I’m Fed Up

i-can-t-keep-calm-i-m-fed-upI’m fed up with politics these days.
I’m fed up of the shouting on Twitter and Facebook.
I’m fed up of people playing the man not the ball.
I’m fed up of people being cut down because you disagree with them on one issue, while agreeing with them on many more.

I’m fed up.

Why do we think we can win arguments by shouting on social media, or only dealing with those we agree with creating our own echo chambers?Why do we think that certain issues are defining issues, then ignore them after a month? Why do we only complain, yet never offer solutions?

This is why I’m fed up.

Politics has changed. Its changed into something I no longer recognise. I used to feel at home in the political sphere, staying up at night discussing issues, disagreeing with friends and family, yet always having respect.

The respect is gone.

Now I don’t feel at home talking politics. While I’m still interested and always will be. I’m not as comfortable discussing issues. Why? Cause more and more people are appealing to opinions rather than fact. To populist causes rather than solutions that will work.

8803e3a7b39eb8592f3ccee708ac5bf9We need to get real.
Yes, things aren’t great for a lot of people. Can they be fixed overnight? No. We need to engage. We need to talk, debate and argue to discern the best course of action for those who need the most action.

All parties and those not members of parties are guilty of this.

We are too quick to judge, quick to argue, yet not quick enough to consider. I too am guilty of this. But its something we all need to do.

I find myself on a political island, assailed by both the loud right and the loud left. I find myself defending views that I thought were widely held and see friends who I used to have debates and political disagreements with on this same Island having the same problems. How did it come to this?

Is it education? Populism? Or is it for some people when they are fed up they lash out?

745119212-luke-lirot-quote-it-is-not-a-perfect-world-but-we-can-do-betterWe can do better.

We all can do better.

I’m not leaving politics, but I am leaving any hopes I had of a political career. I am not able. Somethings are more important. But I have a voice and I will use it. I will support the causes I care about and I will remain a member of Fine Gael.

But I am FED UP!

Ministers of State Announced

ministersofstate2016Today an Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced the appointments of Junior Ministers which were agreed at Cabinet today. They are as follows

  • Minister of State for European Affairs, Data Protection and the E.U. Single Digital Market– Dara Murphy, Cork North Central, (Departments of the Taoiseach, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Justice and Equality)
  • Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement – Eoghan Murphy, Dublin Bay South, (Departments of Finance, and Public Expenditure and Reform)
  • Minister of State for Tourism and Sport – Patrick O’Donovan, Limerick County, (Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport)
  • Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal – Damien English, Meath West, (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government)
    5. Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources – Sean Kyne, Galway West, (Departments of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, and Climate Change, Communications and Natural Resources)
  • Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture – Andrew Doyle, Wicklow, (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine)
  • Minister of State for Employment and Small Business– Pat Breen, Clare, (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)
  • Minister of State for Training and Skills – John Halligan, Waterford, (Departments of Education, and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)
  • Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People – Helen McEntee, Meath East, (Department of Health)
  • Minister of State for Health Promotion – Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Offaly, (Department of Health)
  • Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief– Sean Canney, Galway East, (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform)
  • Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid – Joe McHugh, Donegal (Departments of the Taoiseach, and Foreign Affairs and Trade)
  • Regional Economic Development – Michael Ring, Mayo, (Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht)
  • Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy– Catherine Byrne, Dublin South-Central, (Health, and Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht)
  • Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration, and Integration – David Stanton, Cork East, (Department of Justice and Equality)

    These appointments are in addition to the three Ministers of State who were appointed when the Government was formed – Regina Doherty, Finian McGrath and Paul Kehoe.

The total number of Junior Ministers now stand at 18. Of those 3 are Independent TDs (Finian McGrath, John Halligan and Sean Canney) and the other 15 are members of Fine Gael.

