The Elephant in The Room, No Longer that Invisible?

The issue that normally simmers away in the background of Irish politics has taken the headlines again today thanks to an interview in the Irish Times about the the death of a mans wife. The man is Praveen Halappanavar and he was talking about the death of 31 year old Savita Halappanavar, a dentist in Galway, following a miscarriage. She had attended the hospital complaining of back pain and they discovered she was miscarrying. She had then requested a Medical Termination but it was refused “because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country””.

She spent 2 and half days in agony until the foetal heartbeat stopped. She was then transferred to the High Dependency Unit and then the Intensive Care Unit before dying of septicaemia on the 28th October.

This is shocking!

This should never have happened!

I have previously called the abortion the political debate the Elephant in the Room, but following today’s news adding to the ABC v Ireland case further demonstrates the need for an Abortion Act in Ireland.

In a strange co-incidence the Minister of Health received the Report of the Expert on the ABC v Ireland yesterday evening. The Government will soon have to make a decision on this and the sooner the better.

There are many protests being planned in Cork there is one tonight (7pm outside Opera House) and on Friday (1pm on Daunt Square)

There are also protest in Dublin (tonight and Saturday), Galway (Saturday), Belfast (Thursday 15th) and London. More details being added to Una Mullally’s blog on the Irish Times.

As a Country we have had 20 years to sort this out. Government’s of all hues have failed to sort out this issue. Its time our Government legislated for this. Hopefully they will be shamed into acting after this.

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Pollwatch: Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI 20th April

Green Party
Green Party (Photo credit: Neil Dorgan)

In continuation from the poll on the referendum in today’s Irish Times, tomorrows looks at party support. Polling was conducted on Monday and Tuesday by Ipsos MRBI. So this is post the major party conferences, Mahon and Household Charge.

The party support levels are:

  • Fine Gael, 33% (-3)
  • Labour, 13% (-6)
  • Fianna Fáil, 14% (-1)
  • Sinn Féin, 21% (+6)
  • Green Party, 2% (+1)
  • Independents/ Others, 17% (+3)

It is interesting to see the Green Party have their own line in a poll again but are still within the margin of error. Fine Gael are down for the first time in awhile but still have the largest support.

Labour continue to and seem to be loosing their support to Sinn Fein. There is no recovery either for Fianna Fail and they too slip, but are marginally ahead of Labour.

Sinn Fein are now solidified as the second most popular party, but if they cant get over there lack of attracting transfers it may still be hard for them to make large gains.

Independents again are a gainer but that can be hard to convert into seats as the vote is split among a wide range of groups.

The leader’s satisfaction’s are interesting in this poll they are:

  • Enda Kenny (FG): 42% (-10)
  • Eamon Gilmore (Lab): 41% (-14)
  • Gerry Adams (SF): 29% (-3)
  • Micheál Martin (FF): 24% (-5)

Overall Government satisfaction is at 23% which is down 14% since last October.

Pollwatch: Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI April 19th

There is a poll in today’s Irish Times by Ipsos MRBI on the upcoming referendum on Fiscal Compact. The headline figures are

  • Yes: 30%
  • No: 23%
  • Undecided: 39%
  • Not voting: 8%

When the undecideds and those not voting are excluded it buts the sides on the following:

  • Yes: 58%
  • No: 42%

Interestingly Fine Gael voters are the strongest supporters of the treaty with 54% in favour. There is 9% against and 34% undecided.

Fianna Fail voters are next strongest supporters with 41% saying they will vote Yes, 20% No and 36% undecided.

Labour Party have the most undecideds and is behind Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in terms of voters who will back the treaty. 33% in favour of the treaty, 17% against and 46% undecided.

The No vote have the strongest support from Sinn Fein supporters and supporters of small parties and independents with 48% intending to vote No, 12% Yes and 33% undecided.

Munster has the highest Yes vote and Connacht-Ulster the most against. Dublin is neck and neck between the two sides meaning that the treaty could be won or lost in Dublin.

This campaign is going to be a massive task in convincing the undecideds and neither side can be complacent on their support. With the polling Day on a Thursday it will be a case of trying to get out as many voters as possible.

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

Sinn Fein to lead the No Campaign – but will the message change?

