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Hats off to Shane Ross, who recently demonstrated the value of Independents in Dáil Éireann when, standing by the principles he espoused prior to the general election, he stopped Enda Kenny from appointing a Fine Gael crony to a lucrative €270,000-a-year job as vice-president of the European Investment Bank without a formal selection process.
The political party system has failed the people utterly. Year after year, the nation has been ill-served by a cohort at the Cabinet table appointing cronies to jobs and ministries; cronies who are woefully ill-equipped for such vital positions.
When the next general election comes around it is to be hoped that the number of Independents will increase considerably.
If so, it will serve the people and the common good like never before.
Fianna Fáil would be mistaken if, because of recent polls, they think their period of rehabilitation is in sight, for they still have some very serious questions to answer.
With this in mind, I call on both the Fianna Fáil spokesman on energy and the current energy minister to inform the citizens of this country of the amount of revenue the public purse can expect from the first year of Corrib gas production.
He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room; if you see two people talking and one looks bored, he’s the other one; he would argue with a signpost; has a high opinion of himself due to the low standards he sets.
Need I even introduce this topic? It’s our long-lost cousin we meet every five years. Pinocchio. Politico.
Why can’t politicians answer a simple question simply? So, let’s rephrase the question.
Why do we, the public, the citizens, the taxpayers, believe a politician from any party, when we know he or she is probably lying?
We listen to them, then when they don’t deliver on their programmes, we act disgusted or surprised and point fingers.
Then in the next election we listen to more lies, elect that person, complain, and point fingers.
History repeats itself again and again. So, aren’t we just as bad as the politicians, because we believe their guff?
As if replacing ventriloquists with different ventriloquists will change anything in gaga land.
Remember that we dance while Brussels composes the music.
Whatever puppets we elect are just marionettes dangling on strings pulled by the men behind the curtains.
However, we could all use a little harmless fun. Let’s just not take politicians too seriously.
Really, he is only a potential stand-up vaudeville comedian.
The leadership of the Church of Ireland — and indeed all the Protestant churches — have many questions to answer.
They abandoned the notorious Bethany Home and others, from the foundation of the State in 1922 right up to the 1970s, and later too.
They abandoned the babies and children of all Protestant institutions when the Irish Government announced the 1999 Commission of Inquiry.
And where were our revered Protestant Church leaders in 2002 when the State brought in the Redress Act, 4.1 to give Catholic survivors a fast-track to redress rather than going through the courts?
Our esteemed leadership!
Missing in action again and again.
They turned a blind eye to the horrors of the institutions like Bethany and Westbank back in the ‘good old days’ and deserted us in modern times when we needed them.
They did not search for the lost sheep of their flock — we were forsaken and cast to the wolves.
When the new Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson was interviewed by Joe Little for RTÉ, he said we were on his list and his second priority was to get justice for the survivors of the infamous Bethany Home.
I am glad we were not last on his list.
The Church of Ireland allowed the Government to treat the Bethany Home survivors differently in 1999 and again in 2002 and their indifference and cold shoulders push us aside to this very day.
It is time for our Church leaders to remember they are followers of Christ.
The same Christ who, with love in his heart, actively sought out the vulnerable, the needy, the sick, and all those in need of his help.
He healed and helped and comforted.
What do our Protestant leaders do? They have never sought out the Bethany survivors.
They are still missing in action.
Perhaps it is time, on the anniversary of the 1916 Uprising, for all Protestants in the Irish Republic to have their own rebellion.
It is time for all of us to stand up and demand better. Actions speak louder than words and it is time for action.
The archbishops, bishops, and vicars have a duty of care to us and we must demand they practice what they preach.
There are only a handful of Bethany survivors left alive and we will soon be joining the 227 of our brothers and sisters who lay forgotten in Mount Jerome cemetery until we, the living survivors, erected our memorial in 2014 with all their names carved in stone for ever more.
Our fallen crib mates saw no justice in their short lifetimes. Will any of us left alive see justice in this life?
The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children welcomes the announcement by Government of the reappointment of Geoffrey Shannon to the position of special rapporteur on child protection.
The position of special rapporteur is an extremely significant one in conducting reviews and audits of child protection issues in Ireland, and the actions taken and needed by public bodies to ensure that child protection is meaningful.
As the national child protection charity, the ISPCC values greatly the reviews and audits conducted by the office, as detailed in the special rapporteur’s annual report to the Oireachtas, which is an essential resource for all who have an interest in promoting the rights of children and in their protection.
In the past, the ISPCC has welcomed Dr Shannon’s focus on key areas of child protection, including the need for robust reporting mechanisms of abuse, access to mental health services, the vulnerability of children in direct provision, the need for enhanced specialist provision in the justice system for children, bullying and the effects it has on children, and internet safety.
His raising of these issues has been exceptionally valuable in providing signposts for Government and civil society as to the key concerns that must be addressed.
This role is key in shining a light on practices which need to change; policy issues that require urgent action; and legislation in need of reform.
Child protection is an area which requires constant action and which must be in the minds of legislators and policy officials working across the whole of Government.
We have some distance to travel until we can say that the protection of children is everyone’s priority.
The work of the special rapporteur is a significant contributor to that goal.
We would like to thank Dr Shannon for his ongoing work in the area of child protection .
If we are indeed to avoid the hideous hard border controls on this island, I suggest we need to toughen controls on the rest of our own borders.
The Republic can be exploited as a soft entry point to the UK for those who would do us or our neighbours harm.
Entry by ferry is very poorly controlled and we cannot be sure of airport security if targeted by those with evil intent.
We will all hate delays and longer queues, but imagine the consequences of some terrorist attack that crossed our borders.
The recent murder in France of a priest while saying Mass in the parish church was a truly shocking event to most people in the western world, but it is by no means the first or indeed the last.
Killing priests is not the just the preserve of brainwashed fanatical Arab jihadis in today’s world.
In Tullaghobegly graveyard, no more than two miles from where I live, a broken tombstone marks the grave of Father T Craig.
Some inscriptions are still visible, along with the outline of a wolfhound.
The reason for this is because the redcoats (British soldiers) used wolfhounds to track him down, which resulted in him being savaged to death in a cave- like hideout that he used for safety when word came of approaching redcoats.
The idyllic setting masks what took place on the side of a picturesque mountain, An Achla Mór, which lies in the shadow of Mount Errigal, Ireland’s second-highest mountain, with Loch Altan shimmering in the sunshine at its base.
A cross and stone flag mark the spot where this horrific event took place.
Many priests and bishops met their deaths in similar circumstances on these islands and in some instances their heads were placed on pillars at the entrance to large estates as a dire warning to others.
During the 17th century, Catholic priests were hunted down, killed, or imprisoned on the orders of Oliver Cromwell and his henchmen.
Fr Craig was one of the priests who would say Mass at Mass rocks, but on this occasion the redcoats received a tip-off of where and when Mass was to be said, in an area known as Min Doire.
Colonialism, fanaticism, and religious intolerance are not the preserve of the 21st century. It seems we learn nothing from history as it begins repeating itself.
The number of road accidents has increased recently, which is exactly what I said would happen well over a year ago after the introduction of the ridiculous Road Safety Authority.
With its almost childish rules and suggestions, it has done nothing except turn driving into a game, instead of a task of great personal responsibility.
The RSA was never going to be more than another totally unjustifiable extra expense burden on the taxpayers of Ireland. Just like the people who thought up the idea.
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