Friday, 26 November 2010

Sinn Fein Wins the Seat in Donegal

'You'll be getting my number one and there's more again in that house and down the lane'

As with the election of Bobby Sands to Westminster, a Dáil win for Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty could also have far-reaching effects
NOT SINCE the election of the late Bobby Sands to Westminster has a republican candidate been in such a fateful position to influence events.
Pearse Doherty was only three years of age when the IRA hunger striker secured his remarkable victory at the polls.
Nearly 30 years on, the republican strategy has changed: now it’s just the ballot box, and the Armalite has been decommissioned. But as with the election of Sands in nearby Fermanagh-South Tyrone, a win for the young Sinn Féin Senator could have far-reaching effects.
If he is elected to the Dáil, the Government’s already shaky majority will go down from three to two. That could mean a defeat on the budget, with huge implications not just for Brian Cowen and co but for the entire euro zone and beyond.
It’s hard to tie these considerations in with the sight of Doherty politely making his way from door to door in the villages and towns of Donegal South West.
He has a high recognition factor, not just because of his successful High Court case which forced the holding of the byelection after a delay of 17 months but also as a result of being active in Donegal politics for the last 10 years.
About one in three voters promise him their support. The others are friendly but vague, as though they are still thinking about it. There is only one firm rebuff: “No effing way!” In the 2007 general election, Doherty scored an impressive 8,462 first preference votes, but Fianna Fail’s Mary Coughlan and Pat “The Cope” Gallagher got 20,136 first preferences between them.
Even with the current crisis and the dizzying decline in Fianna Fáil’s popularity, the Sinn Féin contender has a steep mountain to climb.
His canvassing team yesterday included another aspiring Sinn Féin politician: Toiréasa Ferris, a daughter of Deputy Martin Ferris who herself secured almost 65,000 first preferences in last year’s European elections.
Irish people hate saying No and a man in blue overalls at the village of Kilcar promises Doherty a preference without saying which one. “I’ll give you a stroke,” he says, but a grinning passer-by issues a political health warning: “He’s a Fine Gaeler, that man.”
There is a more positive response in nearby Teelin. “You’ll be getting my number one and there’s more again in that house, and down the lane,” says a woman dressed stylishly in black.
The scenery is stunning but Doherty’s team are not distracted. There are many native speakers here and the candidate’s fluency in Irish comes in useful.
“I’ll see,” a woman in Slieve League says, in the finest Ulster Gaelic. She goes on to lament the “easy money” ethos of the Celtic Tiger years, thereby giving Doherty a chance to slip in a reference to retiring TD Jim McDaid’s generous pension arrangements.
A neighbouring house is more encouraging: “I will certainly vote for you, because you couldn’t do worse than what we have now.” As well as being a new type of Sinn Féiner, Doherty sees himself as a different kind of politician – for example, he refuses to play the game of going to funerals when he doesn’t know the deceased.
“My father canvassed for Pat ‘The Cope’,” he says, “and my mother came from a traditional Fine Gael background.” His parents didn’t know he was in Sinn Féin until they saw him on the news attending a Bloody Sunday commemoration rally.
He was one of the founders of Ógra Shinn Féin, the party’s youth wing, in 1997. Unlike older colleagues, he doesn’t have a colourful past, and quips that his only dark secret is that he used to be a fan of heavy metal.
Doherty was born in Glasgow but his family returned home to Gweedore when he was a child. He studied engineering at third level. His election to the Seanad in 2007 came as a result of a voting pact with the Labour Party. Whatever the byelection result, it’s safe to say he won’t be going away.

Sinn Fein Set to Win Donegal Seat

Counting of votes in the Donegal South West by-election is under way with five candidates competing to fill the Dáil seat vacated by MEP Pat The Cope Gallagher.
1 of 5Final Tally - Doherty 39.7%, McBrearty 10.1%, Ó Domhnaill 21.2%, O'Neill 18.4%, Pringle 10.1%.
Final Tally - Doherty 39.7%, McBrearty 10.1%, Ó Domhnaill 21.2%, O'Neill 18.4%, Pringle 10.1%.
Counting of votes in the Donegal South West by-election is under way with five candidates competing to fill the Dáil seat vacated by MEP Pat The Cope Gallagher.
Main Points:
* Tallymen estimate that turnout was 56.1%
* Pearse Doherty tops tally with 39.7%
* Labour Party vote lower than expected

