Who Are We And Who Are They?



From top: Syrian refugee children at a refugee camp in Jordan; Dan Boyle

Some will take perverse satisfaction that the recent budget instituted a further cut in Ireland’s level of overseas development aid.

But we all lose from this parsimony.

Dan Boyle writes:

This weekend I posted my US ballot paper. The confluence of my American birth along with my partial UK residency, combined with my being Irish, has seen me vote in three different jurisdictions this year.

In making people aware of this quirky fact, it seems that I have upset some. It’s been suggested to me that I am somehow in breach of the ‘one man one vote’ principle.

I’ve always taken that to apply only to a particular election. If taken as being literal than maybe we each should only vote once in an election and then never do so again. Anytime. Anywhere.

It’s a privilege I’m unlikely to hold again. What it raises for me are questions about citizenship and residency. The having of a some sense of belonging.

We Irish have a history of migration. It has been and is part of my own family’s story. Our’s is far from a unique experience. How this has informed me is a lack of tolerance I hold towards people who argue we should ‘look after our own first’.

Outside of the likelihood that people who make this argument don’t usually seem inclined to look after anyone, the question of who gets to determine who our own are is something I find deeply disturbing.

This questioning isn’t purely an Irish experience. We unfortunately live in a time where isolationism, fear of others, and an exaggerated sense of patriotism, hold too great an influence.

Our affinities are and should be complex. We identify with the idea of community at many levels. Investing all, or a high degree of such affinity entirely towards the nation state, diminishes us all. If we ignore the international dimension of our lives we resign ourselves to living in bleak bunkers.

There are many needs within our ambit that we can and should be addressing – homelessness, growing inequality, limiting opportunities.

These are unaddressed needs whose existence shames us. Where our problems differ from those found elsewhere is that we don’t lack the means, but we are unable to provide the will towards solving these social wrongs, once and for all.

This ongoing failure on our part should never be an excuse to ignore our responsibility towards the wider World. The recent budget instituted a further cut in Ireland’s level of overseas development aid. This now stands at less than one third of one per cent of our national wealth, less than half of what we have promised to commit at the United Nations.

Some will take perverse satisfaction from this. However we all lose from this parsimony. A poorer World becomes a more dangerous World – a reverse self fulfilling prophecy where ignorance holds ever greater sway.

Nowhere can this effect be more clearly seen than the collective international response to the humanitarian crisis of our time – that of Syria.

The overwhelming number of refugees, hundreds of thousands of them, are living in tented cities in Lebanon, Turkey and in Jordan. A far smaller proportion of people are seeking new lives in Europe.

For their having the desire to live better lives, they get to be described as a hoard of probable murders intent on undermining our way of life.

Naked racism may be more obvious and more prevalent elsewhere, but that should give no comfort for us in Ireland for failing to live up to our global obligations. We live these days in a more open World, where millions move and are being moved from their homes, their communities, and their long held certainties.

For those of us who live in democratic societies, we have the privilege of encouraging the more effective use of resources, the more appropriate application of policy, the most human approach from our public services.

Wherever my vote can influence such outcomes I will always act to ensure that it will be cast.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Pic: Getty

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68 thoughts on “Who Are We And Who Are They?

  1. bisted

    ‘…For those of us who live in democratic societies’…your voting in several countries is an abuse of democracy …and probably illegal.
    I’m guessing you didn’t vote for Trump, so it seems he’s right when he says the election is rigged against him…

    1. edalicious

      If it was illegal or even immoral, why would there be a system of postal votes in place for overseas voters? There’s very specific instructions of what to do if you haven’t lived in the States for long periods too.

  2. Turgenev

    Surely you should only vote in a jurisdiction whose laws you’re going to have to live under and whose leaders you’re going to have to live with? If Ireland’s emigrants could vote, we’d probably have jail for abortion!

  3. Mourinho

    If bad management and policies of a government lead to a person having to leave the country in search of work, then absolutely they should be afforded the opportunity to punish them at the next election.

    Maybe limit this to 5yrs / 1 election, or 7yrs / 2 elections.

