‘We have stopped water charges in the North and we are totally opposed to the Government introducing water charges here.’
Sligo News File Online.
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has expressed his disappointment that the President has today signed the Water Services Bill into legislation, saying that Sinn Féin would continue to fight the ongoing fiasco that is Irish Water and domestic water charges, reiterating Sinn Féin’s commitment to campaigning against water charges until they are stopped.”
Senator Cullinane said:
“It was with regret today that I learned President Michael D. Higgins had signed the Water Services Bill into law. Sinn Féin had asked that the President refer the legislation to the Council of State as we had severe reservations as to its constitutionality. The President chose to continue with the legislation as it stood. Sinn Féin have campaigned long and hard against the water charges. We have stopped water charges in the North and we are totally opposed to the Government introducing water charges here.”
“Sinn Féin will continue to fight the introduction of domestic water charges and the fiasco that is Irish Water. The Government is not listening and I do not think they don’t understand quite how serious this situation is. Multiple mass mobilisations in the streets have shown that the Irish people do not accept these charges at a fundamental level and these mobilisations will continue in the New Year. Sinn Féin is committed to stopping this charge and to reversing this legislation in government.”
‘…could be as many as 25,000 cases of campylobacteriosis annually in Ireland.’
‘Cross-contamination from raw poultry is how it manages to infect…’
Sligo News File Online.
Of all infectious diseases which must be notified to health authorities in Ireland, one of the most frequently reported is Campylobacter infection, surpassing influenza and some hospital acquired infections, states the Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority, Alan Reilly, writing in FSAI News.
Describing it as Ireland’s number one cause of foodborne illness, Professor Reilly states that “so far this year almost 2,500 cases have been identified, ten times more than those caused by Salmonella. Given that actual cases far exceed reported cases, we estimate that there could be as many as 25,000 cases of campylobacteriosis annually in Ireland. The number is steadily rising year after year.
“Campylobacterosis is a nasty infection, which typically lasts a week. Summer is the peak period, with children under four the group most affected. Sufferers develop diarrhoea or bloody diarrhoea, and often develop severe cramping and abdominal pain, coupled with fever, within two to five days after exposure to the organism. Nausea and vomiting are also common. Although complications are rare, infection is associated with reactive arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome or Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). Approximately one in 1,000 cases leads to a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
“The organism does not grow in food, but food is the most common source, with poultry the primary reservoir. A very low dose is enough to cause illness. Even one drop of juice from raw chicken meat can contain enough Campylobacter to make a person ill. Results from the most recent FSAI survey of Campylobacter in retail chicken shows that about 50% of products harbour the bacteria. Cooking easily destroys it, but cross-contamination from raw poultry is how it manages to infect so many of us. It might be argued, therefore, that good hygiene practices in the home or the catering sector should be enough to provide protection. However, this alone has not proven enough, as evidenced by the increase in reported cases year-on-year. It is equally valid to argue that elimination of Campylobacter from poultry would be a far more successful strategy. Clearly consumer behaviour in the home cannot be the sole means of prevention.
“In 2011, the FSAI Scientific Committee issued its second report on Campylobacter: Recommendations for a Practical Control Programme for Campylobacter in the Poultry Production and Slaughter Chain. If we are to tackle Campylobacter infection effectively, then more action is required by poultry farmers, slaughter plant operators and retailers, as well as consumers.
“The adoption by retailers of leak proof packaging on chickens was a welcome improvement. Current media campaigns to remind consumers not to wash poultry before cooking also helps to raise awareness of the danger of cross-contamination. The industry, however, needs to do more.
“Flocks should be systematically tested for Campylobacter before they are presented for slaughter. These results need to be communicated back to producers. How can poultry producers improve the biosecurity needed to keep Campylobacter out of poultry houses unless they know the Campylobacter status of their flocks? Processors and retailers should come together to fund this testing programme as the burden cannot be borne by the producer alone. It is also time to incentivise change and for retailers to pay bonuses for Campylobacter-free flocks as they do elsewhere in Europe. This will drive improvement and reward those who are serious about keeping Campylobacter out of their flocks. Little will happen without some sort of financial incentive, and vital and immediate changes are necessary to combat Campylobacter infection.
“A significant research project, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and headed by University College Dublin and Teagasc, is currently underway and focusing on the practicalities of control options. Other challenges still remain to be tackled, in particular improving biosecurity on the farm. This is where Government could play a crucial role. Money needs to be found to fund an advisory service for poultry producers. This could, for instance, be tied into grant aid to help producers upgrade poultry housing which will strengthen biosecurity so that farmers can stay in business and produce a safer product for consumers. It is also time to consider setting in national legislation, an appropriate and challenging process hygiene microbiological criterion at the end of slaughter, as recommended in the 2011 FSAI report. This will set a target for the improvement of slaughter hygiene.
“There are many players on the pitch, all with a role to play in reducing Campylobacter infection. As 2015 approaches we need to focus on tangible action. The time for talking is over and the consumer deserves better.”
‘Coalition used its majority in the Oireachtas to force Bill through against the clear wishes of the people.’
Sligo News File Online.
