Sable Mining Case ‘Suspended’ for Elections

first_imgThe Supreme Court yesterday did not give any assurance that it will mandate Criminal Court ‘C’  to resume jurisdiction over the Sable Mining alleged US$950,000 bribery case involving several past and present public officials, including former House Speaker Alex Tyler of Bomi County.The court, meanwhile, informed both the defense and prosecution that its present focus is on cases that may arise from elections-related irregularities during the conduct of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, instead of criminal cases such as the Sable Mining case.“We are going to concentrate on cases that would come from the ongoing electoral process for now, but not criminal matters,” the court said yesterday.Yesterday’s argument into the Sable Mining case resulted from a petition for a Writ of Certiorari filed against then Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay’s stance not to accept prosecution’s request to have the controversial emails and spreadsheets marked permanently to be included in their oral and documentary evidences.A Writ of Certiorari is an order a higher court issues to review the decisions and proceedings of a lower court to determine if there were any irregularities.In his stance, Judge Gbeisay declared that the spreadsheets and emails will be marked temporarily pending the arrival of Heine van Niekerk, who is the major participant in the alleged email exchanges, and is listed by the prosecution as one of its witnesses.Gbeisay’s judgment was “on the question of conversation referred in the emails between defendant Varney Sherman (Bomi County Senator) and Klaus Piprik with regards to codefendant Alex Tyler, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, demanding a payment of US$250,000 making reference to Tyler, a third party, in his absence as a true hearsay. But, said statement may be admitted into evidence, not necessarily for its truthfulness, but for the fact that such statement was made.”Before yesterday’s hearing, prosecution was without two of its lead lawyers: Cllr. Theophilus Gould, who died earlier this year; and Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, head of the Presidential Taskforce and Minister of State without Portfolio who resigned his posts to vie for a representative seat in Grand Kru County.In their argument, lead prosecution lawyer Daku Mulbah, County Attorney for Montserrado County, noted that Judge Gbeisay, without the defendants providing any evidence that the emails and spreadsheets presented by them as evidence were obtained through hacking or mere hearsay, ruled setting the coming of Heine van Niekerk, who gave the instruments to the prosecution, to testify in court as the precondition for the admission of the instruments into evidence.Cllr. Mulbah further argued that the emails and spreadsheets were voluntarily given by Heine van Niekerk, Sable Mining executive for West Africa, to the Government of Liberia’s investigating team.Co-defendant Sherman allegedly had the series of email exchanges with van Niekerk.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Taxi driver charged for trafficking 159 lbs ganja

first_imgCANU drug bustA Rosignol, East Coast Berbice (ECB) man, who is out on bail on a possession of 8.1 kilogram (17.8 pounds) of marijuana charge, was on Monday charged and appeared before the court for possession of 72 kg (159 pounds) of cannabis on Sheriff Street, Georgetown.Thirty-year-old Anthony Carmichael, of Lot 2 Bennette Dam, Rosignol, stood before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and denied the charge put to him.The charge against him states that on April 16, 2018 at Royal Castle, Sheriff Street, Georgetown, he trafficked 72 kg of cannabis.Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Konyo Sandiford reported to the court that the analysis certificate in the case was still outstanding.She objected to bail on the grounds that Carmichael was currently on $200,000 bail for a similar offence and was expected to return to court for that matter on May 16, 2018.The Chief Magistrate remanded Carmichael to prison. The case will continue on May 18, 2018.last_img read more

Community Events for the weekend of March 20th

first_imgBelow is a list of community events happening this weekend in Fort St. John.  For more events, visit Saturday, Mar 20, 2010  05.30 PMClub Night Dinner & DanceFort St. John Curling ClubDance , Food Date Of EventName of EventVenue LocationEvent Type Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 – Sunday, Mar 21, 2010 Peace River North Performing Arts FestivalNorth Peace Cultural CentreMusic , Theatre & Performances Thursday, Mar 18, 2010 – Saturday, Mar 20, 2010  08.00 PM – 11.00 PM69 Mustung @ JD Fitzgerald’sJD Fitzgerald’s PubMusic Saturday, Mar 20, 2010  07.00 PM – 09.00 PMJared Fowler Traveling Dixie Cups Tour 2010Cosmic GroundsMusic Saturday, Mar 20, 2010  12.00 PM – 03.00 PMThe Spring Activity FestNorth Peace Secondary SchoolChildren & Family ,Celebration ,Music , Theatre & Performances Saturday, Mar 20, 2010  07.00 PMBreast Cancer FundraiserTim’n’Tycs RestaurantMusic ,Fundraiser ,Food Friday, Mar 19, 2010 – Saturday, Mar 20, 2010  07.00 PMStand-Up Comedy Night: Fraser YoungLido TheatreTheatre & Performances Friday, Mar 19, 2010 – Sunday, Mar 21, 2010  12.00 PMThe Totem Figure Skating CompetitionEnerplexSports & Fitness – Advertisement –last_img read more

Guardiola salutes City’s sacrifice as champs subdue Arsenal