* Result expected this afternoon

Irish government awaits trouncing in vote for seat 

Ireland's government is likely to see its majority cut to two when the results of an election for a vacant parliamentary seat are released on Friday.Skip related content
But despite the expected rebuke from voters unhappy about cutbacks to qualify for an IMF/EU bailout, the government has said it is confident about being able to pass a budget due on December 7.
Failure to pass the 2011 budget would deepen the country's crisis and destabilise the euro zone. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Dublin on Thursday he was confident the budget would go through.
"I am quite satisfied from my discussions both with the parties in government and the various public representatives in Dail Eireann (parliament) that there is a majority for this budget and that it will pass," he said.
The Fianna Fail-led government, which agreed this week to accept an IMF/EU bailout, expected to be about 85 billion euros ($113.6 billion), is predicted by opinion polls to lose the Donegal seat to the nationalist anti-European Sinn Fein.
That result, due on Friday afternoon, would leave it a majority of just two -- both independents who have said they might vote against the budget.
Fianna Fail's junior coalition partners, the Green Party, said this week they would pull out after a vote on the budget, forcing an election early next year.
The main opposition centre-right Fine Gael party has not said how it will vote on the budget.
The government unveiled a four-year plan of 15 billion euros in tax rises and spending cuts on Wednesday, but this has done nothing to reassure investors who are still waiting to find out details of the bailout, and jittery about Irish bank debt exposure.
Fine Gael, which is likely to lead the next government, said it would not be bound by the terms of the four-year plan, although it has said it would stick with the main target of 15 billion euros in cuts.

Donegal South West

26/11/2010 - 07:30:33
Counting will get underway at 9am today in the by-election in Donegal South West.

Five candidates are vying for the seat, which was vacated by Fianna Fáil's Pat the Cope Gallagher in the European elections in June 2009.

The delayed by-election is the first chance voters have had to show their dissatisfaction with the Government since the economic crisis began.

It was Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty who launched the successful legal challenge to force the Government to hold this delayed by-election. He is now favourite to win the seat here in Donegal South West.

There are four other candidates in the race, Fianna Fáil's Brian O'Domhnaill, Barry O'Neill of Fine Gael, Independent Thomas Pringle and Labour's Frank Mc Brearty.

Traditionally it is a Fianna Fáil's stronghold - the party had two TDs elected there in 2007.

If, as expected, Sinn Feéin's Pearse Doherty wins the seat, the Government's slim majority will be reduced to just two, assuming Independents Jackie Healy Rae and Michael Lowry continue to support the coalition.

Counting will get underway in the Finn Valley Athletic Centre in Stranorlar at 9am. Tallies are expected to give an indication of the result by lunchtime, with an result expected later in the afternoon.

Read more:

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Blame the Banking Crisis - Not the Lib Dems


A pledge was made by the Lib Dems before the election. Before the election the Lib Dems were in opposition to the Labour government. After the election everything changed - the Lib Dems formed a Coalitition with the Conservatives and joined the government as equal partners.
In order to work effectively a Coalition  of two parties requires compromise. It involves give and take and an acceptance of economic realities. Despite their political beliefs, high principles and heartfelt desires and against their better judgement both Tories and liberals acted in the best interests of the coalition and the nations of Britain. Sections of the media, TV interviewers, student leaders apparently fail to grasp the sheer necessity for their stand in the light of the greatest calamity that has befallen the nations of Europe since the Great Depression. The causes of this are plain to see: 
indiscriminate borrowing;
lack of banking regulation;
gross extravagance;
inflated salaries in the public sector;
corrupt banking practices;
inflation of the property market;
government waste of public money. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Anticipating Ireland's Budget

Budget 2011 and The Four Year Plan

The Irish cabinet are holding an emergency meeting this evening  to finalise details of a four year budgetary plan for the country . This plan will be closely tied to the forthcoming December 7th Budget for 2011 – and  it seems a few details have been leaked.
The Irish government are also expected to make a formal application to the IMF/EU for “substantial loans” this evening too.
Euro zone finance ministers have agreed to bailout Ireland, according to a report from the AFP new agency, citing an unnamed source
The ministers held an emergency conference call this evening to consider Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan’s declaration that he would seek Cabinet approval to request a financial rescue package from the Internatonal Monetary Fund and the European Union.
The 4 year plan  – to be published this week – will contain details of how the government hope to get €15 Billion in cuts or increased taxation by 2014.
Some of the likely measures include: all unconfirmed ……
A  household  service charge for every household as early as 2011 – (To be followed by a property tax ) Expected to be less than €150 per household.
Cuts in public-sector pensions in line with  last year’s public-sector pay reductions.
Lower tax thresholds in order to reduce  the 50% of workers who currently pay no income tax .
Closing off of  most tax shelters.
Spending cuts in excess of €11bn
A phased introduction of a new social charge to replace PRSI and the income levies.
Reductions in the  minimum wage rate .
Increases to student registration fees at third level.
More details will be given as soon as they are confirmed.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Supporting an Indigenous Language

