Monday, March 31, 2008

On National Airwaves-Joining the Newstalk team on Tuesday night

Tomorrow night I'm on the national airwaves again for a full programme as a panel guest. The 'Late Night Live' programme is one I listen to regularly, particularly since Vincent Browne left the Radio 1 planet. I'm delighted to take part in this lively programme with Declan Carty in the chair.

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.

Well done to health marchers-Only the start

I couldn't make it to the Health service demonstration on Saturday in Dublin due to family commitments but hats off to those who took part. The Health Service Unions represent those who work at the coal face of Irish health every day. They took the initiative on Saturday, and were joined in strength by the Labour Party and others on the left.

The highlight of the day I believe was the speech by Kilkenny resident Conor MacLiam, husband of the late Susie Long whose tragic death brought so much of the injustice and inequlaity of the health servie to the fore. Conor gave a fantastic interview on the Sue Nunn show on KCLR local radio this morning, and made it clear that he believes that this campaign should continue. I hope to be there next time, and we owe that to Susie and all those who have suffered at the hands of this unjust system.

Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore also joined the ongoing weekly picket at the Mater Hospital in my old constituency of Dublin Central. Most importantly, the picket highlights the apalling conditions in the A&E department in the hospital. My late brother in law Gregg Flannery passed away in that unit three years ago, and if ever I needed a clear example of the disgrace of the system, it was the sight of his family members sitting on plastic chairs in the hospital yard in the time of their greatest distress because there was nowhere for them inside.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Join the Health march on Saturday

This Saturday, March 29th there will be two major Health Rallies in Dublin City Centre and in Tallaght.

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.

Sign the Tibet petition

Just got this message about an Internet petition on the attacks on Tibet by the Chinese Government tonight. Read ot please and try to sign up.

Von: Ricken Patel - []
Gesendet: 27 March 2008 12:00
Betreff: Tibet: 4 days left!

  Dear friends,

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.


Dear friends,

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

Happy to meet -Sorry to part

Here's a little pic I took today on the Blackberry outside Barnstorm's wonderful kids theatre in Kilkenny. One of my favourite groups was the wonderful Horslips from the 70's and 80's This is one album I don't own however, and must buy. The person who dumped this might have had good taste but should have held onto this one.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bumped off by Paisley-Learning about media operations

Really funny day last Tuesday. I turned up to Lyrath Hotel at lunchtime with Caoilfhionn and her friend Alan, because the Irish Hotels Federation wanted two kids to promote their great new initiative to provide decent healthy food for kids, as an alternative to the chips and sausages, chips and fish fingers etc. diet which has been the bain of all us parents' lives.

Dressed as I was for a gardening session at school, I was fairly shocked to deiscover that RTÉ wanted to talk to me as a parent. Anyway, we ploughed on, and all were happy with the short interview with the two kids and myself. Unfortunately, the start of the 6 o' clock news on Tuesday evening featured the breaking news that the 'Big Man' Ian Paisley had announced he was standing down as leader of the DUP. The end result of course was that he occupied half the Six One news and the 9 o' clock news and we got 'bumped off' as the journo's would say.

Try explaining that to an eleven year old. Her reply was 'That bloody Paisley!' Her late great-grandfather would be proud of her! Just for the record, here's the piece which made RTE's great News2Day, the kids news programme on The Den.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Twelve in a Row-Vermont in for Obama

Here we go again. Tonight's the night when we see the real picture. Having lived in New Hampshire for a little while back in the student summer, it looks like the nice people of Vermont have done what was expected. By the look of the exit polls, he's taking the white voters there comfortably, and doing very well with women. Twenty minutes to go to close of Ohio which will really tell what's happening.

Great profile of Samantha Power that magical woman who stunned St. Canice's cathedral in August in the Irish Times today. Forget the national security advisor job Samantha-what about the Phoenix Park instead, and then the top top job in the UN?Here's a really bad mobile pic from that great night.

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

Cleaning up and helping out-Robertshill the spot

It's great when neighbours get together and do things for themselves. The Robertshill estate on the Western side of Kilkenny city has had more than its share of detractors over the years, most of the coverage it gets being pretty unfair. It's one of the biggest private estates in the city area, mostly made up of starter homes and medium priced apartments and homes.

The quality of finish in the estate is not the best and the residents have long been frustrated at a number of issues including a lack of adequate parking, speeding traffic, poor landscaping and consistent problems with illegal dumping and rubbish.

Fair play to my colleague, Cllr. Malcolm Noonan, who helped the residents organise a meeting with a view to setting up a formal residents association. I missed the first public meeting, but I hope to be there this Wednesday night when the group formalises itself.

Meanwhile, Malcolm, along with Cllr. John Coonan and I came along to give a practical hand out with the greoup's first activity-a clean-up of the estate on Saturday morning. A group of about forty people gave up their Saturday morning to sweep the roads and paths, remove the weeds and get together for a chat in the process.

It was great to see many of the non-national residents, who are often criticised for neglecting the homes they rent or own, playing their part.

Hopefully it's the start of many days of co-operation to come. By the way, thanks a million to the lovely lady who provided the welcome tea and coffee at the end.

Here she is with the equally lovely John Coonan who needs all the publicity he can get!

Computer says I'm a socialist-Phew!!

Well thanks be to God for that. Just when I was beginning to believe the propaganda-only joking! Seriously take the test for the craic, and see how you get on. Just watching Gay Mitchell on Q&A-don't think he'll be in the same corner as me-I hope!!

You are a

Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(13% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Socialist (13e/68s)

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test