first_img0Shares0000Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gestures on the touchline © AFP / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 12 – Pep Guardiola saluted Manchester City’s stars for shaking off their World Cup fatigue as the champions made a flying start to the Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win against Arsenal.Guardiola’s side featured a host of players who told the City boss they were ready to play at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday despite their draining World Cup duty in Russia. Several, including England stars Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker and John Stones, cut short their holidays to get back into training with City.And, despite just a week of sessions on the practice pitch, City picked up where they left off last term with a confident display that easily put Arsenal to the sword.Raheem Sterling opened the scoring with a cool finish early in the first half before Bernardo Silva lashed in City’s second after the interval, leaving Guardiola to sing the champions’ praises.“We played a high level considering the lack of physical condition for many of the players who arrived back late after the World Cup,” he said.“Many players did a sacrifice, Stones, Walker, we trained for only one week but the spirit is there.“In general to be at this moment of the season, with the desire to run and run, it was the same last season.“First game of the season, away at Arsenal with a new manager after 20 years? No-one can deny it is complicated, so to win the way we won is more than pleasing.”City look as hungry as ever despite their record-breaking success last season, when they won the title with a record 100 points and also lifted the League Cup.Installed as heavy favourites to finish top again — which would make them the first team to defend the title since Manchester United in 2008-09 — City’s ruthless performance was ominous for their rivals.And Guardiola twisted the knife by insisting City are still some way from their peak.Asked how much motivation his players have, Guardiola said: “It is not a question that needs an answer. I can say to the players ‘are you hungry?’ and they say yes boss but I don’t know. They show me on the green stuff (the pitch).“We are not going to judge what is going to happen after one game but we try to respond, we try to be ourselves.“The way we won is so important for us, for our confidence, now we move forward. Of course our average level is high, but I have a feeling still we can improve.“The winter time is coming. Lots of things happen. The best way to defend it is to be calm.“We spoke about this before the game. they know they can do it. We are a strong team, after that we will see.”Arsenal boss Unai Emery has plenty of work to do with his new team © AFP / Glyn KIRKOne difference for City this season is the presence of Benjamin Mendy at left-back.The France international missed most of last season with an injury and Guardiola admitted his return is still a work in progress.“Mendy is Mendy. Sometime you want to kill him and sometimes you say ‘wow what a player we have’,” he said.“He has a lot of things to improve. Hopefully we can convince him to be calm and forget the social media!”It was a chastening introduction to the Premier League for new Arsenal manager Unai Emery, who has replaced Arsene Wenger following the Frenchman’s 22-year reign.Wenger left Arsenal in a mess after last season’s sixth place finish and Emery acknowledged the gulf in class between City and his team showed how much work he could do.“We needed more but I am happy with the players, they run and fight,” Emery said.“Today is the first step. We need to do the process my way. City are working three years with Guardiola, building a team with good players and great stability.“We finished with the spirit I want. I think we need to improve. This process is normal.“With more time we will play with this personality.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Chelsea star wants out, Barca scouting United man and Spurs contract strife

first_imgLeno is not happy with his role on the bench at ArsenalOn talkSPORT.comArsenal summer signing Bernd Leno is frustrated at being second choice to Petr CechGary Cahill is ready to leave Chelsea in the summer, having not played under Maurizio Sarri yetFormer Atletico Madrid man Yannick Carrasco is eyeing a return to Europe, with Arsenal and Juventus interestedJose Mourinho leaving a club can leave players ‘inconsolable’, ex-Chelsea man tells talkSPORTGlenn Murray says he is not in talks about a new Brighton contractOther rumoursPaul Pogba was watched by Barcelona scouts during their 3-0 Champions League win against Young Boys in which he scored. (Mundo Deportivo)Barcelona are set to make another offer for Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, whose current contract expires in the summer. The Liga champions made a bid for the Spain international during the last transfer window. (Sun)Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who was heavily linked with a move to United in the summer, will sign a new contract at the Serie A club (Sun)Paris St-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot is open to joining Manchester City on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season. (Metro)PSG manager Thomas Tuchel is desperate to sign a central midfielder and the French club are reportedly ready to join the race for Tottenham and Man United target Frenkie De Jong (Sun)Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose want improved contract terms at Tottenham to match Harry Kane’s deal, worth more than £200,000-a-week. (Sun)Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez is still unsure how much money he will be given to spend in the January transfer window. (Chronicle)Sergio Busquets is expected to sign an improved Barcelona contract in the next few weeks. (ESPN)Former Wolves forward Bakary Sako is on trial at West Brom. The 30-year-old Mali international is a free agent after being released by Crystal Palace at the end of last season. (Express and Star)Claude Puel says he will consider recalling England Under-20 midfielder Harvey Barnes from his loan spell at Championship side West Brom in January. (Leicester Mercury) BEST OF impact MONEY RANKED Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade ADVICE silverware Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures REVEALED Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack center_img Most popular football news Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move REVEALED Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won smart causal possible standings Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies wonlast_img read more


