Category Archives: Misc


Top from left: deputy Commissioner John Twomey, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn and Chief Administrative Office Joseph Nugent

This afternoon.

Harcourt Street, Dublin 2

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris unveils the new Garda Operating Model, considered to be ‘the biggest restructuring of the force in modern times’.

An Garda Síochána says that there will be an increasing number of community policing teams.

It also says that there will be a reduction in administrative structures and the community policing teams will be working with communities to identify and tackle problem crimes in their area.

…the changes are designed to deal with the changes in Irish society, including the diversity of communities, the nature of crime and changes in the garda workforce.

…there will be an improvement in garda technical capabilities to tackle cyber crime, with 50 gardaí currently studying for a postgraduate qualification in economic crime.

Among the changes included is a reduction in garda regions from six to four and a reduction in the number of garda divisions from 28 to 19.

This is designed to release more gardaí to frontline duties and deliver a more localised service to communities…

FIGHT!

Nearly 1,800 extra gardaí at frontline as part of structural changes (RTÉ)

Full report here

Rollingnews

Partland – Hope To Love Again

Some people want to fill the world with lost love songs – and what’s wrong with that?

Thomas McPartland (top), who hails from County Leitrim, is the latest Irish singer to wear his heart on his sleeve with this emotionally intense slow-burner that would give Coldplay a run for their money.

His second album The Empty Atlantic is out next year.

Nick says: Oceans apart.

Partland

From top Regina Doherty and Josepha Madigan at the Fine Gael Ladies’ Luncheon last May; Eamonn kelly

The latest social services card cock-up has now quietened into a familiar waiting game as the minister goes to ground to wait it out.

Maybe the electorate will forget about it like they forgot about Josepha Madigan’s part in the Maria Bailey scandal.

And it’s a safe bet. Because the electorate do forget. They forget everything.

The electorate has electoral Alzheimer’s and the government knows it and if they just wait a week or two, the electorate will forget everything and no one will have to resign; there’ll be no accountability and the media outlets under government control can go to work on reinforcing the idea that there was nothing to remember anyway.

10,000 homeless? Oh yeah, I vaguely remember that. But wasn’t it all their own fault? Of course it was. How else would they be homeless?

Reacting to Fine Gael is like playing catch up. It’s similar, though not as severe, to the experience of American journalists with Trump. One outrage follows another and after a while it just seems easier to believe the lie. They’re working on all fronts. For instance, there is the insanely active area of stalling legislation.

This negative activity apparently has been keeping Fine Gael occupied over the last few years, devising ways to stop legislation without appearing to lose in the Dáil.

They do this by passing a bill to committee stage and then quietly smothering it there. This is how you end up with someone like Maria Bailey chairing committees on housing and ethics. The goals are not necessarily in the titles.

Then there’s the mining licenses. Mayo county council were sued for 2 million by a mining company when they refused a full license after an exploratory license was granted. The mining company acting like a jilted bride scorned by a broken promise.

Fine Gael, for reasons known only to themselves, then issue an exploratory license for mining in Connemara National Park and one of their TDs declares that this doesn’t necessarily mean that a full mining license will be granted.

However, given the Mayo experience, it would seem that they have put a mining company in a position to sue the state. Still, what’s another couple of million? It’s only public money. Plenty more where that came from.

The public services card. All illegal. 60 million down the drain. The taoiseach, I call him the automatic taoiseach because he became an automatic taoiseach once he was elected to the Fine Gael leadership. Otherwise he has no public mandate.

Anyway, his response to the services card debacle was to suggest looking at the legislation to see could it possibly be re-jigged to make the whole thing retrospectively legal.

A lawyer however pointed out that this wouldn’t work since the taoiseach’s remit doesn’t extend to re-jigging EU legislation. The only influence he has over that is in smothering it, particularly social justice legislation.

The fact that he would even think of changing the law to retrospectively forgive the political mistakes of his own ministers should tell you all you need to know about his priorities.

Remember the children’s hospital over-run? Oh yeah… Still it was nice and thoughtful of the taoiseach to try and build a children’s hospital…It must be them builders. Must be their fault. What can you do?

