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Is mise le meas,

Senator Mark Daly

Seanadóir Marcus O’Dalaigh

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Unifying Ireland Speech – Mark Daly in North of Ireland – 2014 July 5th.

Great honour to be here with the President of OgraFianna Fail.
In Kerry we talk about the weather a lot because we get so much of it, and sometimes the weather defies logic. My mother had us working on the farm and despite suggesting she call a halt to the work due to a ferocious rainfall she said we would continue and she described the rain as follows:
“Heavy but not wet.”

Only in Kerry could you have dry rain. But Kerry is not the only place that defies logic. During a conversation with Sean, a Republican from Tyrone, he said he would not vote in favour of a united Ireland citing the advantage of the status quo and the north staying in the United Kingdom.
Only in Tyrone could you have a Republican in favour of the United Kingdom.

I am in favour of a unifying Ireland,
I am in favour not because of what happened in the past,
I am in favour of a united Ireland because it has potential and will ensure a better future for all the people on this island.

I am a Fianna Fail member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and as a party we were asked to submit for the government, the White Paper on Foreign affairs.
I proposed the following as part of our submission “Fianna Fail believes it is imperative that there is active engagement with Britain as well as with our EU partners and the United States on working towards achieving the reunification of Ireland.”
The key position and core aim of the party is the achievement of a united Ireland.
“As a party we believe in the stable, peaceful and prosperous reunification of Ireland and its people.”
And remember it is people we are trying to unite not just land.
There are those who in the past have talk about the united Ireland as a numbers game of a simple religious head count. This is not the case anymore. This morning I want to touch on:
•The changing demographic
•Ipad and I-Ism
•The issues around unifying Ireland
When Carson and Craig were devising the northern State, they did a head count. That is the basis of the 6 counties, and it is the reason why Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan were left out. When Carson and Craig did a head count using the 1911 census:
Ulster: 9 counties – 675,000 Catholic, 838,000 Protestants and 69,000 Other, leaving only majority of 163,000.
‘Not enough’, said Carson and Craig, ‘lets leave out three counties’, they said.
6 counties – 430,000 Catholics, 768,000 Protestants and 52,000 Other. Majority of 337,889.
‘That will do’, they said, ‘good for 100 years’, they said, ‘we will be grand’ they said.
And they were right just a little over 100 years.
So let us do the crude number count as done my James Craig and Edward Carson when drawing up the North as of today
The figures for March 2011 show 817,385 Catholics ,875,717 Protestants and 117,761 other. In the 6 counties of North of Ireland there is a Protestant majority of 58,332. If Carson and Craig had held on to Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal what would their head count look.
1,070,026 Catholics, 888,521 Protestants, and 147,119 Other a catholic majority of 181,505. If that had happened, if they had tried to hold all 9 counties would Ulster still be part of the U.K.

•Belfast and Derry are now Catholic-majority cities.
•The 2011 census placed Protestant population at 53.1 percent and Catholic population at 43.8 percent.
•There is currently a Catholic majority in primary, secondary and third level.
•The Northern Ireland Department of Education figures for 2010/2011 year showed 163,693 Catholics and 120,415 Protestants in Northern primary and secondary schools.
•Queen’s University reports 8,710 Catholics and 6,740 Protestants.
•A majority of the population under 35 is Catholic.

When will there be a parity of number between the two communities in the north?
By some figures it will be late 2016.

