Dr. J Connolly’s recent report ‘ Building Community Resilience’ looked at drugs, gangland and crime, and the involvement of children caught up in the drugs trade. Let’s not forget that the communities where this is rife, are the communites most affected by cutbacks during the austerity years. Most of these cuts have not been restored – to things like youth and community programmes, drugs programmes and outreach work. An approch to tackling the problems must begin with restoration of the cuts, to communities and programmes that the government cynically referred to as the ‘low hanging fruit’.

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Fine Gael like to present themselves as being all about equality, yet they treat SCHOOL SECRETARIES like second class citizens. Some are employed directly by the Department but many are not, and so they want parity, a simple demand. It would mean getting sick pay, holiday pay, etc and importantly the respect and aknowledgement these hard working multi-tasking workers deserve. And they will strike to get it, Jan 10th. Full support to Irish School Secretaries.

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On the Dail communications committee, we questioned RTE executives about cost cutting measures. One of the questions I asked was how much would they save if they capped ALL salaries at €200k, including their own. This was a proposal from the RTE journalist’s union – the NUJ.They didn’t know how much that would save! Thought never occured I suppose! Interestingly, if a levy was put on the giants of Google and Facebook, that can share RTE stuff freely now, they’d get loads of money. They need legislation to do this. So why isn’t this legislation rushed through instead of job losses? instead of selling off RTE (public) lands? More questions than answers I’m afraid.

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The “Bingo Bill” will reduce prize money to 50% of the takings of the game. Bingo players are not happy, and I’m on their side. Of all the things that need doing in the country, they waste time on trying to do down a pastime enjoyed by ordinary people, mostly women. If you agree Save Our Bingo have called a protest at the Dáil tomorrow at 10.30am.




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