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Irish Government to pursue religious orders for €250 million in unpaid compensation to abuse victims


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The Cabinet of the Irish Government agreed this week to pursue religious orders for payment of the remaining €250 million needed to make up their half of the cost of €1.46 billion compensation promised to victims of horrific ill-treatment in orphanages, schools, borstals and other institutions run by Catholic monks and nuns. The amount was revised upwards from €1.36 billion after more victims came forward.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has been given the task of extracting the money from the orders.

The congregations of priests and nuns initially offered just €128 million in cash, property and counselling services as part of a controversial indemnity deal dating back to 2002. Only €106 million of this was ever realised.

Four of the eighteen orders named in the Ryan Commission that investigated the decades of abuse that was perpetrated have said they are willing to consider transferring more school buildings and other educational infrastructure on top of what has been offered.

Mr Quinn said: “The Government is obviously disappointed that the congregations have not agreed to a 50:50 share of the very considerable cost for redress. This decision represents the most pragmatic way to maximise the level of contributions to be made by the congregations and the management bodies so that the taxpayer does not bear an unreasonable burden of the costs.”

via National Secular Society – Irish Government to pursue religious orders for €250 million in unpaid compensation to abuse victims.

Teachers’ union votes to reject further talks on Croke Park 2


THE TEACHERS’ UNION OF IRELAND (TUI) has voted in favour of a motion that instructs its executive committee not to re-enter talks on Croke Park 2 with either government or management and to reject any imposition of proposals on its memebers.

The union today held its conference in Galway, voting on several motions in relation to the proposals for the new Croke Park Agreement.

One of the emergency motions voted on today instructs the executive committee to withdraw from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) if attempts are made to impose proposals on members.

In the event that the government or ICTU tries to impose the proposals under the new Croke Park deal on TUI members, the union has voted to ballot for industrial action including strike action.

Over 80 percent of TUI members, made up of post-primary teachers and higher education lecturers, voted to reject the proposals under the new agreement in the union’s first ballot last month.

Today the union proposed that should the government move to impose any change to conditions already rejected by members of TUI in the democratic ballot of members, members will immediately desist from participating in any or all of the following:

Croke Park discussions

Supervision duties

Substitution duties

School development planning

School self evaluation

Half in/Half out meetings

Any or all teacher-based assessments

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this evening Deputy General Secretary of the TUI Annette Dolan said it was now a matter of waiting for the outcome of other ballots to get an overview of members’ opinions.

Earlier today, Education Minister Ruairí Quinn was heckled by teachers waving red cards in the air during his address at the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation annual conference in Cork.

Quinn is due to speak at the TUI conference in Galway tomorrow and Dolan said she expects he will be “received courteously” by members. She said the union always “made a point of engaging in a dialogue with the minister”.

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via Teachers’ union votes to reject further talks on Croke Park 2.

via Teachers’ union votes to reject further talks on Croke Park 2.

After Budget 2013, Labour’s goose is surely cooked


Even though there are another three years to go to an election, the goose is already cooked for many Labour TDs. By Vincent Browne.

Michael McGrath, the Fianna Fáil spokesman on finance, responding to the budget on 5 December, said: “Fine Gael [in the cabinet discussions] showed that its absolute priority in the budget is to protect those who have most. We are told the Labour Party made valiant efforts to protect households dependent on social protection but, clearly, it has failed.”

Interestingly, at this point, Ruairi Quinn intervened to say: “Not so.”

Even those of us who might be sceptical about Quinn’s denials of having earlier signalled to a parliamentary Labour Party meeting that he had no confidence in Minister for Health James Reilly might be disposed to accept his word on this – ie, that Labour did not make valiant efforts to protect households depending on social protection.

McGrath went on to say: “The price Fine Gael wanted to extract for considering even a modest increase in tax for those earning more than €100,000 was to cut the most basic welfare payments. Fine Gael used the basic welfare payment of €188 per week as a negotiating chip to protect those earning more than €100,000 per year…

“In the face of this resistance from Fine Gael, the Labour Party capitulated and accepted the symbolic fig leaf of a so-called mansion tax that will affect a small number of people and bring in little additional revenue. Principles that are articulated in opposition are forgotten around the table of power.”

It is incomprehensible that the Labour Party would have agreed to break its solemn and much-advertised election promise not to allow any cut in child benefit, let alone this cut – €10 a month for the first and second child, €18 for the third child and €30 for the fourth and other children – and to do so in a way that will cause further terrible hardship to those whom Labour purports to protect.