So these are the raw numbers as Carson and Craig would look at them, but the numbers do not tell the full story.
It is appropriate to quote Prime Minister Disraeli, who came up with the most famous of all when it comes to statistics, “There are lies, dame lies and statistics.”
Maybe Mark Twain would be equally appropriate, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”
There is the issue of other statistics, the statistic most favoured by politicians which are of course Opinion Polls. The opinion polls are telling us that many in the Catholic community are not in favour of a united Ireland. Why is this happening?
Guidi Marks, the head of the Birthright Foundation, had an interesting take on the age we are in,
•There is an argument that in the age that the seen the death of communism, the death of socialism, the death of nationals and the economic collapse has seen the death of capitalism……….. I-ism is the new creed, that the individual is now paramount.
•Therefore people will vote only based on their own economic interests. This is certainly an argument why so many in the Catholic community who would traditionally vote for a United Ireland would vote for the status quo.
Polling in Scotland on the issue of independence would support this argument, that we are in the age of I-ism, where newspapers tell us with screaming headlines that if they had to pay 400 pounds extra in tax, they would not vote for independence, “for the price of an Ipad, most Scotts would vote against freedom.”
Proof of individualism or I-ism is seen in a poll in the BelfastTelegraph from September showed that just 3.8 percent in favour of a united Ireland.
However Polling in Seanad showed 70% infavour of abolition of Seanad in April 2013. Getting rid of politician, how could the referendum be lost. But the referendum was lost, why? By virtue of the argument made by those who were in favour of retaining it and reforming it? The same reason many like of Sean from Tyrone,though Catholic and Republicans and others will currently not vote for a united Ireland is because the case has not been made for it and they would be worse off in many areas, no better in some, and only a little better off in a few areas.
This is what we who are in favour of a united Ireland are tasked with. We are tasked with making the case for a unified Ireland. But we are tasked with a much bigger and greater challenge, we must help creating , South of the border a country where Sean and all the Sean and maybe even the Ians would vote for a unified Ireland.
We need to start a discussion on the issues surrounding unifying Ireland.
An independent commission made up of experts on all the issue should be convened to do an analysis on the North remaining in the Kingdom and a similar honest assessment of it rejoining the republic.
The man who once was the richest man on Earth, Andrew Canegie said, “a poor man learns from his own mistakes, a rich man learns from others.”
We should ask our European colleagues, the Germans of what their experiences were, what they would do differently, if they had it all over again. Remember they had no time to plan, since the wall fell, there has been a United Germany. We have time.
The challenge in the south is greater than we realize. We need to create a society and a county where we can improve the lives of all the people living on this island.

We must talk about and work towards the Island not as it is today but how we want it to be in the future and we must strive to make a better country for all on this Island.

We must work towards ensure that in terms of education, employment, health, housing, those in the south and those in the north would be better off voting for change than the status quo.

Whether you believe in the United Kingdom or a United Ireland it is simple good government to plan for a United Ireland even If it may be a long way in the future.

Finally, John F Kennedy, when he was closing his address to the Dail and Senate in 1963 said, “I believe profoundly in the future and that this is an isle of destiny and that destiny will be glorious and that when our Hour has come we will have something to give to the world.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this island has given a lot to the world but the best days are ahead. By working together, I believe we can ensure a better future for all the people on this island.

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Scotland under attack by Westminster and City of London in “phoney” economic war

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100 years ago the elite and leaders of Europe called on millions of citizen to sacrifice themselves under the banner of freedom for small nations. A century later the new leaders and elite solemnly commemorate the sacrifice of those millions for that principal. Yet, we see the same European leaders now arguing against the freedom of Scotland and it’s continued membership of the European Union. We also observe from this side of the Irish Sea the City of London and the Government in Westminster engaging in a “phoney” economic war against Scotland.

In Ireland the government claim to be “neutral” in this “Phoney” economic War, mere observers, despite the fact that we all support the ideals of freedom which Scotland seeks. We are however concerned about the effect an independent Scotland, with control over its corporation tax would have on jobs here and the ability of this nation to attract foreign direct investment. The government is quietly seriously concerned about the obvious knock on effect on the situation in the North

In the event the people of Scotland vote for independence, Ireland and it’s government should not be and will not be neutral in supporting Scotland in any adverse actions by the city of London and Westminster. We must support Scotland’s continuation within the EU, a country that is currently in the EU and meets all the criteria for membership should not and must not be punished by now treating it or those larger EU states.

The position of the leaders of Europe is worrying. Our own former Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn, who is on the executive of the Party of European socialists issued a statement where he said Scotland’s membership would be blocked by large countries such as Spain and ironically in this the anniversary of the start of World War 1, Belgium. His comments were issued by the ‘ Better Together’ Campaign to support their argument against an independent Scotland.

