How Can You Morally Justify Privatising A Community Hospital?

May 21, 2010

I always have believed health is better than wealth. One’s personal health is a fundamental human right, whether it be mental or physical. Healthcare should not be built on a “who can afford it most basis”.

Yesterday, the poor of Ballincollig were once again let down as the right-wingers of the locality delegated to have breakfast celebrating the privatisation of Ballincollig Community Hospital. Now before I continue, for anybody who may not understand what privatisation means, here is a brief and simple definiton so I won’t get carried away with politcal jargon :

Privatisation is the transfer or selling of public assets to private ownership.

Hence, the hospital in this case being the public asset  that has been privatised. Now what is the problem with this? is the next question that may be asked. Well as I said earlier, healthcare for the Ballincollig Community is only going to go to those who can afford it.

There was great enthusiasm and hype when it was first heard that Ballincollig would be getting a community hospital. Unfortunately, the so-called Celtic Tiger seems to still exist for the greedy in our society.

Ballincollig is one of the biggest towns in Cork, which all-in-all did prosper in the “Celtic Tiger”, with business queuing up to avail of Ballincollig’s growing population. However, we all know that mistakes were made and as a result, the vulnerable in the community were let down. People who couldn’t afford healthcare were treated unequally and sadly this has still continued on till today, when you would think moral lessons have been learned over the past  two years.

Ballincollig is a town where the unequal distribution of wealth is quite evident. I find myself fortunate enough to live in a middle-class estate…which I would consider as upper class but of course there is people who beg to differ with me. Anyway, there are quite a few estates in Ballincollig stricken with inequality from what I can see and unfortunately people living outside these estates don’t seem to care.

We as a nation I find our very greedy and the things some of us take for granted such as a back garden,  a lot of people don’t have the luxury of having.

Community as a word is self-explanatory and privatising what is supposed to be a COMMUNITY HOSPITAL is wrong in my opinion.  As a communtiy we should be coming closer together during tough economic times, not building a divide . As a Sinn Féin member in the Ballincollig area, I want it to be known that I completely oppose this.

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Brenda Power’s Take on my Sexuality

May 8, 2010

Okay before people start reading this blog, I want to make it absolutely clear that I completely disagree with Brenda Power on her anti-gay marriage and adoption stance. People who know me are fully clued into how I want to marry who ever I fall in love with in the future and adopt with him. As a gay man, I was upset at Brenda’s article last August but I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Now, getting onto the knitty-gritty purpose of writing this blog. People still wonder in the modern 21st Century why being gay is still such a taboo subject to some people. As a gay person, my honest answer is that I have no idea. Homophobia is absolutely stupid and only idiots engage in such foolishness!!!…Similar to racism, mental health stigma, disability stigma and so on,I loathe homophobia!!!

Now the reason why I’m referring to Brenda’s article (that was published last August before the LGBT Noise Marriage Equality Protest which I was proud to be involved in) is because I read her interview online with the GCN website and thought I might share my thoughts on it.

While I read through it and found myself disagreeing with a conservative women (surprise surprise there), I actually realised she made a point that represented my mindset…SHOCK HORROR!!!…how can this be???…Well I will tell you, Brenda’s viewpoint of the gay scene is that we all run around leaving are bums out to be seen, dress up in all sorts of frocks and worship Panti. Now, yes this is clearly ridiculous as I don’t engage in such actions (except I do worship Panti lol!!! ). However, I think she was trying to make the point that someone who realises they are gay looks at an event like Pride for the first time and says is this what being gay is about??….Of course I have loved partaking in Pride celebrations each year but it seems that some members of the gay community don’t and that is understandable because they may feel it does not represent them. To be honest with you, I’m kind of leaning towards  the latter now as I realise its a statement of me being gay and I’m now kind of realising….okay everyone knows that now!!!

However, I will continue to take part in the Pride parades to represent gay youth groups and marriage protesters because I believe that is my main concern.However, I turned 18 last September and went out onto the “scene” for the first time. Being honest, I didn’t like it. Now, people give me awful stick for not wanting to drink and call me narrow-minded for not doing so.People also give me stick because I want to keep myself free of sex till I meet the right guy. Whenever I’m seen, people say to me I’m conservative, i’m narrow-minded and opinionated.This all happens on the scene and sometimes elsewhere.

Now, yes I am opinionated, and I make no apologies for that but one thing I’m not is conservative or narrow-minded, so I don’t know where people got that opinon from. I’m actually a member of Sinn Féin here in Ireland and a supporter of the Liberal Democrats in the UK a so just because I’m strict on  myself when it comes to sex and alcohol doesnt mean I’m telling other people how to live. So I’m basically telling the people who constantly taunt me about this to BACK OFF!!!…They know who they are, and one has apologised so I’m not going to make a big deal about that.