first_imgFianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has defended the legacy of Eamon De Valera, criticised the Government’s approach to constitutional reform and called for an elected Seanad with voters in the North given the chance to elect Senators.In a wide-ranging speech to the MacGill Summer School in Glenties this evening, Mr Martin launched a scathing attack on the Coalition.His speech in full is here: By Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál MartinI am pleased to return to the Patrick MacGill Summer School and especially to take part in this discussion on the Constitutional Convention.Seventy-five years ago, on 1st July 1937, the Irish people enacted Bunreacht na hÉireann by the relatively slim margin of 158,160 votes.This was an auspicious and inspired decision. I think it is important to begin with the simple statement that Bunreacht na hÉireann has served this country well.Eamon de Valera who was the constitution’s primary author – ably supported by a team of first-class civil servants, including Maurice Moynihan, Michael McDunphy, John Hearne and Stephen Roche – did an extraordinary job in producing a progressive document that espouses liberty, democracy and human rights.De Valera’s achievement in producing a political community’s common charter, steeped in democratic ethos, was all the more remarkable given the European political backdrop against which the Irish Constitution was drafted.By the time Dáil Éireann debated the draft Constitution in May 1937, ten European nations were already under the control of dictators.  Constitutional Government as a political system was under siege.I believe Eamon de Valera has often got a raw deal from historians but in regard to the Constitution – and especially in the context of its time – I think it should be widely acknowledged that de Valera showed immense political acumen, courage and foresight in placing before the Irish people a profoundly democratic and republican charter to order our national affairs. At a time when much of the world was falling to extreme ideologies, Bunreacht na hÉireann actually strengthened democracy and fundamental rights here.  For example, no other nation in the world in the 1930s adopted by referendum explicit constitutional protections for the Jewish community.The Constitution also gave us a strengthened judiciary which has used its independence to be a check on the power of the executive far beyond the situation in other common law countries. Bunreacht na hÉireann has been an evolving document in many areas, successfully being used as the basis for asserting many progressive rights not considered in 1937.It is in my view fundamentally wrong to attack the Constitution in terms of its failure to reflect today’s morality while ignoring when it was adopted.  Many of the Constitution’s biggest failing are not the failings of its drafters, but of the generations who have come since and have failed to update it.Today, the first thing we should do when establishing a body to review aspects of the Constitution is to recognize the many enduring strengths of Bunreacht na hÉireann which are essential to the maintenance of our strong democratic traditions. The Constitutional ConventionThe job of the Constitutional Convention must be to ensure Bunreacht na hÉireann is fit for purpose for the 21st century.The first and most urgent issue in our country is the challenge of fixing our economy and creating employment.But everyone in politics is also acutely conscious that at the last General Election, the people sent a very clear message that they want us to reform the way this country is governed.As a political class we have to be cognizant of that message and we also need to be under no illusion that political reform is inextricably linked to the fortunes of economic renewal.Reform is not an optional extra in the process of building a lasting recovery – it’s an essential part of the agenda.If we are serious about renewing our economy, I believe meaningful political reform has to be at the top of the Constitutional Convention’s agenda.And by meaningful reform I would contend that there are much more pressing issues to be addressed than lowering the voting age or slicing two years off the President’s term.In supporting the Constitutional Convention, I would like the Government to show some badly needed conviction and not just tinker around the edges.Fianna Fáil believes that in the first instance the Constitutional Convention should immediately begin to deal with the more substantive and pressing issues of political reform, such as transparent and real Oireachtas reform, an overhaul of the electoral system and proposals to bring people outside the political system into government at the highest levels.Fianna Fáil will continue to push the Government to ensure that these substantive issues are brought to the forefront of the work of the Constitutional Convention because these reforms our crucial to our country’s welfare and will mean better politics.And better politics is important to everyone in our society because this means a stronger economy.For the Constitutional Convention not to promptly proceed with discussing issues of substantive reform is a missed opportunity.There is simply no doubt that the Irish political system failed in recent years.Our political system, as set out in the most part in the Constitution, is in need of radical and urgent reform.That is a fundamental lesson of the economic crisis which has inflicted this nation. No part of the system predicted what happened and most parts of the system actively pushed policies which exacerbated the