Tag Archives: David Wall

From left Senator Catherine Noone, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris during the referendum campaign

Minister Harris has sought permission to work through his summer break to draft abortion legislation. While he has been hailed as the poster boy of the Yes campaign, and he can finally take some heat away from the CervicalCheck scandal and hospital overcrowding, this is not necessarily good.

Speed is not conducive to good law.

The legislation that is created must be perfect. Not right, not good. Perfect. This campaign has been divisive and although the outcome was decisive even those who voted for repeal are not in agreement about what they want to see.

Having repealed the 8th it now lies on our lawmakers to to ensure that women are supported, treated with dignity and medically cared for in every aspect.

However, Minister Harris and Taoiseach Varadkar do know what they want to see. They have seen an opportunity: “69% of the population voted for repeal, lets plaster our names, faces and views to this and quick. If Fianna Fáil bring us down at the next budget we’ve legislated for marriage equality and repealing the 8th…what could possibly go wrong.” (Coincidentally, a large cache of documentation relating to the SCU was released Friday evening)

With the emphatic passing of this referendum Fine Gael have understandably taken the seismic events in Ireland and wish to harness them. Additionally, because Fine Gael have taken this stance a large number of TDs are pushing for speed. No voice can be seen to be delaying this legislation. This needs to be carefully considered.

Lets for an instant consider if the referendum had been split 53/47. What if SImon Coveney’s Cork South Central Constituency had split 54/46 or if Damien English’s Meath West had been tighter?

If the referendum outcome had not been so clean cut would Fine Gael be so keen to get this through? I think it may well have been left in the long grass until after the next general election.

A Fine Gael-led government could pick it up again after forming a new government and the next time an election rears its head it would be a distant memory, or if Fianna Fáil had won the election it would be a little grenade ready to rip the newly formed government asunder. I do realise that these musings are an irrelevancy: The majority of the country said repeal and so it will be.

The referendum has been supported and opposed from all sides of the house. The success of the Yes campaign is commendable and shows Ireland to be progressive building on the support for the marriage equality referendum. It also shows how politicians can work together for the good of the nations citizens from all sides of the house.

This does not give the government the right to ram legislation through.

There is an obvious problem to what I am saying: abortion is needed. It is needed now. As a nation we need to avoid trauma, hurt and stigma that has been associated with abortion.

Potentially, the state can support women with crisis pregnancies. In situations potentially offer financial support to procure the necessary treatment in England, possibly the judiciary could ensure that no custodial sentences are threatened or enforced in the case of terminations.

Steps need to be taken to support our citizens in times of crisis, however the law we enact must be perfect, not rushed. Bad cases make bad law. Often bad cases result in rushed law. It remains to be seen if this case will result in rushed law becoming bad law.

What Minister Harris needs to do is take time to ensure that the law now made is perfect. Having removed the 8th we now need to make sure that the constitution is as perfect as possible. Time is needed.

Rushing through law in a bid to ride on its coat tails to the next general election is a dangerous move. The 8th amendment lived longer in Ireland than I have. We only get one chance at getting this right, let’s make this law perfect.

David Wall is a freelance writer


Yesterday’s Sunday Independent

Further to yesterday’s criticism of the Jobstown protestors by Ed Brophy, former chief of staff to Joan Burton…

David Wall writes:

Reading Ed Brophy’s response to the the Jobstown verdict clarified a number of reasons why Joan Burton’s leadership of Labour was so ill-fated and indeed why Labour continue to flounder and struggle.

Labour are meant to be the voice of the many, not the few to borrow a phrase from the British Labour Party ( a group Brophy’s Ireland Thinks represents). Labour are meant to represent the rights of workers, the people without a voice.

This is their demographic, and yet a former Chief of Staff to the Tanáiste speaks of them as the enemy. He seems to dismiss the cases of Apollo House, Repeal the 8th and the non payment of tax by Apple as populist politics aimed at a ‘whimsical section of the electorate.’

Surely homelessness, reproductive rights and corporate tax avoidance should be the bread and butter of any labour movement?

Furthermore, he seems to want to limit the voice of the Solidarity Movement. They have filled the void left by the Labour Party as they snuggled cosily into the centre of politics.

