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Archive for the ‘Irish Politics’ Category

On December 26 TV3 announced that Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  Mercilessly, they delivered the news, in one of the most insensitive broadcasts I have ever seen.

The seven minute broadcast aired on St Stephen’s day ended as it started – as a tactless piece of news journalism. TV3 said they received the story on Christmas Eve, and held back on running it for 48 hours out of respect for his family. But the hurried nature of the broadcast and its insensitivity failed in doing so.

Ursula Halligan splutters her way through a rushed bulletin, referring to Mr Lenihan in the past tense saying: “It’s shocking news for members of the public. Brian Lenihan was, eh, is regarded as one of the more popular members of the Government.”

  • TV3 had no official statement from the Government certifying Mr Lenihan’s illness.
  • Their aim was to be first, thus losing any credibility the station already had.
  • Had a more constructed bulletin been put in place, TV3 would not be in the firing line.
  • Furthermore, being of the public interest it would have made sense  – ethically speaking –  to run the story stating his  illness was unconfirmed.

Journalists were told that a statement would be made after Christmas and the Department of Finance confirmed nothing. The next thing was an e-mail began circulating around media outlets that TV3 were about to air a story of ‘National importance’. The broadcast continues as news anchor Collette Fitzpatrick asks Miss Halligan live on air: “is it too early to talk about the political consequences of this?”

In the 48 hours of keeping the lid on the story , care sensitivity and clarification should have been adapted to the nature of broadcast.

Countries toughest job

As Minister for Finance Mr Lenihan has without doubt the Countries toughest job.  Now more  so than ever Ireland relies heavily on his decisions to secure the economic wellbeing of  the state. I agree that the news should have been delivered.  But, not in the tasteless fashion of TV3. After all TV3’s defence was that the story was in the public interest, a statement I do not dispute. The fashion and the nature of the broadcast was my only gripe with this broadcast.

Blinded by the knowledge that this is this is the scoop to beat all scoopsthey failed  in realising that this broadcast reeked of merciless journalism.

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As we speak the online world is alight. Forums, discussion boards and networking sites are flooded,everyone seems to be talking about one man – Thierry Henry.

Courtesy of stock.xchng

Radio stations are encouraging listeners to “make their voice heard and complain to FIFA”, marches are being orchestrated outside the French Embassy in Dublin, the Irish are vowing to never drink French wine again, websites are being set up for outraged fans to vent their anger by punching Henry (20,000 visitors at the last count)  and even our leader Brian Cowen has had a little word with Sarkozy about the supposed injustice of it all- way to prioritize their Brian.

It is not a Government issue.

As far as I can see no one was hurt and everyone is still alive. God help us if their was injuries our hospitals would go into meltdown,  judging by the dire state there in.

So lets put this into perspective last Wednesday, as fans left the Stade de France,  bruised and with their dreams shattered on the soil of defeat, did anyone  hear about the violence that  erupted after the Algeria vs Egypt game?, how innocent civilians were being attacked purely for the love and support of their Country? Such was the media blanket placed over many peoples eyes even FIFA stopped talking about it.

Surely this merited more coverage and discussion than one man’s encounter with a ball. Sadly this wasn’t the case. Where was the balance in reporting? More than one match was held last Wednesday,  fairing a lot worse than the Irish. We were emotionally bruised, not physically.

Yes we complained, rang up our friends, vented, and wrote  colourful letters to F.I.F.A outlining our views on referees.  But what about the many Egyptians that were physically injured after their game, in my opinion this deserved more coverage.

Outrageous

Obviously being an Irish topic, it’s a no brainer that  its  going to receive heavy treatment in the press but it shouldn’t accelerate to the levels of public outcry to the extent that Ministers and government officials get involved.

I’ve never seen such a  feverish uproar in my life regarding a game. Reports surrounding the violence inflicted upon Egyptian fans in the world press were collectively sparse, all eyes were on Henry.

These views have been passionately expressed to me by my Egyptian classmate Randa El Tahawy and upon listening to her speak of  her worries of violence surrounding the game and her questions over why a football match cannot be met with excitement rather than hostility, I thought it was outrageous to react to the extent that we have in such hysteria while  innocent Egyptians were being attacked for merely attending a match.

I  realised this when I read Randa\’s blog shortly after the events unfolded in Sudan (where the Algeria vs Egypt match was taking place), in which she details the extent of the attacks and the injustice of it all.

Upon finishing, I was embarrassed and I began to feel a little saddened, while at the same time outraged at the longevity of the press dubbed “hand of Henry debate.” All while the issues regarding the Egyptian attacks were being ignored.  It’s unjustifiable to think that one match  ands its coverage could override the portrayal of injured fans.