crisis.Government, its agencies and regulators were not subject to enough scrutiny and did not draw on a diverse enough range of expertise.As for the Oireachtas, in the decade before the crisis it showed no interest in economic fundamentals and did not debate the financial regulatory system until it was close to collapse.Proposals to lower the voting age to seventeen on their own will do nothing to restore economic growth, but reforms that would allow non-parliamentarians with specific expertise to serve in the cabinet would impact favorably on our national efforts towards economic regeneration. For such reasons, I am underwhelmed and concerned by the agenda the Government has, to date, set for the Constitutional Convention.Apart from the composition of the Convention which falls far short of the Citizens Assembly model, the Convention has been disappointingly limited in the scope of its review.The Government has chosen to limit the Convention’s work to seven areas.  These seven areas are:The Voting Age;The Presidential Term;Giving citizens the right to vote at Irish embassies in Presidential elections;The Dáil Electoral System;Amending the role of women in the constitution and promoting female participation in political life;Provision for marriage equality ;And,Removing blasphemy in the constitutionOf these seven areas, the only ones which represent an area where radical political reform could be possible is in regard to proposals concerning the Dáil Electoral System and promoting female participation in politics.Fianna Fáil believes that the Irish political system requires a much more fundamental overhaul to ensure that it is fit for purpose in a modern society than the seven areas which the Government has given priority to in the Constitutional Convention.Government’s Cynical Approach to ReformGiven that the Government seems determined to proceed along the lines I have outlined, later on, in the course of my remarks, I will outline Fianna Fáil’s position on these seven areas as well as detailing the fundamental issues of reform that we believe the Convention needs to deal with without further delay.But before doing that, I do think it is important that people understand that the damp squib which this Government want to makes of the Constitutional Convention reflects a deeply cynical attitude towards political reform.During the last election Fine Gael and Labour talked a good game on reform.  But since the ballot boxes have been put away, their commitment to the reform agenda has been defined by a growing list of broken promises.In the Oireachtas a so-called reform programme has actually made things worse.  Committees are more unwieldy and the government exercises stronger control over them than ever before.Although the Programme for Government pledges “stronger committees,” we recently saw the unprecedented action of a Government Minister insisting that the Public Accounts Committee – which, in modern times has done much worthwhile and pioneering work including the DIRT inquiry – stands down its inquiry into the Dublin Docklands Authority’s purchase of the Irish Glass Bottle site.Allied to this has been the determined effort to undermine the PAC’s role in investigating the collapse in the banking sector which seems to suggest a worrying new trend of Government hostility to the Public Accounts Committee.The Programme for Government pledges the Government to reform and “a radical extension of the parliamentary question system” yet, in the Dáil the Taoiseach has brazenly halved the number of times he attends the House for questions, and it is now taking up to three months for some oral parliamentary questions to be answered.At the election, Enda Kenny promised a programme to allow for a series of constitutional amendments to be decided on what was called “Constitution Day”, to be held within 12 months of the new Government being formed.  That pledge was quickly abandoned and replaced with the Constitutional Convention which is a square peg and round hole amalgam of some of the constitutional reform pledges in the respective Fine Gael and Labour election manifestos.  As a result, the proposal for the Constitutional Convention combines the flawed composition of the Labour manifesto, where the role of citizens is undermined by the presence of Oireachtas members, and the limited view of the Fine Gael manifesto by focusing on an extremely restricted range of issues.In relation to timings for the Constitutional Convention, the Government originally claimed that it would have begun by last summer and would be well on the way to preparing its final report by now.  Instead, there has been on-going delay to go with its severely limited agenda.Indeed, given the time-lines the Government has set out, it seems most likely that in the lifetime of this administration that the Constitutional Convention will not even complete the seven areas the Government has set out never mind progress beyond this work-load.  This means that the fundamental political reforms which our society needs will have to await a subsequent Dáil’s attention.  This, to my mind, is not good enough and is a real indictment of this Government’s commitment to manage and bring about necessary change.Equally incredible is the extraordinary move in which the Government is refusing to let a Convention on the constitutional future of this country even discuss whether we have a second chamber in parliament.What all of this reflects is that the Government wants to have a convention which cannot touch the fundamental issues of how the Oireachtas and the government work. This is extraordinarily cynical and underlines that while the Government likes to talk the talk about reform, they won’t allow this agenda to touch on their own power or control.It could be said that this Government’s approach constitutes a novel twist on the Augustinian maxim and might be described as give me real reform, but not just yet – or in fact any time soon.Unfortunately, if the Government is to persist in this attitude, the momentum for political reform may be lost for a long time and the public will rightly become even more disillusioned with politics.Voting AgeIn relation to the areas that the Government has given priority to the Constitutional Convention to address, the first two topics are reducing the Voting Age and the President’s term.  