Muslim Community Lobby Ireland is an independent organization established 1st May 2007. Its motto is TO USE THE VOTE RIGHTLY AND TO RAISE THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY AWARNESS WITH THEIR RIGHTS AND TO PROMOTE TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER EXISTING GROUPS. لترشيد استعمال الصوت الانتخابي ولتوعية وتعريف المسلمين بحقوقهم في ايرلندا وان يعيشوا بتفهم للواقع وللجماعات الاخرى الموجودة على الساحة
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Maldives to Receive Prestigious CSID's "Muslim Democrat of the Year" Award on May 5th
Friday, April 24, 2009
The Éamon de Valera mass for all deceased members of our organisation will be celebrated at 12.00 noon, with the Easter 1916 Commemoration ceremonies taking place at 12.30pm.
I will lay a wreath at the graveside of the 1916 Leaders on behalf of Fianna Fáil and the 1916 Proclamation will also be read.
Immediately after our Easter Commemoration in Arbour Hill, refreshments will be provided.
Also, you are invited to post your own thoughts and messages as we commemorate this important event in Irish history. You can post your message here:
A selection of the posts will be published on the Party's website (http://www.fiannafail.ie/page/m2/1363c03/33741a9e/244c909f/585bcce4/2359523403/VEsE/) next week.
I look forward to seeing you there. An Taoiseach Brian Cowen TDUachtarán Fhianna Fáil
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Sisters in the women section used to complain about the back mosque being cold. New measures are in place to eradicate cold from the new extension using solar panels, heat pumps and good insulation.
دأبت الاخوات المصليات على الشكوى من البرد في المسجد القديم والان استمع لخطة البناء الجديدة من المساح ورئيس العمال والشيخ يحي
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Plz click link
شاشة التَوَقّف الأكثر شعبيةً في الولايات المتّحدةِ والعالمِ الآن! إستعملْ الماوس لسَحْبه وتَركَه يَسْقطُ. . .
فقط اَنْقرُ الرابط التالي
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
The IPSC calls on all members and supporters to please support this initiative to encourage Galway City manager not to sign or renew any further contracts with Veolia by emailing the City Councillors asking them to support the motion put forward by Cllr. Cameron.
As French multinational company, Veolia, is directly implicated in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and is facilitating through its construction of a light railway Israel's attempt to make its annexation of the Palestinian territory of East Jerusalem irreversible and permanent, I request that you support Cllr. Billy Cameron's forthcoming motion calling on the City Manager not to sign or renew any further contracts with Veolia.
Sligo County Council unanimously adopted a similar motion at its February 2009 meeting.
The Irish Government and the U.N. do not recognise Israel’s annexation and occupation of East Jerusalem and have repeatedly stated their views that the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law - numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel's Apartheid Wall have confirmed this. The settlements violate Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which provides that:: “...The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” as well as Article 53, which forbids destruction of property. These violations in some cases in East Jerusalem amount to war crimes, i.e. “grave breaches” of the Convention, (Articles 146 and 147), as they involve appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by military necessity. These grave breaches are being facilitated by Veolia’s participation in the construction and future of the tramway serving the settlements.
Recently, the Swedish non-governmental organization, Diakonia, organized protests calling on the Stockholm Community Council to exclude Veolia from bidding for the subway contract. The council received thousands of signatories from people demanding that the council choose an operator that was not associated with violations of international humanitarian law. On 20 January, 2009, the council announced that Veolia, after operating the subway for the past 10 years, had lost the $4.5 billion contract to Hong Kong-based rail operator MTR.
Public Citizen, a non-profit organisation based in the U.S. founded by Ralph Nader, has criticised Veolia for its 'track record of corruption, broken promises, environmental degradation, price-gouging, obfuscation, misdirection and secrecy'
In November 2006, ASN, a Dutch bank based in the Hague, broke off financial relations with Veolia on account of the light rail contract. In its correspondence with Veolia, ASN Bank explained the reasons for ending the relationship with Veolia: "This combined information convinced ASN Bank that Veolia's involvement does pose a problem for ASN Bank in applying the banks' social criteria on Human Rights. We believe that Veolia's involvement in the light rail project is not in line with the UN's demand to stop all support for Israel's settlement activities, and is therefore not in line with ASN Banks' social criteria. Due to the direct nature of Veolia's involvement (through a 5% stake in the consortium and as future operator), we are of the opinion that Veolia's activities in Jerusalem are in conflict with UN Resolutions. Therefore, on this current information Veolia will be removed from our investment universe."
