Varadkar, the Taoiseach, joined Sikhs in Dublin to celebrate the Indian religious festival of Vaisakhi.
The Fine Gael leader is the son of an Indian from Mumbai.
Vaisakhi is said to mark the inauguration of the Khalsa, understood to be a term used by Sikhs who have been initiated into the faith.
Yesterday’s event was held at the Sikh Temple in Serpentine Road, Sandymount.
Varadkar spoke of his pride in ‘Ireland’s diversity.’
It has been announced that under a government-approved initiative, gardai will now be allowed to wear turbans and the hijab while on duty. The move is designed to encourage candidates from foreign communities living in Ireland to join the gardai. According to reports, newly appointed commissioner Drew has said it is important that the gardai reflects the diversity of the population it serves.
Ireland has more than 64,000 practising Muslims. It’s not clear how many Muslims in total are domiciled in the State. Islam has been listed as one of the fastest growing religions in the country.
The total population of Sikhs is rising while in the UK the number entitled to vote is reckoned to have increased to about 600,000.
Coveney: ‘We need to be careful with how we speak about and debate issues around Traveller accommodation…’
Sligo News File.
Commenting in the Dail today, Deputy Mattie McGrath asked if the government was going to review the Traveller accommodation plan.
I acknowledge that the housing crisis has reached more than 10,000 homeless. On the other hand, Tipperary County Council has spent €371,000 per unit on houses in Cabra in Thurles for Traveller families that have been lying idle since last October. The Minister of State, Deputy English might answer this question.
The average price of a house in Tipperary is €167,000. These have cost a staggering €371,000 per house and the families are refusing to move into them. They have horses grazing on the lawns. Are we going to review the Traveller accommodation plan? A councillor had a motion down at a meeting yesterday and the director of services refused to attend to deal with it. This is causing great anger and angst all over Tipperary and beyond. If we give in to a set of preconditions for people to move into state-of-the-art houses, built at enormous cost and which are almost three times the cost of normal houses, we will set a very bad precedent in Tipperary and I do not want that.
It is time this was resolved and I ask the Minister of State to intervene with the county council. This is the cost to date, not the full cost. The reply I have got says it is the cost to date. There is subterfuge going on here. There is a €500,000 increase on what we knew at first. I want to know if this will be allowed to continue. It is farcical when people throughout the country are waiting for houses and sleeping on the streets.
An Ceann Comhairle
The Tánaiste will answer the Deputy.
We need to be careful with how we speak about and debate issues around Traveller accommodation when it comes to social housing because it is easy to move into dog whistle territory here if we are not careful—–
Deputy Mattie McGrath
It is not a dog whistle.
—–with the kind of questioning that the Deputy is posing here today.
Deputy Mattie McGrath
It is not a dog whistle. It is an honest question and the sooner we deal with it the better.
Dealing with the housing demands of the Traveller community in Ireland is complex, difficult and at times very political. Local authorities have difficult challenges to meet in this regard without us making it more difficult for them.
Deputy Mattie McGrath
There is no accountability.
To be singling out a small number of houses—–
Deputy Mattie McGrath
It is public money and there is no accountability.
—–and specifically painting a picture of a problem with the Traveller community is something that the Deputy should reflect on.
Deputy Mattie McGrath
I resent that lecture. I resent it totally. We are in a housing crisis.
It is true.
Deputy Mattie McGrath
I resent that lecture from an arrogant Tánaiste who cannot build a henhouse not to mind build a doghouse for people.
Forty leading policy organisations and more than 100 of the States most influential scientists seek review of climate science reports.
Sligo News File.
A massive alliance of environmental organisations, activists and scientific leaders from across the United States is urging President Trump to proceed with a proposed Presidential Commission on climate security.
The campaign is being mounted amid what has been described as “powerful establishment resistance to re-examining government climate science,” with some scientists even reportedly claiming that even reviewing the science would be a threat to “national security.”
Some 40 top policy bodies and more than 100 prominent scientists who are pressing for an independent scientific review of claims made in federal global warming reports, said in a letter to the President that in their view independent examination of the records is “long overdue.”
They observed that “serious problems and shortcomings have been raised repeatedly in the past by highly-qualified scientists only to be ignored or dismissed by the federal agencies in charge of producing the reports.
“Among major issues that have been raised and that we hope the commission will scrutinize: the models used have assumed climate sensitivities to CO2 concentrations significantly higher than recent research warrants; the models used have predicted much more warming than has actually occurred; predictions of the negative impacts of global warming have been made based on implausible high-end emissions scenarios; the positive impacts of warming have been ignored or minimized; and surface temperature data sets have been manipulated to show more rapid warming than has actually occurred. An underlying issue that we hope the commission will also address is the fact that so many of the scientific claims made in these reports and by many climate scientists are not falsifiable, that is, they cannot be tested by the scientific method.