I have no issue with reducing the voting age to seventeen, but this appears to me to be a prize example of the Government running with an idea while ignoring more important and urgent concerns.It also begs the question surely the priority should be how we can get the third of people who have the franchise to use it before looking for ways to extend it?In this regard, Fianna Fáil has already practically suggested a constitutional amendment to extend polling over two days in order to facilitate higher participation. 18 is by far the dominant voting age in democracies.  Austria has recently reduced it. But does this issue really need to be priority discussion at a Constitutional Convention, especially if the Oireachtas were to agree on changing the age it could then be simply put to the people?Presidential TermAt this moment of continued economic crisis and with lost public faith in the role of politics, proposing to give priority to discussing the President’s term of office is ludicrous.The Presidency is the one institution of our State which has retained and even grown in its public standing.  Each of our heads of state has fulfilled the role of being a force for asserting shared values and rising above daily quarrels to understand what unites us. The obvious question is, if it’s working why fix it?The Presidency is in no way broken so why we should prioritise a change to the term of office or aligning it with unrelated political elections is not clear. I believe one of the strong features of the Presidency is that the office is above party politics so I view it as a questionable proposal to embroil future Presidential Elections with Local and European Elections and for all these contests to be held at the same time.  I believe the matter of who is our Head of State is sufficiently important to justify a stand-alone election.In 1945, the Presidential Election was held on the same day as the Local Elections. In 1959, the Presidential Election was held on the same day as a constitutional referendum.Anyone advocating today that Presidential Elections should be held on the same day as other electoral contests should read closely the Oireachtas debates from 1945 and 1959.  The Government might want to pay particular attention to strong arguments from figures such as Richard Mulcahy and William Norton who both trenchantly made the case against holding the Presidential election in conjunction with other contests maintaining that this unnecessarily risked immersing the presidency in matters where there were party political disagreements.In terms of the President’s length of term, I believe it should remain at seven years, but again, I think this is not something which would appear to be a priority for most people.  I, for one, am glad that we were able to have Mary McAleese as our President for fourteen years.One presidential reform I would welcome is to make the nomination process more open, but this is unfortunately not up for consideration. In the last two presidential elections all significant candidates were able to secure a nomination, albeit with some difficulty.  I believe it was unwarranted that some candidates had to go to such lengths to even get on the ballot paper and Fianna Fáil will support a practical reform of the nomination process which is not too restrictive for candidates.Giving citizens the right to vote at Irish embassies in Presidential elections Fianna Fáil supports the extension of the franchise for presidential elections to all Irish citizens including emigrants and, indeed, this proposal formed part of Fianna Fáil’s manifesto at the 2011 General Election..Dáil Electoral SystemAt the Convention and subsequently Fianna Fáil will be supporting a reform of the electoral system to one which allows for a mixture of local and national concerns to predominate.At the last General Election, we proposed a mixed system of constituencies and a national or regional list. This operates in many European countries and appears to work well.The Australian and New Zealand electoral systems also have many points of merit and Fianna Fáil would like to see the Constitutional Convention discussing proposals that ensure TDs will remain in close contact with the people who elect them, while, at the same time, delivering a diversity of expertise to the Dáil.Our current electoral system could be accused of encouraging clientelism and of putting parish-pump politics above TDs work as legislators.  A hybrid electoral system would ensure that there are TDs who remain close to their constituencies, but it will also ensure there is sufficient space in the Dáil for people to concentrate on parliamentary work.Amending the role of women in the constitution and promoting female participation in political life.Fianna Fáil has brought forward its own proposals and we are working within our own party to advance the participation of women in political life.  As part of our reform of the Dáil Election system, Fianna Fáil supports the introduction of measures to favour gender balance within a national list system.The Constitutional Convention also proposes to discuss the relevant article concerning women..  Article 41.2.1 refers to women’s “life within the home.”  