I’m pleased to note that Dublin Bus has introduced extra departures at 15.45 and 17.40 on the 145 service from the 39a stop at Belfield Campus.
I would like to alert local parents to a free anti-bullying session which will take place on Tuesday October 7th at the Stillorgan Park Hotel. I welcome the additional funding that Minister Jan O’Sullivan has provided to support the delivery of anti-bullying training sessions for parents of primary and secondary school children across Ireland. It’s positive that one of the sessions will take place in Stillorgan and will be open to parents of primary and secondary school children.
I was delighted to attend last week’s Labour Party Candidate Selection Convention for Dublin South. Cllr Grace Tallon and Peter Leonard have been selected to run in Dundrum, Cllr Lettie McCarthy and Peter O’Brien in Glencullen and Cllr Richard Humphreys in Stillorgan. These are five great candidates who are working hard to serve our local communities. I’m looking forward to supporting them in their upcoming local election campaigns in May 2014. The local and European elections will be held on Friday, May 23rd 2014.
As part of our continuing campaign in the run-up to the Dublin South by-election on June 5, we have opened a new constituency office on Bird Avenue, Dundrum, right in the heart of the constituency.
For several years, we have had an office in Rathfarnham which has been open to accommodate the needs of the people of Rathfarnham, Knocklyon, Ballyboden and Churchtown.
With these new premises, we will seek to assist the residents of Dundrum, Ballinteer, Sandyford, Windy Arbour, Goatstown and Mount Merrion.
A drop-in service is available in both Rathfarnham and Bird Avenue. Our office at 1 Main Street, Rathfarnham is open between 10am and 1pm on Fridays and the office at 1 Bird Avenue is open between 2pm and 4pm also on Fridays.
If you would like to arrange a meeting to discuss a matter of concern in Dublin South please do not hesitate to contact me. You can call (01) 618 3972 or email email@example.com.
Last night, my colleague Cllr Paddy Cosgrave and I met with a group of local people from the Whitechurch area of Dublin South. It was an opportunity for those in the community to come together and discuss problems that are occurring at local and national area and where possible, myself and Paddy sought to accommodate those concerns.
It was a successful evening with topics such as local parking and refurbishment coming up for discussion as well as issues such as pay for TDs and Senators and the cumbersome way the grant system works.
This is only the first of quite a number of public meetings we plan to do in the constituency in the run up to the local elections and, of course, the Dublin South by-election on June 5.
Keep an eye on the blog for further updates.
This week sees the beginning of my campaign to secure the support of the people of Dublin South in the forthcoming by-election.
Over the coming weeks, I will be out and about meeting the people of Dublin south, listening to their views on the challenges we face together, and sharing with them my perspective on the need now for a fresh approach to politics.
To mark the beginning to this intensive period of campaigning, we have mounted a short outdoor advertising campaign which will run on bus shelters and Luas across the constituency.
Remember to keep an eye on the website and blog and I have just launched my new Facebook page. You can become a supporter of mine on Facebook and receive regular updates from the campaign trail, along with receiving notification on the where we’ll be canvassing.
I hope to meet and exchange views with as many constituents as I can. In the meantime, you can contact me by using the ‘Contact Alex’ section of the site.
Senator Alex White, Labour Leader in the Senate and his party’s candidate in the Dublin South by-election, has expressed dismay at the fact that primary schools in Dublin South will lose up to 14 teachers under the new pupil-teacher ratios set by the Government as a result of the Budget changes.
Speaking prior to a Labour Party motion in the Dáil on class sizes, Senator White stated that: “The Government are saying that class sizes will be increasing by only one child. In reality, it’s much more serious than that. Schools will lose teachers, every child’s education will be compromised, and class sizes in Dublin South will be as high as 32.
“The worst case is St. Colmcille’s National Schools in Knocklyon, who will lose an extraordinary 5 teachers according to initial figures from the INTO. This is the same school that, in the last election, the Government promised to redevelop, ending the plight of 500 students in prefab accommodation. Today, the Government will still not let the school apply for planning permission.
“The INTO have also reported that Taney NS, Dundrum and St Mary’s NS, Lamb’s Cross will each lose a teacher. Holy Cross NS, Dundrum will lose 3 teachers and Oatlands NS, Stillorgan will lose 4 teachers under the new rules. 14 teachers is a shocking number to be lost in one constituency, and this doesn’t include the loss of English Language Support Teachers.
“The Government has responded by insisting that these measures are required in these tight budgetary times.
“However, Minister O’Keeffe is ignoring the fact that the people who will be most affected by his cuts are children, who in many cases already have had to endure high class sizes, and low standard accommodation.
“What Labour is asking tonight is simply for the Minister to stick to his own Programme for Government – which promised to decrease class sizes, not increase them.”
