“He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.” – Proverbs 28:27.
During the current year, 2016, we celebrated the one hundred year of our struggle for Irish independence, with at least some €22 million, minimum, in taxpayer funding, spent in various ways, but mainly in the areas, both in and around, Sackville Street, today better known as O’Connell Street; Dublin’s main thoroughfare.
Travelling through Dublin in recent weeks, one could not help but notice the number of homeless people begging and sleeping rough in the streets of this same city. By sleeping rough I mean men and women of all ages sleeping or bedded down in the freezing open air, seeking refuge in filthy doorways, parks and bus shelters; people sleeping in buildings or other places not designed for human habitation e.g. car parks, living what now appears to be the socially acceptable “Plastic Bag” and “Wet Cardboard” lifestyle.
A headcount taken in our Capital’s city centre area recently found 168 people were sleeping rough with this figure not including some 60 people sharing a floor in the Merchant’s Quay Night Cafe and an unknown number of persons bedded down, hidden from immediate sight in the 1752 acres of the Phoenix Park, latter containing ‘Áras an Uachtaráin’, the residence currently occupied by the head of State and President of our ‘Emerald Green Island’.
Now towards the end of 2016, following our 100 year commemorations / celebrations; call them what you will; it would appear our current minority Fine Gael government have failed dismally to adhere to the very ideals of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins. Where now in 2016 are spoken the words of Collins; quote; “For the future, we must not have the destitution of poverty at one end, and at the other, an excess of riches”?
So also our rapidly diminishing so called Irish Labour Party, which propped up the outgoing Fine Gael government over the previous 5 years. They too, in their greed for power, have overlooked the accurate prophesy in the words spoken by their once executed associate James Connolly, quote: “If you remove the English army tomorrow, unless you set about the organisation of a Socialist Republic, she will still continue to rule you through her Capitalists, through her Landlords, through her Financiers“.
Current statements like “no person will be on the streets unless they want to be” are no longer acceptable from those who were elected to rule over us. When will the practice of allowing those refusing shelter; sleeping on mattresses of wet cardboard; wrapped in discarded plastic bags, cease? I say this in the knowledge of the problems within homeless shelters, due to individuals having complex drink and drug related struggles. Accept it; people lying in doorways do not feel safe in sheltered accommodation, while forced to sleep, wearing footwear on their feet; in the sure and certain knowledge if they do not, their shoes, together with other meagre possessions, will be stolen by morning.
What would it cost our government, (who knowingly amongst other unnecessary spending, used an estimated €27 million of taxpayers money, on a postal code system, namely Eircode, which possibly will never be wholly used), to provide one warm coat, a pair of stout shoes and a one-person tent that can be compressed into a portable bag (See picture above), to a mere couple of hundred rough sleepers at most?
If we see ourselves as Christians, surly it is time to examine and act immediately on the urgent and very basic needs of a few people who, for whatever reason, choose to sleep rough in conditions, (dare I say unfit for an animal), exposing themselves to the current freezing winter conditions, being experienced over recent weeks, on the streets of our cities.
“Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” – St. Luke 12:15
The massive disparity separating Urban and Rural communities continues to expand.
The Mid West Region represents an area spanning 8,248 km², taking in the geographical borders of the combined counties of Clare, Limerick, & North Tipperary. The population of these 3 areas, according to the most recent information taken on Census night 2016, are officially recorded as:- Co. Clare – 118,627 persons, Limerick – 195,175 persons (Inc. Limerick city) and North Tipperary – 71,370 persons. Total population for the Mid West Region can therefore be calculated as containing some 385,172 residents.
National Ambulance Service Review
The Siren Study set up to evaluate the development and performance of different emergency and urgent care systems (EUCS) has show that medical patient survival rates for emergency cases, in this same Mid West Region, are among the lowest in the country.
The findings of this study undertaken by University Collage Cork (UCC), which compared patient admission and outcome figures for 2000-2006 and 2007-2012, suggested that if every County had the same death rate for emergency conditions as Dublin, up to one thousand lives per year could be saved.
While admitting that fatality rates have dropped nationally during the past 10 years, the disparity still remaining between the regions continues to dwell significant.
Dublin currently has six emergency departments for a population of 1.2 million people. If the same A&E model was in place in the Mid West Region were to be used in Dublin there would only be three emergency departments available in our capital.
The excessive waiting times for ambulances and the requirement for all emergency cases to be taken to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) is acknowledged as having been a likely cause of death in a number of past emergency medical cases.
The original reasoning behind the development of a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Limerick certainly showed some merit, as in the centralising of certain expertise and services. However based on the current demand for services alone, (UHL) at this present time is not ‘fit for need’, and to-date has not been sufficiently upgraded in the aftermath of the initial decision to downgrade Nenagh General Hospital.
