• 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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  • Call for Government to review treatment of Endometriosis
    The Endometriosis Association of Ireland (EAI) has quoted the waiting time for diagnosis as being up to nine years – longer than the seven-and-a-half years reported in the UK. Endometriosis affects can cause debilitating pain, heavy periods, painful sex, painful bowl and bladder movements, fatigue and infertility. The UK is finally starting to address this horrific condition and following an MP inquiry in the UK, the majority of people have shared stories of how their mental health, education and careers had been damaged by the condition. More than 10,000 people took part in the All-Party Political Group inquiry which found that 58% of people visited the GP more than 10 times before diagnosis and 53% went to A&E with symptoms before diagnosis. The majority of people also told MPs their mental health, education and careers had been damaged by the condition. About 90% said they would have liked access to psychological support but were never offered it, with 35% having a reduced income due to endometriosis. In survey of 13,500 women it found that half of them reported being addicted to painkillers and having suicidal thoughts. Due to a "gender pain gap" women's symptoms are often belittled by doctors, despite numerous visits to A&E, local GPs and specialists. Pain is notoriously hard to describe and pinpoint. But for women, the work is doubly arduous. We have to learn to advocate for ourselves and one another. But we need doctors and health professionals to meet us in the middle, believe our testimonies and help us over the line to diagnosis and treatment. With no cure for the condition and limited treatment including hormone therapy and surgery. It's time to call on the Government to establish a working group to address the long waiting times for diagnosis, treatment of the condition and the major psychological damage it has on the women who suffer from it. Endometriosis care across Ireland needs urgent improvement and diagnosis times need to be cut in half. We can't carry on like this, one in ten could means one day it could be you, your sister, girlfriend or friend suffering from this debilitating condition. *(Although endometriosis is most commonly referred to as a female disease. Endometriosis may also impact Trans/Cis Males. There are documented cases of cis men (someone who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth) who present with endometriosis of the prostate that is typically discovered when their body is introduced to estrogenic effects. There is also population of trans men (and trans women) who face living with endometriosis everyday whose experience with the disease goes un-researched) Additional Resources: Endometriosis Association of Ireland: https://www.endometriosis.ie/?gclid=CjwKCAjw_sn8BRBrEiwAnUGJDou2wgRqMbtuQ0nzBYwM0L8x9Dy_r69srSPgkoOX4hhnEdtIT37GDxoCkyMQAvD_BwE Endometriosis care needs urgent improvement, MPs say: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54513072 Endometriosis showed me we need better ways to talk about women's pain: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/22/endometriosis-women-pain-diagnosis-report-mps?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other 'A lot of doctors fail to recognise it': Calls for government to review treatment of endometriosis': https://www.thejournal.ie/endometriosis-working-group-4840562-Oct2019/ Additional 'Endometriosis and Being a Trans Person: Beyond Gendered Reproductive Health' http://www.hormonesmatter.com/endometriosis-transgender-beyond-gendered-reproductive-health/
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  • Urgent Support for Trans Communities
    Since the start of 2018, no new patients have been seen in the Northern Ireland adult gender identity clinic. There are now over 400 on the waiting list, some of whom have been on this list for over 4 years. While a review of these services was commissioned late last year, progress has been slow, and the Department and HSCB have been unwilling to meaningfully include and consult with trans communities. As a result, the majority of trans people in Northern Ireland who are currently accessing gender affirming care are doing so through private services, including those in England and further afield, or through self-medication. Those who self-medicate have been doing so to reduce the harm that is being done to them by the failure of statutory services to provide support and care while this review is ongoing and in the two years before it was commissioned. There is a mental health crisis in trans communities; while trans-led support groups and advocacy organisations are doing our best to support our communities, these groups are chronically under-funded and under-staffed. There is an urgent need for statutory services to step up and provide support to trans communities who have waited years for action.
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  • Repeal the Seal, Open the Archive
    For the first time the Irish people can see for themselves the callousness with which the Irish State has treated Women and Children & survivors who came through Mother and Baby Homes, Baby Homes, industrial schools who are denied access to their own testimony, files and records - this needs to stop.
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    Created by Aitheantas - Adoptee Identity Rights Picture
  • High Quality Public Broadband for All!
    This pandemic has shown that the internet can be used to connect and strengthen communities - but only if they have high quality, affordable access. If we build a public network, we can guarantee free, quality internet for everyone.
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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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  • Require universities to partially refund international tuition fees for 2020/21 due to COVID-19
    The Irish Government should care because thousands of international students studying in Ireland are going to be going into debt for an education that might not be worth the amount of money universities are asking for. Students should get the chance to experience university life in full, with access to societies, clubs, opportunities, and chances to network and develop meaningful relationships face-to-face. Many benefits of attending University have been taken away by COVID-19. There is so much more to University than the academic side.
