Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD on Budget 2022

From Department of Finance

By: Minister for Finance; Paschal Donohoe

Published on 12 October 2021

Last updated on 12 October 2021


1. Introduction
2. COVID-19: Government response
3. Macroeconomic outlook
4. Budgetary stance
5. Budget 2022 measures
6. Conclusion

Check against delivery

Introduction

A Ceann Comhairle,

The last time I announced a budget in this chamber two years ago, none of us could have foreseen that the worst global pandemic in a century awaited. We knew well about the risks associated with Brexit, and had prepared for it. We could not have predicted the devastation which COVID-19 would leave in its wake. Both events have demonstrated the need for us to always prepare for the worst, while still striving for the best.

Many lives were lost and many livelihoods were ruined. The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented experience for all of us, and unfortunately life-changing for many.

But it also brought out the very best in Irish society: the bravery, resilience and fortitude of our front-line workers; the commitment of those working in the community and social care sectors; and the determination of ordinary people across our country to get their loved ones through the pandemic as safely as possible.

Our efforts have worked. Our solidarity, our common purpose has saved lives and allowed our society and economy to reopen. Our country now reaches for a better and brighter future. Minister McGrath and I have worked together with all parties and all colleagues in this government so that Budget 2022 is a path to that future.

COVID-19: Government response

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the role of Government in supporting both our economy and society.

While the response from Government was unparalleled – with over €48 billion provided for over three years – it was also a response that was fully justified.

Through the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), approximately €17 ½ billion has been directed to individuals, families and businesses.

Our supports worked.

We responded in the right way at the right time.

This response was strengthened by the solidarity of the European Union.

But that response could only take place due to the careful management of the economy in the years leading up to the pandemic.

We managed our affairs well in better times, so that we could support at a time of great national difficulty.

We are now entering a new phase where we will:

  • recover from the pandemic
  • restore our public services and living standards
  • repair our public finances

In framing this Budget, we have been conscious of the cost of living pressures that are currently confronting citizens and businesses.

As the recovery increasingly takes hold, and citizens get back to some level of normality, we in Government remain focused on our higher levels of debt, which my department is forecasting will come in at just under €240 billion next year and the real risks associated with that.

Budget 2022 meets the twin goals of investing in our future, of meeting the needs of today, while putting the public finances on a sustainable path.

Macroeconomic outlook

Turning to our domestic forecasts. While the re-imposition of COVID-related restrictions during the first quarter of this year led to a further contraction of the domestic economy, the decline in activity was not as severe as that seen during the initial lockdown last spring.

Due to the success of our vaccination programme, restrictions were eased over the course of the second quarter, with the domestic economy recovering strongly as a result.

Modified Domestic Demand, the best measure of the domestic economy, grew by almost 8½ per cent in the second quarter, and surpassed the level immediately preceding the pandemic for the first time since the start of the crisis.

Having accumulated significant savings during the pandemic, consumer spending is leading the way. At the end of the second quarter, spending was just 3 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

For this year as a whole, Modified Domestic Demand is expected to grow by 5¼ per cent and by 6½ per cent in 2022.

The strong rebound in domestic economic activity has been accompanied by rising inflationary pressures, with consumer price inflation expected to reach 3.7 per cent in September, which would be the highest rate since June 2008.

This recent rise in inflation is partly a result of temporary factors, which are expected to fade over time. This includes the normalisation of oil prices following their collapse in spring last year and the mismatch between demand and supply that has emerged following the reopening of the economy.

However, acute supply chain pressures including shipping capacity, shortages of raw materials, labour shortages in certain sectors, as well as rising energy prices mean that there are further risks to inflation and the cost of living.

The government also continues to be aware of, and prepared for, the risks and consequences of Brexit.

Strong tax receipts throughout the year, particularly VAT and income tax, reflect the positive momentum in the economy. These receipts were built on the back of the government’s various support schemes over the past year and a half – without schemes such as the EWSS and PUP, tax revenue would have plummeted as jobs would have been threatened and lost.

The jobs outlook has also improved significantly. PUP numbers are now under 100,000 for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, falling from almost half a million since early February.

The sharp fall in PUP recipients and improving labour market conditions have prompted the current COVID-adjusted unemployment rate to fall below 10 per cent, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic. By year end the unemployment rate is forecast to be just over 9 per cent. Employment is forecast to grow by just under 8 per cent or around 150,000 jobs this year.

Next year, the unemployment rate is expected to fall to around 6½ per cent by the fourth quarter, still higher than the pre-pandemic rate of around 5 per cent. Employment is expected to grow by just over 13 per cent or 275,000 jobs in 2022.

Overall, more than 400,000 jobs will be added to the economy between this year and next, and employment is expected to reach and exceed its pre-pandemic level during the course of 2022. This performance, by any measure, represents a remarkable rebound in our jobs outlook.

We are recovering. The resilience of the Irish people, sensible fiscal policies before the pandemic and our economic supports during the crisis are the ingredients in the recovery.

But this recovery must also deliver more homes, better progress on climate change and help with a cost of living that is rising. Minister McGrath and I know this, it has led to the important decisions in Budget 2022.

Budgetary stance

Public spending next year will amount to €87.6 billion – the government has been steadfast in its commitment to keeping this amount below the ceiling laid out in the Summer Economic Statement. Our medium-term strategy sets out that over the next two budgets we will:

  • restore our public services, phase out temporary COVID-related spending, and
  • repair our public finances

This strategy strikes the appropriate balance between tapering supports and investing in the domestic economy. In Budget 2022 core current expenditure will grow by 4.6 per cent in line with the trend growth of our economy. By 2022, we will only be borrowing for capital spending.

It is worth recalling how dramatically the budgetary landscape has transformed over the last two years, and in particular, how we entered the crisis with a budgetary surplus of €2 billion.

In the Summer Economic Statement my department forecast a combined deficit of just over €34½ billion for 2021 and 2022.

Ceann Comhairle, I am revising that forecast to €21½ billion for both years, a reduction of approximately 40 per cent.

Critically, this means that our debt as a share of national income is now falling, and falling significantly. On this point, I no longer believe that it is appropriate to consider our debt burden in terms of Gross Domestic Product given the volatility associated with that particular measure of economic activity. It will be more important to reference national income.

As a share of national income, our debt will therefore fall from 106 per cent this year, to 99 percent next year, reaching 89½ percent in 2025.

As such, it is clear that we are reducing our overall borrowing this year and next. However, it is also clear that the amounts involved are still substantial.

The expenditure associated with Budget 2022 will bring our overall national debt to just under €240 billion. That means debt of nearly €50,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.

This is not where we want to be when interest rates start to rise again. That is why we need to repair our public finances, and put them back on a sustainable footing.

Budget 2022 measures

Today I am announcing a total budgetary package of €4.7 billion. This is in line with the Summer Economic Statement and has not been changed as a result of the improved Exchequer performance in recent months.

This will be split between expenditure measures worth €4.2 billion and tax measures worth €½ billion, including revenue raising measures of approximately €230 million.

The pandemic is still with us. We have therefore made provision for temporary supports to continue in order to provide certainty for those most impacted, and flexibility for the public finances should the situation with the virus deteriorate unexpectedly over the coming year.

To this end, a contingency fund amounting to €4 billion will be created.

Future supports – EWSS

In relation to the current supports, I have been steadfast in my commitment that there will be no cliff-edge to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme which has been an extremely successful policy instrument during these challenging times; one which has greatly assisted us in maintaining the link between employers and employees.

I am pleased to announce that the EWSS will remain in place in a graduated form until the 30th of April 2022 – that is six months after the lifting of most public health restrictions and two months after the PUP ceases.

The following are the broad parameters of this extension:

  • no change to EWSS for the months of October and November
  • businesses availing of the EWSS on the 31st of December 2021 will continue to be supported until the 30th of April 2022
  • across December, January and February, a two-rate structure of €151.50 and €203 will apply
  • for March and April 2022, the final two months of the scheme, a flat rate subsidy of €100 will be put in place. The reduced rate of Employers’ PRSI will no longer apply for these two months
  • the scheme will close to new employers from the 1st of January 2022

These revised arrangements for EWSS strike a balance between helping those businesses which continue to need support, while recalibrating the scheme in light of the wider economic recovery.

Aviation

The aviation sector has paid a particularly heavy price during the pandemic. I am therefore taking the opportunity in the forthcoming Finance Bill to amend the taxation arrangements which apply to international air crews under Section 127B of the income tax code.

This move will support the sector in its recovery.

VAT rate for hospitality

The reduced VAT rate of 9 per cent for the hospitality sector will remain in place to the end of August 2022.

Remote working

As many have experienced over the past year and a half, remote working can become part of a better work/life balance. Government policy is to facilitate and support remote work and, in this regard, I am announcing an income tax deduction amounting to 30 per cent of the cost of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband in respect of those incurred while working from home, which will be formalised in legislation through the Finance Bill.

This will support living standards as the economy starts to recover. However, it will also be kept under review from the perspective of its interaction with the National Climate Policy Position.

Income tax

Ceann Comhairle, as prices rise and inflation returns, the government wants to ease the cost of living pressures which many are feeling.

I am therefore announcing today an income tax package to the value of almost €520 million which will:

  • firstly, increase the standard rate band by €1,500
  • secondly, increase each of the personal tax credit, employee tax credit and earned income credit by €50

These changes will benefit everyone who pays income tax. Along with other measures that will be announced by Minister McGrath they aim to help citizens at a time when prices are rising.

Universal Social Charge

The government accepts the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission to increase the national minimum wage by 30 cent to €10.50 per hour.

In addition, in order to ensure that the salary of a full-time worker on the minimum wage will remain outside the top rates of the Universal Social Charge, the ceiling of the second USC rate band will be increased from €20,687 to €21,295 – a move which will give a benefit to workers whose income is above that amount.

I am also retaining the exemption from the top rate of USC for all medical card holders and those over-70 earning less than €60,000.

Housing

As everyone in this chamber is well aware, a core, if not the core challenge facing the country over the next number of years is housing.

Recent figures show national property price inflation of just under 9 per cent in July. The rise in prices is due to the imbalance between housing demand and supply, as well as the impact of some of the savings built up over the pandemic being directed into housing.

I appreciate the strain, anxiety and worry caused by the shortage of homes.

This is why the government is determined to build more homes.

This is why total housing expenditure has more than doubled since 2016, and as of 2021, it will be more than 40 per cent above the peak level in 2008.

