This gallery contains 15 photos.
Monthly Archives: November 2012
Last week comments were left on the Facebook by the owner of popular public house Gormleys, Greg Gormley, which were less then complimentary about the organisation, now one of the largest drinks companies in the world.
The post received huge support, including from other Dundalk publicans who clearly feel that the company, and by association the Guiness brand, are losing touch with the average publican.
Greg Gormley said in the post that: “Sorry to see Guinness is losing its grip in the Irish market…”
“Why are you downgrading the line quality of your beers, putting stout into lager glasses, putting up the price of all your draught products, less and less customer service, hardly a Rep on the road, impossible to contact these people, encouraging publicans to order on-line via Diageo Connect…
“Really annoying to see what once was a great ‘IRISH’ company is now a money pit for a mean multinational company, thinking only of their dividends.
“Diageo is closing another Brewery in Dundalk, this time The Great Northern Brewery, known locally as The Harp Brewery, putting more people on the unemployment list, think it’s time for both publicans and the consumers to take a stand against the big boys and start to look into the smaller Irish Brewing Companies.”
Much of the frustration came on the back of the 5 cent increase, which many publican have felt they have had to “eat” and not pass on to customers.
“That opinion of Diageo is widely held among pub owners, yes,” says the co-owner of the Spirit Store.
“The number of reps on the roads is the main issue that I’ve encountered. It seems increasingly difficult to get a hold of them, but this appears to the strategy that Diageo are pursuing. Diageo have dispensed with much of this element of the service. “Reps are very important. We have roughly a seven day turnaround once air has made it into a Guinness keg. If there is any problem in the line, the cooling system or with the tap, and we cant’ get a rep out, that can obviosuly cause major issues.
“They have also abandoned their policy of offering a couple of free kegs at the end of the year to compensate for beer lost when a line has to be cleaned. This is a small thing but annoyed a lot of publicans. “We still sell Harp and McArdles here, and we wouldn’t open if we didn’t have Guinness. That’s your basic, fundamental beverage. But when the plant closes in the summer, people will obviously lose that brand loyality, in Dundalk at least.”
In a statement given to the Dundalk Democrat, Diageo told the paper: ”We are completely committed to the Irish pub and Diageo continues to be one of the largest financial supporters of the on-trade in the Republic of Ireland. To ensure the perfect pint is delivered in conjunction with publicans we clean all beer lines in Ireland each month carried out by a dedicated team of over 100 quality representatives. We also have sales representation in every county in Ireland and have just launched an online ordering system called ‘Diageo Connect’ which offers our customers great flexibility . We’ve received very positive feedback to date with over 3,000 customers already signed up.
“In October we wrote to our customers advising them of a price increase, this is the first in four years and has been kept to a minimum but has been necessitated by very significant increases in raw materials such as Barley and energy costs.
“In January 2012 Diageo announced it was investing e153 million in a brewing centre of excellence at St James’s Gate, Dublin. This decision is fundamental to delivering the competitiveness necessary for the long term sustainability of our brewing in Ireland. This will consolidate brewing operations from Kilkenny and Dundalk on to the St James’s Gate site and both plants will close in 2013. The new brewery will allow us to compete even more strongly from our Irish Export base, safeguarding the future of brewing in Ireland for years to come.”
BP has been blocked from seeking new contracts with the US government because of the oil company’s “lack of business integrity” during the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.
The temporary order bans BP from competing for new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico – such as the auction of 20m acres taking place on Wednesday – or from bidding on new contracts to supply the Pentagon or other government agencies with fuel.
While the ban does not affect existing business, it raises wider questions about the company’s future in a crucial market.
The type of suspension imposed by the EPA typically does not last more than 18 months. But an official said that in this case the ban could be extended because of the ongoing legal proceedings. That could mean BP, the largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico, would remain under an extended moratorium until all criminal charges and law suits are resolved.
BP was clearly taken by surprise and struggled to explain the impact on its business. Its shares fell nearly 2% in London as investors reacted with dismay to the news which puts a major dent in the company’s already battered reputation.
The order was handed down just two weeks after BP agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges arising from the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, as well as pay a record $4.5bn in fines.
The oil company, in announcing its plea deal with the Justice Department earlier this month, had specifically said it did not expect to be barred from future business dealings. “Under US law, companies convicted of certain criminal acts can be debarred from contracting with the federal government,” the company said in its statement at the time. “BP has not been advised of the intention of any federal agency to suspend or debar the company in connection with this plea agreement.”
The EPA said the suspension was based on BP’s conduct at the time of the blow-out as well as the 87 days it took to contain the well. Some 4.9m barrels of crude gushed into the Gulf of Mexico before it was finally capped.
“EPA is taking this action due to BP’s lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company’s conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response, as reflected by the filing of a criminal information,” the announcement said.
The announcement went on to describe the oil spill as the “largest environmental disaster in US history”.
It said BP would remain under suspension, and barred from new federal government contracts and transactions, until the company can demonstrate that it meets federal business standards.
“Federal executive branch agencies take these actions to ensure the integrity of federal programmes by conducting business only with responsible individuals or companies. Suspensions are a standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case,” the EPA announcement said.
The agency gave no further details about the duration of the suspension, and the potential costs to BP were not immediately clear.
In its response, BP said the ban would not affect existing business. “The temporary suspension does not affect any existing contracts the company has with the US government, including those related to current and ongoing drilling and production operations in the Gulf of Mexico,” BP said.
The company said it was working with EPA and the US Justice Department to lift the suspension. “The EPA has informed BP that it is preparing a proposed administrative agreement that, if agreed upon, would effectively resolve and lift this temporary suspension. The EPA notified BP that such a draft agreement would be available soon,” the statement said.
The press release also noted that BP had been granted more than 50 new leases in the Gulf of Mexico since the oil disaster.