#UCCEconoCon Live Blog

Refresh for updates, thanks to @AudreyEWalsh for some of the quotes

Hello and welcome to my live blog of the UCC Economics Society Economic Conference. There is a great line up of speakers organised and I will be updating this post as the day goes on. Feel free to ask questions in the comments on Twitter (@spiller2 or @corkeconomics) or on Facebook. Todays Timetable:

11:30 – 11:35    Welcome by Stephen Barry, Auditor of UCC Economics Society
11:35 – 11:50    Opening Address by Robbie Butler, UCC Department of Economics

11:50 – 12:50    Panel Discussion 1: Is politics the greatest stumbling block to economic stability? Ciaran Lynch TD, Sinead Ryan and Declan Jordan, Peter Mathews TD and John Considine (Chair)

12:50 – 13:20    Q&A

13:20 – 14:20    Lunch

14:20 – 14:40 “Gaming It: Incentives, Cheating and the Grey Area in Sports” – Declan Jordan

14:40 – 15:40    Panel Discussion 2: The Eurozone – wobbling on a tightrope between growth and debt? Megan Greene, Seamus Coffey, Brendan Keenan, Lorcan Roche-Kelly and Tim Harford (Chair)

15:40 – 16.10   Q&A

16:10 – 16:20    Coffee Break

16.20 –     Keynote Speech by Tim Harford

Robbie Butler:

  • We can go from Primary to University without studying Economics.
  • We don’t teach basic Economics, how to save, how to spend, how not to spend more then you earn
  • Interest in Economics has declined since the recession.
  • Need to capture imagination of young people. Less than 10% leave formal education with education in economics

Panel 1: Is politics the greatest stumbling block to economic stability?

Declan Jordan

  • Politics isnt the greatest stumbling block to economic stability
  • Do Governments hinder or help the Economy
  • 13 Countries with good growth had committed, credible and capable Government
  • Bad decisions and Bad Governments can damage Economies
  • Electorate needs to incentives “good politicians” with “Good policies”
  • we tend to see politics as a problem, we get the government we deserve, we elected them
  • we elected the same government 3 times who had short term views, but we contributed to it

Peter Matthews TD

  • We’ve had a volatile economic situation here, as opposed to stagnation (Japan) or depressed (Soviet Union)
  • Unregulated markets has wrecked the real economy.
  • Read the “Price of Inequality” – Joseph Stiglitz
  • Also read “Thinking Fast & Slow” by Daniel Kahneman
  • This country is overburdened by debt which is unsustainable! A debt right down for Ireland would be the right thing to do!
  • The 11 MEPs need to agree on working together to reduce the €53bn debt

Sinead Ryan

  • 1st lesson of economics is of scarcity, 1st lesson of politics is to ignore the 1st lesson of economics.
  • Where there is conflict between Economist and Politicians, the tax payer ends up the loser.
  • Examples are Irish Water, HSE, Bank Crisis and unprofitable routes on public transport
  • No politician wants to be called brave

Ciaran Lynch TD

  • If Government is a stumbling block for economic stability if bad policies are followed, its not if good policies are followed.
  • Everyone now has opinion about economics just as in politics
  • The financial crisis has both internal and external causes!
  • Economics does not come with an ideology, just like Politics
  • Coming out of the current crisis/bailout is an example of how politics can work
  • Life cycle carbon taxes – there is not enough materials in the world to meet future supply.
  • Politics does not cause instability but pursuing economic dogma does

Q&A: Question: How do we get the Politician’s we deserve

  • Economist should provide Electorate with information
  • Economist should fact check on political policies

“ECB Monetary Policy” – Lorcan Roche Kelly

  • German Economy is the most important tool to the the ECB
  • To get where the ECB wants to be, the must do something new. They can’t cut interest rates. Money supply must be managed better!
  • The crisis that Europe is facing, is not a debt crisis…. it is a growth crisis!
  • The best thing that happened to the ECB was Trichet leaving the bank and Draghi coming in
  • The Euro suffers from a publicity problem

“Gaming It: Incentives, Cheating and the Grey Area in Sports” – Declan Jordan

  • Lots of cheating in sport, Luis Suraz, World Cup 1982, Theire Henry, A-Rod, Lance Armstrong, Maradonna.
  • Cheating is not new, its easier, they do work hard
  • Its’ expected
  • Is bending the rules allowed?
  • Cheating needs a new definition
  • Should be defined as Breaking the rules for Advantage

Panel 2: The Eurozone – wobbling on a tightrope between growth and debt?

