Sunday, July 17, 2016

SHORTT MEMORY


I read with interest and some bemusement Mr. Tom Shortt’s  self-aggrandising letter (Limerick Post, July 16, pg.30) attacking the Moyross Residents’ Alliance (MRA) and accusing the MRA Chairperson, Tommy Daly, of making a “personalised attack on the Labour Party” and Mr Shortt. 

Aside from the fact that one cannot make a personalised attack on a political party, the criticism made by Tommy of Mr. Shortt’s lack of knowledge regarding the role of Councillors is valid. 

Far from being a “daft notion”, Article 28a of the Constitution of Ireland makes it clear that Councillors are elected to represent communities, not political parties as Mr. Shortt had publically contended; Cllr. Frankie Daly does not represent the Labour Party on the Council and he never did, he represents the Northside communities that elected him.



Our Constitution is the highest law in the land and Articles can only be changed by holding a referendum, not at a Labour Party convention.

Mr. Shortt also accuses Tommy of telling “downright lies”, claiming that he never attended any meetings organised by the MRA. 

As an adviser and co-opted member of the MRA’s committee I can confirm that Mr. Shortt did in fact attend three meetings; one with the MRA committee and two others that were held in St. Munchin's Community Centre in Kileely as the Moyross Community Centre wasn’t made available to us at the time. 

St. Munchins Community Centre where the meetings were held

I attended these meetings where Mr. Shortt met with Moyross residents of Delmege Park, Dalglish Park, Cosgrove Park, Cliona Park and Castle Park, we all had to sign-in as we entered the Community Centre so this fact, unlike Mr. Shortts claims, can be independently verified.

During our first meeting with Mr. Shortt he even raised his own issues with those in attendance, asking what could be done to stop the rise of Sinn Féin; he was reminded that he was not at a Labour Party meeting and that we were there to discuss our issues and what he as an elected representative could do to help us on the Council.

The issues raised included: depopulation, the boarding-up of perfectly good houses, the demolition of burnt-out and unsafe houses, ensuring Health & Safety regulations,  anti-social behaviour,  Council buy-outs of homeowners for a pittance, the lack of real community participation in the decision making process, and the right-of-way between Dalglish Park and Ballananty.

While some tenants did ask Mr. Shortt to make individual representations on their behalf, Tommy and his sons did not; as home-owners they are responsible for their own property and didn’t seek Mr. Shortt’s assistance. 

The issues raised at the meetings by “members of the Daly family” were ones that impacted on the wider community, not just themselves.

All the residents wanted was for their Councillor to formally raise their issues and concerns in Council meetings and to ask Council officials to publically account for their decisions, which had helped to make the “regeneration” areas worse instead of better, closed down schools, increased anti-social behaviour  and turned home-owners into tenants.  

At our meetings Mr. Short talked the talk; he even volunteered to do some work with residents in Delmege Park on the community garden that the MRA had established there in 2009. 

However, Mr. Shortt did not walk the walk; he never raised any issues on our behalf (if he had done so then it would be a matter of public record in City Hall and it is not) and he turned up in Delmege Park 2-weeks after the work was done looking to have his picture taken in the garden. 

As I understand it, that photo-opportunity in 2011 was the last formal contact that the MRA had with Mr. Shortt; he stopped answering phonecalls and replying to emails after that.

Jamie Daly, MRA Events Manager with Tom Shortt Feb 2011

Tom Shortt with MRA Chairperson Tommy Daly, Feb 2011

I really do not understand how the former Councillor cannot recall any these meetings; I can only conclude that his memory must be just like him…..short! 

Now, that last sentence might be construed as a “personalised attack”, but it is just a pun that couldn’t be helped given Mr. Shortt’s denial of the facts and the very real personalised and libelous attack he made on Tommy Daly’s character. 

Mr. Shortt owes Tommy Daly and the MRA a public apology.

TWIST AND SPIN

Of course I don’t really believe that Mr. Shortt can’t recall those meetings and I do understand why he has denied that they ever took place; he wants to deflect from his own shortcomings (sorry, couldn’t help it) as a Councillor and under no circumstance can the facts be allowed to get in the way of his egotistical narrative.