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2000) state that enterprises should “Respect the human rights of those affected by their activities consistent with the host government’s international obligations and commitments”. The Palestinians’ land is illegally taken to build the tramway and they have to endure illegal settlements planted in their midst.
The UN Global Compact (2000), of which Veolia is a member, states that businesses should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence, and make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Veolia which runs Luas, Dublin's light rail system, has been forced by Trade Union pressure to cancel a proposed deal to train drivers and engineers for the Jerusalem light rail.
In March 2007, the Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS) took a legal action in France against Veolia and Alstom because both companies are involved in the Israeli light rail or tramway project that will run on occupied East Jerusalem and the contracts are contrary to French Law: Articles 6, 1131 and 1133 of the French Civil Code state that any agreement can be discharged of its powers when its aim is in contradiction with the public order or good morals. The contracts of Veolia Transport and Alstom and are therefore also illegal under French law. The legal action undertaken by AFPS is based on this rule in French law and is seeking the cancellation of the contracts for the construction and running of the tramway in Palestine between Veolia, Alstom, and the Israeli government. At the same time the legal action is aimed to prohibit the companies to execute the contract. … this case is still ongoing.
In November 2006, a delegation of the Palestinian Authority met Ministers and Members of Parliament in France to call for actions against Veolia to stop its involvement in the illegal tramway project.
Under the UK Public Contract Regulations 2006, a contracting authority may exclude an economic operator from bidding for a contract or may reject any such bid where it is found that the individual or organization has committed an act of grave misconduct in the course of his business of profession. The regulation follows European Law, Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts.
The tramway also constitutes a significant alteration of the infrastructure of the Occupied Palestinian Territories contrary to the Hague Regulations of 1907, Section 3, which Israel accepts as binding international law. Through its involvement in the building and future operation of the tramway linking Israel's illegal settlements with West Jerusalem, Veolia is facilitating Israel's grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and is complicit in its perpetuation of those actions. In other words, Veolia is involved in aiding and abetting ongoing war crimes. It is also facilitating, exacerbating, aiding and abetting Israel's breach of the Hague Regulations.
Yours sincerelyGalway City EastCllr. Daniel Callanan (Ind) firstname.lastname@example.orgCllr. Tom Costello (LP) email@example.comCllr. Michael J Crowe (FF) firstname.lastname@example.orgCllr. Declan McDonnel (PD) email@example.comCllr. Terry O'Flaherty (PD) firstname.lastname@example.orgCllr. Brian Walsh (FG) email@example.comCllr. Mary Leahy (FF) firstname.lastname@example.orgGalway City CentralCllr. Billy Cameron (LP) email@example.comCllr. Pلdraig Conneely (FG) No email address 087 2593886 (home / fax) 091 589925 Cllr. Colette Connolly (LP) firstname.lastname@example.orgCllr. John Connolly (FF) email@example.comGalway City WestCllr. Catherine Connolly (Ind) firstname.lastname@example.orgCllr. Donal Lyons (PD) email@example.comCllr. John Mullholland (FG) firstname.lastname@example.orgCllr. Niall س Brolchلin (GP) email@example.com
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Message from the Majlis of the I.F.I. on the Approach of the A.G.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Members of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland.
With the approach of the Annual General Meeting (A.G.M.) of the Islamic
Foundation of Ireland which is to be held on Sunday 19/04/2009, we the outgoing
Majlis of the I.F.I. would like to put forward before you a brief account
of what we have managed to achieve during the past year.
Before we were elected at the last A.G.M we did put before you a programme
which we hoped to achieve during the year. The main features of this
1) To complete the previous efforts to resolve the outstanding issues between
the Islamic Foundation of Ireland and the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland,
and to work with other Muslim organisations in Ireland to accomplish the
formation of a representative body for Mosques and Islamic Societies in
Ireland. Both of these issues were already decided and agreed upon by the
General Assembly of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland.
2) To intensify the fund raising efforts to accomplish the Mosque extension
project, and to increase the financial resources of the I.F.I.
3) To re-structure the administration of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland and
to carry out the necessary constitutional amendments taking in consideration
the views and suggestions of the members of the Society.
4) Greater interaction between the Majlis and members of the community and
better communication through different means to keep the members informed
and to listen to their views and suggestions.
