#NotInMyName

President Trump issued an executive order on 27th January, keeping refugees from entering the US for 120 days as well as barring immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries for three months. Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia are all affected. 

The pre-clearance system operated in Dublin and Shannon airports could be centre stage in the ongoing arguments concerning Trump's orders given potential conflict with Ireland's international legal obligations, our commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 18 TFEU as well as our own Constitutional commitments.  

We will not stand idly by while the founding principles of democracy, human rights and law are being trampled on before our eyes. We will resist all of President Trump's executive orders when and where we can.

We are calling on Enda Kenny to put off his visit to the Whitehouse, we cannot allow our Government to present the symbolic bowl of Shamrocks to a man who is persecuting people due to their nationality, a man who gags climate scientists and bullies the Mexican Government.

Join me tomorrow at the US Embassy tomorrow, Friday 2nd of February at 5pm.

Check out: https://lovindublin.com/dublin/there-will-be-an-anti-trump-ban-outside-the-us-embassy-in-dublin-on-thursday

Fossil free Ireland

Ireland has taken a major step in the right direction in the fight against climate change. The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill 2016 which starts the process of divesting millions from fossil fuel companies was passed today in the Dáil. 

This Bill shows a real chance that Ireland can make a significant change to the way we invest in public money. It strengthens Ireland's stance on climate change, and it shows that Ireland does not stand for the future which Donald Trump, nor his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, stands for.

 

Ibrahim Halawa

I was a member of the recent Dáil delegation to visit Ibrahim Halawa in Cairo. The trial has been delayed for the 18th time. This marks almost 3 and a half years since Ibrahim has been imprisoned.

I spoke of my support for Ibrahim and belief of his innocence on Newstalk FM, which you can listen to here.

I am in ongoing contact with his family, meeting regularly with all other parties on the issue and hope to see an end to the campaign marked by Ibrahim's release as soon as possible. 

Graving Docks

The threat of demolition to the Graving docks in the Grand Canal Basin from Inland Waterways Ireland is imminent. Their eradication is seen as a way of raising revenues to pay for other operations.

These docks are a very special place and arguably the most important point in the inland waterways system. Selling the land would be a fundamental mistake, the location itself is extremely sensitive. I understand that there is a huge amount of development needed for the docklands, however we must maintain key open places to preserve a heritage which provides local environment everyone can use. 

I have addressed this issue with Minister Heather Humphreys, who has stated the future of the Graving docks remains in the hands of the planning authority, Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála. 

It is apparent from the Minister that the site will be sold, as it seems that Waterways Ireland wants to spend money on other parts of the network, demolishing a location of historical importance of the Georgian network in the centre of Dublin. 

Do we have a Government that stands up for the preservation of our heritage; heritage that would be of great economic benefit to the city?

The selling of a 220 year old dock screams that the answer is no.

 

 

Apple Tax Ruling

The Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, set out in his speech, as best I could understand it, the Government's argument, that it was necessary for us to appeal "to defend the integrity of our tax system; to provide tax certainty to businesses; and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into the sovereign member state competence of taxation." On each of those grounds, I do not believe the right thing to do is to make the appeal.

See below for my statement on the Apple Tax ruling.

 

 

Legalising Cannabis

The reputation of cannabis as a medicine, particularly for treating the symptoms of chronic conditions and the failure of prescription medicines to relieve their symptoms, has led patients to try herbal cannabis even though access to it is not lawful. But as long as the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes remains illegal, our citizens, many in agonising pain, remain at the mercy of dealers.

An expert review found 'good evidence' that cannabis oil can help with chronic pain, muscle spasms often associated with multiple sclerosis, and the management of anxiety, nausea and vomiting, particularly when caused as a side-effect of chemotherapy.

There are thousands in agonising pain who are hoping against hope that we will speak up and act for them. These people need practical support. They deserve our compassion and support, not potential criminal records or a lifetime of pain. The Green Party made a submission to the National Drugs Strategy recommending the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Brexit without Borders

The Brexit vote is a ‘political divorce’ and we must prevent it from becoming a bitter, vengeful separation that will inevitably lead to a bad deal for everyone. I spoke at the All-Island Forum on Brexit and made it clear the EU and the UK must not engage in an economic race to the bottom, post Brexit.

The real threat is that the Brexit process instigates such an economic rat-race. Taking an adversarial approach to the negotiation process will not serve Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK, or the EU well in the long run. What we need to do now is to work together on an-island basis to ensure that this does not happen.

In October we organised a meeting of Green Party leaders from across Europe in Dundalk to consider how we could encourage a ‘Brexit without Borders’. Whatever happens in the upcoming negotiations we want to maintain the free movement of young people by protecting and extending the existing Erasmus programme.

A Mayor for Dublin

On the 22nd of November we introduced new legislation in the Dáil to allow for the
direct election of a Mayor for Dublin at the next local elections. We are now going to work with other parties in Government and Opposition to agree the roles and responsibility of the office before the Bill returns for a second debate in June 2017.

The idea is to also give time for consultation with the people of Dublin on the opportunities and challenges in creating this new office. We need a Mayor to get to grips with our worsening housing and transport crisis and to provide real leadership in the cultural life, social cohesion and enterprise of our city.

A chance to get housing right

With increasing rent and property prices, local people will soon be unable to afford living in Dublin Bay South. However, with the development of the Poolbeg West Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), we now have a chance to get housing right in Ireland.

 
At 84-acres, within walking distance of the city centre and with an encapsulating view overlooking Dublin Bay, we now have the chance to provide some 3,000 badly needed new homes. 


The site is a perfect location for a new ‘cost-rental’ model of social and affordable housing. We have continuously argued for this and it gives real fire to tackling our housing crisis. Public transport infrastructure needs to be built so that the new community is sustainable, with the provision for workplaces and shops; an idea that has been promoted by the National Economic and Social Council.


Residents will be able to give their feedback in early January 2017 on proposals for the development zone, with public sessions running over six weeks and results will be published from the consultation by Dublin City County.

 

Merrion Gates

A daft plan has been proposed by the National Transport Authority (NTA), aimed at taking traffic away from Merrion Gates with a traffic corridor from Sandymount to Blackrock.

The plans come as traffic congestion is expected to increase in Spring 2017. The Green Party have expressed concerns about how traffic should be treated at the Merrion Gates, as traffic may affect the whole area.  The development of a new cycle and pedestrian path along the route is welcomed but we think it could be further improved if it continued along the seaward side of the rail line for all of the route. 

The plans can be view on the NTA website here.