Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘31st Dáil Elected 25.2.2011’ Category

Restrictions in Protection of Life Bill demeaning to women – Social Affairs & News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times -…

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The English Solution to an Irish Problem

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The English Solution to an Irish Problem; Martyn Turner, the Irish Times Cartoonist, Tells it As It Is

Small and Big Steps

Small and Big Steps

“CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS in the UK have released statistics this morning on the number of terminations that were carried out in England and Wales last year, highlighting the incidence of women travelling from Ireland to avail of abortion services.

A total of 3,982 women gave addresses in the Republic of Ireland when attending clinics and hospitals during 2012. That made up the 68 per cent of the 5,850 abortions provided to women resident outside both countries. Women from Northern Ireland made up another 15 per cent of the figure.” The new restrictive X Case Law, which the Labour Party and Fine Gael ensured was carried by the Dáil last night, will not change this situation. Pro-Choice TD’s put down several amendments which were rejected; the defeated pro-choice amendments included a provision to allow women with fatal foetal abnormalities access to an abortion in Ireland. Another Savita Halappanavar type case is inevitable, sooner or later. http://www.thejournal.ie/at-least-21-women-from-every-county-in-ireland-had-an-abortion-in-the-uk-last-year-988359-Jul2013/

National Women’s Council of Ireland Director Orla O’Connor makes the current situation clear :

“Over 17,000 men and women wrote 77,428 emails to their TDs and Senators over the last few months to call for legislation to give full effect to the X case as part of NWCI’s campaign. This is evidence of the high level of public support throughout Ireland for access to safe and legal abortion in life threatening cases, including risk of suicide.”

“Yet what people were calling for has not been delivered in this Bill. Abortion remains a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison and onerous and inaccessible procedures for women dominate the Bill. We urge the Government, as the Bill goes through its final stages, to take on board our proposed amendments so we have legislation that is fair, just and workable for women in Ireland.”

She continued,

“It is also critically important for us to acknowledge that with the passing of this legislation Ireland will continue to have one of the most restrictive abortion regimes globally.  It will provide no solution to women who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities or where there is a risk to the health of the woman. Women in crisis pregnancies, over 4,000 every year, will still be forced to travel abroad for abortions. Women in Ireland must be in a position to make personal decisions about their own bodies and health care free from coercion, discrimination and the threat of incarceration.  http://www.nwci.ie/news/2013/07/10/vote-on-abortion-legislation-a-historic-moment-for/

Here is Deirdre Conroy’s Account of the shameful Dáil Debate on foetal abnormality :

Minister’s contribution to debate on foetal abnormality was disrespectful to women

87 % are in favour of medical intervention for this condition  http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/minister-s-contribution-to-debate-on-foetal-abnormality-was-disrespectful-to-women-1.1460755?page=1

Ten Marks Out of Ten : Statement by Six Pro-Choice TD’s Who Will Vote No to the Government’s Pathetically Weak X Case Legislation

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Ten Marks Out of Ten : Statement by Six Pro-Choice TD’s who will vote No to the Government’s Pathetically Weak X Case Legislation

Statement – Abortion Bill – 10 July 2013 – immediate release

See also :

http://www.thejournal.ie/pro-choice-abortion-987669-Jul2013/#comment-1368450

Pro-choice TDs say they have been forced to oppose abortion Bill because it criminalizes women and is unnecessarily restrictive

Bill will not prevent another death like Savita Halappanavar

Restrictions will cause doctors to delay terminations – putting women at risk

Pro-choice TDs this evening declared their intention to vote against the Fine Gael – Labour abortion Bill.

Clare Daly said:

“In the absence of a referendum to repeal Art 40.3.3 of the Constitution – for which we call – we were willing to support legislation in line with the X Case Ruling of 1992. This Bill however, will put more obstacles in the way of access to life-saving abortions than are required by the Constitution.

This legislation is happening in the wake of the sad death of Savita Halappanavar. Yet the Fine Gael – Labour Bill, by defining and giving legal protection to ‘unborn human life’ from the moment of implantation until delivery, will not prevent similar deaths. It will make terminations illegal during an inevitable miscarriage while there is still a foetal heartbeat. If a woman gets an infection in such circumstances, doctors will have to delay a termination until her life is at risk. This was what happened to Savita Halappanavar – and the same could happen again under this Bill.”
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Leaders Questions Mayday; Clare Daly Challenges Enda Kenny on Abortion Bill

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http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=slFyQDyrcHY&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DslFyQDyrcHY

The leader of backward Irish Vatiban (Fine Gael) defends women-hating laws; pregnant women beware!

