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Posts Tagged ‘ Simon Coveney ’

News in Brief: Heatwave Prompts D’Arcy To Court The Snip

American consumption of Kerrygold is all wrong (image: yumkid.com)

American consumption of Kerrygold is all wrong (image: yumkid.com)

NIB hopes you have all sufficiently wept at our silence last week, we were away, topping up our milky tan. In the meantime it’s been hot lads, fierce hot. Mammies are making salads for god’s sake, the end is nigh.

It’s obviously getting to Ray D’Arcy who’s going to have the snip, live, on his show on Today FM. The decision came about after discussing the operation with a doctor, as most good decisions do. As the doc explained the simple procedure D’Arcy, in a heat wave reckoned he’d do it, while everyone at home listened. Whether he goes through with it is yet to be decided but rumours are TV3 are already planning a spin-off ‘Celebrity Castration: Live’ to air in the same slot as the Late Late. Continue reading

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Private Organisations Provide Fodder Relief

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In a response to the recent fodder crisis which has left many farmers across the country fearful for both their animals’ welfare and their finances, a €250,000 fodder fund has been set up by three Irish firms – SuperValu, Kepak and Oliver Carty Ltd, while SuperValu has also offered to take care of the transport of fodder – arriving in Dublin Port – to co-ops around Ireland.

The harsh winter we have experienced over the course of the past few months, and the fact that grass has begun to grow roughly a month later than usual, has meant that farmers have had to purchase extra fodder, leading to a shortage, and driving up the prices of any available supplies, placing extreme pressure – financial and emotional – on farmers who have been doing their utmost to keep their livestock alive and fed.

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Coveney Urges Bank Holiday Fire Vigilance

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The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, has warned farmers and owners of land that there are high fire risk conditions this week as we head into the bank holiday weekend.

Though some conditions in places around the country are favourable, Coveney noted that in some areas, particularly in the south and south west regions, the risk remains high. Several fires have been reported in North Kerry this week.

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Government Penny Pinching May Do More Harm Than Good

covBackbenchers from Fine Gael and Labour have warned of impending trouble within the coalition over the issue of means testing for third level grants. The Government has indicated that proposals regarding the inclusion of assets worth over €750,000 are still being discussed – meaning farms and business assets could now come under scrutiny when applying for education grants. The issue first reared its head last summer and has once more come to the fore this week. Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has argued previously that farmers and the self-employed are not averse to manipulating their incomes to ensure their children receive third level grants. Continue reading

Education Cuts Pose a Real Threat to our Future

  • Threats and bully boy tactics. That’s what Ireland’s present government is becoming known for. We’ve already seen it with the fiasco that has been the introduction and implementation of the hated household tax – threats of further fines and lawsuits should Irish citizens refuse to simply shut their mouths and stump up a good chunk of what little cash is left to them to pay for someone else’s mistakes.

That hasn’t resonated too well with the Irish public. Despite government figures which quote a compliance rate of around 60 per cent, when the figures concerning landlords with multiple properties on which they must pay the charge are removed, the number drops down to the half-way mark. Householders aren’t the only ones who are being forced to shoulder the debts of people farther up the chain and thus apparently immune to retribution. Recent reports are suggesting that students and their parents will be hit by a review of grants, while Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney has been openly warned by Finance Minister Michael Noonan to cease publicly opposing any proposed changes to the system.

Grants are already means tested to the hilt. Everything from which a student’s parent receives income is included in the application, and as someone who has had the misfortune of having to wade through the river of paper needed to secure a miserable few euros of assistance, I can attest to the processes’ thoroughness. Rest assured, should an area of income amount to only one cent, that cent will be considered. Now the penny pinchers are scrutinising the system as closely as possible, in an attempt to find new ways by which to deny prospective students government assistance. Savings accounts are one possible way they have hit upon. Should you have gone against the grain during the years of the Celtic tiger, and squirreled away money rather than recklessly spent it, bad news. And if you’re a farmer? Bad luck again, apart from the heavy rains delaying the harvest once more. Aside from business premises, farmland may also be included under a new, ‘improved’ means test, despite the fact that it may be simply sitting there collecting grass, without making a significant or even any contribution to a family’s income.

It’s not just a monetary impact that this will have. Sure, more families will have to fork out extra to ensure their kids receive a necessary education and have some hope of getting a job in the next few decades. But for others, university simply isn’t going to be an option anymore. The number of entrants and graduates will fall and all the bluster about finding more jobs will be pointless, because in the future, there won’t be the people to fill them. Instead, we’ll have scores of young people, whose only qualification is a Leaving Cert or perhaps a FAS course which, in a world where many employers are looking for master degrees more and more, means they are about as useful for getting a job as only having done your Junior Cert.

We pride ourselves on our Irish identity. At home or abroad we fly the flag, shouting for our representatives with an unbridled fervour and passion, or looking on in pride as they tour the world. We are fighters, lovers, a race of proud people who stand up to oppressors and never say die. Ireland, at one stage and for quite a long time, was also the land of saints and scholars, the island of education, to whom the rest of the world flocked in search of knowledge and learning. Our leaders have already ensured the next generation will be saddled with the debt of a few. Will we throw away their chances at an education too? Our future lies with the young people, and if we can’t do our utmost to provide them with the best possible education, we’ve not only failed them but our country and its future. If only our politicians showed the same level of support and apparent admiration and care for the ordinary people of this country as they do for the exceptional ones.

