Patriotism, as I understand it, is a combination of love of country, pride in its history, traditions and culture, and a determination to add to its prestige and achievements” -Lemass

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Is mise le meas,

Senator Mark Daly

Seanadóir Marcus O’Dalaigh

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Filed under National Issues

Broadband, Post Office Network and Energy White Paper: Statements in the Seanad

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

broadband map

I welcome the Minister. I love this map, but the problem with it is that it lacks ambition. When one looks at the areas it is proposed to cover one notes that if one lives west of the Shannon or west of Cork city, one will not receive high speed broadband any time soon.

In today’s terms broadband is equivalent to what electricity was 50 years ago, in that nobody but the State could provide electricity. Imagine what our economic development would be today if the electricity provision had been at the same level as the ambition of the Government for broadband provision now. High speed and fibre optic broadband is as essential today as electricity was for the development of Ireland 50 years ago. We would not have Google or the other companies that came to this country if we did not invest in our infrastructure. In addition, the Minister is aware of the statistics regarding online purchases and how many Irish people buy online, which is over 60%. However, only approximately 40% of Irish businesses have an online presence.

Broadband 2015

As my colleague from County Clare is aware, one can work from anywhere in the world if high speed broadband is available. One can trade online as a stock trader or work as an architect, but only if one has high speed broadband. One can live in west Clare or west Kerry if one has it, but it is not available. Theoretically, it is available. There are plenty of offers from upc and other providers who tell us we can get 3G, 4G and high speed broadband up to a certain speed, but that is only under certain conditions – the famous terms and conditions apply.

In addition to the lack of ambition, there is the issue of European clearance and the five stages in the process. That will take too long for people who wish to live in, and work from, rural areas. They simply cannot do so. It is the equivalent of trying to run a factory in rural Ireland without electricity. Not having high speed fibre optic broadband is killing the rural economy and ensuring it does not have the jobs it should or is not retaining jobs. We do not have the infrastructure. It is equivalent to the provision of roads 100 years ago, electricity 50 years ago and the investment in telecommunications by Albert Reynolds and others. Only the State can do it in a real and meaningful way for the places that are not economically viable.

There is no problem with providing broadband in Dublin, because it pays the provider. However, 900,000 homes will not be reached because it is not economically to provide them will high speed broadband. They will get some level of coverage but if one wishes to download a file or run an office from home in a rural area, the infrastructure is not in place. Rural Ireland is suffering enough with Garda stations, schools and shops closing and post offices under massive pressure. Not to have broadband, the modern equivalent of roads and electricity, is costing jobs and preventing us from retaining jobs.

The map demonstrates the lack of ambition. One of the big costs with fibre optic broadband is the installation of the ducting. That was also the huge cost with the electricity infrastructure. There are plenty of schemes in this country. We installed water networks where the State failed to do so. This was done by communities putting in the pipes. The pipes for fibre optic can be installed by communities much more efficiently and better than the Government would do it. Once the ducting is installed, which is 80% of the cost, the Government could then proceed. A scheme similar to the group water schemes could be carried out efficiently. I guarantee that there is such demand for high speed broadband that the communities would ensure it would be done a great deal faster than the EU or anybody else would do it.

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Filed under Kerry, National Issues

New Report shows Kerry people will die because of ‘Death by Geography’ due to governments cuts to ambulance services

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly said that a new report proves that the government cuts to the Kerry Ambulance service will result in fatalities and ‘Death by Geography’ in Kerry because there are not enough ambulances to cover a large rural area. The report, by UK consultancy Lightfoot Solutions, has sparked controversy throughout rural Ireland.

Figures released by the HSE following a long investigation by Senator Mark Daly have revealed that every day in Kerry a critically ill patent could be waiting up to an hour for an ambulance. The response time uncovered by Senator Daly has been backed by the new report revealing ‘shocking facts that in some emergency cases in the county it will take 3 times as long to reach the patient as the recommended target set by the HSE themselves.’