Zoned Land Tax

The government’s Housing for All strategy targets delivery of, on average, 33,000 new homes per annum out to 2030.

Housing construction has already rebounded rapidly this year and there were almost 30,000 housing commencements in the 12 months to August.

As part of Housing for All, I will be introducing a Zoned Land Tax to encourage the use of land for building homes. The primary objective of the measure is to increase the supply of residential accommodation, rather than to raise revenue.

The tax will apply to land which is zoned suitable for residential development and is serviced, but has not been developed for housing. It will therefore target land in areas which are zoned residential or which are zoned for a mix of uses, including residential. I am not proposing to have any minimum size exclusion as I see the potential for the tax to incentivise the development of small sites in town centres.

In order to identify zoned land within the scope of the tax, maps will be prepared and published by Local Authorities in advance of the commencement of the measure. These maps will be updated on an annual basis.

The Minister for Housing has indicated that there will be a process established to enable any person to apply to their Local Authority to have the zoning status of their land amended.

This process will be aligned with normal local authority procedures, and each case will be considered on its merits in the context of proper planning and sustainable development.

An appropriate lead-in time for the general application of the Zoned Land Tax will be required following its introduction in the Finance Bill 2021. I am proposing a two-year lead-in time for land zoned before January 2022, and a three-year lead in time for land zoned after January 2022. This will also give scope to review the workings of the tax, to listen to stakeholders, and ensure it is both effective and equitable.

The tax will be based on the market value of the land and I have determined that the rate at the outset should be 3 per cent. This aligns with the starting point for the vacant site levy when it was first introduced.

I believe the introduction of this tax is a very important step forward in encouraging the release of land for building homes. Depending on its impact, I will be open to reviewing the rate in the future.

There will be a number of exclusions from the tax such as dwelling houses and their gardens, amenities and infrastructure. Other exemptions will be defined in the Finance Bill.

The tax will operate on a self-assessment basis and will be administered by the Revenue Commissioners.

Finally, it is worth noting that this tax will replace the vacant site levy when it comes into operation.

Help to Buy

Ensuring that people have access to home ownership in this country is an absolute priority for this government. Focussing directly on those trying to access the housing market, the Help-to-Buy scheme has been a significant support for first time buyers of new homes. For 2022, the scheme is being continued at the current rates.

Consistent with recent Tax Strategy Group recommendations, I am also announcing that a full review of the scheme will be carried out in the course of next year.

Pre-letting expenses for landlords

Also on housing, I propose to extend the relief for pre-letting expenses for landlords for a further three years. This will continue to encourage landlords in the residential rental sector to return empty properties to the market as quickly as possible.

Climate change

I will now turn to one of the most important issues of our time, climate change.

Future generations will not tolerate inaction from the leaders of today. But, by future generations, I do not just mean children yet to be born. Children, teenagers, and the younger adults of today demand action. They deserve action.

They are clear in their arguments and the science is unambiguous: the world is burning, and the only chance we have to control those fires is through coherent and effective policies. This is why carbon taxation is so important.

The Finance Act 2020 provided for annual increments in the carbon tax of €7.50 out to 2030. This provides a clear signal for producers and consumers in terms of the price of carbon.

Studies have shown that carbon taxation is likely to be the single most effective climate policy which can be pursued by Government; although it is not the only one and will not deliver the required emissions reductions on its own.

We have seen challenges around energy supply and prices across the globe in recent months. The government is conscious of how this will impact on our most vulnerable.

That is why new monies raised in this change will be invested in targeted social welfare initiatives to prevent fuel poverty and ensure a just transition. It is why the additional revenue from carbon tax will be used to invest in a socially progressive national retrofitting programme.

The 2019 Climate Action Plan recommended the development of “an enabling framework for micro-generation which tackles existing barriers and establishes suitable supports within relevant market segments”.

To that end, I am proposing a modest tax disregard in respect of personal income received by households who sell surplus electricity that they generate back to the grid.

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)

I made significant changes to the vehicle registration tax system in last year’s Budget to strengthen the environmental rationale of VRT in line with government commitments to radically reduce emissions from road transport.

The structure of new car sales for 2021 compared to 2020 is evidence of the success of this approach, with an increase in vehicles registered at the lower end of the VRT scale.

I am proposing further changes in this regard to strengthen this approach. From January 2022 a revised VRT table is being introduced. The 20 band table will remain with an uplift in rates, as follows:

  • 1 per cent increase for vehicles that fall between bands 9-12
  • 2 per cent increase for bands 13-15
  • 4 per cent increase for bands 16-20

In addition, to continue to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles, I am extending the €5,000 relief for Battery Electric Vehicles to end 2023.

Accelerated Capital Allowances

Finance Act 2020 extended the Accelerated Capital Allowance scheme for Energy Efficient Equipment. In accordance with wider government policy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, I am providing that equipment directly operated by fossil fuels will no longer qualify.

The scheme seeks to support the transition to lower-emission fuels in the heavy-duty land transport sector. Therefore, I am extending the ACA scheme for Gas Vehicles and Refuelling Equipment for three years.

As a transport fuel, renewable hydrogen offers significantly higher carbon savings when compared to fossil fuels. I am also extending the scheme to include hydrogen powered vehicles and refuelling equipment. This policy is aligned with wider government policy to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Agricultural reliefs

Ceann Comhairle, farming families have a central role to play in protecting the environment over the long-term. Supporting the next generation of farming families is essential for guaranteeing the long-term future of agriculture and the agri-business sector. They too will have an important role to play in the national recovery from the pandemic.

As such, I intend to extend the various farming stock relief measures.

General stock relief will continue to the end of 2024.

Stock relief for Young Trained Farmers and Farm Partnerships, and the Young Trained Farmer stamp duty relief will continue to the end of next year.

These measures, designed to support young farmers, are deemed to be a State aid by the EU, allowable under the Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation. The current exemption is scheduled to expire on the 31st of December 2022. Therefore, I can only extend all three reliefs until that date.

I have been advised by the Department of Agriculture that they are confident that reliefs of this nature will continue to be considered an acceptable form of State aid under the terms of any revised regulation. I am hopeful, therefore, that I will be able to provide for a further extension of this relief next year as well as the stock reliefs for young trained farmers and farm partnerships.

Independent brewers

The revised EU Alcohol Directive now permits the granting of up to 50 per cent excise relief to independent small producers of cider and other fermented drinks products.

I see this relief as having a similar positive effect as that provided for small independent producers of beer and have asked my officials to engage with the sector to allow for the implementation of this relief in next year’s Finance Bill.

Supporting business

Supporting entrepreneurs and the wider business community will be central to our broader national recovery. They are indeed the backbone of our domestic economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

This is why I am implementing a package of measures to support our smaller businesses and entrepreneurs.

Employment Investment Incentive

The Employment Investment Incentive (EII) scheme has the potential to become a real driver of investment in early stage companies and high-potential start-ups. In recent years, positive changes have been made to the scheme but it has yet to reach its potential.

Today, I am announcing an extension of the scheme for a further three years and I am also bringing forward a number of important improvements, the effect of which will be to make the scheme more attractive to investors to the ultimate benefit of companies in their start-up years and to the economy through job creation.

More significantly, and following consultation with relevant stakeholders, I intend to open up the scheme to a wider range of investment funds and I am confident that this measure on its own will result in greater investment in early stage enterprises.

In addition, subject to certain conditions, I am relaxing the rules around the so called “capital redemption window” for investors. I am also removing the 30 per cent expenditure rule which is unduly restrictive in the context of the self-assessment principles that now apply to the relief.

Innovation Equity Fund

In last year’s Budget, I announced that the government would commit a €30 million investment through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to establish an innovation equity fund with a mandate to invest in domestic, high innovation enterprises.

Today, I can announce that the government intends to commit a further €30 million investment to this fund through Enterprise Ireland; this will be matched by €30 million from the European Investment Fund, subject to Board approval.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding currently being developed by all three parties, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund expects to participate with its €30 million as a co-investor, leading to potential investments of up to €90 million for predominantly seed stage Irish SMEs.

It is expected to be launched in early 2022 and will increase the availability of early stage funding for Irish SMEs. It will also be consistent with other priorities such as promoting regional development, supporting female entrepreneurship, and climate change initiatives.

Relief for start-up companies

Today I am announcing an extension of the Section 486C corporation tax relief for certain start-up companies to the end of 2026. Data shows that this relief continues to support employment and businesses in a cost-efficient manner. In view of the challenges companies currently face in utilising the relief, start-up companies will now be able to avail of the relief for up to five years, in place of the current three years.

These changes will provide greater certainty to recently established companies, and to those seeking to commence as we recover from the pandemic. Further detail can be found in the review of the relief, which is being published today.

Tax credit for digital gaming

As I announced during my Budget speech last year, I am introducing a new tax credit for the digital gaming sector. This sector has seen exponential global growth in the past decade. However, employment growth in the sector in Ireland has not matched this global trend.

The relief will support digital games development companies by providing a refundable corporation tax credit for expenditure incurred on the design, production and testing of a game. The relief will be available at a rate of 32 per cent, on eligible expenditure of up to a limit of €25 million per project.

There are also synergies with our established film and animation sectors that will support quality employment in creative and digital arts in Ireland.

Full details of the relief will be published as part of this year’s Finance Bill. As European State aid approval is required for the introduction of the credit, it will be introduced subject to a commencement order.

Tobacco

To support public health policy to reduce smoking in Irish society, I am also increasing excise duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes by 50 cents, with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products. This will bring the price of cigarettes in the most popular price category to €15.

Extension of bank levy

Since its introduction in 2013, the bank levy has been extended on several occasions and currently applies to the end of this year. The annual yield of this levy has been approximately €150 million to-date.

I am extending the levy for a further year. However, as Ulster Bank and KBC are leaving the market in 2022, I intend to exclude them from the charge. In addition, I am proposing that the remaining banks will pay the same amount in 2022 as they did this year; this equates to approximately €87 million in total.

I have also instructed that the levy and its future be assessed over the course of the coming year.

Anti-tax avoidance directive

In accordance with our commitments to international tax reform, in Finance Bill 2021 we will complete our transposition of the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directives.

I am providing for the introduction of a new Interest Limitation Ratio and new Anti-Reverse Hybrid rules, both of which have been developed over the year with the input of stakeholders through a series of public consultations.

Corporation tax

Ceann Comhairle, the government has taken the historic decision to join the global political agreement on the future of corporate taxation.