Based on projected population increases alone the people of North Tipperary, in particular, continue to allow themselves to be treated as second-class citizens. Promises made to provide a new accident and emergency (A&E) department at University Hospital Limerick following the downgrading of both Ennis and Nenagh General Hospitals has now been delayed by a further two months according to confirmation by the UL Hospitals Group recently.
Their excuse “It is more important to get it right than to open too soon without the proper systems and safeguards in place”, is no longer acceptable. Building contractors, engaged at University Hospital Limerick, are due to hand over this new project at the end of the first quarter in 2017, and between 90 and 100 additional staff are being targeted for the new department, in a recruitment drive that is supposedly currently under way. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) however have expressed concerns over the likelihood of securing such medical staff in the immediate future.
Not for the first time over the last few months and in the case of UHL, yesterday showed same to be the busiest A&E in Ireland, with 36 patients reported as waiting to be provided with the luxury of a bed on a ward. To add further to this misery; fears have been expressed over the continued provision of the essential rapid response emergency ambulance services for Tipperary and Clare. The National Ambulance Service (NAS) have confirmed they are reviewing the provision of rapid response vehicles in both counties with a view to discontinuing at least some already existing services.
Back in 2009, as part of a HSE reconfiguration of hospital services, which supervised the closure of Nenagh’s A&E departments to a daytime only operation; ambulances staffed by advanced paramedic staff, specially trained in advanced life support skills and drugs administration were introduced into the Mid-West instead. This same service was touted by the HSE as ‘Tipperary’s A&E on the Road’. We were informed then, and foolishly accepted as fact, that this service was to be “A natural progression in the enhancement and development of the ambulance service in North Tipperary”.
While the HSE confirm that this review has only recently commenced and that no decision will be made until all aspects of the Mid West Review is finalised; North Tipperary needs to be aware. After all just some weeks ago our County Councillors were discussing raising Property Tax in Co Tipperary. Perhaps it’s now time to sell up or accept the fact that you will die, not as a result of any medical condition such as a heart attack, but as a result of remaining to reside in a long forgotten rural North Tipperary.
Some €150 million is being spent to redevelop the historic 1916 Boland’s Mill site in Dublin’s docklands, including the construction of a 15-storey apartment block, by Dublin City Council.
Buildings at No.14 to No.17 inclusive at Moore Street, Dublin have been purchased since 2015 from Nama, by Fine Gael Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys. Possibly three of these buildings were in ruins prior to the 1916 Easter Rising and therefore, despite Sinn Féin’s revenge protestations, are of no real historic significant. Admittedly around three hundred Irish Volunteers and members of Cumann na mBan did use the cover of these derelict buildings to escape from the GPO after it caught fire, following a bombardment by British artillery; breaking in and tunnelled their way through gable walls. The fourth house No.16 is important, since it became Volunteer headquarters and the place from which it was decided to finally surrender on April 29th, 1916.
An extra €2 million in 2015, we are informed, was transferred from Arts to secure funding for the wages of staff operating free tourist admissions to National Cultural Institutions which included the National Museum of Ireland, the Natural History museum on Dublin’s Merrion Street, Archaeology on Kildare Street and the National Library of Ireland.
We are informed that a capital provision of €22 million was allocated in 2015 to a number of flagship projects, including the development of a permanent exhibition space and interpretative centre at the GPO in O’Connell Street; the renovation of Kilmainham Courthouse in Dublin to enhance the visitor experience at Kilmainham Gaol; the provision of a permanent visitor facility at Cathal Brugha Barracks for the Military Service Pensions Archive; renovation works at Richmond Barracks; the development of a Tenement Museum in Dublin; and the restoration of the Kevin Barry rooms in the National Concert Hall.
Forgetting the €150 million spend on the historic 1916 Boland’s Mill site, some €28 million, at least, has now been set aside for 1916 projects; all of which has one theme in common – DUBLIN.
Today the Tipperary Kelly / Coonan Circus rolled into Thurles, led by their Ringmaster the Minister for Property Tax, Water and higher Bin Charges, Mr Alan Kelly. You know the guy I mean; in April 2010, as an Irish MEP he had his Twitter account supposedly “compromised” and God forbid, if the little ‘divils’ didn’t write; “just got stopped by a pikey, scuse me sir, ya haven’t seen a black mare and white pony go by ave ya??? err no sorry”. The word ‘Pikey’ here in “Éire of the Welcomes” is rightly considered a derogatory insulting racist reference, directed at members of our Travelling Community. (It was on the back of this insulting Tweet that no doubt gave justification to Labour’s Joan Burton to raise Kelly’s political stature to the post of “Minister for the Homeless”.)
