John Handelaar has created the Fax Your TD project but needs more volunteers. He needs 5 more people to volunteer to work on the project to move it along further. Sign up this evening or the project will die! Dramatic eh? 🙂
Archive for the ‘politics’ Category
Equivalence in Promoting Equality is a new publication from the Equality Authority and I’ve not downloaded it yet but it seems from a press statement on BreakingNews.ie that they are using the Good Friday Agreement to get the people of the Republic some of the same rights which people in the North get:
The body said that under the Good Friday Agreement, the government has committed to ensuring an equivalent level of protection of human rights in the Republic.
This means it could be obliged to give legal recognition to same-sex relationships.
And all this the day before the FF/FG rigged Committee on the Constitution recommends no changes to the definition of what a family is.
From my limited knowledge of judicial history I know how important Roe v Wade was and how it started a new era of freedom for people around the world. It in effect struck down anti-abortion laws in the US citing a woman has a right to privacy and to do what she wants with her own body. Of late though this is being seriously eroded.
Roe v Wade inspired the McGee case in Ireland which deemed unconstitutional the ban on the sale of constraceptives and it in turn sparked the long and unending abortion arguments in Ireland. Mary Robinson was the Barrister for Mrs McGee and later was part of a pro-choice group that campaigned for legislation change on abortion.
Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese later campaigned with David Norris to remove the ban on homosexuality which was denied by the Supreme Court which amongst other things cited that it was a public health concern and so his privacy and what he did in his own home was less important than curbing homosexuals and their health risk. This was of course at the time when people were dropping like flies (or so it seemed) with AIDS. (1983-1984). Norris eventually went to the Eurpean Court of Human Rights and won (1998) but it took until 1993 before the ban on homosexuality was removed.
Now tomorrow comes a much leaked report, the conclusions of which seemed to have been decided on before a consultation process was even finished. The report is about changing the constitution to recognize more rights for children and a better more inclusive definition of what a family is. Right now a family is a married man and woman and who have or could have kids. Anything else is not a family and therefore does not have the same rights. The definition of a family will not change say the leak ks and that was made clear months ago but it seems to deflect from this rigged result they are making it a Gay Marriage issue.
It is true that if they changed the definition it may have provided for same-sex marriage but that was with one suggested definition but it would mean that umarried fathers would have rights to their kids, it would mean kids with two mummies would have parents who are equal guardians of their future, it would have meant unmarried couples would be treated better in the eyes of the law. Instead the family definition remains unchanged and the issue is turned into an emotive issue about gay marriage. Ugly spin tactics to hide the pre-Roe attitude that still exists amongst some in Ireland. There’s more coverage by Suzy and Potato. I’d be very interested in Fiona’s take on it.
Well for some reason I’m the first result in Google for “Mary O Rourke comment” so I better put something here for the two people that visited from Google.
Update: Richard Develan gives good coverage and I actually thought it a non-issue until his coverage of the media handling of it by Fianna FÃ¡il and the lack of backbone by the media to call her out on it:
Orla then reads out another text from a listener that makes comparisons to the way Paddies and Micks were treated in the UK and elsewhere. The listener says that she’s black and she’s offended by O’Rourke’s remarks.
Asked for her response, O’Rourke says: “Good for her. Sheâ€™s got clearly her asylum…or her papers. I wish all asylum seekers could work here.”
Oh my god. In fact this needs more punctuation: Oh. My. God.
IrelandOffline wants to update their logo and “brand.” More details here. Apply within etc. Forward this to any friends that you think may be interested as well. Monetary reward is low but helping out IrelandOffline will make you feel good!
Via BoingBoing – Newspaper sending all elected reps a copy of 1984. A nice publicity stunt to get attention to the US Govt spying on their people. It’s a cheap enough method of getting the press and the public tuned into issues of Governments abusing the civil and human rights of their constituents.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to do the same here. Have people send in their secondhand copies of 1984 to the likes of Digital Rights Ireland who will then send a book to each of the 166 TDs and 60 Senators in Ireland as a reminder about the Irish and EU Data Retention laws. As well as highlighting the scary data retention law it would encourage people to read a classic piece of literature. No, I don’t think we should send the TDs the cliff notes version of the book itself. Unless we wanted to be exceedingly cheeky.
