"Progressive Democrats is no longer politically viable"

Well a meeting of the PD Parliamentary Party (all four of them) ended recently and have decided according to the Party Leader, Senator Ciaran Cannon said:

“It is the opinion of the parliamentary party that the Progressive Democrats is no longer politically viable.”

Source (Breakingnews.ie)

It is sad in one way that the party that tried to break the mold in Irish Politics when it was established by Des O’Malley back in 1985 (the party is as old as me). He did have good ideas and stood for his ideals. I also had a grudging respect for Michael McDowell who was an excellent politician and minister.

I suppose the demise of the PD’s cant be bad for any party really as their will be less competition for votes at the election next year, but who will gain from it? Fianna Fail look set to gain initially with Grealish and his cohort of councillors heading for them but will the voters agree with that decision and might not vote for Fianna Fail but one of the other parties. Only time will tell.

Last of the Senators Appointed by Bertie

The following were appointed:

Dan Boyle (Green Party)
Martin Brady (FF)
Ivor Callely (FF)
Ciaran Cannon (PD)
Maria Corrigan (FF)
Deirdre de Burca (Green Party)
John Ellis (FF)
Eoghan Harris
Lisa McDonald (FF)
Brian Ó’Domhnaill (FF)
Fiona O’Malley (PD)

Also Senator Donie Cassidy has been appointed Leader of the Seanad.

Leo Varadkar was quick off the mark with a press release below. I’d kinda agree with it, though you can’t expect hime to be reforming on it! IMO

Taoiseach blows opportunity to appoint genuinely independent voices
to Seanad – Varadkar

Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar has accused the Taoiseach of wasting his
last opportunity to appoint genuinely independent voices to the
Seanad.

‘I would like to congratulate the new Senators appointed by the
Taoiseach and wish them well in their new duties.

‘However, the selection of candidates from the Fianna Fáil ranks is
singularly lacking in imagination and appears to be driven by a
desire to repay political favours, or debts.

‘The Taoiseach has squandered his last chance to appoint genuine,
distinctive voices to the Seanad. Among his appointments there is no
genuinely independent voice, no-one to represent Northern Ireland,
and no-one to represent the Irish emigrant community. This is
regrettable.

‘When you consider the number of under-represented communities that
could have been put forward in these appointments, it is
disappointing that the Taoiseach has chosen instead to appoint a
number of people who were rejected in at least two elections in
recent months.’

Notes on the the formation of the Government of the 30th Dáil

An Taoiseach: Bertie Ahern, Fianna Fail, Dublin Central.
There was no surprises when he was elected Taoiseach with a comfortable majority, 89 votes to 76. He stays on but more importantly as anointed his successor.

An Tánaiste and Minister for Finance: Brain Cowen, Fianna Fail, Laois-Offaly.
Cowen continues on in the important ministry and definitely is now seen as Bertie’s replacement. If the economy does suffer, the problems will fall at his door though. Stamp Duty reform will be a major project here.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food: Mary Coughlan, Fianna Fail, Donegal South West.
Coughlan stays where she is but also now has to represent fisheries. This will be important as the fisheries industry here is not getting a good deal here in Europe. Maybe with her experience with fighting for farmers she can do the same for our fishermen.

Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism: Séamus Brennan, Fianna Fail, Dublin South.
Brennan takes a diagonal (downwards) from Social Welfare minister to this portfolio. Not the most exciting one! Though it could be interesting with the Olympics next year.

Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources: Eamon Ryan, Green Party, Dublin South.
The first new face in this cabinet, holding quite an interesting portfolio. Damien seams happy with his appointment. This protfolio has also changed its name, marine is gone (cant have the greens in charge of that!!! ) and energy is in the title, first time we’ve had a ministry with that, and its great a green minister is in charge of it!

Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs: Éamon Ó Cuív, FF, Galway West.
Ó Cuív stays in this post, which I have major problems with, not least the naming of Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis.

Minister for Defence: Willie O’Dea, FF, Limerick East.
O’Dea stays here, Battle groups still a bit of an issue here, are we in or out???

Minister for Education & Science: Mary Hanafin, FF, Dún Laoghaire.
Hanafin stays at this post where LC reform and third level funding remain big issues.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment: Micheál Martin, FF, Cork South Central.
The only Cork minister, stays where he is. Encouraging employment and investment huge issues here.

Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government: John Gormley, GP, Dublin South East.
Another new face at the cabinet table! Gormley is left with a major headache over the M3 though! An independent Electoral Commission is promised 😀 delighted along with reform of Local Government.

Minister for Foreign Affairs: Dermot Ahern, FF, Louth. Ahern stays here at Foreign Affairs where he has been a good minister, reaching ODA promises is the trick here.

Minister for Health & Children: Mary Harney, PD, Dublin Mid West.
Harney is the only PD left at the cabinet table and stays at Health. Her tenure will be shaky as she has Nurses, Consultants and Co-location to deal with.

Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform: Brian Lenihan Jnr, FF, Dublin West.
A promotion for Lenihan from the position of Minister of State (with special responsibility for Children). This will be a challenging portfolio to Lenihan, whos father previously held the post. Hopefully he will be a different sort of minister then McDowell and we can look forward to Civil Partnerships coming from his department.

Minister for Social & Family Affairs: Martin Cullen, FF, Waterford.
Cullen has been moved from Transport to Social Welfare. Social Welfare can be a bit of a poison chalice, if cuts have to implemented as it hurts the least well-off.

Minister for Transport & the Marine: Noel Dempsey, FF, Meath West.
Dempsey moves from communications to Transport which also gains responsibly for the Marine. This makes perfect sense as an Island nation, a lot of our transport links are by sea.

Well that is all the Ministers, John O’Donoghue beat Ruari Quinn in a vote for Ceann Comhairle. Paul Gallagher SC has been appointed Attorney General.

Edit: The Programme for Government is availible here (PDF)

Civil Union Bill – Open letter to minister McDowell

Minister McDowell,

I am writing to you voice my disgust at you comments in the house tonight on the Civil Union Bill. You claimed that the Labour party have done nothing for the LGB community, then what do call the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993, which the Progressive Democrats could have dealt with when they were in power pre 1992.

You Minister claimed that this bill does nothing for LGB couples, this bill will improve the quality of life and security for LGB couples. This bill will do more for LGB couples then what so far has been suggested.

No bill will satisfy everyone in Ireland.

I am disgusted that you in the government would table a last minute amendment to postpone the bill. This is unfavourable treatment of this bill and I am appalled at it. I was considering transferring my vote to the Progressive Democrats, but from the proceedings in the house tonight I have realised that the PD’s may not be currently the ‘liberal’ party in Ireland.

This Government once again delays the implementation of important legislation.

I look forward to hearing from you on this issue

Yours in Pride
Stephen Spillane

E-mail info@michaelmcdowell.ie to voice your concerns

Civil Union Bill 2007

Well the Govt. have effectively sounded the death knell for this bill. They have tabled a reasoned amendment to the bill delaying the second stage for 6 months, well beyond the life of the current Dáil, meaning the bill will fall when the election is called.

Please lobby your Fianna Fail and Progressive Democrat TD’s to oppose the amendment!

Govt U-turn on Airport debt means higher air fares for passengers – Buttimer

People of Cork cannot trust FF & PDs, Fine Gael Cork South Central
candidate Cllr Jerry Buttimer has said: ‘The decision by the FF/PD
Government not to honour its public commitment and promise to deliver
Cork Airport as completely debt-free is another example of Cork and
the people of Cork being marginalised’.

‘The people of Cork can no longer trust Fianna Fáil and the PDs.
Their hollow empty words and promises are false rhetoric. Again we
have another example of false promises by Fianna Fáil not being
honoured.

‘All the Government wants is for the people in the regions to pay
more. This failure to deliver Cork Airport as debt-free means:

– Higher air fares for passengers;
– Higher costs being applied to airlines;
– Increased difficulty in securing new contracts and business;
– Increased financial burden on the airport authority;
– Reduced attractiveness and competitiveness for securing inward
investment.

‘If the Government was serious in relation to joined-up thinking,
decentralisation and its National Development plan and spatial
strategy, then Cork and the greater Southwest region would have a
debt-free airport and not a watered-down version.

‘Local Fianna Fáil TDs should collectively hang their heads in shame
and explain to the people of Cork how:

– They allowed their Government to renege on a clear commitment;
– Cork Airport now burdened with a €100 million dent will promote and
enhance growth of the airport;
– How this decision will benefit the consumer, local business and the
public of Cork.

‘The simple truth of the matter is not that Cork airport is facing
the crippling effect of debt but that Cork City and County will also
share in the fall out of the debt.

