This is a “momentous” piece of Legislation

Marriage by jcoterhals on Flickr
Image by jcoterhals on Flickr

Last night I attended the GLEN briefing on the Civil Partnership Bill, hosted by the Cork Gay Project and L.inc. It was a very interesting meeting and I certainly learned a lot! We were given a 3 booklets on the Bill and I am currently working my way through them and they are fascinating. The speakers were Eoin Collins, Director of Policy Change at Glen and Dr Fergus Ryan, head of Law at DIT.

A few things struck me last night during the talks by the speakers. One of those was what they called this bill. They called it “momentous”, “profound”, “substantive” and “the biggest change to family law”. A few other things that caught me were that we must “accept progress along the way” (that’s directed at you Marriage Activists) and that we need to focus on “whats in the Bill” (I got flashbacks to the Lisbon Campaign when that was said).

We are going to get this bill whether we like it or not. But this bill will do a lot for Gay and Lesbian Couples (or same-sex couples as they are called). The bill will confer rights and obligations that are equivalent to marriage. It will help to equal the playing field between same-sex couples and opposite sex couples, who at the moment, even if unmarried are better protected under Irish Law.

Just a quick note, remember that the Civil Partnership scheme in the Bill only applies to same-sex couples, while the presumptive cohabitation scheme will apply to both same-sex and opposite sex couples.

So a quick did you know about the Bill.

Did you know you don’t need to be Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual to enter into a Civil Partnership?Under the bill at it stands the Civil Partnership must be between two people of the same sex and not related (ie: Father and son, or brothers etc)

Did you know you have to take vows under the bill? Under the bill a Civil Partnership Ceremony must take place in public in front of two witnesses and vows must be said.

Did you know Divorce (dissolution) is easier for a Civil Partner? Under the bill to get a dissolution you must be living separatelyfor two out of previous three years. To get a Divorce under marriage you need to living separately for four of the previous five years. There is also no clean break in a Gay Divorce, just like in a Straight Divorce.

There are a few distinctions without a difference between Marriage and Civil Partnerships but legally there is not a whole heap of difference.

But Tax, Social Welfare and Immigration aren’t dealt with in the Bill!

And rightly so. If Tax and Social Welfare were dealt with in this bill it would have to be certified as a money bill. This means the Seanad would have only 21 days to look at the bill and the Dáil can over rule it a lot easier. It is important that the bill is being dealt in the way that is. Provision will be made under the Finance Bill and Social Welfare Bill to make changes.

As for immigration, there is a bill dealing with immigration currently before the Oireachtas. This can easily amended to provide for Same-sex couples.

What is wrong with the Bill?

The bill does have a number of deficiencies. It does not deal with children adequately nor does it deal with citizenship. These can be remedied through the stages of the bill in the Oireachtas and Senators David Norris and Ivana Bacik have committed themselves to putting an amendment on Children forward.

What is right with the bill?

The bill will give more rights in the following ares:

  • Shared Home
  • Visitation Rights
  • Succession
  • Maintenance
  • Equality (introduction of Civil Status)
  • Domestic Violence
  • Right to sue for Wrongful Death
  • Pensions
  • Ethics
  • Tenancy

The bill will amend over 130 pieces of legislation. It will allow the law to play a role when people need it most, on illness, separation and death.

This bill is needed now. It would be cruel to dismiss it for something that we might get further down the line. That is the problem we don’t know when, we don’t how, and we think a referendum will be needed. Could you imagine the COIR posters if there was a referendum on Gay Marriage??

This is one of the biggest reforms of family law to be undertaken in Ireland. Hopefully this bill will start a train of reform in Irish Family Law, which is sorely needed!

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Election Day reading

Its polling day! The polls are now open so if you haven’t decided who to vote for read some of these posts:

A vote for Labour is a vote for Fianna Fáil – Mulley.net

How to vote to hurt Fianna Fail without helping Sinn Fein. – jasonomahony.ie

Why Vote Fine Gael – StephenSpillane.com

(I’ll update this post as the day goes on)

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Tomorrows Opinion Poll in Full

So further on from my last post here are the full topline figures of the Irish Times TNS/MRBI poll:

  • Fine Gael 36% – 2%
  • Labour 23% +3%
  • Fainna Fáil 20% -1%
  • Sinn Fein 8% -1%
  • Green Party 3% =
  • Independents 10% +1%

So Fianna Fail are definately dropping while the Greens have halted their slide, for now. Sinn Fein are down one point, which could hurt Mary Lou’s chances. We have to wait till Satuday for the Euro-Poll.

It looks like the big gainers in this look like Labour. In the 2004 Locals they polled 11.4% of the 1st preference vote. The could easily double it this time round. Independents will gain in some places but nothing major I would say. They will poll higher then 10% though.

Will Fianna Fail poll over 10% lower then 04? I dont know, but if they do Cowen will have a lot of soul searching to do.

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Irish Times Poll: Fianna Fail to come third?

The headline figures for the Irish Times TNS/MRBI poll are circulating on twitter. The figures are:

  • Fine Gael: 36% (-2)
  • Labour: 23% (+3)
  • Fianna Fáil 20% (-1)

This poll sees yet another fall in the support for Fianna Fáil and a re-adjustment in the support for Fine Gael and Labour. I think the current figures are slightly more accurate as Labour were being under estimated by the polls in my opinion.

If this was to happen on polling day, that Fianna Fail actually come thrid in the national vote in the Locals or Europeans, it will be catostrophic for the Party. Fianna Fáil seem to have hit rock bottom. 20% will be their core vote and I don’t see them getting much more then that.

More when I get more figures, I am especially interested in seeing how the Greens are doing.