WASHINGTON - MARCH 17:  (AFP-OUT) Former Sinn ...
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Sinn Fein have, as expected, come out against the Fiscal Treaty and aim to lead the No campaign in the upcoming referendum. They claim that  passing the referendum on the fiscal treaty will seriously undermine Irish sovereignty. But is that not what they said during Lisbon? Or Nice? Or Maastricht? or any treaty on the European Union that I remember anyway.

Stephen Collins writing in yesterday’s Irish Times points out that the No side have come out with many slogans in past referendums but have any of them come true? He quotes Tainiste Eamonn Gilmore speaking as at the Forum on Europe back in 2008.

Ireland had not been reduced to a province of a European empire; conscription had not been introduced for young Irish men and women; Ireland had not been forced to join any imperialist wars; the nation’s population had not collapsed; Irish culture had not become a thing of the past; trade union rights had not been abolished; abortion and euthanasia had not been introduced; and religious freedom was not suppressed.

“All of these firm fear-inducing predictions were made again and again, and every one was proved to be groundless and inaccurate. They are being made again today by the same individuals, and they are just as unfounded and misleading,” said Gilmore.

The latest claims are of course saying that this treaty will outlaw Keynesian economics as well as undermine our sovereignty. But are they right? Will the treaty do that?

I don’t think so. A cursory reading of the treaty, which is readable thankfully, shows that is highly unlikely that either of those claims are true.

Of course what this means is that the Yes campaign have to be quick to knock down false claims by the no side. But when issues like sovereignty are brought up, it is very hard to argue  it. Abstract ideas like sovereignty are debates suited to philosophical debates rather then the doorsteps and streets of a referendum campaign.

The sooner the referendum campaign starts the better!

Pollwatch: Catch up, October 6th Polls

The Poster Campaign: Gay Mitchell For President
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Its been a busy week here and I have managed to miss to polls that were published last Thursday, the 6th of October. The first poll was in the Irish Times and was carried out by Ipsos MRBI. The figures were as follows:

  • Higgins, Michael D (Lab) 23%
  • Gallagher, Sean (Ind) 20%
  • McGuinness, Martin (SF) 19%
  • Davis, Mary (Ind) 12%
  • Norris, David (Ind) 11%
  • Mitchell, Gay (FG) 9%
  • Scallon, Dana Rosemary (Ind) 6%

In the second poll by Red C for Paddy Power showed a similar result.

  • Higgins, Michael D (Lab) 25%
  • Gallagher, Sean (Ind) 21%
  • McGuinness, Martin (SF) 16%
  • Norris, David (Ind) 14%
  • Mitchell, Gay (FG) 10%
  • Davis, Mary (Ind) 9%
  • Scallon, Dana Rosemary (Ind) 5%

The polls are interesting to look at as they really are within the margin of error of 3%. The other fact to take in these polls is the collapse in the support for Senator David Norris. It seemed that he enjoyed more support when he wasnt on the ballot paper.

The surprise of the polls  is that Sean Gallagher is now the second favourite. This of course can be seen by the media now turning their attention to him and his past.

That is the one commonality in this campaign. As a candidate starts to climb in the polls, the media turns against them. Is that how we want our campaigns run?

Also if your not sure which way to vote, Votomatic is back to help you decide! I did it earlier and it suggested I vote in the following way:

  1. Mary Davis,
  2. Micheal D Higgins,
  3. Sean Gallagher,
  4. Martin McGuinness,
  5. David Norris,
  6. Dana Rosemary Scallon,
  7. Gay Mitchell.

With 16 days left in the campaign we will have plenty of polls and I will endeavour to keep on top of them. It will be interesting if the media can influence any further change in the polls. Interesting times ahead.

Fianna Fail won’t Facilitate a Norris Run

Original Raidió Teilifís Éireann logo
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RTÉ reported last night that a party whip was being applied to Fianna Fail TD’s and Senators to stop them individually nominating Independent candidates.

Speaking in an interview aired on RTÉ’s This Week In Politics, Seán Ó Fearghail, The Fianna Fail whip, said the party would act collectively if it chooses to support an independent candidate.

This is seen as a blow to the possible return of Senator Norris to the race for the Presidency.

The Irish Times today reports on a possible reason why Fianna Fail will not be back Senator Norris. One source said that Mr Norris had been arrogant in his approach to the party earlier in the summer, when he needed only a few nominations. Another source described Norris’s possible re-emergence as a candidate as a “distraction” which was “of no concern” to the party.

