Tuesday was the Youth Convention organised by the Prevention & Education Sub-committee of the North Inner City Drugs Task Force
. Myself as chair, along with Miriam and Denise from the office, Ger from BelongTo
, Irene from HOPE (Hands On Peer Education)
, Sue from DublinAIDSAlliance
and Pauline from BradÓg
organised the event which was attended by Transition Year and 5th Year students from some of the second level schools in the area - O'Connell's, St. Joseph's, Marino College, Larkin College and Rosmini. Over 100 young people discussing drugs and alcohol; no lectures. As I said when I was opening it there would be no lectures, no preaching at them on what was good or bad for them - it was a few hours of hearing their views. And they were interesting; we had a great selection of clips from ads - both for alcohol, drugs and the risks. And a great site - Hello Sunday Morning
which is about reclaiming your Sunday morning from excessive Saturday nights.
Hear Maureen on Housing
Back to the Dáil in time for the meeting with Down Syndrome Ireland
; serious issues regarding resource hours. I was only thinking of my own school and a Down Syndrome student who sat her Leaving Cert recently. Great worker, parental support and but she had the hours that she needed to realise her potential.
Wednesday to the Mass in Arbour Hill
in memory of those who gave their lives for Irish independence.
I called in to the Alzheimer Society Tea Party http://www.alzheimer.ie/Home.aspx in the Mansion House on Wednesday morning and then to the photo to launch the Green Ribbon as part of Mental Health Awareness Month.
Phone 01 - 832 5591 for bokking & info
I had the Consultative Group meeting in Grangegorman then; serious issues for a particular section of the community with the works that will be starting. Shades of what happened in the Dockland communities! I had spent the best part of two weeks trying to get a Topical Issue debate on the Housing report which showed 90% of private rented accommodation
in parts of the north inner city were unfit for human habitation. In the end of I used some of my speaking time on the Housing Bill to highlight this very serious issue. I worked on my Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) Docklands
submission for DCC . Thursday evening
As part of the Foreign Affairs Committee I met one of the Ministers from Singapore with another parliamentarian from there and interestingly both were women. It was an interesting discussion - I was interested in their waste management strategies. But I did express my concerns over the death penalty.
Friday was spent calling to a number of constituents and that night began the leaflet drop. I want to wish the Transition Youth students in my old school St. Mary's Baldoyle well with their production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
- on in school next Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Friday night saw us starting the leaflet/newsletter drop for the north inner city part of the constituency. Really great to be out and about - felt like an election all over. And apologies for the typo error. I don't know how it happened but there was no way I could justify shredding all those leaflets on that basis so my sincere apologies. Also we've been very fortunate with the weather; in spite of the showers we were able to keep going.
Click for Maureen's statement
Last week brought a few disappointments. I tried several days to get a Dáil Topical Issue debate on the recent report
into private-rented accommodation in which found over 90% unfit for human habitation. I sent out a press statement to a comprehensive mailing list of journalists and media. No Topical Issue to date -
I will try again next week; media interest was limited to RadióNaGaeltachta
Maureen introducing Liffey Bridge Campaign
Then, trying to get some publicity on our campaign to have Tony Gregory's name considered when it comes to naming the new Liffey bridge in Dublin, also to honour the 1982 'Gregory Deal'
. Again a lot of of contacting of media for the press conference
called for Thursday in Buswell's with those members of the Oireachtas who had also made submissions - Deputies Catherine Murphy
, Joe Higgins, Finian McGrath
, Shane Ross
, Mick Wallace, Thomas Pringle & Senator Terry Leyden. We had a photographer from the Star, journalist from The Irish Times
which did carry an online article, Mick Clifford who chaired the 'Gregory Deal' Debate on the 30th anniversary; later there were interviews with Radió Na Gaeltachta
, Nuacht agus Splanc ar Newstalk
Click for YouTube Clips
Very disappointing - I think back on what so many journalists wrote about Tony during his life and when he died - all acknowledging his work, dedication and commitment to social justice and to his constituents, especially those in the inner city. I'm not saying Tony has a 'divine right' to have his name on the bridge but at least give the campaign efforts cover in the media. Our campaign will continue and can also be followed on Facebook Name The New Liffey Bridge After Tony Gregory
Click for info on 'Trashed'
Attended the film 'Trashed'
by and with Jeremy Irons on waste - absolutely frightening the extent of dumping and the damage to people's health and to the environment. Horrifying to see people living right beside landfill sites some of which are by the sea so having damaging effect on fishing and tourism.