5) In addition to the above the Majlis should endeavour to increase its efforts in
the area of education. Special attention should be given to the teaching of
Arabic and Qur’an for both children and adults. These efforts should be
extended to Muslims who are living outside Dublin. Special attention should be
given to youth activities and to Muslim women activities by supporting their
programmes and encouraging their initiatives.
Al-Hamdu-lillah, we can say that a good deal of the above objectives has been
achieved during the year. The outstanding issue of the lease of I.C.C.I. between
the I.F.I. and the Al-Maktoum Foundation has finally been resolved this year,
and we look forward to better co-operation and co-ordination with the I.C.C.I.
and other Islamic organisations in Ireland. We also look forward to the Al-
Maktoum Foundation’s promise of providing funds to the I.F.I. (Please refer to
the annual report of I.F.I. for 2008 for more details on this issue.)
Since the Majlis has been elected to office, the Mosque extension project was
one of the main tasks for which the Majlis has devoted much time. The
construction work on the project started in November 2008, and is due to be
completed next month, Insha’ Allah. Fund-raising efforts were intensified,
especially after the beginning of the work. A fund-raising dinner was held,
during which a total of €150,000-00 was pledged. So, far we have received
around 85,000-00 of the pledged money. (Refer to I.F.I. annual report for more
details.) A total of €200,329-00 was raised during the year.
A sub-committee was setup to look at making amendments to the constitution.
The committee held a number of meetings and prepared a questionnaire. A
survey was carried out, and 120 people took part in it. The results of the survey
were presented to the Majlis, and the Majlis asked the committee to study in
more details how we can formulate these amendments and progress with the
changes in a way that would suit our needs. It was felt that the changes should
be presented gradually. One of the proposed changes will be presented at the
AGM on 19/04/2009, and the Majlis is looking for your support to pass the
Other efforts included supporting women and youth activities. The Majlis
supported a women multi-cultural /Da’wah activity which consisted of holding
an Islamic exhibition and an international food fair. Three such events were
organised in Firhouse, Inchicore and Castleknock. The extension work on the
women area meant that women activities were restricted. Al-Hamdu-lillah we
were able to accommodate them in the Centre’s main building for the time
without their activities coming to a complete stoppage. It is hoped that with the
new extension opening next month, insha’ Allah, more facilities would be
available for the women.
A youth fortnight activity was initiated. This included study circles and sport
activities. A youth outdoor camp is planned for May 2009.
A number of other activities were carried out during the year. Some of these
activities were reported in the annual report; so, please refer to it for more
information. It was felt that a term of office of one year is not sufficient for the
Majlis to complete some of the work it has started. It is hoped that the
incomplete work will be accomplished by the newly elected Majlis.
Finally, we thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’a that we had a productive term of
office. Quietly a number of achievements were made. The atmosphere at the
Mosque was peaceful and trouble-free. We thank everyone for their support,
and we hope to see you on Sunday 19/04/2009 for the annual general meeting.
Majlis ash-Shura, I.F.I.
Annual General Meeting
After Dhuhr Prayer, at 2:00 p.m. (Summer time)
Friday, April 10, 2009
Yesterday, in the Dáil, we introduced the toughest budget in many years.
I know that, for many of you, it contained announcements that will add to the burden your families and your businesses face.
انها سوف تكون قاسية عليكم وعلى عائلاتكم واعمالكم . ولكن هدا اساس للتقدم والازدهار الاقتصادي في المستقبل
While this is difficult news for many, the truth is that these are steps we have to take to bring stability to our finances and to prepare for recovery.
With this budget we will:
Attack the gap in our public finances by increasing taxes and reducing expenditure in a fair and sustainable way.
Unblock our banking system and get banks back to their core business of lending money so that cash flows again.
Protect as many jobs as we can, create new jobs and help those who have lost their jobs return to work as quickly as possible.
Restore our reputation with our international partners.
To help you understand this budget better, we'll be answering some of your questions via our website. It's easy to ask a question:
As Taoiseach, it is my duty to protect this country's economic integrity and lead us out of this crisis. I am confident that this budget will be the foundation of recovery.
But we cannot let these tough times sap our spirit. We cannot let it drain our confidence or the will to fight. We must believe in ourselves.
This Budget is progressive. It is fair. It ensures that those who can bear the burden best, bear it most. It is a budget that is true to our principles of doing what is best for Ireland.
