Campaigning is continuing for the forthcoming referenda with Minister Alex White canvassing in Kilkenny with Deputy Ann Phelan. Earlier Minister White talked about how the campaign is going and you can hear what he said from the audioboo.
Meanwhile around the country Labour is putting up posters, canvassing and leafletting. We're uploading image of the canvasses as we get them to Flickr which you can check out here. We will also be continually updating our FAQs on the two referenda which you can check out from the links below. If you have any questions, do use the comment section and we'll update the FAQs with any questions raised.
Minister Alan Kelly has launched an exciting new Bike Share Scheme for Cork, Limerick and Galway cities. Tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd September) Minister Kelly will be in Cork and Galway to launch the individual Cork and Galway schemes.
The Bike Share scheme allows cyclists and would-be cyclists of these cities to avail of free or low-cost bikes to hire, taking out and returning the bikes to docking stations at a range of locations in each city. Calling the scheme a “breakthrough day for cycling in Ireland", Minister Kelly said: “Cork, Galway & Limerick will be joining the likes of Paris, London, Barcelona and Dublin as the cities which have their own public-bike schemes.
The new Court would exist at a level between the High Court and the Supreme Court, and would deal with a majority of appeals from the High Court and the Supreme Court. It will also update how the Supreme Court issues decisions on constitutional issues, so that the 'one judgement' rule is removed thereby ensuring decisions of the Supreme Court are more transparent to the public.
Deputy Kevin Humphreys and Minister Alex White postering for the Seanad referendum
The Referendum to abolish the Seanad takes place on Friday 4th October. The referendum proposes to the Irish people to abolish Seanad Éireann. Abolition would come into effect upon the resumption of Dáil Éireann after the next general election. The current Seanad would continue until then.
A Yes Vote would see the articles of the Constitution that refer exclusively to the Seanad removed. Labour, with Minister Alex White as Director of Elections, is advocating a Yes Vote simply because there is no credible argument for keeping the Seanad. Its role is unclear, its election process elitist and it has failed throughout its lifetime to act as a watchdog.
Posters are going up all over the country for the forthcoming referenda and in this post our Director of Elections, Minister Alex White, talks about the campaign around the country. We'll be posting regular updates from the campaign so do keep an eye out over the campaign. If you've any questions on any aspect of the two referenda do let us know in the comments and we'll answer them over the next while.
The replacement of outdated prefabs with modern and permanent accommodation is one issue which Labour Minister Ruairi Quinn has been tackling tirelessly since he launched his Prefab Replacement Scheme last year. The gradual phasing-out of the prefab model in Irish schools was a key pledge at the outset of this Government taking office. This is happening.
Overall, €57 million has been spent on the Scheme since 2012, and this week the Minister confirmed the second batch of schools which are to benefit from the scheme. There are 46 in total, replacing 37 resource rooms and 119 classrooms that are currently being housed in prefabs.
Last Friday, Minister Ruairi Quinn announced new anti-bullying procedures for all primary and post-primary schools in Ireland.
These procedures are the first time since 1993 that the guidance for schools has been updated, and specifically deal with cyberbullying for the first time. Identity-based forms of bullying, such as homophobic bullying or racist bullying are also granted much greater priority than has previously been the case.
The procedures aren’t about blaming the bullies or the victims, or about saying that all the problems of the world need to be tackled in our schools. Instead, they give clarity to parents about what they can expect from schools, clarity to teachers as to their responsibilities and how they can tackle various situations, and clarity to students to make sure they know what is acceptable, and what is not.
More than anything else, the procedures encourage all schools to build positive climates of respect - ensuring that all students learn how to respect themselves, and to respect others, regardless of difference.
These procedures have today been supported with the announcement that 70 anti-bullying training sessions for parents will be rolled out between now and the end of the year – funded by the Department of Education and Skills.
The Anti-Bullying Parent Training Programme is being run jointly by the National Parents Council Primary (NPC-P) and the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPC-PP).
Bullying is not a problem schools can or should be left to tackle alone. Parents, families and the wider community have an important role to play in tackling all forms of bullying and in teaching children how to manage relationships, be resilient and have empathy for others.
These two actions came about as a result of the Action Plan on Bullying which Minister Quinn published earlier this year. Over the last few months, research has also begun into the impact of cyberbullying on young people, and the impact of bullying on children with special needs. Awareness campaigns have also been funded, to help make students aware of the effects of cyberbullying and homophobic bullying.