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British Columbia female viagra will be having a referendum on the 12th of May on the question of introducing a form of PR-STV closely similar to our own. Now, this would have escaped me, but for a comment from David Schrenk on my blog the other day.

In British Columbia on May 12th we are having a referendum on whether to change how we elect members of our provincial legislature by changing to the single transferable vote. I oppose making that change. Proponents of STV in BC argue that it makes political parties weaker, but from what I’ve read about Irish cialis side effects politics buying kamagra in the uk (including the posts here), it looks like the central offices of Irish political
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parties have more power than anything we see in BC. Please let me know what you think about the power of your political parties, either here or by email to

David’s website, Strategic Thoughts is clearly on the side of maintaining the existing, First-Past-The-Post electoral system that currently operates in kamagra store British Columbia. He highlights a number of perceived problems with our system, such as it decreases accountability, is unfair and complex. buy cialis David sets forth many of his arguments in this piece. Now, I am viagra side effects not a hundred per-cent gone on london kamagra our variant of proportional representation. There are certain flaws within it, but I believe it is a more equitable and accountable system than a FPTP system would offer. Furthermore, FPTP endears a high level of instability in medium and long-term policy making. My plan is to do a number of blog pieces putting forth my views on the claims for and against PR-STV which are emerging in the British Columbia debate. Ireland, along with Malta are the only two countries where the main election is fought on PR-STV. Given that, I would encourage other bloggers to set forth to offer their own views and experiences of PR-STV to help inform the British Columbia debate. Indeed, there is a hint of real change in the air at the moment, with the apparent demise of Fianna Fáil, and mass demonstrations on the streets. Maybe we too should look at our own political and electoral systems, and see what changes we could make.

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The age of consent, statutory rape and related issues are viagra price not just in the news here. PrawfsBlog has a piece on foot of over the counter viagra two incidents cialis in the US, where; 1) A sixteen-year-old girl and a seventeen-year-old boy who took “racy pictures of themselves” and ended up being prosecuted for possessing child porn.

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both being prosecuted for sexual offences.

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There has been plenty of commentary over the viagra price past week or so about the two impending by-elections in the Seanad to fill the vanancies caused by the death of Fianna Fáil Senator Tony Kett and generic viagra the election to the European Parliament of Labour’s Senator Alan Kelly. Seanad by-elections are an unusual beast, with the electorate comprising of the viagra online members of both Houses of the Oireachtas – and as Keith has shown, the numbers stack up quite clearly in favour of two Fianna Fáil/Green candidates being elected. The logic of such

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plain and obvious numbers has dominated nearly all of the commentary on who may be elected to fill the two vacancies. In the There is nothing wrong with such an approach, and many of best advocates in the Seanad cialis vs viagra are individuals cialis who stood in the last General Election and will in all likelihood stand in the next. However, over the past year few bodies have come under greater attack than the Seanad. It was been frequently castigated in print, on radio and television as an irrelevant talking shop

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Today’s Irish Times carries an interesting story about Libertas. The main thrust of it is that a substantial proportion of the founders of Libertas are linked to Ganley’s company Rivada with the story stating ” A spokesman for Libertas yesterday confirmed that five of the seven members of the Libertas Institute Ltd are employees of the Galway subsidiary of Rivada Networks LLC, a company registered in Delaware.” However, for me the most interesting bit was about the Libertas accounts filed at the start of May, which I commented about yesterday. Continue reading ‘’ »

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Lisbon Round Up – Part III

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Two figures from the European stage kick off this round-up. Firstly, My Opinion is back from Germany and is out on the canvass looking

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for a Yes vote, while BBC European Editor and blogger Mark Mardell enters the fray with commentary on a German think-tank’s report on what may happen if Lisbon is rejected. Simon of Dossing Times accuses the Yes side of hyperbole on the consequences of a No vote, and Jonathan Brazil offers three reasons to Vote No. Booming Back is concerned about the lack of interest in the referendum amongst the general public, while the Irish Eagle ponders the questions of representative nature of representative democracy. The Cedar buy viagra online Loungue Revolution gets on board for a Yes vote last week, and this week sees the Yes campaign faltering. Neil Ward examines in detail the question if we are giving up our viagra online soverignity for little reward. Posters have come in for a bit of interst with Simon McGarr putting together a collection of the No posters, and Jazz Buscuit offering an interesting, scientific analysis of the whole thing. More seriously, Noel Rock looks at postering strategy of the Labour party. Continue reading ‘Lisbon Round Up – Part III’ »

A Public Service Announcment

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open at 7am tomorrow morning (less than nine hours to go!!), and will close at 10pm. Remember buy cialis to bring a form of ID with you. If you don’t cialis vs viagra have it, you viagra side effects may well be refused your opportunity to vote and your polling car will not suffice. And last of all, and most importantly, remember to Vote Yes!!