We want people to understand how the budget will affect them. We'll be answering a selection of your questions on the Fianna Fáil website. Submit your question now:
We have great businesses in Ireland, great workers and great ideas. We must harness this energy and use it to fight our way back to growth. I believe that we can do this together.
This recession will pass, and the world will recover.
We are fighting a battle for Ireland's economic security and our future. It is a battle we can win. I ask all of you to support the Government and support each other as we build our country back up again - together.
Thank you for everything you do for Ireland,
Brian Cowen T.D.An Taoiseach
Monday, April 6, 2009
Every family in Ireland is affected by the recession. The global economic downturn has led to a gap in our public finances which we simply must bridge.
اقدم غدا الميزانية امام العموم في البرلمان وانه من الصعب ان يكون هناك موازنة حتى ان كل فرد في المجتمع يجب ان يدفع ضرائب وانه على الاغنياء ان يدفعوا القسط الاكبر
Tomorrow in the Dail, I will introduce a budget that proves Fianna Fáil is the right party to lead Ireland. Our budget will strike the difficult balance between higher taxes for those who can afford it and necessary spending cuts. Our strategy for recovery is based on everyone making a contribution.
This Budget is one step in a series of measures we will continue to take between now and 2013 to get our finances in order.
The Taoiseach has made a video statement on the budget. Watch it now and pledge your support for the measures we are taking to return Ireland to growth:
هذا فيديو سجله رئيس الوزراء اضغط على الرابط
The Opposition have put forward their proposals and some of them are constructive. But they avoid the difficult decisions that we all know have to be taken to get this economy back on track. Ours is a serious, balanced plan that will forge a pathway to renewal.
اندا كني قال ان الفيناقيل سوف يخرج ايرلندا من الركود الاقتصادي بدون زيادة الضرائب ولكنه يدعو الى قطع الانفاق في نواحي اجتماعية شتى بدون ان يبين اين هذا سيكون , وبهذا يكون تاثير قطع الانفاق تماما مثل زيادة الضرائب
Enda Kenny says Fine Gael would get Ireland out of recession without raising taxes. Yet he proposes to both reduce the threshold and abolish the ceiling for PRSI - this has the same effect as a tax increase. He also calls for major cuts in public spending without specifying what should be cut. Difficult decisions are required; Fianna Fáil will not shirk them.
Labour opts to raise taxes and borrow more so that they don't have to make difficult public spending choices. But their plan would not bridge the gap in the public finances.
The budget I will deliver tomorrow doesn't shirk its responsibilities. It strikes a balance where everyone in Ireland contributes a share to getting the country back on track.
Watch the Taoiseach's video statement and support our strategy to restore the public finances and bring about recovery:
Brian Lenihan, TD
P.S. You'll be able to watch the budget live on the Fianna Fáil website tomorrow and submit questions for me about how our plans will affect you. Visit http://www.fiannafail.ie/page/m2/1363c0c/33741a9e/244d283a/585bcced/4170913749/VEsF/ at 3.45 pm tomorrow to have your say.
This email was sent to:firstname.lastname@example.org
هذا الايميل بعث الى اللوبي الاسلامي ايرلندا
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Keynote Address By Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny TD, Ard Fheis 2009
I come here tonight to speak to you about the challenges facing the country and about my plan to get Ireland working again.
حزب الفيناقيل سيخرج ايرلندا من الركود الاقتصادي
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs prioritised as FG Vision can drag Ireland out of recession - Coveney
Speech and Summary by Fine Gael Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Spokesman, Simon Coveney TD at Fine Gael Ard Fheis 2009
خطاب الابداع في الاقتصاد والنهوض بالاقتصاد في ايرلندا
Speech by Fine Gael Innovation Spokeswoman Deirdre Clune at the Fine Gael 2009 Ard Fheis
In the 1990s Ireland was one of the world’s most competitive and fastest growing economies. Low taxation and EU membership contributed to our success, but these alone would not have been sufficient without the well-educated workforce which was the foundation of our successful economy.
Speech and Summary by Fine Gael, Arts, Sports & Tourism Spokesperson, Olivia Mitchell TD
Speech and Summary by Fine Gael, Arts, Sports & Tourism Spokesperson, Olivia Mitchell TD
Varadkar calls for profit-sharing scheme as alternative to pay rises
Profitable companies should have the option of sharing profits with employees as an alternative to pay rises under any new pay deal, Fine Gael Enterprise Spokesman Leo Varadkar TD told a meeting of Young Fine Gael delegates at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis.
