Luke Ming Flanagan came to see musical Robin B’Stard & The Water Thieves, featuring a character ‘Turfcutter Ming’ (Nigel Hegarty in pic 2 with Ming)…and squeezed in a convincing bong-hitting cameo in the final song (above).
Conor Malone writes:
Robin B’Stard & The Water Thieves is a musical comedy lampooning the water charges. Ming was one of several politicians portrayed on stage with King Enda, his henchmen Leo and Simon and secret cabinet colleague Michael Martin pitted against an alliance containing Scarecrow Mick, Turfcutter Ming and the ancient wizard Michael D among others in the battle for the village water supply…. Ming, who dashed to Ballybofey from a Referendum count in Roscommon, evidently enjoyed the show immensely.
Luke Ming Flanagan (left) and Gino Kenny flank Vera Twomey at Dublin Airport in April, 2017 after Vera obtained medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava in Barcelona, Spain.
Luke ‘Ming Flanagan MEP writes:
Vera Twomey has fought a well documented battle to gain access to a life changing cannabinoid based medicine for her daughter Ava Barry.
She now faces another battle in order for her daughter to continue using this same medicine.
The reason. The HSE are refusing to fund it under the Long Term illness Scheme.
Not because of medical reasons but purely for bureaucratic reasons.
Furthermore the HSE are now trying to force Ava Barry’s family to use another product sourced in the Czech Republic which does not have the support of either of the two consultants working with the child.
Worse still is the fact that the family would not get the equivalent medical support in the Czech Republic that they are currently receiving in The Hague.
The HSE are telling us that ‘Market Authorisation’ is the reason for this issue now arising. They say that due to this they cannot fund the medicine under the Long Term Illness scheme.
However it is clear to anyone that if the state wished to fund the medicine under another mechanism then they could. We are talking about €1600 per month. A drop in the ocean of HSE funds.
Vera Twomey and her family have climbed a mountain in order to get access to a medicine which has improved their daughters life above and beyond all expectations.
Having climbed this mountain it would be farcical and potentially tragic if all this progress was halted because a government bean counter couldn’t work out how to get few extra beans out of the jar.
In the last week, EU Defence Ministers, along with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, met in “PESCO format” [Permanent Structured Cooperation] for the first time.
They pushed plans to strengthen European Union security and defence and cooperation between the European Union and NATO, and discussed the European Defence Fund and new laws to establish a European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
None of these PESCO initiatives are in Ireland’s interests.
The Treaty on European Union’s description of PESCO is vague, and deliberately so.
It mentions “more binding commitments”, “with a view to the most demanding missions”, to fulfil “the Union level of ambition”, but what exactly is the ambition of the European Union in the use of military force sphere?
We DO know that no matter what the propaganda coming from Fine Gael or what Taoiseach Varadkar says, ‘the most demanding missions’ have nothing to do with UN peacekeeping.
The law establishing PESCO doesn’t contain a single mention of the United Nations, nor does it refer to peacekeeping, nor even “peace”.
We know that in the Lisbon Treaty debates the European Union and the Irish Government actively suppressed discussion of the implications of the Common Security and Defence Policy, including the mutual defence clause which is an integral part of PESCO.
According to Eurobarometer surveys, carried out twice a year among EU citizens, only 12% of European citizens claim to be aware of the mutual defence clause and to know what it is.
This level of ignorance among EU citizens about the EU’s CSDP and PESCO is no accident.
Let’s look at a few facts:
1) This legally binding EU decision mandates PESCO member states to increase defence budgets, to provide troops (on stand-by) for use in EU Battle-Groups , to join “structures partaking in European external action in the military field”, and for “common funding of military CSDP operations and missions”.
2) It states quite bluntly that “Increasing joint and collaborative defence capability development projects, is among the binding commitments under PESCO”.
3) PESCO aims to establish an EU-wide arms industry, and the EU’s European Defence Agency will tell PESCO members, including Ireland, what weapons to buy.
4) International humanitarian law, also known as the laws of war, requires that all attacks be directed at military targets. Attacks cannot cause disproportionate civilian loss.
Yet, we know that in modern warfare, missiles can miss the intended targets up 90% of the time. We also know that for every one soldier killed in modern conflicts, on average, ten civilians die.
The European Union’s own European Security Strategy, adopted by the European Council in Brussels in December 2003, stated as fact that ‘since 1990, almost 4 million people have died in wars, 90% of them civilians’.
A few questions then for our Taoiseach:
1) Will the EU procure weapons including BVR or “beyond visual range” missiles?
2) Will the European Defence Agency publish the “operational pK” (probability of Kill) for the weapons it demands the PESCO member-states buy?
3) Will the Irish government support the purchase of these weapons and against whom will they be used?
4) Mindful that the US military and government pays no attention to civilian deaths in America’s wars, will the EU publish the body count of the civilians inevitably killed through the so-called “alliance of individual PESCO armies” actions in EU CSDP military missions?