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Cork Evening Echo Poll

The Cork Evening Echo Poll has a poll today conducted by Lansdowne Market Research. The poll has the following party support figures.

  • Fianna Fail – 9%
  • Fine Gael – 23%
  • Labour – 20%
  • Green Party – 4%
  • Sinn Fein – 6%
  • Socialists – 0%
  • Independent/Libertas – 16%
  • No Party/Vote for Personality – 23%
  • Don’t Know – 13%

As you can see Fianna Fail have only 9% of the party support. The personality vote at 23% is quite high and quite typical of Irish Politics. A good lot of that vote will go to Fianna Fail so they will not fair that badly in the the polls as the topline figures suggest.

Im not sure why Libertas was classed with Independent unless it is part of a national poll or a series of further regional polls.

I am surprised that the Socialists  are on 0% as Mick Barry is quite popular on the North Side (or so I thought). This poll of course is for both city and county.

One of the good things is that the intention to vote is running at 80% with 93% of respondents being aware of the elections (for both Europe and Locals).

The main issues highlighted in the poll are Cost of Living (74%), Healthcare (67%) and Job Security (67%). Something we can all agree on.

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FG 17 points ahead of FF

Election Posters
Image by jaqian via Flickr

I never thought I would see an opinion poll like this in my life time. But Fine Gael are 17 points ahead of Fianna Fail in the latest Irish Time TNS/MRBI Opinion Poll. The full party ratings are as follows:

  • Fianna Fáil  21% (-1)
  • Fine Gael  38% (+6)
  • Labour Party  20% (-4)
  • Sinn Féin  9% (nc)
  • Green Party  3% (-1)

This is the first poll to have the Greens down. They are down where the PD’s languished before disappearing. Will it happen to the Greens?

To have Fine Gael on 38% is just amazing! This is just a starting block of course and could be termed a “Lee Bounce”  if we in FG dont keep up the work and the pressure.

In terms of leader satisfaction the poll is as follows:

  • Brian Cowen 18% (-6)
  • Enda Kenny 33% (+3)
  • Eamon Gilmore 51% (+7)
  • John Gormley 25% (-4)

So while Labour support is down four points, Gilmore is up. Its strange that his satisfaction is not translating through to support for the Labour Party. Cowen is beginning to hit rock bottom with his rating on less then 20%.

The Bye-Election, Local and European Elections results will be very interesting! Roll on June 6th and 7th!

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George Lee’s Convention Speech

I found this  on my facebook home page and had to post it. Quite a good speech for a convention speech and very inspiring. He hits a few nails on the head. Watch it!

He even praises Enda! Go on Lee!

Vote Lee number 1!

McKenna explains why I wont Vote Green

English: Former :en:Dublin Bus RH139. The phot...
Image via Wikipedia

Cedar Lounge Revolution have the Hot Press interview with Patricia McKenna, and it makes really interesting reading. A few of her answers sum up why I won’t vote Green ever again.

I don’t want to put words into your mouth, but you are effectively saying that the Greens in the Dail are nothing but hypocrites?
Definitely. They are political opportunists. It’s political opportunism where you jump on the bandwagon of a campaign and support it and you promise the people that you are going to pursue their issue. And then as soon as you get into power, you say, ‘Please go away! We can’t do anything for you’…Look at public transport, which was always top of the Green agenda. If someone had told me a few years ago that the Green Party would be in Government and that Dublin Bus would be protesting outside our offices because of cuts to their service I would have said, ‘Yeah, dream on, not a chance’.

And she has hit the nail on the head. Before to me the Greens had their principals and stuck to it and for the most part seemed to act to in their principals. Since they came into power they have bent over backwards to support Fianna Fail. They had no backbone to question Bertie over his finances, they have supported every wrong move by this Government and when they make an announcement its ignored by the Government. Who are they fooling? Certaiinly not me.

Do read the full post over on Cedar Lounge, it makes interesting reading.

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@greenparty_ie compare @deirdredeburca to @barackobama

So much for not blogging politics, but this cant be left go.

I witnessed an “interaction” on twitter between the Green Party and  Peter of Donegan Landscaping.

It was started with Peter pointing out that @Deirdredeburca only uses twitter for announcements.

@Doneganland to @Greenparty_ie 1To which the Greenparty responded by saying

@Greenparty_ie to @donganlandNow this is a big mistake as many twitter users do not like accounts that are just announcements. They like people to reply and interact as pointed out@Doneganland to @greenparty_ie 2Then they said the clincher

the comparisonIs she using it the same as Obama?? I don’t think so.


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Don’t Vote? Then You Can’t Complain

I’m bringing back a slogan from the General Election Campaign in 2007 that USI used. The reason I am reviving it is that on the door’s I am getting a lot of “I’m not voting for any politician” responses. This is not the way to go. One woman who said she doubted she would vote for Fine Gael and said she didnt trust politicians, said she would still vote because that was the right thing to do.

These Local and European Elections are a chance to tell the Government what you think about their actions and what they have done so far in Government. If you are happy with them vote for them, if your not don’t! But do vote!

This is your chance. There might not be a General Election until 2012, which is a good bit away and a long time for a change of Government. A change you might want!

It is highly unlikely that you and a candidate (or anyone else for that matter) will agree on 100% of issues, but you may agree with one candidate 50% of the time and another 60% of the time and that is who you should vote for, whether they be Independent, Labour, Sinn Fein, Green, Socialist, Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.

Be sure to check if your registered on Checktheregister.ie and if not you have until May 18th to get onto the supplementary register. The forms are on the website.

USI are running a campaign to get Students to vote this year. They are calling for students to vote against the Government parties because of the  Governments education policy. See StudentVote.ie for more info on their campaign

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