Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Breithlá Shona TG4- Nios mó polataiocht anois le'd thoil

Inniu deichiú breithlá TG4. Tá altanna an-shuimiúil ag Michael D. agus Colum Kenny ar an stáisiún san Examiner ar maidin, (nach bhfuil ar fáil ar-line áfach). In alt Kenny cáineann sé an easpa cláracha polataiochta ar an stáisiún le cúpla bliana. Gan dabht nil clár cosúil le Cúrsai a thug clúdaiocht chuimsitheach do chúrsai polataiocht agus cúrsai reatha. Seachas an Nuacht, ni féidir liom teacht ar aon chlár reatha ar an stáisiún anois. Is cuimhin liom féin páirt a ghlacadh i gclár iontach toghchánaiochta ónt tSionann roimh na toghcháin áitiúla i 1999, agus tréaslaim leo ar na pobalbreitheanna atá ar siúl sna dáilceanntracha Gaeltachta faoi láthair, ach b'fhearr liom go leathnófar an chlúdaiocht seo. Tá sé aisteach go bhfuil clár ar leith ag TV3, gan ceann ag stáisiún poibli. Cad é do mheas? Táim ag blogáil ar an ábhar chomh maith ar politics.ie
anseo. Nochtaigh do thuairimi ansin chomh maith.
P.S. Mile comhgáirdeachas do TG4 ar a bhreithlá iontach! Is mó na daoine a dúirt gur craiceáilte a raibh Michael D. ag an am. Mar Chomhairleoir an Lucht Oibre táim an-bhródúil as ár bpáirti is iarr-aire gur eisean a dhein an bheart don dteanga!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sign up now to support Breast Cancer Screening

I didn't expect to be blogging quite so much today, but just got an email from Cllr. Séamus Ryan, former Chairperson (the last one I think), of the South Eastern Health Board. Séamus has started an online petition to highlight the poor availability of Breastcheck screening for women throughout the country. This is a National petition and can be accessed here or through Séamus's excellent blog. In the picture you see myself, Séamus, Cllr. Denis Landy of Tipp South and our party spokesperson on Health and Deputy Leader, Liz McManus TD, on a demonstration supporting the availability of Radiotherapy treatment in the South East.

The outrageously high level of deaths and unnecessary suffering from breast cancer in Ireland is unacceptable. It is a direct result of the failure of the Government to invest in screening programmes and adequate treatment facilities, particularly here in the South East. The painstaskingly slow rollout of Breastcheck is simply a refusal to spend the money. Do it now Minister to save the lives of Irish women.

Credit where it's due

I met John Purcell, General Manager of KCLR (Kilkenny Carlow Local Radio) just a little while ago and thanked him for the fact that after much badgering from me and many others, the station has recently gone live on the Internet. They very cleverly went live on the weekend of the All-Ireland Hurling final, meaning that Kilkenny natives around the world could tune into the local coverage, as well as that of the National broadcaster.

I must have really pleased John when I asked him to give serious thought to start podcasting on the station. I miss the 'On the Record' programme every day, the main morning news and magazine programme presented ny Sue Nunn, and produced by Cathy Power (both shown here at the ploughing recently with Michael O' Brien and Jim Townsend), and Thom Dowling's 'One 'o clock live' lunchtime programme, which are both vital to knowing what's occupying the minds of the voters.

The ability to listen to them in the afternoon would be great. Hopefully John and head of programming, the ever-dynamic Mags Murphy(pic gone as promised Mags!!) will look seriously at this facility.

I congratulated John too on the launch of Newstalk as a National station. John is a director of the station and involved since its beginnings as a Dublin-only station. I loved 'talk radio' when I had my student summer in Boston in 1985, and I can't believe it's taken so long to get here. I'm particularly enjoying George Hook in the afternoons.