This now reads as a very outdated and archaic provision   Article 41.2.2 reads “The state shall, therefore endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”  De Valera said his intention in designing this provision was to protect women, however, this protection seems to have been, in any case, of little strength as Professor James Casey has pointed out that “it would surely be difficult for a court to prescribe measures for the fulfillment of this obligation, since this would involve questions of public expenditure priorities and value judgments.”It is worth pointing out that the Constitutional Review Group previously considered whether Article 41 should simply be deleted or whether section 2.1 should be retained in an amended form which might recognise the contribution of each or either spouse within the home.  The Group found it important that there is constitutional recognition for the significant contribution made to society by the large number of people who provide a caring function within their homes for children, elderly relatives and others. The Group put forward a revised form of Article 41.2 which reads “The State recognises that home and family life gives to society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The State shall endeavour to support persons caring for others within the home.”I believe the inscription of such a phrase into the Constitution would be a welcome addition to Bunreacht na hÉireann.Provision for marriage equality The Convention is to be asked to consider the issue of marriage equality yet, the Convention is supposed to be about political reform. The issue of marriage equality has been referred to the Convention for the sole reason that Fine Gael and Labour were unable to agree a position.This is a kick to touch which could mean that this important decision will not be taken in the lifetime of this Government.  I think this is regrettable .I have said many times, I support marriage equality .As a republican and as a believer in equality, I firmly belief that same sex couples should be able to marry.Removing blasphemy in the ConstitutionThe constitutional article against blasphemy is to be discussed by the Convention.  Ireland has a long-earned reputation as a country which respects the freedom of expression.  However this has and should have limits.  The question is where to draw the line?At Fianna Fáil meetings I attended around the country, the overwhelming attitude was that this was hardly an issue that should be a priority issue for constitutional reform ahead of many other more pressing issues.Fianna Fáil’s Reform AgendaIn contrast to this Government’s unwillingness to embrace meaningful political reform, Fianna Fáil has advanced significant proposals with the twin objectives of enhancing our politics and fixing our economy.Oireachtas ReformI have already set out our proposals on reforming the Dáil Electoral System so that we can have a more legislative focused national politics. Fianna Fáil also has significant and far-reaching proposals for Oireachtas reform. We especially want to strengthen the rights of parliament and believe that the influence of Government has become too pervasive over the interests of parliament.We saw again the fallacy of this approach last week when the Government refused to accept any amendments in the Dáil to the Gaeltacht Bill.We especially want to see the work of Oireachtas Committees streamlined and strengthened and we believe key Oireachtas Committees should be given constitutional standing.  We also want to see a strong Oireachtas Committee charged with the responsibility of holding regulators to account.In order to uphold parliament’s rights over the influence of Government, we also maintain that the election of the Ceann Comhairle should take place by secret ballot.In France, a radical reform in 2008 means that the opposition controls the scheduling of parliament for a third of the sitting days which handle legislation.  Fianna Fáil would like to see the Constitutional Convention examine this idea with a view to ensuring that Government does not maintain a stranglehold on parliament.Ireland needs a parliament which has a direct link with citizens but is focused on national issues.And right now, more than ever, Ireland needs a government which draws on the best expertise in the country.It is for this reason that we believe at the forefront of the Constitutional Convention’s work should be an examination of reform procedures for choosing and operating both parliament and government.As things stand, almost 20% of the members of the Dáil cease active involvement in most work of the Dáil because of their appointment to government.  In our current political culture, we are also unusual in limiting who can serve in government.  Therefore Fianna Fáil has proposed that members of the Cabinet should not simultaneously serve as members of the Oireachtas, and that persons who are not members of the Oireachtas should be allowed to serve as Ministers.We believe it makes sense to bring people outside the system into government at the highest levels, up to and including the cabinet table.  This would broaden the options open to a future Taoiseach in formulating his or her cabinet.  Others nations use this system to draw on the best and most talented in their ranks to run government departments, and so should a modern Ireland. Politics in this country has been a closed shop for too long, and the economic crisis should be the number one exhibit in the case for opening it up.At a time like this, when the people of this country have had to endure the worst recession in modern times, we must draw on every talent we have to get Ireland back to work and back on track. Politicians do not have a monopoly on wisdom, and I think it is only right that Government seeks to make full use of the best and the brightest in every section of Irish life to play their part in developing society.Specifically, our proposal says that members of the cabinet should not be members of the Oireachtas while they serve as ministers.   We think it would be a worthwhile exercise for the Constitutional Convention to examine this radical reform which would mean when members of the Oireachtas are appointed to Cabinet they would be replaced by an alternate while serving as a minister. The alternate would be on a list published at the time of the election, in a similar way to European Parliamentary elections.  