Having dispensed some downright lies, Mr. Shortt in his letter then seeks to misrepresent the statement made by Tommy and the MRA. 

Mr. Shortt praises himself for toeing his party’s line by voting against his fellow Northside Councillors and the wishes of Northside communities that he was elected to represent, claiming that his support for the provision of a site for a Youth Centre on the Kileely Road is an example of him representing Northside Communities. He also accuses his fellow Northside Councillors of “opposing services for Northside communities”, when they were merely opposed to its location.



The new Youth Centre on the Kileely Road

Helping to force developments on communities that didn’t want them is not good representation, other sites could have been looked at and the MRA would have been delighted it the Youth Centre had ended up being built in Moyross  and if the vote had gone the other way it is most likely that it would have.

The MRA’s criticisms of Mr. Shortts failure to represent were specific to Moyross and the “regeneration” process, but he has denied that those issues were ever raised with him so he can justify his silence on the matter in Council meetings.  Instead he spins what was said and he now expects that his fellow Northside Councillors should “incur a greater wrath” from Tommy Daly and the MRA. The fact is, they already have

THE WRATH OF CATHAL


On 24th February 2014, Mr. Shortt voted (along with the rest of the noddies - it was a unanimous vote) to approve the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan (LRFIP). This plan green-lined much of the land for private development in the long-term and red-lined many occupied homes for demolition without the agreement of the residents.


Regeneration Plan for Moyross - approved by Council in 2014

In Moyross a substantial amount of occupied homes are targeted for demolition without the residents prior agreement, including the MRA’s Community Garden in Delmege Park, the very garden that Mr. Shortt was so anxious to be photographed in!



Plan to demolosh homes and the MRA community garden

Weeks before the vote I had emailed Mr. Shortt and all of the other City Councillors with a submission from residents groups in Ballinacurra Weston and Rosbrien that highlighted the many problems with the LRFIP - like the lack of proper consultation and real participation of residents in developing the plans, and pointed out issues that were not addressed, such as the CCTV cameras being unmonitored on the Southside.

And in case they had forgotten, a letter of support for the submission from a Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council was physically left on their desks before the vote took place.

I don’t believe that any of them actually read the information that I had provided, or indeed the LRFIP for that matter. If they had they would and should have asked questions and voted against it. 

Mr. Shortt goes on to further twist what was said by the MRA and boasts how the Labour Party’s Jan O’Sullivan TD secured €3 million for the refurbishment of the Moyross Community centre, claiming that “...this contradicts Tommy Daly’s daft notion that politicians serve communities best by staying somehow outside or above party politics

Tommy never made such a statement and Mr. Shortt knows it. Tommy was referring specifically to the role of Councillors as defined by the Constitution, but that fact would have upset Mr. Shortt’s deluded narrative. 

(The full MRA statement can be read on the MRA's Facebook page).

As for being above party politics, well it was fairly clear to all but the most imbecilic that Tommy was referring directly to Cllr. Frankie Daly opening the MRA’s 1916 Remembrance Garden in June with Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea TD.



Tommy Daly addresses those assembled at the launch  

The MRA's Community Garden was established in 2009.

Furthermore, there is a big difference between a Councillor, a TD and a government Minister and this seems to be lost on Mr. Shortt as he showcases his ignorance of our Constitution and our political system.

Jan O’Sullivan was Minister for Housing when the €3 million was awarded to the Moyross Community Centre and that money was actually secured by the Community Centre and the plan they submitted through the Council to Central government.

O’Sullivan was also Minister for Housing when she launched the LRFIP in Thomond Park in 2013, a plan that seeks to trample on the property rights of residents to the benefit of private developers.  Frankly, I had expected a lot more from her as a Limerick TD, her tenure a housing Minister was one big fat disappointment.

Neither I nor Tommy Daly has ever been a Councillor, a TD or a Minister, yet in 2009 we managed to secure €0.5 million for the Council to clean up the “regeneration” areas. I had petitioned the EU and Tommy accompanied me to Brussels for the hearing. I would argue that we achieved more for Moyross and the other “regeneration” areas in those 2-days than Mr. Shortt did during his 5-year stint as a Councillor.



