Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
We've just finished the historic first ever national conference of the Labour Party in Kilkenny and whar a weekend it was. For me, the most memorable conference speech was that of our last hugely successful leader Dick Spring at the famour 'Bread and Roses' caonference in Tralee in 1989. That was pure theatre with its opera and poetry and its sheer novelty. Saturday's sppech was all about content however, right from the start. The first sentence was 'I want to talk to you about solutions', and that was what he did. You can watch the speech below or read it here.
For my own part, I got to speak in the live RTÉ television debate on Saturday morning and you can see the speech here from the party's very forward looking presence on UStream. I also made the main RTÉ news for my comments regarding Fine Gael's attacks on the public service, and was also delighted to make it onto Saturday View, my favourite RTÉ radio programme, and had the privilege of being interviewed by John Bowman. The soundbite was small for all of us but we were there regardless. The coverage continued today as my comments were covered in two pieces in the Irish Times, one on FG and one on class sizes. and the Irish Daily Mail. More importantly of course on a local level I got to do a good piece with Tom Dowling on the afternoon news show on KCLR FM, our local radio station.
Two highlights of the weekend were the long service awards to Carlow/Kilkenny party members. Two of my favourite Labour women got recognition they deserved. Sadie Kelly was my predecessor on the party's National Executive and played a major part in bringing this conference to Kilkenny, work which I was delighted to continue, while the ever youthful Peggy Kerwick was unfortunately absent but her award was collected by my neighbour and great community activist, Seán. The others were Graiguenamanagh man John Bolger, Borris man Willie Hayes, and the unbelieveably fresh looking Paddy Dowd of Coon in North Kilkenny a 93 year old lifelong activist. All got their awards from one of my heroes, party President Michael D. Higgins TD.
He had previously presented the Jim Larkin justice award to Conor MacLiam, husband of the late Susie Long who inspired us so much in her life and her passing. Conor reminded us that Susie was a great socialist and a huge admirer of Larkin, and of course challenged us to keep alive the issues which tragically led to her death.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I'll be proposing the Carlow/Kilkenny motion condemning these cuts at our party conference being held for the first time in Kilkenny this weekend and this debate will be carried live on RTÉ One TV on Saturday morning from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm.
Please sign the petition here
Please also support the National demonstration against the cuts on Sat. 6th. December at 12.00 noon from Parnell Square, Dublin. Let's increase on the 25,000 parents, children and teachers who sent such a strong signal to the Government in Cork last Saturday.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Oregon for Obama and the Republicans have got their 40 seats. Interesting to see the crowd booing and cheering Palin-will we see her back in 4 years?
Come on let's be having Florida and put us out of our misery.
Texas called for McCain-would have been nice to bring it back blue but not tonight.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Here's the evidence that the Kilkenny Labour lads were on tour last night. Gary Lynch and Declan O' Hanrahan are the best campaign workers you could wish to have and here they are campaigning against this miserable Government. We also attended the debate in Dáil Éireann. The only thing I'd change in the future is making sure we leave in time to get to Jo'burger, the best burger joint in the capital.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The phrase "You can't handle the truth" comes to mind!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
An end to the over 70's automatic medical card and cuts in entitlements to childrens allowance. On third level fees we'll wait for Batty Batt's report before they reintroduce fees!! Yet another focussed review of public service staffing.
A reduction in the number opf army barracks- I hope Kilkenny is not one. An end to decentralisation for Kilkenny I'd guess- a review in 2011! Three years away. So much for Charlie McCreevy's balloney in the chamber a few years ago.
Voluntary redundancy in the HSE- I'll bet it won't affect Brendan Drumm's cronies in senior management who got huge bonuses this year for doing very little.
Richard Bruton is right-not a thing for reducing class sizes.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
For my own part I was happy to be complimented on local radio as having run the best campaign in Kilkenny. I had a highly visible poster campaign in the city area, and dropped over 4,000 leaflets into most houses in the city. I managed to canvass almost 1,000 houses while doing a number of public street events also.
I was happiest with the photo opportunity I organised where Labour, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Green party politicians came together to support the treaty.
To the negatives, the complaints from some about my poster design were valid. This was a National design, and the prominence of the Yes message was too small. The posters also failed to hit the simple message strategy that much of the No campaign did.
On reflection, we did spend far too much time on the defensive and teams which defend too much generally lose the game.
