Several TDs have attempted to raise the issue of penalty points being removed from people’s licences in the Dáil.
Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Joan Collins and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan all sought to speak about the matter but were prevented from doing so by the Leas Ceann Comhairle who said that Minister’s Questions was not the forum in which to raise the issue.
Irish laws and Catholic church and political cowardice kill women in Ireland
The forces in Ireland who have blocked the right to have an abortion in Ireland are now scurrying to try and cover up their responsibility for the death of the young woman in Galway. It is not an attractive sight. Cowardice and hypocrisy are everywhere. What should we think about this?
On this blog we have explained that the Catholic church is the dominant church of capitalism. It was once the church of feudalism but it adjusted when capitalism became dominant. However it kept many of the most backward elements of its old traditions. Amongst these are its male dominated anti women policies. It believes that women are inferior to men. They cannot become popes, cardinals, bishops, priests. Part of this is that this male dominated hierarchy wants to control women and this includes women’s bodies. And this includes telling them what they can do and cannot do about their reproductive rights.
In Ireland the capitalist class were and are weak. They have needed and depended on the Catholic church to support it. In return for this the Catholic church have managed to accrue enormous power in that society, running the schools and hospitals and intimidating the majority of the politicians. So laws remained in place which allowed the health system to continue to be ruled by the all male Catholic anti women hierarchy. This is why this poor women died in Galway.
Every politician that voted to keep these Catholic anti women laws in place which enforce women to do the bidding of the all male Catholic hierarchy is a disgrace. They have blood on their hands. They should be drummed out of office. These laws have to be put off the books and these bishops put in their place.
But what about the membership of the Catholic church. We have said on this blog that we cannot understand how any progressive thinking person could belong to this church. We stand by this. We see the evidence of our position everywhere. The church’s right wing policies on the world economy where it unconditionally supports capitalism, its position on women’s rights, the degeneration of its internal life with its epidemic of sexual abuse, this is a rotten right wing corrupt organization. No progressive person should belong to it.
We understand that people have been in this organization their whole lives and their ancestors before them. We understand that the Catholic church has enormous power with its buildings, its full time apparatus, its art and music, and its insistence that only it can bring the child into the world and send the dying out of the world if they are to have a chance of not “going to hell.” and “burning there forever.” However we stand firm. We do not think that any progressive thinking person should be in this extremely reactionary organization.
For those who cannot bring themselves to leave we have this to say. It is utterly unacceptable to stay in this organization without fighting within it for change. Such changes have to include equality of the sexes, the right to elect the full time apparatus, the right to full discussion and to speak out at all the gatherings of this organization.
Either leave it or change it. If neither of these options are taken then members of this organization are also responsible for the death of this poor woman in Galway and all the women who die in childbirth and due to lack of access to contraception and abortion.
In closing we which to extend our admiration and support to Clare Daly TD and Joan Collins TD for moving their bill in the Dail to legislate on the X case. They have shown leadership on this issue. They are heroines. If the rest of the members of the Dail had acted as they did this woman would be alive today.
Ireland cannot continue to sacrifice everything, even people’s lives, in order to balance the books, writes Brendan O’Connor
YOUNGER readers won’t believe this but there used to be a time when the IMF was the bogeyman in this country. If we didn’t behave ourselves, the IMF would come and there would be no pussyfooting around. They would slash public sector wages in half and double taxes and get our house in order in jig time. This was before we learnt to live quite casually with the fact that we are no longer an independent country and that we are subject to something called the troika, one third of which is the IMF.
That would have been unthinkable back in the day, that we would not be governing ourselves. Back then, it was regarded as the ultimate shame if the IMF had to come to a country. It was something that happened to banana republics in South America and basket cases in Africa. The IMF had come to the UK once but that was an aberration, apparently. It really wasn’t something that could ever happen in so-called developed countries.
Little did we think that we would look back and wish that we had invited in the IMF, that they were in charge. Little did we think that the IMF would turn out to be the most reasonable foreign ruler a country could hope to have. But we didn’t manage to get just the IMF in. Instead we got saddled with EU zealots as well, and despite the IMF’s increasing best efforts, we are still being slowly ground into the dust.
While the IMF used to have the name of being all about making people balance the books fast, it has become an increasingly pragmatic and realistic institution in the last few years. It has tended to be the most sceptical of the big international institutions when it comes to austerity at all costs, and it has been the one that has cautioned most about the need for growth as well. This surprises some people because the IMF is regarded as a right-wing organisation stuffed with Yankee capitalists (the worst kind). But then again dismay about austerity has not been limited to the left. It has been, as Fr Jack would say, an ecumenical matter. Only the other day I found myself in heartfelt agreement with a press release that arrived in my email from Joan Collins TD. In terms of economists, there has been agreement from across the left-right spectrum that austerity unchecked could be as, if not more, dangerous than capitalism unchecked was.
The IMF took its distaste for austerity a step or two forward last week. Christine Lagarde has now upset a lot of people, and attracted much criticism internationally, by coming out and saying straight that Greece and Spain should be given more time to balance their budgets. Her point seems to be that when there are so many countries engaged in austerity, it doesn’t make sense for them all to do it so quickly at the same time.
IT HAS BEEN revealed that Council expenditure on the administration of Sligo’s Cranmore Regeneration project is significantly higher than any other regeneration scheme in the country.
United Left Alliance representative Joan Collins T.D. recently asked the Minister for the Environment for details of the amount of regeneration funding spent on a number of urban renewal schemes in 2009 including, the Mitchel’s Crescent Regeneration Scheme in Tralee; the Laural Avenue Regeneration Scheme in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown; the Cranmore Regeneration Scheme Sligo and the Waterford City Regeneration Scheme. She also sought the expenditure on staff salaries on each of the regeneration schemes and the staff salaries as a percentage of overall expenditure on each scheme.
The response from the Ministers office revealed that a colossal 17% of funding provided for the Cranmore Regeneration Project in Sligo was spent on salaries. In Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 1.5% of the funding was spent on salaries; in Tralee 1.5% was spent on salaries; while in Waterford 4.5% of funding was spent on salaries.
Speaking today Independent Socialist Councillor Declan Bree thanked Deputy Collins and said “This funding was supposed to be for regeneration, for the refurbishment of housing stock and the improvement of the estate, however in Sligo almost one out of every five euro is being spent on salaries and administration. How can the County Manager justify this?
“When the Minister for the Environment asked the local authorities in Dun Laoghaire, Sligo, Waterford and Tralee to use their own staff and resources to the fullest extent in terms of supervising regeneration schemes, he did so with the intention of reducing costs. However the exorbitant costs in Sligo are inexplicable and clearly cannot be justified.
“While paying 17% of the funding on administration the regeneration office also paid out over €120,000 in fees to private consultants, in addition over €90,000 was paid in Technical fees in respect of the grass mounds in the estate which still remain in place.
“The fact is that regeneration funding is not being spent where it is supposed to. In the past week alone I have been contacted by a number of constituents from Cranmore – one pensioner who asked for proper heating to be installed in her home was told that there was no money for such work; another told me that her obsolete cooker could not be replaced due to lack of funds and another told me that she has had to ask the Ombudsman to intervene so as to have her windows repaired/replaced.
“I have asked Deputy Collins to raise the matter in the Dail when it resumes in September. As far as I am concerned the people of Cranmore and the people of Sligo are entitled to know why so much money is being squandered on administration costs. ” said Cllr Bree.