The Referendum Question wording

Campaign posters in St Stephen's Green, Dublin
Campaign posters in St Stephen's Green, Dublin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wording of the Referendum was published in the Dáil Order Paper for today (PDF) .

You are being asked if Ireland may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union.

The Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012 proposes to insert the following subsection after subsection 9° ofArticle 29.4 of the Constitution:

‘10°The State may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on the 2nd day  2012. No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of the State under that Treaty or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by bodies competent under that Treaty from having the force of law in the State.’.

IF YOU APPROVE of the proposal, mark X opposite the word YES on the ballot paper.

IF YOU DO NOT APPROVE of the proposal, mark X opposite the word NO on the ballot paper.

So now we know what we will be voting on.

Upcoming Legislation

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The Government have published the Legislative Agenda for the summer session. The following bills will be published

  • Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Bill
  • Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill
  • Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill
  • Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill
  • Patents (Amendment) Bill
  • Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill
  • Electoral Commission Bill
  • Local Government Services Corporate Bodies (Amendment) Bill
  • Betting (Amendment) Bill
  • Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill
  • Finance (No. 2) Bill
  • Fiscal Responsibility Bill
  • Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill
  • Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) Bill
  • Courts (Enforcement of Maintenance and Appointment of Taxing Master) Bill
  • Criminal Justice Bill
  • European Arrest Warrant (Extension) and Extradition (Amendment) Bill
  • Spent Convictions Bil
  • Social Welfare and Pensions Bill
  • National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill

So there are 20 bills to be added to one that has been published, Criminal Justice (Community Service) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2011. In addition the Government have agreed the heads of 41 other bills and they have also 105 possible bills under which the heads have not been agreed by Government,

Bills  of interest will the Finance act as that will bring in the tax provisions of the Civil Partnership Act. Also the other acts surrounding the banks will be of interest. The powers that will be granted to the Electoral Commission and the banning of corporate donations (including those from Unions) will also be ones to watch.

We need to change how we refer to people with disabilities

11th Special Olympics World Summer Games
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On Wednesday I found this post by a parent of a child with disbilities trying to get people to stop using the “r-word” on twitter. It documents the responses she got, some make fun, but others take her point. We need more people like her! That post brought a tear to my eye. I rarely use the word, and now I will endeavour to use it less.

Then while going through my news feeds I discovered this story on the Irish Examiner, its sub heading was “HE won gold in the Special Olympics but is classed a “lunatic”.”

This post was about our legal system and how it classes people with mental disabilities as a “person of unsound mind”. How demeaning is that? How old fashioned is that? Why do we allow our legal system to still use terminology like that? Why is the Lunacy Act 1871 still in force?

Can we not move on with the times and treat people with disabilities with respect and allow them to represeneted fully in law.

I hope the new government will take on board this and attempt to change how we refer to people with disabilities within in our legal system as that may help  change how the rest of society treats people with mental disabilities. It baby steps, but every little helps.

Boycott Hungary?

Logo of the EU-ACP Joint AssemblyAn interesting possibility has arisen from ALDE MEP’s. They want to move a meeting of the EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Joint Parliamentary Assembly to Brussels according to Euractiv (original in French and English) thereby boycotting Hunagary. This is seen as a democratic protest against the recent media law in Hungary. This law has met with opposition from within and without Hungary.

The idea of this boycott came after Belgian MEP Louis Michel, co-chair of the EU-ACP assembly, called a special meeting after receiving a letter from Luxembourg colleague Charles Goerens MEP, who wrote that the law ”violates democratic principles recognised by EU member states”.

The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly brings together MEPs and elected representatives from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that have signed the Cotonou Agreement.

MPs from the ACP states meet their European counterparts for two plenary sessions a year, focusing on democracy and human rights. The 2011 meetings are scheduled for 16-18 May in Budapest and 21-23 November in Sierra Leone.

This is an interesting tactic by the liberal MEPs and is a constructive way to voice criticism of Hungary’s media. If the meeting is moved it will mean some loss of face for the Hungarian Government.

Related Posts

Hungarian Media Law Translated

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The National Media and Infocommunications Authority Hungary (Nmhh) have published the Act on Media Services and Mass Media on their website in PDF format.

It is nearly 200 pages long and is a tough read.

Article 187 is what sets out the fines which has a lot of people worried

(3) The Media Council and the Agency — with due heed to paragraph (7) — shall have the right to impose the following legal consequences:
a) it may exclude the infringer from the opportunity to participate in the tenders put out by the Fund for a definite period of time;
b) it may impose a fine on the infringer in line with the following limits:
ba) in case of infringement by a JBE media service provider and the media service provider under the regulations on the limitation of media market concentration, the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 200,000,000;
bb) in case of infringement by a media service provider falling beyond the scope of item (ba), the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 50,000,000;
bc) in case of a newspaper of nationwide distribution, the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 25,000,000;
bd) in case of a weekly periodical of nationwide distribution, the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 10,000,000;
be) in case of other newspaper or weekly newspaper or periodical, the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 5,000,000;
bf) in case of an online media product, the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 25,000,000;
bg) in case of a broadcaster, the fine shall be an amount not exceeding HUF 5,000,000;
bh) in case of an intermediary service provider, the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 3,000,000;

Do read the full text! Now the Commission have something to work on.

