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The politics of abortion


The tactical astuteness of Fine Gael TDs opposed to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is impressive. Rather than confront Taoiseach Enda Kenny in a single, explosive challenge to his leadership, they have eked out their resistance in the hope of securing legislative amendments or, at least, the prospect of early party forgiveness. By staggering their challenge, they have sought to minimise the offence created. Any doubt has been removed by already expelled individuals who insist they are not members of a cabal and who aspire to represent Fine Gael in the future. While the Bill is being debated, the scale of eventual opposition remains uncertain. On the basis of a recent Irish Times opinion poll, which showed general Fine Gael support for legislation at 79 per cent and opposition at 16 per cent, the defecting deputies could number between six and nine. Public opinion, however, is not always reflected in the pattern of Dáil voting. The tyranny of the party whip and the prospect of expulsion and career damage are powerful conditioning factors while, on the other hand, a free vote encourages outside interests to apply pressure and for TDs to engage in vote-poaching at constituency level. How else to explain the Fianna Fáil vote? Party leader Micheál Martin showed a deal of courage when he spoke in favour of the Government Bill and said it would provide necessary protection for the lives of women and fulfil Constitutional and international requirements. Having secured a free vote, however, his colleagues opted for traditional opposition tactics and 13 out of 19 voted against the measure. If opinion within Fianna Fáil is taken as a template, no more than four TDs should have rejected the Bill on the grounds of conscience. Their actions appear to have been an attempt to target unhappy Fine Gael, Labour Party and Sinn Féin voters while, at the same time, signalling concern with Mr Martin’s style of leadership. Willie O’Dea was quick to declare his support for Mr Martin, even as he struggled to explain his position on the legislation. A Second Stage vote is normally regarded as being on the principles of a Bill. Mr O’Dea supported the principles of the Bill but voted against it, explaining that if a review clause was introduced at a later stage he might change his mind. An equally unconvincing approach was adopted by European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton and by a number of her Fine Gael colleagues. They rejected the principles underlying the Bill but voted for it on the grounds that it might be amended. Support for this legislation is remarkably uniform across all political parties. When Catholic Church pressure failed to ramp up Fine Gael defections, a majority of Fianna Fáil TDs went in search of disaffected voters. It’s what drives politics.

Via

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/the-politics-of-abortion-1.1451645

Marian Price Media Blackout


Marian Price Media Blackout

Two Year British Political Internment

On March 14th, 2013 Provisional Sinn Féin MLAs Jennifer McCann and Sean Lynch, met with Vice royal Theresa Villiers, regarding the continued internment of Marian Price and called for the immediate release of Marian Price according to MLA Jennifer McCann. Since that time there has been a complete media print blackout on the political internment of Marian Price.

On March 14th, 2013 Provisional Sinn Féin MLAs Jennifer McCann and Sean Lynch, met with Vice royal Theresa Villiers, regarding the continued internment of Marian Price and called for the immediate release of Marian Price according to MLA Jennifer McCann.

Ms. McCann said, “The meeting followed a visit that Martin McGuinness and myself had recently with Marian Price and the presentation made by Martin at her parole hearing last week.

At the meeting with Theresa Villiers, Martin Guinness made it clear, that Ms Price was not a threat to the public and that she should be released without further delay.

I gave a detailed account of the deteriorating condition of Marian Price’s health, which has been added to by the recent death of her sister Dolours Price.

I also challenged the decision to re-imposing her life term licence especially given that she was granted bail and urged Theresa Villiers, to accept that Ms Price is entitled to due legal process. She should be tried in a court of law or released.”

Since this statement was made public, there has been a news blackout with regard to Marian Price, with all written material published censored. A Google search will confirm this. Inter agency communiques on Marian Price are also being manipulated, along with material on both Twitter and Facebook. It is the responsibility of ethical news agencies to investigate this matter immediately and confirm the welfare of Marian Price publicly, as there considerable public concern for Marian’s welfare and the exercise may be further punishment to the many people concerned worldwide.

Media Blackouts like political internment are act of war that neither belong ina genuine democracy or in peace time. The Irish peace process has been considerably undermined by the British Tory Government since coming to power.

According to Wikipedia a Media blackout refers to the censorship of news related to a certain topic, particularly in mass media, for any reason. A media blackout may be voluntary, or may in some countries be enforced by the government or state. The latter case is controversial in peacetime, as some regard it as a human rights violation and repression of free speech. Press blackout is a similar phrase, but refers specifically to printed media.