Under this reform, cabinet ministers would continue to require approval by the Dáil, answer parliamentary questions and participate in Oireachtas debates but they would not have votes.We believe this system would allow Ministers to devote significantly more time to their ministerial duties and increase the number of Dáil members participating in all parliamentary duties.   It would, in addition, significantly increase the accountability of ministers to the Dáil.Our proposal to allow persons who are not members of the Oireachtas to be appointed to serve as ministers is equally radical and rooted in common-sense.In such cases, a confirmation process would be put in place which would include a presentation of priorities before the relevant committee.   In all cases, new ministers would present a detailed statement of priorities for debate by the relevant committee within one month of appointment.Seanad ReformAs part of Oireachtas Reform, Fianna Fáil believes that the Constitutional Convention should immediately discuss the issue of Seanad Éireann.The Government’s insistence on a Constitutional Convention which does not discuss the future of the Upper House in our parliamentary system is nonsensical.The Government’s plans to unilaterally to  abolish the Seanad  outside the scope of the Constitutional Convention are misguided and will only serve to tighten their one-sided grip on political debate and reduce the scrutiny of ministers and legislation.Because the government has a much lower majority in the Seanad, at the moment they are more willing to listen to other opinions when matters are debated there.Abolishing the Seanad with no accompanying reform to government powers and the independent powers of the Dáil would be a major step backward.  That’s why Fianna Fáil  oppose it and we believe that a radically reformed Seanad has the potential to uphold constitutional stability; act as a check on government; scrutinize  legislation; avoid parochialism; broaden representation and create a forum for cross party debate and discussion.Among the specific reform measures Fianna Fáil has proposed for the Seanad and which we would like the Constitutional Convention to examine areA reduced Seanad of 51 SenatorsReduced costDirect elections for Senators50% Gender Quotas for political party candidates in direct electionsSpecific minority group representationSenators elected from Northern IrelandEnhanced powers of legislative scrutinyLonger Seanad TermsThe Government’s haste to abolish Seanad Éireann has more to do with making a populist gesture than practical reform.  People should not be deluded by the Government’s spin that such a referendum will save the exchequer.  The 1997 All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution concluded any savings achieved by the Seanad’s abolition would be illusory because some functions would have to be reallocated to other parts of the political system.I started by talking about de Valera’s great work in bringing forward the 1937 Constitution and I want to close by reverting to that.  In doing so, I want to draw people’s attention to the fact that by abolishing the Seanad we may open up significant constitutional gaps.It is a fact that abolishing the Seanad cannot be done by means of a simple amendment.  The Seanad is mentioned in the Constitution over 60 times and each reference, no matter how ancillary, will have to be deleted.A final observation in regard to the 1930s is that when de Valera included specific constitutional provisions dealing with entitlement to education, this was viewed as innovatory.  Today no one views the right to “free primary education” as set out in Article 42.4 as anything out of the ordinary, but in the context of the 1930s this was seen by many as constitutionally radical .  In our time, I would like us to take a similar approach.  I will leave you with this thought, I believe that the Constitutional Convention should discuss the desirability of incorporating a constitutional provision conferring right of access to Health to the children of the nation similar to the provision in relation to primary education (Article 42).As we approach the centenary of the Easter Rising, inserting such a provision in our constitution would give effect to the Proclamation’s pledge to cherish all the children of the nation equally in a new and progressive manner.FIANNA FÁIL LEADER MICHEÁL MARTIN SPEECH TO MacGILL SUMMER SCHOOL was last modified: July 24th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:FIANNA FÁIL LEADER MICHEÁL MARTIN SPEECH TO MacGILL SUMMER SCHOOLlast_img read more


first_imgDDTV: Arranmore RNLI lifeboat crew had a long call out to a 30ft yacht in trouble off Gola Island.The pagers went off just after 2am with the lifeboat crew not returning home until nearly 8am. The lifeboat crew along with their colleagues from Bunbeg Coast Guard were called out to assist a 30 ft yacht with two people on board when it dragged its anchor and got stuck on rocks off Gola Island.Click play to watch the scene.DDTV: ARRANMORE RNLI CREW ON ALL-NIGHT CALL TO STRANDED YACHT was last modified: August 17th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:arranmoreBunbeag Coast Guardgola islandLifeboatRNLIvideolast_img read more