Sinn Féin Whip Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said that his party, along with the Technical Group and other Independents have today written to President Michael D Higgins to urge him not to sign into law the Water Services Bill.
Speaking this afternoon Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“Having clarified with the Office of the President that a joint petition under Article 27 of the Constitution would be out of order as both Houses of the Oireachtas have now passed the bill, Sinn Féin, the Technical Group and some other Independents are now asking that the President invokes Article 26 and exercises his powers within the Constitution.
“We have written to the President and asked him to do just that.
“The will of the people has been clearly illustrated on this issue with thousands demonstrating outside Leinster House on 10th December. However, the Fine Gael and Labour coalition used its majority in the Oireachtas to force this Bill through against the clear wishes of the people.
“We believe that every consideration must be given to every option within the democratic process which can potentially stop this legislation becoming law.”
“The Irish people should have the right to decide on an issue of such national importance through a referendum.”
Text of the letter to President Higgins:
Mícheál D. Ó hUiginn
Uachtarán na hÉireann
Áras An Uachtaráin
Páirc an Fhionnuisce
Baile Átha Cliath 8
Máirt 23 Nollaig 2014
A Uachtaráin, a chara,
Under Article 26 of Bunreacht na hÉireann we request that you consider declining to sign and promulgate as a law the Water Services Bill 2014 on the ground that the Bill contains a proposal of such national importance that the will of the people thereon ought to be ascertained.
We make this request on the grounds that:
1. There is such a degree of widespread public opposition to the imposition of charges for water as proposed under Section 3(2) of the Bill that such a proposal should be put to the people by way of referendum or by holding of a general election before such charges are introduced.
2. The proposed plebiscite on the ownership of Irish Water in section 2 of the Bill does not satisfy demands for a constitutional referendum to enshrine the public ownership of Irish Water into the Constitution.
3. The proposal in Section 3(3) of the Bill which will require households who are unable to drink the water in their taps due to contamination to pay 50% of their water charges is fundamentally unjust.
Two week break with effect from Friday 19th December.
Sligo News File Online.
Sligo County Council has announced that works at Hughes Bridge have been been discontinued for the Christmas holiday, commencing on Friday 19 December.
In a statement, the authority has said the temporary traffic management plan will continue to apply during the holiday period. “During this period also it is intended that footpaths on both side of the bridge will be available for use by pedestrians.
“From Monday 5th January, 2015 and for a duration of approximately three weeks, piling works will be ongoing on the north-west embankment (adjacent to Salmon Point i.e. the old swimming pool) and these works are likely to give rise to periodic lane closures in the northbound carriageway of Hughes Bridge. During these times traffic may be reduced to one-lane northbound. Delays are to be expected particularly during peak times.
“As always Sligo County Council and L&M Keatings will endeavour to minimise the effects of the works where possible and we regret any inconvenience which may be caused.”
‘Sinn Fein in direct contact with Office of the President.’
Sligo News File Online.
Sinn Féin have said that the fight back against the Governments plans to introduce household water charges remains unfinished business as the Seanad passed the Water Services Bill this evening.
Speaking from Leinster House, Senator David Cullinane said;
“The Government has failed to listen to the Irish people, despite marching in their thousands outside this parliament on 10th December from across the state to demonstrate their widespread opposition to this unjust tax.
“The Government Bill narrowly passed through the Seanad this evening due to the support of the majority of the Taoiseach’s 11 nominees who essentially prop up the Government and their failed policies.
“However, Sinn Féin has committed to exhaust every means possible to resist and prevent this legislation becoming law by using every tool at our disposal through the democratic process and it is not over yet.
“The people rightly demand a referendum on this issue which is of huge national importance. The Government will not concede to this demand, but the President has the constitutional power where he may decline to sign this Bill into law on the grounds that it contains a proposal of such national importance that the will of the people should be ascertained by way of a referendum.”
Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh added;
“Sinn Féin is in direct contact with the Office of the President where we are seeking clarification around whether invoking a joint petition from Senators and TDs under article 27 of the Constitution requesting that the President declines signing the Bill into law and until a referendum is held is possible.”
“If this option is ruled out the President within his own constitutional powers has the right to refer the Bill to the Supreme Court. That is a call for the President himself of course.
“We believe that every consideration must be given to every option within the democratic process which can potentially stop this legislation becoming law and that there is a moral obligation on us to do so.”
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has announced that his party will be seeking to petition the President not to sign the Water Services Bill into law if it is passed in both the Dáil and Seanad.
The President would be required to convene the Council of State to consider the bill under Article 27 of the Constitution if one third of the Dáil and a Majority of Senators sign a petition of concern after the bill has been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
Speaking today Senator Cullinane said;
“We in Sinn Féin, unlike the government, have genuinely listened to the people on this issue. We have been opposed to domestic water charges from day one and we are glad that the people have risen up so strongly against them.
“We have promised to do all in our power to oppose the introduction of these charges. Therefore, if both Houses of the Oireachtas pass the Water Services Bill this week we will then seek to petition the President under Article 27 of the Constitution.
“We have the petition ready to go and we will be inviting all Oireachtas members who are genuinely opposed to domestic water charges to support this action.”