A Permament Referendum Commission? How about an Election Commission?


No Jobs In The Lisbon Lisbon Treaty
No Jobs In The Lisbon Lisbon Treaty (Photo credit: infomatique)

Today the suggestion has been made for a permanent Referendum Commission after everything that happened with the Children’s Right’s referendum, but is it really viable? Would an election commission be a better idea?

Apart from recent spate of referendums (4 in the last 12 months) we do not have that many referendums, so a permanent Referendum Commission is really out of the question, it would be a quango and we are supposed to be cutting them!

But would not an Election Commission or Electoral Commission be a better solution. So what would it do?

It could do the following:

  • take on the functions of the Standard’s in Public Office Commission (SIPO),
  • take on the roll of registering political parties from the Clerk of the Dáil,
  • take on the roll of registering nominating bodies from the Clerk of the Seanad,
  • take on the roll of maining the electoral register from local authorities,
  • take on the roll of the Referendum Commission during the referendum,
  • take responsibility for the running of all elections as well as the appointment of returning officers,
  • and take responsibility for educate the public on voting in all elections in the state.

Would that not be a better solution? Would that not be more useful? I doubt this will happen, but I think the Government should consider it at least!

The least the government should do is return the powers of the Referendum Commission it had before the first Nice Referendum! But I won’t hold my breath!!

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Children’s Rights Referendum, Saturday November 10th

An Toaiseach Enda Kenny has announced that the Children’s Rights Referendum will take place on Saturday November 10th.

More details, including who will chair the referendum commission, will be announced tomorrow following the briefing of opposition leaders.

This will be the second referendum to be held on a Saturday. The first one was the second Nice Treaty referendum.

We have waited a long time for this referendum and while we still await the exact wording, the announcement of a date for the referendum is an important step. We can now, hopefully, look forward to a day when Children’s rights will be included in Bunreacht na hEireann

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Challenging “The Way It Is”

Frances Fitzgerald TD
Frances Fitzgerald TD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With a lot of focus on the banks, the debt crisis and the upcoming Treaty Referendum, once again the issue of Children’s right gets pushed back.

We are now awaiting the third version of the proposed wording of the Constitutional Referendum and that hasn’t emerged yet. Meanwhile many Children aren’t being taken into account as they have no rights in relation to The Family as defined by the Constitution.

With children in care from married families who cannot be adopted and the state afraid to act in some cases due to the Constitutional rights of the family children are being failed.

The state needs to buck up. It needs to protect children at all levels and it needs this amendment to do it.

The Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald is doing sterling work in keeping children to the fore and plans to challenge the status quo. She had the following to say at the Young Fine Gael National Conference back in February.

“We are nationally less concerned about the legacy of oversights,

mistakes, needs not met and care not given. Those failings are less headline-grabbing, less talked about and less obvious than abuse. And because they are less obvious they are more accepted.

We have come to accept that all children are not equal. We have come to accept that the children of the poor will stay poor and the children of the rich will stay rich. We have come to accept that the children of travellers will not live as long as the children of the settled. We have come to accept that the children of bad parents will suffer, while the children of good parents will prosper.

We have come to accept that awful phrase ‘that’s just the way it is’.

Well my department was created to change that phrase. The Taoiseach introduced a Minister for children specifically to challenge ‘the way it is’.

Around 9,000 young people leave school each year before taking the Leaving Certificate. The unemployment rate among early school leavers in 2009 was twice that of those who finished. That’s the way it is.

One in ten Irish children and adolescents suffer a mental heath

disorder. That’s the way it is.

The average age at which Irish teenagers being drinking is 14. Alcohol contributes to 50% of all youth offending and 50% of suicides. That’s the way it is.

I’ve made clear to my officials that second big challenge after

providing protection is to challenge ‘the way it is.’ Fundamentally that means providing opportunity. Equal opportunity. For every child. Equal opportunity to be healthy, happy, loved and fulfilled. “

Minister Fitzgerald also has a lot of work to do on Child Protection which she brought up at the recent Fine Gael Ard Fheis,

Everyone knows the economic shambles this government inherited from our predecessors. Everyone knows about the awful planning decisions, ill-judged taxes and pro-cyclical, election-focused economic policies that Fiannail used to drive this country onto the rocks.

People are not as aware of the shambles they left us in child protection.

No national framework for service delivery. No proper data collection. No standard methodology for assessing and referring cases. No needs-assessment for NGO funding. No linking up of HSE, community and voluntary agencies.

What we have found, in one word, is a disgrace.

Fixing this is going to take a long time. Luckily, we have the great advantage of working with dedicated, hard-working and committed people across every aspect of the sector. Rarely do you find a sector with such a mismatch between the dedication of its people and the incoherence of the system in which they operate.

Fixing this will require us to draw all of those people together in a system which puts children first.

Which I am doing.

Fixing this will require a national framework for child services.

Which we are developing


Fixing this needs law.

Which we are bringing in.

The heads of the Children First Bill are currently before the Oireachtas Health Committee and will hopefully be law before the end of the year.

A lot of steps have been taken, or started to be taken to try and get things right for Children in Ireland.

