To highlight 2012 as the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, Europe Direct Ireland is holding a soapbox competition titled
“Youth is wasted on the young”.
By simply sharing your views, you will have the chance to win the regional prize of an iPad and a trip to the European Parliament in Brussels. The regional winner then goes onto the national final, in Farmleigh House on 20th November, which has a prize of €1,000.
Usually speaking from your soapbox is an impromptu action, this event is less so. You will get to research and prepare your 3-minute speech, which you will then deliver before an audience and panel of judges.
To be in with a chance to win, get an application form online at www.europedirect.ie or contact Killarney Library- Europe Direct Centre on 0646632655 or email@example.com.
The competition is open to second level students and adults; applications must be received no later than 48 hours before the event.
soapbox compeition details
Senator Mark Daly stated at Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications that the Director of the Irish Coast Guard, Mr Chris Reynolds is not fit to hold office. This follows a 4 hours hearing today where the latest report, commissioned by the coast guard to consider the future of Valentia and Malin coast guard stations was scrutinised by Senators and TDs of all parties from Kerry and Donegal. During the meeting Senator Daly said that “given the changes of the first draft of the Fisher report following representation by senior management, Fisher can not be accepted as creditable. The first draft was hugely critical of senior management however the final report which was presented to the Minister had all reference to criticism of management deleted”.
“Also the first drafts did not recommend the closure of Malin and Valentia however the final draft contained the option of closing one of the 2 stations.”
The meeting was chaired by Tom Fleming TD, following a proposal by Senator Daly it was agreed that the authors of the Fisher report would come before the committee prior to any decision being made by the Minister on the future of Valentia and Malin Coast Guard Stations.
Coast Guard criticises ‘failings’ of draft report
By Dan Buckley
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Senior management at the Irish Coast Guard has slated parts of the first draft of a report into the service which Transport Minister Leo Varadkar is using to push through major reforms and cost-cutting rationalisation, with the likely closure of Valentia and Malin Head stations.
The director of the Irish Coast Guard, Chris Reynolds, is being brought before the Oireachtas Transport Committee tomorrow to face questions on a reorganisation of the service, planned on foot of the report commissioned by the minister.
“It is my view that Chris Reynolds’s agenda is to close both Valentia and Malin Head,” said Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly who was instrumental in forcing the IRCG chief to appear before the committee.
“I am convinced that the plan is to close them both and retain the Dublin station as well as a sub station in Blanchardstown in the minister’s own constituency.”
This is the second time in four years that Mr Reynolds will appear before an Oireachtas committee to deal with the future of the Irish Coast Guard.
In Jul 2009, a similar proposal to close both stations came to grief when it was shown that a report advocating closure was partly based on a false quotation from then minister of state Pat the Cope Gallagher to the effect that Malin Head station should close.
Pat the Cope strenuously denied ever advocating closure and, shortly afterwards, the Fianna Fáil transport minister Noel Dempsey announced a decision to retain both stations and to upgrade them.
Weaknesses in communication within the service and deficiencies in the State’s separate Marine Survey Office have been identified in two ‘value-formoney’ studies undertaken for the minister by Fisher Associates, an international management consultancy practice specialising in the maritime and transport sector.
In a review of the first draft of the report by Fisher, Coast Guard management berates the work of the consultants.
The Coast Guard management observation of the report’s first draft states:
“The report fails to meet its own primary objective ie to provide the department and Coast Guard’s management with the necessary level of review, analysis and well-founded recommendations to enable the Coast Guard improve in efficiency, effectiveness and value for money.”
The critical review of the report also states that it “cites a lot of general and personalised comment and hearsay without validation, analysis or intelligent consideration”.
In one hard-hitting comment on the report, Irish Coast Guard management outlines what it sees as “uninformed or poor analysis; lack of dialogue on matters surfaced; lack of understanding of where the IRCG has competency or control on particular matters and where they are departmental competencies; laziness in fact finding; ignorance of how Coast Guards function and failure to recognise command and control issues.”
The Coast Guard also criticises Fisher for not spelling the service’s name correctly, pointing out that it used the spelling ‘Coastguard’ which is prevalent in the UK and the British Commonwealth.
Management states: “the sloppiness… of this report is of a level that reflects very, very poorly on Fisher’s ability or competence in these areas.”
Campaign to save vital bases forced to launch one more time