Brendan Keenan

  • Eurozone is still a collection of National Economies, cant be compared to USA. Huge disparities between Governments
  • The eurozone crisis could easily erupt again!
  • Ireland facing more contraction until 2016, Public spending can grow beyond that if we reach that if international recovery
  • Is Ireland political willing to continue walking the tightrope? It will still be tough
  • A Tightrope… doesn’t matter which side you fall off! You fall off! A second bailout would lead to unknown territory.

Megan Greene

  • Adding an item to the agenda, INFLATION…… it should be growth, solvency and inflation.
  • It is important to look at 2 different solvency levels: 1) Public Solvency levels 2) External Solvency levels
  • 2014 will be a chronic year for the Eurozone, however next year things should get get better!
  • Germany has some room to provide some stimulus, but unlikely as its facing a rapid ageing population
  • German’s population is ageing and while their fiscal policy is good, their future generations will be paying the price.
  • Banking Union will not be about burden sharing, which was the point
  • Debt conference in Europe with all the weaker countries (and perhaps France), to restructure debt, is necessary.
  • The most political likely deal is debt restructuring. It will be politically tough. But rescheduling at least is nessecary

Seamus Coffey

  • If deflation appears in prices, it might not be too bad. However, if it appears in wages, it would not good!
  • Deflation also affects Government income, VAT and Duty.
  • Those most hurt by deflation are those in debt. Most in debt? Governments- where anti deflation comments come
  • We still havent solved the Banking Crisis
  • EU needs to become more federal, whether in policy or fiscally, for social project of 1950s to avoid getting stuck
  • The Burden of the Debt has to go Somewhere

Lorcan Roche Kelly

  • Eurozone is almost a Co-Op
  • The Eurozone is a good tempate for a Federalised Europe
  • We need a really bad crisis for politicians to hand over fiscal power. Seeds are there for that crisis. Sovereign Debt
  • The answer is more Europe
  • Integration or Disintegration
  • We are half way across canyon, if we turn around we will fall off.

Keynote Speech: Tim Harford

  • Focusing on the story of Alban William Phillips (Also known as Bill Phillips)
  • He is the Indiana Jones of Economics
  • Invented the Moniac the first computer model of an economy
  • Developed the Philips Curve, the correlation between inflation and unemployment
  • The 1970’s Oil Crisis discredited the Philips Curve
  • When he developed the curve he never believed in it.

And thats it folks! Thanks for joining me!

 

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Diary of a Canvasser – By-Election Edition

On Saturday I went on my first By-Election canvass since getting involved with Young Fine Gael. I was in Ratoath in Meath East canvassing for the Fine Gael Candidate Helen McEntee who is running for election to replace her father who tragically died before Christmas.

This canvass was different to any other canvass I had done. While I had travelled distances before to canvass, never have I had to travel long distances between houses!!! Yes it was a rural canvass!

Thankfully I was in good company as my friend Sinead, another city slicker like myself, was with me and I would like to think we managed it ably! There was also four members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party in the area, Minister Ciaran Cannon, Deputy Regina Doherty (who’s office was doing an amazing job organising us), Deputy Jerry Buttimer and Senator Colm Burke.

The fresh air, the animals, the smells, and getting in and out of the car so often took a bit of getting used to. Also the numerous holes, bumps and various other things I fell over meant I had an interesting day and slept on the way home! But I think I will definitely be better prepared for my next rural canvass if I have to do one in Cork South Central at the next election.

Now I was expecting to be lambasted out of it on the doors considering everything in the media about the current Government. While there was a lot of unhappiness about the current state of the country, many people understood that recovery takes time, and were waiting it out.

