Features

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Features

To The Boys Who Carried Out The Ballybrit Mosque Attack

You wish you could waddle

up the Monivea Road like Lord Haw Haw

wearing a scar the length of your jaw

you got fighting communists

but cut yourself shaving once

and didn’t like it.

 

In the absence of a girl who’ll let

you between her legs

you’d love to invade Russia or Iran

but can’t afford the air fare

so instead smashed some glass.

 

All you want is a part-time job

in the local concentration camp

but there isn’t one around here

yet, so instead you broke a window

and heroically chucked some books out it.

 

You once thought of reading a book

to find out why you’re where you are

instead spend the hiatus between

wanks listening to the voices

in the videos on your phone tell you

whose fault your life is.

 

You needed to be someone

so wrecked a guy’s framed family photographs,

fled sniggering up the hill,

still no one.

KEVIN HIGGINS

Features, Foreign Affairs

Below, a statement dated May 2019 organised by Clare and signed by Irish TDs and Senators calling for respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms in Catalonia.

We the undersigned, as Europeans and Irish parliamentarians, are very concerned at the human rights violations taking place in Catalonia. Two civil society leaders, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart, have spent the last year in prison detained on “sedition” charges against their right to free speech and peaceful assembly. Their continued detention is a disproportionate restriction on their human rights. As members of the Irish parliament we:

·        Call for respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms in Catalonia;

·        Condemn the repression suffered by legitimate elected representatives, political representatives of the government of the Generalitat of Catalonia imprisoned or forced into exile due to their opinions while exercising the mandates entrusted to them by the electors;

·        Note that this is an attack on established democratic rights and freedoms;

·        Call on Ireland and our EU counterparts to do all possible to re-establish conditions for suitable dialogue to find a political solution to a political problem.

Signed:

TDs

Clare Daly TD, Maureen O’Sullivan TD, Mick Wallace TD, Catherine Connolly TD, Joan Collins TD, Thomas Broughan TD, Thomas Pringle TD, Brid Smith TD, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Gino Kenny TD, Mattie McGrath TD, Michael Fitzmaurice TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Brian Stanley TD, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, David Cullinane TD, Denise Mitchell TD,Dessie Ellis TD, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD,  Eoin Ó Broin TD,  Gerry Adams TD, Imelda Munster TD, John Brady TD, Jonathan O’Brien TD, Kathleen Funchion TD,  Louise O’Reilly TD,  Martin Ferris TD, Martin Kenny TD, Mary Lou McDonald TD, Maurice Quinlivan TD,  Pat Buckley TD, Pearse Doherty TD, Sean Crowe TD.

Senators

Senator Colette Kelleher, Sen. Grace O’Sullivan, Sen. Fintan Warfield, Sen. Máire Devine, Sen. Niall Ó Donnghaile, Sen. Padraig MacLochlainn, Sen. Paul Gavan, Sen. Rose Conway Walsh. , Sen. David Norris, Sen. Gerard Craughwell.

May 2019

Features

Statement from Clare Daly, TD

It has been brought to my attention that some political opponents have been orchestrating a campaign in an attempt to portray me as anti-vaccine on the basis of Written Questions I’ve tabled to the Minister for Health. For the record and for the avoidance of any doubt, my position on vaccination is as follows:

I have tabled approximately 4,500 quesions since this Dáil convened in 2016, and am one of the top questioners of Ministers in the Dáil on a whole range of topics. For example, I’ve tabled over 40 questions on salmon aquaculture since 2016, 30 or more on seagulls, and 62 questions containing the word ‘prisons’ or ‘prisoners’ (and many more on prison issues in general). In the last two and half months alone, I’ve asked at least 14 questions around foster care and residential services for young people.

I fully support vaccination as an important and hugely valuable public health initiative; myself and my family have received every vaccination going (including the HPV vaccination where applicable). However I also believe that to ensure public confidence in such an important public health initiative that TDs should ensure that the Minister publicly address any concerns people might have in an effort to dispel them. Shutting down debate unfortunately leads to a belief that something is being hidden.

In general, we need better public education with regard to medicine and science, and the best approach possible to public health communication. There must also be a no-fault vaccine damage compensation scheme in place to deal with the tiny minority* of persons who do experience side-effects or harms from vaccines (as happened in the Pandemrix case). Such a scheme is in the current Programme for Government, and was recommended by the Oireachtas Health Committee in 2001. The Vaccine Damage Steering Group re-iterated that recommendation in 2009.  The Government has not, to date, acted on this policy, regrettably.

Clare Daly, TD

* Figures from the US no-fault vaccine damage compensation scheme show that for every million vaccine doses eligible for compensation that were distributed between 2006 and 2016, the court compensated one injury victim. Receiving a vaccine is far far less dangerous than staying unvaccinated. The tetanus vaccine, for example, causes a life-threatening allergic reaction in at most 0.0006% of people who get the shot. The U.S. case fatality rate from tetanus, by contrast, is 13.2%.

Features

The forgiveness we received in 1953

bears no comparison to the situation Greece

has put itself in today. Whatever

criticisms might be levelled

at the German governments

of the first half of the last century,

they didn’t waste good money

on crazy schemes to allow

the school caretaker retire at fifty five,

but invested wisely

in long term infrastructure

and engineering projects:

tanks to pacify Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia;

enough gas canisters to almost

carry out their apparently impossible

election promises; V-2 rockets

with ‘England’ written on them.

 

My predecessor, whatever else

may be said of him, didn’t

squander our nation’s treasure giving

free kebabs and ouzo to officials

of the Ministry of Transport as they woke

from their compulsory afternoon nap,

but shopped around frugally

for enough excellent leather boots

to properly police the streets

of Prague, Cracow, Bucharest, Minsk,

Liege, Amsterdam, Lyon;

after much haggling and complaint

purchased, at ridiculously miniscule prices,

the millions of Stahlhelm helmets

spent in our valiant attempt

to annex the Soviet oilfields in the Caucasus.

Though it didn’t come to exact fruition,

we died trying, and took enough of them with us

to make it almost worth it.

 

Go cause a nice world war,

my little olive eating friend,

and in its aftermath, we’ll talk.

Play your cards with sufficient insanity,

all across the map, while wearing outfits

of the required eccentricity

and you’ll find our terms

extraordinarily generous.

KEVIN HIGGINS

*term of endearment used to refer to Angela Merkel by her supporters. Means “Mum”.