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The fallout from Paris terrorist attack reaches to Millstreet

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Like the events of 9 September 2001, most people will remember exactly where they were when the recent Paris terrorist attack happened, Cork North West Fine Gael Deputy Michael Creed told the Dáil.

Courtesy of the digital media age, he said everyone watched it unfold before their eyes over several hours. Speaking during an expressions of sympathy, he said when the toxic ideology of ISIS reaches out into the rural heartland of his constituency and injures a young man, David Nolan, who hails from outside Millstreet and who was in Paris at the Bataclan theatre with his girlfriend, we have to realise we live in a global village.

"For those who preach an approach of retreat and retrenchment in Irish foreign policy, I believe that is a bankrupt ideology," he said.

"We have to play our part in shaping and influencing the global response. It is a global village. We might like to think we are far removed from a threat from ISIS but we can never be certain about that. We can be certain, however, that if ISIS felt it would advance its case one iota by having an attack on our shores, then we would be centre stage. We are all vulnerable."

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Deputy Creed said what had struck him forcibly over the past several days was the entire absence of the United Nations as a voice in condemnation or advocating a roadmap resolution to what appears to be an intractable problem globally. 

"Syria is the root source of this evil," he said. "It is clear that the United Nations is a powerless talking shop. It has failed not just in this global theatre of arms and insurrection but in many other areas as well. A question arises. How do we mould an international coalition and set an agreeable road map to resolve this? How do we engage with all the parties? We talk about the arms response. I do not want to dwell on that issue today but it strikes me that the most powerful recruiting tool being used by these people today is social media".

He said the courtship of the vulnerable on social media is where most of the recruitment in western Europe is happening. "They are being reached out to by this toxic ideology on social media. We have failed to use our collective intelligence. I am not talking about military or Garda intelligence. We have failed to use our innate intelligence to tackle that recruiting arm of this toxic Daesh ideology, which is something that should not be beyond us."

Fine Gael Deputy David Stanton said this was an appalling atrocity that could have happened anywhere. "France was picked, for whatever reason, but it could have happened anywhere, in any capital in Europe or the western world," he said.

Deputy Stanton said he maintained that ISIS is a completely evil regime. It operates by pure terror and murder. "It is totally anathema to us," he said. "Other colleagues spoke about diplomacy. I would always advocate diplomatic ways of doing business, yet I am not sure ISIS is interested at all in any form of diplomacy or discussion with anybody. Its modus operandi  seems to be to terrorize. It uses social media. I know from my work that the various facebooks, twitters and so on are trying to curtail that methodology of spreading the message by monitoring and controlling it and so forth. It is quite important for that to carry on. We should not allow modern technology to do that."

Sinn Féin Deputy Sandra McLellan said the French Republic will prevail and come through the adversity it faces at the present time. Unfortunately, on the back of the weekend's events, she said she had seen a spike in bigotry both online and away from social media and to her dismay, the painting of 1.6 billion people with the same brush.

"Although it is indicative of a society that is scared, very negative elements of the far right within Europe are making stringent efforts to distort the weekend's sadness into a feeling of anger, all for their own political gain," she said. "An example is the petrol bomb attack on a Muslim family in Ballymena. My fear would be that these attacks will increase as a result of ignorance."

Reduced levies mean cheaper apartments for Cork - Collins

An enhanced supply of starter homes will be encouraged by this Government and there will be a targeted rebate of development contributions in Dublin and Cork and new planning guidelines to reduce the price of apartments, according to Fine Gael Deputy Aine Collins speaking in the Dáil.

Combined, these new actions, along with new rent control measures, should make much needed new housing developments more economically viable.

Speaking during a debate on a motion on housing, Deputy Collins said she acknowledged and welcomed the new flexibility that is to be shown in the Rent Supplement and Housing Assistant Payment, HAP, schemes. 

"Recent reports from housing departments, especially in Cork, which was a pilot area for the HAP scheme, have been very encouraging," she said.

"It is proving, by far, the fastest way of allocating houses. However, all these incentives do not deal with housing shortages in our rural towns and villages. A new system must be introduced to encourage small builders to purchase and refurbish houses in the centre of these towns and villages. This will solve the dual objective of providing social housing and revitalising our communities."


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