Fair play to John, who is also one of the main movers behind Beat FM, the excellent young people's station in the South East, and one on which I regularly feature in news pieces. John's kids are pupils of Gaelscoil Osrai, and his daughter is a past pupil of my own. His commitment to the language is to be seen across all three stations, with Alan Mac an Eala, picking up yet another award in recent weeks for the excellent 'Tobar an Cheantair' programme on KCLR.

Friday, October 20, 2006

We Stand Up- Sheasamar leis na bochtaibh

Pic by Vicci Dempsey of Kilkenny Voice Newspaper.

Tuesday evening came and we stood up as promised to support the International Day of action against poverty and to support the Millenium anti-poverty goals. Dáil candidate Cllr. Michael O' Brien was there at my suggestion, and joined Mayor Martin Brett, Cllr. John Coonan of Fianna Fáil, and organisers Cllr. Malcolm Noonan and Rev. Elaine Murray of St. Canice's Cathedral. More importantly we were joined by a great bunch of young students from Kilkenny College, Kilkenny CBS, and the bould Fionn from Coláiste Pobal Osrai.

Also present was 'mo scáthán', my shadow Caoilfhionn who goes most places with me. She had her head stuck in a book I picked up by a great Antrim writer Malachy Doyle who did a reading for the Library Service for National Book week. If anybody wants a book for their ten year old, then pick up 'Amadáns' or 'Amadán's Alert'. I asked Caoilfhionn to tell the Mayor that it was about Fine Gaeler's, but she wasn't falling for that one. Martin did promise her a prize if she produces a review of the book when she finishes.

Anyway back to the action, we collected signatures at the City Hall, before proceeding to the statue of St. Canice, patron saint of all the people of Kilkenny. We gave Canice a cool white headband to mark the day, although we did remove it in case it was misunderstood as a stag party gimmick.

Back in Carrigan's for refrreshments we were treated to Fair Trade tea and coffee which the Langton group who own the pub supported since myself, Malcolm and others began the campaign to make us a Fair Trade city. It was great to see the vivacious and energetic Sophia Westwick, an adopted Scottish daughter of Kilkenny, and the first Chairperson of our Fair Trade campaign there and full of enthusiasm as ever.

Well done to Elaine also who thanked everybody for taking part on the day, and encouraged us all to keep up the good work to highlight the International campaign agianst third world poverty and debt.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Not singing the Blues!

I'm anything but a holy Joe, although I do have my own spirituality, and a practising, but not perfect Catholic. My main interest in life outside of politics and sport however, is music. I've long had an interest in black music or afro-American as we're supposed to call it now. When it comes to Gospel music, which is at the root of the Blues, jazz and rock and roll, there's nobody better out there than the Harlem Gospel Choir, celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. They've recorded with the best in world music, particularly their memorable appearance with U2 singing 'I Still Haven't Found what I'm looking for' on the Rattle and Hum tour.

I brought three kids, Fionn, Caoilfhionn and cousin Philip to the Watergate Theatre, our local pride and joy to hear an uplifting performance by the Harlemers. Their founder Allen Bailey keeps the group moving with a mixture of preaching and craic, and the singers have magic voices, ably accompanied by a great drummer and keyboard player. The songs are a mixture of the gospel classics like 'Wade in the Water' and 'Amazing Grace', along with some great soul and R&B classics from people like Stevie Wonder to whom this tour is dedicated.

Here's a picture of Caoilfhionn and I with Allen Bailey, and a pic of the group on stage. These are mobile phone pics so the quality may not be as good as the singing was on the night. Well done too to the local singers from Kilkenny Gospel Choir whop got great praise from Allen, and the other local choir, Tokoulo (hope I got the spelling right Kay!)who sang and danced the night away on and off stage.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Support the Anti-Poverty Demo on Tuesday