‘Added to the recent significant job losses the failure of
decentralisation and the pitiful allocation of funding projects to
Cork in the National Development Plan it is clear that Cork is not a
priority for local Fianna Fáil TDs or for the Government. It is clear
that Fianna Fáil have failed Cork airport, the staff and the people
of Cork.’

A reduction in the top rate of tax helps those on low income – wtf???????

Sam over at Pull Out The Pin in his PD Conference reaction post claims the following

The tax cuts are terrific, as I am a supply-sider and am firmly convinced that reductions in the upper rate benefit people on lower incomes profoundly

Now I must say that is news to me. I left a comment on his blog saying

How can a lower upper rate benefit those on low incomes. I speak from a family in the lower band that the tax cuts introduced in the last budget on the upper tax band did nothing to help us. I just dont get it, it only helps the rich, those paying the top rate. The Labour proposal will help us, but the PD proposals will not

So here’s my scenario. I’m on the lower tax band, earning €30,000 a year, and the PD’s go ahead and reduce the top rate of tax to 38% and increase the tax band to €50,000. How does it help me?

It dosent on the other hand, here’s another scenario a I’m a single person €60,000 a year, current €34,000 of this is taxed and at 21% and the remainder (€26,000) is taxed at 41%. So if the PD’s go ahead and reduce the top rate of tax to 38% and increase the Standard Rate Cut Off Point €50,000, I’m singing and dancing in the street.

So how does it help people on low incomes Sam?

All tax information taken from the Citizens Information Website

Morning Briefing, 17th January

Cork City is to get a new Central Library (Cork City Council) Wooo!

RTÉ viewers choose our song for the Eurovision last night. Its a John Waters/ Tommy Moran composition called ‘They can’t stop the Spring’.

The PD’s continue their conference today (Breakingnews, RTÉ) Among the guest speakers are Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses Organisation and Anne-mie Neyts, President of the European Liberal Democrats.

A Bosnian Court has sentenced a former Serb soldier to 34 years in jail for killing, enslaving and raping Muslim civilians during the country’s 1992-1995 war (France 24)

Proposed reforms of the Irish Criminal System are to be discussed by experts at an ICCL Forum (Breakingnews)

Lesotho goes to the polls today in a tight race for power (CNN)

$10 billion has been squandered by the U.S. government on Iraq reconstruction aid because of contractor overcharges and unsupported expenses (CNN) What a waste of money! All the people that it could be helping

Interesting take on the yesterdays IMS poll

got this off a friend

I’m sure you’ve seen or heard about the IMS poll in the Tribune yesterday.

FF – 39
FG – 22
Lab – 12
PD – 5
Green – 5
SF – 7
Others – 10

IMS did similar polls during the 2002 general election, and their predictions were woeful. 2 days before the election they had a poll which had FF on 50% (they got 41% on the day) and had FG on 18% (we got 22.5%). This crazy margin of error seems to continue to this day and would explain why FF are so high and FG so low in IMS polls, compared to the MRBI and RedC ones.

So if you correct yesterdays poll in line with the margins of error IMS had in 2002, you get:

FF – 31%
FG – 26%
Lab – 11%
PD – 6%
SF – 8%
Green – 4%
Others – 13%

FF/PD – 37%
FG/Labour – 37%
FG/Labour/Greens – 41%

A crude way of looking at it perhaps, but it paints a very different picture – one that the Sunday Tribune dont seem to think is worth noting.

So if the Tribune, or anyone else, think that the election is over……….then they need their heads examined!

PS: If you meet any crowing FF members in the next few days- you might ask them what they think of the plunging FF support in Dublin – down from 44% to 31% in the space of 2 months. If you believe IMS, their support in Dublin is actually 4% LOWER now than it was before Ahern blubbed and sobbed about his money troubles.

Tribune poll good news for FG?

Got this from Irish Election (Yes i rob everything off them! :P)

Fianna Fail at 39% (-3) Fine Gael at 22% and Labour at 12% (+2 each). Progressive Democrats at 5% (+1), Green Party at 5% (-1) and Sinn Fein at 7% (-1)

So that gives a combined FG/Lab 34% of the vote and throw in the greens and we tie with FF who could have a choice between SF (7%) or the PD’s (5%).

Nice to see that FF and SF are down though! Things are looking good, lets hope its lats 😀