“The conclusions and predictions made by these reports are the basis for proposed energy policies that could cost trillions of dollars in less than a decade and tens of trillions of dollars over several decades. Given the magnitude of the potential costs involved, we think that taking the insular processes of official, consensus science on trust, as has been the case for the past three decades, is negligent and imprudent.”
The joint letter to the President, dated 18 March 2019 states:
Dear President Trump,
The undersigned organizations and individuals write to express our strong support for the proposed President’s Commission on Climate Security. It is our understanding that this commission, which is being planned and would be directed by Dr. William Happer of the National Security Council staff, is currently being considered by your senior White House staff and relevant Cabinet secretaries and agency heads. The commission would consist of a small number of distinguished experts on climate-related science and national security. It would be charged with conducting an independent, high-level review of the Fourth National Climate Assessment and other official reports relating to climate and its implications for national security. Its deliberations would be subject to the transparency requirements of the Federal Advisory Committees Act.
In our view, an independent review of these reports is long overdue. Serious problems and shortcomings have been raised repeatedly in the past by highly-qualified scientists only to be ignored or dismissed by the federal agencies in charge of producing the reports. Among major issues that have been raised and that we hope the commission will scrutinize: the models used have assumed climate sensitivities to CO2 concentrations significantly higher than recent research warrants; the models used have predicted much more warming than has actually occurred; predictions of the negative impacts of global warming have been made based on implausible high-end emissions scenarios; the positive impacts of warming have been ignored or minimized; and surface temperature data sets have been manipulated to show more rapid warming than has actually
occurred. An underlying issue that we hope the commission will also address is the fact that so many of the scientific claims made in these reports and by many climate scientists are not falsifiable, that is, they cannot be tested by the scientific method.
The conclusions and predictions made by these reports are the basis for proposed energy policies that could cost trillions of dollars in less than a decade and tens of trillions of dollars over several decades. Given the magnitude of the potential costs involved, we think that taking the insular processes of official, consensus science on trust, as has been the case for the past three decades, is negligent and imprudent. In contrast, major engineering projects are regularly subjected to the most rigorous and exhaustive adversarial review. We suggest that climate science requires at least the same level of scrutiny as the engineering employed in building a bridge or a new aeroplane.
We note that defenders of the climate consensus have already mounted a public campaign against the proposed commission. We find this opposition curious. If the defenders are confident that the science contained in official reports is robust, then they should welcome a review that would finally put to rest the doubts that have been raised. On the other hand, their opposition could be taken as evidence that the scientific basis of the climate consensus is in fact highly suspect and cannot withstand critical review.
We further note that opponents of the proposed commission have already stooped to making personal attacks on Dr. Happer. Many signers of this letter know Dr. Happer personally and all are familiar with his scientific career. We know him to be a man of high capabilities, high achievements, and the highest integrity.
It has been reported that some officials within your administration have proposed an internal working group as an alternative to an independent commission subject to FACA. Insofar as an internal working group would consist of federal career scientists reviewing their own work, we think this alternative would be worse than doing nothing.
Although an independent commission of distinguished scientists would have high credibility, we do not mean to imply that its report should be the end of the matter. We, therefore, suggest that the National Academies of Science and Engineering would be appropriate bodies to conduct an initial review of the commission’s report. Mr. President, you have made a number of comments in recent years expressing doubts about the global warming consensus. Many of the signers of this letter have been similarly skeptical.
Without prejudging the results, we think that a review of climate science produced by an independent, high-level commission would be a fair test for your views (and ours): either it would provide a sound basis for revising your views or it would confirm your views and confound your critics.
For these reasons, we urge you to create by Executive Order a President’s Commission on Climate Security. Thank you for considering our views.
Myron Ebell, Director, Center for Energy and Environment
and Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Tim Huelskamp, Ph. D., President and CEO
and Joseph L. Bast, Founder and Senior Fellow
The Heartland Institute
Adam Brandon, President
Tim Chapman, Executive Director
Heritage Action for America
Thomas Pyle, President
American Energy Alliance
Thomas Schatz, President
Citizens Against Government Waste
Craig Rucker, President
and Marc Morano, Publisher, CFACT’s Climate Depot
Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)
Steve Milloy, Publisher
James L. Martin, Founder and Chairman
and Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, President
60 Plus Association
Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen, Chairman
and Kenneth Haapala, President
Science and Environmental Policy Project
Robert L. Bradley, Jr., CEO
Institute for Energy Research
Craig D. Idso, Ph. D., Chairman
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and GlobalChange
Tom Harris, Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Eunie Smith, President
Rick Manning, President
Americans for Limited Government
Craig Richardson, President
Energy and Environment Legal Institute
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph. D., Founder and National Spokesman
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation
Phil Kerpen, President
Mario H. Lopez, President
Hispanic Leadership Fund
Al Regnery, Chairman
Conservative Action Project
Bill Walton, Chairman
CNP Action, Inc.