Recovery for the mainstream parties is not about PR palaver of ‘better communications’ or ‘getting the message out’, it’s about having a credible message in the first place.

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Stephen Collins is a quality political analyst of long-standing and deserved repute. His analysis in today’s Irish Times,( 31 May, 2014) however, makes the classic mistake of (a) blaming ‘media negativity’ for the drubbing taken by the coalition parties in the local and EP elections and, consequentially, (b) exhorting the government parties to up their communications game as a means of addressing it. He assumes that we, the people, take what we  see, hear and read in the media as gospel and that we’re so undiscriminating in our intelligence that we’re capable of being beguiled  by political ‘spin’.  He’s wrong. The expectation of the electorate, and rightly so, is that the government elected in 2011 would get the economy and fiscal policy back on track, that it would safeguard the provision of public services and that it would radically reform its own governmental and regulatory processes to ensure such calamity could not befall us again. The mid-term election results are a verdict on that performance; nothing more and nothing less. Continue reading ‘Recovery for the mainstream parties is not about PR palaver of ‘better communications’ or ‘getting the message out’, it’s about having a credible message in the first place.’ »

Michael McDowell told Tony Gregory Garda station phone calls are private

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Story over at one of our other outposts.

People vote to retain Seanad: Action on reform is warranted

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The people have spoken,as the old cliché goes. Of the 1,026,374 valid cotes in the Seanad Referendum, 591, 937 voted in favour of Seanad abolition, and 634, 437 voted against. Every constituency in Dublin voted against Enda Kenny’s personal crusade to abolish the Upper House, thereby concentrating more power in the Executive, with a flimsy promise to reform the Dail by way of compensation for driving a coach and four through our political institutions. The margin of defeat for Kenny’s personal demolition project was small – 51/7% against to 48.3% in favour – but the message to his government should be clear:  Either reform the system, as faithfully promised by the two government parties during Election 2011, and do so in a way that brings all other political factions on board with you, or squander the remainder of whatever political capital you have left in this vital area and reap the consequences of your negligence.

Continue reading ‘People vote to retain Seanad: Action on reform is warranted’ »

Irish Politics Forum – Post-mortem on the Seanad Referendum, 10 October 2013

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By Jane Suiter

On Friday October 4th voters will have decided whether or not to abolish Seanad Éireann. Voters Parties and Elections are delighted to invite you to an open debate on the campaign and result. It has been a colourful campaign with allegations of populism and power grabbing levelled at the government by political parties and campaign groups on the No side. The Yes side have focused on the cost of the Upper House and have tapped into public hostility towards politicians and the political system. However, the campaign has been dominated by elites and seems to have largely passed the public by. Concerns about apathy and a possible low turnout are moving to the fore in the closing days of the campaign.

Come along to hear from all sides on Thursday 10 October 5.30pm

  • The debate will be chaired by Dr Jane Suiter (DCU)

Our expert panel includes:

Campaign Participants
Regina Doherty, TD (Leading the Fine Gael campaign for the abolition of the Seanad)

Prof Gary Murphy, DCU (Chair- Democracy Matters)

And campaign experts

Prof Michael Marsh (TCD

Prof David Farrell (UCD)

Dr Theresa Reidy (UCC)

Places are limited, so please email us on voterspartieselections@gmail.comto reserve a seat:

Date: 10th October
Time: 5:30 – 7:30pm
Venue: European Parliament Offices, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2

Myopic focus on Seanad costs does no service to democracy

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 Last evening I attended a public meeting on next Friday’s referendums, organised by our local Fine Gael TD, Leo Varadkar. The poster on the pole at the entrance to our housing estate advertised economist Colm McCarthy as the ‘guest speaker’. I went along, not out of any prospect of being enlightened about anything by the venerable Mr.McCarthy, but mainly because I felt ill-informed about the proposal to establish a new Court of Appeal and assumed there’d have to be something said about that.

