Posts Tagged ‘ Micheal Martin ’

News in Brief-Students Take Nothing For Granted

The 200 Million dollar man, or Rory McIlroy as he’s known to his mum, has had his fair share of news paper pages in the last week, lamenting his considerable earnings to date. The young golf pro has reportedly signed up with Nike as part of a sponsorship deal that will make him the richest man in sport.

Following the success of the Olympics the suggestion of many millions per annum might prove inspirational for youngsters. In fact they may have a better chance of swinging a stick at the Ryder Cup then receiving their college grants.

Currently 66,000 students are in the process of applying for monetary grants. Out of that 66,000 only 27% have actually completed the process, a failure condemned by Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin. Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore defended the government, accusing Martin of ‘frightening’ people.
Coming only a few weeks after sending household charge demands to the deceased, the government’s inability to handle paperwork certainly is scary.

Unless like Rory you’ve got some cash stashed, the idea of the annual Christmas shop probably sends shivers down your spine. However Ireland is reportedly, and somewhat surprisingly, home to the biggest spenders in Europe come the festive season. The average cost of gift giving reaching almost €500 with €300 spent just on food and drink.
We’re not stupid though, cash gifts also top the Christmas lists of 37% of people asked. It’s nice to see amongst all the, lights, tinsel and religion we haven’t forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.
Perhaps it is a display of early Christmas spirit that has seen Former AIB chief Eugene Sheehy very kindly agree to take a pension cut from €325,000 to €250,000. He’s taking something all right.
With all this talk of money it’s easy to forget that in celeb news this Sunday sees the return to our screens of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here with its usual cast of has-beens and no bodies.
In fact I’ve forgotten again already.

And finally, Newstalk radio were offering one lucky listener the trip of a lifetime yesterday. Be flown to New York by Aer Lingus before jumping into an Avis hire car and in the words of George Hook, take a “leisurely” drive down to Washington DC. He obviously didn’t get the memo.

“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.

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”.

Mad Pride Founder Dies at 61


John McCarthy, founder of the mental health awareness group Mad Pride Ireland, has died aged 61 following a two year battle with motor neurone disease. He passed away at his home in Montenotte in Cork city yesterday morning.

McCarthy was a convivial and outspoken advocate who pushed for the “normality of madness” and open discussions on psychological health.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin led tributes to the inspirational McCarthy, saying he had he had helped to change how people view mental illness. He said, “He handled his own diagnosis with motor neurone disease with dignity and bravery, and continued his work on behalf of those living with mental illness.”

On 29 December, McCarthy spoke of his illness in his Cork Independent column. With characteristic wit, he wrote, “My health, like the economy, is going to shite, but my spirit is growing.” He added, “‘Mental illness’ is not about lack of resources, it is about an ethos based on the right to force a cure, on victims, who are patients. I will fight that abusive ethos as long as I have a breath in me.”

He is survived by his wife Liz, children David and Jill, and grandchildren. A humanist ceremony marking his life will take place at midday in Cork city tomorrow, followed by his burial at Curraghkippane cemetery.

Brian Lenihan 1959-2011 R.I.P

Fianna Fáil deputy leader and former finance minister Brian Lenihan has died aged 52.

Mr Lenihan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2009 and passed away in the early hours of the morning at his home in west Dublin.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, their two children, his mother, and three brothers and one sister.

The Lenihan name  has always been attached to the Fianna Fáil banner. His father, Brian senior, was a leading figure in the party for many years, while his grandfather, aunt and brother were also Fianna Fáil TDs.

The barrister turned politician was elected to the Dáil in 1996 for Dublin West in the by-election caused by the death of his father.

He was recognised as a talented TD, but promotion came slowly under Bertie Ahern’s leadership.After a spells as  Minister for Children and Minister for Justice, it would be under Brian Cowen`s tenrue that he would become prominent. Cowen appointed Lenihan as Minister for Finance, a role that would greatly shape the future of Ireland, a country now riddled with economic depression.

After a tense night of meetings in Government Buildings in September 2008, the Government guaranteed €400bn of loans and deposits for Irish financial institutions.

Later, NAMA was set up to absorb property loans, most banks were effectively nationalised, and a series of tough budgets were introduced, cutting spending and raising taxes.

Despite his illness he continued with his job,unsuccessfully contesting the Fianna Fáil leadership after Brian Cowen’s resignation.He was the only Fianna Fáil TD elected in Dublin in February’s General Election.

