Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NUI Seanad Declaration

I've been talking with some people (I believe that is part of the vernacular for this sort of thing) and have decided that in the interests of highlighting a particular issue which I believe warrants attention and which spans party boundaries that I would put myself forward for election for one of the NUI seats in Seanad Eireann.

Cutting to the chase I'm going to be seeking a nomination as a candidate for one of the NUI Seanad seats as a means to give people an opportunity to vote and in doing so highlight the fact that more than a quarter of a century after there was a referendum on it (1979) that graduates of other universities and colleges in Ireland still don't have a vote for the Seanad. Whatever happened to one person, one vote?

I recognise from the outset that the likelihood of getting elected is considerably limited by the simple fact that as a non-NUI graduate I won’t be easily able to tap into any particular alumni base. However, there are now a considerable number of DCU, UL, QUB, UU graduates and also those from the I.T.s who also hold postgraduate degrees from NUI colleges and vice-versa. I believe that they would look favourably on an opportunity to voice their support for extending the franchise.

In this sense I intend to use the PR-STV voting system as a means to highlight the issue. Much along the idea of a preferenda I am asking people to vote for me No.1 to highlight the issue and then subsequently to transfer to the candidate of their choice thereafter.

If elected, I would seek on my first day in the Seanad to present legislation to reform the election Senators to ensure the principle of one person, one vote is respected within the context of the 6 seats constitutionally set aside for higher education. There was a time when one could continue with the idea that the University of Dublin represented a section of Irish society that needed some particular shielding. Now, it is as likely that the minority tradition in Ireland will have attended some other institution within the state or without. And if the intent is truly to include people from the other tradition on the island then why deny graduates from QUB or UU a vote?

6 seats, one person, one vote.

There will be more information over the coming days here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bertie's few bob

In his television interview, An Taoiseach clearly indicated that he purchased his current house for 'closer to €200,000' and obtained a mortgage to do so after the 93/94 period during which he received €50,000 in the form of what he has described as a 'loan'. As anyone who has borrowed money from the banks will know the banks require you to indicate if you have any other outstanding loans that may impact on your ability to make your repayments.

Surely, if the money An Taoiseach received was a loan then the bank will have a clear record of this fact. If they do not possess such records it is because it was not a loan or he lied to the bank when making his mortgage application. He either lied to them then or is lying to us now. And it is unusual for someone to be required to provide a lump sum for something like their children’s education in a separation settlement. It would be more the norm to require them to provide that amount when the children require it.

It is hard to believe that An Taoiseach feels that he could as minister for Finance be speaking about the Irish economy in a personal capacity at any time while he was a minister.
That he was telling business people domiciled outside the state about what he thought was going to happen in the Irish economy (which is what Senator Tom Kett helpfully has told us Bertie was doing instead of having the craic), receiving money for doing so and yet sees nothing wrong with doing so is beyond GUBU.