And now we are off the the EU again with a collective complaint to the European Committee of Social Rights. we just can't sit still!

SILENCE IS GOLDEN

Mr. Shortt ends his mendacious letter by saying “The silence from Cllr. Frankie Daly is deafening and nobody knows when he will speak up to explain himself, rather than having others, such as Tommy Daly, speaking for him.

Tommy Daly isn’t speaking for Cllr. Frankie Daly, who has already explained that he had promised to vote for the Northside’s Cllr. Michael Hourigan (Fine Gael) as Limerick’s Metropolitan Mayor months ago, long before the Labour Party decided that it was going to field a candidate that didn’t have a chance of winning.  

Cllr. Frankie Daly faced a dilemma; ether take the unconstitutional party whip from Labour and go back on his word, or stay true to his word and vote for Cllr. Hourigan. 

What Mr. Shortt actually wants is for Cllr. Frankie Daly to explain himself to the Labour Party, which he will have to do if he wants to apply to have the whip restored to him.  As far as I’m aware this hasn’t happened and I hope it never does. 

Cllr. Daly does not need the Labour Party and would be better placed to serve the communities that elected him without getting whipped into silence on issues that the Labour Party want ignored.

JEALOUS MUCH?

I have to wonder if this whole episode was orchestrated to push Cllr. Daly out of the Limerick Labour Party. 

Mr. Shortt was a sitting Councillor when Frankie Daly was selected as his ‘running mate’ in the 2014 local elections and Mr. Shortt not only lost his seat to him, but lost by  significant margin.

In 2009, when Labour was in opposition and on the rise, Mr. Shortt received 824 first preference votes and was elected to the Council  on the 13th count, his then ‘running mate’ was sitting Councillor John Ryan and he got 479, losing his seat.

In 2014, Mr. Shortt received 426 first preference votes and lost his seat, whereas Frankie Daly received 1,014 and was elected on the 10th count. This happened at a time when the Labour Party was extremely unpopular because of their support for imposing severe austerity measures on the Irish people. 

People voted for Frankie because of his reputation as a community worker in the Northside and I think there might be some jealousy there on the part of Mr. Shortt. Of course that is purely speculation on my part.

RATE MY COUNCILLOR


Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on Mr. Shortt; perhaps I am biased against him and the rest of the numpties because they didn’t speak up for “regeneration” residents at Council meetings. Maybe they didn’t know that they were supposed to, I mean, some of them have full-time jobs, is it reasonable of me to expect them to be reading plans and reports? 

Mr. Shortt had a very important full-time job; he was an art teacher in Scoil Carmel all-girls secondary school, which closed earlier this year. 

I wonder what his students thought of him? 

A cursory glance on Rate My Teachers shows that he was very popular “he is soundest teacher in the school. He is a legend” writes one reviewer, but a closer inspection tells a different tale (jc = Junior Certificate, lc = Leaving Certificate):

“He's only popular because he does no work. Ever since he became a councillor he's had too much on his plate to handle he should pick one job and stick to it. It's not fair on the people who love art” (March 2011)

“He didnt cover the LC history course, we were'nt able to answer half of the questions! he did next to no practical art classes with us even though its worth 63% of the final marks!!!” (August 2010)

“made our class fail jc art” (June 2009)

In fairness trying to juggle two jobs can be difficult; maybe he did have “too much on his plate”, as the first reviewer put it. So what about before he became a Councillor in 2009? Was his performance as a teacher any better then? Let’s have a look:

“doesn't do any art work with us! I'm surprised people pass there jc and lc!” (June 2008)

“only popular because he allows students to do whatever they want. especially with lower level classes... doesn't care about results. easy money” (June 2007)


“He's a dosser. never prepared ...always late. He's popular because he allows students to doss in class. And he doesn't care how well the students do. Popularity doesn't make a good teacher.” (November 2006)


“He is a great laugh and he is not like a teacher at all. He cares about students. His classes are like free classes. But sometimes he will go cranky but averagely a brill teacher!” (February 2006)

That last review, which is trying to be nice, actually hangs him. 