The new report blames Ireland’s “high rurality” for not reaching the target times set by the HSE however, Senator Daly commented ‘They should be blaming the government for cutting the 2 emergency Ambulances that cover the Killarney area which in turn is taking emergency ambulances from Tralee, Dingle, Kenmare, Caherciveen and Listowel. The decision to remove the 2  emergency ambulances is resulting in people dying unnecessarily in Kerry, it also means that those who have strokes and heart attacks are not getting treatment immediately, therefore stay longer in hospitals and need more help in recovery and more care in the long term which is costing more in the long run. These figures reveal that the emergency ambulances must be returned to Kerry immediately, at the moment the HSE is playing Russia roulette with the lives of people in Kerry.

Senator Mark Daly stated “People have a right to expect that they will receive a safe and timely response in the event of life-threatening emergencies.”

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Filed under Kerry, National Issues

Daly demands answers over British tapping claims

Foreign Affairs
- Reports suggest Irish cables and phone calls are being bugged by British Intelligence Agency – 

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly and the party’s spokesperson on communications in the senate is calling on the Justice Minister to explain why foreign law enforcement agencies, including the British spy organisation General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) are being allowed access to Irish phone-calls and emails.  The interception of underground cables was reported last weekend, and it’s now emerged that Minister Frances Fitzgerald has signed in a law which will allow this practice to continue.

Senator Daly commented, “I find it shocking that the Government would stand over the tapping of Irish data by foreign spy agencies.  What’s worse is the fact that this practice has been commonplace for years and nothing has been done to stop it.  The scale of this tapping is unknown, but it is possible that all Irish internet activity could have been monitored via these underwater cables.

“The details of this mass monitoring came to the fore last week following the publication of documents from US whistle-blower Edward Snowden, and raise serious questions about what the Irish Government knew about the bugging.  Minister Fitzgerald has remained silent on the issue despite the revelations making national and international headlines.

“The Government has been extremely secretive in its handling of this controversy; and has now enacted a law to legitimise this surveillance. Minister Fitzgerald signed the relevant section of the 2008 Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act into law at the end of November, almost keeping it under the radar, until the release of the Snowden files, which brought it to the public’s attention last week.  Despite the subsequent media attention, the Minister has remained stony silent.

“This new legislation gives extended powers to Governments to pressure telecommunications companies into allowing them access to information and threatens them with “in-camera” private court hearings should they fail to comply.  This is an extremely worrying development, and could leave personal and business data like text messages, emails, voice messages and phone calls open to exploitation.

“Minister Fitzgerald must clarify the terms of this legislation and give assurances that no monitoring will be allowed unless it is part of sanctioned criminal investigations”. 

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Filed under Britain, European Union, National Issues, Transparency in Government & E.U. Scrutiny

Irish Foreign Affairs Committee to Holds a Special Meeting on Presidents Obama’s Executive Order and the 50,000 Undocumented Irish living in the United States

Foreign Affairs

At the request of Senator Mark Daly the spokesperson for the Irish overseas and the diaspora in the Irish Senate the Foreign Affairs Committee are due to hold a special meeting next week regrading President Obama’s executive Order on immigration. The senator has requested the Minister of State for the Irish overseas and the Diaspora to come before the committee

Senator Mark Daly has called on the Government to provide extra funding to Irish Organisations throughout the United States who will be helping some of those 50,000 Undocumented Irish who qualify under the terms of the President executive order.

Senator Daly commented “There are many brilliant organisations throughout the United States such as the ILIR (Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform) Irish Pastoral Centres in Boston, San Francisco and Chicago and the Aisling Centre in New York. These organisation are dealing with countless queries from the Irish community. Their work load has increased enormously in the past few weeks and this will only increase further in the coming months as many of the 50,000 undocumented prepare to come out of the shadows and work with the US authorities to become legal.

President Obama himself referenced these people in his speeches, saying “there are Irish in Chicago who do not have their papers in order”, I am calling on the Irish government to provide the essential funding these Irish Organisation will need to help many in the Irish community get their papers in order.

Senator Daly will also be pressing the minister of state for the Irish overseas and the diaspora to push the US government for ‘Humanitarian visa’s’ which would allow those not covered by the executive order to travel to Ireland to be with family at time of distress such as a during a bereavement.
“The US state department also need to be engaged with by the Irish Government on the issue of visa waives. The State Department have done this for Mexico and they should do it for Ireland also “

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Filed under America, Irish Overseas and Diaspora, Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora Certificate

Senator Mark Daly Speaks on U.S. Immigration Reform

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Filed under America, Irish Overseas and Diaspora, Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora Certificate