The failure to restate the gains we have made from EU membership, and the bravery to seek those benefits for other newer members was a mistake. The Yes campaign lacked a vision, a positive message to enthuse people. Many of those who we eventually persuaded to vote Yes did so reluctantly.
Finally, the campaign never showed serious intent. Brian Cowen's exhortations to his party to fight for the treaty like it was a General election just never happened. In our own party too, it was difficult to get members active. Maybe we all presumed thatthe voters wouldn't ' do Nice' on us and themselves again.we should never take them for granted again.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
There is a flippancy and even a bit of arrogance in our presuming that 'they'll put it right' and that we'll get another chance to prove ourselves 'Good Europeans' but I get the feeling watching EU leaders over the past 24 hours that we may have tested their patience once too often.
As a socialist and trade unionist I am appalled that Irish workers have given Margaret Thatcher and the European right the biggest political victory of this generation. The Social Charter has been the holy grail of the left and European Trade Union movement for all my adult and took twenty years to make it into the laws of Union. I hope Jack O' Connor, SIPTU and the so-called left-wingers in Sinn Fein and the Socialist party can find a way of explaining to my children how they talked their way out of the best list of workers rights ever secured for our community.
The ball is now in our court however and a few important questions now need to be answered:
1. Do we really want to be part of the EU or not. Being so while thinking we can reject complex treaties painstakingly negotiated by all the national Governments including our own doesn't sit well with that assertion.
2. What does democracy mean to us? The idea that we must uniquely insist on holding referenda every few years on complex agreements and reject them because 'I don't understand it' is puzzling to the citizens of the 26 other democracies who gave their elected Governments the right to interpret the treaty as being in their best interests. Are their politicians better or more trustworthy than ours? I for one am fed up of listening to people condemning our politicians yet walking out blindly as they did a year ago and putting them back into office.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Two things happened after that. Firstly I moved back to rural South Kerry in 1991 and began to see the reality of EU funding. As a community activist I saw the transformation for local communities brought about by funding through initiatives like the LEADER programme, which my wife managed in the area. The insistence by the EU on genuine community consultation and empowerment was totally different from National Government approaches. The EU really believes in 'bottom-up' development and the principle of subsidiarity or the making of decisions at local level,a message the people of disadvantaged communities were starving to hear.
Also at around the same time I watched along with the world as the people of Bosnia and Kosovo were slaughtered in one of the worst genocides of the 20th century, while we stood by along with the west, crippled by our so-called neutrality. I believed then and do now that our neutrality should be a force for good, not a Pontius Pilate reason for sitting on our hands while innocent people die, and yes if that means that we as Europeans should have a peace-keeping or even intervention force to prevent genocide, that's ok by me. Try reading Samantha Power's wonderful yet disturbing book on genocide if you need convincing.
Since Maastricht then I've been enthusiastically in favour of deepening European unity and will continue to fight for the world's most successful peace process in history.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Giving credit where it's due by the way, hats off to a hugely improved Kilkenny People website. For a long time the doyen of the local media had a pretty difficult to negotiate site, which was often weeks out of date, but now it looks a whole lot brighter, and has all this wekk's contents already. The local free paper, the Kilkenny Advertiser has had a fabulous site since its launch, featuring the Pagesuite digital issue. Of course it makes all its money from advertising, where the People still has good old-fashioned paper sales as part of its revenue stream.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Without Des Bishop's version of 'Jump Around'is proving to be the hit of the century so far in the teanga Gaeilge. Here he is performing live at the Oireachtas, a long way from the Oireachtas I remember. Lean ort Des, and get this single out soon. It's available as a free download on his website by the way, and here's the lyrics too. Bain sult as agus 'Leim Thart'
Léimigí Thart- Des Bishop
Dún do chlab, dún do bhéal
Éist le mo scéal, má cheapann tú go dtuigeann tú, tá tú ag cur i gcéill,
Tá mé ag dul go nua Eabhrac, ceangal mé le slabhra,
Goile a mhac, ná bí (ag caint anseo???) i lár an tsamhraidh
(súistí búistín buaille beag a phústín???)
ná bí i do phleidhce, nó gheobhaidh tusa léice
Níl mé ag iarraidh a' éisteacht le do chac-bó
damhsa damhsa gan aon stró
buachaillí gránna, cailíní boga dána
Ní thugann mise aird ar na gardaí síochána
Ag an gCeathrú rua, Amach anseo faoin dtuath
léim anois léim anois léim anois go luath
má tá sé mícheart, má tá sé mícheart, is cuma liom, is cuma liom,
léim thart! léim thart léim thart! léim thart léim thart! léim thart
Fág seo, éirigh as do pholl is léim thart!