Media blackouts are used, in particular, in times of declared war, to keep useful intelligence from the enemy. In some cases formal censorship is used, in others the news media are usually keen to support their country voluntarily as in the UK system in the Second World War.

Historical Media Blackouts

Some examples of media blackout would include the media bans of southern Japan during the droppings of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the lack of independent media correspondence from Iraq during the Persian Gulf War.

During World War II, the US Office of Censorship sent messages to newspapers and radio stations, which were acted on by recipients, asking them not to report any sightings or explosions of fire balloons, so the Japanese would have no information on the balloons’ effectiveness when planning future actions. As a result the Japanese learned the fate of only one of their bombs, which landed in Wyoming, but failed to explode. The Japanese stopped all launches after less than six months.

The press blackout in the U.S. was lifted after the first deaths from fire balloons, to ensure that the public was warned, though public knowledge of the threat could have possibly prevented the deaths. News of the loss of over 4,000 lives when UK ship RMS Lancastria was sunk during the war was voluntarily suppressed to prevent it affecting civilian morale, but was published after it became known overseas.

Contemporary Media Blackouts

A media blackout was used during the 2005 New York City transit strike to allow for more effective contract negotiation between the two sides of the dispute.[4] Most typically, the more freedom of the press that any particular country has, and the more sensational the story, the more likely it is that at least one news organization will ignore the “blackout” and run the story.

The 2008 abduction of Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung was given a media blackout to assure her safe return. All media sources obliged making the Canadian public unaware of the fate of Fung.

In 2008, the fact that Prince Harry of Wales, third in line to the British throne, was serving on active duty in Afghanistan was subject to a blackout in the British media for his own safety. He was brought home early after the blackout was broken by foreign media.

On June 22, 2009, when news came that New York Times reporter David Rohde had escaped from his Taliban captors, few knew he had even been kidnapped, because for the seven months he and two Afghan colleagues were in the Taliban’s hands, The Times kept that information under wraps. Out of concern for the reporter’s safety,

The Times asked other major news organizations to do the same;NPR was among dozens of news outlets that did not report on the kidnapping at the urging of Rohde’s colleagues. Kelly McBride, who teaches ethics to journalists at the Poynter Institute, says she was “really astounded” by the media blackout. “I find it a little disturbing, because it makes me wonder what else 40 international news organizations have agreed not to tell the public,” she tells NPR’s Melissa Block. McBride says the blackout could hurt the credibility of news organizations. “I don’t think we do ourselves any favors long term for our credibility when we have a total news blackout on something that’s clearly of interest to the public,” she says.

In 2009, on the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a number of social media websites were made in accessible and foreign television reception disrupted in China.

Some media critics have questioned whether the 2000 Wichita Massacre received little to no coverage in the mainstream media due to political correctness regarding the race of the perpetrators and the victims. Such critics also cite the 2007 Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in Knoxville, Tennessee.

On January 18, 2012, Wikipedia itself participated in a media blackout to protest SOPA.”

Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com/

via Marian Price Media Blackout – Indymedia Ireland.

via Marian Price Media Blackout – Indymedia Ireland.

– Emigrants are ‘delighted to go’ – Perry


Sligo’s junior minister John Perry TD has been harshly criticized after he claimed in the Dáil that many Irish were “emigrating by choice.”

The TD said he knew people who were “delighted” to be emigrating to the US and Canada for work.

His own south Sligo town, Ballymote, has seen many ‘American wakes’ in recent years with one weekend last year seeing the emigration of six young men followed the following weekend by another four forced to move.

Local GAA clubs have lost a signicant number of young players to the scourge of emigration with some having to suspend under-manned teams.

According to official CSO figures, over 87,000 people left Ireland in the year leading up to April 2012, with emigration surging to levels not experienced since the famine. 1,600 people are emigrating every single month. That is nine people leaving the country every single hour.

Perry, the Minister of State for Small Business, was answering questions from the opposition and specifically claims from Sinn Féin that nine people are emigrating from the State every hour when he said, “There are people emigrating by choice. I know several young people who will be quite delighted to go to the United States if they can get in, or to Canada if they have the required qualifications.”

Opposition TDs said most workers would be happier at home but Perry argued that there was a certain balance “for highly educated people, emigration was a matter of choice.”

Perry said the Government was doing its best to sort out the economy but “one cannot just wave a magic wand.”