I have to say that 2005 was definitely the year of the blog in Ireland. A community quickly came together thanks in no small part to the IrishBlogs and the PlanetOfTheBlogs aggregators. I’ve made a good few friends and hardly any enemies from this blogging lark. I’ve also found a new play toy called United Irelander. But more of that in the new year 😉
The quality of content coming from the small but growing
boggersphere community is fantastic and we need to encourage more people to join this community and be their guides and mentors. We have the like of the lefties interviewing us, so we can learn more about ourselves, even silly memes that fly around the boggersphere faster than UI gets taken to task by the feminazis are good things for becoming more comfortable with each other. We have reporters, academics, artists, politicians, business people and social satirists in the mix and it’s enriching our daily reading. This is such a good thing. We even have a lovely Russian lady giving her views on things. I’m still looking for the elusive Polish bloggers though.
We also seem to be reaching out further to cyberspace and making our presence felt. We had Robert Scoble over here to visit Cork and Dublin and he helped advertise other Irish bloggers. Sites like PodLeaders and Newsroom.ie are interviewing international tech leaders as well as local tech and business influencers. Us Irish bloggers are doing well!
It was through the Irish blogs community that the Digital Rights Ireland group formed and they’ve already shown their worth with massive media coverage. 2006 is looking like an amazing year for them, but I’m biased being a director. 🙂
Now that I don’t have work for a while, college is over til Jan 3rd and both the lobby groups I have fun with are slowing down for the holidays, I really really really guarantee I’ll do something about the Irish Blog Awards.
So, to get to my point at long last, I’d like to thank everyone who blogs because you contribute a great deal of knowledge to my daily life now and educate me non-stop. Keep blogging, keep your current high standards, keep encouraging your fellow bloggers and try and get more and more people to blog.
Progressive Ireland suggests an election super blog which is a pretty nifty idea. I’m sure there’ll be many people that would like to contribute to it. If you plan it right you may even get quite a lot of traffic for unique content.
myself and Dave were discussing the upcoming Irish General Election and that an unbiased and neutral fact-checking site is needed. Monitor all the hot-air that comes from politicos and see does it match what they said and what they did. This might be a way of reeling in those that may not have had an interest until now to get involved in political debate. Certainly would help make politics more transparent.
I think something like this would be a nice companion piece to the Super Blog idea.
I wrote a long piece on a webforum before about the IBTS and so I’ll reproduce it here and update it a little:
I’ve taken quotes from the IBTS site and I’ll highlight them and point out the ignorant arguments they put forward for being homophobic:
Q. Why does the IBTS not accept donations from men who have sex with men?
A. In line with all blood transfusion services in the developed world, the IBTS refuses to accept blood donations from men who have had oral or anal sex with another male. This policy was first introduced in the early 1980s when it became apparent that HIV could be spread by blood transfusions, and at a time when gay men represented the largest identifiable source of HIV transmission. The introduction of the ban on gay men was adopted before a test for HIV infection in blood donors was developed, and was very successful in reducing transmission of HIV from transfusions.
Right, so they are confirming that the ban was put in place at a time of panic and before testing. There’s been massive changes since in research and testing but we have 1980s attitudes still at play, but more about this later…
Just for the record there was a very strong case in the states a few years back for lifting the lifetime ban but the Red Cross which is very right wing Christian in America apparently vetoed the lifting despite two major blood donation groups wanting it lifted. Religion is just wonderful at times. I wonder if the ban was lifted in the states would Ireland and the IBTS follow?
This policy causes considerable offence: it is clearly discriminatory against gay men, and categorises all gay men as being at increased risk of HIV; it has also been criticised because it seems to single out gay men to the exclusion of other groups in the community who also have an increased risk of acquiring HIV. In recent years heterosexual females have overtaken IV drug users and homosexual men as the largest group of new HIV cases in Ireland.
The IBTS accepts that they are being discriminatory; we discriminate against several groups in the community insofar as we refuse to allow them to donate blood on the basis of perceived increased risk of spreading infections through blood transfusion. These include anyone who has ever been injected with non-prescribed drugs, anyone who has engaged in sex for which they have been paid with money or drugs, people who have lived in Britain or Northern Ireland between 1980 and 1996 (because of the vCJD risk), people who have been in prison in the previous year, and several other categories.