Peter Hutton, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said the EPA action had “real significance”, especially as it came days after Lamar McKay, the head of BP in America, was promoted to head of global exploration and production.
“The critical question is whether this is a shot across BP’s bows to get a settlement, or a more sustained stance, in which case the importance of the context is underlined by comments from BP’s chief financial officer, Brian Gilvary, in a recent conference call that such actions could ‘affect BP’s investment thesis in US’.”
But Joe Lampel, professor of strategy at the Cass Business School in London, said while the ban was a blow to BP the damage should be relatively limited.
“This suspension should be seen as an additional penalty rather than a pressure tactic that the US government often uses when it wants to force firms to concede liability. We do not know how long the ban will last, but I suspect that it will be lifted after a sufficient grace period has passed.”
In its attempt to consign Deepwater to the past, BP has agreed to pay $7.8bn to settle private claims stemming from the spill, and with the plea deal reached earlier this month, had hoped to limit its criminal liability. It is still on the hook for up to $21bn for environmental damage to the Gulf. Wednesday’s move by the EPA presents an additional complication.
Meanwhile, two BP rig supervisors appeared in a New Orleans court on Wednesday to be formally charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 11 workers aboard the rig. The supervisors, Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza, are accused of ignoring abnormal pressure readings seen as a red flag of a well blow-out.
Kaluza told reporters just before his hearing that he was innocent of the charges. “I think about the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon every day. But I did not cause the tragedy,” he told reporters at the court. “I am innocent and I put my trust, reputation and future in the hands of the judge and jury.”
A former BP executive David Rainey was charged separately for allegedly lying to Congress about the amount of oil that was gushing from the well. All three men were expected to plead not guilty.
The EPA action was positively received by a number of key players, including former senator Bob Graham, who had chaired the White House oil spill commission. “I can’t put a dollar figure on what that would mean but I would assume that access to one of the larger reserves of petroleum in the world – which the Gulf of Mexico is – would have some economic consequences. And the longer the prohibition, the greater the consequences,” Graham told the Guardian.
He went on to praise the Obama administration for holding the oil company to account.
“I think sending a very strong signal that the federal government is going to be a much better steward of public property and that those who are permitted to explore and then potentially exploit those public properties are going to have to conduct themselves by world-class standards,” Graham said.
Campaign groups also applauded the move by the EPA. But the Oceana conservation group said the tough line from the Obama administration was undercut by its decision to go ahead with new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.
“We are pleased that BP is being penalised for the irresponsible actions,” said Matt Dundas, the campaign director. But he went on: “Overall, President Obama is missing the lesson of the Deepwater Horizon disaster which is that offshore drilling is inherently dirty and dangerous and needs to be phased out.”
Homelessness is among the biggest challenges faced by Irish society.Ireland’s cities have joined other rich, successful cities like London and San Francisco in developing a very visible homeless problem.Every night, the doorways of city centre offices and the portals of churches are occupied by people sleeping rough.The most evident aspect of this crisis that is also spilling out onto the streets of Dublin,Cork, Waterford, Galway and other Irish towns. Emergency accommodation for the homeless is full to overflowing. Families are living in bed and breakfasts because there is nowhere else for them to stay. Unprecedented numbers of young people are living out of home.These young people are ill-equipped to deal with the brutality of the street culture they enter.The thousands at the bottom of council housing lists are only one aspect of Ireland’s hidden homeless. The Council of Europe defined the homeless in 1992 as ‘persons or families that are socially excluded from permanently occupying a personal and adequate home’. That definition includes squatters, people housed in B&Bs, hostels and other emergency accommodation, and people sleeping on the floors and couches of friends and family.Statistics on the crisis of Irish homelessness are not accurate.If there are no services for the homeless in a particular region, such as Cavan and Monaghan, then there are no homeless figures recorded.According to the Housing Statistics Bulletin for the September 1999 quarter, 5,234 people were homeless in Ireland, double the 2,501 reported in 1996. But the director of the Simon Community, Conaill MacRiocard, believes even these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt.The Simon Community estimates the real total of Irish homeless people to be over 10,000.Homeless people are transitory and do not stay anywhere long enough to be counted. Furthermore, the phenomenon of ‘hidden’ homelessness, where people stay on the floors and couches of friends, is impossible to assess. The stereotype of the homeless as bearded, alcoholic old men no longer applies.Homelessness can happen to anyone and affects people of all ages and backgrounds.
One aspect of homelessness is being roofless, being houseless, living in insecure housing or living in inadequate housing. This has a detrimental affect on people’s health and well-being, causing stress and countless practical difficulties, which is another, equally harmful, aspect of homelessness. Being homeless can make you sick; being sick can make you homeless.People who are homeless are often in poor mental and physical health. Drug and alcohol addiction can be an issue. Broken families, poor upbringings, inadequate education, dreadful life circumstances, unemployment, can all be contributing factors to homelessness. People who are most vulnerable and excluded often experience a combination of some or all of these factors, usually referred to as complex needs.Cork Simon’s response to homelessness starts on the street with the basics, a kind word, food and shelter. They provide emergency shelter and work with other organisations in Cork to ensure that there are enough beds so that no one has to sleep rough. As well as supporting people living in flats and apartments, Cork Simon has five houses across Cork City that are home to forty-seven men and women who need high levels of round-the-clock care and support.They provide access to health care, counseling, activities, education and training. Above all Cork Simon is understanding about people’s past, focusing on the practical needs of the person to-day; and by believing in people, giving hope for a better future through friendship and community.Ring them at 021 4278 728 for help if you are homeless.