Remember the 170 million to JobPath for a 7% percent success rate? No. What was that? Are those the people who don’t get up early in the morning?

Remember the people dying on trolleys and the corpses in the corridors? That was all made up. Fake news.

Remember the tax breaks for the wealthy and the property market serving the landlords as people fell onto the streets or emigrated? Yeah well, people like emigrating. Irish people always emigrated.

Remember the UN report about the kids being psychologically damaged by homelessness? Oh yeah…kind of… But wasn’t it all their own fault? Shoulda bought houses. Mustn’t have worked hard enough. Mustn’t have got up early in the morning.

You will recall that with the Maria Bailey scandal the automatic taoiseach screened the whole thing off from public view – essentially privatised the problem – and then finally emerged to assert that there was no problem, no case to answer, no illegality whatsoever, nothing to be concerned about, nothing happening here, move on now it’s time for the Summer recess.

And it worked. Everyone forgot.

Even the National Campaign for the Arts, of which I’m a grassroots member, forgot; deciding in their pre-budget submission to thank both Regina Docherty and Josepha Madigan for the tweak in welfare laws that allows grassroots artists to try for a year to turn their art into a business before being dispatched to standard employment activation procedures.

Essentially, the National Campaign for the Arts agrees with Fine Gael that the arts must survive or die by the market; except, presumably, those middle-class funded institutions that the campaign arguably truly represents, who will avail of shrinking funding by being nice and complimentary towards the ministers they rub shoulders with.

Survival in Ireland, no matter what your game is, depends entirely on being accepted at some level by the exploitative elite, represented in all their cronyism by the two major parties.

As Gene Kerrigan put it, another week another scandal and the same strategy of waiting and doing nothing until the electorate forget, as they always do.

Kerrigan said that Fine Gael had contempt for the public and wondered must Fine Gael call personally to every door in the country and punch the occupants in the face for them to get the message.

But you can hardly blame Fine Gael. They know by now, from stalling and smothering legislation; from concealing and waiting, that the best way to lead a people with Electoral Alzheimer’s is to do as little as possible policy wise, working private angles to divvy public monies to favoured clients while targeting politically inconsequential scapegoats for the sleepy public to gnaw on.

Contempt works! The public forgets everything. How could you respect them?

They get exactly what they ask for.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance Writer and Playwright.

Top pic via Josepha Madigan

Cancer sufferer John Wall (above) has secured a meeting with the Minister for Health

John Wall has been living with Stage 4 prostrate cancer for the past two years.

Over the last few weeks, Mr Wall has been tweeting about how his emergency medical card had been revoked eight months after he received it, despite the Department of Health website previously claiming such cards would be valid for 18 months.

Mr Wall, an air traffic controller at Shannon Airport, complained to the Ombudsman Peter Tyndall and recently claimed the office attempted to close his case without advising him or addressing his concerns.

And he kept on tweeting, gathering followers with every tweet.

Yesterday John was  told how he now has a meeting with the Minister for Health Simon Harris will take place next month, the Office of the Ombudsman is now carrying out a complete review and all his complaints have been upheld.

In fairness.

Related: Ombudsman raises concerns about HSE medical card policy (Jennifer Bray, The Irish Times)

Yesterday: Medical Card Sans Frontières

Ask A Broadsheet Reader

Public Services Card; Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty

A week on from the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon announcing that there is no legal basis for anyone to have to present a Public Services Card in respect of any transaction between a person and a public body outside the Department of Employment and Social Protection…

And that the supporting information that millions of card holders had to hand over in order to get their card – such as utility bills, proof of ID, etc – must now be deleted…

And that the Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe was informed of Ms Dixon’s report’s findings a year ago

A press release released this lunchtime by the Department for Employment Affairs and Social Protection includes the following comment from Minister Regina Doherty:

“Both myself and my department take very seriously the findings of the Data Protection Commission and the good work it does.

“For that reason it is important that bodies that are subject to findings by the commission give very careful consideration to those findings.

“Such careful consideration is also necessary in order to be fair to the commission and to ensure that when we do speak that the public hears a properly prepared response.