Jennifer Fielder, CEO
American Lands Council
Tom DeWeese, President
American Policy Center
Andrew Langer, President
Institute for Liberty
David T. Stevenson, Policy Director
and Clinton S. Laird, Advisory Council
Caesar Rodney Institute
Rob Roper, President
Ethan Allen Institute
Kory Swanson, President and CEO
John Locke Foundation
Paul Gessing, President
Rio Grande Foundation
Jason Hayes, Director of Environmental Policy
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Kathleen Hartnett White, Senior Fellow and Director
Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment
Life: Powered, a Project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation
Daniel Turner, Founder and Executive Director
Power the Future
John Droz, Jr., Founder
Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions
Alex Epstein, Founder
Center for Industrial Progress
Mark Mathis, President
Clear Energy Alliance
Mandy Gunasekara, Founder
Energy 45 Fund
Peter Ferrara, Chief Consultant
and David Wallace, President and Founder
FAIR Energy Foundation
Mark Anderson, Executive Director
and Karla Davenport, Producer
I Spy Radio
[For a list of the individual signers, please download the PDF of the letter.]
Fianna Fail claims that plans to introduce new arrangements for the border and tariffs on products being exported from the Republic to Britain will have “massive ramifications on the Republic’s agri-food sector if allowed to be introduced.
“I sincerely hope that this is a provocative attempt to persuade MPs to vote against a no deal scenario when they are asked over the next 24 hours in Westminster,” said a spokesman for the party.
“The EU will obviously have to respond to the plans to allow goods to travel freely between the Republic and Northern Ireland in the short term and the Irish government will have to elaborate on their own plans to respond to this plan. The uncertainty is causing massive anxiety with businesses both North and South and will cost jobs soon if not sorted out.”
The government should publish the likely impact of the tariffs and put a plan in place to respond, the spokesman added.
A Leinster-based farm body has said the consensus among farm organisations is that a no-deal Brexit “would be a disaster.”
The IFA says it would be a “disastrous scenario” if a tariff regime is imposed on Irish food products.
Organisations may be able to dip into taxpayer-funded Aid programme to finance abortions in Irish supported developing countries.
Sligo News File.
Developing countries may be allowed to use taxpayer-funded Irish aid for the provision of abortion services. The claim has been made at the same time that theTrump administration has ruled out financially supporting abortion in the United States and abroad.
Ireland distributes hundreds of millions in development aid to several countries including Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Liberia and Vietnam.
Now, according to the Irish Times, the Fine Gael-led administration may lift existing restrictions on the use of Irish aid to the third world “as a consequence of the changes to the legislation on abortion in Ireland.”
It reports that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said it will launch a new initiative on “sexual and reproductive health and rights” in the developing world as part of the work of Irish Aid.
The new plan, it states, “is likely to take account of the changed Irish position on abortion and will set aside a previous rule against funding abortion.”
Many will be shocked if it transpires the government intends to allow Irish aid to be used to support abortion practices abroad. The move, if effected, would contrast starkly with the position in the United States where President Donald Trump has made an order outlawing the distribution of foreign aid to organisations in countries that provide abortions or even counsel women on abortion.
Organisations seeking US aid must certify they were not discussing abortion or advocating for its liberalisation.
President Trump has also proposed a sweeping clampdown on abortion services in the United States itself, with the imposition of severe restrictions on what is known as Title X federal funding for groups such as Planned Parenthood that provide abortion referrals.
The Trump Rule will also ban existing funded organisations from providing abortions if performed in the same facilities as other services financed by federal funds. Funds will be withdrawn from organisations that refer women to another provider for an abortion or procedure.
Trump has been praised by Catholic and other bodies throughout the States for his role in standing up for the sanctity of human life.
Taxpayer-funded Irish aid allocated to third world countries, which has been regularly increased, at present stands at around €820 million annually, and is being awarded on that scale in spite of the growing poverty, homelessness and the chaotically underfunded state of the State’s hospital services at home. The programme is managed by the Development Co-Operation and Africa Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of which the minister is Simon Coveney.
Presently, the government is plying for a seat on the United Nations security council for which it needs the votes of 193 states to win.
Spiralling cost of insurance may force businesses to close.
Three billion to install rural broadband.
Sligo News File.
Sligo Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry says he is pleased a Revenue proposed VAT on vitamins/food supplements has been suspended.
“My constituents in Sligo-Leitrim who use these products were facing significant cost increases,” he said.
In Ballymote, party colleague Eamon Scanlon is troubled about the failure of the Fianna Fail-backed government to tackle cost increases in the insurance market.
Small businesses, farmers, livestock marts and community organisations are, he said, being hammered by spiralling insurance rates “and some smaller family run companies say they may be forced to close if premiums continue to increase.”
As well, he wants licenses for further conifer planting in Leitrim to be put on hold “until the government commissioned report on forestry in the county is completed.”
It has emerged, meanwhile, that extending broadband to rural areas of the country may now cost €3 BILLION or more.