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Minister can learn from fish industry documentary
Ireland’s Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed, should be ashamed at his admission on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he “had not seen” the documentary, Atlantic, on RTÉ recently.
Minister Creed was being interviewed in Brussels, where he was taking personal credit for negotiating the increase (ie, return from the EU to Ireland) of a small percentage of Irish fishery stocks, to add to the meagre quotas allocated to the Irish fishing fleet.
If Mr Creed had viewed the documentary, he would understand — from a whistleblower who had been a crewman on a huge factory trawler — that these Dutch, Spanish, French, or Polish, etc, monster ships sweep up huge amounts of fish, of all sizes, from Irish waters (Ireland’s territorial waters, which were given to Europe during Irish negotiations to join the EEC).
These factory ships dump some fish (like small herrings — which are already dead — and less valuable species or over-quota of particular types of fish caught in their nets), which is a crime in itself, in their efforts to become as profitable as possible for their owners.
It is difficult for fishery officers to accurately measure the catches of these huge boats (and the catch records show these super-trawlers have ignored EU fishery regulations by falsifying what fish they are catching — legal or illegal species — to indicate a smaller store in the ships’ holds). When the fish have been frozen in solid blocks and stored in a ship’s hatch, they become ‘invisible’ to any fishery inspectors who might go on board. I suggest that Minister Creed, in his capacity overseeing the vast waters off the coast of Ireland, send someone to a shop, where he will find the DVD of Atlantic on sale for just €16. Minister Creed might then allocate some of his valuable time to viewing the documentary, and thus become more enlightened in his role as Ireland’s Minister for the Marine.
DPP a black hole for criminal cases
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) would appear to be a black hole into which some criminal cases disappear. ‘It’s time judges took DPP’s lead’ (Irish Examiner, Opinion, December 16). Let us have an update and publish the list of the cases currently with the DPP.
Many scandals, some of government-resigning proportions, exposed mostly by a diligent press and courageous political doggedness, have either been ‘kicked into the long grass’ by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, to whom transparency and accountability have no meaning (only to remain there so long that the issues fade in the memory, undermining the very basis of justice itself), or referred to the DPP’s office.
Somewhere in that long grass lies the blindfolded and mortally-wounded body of ‘Lady Justice’ herself. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Confidence in the judiciary might not be in such a healthy state as Gerard Howlin seems to think, “Shane Ross needs to get a focus on his ministerial responsibilities” (Irish Examiner, November 23). His criticism of Shane Ross, for seeking legislation in that vital area of judicial appointments, is wide of the mark. Government disinterest in pursuing a truly democratic society has forced Shane Ross and the Independent Alliance together with all of the opposition parties, whose voices are unambiguous and crystal clear in demanding change for the betterment of society. Long may it continue.
The ‘flies in the ointment’ are both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who have shown, for at least 20 years, where their priorities lie, and it is not with the people’s right to a democratic structure, enabling a fair and just society. They have placed themselves firmly in the camp of the banks, vested interests, and the rich and powerful, who are really running this country, to the detriment of society and the common good.
Even a brief look at the state of the nation, in all its aspects, as bestowed upon us by these two parties, is likely to leave you somewhere between depression and rage.
Only democracy is the answer
International media headlines report that Barack Obama promises to retaliate against Russia for its alleged interference in the election campaign.
This implies that the highest level authorities in the US, the most powerful country in the world, believe that Russia effectively decided who the next president of the US would be, and ensured that that person is a politically incompetent misogynist and racist who will likely do serious damage to the United States.
This suggests that the US democratic and electoral systems are seriously flawed, and that its security agencies, including the CIA, failed to properly identify this threat, or to counter it.
Reports from the US are also claiming that false information spread by Facebook, and other means, also contributed to the election of Donald Trump.
Yet the reason the information released by hackers against Hillary Clinton was so effective was that most of it was factual, and most of the false information circulating on social media originated in the US.
Here in Ireland, we have elected three very good presidents in succession, although the same does not always seem to apply to our ability to elect our legislators to Dáil Éireann, who go on to elect our prime minister. The saying that ‘democracy is the least worst system’ is attributed to Winston Churchill, and it is wise. The US election, Brexit, and political turmoil across Europe and elsewhere all indicate that our various democratic systems are broken.
The solution is not dictators like Vladimir Putin. The solution to the flaws of democracy is more, and better, democracy, not less.
Stray dog charity needs support
Ziggy (Stardust), the rescued Spanish street dog, is walking 25 miles to raise funds for his fellow canines — Spanish and English hounds in need of rescue, care, and new homes. Super Sight Hounds is a small, local charity based in Norfolk, England, that works to rescue abused, abandoned, or unwanted street dogs from Spain, and stray hounds in England. Ziggy was rescued by a UK charity from a Spanish kill station in Malaga and was due to be put to sleep after being found starving on the streets.
Super Sight Hounds is a fantastic charity, much in need of support, and I would urge you to sponsor us, if you can. All donations will be very much appreciated, however small. Ziggy will be walking the Norfolk Coast Path with his adopted humans, Uma (15 yrs) and Dawn (age unmentionable), over three days, December 29-31.Your support would be very much appreciated and all donations will go directly to helping the dogs. You can donate directly via their website: www.supersighthounds.co.uk/donate.
Super SightHound Rescue
Syria enlightened about women?
There is a an interesting interview on Russian TV channel, RT, with Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. The female interviewer is wearing a Christian cross and has no covering on her head. I suspect that she would not be able to present herself like this in any of the Middle East countries allied to the US and Europe. Come to think of it, why are there no RTÉ interviewers, female or male, in Syria?
GAA must resist big money pay offers
Brendan O’Brien pronounces from on high that ‘pay-for-play is the GAA’s inevitable destination’ (Irish Examiner, Friday Sport, December 16). He is expressing the same ruthless, self-indulgent, money-obsessed, contemptuous attitude that has brought many a country, not to mention many a world-class institution, to its knees.
The GAA has been a great amateur organisation, since its foundation over 130 years ago. You play for, and support, your local club and county, no matter how successful or unsuccessful they are. You do not shout for the club that has received the most money from some Russian plutocrat to buy players on the world market.
The success of the GAA is based on the skills of amateurs, voluntary effort, and a sense of place. It will not survive without those.
Before more damage is done to an amateur organisation that is an example to the world, opinion-formers like Brendan O’Brien should think again. They should see something more fundamental in the GAA than just the operation of “relentless economic forces”.
Cork hurling woes
I am concerned with the situation in Cork Hurling. The last All-Ireland we won was 11 years ago in 2005.
We will have the most modern stadium in Ireland in the completed Pairc Ui Caoimh, but no Cork County team to play in it. Is that not a cause for concern for all Cork hurling followers.
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