Poverty is an underlying cause of homelessness.In trying to understand homelessness we cannot ignore or discount the importance of structural economic issues such as employment and wage rates, or the transmission of intergenerational poverty through families and sometimes whole communities, or the operation of the housing market as well as the quality of public service provision in areas such as health, welfare and education. The direction and impact of social policy and government decision-making is also important.Other factors, many of which are inter-related, also cause homelessness. These include: poor educational achievement, poor quality jobs or unemployment, high cost of buying or renting a home, difficult relationships at home, leaving institutional care, inadequate community support services, ill-health – including mental health – physical, sexual and mental abuse, disability, drugs and alcohol misuse, crime, and leaving prison. People sleeping rough, living on the streets or in shelters may experience absolute poverty.Often, people who are homeless have little or no support from family and friends.There is rarely a simple explanation for someone becoming homeless. Homelessness results from a combination of factors. In the past, explanations of homelessness tended to concentrate on it as an individual problem due to personal difficulties. Now there is a much wider recognition of how societal factors such as social policy and social exclusion together with structural issues such as poverty, unemployment and housing shortages contribute to homelessness. In working to eliminate homelessness, it is important that both individual and structural factors are taken into account.On an individual level, homelessness is frequently caused by a crisis in someone’s life. These might include leaving the parental home following arguments, marital or relationship breakdown, the death of a partner, leaving care or prison, mental health problems, increased drug or alcohol misuse, a financial crisis or mounting debts and eviction.Certain factors also create a greater risk of homelessness when a crisis occurs. Common background characteristics of people who become homeless have been identified as physical or sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence; a background of institutional care; offending behaviour and/or experience of prison; lack of social support network; debts; (especially rent and mortgage arrears); causing nuisance to neighbours (anti-social behaviour); drug or alcohol misuse; school exclusion and lack of qualifications; mental health problems and poor physical health.There is an insufficient supply of appropriate and affordable homes for people in poverty and people who are homeless. People who experience poverty may live in poor quality private rented housing, have rent arrears, be under eviction proceedings or have no security of tenure. Housing costs such as high rents increase the poverty risk of people living in private rented houses or flats. The majority of homeless people are single adults – the Homeless Agency’s 2008 survey found that in Dublin alone there were 1439 single homeless people – the majority of these were men, who tend to be homeless for longer periods than women.The Homeless Agency’s 2008 survey found that in Dublin there were 249 homeless families with children under 18 – 576 children in total. The majority of these families were in emergency bed & breakfast accommodation.
The most recent Government figures on homelessness in Ireland relate to the Local Authority Assessment of Social Housing Needs 2011, which shows 98,318 households were in need of social housing support in 2011. The largest category of need by far was those unable to meet the cost of accommodation – accounting for about two-thirds (66.8%) of households, with the next biggest category of need, medical and compassion reasons, accounting for one-tenth of households (9.7%) and this was followed by those involuntary sharing (8.7%). Older persons and homeless households respectively account for just over 2 per cent of need, while Traveller families, unfit accommodation and people with a disability each accounted for less than 2% of the country’s net housing need.
How can we rid Ireland of this problem?A reduction in poverty, more good quality and affordable homes for people on low incomes and better community based support services for children and families can all contribute to reducing homelessness. Better supports to assist homeless people to move into good quality secure jobs is also important. The supply of appropriate and affordable homes is a critical solution to homelessness. In particular, there needs to be a better mix of housing options for people who are homeless. There needs to be more housing options for single adults and other groups who are homeless. Rent levels, in the private sector and in the social housing sector also need to be affordable. A number of national strategies are in place to reduce and prevent homelessness. These include the Integrated Strategy on Homelessness, the Youth Homelessness Strategy and the Homelessness Preventative Strategy. Local authorities also have Homeless Action Plans.Despite the bleak and deteriorating situation, all the agencies, statutory and voluntary, believe that Ireland’s homelessness problem can still be solved.Recent initiatives by the local authorities and the Department of Health demonstrate that statutory bodies are beginning to acknowledge and rectify the crisis. In Dublin, the Homeless Agency Partnership continues to develop effective partnership working between local authorities, the Health Service Executive and voluntary and community agencies working with people experiencing homelessness. Over the period, this has led to improvements in the quality and range of services provided for homeless persons and has resulted in a reduction in the number of people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping. The support provided to date by government has also been crucial in bringing about positive change.
If you find yourself homeless in Cork,the first place you should go to is The Homeless Persons Unit, Drinan Street. This is part of the Adult Homeless Integrated Services. Here the Community Welfare Officers for homeless persons hold daily public clinics and regular outreach clinics.Clinic Times: Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.This is part of the Health Service Executive Adult Homeless Integrated Services.Here the Community Welfare : Officers for homeless persons hold daily public clinics and regular outreach clinics.The Community Welfare Service provides:income Maintenance (Supplementary Welfare Allowance),Medical Cards,Information/Advice,Referral for emergency accommodation and referral to other services.They are open: 10.00 – 12.00 / 2.30 – 4.00 (Except Tuesday afternoons. A City Council Outreach Worker is available).The Homeless Persons Unit, Drinan Street, Cork: 021-4963 052. Threshold provides free and confidential advice information and support on housing issues., They also help with form filling and Local Authority Housing applications.Threshold operate a Placement Service for homeless people, each afternoon, Monday to Friday from 2.00pm – 5.00pm. Advice workers are on hand to deal with queries, arrange viewing with potential landlords in the Private Residential Sector, inform people on their rights and entitlements and help with form filling.They are open Mon-Fri: 9.30 – 1.00 & 2.00 – 5.00.They are located at: Threshold, 22 South Mall, Cork: 021-4278 848.Services for under 18′s are available at Liberty Street House, Liberty Street, Cork.Liberty Street House is for young people under 18 years who are out of home or at risk of being so.Contact tham at 021-4921 728.Riverview provides emergency accommodation for homeless girls aged 14 – 17 and short to medium term accommodation for girls 15 – 18 years.They are situated at :Good Shepherd Services,Riverview, 3 North Mall, Cork and Contact number is 021-4304 205.Pathways provides emergency accommodation for adolescent boys (under 18) who are out of home. It can be found at Pathways, 92 Ballyhooley Road, St Luke’s Cross, Cork.