Anyway, my whole point comes down to peer pressure, which I think Brenda Power was referring to in her interview with the GCN when she said that sometimes, gay young people don’t have the best of role models. I find myself partially agreeing with Brenda when she says that because if you are an LGBT teenager who does not have access to a youth group or some sort of support due to living in a rural area or being too afraid to come out at home,chances are the world is a lonely place. Usually (not always) when these teenagers end up going to college the first thing they usually are curious about is the “scene”…and end up going out one night and realise that its about hanky spanky and alcohol consumption. Now, obviously the straight scene is probably like this too but the benefit for being straight in this case is that you don’t have to come out as straight…you don’t have the worry of telling ur parents, family and friends a secret because you are in essence assumed straight and usually you don’t have to lie about where you are going!!…Although, I do know that peer pressure and the like go on at straight clubs aswell. However if your gay and you go onto the scene knowing nobody,it is a lonely place. I can’t speak for straight clubs since I’m gay so if anybody wants to post a comment about it, please do :-). Once again I will state the “scene” is not for me and that is me only….I’m NOT saying that its the case for everybody because it’s clearly not!!

This takes me on to my next point. Where does true love derive from? Does it derive from constant sex with random people….NO!!…does it derive from looking at someone’s bum….NO!!!…True love comes from the heart as I see it. Taking walks with the man I love… going to the cinema with the man I love… holding hands with the man I love… cuddling the man I love… crying with the man I love… laughing with the man I love. These are all things I would hold dear in a relationship and yes…sex is the ultimate expression of love…and its beautiful….but personally I woudln’t be thinking of rumpy-pumpy with a partner if he was telling me something that made him upset during the day or about an argument he was having with the family etc….Id be thinking about talking to him about his problems and telling him I’d always will be there for him…not saying do u want to have sex now?

For some reason, ignorant people see being gay as a sexual lifestyle choice…could someone please show me evidence of how its a choice if a straight person doesn’t choose??…A gay or straight person can choose how and when to have sex….but they can’t choose who they fall in love with. One’s sexuality is completely different to the frequency of their sex life. Then again this is just my opinion. I think love is love, no matter what the gender is, but for me personally, I will keep the special occasion for the man I fall in love with in the future (assuming someone will fall in love with me lol!!!). Once again, I’m stating my opinion for my personal self, just in case people want to make the comment about me being narrow-minded again. Everybody has there own life, so live it and let me live mine. (Bear in mind I’m only referring to a few people who are calling me narrow-minded, not everyone who is reading this blog!!)

I know this has ended up being somewhat of a strange- sequenced blog but I also wanted to say how proud I was to see Growing Up Gay on RTÉ. All the participants were really brave and hopefully they have helped changed society’s views on LGBT 🙂

One final point…As a liberal, I believe in free speech. I believe Brenda Power was quite entitled to state her opinion about her anti-gay marriage and adoption stance, although I do not agree with her. However, looking back on it, I think some of us reacted in a horrible way to her article which obviously wasn’t pleasing to the eye itself…Who knows, maybe she was just trying to stir a reaction up….maybe she was just stating her opinion….. but some of the comments she received were not nice and to be honest were completely going off the point of the argument. Yes, she did make a nasty comment about Panti and yes we were entitled to react to this among other issues…but questioning her parenting skills and posting Youtube videos about stabbing her with high heels was a rather vicious reaction I think..and this rather upset me. I don’t believe you can stop free speech by silencing it…we should use it to our advantage next time someone writes an article with assumptions about the gay community and  not jump into a hate-speech match  when we  could have a well-constructed debate…and will show the inequality us LGBT people face without saying I HATE YOU. Brenda was just stating an opinion and we missed our chance of capitalising on it…that is just my opinion.

Obviously I want to marry and adopt in the future, but rather than constantly brand Brenda Power as a villain, I would like to show ye an article that the Atheist Ian O’ Doherty wrote about us in the Irish Independent a few weeks back. It is in the first paragraph of the article which I will post here:http://www.eoinbutler.com/home/is-this-the-most-homophobic-article-youve-ever-read-or-what/…this in my opinion is a much more disturbing article to read than Brenda’s ever was, and I can’t believe there was no reaction or uproar to this (except one letter of complaint) ….remember this guy is an Atheist!!! Also, here is the Brenda Power interview with the GCN recently if you have not read it yet -:):http://www.gcn.ie/Complete_Power

Remember: Love is love no matter the gender.

Thanks for reading,

Gregg . x x x x x

The Lisbon Treaty: Uimhir a Dó.

August 14, 2009

 

As I surf around the net and continue to research all of the information available regarding the Lisbon Treaty, I do begin to wonder how the Irish people have not lost the plot yet!!! I’m not referring to arguments for or against Lisbon, I am referring to how some groups from both sides of the debate keep galavanting back to 2008 when there were idiotic debates between the Yes and No side before Lisbon was rejected.

 While it is good to have various groups set up for different reasons, it is important for them to be telling the truth, and the first time the Treaty was put to the Irish people, most of the information we were given was lies, and sadly the lies were told by both sides!!!

I think there is something in our political system both nationally and in Europe that centres around power, I do not know where that  feeling is generated from but its something which I fear and that I know is a valid fear of the Irish people.

When you put a proposal to someone you need to have the correct, and most importantly, truthful information so that person is able to make a decision for themselves based on facts.