Deputy Kenny is out of step with popular opinion :

http://tomasoflatharta.com/2013/02/11/pope-benedicts-resignation-brings-end-to-paradoxical-papacy/

What is in the new government bill on abortion?  Will it make the current position better or worse?

In 2012 Clare Daly proposed a bill in Dáil Éireann to implement the Supreme Court X Case Judgment of 1992 – later endorsed in two referendums held in 1992 and 2002 – which would have legalised Abortion in Ireland in very limited circumstances.

Now the government has come forward with a new bill – following mass outrage at the death in a Galway hospital of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied an abortion which would probably have saved her life.

http://tomasoflatharta.com/2012/11/21/savitas-law/

The government is also under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights after the A, B, and C cases; the court instructed the Dublin government to legislate on abortion.

It is necessary, at this early stage, to carefully look at the contents of the government bill, and propose alternatives which will take forward the pro-choice cause in Ireland.

The statement below, issued by pro-choice TD’s Clare Daly and Joan Collins, is a contribution to this effort.

Clare Daly TD, Joan Collins TD

Statement – May1, 2013 – immediate release

Needs of despairing women ignored – lives will be put at risk

Expert Group recommendations ignored

Commenting on the government’s draft bill on abortion, Clare Daly TD and Joan Collins TD called for changes to deal with shortcomings in the Bill:

Clare Daly said:

Today, May Day, when women have fought for their rights as workers, we are still fighting for our rights as women. I welcome the publication of the government’s proposals for minimal legislation on abortion, but it contains restrictions that will continue to put women’s lives at risk.

There are neither medical nor social grounds for requiring the approval of three consultants to agree to abortion for a despairing woman, driven towards suicide because of unwanted pregnancy. A psychiatric emergency is no different to a medical emergency and is treated as such by clinicians. If one of the government’s panel of three says ‘no’, it is up to the woman to push for an appeal to another three. Most women would give up at the possibility of a second refusal and be driven further into despair, or forced overseas – if they can afford it. This must change: no more than two medical practitioners should be required to approve abortion for suicidal women.

Women who cannot face these obstacles, and induce abortion themselves, are threatened with 14 years in prison. They would be branded as criminals if they obtain abortions in Ireland – yet the government is happy to see it done in Liverpool. The ‘chilling factor’ of criminalisation referred to by the European Court of Human Rights has been transferred from doctors to women. This hypocrisy must end: abortion must be decriminalised.”

Joan Collins said:

The government has ignored Art 6.4.1 of its own Expert Group Report, which said that two doctors was enough to make a clinical decision on the risks to a woman’s life because of physical or mental health condition. They have also ignored the views of the majority, who support legislation for the X case, and organisations including SIPTU, Unite the Union, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Union of Students in Ireland – representing hundreds of thousands of people. They have called for no more than two medical practitioners as sufficient to approve abortion.

This Bill is a political compromise with Fine Gael backbenchers and the anti-abortion minority, which will compromise women’s lives rather than meet women’s needs. It also reinforces the distinction between a woman’s life and her health and welfare – where a woman who could be permanently incapacitated by pregnancy cannot get an abortion. The 8th Amendment must be repealed and women’s health needs and choices provided for.

We will be examining this draft Bill in the coming days and will table amendments to remove the unnecessary restrictions contained in it.”

Ireland: What’s left after the ULA? | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

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http://links.org.au/node/3326

Henry Silke on the decline of the ULA.

Clare Daly Questions Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Abortion

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Dail Rushes Property Tax on to Statute Book – PickPocket Law Ridiculed by Clare Daly TD

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United Left established within the ULA

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From the Cedar Lounge 3rd March 2013

“With the new opinion poll there was a timely agreement yesterday in Dublin by the supporters of Joan Collins TD (including the Dublin 12 ULA Branch), Clare Daly TD, Cllr. Declan Bree (Sligo) and most of the active ULA nonaligned to form a new platform or organisation within the ULA, ‘United Left’.

The main focus of United Left will be the need for a new, broad based non sectarian party to represent and organise working people and to build the United Left and the wider alliance as a preparation for such a party. United Left bases itself on the founding statement of the ULA.