I suspect this budget debacle was engineered in the first instance by the attempt to stop the flood of cabinet leaks that marked the lead-up to the 2012 budget a year ago, by confining the deliberations to the four ministers on the economic committee: Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore, Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin.

As Kenny and Gilmore are otherwise largely preoccupied, this left just Noonan and Howlin, both practised political disasters.

Noonan almost did in the Fine Gael party a decade ago, while Howlin – admittedly ably assisted by Alan Shatter – managed to lose the referendum on Oireachtas inquiries.

By the time other ministers became involved in the overall schema of the budget, I suspect it was too late to unpick the big decisions – particularly the decisions on PRSI, the household tax, respite care and child benefit – to protect the wealthy from increased charges or taxes. But perhaps this is a naive, benign assumption, and it certainly does not disguise the instinctual response of Fine Gael to the crisis: to afflict the afflicted and cosset the cosseted. Nor does it disguise the instinctual reflex of Labour ministers to remain in office almost at all costs, probably believing that this is somehow in the national interest.

An exacerbation of all this has been the disingenuous Labour claim that the budget involved a €500 million “wealth tax package”, whereas the true figure is €114 million in 2013 and €174 million in a full year, as Michael Taft of Unite has shown. The situation was made even worse by Gilmore and Joan Burton telling us how difficult all these decisions have been – for them.

Róisín Shortall again made a telling point at Gilmore in her contribution to the Dáil debate on the budget. She noted how the tax relief on pensions costs the exchequer €2.5 billion annually, and around 80% of this relief goes to the top 20% of income earners.

Pointedly, she asked: “On what basis does the Tánaiste believe it is any way fair that a person should be able to receive a lump sum of €200,000 tax-free? What is the basis for continuing with a regime, given that many thousands of taxpayers and others, who cannot afford to make pension provision for themselves, are in effect paying for the significant tax-free pension lump-sums of some of the wealthiest people in the country?”

It is all very dismal for Labour – made all the more so by Mario Draghi, who made it clear on 6 December that it is very much Frankfurt’s way, not Labour’s way, as far the €30 billion Anglo promissory notes are concerned. Even though there are another three years to go to an election, the goose is already cooked for many Labour TDs.

But there is a modicum of hope.

Tom O’Connor, the political scientist, has shown evidence that a left-leaning majority might be emerging (including Labour among the left). He notes that, in 1987, the left was at 15%, in 1997 at 24%, in 2007 at 25%, in 2011 at 40% and, according to the Red C poll in the Sunday Business Post on 2 December, at 43% now.

It is not entirely improbable that the left (Labour, Sinn Féin, United Left Alliance and left-leaning independents) will be close to 50%.

That might be interesting – or it might, once again, be more of the same.

Image top (the Labour Parliamentary Party at the beginning of the 31st Dáil, in March 2011): The Labour Party.

via Irish Politics, Current Affairs and Magazine Archive – Politico.ie | After Budget 2013, Labour’s goose is surely cooked.

via After Budget 2013, Labour’s goose is surely cooked.

Every Woman Matters


Broadsheet.ie.

via Broadsheet.ie.

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

James Reilly Lies again and Quinn gets it Wrong


Dr James Reilly the Health Minister has once again spectacularly changed his story on the site selected for a primary care site in his constituency.

Dr. Reilly claimed the decision on the site was made during Mary Harney tenure in office. Ruairí Quinn the Minister for Education backed up this claim.

Reilly now admits that this information is totally incorrect.

Enda the Time has come to sack Minister Reilly and at the same time a slap on the wrist for Master Quinn

Quinn plans law change to force university compliance over pay


This follows recent reports of large sums being paid out in what the Department of Education regards as unapproved payments by colleges.

In a statement, Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said no one sector should be able to operate outside of parameters laid down by Government.

Mr Quinn said he had secured Government agreement for changes to the Universities Act, which would strike a balance between university autonomy and protecting the economy at a time of crisis.

Between 2005 and 2009, around €7.5 million was paid in additional allowances by various universities to senior members of staff.

The new legislation will also give the minister powers to oblige universities to comply with collective agreements such as the Croke Park deal.

Trinity College Dublin has recently refused to implement a binding Labour Court finding under the provisions of that agreement.

via Quinn plans law change to force university compliance over pay – RTÉ News.

via Quinn plans law change to force university compliance over pay – RTÉ News.

Use whatever means necessary to get the money says Hogan as he stands four square with councils over student grants


Minister Phil Hogan tells county councils to use “whatever means necessary” to collect the €100 household charge.

Those who have not paid their household charges should not receive student grants.

They are asking people, and they are putting in place plans to get in the remaining monies that are owed to them. That’s what any businesses would do” Says Hogan.

