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Go Voting on Friday

Yes, on the coming Friday (26 October) the presidential election is taking place in Ireland and you should go and cast your vote if you have one! Only if you are an Irish citizen you get to vote and I know that MANY Dublin Event Guide Readers are not citizens in Ireland, but the rest should definitely go and vote.

You might ask WHY? Because in the end it will have absolutely no impact on your life (or anybody else’s) or on Irish politics or on your wealth or wellbeing. Yes, indeed, voting for the Irish President is a bit of a waste of time as far as real life issues are concerned. BUT using your vote, whenever you have the opportunity, is – in my opinion – a sort of duty for everyone who cares about democracy. There will be no repercussions if you don’t vote, so the “duty” element is just a “moral duty”, but nevertheless it is relevant to keep democracy alive/working.

If you want to know my opinion about who people should vote for – and yes, it is a bit controversial – you will find it at www.joergsteegmueller.com/2018/10/19/presidential-election-anyone-but-miggeldy/

By the way, you will ALSO have a vote about a referendum on that Friday. The referendum will decide if the Blasphemy article will stay in the constitution or not. (Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity, or sacred things.) Total nonsense in a secular society that does not depend on any church (anymore). And in the Irish version, the Blasphemy  article even only covers the Christian definition of a “God” and ignores all other religions. Even more a reason to get rid of this silly article from 1935.

Presidential Election: Anyone but Miggeldy!!!

The Presidential Election in Ireland is coming closer. On 26 October all Irish citizens in Ireland will be asked to vote for a new President. There are six candidates (including the current president) and the term is a very long 7 years.

The candidates are Sean Gallagher, Gavin Duffy, Peter Casey, Joan Freeman, Liadh Ní Riada and the current president Michael D. Higgins (a.k.a Miggeldy Higins, after a primary school’s child answer to the question “Who is the President of Ireland?”).

None of the candidates is any better than another, considering that the Irish President has virtually NO political power. But none of them is unsuitable either. So who should you vote for?

In my opinion you can’t do ANYTHING wrong, no matter who you vote for, so if  – for whatever reason – you feel passionate about one of them, go ahead and vote for him or her. But if you are not sure and care about my opinion, then I would suggest to vote for anyone but Michael D. Higgins!

Why so? There are two reasons: 1) Age and 2) Arrogance

We have a minimum age for a President. For some reason it has been decided that anybody that is younger than 35 years of age is not eligible to be voted as a President. In the same way, it also would make sense to have an upper age limit. It can’t make sense that an over 80 year old is the President of a country unless we are super desperate and absolutely can’t find anyone else! Higgins will be 84 when the next term ends and there is no good reason for that. Aras an Uachterain should NOT be a retirement home!

And the point about arrogance? I know he took part in the debate on Virgin Media One on Thursday, but his refusal to take part in previous debates is an arrogance that no candidate should be allowed to get away with. And Sean Gallagher, who also refused because Higgins refused, doesn’t get any stars for this from me either.

Speaking about debates: The Virgin Media One debate was really interesting, because it showed that Michael D. Higgins is not at all an impressive candidate, actually he is surprisingly weak, considering that he was in that position already for 7 years. (So don’t expect anything impressive from him in the next 7 years!) But it also showed, that there is no outstanding other candidate.

And finally, what would I do…if you care? The one that I would probably vote for is Gavin Duffy! Seven years ago, it would have been Sean Gallagher, but this time around I am not convinced about him.

For me, the biggest surprise of the evening was that Pat Kenny did a really good job in probing the candidates!

Nobody is allowed to check the President’s spend?

The job of the “Public Accounts Committee (PAC)” is to check the expenditure of all offices, departments and government agencies to make sure that they don’t waste money and that everything is done and accounted for properly.

They are meant to do that regularly, but oddly it seems that the expenditure of the President wasn’t checked for a much longer time.

Now they have decided to do that checking in the next week. But suddenly the “Secretary General to the Government and Accounting Officer for the Office of the President” has a big problem with that check. He thinks it is even unconstitutional because nobody is allowed to check the President. Interestingly the Taoiseach and the leader of the opposition both also are worried about that check.

