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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fundraiser for mother who wrote open letter about life on the poverty line

A fundraising effort has been established to aid a single mother whose open letter on her life of poverty went viral this week.

The woman, who states that she lives in Mayo, just 15 minutes from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, gained national attention in an online post in which she describes how she would greet the first election canvasser to come to her door.
“I have maybe four tea-bags in my cupboard and no coffee, so I hope if someone comes they will be content to drink tap water while I show them how the tagline ‘Let’s Keep the Recovery Going’ is simply a fantasy for those living on the poverty line,” the woman wrote.
“I will tell them how my young child went to bed last night with two pairs of socks on and a hat; while I wore my scarf under a hoody because we had no oil or coal to heat the house. I will show them how draughty my rented accommodation is and let them see their own breath as fog as they speak to me. I will tell them how I’ve been juggling single motherhood and my education for the last seven years and how I am now qualified with a CV packed with voluntary work and community involvement.”

“I’ll show them my awards and professional references to prove that I am not the ‘lazy single mother’ the media paints us as when discussing welfare. I will outline how I would stay awake until daylight calculating how I would make €217.80 stretch far enough to pay rent, childcare, petrol costs, heating, food and bills. It never did.

“I’ll tell them how those barriers and slammed doors caused so much stress and pressure I inevitably had a mental breakdown and fell into a state of immobilisation and minimum functioning.”
The woman also details how she believes the nation’s mental health services have failed her, and how she had attempted suicide.
“I will then tell the local candidate how I was left on a trolley in a corridor in Mayo General Hospital for hours, going in and out of consciousness, only to be sent wobbling out the door late that night and told not to do it again,” she wrote.

“I’ll show them the pile of unpaid bills and open my purse to show them the 40c to get me to the end of the week.”
She further outlines her “even scarier problem”, how her son is starting to display mental health issues.
“I’ll tell them that our GP has identified a need for him to speak to a professional regarding his feelings immediately for effective early intervention, but that the public system again has long waiting lists for his age.

“I’ll tell them that I have rang over 20 private practitioners in the county and how each of them charge amounts that I can certainly not afford while living on the poverty line. And that in order for us to do so, we will have to cut our grocery shopping costs in half and say goodbye to heat entirely. I’ll then ask them to explain to me how the slogan ‘Let’s Keep the Recovery Going’ is justifiable when the people on the ground in the Taoiseach’s own constituency are being denied access to basic heath recovery. But then again. Will anyone even knock at all?”

A fundraising site has been set up by campaigner Ruairí McKiernan, who said that he knows the woman and can vouch for her story.

Mr McKiernan, a member of the Council of State, raised over €1,400 as of last night via
Joe League

10 of the most powerful and inspiring quotes from To Kill A Mockingbird

1. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

2. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

3. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

The characters Atticus Finch and Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird 

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird 

4. “People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for.”

5. “We’re paying the highest tribute you can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It’s that simple.”

6. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

7. “You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ‘em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”

                                                                   Harper Lee

                                       Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, has died aged 89.

8. “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

9. “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”

10. “‘Atticus, he was real nice’. ‘Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them’.”

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sinn Féin in government: The Northern experience

While it may be unpalatable for some, the party has shown it can get the job done

Whatever Fine Gael,Fianna Fáil, Labour and some of the southern commentariat might say, there is a fairly broad consensus in Northern Ireland, based on some 17 years of experience, that Sinn Féin can do government.
And if Sinn Féin does end up in a Dáil coalition when the votes are counted after February 26th, the expectation on this side of the Border would be that they would do government in the South too.
After all, if a republican and avowedly socialist party – although there is less emphasis on the socialist these days – could share power with a unionist and proudly right-wing DUP, why couldn’t it share power with Fianna Fáil and/or Labour and an amalgam of Independents and micro-parties?

‘Squeaky clean’
Professor John D Brewser of Queen’s University Belfast believes that people in the Republic might be surprised about how Sinn Féin would perform in government.
“Sinn Féin Ministers have committed themselves to abide by the legal, bureaucratic and political constraints that surround their office as government Ministers, even to the point, for example, of their departmental civil servants [rather than them personally as Ministers] making recommendations for [British] public honours,” he says.

“Sinn Féin Ministers have been squeaky clean, even more than their DUP counterparts, when it comes to propriety,” says Prof Brewer, who heads the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s.
But Sinn Féin in Government Buildings would be different and unsettling for some. Having Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty fronting departments might take some getting used to. Then again, it would be nothing compared to the sharp intake of unionist breath that occurred when in 1999 former IRA commander Martin McGuinness was put in charge of their children’s education.
Trade unionists, academics, and business and farmers’ representatives contacted for this article were generally of the view that Sinn Féin Ministers in the North are as good or as bad as any minister in the South.
Or as one keen observer of the party in Stormont and local government in Northern Ireland put it: “Sinn Féin have been remarkably practical. They realise that they have to make concessions and deals just to get the day in.
“They don’t act like screaming Trots because they know that is not how business gets done. They don’t like to be seen as the political establishment but that is what they are.”