The 'Decades' Committee
visited Richmond Barracks and the Courthouse at Kilmainham; the latter may be developed as an exhibition centre and entrance for the Gaol while the former has a very active local history action group with interesting plans for the barracks which was the site of the courtmartials of those who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising. And still Moore St, and the National Monument, suffer further dereliction!
Click for President Michael D's speech
Being on the Decades Committee I was invited to the launch of the restored Starry Plough flag at Collins Barracks Museum which was flown in Dublin, during 1916 Easter Rising. An amazing piece of restoration and again a very inspiring speech from President Michael D Higgins. From history to The Dandelion Club for the Homeless Soccer group who were launching a new fund-raising venture with the Johnny Giles Foundation
. The following day to the finals to present one of the prizes at the close of the tournament - this was in Post Office Club in Killtipper, Tallaght.
Click to hear Maureen speak
Meetings in the Dáil with families and survivors of the Omagh bombings; steering group meeting for the Constitutional Convention; Foreign Affairs Committee meetings with Secretary General of Council of Europe Minister of Justice of Colombia Vargas Lleras
Last week's Private Members' Motion from the Technical Group was on organ donation and transplants on which I spoke on Wednesday night ; the the next day Foreign Affairs Committee met a delegation on the illegal trafficking of organs particularly taking organs from prisoners and Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Click to hear Maureen speak
On Friday I spoke in the Dáil on Thomas Pringle's Amendment Sexual Offences Bill I also attended fund-raising Quiz for my old school St Mary's Baldoyle
for forthcoming musical - nice to see so many past pupils and to hear of the jobs they have, in spite of the recession.
More meetings to finalise plans for the NICDTF
Youth Convention this Tuesday for schools in the inner city on drugs and alcohol.
Sympathies to the family and friends of the late Anto O'Toole; Anto was a stalwart volunteer at the Cavan Centre
Click for YouTube clip on Moore St question
The past week I confined my speaking to the priority questions I had with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation RBruton TD on EU Tax regulations
and Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht JDeenihan TD on the Moore Street 1916 Monument Site. I attended the NEIC Community Forum on Tuesday morning - again the illegal dumping issue. DCC had a very visible taking up of some 60 bags illegally dumped in the inner city. They got 5 names. In spite of being seen going through those bags, the following day there were a further 30 in the same area. Privatisation has not helped but there are people who basically just do not care!
NICDTF Prevention and Education
sub-group meeting - working on agenda for youth convention on drugs and alcohol - a lot of interest in this by the schools.
Glasnevin Museum Info
Click Pakistani activists' work against bonded labour
Then to support a fund-raising event for Special Olympics Ireland
There was a number of events and meetings relating to Foreign Affairs
which is the committee where I am a member. Horrified after meeting and speaking to Pakistani woman Ms Kolhi Veero
, who was in the same position as tenant farmers were in Ireland under the landlords - slave labour, in other words. Part of Dáil delegation with Trocaire
. Best wishes to her in the forthcoming provincial elections in Pakistan - and she is standing as an Independent.
Meeting with the British Ambassador in relation to the human rights issues of prisoners in the North, especially those who are in prison for a number of years without charge.
Then with other female T.D's - Ann Phelan (Labour), Olivia Mitchell (FG), Clare Daly (ULA) an informal meeting with African women living in Ireland and their experiences of life in Ireland.
Click for Irish times news article
Thursday evening I went to the protest outside the Dáil in relation to Colleges of Further Education
; met couple of teachers I knew.
Saturday night to Cabra's Fassaugh House to support fund-raising event for Lisa who is off with Global Vision to work in animal sanctuary for a few months. Finalising the details on the newsletter for the inner city part of the constituency.
Tony Gregory's last Dáil speech
Also working to get coverage for press conference next Thursday, 02 May in Buswell's Hotel to garner publicity & support for our campaign to have the new Liffey bridge called after Tony.
