Sunday, October 19, 2008

 

Medical Card Madness

The budget dominated the week, particularly the decision on Medical Cards. I had calls from some very worried and anxious pensioners who needed details of the scheme. Of course, the scheme details seemed to change by the minute so there was a lot of confusion out there, a point I made in the Seanad on Thursday.

I also spoke about Volunteering in the debate on Tuesday. I called for the introduction of a nationwide insurance scheme for resident associations and community groups, something the Minister agreed to consider.

Later in the week I spoke about Climate Change and about the need for a bit of urgency. Compared to some European countries we are still lagging behind.

On Tuesday evening I went over to the Castle Arch Hotel in Trim to chair the Trim Electoral Area convention. We choose Tracy McElhinney from Ballivor. Tracy used to work for the NEC factory there and has been active in the community in a range of areas. The Trim area has four seats and we will be gunning to win one of them.

Dom Pics 042
Tracy & myself after the Selection Convention in Trim

I also chaired the convention for Drogheda Borough Council on Thursday night. The convention was attended by Eamon Gilmore and Nessa Childers. We picked four candidates. They were existing Councillors Paul Bell and Gerard Nash and two new candidates, Linda Bell and Gareth Fitzpatrick. We have an excellent chance of winning four seats of the twelve on the council.

The Seanad was convened on Friday to pass the rescue scheme for the banking institutions. I spoke on the debate on behalf of the Labour Party. We were concerned about a few things, including the whole area of banking responsibility, and the inclusions of subordinated debt. Although I was wearing a suit, I wasn't wearing a tie (I usually don't on a Friday). It was a point picked up by a few people, including Miriam Lord in the Irish Times on Saturday.Semminlgly although wearing a tie isn't a rule, it is custom and tradition to wear one.

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