Local News

Roadside Trees in Shanliss in Santry

In view of the recent spell of extreme weather I would like to raise the matter of the trees in the Greenfield Park estate in Santry. The trees are in excess of 50 years old. My laymans observations of the trees are that

1.They are too big,

2.There are too many.

3. They are causing severe damage to pavements.

4. They are leaning to one side in many cases due to one sided pruning.

5. They are intertwined with power and communications cables.

6. For most of the year they are an eyesore.

7. Falling branches, leaves and seeds are a nuisance.

8. They are obstructing the view of the road when exiting driveways. I could go on.

I would like you to enquire with the relevant dept. if there is any plan to manage the trees and if there is any concern about possible damage or injuries in future stormy conditions.

Iona Residents and Croke Park Concerts

On Friday 14th Feb, Sam Hamilton in the Daily Mirror wrote that Peter McKenna, the CEO of Croke Park Stadium is reported to have said at a meeting that “a written agreement between the GAA and the local community in 2009 agreeing to only three concerts per year was to be ignored because ‘time moves on’.

This is a fairly confrontational attitude and is likely to cause discord in the area. WE will see what happens with licences and permissions.

Judges deliver a remarkable repudiation of appointments system – and set the terms of the debate

Submission represents a passionate defence of judges and their place in society

The judges say a high-level body should be appointed to carry out research, receive submissions and develop detailed proposals in a “structured, principled and transparent way to make a radical improvement in the judicial appointments process in Ireland”. The judges say a high-level body should be appointed to carry out research, receive submissions and develop detailed proposals in a “structured, principled and transparent way to make a radical improvement in the judicial appointments process in Ireland”.

First published: Fri, Jan 31, 2014, 01:01

   

The message is remarkably clear. In 98 pages of spare and lucid prose, the judges have delivered the most comprehensive repudiation of the system by which they are appointed.

Largely absent are the qualifiers, caveats and rolling waves of sub-clauses so beloved of lawyers; instead, the argument is blunt and refreshingly to the point. The current system of judicial appointments is “unsatisfactory” and “demonstrably deficient”. Judges should be chosen on merit, and political allegiance should have no bearing on appointments – two principles, the document states, that should be set down as essential pillars of any new system. Ireland urgently needs a judicial council, proper education and training for judges, and a rigorous appointments system that attracts high quality applicants and retains public confidence in the administration of justice.

“It is increasingly clear”, the judges say, “that the relative success of the administration of justice in Ireland has been achieved in spite of, rather than because of the appointment system.”

Passionate defence
The judges’ submission is ostensibly about appointments. But there is a second way to read it: as a passionate defence of judges and their place in society. In recent years, as stories about their pay and pensions have generated endless discussion, judges have found themselves at the receiving end of some sharp and pointed criticism. Unlike politicians, who have daily opportunities to argue their case in public, judges mostly nurse their sense of grievance in private. Interventions such as yesterday’s give them a rare opportunity to put their case.

The document reflects on how the administration of justice has, in broad terms, been one of the successes of the State, and goes on: “This is not to ignore individual personal failings, but such individual lapses also serve to highlight the fact that the history of the Irish judiciary has largely been one of diligent work, often with poor resources, carried out by persons who have demonstrated on a daily basis high qualities of integrity, fairness and learning, and in doing so have sought to administer justice in hundreds of thousands of cases ‘without fear or favour, affection or ill will’ towards any litigant.”

Underlying much of the judges’ critique is the view that the best, most experienced candidates are being and will be deterred from applying for the bench – not only by a bizarre appointments system glossed with a veneer of independence but by the fact that they can earn much more in private practice. Since 2008, the submission states, there have been seven distinct changes to the pay and pension provision of judges, all of them adverse.
Question of pay
“The cumulative effect is severe. The take-home pay of a new High Court judge for example is 50 per cent of an equivalent in 2008, and is now for example very considerably less in gross and even more so in net terms than comparators in other common law countries.”

You can buy the argument or dismiss it, but the hypothesis should at least be tested: any review of the appointments system should look at whether there has been a noticeable fall in the number of high-calibre people applying for vacancies. If so, then that raises some pretty serious public policy questions.

It galls the judges that, among the issues that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter sets out in his call for submissions on reform, the idea of ensuring strong candidates apply to join the bench does not merit a mention.

Moreover, they are generally unimpressed with Shatter’s “flawed and deficient” consultation. It is regrettable, they argue, that there was no prior consultation with the judiciary on the methodology and structure of the process and that no proposals have been put forward by Government for discussion purposes.

“Most fundamentally of all, however, the process itself is being initiated by a member of the Executive, and will apparently be decided upon by the Executive without further discussion. This is not consistent with the principles of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary, Council of Europe, or international best practice.”