His comments were described as offensive and disingenuous by opposition TDs with Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary saying that most of those who had emigrated “would be happier here at home”.

Personal Choice

Sinn Féin jobs spokesman Peadar Tóibín criticized Perry’s comments, saying: “Most emigration is forced emigration.”

“It is astonishing that a minister in the Department of Jobs is that detached from reality to claim that those emigrating do so from personal choice.”

Bríd O’Brien of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed responded, “People of all age groups are emigrating because there’s no work here.

“We’ve lost an awful lot of jobs. I think a lot are leaving because they feel they have to.”

Apologise

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Youth Affairs Senator Kathryn Reilly has called on Minister of State John Perry to apologise to those young people and their families who have been forced to emigrate to find work.

Senator Reilly said, “The majority of emigrants are under 25 years of age. They are leaving in search of work. They are leaving because Fine Gael and Labour have failed to invest in job creation.

“For Minister of State Perry top suggest that these people are choosing to leave is an insult to them and to their families.

“Minister of State Perry should apologise to these young people and to their families, not only for his insulting comments, but also for his Government’s failure to address the youth unemployment and emigration crisis.”

 

Tomorrow Is Perry the worst Minister of State Ever?

via Sligo Today News for Sligo County – Emigrants are ‘delighted to go’ – Perry.

via – Emigrants are ‘delighted to go’ – Perry.

 

The Future for Irish Politics


download

 

Where we are now

We are entering the sixth year of recession which is being managed by a coalition of Fianna Gael and Labour who were elected on policies they have now reneged on. Prior to the election that put them in power Fianna Fail had been in Government for over a decade and managed to turn the Celtic Tiger economy into an economy that has been so badly managed that it has bankrupted the country for decades to come.

The only national party left is Sinn Fein who have a tainted past and no experience of government in the Republic.

We are now at the point where there is no suitable party to elect….

and even if there was, there is 3 years to go before the next election..

We have exhausted all current political options.

The Irish people voted and gave a clear and strong mandate to the Government and the Government has deliberately turned its back on  the will of the people.

The Future

suggest we rethink politics in Ireland and I have a suggestion of what the way forward should be. We are now moving into an era when technology can transform the way people are governed and can offer an avenue for the government of the day to connect directly with the people they govern.

Dispense with full time politicians and parliaments except for those who make up the Government of the day.

Introduce a Peoples Assembly that is a forum for the debate of policies before we, the people vote. Those attending will be people with interest in the policies being voted on that week. The assembly is televised and streamed live on the internet. Anyone can attend with a weeks notice. The Assembly can move around the country. I envisage that it will be a continuously changing population that will attend as the topics being voted on will vary wildly week from week.

Place policy decision making in the direct hands of the people who will vote via unique electronic voting cards (similar to bank cards) once a week on matters of policy only. People may vote online, by phone or via email/ post. For better or worse the people will decide if they wish to have abortion in Ireland, property tax without regard to ability to pay, water taxes, stay in the EU, stiffing the bondholders, cancelling public service giant pensions etc.

Policy details are worked out by the Civil Servants who meet with interested parties to thrash the finer details.

The Government will be a suite of ministers appointed annually by the people to carry out the policies passed in the People Assembly. It is largely a position of honour and ministers will be modestly remunerated for that year and will return to being ordinary citizens at the end of their term of office. These minister’s employers will have undertaken to keep their jobs open for them to return to at the end of their year in office.

Action:

Dismiss the present political parties and politicians

We can ask the politicians to resign or present the Government with a petition signed by a million Irish residents demanding them all to resign.

The petition must be of a size that cannot ignored.

via The Future for Irish Politics | Markjrice’s Blog.

via The Future for Irish Politics | Markjrice’s Blog.

Poll shows Labour Party support below 10%


17% of people satisfied with Labour leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore

Support for the Labour Party has dipped below 10%, according to the latest opinion poll.

Independents and smaller parties have also lost ground, with Fianna Fáil benefitting.

The Millward Brown poll for tomorrow’s Sunday Independent also found that just one voter in five is satisfied with the Government’s performance.

The poll of 985 voters was conducted over ten days finishing last Thursday.

It will be published just two weeks since its last poll for the Sunday Independent.

There is a very high level of ‘undecideds’ – 32% – but when they are excluded, Fine Gael is up one to 25%.

While the slide in Labour support continues – the party is down two to just 9%.

