Monthly Archives: November 2012

No Diaspora Irish need apply for Constitutional Convention in Ireland

Emigrant voice to go unheard once more by the Irish government

Emigrants have no voice with the Irish  government once more – no representatives at the Constitutional Convention in  Dublin

The Constitutional Convention in Dublin will meet  shortly to consider changes to the Irish Constitution.

The lack of an emigrant representative among the 100  strong members is an unfortunate reality that will lead to a perception abroad  that once again the Irish  government is making clear that the emigrant voice is not important, even  though the emigrant dollar clearly is.

The convention is taking place against a backdrop of  harsh economic times and increased efforts to bring the Irish abroad back into  the fold. The emigrant vote would be a perfect place to start.

One of the issues to be discussed is the emigrant  vote, and there was good news in  an Irish Times poll this week, with 68 percent of those surveyed believing  that emigrants should be allowed to vote in Irish presidential elections.

Only 17 percent believed that emigrants should be  denied a vote. The finding is clearly a green light for the government and the  constitutional convention to grab this issue.

Clearly there is a mindset in Ireland that the  emigrant vote, under limited conditions, is a good step for this government. It  will now depend on government willpower and determination to make it happen.

Currently, 115 countries worldwide allow their  citizens abroad to vote. Even high emigration countries such as Mexico and  Poland have the provision.

Ireland badly needs to get in line with  international consensus and provide its emigrants with a means of taking part in  elections in the country of their citizenship.

Of the 115 countries, many impose restrictions on  their citizens abroad. That is fair and reasonable. A time limit, such as five  years after an emigrant has left home, would be a fair compromise.

Equally, presidential elections are far less likely  to be impacted by emigrant votes than small rural constituencies in Dail (Irish  Parliament) elections, which can swing on a handful of votes.

It is the symbolic rather than the actual impact  that emigrants seek, the acknowledgement so often given when investment and  funding is required that the diaspora is a vital part of the Irish identity.

Successive Irish governments have always maintained  a healthy distance from the diaspora, never fully comprehending its priorities,  its perceived foibles or its intent.

The result has been many missed opportunities to  build the links that are so vital to Ireland at a time of maximum distress in  the old country.

The Constitutional Convention is about managed  change to ensure that all aspects of Irish identity are given full  expression.

There is arguably no more important part of that  equation than the Irish abroad, especially at a time when thousands are once  again voting with their feet and leaving.

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Senator Daly among Oireachtas Group seeking urgent meeting with the Tánaiste

 

Following a visit by Oireachtas members yesterday to Maghaberry Prison and to Marion Price in Belfast City Hospital a group of Oireachtas members are to get an urgent meeting with An Tánaiste to outline their concerns in relation to detention and prison issues in the North.

During the visits yesterday the group, which consisted of TD’s Éamon Ó Cuív, Maureen O’Sullivan, Clare Daly, Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Mick Wallace as well as Senators Mary White and Mark Daly visited Gerry Mc Geough, Gary Adams, Martin Corry and Marion Price as well as a number of prisoners who had been on dirty protest until a week ago.

The Oireachtas members are particularly concerned about the health of Gerry McGeough who has had seven stents inserted to date for a heart complaint including one this week, Marion Price who has been in Belfast City Hospital for the last 6 months with multiple illnesses and Brian Shivers who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis.

Following the visits the delegation met Minister David Ford, Minister of Justice in Northern Ireland and outlined their concerns in relation to justice issues in Northern Ireland including:
The revocation of licences for prisoners convicted of crimes relating to the troubles that happened up to forty years ago and their detention without any details being given to them or their legal representatives as to the reason for their detention. This amounts to internment without trial. Cases involved in this scenario to date are Marion Price and Martin Corry.
The trial, conviction and imprisonment of people for offences committed during the Troubles as far back as 1981 despite the Weston Park agreement (Article 20) signed in 2001 between the Irish and British Governments which stated that people who supported the Peace Process would not serve prison for offences that predated the ceasefire. These are the so called (OTRs or On the run cases). Cases involved in this scenario to date are Gerry McGeough and Gary Adams.

The delegation also expressed concern to the Minister of Justice in relation to the prison conditions that led to a dirty protest of 18 months amongst dissident republicans. On a human rights level all prisoners are entitled to decent prison conditions no matter what they are convicted of and the group expressed concern over the conditions that would lead prisoners to such drastic action. They noted that most prisoners have come off the protest and expressed the hope that the remaining prisoners would come off the protest in the coming days and weeks. Dialogue is the way forward and this will lead to a better situation for both prisoner and prison officer respectively.

While at the Maghaberry Prison the delegation expressed their sympathy to the staff on the recent murder of their colleague David Black and signed the book of condolence in his memory.

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Kenmare Choral Festival Friday 30th November – Sunday 2nd December

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November 30, 2012 · 12:54 pm

Minister for Justice refused to supply information to Senator Mark Daly as to what the banks wanted included and changed in the Insolvency Bill

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November 30, 2012 · 12:47 pm

Senator Mark Daly welcomes the retention of Valentia and Malin Coast guard centres and reiterates ‘that head of the Coast Guard Mr Chris Reynolds was not fit to hold the position’

Senator Mark Daly welcomes the retention of Valentia and Malin Coast guard centres. Senator Daly reiterated the statements he made  in the 4 hour long transport committee that debates the topic that head of the Coast Guard Mr Chris Reynolds was not fit to hold the position.

Today the Minister for Transport said “,after careful consideration of the various options available, I will be proposing that the three centres will remain open and that none will be closed, I will be proposing that the three centres will be more closely aligned and integrated. Therefore the current structure of three Coast Guard Centres in Dublin, Malin and Valentia will continue to provide their current service but will be required to deliver new efficiencies in how these services are provided. ”

Mr Reynold’s evidence to he committee was disturbing he had no satisfactory answers as to why new communication equipment which is critical to coordinating rescues was allowed to sit in boxes for over 2 years while the existing equipment in Malin and Valentia, was according to the manufacturer subject to ‘catastrophic  Failure at any moment’ . In fact motorola issued ‘a death certificate ‘ on the equipment and despite this the head of the coast guard took no action.

Senator Daly and other Oireachtas Members from  Kerry and Donegal have called that both the  External consultants who are undertaking work on the details of the delivery of new efficiencies at the 3 stations and Mr Reynolds come again before the committee to discuss the new Action Plan.

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