Who better to call a bridge in the inner city after than Tony Gregory
whose name is synonomous with the inner city.
In a lift recently in town, two other women there who immediately started to talk about Tony - 'No one like him'; 'The only one'.
Sunday in Croke Park was a close game. Supported the Dubs, winning the league final against Tyrone. First league title since 1993.
Friday 19th April was closing date for submitting suggestions for the name of the new bridge in Dublin. It was good to hear Noel Gregory's Irish Times letter
getting a mention on Morning Ireland; his is an innovative idea of calling the bridge The Gregory Bridge which would honour both Lady Gregory (ticking woman box and Abbey Theatre box) and Tony Gregory. Disappointing that on 6 news on RTE there was no mention of Tony's name at all.
However, we will persevere.
Click to hear President Michael D Higgins address
Last week began with me getting to a good amount of the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, Climate Justice
. An inspirational, challenging speech by President Michael D to open the conference; it really set the tone. Speaking to various participants from all corners of the world they too were very impressed with this words, his knowledge and grasp of the issues and the direction solutions must take. This was a conference where the voices of those most affected were heard - farmers, fishing people, pastoralists, women from Mongolia, Antigua, Nepal, Vietnam, many of the African countries.
Their empowerment will be valueless unless the political will is there to not take the land or allow multi-nationals to take the land from under them. Europe has to be more pro-active on the bio-fuels issue - we can't give with one hand and then take with the other.
Click to hear Maureen on Symphisiotomy
Dáil was back and Tuesday saw the beginning of the debate on symphisiotomy. I was in the chamber for the opening speech and had my own time later that night. Good that there was enough agreement to not have to call a vote on Wednesday. Hopefully a workable solution will be found for the women who suffered this most awful of practice. I missed the Iona Road Residents due to that debate but got to some of the Croke Park Forum later that night.
I also raised amendments on National Lottery Bill
. One, the inclusion of words 'the natural environment' was agreed, with support from many sides. This will enable environmental groups to apply to National Lottery for grants under new bill for the invaluable work they do.
Click for hear Maureen's comments
Wednesday afternoon was taken up with Foreign Affairs Committee - 3 meetings in fact; a very disturbing and moving presentation from an activist from Uganda on the situation for gay and lesbian people there - sounded like 1930-40s' Nazi Germany; then the Jewish people were blamed for every ill in that society, now it is the turn of the gay community in Uganda. The Minister made a presentation at the second meeting where we discussed the Uganda matter. I brought up the rape incidents in D.R.C. Democratic Republic Congo) - the need for more direct engagement with African leaders and their armies; also issues on Cuba; O.D.A. (Official Development Assistance) and the EU presidency, following up to the conference in terms of environmental issues.
Click for info on Peter's 'Break A Leg'
As there was no vote that night I made it to Peter Sheridan's one man show, part of the FiveLampsArtsFestival
- it was a real trip down memory lane, including the setting up of the City Workshop arts group who created plays from the stories of the participants who were living in the inner city flats complexes.
Thursday I had been invited to speak to a group of young students from a number of North Dublin schools on political life -there were some great questions. Back to the Dáil as hosting a meeting with member of the Syrian opposition - more grim news on the humanitarian situation, particularly the number of people who have lost limbs, eyes etc and not getting the treatment they need.
That night community meetings and the following day - Friday Dáil sitting. I didn't speak as had some constituent appointments.
Click for Dublin Dockers facebook page photos
Two events on Saturday evening - dedication of community/youth centre at The Tivoli, off Clonliffe Road, to community activist Barbara Ward who very sadly died, age 52. She was a great campaigner for her community and that was recognised in the speeches. From there to the Five Lamps to take part in the procession to St Laurence O'Toole church in memory of the dockers. Great work being done by former dockers Jimmy Mc Carthy, Declan Byrne, Johnny Walsh and others to preserve the photos, memorabilia of dockers' lives. A really nice ceremony in the church with readings and songs and then to Sheriff Club where the photos were on exhibition.
Sunday worked on website blog, area newsletter; a disappointing result for the Dublin hurlers.