Oxygen of gangland crime to be cut off by FG Bill- Flanagan
Speech and Summary by Fine Gael Justice Spokesman, Charlie Flanagan TD
Speech by Denis Naughten TD, Fine Gael Spokesman on Immigration and Integration
Our economy is in a mess. It lacks leadership and lacks direction. The same can be said of our immigration system. It is now close to 15 months since the Government published its plan to revise our immigration laws, yet nothing has changed nor is it likely to change. Our immigration system, at present, is an obscure system with no clear rules or information on how it works or how an applicant gets into this country. The fact is that no one is in charge and the Minister for Justice, just does not seem to care. There are three pillars to an immigration system that works: efficiency, transparency & fairness. Sadly this government falls down on all three.
Summary of Speech by Fine Gael Environment Spokesman, Phil Hogan TD
Summary of Speech by Fine Gael Environment Spokesman, Phil Hogan TD
Speech by Fine Gael Deputy Leader & Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton TD at the 2009 Fine Gael Ard Fheis
‘Most people lost in the wilderness who perish die of shame’ - Anthony Hopkins in the movie ‘The Edge’. To plot his course and survive a grizzly bear attack required ingenuity and invention. This time of crisis in Ireland must also be a time for ingenuity and invention. In the past, out of crisis we created an economic model that was the envy of the world. It was destroyed by catastrophic failures on the part of politicians, developers, bankers, and regulators. Leaders on whom our people depended, let them down. This was not bad luck. This was a massive system failure. A system where power was not accountable was corrupted. A cosy circle found easy compromises. Self interest was dressed up as progress. A blind eye was turned. Warnings went unheeded. It was the best of all possible worlds while they all could feed in the easy trough of the property bubble.
Taxpayers must not be burdened with banks’ toxic property loans - Bruton
Summary of Speech by Fine Gael Deputy Leader & Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton TD at the 2009 Fine Gael Ard Fheis
Speech by Fine Gael Health Spokesperson, Dr James Reilly TD
Ard Fheis 2009
Speech by Senator Frances Fitzgerald, Fine Gael Seanad Leader & Spokesperson on Health and Children
Fine Gael Ard Fheis 2009
Speech by Paul Connaughton TD, Deputy Health Spokesperson with Special Responsibility for Older People at the 2009 Fine Gael Ard Fheis
The Minister for Finance in his October Budget Speech said he had a difficult task to perform but on the basis that everybody would be expected to "share the pain" taking into account their capacity to do so he believed his Budget was fair and balanced. In times of great hardship when an economy runs into rough seas most people will react positively to measures that are fair, reasonable, necessary, unavoidable and likely to lead to a better standard of living in the future for their own families.
Speech by Fine Gael Spokesman on Mental Health, Dan Neville TD at the 2009 Fine Gael Ard Fheis
The Government, despite repeated calls to do so, has failed to recognise the need to respond to the inevitable increase in psychiatric illness and suicide over the next few years because economic strain on families.
Creed Calls for ‘Witch-Hunt’ on Bureaucracy
Speech and Summary by Fine Gael Agriculture Spokesman, Michael Creed TD
Speech by Senator Joe O’Reilly, Fine Gael Candidate, Ireland North West
Speech by Senator Joe O’Reilly, Fine Gael Candidate, Ireland North West
Speech by Fine Gael Social & Family Affairs Spokeswoman Olwyn Enright TD at the 2009 Fine Gael Ard Fheis
I want to begin by mentioning a sector of our society who work for free, who save this State €2.5bn per year. They are our 161,000 carers, who work 24/7, 365 days a year. Just because they do this privately, quietly, and without proper recognition does not mean that they should be walked on or have their needs ignored.
Speech by Fine Gael Transport Spokesman Fergus O’Dowd TD at the 2009 Ard Fheis
In 2002 Ireland was the fifth most competitive country in the world. We were a successful nation: proud and confident, an international success story and the envy of the world, and a cost effective location for industry and exports.
FG proposes new transport programme to get people working – O’Dowd
A re-energised and slimmed down National Development Plan, front-loaded with labour-intensive projects, and a focus on essential infrastructure projects at local level have been proposed by Fine Gael Transport Spokesman Fergus O’Dowd TD at the 2009 Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Citywest.