The judges say a high-level body should be appointed to carry out research, receive submissions and develop detailed proposals in a “structured, principled and transparent way to make a radical improvement in the judicial appointments process in Ireland”.

The judges have pulled off a clever manoeuvre here. By coming out as the most enthusiastic champions of meaningful reform, they have claimed the initiative and set the terms of a debate that is only just beginning.

REPORT – KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

l As a matter of principle, political allegiance should have no bearing on appointments to judicial office. This should underpin any new appointments process.
l The merit principle should be established in legislation.
l A properly resourced judicial education system should be established without delay.
l Ireland urgently needs a judicial council, with responsibility for representation of the judiciary, an independent disciplinary process, judicial education and the judicial involvement in the appointment process.
l The number of candidates for a single judicial post submitted by the Judicial Appointments Board for Governmental decision should be reduced to three (for now there is no limit).
l The appointments board should be empowered to rank candidates and to designate any particular candidate as “outstanding”.
l The board should be specifically empowered to inform the Government when it considers that there are either no, or not sufficient candidates of sufficient quality.
l Changes of pension provisions for entrants to the judiciary should be reviewed to assess the benefit, if any, to the State, and their impact on the quality of candidates for appointment to the judiciary.

Homeless in Dublin

The present snapshot in the greater Dublin areas is that the number of people rough sleeping in the official count last November has increased by 50% (139).

Last Thursday 23rd our street count observed that there were still 57 people sleeping rough in the City Centre even with the additional  capacity in place through the CWI (Cold Weather Initiative).

We have presently over 1,600 people and families on any one night in Dublin in emergency accommodation, most there for some years now. With nearly 1,000 in Private Emergency and well over 500 in emergency accommodation provided by NGO’s.

The Placement Unit advices that there are more than 5 presentations daily with 2 possible move on’s also daily.

We are living in an environment where the housing shortage in the social or rented housing markets is increasing, Rent Supplement / Rent Allowances are decreasing and rents in the private rented market are increasingly rapidly.

What can be done?

The Big Ask No.1, No. 2, No.3 is,

 

  1. Build Housing
  2. Build Housing
  3. Build Housing
  4. We have serious Primary Care Health issues for people left in poor emergency accommodation for too long.
  5. We must ensure that people at risk are secured in their present homes by increasing the Prevention, Tenancy and Visiting Support effort.
  6. It is essential to have a stable budget to ensure the concentration is on Service delivery execution and not NGO survival during these very uncertain times, preference covering a 3 year cycle.

Tara Street Fire Station to be renamed after Willie Bermingham and Alone

At Dublin City Council on Monay 13th January , my motion on the above “”that Tara Street Fire Station be renamed in honour of Willie Bermingham and Alone” was passed after a vote. Thanks to all those who voted for the motion

Denis Naughton

unnamed

Instead of being ostracised, this man should be the Minister for Integration and Human Rights

Enda Kenny and the ring doughnuts (Saw Doctors number!)

unnamed (2)

Shame on Ireland – racists – I detest racists

Stark reality of everyday racism revealed in Sligo service reports

Victims urged to break silence and speak out on racist incidents

unnamed

Sligo’s racist incident reporting and support service, a multi-agency project launched last June, is receiving reports at a rate of 10 a month.

 

First published: Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 01:02

 A woman enters a busy shop, asks for the footwear department, and spots a staff member signalling to a colleague to follow her. She is looking at running shoes when she is approached and told that if she is not buying anything, she should leave.

The woman, a medical professional, buys six pairs of running shoes, leaves them on the counter, and tells the sales assistant who has been shadowing her to give them to charity.

In the same town a mother with two small children stands in a queue in the office of a Government agency. When her baby starts to cry the person behind the counter tells her to take her children outside.

Other children are happily running around the office, without apparently annoying anyone, and it is raining and cold out. But the humiliated woman feels she has no option but to step outside.

A Dublin-born third-level student answers a room-for- rent ad and is told on the phone that the room is still available and she should come and see it. When the landlady answers the door she insists that there is no room and that there had been no phone call. The student hits the redial button and the phone in the landlady’s hand rings.

The student with the pronounced Dublin accent is black. So is the medic in need of a pair of running shoes. The mother standing in the rain with her crying baby is from a minority ethnic group.

Their experiences were recently reported to the racist incident reporting and support service launched by the Sligo Family Resource Centre last June.

In the first three months, 17 reports were received, but they are now coming in at rate of 10 a month. Co-ordinator Deo Ladislas Ndakengerwa believes that many people opt not to make any complaint.

