The Convention on the Constitution and Same-Sex Marriage – This is Only The Beginning

Same Sex Marriage
Same Sex Marriage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s vote at the Convention on the Constitution was an amazing step on the road to Same Sex Marriage in Ireland. The overwhelming support from the convention to changing the Constitution is certainly something to bolster those campaigning for Same Sex Marriage. A huge well done to GLEN, MarriagEquality and the ICCL on their presentations and everyone that took part in the panel discussions in favour of Same Sex Marriage.

The details of the vote and results are as follows:

The Convention decided to recommend that the Constitution be changed to allow for civil marriage for same-sex couples by:

  • Yes – 79%
  • No – 19%
  • No opinion – 1%

The members of the Convention were also asked what form the amendment should take. Delegates were given the option of voting that the amendment be:

  • permissive (‘the State may enact laws providing for same-sex marriage’);
  • directive (‘the State shall enact laws providing for same-sex marriage’);

On this matter the Convention decided:

  • Permissive – 17%
  • Directive – 78%
  • No opinion – 1%

A final question asked delegates if they agreed, disagreed or had no opinion that ‘having regard to the changed arrangements in relation to marriage, the State shall enact laws incorporating changed arrangements in regard to the parentage, guardianship and the upbringing of children’.On this question the Convention decided:

  • Yes – 81%
  • No – 12%
  • No opinion – 2%

Full press release on vote result (PDF)

While many of us are certainly delighted with today’s result it really is only the beginning of the process towards a Referendum on Same Sex Marriage in Ireland. The Convention will send a report to the Houses of the Oireachtas. That will take about two months going by the first report issued by the Convention on lowering the voting age and the presidential term.

The Oireachtas then has 4 months to respond as set out by the Terms of Reference

“the Government will provide in the Oireachtas a response to each recommendation of the Convention within four months and, if accepting the recommendation, will indicate the timeframe it envisages for the holding of any related referendum”

So that means we will find out in about 6 months when the referendum will be held. We then have to allow for the Local and European Elections in May 2014, meaning that unless the referendum is held at the same time (could be an idea to raise turnout) it probably will be held in the Autumn of 2014. This could be a very long campaign, just like the Scottish Referendum Campaign!!

This of course raises many issues. How will TV and Radio cover it?

During the week Una Mullally raise some very valid points on this.

The main problem with how the Irish media frames the debate is around a skewed view of what ‘balance’ is. ‘Middle Ireland’, the ‘silent majority’, the ‘mainstream’, gay people are told, are not ready for something so drastic as equality. I don’t know about you, but I never actually hear that middle ground. What I hear again and again is yet another articulate gay person trying to hold their temper while they are subjected to ignorant and juvenile arguments. And I hear an opposing view, generally one from the far out end of Catholicism, blustering about children’s rights (which Civil Partnership denies, thank you very much), and trying desperately to fight against equality with arguments based on their own personal belief systems or grievances. I don’t hear middle Ireland. I don’t hear a middle ground. I don’t hear the mainstream. I don’t hear the 71% of Irish people who believe the Irish government should amend the law to provide civil marriages for same-sex couples, or the 75% who said they would vote yes in a referendum to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples, or the 72% who believe that denying civil marriage to same-sex couples is a form of discrimination*. I don’t hear the voices of teenagers and grannies who think “I don’t mind, actually.” All I hear is hate.

Constructing polarised conversations for the sake of ‘good radio’, ‘watchable TV’, ‘lively debate’, or an urge to get a radio programme or TV show’s hashtag trending doesn’t serve anyone because no real information emerges. All you come away with is conflict and division. Facts and reason are drowned out by emotional arguments and inaccuracies. It’s pointless. And while listening to Pat Kenny’s radio programme yesterday morning where the editor of GCN, Brian Finnegan, was met with bizarre anti-equality arguments from Gerry Fahey, a sickening feeling resurfaced. Because there is something more insidiously harmful going on. Broadcasters will cite ‘balance’ as a defense for allowing these views to be broadcast. But I’m sorry, there is nothing balanced about someone going on air and voicing opinions that are hateful and discriminatory. The pro-marriage equality side doesn’t do that, yet the anti side seems to have a free pass to bang on about whatever paper thin argument, conspiracy theory, or downright homophobic view they want. I am OVER it.

Gay-bashing, gay marriage, and how the media needs to get a grip – Irish Times do read the full article as it does highlight what will be a major issue during the campaign, which I’m sure will remind some people of the referendums on Abortion and Divorce in Ireland.