It also aims to develop a strategy to build further by involving other left organisations and groups either as part of the United Left or the wider alliance.

United Left will register as a ‘party’ for electoral purposes.

It is planned to have a public launch of United Left and a series of local public meetings in the near future.”

Written by tomasoflatharta

March 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Ireland’s Banking Fiasco, Midnight Parliamentary Madness, A Government in Free Fall…..and Mass Media Self-Delusion

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Many media commentators predicted a popularity boost for a struggling Government because of extraordinary events this week.

They seem to be singing from this Labour Party Leadership Circular to its councillors :

“Farewell to Anglo!
Last night’s legislation brings an end to Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society. These two institutions, names that will live on in ignominy, are forever associated with the recklessness and greed of a tiny clique that brought this country to the edge of financial ruin. These banks, the people who ran them and the golden circle around them were at the very roots of the crisis that has caused so much distress to the Irish people.

In liquidating this institution, we are doing what should have been done on the night of the blanket bank guarantee.

This is another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people, when the past can finally recede into the distance and when Ireland and the Irish people can see the future that they truly deserve”

This text was apparently put into the public domain by Labour Party Fingal Councillor Cian Ó Ceallacháin, who dissents from the austerity dogma promoted by his party leadership.

Opinion Polls in the last few months have been grim reading for the parties leading the current coalition government, Fine Gael and Labour.

Labour Pains in 2013 Opinion Polls

There is one fundamental reason for the fall in Fine Gael and Labour Party ratings : Mssrs Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore are continuing to carry out the policies of the previous Fianna Fáil / Green Party Coalition.

The scale of the FF/GP fall between the General Elections of 2007 and 2011 was spectacular :  the two parties won 84 seats in 2007 but collapsed to 20 in 2011 – a staggering loss of 64 TD’s, reducing the Green Party Dáil delegation from Six to Nil.

Opinion Polls began to register this electoral earthquake after a 2008 all-night Dáil session which gave birth to the Brian Lenihan inspired “bail-out”, shoring up the Bust Anglo-Irish Bank and ushering in a programme of austerity, cuts to public services, privatisation, and tax increases.

Fine Gael and Labour this week staged a re-run of Brian Lenihan’s all-night Leinster House Show, once again rushing through a complex piece of financial legislation connected with the financial crisis.

Will these parties follow the electoral example of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party?

Since the Savita Halappanavar Scandal, the opinion poll ratings of the government parties have gone into free fall.

An opinion poll published in today’s Irish Times confirms the trend,with major losses predicted for Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

Adrian Kavanagh has done his usual excellent number-crunching giving this predicted result if a General Election was held tomorrow :

STATE  FG 42  FF 51  LP 15 SF 26 Others 24

Compare this with the 2011 result

STATE  FG 76
 FF 20
 LP 37
SF 14
Others 19

In other words, Fine Gael and Labour will lose a staggering 56 seats if these numbers are right.

In fact losses for the Labour Party will very probably exceed the catastrophic defeat predicted above :

Adrian Kavanagh says that “actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here” :

Labour’s declining support levels (down eight percentage points on the party’s support levels in the 2011 election) translate in a further significant drop in the seat estimates allocated to the party in these latest poll analyses. The party’s support levels are now on a par with the levels earned by the party in the 2002 and 2007 general elections though its seat estimates here are lower than the seats won by that party in those contests due to (i) the increase competition levels offer by Sinn Fein and other left-of-centre political groupings and (ii) the impact of the boundary changes associated with the 2012 Constituency Commission report which are seen to more adversely effect Labour than another of the other parties or political groupings. It is interesting to note also that, with the exception of Galway East, most of the rebel Labour TDs would appear to be based in constituencies that this analysis suggests the party would hold seats in at an election based on national figures akin to these poll support levels. If these deputies were to remain outside the party fold to the point of running as independents the actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here.

Web Link :

actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here

Going into the detail, the following words jump out at readers interested in boosting the electoral fortunes of an anti-capitalist / anti-coalition alternative :

Boost for small parties

However, the appeal of other small parties and Independents has grown considerably since the last Irish Times poll, with a fifth of all voters now supporting this category.

The level of support for this group is particularly pronounced in Dublin, where 32 per cent of voters say they would support this category.

