Important High Court Decision Coming on Monday

High Court. Image: Irish Independent

According to the Irish Times, the High Court will rule on Monday on whether there is a “validly constituted Seanad” that can sit and pass laws.

This is an interesting question dealing with Article 18 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, and pits members of the Seanad against the outgoing taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, who maintains that the 49-member Seanad is not empowered to legislate. He further argues that the taoiseach has discretion over when to advise the president to convene the Seanad.

These issues might seem arcane–because they are–but if the Seanad cannot convene on Monday, then important pieces of legislation such as the Offenses Against the State Act will lapse. Depending on your view on that act, that could even be a good thing (Sinn Féin, for example, always opposes renewing it, though the party has agreed not to oppose the renewal this year.)

We will see on Monday how the High Court will rule.

 

Gemma O’Doherty Shows Her True Colors

And they’re not green, white, and orange.

In an obscene tweet yesterday, Gemma cited a murder in South Africa and then claimed that “multiculturalism” is the problem.

In many of Gemma’s racist tweets proclaiming that “Ireland belongs to the Irish,” she has been able to at least nominally pretend that she is concerned with upholding the legacy of Patrick Pearse, who declared the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland in the Proclamation of Poblacht na hÉireann in 1916. Most people identified those statements as racist, anti-immigrant screed, but there was at least a veil of patriotism with the invocation of Irish history.

She cannot make the same claim for the tweet above. Her rhetoric directly accuses African people of being egregiously violent, as if all black people are out committing murders and rapes–and, moreover, that no white people commit murders and rapes. [Side note: I have written extensively on sexual assault in Ireland, and I will testify: almost all of the sex crimes committed in Ireland have been by white men who were citizens of Ireland.]

She condemns “multiculturalism” as being the cause of these murders, and warns that if Ireland continues to embrace diversity, all of these “scary” African people will come to Ireland and rape and murder Irish people. This fear mongering invokes an old racist trope that Americans will recognize: the idiotic idea that black men are all looking to rape (and possibly murder) white women; it is trying to make you afraid of people of color.

This particular tweet is especially disgusting, though, because it blames crime in South Africa on African people. It suggests that people of color are the source of “60 murders and 100 rapes” per day in South Africa, and that they are therefore the source of crime in Ireland. In blaming “multiculturalism,” however, she conveniently forgets that she is violating her own principles: if “Ireland belongs to the ‘Irish'” (and she has a narrow, blood-and-soil definition of who qualifies as Irish), then shouldn’t South Africa belong to the “native” South Africans? All of those white people running around South Africa are the descendants of European imperialists. The white people are the purveyors of “multiculturalism” in South Africa; the white people are the immigrants or descendants of immigrants (better known as colonizers).

Gemma is stupid but she’s not that stupid. She full well knows that the white people in South Africa are the descendants of imperialists, which is why her tweet lays bare her racism. There is no argument that can suggest that black people are the purveyors of “multiculturalism” in South Africa. All Gemma is really saying here is that she hates people of color and doesn’t want them in Ireland.

Gemma O’Doherty has always been a racist. She has apparently lost her desire to veil her bigotry in a cloak of patriotism.

 

 

Lyra McKee – Murder Weapon Found

At long last, investigators have located the gun that assholes from the so-called New IRA used to murder the journalist Lyra McKee over a year ago in Derry.

Police reform is an urgent issue in the United States right now, and I hope that reformers might look to the PSNI for an example of how it can be done successfully. This police force is far from perfect. But, it has continued the investigation into the tragic murder of Lyra McKee for over a year, dealing with a community that historically does not trust the police.

The fact that the PSNI has uncovered this gun, and that people are willing to talk to the police from the Catholic community in Derry says a lot about the success of turning the sectarian RUC into the (mostly) non-sectarian PSNI.

Domestic Abuse in Lockdown

Domestic violence is a euphemism for assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and/or murder or one’s intimate partner.

In Ireland, as around the world, cases of “domestic violence” have increased dramatically as the coronavirus pandemic forced people into lockdown. Today’s Irish Times is reporting that the gardaí are committed to protecting victims of domestic assault. Women and children have been trapped with their abusers for months now, and calls to helplines have increased by 60 percent! 

This is an unacceptable state of affairs. The gardaí can and must do better to lock up the abusers. But the problem doesn’t start or end with punishment. Society must do more to teach abusers–most of whom are men–that their wives, girlfriends, and children are not their property. Men do not have the right to assault their partners and kids with impunity, yet it seems that when some men are threatened with impotence (in this case as the result of the pandemic) they try to repair their fragile sense of masculinity by abusing the people they allegedly love.

Ireland can do better. So can the world.

Let’s march against domestic violence.