In the end, the power to refuse these movements should rest with the Irish people. It is to us that our politicians answer to, and it is us who can make or break them. We elect them to run our country on behalf of us, to look after the population as a whole, rather than run us into the ground and shove our faces in the dirt while we’re down there. Perhaps we need to look after ourselves. As V said so memorably, “people should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

News In Brief:Bruton Backtracks on Treaty Mishap, Dublin Housewives Set To Air

We’ve all had those nights. When you promise yourself you’ll be good and only take a certain amount of cash with you. Then after a few shandy’s out comes the bank card and all your well spurned over-spending firmly in the shade? Well the government are suffering that over indulged hangover right now as they re-hire dozens of civil servants that took early retirement to avail of cash pay-outs earlier this year.

In one case an assistant secretary re-hired by the Department of Agriculture will cost €120,860 on top of his pension.
It’s like the spending that can’t be stopped as these retired staff are now welcomed back on a weekly pay rate for positions that could otherwise ‘not be filled’. That’s odd, I’m almost sure I saw a queue outside the welfare office . . ?
In fact dozens of lawyers, private bankers and accountants are working for free in the Department of Finance to “boost the expertise” of the current work force.
So we’ve had to rehire the retired to re-replace the existing workers who are incapable? Has the world gone mad or have we all been drinking too much?!
 

Perhaps Jobs Minister Richard Bruton had been drinking when on Today FM he suggested a ‘no’ vote in the fiscal treaty could lead to the vote being held again. Bruton quickly backtracked on his statement and Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney has since assured voters this is not Nice or Lisbon; “This government will have to respect that [no] and deal with the consequences.” Coveney was quoted. A government that listens to and implements the needs of the nation? I’ll drink to that!

Last year Irish author Julian Gough, took umbrage with the organisers of the eponymous Wodehouse literary prize after discovering their winner was secured before the short list was drawn up. The well sought prize for the winner of the Wodehouse award? Well the top author has the honour of bestowing their name on a pig.
Gough offended by the fix in the competition stole the prize pig from its home in Wales threatening to return the animal “sausage by sausage” until the competition was made fair.
In a twist to the tale, and despite Gough’s criminal activity, this year the writer has once again been short listed for the award and could yet be bringing home the bacon.
 
Another work of fiction in the news this week are the further revelations concerning Louis Walsh and his not so likely lover boy. It now seems Leonard Watters was in fact paid by a journalist from The Sun to come forward with his nightclub naughties incriminating Walsh and earning himself six months in prison. The story was reported this week by the Independent who had discovered the female journalist met with Watters on a number of occasions even accompanying him to Pearse Street Garda Station to make his claims as well as promising €700 for his exclusive.
 
TV3 have unleashed the latest “celebrity” monster since ‘Tallafornia’. ‘Dublin Housewives’, is set to send the careers of a few skyrocketing . . . or not. Yet another “reality” programme ‘Dublin Housewives’ follows the trials and tribulations of the not so rich and famous. Watch if you like trash TV and want to escape the depressing day to day, not if you’re looking for original opinion and intellectual insight.
 
A new atlas of Ireland has been launched giving detailed locations of some of Ireland’s famous and historical land marks. Included are the world’s oldest fossilised footprints in Kerry, and Broome Bridge in Dublin, where Sir William Rowan Hamilton invented a new type of algebra in 1843. Some sites not listed on the atlas include; Father Ted’s house, Bono’s sunglasses storage facility, Bertie Ahern’s private bank (reportedly viewable from space) and the strange location from whence Jedward came.

Kenny Deals His Hand

 

New Taoiseach Enda Kenny has revealed his cabinet after succesfully winning a Dàil vote by 117 votes to 27. 

After gaining the seal of approval from president Mary McAleese, Kenny returned to the Dàil to outline the TD`s he has chosen to help secure the future of Ireland.

The Fine Gael leader has spread out the ministerial positions with his party taking 10 positions, with a further position coming in the form of the chief  whip, which Wexford TD Paul Kehoe has taken.

The Labour party have taken up 6 positions, with party leader Eamon Gilmore taking on the role of Tànaiste aswel as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Michael Noonan has been named as the new Minister for Finance, completing a remarkable turnaround  for the former Fine Gael leader, who was in charge when the party suffered their worst ever results during the 2002 elections.

Former Finance Minister and Labour party member Ruairi Quinn, who held the position from 1994-97 has taken up the role of Minister For Education and Skills.

His party colleague Brendan Howlin takes on the role of Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Richard Bruton, who famously failed in a heave against Kenny last year has been given the portfolio for Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Economic Planning.

Labour Deputy leader Joan Burton is the new Minister for Social Protection.

Former Kerry footballer and Fine Gael candidate Jimmy Deenihan is the new Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht affairs.

Former Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte has taken on the ministry for communications, energy and national resources.

Phil Hogan, a trusted supporter of Kenny during Bruton`s failed heave is the new Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

Fine Gael`s Alan Shatter is the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence.  

Former MEP Simon Coveney is Kenny`s pick for Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food.

Dublin Mid West TD Frances Fitzgerald is the new Minister for Children.

James Reilly, one of the key figures in Fine Gael`s success at the polls is the new Minister for Health.

Leo Varadkar, who openly supported Bruton has taken on the ministry for Transport,Tourism and Sport.

Labour`s Willie Penrose has assuemd the position of Junior Minister with responsibility for housing and planning.

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