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has not been neutral in his intervention despite saying “I don’t want to interfere on your referendum here …… it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to get the necessary approval from the member states for it to join the European Union.

Yet, an answer is available to David Cameron and the ‘Better Together’ campaign who question the impossibilities of an independent Scotland being allowed to remain in or rejoin the European Union . This answer is available to the Prime Minister and the British government as members states are allowed to ask the question of Scotland’s membership of the EU in the event of it voting for independence. Amazingly the British Prime Minister refused to ask the EU for official advice on the situation, there by allowing the doubt to continue. Why then did the Cameron and London Government not seek and get a definitive answer?

Pat Cox the former President of the European Parliament who is well accustomed to the way of making the impossible possible in Europe said on RTE’s Morning Ireland that because they are on the inside Scotland should be facilitate and a mechanism is available to do that in the EU

Would government in Westminster and the City of London seriously block an independent Scotland access to EU membership and use of sterling in the full knowledge that it would prevent an independent Scotland being a success? A success that British Prime Minister Cameron has admitted Scotland would be during a speech he gave while he was opposition leader “It would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another such successful, independent country.”

Professor Joseph Stiglitz the Nobel prize winning economist who is well known on this island is right when he says that David Cameron, the Government in Westminster and City of London were “for the most part” bluffing when they ruled out the Scottish National Party calls for a currency Union. The scare mongering over EU membership is “for the most part” an equal bluff. While we remain “officially” neutral, having gone through an economic war similar to the one that is being threatened against the Scots, we must conclude that on this occasion the threat of this economic war is “Phoney” and as Professor Stiglitz would put its “for the most part” bluff.

Ireland’s concerns on an independent Scotland and its effect on job creation here are unfounded in the same way. As are the concerns on attracting foreign direct investment into Ireland when 10 new countries joined the EU. The knock on effect in the North will without doubt be an issue for the Irish government and will require serious reengagement by both governments to tackle this evolving situation.

I agree with the British Prime Minster when he said Scotland would be a successful independent country. As another small country, ranked 7th in the world by the UN human development index, we must not be neutral. We must, should and will be active in asking and persuading other small countries in the EU and the more reluctant larger states to support an independent Scotland’s continuation in the EU.

Senator Mark Daly is a member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs since 2007 and Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and the Diaspora

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Govt Vote on Commercial Rates will Ruin Small Towns and Villages – Daly

FF seeks to annul Ministerial Order on Commercial Rates
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly says a Government vote against a Fianna Fáil motion on commercial rates will decimate rural towns and villages.
Under proposed legislation, Fine Gael and Labour want to charge half commercial rates on properties that are vacant.
Senator Daly commented: “In the Seanad, Fianna Fáil Senators put forward a motion to annul a Ministerial Order which will effectively charge commercial rates on vacant properties. The motion was unfortunately not supported by Fine Gael and Labour Senators. This Ministerial Order will result in councils imposing commercial rates on vacant properties. Although the rate will be half that of occupied premises, this could decimate rural towns and villages.
“No Regulator Impact Assessment on this Ministerial Order has taken place, what I fear may happen is vacant commercial buildings in towns and villages will be knocked down. Owners who are currently unable to conduct business in the vacant properties or receive rent will be forced to demolish their premises as they will be unable to pay the commercial rates that will be imposed. The majority of County Councils in the country do not charge for properties which are vacant, a change to this may jeopardise any hopes of towns and villages have of recovering and enticing businesses to set-up in these urban centres.
“This move by the Government is another attack on rural Ireland, there have been numerous unfair policies implemented which adversely affect rural people. For instance, rural Post Offices have been closed, over 100 rural Garda stations were shut, rural bus routes have been curtailed and small schools have been forced to close. The change to the commercial rates system will be another nail in the coffin of rural Ireland.”