The importance of our 12.5 per cent rate is well known to the House. Budget speeches by my predecessors, indeed by myself, made the case for this rate. However, I strongly believe that our national interest is now best served by joining this agreement. It maintains our tax competitiveness and strengthens our position in the world. The agreement, which we shaped, is balanced and represents a fair compromise. While there will be a cost to the Exchequer, it provides long-term certainty for businesses and investors for the benefit of Irish jobs.

As a small open economy that depends on rules and order in global tax and trade, an agreement was in our interests.

The question of the rate was the biggest challenge for Ireland. So, we successfully made our case. Due to our efforts, the minimum effective rate was set at 15 per cent for large multinational companies. It could have been far higher. It could have been more uncertain. We avoided those risks.

This is why it is in our interest to be in.

When it comes into effect, Ireland will apply the new minimum effective rate of 15 per cent. This will still be less than many of our key competitors.

Importantly, Ireland will continue to offer the 12 ½ per cent rate for businesses with revenues less than €750 million. This means no change for one hundred and sixty thousand businesses employing one point eight million people.

We will remain an attractive location for investment and we will continue to play to our strengths, centred on a highly educated and dynamic workforce that has consistently delivered innovation and profitability over many decades to businesses that have made Ireland their home.

I know this was a major decision. But it is the right decision for Ireland, for our jobs, for our economy and for our ability to attract and keep investment in our country.

Commission on Taxation and Welfare

On the broader challenges associated with taxation into the future, last year I announced the establishment of an independent Commission on Taxation and Welfare.

The Commission was tasked with considering how best the tax and welfare systems can support economic activity and promote increased prosperity, while ensuring that there are sufficient resources available to meet the costs of the public services and supports over the medium to longer term. This work will be essential for putting our public finances on a sustainable basis over the coming years.

The Commission will have particular regard to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as long-term developments such as ageing demographics, the move to a low-carbon economy, and the rise of digital disruption and automation.

A public consultation will be launched over the coming weeks and will seek valuable input and feedback from all relevant parties to inform the Commission in completing this important work.

I look forward to considering its recommendations when they are published next summer.

Conclusion

I want to conclude by again paying tribute to the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, both seen and unseen, including those involved in the rollout of our vaccination programme. Without all of them we would not be where we are today, planning for the resumption of safer times.

For those whose jobs have not returned, let me again reiterate that this government stands with you.

For those concerned about the rising cost of living, this Budget will help you.

For those worried about whether they can own a home or afford their rent, this Budget will support you.

For businesses looking to the future, this Budget backs you.

That future, for individuals, for families, and for businesses, is based on secure public finances.

We make further progress to that goal in this Budget.

Over the past year and a half we made the right choices at the right times: let us now do that again.

I am an optimist by nature and believe that as we move out from under the dark cloud of the pandemic, there are truly exciting times ahead for this country and its people.

Yes, there are many challenges, many difficulties.

But, a good journey to a better Ireland is within our grasp for 2022 and beyond.

Budget 2022 sets the course for that journey.

With this, I commend this Budget to the House.

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Irish Naval Services 75th Anniversary

It was marked in Dublin and Cork. Here is the video recording of the events in Dublin by RTE.

The Minister for Defence is joined by the Taoiseach at the Naval Service 75th Anniversary celebrations in Cork on the 4th September.

(Press Release)

Today the Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D. and the Taoiseach, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., led an event in Cork to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Irish Naval Service. They were joined by the Lord Mayor of Cork City, the Cathaoirleach of Cork County Council, the Chief of Staff, the Secretary General of the Department of Defence and the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service in celebrating this momentous occasion for the Naval Service.

Beginning in Haulbowline Naval Base, the Minister, the Taoiseach and the accompanying party sailed from Haulbowline on-board the LÉ Samuel Beckett with the Taoiseach taking the salute during a fleet review. LÉ Samuel Beckett arrived into the City of Cork at around 1 o’clock this afternoon. As the Naval Service Ship entered the Port of Cork there was a fly-past by the Air Corps.

The Naval Service was welcomed to the city by a blue lights Guard of Honour from service colleagues such as the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI in acknowledgement of the Naval Service’s diamond jubilee and to mark National Services’ Day. The work of the Naval Service and the wider Defence Forces in support of frontline services is an important aspect of their role in general, and in particular over the last 18 months.

This afternoon from 3pm, Naval Service ships will be open to the public, in line with all Covid restrictions, as a ‘Meet the Fleet’ experience.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “I am honoured to be able to celebrate such an important milestone in the history of the Irish Naval Service today.

As an island nation, the sea is of central importance to Ireland and her people, and I thank members and their families for the dedication and service shown during a challenging year, and congratulate the Naval Service for all its achievements over 75 years.”

Speaking on the day, the Minister for Defence thanked all Naval Service personnel past and present for their commitment and professionalism, and acknowledged their families for their support. The Minister also expressed his congratulations to the Naval Service saying, “I was proud to return as Minister for Defence in 2020. That pride is swelled by the opportunity afforded me to congratulate you and to celebrate with you on your 75th Anniversary. As well as to acknowledge your achievements over the last 75 years”.

The Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, marking the important milestone, which coincides with National Services Day, thanked all members of the Naval Service, for the selfless manner in which they serve, “I am so proud of all who serve, have served and who support the Naval Service. I am honoured to celebrate with you all today on your 75th anniversary. I also would like to acknowledge the work and sacrifice of all our National Services, throughout what has been an extremely challenging year. Today’s joint celebrations reinforce the strong bonds that exist across all our front line services”.

The Secretary General of the Department of Defence, Jacqui McCrum, added her thanks and congratulations saying “I would like to thank all past and present members of the Naval Service for their service and to acknowledge your tremendous work in support of the national agenda over the past 75 years”.

Notes to Editors:

The Naval Service as the State’s principal seagoing agency maintain a constant presence 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout Ireland’s enormous and rich maritime jurisdiction, upholding Ireland’s sovereign rights. While the main day to day role of the Naval Service is to provide a fishery protection service in accordance with the State’s obligations as a member of the European Union, it also carries out a number of other non-fishery related tasks such as search and rescue, diving operations, drugs interdiction as well as many more.

The current Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service (FOCNS) is Commodore Michael Malone. Commodore Malone was promoted to his present rank on 26 December 2017.

The Irish government, in May 1939, ordered 2 Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB’s) from Great Britain which were to become Ireland’s first Naval Vessels. The entire process of raising some type of Navy was greatly accelerated by the outbreak of World War II as Ireland needed to have its own Navy to uphold its neutrality. The order for MTBs was increased from 2 to 6 and the Marine and Coastwatching Service was established in September 1939.

By 1941 the Marine Service consisted of 10 craft (6 motor torpedo boats plus 4 assorted vessels) and about 300 all ranks. Their tasks during the war included mine laying, regulation of Merchant Ships, upkeep of navigational aids and fishery protection. At the end of the war in 1945, the Coastwatching Service was disbanded and the Marine side had a reduced role.

In September 1946 the Government decided that the Marine Service should become a permanent component of the Defence Forces. Thus was born the modern day Irish Naval Service.

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Ireland Expecting 4th Wave of Covid Virus – Delta Variant

COVID-19 vaccines are now being rolled out in Ireland.

People aged 18 to 34 can get a Janssen single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in a pharmacy from Monday 5 July.

List of Pharmacies’ https://www2.hse.ie/Apps/Services/PharmaciesServiceList.aspx?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=pharmacy_list_vaccine

For more information call the HSE Call us on 1800 700 700 or 01 240 8787

HSE information on vaccine giving: https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/hcpinfo/covid19vaccineinfo4hps/bulletin/bulletin25.pdf

Things we know about the delta variant:

  1. The Delta variant of COVID-19 was first identified in India and is known as B.167.2.
  2. .More children are being infected with the Delta variant of Covid-19.
  3. Full vaccination ‘most important protective weapon’ against Delta variant – Martin
  4. It is the is the most contagious yet. A study by Public Health England suggests delta is 60% more transmissible than alpha.
  5. WHO officials have said there were reports that the delta variant also causes more severe symptoms, but that more research is needed to confirm those conclusions.
  6. The Delta is moderately resistant to vaccines, particularly in people who have received just a single dose
  7. Avoid crowds and maintain at least a 1-2 metres distance from others, even when you are swimming or at swimming areas. Wear a mask when you’re not in the water and you can’t stay distant. Clean your hands frequently, cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or bent elbow, and stay home if you’re unwell.
  8. Infected people can transmit the virus both when they have symptoms and when they don’t have symptoms. This is why it is important that all people who are infected are identified by testing, isolated, and, depending on the severity of their disease, receive medical care.
  9. The “Three C’s” are a useful way to think about this. They describe settings where transmission of the COVID-19 virus spreads more easily. Crowded places Close-contact settings, especially where people have conversations very near each other; • Confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
  10. But while vaccinated people are less likely to be hospitalized because of the disease, this doesn’t mean they should drop their guard: they can still get ill from the virus and can still spread it to others.

ECDC: “Based on the current evidence, the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of concern (VOC) is 40-60% more transmissible than the Alpha (Β.1.1.7) VOC and may be associated with higher risk of hospitalisation. Furthermore, there is evidence that those who have only received the first dose of a two-dose vaccination course are less well protected against infection with the Delta variant than against other variants, regardless of the vaccine type. However, full vaccination provides nearly equivalent protection against the Delta variant. Based on the estimated transmission advantage of the Delta variant and using modelling forecasts, 70% of new SARS-CoV-2 infections are projected to be due to this variant in the EU/EEA by early August and 90% of infections by the end of August. There is a well-documented age-risk gradient for SARS-CoV-2, where older age groups and those with underlying co-morbidities are more likely to be hospitalised or die due to COVID-19. In a scenario of 50% gradual reduction of non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) measures by 1 September, SARS-CoV-2 incidence is expected to increase in all age groups, with the highest incidence in those <50 years.Modelling scenarios indicate that any relaxation over the summer months of the stringency of non-pharmaceutical measures that were in place in the EU/EEA in early June could lead to a fast and significant increase in daily cases in all age groups, with the highest incidence in those <50 years, with an associated increase in hospitalisations, and deaths, potentially reaching the same levels of the autumn of 2020 if no additional measure are taken.”

THE Taoiseach urged the public to be vigilant and focus on “personal responsibilities” ahead of the next wave of Covid-19 infections.A spike in cases driven by the Delta variant, first identified in India, is projected for August, but Micheal Martin believes this wave will be different from past ones.Speaking at at Department of Health briefing on Thursday, Dr. Cillian De Gascun said that the Delta variant now accounts for approximately 70% of cases in Ireland. There is also a delta plus variant in Europe but not in Ireland.

COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery: The Path Ahead https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

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NIAC Recommends Ireland Restricts Astrazeneca To People Over 60

NIAC is a group of Irish medical experts meet to consider new evidence about vaccines and provide advice to the Chief Medical Officer,the Department of Health and the state.

The HSE has advised that all AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination clinics planned for tomorrow should be cancelled.The latest advice also states:
Those aged 60 and older should receive their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled.
Those aged under 60 years with a very high risk or high-risk medical condition should receive their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled.
Those aged under 60 years without a very high risk or high-risk medical condition should have the scheduled interval between doses extended to 16 weeks to allow further assessment of the benefits and risks as more evidence becomes available.

Professor Karina Butler, Chair of National Immunisation Advisory Committee, says we must balance the significant benefits of a national vaccination programme with the very rare risk of reported blood clot events linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Doc Online @ https://rcpi-live-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/NIAC-Recommendations-re-COVID-19-Vaccine-AstraZeneca-19.03.2021.pdf

Sample Text

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE USE OF COVID-19 VACCINE ASTRAZENECA®NIAC 19.03.2021

Request for National Immunisation Advisory Committee advice On 14 March 2021, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommended the temporary deferral of the administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca®.

This document presents updated evidence relating to the safe use of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca® and provide sadvice in respect of the use of this vaccine in Ireland.Background The decision to temporarily defer administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® followed notification by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) ofa new safety alert from the Norwegian Medicines Agency on Saturday 13 March 2021. The alert related to four reports of serious, rare thromboembolic (clotting) events, including some complicated by thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) in adults under 65 years of age after vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca®.

NIAC,after discussion with representatives from the HPRA,Health Service Executive (HSE) and Department of Health (DOH),reviewed this new information in light of an ongoing investigation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) into earlier reports from Austria and Denmark of serious, complicated thromboembolic events following vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca®. On 11 March 2021the EMA stated that “there is currently noindication that vaccination has caused these conditions”and that “the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing”.

On 14 March 2021the NIAC recommended temporary deferral of the administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® based on the additional events from Norway reported after the initiation of the EMA review,pending receipt of further evidence and the conclusion of the EMA review. To date, no reports of serious clotting events associated with low platelets have been notified to the HPRA. Over 129,000doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® have been given in Ireland.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1 The administration of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® should be recommenced for use in all those aged 18 and over.

Recommendation 2 Healthcare professionals and vaccine recipients should be informed that very rare, complicated thromboembolic events have been reported in a small number of people who have recently received COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca®.

Recommendation 3 Healthcare professionals should be alert to the signs and symptoms of thromboembolism and/or thrombocytopenia and report any suspected adverse reactions to the Health Products Regulatory Authority.

Recommendation 4 Recipients of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® should be advisedto seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling and/or persistent abdominal pain within weeks of vaccination. Additionally, anyone with neurological symptoms including severe or persistent headaches (particularly 3 or more days after vaccination) or blurred vision, or who develop petechiae or ecchymoses beyond the site of vaccination,should seek prompt medical attention. These rare events have usually occurred within 14 days of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca®.

Recommendation 5 Healthcare professionals should seek early expert advice from the National Coagulation Centre about the specialised testing and treatment options for patients presenting with thromboembolic events that are associated with thrombocytopenia, (including Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)or Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST))occurring within weeks following vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca®.

All Ireland’s vaccines information is available online at Ireland’s Covid Vaccine Hub: https://covid-19.geohive.ie/pages/vaccinations

Vaccines Administered

Click for more information

Vaccine Data up to Sat, 10 Apr 2021

Total 1st Dose Vaccines Administered 745,363

Total 2nd Dose Vaccines Administered 313,031

Total Vaccines Administered 1,058,394

For health data queries please contact hpsc@hse.ie

Cohort Breakdown of Vaccines Administered

Click for more information

Cohort 1 Total 191,625

Residents aged 65+ in LTCF

Cohort 1 – 1st Doses 107,805

Cohort 1 – 2nd Dose 83,820

Cohort 2 Total 344,957

Frontline Healthcare Workers

Cohort 2 – 1st Dose 249,675

Cohort 2 – 2nd Doses 95,282

Cohort 3 Total 451,365

People aged 70 and older

Cohort 3 – 1st Dose 317,655

Cohort 3 – 2nd Dose 133,710

Cohort 4 Total 70,108

People aged 16-69 and at very high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

Cohort 4 – 1st Dose 69,934

Cohort 4 – 2nd Dose 174

Not Coded Total 339

Not Coded Cohort Not Coded – 1st Dose 294

Not Coded – 2nd Dose 45

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Saint Patrick’s Day Message President Michael D. Higgins March 2021

Áras an Uachtaráin, Wednesday, 17th March 2021

As our people envisage their emergence from the destructive and debilitating, all-enveloping fog that is the pandemic of COVID-19, as our planet wounded, and in peril from what was a discarded respect for balance, between what might be consumed for the necessities of life and the very capacity of the planet to renew itself, even survive, what then might be an appropriate message from Ireland on the Feast Day of the Patron, Patrick, all of us on the island of Ireland, and Irish people everywhere and those who came to be in the country, might share? 

Perhaps, in the special circumstances of this year, we should give the day back to the story of Saint Patrick, that powerful mythic source upon which our National Day, which we offer to the world every year on the 17th of March, is based.

Patrick arrived in Ireland as a slave, escaped and returned.  He is of the stock of our early foundational Irish migrants, which anticipates our monastic messengers, our nineteenth-century emigration prior to the Great Famine, and the haemorrhage of our people who managed to flee for survival in post-Famine times. 

In 1901, of all the Irish born on the island of Ireland, a majority lived outside of the island of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day, then, must always be a special day for recalling our migrant history and learning from it, be a source of our ethics and of our policy at home and abroad. 

When in so many places, in so many different circumstances, voices of invocation by Irish people sing out on Saint Patrick’s Day, they are placing their invocation alongside the invocations and prayers of migrant communities everywhere who have, over generations, sought to collectively transcend present circumstances.  

The messenger, of that invocation to a power beyond the self, to a spirit that informed nature, was, for us Irish, Saint Patrick, a migrant carrying to us the message of another compassionate migrant which could be placed, with respect, alongside other sources of the spirit. 

All sources of transcendence and the spirit beyond the misery of the self are important. Our Patron Patrick saw the necessity of placing his message alongside respect for nature, with its right and promise of renewal that was there in indigenous forms of spirituality. 

On Saint Patrick’s Day 2021, we have been reminded of our shared vulnerability, our interdependence, the need for an understanding that can fly past borders. In the message we have received from COVID, surely there is the undeniable insight that we must all, and together, exit the fog of not only the pandemic but all of the hubris, the arrogance, the vanities of assuming the right to dominate, to impose, to exclude; strategies of life which have left us such a legacy of lost communality and a planet in danger.

We have had the opportunity, since last year in particular, then, to examine the assumptions that have brought upon us less than the best of ourselves.  There is much to be discarded, and we should do so without unnecessary recrimination. Surely we do not need to make war to find peace; and then when we discover a remedy, an insight of science for the avoidance or cure of disease, it must be for the sharing, rather than the hoarding as a commodity for use in aggressive trade competition.

There will be a capacity for joy in our exit from COVID-19, but that joy should be informed by our reflection on the new values we will invoke and practice as we set out on the new journey we undertake together. 

Out of COVID we must globally share that which we need for a shared journey. Trust in words is fading. That trust must be restored. 

In this year, no doubt, there will be pain. While there will be a recall of journeys remembered, there will be the disappointment of journeys anticipated but now, necessarily, postponed.  Our hearts must be with those many for whom a technological alternative is an insufficient substitute for touch or intimacy. 

Invocation to our Patron, our transcendent rivulet of hope, will be empowered in a different way this year. We can learn from it all as we always do, and when in years to come we parade again and gather in celebration, make a new invocation, no longer needing to be consumed in our consumption, we will recall how we made Saint Patrick’s Day 2021 the beginning of a new journey, one we are happy to share with the whole world and all of its people, and one that helped renew a respect for Mother Earth to which we all belong, and of which our Saints Patrick and Brigid left us such insights and enduring wisdom. 

When in the future we recall Saint Patrick’s Day 2021, let us have returned with even more energy to music as we lift the glass slowly, and replenish it even slower.  Music and creativity were our resource in the pandemic, and in the music of the heart is rehearsed that for which words are insufficient, feídearachtaí ag heitheamh dúinn – forms of renewal, possibilities rehearsed, journeys to wonder and new places. 

“We make an affirmation.
The stuff of hope beckons.
Out of the darkness we step,
And blink into the new light.” [1]

On behalf of the people of Ireland, I extend a hand of friendship across the globe to all those who are Irish by birth, descent or association, and to all those who have assisted our Irish people, especially over the past year. 

I wish you, and all those who form part of the Irish family, and its friends in the families of the world, a happy and peaceful Saint Patrick’s Day.

Beir beannacht.

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Ireland Has A Virtual St.Patrick’s Day Celebration

This year Ireland did a series of online concerts and virtual parades. Full details are available from its website at: https://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/. RTE produced and presented during the day virtual concerts and tv shows eg Today Show and The Late Late Show and they did a special feature on the RTE News.https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/0317/1204482-st-patricks-day/ More music, dance, poetry and arts were presented live on Oireachtas tv channel from March 12th-March 17th. https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/oireachtas-tv/oireachtas-tv-channel/

The highlight of the day was when 500 drones lit up Dublin sky. Created by St. Patrick’s Festival, Tourism Ireland and Dublin City Council and delivered in collaboration with Intel and Actavo Events, Orchestra of Light was pre-recorded in Dublin in early March. The film features a dazzling performance by Intel® Drone Light Shows, Intel’s first ever Drone Light Show in Ireland.

Although St. Patrick’s Day public celebrations in Ireland and around the world will not take place this year, Orchestra of Light invites audiences to enjoy a spectacular world-class event from the comfort and safety of their kitchens and living rooms.

In this cutting-edge display, drones blur the boundaries between technology and art as they light up the sky above Ireland’s capital city, illuminating some of Dublin’s most well-known landmarks such as the Samuel Beckett Bridge and the Convention Centre Dublin. A series of animations designed by St. Patrick’s Festival and Aiden Grennelle tell a powerful story of love, hope and home, while celtic knots, musical instruments and Irish dance represent the world-wide reach and love of Irish culture, celebrated by millions each year on 17 March.