The Irish political establishment tells us that PESCO is OK for Ireland to be a member of because ‘non-NATO’ Sweden is a member.
What the Irish establishment won’t say is that Swedish foreign policy is entwined with commercial arms export interests, and that the Swedish Government no longer regards itself as neutral, or even non-allied, and were active participants in the establishment of the NATO ‘no fly zone’ in Libya in 2011 because it wanted to promote sales of its fighter jets.
As Gunnar Hult of Sweden’s National Defence College said:
“(Libya) was quite beneficial to the Gripen. This is something no politician would ever admit, but it’s true. People saw it participating in air campaigns. It’s good for business.“
Ireland should have followed the path of Denmark in relation to PESCO, and secured an opt-out to PESCO and CSDP. As the PESCO law says:
“Denmark does not participate in the elaboration and the implementation of decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications.Denmark is therefore not bound by this Decision”.
Ireland can have the same legally binding opt out.
The Taoiseach must reverse the decision he took in December 2017 to join PESCO and should instead re-orientate Irish foreign policy to neutrality and to what Ireland and her Defence Forces can do best to tackle conflicts and save civilian lives today, UN peacekeeping.
Further to yesterday’s post about US Commerce Secretary and former Bank of Ireland board member Wilbur Ross…
A report commissioned by MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan claims Wilbur Ross sold off his holding in Bank of Ireland for a massive profit in 2014 while in possession of inside information that the bank was using accounting practices to mask its losses and make its financial position look better than it was…
Meanwhile, an article by Hannah Levintova was published in Mother Jones on Tuesday. Ms Levintova contacted Mr Ross for a comment and sent him the report.
After the article was published, Mr Ross sent the following response to Mother Jones.
The Mother Jones article about Bank of Ireland is a factually incorrect effort to smear me. The report they reference was commissioned by a single member of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left, whose original member parties included the French, Italian, Portuguese and Greek communist parties. Here are the facts:
The shares purchased by WL Ross Funds, and also by Fidelity Funds, Capital Research, Fairfax, and Kennedy Wilson, were the unsubscribed portion of a rights offering made available to the Irish Government and public shareholders on the preferential terms.
We bought them at the same price they were offered to those other public shareholders. The government at the time had designated a majority of the Board of Directors and was the largest shareholder. The investment bankers appointed by the government were world class firms and it was their obligation to assure proper dissemination of all material information.
The report’s author implausibly says that I learned of what he calls improper accounting during the due diligence and used that information to get a cheap price. This is an obvious non-sequitur, given the process described above.
The Bank’s basic accounting used IAS39, as required by the regulators, and was reviewed by PwC, the Bank’s outside auditors. The Bank’s financial statements were reviewed in excruciating detail by the Irish regulators, the ECB, the SSM, and the IMF.
The Bank also issued a variety of securities at different points during WL Ross Funds’ ownership. Due diligence was performed in each case by the investment bankers and the purchasing institutions. They clearly found nothing wrong.
When we sold the last block of WL Ross Funds’ holdings, other investors such as Fairfax, which had representation on the Board, decided not to join in the sale. The stock subsequently traded at a much higher price.
The report incorrectly says that there were official confessions of improper accounting in May 2015 after the final sale. In fact, the Bank reported earnings for 2015 of 947 million euros, 161 million euros more than in 2014, when WL Ross Funds sold the shares. Earnings in 2016 also were higher than in 2014.
If there actually had been a confession of accounting wrongdoing in 2015, it would have had to be reflected in the financials.
The report also brings in the Ocwen litigation, an irrelevance at best. That case was settled at no cost to me and I never even was called to appear in court. It clearly was mentioned as a smear to imply that I had done something wrong — this is simply not the case.
Pro-unity activists at Saturday’s anti-Catalan independence march in Barcelona, Spain
Luke Ming Flanagan MEP writes:
Last week I got an email from Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso in which he asked me to “please look at ‘the bigger picture’ today”, every word emphasised but with ‘bigger picture’ picked out.
Ramón Luis is a member of the EPP – the same close-knit European Parliament family as Fine Gael – and is also a Vice-President of the Parliament, in which case you’d say he carries some clout.
Last week also, in Plenary, we heard Manfred Weber, the German MEP who heads up the EPP, and Commissioner Frans Timmermans – First Vice-President of the Commission and thus also an EU heavy hitter – both comment on events in Catalonia last weekend.
For all three, the ‘bigger picture’ is that the Catalan government were in conflict with Spain’s constitution, were thus putting themselves outside the ‘rule of law’ (that phrase came up again and again).
NONE of the three could bring themselves to condemn those who had created the situation whereby a militarised police force was brought into Catalonia to stop people from holding a peaceful vote (Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his ironically named People’s Party, part of the EPP)
NONE could bring themselves to condemn the subsequent violent assaults on peaceful citizens (authorised, obviously, by Rajoy and his government);
NONE could bring themselves to denounce and distance themselves from the subsequent announcements by Rajoy and his government – and by the King of Spain – that the actions taken were justified.
