5 Candidates for Cork South Central FG Convention

Cork South Central (Dáil Éireann constituency)
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I received a letter today from Cllr. Laura McGonigle announcing her candidacy for the Fine Gael Dáil Convention. This brings to five the number of declared candidates. Fine Gael is planning to run 3 candidates in the next General Election.

The other declared candidates are sitting TD’s Simon Coveney and Deirdre Clune, local Senator Jerry Buttimer and two Councillors from the South East Ward, Des Cahill and Laura McGonigle.

In the last General Election Fine Gael got 28.42% of the first preference vote. According to PoliticalReform.ie Fine Gael will get between 26.9% in the Ipsos MRBI poll to 34.3% in the Red C poll in Cork South Central. Fine Gael could take three seats depending on transfers, if the support is closer to the Red C poll.

The question is what 3 will be standing. The sitting TD’s obviously have a really good chance of being re-selected. The question will be who will be the third. Jerry Buttimer has a very good chance of being the representative as neither Clune or Coveney are based in the West of the constituency while Cahill and McGonigle are based in the East, as are Clune and Coveney. Jerry also has the advantage of having being tested in the last General Election. In that time he got 8.77% of the vote and lasted till the 4th count.

Des Cahill faced his first election in the local elections and topped the poll in Cork South East ward with 15.48% of the vote. Laura McGonigle who was also elected on the first count in the first count in 2009 in the same ward with 14.58%  of the vote. Laura was also facing her first election to the council having been co-opted to replace Deirdre Clune after the Dual mandate was abolished.

I think the line up for Cork South Central will be as follows:

  • Deirdre Clune
  • Simon Coveney
  • Jerry Buttimer

While I think it would great for Laura McGonigle to be on the ticket due to her youth, enthusiasm and experience, I don’t think she will make this time.

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FF Senators not happy with Civil Partnership Bill

There was some debate yesterday in the Seanad on the Civil Partnership Bill during the order of business. Fianna Fail Senators Labhrás Ó Murchú, Jim Walsh and John Gerard Hanafin raised objections to parts of the Bill and one called for a referendum. Also Fine Gael’s John Paul Phelan also spoke against part of the Bill.

Senator Ó Murchú claimed that the Civil Partnership Bill 2009 would breach some people’s human rights, he even compared it to the Penal laws! He said

I may have to speak in this House on behalf of Irish prisoners of conscience. The Civil Partnership Bill 2009 provides that a person can lose his or her job or be imprisoned, and that churches and other bodies can have their property commandeered. I do not think that is right in a country that has upheld traditional values down through the centuries, often in the face of oppression and misrepresentation. I do not think it is right that people who in good conscience believe they are upholding the same values should be subject to such a penal code. Many people in Ireland will see this as an echo of the dreaded penal laws. It cannot be correct.

Senator Walsh made a contribution making the case for a free vote, this was backed by Fine Gael’s Senator Joe O’Reilly. Senator Walsh said:

It is difficult, however, to ask any Member to abrogate his conscience with regard to matters which he – or she for that matter- feels are issues of conscience that are not for compromise in their view. Several issues will emerge, not just civil partnership but also embryonic stem cell research, pro-life and abortion issues. There is a ream of social issues which will have huge impact on the development of our society. We need to be careful. Those who have a view contrary to a liberal agenda being pushed by others have a right to a free vote on such issues as have people outside the right to exercise freedom of conscience.

Senator Hanafin called for a referendum and a free vote on the Civil Partnership Bill,

I call for a debate on the matter raised by Senators Ó Murchú and Walsh on the rights of people who will find themselves in extreme and difficult circumstances should the Civil Partnership Bill pass. The reality is there are people like myself who have difficulty with the Bill. As chairman of the Green Party and someone very much involved in the programme for Government, I ask the Deputy Leader again for a referendum such that the question can go to the people. Does the public seek a situation whereby a same-sex, sexual relationship has a higher standing in law than that of brothers, sisters, brothers and sisters or friends who live together in an ordinary way? Should such a relationship be put on a higher plain? I do not believe it should be nor do I believe that anyone who feels the same as I do should be discriminated against for that belief. With this in mind, I ask again for a referendum and, in particular, for a free vote when the situation comes to this House.

