Letters to the Editor: 'There are better ways to get legal reform than this farce'
The ongoing farce that is the never-ending debate on the deeply flawed Judicial Appointments Bill resumes tomorrow in the Seanad.
The Bill is simply genuflection to political bombast and a symbol of the political impotence of a minority Government dependent on the support of the self-styled Independent Alliance. The Bill, if ever enacted, will implement no meaningful substantive court reform that will benefit the public, nor will it address any of the major deficiencies within our legal system.
If the Bill’s advocates and the Government were truly committed to public interest legal and court reform, priority would have been given to the implementation of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015, most of which has not yet been commenced and is mired in a legal limbo; the enactment of the Judicial Council Bill to address issues of alleged judicial misconduct, a further increase in the number of judges to reduce undue delay in the hearing and determination of court cases, and the creation of a separate unified system of family courts with specialist assessment and mediation services attached to them.
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A further public interest reform would be to end the scandal of allowing members of the Independent Alliance to operate as a political party while continuing to facilitate each member of the Alliance receiving annually as an “independent” a substantial tax-free Dáil allowance not paid to TDs who are members of a group properly registered as a political party.
People of the south-east are entitled to fair treatment
Your front-page headline on Friday’s edition regarding the funding for Waterford Airport was lacking in balance (‘Ross’s €5m grant for
airport with no flights’). It again showed how out of touch the Dublin-based media is with the feelings of the people of the south-east.
This is not a Waterford issue, it is a regional issue. Approximately 600,000 people live and work in the south-east. Are we not entitled to an airport relatively convenient to us. Is that only for the people of the ‘big’ cities?
We are of course already aware of that lack of balance when it came to our request for 24/7 cardiac care. Again, your paper and others like to portray that as another ‘local issue’. Well, we have news for you – we’re going nowhere. We will always fight for what we believe we are entitled to – equal and fair treatment.
Politicians should lead by example on climate change
John Halligan TD, in defence of the contribution to Waterford Airport and in response to being asked about the effect of flying on global warming, stated that, regardless of this issue, we will probably have to fly for the next 30, 40 or maybe even 50 years to get from place to place.
He cited his own requirement to go to Brussels for meetings. Surely these could be done using tele-conferencing and he could stay at home in Waterford.
Is this not what our politicians should be exploring to help save the planet for future generations, instead of the parish-pump approach to ensure future election wins?
After all, they are meant to be our leaders and planning for everyone’s future.
Treat our young people with sympathy and with dignity
I listened with disbelief to ‘Liveline’ and the story of a young Leaving Cert student given not an ounce of sympathy by the State Examinations Commission after she had to undergo an emergency operation in the hours before her English paper.
In my time as an English secondary school principal, allowance was always made for students in circumstances such as this. Months before the final examination, schools were required to submit a predicted rank order of their candidates for each subject. In the event a student had to miss the final exam, the examination board was able to moderate the school’s data to produce an examination grade.
Surely the time has come for Ireland’s examination board to treat our young people with the dignity they deserve.
PC gone mad – we need to be able to boo someone
There are times when you wonder what is happening with the world when political correctness becomes involved in sport.
The Australian Football League now has ‘behavioural awareness officers’ at games. This is not to stop crowd disturbances or violence, but to stop the crowd booing umpires or making comments such as “you must be blind”.
We need to boo somebody, especially as we have stopped booing most of our politicians and moved to either laughing at, or crying about, them.