Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘General Election 2011’ Category

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

Mar 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Legislate for X – Shocking Leak of HSE Halappanavar Report

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Joan Collins TD, Clare Daly TD Statement –13 Feb 2013 –
Legislate for X –Now No restrictions that make abortion unavailable

Today’s leaked report of the draft HSE investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar contains shocking confirmation of what was reported at the time of her death –and more. Commenting on the leaks in the press Joan Collins said

“The first person to see this report should have been Praveen Halappanavar. We hope this has happened and that he has not read about it in the papers. It is unacceptable that a report which was apparently concluded six weeks ago should be delayed for another ten days before being published. The leaks from this report confirm that a dying fetus was given priority over an increasing risk to Savita’s life. It says that even before her request for an abortion, ‘the clinical situation indicated a significant and increasing risk to the mother’; and that ‘… septic shock could have been avoided by an earlier termination knowing that –without a termination –the prognosis for the fetus and potentially for the patient was poor”

Yet a consultant is quoted as saying “our hands were tied” by the current legal situation as long as there was a fetal heartbeat and no immediate risk to the woman’s life.” Clare Daly said: “Whatever the interpretation of current guidelines by the doctors concerned, this must never happen again. There must be legislation so that doctors can perform abortions when pregnancy puts a woman’s life at risk. And as the Chief Justice said in the X Case ruling, that risk should not have to be ‘immediate or inevitable’ in order for abortion to be approved. The forthcoming legislation must not have restrictions so that abortion is unavailable in practice. The opinion of no more than two medical practitioners should be sufficient to unds of physical risk to life ocal practitioners should be sufficient to approve abortion –either on grounds of physical risk to life or risk of suicide. Abortion should be available throughout the country –as near as possible to women’s homes –and not restricted to just a few hospitals. And abortion should be available if a fetus has an abnormality that means it cannot survive.

Legislation for X might have saved Savita’s life. But what her death shows is that abortion must be available if a pregnancy puts a woman’s health at risk. There is overwhelming popular support for abortion in such situations, as well as for rape and incest, or fatal fetal abnormality. The most recent poll shows 60% support for ‘a woman’s right to choose’. Abortion in these circumstances, which we support, requires the repeal of Art 40.3.3 of the Constitution.

Savita’s unnecessary death must not be the fate of other women. There must be no more delays in legislating to the X case. Once that’s in place we will be campaigning for the repeal of Art 40.3.3 and the introduction of
free, safe, legal abortion in Ireland.

Written by tomasoflatharta

Feb 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Mr Gilmore’s Labour Party To Lose 27 of its 37 Seats?

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This analysis fits in very comfortably with the assessment published on this blog last Saturday February 9 following the publication of an Irish Times Opinion Poll.

A different related question which deserves attention is what to do about the construction of an anti-capitalist/anti-coalition akternative, both inside and outside the Dail.

The Cedar Lounge Revolution

I know we’re probably a few years away from an election but ….. with Labour now sliding in the polls , Paddy Healy made an interesting Comment on the recent Sunday Business Post Red C poll stating

When the Labour party vote declined to 10.4% in the 1997 GE following the Spring/Bruton/De Rossa government , it retained 17 of 33 seats. I believe that if Labour polled 11% in a general election to-day that it would retain far less seats. Traditionally, many Labour candidates were elected on transfers from independents and minor parties (in addition to benefitting from the surplus of coalition partner Fine Gael). The current poll indicates that Sinn Fein will be above the Labour Party on first counts in a large number of constituencies. Sinn Fein transfers will be unavailable in far more constituencies than was the case in the 2011 General Election. The decline in the…

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Written by tomasoflatharta

Feb 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

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 –

https://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.

X Case – Anti-abortionists restrictions must be rejected

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Joan Collins TD, Clare Daly TD

Statement – 4 Feb 2013 – immediate release

 

Legislate for X Case

Anti-abortionists restrictions must be rejected

 

The delay of a memo to Cabinet regarding the forthcoming legislation on abortion shows that pressure from the anti-abortion minority must be rejected, said Clare Daly TD and Joan Collins TD.

Joan Collins said:

“The suggestion that the opinions four or five medical practitioners should be required to approve a medical treatment – in this case abortion – to remove a risk to a woman’s life, is an attempt to make abortion inaccessible in practise.

The idea that a despairing woman or girl, driven to consider suicide as a means to escape the trauma of continuing a pregnancy she truly cannot face, would be able or willing to go through four or five medical assessments is a cruel denial of the reality of such a situation. Confronted with such restrictions, any woman who could afford it would travel abroad for an abortion. Poorer women, girls, or those too ill to travel would face obstructions that could drive them over the edge.”