Continue reading ‘Myopic focus on Seanad costs does no service to democracy’ »

Democracy be damned! Abolishing the Seanad a further step towards de-democratizing our society

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Right now all the indications are that Enda Kenny’s personal pet project to eliminate  one of  key institutions of Irish democracy, the Seanad, will be endorsed by the public in the forthcoming referendum.

The micro-politics of the debate on the referendum and some of its more substantive arguments include variously–:

  • that the proposal emerged from Kenny’s personal pique, back in 2009, at being overshadowed in political performance by the Labour leader, Eamon Gilmore;
  • that a ‘yes’ vote will enhance his reputation as an effective leader, whilst a ‘no’ vote may undermine his personal credibility, and by extension, reduce Fine Gael’s prospects of securing a second term in office after the next election (a hoped-for ‘first’ in that party’s history);
  • that the claims of saving 20 million euro a year by abolishing the Seanad are a deliberate and demonstrable falsehood, and in any case it’s anti-democratic to put a ‘price’ on a key political institution in that way, as if democracy were a mere commodity that you can buy in a shop;
  • that an elitist Seanad, in the nomination and election of whose members the public have no direct ‘voice’, is unreformable and surplus to requirements to run the state efficiently, (even though only the ‘government of the day’ has the power to reform the Seanad or any other part of the system);
  • that if the Taoiseach was serious about making our dysfunctional political institutions work, he would have reformed the Dail first to lessen the stranglehood of his own government’s power over it, before decreeing that the Seanad is no longer required;
  • that Ireland, as a small country, is somehow out of line in having a bicameral system, with two chambers of the Oireachtas (even though where we’re really out of line is in having such an appallingly deficient and dysfunctional powerless system of local government);


 Beyond these arguments, it’s worth giving a few moments’ thought to what Kenny’s objective of abolition actually says about what’s happening in our democracy at this time and what it signifies for the integrity of our democracy into the future. In all that’s been said, and written, and read, about the referendum question, to date, that’s the core issue. Or it would be, except that it barely gets a mention.

The year before he died, the great American social scientist, Charles Tilly,  wrote an essay ‘Grudging Consent’ in which he pondered the fate of democracy and what happens when the ‘voice’ of the public is no longer vigilant enough in, or capable of,  holding its elected leaders in check

  Continue reading ‘Democracy be damned! Abolishing the Seanad a further step towards de-democratizing our society’ »

Nessa Childers resigns from Labour Party: will contest European Elections in 2014 as an Independent

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The Labour MEP for Ireland East, Nessa Childers, has announced her resignation from the party and her intention to contest the European Elections in 2014 as an Independent.

Continue reading ‘Nessa Childers resigns from Labour Party: will contest European Elections in 2014 as an Independent’ »

Defeat of Seanad Referendum may be only hope of achieving real political reform

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The  Seanad is a ‘luxury we can no longer afford’ and its abolition offers the Irish people an opportunity to ‘make a radical difference to our political system’.

So say, respectively, Minister Richard Bruton, Fine Gael’s Director of Elections for the forthcoming referendum and his Deputy Director of Elections, Meath TD, Regina Doherty. The great delight of such vacuous spin is that it’s so easily turned on its perpetrators. For example: this government is ‘luxury we can no longer afford’ and its removal would ‘make a radical difference to our political system.’ Or the Dail; or the Fine Gael Party; or even Mayo, God help us! – there’s no end to the uses to which such phraseology may be put.

Continue reading ‘Defeat of Seanad Referendum may be only hope of achieving real political reform’ »

Regulation not Prohibition

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The interminable debate over proposals to criminalise purchasers of sex took another turn this week with the publication of the report by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. Predictably it recommends the so-called “Swedish model” but it also includes draconian proposals to treat visitors to prostitution websites as sex offenders and ban the provision of premises for prostitution. Senator David Norris yesterday condemned the proposal to criminalise purchasers as “horribly sanctimonious”.

The provisions criminalising the grooming of children for sexual purposes are welcome. But the other provisions concerning only consenting adults are fatally flawed. Experience has shown that the Swedish model endangers women and drives the trade underground. It also contrasts sharply with the more liberal direction of many EU member states.

In 2009, the EU-funded Daphne II study found Sweden had the highest per capita incidence of rape in the EU, and that statistical reporting differences do not account for it.

In Sweden, 46 incidents of rape are reported per 100,000 residents.

This figure is double as many as in the UK which reports 23 cases, and four times that of the other Nordic countries, Germany and France. The figure is up to 20 times the figure for certain countries in southern and eastern Europe.