More :: Labour’s Private Members’ Motion will be taken in the Dáil at 7.30 pm tonight. You can view the proceedings live by clicking here.
It’s the final day of canvassing on my part in Dublin South. Over the past number of nights my team and I have been knocking on doors in Rathfarnham, Knocklyon and Ballyboden and I have to say that generally we have had a very positive response.
Tomorrow we go to the polls, and I sincerely hope that there will be a high turnout – and that is something that both the Yes and No side agree on. I urge anyone who has the opportunity to vote.
Polling stations will be open from 7am tomorrow morning and will stay open until 10pm that evening. Remember to bring your voting card and some sort of identification. I have had some concerned residents say that they had not received their polling card at the beginning of this week. If this is still the case, check you are on the register by clicking here and if you are then bring identification (driving licence, passport, etc.) to your local polling station.
I sincerely hope that people will fully consider what is at stake in this referendum, and I believe that the above advertisement (carried in some national newspapers this morning) should drive home the reasons to vote Yes tomorrow. Those campaigning for a No vote have said that this Treaty can be easily sent back to be renegotiated.
This is a totally naive position.
This Treaty which we vote on tomorrow is the culmination of hours, months, years of hard work by all 27 states in the EU, at some stages chaired by Ireland. If we were to ‘send it back’ there is no guarantee that we will get a better deal. In fact, we may become worse off. A Yes vote will mean that Ireland will continue to be an equal in the democratic process of the European Union. It will increase the say of the Oireachtas. It will enshrine workers rights. It will help protect trafficked women and children. It will promote public services. It will make the EU work more efficiently.
A vote No is a vote for the unknown.
Right now, for Ireland and for Europe, in this current economic climate, it is not a time for a step into the unknown, and as party leader Eamon Gilmore said, not the time to ‘throw a wobbly’.
I am continuing on the canvass trail as Labour seeks a Yes vote in Thursday’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. While many people I am meeting have views contrary to my own and my party’s, I’ve still found a majority that are in favour of the Treaty and look forward to a positive result.
However, I have still found that some of the fears peddled by the No campaigners have many ordinary voters confused about what is and is not in the Treaty. In order to make an informed decision, I feel it necessary to clear up what exactly are the facts.
The Treaty will lead to a Superstate
The opposite is the case. The Treaty explicitly states that the EU is given its power by the member states, and it can only operate in traditional areas (such as defence) by unanimity.
EU Law will be superior to Irish Law
This has actually been the case since we joined the EEC – but only with regard to matters upon which we have agreed to pool our sovereignty. The EU could not operate if this were not the case.
It will lead to privatisation of Health and Education
Nowhere in the Treaty is privatisation mentioned. In fact, the EU has no position on privatisation. Nothing changes with the Lisbon Treaty.
It will lead to taxes from Brussels
There is no change in Ireland’s taxation laws and any changes at EU level will require unanimity. The EU may try to negotiate a consolidated tax base but Ireland can have the option to opt out.
We will lose a Commissioner
We will lose a Commissioner for five out of every 15 years and this applies to all 27 countries equally. There are simply not enough positions to warrant 27 Commissioners and each commissioner is bound to represent the EU, rahter than their home State.
Our neutrality will be gone
There is no change in this aspect. Ireland has a triple lock in respect of getting involved militarily – it must be agreed by the government, by the Oireachtas, and must also have a UN mandate. The lack of a UN mandate meant that Ireland did not get involved in peacekeeping in FYR Macedonia. The UN supports our mission in Chad, which is specifically to protect refugees.
It’s too complex
There is no doubt that the Treaty is complex. But it needs to be in order to protect it from constant legal challenges. It is similar to complex legal documents, banking documents and everyday bills in the Oireachtas. We must rely on the summaries we are offered. The consolidated version of the Treaties by the IIEA is a relatively easy way of reading the Treaty, and failing this the Referendum Commission is an impartial organisation that seeks to inform.
The Treaty can be renegotiated
The negotiations around the Lisbon Treaty have been ongoing for eight years. There is no doubt that if we vote against the Treaty, Ireland will not get a better deal and our hand will be dealt a severe blow.
The Treaty will bring in abortion
Not true. Our abortion laws remain unchanged under Lisbon.
This is the same as the Constitution
Much of the Treaty is the same as the EU Constitution, but with some contentious aspects removed such as a common flag, common anthem, etc. Although the Constitution was voted down in France and the Netherlands, many seem to forget that it was favoured by the people of Spain and Luxembourg.
I hope this clears up a lot of the fears that have been raised by the No campaigners. For more on this, the Labour Party have a ‘Reality Check’ section of their website. It is extremely important that everyone knows exactly what is in this Treaty, and what the facts are.