A Fianna Fáil spokesman said the party’s position was that it had decided not to run a candidate. Once the nominations were in, it would look at those running and then decide whether to support a particular candidate. He said the question of facilitating a candidate by nominating the person was not an issue for Fianna Fáil because no one had contacted the party to seek such support.

The Irish Independent reports that Fianna Fail senators, in particular, are angry with Mr Norris over the way he handled their offer of support over the summer. Surces said informal contacts were rebuffed in a dismissive way.

“He thought he didn’t need us then, that he would get the 20 anyway and he basically thumbed his nose at us,” one senator said.

“Well, he can think twice if he’s looking our support now,” he added.

Another said he was “rude enough” and “didn’t engage” when the offer was made.

One FF senator said: “I wouldn’t sign his nomination papers if you put them in front of me in the morning.”

After the contacts, the Fianna Fail group in the Seanad met in July to discuss signing his nomination papers formally, and this was rejected by the group of 14 senators.

So is it all over for Norris? Or will he re-enter the race on Friday during his interview on the Late Late Show?

Norris to re-enter Race for the Aras?

Taken by me (jaqian) on Kildare Street, Dublin...
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The Sunday Independent is reporting that David Norris is to re-enter the race for the Presidency. After withdrawing from the race over the summer I am surprised at his re-entry to the race.

His reasons for re-enter seem to be because of the support being shown, but his reason for withdrawal has not changed.

Those who withdrew their support for Mr Norris have not changed their mind, though there are talks that some Fianna Fail TD’s and Senators may help to facilitate his nomination, but it will still be a tough one for him to raise the monies required to run an effective nationwide campaign.

So what do you think should Norris re-enter? Or does the cause of his withdrawal and other statements attributed to him mean he should sit this one out?


Irish Times\Ipsos-MRBI Poll 21st February

Labour's Election Campaign - Dublin 2011
Image by infomatique via Flickr

I have a feeling we will have a few polls this week as in we enter the last lap and the Irish Times have an Ipsos MRBI poll in tomorrows paper. The topline figures are:

  • Fianna Fail 16% (+1)
  • Fine Gael 37% (+4)
  • Labour 19% (-5)
  • Greens 2% (+1)
  • Sinn Fein 11% (-1)
  • Others 15 (nc)

This poll confirms the results of the polls in Sunday’s papers. Labour seem to have made a massive mistake in their camapign and are now paying the price as voters either return to Fianna Fail or move to Fine Gael.

Fine Gael continue their rise and the possibility of single party government. The fact that Enda’s popularity has risen, just the same as the party’s support. In this poll Enda is on 37%, the exact same as party support.

There is still a lot to play for as 19% of the electorate are undecided on who to vote for.

The poll of polls, which is unweighted and highly suspect, but interesting all the same stands as follows:

  • Fianna Fail 15%
  • Fine Gael 36.3%
  • Labour 20.5%
  • Greens 1.8%
  • Sinn Fein 11.5%
  • Others 13.9%

Lets see what happens this week, in case anything goes wrong for the other parties.

Senators Defend the Seanad

A lunchtime protest by dislocated workers was ...
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Although they made sound like turkeys voting against Christmas, two Senators have made good arguments in favour of keeping Seanad Eireann.

Yesterday speaking to the Irish Times, Independent Senator Joe O’Toole had the following to say,

Speaking this afternoon, Sen. O’Toole acknowledged the existing arrangement was “undemocratic, unfair” and “unrepresentative” and described voting arrangements for the Upper House, where it does not have a universal mandate, as “indefensible”.

However, the independent senator said the abolition of the Seanad would suit the interests of the political parties.

“No political party, whatever they are saying, is going to be enthusiastic about a second chamber where they have to listen to the voices of different groups of people whether it be from the Gaeltachts, Northern Ireland, business, farmers, unions, unemployed, voluntary groups, arts community etc,” Sen. O’Toole said.

Then in today’s Irish Independent, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer also defended the Seanad saying

“I think the Seanad has a valuable role to play. Some people have latched on to the idea that abolishing it would save the country but I personally think it would be the wrong road to take,” he said.

“The amount of money saved from closing it would be miniscule. Reforming the Seanad would be better than abolishing it.”

These are the opinions of the people in that house. Surely they know how its works and are best placed to tell us that it needs reform which has been blocked by certain Senators.

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