Léim, léim, léim , chuile duine léim, léim, léim, gach duine léim, léim, léim, chuile dhuine léim, léim, léim
freastalóidh mé thú ar nós John McEnroe
má shiúlann do bhean suas, buailfidh mé an hó!
Cá bhfuil do chlann, cá bhfuil do chairde, cá bhfuil an ceol, (suas in airde???)
Agus díreach (ar do thuiscint, tá mé ag rith???)
Má fheiceann tú mise, (b’fhearr duit???) bagairt a rá
Mar tá mé ar nós Tom Cruise sa scannán sin top gun
Ní stopadh tú mise leis an Shotgun!
Má dhéanann tú 's cuí go luath
Agus beidh tú i do staic
Ní éiríonn tú arís go deo, sin an craic
Anois mo stór, éist le mo ghlór,
amach ar an urlár ar nós Peigín leitir mór
má tá sé mícheart, má tá sé mícheart srl
Is mise an fear is fearr, so tá mé thar barr,
Ní fheicfidh tú mise i mo sheasadh (as an lár???)
Ná ag an deireadh ach an oiread an taobh eile don droichid
má thagann siad chomh fada liom, cuireadh mise iad,
amach ar an bportach, agus iad ag baint mhóna,
Déardaoin, De hAoine, De Satharn De Domhnaigh,
Suas suas ‘s síos agus ar ais arís,
Dún do straois, tá sé salach agus clúdaithe le smaois
(Do héadan bheidh caillte , an teallach sin duitse???),
Fainic thú féin nó ní thógfaidh mé uaitse
Má tá sé mícheart, má tá sé mícheart srl
Tá mo homies as Conamara
M'abhailies, m'abhailies as Conamara
Muintir na Gaeltachta, agus muintir na hÉireann freisin, tá an réabhlóid ag teacht go luath
Sin é, sin é, sin é , sin é [TRÉIG]
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Since my wife began working in Cork last year and a number of students have contacted me, I have been looking at the public bus service to Cork from Kilkenny and vice versa. Putting it mildly, the service is poor. As a supporter of public transport, I believe it is crazy for our national bus company to effectively make it more difficult to travel by public transport than by car.
Because of our mad radial train service where all lines radiate from Dublin and there are no connections in between, getting from Kilkenny to anywhere except Waterford and Dublin and points in between is not an option. To get to Cork or Kerry for instance you have to find your way to Thurles to the nearest train connection.
Back to the bus service which is the only option to Cork, the timetable is extraordinary. From Monday to Saturday, the fastest bus journey is 2 hours and 50 minutes, and that's only once a day in the morning. It arrives in Cork at 9.50 am, too late for work or for any half-conscienscious students. The other three journeys take between 3 hours and 5 minutes and an extraordinary 3 hours and 50 minutes.
At the weekend it's worse with the fastest journey taking 3 hours and 5 minutes, this the Sunday evening service most likely to be used by students. The reason for much of this is the decision to route the journey through rural South Tipperary. Putting it bluntly, the service is used to provide the people of Clogheen and Ballyporeen with a service. As a long-time rural activist I always support the provision of rural services, but surely it makes no sense to divert what should be an inter-city bus route through a rural hinterland, thus losing business in the process.
The campaign to change this begins now. I have just launched an online petition campaign to support a motion I have placed before Kilkenny Borough Council, calling on Bus Éireann to substantially improve the service. Please sign the petition here, and encourage your friends to do so also. If you're a UCC student, or a CIT student or you travel to work in Cork or from Cork to Kilkenny, please support the campaign. You could take up a petition in your college or workplace. I will begin campaigning amongst existing bus users this weekend. Please spread the word today
Ar aghaidh le fathaigh na Mumhan. Cad é mar bhua nGloucester tráthnóna?Ach go háirithe b'é fear Chill Chainnigh agus iar-scoláire Ghaelscoil Osrai, Ian 'Skinny' Dowling ó Bhóthar Chaisleáin an Chumair a chuir seasmhacht le imirt an fhoireann leis an úd iontach a bhfuair sé sa chéad leath.