On the face of it, it would appear that Mr. Shortt was equally as shitty at being a teacher as he was at being a Councillor; he is a spoofer of the highest order and personifies everything that is wrong with Irish politics. The sooner people start waking up to these sort of chancers the sooner we will start to see some real change.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

100 Years Ago Today


So here we are, 24th April 2016, 100-years to the day that the Irish Republic was declared by Pearse outside the GPO in Dublin, 100-years since the spark that lit the flame of Irish freedom and independence was struck.

I should be brimming with pride. I had imagined that I would have attended one of the many commemorations or even a protest to mark the occasion, but I didn’t. Instead I stayed at home and the only thing I’ll be doing is filling out the census form later on. I just don’t feel that there is anything to celebrate, but I didn’t always feel this way.


This banner was painted by me and my wife Cindy for the Irish National Congress (INC). It is based on an original print by former INC Cathaoirleach Robert Ballagh


The mid-section turns up everywhere on the web and elsewhere, it is often mistakenly described as the Ballagh print, However the Ballagh print does not have flames painted in to the 1916.


Here it is making its debut outside the British Embassy for an INC protest on Easter Monday, 24th April 2000, 84 years to the day that the Men and Women of 1916 declared "the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible", the INC protested outside the British Embassy in Dublin at the continued usurpation of that right by the British government. (My wife, Cindy, is holding the banner on the left, I'm out of picture on the right and Robert Ballagh is pictured front & right.) 

My father, Cathal McCarthy, reads the Proclamation to those assembled as the then INC Cathaoirleach, Mary Lou McDonald, (partially pictured on the far left holding a letter to the British ambassador) got cold feet on the day; she did however hand in a letter of protest to the Embassy protesting Britain's suspension of the institutions under the Good Friday Agreement on behalf of the INC.

So what’s changed? Why am I so disillusioned? Is it the fact that our country is still partitioned? No, that’s not it. Is the fact that we've just elected a bunch of squabbling ninnies that are unable to form a government? No, although I can’t imagine that our 1916 heroes would be too impressed with them, or the bank bail-outs, or the homelessness crisis, or Irish Water. In fact, if they travelled forward in time to today I think they would ask “where’s the Republic?” before travelling back to cancel the Rising.

What has me so disillusioned is our membership of the European Union (EU) and its goal of becoming a Federal State; 65% of our legislation is already imported from the EU.  

When we first looked to join in 1963 it was called the European Economic Community (EEC) and there were only 6 member states. Our application to join was blocked by then French President, General Charles de Gaulle, because he didn't want Britain to join and believed that Ireland’s membership would help facilitate Britain’s membership. He blocked our next application to join in 1967. Then in 1969 his successor, George Pompidou, said that France would not to stand in the way of Irish and British membership. 

We applied again and had a referendum in 1972 (the 3rd amendment to out Constitution), which approved membership. 70% of the electorate turned out to vote, with 83% (1,041,890) of the them voting “yes” and 17% (211,891) voting “No“.

Ireland’s economy benefited from membership of the EEC, of that there can be little doubt. A lot has changed since then and the EEC has become much bigger and is now the EU.

In 2004 the EU attempted to introduce an EU Constitution to become a federal state, it was signed by 25 of the member states but the Dutch and French peoples had referendums and rejected it in 2005. It was repackaged as the Lisbon Treaty and the governments of all the other member states signed up to it without consulting their people; Ireland was the only country to hold a referendum (because we have a robust Constitution that demanded we have one) and we rejected it in 2008. 

The EU elite was not one bit happy, so Ireland was given a legally non-binding exemption from aspects of the treaty and we were asked to vote again in 2009, this time we voted “yes” to approve the 28th Amendment to our Constitution (most of our referendums are held because of EU treaties) to allow our government to ratify the treaty – feckin ejits!



Today the EU is a shambles and some of the member states seem to be losing the plot completely, Germany in particular (what is it about Germans and electing lunatics); Mad Merkel and her mass-immigration policy has set her country (and the rest of the European continent) on course for self-destruction. 

The British are holding a referendum in June to decide if they should continue with their membership of the EU, I hope they vote to exit and I hope we follow suit; that would be a fitting way to honour our heroes’ of 1916 – voting to regain our independence.