Information on accommodation available to homeless people is available from your local authority and your HSE Local Health Office.Voluntary organisations such as St. Vincent de Paul, the Simon Community, Focus Ireland, The Salvation Army and the Iveagh Trust may also be of assistance but this depends on your location in Ireland.The Society of St Vincent De Paul is the largest provider of emergency and short-term accommodation and services to people out of home in Ireland and is one of the largest homeless service providers in Europe.One can apply for social housing which is state housing at an affordable rate.To apply for state housing contact the housing department immediately as your application for housing needs to be processed as soon as possible.When applying for housing with Cork City Council or Cork County Council you will need to bring the following:1. PPSN no. for everyone (including children) 2. Birth Certificate for each child on the application 3. Certificate of income for all income earners on the application 4. Passport photo for applicant and joint applicant 5. Proof of address .If you wish to make an application for housing with Cork City Council contact:Housing Department, Central Fire Station, Anglesea Street, Cork.Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m or you can telephone them at 021- 4966 222.If you wish to make an application for housing with South Cork County Council contact:Housing Dept. Floor 4, County Hall, Carrigrohane Road, Cork.Opening hours are:Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. or telephone them at 021- 4285 317.Community Welfare Services provide Supplementary Welfare Allowance is:1. A basic weekly payment paid while you are waiting for a social welfare payment to come through.A once off payment to help with the cost of unforeseen exceptional expenses.There are also supplements available, in particular rent, mortgage, diet and heating supplements.What do I need to bring with me?It is important to bring identification with you when you are applying for any assistance.Acceptable identification can include:Birth certificate,Evidence of income,Passport,P45,Social Welfare plastic card or a medical card.If you haven’t got a medical card the Community Welfare Officer in the Homeless Unit will assist you in making an application. If you are not eligible to qualify for a medical card you will be assessed for a G.P. visit card. A G.P. card entitles you to free G.P. visits only.
Dutch authorities have decided to approve a motion abandoning a law under which it is a crime to insult God.
A majority of parties in parliament said the blasphemy law was no longer relevant in the 21st Century.
The legislation, introduced in the 1930s, has not been invoked in the last half century.
Freedom of speech is a much-cherished right in the liberal and traditionally tolerant
The BBC’s Anna Holligan, in The Hague, says that there was much debate about the issue after a Dutch court ruled that the far-right anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders should be allowed to criticise Islam, even if his outspoken opinions offended many Muslims.
In 2008, a coalition government decided against repealing the blasphemy law in order to maintain support from an orthodox Christian political party.
He asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny if he was availing of it. “Who among his ministerial colleagues is availing of it?” he added. “How can he justify it to people at home who fear the introduction of the Government’s property tax on their family home when 13 of his Cabinet colleagues are writing off against their income tax bill the cost of a second home in Dublin?”
Mr Doherty said the tax break or “the dual abode allowance” was exclusively for Ministers and officeholders.
Those from outside Dublin, he added, were allowed to write off €6,500 against their income tax bill if they had a second home in the capital without having to provide a single receipt. If they did not have a second home in Dublin and stayed in a hotel, they could write off against their income tax bill €3,500 for having their laundry done and without having to give a receipt.
“When the Taoiseach was in opposition and Deputy Micheál Martin and his gang were availing of this lavish tax break, he promised to abolish it,” Mr Doherty added. “Since he has taken office, far from abolishing it, we have seen the cost increase by 30 per cent to €112,000.”
Mr Kenny said Mr Doherty claimed overnight allowances to which he was entitled. “They are a multiple of what any Minister, who does not receive overnight allowances, would claim,” he added.
He said most Ministers were in Dublin four or five nights a week, depending on their schedule or duties. “The matters mentioned by the deputy are part of what the Government is considering in respect of the budget which, as he is aware, will be presented by the Minister for Finance next week,” he added.
Mr Doherty said Ministers must write to the Revenue Commissioners to ask that their income tax bill would be written down up to €6,500 in unvouched expenses. The Minister’s solicitor’s and auctioneer’s fees would be written off against tax.
“How many Ministers have availed of the €3,500 deduction for the purposes of having their laundry done because they stay in a hotel or a guesthouse?” he added.
Mr Kenny replied: “Ministers are entitled to an allowance of €6,000 which they can claim at the 41 per cent tax rate, which works out at approximately €3,500.
As a rural member, the deputy is in a position to claim approximately €30,000 or more.”
Outside the Dail tonight where Clare Daly’s ‘Savita’s Law’ bill was defeated.
There follows a complete list of TDs votes from tonight’s Bill for legislation on the X case. Contact your local representative via the email addresses we supply below if they have not represented you.
