Friday, 28 March 2008

Irish Citizens alone will determine fate of all Europeans ?

It is not widely known that Irish Citizens alone will determine the fate of all Europeans when we take to the ballot box on the LISBON TREATY.

We are the only country forced to hold a referendum on the new Constitution. This isn't a responsibility to be taken lightly one should vote to enactment laws they do not understand.

We should also bare in mind that this re-written Constitution - in it's previous guises - was rejected previously by the people of Europe. How can you morally justify a vote that would reverse their decision unless you understand the proposed-treaty word-for-word.

If you fully understand the consequences of voting Yes, and agree with the changes, then so-be-it vote yes, but it is irresponsible and fool-hardy to approve laws that you do not fully understand purely on the basis of major political party opinion - they don't even understand it.

Voting NO does not reject Europe, it merely forces the EU to re-write their proposed changes in a language that is not designed to confuse.

The ‘father’ of the constitution, GISCARD D'ESTAING said: "Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly... All the earlier proposals will be in a new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way...What was [already] difficult to understand will become utterly incomprehensible, but the substance has been retained."

Political leaders also admit that they will not allow their people a vote on the Lisbon Treaty because they know it will be rejected. French president NICOLAS SARKOZY says: "France was just ahead of all the other countries in voting No. "It would happen in all member states if they have a referendum. There is a cleavage between people and governments...A referendum now would bring Europe into danger. There will be no treaty if we had a referendum in France, which would again be followed by a referendum in the UK." So basically what we have is fundamental change without the consent of the citizens.

If the GREENs were not in a coalition government they would be calling for a NO VOTE - sadly that leaves only SINN FEIN calling for a no, tainting the against lobby as radicals. However Green MEP PATRICIA McKENNA spoke about it clearly here.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

No more excuses - sort out the Health Service NOW!

Without medical insurance you could die on the street in America. In Ireland (at least for the moment) you'll make it as far as a chair in the Emergency Department (..but don't visit the toilet or you forfeit even that).

You're benefiting from an economic boom the foundations of which were laid by those same people dying on hospital trolleys today - and, just like the rest of us, when they were young, fit and healthy they never thought for a moment they'd find themselves in that desperate position.

I'm writing this because it's time you did something to afford them the dignity they (and in future someone in your own family) deserve. This Saturday (29 March) at 15.00 is your opportunity to show politicians that the Irish public have had enough smoke-and-mirrors.

If you're lacking inspiration watch SICKO on dvd before Saturday. The documentary looks at an American health system which has been allowed run-down to the extent that those citizens [who can afford the annual premiums] are driven to private medical cover for fear of not being treated. Hardly a coincidence since the medical insurance industry fiercely lobbies Governments to have (their) acts written into law.

If you're selfishly thinking 'I've got medical insurance' you'd do well to wake up to the story of husband and wife (once financially independent WITH medical insurance) who lost everything including their home when insurance failed to cover all the bills.

The scandal is that these companies employ teams of investigators to fine-comb your original application intent on establishing you had a pre-disposition all those years - their goal is to avoid successful claims which they term 'profit losses'. The documentary hears evidence from ex-Chief Medical Officers admitting they were paid huge bonuses to reach pre-determined 'rejected-claims' targets (rejections which baffle their doctor who recommended a particular treatment).

So how is this relevant to Ireland? Welcome to your future! This government clearly has no interest in a system that works - the ratio of hospital beds per capital has dropped from just over 5/1000 to 3.1/1000 now! I'd argue that the quality of our health service is intentionally being allowed run-down - it's a win-win for both Government and the medical insurance industry - society looses faith in the public system and flocks to private insurance.

Our Government is clearly reaching for the American model (remember all the talk at the last election about private hospitals?) instead of looking to Canada, the UK, France where society (both strong and weak) is supported by an efficient, subsidised, or socialised medical service.

Why? Well conveniently enough our government benefits directly. VHI HEALTHCARE is the profit-making state-operated insurance company and the government has written the so-called 'equalisation' rule into law, simply put this gives the company an unfair advantage making it next to impossible for competition to survive longer than a few years - remember British health insurance giant BUPA.

It's no secret VHI Healthcare has been flirting with the American health insurance giants for some time: and you don't need to stretch too far to imagine the sales-pitch '..the health system lays in tatters, this has pushed droves of citizens to private insurance, we control the company that insures them, 'equalisation' guarantees only VHI can run the distances, we've sewn it all up so your only realistic route into the Irish market-place is a take-over of our company ..we've put together a neat package with a big surge in policy holders, you can only do business with us'. [Has anyone explored the relationship between the deterioration in our health service and a big jump in VHI's membership?]

..and if you're thinking this government would never screw its own citizens remember the privatisation of EIRCOM!

How can Cuba provide a world-class health service despite having suffered under embargoes from both the US and EU while we have experienced an unprecedented boom and our health system lays in tatters.

There is simply no will - in fact the opposite is the case.

Trade unions and medical organisations are crying out for your support this weekend. Have a look at or here ..and take an hour of your day to join the public demonstration:

Sat 29 March
Garden of Remembrance
Parnell Square
Dublin 01

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Pearl at Dublin Docklands

Went to see PEARL around the IFSC in DUBLIN DOCKLANDS last night, it's part of the St. Patrick's Festival weekend celebrations.

So many great street theatre groups arrive in Dublin and are then forced to restrict their show because of a bunch of bureaucrats who lack creativite vision or an understanding that while the Irish like to have the craic, we don't need to be caged in for 'our own safety'. (There is definitely a much more relaxed and involved audience at similar events in latin countries - can you ever imagine Ireland agreeing to a bull-run or city-wide tomato fight?)

So when we went along to the show last night we were in two minds. French street theatre company PLASTICIENS VOLANTS are certainly capable of putting on one amazing show, but would it retain it's sense of fluidity that is a hallmark?

Well what a show - giant helium inflated 'puppets' controlled by their 'handlers' with guide ropes - then smaller 3 meter sea-horse, crabs, shrimp, shellfish running through the crowds glowing colourfully in the dark. Rather than being focussed on a single stage area the action weaved over 60 or 80 metres, all around the Dock so that, no matter where you were standing, you'd find yourself caught-up in the 'underwater' battle at some stage, no where was safe.

We floated around the space, above us massive fishes and lobster protecting their giant pearl. Then out of no-where, somewhere behind us maybe, a giant sea snake is skimming over our heads (he must have been 20 or 30 metres long with a 4 metre girth).

He part-flew, part-bounced above us then dived head-first into the crowd about 5 feet from where we were standing. The music was thundering around the space almost drowning out the screams (we later heard he took-out an adult and a few kids).

A shrimp and a few crabs ran up to us as the snake slithered in chasing them in our direction. They trembled with fear, holding onto my jacket and clearly seeking help in some weird language. Somehow we got the message across that they should swim out of there fast and they fled (ok we were being selfish but they glowed like hell and were only drawing the snake's attention to where we were hiding).

What a show, it's repeated tonight again and, although it's listed as a ticketed free event if you don't have one go along anyway. There was no one asking for tickets last night.

Georges Dock / IFSC (International Financial Services Centre)
Dublin Docklands,
(take public transport, little parking around there)