I wasn't alive in 1966 when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Rising, but I get the impression that while we weren't as well off as we are today, as a people we had more freedom in the real sense of the word. In 1916 we fought to be free of British elites, today we are in thrall to EU elites; what are celebrating for?

Solemn commemoration is more appropriate, read, remember and reclaim our Proclamation of 1916:


POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT
OF THE
IRISH REPUBLIC
TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND

IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.


Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:


THOMAS J. CLARKE
SEAN Mac DIARMADA    THOMAS MacDONAGH
P. H. PEARSE              EAMONN CEANNT

JAMES CONNOLLY                JOSEPH PLUNKETT


Monday, April 4, 2016

(Dún an) Doras Luimní: Closing the door on reality


I am appalled by the reactionary response from Doras Luimní to the Limerick Post’s asylum centre article, I had expected more from a professionally run organisation that seeks to promote and uphold the human rights and well-being of migrants than histrionic indignation; rather than being measured and reasonable, their statement  seems to be almost ideologically inspired.

There is no need for Doras Luimní to liaise with the relevant authorities with regard to an investigation;  anyone that cares to read the Prohibition of Incitement To Hatred Act (1989) will see that neither the Limerick Post nor their whistle blower were trying to incite hatred, the article did not broadcast  “threatening, abusive or insulting” material and was not published with the intent “that hatred would be likely to be stirred up”. 

There were absolutely no “racist comments” made, as claimed by Doras Luimní.

Mian Mujahid Ali Shahid

The article did present facts and evidence in the form of testimony from “Ivan” (an employee at a Direct Provision Centre) and in recounting the case of Mian Mujahid Ali Shahid, a convicted (in his absence) sex offender fleeing from justice in Scotland who “was fed, given protection and social allowance in one of the direct provision hostels in Limerick prior to his arrest and deportation” last year.

The article tells us that Ivan is from the Middle-East, I would suspect that he is also Muslim as he claimed to have had intimate conversations with some direct provision residents that he felt had “…a worrying level of extremism, bordering on hatred, which could potentially manifest in some sort of devastating way, as their numbers will continue to rise”.

Perhaps these Irish Muslim leaders are also being “racist” with their “anti-extremist declaration”.

Some have dismissed their declaration as little more than virtue-signalling, but at the very least it is a signifier of the concern that exists amongst Irish Muslims that extremists might establish a more sure foothold here.

All of the Muslims I know share those concerns. Every single one of us should share those concerns, especially Doras Luimní; if they are truly concerned about vulnerable refugees living in direct provision that came here to escape such extremists then they should seek to ensure that they don’t have to share their refuge with extremists. If there is to be any investigation it should be into Ivan’s allegations.

What appalled me most about Doras Luimní’s statement was not so much the lazy and false accusations of “racism”, but their own incitement of hatred directed towards direct provision workers by labelling them as unqualified and as “racist”; their job is trying enough without being made a target for far-left fascists.

Doras Luimní claims that throughout their 16-years of working with asylum seekers that they have “never been alerted to any suspicions of radical Islamic extremism in Direct Provision centres”.  Why would they be alerted? They are not the relevant authority. I would urge Ivan, (if he hasn’t already done so) to make an official statement to the Gardaí.

By the way, Islam is not a race, it is a religion and like other religions its followers are from all races and ethnic backgrounds. When someone experiences discrimination because of their religion it is not called racism, it is called sectarianism.  Ivan wasn't being sectarian either.

It should also be pointed out that Islam is not a homogeneous religion, there are over 72 sects and plenty of sectarianism between them; in their blood thirsty quest to establish a theocratic Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, the multi-national Islamic State have killed mostly Muslims for belonging to the wrong sect in their view.

Ivan also claims that “there are cheaters in the direct provision system getting protection and privileges that they don’t deserve”.  This does not surprise me and it is not the first time I have heard such a charge. A friend of mine (originally from North Africa, now an Irish citizen) that used to volunteer for Doras Luimní a few years ago was of the exact same opinion; he was of the view that many of those he encountered were chancers that should be deported.