Since then, he became deputy leader of the struggling party under Micheàl Martin but in recent weeks his health again deteriorated.

Martin has paid a glowing tribute to Lenihan, admitting the lost has left a wave of grief hanging over his party.

‘Brian has fought a brave and courageous battle with a serious illness over the past 18 months,’ he said.

‘In all of this time, Brian never once flinched from his public duties and he showed an unceasing and untiring commitment to tackling the economic crisis facing this country.

‘Even when receiving debilitating treatment, Brian continued to work assiduously in the best interests of this country.

Brian Lenihan 1959-2011 Ar Dhèis Go Raibh an T-anam.

Kenny Slams Corporation Tax Pressure

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has slammed other EU countries who are demanding that Ireland increase its level of corporation tax, which is among the lowest in Europe.

The Fine Gael leader branded the pressure as “unfair”, in a claim that will no doubt catch the attention fo French president Nicolas Sarkozy, arguably the greatest critic on Ireland`s corporate tax level.

Sarkozy along with German chancellor Angela Merkel have in recent weeks suggested that if Ireland would like the interest on the EU/IMF bailout to be decreased then they must make a sacrifice in the form of hiking  the corporate tax rate, which currently stands at 12.5%.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil that the issue is being ‘allowed to drag because of national issues’.

He said that it was time for Europe to focus on what it can do to help countries making a real effort to get out of difficulty.

Mr Kenny said the Government would not agree to demands to change our corporation tax rate in return.

But he conceded that any lower interest rate would in any event only apply to money that has not yet been drawn down.

He was responding to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who urged him to formally raise the interest rate reduction at this month’s European Council.

A week to forget:Green Party Quit, Leadership Battle Intensifies

The political turmoil engulfing Ireland at present shows no sign of stopping.

One day after Brian Cowen officially stepped down as leader of Fianna Fail, Green Party leader John Gormley pulled the plug on the government coalition. The decision by the Greens to withdraw from government may well bring forward the election date, which had been fixed for March 11th.   

He said that the party’s patience had finally run out and that the people of Ireland had been left ‘aghast’ at recent political developments.

Mr Gormley said the ongoing ‘saga’ over the question of the Fianna Fáil leadership as well as a breakdown in communication over cabinet promotions were at the heart of the Green Party’s decision.

He said he informed the Taoiseach and other ministers of his party’s decision to pull out of Government before it was announced yesterday.

Crucially however the Greens have agreed to help the opposition get the finance bill passed in parliament. Both Fine Gael and Labour have admitted it is now time for all the parties to work together in order to get the bill passed, whihc would serve the best interests of the country and its people. However Sinn Fèin has said they will oppose the bill.

Elsewhere, the battle lines for the leadership of Fianna Fàil have been drawn in the wake of Cowen`s reisgnation. Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, former Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin and Minister for Social Protection Eamon O`Cuiv have all thrown their names into the hat.

Junior minister Conor Lenihan has revealed he will not be contesting the leadership battle and has refused to give details of who he will be supporting. Mr Lenihan is keeping his cards close to his chest, as he will be looking to work closely with the new leader, if it is his brother Brian or not.

Cowen Quits Fianna Fail but remains Taoiseach

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has stepped down as the leader of Fiànna Fàil, just days after passing a vote of confidence within the parliamentary party.

Mr Cowen, has endured one of the most turbulent weeks of his political career since he took over as Taoiseach in 2008. However despite quitting as leader of Fiànna Fàil, he has vowed to stay on as Taoiseach.

He said he felt his continued leadership of the party was distracting from the issues facing Ireland in the run-up to the election.

The prime minister – or Taoiseach – said: “I’m concerned that renewed internal criticism of Fianna Fail is deflecting attention from this important debate.

“Therefore, taking everything into account after discussing the matter with my family I have taken, on my own counsel, the decision to step down.”  

He added: “The government will continue to govern the country.”

The opposition Labour party has tabled a motion of no confidence in the government and there will be a vote on it next week.

Fianna Fail will choose a new leader through an internal party vote next week, Mr Cowen said.

The front-runners to succeed him are Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan and  former Minister for Foreign Affairs, who resigned from government earlier this week.  

The shock announcement is the latest twist in the crisis gripping the Irish government.

Mr Cowen last week tried to reshuffle his cabinet .However, the reshuffle backfired spectacularly when it was opposed by the Green party, partners in Fianna Fail’s coalition.

The move further weakened the Taoiseach`s position within his own party and within the government.