As soon as our consideration of this final report is complete, the department will publish its response along with the report and any other relevant information on its website and I will speak then at greater length on the matter.”

Meanwhile, in the same press release from the department, a spokesperson said:

“The Department is currently reviewing the report together with the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. This process is not yet complete and is expected to take another week or so.

“While the Department understands that some may wish for us to respond sooner, it should be noted that this is a comprehensive report and requires significant attention.

It is not true, as has been reported in some quarters, that the Department has had this report for a year.”

“The Data Protection Commission (DPC) provided a draft investigation report in August of last year at the mid-point of a two year investigation. It came with instructions that it was provided on a strictly confidential basis and was not to be shared with any third parties.

“This draft report contained what it described as preliminary findings and the DPC asked the department to make submissions on these findings. The report also posed a number of additional questions in the form of requests for information.

“These submissions and response to requests for information were sought to assist the DPC in the ongoing investigation and to inform the content of the final report.

“The department together with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform considered the interim report very carefully and sought and received the advice of the Attorney General’s Office.

Based on this consideration, and the advice received, the Department submitted a very detailed response setting out how it believed the SAFE process/PSC was administered in full compliance with all relevant law.

“In this context, in the absence of any determination by the DPC and pending the receipt of the final report, the Department and other specified bodies continued to rely on the PSC and SAFE process.

“The revised and final version of the report was received last Thursday. It contains a significant volume of additional analysis, a number of the findings have been changed and some have been removed.”

Previously: House Of Card

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

From top: Brian O’Driscoll on Newtalk’s Off The Ball; Johnny Green

This is Brian O’Driscoll speaking to ‘Off The Ball; on Newstalk recently about codeine and pain killers:

“I’d have been part of teams where the doctor would have walked down the bus on the way to games inquiring who wanted what in advance [of kick-off].

“For me, for the last couple of seasons, part of my match prep would have been a Difene and couple of co-codamol.”

Pity really that BOD instead of also taking the highly addictive Diazepam, could not have legally smoked a joint to help get some sleep and counteract those caffeine tablets, after all it’s only a game.

Chronic pain is not a qualifying condition under Fine Gael’s bad faith medical cannabis experiment, yet it’s the number one reason by a long way for US patients.

Let’s start with a few US stats sourced from the recently published ASA State of the States Report.

Yearly deaths 2017:

0 deaths caused by Cannabis
47,600 deaths from opioids,over half from prescription
70,2000 deaths from prescription drugs

There are over 95 qualifying medical conditions in medical cannabis programs, Ireland has three. These range from epilepsy and seizure disorders to cachexia or wasting syndrome, with chronic pain the primary qualifying condition, accounting for over 60%.

Fine Gael decided it’s non qualifying in Ireland, but you can get Benzos and codeine just sitting on a bus.

Since California in 1996, 33 states and DC have legalised cannabis for medical reasons and ten for recreational use.

Over one hundred million Americans suffer from chronic pain, with increasing numbers reporting relief from cannabis, which patients have to pay for, it’s not covered by any insurance in US.

Medical cannabis is medicine and has shown to be effective in the treatment of many ailments, including Crohn’s disease, a condition that afflicts current Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The modern cannabis industry is a green job-creating machine and Ireland has it all to be a major player in the 100 Billion EU market, except the political nous.

Fine Gael is following the playbook of West Virginia, passing laws but failing to implement them resulting in lots of frustration in the slow roll out,

The following was reported in The Irish Mirror back in 2014, five years ago:

“The CEO of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) Pat O’Mahony confirmed today that the Department of Health was working on legislation to allow medicinal cannabis to be made available for patients.’

The HPRA is not fit for purpose, it already covers all medical products/devices and veterinary things, now its also going to run, sorry slow walk, Ireland’s medical cannabis program.

It is long past time the minister used his powers to grant patients in pain the right to use medical cannabis.

He also needs to establish a Cannabis Board who can approve or fastback cannabis and cannabis based products in areas like, oh say, the treatment of chronic pain under the care of a doctor.

Next week we are going look at why this government decided that the most popular and effective ways take it, smoked,vaped, eaten are not options for patients in Ireland while under the care of their physician.

The Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.