The short film is produced by ShinAwiL and scored by Irish composer Eimear Noone and her husband Craig Stuart Garfinkle. Along with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the duo has collaborated with Irish band Picture This on the score, which features an orchestral remix of the band’s latest single ‘Things Are Different’. The piece uses new Intel Drone Light Show Premium technology to deliver dazzling 3D animations and vivid colours in their first ever public performance in EMEA.

Source: Intel Ireland By ShinAWil

A number of countries lit their buildings green in celebration of our Irish national saint’s day – St.Patrick’s Day. The Guardian Newspaper displayed a catalogue of pictures of key world buildings illuminated in green. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2021/mar/17/st-patricks-day-marked-in-green-around-the-world-in-pictures

A group of Bhangra dancers in Ireland have given the traditional Punjabi dance an Irish twist, to celebrate their two cultures on St Patrick’s Day | https://bit.ly/3lpDlfJ

Leaders and nobility shared messages to Ireland of hope and celebration.

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A Brave New World: Harry and Meghan’s First Year in America

Title: A Brave New World: Harry and Meghan’s First Year in America

Author: R.S. Locke

Publisher: Medium

Source: https://royalsuitor.medium.com/a-brave-new-world-harry-and-meghans-first-year-in-america-8f3fc54df7d

The Internet, Online, 25/2/2021

Sample Text:

The year 2020 was a reckoning. A reckoning for a world faced with what Prince Harry described as “a global crisis of hate, a global crisis of misinformation and a global health crisis.” It was also a reckoning for Harry and Meghan. Could they prove their working model and create the “progressive new roles’’ that they had envisioned? Because regardless of the agreements from the Sandringham Summit, that’s exactly what they were doing — carving out a new role. But instead of doing it within the institution, Harry and Meghan were challenged to create a role outside of it. Most importantly, would they find the “more peaceful life” they sought across the pond?………

Purchasing a home and settling into Montecito seemed to represent not just a physical relocation for Harry and Meghan but a spiritual move as well. Yes, the family that had moved four times in just over a year was happy to finally be in their forever home, but when Meghan told Emily Ramshaw, CEO of The 19th*, “It’s good to be home,” her words went bone deep. The self-described “Cali girl” had experienced a death by a thousand cuts; nitpicked by a British press whose map of southern California seemed bizarrely confined to two cities, Hollywood and Compton……………..

With 5,000 miles between her and the noise from the Royal Rota, the press pack that covers the royals, Meghan appeared reinvigorated. She was once again comfortable in her own skin. As she told Ellen McGirt, Senior Editor of FORTUNE, “You just focus on living a purpose-driven life, and you focus on knowing what your own moral compass is.” The distance wasn’t enough to silence her critics. However, without exclusive access, her work could be viewed free from the filter of a biased U.K. tabloid press. The Duchess, who had chosen a songbird and quills for her coat of arms to represent the power of communication, was ready to spread her wings and sing again…………..

Meghan’s speech to the graduating class of her high school alma mater, Immaculate Heart, remains the first and only time a senior member of the royal family has uttered the phrase Black Lives Matter. “The only wrong thing to say is to say nothing,” Meghan asserted. It was a stark contrast to the royal family’s tenet of ”never complain, never explain,” which she and Harry had found so frustratingly outdated……

At the Diana Awards, Prince Harry answered that question with a resounding ‘yes’. Drawing upon the memory of his mother, he called for an end to institutional racism. “Like many of you, she never took the easy route. Or the popular one. Or the comfortable one. But, she stood for something. And, she stood up for people who needed it,” he recalled. Harry and Meghan appear committed to following the same path, as harrowing as it may be….

Compassion and empathy are the superpowers that enable Harry and Meghan to connect with people from all walks of life. Within the royal family, their willingness to set aside the British stiff upper lip made them an anomaly. Now, they have turned their vulnerability into their strength…….

read full article online…

Comment: Beautifully written and explains everything clearly. They did no wrong. Yet the haters criticize them. Keep going they will always have critics. I think these two can achieve anything.

“I am my mother’s son.

And I am our son’s mother.

Together we bring you Archewell.”

Posted in 1916 Rising, Black Lives Matter, Blogs And Blogging, Bullying, Racism, The Royal Family, UK, United Kingdom, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Brave New World: Harry and Meghan’s First Year in America

Will the House of Windsor Turn into a House of Cards?

Title: Will the House of Windsor Turn into a House of Cards? What happens to British society when the class structure that underpins it is challenged?

Author: R.S. Locke

Publisher: Medium

Source : https://royalsuitor.medium.com/will-the-house-of-windsor-turn-into-a-house-of-cards-d344db7076d9

The Internet, Online, 24/02/2021

Sample Text

Imagine a society founded on a class structure with the (white) British royal family at the top as determined by birth and by blood. A biracial woman enters the top of the pyramid by marriage, negating both the birth and blood requirements society had previously been told were preconditions. Because she lacks those prerequisites, she’s considered unworthy. Because she’s proud of her own heritage and regards herself as equal to others at the top of the pyramid, she’s considered ungrateful……..

After years of being told that she was unworthy and ungrateful, the newlywed took the crier’s advice and returned from whence she came. Despite one tattler’s audacious cautions not to force her husband to “choose between you and us.” He did in fact choose his wife, just as he did the day he married her, much to their chagrin………

Still, that wasn’t enough. For society to maintain order, she must be reclassified and her elite status conferred by marriage removed. But, the society is trapped in a conundrum. Her husband and their children are at the top of the pyramid by birth and by blood. Removing titles, military honors, and patronages won’t remove her from the top of the pyramid. The only thing that will reclassify her is to remove her from her husband…and the society has been working diligently, though unsuccessfully, to that end since the day they learned that Harry and Meghan were a couple……….

Comment: Why can’t people just celebrate their love? Who has the right to judge them or judge anyone? When Princess Diana died people cried and said they felt guilty for buying all the media magazines and newspapers that fed the media frenzy. History does indeed repeat itself. The media turned on Harry’s new bride, the beautiful Meghan. Harry was not playing that game that killed his mum. He took his wife, Meghan and son, Archie, to the USA. Meghan and Harry are my generation’s social media influencers leading the people in a charitable and modern way. What a huge loss they are to the royal family. They could reach people the royals could not. Princes and peasants both love them equally. People say the monarchy will not last, too inflexible and old fashioned. Harry and his wife would have carried them.

In the midst of this saga Netflix made a series of movies on The Royal Family. The treatment of Princess Diana was so bad, it hurt to watch. Old wounds were reopened the public were fuming once again, a nation divided.Who would have thought that the late Princess Diana would vindicate her son’s escape with his beautiful wife to a foreign land where she would not be hated for the colour of our skin or ambition. I read all the papers and articles they did nothing wrong. Please we have suffered enough with the Covid virus. We need no more bashing. Less hate, more love needed. If you can’t say anything nice about them, say nothing. After all the so called royal experts never even met them and they claim to know what they are thinking. I think not.

They are so in love and after a tough Megxit and miscarriage they are expecting their rainbow baby. They have secured deals with Spotify and Netflix, their future looks bright. They show us love conquers all. Every woman deserves her prince and love and romance are still alive. He walked away from riches and privilege for love. No privileges were ever worth destroying his wife and by God the media tried. Day after day false and nasty stories were published designed to turn the public against her. She has taken legal battles against these papers to clear her good name and won. You can’t keep a good woman down.They showed you do not need a title to do good. You can be of service to your state in many ways. I look forward to seeing what this dynamic duo can create together, exciting times ahead. Anything is possible!!

Posted in Blogs And Blogging, Family, Romance, The Royal Family, UK, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Will the House of Windsor Turn into a House of Cards?

Wild Nights—Wild Nights! By Emily Dickinson

A Love Poem For Valentine’s Day

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!

 

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The CervicalCheck Scandal – A Legal Analysis

Title: The CervicalCheck Scandal – A Legal Analysis

Author: India Kelly

Published : Trinity College Law Review (TCLR Online)

Full Text & Source: https://trinitycollegelawreview.org/cervical-check-scandal/

The Internet, Online, 6/02/2022

Sample Text:
Introduction

…..A retrospective audit of cervical cancer screenings showed that 221 women’s smear test readings missed abnormalities, leading to the development of cervical cancer. The results of the audit were not disclosed to 162 of these women, 20 of whom have since died.

Following this revelation, a number of women and their families began litigation, and an investigation was issued by the Department of Health. In this article I will discuss the findings of the Scally Report and the Phelan v HSE case to analyse the legal responsibilities and failures of those involved in the CervicalCheck scandal………

In 2011 CervicalCheck issued an audit of screening results. The purpose of the audit was primarily to be used by the laboratories for educational purposes.8 In his report, Dr. Scally said that;

‘The CervicalCheck audit was established with laudable aims but planning, governance and documentation appear to have been inadequate. There was little or no anticipation of the challenges which would arise when results were reviewed. Participating laboratories were not given a specification of how to undertake reviews and did not do so consistently. Analysis of the results was sporadic and informal. A trend was identified regarding reviews at Quest but no adequate steps appear to have been taken to define whether this represented a genuine issue and, if so, what actions should be taken to resolve it.’………..

Vicky Phelan & Jim Phelan v HSE & CPL Inc

Correspondence showing an example of such a dispute has been made public through the case brought by one woman affected by the audit. Vicky Phelan began litigation after it became apparent her 2011 smear test result was incorrect. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, but was not informed of the review or audit until 2017.15

Ms. Phelan’s claims for aggravated and exemplary damages against the HSE were denied and the case struck out.

A settlement was made without admission of liability for €2.5 million against Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, the US firm which had carried out the test for HPV………….

See Also :

1.HSE Open Disclosure: National Policy (2013).

https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/qavd/complaints/ysysguidance/listening-responding-to-feedback/opendisclosure.html

2.Comhairle na nDoctúirí Leighis, ‘Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners’ (2016, 8 edn) 43.

