Author Archives: Bodger

Comedian Andrew Maxwell on BBC News in 2018 discussing Brexit

On The Ray D’Arcy Show.

Fergus McCormack writes:

Comedians and actors PJ Gallagher and Katherine Lynch chat to Ray about their dark comedy play Madhouse.

From Big Brother to interviewing the Hollywood A-Listers, This Morning’s Alison Hammond joins Ray for her first ever Irish chat show interview.

Brian Kennedy will join Ray to celebrate his recent cancer free diagnosis and share some of his most loved songs…

Comedian Andrew Maxwell will lead up to a million protesters in a march in London to call for a Brexit referendum. He’ll join Ray in studio to explain how he got involved and why it’s still a laughing matter….

Athlone Jockey Paddy Merrigan joins Ray to talk about his rise to the top of his game, his downward spiral into drink, drugs and gambling and the turning point that led him to return to horse-racing and spread his message of positive mental health.

The Ray D’Arcy Show at 9.55pm on Saturday on RTÉ One.

Pic: BBC




Just a drill.

This morning.

Eccles Street, Dublin 7.

The Aeromedical Service Helicopter lands outside the Mater Hospital in the ‘first simulation of an air emergency transfer’.

The Mater Hospital is apparently the only Dublin hospital where the Emergency Aeromedical Service will be able to directly land adjacent to the Emergency Department.

Gulp.

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

Mnister for Education Joe McHugh and Independent Senator Colette Kelleher

Yesterday.

The Seanad voted to pass draft legislation which would see the Education Act amended to ensure that schools teach children about Travellers.

Independent senator Colette Kelleher produced the Traveller Culture and History in Education Bill and yesterday, in the Seanad, the bill went through to the Dáil for further debate.

Ms Kelleher voiced her opposition to four amendments proposed by Fine Gael Minister for Education Joe McHugh but she did not seek a vote on them.

Mr McHugh told the Seanad it would be legally problematic for the Bill to specify that Traveller culture and history would be part of the curriculum.

He said:

“If section 30 of the Education Act 1998 was amended as proposed by lines 13 to 19 of the Private Member’s Bill, according to legal advice received by my Department, a situation would be created whereby the only subject area prescribed in this jurisdiction would be Traveller culture and history, granting it a different status from all other subjects, including Irish, English and maths.

“The curriculum in our schools is determined and set through an extensive development and consultative process conducted by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, which results in the production of syllabuses or specifications for each subject area.

“These are accompanied by circular letters issued to schools by my Department. I have proposed…to ensure that the Bill can be amended in a manner which would reflect the overall intent to include Traveller history and culture within the education system while not specifically prescribing the curricular content by means of legislation.”

Ms Kelleher said she was “disappointed” by Mr McHugh’s amendments.

She also said she fears Mr McHugh’s amendments may lead to the “promotion” of Traveller culture and history, as opposed to the “teaching” of the same and that this may lead to situations where some schools satisfy an “obligation to promote Traveller culture and history… with even the most minimal activity on the part of each individual school, if at all”.

But she added:

“I feel we have the basis for further conversation. We can do more work when this Bill goes to the Dáil.

She also said:

Travellers are to the front of the queue for cuts and not much else. Traveller men are seven times more likely to take their own lives than the general population and Traveller women six times more likely to do so.

Many Travellers have lost six, seven and eight family members to suicide. They are resilient people who stay strong in the face of this adversity.

“We are told that education is the hope to break the cycle of racism, prejudice and discrimination, that through knowledge and learning by us all, we will know better and this means we can almost certainly do better.

“Today, the Minister, Deputy McHugh, has the opportunity to reflect on what he has heard in this House and to, perhaps, change his mind.”

Prior to the passing of the Bill, Ms Kelleher said:

“A key purpose of the Bill is to dispel myths and lies at the heart of prejudice, racism and discrimination, which is an everyday experience for Travellers in Ireland.

“These myths have caused the perpetration of a cycle of victim blaming as described by psychologist, William Ryan, where members of the dominant community see features of the social life of a marginalised community that are the result of poverty and marginalisation as essential features of that community’s culture and use this observation to justify attitudes that cause this cycle of poverty, exclusion and marginalisation to be perpetuated.

“As a people we are ignorant of Traveller history and culture.

“Such ignorance is the context in which discrimination is a daily reality for the Traveller community.

“According to research by Michael McGrail of NUI Maynooth in 2010, 60.1% of settled people would not welcome a Traveller as a member of the family, 63.7% reject Travellers based on their way of life, and 18% would deny Irish citizenship to Travellers.