With polling showing that 72% of people are in favour of allowing Same Sex Marriage in Ireland any major campaign on this must take heed of what happened in the Children’s Rights Referendum last year. Polling there also showed that over 70% were in favour of that, but in the end it passed with a 58% yes vote on a 33% turnout, which is much lower then how the polling predicted it with go.

Any campaign will not only have to win the argument (which today shows it certainly can), but will have to make sure that it can get the vote out and of course make sure that young people (and members of the LGBT community), who are the largest group that back this change, are registered to vote!

That will be the biggest challenge.

It can be done.

It will be done!

This is only the beginning,

but it will happen.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Enda’s Speech, YFG Conference 2010

Enda Kenny
Image via Wikipedia

Enda Kenny yesterday addressed the YFG conference twice. Once during the Prime Time speech and once during the Gala Banquet last night. Both his speeches were well received by the audience. Below is the text of his speech from the Prime Time session.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the proudest day in the life of a young man when he got elected to the national parliament of the country he loved.

This young man found himself running for election after the sitting member died suddenly. He was a reluctant candidate. He had only recently started working as a school teacher running a small national school. He entered the election, not really knowing what to expect, anxious about not failing and worried about letting down the legacy of his predecessor.

But he also approached it excited, energised, anxious to fulfil the expectations of the people who were encouraging him to enter the battle. But also for a deeper reason – for a cause, for a belief – he actually believed in the importance of serving the public, the importance of being a voice for the people, the importance of publicly standing up and standing for values and principles.

That young man was me.

It was in November 1975, before most of you in this room were born. While it seems like only yesterday to me, I know it probably feels like a pre-historic era to most of you.

The intervening years have flashed by but do you know what? The fear, the anxiety, the desire to fulfil the legacy of my predecessor – who by the way was my Dad – has never left me.

I remain excited, energised and anxious.

I remain committed to the values that encouraged me to enter that electoral battle in 1975; I fought that bruising bye-election with every fibre of my being and succeeded.

Today, it is still the principle of serving the public good that informs my politics and that motivates me.

Now more than ever, I’m determined to use all those, now older, fibres of my being to remove Fianna Fail from Government and restore both pride and value to Irish politics.

When I was elected as Leader of this Party in 2002, I was absolutely clear that serving the public good is actually what mattered to me and what Fine Gael has proudly stood for since its foundation. Ensuring Fine Gael recovered from the electoral battering of the election of that year became my mission.

If there was ever a time when serving the public good mattered, it’s now.

There are those who observe, commentate and report on politics that may not see serving the public good as being enough in a modern politician.

Since I was honoured by the Fine Gael Party to be elected as its Leader I have been criticised and accused of a lot of things.

And some may well be true.

But just in case it gets lost in translation, just in case people rely on the commentary rather than the reality or pluck out the exceptions to prove the rule, let me tell you what I am and who I am and why I believe the people of Ireland need a man like me as leader of the next government of our damaged and abused land.

I am first and foremost a proud Irishman, husband and dad.

I am proud to be a politician. Proud to represent the people that have elected me in County Mayo, the land of Davitt, proud to stand for their interests and as leader of our Party, proud to stand for the interests of every citizen in Ireland.

I am proud to be a public representative and a parliamentarian who stands for nothing other than the public good and the interests of the people of Ireland.

What does that mean?

I’ll tell you what it means to me. It means that my responsibility is to ensure there is an Ireland there for you and the rest of the young people of this country.

I have neither interest nor regard for winning popularity contests or having a seat in government for the glory or the perks.

If we are to have a future as a sovereign nation we have to restore the values of decency, of public interest, of taking responsibility and of re-establishing a culture of fairness and care to Irish politics and to Irish government.

That is why I have remained in politics for all these years. That is why I am determined to lead Fine Gael into government as soon as I humanly can and restore order, provide confidence and re-introduce honesty to Irish politics.

I believe, now more than ever, it is these values that are needed to lead this country forward.

Change is needed.

The politicians, bankers and cronies that contrived to bring our economy and society to the sorry place it is today have to be removed from office and banished from office for a long time.

Their failure has created a vista that has to be redrawn.

I don’t relish the prospect of cleaning up the mess that has been created.

I can only hope that – with a mandate from the people, with their involvement, their permission and by committing to listening to them from government – they will mandate us to correct the problems and rebuild Ireland so that you and your peers, your brothers and sisters and the generation to follow you have the prospect of a future of prosperity and a decent life freed from the debt and financial chaos visited upon us by poor judgement, criminal negligence and government for the insiders at the expense of the people.

