• Implement the 2019 Parole Act
    Any prisoners serving a sentence longer than 8 years are allowed to apply for parole halfway through that sentence. Being approved for parole would grant them early release from prison. Someone sentenced to life in prison can apply after 7 years. The parole board is an administrative collection of members who advise the minister for Justice and Equality on the applications from long term prisoners. The members include senior officials from the department of justice and equality, the head of the probation service, the medical director of the central mental hospital and various community representatives. At the moment the applicant must go before a parole board who will assess their progress and examine how they have engaged in reformative work while in prison and a number of other factors including; * Whether it is reasonable to grant early release based on the nature of the offence * Whether they want release * Whether there are any compassionate grounds that would grant special consideration * Whether they have engaged with therapeutic services within prison to combat their offending behaviour * And whether their release would be considered a threat to the safety of the community Their recommendation is passed to the serving minister for justice and equality who must then either accept, deny or accept it in part. When a prisoner is not recommended for release, they will have their case reviewed every one and a half to three years. This means that the families of victims must prepare themselves to write a statement each time between the seven-year mark and when the perpetrator is eventually released on license. This is a traumatising task for those bereaved by homicide or victims of crime. A piece of legislation that would increase the minimum term served before convicted killers could apply for parole to 12 years was first proposed to the government in 2016. It was enacted in July 2019 and would mean that the parole board would become an independent body outside of the government becoming more transparent and accessible for victims. The new parole board would be made up of people who are appointed by the Minister for Justice who would have an understanding of the prison system, the law and the impact on victims. This would remove politics from the parole process. The Parole Act was passed in 2019 and a year later it has still not been implemented. Convicted murders have been eligible for parole during this time, the Act would have been retrospective and ensured they had to serve a minimum of 12 years so the Department of Justice has let down victims and their families with the delay. Sinead O'Leary was the victim of a random, vicious knife attack which left her fighting for her life, and ended the life of her best friend Nichola Sweeney. Her attacker, Nichola's murderer, Peter Whelan, has been up before the Parole board numerous times, he has also been granted day release and neutral venue visits in the area where he committed the horrific assault. The Parole process has left Sinead feeling re-traumatised and disposable, and it has devastated Nichola Sweeney's family. . Here is Sinead's account; "The process has been soul destroying, painful and confronting. Peter Whelan deemed my life to be without worth, he deemed Nichola’s life to be without worth and he continues to do so. Allowing this monstrous individual to have access to the Parole Board 7 years before he was due to even begin serving his sentence for her murder devalues Nichola’s life. Recommending and permitting temporary day releases after serving a mere four years, not even the minimum seven-year term of this sentence, devalues Nichola’s life and Nicholas families trauma.. Reducing the sentence of attempted murder by four years devalues my trauma. Whelan may display ‘good behaviour’ in prison but Whelan has done this before. He reportedly was a ‘model client’ during a 4-month stay in a substance abuse treatment centre which his parents enrolled him days after he assaulted the girls on New Year’s Eve, yet two weeks later he launched his frenzied attack on Nichola and I. To be blunt, prison is not the real world. It is simply controlled compliance. Compliance should not be rewarded, it should be expected. What happens to someone as disordered as Whelan when all the strict controls of prison are replaced with the myriad of choices, stresses, and temptations of the real world? I was 19 years of age when Peter Whelan tried to kill me. I was at the beginning of my adult life, no longer a child, with a world of possibilities ahead of me. Instead, I entered adulthood in a world of pain and trauma. I spent my 20th birthday recovering in a hospital bed reeling from the reality that my best friend had been murdered. While the man who tried to kill me slept soundly in his cell despite the horror he inflicted upon Nichola and I. I have spent subsequent birthdays mourning the life of my best friend and the life that was taken from me. For I am serving my own life sentence because of the actions of Peter Whelan. In 2019, I was told that not only had Whelan had three meetings with the Parole Board, in 2010, 2014 and 2018, but that he had been recommended for three-monthly neutral venue visits with family in Cork. And to my shock and disbelief, he had actually been in Cork based on this decision several times. This information was absolutely devastating to Nichola's family and I. We were completely blindsided. The position I have been put in is not right and not just. My life is not is not liveable with Whelan returning to my community, to Cork, in any capacity. I feel I must advocate for not only myself and my right to a peaceful and safe life, but for my family and for the wider community to have peaceful and safe lives from this dangerous unremorseful individual. And of course I feel I must advocate for Nichola and her family's ongoing trauma."
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  • #BringChange
    There is a great deal of concern from parents, teachers, principals and elected members of the Northern Ireland Assembly about the current private system of transfer tests and particularly during this pandemic year.