The other partner of this Circus, Fine Gael’s Minister for Nothing or Other, Mr Noel Coonan also arrived into Thurles today; no doubt to familiarise himself after five years with the Thurles layout. After all when you get a few extra Saturday shoppers walking the town one thinks in the words of our Saviour Jesus Christ “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
The late session with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Templemore last night must have kept the junior Minister for Something or Other, Mr Tom Hayes running late; no sign of him.
Anyway, I digress; sure feck-it, unable to afford the price of a parking space in Liberty Square, didn’t I miss both or all of these fine publicly elected representatives.
Question: Why bother, I hear our readers say? Answer: I suppose FirstlyI wanted to sincerely thank all three for staying up in Dáil Éireann to vote, thus supporting their ‘Party Whips’ wishes; that they should support the largest majority government in the history of this State, instead of being down here in their constituencies of Co. Tipperary spreading “The Recovery.” Well done boys; as FG MEP Phil Hogan would have said “That’s real patriotism being expressed lads.” Secondly: I wanted to thank them both for creating 135,000 jobs since 2012, and to explain that I understand perfectly, unlike other ungrateful bastards, why all three of these boyo’s failed miserably to find even one job, over the last 5 years in Tipperary, until 6 weeks before the forthcoming 2016 General Election. Thirdly: Boys, what happened, on your watch, to ‘The Bolton Library’ down the road in Cashel?
Question:What the hell is ‘The Bolton Library’ I hear you say?’ Answer: Read on and be enlightened!
“The other day the old landlord came by for his rent; I told him no money I had. Besides, t’wasn’t fair to ask me to pay; the times were so awfully bad. He felt discontent at not getting his rent and he shook his big head with a frown. Says he, “I’ll take half,” but says I with a laugh, “Do you want your (‘Lobbyists’) old lobby washed down?”
The traditional Irish folk-song “Do You Want Your Old Lobby Washed Down” appears to have first originated on the borders of counties Tipperary and Cork. Traditionally, ‘washing down a lobby’ was an alternative method of payment of your rent if money was scarce; the equivalent in later years of washing dishes at a restaurant, should you find yourself unable to afford your already consumed meal.
In the lyrics of this old song these words, depending on your particular mindset, are seen as perhaps being an intended double entendre. (‘Double Entendre’, meaning a figure of speech in which a phrase could be misunderstood to be somewhat risqué.)
New Recycling Regulation
Increased Recycling Charges
The Minister for Privatising Irish Water, Tipperary’s most ambitious Mr Alan Kelly, has signed off on plans to make people pay for every kilo of waste they produce; including the contents of our green bins. Most of us I suspect have been notified about this fact over the past seven days, with correspondence arriving from our waste disposal companies.
It would appear that not only is Mr Kelly looking for his own P45, but also seeking P45’s for his Fine Gael and other Labour Party colleagues in the forth coming general election.
Mr Kelly and his Labour / Fine Gael colleagues are being adamant on the doorsteps, that they never increased taxes on the Irish people during their soon to end term in office. Flat Taxes, introduced during a period of austerity, i.e. like Water Charges, Property Charges, Bin Charges and now the promised new Increased Recycling Charges, forced on people with no ability to pay, it seems are simply that, “Charges” not taxes. (Thank God the elderly got that €3 per week in their Old Age Pensions.)
Lobbyists or Government, who is to blame?
Was Mr Kelly advised to break this news before a general election by his loaned advisor Mr Cónán O’Broin or by his permanent adviser Mr Jim McGrath, latter reportedly earning jointly some €159,000, or did he just decide to ‘blab’ without their knowledge? So who is behind this new tax increase being imposed on the Irish people, including working people, families and communities? Was it ‘Lobbyists’ representing Waste Disposal Companies wearing a track in Mr Kelly’s plush carpeted office or was it our present coalition cabinet desperately seeking something that could take another tax hike? Lets face it, further taxing on the now essential motor vehicle would have been out of the question.
The plain answer to the above is “I don’t know”, but Mr Kelly does, so ask him yourself when he next appears on your doorstep canvassing. Tomorrow you will be told that this new increased Recycling Charge is a ruse to create long term rural employment.
One thing we do know down here in rural Ireland; where the buses no longer run and where rural doctors no longer wish to function; the black bags of household rubbish will soon begin to reappear, dumped smugly after dark once again on our rural mountainsides, our rural back lanes and in our uninhabited bog lands.
What has rural Ireland done that they have been neglected, abandoned and deserted by this Labour / Fine Gael Government? In the words of an old Irish curse / hex and addressed to Mr Kelly ; “Sir, May you find the bees but never the honey.”
The Runners & Riders in the 2016 Tipperary General Election.