The Solidarity movement are a dissenting voice to the left, but surely this is the role that Labour should be filling. Irish politics has evolved to have a number of centrist parties with Fine Gael on the right of centre while Irish Labour have moved towards the centre in a bold move away from their grassroots support.

That cannot be denied. Propping up what was seen as a government right of centre does not conform to Labour’s beliefs, even if it was ‘ameliorate capitalism.’

This amelioration, as noble as Brophy presents it, has simply seen a major shift from public to private, increased poverty and greater divide within society. Not a successful tactic it could be argued.
Brophy’s continues by stating that the for some Labours ‘mere act of entering coalition amounted to treachery.’ This seems to be a worrying oversight.

Rather than worrying about how entering coalition was viewed it would be more beneficial to examine the role of Labour within government. The electorate are forgiving, look at the recovery of Fianna Fáil. Labour have not been forgiven for their performance in government, rather than the act of entering coalition.

Performance is key and Labour never performed.

Finally, he praises the judicial announcement of innocence as being a positive because ‘in one fell swoop, the Solidarity thesis that the entire system is a conspiracy against them and the working class they purport to represent was put to the sword.’

Again, he is wrong, firstly a guilty verdict would have been a miscarriage of justice. Secondly, rather than exonerating the system it has raised further questions about the behaviour of the embattled gardaí.
At this point Labour have a battle on their hands. The centre is over populated and they are unlikely to take votes from the major powerhouses of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

They need to reestablish themselves as a voice on the left and unfortunately commentaries such as Ed Brophy’s in the Sunday Independent suggest that they have little interest in doing this.

Jobstown Verdict Is Correct But Beware Of The Backlash (Ed Brophy, Sunday Independent)

David Wall (above) has placed eight crosses on his cycling helmet (top)

Cyclist David Wall writes:

Yesterday , the eighth cyclist was killed on Irish roads this year. Last year, 2016, 10 cyclists died in total. If this rate of carnage continues, at least 17 cyclists will die on our roads this year.

How many have to die needlessly before we finally decide to invest in decent, safe cycling facilities?

Why is it that when I decide to cycle to work, I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands? Does any other transport user feel the same?

I wear a helmet, I use lights, but I am still never sure there won’t be an incident on my way to and from work. I am one of those cyclists that obeys the rules of the road, I try to respect all other road users, I stop at lights, etc., but still I have come close to serious injury so many times – by hitting massive potholes, by being squeezed against the kerb, by having to swerve around vehicles parked in bike lanes (constantly), by being cut off by drivers turning left to dream land, or cutting across me, or flying by me, or breaking the lights.

Cycling has exploded in Dublin, and around the country. But the facilities are still archaic. The previous government supported the Dublin bike scheme, because through selling advertising, it cost almost them nothing.

They are not, however, willing to invest in the outcome of such a scheme: more cyclists on dangerous roads needing safe, separate cycling infrastructure.

According to the recent Department of Transport, Tourist and Sport (DTTaS) Transport Trends 2016 document, the number of journeys on Dublin Bikes has increased from 1.2 million in 2010 to 4.1 million in 2015.

It also states that the number of cyclists entering the city increased by 74.5% between 2010 and 2014 as it increased from 5,932 to 10,349. If you are going to increase the number of cyclists, you’d had better increase the spend on cycle infrastructure. Otherwise you are asking for carnage.

This is not, however, what is happening. According to the DTTaS Transport Trends 2016 document, of a total DDTaS transport spend of 1 billion, 464.6 million in 2015, only 21.4million was spent on sustainable transport (walking and cycling), which is roughly 1.5% of the entire budget.

But according to the same document, walking and cycling are responsible for 21.9% of all journeys in Dublin and 14.1% elsewhere. So how does that compute?

The long awaited city quay cycleway, to finally provide a safe route for cyclists along the quays, has been delayed again a couple of weeks back after coming under pressure from business lobby groups.

Now there is talk of taking cyclists off the road altogether and along a boardwalk style cantilevered cycleway, which would mean they would have to cross over footpaths twice at each junction to get onto and off the main road. This is another proposed Irish fudge that will end up serving nobody.

A pedestrian can travel safely to work on a path, a bus user in a bus lane, and a driver on one of the many many single and dual carriageway routes into the city. But the cyclist usually has a meter wide strip painted (if lucky) on the left of an existing carriage, which may sometimes be used by traffic, and other times by parked cars, making it meaningless, and dangerous.