Rape Conviction & an Appalling Headline

The Irish Times should be hanging its head in shame today after this disgusting headline: “Two Men Jailed for Raping ‘Blind Drunk’ student in Co Donegal.”

Two men were convicted of raping a young woman, who is now in her 20s. The men, Boakye Osei (30), of Tooban, Burnfoot, and Kelvin Opoku (33), of Cill Graine, Letterkenny, were sentenced to nine years in prison for their crime. The latter of the two men continues to blither about how he is innocent, and that the victim/survivor set him up by rubbing his DNA on a condom. 

Wait, SAY WHAT NOW?

The victim/survivor stated that on a scale of 1-10 of drunkenness, she was a 10 and about to pass out. Does that sound like someone who had the mental capacity to somehow rub a man’s DNA on a condom in order to set him up for rape? Not to mention the fact that the rapist is relying on an outdated, disgusting trope that sets up women as manipulative bitches who falsely accuse men of raping them.

The perpetrators in this case are foul humans. They deserve to every day of that nine years in jail.

And the foulness of these rapists makes the Irish Times headline even more repulsive. These men offered a lift to an obviously intoxicated woman and then raped her. The headline that she was “blind drunk” suggests that the victim/survivor had fault in this scenario.

Disgusting.

Dáil Éireann convenes to pass emergency bill

The Irish Times is reporting this morning that the Dáil is in session to pass the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill in order to give the government authority to take drastic steps to contain the virus and save the lives of Irish people.Image result for dail eireann

According to the paper, the legislation will “include income supports for people who are diagnosed with the coronavirus or self-isolating, and give the State powers to direct people to stay in their homes and detain those believed to have the virus who refuse to self-isolate. It would also allow for events or gatherings which pose a clear risk to public health to be prohibited, or to order entire regions into lockdown.”

I’ve seen on Twitter that many people are calling for the measures to have a sunset clause–that is, a provision that puts a time limit on how long the government has to exercise these extreme measures. I’d say that’s a good idea, but that any such provision should also include the option to renew the powers, because we just don’t know how long this crisis is going to last, and we can’t predict the course of the epidemic.

Giving the government extraordinary powers like the authority to order an entire region (say, all of Cork city) into lockdown, or to arrest and detain people who aren’t following these orders, is scary and does have a tinge of authoritarianism. Certainly, I would be frightened if Donald Trump wanted to exercise such powers because I would be afraid that he would use them against his political enemies. I have more faith in the Dáil and in Leo Varadkar than I have in Trump (but hell, I have more faith in the intellectual capacity of a gazelle than I have in Trump).

Is there another option, though? Can we just leave the people to their own devices and hope that they keep their arses inside and act collectively to protect themselves, their families, their neighbors, and, yes, people they will never meet?

I wish the answer to that question were a resounding “YES!”

But it’s not. People on Twitter and on television have shown themselves impervious to facts, science, and the heartfelt pleas of their fellow citizens. Gemma O’Doherty, unsurprisingly, is pumping out disinformation about COVID-19 that will endanger the lives of the people who believe her bullshit. And if they weren’t endangering anyone’s lives but their own, I would say, “Have at it, ye gobshites, yer only hurting yourselves, and I’m frankly fine with that.”

But people who don’t take this threat seriously and insist upon going out in public, hosting large gatherings, denouncing efforts by the government to contain the spread of the virus as fascist and Nazi tactics, as these AltShite morons have been doing, are also endangering the lives of citizens who do want to follow the guidelines, and who do want to save people’s lives.

Humanity isn’t perfect. We need better science education in order to dampen the spread of quackery. We need better humanities education in order to help people to understand the history of pandemics and the philosophies behind humanitarian action. Indeed, we just need better education in general.

Luckily, one of the silver linings of this madness seems to be that parents are gaining an appreciation for how difficult it is to be a teacher. Maybe teachers will come out of this as a more respected profession–and then maybe teachers will be given salaries commensurate with the difficulty and importance of their jobs.

The Taoiseach Hits a Homerun

Photo credit: msn.com

I love using baseball metaphors when discussing politics in countries that have no interest in baseball.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar smashed it out of the park last night with his St. Patrick’s Day address to the nation. He spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic in a fashion that was direct, honest, and compassionate. His speech was sobering, yet oddly comforting. His plan for “cocooning” senior citizens and people who are immuno-compromised is a good one, and I hope the United States takes up that plan as well.

In times of uncertainty and, yes, panic, we can all find comfort in a strong, confident leader who can articulate clear plans to help us. The Taoiseach’s stated plans prioritize saving lives, not saving the stock market or saving the fortunes of billionaires. I live in the United States, so I can tell you that this speech was phenomenal in the context of the utter black hole of leadership that we have experienced here.

Watch the Taoiseach’s speech:

http:/https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=767807827375275