It is absolutely disgraceful that asylum seekers can wait years for a decision to be made regarding their status and Doras Luimní is right to advocate for a time limit of 6 to 9 months, but once a decision is made the appropriate action should be taken, including deportation.

Doras Luimní rightly states that “the media has an enormous responsibility to provide their readers with balanced and factual material”.  However, the media also has a duty to publish stories that are in the public interest and in this case the Limerick Post should be commended for bringing this to our attention, not condemned.

The article was just another knock on the door from reality and Doras Luimní has damaged its credibility by adopting this slamming position, which is doing a great disservice to the very people that they advocate for. 

Shooting the messenger has never proved productive and ignoring or denying the reality that there is a problem will not make it go away. If we don't open the door and address it directly it will eventually come crashing in on us and when that happens it will be too late for reasonable discourse and dialogue.





Friday, February 26, 2016

The "Progressive" Social Democrats and all the rest

I thought I do one last blog on #ge16 to cover the rest of the candidates on the Limerick City ballot paper.

A "progressive" (aka the regressive-left") is someone who believes in things like the pseudo scientific notion that gender is a social construct, in contradictions like abortion is a human right and in myths such as the gender pay gap. Whereas in fact, gender is determined by biology, abortion is a human wrong and if there is a company in Ireland that is paying women less for working the same hours in the same job with the same qualifications, then they are breaking the law and should be prosecuted.

Declared "progressives" in this election include Sinn Féin, AAA, Social Democrats, Labour and the Green Party, even Fine Gael are calling themselves "progressive".

SARAH JANE HENNELLY  - SOCIAL DEMOCRATS





Sarah Jane Hennelly is the by far the best looking candidate on the ballot paper, but she is more than just a pretty face; she is an articulate and capable woman; I heard speak at the Limerick Spring in 2014 and her performance on TV3's The Peoples Debate was credible. She may surprise everyone by taking a seat. I think she has a chance if she canvassed hard. Unfortunately, she strikes me as a career politician and we already have plenty of those. 

They have an interesting manifesto , obviously I don't agree with all of it and I found it a bit vague in parts such as "End Direct Provision" for refugees, by all means speed up asylum applications but what is the alternative to direct provision? The Social Democrats don't tell us.

They are a newly formed party and seem to be made up of independents and Labour refugees, their leader is Stephen Donnelly:


.


What got my attention most about this video is Donnelly's apparent lack of knowledge regarding our political system as outlined in our Constitution: "Every election we elect a hundred and sixty six men and women to Dáil Éireann and what I discovered over the last five years is about fourteen of them get to make all the decisions... " he says. The 14 he refers to are the government and they require a majority support in the Dáil to stay in office. He then goes on to talk about changing the system but it is very vague. I'm just a bit shocked that he was so unfamiliar with our Constitution.

JAMES GAFFNEY - GREEN PARTY


What can I say, I don't like the Green Party. Gormely was Minister for Environment when "regeneration" was at its most destructive and he ignored all my correspondence.

I don't know much about James Gaffney except that he was terrible on TV3's The Peoples Debate - he could barely string a sentence together. 

As for global warming, we could certainly do with a bit of it in this country :)

DES HAYES - INDEPENDENT


I didn't encounter any posters for Des Hayes.

Hayes was formerly the Renua candidate, but they dropped him after it emerged that he had filed incorrect tax returns.

Hayes claims to be Pro-Life, but he seemed to fudge the issue on TV3's The Peoples Debate because some politicians want to be all things to all people so they can get their vote, so I'm not sure if he is really Pro-Life. The back of his Litir um Thoghchán is vague to say the least:


Hayes also says he'll be a "strong independent voice for Limerick".

DENIS RIORDAN - INDEPENDENT 


Last but not least, Denis Riordan. This will be Riordan's 5th general election. He has not posters or leaflets or a Litir um Thoghchán, he doesn't even have his photo on the ballot paper.

In 2005 Riordan was in the high court seeking to appear on the electoral ballot as 'Independent' instead of "non-party" but he was unsuccessful. He was jailed for a week in 2001 for refusing to withdraw his allegation that three Supreme Court judges were corrupt. He is best known for challenging the results of referendums.