Gerry Adams (SF) voted Yes
James Bannon (FG) voted No
Seán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle) was absent/abstained
Tom Barry (FG) was absent/abstained
Richard Boyd Barrett (ULA) voted Yes
Pat Breen (FG) was absent/abstained
Thomas P. Broughan (Ind (Lab)) voted Yes
John Browne (FG) voted No
Richard Bruton (FG) was absent/abstained
Joan Burton (Lab) voted No
Ray Butler (FG) voted No
Jerry Buttimer (FG) voted No
Catherine Byrne (FG) was absent/abstained
Eric Byrne (Lab) voted No
Dara Calleary (FF) voted No
Ciarán Cannon (FG) was absent/abstained
Joe Carey (FG) voted No
Paudie Coffey (FG) voted No
Niall Collins (FF) voted No
Áine Collins (FG) voted No
Joan Collins (ULA) voted Yes
Michael Colreavy (SF) voted Yes
Michael Conaghan (Lab) voted No
Seán Conlan (FG) voted No
Paul J. Connaughton (FG) voted No
Ciara Conway (Lab) voted No
Noel Coonan (FG) voted No
Marcella Corcoran Kennedy (FG) voted No
Joe Costello (Lab) was absent/abstained
Simon Coveney (FG) voted No
Barry Cowen (FG) voted No
Michael Creed (FG) voted No
Lucinda Creighton (FG) was absent/abstained
Seán Crowe (SF) voted Yes
Jim Daly (FG) voted No
Clare Daly (ULA) voted Yes
John Deasy (FG) was absent/abstained
Jimmy Deenihan (FG) voted No
Pat Deering (FG) voted No
Regina Doherty (FG) voted No
Pearse Doherty (SF) voted Yes
Stephen S. Donnelly (Ind) voted Yes
Paschal Donohoe (FG) voted No
Timmy Dooley (FF) voted No
Robert Dowds (Lab) voted No
Andrew Doyle (FG) was absent/abstained
Bernard J. Durkan (FG) voted No
Dessie Ellis (SF) voted Yes
Damien English (FG) voted No
Alan Farrell (FG) voted No
Frank Feighan (FG) voted No
Martin Ferris (SF) voted Yes
Anne Ferris (Lab) was absent/abstained
Frances Fitzgerald (FG) voted No
Peter Fitzpatrick (FG) voted No
Charles Flanagan (FG) was absent/abstained
Terence Flanagan (FG) voted No
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Ind) voted Yes
Sean Fleming (FF) was absent/abstained
Tom Fleming (Ind) was absent/abstained
Eamon Gilmore (Lab) voted No
Noel Grealish (Ind) was absent/abstained
Brendan Griffin (FG) voted No
John Halligan (Ind) voted Yes
Dominic Hannigan (Lab) was absent/abstained
Noel Harrington (FG) voted No
Simon Harris (FG) voted No
Brian Hayes (FG) voted No
Tom Hayes (FG) was absent/abstained
Seamus Healy (ULA) voted Yes
Michael Healy-Rae (Ind) voted No
Martin Heydon (FG) voted No
Joe Higgins (ULA) voted Yes
Phil Hogan (FG) was absent/abstained
Brendan Howlin (Lab) was absent/abstained
Heather Humphreys (FG) voted No
Kevin Humphreys (Lab) voted No
Derek Keating (FG) voted No
Colm Keaveney (Lab) was absent/abstained
Paul Kehoe (FG) voted No
Billy Kelleher (FF) voted No
Alan Kelly (Lab) voted No
Enda Kenny (FG) was absent/abstained
Seán Kenny (Lab) voted No
Seamus Kirk (FG) voted No
Michael P. Kitt (FF) voted No
Seán Kyne (FG) voted No
Anthony Lawlor (FG) voted No
Michael Lowry (Ind) voted No
Kathleen Lynch (Lab) voted No
Ciarán Lynch (Lab) voted No
John Lyons (Lab) voted No
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (SF) voted Yes
Eamonn Maloney (Lab) voted No
Micheál Martin (FF) was absent/abstained
Peter Mathews (FG) voted No
Michael McCarthy (Lab) was absent/abstained
Charlie McConalogue (FF) voted No
Mary Lou McDonald (SF) voted Yes
Shane McEntee (FG) voted No
Nicky McFadden (FG) voted No
Dinny McGinley (FG) voted No
Mattie McGrath (Ind) voted No
Finian McGrath (Ind) was absent/abstained
Michael McGrath (FG) voted No
John McGuinness (FF) was absent/abstained
Joe McHugh (FG) voted No
Sandra McLellan (SF) voted Yes
Tony McLoughlin (FG) voted No
Michael McNamara (Lab) voted No
Olivia Mitchell (FG) was absent/abstained
Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG) voted No
Michael Moynihan (FF) voted No
Michelle Mulherin (FG) voted No
Dara Murphy (FG) voted No
Eoghan Murphy (FG) voted No
Catherine Murphy (Ind) voted Yes
Gerald Nash (Lab) voted No
Denis Naughten (Ind (FG)) was absent/abstained
Dan Neville (FG) voted No
Derek Nolan (Lab) was absent/abstained
Michael Noonan (FG) voted No
Patrick Nulty (Ind (Lab)) voted Yes
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (SF) voted Yes
Éamon Ó Cuív (FF) voted No
Seán Ó Fearghaíl (FF) voted No
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Lab) voted No
Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF) voted Yes
Jonathan O’Brien (SF) voted Yes
Willie O’Dea (FF) was absent/abstained
Kieran O’Donnell (FG) voted No
Patrick O’Donovan (FG) voted No
Fergus O’Dowd (FG) was absent/abstained
John O’Mahony (FG) was absent/abstained
Joe O’Reilly (FG) voted No
Jan O’Sullivan (Lab) was absent/abstained
Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind) voted Yes
Willie Penrose (Ind (Lab)) was absent/abstained
John Perry (FG) was absent/abstained
Ann Phelan (Lab) voted No
John Paul Phelan (FG) voted No
Thomas Pringle (Ind) voted Yes
Ruairí Quinn (Lab) was absent/abstained
Pat Rabbitte (Lab) voted No
James Reilly (FG) voted No
Michael Ring (FG) voted No
Shane Ross (Ind) was absent/abstained
Brendan Ryan (Lab) voted No
Alan Shatter (FG) voted No
Sean Sherlock (Lab) was absent/abstained
Róisín Shortall (Ind (Lab)) voted No
Brendan Smith (FF) voted No
Arthur Spring (Lab) voted No
Emmet Stagg (Lab) voted No
Brian Stanley (SF) voted Yes
David Stanton (FG) voted No
Billy Timmins (FG) voted No
Peadar Tóibín (SF) was absent/abstained
Robert Troy (FG) was absent/abstained
Joanna Tuffy (Lab) voted No
Liam Twomey (FG) voted No
Leo Varadkar (FG) voted No
Jack Wall (Lab) voted No
Mick Wallace (Ind) voted Yes
Brian Walsh (FG) voted No
Alex White (Lab) voted N
York:New York) Ucs News : Donald Trump is hoping to chip away at Apple’s dominance in the tablet market with the launch of its Bloviating Ignoramus A500, set to hit Best Buy shelves on July 24. The eloquently named tablet will under cut the iPad‘s price with a starting price of US$449.99, and will run Google’s Android 3.0 operating system.