Onwards then to the semi-final against Ospreys or Saracens. Any tickets going a begging? Enjoy the night in Gloucester ye lucky Red Army.
Friday, April 04, 2008
So here's the faces of Christmas past and Christmas present. Bertie Ahern finally called it a day yesterday. I had done the Late Night Live programme on Newstalk the night before which proved to be great fun and a lively debate. Unfortunately it's not podcasted on the Newstalk site. Presenter Declan Carthy opened by telling the nation that Bertie had won another major victory in the highcourt in oreventing the Mahon Tribunal from accessing some of the information about his finances. Having criticised Burke and Haughey previously for impeding and delaying the workings of previous tribunals, he had resorted to the same tactics himself and seemed to have succeeded. Declan's question though was simple. "Why is he doing this-what does he have to hide??"
Looks like Bertie copped this also in the last few days, and finally decided to do the right thing. I called publicly last September for the Taoiseach to resign, as I felt he was not being upfront with us as voters. In fact, I think Ahern got away with murder from the day he did his 'Cry me a river' routing with Brian Dobson on RTÉ television. I don't know what Dodson is like, but I do know that if Olivia O' Leary had conducted that interview, Ahern would hardly have survived till the last election, and we would likely have a different Government by now.
So what's Ahern's legacy? There's no doubt that he did a lot of good, particularly the cmpletion of the Good Friday Agreement negotiations ten years ago. He also presided over a Government in very fortunate economic circumstances. Pointing out that Ruairi Quinn left McCreevy and Ahern the first budget surplus for almost two decades is not taken well by FF's experts on thier 'Economic miracle'. The hard question though is what hos Government chose to do with such riches. The legacy of the self-proclaimed socilaist however has been one of extraordinary wasted opportunity, a growing divide between rich and poor, a third world health system, and now a floundering economy.
There's no doubt he was likeable, and worked hard at projecting the ordinary man image. I for one think he has been a poor Taoiseach, and that history will treat him a lot less kindly than the rose-tinted glasses of the past twenty four hours. Slán abhaile Bertie-bain taitneamh as an ciúnas.
Monday, March 31, 2008
The other guests tomorrow night are Tom Cooney of UCD and Tina Leonard of the European Consumers Centre in Dublin. Should make for a lively time from 10 pm to 11.30 pm. Do join in to comment for good or bad.
Friday, March 28, 2008
The Tallaght Hospital protest is at 1pm but if you're a Labour member or supporter in the neighbouring constituencies you can come at 12.30pm to the County Hall, Belgard Square North (adjacent to gate of Tallaght Hospital)
The National Rally takes place in Dublin City Centre. All Labour members and supporters are to meet at 2.30pm at the very latest at the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square.
This is one of the most important demonstrations possibly sine the anti-war demo's of 5 years ago. Let's turn up the heat on Harney and Ahern.
Von: Ricken Patel - Avaaz.org [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Gesendet: 27 March 2008 12:00
Betreff: Tibet: 4 days left!
We reached our target! In just 7 days over 1 million of us have signed the petition calling for human rights and dialogue in Tibet--the fastest growing internet petition in history. As the crisis continues, it's time to deliver our petition and make sure Chinese President Hu Jintao hears our voices.
An International Day of Action has been declared for Monday, March 31st. On Monday, thousands of people in cities across the world will march to Chinese embassies and consulates, and stack hundreds of boxes containing our petition outside them. 1 million signatures makes a mountain of boxes--it will send a powerful global message.
We have just 4 days left until the petition delivery. Could we get to 2 million signatures in 4 days? We can do it--if every one of us recruits at least one more friend to sign the petition by forwarding the email below.
After decades of repression, the Tibetan people are crying out to the world for change. The Olympic spotlight is now on China, and Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama is calling to end all riots and violence through restraint and dialogue.
China's hardliners are lashing out publicly at the Dalai Lama--but many Chinese leaders believe dialogue is the best hope for stability in Tibet. The government is right now considering a crucial choice between repression and dialogue that could determine Tibet's--and China's--future.
