Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dublin Tidy Districts Awards 2006

The latest of my Deputy Lord Mayor functions was last Thursdays Dublin Tidy Districts Awards. The Lord Mayor was on a wee trip to 'Yugoslavia' as the Mansion House calls it, so I got the gig. It was very impressive to see all the effort that has gone into the entries. Happily many of the entries were from my own area of the North Inner City and many of them went home with prizes - including Infirmary Road residents, Berkeley Road residents, Gardiner Street School, Kirwan Street Cottages and indeed the overall winner Arbour Hill Prison. I was particularly delighted to present the award to the Arbour Hill Prison Officers as it was obviously a massive effort and one which took a lot of vision and energy. It was certainly the story of the night.
In my few words I emphasised the importance of civic pride and being proud of the area that you are from - I tell the kids in my class in Sheriff Street every day to be proud of where they are from and to never apologise to anyone about their community. Anyway that seemed to go down reasonably well - then the prize giving started which went on for about two hours in sweltering heat. However the reaction of the prize winners made it all worth while - each one truly delighted to have achieved recognition for their efforts. We got plenty of photos taken - including plenty of enthuasiastic Dail candidates throwing themselves in front of the flashing cameras. Ah well, we'd all better get used to that sight over the next year.
So well done to all involved especially the City Council and all the entrants - and the Civic office staff for the lovely meal - yum!!!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Fringe Festival criticised over Israeli sponsorship

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin Councillor Aodhan O Riordain has criticised the organisers of the Dublin Fringe Festival for accepting sponsorship from the Israeli embassy. The festival begins today.

‘The recent crisis in the Middle East and the military aggression of the Israeli government in Palestine and Lebanon has outraged many Dubliners. In the wake of these events I consider it extremely inappropriate for the Dublin Fringe Festival to be accepting sponsorship from the Israeli embassy in Dublin.’

‘I have received numerous calls form ordinary members of the public and from members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign who are deeply concerned about this situation.’

The civilian deaths of Lebanese and Palestinian children should not be easily forgotten – it is a shame that the organisers of the Fringe Festival appear to have done so.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Prime Time performance

I have recieved genarally positive feedback from my appearance last Thursday on Prime Time in a report on Educational Disadvantage. When you deal with issues of disadvantage every day, it can sometimes surprize you that not everyone is completely au fait with the challanges that face working class children but I was delighted to get the opportunity to discuss my views on such a well-regarded political programme.
The interview itself took place on Tuesday - two days before the show - so I was impressed that the finished product could be compiled so quickly. I was also grateful that they used quite a bit of my interview in their piece as often you can be restricted to one or two lines depending on the validity of your arguements.
Essentially we have a crisis in many of our schools in terms of school building standards, access to assessments, special needs cuts in small disadvantaged schools and a generally under-resourced education system compared to our European neighbours. You always have to strike a balance with these interviews - its important to point out the injustices but you have to safeguard the local positive attitude towards your own school. I've been critised in the past for 'running down' certain areas of the inner-city when talking about issues of social disadvantage.
Naturally enough Hanafin managed to bluster her way through the studio discussion with out addressing any of the points raised in the report.
Its cratifying to hear positve feedback from the interview - what good it will do for children who are heading back to disadvantaged schools this week remains to be seen.