Deputy Ring all fired up for court challenge to ending of dual mandate
The Mayo News reports that Michael Ring wants to be TD and County Councillor and is prepared to take a court challenge to defend his dual mandate. While it is understood that it is official FG policy to put an end to the dual mandate, Michael Ring is prepared to challenge this position in court. A Bill, entitled the Local Government Bill 2003, is expected to be passed by the Dáil this week putting an end to the dual mandate. TDs and Senators will no longer be able to be members of local authorities. Deputy Ring told the Dáil that he had "a leading legal team in place."
Of course the bould Michael is also preparing to run for the European Parliament. A touch of the Ian Paisleys about this methinks. Of course no one doubts that Michael Ring is a very hard worker for his constituents. He is the epitomy of a county councillor fighting for what his constituents are entitled to. He will get you benefits that are legally yours. He will complain if the council won’t let you put in Bay Windows in your new house perched on top of the local VIEW. He will attend funerals – you will be surprised to receive condolences from a man you never met when someone in your family dies! Both my wife and I have received condolences from this man on the death of family members. Because we have never exchanged as much as a single word with the man we found this practice most objectionable and offensive at a time when one is grieving. Does he really think it will make us vote for him? He rarely speaks in the Dail. But isn’t the Dail supposed to be about making legislation not clientelism? Should the Dail not be ensuring - among many other things - that there is a smoothly operating public service system out there so that everyone automatically gets their entitlements. Why not make sure that everyone has somewhere local (other than a TD’s Saturday clinic) to bring problems or queries regarding entitlements to? But most Dail members today appear to be only concerned with clientelism - note the absentee rate during 'important' debates - note the lack of contribution to debates or committees. TDs seem to think they are merely a social-welfare-service-getting system for their clients. Of course the cynics might suggest that sometimes the Dail does become a "Cash-and-Carry" when the brown envelopes are being distributed - although probably nothing like the Cash-and-Carry operated in some of the Dublin local authorities if the tribunals are anything to go by!
The Dail is supposed to be a body of legislators who plan out where this little country of ours is heading. The leaders who are supposed to lead - not be led by the Bay Window Brigade apparently intent on wrecking the tourist industry. Of course we know that local democracy is a joke. So perhaps being a county councillor alone is not enough to deliver what people are entitled to – you gotta have that Dail seat too. After the little coup in 1977 - when local rates were abolished - all power moved to the centre. Of course our local councillors haven’t done very much to suggest that they should be trusted to run affairs locally. They always refuse to take hard decisions – like implementing a waste strategy for example - or imposing a realistic rate that will actually fund the few local services that are still within their gift. It’s as if they don’t want the responsibility. And yet they whinge about lack of power.
It’s time to call halt folks. Frank Dunlop paid out handsomely for planning permissions in contravention of all rational planning. Should we worry when TD-Councillors (and some perhaps even putative MEPs) who just also happen to be licensed auctioneers in their other lives start to rant about the finer points of architectural design? When they declare a crying need to replace the vernacular architecture with Bay Windows so that someone that has built the house on the hill can see the VIEW? They have made a nonsense of long-term planning and legislation needs. They avoid the real issues. They vote for 10,000 new houses in an area where the people cannot get their children into the local school because it’s not big enough for the existing population. The country is tipping over into the Irish Sea because of the weight of population on the Eastern Seaboard. And now all the Dublin mistakes are being repeated right in front of our eyes here in the West and Michael Ring is fighting for Bay Windows so his ‘clients’ can see the VIEW!
Bone Scanner Offer Spurned by WHB
The Mayo News reports that Dr. Richard Tobin of the Tobin Healthcare Centre on Station Road has offered to put a high-tech bone-scanning unit at his centre at the disposal of the board, pending the commissioning of the board’s own unit at Belmullet District Hospital. The highly-advanced DEXA unit is used to measure bone density and to identify conditions such as osteoporosis in elderly patients. The Board has turned down the offer. In the meantime the Belmullet unit lies idle.
Now there’s a job for some local politician to sort out where they might do some good for a change. Add it to the item from a week or two ago about employing a doctor to allow Castlebar’s hospice unit to reopen.
Westport hotel manager defends value in Irish tourism
The Mayo News also reports on the tourism price debate. Following the May 9th Late Late Show focus on Irish tourism, Michael Lennon, manager of local McEniff Hotel, The Westport Woods, stressed that there was exceptional value and quality available in Irish tourism. "After listening to the Late Late Show last Friday, one would believe that the vast majority of people taking a holiday in Ireland were being ripped off or were unhappy with their accommodation. However, from our records we know that the opposite is true. Ninety-five percent of our customers say that they are either satisfied or very satisfied with their stay," he explained.
They may serve up a fine product but it is very expensive by comparison with other European countries. Visitors come to Ireland for the scenery and the friendly welcome. They may even be prepared to pay a modicum more than they would in say, France, Greece, Spain or Italy where the scenery or the welcome may not be as good as in Ireland? Unfortunately concomitant with higher and higher prices the poor tourist is nowadays getting a less and less friendly welcome - tourists are a nuisance to us, clogging up the roads and taking up seats in restaurants. The high prices are also out of line when you start to notice the bizarre way we treat the other basis for our tourist industry (which is after all the biggest industry in the country) - the supposed high quality scenic environment. We build Bay Windows all over the VIEW - the very same VIEW which is the reason tourists come here in the first place. French, British, German, tourists scratch their head in amazement as they run the ribbon development gauntlet along all the 'scenic' routes. Anyone travelled from Galway City along Galway Bay to Baile na hAbhann recently? Of course the Spanish feel quite at home with all the haciendas sprinkled all over the place.