Friday, February 17, 2006

Woke up this morning to learn of yet two more assaults on democracy in Ireland today.

The first one relating to the egregious refueling of CIA and US military flights in Shannon and Baldonnel. Some spineless FF senators have blocked the Seanad from inquiring any further into what exactly is going on.

Tim Dooley (FF): 'setting up a select committee would insult a friendly nation'

Paschal Mooney (FF): 'in view of the assurance by the US secretary of state that nothing illegal was going on in the US use of Shannon, it would be extremely dangerous to the relationship between this country and America to turn around and indicate that somehow they were telling lies. Was Mr Norris prepared to sacrifice jobs and the interests of those in the Shannon area?'

If the US is not telling lies then why would FF senators feel obliged to shut the inquiry down? If there is nothing to reveal then let the investigation vindicate the words of Rice. The silencing of the commitee speaks volumes in that FF care more about US interests than the interests of the Irish people whom I belive the vast majority want a straight answer on what is passing through Shannon and Baldonnel.

Yet another reason not to vote for FF.

(Interesting point to note on the above issue: The only broadsheet to report it today is the Irish Times.)

The second assault on democracy is the introduction of the Strategic Infrastructure Bill

The Bill is being introduced by Envionment Minister Dick Roche to speed up the planning process, which is fair enough as the delay in some of the large scale public projects can be frustrating. However the bill does not distinguish between infrastructure projects genuinely in the public interest and
profit driven private sector projects ,as rightly pointed out by the Irish Planning Institute.

Labour environment spokesman Eamon Gilmore:
“It will, however greatly limit the right of the public and of local communities to voice their concerns over major developments, he said accusing the Government of perpetrating an urban myth that planning objections by the public were responsible for most delays,”

Green Party environment spokesman Ciaran Cuffe: “This bill is an attack on local democracy, and will do little or nothing to speed up the planning process. The main planning delays to major projects are due to High Court challenges and poor quality applications in the first instance. The bill does nothing to remedy these failings.

Groups like the Chambers of Commerce Ireland and IBEC on the other hand said the bill didnt go far enough with IBEC commenting that measures to speed up the process of dealing with objections should be added!

Frank McDonald of the Irish Times correctly highlighted the erosion of democracy since this Government was reelected in 2002, 'it has filleted the Freedom of Information Act, abolished Dúchas (the State Heritage Service) when it was seen to be getting in the way of "progress", and amended the National Monuments Act to give the Minister total discretion.'

Whatever next?


Post a Comment

<< Home