I will approach any election in the coming months asking the people for the mandate needed to lead us, as a sovereign nation, out of this mess and to provide us with the necessary parliamentary majority that will ensure that the confidence and security required for our own people first and then for the international markets that we have been forced to depend upon by the spending and borrowing spree of 13 years of Fianna Fail in power.

We are ready for that election.

Fine Gael has a clear plan based on three pillars.

Restoring our public finances by facing up to the reality of the problems and taking the necessary steps to deal with them based on fairness and responsibility;
A parallel process of economic growth and job creation;
Fundamental reform to create a smaller, less costly and better managed public sector that’s designed to protect front line services and eliminating waste and scandalous duplication.

Fine Gael has a clear and absolute commitment to recover our fiscal health by reducing the State’s deficit to less than 10% for next year and to bring it back to 3% by 2014.

That budgetary process combined with a growth plan that gets as many people back to work in the short, medium and, ultimately, long term is critical.

The only sustainable way of fixing our economic problems is to get our people back to work.

Most of you may be too young to remember the devastation of the recession in the 1980s and the hundreds of thousands of our young people who were forced to emigrate in search of work. I recall that time vividly and the huge damage that forced emigration caused to the families and communities of Ireland. I also understand the economic damage caused by emigration and the fact that so many of our brightest and best people were abroad delayed this country’s economic recovery by many years.

That’s why I have the protection and creation of jobs at the heart of my approach to the economic crisis. I want to help create a situation where young, well educated people have the opportunity to work and live in their own country if that is their wish.

That’s why Fine Gael is insisting that any four year plan for economic recovery is underpinned by a parallel strategy for growth and jobs. In fact, we believe that the radical package of economic reforms currently being finalised by the Party can generate faster growth and more jobs than the markets currently expect. Our plan will have the following key objectives over the next four years:

Average GNP growth of 4%;
Average employment growth of almost 40,000 per year;
Reducing the unemployment rate to 5% by 2015, ending net emigration; and
A return to a significant balance of payments surplus, bringing billions of funding into our economy.

Fine Gael’s plan will not require any new government spending and borrowing as it will be underpinned by our NewERA initiative under which a radical investment in the key infrastructures of broadband, energy and water will both create jobs directly and make our economy more competitive.

This investment programme will be accompanied by a series of specific initiatives which will help to encourage the creation of jobs. We have already made it clear that, in our budgetary plans, we will prioritise cutting wasteful spending and reforming the delivery of public services over tax increases.

Richard Bruton’s Reinventing Government plan published last week sets out over 100 specific initiatives that can cut the cost of Government by €5 billion within four years by eliminating 145 quangos and reforming the way the public sector works, including reducing the numbers employed in it by 30,000.

This is our time to reclaim our country.

Over 60% of people are on the internet and over 80% of our voters are expected to be online.

I want to use Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Youtube to create a serious discourse with the people of our country. In particular, the young people of our country. A two way conversation to listen to the people, to help shape the e-democracy in our country.

I am asking you to join me. I am asking you to participate. I am asking you to help me to start a digital revolution in that has never been seen before in this country.

Fine Gael are going to win the next election and the power of Web 2.0 will help us do that.

I ask the simple question: Will you join me? Will you join me in making history? Will you join me in a campaign online that we have never seen before? Will you help me start a digital revolution by joining us?

We want young and competent people who will be part of our Digital Task Force. We want young e-Leaders who will play for our team. I am saying to you here and now that we must reclaim our country and our Digital Taskforce will have a serious part to play.

There will be those who doubt Ireland’s capacity to deal with the crisis facing us.

I am not one of them. I have always been a believer in this country and its ability to withstand adversity and turmoil.

We will do it again.

I also know that I have a team of like-minded politicians and representatives of the people that want to put Ireland first, want to restore the qualities of decency, responsibility and fairness back into politics.

I believe in the potential, ingenuity and ability of you and your generation and in all of us as a people to recover.

What’s missing is a leadership that the people can call their own.

A leadership that they can access.

A leadership that listens and acts.

A leadership that is up for them.

What’s missing is a leadership that is decisive because it has the confidence of the people through the mandate in a general election.

A leadership that is transparent in its exercise of power on behalf of the people.

A leadership that is prepared to be scrutinised and answerable to the forum of the people – a refreshed, empowered and better Dail Eireann.