The canvass also reminded me of the inherit politeness of Irish people. While they may not agree with us, they would listen to us and engage and be surprised that we had travelled all the way from Cork to canvass for Helen.

One thing that struck me while up there was the professionalism of the campaign. When we arrived we were handed maps and told exactly where to go. There is a very efficient plan in place which will hopefully pay off on March 27th.

We of course weren’t the only canvass team in the area, Fianna Fail were out with Willie O’Dea canvassing for Sen. Thomas Byrne, Labour were out for Cllr Eoin Holmes, Sinn Fein were out for Darren O’Rourke and Direct Democracy Ireland were out for Ben Gilroy.

It was interesting at lunch time as Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein were all in the same place! Which led to some hilarious conversations as you can well imagine!

It is impossible to tell which way this vote will go, and you never really trust people when they tell you they are voting for your candidate, well you don’t when you have been canvassing as long as I have, but if they were telling the truth Helen has a very good chance of retaining her father’s seat.

Unfortunately I won’t get up to Meath again before the vote, so I am hoping that the people of Meath East will back Helen McEntee who is a young, capable and fantastic candidate and will ably represent the people of Meath East in Dáil Eireann.

A Permament Referendum Commission? How about an Election Commission?

 

No Jobs In The Lisbon Lisbon Treaty
No Jobs In The Lisbon Lisbon Treaty (Photo credit: infomatique)

Today the suggestion has been made for a permanent Referendum Commission after everything that happened with the Children’s Right’s referendum, but is it really viable? Would an election commission be a better idea?

Apart from recent spate of referendums (4 in the last 12 months) we do not have that many referendums, so a permanent Referendum Commission is really out of the question, it would be a quango and we are supposed to be cutting them!

But would not an Election Commission or Electoral Commission be a better solution. So what would it do?

It could do the following:

  • take on the functions of the Standard’s in Public Office Commission (SIPO),
  • take on the roll of registering political parties from the Clerk of the Dáil,
  • take on the roll of registering nominating bodies from the Clerk of the Seanad,
  • take on the roll of maining the electoral register from local authorities,
  • take on the roll of the Referendum Commission during the referendum,
  • take responsibility for the running of all elections as well as the appointment of returning officers,
  • and take responsibility for educate the public on voting in all elections in the state.

Would that not be a better solution? Would that not be more useful? I doubt this will happen, but I think the Government should consider it at least!

The least the government should do is return the powers of the Referendum Commission it had before the first Nice Referendum! But I won’t hold my breath!!

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Gay Adoption? YFG to discuss motion in favour

Adoption by Choice, Erie PA
Adoption by Choice, Erie PA (Photo credit: hbimedialibrary)

Another of the motions released ahead of the Young Fine Gael National Conference next weekend is one of the issues that has been left unlooked at following the Civil Partnership Act. Gay Adoption. The motion from DCU reads as follows

YFG call on the government to bring forward legislation allowing gay couples to adopt

Currently a poll on thejournal.ie has support for gay adoption on 72%. Young Fine Gael passed a motion on support for Gay Marriage with a massive majority at Summer School last summer.

While young people are in favour of this proposition and polls regularly show  strong support for it, it will be interesting to see how this motion pans out at conference.

In a related note check out this video from the Washington State debate on Gay Marriage

Motions to be discussed at YFG Conference 2012

  • YFG proposes that an incentive for young farmers be introduced by increasing the number of training places in agricultural colleges – Laois YFG
  • YFG approves of the process of fracking as can it can prove a viable energy source in Ireland for the foreseeable future – UCD YFG
  • YFG proposes that the 1989 Incitement of Hatred Act be updated to include provisions relating to social media and social networking – Kilkenny YFG
  • YFG believes that a graduate tax should be introduced for all college graduates as a means of funding their education and the present entry fees should be phased out over 5 years. Households with an income of below €45,000 would be exempted – UCC YFG
  • YFG believes that it is imperative that the ECB renegotiates the current promissory note structure with the Government. It is in the best interests of the Irish economy, the ECB, the Euro and the European Union that the structure of the promissory notes system is changed. Failure to do so will create an unsustainable debt burden for Ireland, causing huge barriers to job creation and restricting growth in the Irish economy – YFG National Executive
  • Young Fine Gael strongly supports Ireland’s membership of the euro and the efforts of EU Government to stabilise the eurozone, and; calls on the Government to engage with other EU member states to implement real and lasting reform of the EU treaties and institutions to ensure that the dangerous political paralysis of the last two years can never be repeated. – Alfie Byrne YFG
  • YFG calls on FG to live up to its election promise and removes Irish as a compulsory subject in the Leaving Certificate – Wexford YFG
  • YFG call on the government to bring forward legislation allowing gay couples to adopt – DCU YFG