Fianna Fáil is back in the lead, up six points to 29%; while Sinn Féin drops one to 20%; and Independents and others are down four points in two weeks to 17%

Just 20% – one in five – say they are satisfied with the way the Government is running the country; 74% are dissatisfied.

Among the party leaders, 26% are satisfied with the performance of the Fine Gael Taoiseach, 17% with the Labour Tánaiste, 36% with Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin, and 28% with Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin.

via Poll shows Labour Party support below 10% – RTÉ News.

via Poll shows Labour Party support below 10% – RTÉ News.

Paying €3.1bn for Anglo note ‘difficult’ – Noonan


 

Any bets on what is going to happen in this situation. I have a bad feeling this is leading in the direction of Johnny Citizen.

Will we have a special tax to pay off this installment? 

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has told the Dáil it would be “difficult” for Ireland to pay the next €3.1 billion installment of the promissory notes due at the end of March.

However Mr Noonan said he was “still confident of a positive outcome” to negotiations with the ECB.

He was responded to a question from Sinn Féin‘s Pearse Doherty, who said the State was not in a position to pay the €3.1bn and the Government should tell the ECB that.

He referred to the negotiations as “pussyfooting” and said Ireland should be seeking a write-down of debt, not an extension of the term for paying it back.

Mr Doherty also asked for details of whether the ECB had rejected a proposal, if an alternative proposal would be ready for the next meeting of the ECB board; and what the Government would regard as a satisfactory outcome.

Mr Noonan said it would not be helpful to go into detail, and accused Sinn Féin of positioning itself to reject whatever deal was agreed.

He reiterated his expectation of a deal on the note in the coming weeks and said it was his belief that the Government will get a satisfactory arrangement by the 31 March deadline.

via Paying €3.1bn for Anglo note ‘difficult’ – Noonan – RTÉ News.

Cutbacks hit 75,000 hospital appointments


New figures showing that more than 75,000 hospital appointments have been cancelled over the past three years reveal the pressure on the health service from cutbacks and growing patient numbers.

The Health Service Executive says the cancellations are mainly due to closure of wards for cost-containment measures and a lack of capacity caused by emergency admissions.

At least 25,317 day-case and 50,433 inpatient appointments were cancelled in 2010, 2011 and the first 10 months of this year, the figures supplied by the HSE show. The total is, in fact, higher, since about 13 of the 40 hospitals do not supply figures regularly to the HSE.

Emergency workload

Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the figures reflected a system struggling with the demand-led emergency workload after staff budget cutbacks. “They simply fly in the face of Minister for Health James Reilly’s so-called reform agenda,” he said.

The Irish Patients’ Association expressed concern that the health of some could deteriorate before new appointments were fixed.

“The cancellation of appointments, especially at short notice, can cause huge disruption for patients,” spokesman Stephen McMahon said.

“In some cases, people will have had to make arrangements for the care of a family member and travel long distances to fulfil the appointment.”

He said that, separate from any cancellations, over 350,000 patients were on waiting lists for a first hospital appointment. The data for this year shows 6,311 day-case and 12,772 inpatient appointments were cancelled to the end of October. The figures also reveal huge variations in cancellations in different hospitals.

St James’s Hospital in Dublin accounts for almost one-third of the total, with 21,782 cancelled day-case and inpatient cancellations over the three-year period. The vast majority were for inpatients .

Sick children

Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, which treats sick children, accounted for 18,780 cancellations. In contrast, only 140 cancellations are recorded for Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.

Dr Reilly is due to unveil his plans shortly for a radical reorganisation of the health service through the grouping of hospitals in different regions.

However, critics claim the process will see smaller hospitals downgraded by grouping them with larger hospitals.

Publication of Dr Reilly’s proposals has been delayed until after Christmas.

via Cutbacks hit 75,000 hospital appointments – The Irish Times – Mon, Dec 17, 2012.

via Cutbacks hit 75,000 hospital appointments – The Irish Times – Mon, Dec 17, 2012.

Budget 2013 to be revealed this afternoon


Minster for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin will present the details of Budget 2013 to the Dáil this afternoon.

The Budget will contain revenue raising measures amounting to €1.25bn, and cuts in spending amounting to €2.25bn.

It is the second budget of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition and the fifth austerity budget in a row.

Mr Noonan will begin at 2.30pm and his speech, expected to last around 45 minutes, will focus on revenue raising measures.

It will be followed by a similar contribution from Labour’s Brendan Howlin who will outline spending cuts.

Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group will follow suit with two speakers apiece.