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    Created by Naomi McBurney
  • The US must honor every vote
    Donald Trump has called for vote counting to cease. Democracy is at risk. We must do all we can to ensure that voters wishes are respected.
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    Created by Nicola Browne
  • The US Must Honour Every Vote
    We call our government to do everything in its power to respect the wishes of US voters and if needed ensure a peaceful transfer of power in the United States in accordance with the law.
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    Created by Siobhan O'Donoghue
  • One Stamp for All Spouse and Dependents Immigrants #Equal Rights Ireland
    Immigrants spouses are being treated and marked as herds by giving them stamp 3/1g, making it impossible for them to access the job market. What are the spouses being punished for?? It is causing mental and health deterioration for the skilled immigrants who are suffering financially by being dependent on spouses. Isolation during covid-19 is building up some serious mental concerns as depression and suicidal thoughts. Furthermore adding to the misery of immigrants, stamp 1g is given to the graduates on job search and spouses of CSEP holders and hosting agreement holders. Recruiters are not willing to entertain anyone on Stamp 1g or stamp 3. Now with many of them listing an eligibility criteria as EU/Stamp 4 holder only may apply. Immigrants' spouses who have stamp 1g or stamp 3 are as if they are handcuffed for a crime which is simply being a dependent to a permit holder or critical skill worker. Dependent immigrants want to work and equally contribute to the society and pay taxes.
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    Created by Aysha Mazhar
  • Stop Ruhama from getting responsibility over Direct Provision for Sex Trafficking Survivors.
    In August 2020 it was announced that the Department of Justice is intending to set up a Direct Provision Centre for people who have fallen victim to the commercial sex trade which is to be run by DePaul and Ruhama. Victims of the commercial sex trade in this context means people who engaged in sex work or survivors of sex trafficking. We also believe other vulnerable people who have been victimised will be moved to this centre. While we welcome an end to human trafficking survivors being housed in Direct Provision, we would like to see everyone removed from Direct Provision and housed within communities. This step being a longer-term objective means we need to express our disapproval that Ruhama be placed in a position of responsibility within any new centre. Ruhama was founded by The Sisters of Charity and The Sisters of The Good Shephard. As of August 2020, Ruhama, while claiming to be secular, still had 3 members of the Sisters of The Good Shephard order on their board and pushes extreme ideology in relation to autonomy and sex work and sex trafficking. The Sisters of the Good Shephard and the Sisters of Charities claim to have a long history with “troubled women” from the 18th century until the eventual closure of the last laundry closing in the early 2000’s Magdalene Laundries were run by orders of nuns including the Sisters of the Good Shephard who both founded Ruhama and have current positions on their board. The Sisters of Charity too ran Magdalene Laundries. Both refused to meet their victims just a year ago. The orders trafficked women into commercial and domestic slavery and trafficked their children all around the world without consent, more sadly died. By the time the last Laundry closed the orders were involved in Ruhama. The abuses and inhumanity in the Magdalene Laundries run by The Sisters of Charity and The Sisters of the Good Shephard are finally coming into light in their full horror and in spite of attempts to seal the archives, the survivors and the public continue to fight to have them accessible for those they impacted. These two orders and those like them trafficked tens of thousands of vulnerable women and children. Putting an organisation which was founded and still claims members of an order who ran a human trafficking cartel in Ireland for decades, in a place of responsibility over vulnerable victims is absolutely irresponsible and completely ignores what we have learned from our own history. We must insist that Ruhama is taken out of the list of viable options for this role. Irish people continue to suffer at the hands of the Sisters of the Good Shephard and the Sisters of Charity and while we fight to ensure those victims still have the right to access their personal information, we must also ensure that we never allow institutions to be founded which we know have lead to abuse and degradation and damage to human life. Ruhama in its capacity as an anti sex trafficking organisation has derailed the anti- human trafficking efforts by focusing so much attention on sex trafficking while not acknowledging that labour trafficking has been the largest kind of trafficking in Ireland consistently until last year. We are unaware of any anti-labour trafficking organisation currently receiving any state funding. Child trafficking is also a serious issue on the ground when working in anti-human trafficking in Ireland, yet the only dedicated anti child trafficking organisation is not regularly funded by the Department of Justice. By conflating sex work and sex trafficking as similarly victimising Ruhama have inflated sex trafficking to be the largest nationwide trafficking phenomena which our work on the ground would discredit. We also find their attitude towards sex workers as “women in prostitution” and the lack of representation of sex workers and trafficking survivors within Ruhama to be massively problematic.
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  • RE-OPEN COCO MARKETS
    Government guidelines regarding Covid Level 5 and Essential Retail Outlets clearly state "markets that, wholly or principally, offer food for sale" can open for business. However, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has announced the closure of Dun Laoghaire People's Market and Marlay Park Market. This action will deprive traders of much needed income in what is traditionally their busiest time of the year. Furthermore, it will deprive consumers who look to these markets as their location of choice for the weekly purchase of organic & artisan produce.