Click to access Guide-to-Professional-Conduct-and-Ethics-8th-Edition-2016-.pdf

3.Dr. Gabriel Scally, Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Screening Programme

http://scallyreview.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Scoping-Inquiry-into-CervicalCheck-Final-Report.pdf

Comment:

If You Are Worried You May Have Cancer Please Get Tested

Cancers which are found early are the most easily treated. It makes sense to know how your body normally looks and feels.
The most common symptom of cervical cancer is bleeding from the vagina at times other than when you are having a period. You may experience:

• Bleeding between periods
• Bleeding after or during sex
• Bleeding at any time after the menopause
• A vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant
• Discomfort or pain during sex

Posted in Blogs And Blogging, Death, Health, Healthcare, Ireland, Rights, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The CervicalCheck Scandal – A Legal Analysis

Mother And Baby Commission: Final Report Published And The Taoiseach Apologises To Them In The Dail

The full report is published online: https://assets.gov.ie/118565/107bab7e-45aa-4124-95fd-1460893dbb43.pdf

Click to access 107bab7e-45aa-4124-95fd-1460893dbb43.pdf

 

My Comment: ( I hope this reports helps them. The state, the father of the children, the nuns, their parents and society in general failed them. It was so wrong. They committed no crime but fell in love or were victims of incest or rape. They were shamed but they should have no guilt or shame. Ireland failed you and we are sorry. It was kept a secret. Forced to work long hours, hard work with little food and no love. No compassion or pain relief given during childbirth and their babies adopted. The nuns treated them like slaves. They never told them the state paid for their keep, shame on them. I hope the state delivers on their promises to them and wish them every happiness in the future. May it bring closure to them. They were wronged by so many and lived through hell. They emerged strong women and testified to make their voices heard. You have given all the dead kids and women a voice. You have made Ireland and the church face a painful reality. This will never happen again because of your bravery. The state has offered a heart felt apology live on national tv and from the Dail and that does not happen too often. They have given all survivors a medical card and are going to do DNA testing on corpses buried so family can identify their own and bury them. They have promised to release adoptive babies records and a lot more. This is a win. )

Apology Read From The Dail and shown live on RTE News.

“It is the duty of a republic to be willing to hold itself to account. To be willing to confront hard truths – and accept parts of our history which are deeply uncomfortable.This detailed and highly painful report is a moment for us as a society to recognise a profound failure of empathy, understanding and basic humanity over a very lengthy period.Its production has been possible because of the depth of courage shown by all those who shared their personal experiences with the Commission.

The report gives survivors what they have been denied for so long: their voice, their individuality, their right to be acknowledged.

Before going into detail about the report it is important to say that it would not have been possible without the steady determination of the former residents, their advocates and researchers who campaigned with them.

I particularly want to acknowledge the critical part played by Catherine Corless whose work at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home site led directly to the establishment of the Commission.

On behalf of the government I want to thank the three Commissioners – the Chair, Judge Yvonne Murphy, Professor Mary Daly, and Dr William Duncan – and their team.

Their Report reveals the dominant role of the churches and their moral code and lays bare the failures of the State.

They have produced the definitive account of how this country responded to the particular needs of single women and their children at a time when they most needed support and protection.

This should have been forthcoming from the fathers of their children, their family and friends, their community and their State, but so often it was not.

The often painful and distressing testimony of many survivors is presented in detail in the report of the confidential committee prepared by the Commission.

Reading the Commission’s findings and the report of the confidential committee the most striking thing is the shame felt by women who became pregnant outside of marriage and the stigma that was so cruelly attached to their children.

Testimonies from the women speak of the pressure to make sure that no one in their locality would find out about their pregnancy.

One speaks of not being allowed to return to school after becoming pregnant because it would bring shame on the school.

Extracts from witness accounts shine a light on the attitudes that women encountered:

“I was treated like a second class citizen by my family, society had an obsession with hiding everything”

“Nobody will want you now” said the mother of a witness, 14-years old when it was discovered that she was pregnant.

“Get her put away!” were the words of a father of a 19-year old when told of her pregnancy.

In the earlier decades covered by the report, witness testimony describes how a dearth of sex education often left young women confused and unaware of how and why they had even become pregnant. Some of these pregnancies were as a result of rape and/or incest.

Children born outside of marriage were stigmatised and were treated as outcasts in school and in wider society. Some children who were subsequently boarded-out experienced heartbreaking exploitation, neglect and abuse within the families and communities in which they were placed. This was unforgiveable.

The sense of abandonment felt by many of these children is palpable in the witness accounts. The circumstances of their birth, the arrangements for their early care, the stigma they experienced and the continuing lack of birth information, is a terrible burden in their lives.

Many women, children and fathers left these shores to escape this unfair judgement and life-long prejudice and because they thought it was the only way to protect their families’ reputations.

While many have built good lives for themselves, many did not overcome the impact which these formative experiences had on their lives and may have suffered and struggled with many serious personal problems.

One of the clearest messages of the testimonies in this report is how this treatment of women and children is something which was the direct result of how the State, and how we as a society acted.

The Report presents us with profound questions.

We embraced a perverse religious morality and control, judgementalism and moral certainty, but shunned our daughters.

We honoured piety, but failed to show even basic kindness to those who needed it most.

We had a completely warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy, and young mothers and their sons and daughters were forced to pay a terrible price for that dysfunction.

To confront the dark and shameful reality which is detailed in this report we must acknowledge it as part of our national history.

And for the women and children who were treated so cruelly we must do what we can, to show our deep remorse, understanding and support.

And so, on behalf of the Government, the State and its citizens, I apologise for the profound generational wrong visited upon Irish mothers and their children who ended up in a Mother and Baby Home or a County Home.

As the Commission says plainly – “they should not have been there”.

I apologise for the shame and stigma which they were subjected to and which, for some, remains a burden to this day.

In apologising, I want to emphasise that each of you were in an institution because of the wrongs of others. Each of you is blameless, each of you did nothing wrong and has nothing to be ashamed of.

Each of you deserved so much better.

The lack of respect for your fundamental dignity and rights as mothers and children who spent time in these institutions is humbly acknowledged and deeply regretted.

The Irish State, as the main funding authority for the majority of these institutions, had the ultimate ability to exert control over these institutions, in addition to its duty of care to protect citizens with a robust regulatory and inspection regime.

This authority was not exerted and the State’s duty of care was not upheld.

The State failed you, the mothers and children in these homes.

The report brings a considerable amount of previously unknown information into the public domain.

It has exposed the truth, once hidden, to reveal significant failures of the State, the Churches and of society.

Women were admitted to mother and baby homes and county homes because no supports were forthcoming from any other quarter.

They were forced to leave home, and seek a place where they could stay without having to pay.

Many were destitute.

In the personal testimonies of how many women ended up in these institutions, the Priest, the Doctor and the Nun loom large.

The sense of oppression, even at this distance, is overwhelming.

Women, terrified by the consequences of their pregnancy becoming known to their family and neighbours entered mother and baby homes to protect their secret.

And the pressure to maintain this secret added insult to injury and was a large part of the mother’s trauma.

Conditions in the homes varied. Before the 1960s living conditions in many private Irish households were generally poor. In the congregated settings of Mother and Baby Homes poor sanitary conditions had much more serious consequences for disease and infection control.

County homes as well as Kilrush and Tuam are identified as having appalling conditions. Conditions in other mother and baby homes were better and improved over time.

Many of the women suffered emotional abuse and were often subject to denigration and derogatory remarks from the religious, with little kindness shown, especially when giving birth.

The overall picture is of a hard, cold and uncaring environment.

One of the most disquieting features of the report is that up until 1960 mother and baby homes appear to have significantly reduced the prospects of survival of children.

The death rate among infants in mother and baby homes was almost twice that of the national average for children born outside of marriage. A total of about 9,000 children died in the institutions under investigation – about 15% of all the children who were in their care.

It is deeply distressing to note that the very high mortality rates were known to local and national authorities at the time and were recorded in official publications.

However, there is little or no evidence of State intervention in response to these chilling statistics. In fact, a number of reports actually identifying the problems were not acted on.

I know it will be a disappointment that the report does not answer all the deeply personal questions on the burial arrangements for many of the children who died in these institutions – in many cases the burial location remains unknown.

There are no records for a number of the large institutions where significant numbers of infants are known to have died – including Tuam, Bessborough, Castlepollard and Sean Ross. While this is difficult, options for dignified remembrance and memorialisation will be implemented where this is not already the case.

While women may not have been strictly legally forced to enter these homes, the fact is that most had no alternative, especially those who did not have the support of their family or independent financial means.

Overall, the Commission concludes that Ireland was a cold and harsh environment for the majority of its residents during the earlier half of the period under investigation.

It was especially cold and harsh for women. All women suffered serious discrimination. Women who gave birth outside marriage were subject to particularly harsh treatment.

Emerging from the survivor stories are the horrific accounts of rape, either perpetrated within families or by someone within a woman’s community. This led ultimately to entry into a Mother and Baby Home where the woman bore a social stigma but there was no accountability for the men responsible, and the agencies of the State showed little or no interest in addressing these crimes.

The Commission acknowledges the additional impact which a lack of knowledge and understanding had on the treatment and outcomes of mothers and children with different racial and cultural heritage, those who faced mental health challenges, or those with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Such discriminatory attitudes exacerbated the shame and stigma felt by some of our most vulnerable citizens, especially where opportunities for non-institutional placement of children were restricted by an unjust belief that they were unsuitable for placement with families.

While context is essential to our proper understanding of this chapter of our history, it does not lessen what happened or diminish the responsibility of Church and State for the failures laid bare in what we have learned.

For much of the period covered by the Commission, women as a group and regardless of age or class were systematically discriminated against in relation to employment, family law, and social welfare, solely because of their gender.

Children were similarly unequal, and none more so than those who were cruelly labelled ‘illegitimate’.

I share deeply the Commission’s unequivocal view, that the existence of the status of “illegitimacy” until 1987 in this country “was an egregious breach of human rights”. This was a huge injustice and blighted the lives of many.

It is a sad truth that the history of human kind, even to today, has largely been defined by a failure to acknowledge and vindicate the rights and status of women and the labelling of those who failed to conform to social norms.

We cannot account for what happened elsewhere, but we can and must do so for what happened in our country.

An apology on its own is not enough.

We, collectively in this House, will be judged by our actions. Actions always speak louder than words.

The Government accepts and will respond to all of the recommendations made by the Commission, and this response will centre on four pillars of Recognition, Remembrance, Records and Restorative Recognition.

Recognition begins with this apology and will be followed by commitments to national and local memorialisation and commemoration.

The views and wishes of former residents will be paramount and all commemoration will be led by them.

A broad suite of memorialisation, educational and research commitments will support national reflection and enduring remembrance. Future generations will learn of Mother and Baby Homes and of the experiences of former residents, particularly as told through their own words.

With regard to records, the Government is committed to introducing information and tracing legislation as a priority.

Access to one’s own identity is a basic right.