There a lot more issues that need to be fixed, but at least we are staring.

For more information on Children’s Right’s issue’s in Ireland check out Campaign for Children

YFG to hold Human Rights Session at Fine Gael Ard Fheis

As part if the 76th Fine Gael Ard Fheis, Young Fine Gael will be hosting a session on Saturday afternoon on the topic of Human Rights. The session will discuss Human Rights at home and abroad. The Session will include discussion on how human rights should become central to our society and political system, the media treatment of human rights, children’s rights and the Children’s Referendum, and advocacy for people with disability.

Speaking about the Session, Young Fine Gael President, Patrick Molloy said:

“This is a great opportunity to bring YFG members together with key opinion makers campaigning for human rights in Ireland. The Session will enable our members better understand future changes in major issues like marriage and adoption rights for LGBT individuals in Ireland, children’s rights, and disability rights, and also how these issues develop in the political and media sphere. Our members will also have an opportunity to engage with speakers about these topics.”

“As Fine Gael work with Labour in government, Young Fine Gael are advocating that human rights are kept central to our policies and goals and this Ard Fheis Session is an opportunity for our members to have their say on human rights in Ireland and abroad.”

The speakers will include

  • Tanya Ward, Children’s Rights Alliance
  • Carl O’Brien, Irish Times
  • Simon Harris TD
  • Colm O’Gorman, Amnesty Ireland

It will be an interesting session and I for one am looking forward to it!

Facebook Event

YFG Press Release

Head2Head on Gay Adoption

i just got an email about this, the Irish Times has a head to head on Gay Adoption on their website today. Head over and voice your opinion! I’ll post up my comment once it appears

Catherine Egan-Morley argues yes, she lives in Co Cork and is executive director of the independent social policy consultancy agency Clarity: Research, Development and Training.

Tom O’Gorman argues no, he is a researcher at the Iona Institute.

I was torn on this issue till lately, so wait for my comment!

**UPDATE** My comment!

As a young gay man, I look forward to a time, when my circumstances allow me to settle down and raise children. I don’t see the difference between me and my sister. She can adopt as a straight women, and I can adopt leagally in Ireland as a single gay man, but if I’m in a relationship I’m not allowed. This is a very starnge analomy in Irish law. This needs to be earsed and all people regardless of sexuality, if they are capable of giving a child a loving home, as that what is important should be allowed to adopt, single, gay, straight, bisexual, whatever!

My mothers comment!! I love my mum!!!

There are many ‘straight’ people who do not make good parents. Everyone should be elegible to adopt a child – sexual orientation should not come into the equation.

Morning Briefing, 19th January

Dia Duit,

The Govt is to publish the Children’s Rights Amendment today (Breakingnews). Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he will only go ahead with the referendum if he gets all-party consensus on the wording.

The 5 axle ban comes into effect in Dublin (RTÉ) AA Roadwatch says the introduction of a ban on five-axle trucks travelling through Dublin city centre has had an impact on M50 traffic this morning.

The US Senate is try and find new avenues of limiting Bush’s power in Iraq (France 24) Leading Democrats touted a proposal that would revoke the October 2002 authorization that allowed Bush to invade Iraq.

Germany is the latest country to cancel footbal games over hooliganism (BBC)

Germany has also jailed a Holocaust denier (Al Jazeera)

A prominent far-right acvtivist has been sentenced to five years in prison for Holocaust denial by a German court.

Ernst Zuendel was extradited from Canada and on Thursday was handed the maximum possible sentence under German law for the crime in the southwestern town of Mannheim.

The court said it had counted 14 instances on Zuendel’s Internet homepage where he denied the historical facts of the Holocaust and incited anti-Semitism

The 67-year-old has previously published works entitled The Hitler We Loved and Why and Did six million really die?

Thats it for now, have a good day!!

Won’t Some one please think of the Children!!!

Via BreakingNews.ie

Children’s helpline ‘struggled to cope’ with Christmas calls

The ISPCC says it struggled to cope with hundreds of calls it received from distressed children this Christmas.

The help-line handled nearly 700 calls from children seeking help on Christmas Day.

Most of the children had been left alone at Christmas, or were upset by alcohol abuse in their home.

The thirty volunteers who manned the line say many children were unable to get through because the lines were busy.

I think it is important that we think f the most vulnerable in today’s society and they need more protection. Come on Bertie wheres that referendum!

Predictions for 2007

Well Sam over at Pull out the Pin as asked me to make some predictions for 2007. So here it goes.

1) The Irish General Election will be longest in history

2) It will result in a hung Dáil

3) The situation in Iraq will deteriorate, increasing the support for the Democrats in the US

4) In the UK, Tony Blair will finally resign and Gordon Brown will take over

5) Talks will be fully suspended in Turkeys negotiations to join the EU

6) Japan will develop nuclear weapons as a Defensive deterrant against North Korea.

7) The Socialists will sweep to power in France.

8) Civil Unions will be brought into Ireland

9) Their will be a confusing referendum in Ireland on Childrens Rights.

Okay thats it, now its your turn.

Sams Predictions