This is a far higher level of support than any of the political parties managed to attract and indicates that there could be many more Independents and representatives of small parties in the Dáil after the next election.

Web Link :

Support for Others at 32 Per Cent in Dublin

The others group is a mix of left and right, but in Dublin it is primarily an anti-coalition left vote.  When that vote came together in 2009, Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party won one of the three Dublin Euro-Parliament Seats.

The trials and tribulations of the faltering United Left Alliance project are being exhaustively discussed on this blog and other places.

The events of this week, and the electoral and opinion poll data above, show very decisively that, the anti-coalition anti-capitalist left must get its act together – or – in Bernadette McAliskey’s recent words at the 2013 Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Derry – “we are in for one hell of a hiding”.

“The Promissory Note Deal – A Three Card Trick” OR “another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people”

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A friend of this blog has unearthed a gem from the Irish Labour Party Presently participating in a coalition government with Fine Gael, under the leadership of Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore :

This is what the Labour Party are sending to their councillors today. I’d like to say its delusional but they are not that this stupid, although they obviously think some of their elected officials are. Fair play to Cian O’Ceallachain for publishing this stuff, going against the grain is never easy no matter how stupid it is…

“Farewell to Anglo!
Last night’s legislation brings an end to Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society. These two institutions, names that will live on in ignominy, are forever associated with the recklessness and greed of a tiny clique that brought this country to the edge of financial ruin. These banks, the people who ran them and the golden circle around them were at the very roots of the crisis that has caused so much distress to the Irish people.

In liquidating this institution, we are doing what should have been done on the night of the blanket bank guarantee.

This is another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people, when the past can finally recede into the distance and when Ireland and the Irish people can see the future that they truly deserve”

Commenting on this one writer suggested

Whoever wrote that is wasted in the Labour Party. Should be out there writing sci-fi

Our Literary Prize Panel agreed unanimously.

Words may fail you, so we present an alternative view from the blog of United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins :

Now you see it, now you don’t. Nobody should be fooled by the government spin on the deal negotiated with the ECB on the debts run up by Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide. Not a cent of the almost €35 billion poured into these two insolvent banks has been written down. This deal seals the fact that these debts have been fully socialised, that is transferred as a burden onto the Irish people.

Web Link :

Promissory Note Deal Is A Three Card Trick

The Irish government fast-tracked a new law through the Dáil, perhaps scared of a legal case taken by David Hall :

Once upon a time a failed private bank, under criminal investigation, got an IOU/promissory note from the State to pay off its bondholders. In 2011, we voted in a government that promised to tackle this blatant injustice. Last week they defended a legal challenge against the promissory notes. Then, hours before the Supreme Court could hear the appeal, in the dead of night, they rammed emergency legislation through the Dail that transfers those debts from the IBRC/Anglo (an institution we own, and with whom we could have negotiated a write-down or even a write-off of the debt) to the European Central Bank (which is legally prohibited from writing down, or writing off any of this debt – even if they wanted to. Which they don’t.)

So the ‘soft’, legally-suspect, promissory note debts, were turned into legally-sound, ‘hard’, non-negotiable, sovereign debt – without a single cent of it being written off.

In other words, the people paid to represent us have shafted us, and our children and grandchildren. But they still call it a ‘deal’ – kind of like an upgrade, to sit closer to the captain on a Slave Ship. Section 17 of the legislation now gives the Minister for Finance unprecedented powers to restructure these promissory notes with the Central Bank – without oversight and without a vote in the Dail. The terms of this ‘deal’ are being discussed now at: http://www.thejournal.ie/promissory-notes-michael-noonan-786949-Feb2013/

From this we will learn about ‘savings’ on the interest we’ll pay on this illegitimate debt, and how much icing sugar they intend to sprinkle over the shit sandwich they’ll be force-feeding us over the next few decades.

A delusional Jellyfish Spineless Labour Party has confused surrender and victory.

Gilmore’s outfit is going down in the opinion polls :

Labour Pains in 2013 Opinion Polls

Labour’s Way is now the Gormley-Green Way -

http://tomasoflatharta.com/2011/03/10/the-february-25-general-election-changed-something-in-ireland/

Any bets on how low the Labour Party and Fine Gael will dip in the next opinion polls and real elections?

We need an anti-coalition and anti-capitalist left which has the backbone for a fight, a physical feature absent from the jellyfish Labour Party.

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