We will also be advancing a range of related actions to support access to personal information and to ensure appropriate and sensitive archiving of institutional records.

Finally, turning to Restorative Recognition.

Similar to the Magdalenes, an enhanced medical card will be given to former residents of a Mother and Baby Home or County Home.

This is in addition to counselling, which is immediately available to all former residents, and patient liaison support services, which will be available to all former residents.

The Government will also design a scheme of Restorative Recognition for former residents and an Interdepartmental Group will report back to Government on this as soon as possible.

All of these commitments will be advanced in a survivor-centred manner, with ongoing communication and engagement as plans are developed and implemented.

As a nation, it is important to understand and accept the failings of our past; important but not sufficient. We must also learn from them.

We have adopted national and international laws which oblige us to follow a different, more humane and right-based approach.

There is in place and being further developed a wide range of social services completely absent for much of our history.

Under Minister O’Gorman, we have a Government Department dedicated to children, to equality and to working across Government and society to promote and uphold the rights of all people.

The Citizens’ Assembly is examining further measures to address structural inequalities in relation to gender. It is looking in particular at how we can support and respond to the needs of those with caring responsibilities.

Through our laws and policies, our systems, structures and services, our actions and our words, we must always seek to create a more just society, grounded in respect, diversity, tolerance and equality.

Continued investment in education, especially for those at the margins and the most vulnerable, is the surest way of making sure that we do not repeat the past.

Similarly, we must learn the lesson that institutionalisation, creates power structures and abuses of power and must never again be an option for our country.

Throughout this report former residents talk of a feeling of shame for the situation they found themselves in.

The shame was not theirs – it was ours.

It was our shame that we did not show them the respect and compassion which we as a country owed them.

It remains our shame.

I want to reassure survivors, their families and the country, that this Government is determined to act on all the recommendations of the Report and to deliver the legislative change necessary to at least start to heal the wounds that endure”. Micheal Martin, Dail Eireann, Dublin, 13/01/2022

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RIP John Le Carré 1931-2020


David John Moore Cornwell, better known by his pen name John le Carré, was a British author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and 1960s, he worked for both the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence ServiceM15 and M16.

His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), became an international best-seller and remains one of his best-known works.

Most of le Carré’s books are spy stories set during the Cold War (1945–91) and portray British Intelligence agents as unheroic political functionaries aware of the moral ambiguity of their work and engaged more in psychological than physical drama

George Smiley and related novels

Call for the Dead (1961), OCLC 751303381
A Murder of Quality (1962), OCLC 777015390
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), OCLC 561198531
The Looking Glass War (1965), OCLC 752987890
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974), ISBN 0-143-12093-X
The Honourable Schoolboy (1977), ISBN 0-143-11973-7
Smiley’s People (1979), ISBN 0-340-99439-8
The Russia House (1989), ISBN 0-743-46466-4
The Secret Pilgrim (1990), ISBN 0-345-50442-9
A Legacy of Spies (2017), ISBN 978-0-735-22511-4[52]

George Smiley collections

The Incongruous Spy (1964), containing Call for the Dead and A Murder of Quality, OCLC 851437951
The Quest for Karla (1982), containing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People (republished in 1995 as Smiley Versus Karla in the UK; and John Le Carré: Three Complete Novels in the U.S.), ISBN 0-394-52848-4

Semi-autobiographical

The Naïve and Sentimental Lover (1971), ISBN 0-143-11975-3
A Perfect Spy (1986), ISBN 0-143-11976-1

Standalone

A Small Town in Germany (1968), ISBN 0-143-12260-6
The Little Drummer Girl (1983), ISBN 0-143-11974-5
The Night Manager (1993), ISBN 0-345-38576-4
Our Game (1995), ISBN 0-345-40000-3
The Tailor of Panama (1996), ISBN 0-345-42043-8
Single & Single (1999), ISBN 0-743-45806-0
The Constant Gardener (2001), ISBN 0-743-28720-7
Absolute Friends (2003), ISBN 0-670-04489-X
The Mission Song (2006), ISBN 0-340-92199-4
A Most Wanted Man (2008), ISBN 1-416-59609-7
Our Kind of Traitor (2010), ISBN 0-143-11972-9
A Delicate Truth (2013), ISBN 0-143-12531-1
Agent Running in the Field (2019), ISBN 1984878875

Awards and honours

1963, British Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold[61]
1964, Somerset Maugham Award for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold[62]
1965, Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold[63]
1977, British Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger for The Honourable Schoolboy[61]
1977, James Tait Black Memorial Prize Fiction Award for The Honourable Schoolboy[64]
1983, Japan Adventure Fiction Association Prize for The Little Drummer Girl[65]
1984, Honorary Fellow Lincoln College, Oxford[46]
1984, Mystery Writers of America Edgar Grand Master[63]
1988, Crime Writers Association Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award[66]
1988, The Malaparte Prize, Italy[46]
1990, Honorary degree, University of Exeter[67]
1990, Helmerich Award of the Tulsa Library Trust.[68]
1996, Honorary degree, University of St. Andrews[69]
1997, Honorary degree, University of Southampton[70]
1998, Honorary degree, University of Bath[55]
2005, Crime Writers Association Dagger of Daggers for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold[71]
2005, Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France[46]
2008, honorary doctorate, University of Bern[72]
2011, Goethe Medal of the Goethe Institute[73]
20 June 2012 awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) from the University of Oxford[74]
2019, Olof Palme Prize[75]

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Stay Safe But Enjoy Christmas

1.Minimise your in person contacts. Be selective who you allow into your house. If you are meeting up with friends or family you have the option to do it in a controlled area like a cafe or somewhere outside your home.

2. This Christmas you need to prioritize the traditions that matter most to you.
When visiting another house please wear a face covering and wash hands regularly. Use liquid hand wash with a dispenser and dry hands with kitchen roll and then throw away. Do not share hand towels.


3. Do your Christmas shop early and safely, avoid crowds indoors and outside. Wear a mask. Shop online or late at night. Many shops are offering late nights openings.Do your gift shopping and shipping early.


4.If you feel unwell, don’t risk it – stay home and contact your doctor


5. When visiting a relative’s house keep fresh air circulating. Keep window open and sit granny/grandad or sick person by window, 2m away from others. Add another heater if need be to keep her/him warm.

6. Two other households may be able to gather this Christmas.
Keep 2m apart, wear masks, wash your hands regularly, keep windows open. When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue.
Do not sleep over.If you are having Christmas dinner together please be careful.
Do not share food from your plate, dinner ware, glasses or cutlery. It would be best to use paper plates, cups and napkins etc. One use and throw away thus not spreading infection.

7.Prepare food in other room by one.
Another cook food in kitchen.

8.When spending time with friends and family this festive season, try to spend time outdoors when possible.
Limit the amount of time you spend together
Do not travel to Ireland from abroad this year only, stay at home. Zoom and chat. Select a family member in Ireland to visit the relatives, just for this weird year with the Covid virus.
Make sure these people are comfortable with you visiting before you land at their doorstep.

9. Plan ahead— Plan how you will spend your Christmas Day and who you will be in contact with.
Keep your guest list short and try to ensure that you limit your close contacts in the days and weeks beforehand
Remember – every contact counts!


10. On arrival — Try encourage guests to use hand sanitiser or to wash their hands when they arrive at your home or do so when you arrive at someone else’s home.


11.Limit contact — Try to avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes as people arrive
Don’t share items like crockery and glassware.
Avoid sharing food and buffet style set ups. Do not give too much alcohol. People are less likely to adhere to social distancing and public health advice when drunk.
Give a little extra space. Try to allow extra space at the dinner table
Extra distance between settings will make sure everyone is comfortable and keeps safe
People from the same households should sit together

Source: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/e3b9e-safe-christmas/

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Congratulations President Biden..Love From Ireland

Joe Biden Wins Presidential Race With 279 Electoral Votes – CBS Pittsburgh

President Biden quotes Irish Poet Seamus Heaney from his play The Cure Of Troy.

“History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.”
– Seamus Heaney

Us Irish are thrilled. Our pride and joy is best described by Seamus Heaney.

“Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.

The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker’s father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.

History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracle
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.”
― Seamus Heaney

“Behaviour that’s admired is the path to power among people everywhere.”, Beowulf
― Seamus Heaney,

“It is difficult at times to repress the thought that history is about as instructive as an abattoir; that Tacitus was right and that peace is merely the desolation left behind after the decisive operations of merciless power.”
― Seamus Heaney,

“I shall gain glory or die.” ― Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

“If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.”
― Seamus Heaney

“Only the very stupid or the very deprived can any longer help knowing that the documents of civilization have been written in blood and tears, blood and tears no less real for being very remote.”
― Seamus Heaney,

HOPE

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.”
― Seamus Heaney


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New Irish Dictionary 2020

Coróinvíreas and arán banana: A new English-Irish dictionary covers the  pandemic

Title: Concise English_Irish Dictionary

Author: O Mianain, Padraig

Publisher: Foras Na Gaeilge

In the print version users will find: free online version , print RRP is €30/£25.

Summary:

30,000 entries; 85,000 sense units; 200,000 phrases and example sentences in Irish; a large style and grammar supplement;

New Words added eg

Click – cliceáil

to go online – dul ar líne

Brexit – an Breatimeacht

selfie stick maide féinín

car phone – fón cairr

Collect – cruinnigh

coronavirus – coróinvíreas

víreas corónach- corona virus

to shop online – siopadóireacht a dhéanamh ar líne

home office – oifig bhaile

online bookings – áirithintí ar líne

selfie- féinín

social distancing – scaradh sóisialta

community worker- oibrí pobail

lockdown – dianghlasáil

selfie stick – maide féinín

Alternative Medicine – leigheas malartach

Robot – róbat

Drone – dordán

Internet – idirlíon

Michael D Higgins Launches The New English-Irish Dictioanry.

 

 

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My sister is not a statistic by Dorothy Duffy

Tomorrow, when the latest Deathometer of COVID is announced
in sonorous tones,
Whilst all the bodies still mount and curl towards the middle of the curve
Heaped one atop and alongside the other
My sister will be among those numbers, among the throwaway lines
Among the platitudes and lowered eyes,
an older person with underlying health conditions,
A pitiful way to lay rest the bare bones of a life.