Throughout the afternoon there will be briefing sessions at which individual ministers will outline the implications for their departments.

The first vote is due just after tea time.

via Budget 2013 to be revealed this afternoon – RTÉ News.

via Budget 2013 to be revealed this afternoon – RTÉ News.

Kenny refuses to identify Ministers who get tax break


The identity of the 13 Ministers availing of a tax break for a second home in Dublin has been demanded by Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty.

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.”

via Kenny refuses to identify Ministers who get tax break – The Irish Times – Thu, Nov 29, 2012.

via Kenny refuses to identify Ministers who get tax break – The Irish Times – Thu, Nov 29, 2012.

‘Is it just me or has service got worse recently’ says Gerry Adams


Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams commented yesterday on an ‘appalling decline in everyday customer service’ that he has noticed throughout Northern Ireland. Adams first became aware of the slipping standards around September 2005, when a BBC receptionist didn’t look up from filing her nails after he read out a statement on final IRA decommissioning, and he says the situation has jut gone downhill from there.

‘It was a little thing,’ said Adams, ‘But I’d always found people in this province just couldn’t do enough for you. Everyone was always overly helpful, and wished you a cheery and enthusiastic goodbye whenever you left. That seems to have gone now.’

Adams went on to reminisce about visiting pubs, often with a large bag full of irregularly ticking clocks, which he enjoyed repairing as a relaxing hobby. ‘Nine times out of ten’ he found that drinks were on the house and the staff would very kindly back off into a corner to give him and his friends some privacy or leave the pub completely.

The Sinn Fein leader gave an example of how far standards of politeness have fallen in Belfast restaurants. ‘Just the other night someone spilled soup on my lap, and I barely got an apology or an offer to pick up the dry cleaning bill. But a few years ago I was out to dinner with a friend – I remember it was just before Christmas because it was very cold and my companion arrived wearing a balaclava to keep out the chill – and the waiter merely knocked over my glass of water onto the tablecloth and was so mortified he fainted. You just don’t seem to get that kind of dedication to good service anymore.’

Adams’ other gripes about modern Northern Ireland include the prevalence of car-clamping. For years, he parked pretty much anywhere he liked, and no-one would even go near his car, never mind think about a ticket. “And people don’t laugh so much either” he sighed, ‘I used to tell this joke; it started ‘A man walks into a bar…’ and people would be rolling in the aisles before I even got to the punchline. Nowadays it barely gets a titter…’

The only person he has found that seems to be bucking this trend is a loud burly pensioner, who in the past wouldn’t even give him the time of day, but now is never off the phone to him. Adams often wonders ‘who do we have to kneecap around here to get that bloody Paisley to bloody shut up?’

via ‘Is it just me or has service got worse recently’ says Gerry Adams | NewsBiscuit.

via ‘Is it just me or has service got worse recently’ says Gerry Adams | NewsBiscuit.

Treatment that risks foetus can be ‘ethically permissible’ – Catholic bishops


The Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference released the statement to 'reaffirm some aspects of Catholic moral teaching'

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has also reiterated its condolences to the family of Savita Halappanavar on what they call its “devastating personal tragedy” which has “stunned our country”.

Bishops released a statement on the matter this evening, following a meeting in Maynooth of the Standing Committee of the Irish hierarchy.

It focuses on what the conference calls the “equal and inalienable right to life of a mother and her unborn child”.

It said that, in light of the widespread discussion following the tragic death of Mrs Halappanavar and her unborn baby, bishops wished to reaffirm some aspects of Catholic moral teaching.

The bishops’ group said the Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother but that both had an equal right to life.

It also said there was a moral distinction between “the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby” and medical treatments which do not intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn.

The bishops said current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this distinction in practice “while upholding the equal right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby”.

Savita death ‘an affront to human dignity’

A Swedish member of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe has described the death of Savita Halappanavar as “an affront to human dignity and a serious form of violence.”

Tina Acketoft, who is Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said in a statement: “Abortion was refused even though the foetus that Savita was carrying did not stand any chance of survival.

“She was left suffering and crying for help until she died. I consider what happened to Savita an affront to human dignity and a serious form of violence”.

She added: “I call on the Irish authorities to take immediate steps to align Irish legislation with European standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

“The only way in which this disturbing death can be a little less pointless, is by ensuring that no more woman die in Ireland from being denied legal abortion,” she concluded.

The Council of Europe is the 47-member organisation devoted to the promotion of democracy and human rights and which oversees the European Court of Human Rights.