Clare Daly went on:

“A maximum of two medical practitioners, and in an emergency one – should be enough to approve abortion when it is necessary to remove a threat to a woman’s life. And such a threat, as the Chief Justice said in X Case ruling, should not need to be ‘immediate or inevitable’ in order to approve an abortion. The anti-abortion minority must not be allowed continue to impose other restrictions – which could put women’s lives at risk.

Delays in the introduction of legislation for X – which is very restrictive and would only apply in the few instances where lives are threatened – shows the need to repeal Art 40.3.3 from the Constitution to make abortion an issue of medical treatment to be decided by a woman in consultation with her doctor.”

—————————

More on the Government’s Foot-Dragging Here :

What Do We Not Talk About When We Do Not Talk About Abortion?

http://www.claredaly.ie/what-do-we-not-talk-about-when-we-do-not-talk-about-abortion/#more-1333

if it were finally accepted that the old Church-State complex was no longer the dominant force in Ireland, the way would be paved for a very awkward discussion; what should be the dominant ideology in Ireland? How should the state relate to class and gender? Who should hold power and, more importantly, who should have power taken away from them?

And so we get Lucinda Creighton, Enda Kenny, and many other politicians who ordinarily are full supporters of free-choice (as long as it is the limited neo-liberal kind of free choice in the market place) clamouring to strictly control this debate, to not pass legislation for as long as possible, and, whenever they do finally pass legislation, to make sure it is as limited in scope as possible.  This practiced silence and inactivity is a conscious strategy, based on the idea that by not talking about abortion, they might be able to also prevent us all from talking about all these other issues, of power, class and sex.

 

Greek Lessons For the Irish Far-Left – Maybe the current government is wobbling again?

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Plenty of interesting ideas here for fighting left – the current Kenny-Gilmore Government might not be as stable as it appears, despite its bloated parliamentary majority.

NAMA Wine Lake

Apparently, former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was none too happy with the two nude paintings of his corpulent frame hung by a “guerilla artist” in the National Gallery in 2009.  Our nakedness can be a great leveler, and how quickly the veneer of unchallengeable respectability fades away when an image is planted of you naked sitting on a toilet gripping loo-roll.

We are presently seeing a slow striptease by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan of the impenetrable and seemingly interminable promissory note negotiations. We still don’t know who is negotiating on behalf of Ireland, though apparently it’s employees of the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the NTMA.

But the shield of “technical and complicated reengineering” of the debts shouldered by us all in respect of the promissory notes given to three institutions, including Anglo, is slowly being lowered as we get a sinking feeling that negotiations, that have been…

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A hidden scandal – MI5 in Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland under the peace process is supposed to have put the bad old days of Police Collusion with Loyalist Murder Gangs, and state force misbehaviour, into the distant past. The recent De Silva Report on the murder of civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane contains a lot of material which is very critical of the British State but leaves many questions unanswered :
Ed Moloney concludes in this essay :
“So, a powerful indictment of…what? RUC incompetence or malevolence, or evidence of some hidden subterranean manipulation? We don’t know because as with so much of Sir Desmond de Silva’s report, there are more questions than answers, more what’s, where’s and when’s than why’s.”
Bringing the story up-to–date read Eamonn McCann’s Belfast Telegraph Article
Sham row over ‘FBI-style’ body hides scandal of MI5
Web Link :
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/eamon-mccann/sham-row-over-fbistyle-body-hides-scandal-of-mi5-16268218.html?r=RSS

More and More, peace process policing and justice in Northern Ireland is hidden from view – Kafka-like rules are becoming more common, where people are held in jail without even knowing the charges made against them – as highlighted in another article on this blog featuring Dáil questions from Clare Daly TD to Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore.

The Broken Elbow

Why Was Billy Stobie Charged With Pat Finucane’s Murder?

I should first of all disclose an interest in this story. As they say in the country where I now live, I have a dog in the fight.

Billy Stobie was a valued source of mine and not only did I harbor the loyalty towards him that journalists should always show their sources – in our case to the extent that I fought and successfully defeated a Scotland Yard subpoena seeking the notes of our conversations which were sought to buttress his criminal prosecution – but I also liked him despite his all too evident flaws.

That he was a rogue and a scoundrel was undeniable. That image that was set in cement in the public mind when The Sunday Tribune published his photo above the story of his involvement in the Pat Finucane scandal just after his arrest in June…

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