Article on Constiution Convention vote results
Over 1,000 submissions to the Constitutional Convention on the subject of same sex marriage so a lot of reading last week. One struck me particularly - from UCC Law school and one of the authors was at the convention today so I was able to bring it up with him. This was to do with the fact that our Constitution, including the Preamble, are very much based on the principle of equality, respect for the dignity and freedom of each individual and that Articles 41 and 42
did not preclude marriage rights for same sex couples. My question was why then has it been interpreted as meaning man and woman. His answer was that it was politicians who do that. His view as a constitutional lawyer was that marriage between same sex couples was allowed by our constitution.
The submissions on both sides were very interesting and all delivered in a spirit of dignity and respect; as were all the comments and questions from the floor.
At times I found it emotional, particularly when the gay participants spoke very movingly of their own situation, being denied a right that heterosexual people have. Back on Sunday for the vote.
Incidentally, I met a politics student whose thesis is on the transfer records of Independents and small parties who told me I am the most transfer friendly person of all!!!
Other events last week included visiting Irish Aid in Limerick to meet some of the officials in relation to the new AWEPA project of joint monitoring teams of European and African parliamentarians on aid effectiveness, project on bringing parliamentarians from the Arab Spring countries to a meeting of the Constitutional Convention and plans for the AWEPA conference in Dublin at the end of Ireland's presidency of the EU.
North Inner City Drugs Task Force
meeting and meeting I chair of the Prevention and Education sub-group.
A session with photographer Tommy Clancy (Click for new web site of his photos
) - for new photos of me for forthcoming newsletter.
Interview with a politics student from NUI Maynooth on the significance of the constituency changes. I'm afraid only time will tell on that one.
Click for conference information
Then the Foreign Affairs Committee met leaders from the Christian churches in Palestine, organised by Sadaka
Was working on a chapter for a book on Independents in Irish political life, doing well and over 2,000 words done when it just disappeared off the screen - hopefully in the system some where!
In City Hall on Friday evening at event to acknowledge the retirement of City Manager John Tierney. Dáil back next week
. I will also be attending Dublin Conference on Hunger · Nutrition · Climate Justice
Watch the Conference live on www.eu2013.ie
or participate on Twitter #HNCJ.
Click for info on residents' concerns
The Dáil not sitting gives a chance to draw breath even though the constituency work continues through the office.
I did take a few days off but was in touch with Valerie and Jodie each day and checking e mail.
One meeting I was sorry to miss was the one in the Phoenix Park Centre in relation to plans for more concerts in the park. Residents are very concerned in view of what happened at one of the concerts last summer.
Moore St Report Info
One piece of good news - D.C.C. accepted the report from the committee set up to look at the Moore Street battlefield site. They went through the many submissions, including the one from the Technical Group which very much supported the area being designated a historic, battlefield site from the G.P.O. and including all the Moore Street area to the site of the surrender at the Rotunda. As I attended the Easter Rising ceremony on Easter Sunday outside the G.P.O,
I couldn't help thinking of what it will be like for the centenary, if Moore Street is not restored in an appropriate way that honours the men and women of 1916. So much potential for the area as an historic quarter, vibrant business area with the street traders and other businesses and looking at some of the derelict buildings being restored for housing.
The break from the Dáil also giving me a chance to read all the material for this weekend's Constitutional Convention on same sex marriage. Some 1,000 submissions were received; good balance achieved in the groups who will be presenting at the convention.
Good to see the work of Br Kevin
and Fr Peter McVerry
getting the Nationwide treatment
this week on R.T.E.
About AWEPA Ireland
As Dáil not sitting I took the opportunity to visit Irish Aid in Limerick; good meeting in relation to AWEPA project on Aid effectiveness working with parliamentarians from Ireland and African countries; the conference June at the end of the Presidency - organising speakers with input from Irish Aid.
Article on Resources Directive
Really positive to see in news this week that a new directive has been agreed under Irish Presidency of the EU that will see European countries involved in mining and other extractive industries worldwide obliged to disclose payments made to governments. This has been advocated by NGO's and other rights lobbyists.
One snag is it wont come into force before 2016 so still, most unfortunately, for those unscrupulous countries to continue to exploit the mineral resources of African countries for profit for the companies. This is an area our AWEPA project will be pursuing.