  4. Ray O'Connor

    There are many needs within our ambit that we can and should be addressing – homelessness, growing inequality, limiting opportunities………along with Middle East issues

    However when in government the greens choose to protect the bankers, the corrupt, the rip off merchants and are relentless in the pecuniary persecution of the working poor particularly the rural poor with their high energy cost and taxation policies.

    Dans moralising and pontificating is as laughable as a Pat Rabbitte manifesto, under people like the greens we would have a two tier society were political elites are favoured, because that is politics and the ignorant plebs should know not to question their betters

    1. Dan Boyle

      Ah but Ray all my moralising and pontificating and moralising I’ve learned from you. Well you and Donald Trump. I particularly love how what you assert is automatically the truth.

        1. Dan Boyle

          I still get interviews Ray and I’m proud of 50000 votes I did secure. Your obsession is more than a bit tiring. I’ve never agreed with your analysis about the Energy Regulator nor was I ever in a position to do anything about it. When you’ve outlined your obsession here others don’t seem to know what you’re going on about either.

          1. Ray O'Connor

            Since you went into government you got 15k votes in the euro election and a lot less in the otgers

            An unknown Grace o Sullivan achieved 27k in 2014 nearly doubling your vote

            Its not just me that has drawn the same conclusion of the role you played when your party was in gov.

          2. Dan Boyle

            Except Ray her constituency included Wicklow, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford as well Munster but don’t a fact stand in your way.

          3. Ray O Connor

            Dan typical undermining the advancements of your colleagues her ,,,,% improved as well as absolute number without the support of the second capital those are the facts, the vast majority of the ppl you purport to represent think you’re not the Ind for the job

          4. Dan Boyle

            I’m undermining nothing. She’s a good friend and she’s a good Senator. It isn’t comparable different constituencies with elections held under different circumstances.

        2. Gero

          That’s low Rayo, Trump low. Regardless of Dano’s political career or the fate of his party the article is worthy of consideration.

      1. Ray O'Connor

        You got 3% she got 4% that’s a 25% increase for slow learners the sad reality is you lost the cork city and county vote and because of your association with the green party that vote is unlikely to change. No wonder Eamonn treats you like a lackey

        1. Dan Boyle

          The vote held quite well. It was highest won to date in Munster where there is little Green vote outside of Cork. I was contesting a mid term election when the government we were part of was becoming highly unpopular. You are making such a fuss over a 1% differential. I suppose that’s what obsession does.

          1. Ray O'Connor

            depends on what denominator you use i didn’t want to use the larger figure in case i hurt his feelings

          2. Dan Boyle

            Denominator? Are you choosing how you interpret maths? 3 to 4 is a 33% increase always. It doesn’t hurt my feelings as I don’t invest the context you invest in it.

          3. Ray O'Connor

            put in irish terms if you drink stout at 4.3% and one night move to something like hoegardten or what ever you call it. i can tell you 1% is a big difference, i nearly fell off me stool by eight

          4. Ray O'Connor

            Dan if you stand 4% and look back it’s a 25% increase it’s like the difference between mark up and margin it’s optics not substance but sure listen you don’t even know how a constitution works

            Don’t even get me started on the Greens cheapest bank bailout ever NAMA

          5. Ray O'Connor

            Dan i am prepared to help you, but as long as the greens are in the dail protecting the corrupt i wont, people can see i’m offering you an olive branch.

            A finance spokesman that doesn’t know mark up from margin needs help just saying

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      Ray, I completely concur with your analysis, and certainly could not have put it better. Mr Boyle’s remarks are not necessarily incorrect, just dubious in light of your reply.

  5. ollie

    Dan, there’s one constant in all your post:
    ” nor was I ever in a position to do anything about it.” strange excuse from an ex TD and a Senator.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Nothing strange about it. There are many things that can’t be done by anyone. Never claimed to be omnipotent.

