Bank should reinstate the IPSC account
We are shocked and appalled by Bank of Ireland’s unilateral closure of the accounts of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), a volunteer-run group advocating for Palestinian human rights as enshrined in international law, and a legally constituted, fully audited, transparent organisation.
Despite the IPSC providing the bank with all information requested, the bank proceeded to shut down the IPSC accounts. The bank has thus far refused to offer any reason for the closure, other than to say that the IPSC — which has banked with BoI for 15 years — no longer meets the bank’s “risk appetite”.
We believe that practical solidarity and civil society activism are essential to the defence of human rights, at home and abroad. The bank’s action regretfully appears in the context of an aggressive international campaign to silence groups that advocate for Palestinian rights.
We concur with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, who said of this case that he “would be disappointed if a civil society organisation in this country, engaging in lawful activities, was unable to function” because of the unwarranted closure of its accounts.
We call upon Bank of Ireland to immediately re-instate these accounts, and to apologise for undermining the viability of a well-established and widely respected civil society organisation.
We will continue to support the work of the IPSC in highlighting injustices and helping to secure freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.
Rt Revd AET Harper OBE, FRGS, former Archbishop;
Brian Kerr, former Ireland football manager;
Barry Murphy, comedian;
Dervla Murphy, author;
Michael Farrell, solicitor;
Betty Purcell, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commissioner;
Robert Ballagh, artist;
Mark Cumming, Head of Comhlámh
Ruairí McKiernan, founder of SpunOut, Council of State member;
Honor Heffernan, singer and actress;
Jim Fitzpatrick, artist;
Donal Lunny, musician and producer;
Rev Canon Prof Patrick Comerford, President, Irish CND;
Steve Wall, musician and actor;
Timmy Hammersley, hurler;
Seamus Deane, author and poet;
Margaretta D’Arcy, author;
Raymond Deane, composer;
Felim Egan, artist;
Donal O’Kelly, actor and writer;
Patricia McKeown, UNISON regional secretary;
Ronit Lentin, Irish-Israeli academic;
Liam G Kilgallen, former Chair of Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement;
Shaykh Dr Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri, CEO of Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council;
Jo Bird, Chair of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace Ireland;
Kate Thompson, author, actress;
Dr Jo Murphy-Lawless, sociologist;
Sinn Féin should take seats on Brexit
Interim Ukip Leader, Nigel Farage is reported as threatening street disturbances if the British parliament attempts to thwart Brexit following the recent high court ruling that the British government does not have the right to trigger Article 50 without consulting parliament.
Ukip boasts a party membership of 35,000. It won 3,881,099 votes in the 2015 general election from which one Ukip MP was elected to the 650-member chamber. There are three Ukip members in the House of Lords.
The Brexit referendum was decided by a margin of 1,269,501 votes — 2.7% of the electorate of the UK and Gibraltar.
The ultimate freedom granted by democracy is the inalienable right to change one’s mind. Does Mr Farage fear a change of heart with respect to Brexit and is he reacting to that prospect as if it were a suppurating ulcer covered by a fetid bandage?
Parliamentary sovereignty is the keystone principle of the unwritten UK constitution. It makes parliament the supreme legal authority, which can create, or end, any law. No Parliament can pass laws that a future Parliaments cannot change.
The high court ruling highlights ambiguity as to who has the authority and the legitimacy to make a binding irrevocable decision on an issue that has such far-reaching consequences for Ireland, as well as the UK.
Sinn Féin secured 176,232 votes in the 2015 Westminster general election, which elected four MPs. Martin McGuinness refuses to rule out Sinn Féin MPs taking their parliamentary seats for the first time “in order to block Brexit”, while Gerry Adams declares that there is “an obligation on the Irish Government to begin looking at alternatives to Brexit”.
The Tory government won the UK general election with a fragile, and what is subsequently proving to be a faltering, majority of 14 seats. Is it not time for Sinn Féin to demonstrate robust single-mindedness; to abandon its cheerleading protean posturing and ‘rule in’ taking their Westminster seats — if their electorate are to have a real voice at a venue that matters most?
When bankers go to hell ...
Most people feel bankers should shoulder some degree of responsibility, even blame, for the current economic crisis? Imagine this scenario. A banker arrives in Hades, and tries to make a pact with the devil. He applies for a loan and opens his own bank.
First he gets some poor tormented souls to apply to him for a loan. The banker puts money into the poor soul’s accounts — money that does not exist. The banker has created hell money out of nothing but credit. The poor souls now have to pay back the banker with interest, as well as using their poor souls as collateral.
The poor souls needs to be replenished, so the banker takes the souls back, and takes his cut for letting the poor souls borrow their own money.
He gives the rest to the Devil, and promises there’s plenty more, where that came from. They shake hands on the deal. The banker is off the hook. And Hades Bank is up and running.
Clinton in, Trump is out of the count
No need to stay up all night long to watch the election results from the United States. I spent the last couple of days going through every state to figure out the final totals for Clinton and Trump.
Taking in all the various scenarios I find that the highest total of electoral college votes Trump could receive would be 267 and the lowest for Clinton would be 271. This is with Trump winning every toss-up state.
With Clinton winning the toss-up states she would garner 379 votes to Trumps 159.
My prediction is Clinton getting 314 electoral college votes and Trump with 224 electoral college votes.
To win, you need 270 votes... so Clinton wins.
Who will claim Trump if he wins
Should Donald Trump be triumphant in the American presidential election which Irish town, village or even cross-roads will be the first to claim him as one of their sons?
We all hope for the sake of humanity and our fragile civilisation that reason and good sense will prevail.
Hillary’s win will be one for the girls
I believe that the best outcome of a Hillary win, (love her or hate her) will be the millions of young girls who will grow up believing that now it is possible for them to reach the highest office in America.
For that reason alone, a victory for Hillary must be welcomed.
Dáil vote needed on trade agreement
I have lambasted Enda Kenny over signing CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), a trade deal between the EU and Canada, without allowing a debate in the Dáil and despite a motion to stop Ireland signing CETA being passed by the Seanad.
I exchanged text messages with Enda Kenny explaining that CETA will result in the greatest loss of Irish sovereignty since the Act of Union in 1800. My claim is supported by more than 100 EU professors of law who say CETA undermines European law because inbuilt into CETA is an ISDM (investor state device mechanism) which gives multinationals the power to sue governments if they introduce a law which reduces their profits.
A three-man court which is beyond the rule of law in sovereign states will act as arbitrators between governments and multinationals. The Argentinian government was fined $405m in 2015 when they capped the price of drinking water. The private water companies used the ISDM to successfully sue the government. Kenny’s response to me is that CETA will create jobs.
People are angry. They never heard of CETA and are shocked by its ramifications. In the recent budget Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that a sugar tax will be introduced in 2018. If we are tied into CETA any Canadian multinational operating in this country whose profits are reduced by this law will be able to sue the Irish government and seek compensation.
I’m making a passionate plea to everyone to act for the sake of your children and grandchildren and contact Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil politicians. Don’t allow them to sideline the issue with talk of jobs, trade or Brexit.
I’m want all Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs and councillors to have the courage to put our children before politics and demand a Dáil vote on CETA.