“I am sure Members will agree that these are shocking statistics. Irish people do not know ourselves. We do not know our history. We do not know our culture.

“Travellers and Traveller children and their life chances are the collateral damage of that ignorance and that denial. The Travellers’ story is part of Ireland’s story. We must be taught Traveller history and culture.

“I have completed my first year in a master’s degree in family psychotherapy. One of the first things we learn is the importance of knowing ourselves and our history.

“We do a genogram on which we try to populate our family trees, investigating and filling in all the blanks going back generations so that we may know ourselves and, to paraphrase the black civil rights activist and writer James Baldwin, that we may be able to claim our birthright.

“Traveller culture and history is a great, big blank in Ireland’s genogram.

“We do not know ourselves fully and wholly today because we do not know Traveller history and culture.

“I ask all present what they know of Traveller history? Were any of us taught it?

“This omission is a dangerous airbrushing of Ireland’s only recognised ethnic minority from its rightful place in history.

“We are not just denying our identity; we are excluding a whole community.

“This gaping hole in our knowledge has resulted in poor policymaking. Travellers still speak of, and bear the scars of, the 1962 itinerancy report.

“There are also other examples.

“The Department of Education and Skills and the NCCA’s intercultural guidelines of 2005 are positive but were also ignored.

“The Department’s approach of seeking, rather than providing for, the inclusion of Traveller culture and history in the curriculum taught by recognised schools in the State simply has not worked.

“It has not educated the general population about Traveller culture and history. There has been an invisibility about Traveller culture and history in our schools.

“Traveller children have not been validated in our education system. If Traveller children were so validated, why then would only 80% transfer from primary to secondary school, as some indicators show?

According to Pavee Point, many Travellers say that the first time that they are made to feel bad about their Traveller identity is when they cross the threshold of a school and that sometimes at school they are made to feel that education is not for them.

“A Traveller child may be the only Traveller in the class and can be treated negatively and suspiciously.

“Oein De Bhairduin spoke about this Bill being an opportunity to lift the responsibility for Traveller culture in education from the shoulders of that little child to us as the State.

“Is it any surprise that, compared to the general population, Travellers are more than 50 times more likely to leave school without the Leaving Certificate?

“Just 13% of female Travellers were educated to upper secondary level or above when compared with almost 70% of the general population.

“At most, 57% of male Travellers were educated to primary level. The CSO national Traveller education statistics from 2016 estimated that only 167 Travellers ever went on to third level education.

“There is a history of legislation failing to protect the Traveller community. The Bill in its current form seeks to change that. Traveller culture and history in education needs to be mandatory.

“Well meaning, well intentioned, aspirational guidelines and directions to schools, done with undoubted goodwill but without the force of law, simply do not deliver to all Travellers the teaching of Traveller culture and history.

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Today.

The Central Statistics Office published its Statistical Yearbook for 2018 including snapshots of each county.

The office also found:

“The average weekly household disposable income in 2017 was €929.01 up 4.7% on the previous year, while the average weekly disposable income per individual was €478.78 up 5.5%.”

Really?

It also found…

“The county with the most new dwellings completed in 2018, with 6,907, was Dublin, with 4,884 scheme houses and a further 1,746 apartments. Leitrim (67) and Longford (66) both had less than 100 new dwellings completed.”

Peruse the yearbook in full here

Protest outside the European Parliament Information Office on Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2

Workers Solidarity tweetz:

Dublin demonstration now marching on the Turkish embassy located on Raglan Road to protest Turkish invasion of Rojava and atrocities committed by its troops.

Related: A letter to our friends in Rojava (Feminist Ire)

Top pic via Rollingnews

Last night.

Channel 4 broadcast an interview with a member of the “New IRA” who said any border infrastructure, as a consequence of Brexit, would be a “legitimate target for attack”.

The man spoke to Channel 4 News on condition that his identity would be disguised and his voice would not be recorded.

So his words were spoken by an actor for the recording – drawing a significant response from viewers about his accent.

Anyone?

New IRA says border infrastructure would be ‘legitimate target for attack’ (Channel 4)

Earlier: “It Will Ensure There Are No Checks”

From top: *Sam eating from a cardboard sheet on Grafton Street on Tuesday night; Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty; Tánaiste Simon Coveney in the Dáil today

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions in Dáil Éireann.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty raised the picture of a five-year-old boy *Sam (not his real name) eating a pasta dinner given to him by a homeless charity while kneeling on a piece of cardboard on Grafton Street in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Just over two weeks ago, the most recent figures from the Department of Housing showed there were 10,345 people (6,490 adults and 3,848 children) living in emergency accommodation in the final week of August.