Sinn Féin has been in the Northern Executive since 1999 when McGuinness took over Education and Bairbre de Brún took on Health. After previous years of stop-start government, Sinn Féin, with the DUP, has been the dominant party in the Executive since 2007. The party held four of the 13 full ministries, with the DUP in charge of five, and each having a junior ministry.
Despite the past two years of dysfunctional Stormont politics that was rescued through the November Fresh Start agreement, Sinn Féin has operated the Northern Executive as effectively as the other four parties with which it shares power. Departmental work continued alongside the political crisis.

And notwithstanding the political problems of the past two years, Deputy First Minister McGuinness at least managed to prevent Stormont from collapsing. He worked well with arch pragmatist Peter Robinson and so far his relationship with his successor, Arlene Foster, has been positive, although IRA attacks from the past that wounded her father and could have killed her keep intruding. It will be gloves off when the campaign for the May Assembly elections kicks in but already McGuinness and Foster are planning a programme for government for the next Northern executive.
John O’Dowd, who is in charge of the Education portfolio, is the most impressive of the regular Sinn Féin Ministers. Northern Ireland for political, religious, parental and philosophical reasons does not have shared education but it has a decent education system. O’Dowd is on top of his brief and engages easily and forthrightly with the various education sectors - primary, second-level, trade unions and Catholic and state school heads.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O’Neill is popular with farmers, many of them from unionist backgrounds, and has a strong relationship with the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

It has been trickier for Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín who faces complaints about lack of funding from arts and sporting bodies. She has so far also failed to get the huge Casement Park development off the ground. But these problems are similar to those Ministers in the South regularly face.
Prof Brewer believes that Sinn Féin is wedded to dealing with “disagreement non-violently and solely by political means”.
“Sinn Féin government Ministers have not given up on their political first preference of a reunited Ireland but have nonetheless effectively discharged their duties as Ministers to make Northern Ireland’s power-sharing deal work,” he says.

Pragmatic approach
In the final analysis how Sinn Féin would perform in Government in the South could be down to the four Ps: the past, populism, pragmatism and personality.
The past would cause it problems but based on its Stormont experience Sinn Féin would deal with them through brass-neck politics.
Engaging in populist politics could quickly lead to coalition deadlock but a Sinn Féin desire to be in office on both sides of the Border in 2016 and beyond might bring forth a more pragmatic Sinn Féin approach to government in the Republic.
Finally, there is the issue of personality. It is frequently commented upon how McGuinness’s easy and cordial nature has helped resolve many a tricky situation at Stormont. There is a widespread conviction in Northern Ireland that had Adams rather than McGuinness taken on the deputy first minister, role the executive would not have run nearly as smoothly.

Ultimately, any analysis of the party’s fitness for government may prove academic. But when all the votes are counted former commitments could be discarded and the lure of power could prompt the other parties to come courting Sinn Féin.

Gerry Moriarty (condensed article)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sinn Féin: Almost there so lets get them over the line lads and lassies!!!

Sinn Féin has risen in the polls again today, 14th of February, by a whopping 3 points and the Government has dropped 2 points despite the Irish Independent's relentless and permanent campaign to derail them, courtesy of the Red Sea poll. That campaign is always focused on the past that is a mixture of little fact, a lot of fiction and very creative writing.

If one would think of the Globe or the National Enquirer's style of reporting, you get the flow from where the Independent has learned its style and where it is increasingly mired in. It's mud reporting at it's best. Just keep throwing it, leaden it with lies and hope some of it will stick. Inevitably some does but its style too more belongs to an Ireland of the past when RTE was the only channel in town along with Irish radio, and Charlie Mc Quaid ran Dublin and the Government just before the other Charlie took over. Both crooks just with different hats. Ireland has changed and social media is taking over where truth is getting more breathing room and fact can flex it's muscles once again.

The Irish Independent peppers it's stories with lurid opening statements and paragraphs such as: A source close to............, an inside source....., it is understood......, A friend of......., an informed source......, locals have said....., a gun favoured by the IRA......., an alleged rapist....., suspected of...., and on and on it goes.  When any of these openers appear, there lies the first clue that the reporter, if you could call he or she that, has not left their desk or done homework or a modicum of research. Impartiality, which is the core ethics of journalism is not there but favouritism and political allegiance is and usually all about the money. The Irish Independent has reduced itself more to opinion pieces than actual reporting for it is easier to waffle and not be sued than be caught out making fiction into a fact and getting sued.

Just look at some of the characters who they let unfettered write drivel on their pages, paid or unpaid: Bertie Ahern, IvanYates, Séan Gallagher, and Hugh ò Flaherty.  The first guy had his hand in the countries till as he and his cronies bankrupted the country, the other two cleverly bankrupted their companies and landed their tax bills on us and one of them almost got elected as the President of this country before he was exposed. The last guy resigned off his judicial bench before they threw him off for he became confused between being a servant of the law and thinking he was the law itself. The fellow who has the controlling share of this rag mag has become so rich from the help of a very corrupt Michael Lowry, he has the means to tie up any court for decades to come. There is more but is there a point at this stage but social media is watching and listening and reporting on the reporting.

Barry Clifford