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Seanad Recall on flawed EU Organ Donation Law resulted in improved resources for transplant patients – Daly

Senator Mark Daly (centre) with members of the Irish Kidney Association Mark Murphy (left) Colin White, Gwen O’Donoghue, and Valerie Brady on the Plinth at the Dail after the recalled Seanad debate on organ donation. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Senator Mark Daly (centre) with members of the Irish Kidney Association Mark Murphy (left) Colin White, Gwen O’Donoghue, and Valerie Brady on the Plinth at the Dail after the recalled Seanad debate on organ donation. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly says the recall of the Seanad this day last year has secured improved resources for more than 600 people who are currently waiting on life saving organ transplant operations. The Kerry Senator spearheaded a campaign and secured the signatures of more than 20 Seanad colleagues to invoke a recall of the Chamber to debate and vote on the first ever law on organ donation in the history of the State.

Senator Daly says that while improvements have been made, more needs to be done to bring Ireland’s donation and transplant system in line with international standards, and he claims a fully functioning organ donation scheme will not only provide a better quality of life for transplant recipients, it could also result in major savings for the taxpayer.

Senator Daly commented, “The recall of the Seanad last summer brought organ donation and transplantation back into the spotlight. The Government’s handling of the issue left a lot to be desired; the then Health Minister James Reilly signed the EU organ donation directive into Irish legislation in 2011 without any debate in the Oireachtas. Subsequent calls for debates were refused and it was only when the Seanad was recalled that the issue was discussed.

“The week the Seanad was recalled, the HSE allocated extra senior staff and resources to the National Organ Donation and Transplant Office. Almost €3m in funding was set aside for 6 intensive care nurses, 6 link nurses, 5 procurement coordinators and 4 quality managers. The addition of these health professionals has improved the quality of service that patients waiting on organ transplants receive, but more needs to be done.

“Our record on organ donation has been criticised by international organisations, with the head of the Spanish Transplant Authority Rafael Matesanz claiming the system here is costing lives. Although improvements have been made in the past year there is still a long way to go in matching the high donation rates that other EU countries achieve.

“Improving our donation and transplant numbers would not only change the lives of those receiving a new organ, it would also result in significant cost savings for the taxpayer. The State stands to save around €100,000 per kidney transplant, because of reduced dialysis and medical costs. The Irish Kidney Association estimates that the savings made by organ transplant operations could amount to €325m over time. The employment of organ donor co-ordinators is a major step forward, but more needs to be done to transform Ireland’s organ donation system. It is essential that these changes are made to ensure that many more lives are saved and improved through transplantation”.

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Kerry broadband costs to soar as Govt scraps essential scheme

The Government’s decision to end the National Broadband Scheme further highlights its complete lack of interest in rural Ireland. The scrapping of the programme could see rural broadband users in Kerry forking out an additional €176 per year for a basic broadband service.

The withdrawal of funding for the National Broadband Scheme by the Government is short-sighted and ill-advised and will have serious consequences for households and businesses throughout Kerry. Broadband coverage across the county is of poor quality in many areas, and the removal of this essential service will only serve to make a bad situation worse.

The National Broadband Scheme, which was introduced by the previous Government, provided basic affordable broadband services in rural areas where coverage was poor. The decision to withdraw the funding could result in a 75% price hike for customers. Bills could increase by as much as €176 a year – a huge rise, which many homes may not be able to afford. The massive price increases could see households forced to give up their broadband, a utility which is now considered an essential service.

This move effectively downgrades rural communities and reinforces the two tier economy that this Government has created. Regional and rural Ireland has been effectively abandoned by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition. The Communications Minister Alex White has now decided to pull the plug on secure broadband in the region. Small and Medium businesses here will be at a serious competitive disadvantage compared to companies in the major cities, if broadband services aren’t up to speed.

Shortly before the local elections, the Government announced the National Broadband Plan, yet just months later the scheme which guaranteed basic broadband services at a reasonable price has been suddenly scrapped. This is a deeply cynical move by the new Minister, which will further disenfranchise rural Ireland. The scheme is due to expire on August 25th and I would urge Minister White to reconsider his decision and reinstate this essential scheme.

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