Earlier Education Minister Ruairí Quinn added his support to the councils.

Let us remind the ministers that the household tax is not a business charge but a tax levied by the government to pay for the misbehaviour of bankers.

If this was, a business charges the banks would be, broke, end of story, and the people would not be paying for government and banker’s mistakes.

The legality of what the councils are doing is questionable and may not stand up if questioned before the courts.

 

USI president John Logue said: “The action taken by Clare County Council must be condemned in the strongest terms. This is an unprecedented move. Never have I heard of a grant being refused until proof of payment is offered for a completely unrelated tax owed by another person.

“Students are being punished for the decisions of their parents and their education is being put at risk.”

Pamela Rochford, a spokesperson for the Clare branch of the Campaign against Household and Water Taxes, accused the council of using scare tactics with the move.

‘Schools should decide on ethos v rights’


Schools should be allowed to decide on the right balance between their religious ethos and the rights of staff despite plans to give legal protection to gay or divorced teachers, a Catholic schools leader has said.

Changes were proposed this year to employment law that allow schools, hospitals, and other religious-owned employers discriminate on certain grounds to protect their ethos. Unions representing staff the organisations had been lobbying for such changes.

The Seanad rejected Fianna Fáil senator Averil Power’s bill in May after Justice Minister Alan Shatter said it posed constitutional issues over the rights of religions orders to protect their ethos.

A Department of Justice spokesperson told the Irish Examiner that arrangements are being made to set up the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission as soon as possible and they will be asked to undertake an examination of the issue as a priority task.

However, in an article for the Jesuit journal ‘Studies’, the head of the group representing religious orders and the bishops on education issues says much of the criticism of section 37 of the Employment Equality Act is caused by misinterpretation of its intentions.

via ‘Schools should decide on ethos v rights’ | Irish Examiner.

via ‘Schools should decide on ethos v rights’ | Irish Examiner.

40-hour week on cards for teachers –


Taoiseach wants staff in schools and hospitals to work longer hours

THE Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told government ministers to include an extension of the working day and week in their submissions of “additional proposals” to significantly reduce the public sector pay and pensions bill, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

As a result, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and Health Minister Dr James Reilly are this week expected to bring to Cabinet plans to increase the working week in schools and hospitals to 40 hours.

While the Government remain

via 40-hour week on cards for teachers – National News – Independent.ie.

via 40-hour week on cards for teachers – National News – Independent.ie.

Radical restructuring of teacher training provision proposed – RTÉ News


Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has accepted proposals for a radical restructuring of teacher training provision.

An international panel has recommended that the 19 teacher training centres be replaced by just six.

The reduction would be achieved through closures and mergers.

Under one of the recommendations, St Patrick’s College in Dublin is to be integrated along with Mater Dei into Dublin City University.

In the report, the panel suggested that this new centre be located at St Patrick’s Drumcondra campus.

Radical restructuring of teacher training provision proposed – RTÉ News.

 

The Election Promises


Not so very long ago a little girl asked her father, Daddy Do all Fairy Tales begin with Once Upon A Time. He replied, No, there is a whole series of Fairy Tales that begin with If Elected I promise…

Do you remember the Fine Gael election Poster “let’s get Ireland working?”

Do you recall the poster “it is Labour’s way or Frankfurt’s way”? Well, we know the answer to the latter very quickly not labours way.

Do you recall Ruairí Quinn signing a pledge where he would refuse to introduce student fees? What happened, he abolished the registration fee but replaced it with a Student Contribution scheme?

For the 2012/2013 year, fees will increase from €1,500 to €2,225 with further plans to increase the fees to €3,000 in 2015.

Leo Varadkar stated that “not another red cent” would go into the banks, indicating the bondholders would take the losses since then billions have flowed into the banks courtesy of the Government.

Do you recall the election message to the struggling families of Ireland no new tax in the next budget but what happens indirect tax, raised from 21% to 23%?

In relation to the household charges in 1995, Kenny said that a household tax was “morally wrong, unfair, and unjust.” What can we say except so much for the morals of Kenny? The Labour party stated, “We’re not in favour of a tax on the family home” but when it came to implementing the tax labour turned their back on their own stated policy.

As for the back to work promises, the only observable substance to this notion was, pack your bags, and go look for employment elsewhere. What a cynical joke this was, but then again, we should have known better.

As all of this takes place, we must witness almost daily one expenses claim scandal after another.

Our Government has abandoned us the citizens to loll in the gutters of lies and broken promises. Our leadership has given us a clear a visible lesson in matters of trust. Unfortunately, one must conclude if you place your faith in your public representative be prepared for the worst.

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