Work on the newsletter continues; hopefully ready for printing next week or so and then it will be out leafletting.
Click for Maureen's speech on Animal Cruelty
Last week was a disappointing one - we knew what were up against on the Animal Welfare amendments, trying to bring in a ban on hare coursing, the digging out of foxes, badger cull, fur farming as some examples. Philosopher Immanuel Kant's point about a nation being judged on how it treats its animals shows Ireland in very very bad light. We were trying to get a ban on the deliberate and wanton cruelty to animals. There was wide ranging discussion and what was the media's coverage - micro chipping of dogs. And they chose to make ' a mountain out of a molehill' by suggesting this was going to cost 50 euro when, if they had listened, they would have heard the Minister saying he would be in negotiation to ensure this would be under 10 euro. And animal organisations, owners of animals welcome the micro-chipping initiative.
Not a mention of the discussion on the cruelty aspects in what is supposedly sport!
Clck for Maureen on FurFarming Amendment
The voting also showed the lack of parliamentary democracy in the Dáil - the powerful party whip system. Imagine all political parties - Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin could not support banning those activities that involve deliberate cruelty to animals.
Thanks to the support from the Independents, Patrick Nulty who spoke in favour of our amendments and the votes from those who lost the Labour party whip.
Maureen speaking at EU Presidency Conference
Last Sunday and Monday I attended a conference for European parliamentarians, from the Foreign Affairs and Defence committees, held in the Printworks and Dublin Castle. The first day was addressed by Catherine Ashton, the next day by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. I spoke on the issue of tax justice and the need for European countries to commit to not allowing their countries to be used as tax havens. The Tánaiste did admit, in answering my question, that Europe was not doing enough. The other point I made was in relation to the rape of women in African countries, especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo, asking that more has to be done with African heads of government in insisting on standards, codes of practice for their national armies. The conference was extremely well organised - great credit to the Secretariat in the Dáil.
I unfortunately missed the Cabra Community Forum due to votes in the Dáil.
I attended the meeting of Dáil members involved in the issue of Symphisiotomy
- there will be a bill after Easter which hopefully will lead to justice for these ladies. (There's an urgent appeal to sign Symphisiotomy Survivors' Petition) Also at a meeting with Thalidomide survivors
, also badly served in this country. There are 32 survivors, some of whom have very specific needs which are once off so why can't they be sorted now before it is too late?
Then a meeting with some youth workers, mainly from south side, on the cuts to youth services.
Info on A.Abusrour's, Al Rowwad centre
Other meetings: Constitutional Convention will deal with same sex marriage next so I met reps from Marriage and Equality. I hosted and chaired a meeting addressed by Dr Abdelfattah Abusrour, Director of Al Rowwad children's cultural centre
in the Palestinian refugee camps. He shows them , through the arts - drama, art, photography - how to express their feelings, instead of turning to violence and the prospect of martyrdom. His way is 'Beautiful Resistance'.
Meeting with the new Director of the Teaching Council
; I have not been a fan and had expressed my views with the Minister in the Dáil. We had a good discussion and I hope my efforts played some part in the reduction of the fee from €95 to €65 per year.
Click for Alternative Energy Questions
My priority question on Foreign Affairs was on bio-fuels; coming from 2 excellent reports I read - Actionaid
Ireland and Swedish Co-operative Centre
, showing how this matter of bio-fuels is driving a scramble for land in Africa. Land is being grabbed for bio-fuels for European efforts on climate change; but this is leading to land displacement, evictions, hunger, shortage of water and severe abuses in labour.
Very positive that the Minister committed to Ireland supporting the 5% cap.
And now the Dáil sittings are in recess for 2 weeks. I will be taking a few days off but the office will be open as usual from Tuesday on and I will be in touch with my office to follow up on queries.
RTE article on latest REDC poll
More accounts over last week of the Dáil Technical Group being 'in disarray' and members 'at war' - no such thing; we had our usual weekly meeting on Tuesday, sorted our speaking time, priority questions, private members etc in our usual amicable, respectful way. Once again - I need to stress the independence of the Independents; we are not a political party and so it is wrong to treat us as if we were. Community meetings last week: Iona Road - topics were property tax and illegal dumping; the latter was the subject of quite a number of email and calls. The office makes at least 3 calls daily in relation to illegal dumping. What is happening the principle of 'active citizenship'! Another community meeting was in East Wall
in relation to plans for next Family Fun Day - next June.