    2. Ray O'Connor

      Begs the question why vote for change if politicians are saying we can’t have it and don’t produce solution to the problem, me thinks Dan spent too much time with FF

  6. Tony Pratschke

    It’s impossible to discuss serious issues when undisciplined and very often anonymous people personalise the debate and resort to abuse. In addition to that it is now common practice for contributors to assume that what one person perceives as their reality must be the same for reality for everybody else. That is demonstrably untrue and irrational. Dan has described very clearly and succinctly how the result of rules that he didn’t create have affected him. Judge a person by how they live according to their principles but judge their principles separately.

    1. Ray O'Connor

      I am not anonymous if you wish to disagree with any particular point I’m perfectly open to public discussion unlike Dan blocking his Twitter account and expelling dissidents from the party

      1. Dan Boyle

        Wrong again. I never dismissed any dissidents from the party. You really need to read up Ray. This unfocused anger can’t be good for your health.

        1. Ray O'Connor

          ok you acted in unison with others.

          You were chairman and oversaw the process interestingly it also happened when the debate for chairman was to happen in cork
          i have the emails

          1. Dan Boyle

            What are you on about? The election for chair was among all members had nothing to do location. I have no recollection of anyone being dismissed. Some people would have been disqualified themselves, others would have resigned. If you have emails I’m not sure whose they would be, or who would care what is in them. Maybe you should send them to WikiLeaks?

          2. Ray O'Connor

            i was expelled from the party around the time of the election for chairman, there was a meeting in cork the night of the big flood, there was you, yer one from Limerick Forde? and a chap from Kildare that used to work in an post.

            when the meeting was about to start you gave the nod to your cronies and i was pushed out of the hall.

            i have to say considering the low turn out i was grateful because my car would be floating down the lee

          3. Dan Boyle

            I don’t remember you being a party member. The night of the flood I was opening an art exhibition at the Crawford Art Gallery. There may have been a party meeting open only to members at some other time that you sought to attend. If you were asked to leave it would have been because you wouldn’t have been a member. It was probably a hustings. Trish Forde Brennan would have been contesting the position of chair against me.

  7. Ray O'Connor

    thats yer one, i have an email or two from her, I had a long talk with the Kildare lad he used to work at the end of my mothers garden, i think Dan as party chairman you would be made aware or any evictions, expulsion orders or whatever ye call them made by the executive. it is the responsibility of the executive of which you were chair. to say you don’t know is t say you were negligent in the duties of the executive? my interest is public protection you seem to make it personal humiliation of yourself and the local cork party why?

    1. Dan Boyle

      I am not aware of anyone being expelled and certainly not for holding opinions. Any one who would have stood against a selected party candidate would have disqualified themselves. Attendance numbers at meetings don’t embarrass me in the slightest. Involvement in party politics doesn’t involve large numbers in most parties.

    2. Kieran NYC

      Broadsheet – it’s pretty obvious this guy is a stalker of some kind who has personal history and beef with Dan.

  8. Ray O'Connor

    just to put this to bed

    the floods occurred on the 19/11/2009
    the hustings for chairperson for the green party were held that night in the imperial hotel, as confirmed by an email from the green party general secretary, there were 3 candidates present of which Dan was one
    my membership was revoked a few days before hand
    membership is revoked by the executive committee as per the parties constitution
    membership of the EC as per the party constitution consists of party leader, deputy leader and chairperson
    Dan was the chairperson

    people can draw their own conclusion from Dans response

    1. Dan Boyle

      I’m fairly sure most people can recognise your arguments and their motivations. It was probably that your membership application wasn’t accepted. Why would you join a party you didn’t agree with? As opposed to being a member and having a disagreement on policy. You really need to put this vendetta to bed.

      1. Ray O'Connor

        my membership was accepted i still have my members card

        I agree with a lot of green policy not all, as i’m sure most members do

        but i would have serious concerns on how the party is run by it’s leadership, which i didn’t know the full extent of until my membership

        it’s not a vendetta, just letting the electorate know what the Green party is really like

        1. Dan Boyle

          It’s obvious you didn’t find any like minded people if you were. People don’t get thrown out of The Greens. It isn’t a top down organisation. It is the most open of all Irish political parties. You’re engaging in a caricature in wanting victim of something that isn’t all that important.