Trump’s tablet will sport a 10.1-inch display, NVIDIA‘s Tegra 250 1GHz dual core processor, is just over half an inch thick and weighs 1.69 pounds. It includes 16GB of storage, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, HDMI-out, an SD card reader, a 5 megapixel and a 2 megapixel camera, GPS, and Trump claims it has a 10-hour battery life.
In comparison, Apple’s 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 costs $499, includes a 9.7-inch display, Apple’s own A5 1GHz dual core processor, is .34-inches thick, and weighs 1.33 pounds. The entry-level iPad includes 16GB storage, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a dock connector that supports HDMI-out, front and rear-facing cameras that support less than 1 megapixel resolution, and a 10-hour battery life.
The Bloviating Ignoramus A500 can take advantage of the Android Marketplace for third party apps, but it doesn’t support Apple’s App Store or the iTunes Store, nor does it offer the same overall user experience Apple offers with its iOS ecosystem.
While Trump may have a few more features in his tablet, it doesn’t offer the same user-friendly experience Apple has created for the iPad, and that may be harder to overcome than Trump anticipates.
IN THE EUPHORIC FIRST WEEKS after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German protesters who had risked everything to overthrow their government and were now jockeying for position in the emerging new Germany were puzzled by a growing number of news reports from the other side of the Atlantic.
American conservatives, they kept hearing, were claiming credit for ending the Cold War and “liberating” them from the yoke of Soviet communism.
They were puzzled not just because the names of these conservatives — Gingrich, Buchanan, Kemp — were unfamiliar. What baffled them was more fundamental: they hadn’t received American help at all. The CIA, by its own later admission, was entirely absent during the long months and years when East German dissidents organized covert meetings in churches and semi-derelict apartment buildings, usually no more than a step or two ahead of the Stasi, the all-pervasive secret police.
No Americans had helped the protesters organize a massive rally on the 40th anniversary of East Germany’s founding, on October 7, 1989, which embarrassed the leadership in the presence of the visiting Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. It was not the Americans, but rather a coalition of civic leaders, including the celebrated conductor Kurt Masur, who negotiated a truce in Leipzig two days later and convinced the security forces not to open fire on the 70,000 people in the crowd. Many of the officers, who had been given live rounds and instructed to emulate the Chinese massacre in Tiananmen Square if necessary, put down their weapons and joined the protests instead.
I was in Leipzig as a young reporter just a few days after the Wall fell on November 9, and remember being struck by the hundreds of thousands of people filling the town center on a freezing winter’s night, and the enormous pride they expressed as they pushed to topple the regime. This was their victory, the triumph of “people power,” and they had done it overwhelmingly by themselves. The only discernible American presence was the Tracy Chapman song “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” blaring from loudspeakers in the market square.
And yet, back in the United States, a mythology took hold. Ronald Reagan had set this train in motion, the narrative went, because he had gone to the Berlin Wall in June 1987 and fearlessly told Gorbachev to “tear down this Wall.” And now it had happened. The mythology grew strong enough over time that many people developed the erroneous impression Reagan was still president when the Wall came down. (In fact, he had been replaced 10 months earlier by George H.W. Bush.)
Reagan himself traveled back to Berlin in late 1990 and gave a speech congratulating himself on engineering the end of the Cold War. His signal achievement, he said, had been the decision to station nuclear cruise missiles in West Germany and his pursuit of the Strategic Defense Initiative, the missile shield program also known as Star Wars. But this, as Berliners knew better than anybody, was a convenient and self-serving rewrite of history. It was not true, as Reagan and other conservatives liked to argue, that aggressive increases in military spending had caused the Soviet empire to bankrupt itself as it scrambled for a response; the Soviet economy was already in tatters when Reagan took over, and there was no evidence of significant change in Soviet military spending in the 1980s. Reagan’s 1987 visit to Berlin had been a diplomatic near-disaster, marked by rioting young westerners angry about the cruise missile deployment, and about US policy in central America. The president’s call to tear down the Wall seemed generic at the time — every western political leader who passed through said much the same thing — and had no discernible effect on either the East Germans or the Soviet leadership.
Far from giving Reagan a hero’s welcome on his return, Berliners ignored him; he spoke to row upon row of empty seats. If any foreign leader deserved credit, they felt, it was Gorbachev, who had promised to keep his tanks and troops out of Eastern Europe and issued a striking warning to Honecker on that anniversary visit, that “life punishes those who drag their feet.” Still, it was not Gorbachev who ordered the Wall to be opened. He was in no position to, because it happened largely by accident.
By early November 1989, Honecker had stepped down, East Germans were leaving for the West in droves via Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and the Communist Party was desperate to offer the population a sop so it could retain its grip on power. Günter Schabowski, the government spokesman, was handed a hastily drafted document before his daily news briefing on November 9 and instructed to announce that travel directly into West Germany would now be permitted. The leadership intended to draw up detailed plans establishing ground rules over the following 24 hours, but Schabowski did not know that. So, when asked about the timeline, he peered quizzically at his papers and said the freedom to travel took effect “immediately, without delay.” The sheer weight of people rushing to the border crossings along the Wall that night made it impossible for the regime to backtrack.