Odd! If all is well, nobody should be worried and if things are not well, then we should definitely find out BEFORE the presidential election. Don’t you think?

RTE writes about it here.

Mayor No. 349

Every year, Dublin City Councillors elect a new Mayor and last week was that day again. This would be a relevant event in many cities around the world, but not in Dublin. The mayor of Dublin has a big title (“Lord Mayor”), but absolutely no power to change anything. He will move into Mansion House for the year, will cut ribbons and open shops and has the BIG job of turning on the Christmas Lights in December.

Unless we get a directly elected mayor – and this should have happened years ago – he is just a figure head that we easily could do without. :-O Instead of a mayor, an unelected “City Manager” is running Dublin and he often even ignores what the Dublin City Council wants. “In the interest of the people” is different!!

The new mayor is the 349th one. Mad!

The name of the mayor is Nial Ring. Ring was part of disgraced Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s inner circle in Fianna Fail for many years, but when his party didn’t want to support him when he wanted to be elected as a councillor, he suddenly became a “Independent” candidate. In 2017 he lost his house in Clontarf because he didn’t pay the mortgage payments and had arrears of EUR 500,000, so maybe he is lucky that he can move into Mansion House now.

To Repeal or Not to Repeal? There can only be ONE answer!

It took me a LONG time to write this article. Not because I don’t know what to think, but because I found it difficult to create a readable piece of written work because it is such a complex subject and my thoughts and opinions are similarly complex.

Let me start with the simple (or not!) part and the part that already might stop you from reading anything else after it unless you are the type of person who has the ability to disagree with another opinion and still can continue to listen/read for another bit to understand why.

The simple part is this: There is only ONE answer that a democratically-minded person should give to the question “To Repeal or not to repeal” and that is a clear and loud YES. But the next bit will surprise you maybe: The reason for the YES should have NOTHING to do with abortion or no abortion in the first place.

It is “YES” for me without hesitation, but I dislike the idea of abortions! So my opinion is not straight forward and I (partially) disagree with both camps that fight over the 8th Amendment Referendum.

Let me explain:
The Referendum is a decision about a clause in the Irish constitution and without a shadow of a doubt the clause about the protection of unborn life has NO place in a constitution. The New Oxford American Dictionary says “A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed.” In such a document, clauses like the 8th Amendment have no place! The laws of a country are there to cover what happens if you steal, or murder or do other possibly illegal things and that is where any regulation about abortion should be. The constitution is there to explain what the role of the parliament is and what the president does and how the state is organised, nothing else.

For that reason the 8th Amendment should have never been added to the constitution and it is high time that it will be removed.

BUT IT OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T END THERE

Unfortunately (but somewhat understandably) the issue for most voters will not be decided by the suitability of a certain clause in a constitution but by the further effect this clause will have and by their personal opinion. That’s where it gets messy.

After the YES vote at the referendum, we should have a discussion about abortion and that should lead to the relevant laws about it. It should be an open discussion, but that won’t happen. And for that reason the referendum will regrettably not be about the constitutional amendment but about the law that might take its place.

If you like that piece of law, you will vote YES and if you don’t like it then you will vote NO to block the ability to have a open and democratic discussion. I think that approach is wrong but I can understand why it is taken by the NO side.

WILL A NO STOP ABORTIONS

One question we need to ask is if a NO vote will stop abortions and I think it is 100% clear that it will not stop them! So voting NO can only be driven by trying to keep the lid on it. But if someone votes NO he/she will not stop women to go to the UK to get an abortion and oddly this seems to be something the NO side can live with. It shocks me, to be honest. A consequent NO voter should insist on making abortions illegal and put women in jail of they terminate the pregnancy. Anything else is a cowardly escape from a hugely problematic issue.

I would never be in support of criminalising the termination of a pregnancy and – in all honesty – I can imagine situations in my past where I didn’t have to, but where I would have been prepared to seriously consider suggesting an abortion if I had been the other 50% contributor to a pregnancy.

