Tag Archives: Canada

Awkward, in fairness.




Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore TD, who is the party’s spokesperson for Climate Action and Biodiversity, said:

“With this trade deal comes a very controversial mechanism which allows companies to sue an EU member state for potential profits lost if a Government decides to change their policies or regulations.

“This will be devastating for many reasons, including in the area of health and housing, but also in in relation to the Government drafting legislation and policies to tackle climate change and biodiversity. If a company feels a Bill or policy drafted to mitigate climate change might negatively impact on their profit margin, it could technically sue the Irish Government under CETA.

Furthermore, all of this would be settled in special tribunals held outside our own justice system in a non-transparent manner. This is hardly appropriate in an age where transparency and due diligence is a basic requirement in a democracy.

“The chilling effect of this deal could be enormous as the Government is already wary of legislating strongly for climate action for fear of being held up in court. CETA will reduce the Government’s capacity for stronger decision-making, which is what we need in our fight against climate change.

“If companies can sue the Irish Government for compensation, not only will the taxpayer be out of pocket, but our ability to mitigate climate change and protect our biodiversity will be diminished. We cannot afford for that to happen.”

Previously: The Set Menu

An apparently ghostly aurora recorded over northern Canada back in 2013. To wit:

Regardless of fantastical pareidolic interpretations, the pictured aurora had a typical green colour and was surely caused by the scientifically commonplace action of high energy particles from space interacting with oxygen in Earth’s upper atmosphere. In the image foreground, at the bottom, is a frozen Alexandra Falls, while evergreen trees cross the middle.

(Image: Yuichi Takasaka, TWAN)


Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan at the Policing Authority last November

You may recall the Disclosures Tribunal, led by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, which is investigating allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe and claims made by Garda Keith Harrison.

In yesterday’s The Sunday Times. John Mooney reported that a phone used by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan – during 2013/2014, the time of the alleged smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe – has gone missing.

Mr Mooney reported:

It was one of a number of smartphones sought by Peter Charleton, the Supreme Court judge who is investigating whether there was a conspiracy among senior gardai to smear McCabe after he exposed abuse of the penalty-points system and raised concerns about policing in Cavan/Monaghan.

A phone used at the time by Martin Callinan, the former commissioner, has also gone missing as have mobile handsets used by other garda witnesses.

Charleton sought possession of the phones in an order his tribunal served on Garda headquarters. The judge also sought possession of Sim cards, copies of call logs and data, text messages, emails and all documents concerning a number of garda whistleblower controversies.

The missing mobile phones and Sims are unlikely to be found, according to sources in Garda headquarters.

“No one knows what became of them,” one source said. “There is no record or log to clarify if they were destroyed, recycled or fitted with new Sim cards and given to other officers. There is no central log showing what becomes of official phones.”

Emails that O’Sullivan would have sent from her phone using a private Gmail account would have been automatically deleted every 30 days, and so no record of them is likely to be found either….

Garda chief’s phone missing in smear probe (John Mooney, The Sunday Times)

In addition.

Readers may recall a report about Garda Keith Harrison by RTÉ’s This Week two weeks ago.

It reported that Garda Harrison only recently became aware that gardaí had created a Garda “profile” report on him – shortly after he raised concerns about Garda management.

This came to light after Garda Harrison’s legal team was sent a large volume of documents, following a data protection request by his team.

The tranche of documents that Garda Harrison’s team received did not include the actual profile but it included a heavily redacted email from September 1, 2014, which was sent to a series of gardaí, up to and including one at the rank of chief superintendent. Their names were all redacted.

The only unredacted line in the email stated: “I refer to meeting on 18 August … I now attach profile concerning Garda Keith Harrison” while at attachment was named ‘keith harrison profile.doc’.

Further to this.

Francesca Comyn, in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post, reported that the High Court has ordered Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to release the suspected surveillance profile on Garda Harrison following further discovery sought by Garda Harrison’s solicitor Trevor Collins.

Ms Comyn reported:

The court order is in itself unusual in that it requires an affidavit of compliance to be personally sworn by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, rather than another member of the force. O’Sullivan has been given ten weeks to comply with the ruling, which seeks a number of further records.

Noirin O’Sullivan ordered to hand over whistleblower surveillance file
 (Francesca Comyn, The Sunday Business Post)

Gardaí created ‘profile’ report into whistleblower, new documents reveal (RTE, May 14, 2017)


Commissioner O’Sullivan and Canadian ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers

In yesterday’s Irish Mail on Sunday.

Sam Smyth, in his column, hinted that Ms O’Sullivan might be headed for Canada…

He wrote:

The Mounties in the Rockies are calling Nóirín O’Sullivan to Canada, I’m told. Word is the embattled Garda Commissioner may be taking up a position there; both academia and security have been mentioned.

The Canadian ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, is understood to been helpful through her recent crisis – and other friends think Nóirín would be well advised to quit before a new taoiseach is in place.




The regional government of the Belgian region of Wallonia is blocking an EU trade deal with Canada which would reduce 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU.

Critics of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement [CETA] believe it will weaken consumer rights and damage the agricultural industry in EU member countries.

Sean O’Reilly writes:

Interesting reading from American born, Belgian based, German supported news outlet Politico on the topic of CETA…

Via The Brussels Playbook

it’s easier to imagine the deal as a meal.

Among many, many concerns, the negotiation process for CETA has come under substantial fire for being more of a set menu than an À la carte proposal.

With dinner having been opaquely decided on, at best not quite suited to the taste of some guests, and at worst inedible to some in the room, the Wallonian government has decided that it won’t be eating.

A key concern of the Walloons is the threat CETA presents to agriculture. In a region which boasts a cow for every three inhabitants, the prospect of the European market becoming flooded with Canadian products is a daunting one.

That the deal is an all or nothing proposal, and that the Walloons have rejected it in major part because of this raises the question of whether this way of doing business is now tenable.

….it’s worth noting that Politico leans fairly heavily towards the American centre, that is to say it would be very much pro-business, free market capitalism, and transatlanticism.

It’s possibly fair to say the Americans have gone soft so far away from home, but what’s interesting here is that the negotiation of these deals has been so poorly handled that even those who might be expected to be cheering them on have reservations.


The Brussels Playbook (Politico)

Map via Economist.com