I am up to this challenge.

I want to do it, not for myself, but because I am a representative of the people, it’s what I am, and always have been.

It’s time to take back our country, time to mould and shape a new direction for a new future for your Ireland. That’s the future we will all live in. It’s your future and I want your help to start building that future and I want it know.

Fine Gael is ready to make that happen.

Let’s do it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Lucinda’s Argument for a Tallaght Strategy II

Lucinda Creighton TD has blogged about how she thinks the Government and Opposition should work together on the budget. She raises some interesting points.

Need for Patriotic Rather than Political Response to Economic Crisis

Some may say it is naive of Opposition politicians to suggest that now is a time when we must put aside the old fashioned confrontational, adversarial politics of old and replace it, albeit temporarily, with a constructive engagement with the Government and the Minister for Finance. I don’t consider myself to be naive, but I do believe that politicians on both sides of the Dail chamber need to start putting the country first.

We all know that Fianna Fail has made a dog’s dinner of our economy, our society and the lack of faith in politics generally in this country. I contend, however, that it is pointless repeating this mantra of blame. Our people are intelligent and savvy. They don’t need constant reminding. They will serve up a large helping of retribution to the Government when the time comes.

In the meantime, I think that we on the Opposition benches would be well advised to offer a Tallaght Strategy form of constructive engagement in the Dail. What this country needs desperately is a sense of optimism and some degree of certainty. This is not only important for those all important “international markets” to which Minister Lenihan repeatedly refers, but much more importantly, it is critical from the point of view of our people. Irish people are increasingly deflated and despairing. If they see some patriotism and true leadership coming from Opposition Deputies, I have no doubt but that the entire country will rise to the enormous challenges which face us.

In the coming weeks, there must be a meeting of minds between The Opposition and the Government. Garret FitzGerald is correct – there has been no serious effort by the Government to share necessary information with the Opposition. If this changes and the Minister shows a degree of openness and a willingness to work honestly with the Opposition, then we should reciprocate. We should agree the broad parameters of the Budget in the weeks to come. Major public spending cuts will be necessary, and I hold firm to my opinion that the quicker we can make a dent on our deficit the better (as per my previous blog). This can be accelerated by a serious effort at public sector reform as has been advocated and detailed by Richard Bruton over a period of several years. In addition, we must stimulate the small and medium enterprise sector through PRSI and VAT breaks, in order to restore competitiveness and growth to our business community. This is the only way we can eventually secure a return to job creation. A stimulus plan, along the lines of our New ERA proposals, financed by a combination of private investment and the National Pensions Reserve Fund would assist in stimulating shorter term job creation.

These are just some suggestions that should be on the table. They are not prescriptive, and we in Fine Gael would have to enter discussions with the other parties with an open mind. The sooner this happens the better. Ireland cannot afford to wait.

Let’s Work Together to Save the Country

To a certain extent I do find myself agreeing with Lucinda, but will the government be as open as it needs to be? Can they really work for the good of the country or will they as some have pointed out, use this co-operation as a way to implicate the opposition parties in the budget. Blaming them for the hardship and cuts that will follow?

Yes, the Government needs new ideas. But the opposition to help will need complete open access to the figures and to see where the money is going. Will the Government be willing to do that?

I think the Government will be willing to share the information. It will have a hard enough time as it is to pass the budget with its majority being so slim. The question is will the government remain above politics and take the opposition on board and not bash them with the budget. Of course the opposition will have to do the same. While they can fully blame the Government for past mistakes and budgets, they must not bash the Government with a budget they worked on.

This is a catch 22 for politicians. Can they ignore their instincts and work together for the betterment of us all? Here is hoping they can

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Pope’s Letter to Irish Catholics

Derivative Work. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Po...
Image via Wikipedia

Having read Pope Benedict’s XVI pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, I can say I my respect for him and the Vatican has increased.

He has apologised on behalf of the church and is sending an Apostolic Visitation for certain Diocese. It will be interesting to see which ones.

I have reproduced part of the letter below,

6. To the victims of abuse and their families

You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. Those of you who were abused in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape from your sufferings. It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel. At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope. It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, he still bears the wounds of his own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including your relationship with the Church. I know some of you find it difficult even to enter the doors of a church after all that has occurred. Yet Christ’s own wounds, transformed by his redemptive sufferings, are the very means by which the power of evil is broken and we are reborn to life and hope. I believe deeply in the healing power of his self-sacrificing love – even in the darkest and most hopeless situations – to bring liberation and the promise of a new beginning.