first_imgTHE U13 Donegal Ladies league is under way. All the fixtures and dates are below.Clubs in Group 1 and Group 2 should text results to Greg on 086 0278833. Clubs in Group 3, 4 and 5 should text results to Gabrielle on 086 1648577U13 group stages – 11 players per team, unlimited substitutions – 25 minutes each way.U13sGroup 1: Four Masters, Killybegs, N Conaill, N Columba, St Naul’s Group 2: Glenswilly, Red Hughs, Glenfin, MacCumhaillsGroup 3: Fanad Gaels, St Michael’s, Termon, Downings.Group 4: Cloughaneely, N Muire, Dungloe, Gaoth DobhairGroup 5: St Eunan’s, Buncrana, Convoy, Moville.Fixtures: August 25: N Columba v St Naul’s and Killybegs v Four MastersSeptember 1: N Conaill v Killybegs; Four Masters v N Columba; Red Hughs v Mac Cumhaills; Fanad Gaels v St Michaels; Glenswilly v Glenfin; Termon v Downings; Dungloe v Gaoth Dobhair; St Eunan’s v Convoy; Cloughaneely v Gaoth Dobhair; Moville v ConvoySeptember 8: St Naul’s v Four Masters; N Conaill v N Columba; Glenfin v Red Hughs; Glenswilly v Mac Cumhaills; Downings v Fanad; Termon v St Michaels; N Muire v Dungloe; Cloughaneely v Gaoth Dobhair; Buncrana v St Eunan’s; Moville v Convoy.September 15: Dungloe v Cloughaneely; St Eunan’s v Moville; Gaoth Dobhair v N Muire; Convoy v Buncrana; N Columba v Killybegs; St Naul’s v N Conaill; Red Hughs v Glenswilly; Mac Cumhaills v Glenfin; Fanad v Termon; St Michael’s v Downings. September 22: Four Masters v N Conaill; Killybegs v St Nauls.DONEGAL LGFA NEWS: U13 GIRLS LEAGUE UNDER WAY was last modified: August 26th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalLGFAlast_img read more

Cape Town gets own internet exchange

first_img25 September 2009The Internet Service Providers’ Association (Ispa) has reintroduced its Cape Town Internet Exchange, allowing internet service providers (ISPs) in the Western Cape – a dozen of whom have already signed on – to interconnect with each other.Ispa’s Johannesburg and Cape Town exchanges encourage the local routing of internet traffic not destined for international locations and provide redundancy for an ISP’s own links.Exponential traffic growthThe Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) will allow all local service providers, not just Ispa members, to interconnect networks and exchange traffic in order to save costs.“We decided to reintroduce the CINX to meet overwhelming demand from members with operations in Cape Town for a local exchange in the city,” Ispa’s Rob Hunter said in a statement this week. “Cape Town business and consumers are now producing more than enough internet traffic to justify an exchange for the city.“The amount of internet traffic in Cape Town has grown exponentially over the past few years, as online media, call centres and other heavy internet business users have flourished,” Hunter said.Cost-savingsInternet Solutions – which also hosts the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX) – has been appointed to host CINX from 2009 till 2012.“Johannesburg ISPs have long enjoyed benefits such as improved performance for traffic within the city, cost-savings and an extra layer of redundancy from the JINX,” said Hunter.“Cape Town service providers will now also be able to take advantage of a local peering point and experience the same benefits.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

A little hope goes a long way

first_imgSarah and her team cultivating land for the food garden. (Image: Sarah Bergs Facebook)An initiative in Hoedspruit, in Limpopo is uplifting local communities, promoting social responsibility and encouraging environmental education.Nourish is a non-profit organisation founded by Sarah Bergs, who grew up at Motswari Game Lodge, in Hoedspruit. She wanted to combine her love for conservation and her humanitarianism with the fight against poverty and poaching when she started Nourish just over four years ago.Bergs told the Sunday Times newspaper she could remember as a child seeing tourists from all over the world spending a lot of money at the reserve, yet the local community never benefited.“I wanted to play Robin Hood and help the community,” she said. “This is my community. You see people with so much money come in and out, and international people coming to see the heritage and wildlife.“Then you drive 20 kilometres away and see a community completely unaffected by the wealth. These guests are throwing away more money than what these people have.”Bergs credits her caregiver, Minah Mathebula, for teaching her to speak Xitsonga, to weave grass mats and be “bush-wise”, when she was growing up.THE WORK OF NOURISHNourish is a community upliftment project that provides after-school facilities for children from the area. It has a library and a vegetable garden worked by the community for their own benefit, and a small plantation where they grow moringa trees to sell to mining companies. Mines use the moringa trees to mitigate the effects of acid mine drainage, among other uses.“Initially it was a food security garden but then we figured out that in this area there was a secondary need – a big, big need for education and entrepreneurship, so then we decided to build a library,” Bergs said.RECYCLINGAlthough Nourish aims to improve entrepreneurial skills in the local community, recycling is also are high on its agenda.“We don’t want to hard-sell recycling. We just want people to walk in here and think a little bit; go home and see things a little differently. Maybe see waste as a resource, maybe see the conservation area as something precious.“You learn so much by trial and error, but I’m hoping to duplicate what we do here in other communities.”THE LIBRARY AND HOW YOU CAN HELPLaunched in 2015, the library is still in need of books and educational toys for children. Bergs also hopes to turn it into a skills training centre for the older people and adults in the region.“Since the launch of the library and helping the kids with English, I’ve had feedback that their confidence has improved a lot. That’s something very tangible. It makes me feel like I’m doing something important.“Life’s not boring at all when you’re involved in something like this.”The children have also started doing yoga.You can help her do her work better at Nourish by donating English books and educational toys for the library, and by buying one or more moringa trees for the plantation. There are also problems with electricity connections at the premises. Bergs can be contacted on 071 909 7261.Are you playing your part in transforming South Africa? If so, submit your story or video and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.last_img read more