I would go even one step further and would claim that a YES will not cause a significant increase of abortions. Women that decide to have an abortion (and don’t think ANY woman is thrilled about having an abortion. Maybe thrilled about not being pregnant anymore, about not about going through the procedure.)

So if abortions won’t get stopped and if there might not even be an increase in abortions then a NO vote is even less effective.

TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY OR NOT?

But that leads me to the big question of what my opinion is about the early termination of a pregnancy? Be warned, though, it is not simple!

I am between both camps and feel unrepresented by either of them. I am in favour of the option of an abortion in certain circumstances and at the same time I feel very sad when I hear that in one year up to 190,000 wonderful children could have been born in the UK but they never got a chance to see this wonderful world. So I would love it if abortions were not necessary.

The overriding opinion I have is that nobody should be forced to be pregnant and nobody should be forced to end a pregnancy! There should be help available – good and positive and constructive help – in all situations where a woman has concerns about her pregnancy and the possible termination of it.

ABORTION SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS

If the pregnancy was caused by a rape, if the baby has genetical abnormalities or if there is a medical reason that puts the mother at risk or that means the baby has limited chances to survive, the mother should be helped making the decision in a neutral, compassionate and non-influencing way. It ultimately is the mother (ideally with involvement of the father, but ideal situations don’t always happen!) who has to and should be allowed to decide if she wants the continuation or end of a pregnancy. If there is a medical situation then ALWAYS the survival of the mother should have priority.

Abortion as a method of birth control is a aspect I am very uncomfortable with, BUT I can see why even in these situations a mother will decide to end the pregnancy and I am not so arrogant to think that I know better or I or we as society should tell her what she should think or feel! So I am in favour of the option of abortion, but I think there should ALWAYS neutral (!) advise be given before the final decision.

If an abortion is a frequently used method for birth control though, I think our society and educational system has failed badly because there are other methods of birth control that we have to educate better about. An abortion should be the very very last option.

BABY OR NO BABY?

I know the difficult question about what this “thing” is in a woman’s womb has to be considered but it doesn’t make things easier. I think that it doesn’t matter if it is a foetus or a baby, it is definitely a form of life. And an abortion is the ending of life! Yes, I said it! And I am still not moving to the NO camp. Why is that? It is because I am hypocritical!! :-O But it gets worse: Most of us are hypocritical and we have not much of a problem with it!!

We are also arrogant! We think that us human beings rule this world and we should be allowed to do whatever we want (or whatever our moral source allows us to do). Have you ever killed a fly? Or a spider? You killed life that was created by God or the creator or whatever you believe is the source of being. Do you eat meat? Slaughter is brutal murder for our own pleasure! But we only SOME animals! The animals we feel are at the lower end of the intelligence hierarchy we kill. Cows and pigs. But would you eat dog or horse? NOOOO! HOW horrible! Why is that horrible? Why is it ok to kill and eat fish, but dolphins must be protected? We are soooo hypocritical!!

I am not suggesting that foetus is an animal, but most of us are not consequent. We make up stories and justifications. Oh and by the way, BOTH sides make up stories and justifications!

I admit that I am hypocritical and that’s why I am saying that I wished abortions were not necessary, I ALSO am of the opinion that we can’t close our eyes to medical, criminological, genetical AND societal reasons that could make it impossible for a woman to bring this baby she is carrying into this world. And if I am a hypocrite, what right do I have to judge her? We should help women to be able to see that there are options and that abortion is not the ONLY way in a stress situation, but we have to stop being arrogant a**holes who know better!

For that reason I am saying there is only ONE answer and that answer has to be YES.

By the way, if you are strongly against abortions then you can do something: Help organisations or even start an organisation that helps to reduce abortions. Work on making adoptions easier! Help people that provide financial and practical support to women in crisis so that maybe they will be able to consider bringing this baby in this world. Don’t be a person who votes NO and then does NOTHING! You are not saving lives! Vote YES and then start saving lives!!!

 
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