic Church. More will follow. Little will perhaps be done about it.
We spend so much time considering issues like why the Lisbon Treaty is bad for the country yet when it comes to the abuse, both sexual and otherwise of children within our country that undoubtedly still exists, there isn’t much said. Labour released no official statement instead raising the issue directly in the Dail; a noble thought but why was that seen as sufficient? A member of Fianna Fail says that he believes that those that committed the atrocities are as far removed from the church as the victims. But then why does it so often feel like the ranks are being closed on us when it comes to getting answers from those involved if these institutions aren’t trying to minimize the damage at least, in the most insensitive way possible?
I always find the Irish to be overly apathetic as a nation – we take the fact that corruption and idiocy exists within the political system on the nose, we accept that there isn’t an opposition that defines itself as more than just that, we even generally respond to the political landscape as a whole with nothing more than a shrug.
So what to do?
Just get angry. Feel something other than sheer numbness. Petition for change and try to do what you can to make someone else think for a moment that it’s never a bad thing to stand up and be counted. Yes I am saying all the usual bloated cliches but it is true that one individual voice is not always or ever as loud as thousands of individual voices calling for change. Try and sometimes fail, but learn from the experience and come at with renewed vigor.


Michael O’Brien’s experiences of the Commission

Daily Links 02/05

Some fantastic photos from Peter Funch – Particularly the Babel Tales series

Make Something Cool Everday – fun idea

Ever lose your luggage? This guy might have it – now you can’t pack your kink anywhere

Gavin has links to some pretty interesting reports from the Tribunals et al

Tommy and Oratory

And a necessary dose of cuteness

More FF nonsense

So I’m sure this post is already pretty redundant. Damien has been been pretty on the ball. Alexia covered it (here and here) Gavin, Alan, Suzy… basically I’m the one of the last to jump on the bandwagon.

As everyone in the blogopolis already knows, an artist succeeded in hanging two separate caricatures of Brian Cowen in two well known Dublin galleries without anyone realizing. The galleries were confused and highly intrigued. Understandably, so was RTE who posted it on their website and then during one of its live broadcasts. Well this didn’t go down so well with the powers that be so they decided to throw an unmerciful fit by all accounts.
They wanted the picture taken off the website? Okay, I can sort of see where they’re coming from… They wanted to have the article taken down all together? Slightly less sympathetic…. They ask RTE to issue an apology? People should be rightly infuriated.

Yes I can understand the embarrassment that it would cause to the government and to Cowen himself but where is the crime? It’s an essential freedom in a truly democratic state that people can poke fun at one another. Satire has never been a crime or else Gift Grub would have been convicted for offending our collective intelligence a long time ago.
Rights within Ireland can be qualified in that when two rights conflict, one or both may have to concede some ground to the other but what right does the current administration have that makes them believe they can not only control content on RTE but also take it as a personal injury? It’s not defamatory. In fact its more damaging for them to continue down the road they’re on now than to have taken it on the chin and moved on. I can understand that this is in the government’s eyes not a time to be making a joke out of them but from the reasonable man’s point of view, it should be open season. If you are elected to office or choose to be in the public eye in any way, you understand that you’re opening yourself up for these things to happen – it’s expected that you’re going to get mocked now and then and we should especially have that right now. The economy is melting, the governments idea of fixing it is taxing us to within an inch of our lives and we’re not meant to call them on it? Well then sorry for having a sense of humour.

The mind boggles as to how the FF PR machine works if they think that taking RTE down with them is going to help. Now, along with our lower opinion of them, we can no longer completely trust what RTE tells us because they have been subject to censorship. And not only that, they did it without a significant fight. Fire the DG? If people gave out medals for doing your fucking job, he should get one for this – he should resign for allowing himself to be compromised after that point however.

Oh and this is definitely a long shot but if the guy who painted these things is reading this, here’s some free legal advice – at best you could be fined for putting a nail in the walls to hang the things and even then, a court shouldn’t be wasting its time listening to such trivial matters and they probably won’t. And be aware that if they ask you come to in for questioning, they should really be arresting you and telling you what you’re charged with, anything they gather from voluntary questioning is generally never allowed be used inside a court room.

Taken from Alan Cavanagh

Daily Links 07/03

Got this fantastic Uglydoll for my niece – yes I’m going to be that kind of uncle

John’s after finding an odd video of Bette Middler from her Vegas show… No wonder her audience isn’t as big as they anticipated

A great new blog in the form of A Time to Get

Alexia gets it more than a little right when it comes to the current government

This will definitely make you want to eat healthy