Saw in the local paper and got a letter today informing me of an anti-poverty demonstration at City Hall on Tuesday next at ten past five. I'll definitely be there and wearing the white ribbon, a nd the 'Make Poverty History' wristband I wear quite often. I've been a supporter of Oxfam's campaign for yonks, and I admire Bono and Geldof for their iongoing work. Many people as wealthy wouldn't bother their backsides. I've also been priveliged enough to see the inside of ordinary people's houses in Kilkenny, Kerry and inner-city Dublin in my time in politics, and I know that poverty in Ireland is by no means a thing of the past. Come along on Tuesday evening and join in for a few minutes. You can learn more about the international campaign here. Well done also to Revd. Elaine Murray of St. Canice's and my fellow councillor Malcolm Noonan on organising this initiative locally.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ceannaigh Trádál Chothrom ar line-Buy Fair Trade Online

Tá sé iontach email a fháil ó Oxfam Éire ag fógairt siopa ar-line d'earrai Thrádála Chothrom. Is féidir leat do chaifé, tae, siúcra agus seacláid a cheannach direach ón gcarrtanacht iontach seo anois agus cabhrú leis an obair a dhéanann siad ag aon am amháin. Tá áthas an domhain orm, chomh maith gur leáinseáil mo chomleacaithe, Cllr. Eric Byrne feachtas Thrádal Chothrom Bhaile Atha Cliath le déanai agus táim cinnte go mbeidh an árd-chathair go luath mar Chathair Thrádal Chothrom cosúil le Cill Chainnigh .

Oxfam's Fair Trade online shop is excellent and extremely user friendly. Having been centrally invovlved in the campaign for Fair Trade City status in Kilkenny which we secured last year, we were aware of the diffuiculties of accessing Fair Trade products. This new website allows the stuff to be delivered to your doorstep. Best of luck to Eric Byrne in his attempts to get Fair Trade City status for Dublin also, which you can read about in his fine blog.

Monday, October 02, 2006

On the muddy trail-Ag treabhadh linn

My first visit to the ploughing championships in Tullow last Thursday was some experience. This is without doubt one of the best organised and most impressive events in Irish life. Coming from a farming background, and having lived in rural Ireland for most of my life, I was aware that the Championships are now a fundamental part of rural life. Huge credit for this belongs to a certain Anna May McHugh, the Laois woman who is surely one of Ireland's most suiccessful and formidable women of the past thirty years.

For my own part, I proposed in 1995 that the Labour Party take a stand at the ploughing championships. Finally after 12 years we are there at last. The coverage that Pat Rabbitte received was phenomenal for the day that was in it. The fact that Taoiseach Ahern chose to give a waffly interview in Ballyjamesduff (Pat reckoned he was looking for another Paddy Reilly there!), and that Michael McDowell called on Ahern to answer serious questions about the Manchester after-dinner 8 grand speech, all made Pat and Enda Kenny the centre of attention. The media followed every word that Pat and Enda said in Tullow (or Grange to be exact), and for those of us lucky enough to be part of the entourage for the day, it made for excitement we didn't expect. It started for myself, Michael O' Brien and Jim Townsend, our local candidates with an interview with KCLR radio on Sue Nunn's morning programme. Later, as you;ll see here, Clara Walsh of the KCLR news team got the major intervies with Pat in which Pat cranked up the pressure on the PD's, leading to McDowell's later statement.

For us locally of course, it was vital to get local candidates Jim Townsend and Michael O' Brien to meet as many local voters as possible. The lads did this successfully, as well as getting thier faces on all the national news programmes by Pat's side, including on the Six One news, where Pat was interviewed live by the lovely Sharon Ni Bheoláin. All round, a great day with all that we wanted to achieve. Hopefully the first of many trips to the championships and one of many great days on the stomp before Michael or Jim become the TD for Carlow/Kilkenny. Well done also to party staff Liam Cahill, George Cummins and Shauneen Armstrong who did a great job in keeping the show on the road, and more importantly to local members John McGillicuddy, Brian Harris, Michael Joyce, Des Hurley and our neighbour Aoife Breslin, the mayor of Athy, and an old friend who knows me far too well for my liking!, who worked so hard on the party stand on the day.
World Ploughing Championships,  Tullow, County Carlow