Slices of the toppled Wall now grace the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, and a handful of other sites across the United States. But for the most part history has not been kind to the triumphalist conservative account of the end of the Cold War. Reagan’s most valuable contribution may not have been an offensive move at all, but rather the willingness he showed at the Reykjavik Summit in 1986 to phase out all offensive nuclear missiles, a gesture toward détente that appalled his hawkish fellow conservatives but emboldened Gorbachev in his own quest for glasnost, a new openness in domestic and international affairs.
If the triumphalist account is wrong — if the West, led by the United States, did not bring the mighty Soviet bear to its knees — then that raises some troubling questions. In what meaningful way did we win the Cold War? And, if we didn’t win it, what exactly was the point of those 45 nerve-racking years when every geopolitical tremor threatened to trigger our nuclear annihilation?
Such are the questions at the heart of Jon Wiener’s provocative and fascinating new book, How We Forgot The Cold War: A Historical Journey Across America. Wiener is a historian at the University of California at Irvine and a regular contributor to The Nation, among other publications. But he is not conducting a historical analysis here so much as an idiosyncratic sort of investigation. His premise is simple: if, as certain politicians love to tell us, the Cold War was a grand historical struggle, a story of good triumphing over evil and freedom prevailing over communist tyranny, one would imagine the country dotted with memorials and museums attracting the same crowds that flock to World War II memorials and presidential libraries.
And so Wiener goes looking, only to discover that the memorials scattered from coast to coast, while numerous, are hard to find, scarcely visited, and often focus on topics other than the Cold War itself. (Even the Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, site of the famous Iron Curtain speech, prefers to dwell on World War II and the Battle of Britain.) A couple of places — the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, and the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas — are so ruggedly non-triumphalist they offer critiques of the very conflict that their principal subjects waged so assiduously. “Some historians,” Wiener reads with amazement in a display at the Truman Library, “question the wisdom of the President’s actions during the early Cold War years. They argue that a less confrontational approach toward the Soviets — one which sought to understand the fears the Soviet Union had about its vulnerability to invasion from the West — might have prevented a long and costly confrontation that lasted decades.”
If a museum dedicated to Harry Truman — who first articulated the with-us-or-against-us Cold War mentality and vowed to prevent the spread of communism at all costs — can’t toot its horn without mixed feelings, who can? Wiener finds, throughout his travels, that the only people still actively cheering for America’s role in the Cold War are conservative ideologues and lobbyists. But the monuments and memorials they have erected, or attempted to erect, have invariably been met with hostility, or blank indifference. A plan to build a $100 million Victims of Communism Museum, proposed by Congress in 1993 and approved by President Bill Clinton, sputtered so badly that the museum was eventually downgraded to a single memorial statue on a forgettable corner of Massachusetts Avenue in Washington DC and unveiled, to a modest crowd of a few hundred, 17 years after the project was first proposed. There is something called the Cold War Museum, but it exists only online and concentrates almost exclusively on Gary Powers, the U-2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. What about actual victory monuments? Wiener found just one, a Strategic Air Command plaque tucked into the corner of a garden at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, of all places. And it’s hardly a model of bombastic triumphalism. In fact, its slogan pulls off the odd feat of being both tentative and over-insistent at the same time. “The Cold War didn’t just end,” it reads. “It was won.”
Wiener rightly points out that the hawks in the fight against communism were on the losing side of the Cold War from the beginning. They may have wanted to take the fight directly to the Soviets, but containment and détente were the prevailing watchwords of Democratic and Republican administrations alike. Yes, there were covert operations and military interventions to topple unfriendly regimes and ward off communist takeovers, but no challenges to the immediate Soviet sphere of influence. Berlin was the closest thing to a flashpoint between the superpowers in the early years of the Cold War, but the construction of the Wall in 1961, paradoxically, cemented an uneasy truce that significantly reduced the risk of direct confrontation. The most hawkish American interventions — in Korea, at the Bay of Pigs, in Vietnam — almost invariably proved to be destabilizing, tragic failures. Even under Reagan, who swept to office promising to reassert American power in the world, conservatives advocating “rollback” instead of containment of the Soviet threat were themselves contained; they pushed successfully for a new arms build-up and intervention in central America, but they were never more than second-rung players — Team B, as they were known — and ended up badly embarrassed by the Iran-Contra scandal.
Triumphalism is almost entirely absent from Wiener’s tour of Cold War monuments; he is assailed, rather, by stories of waste and failure at every turn. Missile silos and sites like the former plutonium production facility at Hanford, Washington, carry the legacy of cancer clusters and expensive clean-ups, overlaid with the uncomfortable taint of official denial. On a tour of the Nevada Test Site, Wiener hears from one of his fellow tourists that inhaling one millionth of a gram of plutonium would be sure to give him lung cancer; the group is advised to stay on the bus with the windows closed. Pregnant women, he learns, are discouraged from taking the tour — not because of the risk of birth defects from contact with radioactive materials, about which the tour operators are strangely quiet, but “because of the long bus ride and uneven terrain.”
Sites memorializing fall-out shelters are more alarming than nostalgic, and the notion, once seriously touted, that nuclear war is survivable invariably collapses under the weight of its own sinister ridiculousness. This is especially true of the giant facility beneath the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, built in the 1950s, where congressmen (but not their wives or families) were expected to hide out, and keep working, through a nuclear Armageddon. It’s not lost on any visitor that the five-hour distance from Washington alone would have made the facility next to useless; the government itself gave up on it in the 1980s and prepared instead — under the auspices of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld — for an emergency government in which Congress played no role whatsoever.