Mr Lawrence Isted,
Chief Planning Officer
Wrexham County Borough Council,
Lambpit St,
LL11 1AR

Dear Mr Isted,

I write to you in support of Planning application P2010/0881 (The new Welsh School on Delamere Avenue, Gwersyllt). My reasons for supporting the applications are:
1. There is a big demand for Medium Welsh Education in Gwersyllt
2. To improve educational facilities in Gwersyllt as Ysgol Plas Coch is overcrowded and oversubscribed.
3. The School Building Improvement Grant of £4.2 million is site specific
4. That the site that has been chosen despite being outside the settlement is suitable for a school and will enhance the area.
5. The plans accord with the Unitary Development Plan.
6. There will be minimal impact on the character or appearance of the area as the school will only take up a small proportion of the available land and there is ample other Public Open Spaces in that ward.
7. The other seven options for locating the Welsh school have been assessed and discounted with only the Delamere Avenue site being found suitable.
8. A £6 million development will bring economic and employment opportunities to the area.
9. There will be little impact on residential amenity i.e hours of opening will be mainly 8 till 4, 5 days a week, 39 weeks a year, there will be no noise and the building will not be high or dominant, 
10. Children currently travel by car to Plas Coch, therefore by having a school nearby children may walk to school.
11. There will be 20mph speed limits outside the school and traffic calming to address any road safety issues.
12. The development will create additional amenity to local people i.e additional playing field.
I would be grateful if you could copy this letter to all members of the Planning Committee prior to the application being heard.

Yours sincerely,

(Insert name & address)

Monday, 22 November 2010

An Irish January Election?

Ireland junior coalition partner calls for election

Ireland's Green Party, the junior government coalition partner, called Monday for an election to be held in January and said it would pull out of government once a series of fiscal packages and budgets were in place.Skip related content
"...we have now reached a point where the Irish people need political certainty to take them beyond the coming two months. So, we believe it is time to fix a date for a general election in the second half of January 2011," the Greens said in a statement.
They said they had told Prime Minister Brian Cowen, leader of coalition partner Fianna Fail, of their call for an election but stressed the party would remain in government until a program of austerity measures had been published, IMF and European support secured, and the 2011 budget passed.
"Leaving the country without a government while these matters are unresolved would be very damaging and would breach our duty of care," the party said.
Ireland's coalition government of Fianna Fail, the Greens and independent politicians has a wafer thin majority in parliament and its popularity has plummeted over its handling of the country's financial and economic crisis.
Cowen needs to pass Ireland's toughest budget on record on December 7. With a parliamentary majority of three. The six Greens in the lower house hold the balance of power.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Peter Graff)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Does Labour Support Total Devolution?

From Betsan Powys' Blog

And a little something for Labour supporters?
"Voting "Yes" on March 3rd is the best way to make sure Welsh Labour's policies become law. The old system worked okay when we had a Labour Government in Westminster, but now Tory MPs would be in a position to delay Labour proposals to make Wales a fairer country".
Wonder what Peter Hain makes of that "okay". Wonder what Welsh Conservatives will make of the line of attack.
But there you have it: vote "Yes" Welsh Labour tells its supporters because that's the springboard it needs to win the next election. Vote Yes in March, for Labour in May.
Wonder what you make of that. 

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Action to Safeguard Welsh Independent Broadcasting

Pressure group calls for TV licence boycott over S4C

The BBC will fund S4C out of the licence fee from 2013
A Welsh-language pressure group is calling for people to refuse to pay the TV licence fee unless the independence of S4C is guaranteed.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg [The Welsh Language Society] is urging the action from 1 December over plans for the BBC to take over part-funding of S4C.

The group said it feared the move would jeopardise the channel's future.

TV Licensing said anyone without a licence who needs one risked prosecution.