Senator Phelan also called for a free vote, not to criminalise registrars for non-performanace, and for brothers and sisters to be included

I have a reservation about the Civil Partnership Bill, which can impose a criminal sanction on a registrar who does not perform his or her role. I agreed with the decriminalisation of homosexuality ten or 20 years ago. Criminalising registrars for non-performance of their function is not a correct step in any legislation. I often disagree with Senator Hanafin but I strongly agree with him on this matter. I know so many brothers and sisters in my area who live together and never married. I am sure you also know of such people, a Chathaoirligh. I do not object to granting rights to couples, whether of the same or the opposite sex. However, people who are living together in a loving but non-sexual relationship, perhaps brothers or sisters, should not be discriminated against.

Also in the debate some interesting remarks were made by Senators Liam Twomey and Paul Bradford of Fine Gael.

Senator Twomey made this contribution,

With regard to the Civil Partnership Bill, how would people feel if members of my profession or the nursing profession decided not to treat patients on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious persuasion? It would be completely unworkable. Members who are making speeches in this House must be a little more practical in their comments. Not agreeing with carrying out abortions or conducting embryonic stem cell research should not be put in the same category as treating patients who have a different religious persuasion, sexual orientation or gender. The same applies to nurses. We must clearly separate these issues and not muddy the waters with such talk either inside or outside the House.

Senator Bradford commented on the reaction to some statements and called for a fair and balanced debate,

I note the preamble on the Order of Business to the debate on the Civil Partnership Bill and the level of discomfort caused by certain comments made by some of my colleagues. I am not so intellectually superior to state anybody’s comments were misguided or erroneous and I am disappointed Members’ views were described as such. I do not live on a plane of such moral or intellectual superiority that I would describe anybody’s views as misguided. I hope we will have a tolerant debate when the Bill is before the House. It will be an interesting test of the House, our agenda and society. We claim to live in a liberal republic, but I have never encountered people as illiberal as those who refuse to accept other persons’ points of view as being equally balanced and fair.

There was a presentation of views by Senators Walsh and Ó Murchú. Perhaps there were others but, unfortunately, I did not hear all the other Members’ contributions. I was interested in the level of discomfort they appeared to cause on all sides of the House. The forthcoming debate on the Civil Partnership Bill must be fair and balanced. People not only have a conscience but a right to their conscience and we must try to ensure the debate is calm and fair. I look forward to presenting my views and some proposals as to how we can accommodate people’s conscientious difficulties. I hope that when a Member stands to express a different point of view, it will not be in a land of mutter, tutter, Twitter and discomfort. Our so-called liberal republic should also be a tolerant republic in which people can express their views without being derided and accused of being misguided and erroneous.

Senator Jerry Buttimer (Fine Gael) asked when the Bill was going to make it to the Seanad. Also Senator David Norris (Independent) called on Senators Ó Murchú, Hanafin, Walsh and Mullen to vote against the Bill like he is doing, he on the issue of Children.

Senator Dan Boyle (Green Party) had this to say in his response to the debate

With regard to the pre-debate on the Civil Partnership Bill and the issues raised by Senators Ó Murchú, Walsh, Hanafin, O’Reilly and Phelan—–

…..

In that regard, I point Members to the comments of President John F. Kennedy on defined political practice. He distinguished between the holding of personal religious beliefs and issues of conscience and the responsibilities of a public representative of all the people. When we debate this Bill, those principles should help to inform it. There is already legislation with which many of us would have conscientious issues. As people who form the law and have a responsibility for law already enacted, we have a responsibility to act on that conscience in a legal and responsible way for all the citizens of the country. I look forward to that debate. It is a necessary debate and must happen. I will share my views with those who are expressing concern on conscientious grounds.

The Civil Partnership Bill could be in for a bumpy ride when it gets to the Seanad.

The full debate can be read on Kildare Street here and here

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Wrecked = Little or no blogging

So this week I seemed to be untterly exhausted when I get in the door and onto “liam” I am falling asleep.

My canvassing schedule is getting busier with me out four nights a week at the moment, I get Tuesdays off for Scouting!

So far I am canvassing for:

  • Emmet O’Halloran (South Central): Mondays and Thursdays
  • Cllr. John Buttimer (South West): Wednesdays
  • Cllr. Laura McGonigle (South East): This Friday
  • Cllr. Brian Birmingham (South West): Next Friday

That covers only the next two weeks. Have another four weeks to go after that! So staying in bed on Thursday!