So, that the lot of them covered. I'm off now to cast my vote and in case you're wondering where I got the photo of Riordans place on the ballot paper, my wife had a postal vote as she would be away for the election.

Here's the ballot paper in it's entirety:






Nora Bennis the Catholic Menace


Nora Bennis is the candidate for the Catholic Democrats and I know nothing about that party other than the vague information provided on the back of her Litir um Thoghchán and that they have an unfortunate sectarian sounding name.

Nora is best known for holding protest prayer vigils outside Limerick's first adult shop, Utopia; she gave that purveyor of Jazz mags, blue movies and assorted vibrators so much free publicity that I began to suspect that she was actually a secret share-holder. 

Would Nora outlaw masturbation if the Catholic Democrats swept to power? Who would run the country if all the wankers were arrested?

Seriously though, does this woman have any redeeming qualities? Well, she is Pro-Life and opposed to repealing the 8th amendment to facilitate abortion-on-demand.

I would rather help to elect a government that might strap a water meter to my mickey and charge me for every time I took a piss than help elect one that would allow abortion.

If you found that last statement to be crude and offensive then pity about you, it is nowhere near as crude and offensive as the abortion industry. If you found it funny, well then you won't be laughing after you watch these:

1st Trimester Medical Abortion: Abortion Pills

2nd Trimester Surgical Abortion: Dilation and Evacuation (D & E)


3rd Trimester Induction Abortion: Injection and Stillbirth


There are a lot of self-professed repeal the 8th "progressives" running in this election (Sinn Féin, AAA, Social Democrats, Labour, Green Party); they have the deluded belief that abortion is a human right when it is in fact a human wrong. Life begins at conception and I don't need a Bible to know that the deliberate destruction of any life is wrong.

I don't care if Nora is eliminated in the first count, Nora is my protest vote and she will be getting my No. 1 today.

My No. 2 will go to Willie O'Dea (not that he'll need it) who is also Pro-Life.


How Does Willie Do It?

I was talking elections with a friend of mine yesterday when he posed the question, "How does Willie do it...how does he manage to get elected?"

My friend is not a fan of Willie O'Dea and he can't for the life of himself understand how anyone could vote for the Fianna Fáil incumbent.

Well, the answer is simple - Willie is Limerick's most hard working and accessible TD and that is an undeniable fact.

If you ever had cause to visit his constituency office you will know what I mean; if there is something that Willie can do to help he will do it and if there isn't he will tell you straight and point you in the right direction.



Willie O'Dea was first elected to the Dáil in 1982 and he has been re-elected in every general election since; on 7 occasions he was elected on the first count and in 2007 he received the biggest vote in the country - 19082 No. 1's, which was almost 2-and-a-half times the quota. In 2011 his vote dropped to 6956 and he was elected on the 6th count. I predict that he will top the poll this time round.

But Fianna Fáil wrecked the country, how could anyone vote for them?

I don't exactly agree with that sentiment. We all "wrecked the country" by taking loans that we couldn't really afford to pay back, by buying over-priced houses and inflating the bubble. If Fianna Fáil (and the rest of the parties) are guilty of anything it is of standing idly by.

Besides I am not so much voting for Fianna Fáil as I am for Willie O'Dea.

Willie has a track record of acting independently and of refusing the party whip and out of all the candidates I can honestly say he has done the most for me and the resident's groups I'm involved with. 

Willie joins Ballinacurra Weston Residents Alliance (BWRA) protest outside hall (2012) https://youtu.be/Vtlcbja-OME?t=30m14s

Willie takes the BWRA tour of the "regeneration zone":



Many of the answers and results that the Weston Gardens Residents' Association, the Moyross Resident' Alliance and the BWRA have achieved have been because of the representations  that Willie has made on our behalf.

And while I don't always agree with Willie and he doesn't always agree with me, he will always pay me the compliment of a rational opposition and that's a rare thing to find in Irish politics these days.

As an Independent Community Activist I have no hesitation in referring people to his clinics because I know he will do what he can to help them.

