Tuesday 28 March 2017

The only black man in the Dail

MY engagements, observations and tasks in the past few months have been largely characterised by picketing and demonstrations outside of Leinster House, research on assigned areas of interests, Oireachtas Joint Committee Meetings on Transport and Communications and political hecklings, theatrics and drama in the Dail Eireann Gallery, memorably, during the Budget Day.

On November 21, I had the privilege of accompanying Deputy Moynihan to an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Energy. Renewable energy and "smart metering" were the agenda for the day.

During the meeting, technocrats were invited to give talks on these themes, followed by a question and answer sessions with the attendees.

What's more, with the benefit of our office television, late last month, I watched with rapt attention, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children's debate on child obesity. Members deliberated on how it costs the Republic and Northern Ireland economies a combined €1.6 per annum in dealing with obesity related issues alone.

The issue of whether smoking should be permitted within Leinster House premises was also discussed and voted on during that same session.

Perhaps it was being the only black person/immigrant at the Dail Public Gallery during the budget reading early this month that will forever remain on my mind's eye.

Proudly sporting my House of the Oireachtas security check card, I calmly, but confidently made my way through the somewhat heavily guarded corridors of Leinster House to hear the Finance and Public Expenditure Ministers deliver their sixth austerity measure in four years (whilst people demonstrated outside).

What the New Year holds for me in Leinster House, I cannot predict. Only time will tell.

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Getting creative about a better quality of life 

Conor Nelligan, County Heritage Officer The Centenary Commemoration of 1916 was a tremendous success in the County of Cork, as it was across the entire nation. In response to the heightened sense of shared identity that was established in 2016, and in respect of the breadth of cultural activity and public engagement that took place, the Government has embarked on an insightful legacy project that sets out to harness the country's culture, arts and heritage over the next five years with the purpose of...

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