Grangegorman Consultative Group
As I don't have a local-based constituency office, I use my Dáil office, I have been using the non-sitting days to call to those constituents who want to see me in their own homes, I attend many local meetings & events as invited and I think that is working well. Other meetings: with Clúid Housing Association
in relation to plans for St.Mary's Mansions, Seán MacDermott St. I am now on the Grangegorman Consultative Group - first meeting was Thursday last.
At NearFM Culture Shots
in the Mansion House on Tuesday evening; delighted to see Evans (he had worked as intern in my office for short period as part of Crosscare's Power to Diversity programme
) receive an award and speak of his experiences on the community media project. Chaired AWEPA event with two really interesting visitors who were here as part of Trocaire's 40th anniversary celebrations
. Jestina a human rights worker from Zimbabwe and Attiwayo a lecturer in University of Nairobi; the latter spoke on tax justice and the implications of tax evasion and tax avoidance for the countries of both the developing and developed worlds. Both also spoke in Royal College of Surgeons at Trocaire conference - I got to the afternoon session.
Hear Maureen on Disability Supports
Private members' motion was led by Independent Finian McGrath and supported by the Technical Group; I spoke on Wednesday night with the vote on Thursday afternoon.
I sent in forms for nominating the new bridge in Dublin after the late Tony Gregory and we will do more to get widespread support. Any resident can add their support by application
I would like to wish Francis from the group well. He is off to nurse in England: another example of a fine young man not being able to secure a decently paid job in Ireland as a nurse.
North Wall Dwellers Association
Friday to a meeting in Wood Quay venue with DCC officials on the SDZ plans for the Docklands. My concerns were in relation to the long established communities in the area, especially in Upper Mayor Street and New Wapping Street who have been treated appallingly in the past by DDDA
and other authorities whose over-riding concerns were development at the expense of the local communities. The residents' concerns have to be addressed and DCC have committed to meeting them, and RPA, in April as a matter of priority. Education and heritage/culture were also raised by me. There are some interesting and welcome aspects to the plans but as one who was always anti high rise I will not be supporting a 14 storey building in such close proximity to the communities.
Saturday: I had been invited to attend a seminar by the History Teachers' Association (Dublin Branch)
on how history will survive the decade of commemorations - an interesting theme, especially considering where history is (or really isn't) in the new Framework Document on the Junior Cert. There is a need for a co-ordinated campaign to ensure retention of history as a compulsory subject in the Junior Cert.
Link to Gardiner St
Last week: international was news dominated by the election of the new Pope. I'm sure the Jesuit community at St Francis Xavier Church in Gardiner Street are pleased. Pope Francis seems a humble person, not into pomp and ceremony. It would be welcomed if Pope Francis draws his practice from the compassion for the people & for the poor as demonstrated for decades by Jesuits of our neighbourhoods: Fr. Peter McVerry, Fr Frank Brady, Fr Edmund Grace, Fr Donal Neary and Fr James Smith, in professing a renewed Catholic faith.
National news dominated by Deputy Flanagan. Once again attempts to taint the Technical Group and Independents and expect us to react as if we were a political party. And that is not to take from the fact that what he did was wrong.
Click to hear Maureen speak
I spoke on Spent Convictions Bill seeking real change to law that penalise young people for mistakes for too long
3 night time community forum meetings last week: Mountjoy Street on Tuesday night; Prussia Street on Wednesday night and Navan Road/Pelletstown in Pelletstown
on Thursday night. The first was dominated by a discussion on the issue of the non-dispersal of social services for homeless people, people in addiction throughout the city but instead the predominance of these services in Dublin 1 and 7.
The three fora share the same issues of anti-social behaviour, litter/illegal rubbish dumping as well as issues directly related to the particular communities.