“But we say if you do not break the silence you will continue to be a victim,” he stressed. “You cannot stay inside with the curtains drawn, telling your children they cannot play outside because the neighbours do not like them. What message is that for your children.”

Incidents reported range from random abuse on the street, such as spitting and name-calling, to negative treatment at service provision counters and alleged assaults.

The Garda has been notified about a sustained campaign against a family in one housing estate. However, Mr Ndakengerwa says mediation is the preferred option.

He is very concerned about reports of “institutional” abuse, for example the treatment of Kurdish people who arrived in Sligo almost a decade ago under the government resettlement programme and are Irish citizens.

“When they want to see community welfare officers [Department of Social Protection representatives], they are told to go to Globe House, the centre for asylum-seekers,” explained Mr Ndakengerwa .

Integrated
“They were told ‘you are Irish on paper only’. These families feel they have integrated in the community but officials perceive them as asylum-seekers,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the department said this issue had not been raised with it. Customers wishing to attend its offices at Cranmore Road in Sligo could be accommodated “by advising the officer where they currently attend”, she added. Mr Ndakengerwa said this had been done on a number of occasions.

An online reporting service has been established as part of the project and anybody who witnesses a racist incident is encouraged to report online.

Mr Ndakengerwa, a native of Rwanda who has been in Ireland for 10 years, says the most upsetting thing for those who are verbally abused or intimidated is when bystanders look the other way.

The campaigner recalled being attacked while standing in a bus queue on Westmoreland Street in Dublin.

“A guy called me a ‘stupid nigger’ . He broke a bottle and threatened me and when I ran, some bystanders assumed I had robbed him.”

He says the support of the Garda in Sligo has restored people’s faith in the system. “They have been just fantastic – and most Sligo people are. There’s just a few who have an agenda or who are ill-informed.”

A multi-agency project, funded initially by the EU-supported Peace lll programme, the reporting service is set to run out of funds at the end of February. “We believe the Government should support services like this, they should be mainstream,” said Mr Ndakengerwa.

Feminists and religious conservatives in strange alliance over transactional sex

Opinion: The right to say No is important – and so is the right to say Yes

Supporters of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign at a demonstration outside Leinster House last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne Supporters of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign at a demonstration outside Leinster House last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne, Fionola Meredith

First published: Sun, Dec 29, 2013, 00:01

Feminists and religious fundamentalists shouldn’t mix. If they do find common cause, it’s often a sign that one-dimensional moral or ideological fanaticism – rigid adherence, fuelled by heightened emotion, to absolutist messages and beliefs – has become more important than what happens to real people in the real world.

Take the planned introduction of new laws criminalising the purchase of sex in Ireland, north and south. In the North, the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill, proposed by DUP peer and staunch Free Presbyterian Lord Morrow, is now at the committee stage at Stormont. The Bill, which will make it illegal to buy sex, effectively conflates sex workers and targets of human trafficking, treating them not as two distinct and occasionally overlapping categories of people, but as one homogeneous group of oppressed and distressed victims. The apparently unthinkable notion of a woman, or indeed a man, actively choosing to make money from selling sex is entirely absent. Nonetheless, the Bill has been given an enthusiastic welcome by many women’s rights campaigners, especially Women’s Aid, which justifies its position with the claim that “anyone buying sexual services is supporting sexual slavery and the degradation of human rights”. (We don’t know what sex workers themselves think about the proposals, because nobody, it seems, bothered to ask them.)
Free choice
The picture in the South is similar. In June, the Oireachtas justice committee backed the introduction of laws against the buyers of sex. This was claimed as a victory by Turn Off the Red Light, an anti-prostitution campaign largely driven by Ruhama, a project of two of the religious orders associated with the Magdalene laundries, and the Immigrant Council, which was founded by a nun from one of those orders and is now directed by a self-described radical feminist. Here, too, the ramped-up talk is all of exploitation and harm, damage and coercion: the notion of free choice and personal agency is dismissed as an impossibility. It seems that prostitutes only exist if they are wrecked, passive creatures, destroyed by the abhorrent appetites of men, and willing to accept guidance and succour. There is a repeated emphasis on “sending messages”, both negative and positive: Turn Off the Red Light says that “if one woman is for sale this sends the message that potentially all women are for sale”. Criminalising clients, on the other hand, “send[s] a clear message” that in Irish society “it is not acceptable to buy another person like a commodity for personal gratification”.