Speaking to you as a pastor concerned for the good of all God’s children, I humbly ask you to consider what I have said. I pray that, by drawing nearer to Christ and by participating in the life of his Church – a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity – you will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you. I am confident that in this way you will be able to find reconciliation, deep inner healing and peace.

7. To priests and religious who have abused children

You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres. Those of you who are priests violated the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Orders in which Christ makes himself present in us and in our actions. Together with the immense harm done to victims, great damage has been done to the Church and to the public perception of the priesthood and religious life.

I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow. Sincere repentance opens the door to God’s forgiveness and the grace of true amendment. By offering prayers and penances for those you have wronged, you should seek to atone personally for your actions. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has the power to forgive even the gravest of sins, and to bring forth good from even the most terrible evil. At the same time, God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God’s mercy.


14. I now wish to propose to you some concrete initiatives to address the situation.

At the conclusion of my meeting with the Irish bishops, I asked that Lent this year be set aside as a time to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in your country. I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace.

Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

I am confident that this programme will lead to a rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fullness of God’s own truth, for it is the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32).

Furthermore, having consulted and prayed about the matter, I intend to hold an Apostolic Visitation of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations. Arrangements for the Visitation, which is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal, will be made in cooperation with the competent offices of the Roman Curia and the Irish Episcopal Conference. The details will be announced in due course.

I also propose that a nationwide Mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious. It is my hope that, by drawing on the expertise of experienced preachers and retreat-givers from Ireland and from elsewhere, and by exploring anew the conciliar documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching, you will come to a more profound appreciation of your respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of your faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church.

Read the full letter here. It is worth reading.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Communicating Europe

The flag of Europe
Image via Wikipedia

This arrived in my inbox today. It may be of interest to some readers!

You may wish to be aware that Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs, has announced details of the 2010 Communicating Europe Initiative. Applications for funding are invited from voluntary organisations and education bodies who are interested in raising awareness about how the European Union matters in their community.

Consideration will also be given to proposals for events, large or small, that are organised to celebrate Europe Day. Europe Day, which takes place on 9 May each year, is an opportunity for citizens throughout Europe to celebrate the EU’s achievements and to reflect upon the Union’s aim to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples.

Minister Martin said:

“Last October, the Irish people wholeheartedly reaffirmed their desire for Ireland to remain at the heart of Europe. Voluntary organisations and education bodies played a vital role in raising awareness of how the EU matters in their communities and supporting their efforts continues to be a key priority for me.

I look forward to receiving applications under this year’s Communicating Europe Initiative. Events commemorating Europe Day on 9 May are a great way for Irish citizens to join with their fellow Europeans in celebrating the achievements of the EU and I am delighted that such events are among those that can be supported under the Communicating Europe Initiative.”

Application forms and further details are available from our website: or by contacting the undersigned.

The closing date for the receipt of applications for the current round of funding is 5 March 2010

Maura Duffy
EU Secretariat & Communicating Europe
EU Division
Department of Foreign Affairs
76-78 Harcourt Street
Dublin 2
Ph:  (+353 1) 408 2500
Fas: (+353 1) 475 2002

If you know of any events planned for Europe Day, let me know and I will advertise them free!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Road Deaths: 240

BRUSH, CO - JUNE 27:  A cross marks the spot w...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

2009 saw 240 people killed on Irish Roads. This is down (a record!!) 39 on last year. It is still a high figure.

Among those killed were:

  • 40 pedestrians,
  • 7 cyclists,
  • 128 were drivers
  • 38 passengers
  • 27 bikers.

Road deaths can effect anyone. They leave devastation behind. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed this.

Here’s hoping that there will be less this year.

So buckle up, don’t speed, don’t drive while tired and wear a high visibility jacket when walking.

For all our sake, take care on the roads. Especially with the cold conditions we are experiencing at the moment. Please follow the RSA’s advice for the festive season.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday Links – August Bank Holiday

Image by eliot. via Flickr

As I didn’t do a Monday links last week as I was in Luxembourg, for punishment I am doing one today on the Bank Holiday here in Ireland!

Kosmopolit has a post explaining EU Jargon. I have a post on that coming soon, maybe even today!

Bryan has a post on Islamophobia and the far right.It was nice to read that after coming home from the intercultural training in Luxembourg.

Sticking with interculturalism, there is an interesting article in the Copenhagen Post on interculturalism/multiculturalism.

