Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Getting Wicklow Moving

Nicky Kelly, Brendan Howlin TD and I launched a Transport Plan for Co. Wicklow. Twin track electrified rail system to Wexford, rural buses, improved roads are key elements in it. 37% of journeys to Dublin are by public transport. In Wicklow the figure is approx 6%-so a dramatic shift from private car to public transport is needed. On the way back from the press conference in Arklow I came across the chilling sight of a huge lorry overturned in a ditch at the notoriously dangerous stretch of the N11 between the Tap and the Beehive pubs.

24 hours later there are incredible scenes along Naas dual carriage. 18 people injured and hundreds stuck for hours in traffic jams. Nothing could reinforce our message on transport as effectively!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Dying Days of a Government

Now in its dying days the government has gone made galloping through legislation at a breakneck speed. The passing of legislation should be a slow, ponderous, line by line exercise where every aspect of its possible impact is ruminated upon without haste.

Instead we are seeing major legislation like the new Criminal Justice Bill rampaging through the Oireachtas by the Minister for Justice who is careering out of control. Seven day detention? Electronic tagging? Let it all happen is Minister McDowell's approach but without any of the safeguards that parliament should provide in an open and accountable way as prescribed under our Constitution.

The Minister for Health is trotting after him as fast as she can. The Health Bill, the Medical Practitioners Bill, the Pharmacy Bill etc etc...all guillotined pitilessly by a government that is not interested in doing things well just in doing things. Roll on the Election so we can get some good
governance back.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Government fails on class sizes

Attended the INTO/National Parents Council meeting recently in the Glenview hotel in Co. Wicklow. I had to fight my way in because the turn out was massive. Parents and teachers are turning out all over the country to highlight the Government betrayal of its own promise to reduce class sizes to the EU norm (of 20). There was an air of steady determination at the meeting which probably explains the shortage of Fianna Fail election candidates. Labour supports this campaign and our record in Government is very good.

Governments are like children. You don't reward bad behaviour and fibs whether told by children or government ministers deserve to be challenged. Parent power can be an important factor in delivering a new - and better - Government.