10 October, 2006
Hope I didn't send out too many mixed messages in my stream of consciousness at the 'Blogging the Election Conference in the Digital Hub last Saturday. Blogging is one of the saner ways of campaigning, and yes it is like looking for votes in a bar.
Thank you John for your thoughts on time poverty as noted by Semper Idem. Thanks for the pic from Red Mum. Am I allowed use that?
Damien Blake is far too nice a guy to be in Fianna Fáil. His reference to knocking on doors when nobody's home struck a chord. Dominic Hannigan should do well in east Meath.
I liked Damian Mulley's suggestion that we should follow politicians around for a day. Here's my last twelve hours or so.
Watch the news about the Gort stand-off and issue a press release at 10h30 pm stating:
"The use of non-lethal weaponry by the Gardaí appears to have been a crucial factor in avoiding serious injuries."
Then listen to Vincent Browne and go woops! Issue an update at 11 pm saying:
"I earlier welcomed the use of non-lethal weaponry by the Gardaí. However in the light of more recent media reports that conventional weapons were used, we urgently need a clear report on the efficacy of such bean-bag weapons, and on the decision to use a Garda sniper to disable the man. Given that there may not have been independent witnesses, it may be appropriate for the Minister for Justice to direct the new Garda Ombudsman Commission to perform an investigation under Section 106 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and review the practices, policies and procedures used by the Garda Síochána in connection with this incident.
Wake up this morning; get feedback from Nessa, Tom and Kealin on the Monkstown Ring Road. Our proposal to drop the road was lost 11-16 with the usual shenanigans of councillors from the Blackrock ward voting with us, and their colleagues from other areas in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown voting against us. Good thread on Politics.ie on the issue. Then wrote up notes from the Leopardstown and Brewery Road Residents Association, who are being driven around the bend by the plethora of Planning Applications and Appeals for the Grange development on the old Esso Site.
Brief meetings of the Parliamentary Party and Party staff, and then with help from my Parliamentary Researcher drafted up a "Standing Order 31" motion on the plight of Mary Ucheh who was deported to Nigeria without her five-year-old son. Rosanna Flynn of Residents Against Racism had tipped me off on that one, and I had faxed in a letter to Michael McDowell asking him not to proceed, while Ms. Ucheh was being held in the Garda National Immigration Bureau on Burgh Quay in Dublin, but to no avail. This appears to have been the third time that this has occurred, and this week's Village also covers the story. The SO31 allows me to ask for a discussion of the issue on the floor of the house, but the Ceann Comhairle (chairman) Rory O'Hanlon TD has only granted this once in the four years that I've been a TD. You can watch it live if you've nothing better to do this afternoon.
Then off to a meeting of the All Party Oireachtas Committee of the Constitution where we discussed amongst other things letter from Sean Aylward, Secretary General in Justice regarding an OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. If that doesn't put you to sleep I don't know what will!
Bertiegate will continue in the Dáil later on. That was an interesting list in the Sunday Tribune of the attendees at a Fianna Fáil Dinner. Jerry Beades - not the same guy who had trouble with the Planning Authorities over unauthorised development in the North Inner City? Bernard McNamara - not the same guy who was landing his helicopter without Planning Permission beside the Booterstown Birdmarsh. Jim Mansfield - not the same person who was building a Conference Centre without Planning Permission in Lucan. Noel O'Callaghan - Surely not the same fellah who knocked down Archer's Garage, a listed Art Deco Building, and was forced to rebuild it. I could go on... And then you wonder about the lack of Planning Enforcement in this country.
Then, if I can escape from the Dáil I'm off for a couple of hours knocking on doors. That's a busy day, usually there's a bit more sanity to the whole thing.
Yikes, there's a call from someone saying that one of our councillors is issuing a press release criticising An Taisce for being a secret society, because they don't release their membership lists. Ever heard of the Data Protection Register? Never a dull moment. If politics doesn't work out there's always Crisis Management!