Fianna Fail won’t Facilitate a Norris Run

Original Raidió Teilifís Éireann logo
Image via Wikipedia

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?

Garret Fitzgerald RIP

Crop of Garret FitzGerald arriving for The Lis...
Image via Wikipedia

This morning I awoke to the sad news that former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald had passed away. “Garret the Good” as he was known was always someone held in high regard in my family. He is one of the Giants of Irish Politics. He gave his all to Irish Politics and was a shining example of active citizenship in this country.

He was the founding fathers of Young Fine Gael as part of his reorganisation of Fine Gael in 1977. He is one of the reasons I joined the Fine Gael party. He dragged the Fine Gael party to the centre and allowed it be the party that is now.

Garret played a massive role in the peace process in Northern Ireland and this weeks events is a testament to the ground work he did.

Also Garret was Minister for Foreign Affairs during Ireland’s first EU Presidency and was widely praised for this. He interest in Europe never waned and he was involved in the campaigns for the Nice and Lisbon Treaties. In future campaigns on Europe he will be sorely missed. For both his passion and his intellect.

We now as a state must be thankful to Garret for what he did for us.

My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. May he Rest in Peace.

Ar dheis de go raibh a anam dilis

Links

Why Fingal’s nomination isn’t worth the paper its written on

Senator David Norris
Image via Wikipedia

You may read in the papers and on the internet that Fingal County Council have nominated Senator David Norris for the Presidency. Unfortunately for Senator Norris, this nomination will not count towards the four he needs.

This is because the Election has not yet been called and therefore nominations cannot be made. This is covered under the Presidential Elections Act 1993.

Under Section 16 of the act a Council is given the right to nominate a candidate. The only check on this is under Section 16 (2) which states:

A resolution under this section shall not be passed before the date of the making of the presidential election order in respect of the presidential election to which the resolution relates and, subject to sections 30 and 31 , such a resolution shall not be rescinded.

The election will not commence until the Minister Environment, Community and Local Government issues the presidential election order.

So Fingal County Council will have to re-vote on this after the presidential election order is issued.

Northern Ireland Assembly Election 2011

Northern Ireland Assembly logo
Image via Wikipedia

This year the people of Northern Ireland will go to the polls to elect 108 MLA’s to the Northern Ireland Assembly on May 5th.

The current standings of the parties are as follows:

  • Democratic Unionist Party: 36
  • Sinn Fein: 27
  • Ulster Unionist Party: 18
  • Social Democratic and Labour Party: 16
  • Alliance Party: 7
  • Green Party: 1
  • Independents: 5

The campaign is well under way since the Assembly was dissolved on 24th of March and a number of issues have been raised.

Issues raised have been health, education, policing, and the possibility of a Sinn Fein First Minister. This may be seen as scaremongering, but it is a possibility.

I will be following the election as it progresses. Below is some of the Party Election Broadcast that have been shown.

DUP

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn-QDLA0DzU’]

Sinn Fein

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-1zEMuMOXg’]

UUP

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4lg_yR5Tvw’]

SDLP

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ3Mm-8c2Ag’]

Alliance

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMPsxq_7AzE’]

Green Party

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA7faRfVhjk’]

UKIP

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKHVo8DNU3g’]

BNP

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dasfQyGSBkY’]

Have I missed any? Let me know.