Right, so they are saying they are discriminating but saying they are doing it for the safety of the population and they do exclude other groups too and have good reason. That almost sounds allowable, doesn’t it ?
But here is where it gets interesting and they catch themselves out:
Q. But what about testing?
A. While the testing currently used by the IBTS is the most sensitive available, no test can reliably detect HIV infection in the first ten days after someone has become infected. This means that a person who donates blood soon after becoming infected with HIV can transmit the infection even if the test for HIV is negative. For this reason all persons who are identifiably at increased risk of HIV are excluded. (Most of the heterosexual females who developed HIV infection in recent years would have been rejected as blood donors on the basis of residency in sub-Saharan Africa or other identifiable risk.)
The window of non-detection is 10 days. After that they can pick it up. So, something like a year ban would be good enough one would think. It isn’t 1980s Kansas anymore Toto, they have more modern and reliable testing methods so that they can check if you have HIV ten days after being exposed to it. You have got to wonder why there is a lifetime ban when they can detect if you have HIV if you were exposed 10 or more days ago.
HIV in the West appeared first among gay men in the eighties and had spread widely in the gay community before the nature of the threat was appreciated or understood. This indicates that men who have sex with men may constitute one route in the future through which a new disease, transmissible by blood transfusions, could find its way into the community before it is detectable. While heterosexual activity also represents a significant route of transmission now, the extensive spread of HIV through heterosexual activity in the West was considerably slower, and occurred predominantly after the disease was understood and methods to prevent its spread had been identified.
And there we have the homophobia. In other words “You people brought us AIDS and who knows what else you might bring in the future. You’re a threat to us. We don’t want your gay blood. ” That’s blatant discrimination.
To exclude someone on their sexuality and because down the line they may be prone to some new unknown virus is highly controversial and just plain wrong. If all Germans were banned from visiting France because in the past *some* of them invaded the country and there is no guarantee that they may not again, there would be outrage and everyone would agree it’s wrong.
Q. Why can’t you evaluate gay men on the same basis as heterosexual people?
A. It is arguable that the total ban on men who have had sex with men should be replaced by exclusion on the basis of activity rather than gender preference. Up to a point the ban is on the basis of activity Â someone who is gay but has never had oral or anal sex with another male is not banned from donating blood.
Nevertheless it is true that the blood transfusion community uses a very blunt approach to the problem Â but at present we know that this approach has been successful in the past, and is likely to provide the best level of protection to patients in the future should a new but similarly insidious form of infection appear again.
Again with the “they could give us another form of AIDS” excuse couple with the fact that what they did worked before so it might work again for these unknowns. So, they’re banning a people for their sexual practices on the basis that they might spread something unknown and to combat people getting this unknown they’ll ban gays from giving blood. It did work before, when they had no clue what the fuck was going on. The blanket ban worked but now testing works. This is like preventing hit and runs by carpet bombing every road. Sure it’ll work, but there has got to be other methods which are just as safe but don’t shun a portion of the population. Also nice use of the word “insidious” there.
Viruses can cause lethal infection with latent periods longer than ten or fifteen years. If a time limit were to be set so that men who had had sex with men in the past could be reinstated as donors after a period of abstinence, then that time limit would likely be very long.
They say “yeah we could allow some people but the ban would be very long.” So, it’s a start, its a sign that you trust us in some small way. Do it.
The United States has recently modified its ban on gay men, to men who have had sex with another male at any time since 1977. This means that gay men are accepted if they have been abstinent throughout the last 26 years. It is possible that the Europeans would consider such a move in the future; however the practical consequences are likely to be minimal.
And here they state that the 26 year time limit is so long they might not get anyone, so they’ll not put it in place. They have no scientific reason for this exclusion so therefore it is nothing but indirect discrimination due to laziness.
I was at a debate around this time last year where the IBTS debated a very weak UCC LGBT soc and the first thing the woman from the IBTS did was give a little summary of all the STDs that gay men contracted and showed how they had a higher and sometimes hugely higher amount of STDs than the straight population. A fantastic way of building your argument but not something becoming of an organisation funded by the Health Board.
I also helped the LGBT soc write a press release on this and I remember a local gay mens organisation refusing to help or support them. It wouldn’t have anything to do with getting funding from the Health board though. No gay organisation would ever ignore discrimination simply to keep their funding…