Similar institutional bumbling is evident throughout Wiener’s travels, much of it with tragic overtones. It becomes clear, even at an exhibit as casual as the International Spy Museum in Washington, that the courts and the FBI were overzealous in their prosecution of the Rosenbergs, because Ethel was more than likely entirely innocent, and Julius gave the Soviets nothing of value to further their atomic weapons program. (Wiener contrasts their death sentences with the free pass given to Ted Hall, another scientist at Los Alamos who by his own later admission gave valuable secrets to the Soviets.) The prosecution of Alger Hiss was similarly flawed and clearly over-politicized; a farcical attempt by conservative ideologues to establish a National Historic Landmark to Hiss’s nemesis, Whittaker Chambers, at the site of the Maryland pumpkin patch where Chambers recovered a microfilm supposed to contain incriminating documents, provides Wiener with one of his most humorous stories.
The idea that America did not win the Cold War so much as outlast it is not a new one. As early as April 1990, five months after the Berlin Wall fell, the Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wondered why Americans seemed so uninterested in celebrating and decided it was because they didn’t entirely know what they had been fighting for. No less a figure than George Kennan — the tortured, occasionally ambivalent but undeniably visionary architect of America’s doctrine of containment at the start of the Cold War — believed that the country’s anti-communist belligerence had served only to harden attitudes in Moscow and prolong the conflict. “Nobody ‘won’ the Cold War,” he argued in his book At a Century’s Ending. “It was a long and costly political rivalry, fueled on both sides by unreal and exaggerated estimates of the intentions and strength of the other side.”
What Wiener’s book suggests, most originally, is a possible correlation between the litany of failures he catalogues through his travels, and the adamant insistence of conservatives that the Cold War was a good and noble cause vindicating their political positions. Wiener draws a direct line between the Cold Warriors who once advocated “rollback” and the ideologues who deployed very similar arguments (and were, in several instances, the selfsame people) to push for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
One might go a step further and argue that the ultranationalism of the conservative hawks was in fact born and nurtured out of their thwarted desire, over decades, to drive national policy, and out of the failures their ideology weathered when it did push through — in the McCarthy witch hunts, in the FBI’s illegal spying on civil rights leaders and the 1960s anti-war movement and, most strikingly, in the ill-fated attempt at rollback in Vietnam. European history teaches us that ultranationalism is more often born from defeat than from victory — just look at the Serbs, who even before the excesses of the secessionist wars of the 1990s were still clinging to the memory of their historic drubbing by the Turks in 1389. The bitterness of defeat with which the post-Vietnam generation had to contend led directly to the strain of ultranationalism now most commonly labeled neo-conservatism, which promised a more muscular America projecting moral as well as military superiority over the rest of the world.
Much of the country may have chosen to forget the Cold War, or at a minimum not to celebrate it, but for the neocons and veterans of Team B, victory over communism remains a necessary battle cry driving their agenda — in the wars unleashed over the past decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, in the ongoing “war on terrorism,” and in the wars they are still itching to fight.
Leader of the Communist Party of the the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov speaks at a rally in honor of the 95 anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Russia has historically been the centre of Eurasia, linking European and Asian civilizations, Zyuganov pointed out.
“We propose to restore in a new shape the “Eurasian bridge” with the closest and most efficient cooperation between our peoples, countries and continents. Russia– which for millennia has been actively participating in the life of both Europe and Asia – is ready to fulfill its historic mission and be a link between the main centers of modern civilization in this most difficult moment of its development,” the KPRF chairman stated at the Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Capitalism is rotten: all its spheres from production and politics to culture and morality have been affected. A whole range of European countries are on the verge of bankruptcy, the Russian Communist leader observed, as cited on the KPRF official website.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union life on Earth has become a lot more difficult and dangerous,” Zyuganov stated.
In recent years the world has seen numerous devastating bloody conflicts, including the recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
“The colonial strategy of the US and Western countries that depend on it put the humanity on the brink of a world war,” the Russian Communist leader believes.
Imperialist countries have created institutions that help them to “govern the world”, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.
“For those who resist ‘peaceful’ subjugation to the globalists there is NATO, an institution of military violence,” Zyuganov noted. However, the KPRF leader is confident that the resistance to “globalization American-style” is mounting.
One of the new geopolitical trends is the shift of world economic center to the Asian-Pacific region. The Russian Communists believe that the maximum use of economic, scientific and cultural potential of Asian countries could help to solve global problems and ensure food, energy, military and economic security.
Zyuganov also proposed forming a parliament for Asian union countries in the future. He believes it would give an additional impetus to the development of cooperation.
Sshhhh!! . . . . . . . . Don’t mention the Israeli War Criminals
As usual the Brits end up playing shill for unreasonable Israeli demands
Britain ready to back Palestinian statehood at UN
Britain — a source of so much of the modern Middle East’s woes — claims that they will back the Palestinians if they seek recognition at the UN, BUT only if they are prepared to jettison the rights all other nations have to pursue war criminals:
On Monday night, the government signalled it would change tack and vote yes if the Palestinians modified their application, which is to be debated by the UN general assembly in New York later this week. As a “non-member state”, Palestine would have the same status as the Vatican.
Whitehall officials said the Palestinians were now being asked to refrain from applying for membership of the international criminal court or the international court of justice, which could both be used to pursue war crimes charges or other legal claims against Israel.
Abbas is also being asked to commit to an immediate resumption of peace talks “without preconditions” with Israel. The third condition is that the general assembly’s resolution does not require the UN security council to follow suit.
Whereas France CLAIMS that it will recognise Palestine, apparently without condition. – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/22/france-palest…21122
So Israeli War Criminals are obviously worried about their future, hiding out from International Courts doesn’t seem to hold the appeal it once might have
James Reilly at government buildings holding the expert group report on the need for new abortion legislation, which was published yesterday.
‘You didn’t really think I’d read it, did ye? Hahahahaha’
Looks like he puts away 100 Carrolls and a case of Powers a day.
But then one of the prerequisites for being Minister for Health is that you cannot run 10 yards without serious risk of a coronary?