The study, which is financed by the Brussels-based EU fund Daphne II, compared how the respective judicial systems managed rape cases across eleven EU countries. Sweden is shown in an unfavourable light, according to the study.

The high figures in Sweden can not it seems be explained purely by an increased tendency to report rapes and other more minor sexual offences.

Rape simply appears to be a more common occurrence in Sweden than in the other EU countries studied, the researchers argue.

Over 5,000 rapes are reported in Sweden per annum while reports in other countries of a comparable size amounted to only a few hundred.

As with abortion, the Swedish model is an Irish solution to an Irish problem. The trade would be driven underground or abroad. After an initial drop after Norway adopted the Swedish model, reports indicated that within 18 months, it had returned to its previous levels. A November 2010 report in Sweden also found an explosion in prostitution in neighbouring Nordic countries after the new laws came in there in 1998. In Sweden itself there was evidence that while street prostitution had declined, online prostitution had increased.

Quite apart from the moral/religious element in this debate are the implications for the safety of the prostitutes themselves. By proposing to outlaw the provision of premises for the purposes of facilitating prostitution, and to criminalising the viewing of prostitution websites, the report risks driving prostitution back onto the streets, with all that implies for their safety.

By moving towards prohibition, Ireland sets itself at odds much of Europe, where liberalisation is the dominant approach.

- In the Netherlands, prostitution has been legal and regulated since 2000. The ban was lifted for two reasons: first, to improve the sector as a whole and the position of sex workers by introducing licences, and second, to tackle abuses by taking firmer action against businesses operating without licences. Article 273f of the penal code outlaws forced and child prostitution, profiting from it, and forcing prostitutes to surrender their earnings. Regulations on premises specify the minimum size of working areas and govern safety, fire precautions and hygiene. For instance, every working area must be equipped with a panic button, and hot and cold running water. Condoms must be provided.

- In Italy prostitution is legal, but organized prostitution (indoors in brothels or controlled by third parties) is prohibited. Brothels became illegal in 1958, but single sex workers working from apartments are ‘tolerated’. A 2010 court decision created a new precedent, that clients who did not pay the worker would be considered guilty of rape. This was considered a major breakthrough for sex workers’ rights. Of 558 workers attending a STD clinic in Bologna between 1995 and 1999, only 1.6% tested positive for HIV.

- Prostitution is legal in Germany. Prostitutes may work as regular employees with contract, though the vast majority work independently. Brothels are registered businesses that do not need a special brothel licence; if food and alcoholic drinks are offered, the standard restaurant licence is required. Every city has the right to zone off certain areas where prostitution is not allowed. In Bavaria, law mandates the use of condoms for sexual intercourse with prostitutes, including oral contact. Pimping, admitting prostitutes under the age of eighteen to a brothel, and influencing persons under the age of twenty-one to take up or continue work in prostitution, are illegal. It is also illegal to contract sex services from any person younger than 18. In 2006 Cologne took in 828,000 euros through taxing prostitution.

- Spain decriminalised prostitution in 1995, while pimping remains illegal. Owning an establishment where prostitution takes place is in itself legal, but the owner cannot derive financial gain from the prostitute or hire a person to sell sex because prostitution is not considered a job and thus has no legal recognition. The Catalan government licenses brothels as “clubs”, though in some areas street prostitution is fined.

The correct approach is a legalised, regulated and taxed sex industry. Regulations can reduce STDs by enforcing the use of condoms and the rights of sex-workers to adequate pay and conditions and to non-violence.No such recourse exists when the trade is driven underground as in this country.

It will be for the Government to decide whether to proceed with the report. The supporters of prohibition range from the Catholic Right to the Feminist Left. Biblical denuniciations of prostitutes as “fallen women” do not fit comfortably with feminist conceptions of gender equality and agency. Feminist arguments that the trade exploits women fail to account for male prostitution.

This debate has followed a depressing pattern familiar to observers of Irish politics – namely the forced consensus. The forced consensus has done this country great harm in the past. Forced consensus once silenced the victims of the Church in the industrial schools and the Magdalene Launderies (once managed among others by present Ruhama trustees the Sisters of Charity). Wexford TD Mick Wallace and Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White had the courage to question the prohibitionist consensus in the past but were browbeaten into silence by what the latter called “extreme leftwingers and those on the high moral ground”. If our democracy is to survive it is imperative that there be diversity of opinion on matters of conscience such as this.