 The reason why the Irish people fear this hidden but true perception of power is because politics in every sense is supposed to be centred on what the people think, but unfortunately they are forced to try and understand complicated and unattractive texts and speech drafted and spoken by the people they elect, who don’t seem to want to speak easy to understand language, and that is why the Irish people are confused because these words that are thrown out left, right and centre make no sense to us, and will have a very big impact on the future!!!

That is why it is pleasing to see  groups on both sides of the debate who are now willing to engage in proper and more truthful discussion on what Lisbon means for Ireland.

 Although I am against the Lisbon Treaty, and I shall tell you why shortly, I have to commend the work of Generation Yes, who are a group of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who believe in Europe and belive that the Treaty is a good deal for Ireland.

 I know I disagree with them on this issue but it is good to see a group of young people getting together and fighting for something they believe in. This is a very positive sign for the future of Irish politics and activism, and that is why I hope young people from the No side will do the same this time around, because I certainly am getting involved!!!!…I will give you more details on how I am in one of my later blogs but let me begin by telling you why I am against Lisbon.

Ireland has a veto in these treaties, so I cannot argue that that is not democratic because it is.However, last year on Friday 13th of June, the Irish people had the chance to use this veto and decided to vote against the Lisbon Treaty by a margin of 53.4 % to 46.6 %.

 This was a democratic vote and a democratic decision was made, the Irish people rejected Lisbon. Now, however, the Irish people have been asked to vote again, actually, they have been forced to vote again!!!

 This in my mind is surely not democratic because it is going against the decision that the Irish people made last year. Now a devil’s advocate approach to that would be well the Irish people did not understand the issues properly, and that the Irish people will vote Yes now because we need the Lisbon Treaty to help us during this tough economic period, and while I agree that Europe does bring economic stability to Ireland, the Lisbon Treaty is not going to dramatically save us from this downturn, I think that should be told to the Irish people.

In recent months, An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, has come back from Brussels with a relieved smile on his face telling the Irish people that he has got the guarantees on the core issues of the Lisbon Treaty; on social issues, neutrality, and the Rights Commissioner. Now, the fact is still clear, the words of the Lisbon Treaty have not changed because they remain the same, with an “add-on” page for Ireland’s purposes.To be honest, I find that to be quite embarrassing and humiliating!

We have guaranteed the Rights Commissioner and I do concede that this is a step in a positive way but there is  still an issue with regards to neutrality which has not been clarified yet, and I hope there will be a proper debate based around this issue in the coming two months. When it comes to social issues, I am quite liberal, so I am disappointed that these elements were used as scare-mongering tactics by the No side, so that is the only area where I disagree with some groups who form part of the No side.

The European Union is great for Ireland, and I do believe that, and I will go against any claims from people who tell me I am anti-European as I am certainly not.

 Anyway, The EU is supposed to stick to its status as a democratic union, and while it has maintained this core principal in the past, with the exception of the Nice Treaty, I believe that sadly it has gone against the definition of democracy when after voting No to Lisbon, the Irish people are being told to vote again, informing us that if we don’t vote in favour of Lisbon, so that it will be ratified, we will fall behind Europe.

 Now, is this a representation of democracy?!!

 This statement telling us that Ireland will lose ground in Europe certainly points to Europe becoming anti-democratic, unless the Yes side are guilty of scare-mongering in this area, so can you blame the Irish people for being confused???!!

Now, as a republican socialist, I believe in the upkeeping and  respect for workers’ rights, both in Ireland, in Eurpoe and worldwide.Let me take a look at multinational/transnational companies.

 For those of you who may be still unaware of what these are, I will explain: These are firms that have headquarters in one country but own and operate businesses in many other countires, being holding companies that own the majority of shares in a number of other firms located in different countries.

Now, the current corporation tax rate here in Ireland is 12.5%, which is one of the lowest rates in Europe. I personally believe this should be highered, so that European multinational companies that avail from Government grants would actually contribute to Irish society, lessening the burden on the taxpayer.

 Now I know that this could also be a separate issue categorised as a separate debate but I wanted to draw you into my next point. Now, I’m not anti-multinational companies because I do have to give respect to EMC, which is functioning well and has been good for employment in my area.

It is when I look at companies such as Dell packing their bags and leaving for another European country, in this case, Poland, on the nearest hint of the word “recession”, that I believe we as the Irish people have to remain vigilent, and fight against this particular direction that Europe is heading because that is not promoting and advocating the safe-guarding of workers’ rights.

 It is allowing a company to benefit from the low cost of wages in one county in expense of the worker in a country where the minimum wage is higher. If they get a Government grant and can avail of low corporation tax rates in this country, why should these companies be allowed to use the Irish workers like this??. This is a very important issue which I feel needs to be addressed!!

Finally, I am left-wing. I am not going to go into party politcs about this but one does have to look at the recent European elections and realise that Europe has taken a swing to the right, with the EPP (European Peoples’ Party) gaining the most seats with 265 being won. Now, I do respect that they won their seats democratically but I think that it should not be about left or right-wing policies, it should be about both wings coming together for the people of Europe.

I would like to re-iterate that I am pro-Europe and I believe Ireland has achieved a lot since its membership began in 1973. I am voting No to Lisbon for a more just and fair future for Ireland , domestically and abroad.