Oh, they said it couldn’t be condoned. But they couldn’t bring themselves to condemn Rajoy, his government, and his militarised police. If you DON’T condemn it, in the positions in which all those people hold, you condone it.
Why could they not bring themselves to condemn it? Because in their monolithic EU, run by the EPP and its like-minded friends, there is no room for dissent.
Protest is slowly but surely being made practically illegal, the police and justice systems increasingly politicised, peaceful protesters demonised by a compliant media as mere ‘populists’, or worse, as confrontational, contributing to their own assaults.
In this monolithic EU there is room only for their neoliberal global corporatist policies – austerity for the poor, rapidly increasing wealth for the few, all those in between set against each other and gradually ground down.
Watching the frightening and disgraceful scenes from Catalonia, let no-one in Ireland be complacent. Not alone can it happen here, it HAS happened here, and no, I’m not just speaking of the RUC and their antics over the decades across the border.
Think of the Shell to Sea campaign and the violence visited on the protesters there; think of the water-charge protesters and sometimes bloody scenes as peaceful protesters were attacked by Gardaí protecting the interests of a private company; think of the balaclava-covered black-clothed goons who have accompanied the Sheriff in various evictions around the country; think of our own militarised police wing, the platoons who stood by at the mass water-protests in Dublin.
Think of all the above, and ask yourself – where is all this headed?
Whether or not you believe Catalonia – or Scotland, or the Six Counties, or Roscommon for that matter – should be allowed have a referendum on its own independence isn’t the issue.
The issue is the growing crackdown on dissenting voices, the increasing officially-sanctioned violence, justified in the Catalonia situation by Commissioner Timmermans in his speech.
I’m telling you, my friends; with Mr Juncker’s White Paper, with the €5.5billion ‘Common Defence Fund’ announced by the Commission in July, geared towards the greater ambition of a powerful EU army, we’re on a very dangerous road.
I do NOT believe in all this centralised power; I do believe in devolution, in local governments making the decisions that affect local people.
It’s time to pause, time perhaps even to turn back.
Luke Ming Flanagan (left) and Gino Kenny flank Vera Twomey at Dublin Airport in April after she obtained medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava in Barcelona. Vera, her husband Paul and Ava are now living in Holland.
Further to the halting yesterday of the Medicinal Cannabis Bill from proceeding in the Dáil with bill sponsor Gino Kenny TD calling the chamber “a kip”…
Luke Ming Flanagan MEP writes:
Vera Twomey and family have been forced to leave Ireland and Gino Kenny’s Medicinal Cannabis Bill has been thrown out of the Dáil.
There’s something amiss! The system is failing to even look after itself.
Political parties like Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have a great reputation for surviving. Their first instinct has always been to ensure that they do not introduce something that will jeopardise their power base. But now they have taken their eye off the ball.
While the FG/FF/SF brigade are a conservative lot at the best of times, it seems that they are allowing the machinations of the Dublin bureaucracy to run the show now – much to their own detriment.
The support for medicinal cannabis is overwhelming. When Vera Twomey walked to the Minister’s office in Dublin, form Aghabullogue in Co Cork, she had tremendous support.
School children came out and marched with her. School brass bands marched with her. Parents shook her hand. Everyone could see that she was fighting for the good of her child Ava. An honest battle, a humane request.
But now Vera, her husband Paul and their 4 children have left Aghabullogue and are living in the Hague in the Netherlands.
I spoke with Vera yesterday. She was extremely sad. Not because she has had to move away from Ireland, from her mother and her family. Not because she has been forced to set herself and her family up in a new country and a new culture (they are managing very well thankfully). None of these reasons.
Vera, like most Irish people, had faith in the ‘system’. She always reckoned that eventually common sense would prevail and that the political parties who run our country would see the light. Unfortunately she has been betrayed by the same system.
What has brought sadness to Vera was the news that Deputy Gino Kenny’s Medicinal Cannabis Bill was brought to a halt in the Dáil. Despite all the evidence presented to the Health Committee on medicinal cannabis, in face of the fact that country after country are making provision for medicinal cannabis, our TDs and Senators have let Ava and thousands of other Irish citizens down.
Those who suffer chronic pain, glaucoma, MS, arthritis, epilepsy and other ailments have been let down.
What amazes me is that the political parties have nothing to lose. This is not a contentious issue. Children in national schools have asked me about medicinal cannabis. They can see that it’s a humanitarian issue. How then has this come to such a sorry state?
The Minister and the other public representatives have not done their job.
They have abdicated their duty to a faceless institution called the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). We need politicians to represent the people of Ireland.
For as long as the Oireachtas is peopled with abdicators it will be a ‘Kip’.
The idea of this meeting is to inform people of the secretly negotiated TTIP agreement between the USA and Europe. It is open to all.
We hope to be able to help launch an automonous local Anti TTIP group that can work with unions, political groupings and others to defeat TTIP, by being separate from but co-operative with others. This model has worked with the water charges movement in the area and we hope it can be as strong on TTIP.