The figure represent a decrease of seven adults but an increase of 70 children compared to the figures for the final week of July. 

This afternoon, Mr Doherty addressed Tánaiste Simon Coveney when he said:

“The photograph showed a five-year-old boy eating his dinner off a sheet of cardboard on the ground in this city.

“Sam is the boy in that photograph, he’s five years old. He goes to school like any other child but Sam is homeless.

“Sam and his mum live in emergency accommodation like thousands of other families in this state.

“The Homeless Street Café, the homeless group, who met Sam on Tuesday night, made clear that his mother is trying her best to provide nutritious home-cooked meals for her children

“But, like so many parents of the homeless children of this state, they live in emergency accommodation that strictly forbids them from cooking meals for their children.

“That is Sam’s life, Tánaiste. Without a home, without the comfort and security which should be a right for every children [sic] in this State.

“That’s the life of nearly 4,000 children like Sam that have been condemned to this type of nightmare.

“There is only one place our children should be on a Tuesday night. And that is safely tucked up in their beds, in their home, with their families.

“The moral stain of child homelessness in Ireland is creating a lost generation. Children who are having their childhood stolen from them, right before our eyes.

“Stunting their development, harming their education, exposing them to hardships that no child deserves and that no society should accept.

“Behind the statistics, Tánaiste, the Minister for Housing tries to bamboozle the public with, there is a stark and dark reality of our housing crisis.

“A crisis that your government has manufactured, a crisis that many are profiting from, from the suffering of others.

“We’ve over 10,000 people recorded as homeless at the end of August of this year.

“That’s the seventh month in a row where we have those figures recorded – a 365 per cent increase during a five-year period of unending, uninterrupted, economic growth.

“And these figures don’t even provide the full picture, Tánaiste, they don’t include the women and children living in domestic violence shelters, funded by Tusla, they don’t include the adults and children living in hostels that aren’t funded by Government departments.

“And they don’t include those still living in Direct Provision, despite having secured their leave to remain.

“This is the Republic that you and your government are building. These are the parents and children you’re failing, children like Sam.

“This is not a republic of opportunity that cherishes all of the children of the nation equally.

“It is a national shame.”

More to follow.

Earlier: Dear Sam

Yesterday: ‘Sam’

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary; Tánaiste Simon Coveney

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary asked Tánaiste Simon Coveney about the Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU this morning – but rejected by the DUP.

He specifically asked if Mr Coveney could confirm the deal will ensure there are no border or customs checks on the island of Ireland.

He also asked if he could confirm the Good Friday Agreement is “intact” by way of this deal.

And he asked if members of the Irish government – Mr Coveney himself, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar or any of their officials – “engaged” with members of the Democratic Unionist Party in “recent days” to “see if the Irish Government can assuage their concerns, whatever they are, around this deal”.

Mr Coveney said he urged caution and while there is an agreement between UK and Brussels, “that isn’t the end of the process”.

But he said the deal recognises “all of the issues we have been raising over the past three years”.

He said it will “protect” the people on the island of Ireland, and peace and trade on the island.

He added:

“It will ensure that there are no checks, whether they be sanitary and phytosanitary, whether they regulatory cheeks, whether they be live animals, or indeed whether they be customs checks in the context of goods travelling and being traded north and south, and south and north. I think that is a very significant achievement.”

He also said:

“The bit that has changed in the Withdrawal Agreement relates to Ireland. Much of the Irish protocol remains the same on issues like the CTA and so on. But the provisions which were previously referred to as the backstop have changed.

“But we have always said that if we can replace the backstop with something else that does the same job on the key issues that I outlined earlier in terms of protecting the peace process preventing a hard border and protecting  Ireland’s place in the EU single market and customs union, if we can achieve that, then we will always look favourably on a new approach.

“As long as the outcomes were guaranteed and I believe they are. And that is why I think this is a deal that is worth supporting because it protects core Irish interests.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Earlier: Done Deal

Today’s Irish Mirror cover with an image taken earlier this week in Dublin city centre taken by The Homeless Street Café

Babs Bear writes:

Dear Sam, These men – @MurphyEoghan @LeoVaradkar and  @simoncoveneyare in charge of the care of our homeless and want us to accept it’s OK for you to eat your dinner off cardboard, on a pavement, in our capital city.

It’s not OK. Sam. You’re 5.

Yesterday: ‘Sam’