Link to DCC Joint Policing Committee
Also on Thursday, spoke as Independent member of the Constitutional Convention with reps from the political parties at event co-ordinated by Amnesty (International Ireland)
on issues for when the convention finishes the designated topics. I used my time to speak specifically on the rights of those with mental health issues, tax justice - not sure yet how that fits in to our constitution
but I think its absence has contributed to our economic woes - and rights of prisoners after prison term to avoid recidivism. Also that environmental rights need to be included with social, cultural and economic rights.
Link for MagdaleneLaundries
Last Sunday afternoon I spoke at the flower laying ceremony at the graves of the ladies from the Magdalen laundries. We had a nice sunny day this year, different from the rain and wind of last year. It was a dignified lovely ceremony and well supported. I hope by this time next year Justice Quirke's work will have seen redress and services for the surviving ladies.
Monday morning to the Deaf Village in Cabra
for the official opening; met two neighbours from East Wall, members of the deaf community. It is a fabulous facility; I had to leave before the speeches but got to see the water polo match. To my own school then for an event, then to appointments with constituents, followed by a board meeting of the primary school which I chair.
Clcik to see 'Boundary Wall' summary report
Tuesday to the boys' primary school in North Wall for the launch of the Boundary Wall
report on education and youth in the area. This was launched by Professor Kathleen Lynch and very well attended. Again I had to head off before the end of the event as had to be at the weekly Dáil Technical Group meeting at 12.30 in the Dáil. This was followed by a meeting with Dr Ahmed Shaheed from the Maldives who is a UN Rapporteur on human rights; his area is Iran. He also let us know what is happening in the Maldives, severe threat to democracy - then today an outline petition to send a letter to the President of the Maldives in relation to a sentence of flogging for a young girl who was raped by her step father and this is the same week as International Women's Day. This young girl suffered horrendous abuse by her step father over a number of years. On the same subject, I hosted a meeting in AV room for Christian Aid
who had brought one of their workers from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to give an update on what is happening there. DRC is the most unsafe place in the world to be a woman - a woman raped every 48 seconds!
Click for report on debate & vote
Another group of IBRC workers were in the AV room to discuss their situation; these workers stayed on to work on the wind down of the company, expecting a few years work for this to happen. They have been badly let down and must get their original pension rights restored for when they do finish. Their is no guarantee of work with NAMA.
Istoíche Dé Luain chuaigh mé go dtí Teach an Ard Mhaora - lá breithe 20 bliain 'Radió na Life'
. Late vote in the Dáil on Tuesday so after 11pm getting home.
Briefing from BetFair
on Wednesday morning in advance of two bills on gambling. I discussed the social responsibility levy on the industry to go to those services for those in addiction to gambling.
Click to hear the debate on Mental Health
I didn't get to speak on the Property Tax but I have been following up on matters for the voluntary housing associations & other groups. Community meeting with residents in the Ballybough area on this because many of the houses have been flooded and now unable to get insurance cover for flood. Good to know that this will be taken into account when it comes to assessing the property tax. I have been speaking with Minister of State Brian Hayes TD on his meetings with the Insurance Federation on this . I have also been following up the insurance companies especially for their unfair treatment of homes in areas where alleviation measures and remedial measures have taken place.
I did get to raise Mental Health Services as a Topical Issue, keeping pressure on to follow through on stated Government commitments
I got to the end of the Foreign Affairs Committee
to add my condolences and sympathy to be conveyed on the death of Venezualan President Hugo Chavez - democratically elected by his people. Very significant outpouring of grief from the poor and marginalised of Venezuala.
I note sympathy from one of the Kennedy family for the way oil was given freely to be used in homes of very poor communities in U.S.
Click for Maureen's speech on Autism Bill
Friday - International Women's Day and I got to 4 events; 8.30am with the Immigrant Council; then to SAOL project
in Youth & Community Centre, Ballybough; I also spoke in Dáil on Autism Bill to John Paul II Park in Cabra - exhibition of work of women in Ladies Club, Sancta Maria Centre, Arts club, History club - music, tea, coffee; then to Áras an Uachtaráin where the President hosted a reception for women leaders
Freisin ar an Aoine, bhí dream istigh le DCC - 'Caint agus Siúl' - 40 daoine turas san Dáil.
Sunday got to Croke Park to support the Dubs against Kildare. Great that teh Dubs get another deciusive win behind them