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Posts Tagged ‘ Bunreacht na hÈireann ’

Be Who You Want To Be, Not What Society Expects You To Be

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On the 2nd of November 2013, in the Lone Star State of Texas, as he has done for many years, the incredibly talented Oscar Award Winning Screen-Writer and LGBT activist Dustin Lance Black encouraged people to “tell your stories and you can change minds”. I am a heterosexual, 22 year old student from Dublin and I am ready to speak out. I am ready to express my disgust at some of my fellow citizens.

My story begins nearly 54 years to the day before I was born. On the 1st of July 1937 the people of the Irish free state decided with an
overwhelming majority to accept the provisions of a new constitution, Bunreacht na hEireann, that would set Ireland free and open up a new window of opportunity by giving Irish people the chance to succeed.

However, we are still awaiting the full enactment of the constitution. The constitution states that “all citizens, shall as human persons, be held equal before the law”. That simply is not worth the paper it’s written on. People will give me the spiel about Ireland being a democracy but I would not be writing this today if that was the case. A democracy is not just a country in which people can vote but in which people can live and not just exist. Of the group I will talk about today, the LGBT community, people, my fellow countrymen and women, find this community or group of people, hard to comprehend, hard to accept. How can people who engage in that sort of activity actually exist at all? People make choices in life and in a so called democracy they have the right to live their lives as they and only they wish to do so. Continue reading

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Constitutional Convention Lost in Semantics

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The Constitutional Convention met for the first time on the 1st December 2012, since then they have voted on a number of issues the government felt pertained to modern Irish life, and that they felt should be altered on the constitution. Since making their recommendations no bills have be published by Dáil Éireann, and in fact none have come under vote within the Oireachtas. One of their primary activities has been examining Article 41 of the constitution, and multiple subsections there-in. This article has been under debate for many, many years, as it makes clear the state’s position on marriage, the role of women, the protection of children, and the rights of the family. The article seems on the surface very specific, but after reading it over again and again I have begun to think think that it might be open ended than we allow ourselves to believe. The constitution has this to say about the family: Continue reading

“Nothing To Fear” – Kenny on Potential Fiscal Referendum

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has today said that there is “nothing to fear from a referendum” on the proposed eurozone fiscal treaty.

Mr Kenny made the comments ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels at which the wording of such a document will be agreed. Irish government officials are said to be hopeful that the final text will enable the treaty to be implemented without the holding of a national referendum.

Mr Kenny said, “I’ve made this perfectly clear: that when the text is finalised, I will ask the Attorney General formally to present the government with the Attorney General’s response as to whether the agreed text – as finalised by the politicians – is in compliance with our constitution. If it is in compliance with Bunreacht na hÉireann, there is no need for a referendum. If it’s not, there will be a referendum.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio programme today, Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton said she was hopeful the core of the draft treaty would remain unchanged. She also acknowledged that it would be difficult for Ireland to remain in the eurozone if voters rejected the treaty, saying “I think it would make it almost impossible for us to continue as part of the currency union because being part of a currency union means you have to abide by the rules.” On the same programme, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pádraig Mac Lochlainn accused the government of “running away from debate” by not holding a referendum.

A Belgium-wide general strike is currently underway to coincide with the political summit in Brussels. The work stoppage was organised by trade unions in protest at the plans of the newly-formed government to cut €11 billion in public spending and to raise the country’s retirement age. AFP reports that no public transport is available and blockades are present on many of the country’s roads, forcing the Belgian government to arrange access for the arriving EU leaders through a military airport.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told assembled reporters in Brussels that he hoped the conference would capacitate Greece, Portugal and Ireland to become less reliant on EU funding and to return to the open borrowing markets.

Germany recently confirmed it is seeking to have an EU-appointed “budget commissioner” sent to Greece with powers to override its government’s budget policy if necessary. Any other bailout-recipient country, including Ireland, that consistently miss repayment targets could face a similar fate.

UPDATE:
Twenty five of the twenty seven EU states have consented to a eurozone fiscal stability treaty, with Britain and the Czech Republic refusing to sign the proposed intergovernmental document.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has become the latest opposition politician to voice his reservations about the treaty, describing it as “too limited to solve the crisis”.

The treaty will be formally signed at the next EU summit in early March and ratified by 1 January, 2013.

If the Attorney General decides the treaty does not breach the Constitution and a referendum is not required to implement it, a legal challenge from opposition parties is likely. The United Left Alliance today described not holding a referendum as “utterly undemocratic”.

Shove it up your Àras

With Ireland on its knees and seemingly no way out of the economic depression we are currently enslaved to, few have pondered to question the necessity of one our highest positions, that of president. 

Once a proud nation thriving under the era of the Celtic Tiger, we are now a nation besotted by economic hardship owing to the criminality and greediness of wanker bankers and unqualified politicians. The ordinary people have suffered the burden yet these fat cats walk free, our problems having no effect on their luxurious lifestyles. 

By the end of 2011 half a million people will be claiming the dole and the future of the country will have abandoned ship, forced away by emigration, some never to return. 

The least of our problems at present is to elect a new president, with the country set to go to the polls in October. The role of the president of Ireland is unique in many ways, it is more symbolic than influential. Serious consideration is needed in all quarters as to the future of the Irish presidency? Should we scrap it temporarily or should we have a part time president, one who doesn’t require a full time residence, full time entourage and full time staff. 

Mary McAleese has done a tremendous job in her role as president since 1997 and although the end of second term is nigh, few would question her taking the role for a third spell. Might McAleese do so on different terms? Surely cutbacks in this department can be made and no doubt the Belfast native would agree.

 We live in a country where every Euro counts, savings is our motto. Cutbacks, tax hikes, you name it we have tried it. Yet few cutbacks have been made at Àras an Uachtaràin. 

McAleese gave our country fierce credibility in the face of the recession. He role symbolised everything it should unlike her predecessor Mary Robinson, who was a great custodian yet who dipped her feet into the murky world of Irish politics during her reign. 

Ireland are not the only country to have fallen onto hard times yet there is something enshrined within us that causes us not to protest, unlike our counterparts in Greece and beyond. 

The Irish constitution of 1937, known as Bunreacht na hÈireann cites the role of president as the directly elected head of state who’s powers are largely ceremonial. Concluding that he or she acts on the advice of the government.

This particular element of our constitution must be amended as we simply cant afford to allow the position of the president to laden us with such a burden of debt. Roughly €3 Million could be saved if the “intellects”, a term I hold loosely, running this country realise that this valuable money could be reinvested into our ailing healthcare system or elsewhere.

We as a nation must unite for a common good and help each other so as the country can get on the road to recovery. A part time president can be very beneficial and there is nothing to state a part timer would do anything differently. Otherwise, there are also conflicting arguments which would show the position of president can be suspended temporarily.

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