Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Some Recovery! Marks and Spencer to close 4 stores by 17th Aug - 180 jobs lost

More than 280 jobs are to go in the retail sector following announcements today by Marks & Spencer and Musgraves.
Marks & Spencer is to close four stores in Ireland, which will result in the loss of 180 jobs.
Musgraves has said 102 jobs will go at the Superquinn head office in Lucan in Dublin over the next 18 months.
The M&S stores at Mullingar and Tallaght and the Simply Food stores in Naas and Dún Laoghaire are to close in the coming weeks.
The company said the four shops were unprofitable and that the decision to close them came after a strategic review.
However, the company said a new M&S store is proposed for Limerick, with 250 jobs promised.

Africans asylum seekers challenge "direct provision": looking for social welfare payments

A family has taken a High Court challenge against direct provision, the scheme under which asylum seekers are housed and provided with a small weekly allowance while their applications are being processed.
The family of six, including four children aged between two weeks and 20 years, have been living in direct provision accommodation for more than four years.
Lawyers for the family argue that the scheme was unlawfully established and has no legal basis. They claim it operates unlawfully by ministerial circulars and administrative arrangements without any statutory underpinning, and amounts to a “parallel system” for dealing with asylum seekers.
Under direct provision, asylum seekers are provided with full-board accommodation, with the cost of meals paid directly by the State.
Paid work
They are also given an allowance of €19.10 per adult and €9.60 per child per week, but are not permitted to take up paid work.
The family, originally from Africa, contend there is no statutory basis for the payment of this allowance or for the setting of the amounts paid, and argue that direct provision, by excluding them from receiving basic social welfare payments, violates rights to private and family life under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
According to papers submitted to the court, the family also argue that key aspects of the system are in breach of the principle of the separation of powers and invalid given article 15.2.1 of the Constitution. This article provides that the “sole and exclusive” power of making laws is vested in the Oireachtas.

Government plans free GP care for under fives, Election on the way?

The Government plans to announce free GP care for under-fives later this year as part of a radical recasting of its central health policy.
Months after the abandonment of an election pledge to first extend free medical cover to people with long-term illnesses, Minister for Health James Reilly will unveil a remodelled strategy proposing the phased introduction of free GP care for all according to age group.
Dr Reilly is still promising the policy can be introduced within the lifetime of the administration, as pledged in the programme for Government, even though no progress has been made so far. The plan, designed to take the Government parties to the next election, will see the announcement of free GP care for under-fives after the summer and a pledge to extend this benefit to other age groups over the following two years.
Minister of State at the Department of Health Alex White is working on the detail of the proposals. There is no indication yet where the €400m-450 million a year required to fund free GP care for all will come from.

Fintan O'Toole ... Ireland in a nutshell

In 1980, in his first Fianna Fáil ardfheis as taoiseach, Charles Haughey described Northern Ireland as a “failed political entity”. He was right, of course. But: black pots, black kettles, glasshouses, stones. There was, and is, more than one failed political entity on this island.
Back then, when Haughey used this infamous phrase, there was a rather sterile argument about partition. Was it a historical inevitability or a grotesque tragedy? We can now see that the answer, as it usually is in Irish history, is “both”. Given the lack of any serious engagement with Ulster unionism by Irish nationalists, partition was probably unavoidable. But that does not make its consequences less drastic. It produced two deeply flawed and ultimately unsustainable political entities.
They failed in radically different ways:, one through violent explosion, the other through slow implosion. The fate of the southern State is much more complex and ambiguous than that of the northern statelet, and it has the immense advantage of retaining the broad allegiance of most of its citizens. Yet those ambiguities should not mask its ultimate failure. And that failure should be seen as a challenge and an opportunity – it invites us to radically rethink the State.

Failure of the State
The failure of the State can be calibrated in many ways: the unwillingness to protect vulnerable citizens from slavery and abuse, the inability to sustain a modest prosperity, the apparently endemic resort to mass emigration, the descent into systemic corruption, the throwing away of hard-won sovereignty, the persistence of structural inequality. But we can also see it even if we look at the State in its simplest expression as a set of institutions.
The State as established under the 1922 and 1937 Constitutions is a classic, three-pillared democracy. It is built on the structure designed in the 18th century by Locke and Montesquieu, the separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the legal system. But each of these pillars is so badly cracked that any honest inspector would have to condemn the building they support.
This is hardly, at this point, a controversial statement. Every serious observer in recent decades has pointed out, again and again, that the legislature does not originate legislation, scrutinises legislation in a wholly inadequate way (more than half of all Bills under the current Government have been rushed through under the guillotine), and seldom holds to account the executive that, through the whip system, exerts almost complete control over it.
The legal system, meanwhile, has proved itself to be almost entirely powerless in bringing to justice those who commit those crimes that are most corrosive of social order: corruption, fraud, tax evasion, bribery, perjury, market abuse, corporate recklessness. It has therefore failed to uphold its own most basic principle – equality before the law. There is a rough but real distinction: poor criminals go to jail; and rich and/or well-connected criminals enjoy a very large measure of impunity.

Enda tipped as next Head of EU.

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is being tipped as a frontrunner to take over as EU chief when the powerful position comes up next year.

He is being linked with two top positions in the European Union in an analysis of the contenders by an influential Brussels-based opinion-shaper.
The Taoiseach is viewed as a frontrunner for the powerful post of European Council president, as he is seen as "capable but not a big name with an ego".
The European Council president chairs the meetings of EU leaders where all the major decisions are made.
The post is up for grabs in December 2014.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Celtic comeback!

After months of tracking down the owner of the site we have agreed a takeover and the site will start a new lease of life very soon.

Stay tuned!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Dáil ‘a joke’ as €112m spend passed

The Dáil was branded "a joke of a parliament" after a planned €112m spend next year for TDs and senators was pushed through without any debate.
As it rose for Halloween holidays, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil it would have a chance to debate the Oireachtas budget — an average spend of €500,000 for every TD and senator — when it returns on Nov 6.

However, as the budget was voted and passed on a Government majority yesterday, the opposition questioned the point of holding what was described by Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley as "a retrospective debate".

The estimates outline plans to spend €112m in 2013 — an increase on this year’s €108m. It will bring the average cost of keeping each TD and senator up to €495,700, compared with €479,400 this year.

The spend will include: nSalaries of €15,775,000 for 166 TDs — a slight rise from €15,753,000 last year;

* Salaries for 60 senators amounting to €4.1m — the same as 2012;

* Salaries for the State’s 12 MEPs (who earn the same as TDs) of €749,000 — up from €742,000 last year;

* Travel expenses for TDs of €3.7m — up about €55,000 from last year;

* Travel expenses of €1.3m for senators;

* Other expenses and allowances for TDs of €6.3m — up from €5.7m;

* Other expenses for senators of €1.1m — an increase of €147,000.

Independent TDs demanded a chance to debate the estimates because they include allowance and staff costs that they do not benefit from, unlike members of parties.

"These issues should be debated and scrutinised in Dáil Éireann in full public view," said Richard Boyd Barrett of the United Left Alliance.

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said it was "almost scandalous" that the estimate was "being put through the Dáil on the nod".

Read more Here