          1. Ray O'Connor

            You are not being “expelled”. Your membership has been “discontinued” as provided for under the Constitution in the case of probationary members. The appeals process is there for “expulsions” not for probationary members having their membership discontinued. That is the whole point of a probationary period.


            Colm Ó Caomhánaigh
            A bit hard to meet like minded people when you’re thrown out, which under the constitution can only be done by the national executive of which you were chair

          2. Dan Boyle

            Well there you go. While a probationary member you showed a willingness to be disruptive rather than engage. The General Secretary of the party, with responsibility for membership informed you of this. The party Chair plays no role in this process. Seems to have been a justified decision.

          3. Ray O'Connor

            4.4.1 Members shall normally be subject to a six month period of probation before being granted full membership and the right to vote. The membership application may be rejected by the EC at any time during the probationary period.

            Sorry Dan the constitution clearly says the executive committee is responsible for this decision and you were chair of this committee.

            But people can see your attitude to responsibility

  9. bisted

    …who knew the cut and thrust of green politics was so fraught…no wonder poor John Gormless took to his bed…

  10. Dan Boyle

    Bureaucracy. The recommendation would be made by the General Secretary. If a person having applied for membership had shown themselves to be deliberately disruptive with no intention to contribute positively why would any executive second guess such a recommendation. Behaviour not opinions would be the grounds for withholding or removing membership.

    1. Ray O'Connor

      a constitution is a constitution it can not be put aside on the recommendations of an individual, your attitude to the constitutional obligations of the executive committee, proper procedure and the constitutional rights of members reflects my concerns as to the behaviour of the green party leadership, not only within the party but within government.

      that is the real reason for my dismissal, expulsion call it what you will

      you have confirmed to any person who values social justice and constitutional protections that the Green leadership cannot be trusted in power again

      For that you have done the country some service

      1. Dan Boyle

        Yes Ray I am evil incarnate. You have so deemed. You have shown yourself to be a person of astute judgement and a high degree of rationality.

        1. Ray O'Connor

          i’m sure that momentary thought is forgotten, and you’ve reverted to type by now.

          Already looking forward to next week Dan

          1. Dan Boyle

            I’m not but thanks for the notice of your intention to continue to be disruptive. I’m sure it will be noted by those who monitor these things.

    1. Dan Boyle

      We didn’t get anywhere Ray. You remain a petty person fixated on something not very important.

      1. Ray O'Connor

        ah we did Dan, i know the Greens don’t follow their constitution that’s a big plus for me

  11. Ray O'Connor

    Dan, this thought just came to me, you guys are no longer in government have no need to tip the cap to the civil servants why don’t you just get a PQ asked about the consumer rip off and illegal activity you are aware of. I can supply you with all the supporting documentation.

    From your last reply i cant understand why you still want to be mixed up in this, you probably never met the guys you’re protecting. it could get you back in the good books with joe public

    I know that’s a radicle thought and way out there but hey i just thought it might be worth throwing it into the mix.
    Have a think about it anyway

    1. Dan Boyle

      Because I’m not protecting anyone. This is all about your projection that you were supplying information that was understood, of sufficient importance and could be acted upon.

  12. italia'90

    Dan, did you file your tax return earlier this year with the IRS?
    I ask because I find it so hypocritical that those who work and reside in Ireland but are born in another EU country cannot vote in all our elections. A bit like taxation without representation if you like…
    You appear to be one of a very privileged few.

    1. Dan Boyle

      You apply to be registered. The application form mentions nothing about taxation. I wouldn’t have taxable income. Ireland and the US have a double taxation agreement.

  13. Tony Pratschke

    Please, for the sake of those who wish to discuss political issues could Dan and Ray please go to the school yard and carry on you bickering there. Have some sense, Dan, you should have sussed this guy out and just ignored him. Dirty linen shoulldn’t be washed in public, but pooey nappies should be dumped!

    1. Dan Boyle

      I didn’t raise the issue Tony. I don’t attach any particular importance to it. I don’t think of it of being in any way dirty. I find the inflating of grievance as being amusing. I don’t, on matters of opinion, make a distinction on public and private.

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