However, one of the most important factors for me in this election is that Willie is Pro-Life and when all is said and done, that is all I really need to know.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

NO WAY - AAA (The Cut-Throat World of Limerick Politics)


Right from the start I was of the opinion that the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) was little more than a front for the Socialist Party.

I had attended a few meetings when it was the Campaign Against Water and Household Tax (or something like that) and I was aware that Cian Prenderville was a paid member of the Socialist Party with an annual salary of €35,000, because he told me so.

So when the campaign morphed into a political party I had written them as a front to trick people into voting for the Socialist Party.

Needless to say, I was extremely surprised when Cian rang me in April 2014 and asked me if I would consider running as a candidate for the AAA in the local elections; if it was a front he would hardly be asking me to run for them as we disagree on a few core issues such as abortion and the economy.

I declined and instead ran as an Independent; I was hoping to gain some vital transfers for another Independent, the late Jason Griffin (RIP).

The AAA got 3 City Councillors elected, 1 in each electoral area of the city - Cian in Limerick City North, Paul Keller in Limerick City East and John Loftus in Limerick City West.

I wasn't exactly thrilled for them; they had been elected on a platform of national issues and where I lived needed our Councillors to be more concerned with local issues.

I was PRO with the Ballinacurra Weston Residents at the time (BWRA) and we had invited all the newly elected Councillors to meet with us and take a tour of the area, we were pleasantly surprised by John - he's a genuine man that actually gives a shit about peoples concerns and problems.

John informed me that neither he nor Paul Keller were members of the Socialist Party, so I guess I was way off the mark.


Cllr. John Loftus taking the BWRA tour


I started attending protests and I even made a few Facebook videos in support:

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT THE GREENHILLS


ORGANISE AND RESIST!

Then last August a row on Facebook between John and a former friend and ex-AAA member made local and national news. 

The row took place via private messages and was over the ex-AAA member posting disparaging remarks on Facebook regarding the AAA street collections. John was out of the country visiting his daughter at the time and had arranged to meet his former "comrade" when he got back; his friend had agreed to a ceasefire in the interim. Then in the early hours of the morning John saw another snide post from his pal and he reacted by sending him the following message, which his pal screen-grabbed and posted all over Facebook, such was his loathing for the AAA.



Now, on the face of it , it looks bad. However it needs to be looked at in context. It was a row between two people that know each other and nothing more. John is a working-class man from Portglasgow in Scotland and those of us that know him are familiar with his use of the vernacular and colourful turn of phrase, but instead of standing by John, the AAA threw him under the bus and demanded that he resign his Council seat.

An AAA meeting was called and John was invited to attend. Apparently, most of those present were members of the Socialist Party and the proceedings had the air of a  kangaroo court. John rightly refused to resign his seat and was expelled from the AAA. I can only wonder if the intention was to replace John on the Council with a member of the Socialist Party.

Cian Prenderville went on local radio to condemn John for making threats and claimed that was no context in which it was acceptable for a Councillor to address someone in such a manner.

There is always a context and in this case it was a private message sent from his personal Facebook account (in anger to someone who knew him well); not acting in an official capacity and not from a Council or AAA account. There was no real threat because there was no real intent. I know this for a fact because I was "threatened" last July.



I encountered three men on the Boreen leading to my home and one of them was spraying graffiti on the road. As I approached them they ran away shouting "Cathal the rat" and "you're dead" while making gun gestures at me. I reported the incident to the Gardaí and I was told that because I wasn't in fear for my life and didn't  believe that they were going to carry out their threat that there was no complaint to make.

The only thing that I found scary about the incident was the fact that these men in their twenties were all fathers of young children.


The AAA have joined forces with People Before Profit for this election and Cian has a good chance of taking the 4th seat even though as a Councillor for Limerick City North he has done little for the people of Moyross and St, Mary's Park. Because of his poor performance as a Councillor and because of his treatment of John, I will be giving him mu No. 8 preference, I may even bump him down to No.10, I'll make a final decision in the polling booth.


I think it's only fair to mention that the AAA, as far as I'm aware, were the only party to canvass Weston, albeit from a van. I haven't seen any other canvassers in the area and no one has knocked on mine or my neighbours doors.