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  • Require NUI Galway to partially refund tuition fees for 2020/21 due to Covid-19
    The UMT should care because thousands of Irish and international students studying in Galway are going to be going into debt for an education that might not be worth the amount of money the university is asking for. Students should be able to experience university life in full, with access to societies, clubs, office hours, tutoring, services, career opportunities, and the chance to network and develop meaningful relationships with professors, peers, and staff. Many benefits of attending University have been taken away by COVID-19. There is so much more to University than the academic side.
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  • APPEAL OF IRISH CITIZENS AND IRISH RESIDENTS TO THE UNITED NATIONS TO SUPPORT BELARUS
    We are asking to respond to the disturbing and tragic events in Belarus, to protect the lives and civil liberties of Belarusians. On August 9th, 2020, the Republic of Belarus held Presidential elections which became one the dirtiest, ballot rigged elections in Belarusian history. The ensued nationwide peaceful protests are being brutally suppressed by the authorities. Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered for peaceful protests all across the country from large cities to the smallest villages. In response, the Lukashenko government unleashed armed forces, military, OMON, and police and ordered to brutally suppress the protests: ● Lukashenko authorized the use of rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons, stun and flash grenades in a violent, bloody crackdown to suppress and silence the peaceful unarmed protesters calling for a free democratic election. ● Journalists and press have been specifically targeted and to further silence the people the internet has been largely shut down across the country during the first four days following the election, combined with limited cellular service. ● On the streets: countless accounts of violent beatings, injuries, and unlawful detainment of over 11,000 Belarusians, some still in prison, - all civilian unarmed peaceful protesters. ● In detention centres: violent beatings, torture, rape, denial of medical care to severely injured, denial of medication to people with diabetes, asthma and other serious medical conditions. ● As of October 7th, 2020, seven people confirmed dead as a result of the brutal use of force by Belarusian law enforcement agencies: ● Alexander Tarajkovski (34, Minsk) - shot by government special forces, while walking the street alone unarmed with hands up in the air; ● Alexander Vihor (25, Gomel); ● Gennadi Shutov (43, Brest); ● Konstantin Shyshmakov (29, Volkovysk); ● Nikita Krivtsov (28, Minsk); ● Aliaksandr Budnitski (53, Minsk); ● Dzyanis Kuznyatsov (41, Minsk). ● As of October 7th, 2020, over 100 people, arrested for participation or protests, are missing, while hundreds are still being detained in jails without trial. We, citizens and residents of Ireland with Belarussian roots and friends of Belarusian people, declare that Alexander Lukashenko ordered the mass suppression of peaceful protests and use of brutal police force against the citizens of Belarus. We further declare that Lukashenko and his regime is guilty of crimes against humanity as he personally authorized the atrocities that took place on the streets of Belarus, in jails and detention centers following the day of the elections. At the time before the election campaign and to this day, Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly and openly stated to his political opponents and the entire population of the country that he is ready to use weapons against unarmed citizens. He and his regime are a threat to the lives of hundreds and thousands of innocent people. We encourage the United Nations to show that it remains committed to its participation in a global fight to end the impunity with concrete action.
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  • Save Ballymore Post Office
    The Post Office service in Ballymore has been a hugely important hub of activity for many years and it continues to be a busy service. Ballymore Post Office is a core enterprise of rural communities and is responsible for the provision of vital financial services to the most vulnerable service users in our area. There is a agreement between An Post and the government that AnPost must ensure that people continue to have access to financial services and are not financially excluded. The reform agenda of An Post is forcing 'change' onto people, before they have actually had a chance to adapt their ways to modern day online facilities. One worrying result of this will be that our most vulnerable; older service users and those with physical or intellectual challenges, will now be drawn into towns to draw their cash payments. This not not only subjects them to the fear of theft, but in these current times, there are at a hugely higher risk of being infected with Covid19. There is also a distinct lack of public or private transport in the area. "This is yet another service being slowly ripped away from rural Ireland, if we stand by and allow this to happen we will wake up one day and there won’t be a heart left in our rural communities,” said Cllr McCormack.
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  • No Child Gets Left Behind - End School Bus Transport Segregation
    Current selection policy does not take into account the nuances of rural living, whereby a child can be 0.1km outside a catchment area due to a twist in the road. The current two tier system is a form of apartheid as it discriminates aganst a child due to its eircode, with no account to the national road grid, feeder primary schools and recent increases in local population. Concessionary children are being separated from their classmates and neighbours due to current selection criteria. This causes division and hostility in rural communities. Has any consideration been given to a child’s mental health due to this outdated selection criteria? These school bus fiascos have been going on for years. Just google it. Its a time for change and that time is now. No child should get left behind.
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    Created by Ciaran OFlaherty