About 70 delegates at the society's annual general meeting in Aberystwyth voted unanimously to take further action which it said would include refusing to pay the licence fee from December unless the government changes its mind.

The society said it will call on its members and the wider Welsh public to refuse to pay their licence fee.

The Welsh-language channel' s budget will be cut by 25% by 2015, as part of the UK government's Spending Review.

The BBC will take over part-funding of S4C from 2013, with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport reducing its grant by 94% over the next five years.

UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has said the UK government is "committed to Welsh programming and committed to S4C".

He said the channel had received a "very generous funding settlement".

Speaking ahead of the society's AGM on Saturday, Bethan Williams, chair-elect of Cymdeithas, said: "The BBC has been very misleading by claiming that they are saving S4C by taking over the channel.

As the only Welsh channel is gobbled up by the BBC, the fate of the language will be in the hands of a broadcaster in London which has to make severe cuts itself”

Bethan Williams
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg
"The truth is that these plans are a complete last minute stitch-up, between [UK culture secretary] Jeremy Hunt and BBC bosses in London."

She said the UK government and the "BBC in London" were "threatening the future of the only Welsh language channel in the world".

She added: "As the only Welsh channel is gobbled up by the BBC, the fate of the language will be in the hands of a broadcaster in London which has to make severe cuts itself."

A TV Licensing spokesperson said: "Regardless of personal opinion, if you don't have a valid TV licence when you need one, it's against the law and you risk a prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000."

Cymdeithas has a history of non-violent direct action, and more than 1,000 supporters have been in court for taking part in campaigns since it was founded in 1962.

In the 1970s the group began to campaign for a Welsh language radio and television service. In February 1971, a group of students walked from Llanelwy, in Denbighshire, to Bangor, in Gwynedd, and burned their TV licences outside BBC premises.

When the Conservative government announced in 1979 it would not establish a separate Welsh language television channel, some protesters refused to buy licences and others climbed up television masts and invaded television studios.

Cymdeithas is organising a rally in Cardiff on 6 November to protest at the changes to S4C.

Alex Salmond Corrects the UK Government

Salmond puts UK straight on Scottish tax power

Home » News » Holyrood
Alex Salmond has set the UK Government straight over the tax powers available to the Scottish Parliament. In a public letter to the Scottish Secretary Mr Salmond responds to a series of inaccurate claims from the Scottish secretary about the future of the 3p tax power.

The SNP has always made clear that the current tartan tax is an unfair and regressive tax.

The full letter is below:

Your letter of 18 November about the Scottish variable rate of income tax (SVR) is a travesty of the position. The reality is as follows.

The then Scottish Executive paid the UK Government £12 million in 2000 to add SVR functionality to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax collection systems. Thereafter, an annual fee of £50,000 was paid.

HMRC said in 2007 that additional work was needed to maintain the readiness of the IT system, and in summer 2008 made clear that they would be installing a new IT platform. Scottish Government officials attempted to elicit information on what this meant for Scotland and the functionality of the 3p tax power.

We were finally asked on 28 July this year to pay over the sum of £7 million to HMRC for this purpose. Why nowhere in your letter did you mention this.demand?

Anyone proposing paying this £7 million to HMRC would need to explain where the equivalent cuts would be made in Scottish public spending.

And even if we had paid it - at a time when Scotland is on the receiving end of massive cuts to our budget from your government - the SVR under the new system could not have been implemented until 2012/13: another key point which you failed to mention.

In any case, at that stage it seemed an academic debate because the SVR itelf is set to be replaced under any version of the legislation which you intend to introduce in the next few weeks.

On 20 August, Scottish Government officials offered talks with HMRC on the issue of the SVR - an offer which has not been responded to. The first we have heard from the UK government on the matter since 20 August is your letter of yesterday.

It is clearly unacceptable that Scotland should be asked to pay, again, for something which millions of pounds have previously been paid for. If HMRC choose to replace their IT systems, that is clearly a matter for them. However, anyone would expect them in specifying their new systems to replicate the functionality of the old.

No Scottish administration has used the 3p tax power, none of the main parties in Scotland advocate using it now, and it is intended to be overtaken by the Tory/Lib Dem Calman financial proposals - flawed measures which, had they been established for the start of the current spending review, would have resulted in the Scottish Budget being £900 million lower in 2009/10.

The real issue, therefore, would appear to be about the future.