Carmel has an amazing post on the training in Luxembourg

900,000 Irish people now on facebook and a few more stats from Mulley Communications

Subrosa is trying a positive news day today! A good idea me thinks, not sure if I will have time for it

Mulley is organising an Irish Talk like a Pirate Day

Kev launches Back Page Football today

Majd explains how settlements are created

and Silly Season is in full swing according to Iain Dale

Enjoy the Bank Holiday if you are in Ireland! (or anywhere else with a bank holiday today!)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Interculturalism in Irish Blogs and in Ireland

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MARCH 17: People enjoy St...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

On Sunday I head off to Luxembourgh to take part in the ALF Euromed Bloggers Training on Intercultural Dialogue. As part of that Programme I have to look up a bit on interculturalsim. Searching I found a few websites dealing with the issue, but most were websites and not blogs. Only two of the blogs I found were ordinary blogs but the rest were photoblogs.

Does this mean that Interculturalism isn’t an issue in Ireland? I think it is an issue, but blogs in Ireland cover it as part of the wider issue of politics. While searching I came across posts on the Limerick Blogger, Maman Poulet and Cedar Lounge Revolution. These posts were on events and politics and put intercultual issues in context in terms of how Ireland is dealing with the issue.

While interculturalism is new in the modern Ireland, I think we have well adapted while there is some people who might not like it. A friend recently posted a view of interculturalism which most Irish People would agree with (I would hope)

love living in this country, for the most part it is a good, safe and fun place to live, and increasing diversity is making it much more interesting. I like treating myself to a shave at the hands of a barber from Istanbul, I like chatting to some Polish lads while I’m out for a drink and I like learning something about the history of Slovakia from a student on campus. The point I’m getting at is that diversity makes societies better and has done so since the dawn of man. History has shown us that it is not possible to create a completely culturally (or ethnically) hegemonic society, regardless of the physical and cultural barriers that may separate people. Even if it was possible, it should never be done. Without new ideas, new concepts and new blood societies are doomed to fall.

He has a point, and I think it is fairly normal in Ireland. Take me for example and when you look at my friends here in Ireland, they are not all Irish! I have French, Polish, Chinese and English friends!

Irish blogs deal with interculturalism in the same way that Irish society deal with it. As a day to day issue part and parcel of the normal process in Ireland. Should it be treated differently? I dont think so.

The Blogs I found on Interculturalism in Ireland (Non-photoblogs):

Thats what I found if you know of any others let me know in the comments! Thanks!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Micheal Woods – “In the Name of God, Go”

Its not often I find the phrase from Cromwell’s speech to the Rump Parliament in 1653 coming to mind, but after watching clips of Micheal Woods TD, the former Minister for Education, from back in September 2003 on Prime Time its the only thing that is in my mind. At the end of the interview he blames the people of Ireland for what happened and not the religous orders.

See Gavin’s Blog for the full clips from that Prime Time

We must be careful not to make Micheal Woods a political scapegoat, but a lot of the blame associated to the indemity deal lies with him. Time has shown he was wrong and even the Comptroller and Auditor General was a bit low with his estimates. He blundered, something typical of the Fianna Fáil led Governments. He must now take the consequenses and resign. It is high time to end his sitting in that place!

Micheal Woods “In the Name of God, Go”!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Th!nk09: People don’t know what MEP’s do

Blue Eiffel Tower

On Monday after the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, UCC Young Fine Gael had a walk about in Cork City for Sean Kelly, a Fine Gael candidate in Ireland South. One member of the public asked to meet Sean Kelly, he was introduced. What was his question? Go on take a guess.

Can you get me a house?

Yes, in typical Irish fashion, his question was on the housing lists which plague this country. This is something so sitting or prospective MEP can do anything about as it has nothing to do with them. Sean Kelly tried to explain this in vain, but I think he failed.

This shows yet again the EU, national parties and the European Parliament has failed to let ordinary people know what it is responsible for. Time and time again during the Lisbon Treaty referendum debate I spent my time explaining what the European Parliament does and doesnt do, on my blog, in chat rooms and on the canvass. Some times i get through and sometimes I don’t. But as soon someone said at the weekend “If you have to explain, you’ve lost” (or something to that effect)

There needs to be a more co-ordinated effort to get the basic information about the EP across, otherwise European isssues will never be a factor in European Elections, and that is Europe’s failure.

This is also posted on the website, please read and rate it there!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]