The Council’s Committee of Ministers is due to examine in early December the government’s latest response to the ruling by the Court of Human Rights which said the Irish state had breached the rights of a woman in the ABC v Ireland case, and which criticised Ireland for not legislating for the X case.

It was in response to the ruling that the government set up the expert group on the abortion question.

The government had committed to sending an update on the findings of the expert group by the end of October, but it has sought an extension of the deadline to the end of November.

The Council of Ministers is due to give its response to the report between 4-6 December, but it is understood they may not be able to give their response since they will only just have received the Government’s update.

The Council of Ministers is officially made up of foreign ministers although the common practice is that, instead, the ambassadors of the member states to the Council of Europe normally issue a response to countries implement the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

Labour to support Government position in X case motion

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said Labour Party TDs will support the Government’s position when Sinn Féin puts forward a Dáil motion tomorrow calling for legislation to be introduced immediately on the X Case.

In 1992, the Supreme Court’s judgment on the X Case permitted abortion in limited circumstances, where there was a substantial risk to the life of the mother.

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Gilmore said he believed Labour deputies will support the Government’s efforts to bring a resolution and legal clarity to this issue.

He added: “This is something that we are not going to leave aside. Doing nothing is not an option on this issue.”

Sinn Féin has said it hopes that all parties will support its motion.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said the objective of the motion was not to be party political.

She said it was intended to give a clear public indication that members of the Oireachtas were “prepared to act, prepared to legislate and not prepared to delay any further” on the issue.

Ms McDonald said that for 20 years, there had been a gap in the law clarifying for medical practitioners exactly how the judgment worked out in practice.

She said: “Our fear is that having waited for 20 years, and notwithstanding the latest tragedy and controversy, that the Government will once again run for cover, once again try to push this issue down the road.”

Asked whether Meath TD Peadar Tóibín, who did not sign the motion, would be expected to support it, she said: “It’s a Sinn Féin motion, and of course all members of Sinn Féin are expected to vote for it.”

She said there would be discussions with Mr Tóibín about the issue and that Sinn Féin had taken the view at its last party conference not to opt for a free vote on the issue.

Ms McDonald said they were anxious to see the report of the expert group on abortion, which is being brought to Cabinet next week.

Labour TD Ciara Conway said she wants to assess the Government’s counter-motion regarding abortion legislation before making any decision on how she will vote.

Ms Conway said the Government’s motion would have to be “strong, forthright and definitive”.

via Treatment that risks foetus can be ‘ethically permissible’ – Catholic bishops – RTÉ News.

via Treatment that risks foetus can be ‘ethically permissible’ – Catholic bishops – RTÉ News.

Archbishop defends record on pregnancy


Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has expressed his distress at some of the reaction to the death of Savita Halappanavar. The archbishop challenged assertions that Ireland was not a safe country in which to be pregnant. “The facts show us we have in fact one of the lowest levels of maternal mortality in the world, which means that whatever practices we have are producing the results that we should respect,” he said.

The fact that Ireland had few maternal deaths showed that where conflicts arose over treatment options they have been resolved successfully, he added.

Minister for Health James Reilly said yesterday that a Government decision on providing clarity on abortion was unlikely before the new year.

Dr Reilly said he would be bringing the expert groups report on abortion to the Cabinet on Tuesday week but that consultation would be needed before a decision was reached.

Ms Halappanavar’s family would have input into the terms of reference for the inquiry into her death, he said.

The draft terms for an internal inquiry to be conducted by Galway University Hospital into the death have been sent to Ms Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen. Terms of reference for a separate HSE inquiry had not been finalised last night.

Ms Halappanavar (31) died at the hospital a week after she had presented miscarrying her 17-week pregnancy. She died of septicaemia. Her husband has said she repeatedly requested a termination over a three-day period but this had been refused on the grounds that Ireland was a “Catholic country” and a foetal heartbeat was still present.

The group’s report sets out several legal options for the Coalition, including the drawing up of primary legislation or the attachment of secondary legislation including new guidelines to existing legislation.

The report says some hospitals could be pre-selected for carrying out abortions in limited circumstances, the Sunday Business Post reported. Another option is to have two senior doctors sign off on an abortion. In cases where a woman claims to be suicidal, a psychiatrist would carry out an assessment.

A Sinn Féin motion calling on the Government to legislate for the X case is to be debated tomorrow. The Coalition is expected to table a counter-motion.

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