Tipperary is often referred to as the “Premier County,” a term attributed to Thomas Davis, editor of ‘The Nation‘ newspaper in the 1840’s. Davis gave Tipperary this name as a tribute to the strong nationalistic feeling held here at that particular time. It was he who also coined the phrase, “Where Tipperary leads, Ireland follows.”
The idea of Republican democracy did not begin in Dublin in 1916. It began in Co. Tipperary with a rather naive, yet thoroughly well-meaning rebellion in 1848, some 68 years previous. The venue; the Widow McCormack’s cabbage patch, in Ballingarry South, in Co. Tipperary. Ireland was three years into the middle of a famine which had cost the lives of some 1.3 million Irish people nationally. The 1916 rebellion in O’Connell Street, was also a failed, naive rebellion, which regrettably saw the execution of thoroughly well-meaning patriots, including Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary born Thomas MacDonagh; himself a signatory of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
Ask yourself the following questions: (A) “Identify the government regime currently existing in the Ireland of 2016, one hundred years after the 1916 rebellion?” (B) “Do we currently reside in a Democracy or under an Authoritarian Regime?”
The term democracy comes from the Greek language, meaning “rule by the people”. This means just that; rule by all the people, not just some of the people; some rich people; some poor people or some middle income earners, – no it means all of the people.
Some simple dictionary definitions of democracy are described as: (1) A form of government in which people (yes all people) choose their leaders by voting; (2) An organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has full equal rights. (3) A meaningful political participation by all citizens.
Our theory of modern democracy was not really formulated until the so called ‘Age of Enlightenment’; when between the 17th and 18th century, then theorists; truth-seekers; thinkers – whatever you will, defined the essential elements of democracy as; A Separation of Powers; Basic Civil Rights & Human Rights; Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State.
‘Authoritarianism’ stands in fundamental contrast to real ‘Democracy’. Under Authoritarian Regimes there usually exists one ruler or a small group of leaders who hold the real power in the political system. One example of blatant Authoritarianism is the ‘Chief Whip’ system. Same operates within Irish political parties to ensure that all Deputies, including Ministers, attend for Dáil Business and follow the reigning government line on all issues. Politicians therefore are being forced to disregard the precise wishes of their electorate.
Usually Authoritarian Governments hold elections and those going forward for election may have had, as is the case in Ireland, very limited contact with their citizens. But citizens, as we have amply observed in the last 5 years, are not necessarily permitted to have any real voice in how they themselves wish to be governed. Their elected leaders do not give their subjects free choice. Instead, they decide what the people can or cannot have. Citizens are observed as subjects who must obey, have no independent will and are not participants in any government decisions made on their behalf.
Thus individuals or small groups such as Prime Ministers, Taoisigh, Presidents, Dictators, Aristocrats, Kings / Queens, Military Leaders, and Emperors may rule at the head of an Authoritarian Government, while hiding behind the face of apparent democracy. Numerous examples of an authoritarian regime can be examined over the past 5 years under our present Labour / Fine Gael government. In highlighting just two; namely the introduction of Water Charges and Property Tax, we find that despite continuous massive street protests the voter / electorate has been ignored in the governments pursuance of an authoritarian regime; thus disregarding their voters democratic wishes.
Other authoritarian activity now abounds abundantly in our midst, which must be recognised as an affront not just to voters in Co. Tipperary, but far more seriously to Ireland’s attempts to achieve future real and full democracy.
This activity is being aimed at the Tipperary electorate through the so called “free press”. “Are you prepared to enter into government supported by Michael Lowry TD”, is the daily question fired by the press at our present authoritarian coalition members. “No way” states Labour member Minister Alan Kelly and company.
Here in Tipperary our electorate see that as – If Michael Lowry TD is elected and invited to support any future government, Alan Kelly (assuming he is elected; a situation which on a daily basis seems ever more unlikely, unless Noel Coonan passes on second preference votes), together with his possible diminished 8 seat authoritarian Labour government, his party will no longer wish to prop up a coalition. A possibly larger retained Fine Gael party will now not have any difficulty in finding others to take Labour’s place. The same goes for other political groupings. Of course this scenario now begs the question; “Why bother to vote for Alan Kelly and his diminished, dishonest Labour Party membership at all?”
To the members of the Dublin based, so called ‘Free Press’ and their ‘Copy & Paste .ie colleagues’, please take note:- The Tipperary electorate will vote and choose their 5 elected representatives in the forthcoming February 2016 General Election. They will vote for the representative whom they believe will:- best represent them in Dáil Éireann; whom they believe will democratically support this county; whom they believe will enhance our local communities; whom they believe listens intently to all people as individuals; whom they believe has the ability to solve the problems communicated, by taking same to the heart of government; and finally, whom they believe will fight their corner to bring about democratic change.