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  • Stop the 30 year seal on the mother and baby home records
    It’s important as it stops people from being able to access information to investigated crimes that took place. We have seen the government make a attempt at sealing the child abuse Inquiry and redress process away for 75 years In which we obtain nearly 8 thousand signatures for as survivors and the Irish public have already demonstrated transparency is the only way they want to go forward. Now we are seeing the same government who gagged and gave protection to those orders during the child abuse inquiry try to do this to survivors with the mother and baby home commission. Together we all need to stand up come together and make our feelings known that we cannot accept this continuous abuse against survivors human rights. https://www.facebook.com/655486304552311/posts/2992889054145346/?vh=e&extid=0&d=n From survivors & their families.
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  • SOS Stop the Seal Shooting
    At a time when biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate, instead of this ludicrous scheme and bowing to lobbyists for profit, there should be increased protection for all wildlife and promotion of veganism. Fish stocks have been depleted due to overfishing and not giving time for regeneration, which are the actions of humans, not seals.
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    Created by Marese Hickey
  • The outrageous cuts to EWSS and PUP
    It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to you in regards to the cuts in EWSS and PUP last Friday 18th September. Despite several thousand emails arriving into TD's inboxes last week on this matter, all we have received are unfulfilled promises from the current government. The news of these cuts came at the same time we were informed that the bars in Dublin and surrounding areas would be shut for a further 3 weeks! To say this is kicking us while we're down, is an understatement. I know a lot of local constituents facing hardship as a direct result of the lack of action, leadership, and support from the current government, during this pandemic. This includes volumes of bartenders, chefs, kitchen porters, managers, servers, reservations staff, security, HR departments, young performers and musicians! There is a deep rooted culture that is being neglected for public health reasons, and although that is justifiable, it does not in the slightest justify the lack of support we need to receive for our sacrifices. It has now reached a point in time where some are making the decision between the roof over their heads and the food on their tables. There is a terrible attitude towards live performers and the hospitality sector, as if our professions do not justify the money we receive. That is very much pandering to a division in class, and it totally undermines the lengths and efforts to develop and master the talents that we were given. As you are well aware, the amount of revenue the government receives from the Tourism, Hospitality, and Live entertainment industries through taxation is substantial! License fees, VAT, PAYE, the list goes on! We have paid our fair way just like any other fully employed person has done and we should continue to receive the PUP until our industry is open again. To say there is a feeling of no confidence in this government is an understatement. Change was demanded at the beginning of this year and when this Dail was formed. We were promised change by the same two parties that have promised it so many times and failed to deliver. We were promised change when the opposition stepped back on forming a left minority. We were promised change and the only change we have witnessed has been in the wrong direction for us. It has taken 8 months to come up with a less than adequate 5 level plan for this pandemic, an issue that requires emergency response times and clear concise rules, not guidelines! We understand that a pandemic of this nature is quite a challenge for any government to tackle and our advice to you as the owners and workers of the hospitality sector is to listen to your constituents, especially the experts of each respective sector. In our case, we have sacrificed our main source of income to help you tackle this public health crisis, the least you can do is to help us in return. We demand the immediate reinstatement of the EWSS and PUP payment at the full rate per week (350EUR) for the highly skilled staff and businesses of this valued sector, until the sector (which is fully closed by government under public health advice) is allowed to return to work. We will continue to do our part for the sake of this country and we hope you will hold your end of the bargain too. Go raibh maith agaibh,
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    Created by Eoin Mac Giolla Riogh
  • Amend the Harassment & Harmful Communications Bill
    The bill was categorised by the Law Reform Commission in 2016 after focus groups of young teens identified it as a privacy issue. However on greater examination it is clear that this should fall under sexual violence laws. It is important that people who engage in image based crime should face serious implications for sharing inappropriate images without consent. Also it is important that judges and barristers should understand the full impact on victims lives from the sharing of these images, and be trained up to deal with what is a reasonably new crime, with the age of smart phones and widespread internet access.
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    Created by Linda Hayden
  • Cancel Enda Kenny's railway series
    Politics is not entertainment and it's completely inappropriate for the state broadcaster to give a vanity series like this to a former Taoiseach and to promote the Fine Gael party who are in government. How many working in the arts are in need of a job? RTÉ should not be a retirement home for elderly men on multiple pensions; a man who arguably turned this country into a train wreck and did nothing for the railways. Enda also apparently knew about the Golfgate dinner & played golf on the day, but didn't inform anyone. There's no such thing as an innocent bystander. Cancel this! #golfgate #endakenny #ethics
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