To the politicians, us cyclists are invisible, voiceless and powerless. We are easy to ignore, even though the danger to us is patent to any road user. They can talk about the need for facilities while doing nothing, it will not affect them. We do not register with them or their electoral concerns.

On the radio we have commentators like George Hook stoking animosity against cyclists on a daily basis, complaining that we don’t obey the rules of the road, that we cause accidents, that we are the danger to others.

There is not, however, a battle of us versus them as he would like; we are all road users, and all we want is to arrive to our destinations safely like everyone else. People like him would have us taken off the road if they could. But we don’t even want to be on ‘their roads’, we want our own dedicated lanes!

These people need to realise that we are not going away. They need to be held responsible for the conflict they wish to provoke. With every accusation they make against us, implying we don’t have a right to share their roads, they make it easier for us to be ignored by politicians, councillors and functionaries.They make it easier to overlook the fact that we have to navigate treacherous routes.

We know, however, that Dublin, being flat and mild, could be a perfect city for cycling.

We know that cycling is one of the best, cheapest, healthiest, most environmentally friendly modes of transport. There is no reversing the trends, we are not going away, unless the carnage on our streets continues. Maybe they would like that.

We need to stop being invisible on the roads. It is about time that we should make ourselves unmistakable, unforgettable, and blatantly conspicuous to other road users. When they see us on our bikes, there should be no doubt about the harm that their carelessness can cause us.

Just because we opt for a particular mode of transport, we shouldn’t have to accept more risk than other road users. For too long cyclists have been politically imperceptible.

Let us wear our vulnerability on our heads. This year, and every year to come, until there are safe, segregated, cycling facilities in the city,

I will wear a cross on my helmet for every cyclist that has been killed unnecessarily that year. I invite anyone else who feels like they are entering a warzone on their daily commute to join me, so that the effect of such lack of investment will no longer go unperceived.

When I first thought about writing this, there would have been six crosses on my helmet. Now, there are eight! How many more will there be, needlessly, this year alone?

In 2017, let’s wear our vulnerability on our heads. Let’s remind other drivers of the danger we are constantly subjected to. Then, when the divisive, car commuting commentariat complain about cyclists on their roads, we won’t let them forget that it is them that are killing us, and not the other way round.

David Wall is a philosophy and architecture graduate from Dublin. David describes himself as a ‘routine cyclist’

Pic: David Wall


Bertie Ahern

On the possible return of Bertie Ahern to the political stage….

David Wall writes:

The Liberal Left: architects of the modern day malaise we find ourselves in, the ones to blame for the plight of the worker, the state of the country, the failure of multiculturalism. The lily livered left have much to answer for.

Yet this argument is baffling. I can understand the words, but not the logic. Surely for the left to be blamed for the current climate we find ourselves in the parties of the left must have been in power.

The media must be propagating a socialist policy whereby the right are victimised and we have been led blindly to our own social destruction by Trotskyites.

Who could forget those great liberal lefties Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair and David Cameron. Those soft hearted, socially pandering politicians have made left leaning decisions constantly at the expense of private industry and profit making.

These valiant champions of the working people have hindered the development of private wealth. These men and women who have consistently stripped a magnificent health service of public funding, given their schools to private companies and privatised their postal service at a loss must surely be left leaning. Somehow this is the logic that we meet.

That the left is to blame for modern problems and yet they have had no power (before people jump on the inclusion of Tony Blair I am aware he was a Labour P.M. however his actions outdid even the conservatives).

Let’s not forget our own social warriors like Charlie McCreevy, Phil Hogan and Charlie Haughey. All liberal lefties who have crippled our country through their socially minded inclusive policies.

How these men, representative of the political class, have brought the private sector to its knees is astounding. These Guevaras, these valiant men must be saluted as heroes of the left. Not to mention the left leaning media as owned by Denis O’ Brien and Rupert Murdoch.

Now, as we face crises both nationally and internationally our main opposition party, who are propping up a floundering government, are inviting back the architect of our travails. A man, who resigned rather than be banished, is being brought back as the great white hope.