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Presidency won’t hold back the Commission

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EUBusiness is reporting that the fact that Hungary is the current holder of the rotating EU Presidency will not hold them back from launching proceedings if the new media law is found to be in breach of Community Law.

“If there’s an infringement of community law, the Commission will launch proceedings and the fact Hungary presides the European Union will have no bearing,” Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said.

Bailly said EU legal experts would scrutinise the media law once they had received the translation.

“At this stage we are in talks with the Hungarian government and following clear procedures,” he said.

“But either it is in compliance with community law or there are doubts on its compliance and the Commission meets to decide to launch proceedings with a letter of warning,” he added

The entire Commission will be in Budapest on Thursday to meet with the Hungarian government, and more then likely these new media laws will come up either during the meeting or on the side of it.

It will be interesting to see where this will lead. It could definitely drag on through the entire 6 month presidency!

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A European Divorce

divorce-decree

Tomorrow the European Parliaments Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will hear about the state of play on the first use of the Enhanced Co-Operation Procedure. 12 member states are proposing new rules in regards to Divorce and when it is of a trans-national nature.

To me this is a perfect use of the Enhanced Co-operation procedure as it can mean couples can choose the law that suits them most. For example a German married to Italian but living in Spain, have the choice to choose between German, Italian and Spanish law when it comes to their case. It also means that these rules will have no bearings on Malta, where divorce is illegal, and Ireland, where divorce is a long wait.

The 12 member states who want this are:

  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Austria
  • Hungary
  • Slovenia
  • Luxembourg
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Latvia

Greece was initially on board but withdrew.

Under the current rules 9 member states are the minimum required to use the enhanced co-operation procedure. No member state can veto the use of procedure (except in the area of Foreign Affairs).

It will be interesting to see this in action.

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Head Shops – Should they be banned?

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I recently got a mailshot from the local Sinn Fein Councillor, Fiona Kerins, and as part of it, it should her and her comrades picketing outside a shop as it carried out its LEGAL trade.

Some people may not like head shops, what they stand for, or what they sell. But, they are breaking no law.

Why should people picket a shop that is not breaking the law?

Yes I do think mephedrone and its synthetics should be banned, but picketing and threatening shops, as some “dissidents” are doing, is not the answer.

Maybe we should follow the lead of the UK and ban the substances as soon as possible? Thereby leaving the Head Shops alone to carry out their legal business?

A recent letter in the Irish Independent makes me think that a total ban on Head Shops is not the way to

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Blasphemy Illegal from Today

I got this recently on facebook.

Defamation Act 2009 (Commencement) Order 2009 (SI No 517 of 2009)
I, Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform,
in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 1(2) of the
Defamation Act 2009 (No 31 of 2009), hereby order as follows:

1. This Order may be cited as the Defamation Act 2009
(Commencement) Order 2009.

2. The 1st day of January 2010 is appointed as the day on which
the Defamation Act 2009 (No 31 of 2009) comes into operation.

Given under my Official Seal,
15 December 2009.

DERMOT AHERN,
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

The Defamation Act, contained the references to Blasphemy, so be careful with what you say. I wonder who will be the first person prosecuted under it? If any!

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Commission of Investigation into Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin (The Murphy Report)

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So the Murphy Report and the usual outrage is being shown. We have been there before earlier this year with the Ryan Report, but has anything changed?

Not much. The priests not named in the report will not be charged, the bishops who let them get away with it are refusing to resign. Information will be shredded. Its despicable. Whats the point of these Commissions if nothing comes of them?

This morning though, I was listening to Gerry Ryan on 2FM (a rare occurrence) when he was doing the paper review and when he go to the Irish Daily Mail I was very interested to hear what he had to say. According to the Mail (not online) the Bishop’s who did not report allegations to the Gardaí will be investigated. This is a change. And it is a good change. The Church hierarchy need to be told they are no longer above the law.

While I think very highly of the current Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, as he is more open then most of predecessors, the Church still has a long way to go as their is 25 dioceses in Ireland North and South who need to either come clean and hand over records to the Gardaí or be investigated.

I am not an anti-church person. I am not an anti-catholic person. But these church men who claim to uphold the ten commandments and Gospel of Jesus Christ need to realise their actions and repent and do good on it.

There is no easy way out of this for the Catholic Church in Ireland or the Vatican. They need to look deeply at themselves are realise how human they are, admit when they are wrong, and take the punishment. It is what the rest of us mere mortals must do.

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