Speech by Billy Timmins T.D. Fine Gael Spokesman on Foreign Affairs
Speech by Billy Timmins T.D. Fine Gael Spokesman on Foreign Affairs
Welcome Speech by Seanad Leader, Senator Frances Fitzgerald at the 2009 Fine Gael Ard Fheis
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here this evening to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis. I am delighted that my constituency of Dublin Mid-West is hosting this great event where members of Fine Gael gather from all across the country as we outline our alternative proposals to Government incompetence and mismanagement.
Speech by Jimmy Deenihan, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Defence.
Speech by Jimmy Deenihan, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Defence.
Local politics needs to be more accountable with responsibility for more functions – Hogan
Speaking to a meeting of Fine Gael local election candidates at the first night of his Party’s Ard Fheis in Citywest this evening (Friday), Environment Spokesman Phil Hogan TD said that local politics needs to change with increased accountability and more responsibility given at local level.
Sen. Joe O’Reilly to run for Fine Gael in Euro Elections in Ireland North West – Kenny
The Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny T.D., today (Friday) announced that Cavan/Monaghan Senator Joe O’Reilly will be running for the Party in the European Elections for the Ireland North West constituency. He will join the ticket with sitting MEP for Fine Gael for the Ireland North West constituency Jim Higgins.
Exchequer figures show Govt is on a road that can only lead to ruin - Bruton
Reacting to the latest Exchequer figures, Fine Gael Deputy Leader & Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton TD warned that the Government is travelling on a road that can only lead to ruin.
Key Donegal employer sheds 50% of workforce in huge body blow – McGinley
Fine Gael Donegal South West TD Dinny McGinley has described the decision by one of the Donegal Gaeltacht’s most significant employers to shed 50% of its workforce, with the loss of 123 jobs, as a ‘huge body blow’.
Patients exposed to terrible conditions due to HSE & Mental Health Commission neglect - Neville
Fine Gael Mental Health Spokesman Dan Neville TD has expressed serious concern at new information about the Mental Health Commission Inquiry into St Luke’s Hospital, Clonmel and called on the HSE to explain why it did nothing despite being aware of problems 12 months ago.
Tánaiste admits lack of knowledge of Social Welfare cuts Bill - Enright
Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, the Minister for jobs and unemployment, was unaware of Government plans for a new Social Welfare Bill when questioned in the Dáil, according to Fine Gael Social & Family Affairs Spokeswoman Olwyn Enright TD.
Byrne welcomes launch of Substance Misuse Strategy
Fine Gael Spokeswoman on the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD, has welcomed the decision to combine alcohol and drugs in a new National Substance Misuse Strategy.
FG Proposes €340m in Job Protecting Tax Cuts + €3.5 Billion in Savings for Budget ’09 - Kenny
The Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny T.D. today set out his Party’s pre budget perspective and set out a four year plan to restore the public finances and, crucially, to support new job creation and job protection. In 2009 the Fine Gael plan includes €3.5 billion in savings, 1/3rd from new taxation measures and 2/3rds from spending controls.
As dole hits 11%, Varadkar calls on Govt to implement FG jobs plan
With the live register soaring to 372,800 and likely to reach half a million by the end of the year, Fine Gael Enterprise Spokesman Leo Varadkar TD has called on Brian Cowen to implement his Party’s jobs plan, ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ and adopt Fine Gael’s proposals to support business and retraining.
FAI cannot possibly justify freebie Italian trip for Bertie Ahern - FG
With finances stretched and fans shelling out a small fortune to attend games, the FAI cannot possibly justify giving a freebie trip to Bari in Italy to Bertie Ahern according to Fine Gael Arts, Sports & Tourism Spokesperson, Olivia Mitchell TD.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
By Nathan Guttman
Washington — “Did you lose your family, brother?” Rep. Keith Ellison asked as he gently touched the arm of the young Palestinian standing outside the ruins of what was his Gaza home. After hearing that the man had lost both his parents, Ellison promised, “We’ll go back and tell them what we saw.”
The exchange was caught on a home video camera by Minnesota Democrat Ellison and by his fellow congressman Brian Baird of Washington, the first American lawmakers to visit Gaza after the Israeli military campaign.
Their visit resulted in a seven-minute video clip documenting the destruction in Gaza and also looking at the suffering of Jewish residents of nearby Sderot. Although the emphasis in the clip is put on the heavy price paid by the Palestinians, Ellison made clear that the Gaza story has more than one side. “It’s an awful situation, for both,” he concluded in his on-the-scene narration ending the clip.
Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, has been walking a fine line ever since his election in 2006. Embraced by both the Muslim and the Jewish communities, Ellison has been trying to strike a new tone, one that is simultaneously supportive of the Palestinian cause and sympathetic to the Israeli side.
Ellison’s ability to dismantle this seemingly explosive tension was demonstrated recently when he presented the findings of his February 19 trip to Gaza at a Capitol Hill event sponsored by the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.
The second-term congressman did not mince words when describing the hardship that Gaza residents are facing in the aftermath of the Israeli attack, or in addressing Israel directly on what actions ought to be taken to ease the suffering. “I come here with one message only,” he told the audience: “Open up the crossings, open up the crossings, open up the crossings.” Later in his speech, Ellison once again chose the triple-repetition technique when calling on Israel to “stop, stop, stop the settlement expansion.”
But Ellison also worked hard during the March 17 event to fend off calls from the audience to use his congressional power to sanction Israel. He ducked questions regarding calls for divestment from Israel (saying there was no current legislation on this issue) and turned down suggestions to use foreign aid from the United States for pressuring Israel.
“What you’re calling for will politically draw you into a lot of fire,” Ellison told one audience member. “If you have sympathies to the Palestinian cause, I urge you to put on the shoes of someone who is Jewish.”
The 45-year-old congressman later told the Forward that he believes unilateral measures, such as those suggested against Israel, are counter-productive. “When you start talking about who you want to sanction and who you want to divest from, it immediately sends the other side to the corner,” Ellison said. “Starting off with harsh economic measures won’t lead anywhere.”
Ellison, who grew up in Michigan and converted to Islam at 19, sought out the Jewish community for outreach when first embarking on his national political career in Minnesota.
His first move was to clarify remarks he had made as a young student in favor of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. During the 2006 congressional campaign, Ellison wrote a letter to Minnesota’s Jewish Community Relations Council, assuring its constituents that he no longer holds those views. He said his involvement with the Nation of Islam was limited and that he “wrongly dismissed” concerns over Farrakhan’s antisemitic remarks.
Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Minnesota JCRC, calls Ellison a close friend of the community. The Muslim congressman meets with the local Jewish leadership regularly and attends the council’s events. “He takes his ties with the Jewish community very seriously,” Hunegs said. The group met with Ellison before and after his recent Gaza trip and tried to “provide him with the perspective of the American Jewish community.”
Ellison forged strong relations with Jewish groups on the national level, as well. He received backing from the Anti-Defamation League when coming under attack from right-wing activists for using a copy of the Quran, instead of the Bible, for his ceremonial swearing-in into Congress.
In his freshman year in Congress, Ellison also attended a trip to Israel organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, an offshoot of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel Washington lobby.
But as a lawmaker, Ellison did not always toe the AIPAC line. While supporting foreign aid to Israel, he chose to vote “present” on a resolution last January that expressed support for Israel during the Gaza military operation. Backed strongly by AIPAC, the resolution passed 390-5.
Hunegs said this is one of the cases in which local Jews were at odds with their representative, but “the hallmark of a good relationship is the ability to talk about differences.”
In the 2008 election cycle, Ellison was endorsed by the dovish JStreetPAC and received $3,362 in funding from the group, which supports candidates seen as strong on promoting a two-state solution.
Ellison once again broke ranks with the mainstream pro-Israel line when hosting a March 31 Capitol Hill briefing in support of the efforts to provide aid to Gaza through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Major Jewish groups are still backing congressional proposals meant to increase control over UNRWA’s actions in the Palestinian territories.
In a sense, Ellison is walking a tightrope, one that does not place him squarely in either the “pro-Israel” or “anti-Israel” camp in Congress. But he says he does not feel any push-back from either side, not even from the pro-Israel lobby, which is often charged with using political strong-arm tactics. “I heard talk about that, but I never encountered it,” he said.
By maintaining ties with both communities, Ellison believes he can help move Congress to take actions that will promote a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and strengthen the viability of a future Palestinian state. He also thinks lawmakers should send a message to the new government in Israel “that the U.S. is committed to a two-state solution.”
How can lawmakers communicate America’s commitment to this goal to Israel’s newly installed hard-line prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu?
Ellison made clear he is not seeking pressure. “We just need to tell him,” he said.