All  in the name of handball hysteria.

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People in Ireland are probably a little more familiar with the ongoing disputes between Public sector workers and the Government, regarding pay cuts, threats to pensions and job security – a swift step taken by the Irish Government to pull itself out of the economic miseries it now faces.

Courtesy of stock.xchng

Courtesy of stock.xchng

What makes this statement more universally understandable is that the economic crisis is global. We all feel the pinch.  And if your Irish, you may also hear the last remaining cries of  – the strangled cat –  that is the Celtic Tiger.

The Government, in its efforts of addressing  this problem are hitting the ordinary workers of Ireland – hard. I could go on but there is nothing I can say that hasn’t already been voiced and subsequently fallen on deaf ears.

So with this voice, my Mother and 65,000 other teachers will pound the streets of Dublin on November 24 in the attempt to prove that they will not stand for further wages cuts, and the belief that they are somewhat responsible for the economic state of the Country.

But they are not alone:

Inside Ireland provided this breakdown, I think we’ll all agree these figures are overwhelming:

• Within the Health Service 85.6% voted for strike action

• Similar large majorities in the Local Authority Service (78.4%)

• the Fire Service (91.6%),

• Educational Services (79%)

• and Government departments (77.4%).

So here’s the cruel irony, as the Public Sector of Ireland engages in Strike action on November 24, the Government are the only benefactor saving  mass amounts of money as this days leave is unpaid.

To think, as people take a stand for their rights there’s a profit made – right back into the hands of injustice.

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Free speech is well and truly alive in Ireland.

Last Wednesday, Ireland’s Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin was discussing further cutbacks on  Current affairs programme “The Frontline” when an audience member lashed out at Pat Kenny.

Questioning his right to discuss cuts on Social Welfare payments while annually earning 600,000 for an 11 hour week, Alan O Brien (38) from Inshicore, was later escorted out of the studio as Pat rather cooly handled the outburst.

Line of the night; “Mary Hanafin was elected to be a hypocrite, who gave you the right?”

This attack on the massive pay scales at RTE has been applauded throughout Ireland and I’m pretty sure we can expect more of it in the run up to Decembers budget.

Although Kenny has already received a 25% wage cut and is one of the few RTE members to speak openly about these cuts –  its estimated that during the “boom years” his annual take home pay was 900,000.

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Five weeks from now Ireland’s media will be ablaze with all things Budgetary, a familiar and controversial topic as  Ireland braces itself for its third budget in 14 months.

Last April, as Ireland officially went into recession Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan rushed a controversial hard-hitting emergency Budget through the Dáil leaving middle-income earners the worst affected.

Described as the most severe Budget in Irish history, seven months on and with Ireland still feeling the pinch here it comes again, take three – the black cloud of despair that is the Irish Budget.

Although described as less painful than previous Minister Lenihan stated in his Pre – Budget forecast that a massive €4 billion in savings must be met to even survive at this year’s levels. But should we fear the worst?  The answer – yes. After all when looked at with logic it’s a budget –  meaning cuts, sacrifices and hard times. That is fact.

Hard times in my opinion should call for the Government and its citizens to work closely  together by listening and encouraging the voice of the ordinary working people to suggest what they believe is good for their Country. Pulling together and weathering the storm will encourage public moral and boost confidence, that the Government is doing its best in addressing this crisis.

Nursing Graduates from the National University of Ireland Co.Galway, all of whom have left Ireland in search for work. Copyright of Claire Noble

Graduates

Unfortunately, the Government has failed in this method of reasoning, by implementing further cuts and ignoring the Countries crippling unemployment rate – which is now the second highest in the EU.  This issue needs to be addressed and that is why, as a citizen of Ireland I fear the worst. Every day the backbone of our society – its young graduates are leaving the Country.

  • The ESRI predicts 40,000 people will emigrate over the course of next year – Ireland is now witnessing the loss of another generation.
  • So here’s my point – with these cuts should come a steady flow of savings back into our economy. Instead of waving goodbye to a crucial part of Ireland’s workforce  recruitment bans placed on employment should be gradually lifted and job strategies put in place.
  • Workshops, Government schemes anything to get people back to work. I cannot think of anything more crucial to invest these savings into.
  • At present,  there are no  job strategies  in place in Ireland.

Minister Lenihan  reassure your workforce that there is no need for emigration, if not these savings will be wiped out by increased Social Welfare payouts  due to unemployment. It’s a cycle destined for a downward spiral, job creation must be implemented.

Click here for details of the Pre Budget forecast.

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