My sister is not a statistic

Her underlying conditions were
Love
Kindness
Belief in the essential goodness of mankind
Uproarious laughter
Forgiveness
Compassion
A storyteller
A survivor
A comforter
A force of nature
And so much more

My sister is not a statistic

She died without the soft touch of a loved one’s hand
Without the feathered kiss upon her forehead
Without the muted murmur of familiar family voices gathered around her bed,
Without the gentle roar of laughter that comes with memories recalled
Evoked from a time that already seems distant, when we were connected by the simplicity of touch, of voice, of presence.

My sister is not a statistic 

She was a woman who spanned the seven ages.
A mother
A grandmother
A great grandmother
A sister
A Friend
An aunt
A carer
A giver

My sister is not a statistic

And so, she joins the mounting thousands

They are not statistics on the Deathometer of COVID

They are the wives, mothers, children, fathers, sisters, brothers,
The layers of all our loved ones
If she could, believe me when I say, she would hold every last one of your loved ones, croon to and comfort them and say – you were loved.
Whilst we who have been left behind mourn deep, keening the loss, the injustice, the rage.
One day we will smile and laugh again,

we will remember with joy that, once, we shared a life, we knew joy and survived sadness.

You are my sister…….. and I love you.

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RIP For All Those Who Died Of Covid

Image may contain: text that says 'those we LOVE DON'T GO AWAY, they walk beside us EVERY DAY UNSEEN, UNHEARD, but always near STILL LOVED, STILL MISSED, and very dear to our heurts. q Aക0 21 gണா CO നസന'

As we enter a second phase of Covid we remember with love those who have lost their battle from Covid.

To Date 1,192,644 Deaths (WHO)

Source: https://covid19.who.int/

intention #shareyoga #discipline | Hand candle, Blue candles, Candles

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RIP Derek Mahon

Everything is Going to be All Right By Derek Mahon

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

Derek Mahon, from Selected Poems

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The Tower By W.B. Yeats

The Tower By William Butler Yeats

                                              I
What shall I do with this absurdity —
O heart, O troubled heart — this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog’s tail?
                                 Never had I more
Excited, passionate, fantastical
Imagination, nor an ear and eye
That more expected the impossible —
No, not in boyhood when with rod and fly,
Or the humbler worm, I climbed Ben Bulben’s back
And had the livelong summer day to spend.
It seems that I must bid the Muse go pack,
Choose Plato and Plotinus for a friend
Until imagination, ear and eye,
Can be content with argument and deal
In abstract things; or be derided by
A sort of battered kettle at the heel.
                                      II
I pace upon the battlements and stare
On the foundations of a house, or where
Tree, like a sooty finger, starts from the earth;
And send imagination forth
Under the day’s declining beam, and call
Images and memories
From ruin or from ancient trees,
For I would ask a question of them all.
Beyond that ridge lived Mrs. French, and once
When every silver candlestick or sconce
Lit up the dark mahogany and the wine,
A serving-man, that could divine
That most respected lady’s every wish,
Ran and with the garden shears
Clipped an insolent farmer’s ears
And brought them in a little covered dish.
Some few remembered still when I was young
A peasant girl commended by a song,
Who’d lived somewhere upon that rocky place,
And praised the colour of her face,
And had the greater joy in praising her,
Remembering that, if walked she there,
Farmers jostled at the fair
So great a glory did the song confer.
And certain men, being maddened by those rhymes,
Or else by toasting her a score of times,
Rose from the table and declared it right
To test their fancy by their sight;
But they mistook the brightness of the moon
For the prosaic light of day –
Music had driven their wits astray –
And one was drowned in the great bog of Cloone.
Strange, but the man who made the song was blind;
Yet, now I have considered it, I find
That nothing strange; the tragedy began
With Homer that was a blind man,
And Helen has all living hearts betrayed.
O may the moon and sunlight seem
One inextricable beam,
For if I triumph I must make men mad.
And I myself created Hanrahan
And drove him drunk or sober through the dawn
From somewhere in the neighbouring cottages.
Caught by an old man’s juggleries
He stumbled, tumbled, fumbled to and fro
And had but broken knees for hire
And horrible splendour of desire;
I thought it all out twenty years ago:
Good fellows shuffled cards in an old bawn;
And when that ancient ruffian’s turn was on
He so bewitched the cards under his thumb
That all but the one card became
A pack of hounds and not a pack of cards,
And that he changed into a hare.
Hanrahan rose in frenzy there
And followed up those baying creatures towards —
O towards I have forgotten what — enough!
I must recall a man that neither love
Nor music nor an enemy’s clipped ear
Could, he was so harried, cheer;
A figure that has grown so fabulous
There’s not a neighbour left to say
When he finished his dog’s day:
An ancient bankrupt master of this house.
Before that ruin came, for centuries,
Rough men-at-arms, cross-gartered to the knees
Or shod in iron, climbed the narrow stairs,
And certain men-at-arms there were
Whose images, in the Great Memory stored,
Come with loud cry and panting breast
To break upon a sleeper’s rest
While their great wooden dice beat on the board.
As I would question all, come all who can;
Come old, necessitous, half-mounted man;
And bring beauty’s blind rambling celebrant;
The red man the juggler sent
Through God-forsaken meadows; Mrs. French,
Gifted with so fine an ear;
The man drowned in a bog’s mire,
When mocking muses chose the country wench.
Did all old men and women, rich and poor,
Who trod upon these rocks or passed this door,
Whether in public or in secret rage
As I do now against old age?
But I have found an answer in those eyes
That are impatient to be gone;
Go therefore; but leave Hanrahan,
For I need all his mighty memories.
Old lecher with a love on every wind,
Bring up out of that deep considering mind
All that you have discovered in the grave,
For it is certain that you have
Reckoned up every unforeknown, unseeing
Plunge, lured by a softening eye,
Or by a touch or a sigh,
Into the labyrinth of another’s being;
Does the imagination dwell the most
Upon a woman won or woman lost?
If on the lost, admit you turned aside
From a great labyrinth out of pride,
Cowardice, some silly over-subtle thought
Or anything called conscience once;
And that if memory recur, the sun’s
Under eclipse and the day blotted out.
                          III
It is time that I wrote my will;
I choose upstanding men
That climb the streams until
The fountain leap, and at dawn
Drop their cast at the side
Of dripping stone; I declare
They shall inherit my pride,
The pride of people that were
Bound neither to Cause nor to State,
Neither to slaves that were spat on,
Nor to the tyrants that spat,
The people of Burke and of Grattan
That gave, though free to refuse –
Pride, like that of the morn,
When the headlong light is loose,
Or that of the fabulous horn,
Or that of the sudden shower
When all streams are dry,
Or that of the hour
When the swan must fix his eye
Upon a fading gleam,
Float out upon a long
Last reach of glittering stream
And there sing his last song.
And I declare my faith:
I mock Plotinus’ thought
And cry in Plato’s teeth,
Death and life were not
Till man made up the whole,
Made lock, stock and barrel
Out of his bitter soul,
Aye, sun and moon and star, all,
And further add to that
That, being dead, we rise,
Dream and so create
Translunar Paradise.
I have prepared my peace
With learned Italian things
And the proud stones of Greece,
Poet’s imaginings
And memories of love,
Memories of the words of women,
All those things whereof
Man makes a superhuman
Mirror-resembling dream.
As at the loophole there
The daws chatter and scream,
And drop twigs layer upon layer.
When they have mounted up,
The mother bird will rest
On their hollow top,
And so warm her wild nest.
I leave both faith and pride
To young upstanding men
Climbing the mountain side,
That under bursting dawn
They may drop a fly;
Being of that metal made
Till it was broken by
This sedentary trade.
Now shall I make my soul,
Compelling it to study
In a learned school
Till the wreck of body,
Slow decay of blood,
Testy delirium
Or dull decrepitude,
Or what worse evil come –
The death of friends, or death
Of every brilliant eye
That made a catch in the breath –
Seem but the clouds of the sky
When the horizon fades;
Or a bird’s sleepy cry
Among the deepening shades.
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Black Lives Matter

BLACK LIVES MATTER BY Licy Be

How many hearts need to shatter before we turn the page and start a new chapter… slavery was abolished they printed it in the news. But the headlines I’m reading show that’s far from the truth…

Because people are still captive to their skin colour of which none of us can choose. how much more blood needs to be spilled, will smith said racisms not getting worse it’s just getting filmed, that because this is not the first time a black person has been killed…it’s happened over and over and over again, they say repetition it’s like the definition of insanity so what is that saying? This world is broken and it needs to change…

This has been happening since the begging of the age since Abel and Cain, they even killed Jesus when He came… If I could take off my skin and leave it at the door. And you couldn’t see colour anymore. Would hearts be worth fighting for? I understand that the thought that may cross some minds…

The thought of I don’t need this in my life… But if you live in this age and time, then you can’t not fight it shouldn’t be a privilege to have skin that is white, And I recognise that if any one of us stays silent then we all loose the fight. Because ignoring it is as bad as condoning, looking away is the same, cos at the end of the day when a god calls your name what will you say, God I chose to look away, cos that probably won’t cut it on judgement day.

And choosing not to take par is a choice, but It will result in more broken heart if you don’t use your voice…so I’m calling on every colour to make some noise in the direction of racism, now is not the time to be afraid or complacent, now is the time to stand on the same side as this statement black lives matter.

Raise your hands to God and wave them like a banner, in surrender to Him because we cannot win this fight separate Him…. who was killed, 3 nails and a ham hammer, He’s more relatable than you might imagine… Our god is a god colour – born in the Middle East, He was not white as many believe. Jesus, son of God. They called Him the King of peace, something we know little about but desperately need. This cannot become another forgotten headline, this is the point where we need to rise and draw the line. So what does change look like in your mind?

I believe the answers are in the word of God and they have been there this whole time I may be wrong, but I don’t think it’s a lack of answers or not knowing what to do.. but a lack of action, and application of the truth. Jesus said this, a new commandment I give to you, Love one another I have loved you..

If you are a believer then, this is the truth, and it’s this truth that we need to choose, The bible says God made from one man every nation, There is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female so what do you see? I believe God was painting a picture of unity. We need not look at ourselves to find the answers but we must be compelled to take our chances on the God of love…

Peace and a sound mind… and to some this may or may not sound fine, but if you don’t believe in Jesus then tell me do you believe in Love, because they are one in the same, and for this reason Jesus came, to heal our brokenness and set the captives free,. We only need reminisce on our history to see that racism never ends happily… We all know of a great man that once spoke of a dream, Let this generation be the one where that dream is finally seen.

Posted in Black Lives Matter, Blogs And Blogging, Death, Murder, Poet, Poetry, Police Brutality, Racism, Storytelling, Violence | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Black Lives Matter