Here is a man who knows how to win elections, knows his constituency inside out and knows exactly his own role in our plight. And here is a public being ridiculed again. The arrogance of both centre right parties is astonishing and would be hilarious if it wasn’t so insulting.

The reason I am writing this is because I am sick of hearing how the left are to blame, regardless of the problem. The left have not been in power to actually make any decisions in Ireland, England or the US. In fact there is no liberal left in Ireland. Both of our functioning parties are to the right of centre. This is indisputable.

The left is in disarray both here and in England while the middle class and working class get squeezed tighter and tighter. Of course nothing changes because there is no option. There is no alternative to politics of the right in Ireland.

The media dismisses the parties who try to take up the mantle of the left as being radical and loony. They are presented as being incapable and even to blame for where we are now.

All the while the established parties somehow are presented as the safe option. The parties who forced us into this crisis and who implemented a failed austerity policy are the ones to trust.

This leads me again back to where I started…the damn left have got us into this trouble. Let’s keep voting the same heroes back into power. If we do, maybe we can keep the housing crisis going, watch homelessness rise, see the privatisation of water we already pay for, watch hospital overcrowding reach record highs on a weekly basis and maybe see a rise in emigration again.

David Wall is a 31-year-old ‘sheet reader.

Potential Bertie Ahern return sets Fianna Fáil eyes rolling (Irish Times)

Previously: David Wall: The Product Of A Cultural Shift


Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

US president-elect Donald Trump

So what just happened?

David Wall,  ‘sheet reader and  “31 year old who is disappointed and concerned”, writes:

How did it happen? I’m shocked. I’m appalled. How could they be so stupid? How can we be so blind?

It’s us. We are complicit in the whole thing. We’ve stopped caring. Our concern is not for those at the bottom of society. Our concern is not for the ill or the elderly or the disadvantaged. No, society is about being top-dog.

Those at the bottom are left to rot, forgotten and marginalised. We could point fingers at who is to blame but what will that achieve? Nothing. Creating blame is an irrelevance, a distraction. Potentially we could argue the real answer is everyone is responsible and, in that contradictory way, this means nobody.

Currently, the public service is falling apart: guards, teachers, nurses, doctors, the members of SIPTU all looking for their share of the pot. Aggrieved at years of austerity and being told that the recovery is happening without actually partaking in the spoils of recovery they are buckling under the strain of society.

The private sector, in turn, glares at the public sector with disgust and disdain.

Men and women trying to hold their own and make ends meet being almost pitted against each other. Against this, a backdrop of homelessness, suicide, depression and anger. Of course people gravitate towards men like Donald Trump.

It’s happened over and over in history, yet somehow we are shocked and appalled. It’s happened in living memory and I don’t think there is any reason to start listing names.

Possibly the most galling aspect of this is the pseudo-disgust at Donald Trump and his supporters. How can we be so arrogant as to create this world and be shocked when people are forced to support the likes of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and populist right wing demagogues?

We cocoon ourselves in bread and circuses. This isn’t a new trick, the Romans had worked it out by 100AD. Rather than watching gladiators we build life hopes and dreams around the Kardashians, we watch comfortable fuzzy reruns of Friends and Gogglebox, we lose the run of ourselves over sport.

We are averse to bad news and, as such, cannot bring ourselves to empathise with others. As long as our lot is ok others are an irrelevance. We create the other to justify how we treat those humans who don’t fit our safe, compartmentalised world.

We have voices like Katie Hopkins reinforcing that hate is good and foreigners/fat people/ refugees, etc, are bad and to be hated. We have been conditioned to look down on each other, conditioned to despise each other, conditioned to stomp on those who are most in need.

The cuts to public services here, in the UK, and further across Europe, have had a disproportionate impact on people, real people, who are deemed at the periphery of society.

The drive for profit and cost-cutting again disproportionately hammers the weakest. And yet we have the arrogance to attack people who have been forced to look for any avenue of escape.

The likes of Trump and Farage are an extension of what’s gone before and extension of our complicity in the world we now inhabit.

By, once again, blaming the “other”, we are condemning ourselves to legitimising the Farages, Trumps and the le Pens and further damning the ones who are most in need.

Donald Trump is not a reaction. He is the product of a cultural shift which can be seen the whole way across Australia, America and Europe. To counter this, we need to stop looking for others to blame and begin to take responsibility.

Pic: Salon