Hopefully blogging will return to normalish soon. I will try!

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I Got Mentioned In the Seanad Official Report

Its not very often you see your name written in the Seanad Official Reprot and there is its as right as rain, my name in the middle of a speech by Jerry Buttimer.

It is time we got rid of the e-voting machines. We must draw a line in the sand, throw them into the sea off Roches Point and let them be gone. We have not examined the role of technology and it is not referred to in the Bill. There are some great websites such as www.politics.ie in which people engage by bloging. I have begun bloging and a person in my party, namely, Mr. Stephen Spillane, is teaching me. It is a great way of communicating with people. Twitter, Facebook and Bebo are not mentioned in the Bill. They are a means of advertising, but will the cost of using them be measured?

Im in shock, though I got a text to say he mentioned me, I was not expecting it certainly not in a debate about Electoral Spending! Not sure how I am going to top this one!

Read the full speech here

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More Politicians tweeting and one not…

So since I did my post about Fine Gaelers on twitter I have come across some more on Twitter!

One is a Senator and the other two are councillors. Fist up is the Senator Jerry Buttimer who is FG’s spokesperson on Community, Rural and Gaeltach Affairs. Cork City Councillor Laura McGonigle is also on twitter, she represent the Cork South West Ward in the city. The other Councillor is Cavan County Councillor (and FG National Executive member) Seán McKiernan (his tweets are protected but he might let you follow).

The Polictcian not tweet is Graham Watson an English MEP who Tom Harris MP tells us does not twitter! But in fact his wife does!!! Should we unfollow politicians who do this? Well really those admit to doing this?

Do you know more Irish Politicians on twitter??? Let me know! Either in the comments or on twitter or via email stephen(dot)spillane(at)gmail(dot)com

I shall leave you with a Video from a Local Election Candidate who is embracing social media (sic??) and whom I mentioned in the previous post…

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Why I love David Norris


During the debate on the Order of Business an argument broke out between Senator Dan Boyle (Green Party) and Senator Jerry Buttimer (Fine Gael) on the issue of Cork Airport. Senator David Norris (Independent) quip is the reason why he is in the house and why he should remain there! There are tears in my eyes! I wish I was there, though I would have been kicked out of the gallery.

Senator Dan Boyle: The House can have a valuable debate on this to support the cause. (Hes talking about the Olympics here)

The second debate I call for has more local significance, although it has national importance. A report has just been produced on the national aviation strategy, particularly on Cork Airport and its relationship with Dublin Airport. It was compiled by Mr. Peter Cassells on behalf of the Government. While it attempts to employ the wisdom of Solomon in dealing with the problem—–

Senator Jerry Buttimer: The Green Party in Lisbon—– (had me giggling, but not too much)

Senator Dan Boyle: —–there are wider issues that need to be debated in this Chamber.

Senator Jerry Buttimer: Is the Senator supporting the Government?

An Cathaoirleach: Senator Boyle without interruption.

Senator Jerry Buttimer: Is the Senator supporting the Government?

Senator Dan Boyle: I am surprised the Senator even needs to ask that question.

Senator Jerry Buttimer: Is the Senator reneging on the people of Cork?

Senator Dan Boyle: Am I not sitting on this side of the Chamber?

Senator Jerry Buttimer: Is the Senator turning his back on the people of Cork?

An Cathaoirleach: Senator Boyle without interruption.

Senator Jerry Buttimer: He is turning his back on the people of Cork.

An Cathaoirleach: Senator Buttimer should not be interrupting.

Senator Dan Boyle: There is a certain Senator who sometimes believes a meeting in this Chamber is a meeting of the Cork GAA county board. There should be a better sense of decorum.

Senator Jerry Buttimer: What is wrong with the GAA? The Senator was never involved so he would not know about it. The Senator should not be denigrating Cork. He is in enough trouble as it is.

Senator David Norris: Could someone tell me what is the GAA? Is it a political organisation? (Was laughing so hard, tears were flowing down my face!)

An Cathaoirleach: The Senators should speak seriously on the Order of Business. I ask Senator Boyle to continue without interruption.

Norris for Life Senator!!!

The Video Log Experiment! FG Ard Fhies my Reaction