We can affect this historic choice--President Hu Jintao values China's reputation, and he needs to hear from us that the 'Made in China' brand and the upcoming Olympics in Beijing will succeed only if he chooses dialogue over the hardliners' repression. An avalanche of global people power is moving to get his attention. In just one week, over 1 million people have signed our petition, which will be delivered in rallies at Chinese embassies worldwide on Monday--click below to join the global outcry, and then forward this email to friends and family right away:
China's economy is dependent on "Made in China" exports that we all buy, and the government is keen to make the Olympics in Beijing this summer a celebration of a new and respected China. China is also a sprawling, diverse country with much brutality in its past, so it has good reasons to be concerned about stability--some of Tibet's rioters killed innocent people. But President Hu must recognize that the greatest danger to Chinese stability and development today comes from hardliners who advocate escalating repression, not from those Tibetans seeking dialogue and reform.
The Tibetan people have suffered quietly for decades. It is finally their moment to speak--we must help them be heard.
With hope and respect,
Ricken, Pascal, Graziela, Iain, Paul, Galit, Milena, Ben and the whole Avaaz team
Here are some links with more information on the Tibetan protests and the Chinese response:
Reuters reports unrest continues:
China allows first journalists back into Lhasa, monks speak out:
Europe and the US step up calls for dialogue:
Prominent Chinese Intellectuals call for fair approach to Tibet:
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Jaysus-too close to call in Ohio. RTÉ reporting earlier that Clinton had pulled ahead in last polls in Ohio, maybe up to 8% ahead. Now CNN saying it's 'competitive'. Long few hours to go methinks.
Monday, March 03, 2008
|You are a |
You are best described as a:
Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Here is the ultimate childish comedy fan's pic. On the road to Callan on Thursday, Fionn, Caoilfhionn and I came across the wonderful milk-cart from Fr. Ted-remember the manic scene with Fr. Dougal driving the cart around like a demented lunatic á la the movie Speed.
The cart is being pushed around Ireland to raise funds for Downs Syndrome Ireland and to mark the 10th anniversary of Dermot Morgan's death, and is getting a fantastic reaction everywhere.
Here's the famous clip that you shoud remember-what magic it was, and do support the lads and lassies organised and sponsored by Paddy Power bookmakers when they come to a place near you.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
CNN saying McCain just barely winning Virginia.
It's just happened he's pulled ahead by 2 delegates-including the Super delegates. In fact he's 1,104 to 834 ahead on the pledged delegates. That's almost 20% ahead. Great quote from Donna Brazille on CNN- "he's moved from the Starbucks latte types to the Dunkin' Donuts types".
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Kansas called for Obama too now on CNN. They're saying no major lead for either tonight. CNN now calling both Mass and Jersey for Clinton. Final delegates will be vital here.
North Dakota to Obama now also. Small states coming his way, but needs a biggie. Connecticut would be nice-nose just in front there.
Yippee-Connecticut just called for Obama by Fox. Very close but polls had her ahead by 3 but that's gone. CNN now calling Connecticut(although close) and Kansas for Obama- seven states out of the 24 tonight in his box already.
Another big one in now. Obama wins Minnesota-88 delegates to play for there.
Arizona and California called for Clinton. As Seán Óg Ó Ceallacháin would say-'Sin a' bhfuil de chúrsai spoirt'. Here's to seeing the number of delegates stay close, and for Missouri to come in next hour. Meanwhile it looks like Obama has won 14 out of 24 states tonight. He needed one of NY, NJ or Cal, but hopefully there's still a lot to fight for-"Yes we can-maybe!!"
Georgia called now-again no surprises. Polls giving Obama 50-34% beforehand.
Here comes Arkansas-Clinton takes it-no surprise again, and Huckabee, former governer here takes it. She takes Tennessee also as predicted. CNN saying she's holding in Clinton country.
Fox calling Massachusetts for Clinton but CNN not doing so yet. They're giving her NY though-huge one that she would have been shocked to lose.
Obama wins Delaware-only 23 votes in total but still! Fox now calling New Jersey for Cinton-looks like it may be going her way!!! She's holding in the biggies so far!
Meanwhile the most mind-blowing moment of the campaign so far was this week's edorsement of Obama by the Kennedys-the royal family of bothe Democratic and in many ways American politics. Teddy Kennedy's speech was magic, but for me it was Caroline's speech as John F's daughter which really hit home. Have a look here and see what you think.
Monday, February 04, 2008
So here goes. Another two hours to wait for the magical Willie Meighan ar the magical Rollerrcoaster Records-the best little record shop in the East. No other lunatics joined me yet, but there will be more to follow I'm sure. Can anyoine get us a coffee please?