Radical feminists and religious conservatives (or an unholy combination of the two) are able to lead the charge on this issue because both are driven by their united revulsion for transactional sex as a societal evil, either as moral vice or as a form of entrenched violence against women. Both groups are focused entirely on the symbolic “message” they wish to send to society at large: that prostitution is an abomination which must be routed out and eradicated for the good of all. And both are wilfully blind to the consequences of their sanctimonious stance for the very individuals they say they want to rescue and protect: the sex workers themselves, some of whom, inconveniently enough, refuse to allow themselves to be saved.
Flaw of criminalisation
Evidence from around the world shows that criminalising clients does not wipe out prostitution, or even substantially reduce demand. But it does hurt sex workers, placing them at increased risk of violence, exposing them to stress and ill-health, making them feel stigmatised and hunted and completely overlooked when it comes to decision-making processes.

Where buying sex is outlawed, it is the people selling it who pay the price. In 2012, UNAids , the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids, stated “the approach of criminalising the client has been shown to backfire on sex workers”, creating “an environment of fear and marginalisation”. What does that matter when the word has gone out – and been enshrined in law – that prostitution is morally and ideologically wrong?

Nobody in their right mind would condone the horrors of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, or indeed coercion of any variety, where it does exist. But to say that everyone who sells sex is a victim is patently untrue; worse, it is culpably disingenuous, refusing to admit the complicated reality of prostitution, and – for all the rhetoric of degradation and slavery – denying women and men working in the sex industry the power to make decisions, however unpalatable, for themselves.

By indulging in this pseudo-philanthropic meddling (“we know what’s best for you, you must be saved”) these ideologues, both secular and religious, also deprive sex workers of the second most important and hard-won freedom after the right to say no: the right – if they so choose – to say yes.

From the journal.ie

FG candidate defends no expenses pledge after party colleague calls him a ‘tosser’

Noel Rock has been criticised by sitting Fine Gael councillor Professor Bill Tormey over a pledge to take no expenses if elected next year and an incorrect claim that councillors can claim up to €60,000 per year.

noel-rock-twitter-310x415

Noel Rock with Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Image: Dave Nowak via Twitter

A FINE GAEL candidate for Dublin City Council has defended his pledge not to take any expenses if he is elected next year after criticism from party and constituency colleague , Professor Bill Tormey, who has called him a “tosser” on Twitter.

Tormey, a Fine Gael councillor for the Ballymun-Finglas area, has strongly criticised party colleague Noel Rock’s pledge that he will not take any expenses if elected to the council, saying a leaflet contains “very, very wrong information”.

Rock has pledged that he will not take what he claims is “€35,500 in tax-free expenses” during his term, along with the other average phone expenses taken by local councillors, claiming this is the equivalent of approximately €60,000.

However, Tormey has disputed the figures, saying that city councillors can avail of a maximum of €10,000 in expenses, accusing of Rock of engaging “in a form of egregious abuse to ingratiate himself with the voters”.

“He obviously lives on Mars because mere earthlings would cop-on that €60,000 per year in expenses for a councillor would be impossible to justify or sustain,” Tormey said on his website.

Rock has acknowledged he made a “genuine mistake” on around 500 leaflets distributed in his constituency, which said that councillors could claim €60,000 ‘per annum’. He said the leaflets should has said ‘per term’.

Transparent system

But speaking to TheJournal.ie today, Tormey insisted the expenses system is transparent and that all his expenses are published: “If he had bothered to go and look at the Dublin City Council website instead of making a fantastical statement… they’re [Rock’s claims] are quite outrageous, that the likes of me is taking €60,000 tax-free from citizenry. It’s nearly defamatory.”

Tormey said that he does not take any vouched expenses but does avail of an unvouched allowance of €583 per month or €7,000 per year. But Rock, who is a parliamentary assistant to senator Catherine Noone, said that Tormey and others do not like the fact he will be taking “zero, zilch” expenses if he is elected.

“I’ve clarified my position: I’ll be taking zero. Zilch. This councillor doesn’t like that fact, and seems to like the unclear, untransparent, unfair, unvouched expenses system from which he has benefited, and is willing to defend that by resorting to childish name-calling and bullyboy tactics,” Rock told TheJournal.ie.

Tormey described Rock as a “tosser” on Twitter and told this website today that he stood by that statement, saying it is a “succinct description” and that Rock is somebody he “couldn’t take seriously at all”.

screen-shot-2013-12-17-at-16-16-32-630x204

 

Rock did not want to comment on the ‘tosser’ remark, but added: “This isn’t about personalities, or back and forth, it’s about an idea: an idea that I support, that I believe in, and that Bill doesn’t. We need fresh thinking, fresh ideas and, I firmly believe, fresh faces – this kind of outdated defensive thinking needs to go.”

He added that some 20 councillors have contacted him about the issue, the vast majority of whom are critical of his stance in contrast to what he said was the public response, largely welcoming his pledge.

Fine Gael did not respond to a request for comment on the split between two party members in the same constituency at the time of publication.