Muslim Community Lobby Ireland is an independent organization established 1st May 2007. Its motto is TO USE THE VOTE RIGHTLY AND TO RAISE THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY AWARNESS WITH THEIR RIGHTS AND TO PROMOTE TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER EXISTING GROUPS. لترشيد استعمال الصوت الانتخابي ولتوعية وتعريف المسلمين بحقوقهم في ايرلندا وان يعيشوا بتفهم للواقع وللجماعات الاخرى الموجودة على الساحة

Monday, November 1, 2010

End of the road for Bertie's €150k Merc?

THE Cabinet is expected to discuss the controversy surrounding the provision of State cars to ministers.

Green ministers are believed to be preparing to raise the issue, after it was highlighted last week by the Herald.

There was also public outrage at the sight of members of the Government rolling up to Farmleigh House last Monday in their chauffeur-driven cars.

The 27 State cars being funded by taxpayers cost the exchequer about €11m a year.

Green Party leader John Gormley has indicated he is in favour of a car pool system.

At the moment, 19 Government members and five former taoisigh have a dedicated car and driver, while the perk is also enjoyed by the President, the Chief Justice and the DPP.

Paul Gogarty, the Greens education spokesman, told the Dail the Government needs to "scrap the ministerial Mercs as soon as possible".

He said the garda drivers need to be reallocated "back into working on the ground" and "a pool of junior ministerial drivers" has to be created.

Mr Gogarty said he accepted ministers "need to work while travelling and they cannot be driving".


"It appalled me to see ministers driving into Farmleigh in their Mercs, as it sent out the wrong message," he said.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is also in favour of a pooling system and he believes less expensive cars should be purchased.

The Herald revealed last week that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will not give up his luxury Mercedes, even though he accepts the country is broke. He insisted he needs the plush S Class model for "security reasons".

A survey of each Department by this paper found that ministers are not willing to lose their Mercs.

- Cormac Murphy

Arrest after Harney paint protest

A Dublin councillor has been arrested after Health Minister Mary Harney was pelted with red paint as work began on a new mental health unit. Skip related content
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Arrest after Harney paint protest
Enlarge photo .The TD was splattered across her neck, hands and clothes as protesters angry at health budget cuts gathered at the planned facility in west Dublin.

Despite the paint attack, Ms Harney continued with the turning-of-the-sod ceremony at the new Ballyfermot Primary Care and Mental Health Centre. The attack took place in the grounds of the unit as up to 20 protesters mounted a demonstration at the gates.

A Garda spokesman said city councillor Louise Minihan was released without charge about an hour later. A garda spokesman said a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ms Minihan said she poured diluted red paint over the minister to symbolise the blood Government had on its hands: "In one month's time the government will introduce what can only be described as a blood budget."

"The cutbacks in healthcare that will be contained in that budget will result in the unnecessary and avoidable deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the coming years.

"Today Mary Harney had the cheek to organise a publicity stunt at Cherry Orchard Hospital, where she was turning the sod for a long overdue mental health unit.

"This is the same hospital which has been starved of funding for years, where an entire ward for Alzheimer's and dementia sufferers was closed down during the summer."

Local councillor Brid Smith, who organised the protest on behalf of the Save Cherry Orchard Hospital Campaign, said she was surprised at the incident but could not condemn it.

"Louise was telling her she was attacking the most vulnerable in healthcare. It was a very dramatic moment."