You stated - as did Danny Alexander in his letter to me of 20 October this year about the Spending Review settlement - that: "it is an established principle that the costs of devolution should be met from the Scottish Budget."

This is not the case - in fact, the opposite is true.

HM Treasury's recently-updated Statement of Funding Policy states at paragraph 3.2.8 that:

"Where decisions of United Kingdom departments or agencies lead to additional costs for any of the devolved administrations, where other arrangements do not exist automatically to adjust for such extra costs, the body whose decision leads to the additional cost will meet that cost."

The clear impression can only be that your letter was not about the cost of financial powers that are going to be superseded, but rather about establishing a precedent for the Scottish Government paying to instal and administer the Calman tax proposals - which unlike the SVR will require to be used every year.

Given the huge pressures on the Scottish public purse because of your government's spending cuts - and the further threat to our budget from the Calman proposals themselves - we need answers to these key questions as a matter of urgency:

How much is the UK Government intending to ask the Scottish Government to pay for the Calman tax powers - measures which could reduce Scotland's budget, as indicated above?

When do you propose asking the Scottish Government, and therefore the Scottish people, to pay?

Exactly when would these financial powers be capable of being implemented?

A copy of this letter goes like yours to Annabel Goldie MSP, Iain Gray MSP, Margo MacDonald MSP, Tavish Scott MSP and Patrick Harvie MSP, and David Gauke MP, and also to the leaders of the Scottish parties at Westminster: Angus Robertson MP, Ann McKechin MP, and David Mundell MP. I am also sending copies to John Swinney and Fiona Hyslop.

Given that you released your letter to the media, I am also releasing this.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

People are saying: "The End of an Eire".

Yes, yes, yes and yes again!

Diolch am eich cefnogaeth

The official campaign period for the referendum on greater powers for the Assemby is about to start. It's hoped that the Referendum Order will be approved by the Privy Council on the 15th December with the official campaign starting on the 16th December.
In order to be ready amd prepared for this intensive campaign period Cymru Yfory Tomorrow's Wales is compiling a database of volunteers for the Yes campaign. If you are ready to give practical help with the YES campaign would you be so kind as to reply to send an email to noting what you could do during the campaign:

Post Code:
Phone Number:
Mobile Number:

Leaflet distribution:
Phone canvassing:
Writing to the press:
Organising a meeting:

Thanking you for your support,

Promoting Cornish (Kernowek) as a Living Language

MAGA - Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek / Cornish Language Partnership

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MAGA - Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek / Cornish Language Partnership

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MAGA - Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek / Cornish Language Partnership

MAGA - Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek / Cornish Language Partnership Want to learn Cornish? Find a class near you!

Find a Cornish class near you!The following is a list of Cornish classes we know to be running in the 2010 2011 academic year.

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MAGA - Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek / Cornish Language Partnership

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MAGA - Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek / Cornish Language Partnership
9 new photos

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MAGA - Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek / Cornish Language Partnership
The Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland will take place in Dingle, Co. Kerry next year from 26th April to 1st May, and Cornwall is seeking entries to both the Pan Celtic International Song Contest and the Traditional Singing Competition...

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MAGA - Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek / Cornish Language Partnership

The Govyn Kernewek Award is a competitive annual commission of £5,000* to make a short film using Kernewek. The award is supported by Cornwall Film Festival, MAGA and awen productions cic....

Yma prays meur dendilys gans Kescowethyans an Taves Kernowek drefen i dhe gollenwel an ober marthys a dharbary Furv Scrifys Savonek a’n yeth, a yll bos devnydhys alemma rag gans Consel Kernow ha gans corfow erel rag dyscans furvek hag y’n bownans poblek dre vras. Pur gales o an devar settyes dhyrag an Bagas Ad-Hoc hag i a spedyas orth y wul a-ji dhe bymp dydh a vetyansow enep orth enep ynter mis Du 2007 ha mis Meurth 2008. Apert yw y feu res dhedha ervira maters tyckly pan wrug an eth den na garowlinya elvennow an Furv Scrifys Savonek. Certan yw an bolitegieth dhe wary part bras y’n erviransow yethydhek-na, ha kyn nag yw an spellyans usons i ow comendya, dh’agan tybyans ni, perfeyth yn pub poynt, yma ev ow mos pell dhe gudha ynno pub ehen a’n yeth Dasserhys, dhyworth savle a leveryans an Taves Dasvewys ha dhyworth savle pennrewlys an spellyans kefrys.