Sunday, February 22, 2009

 

Time to join the Facebook Generation?

The big news of the week was the continuing scandal in relation to the Anglo Irish Bank. It reached its height on Wednesday and Thursday, when talk of an election surfaced. It was certainly news to me. As I arrived in Leinster House I was listening to Roisin Shorthall on Morning Ireland and next thing she told the nation that we in the Labour Party are on an election footing. I was feeling very left out of the loop – no-one had bothered to tell me in Meath East. My averagely paranoid mind started to wander. Perhaps I was about to be replaced by one of our excellent local election candidates? Luckily I bumped into Jan O’Sullivan ten minutes later. She hadn’t been told we are on a election footing either. The Central committee must be out to get the two of us.

In case the party apparatchiks are have trouble reaching me I am thinking about joining Facebook. The power of the brand is quite startling. More and more of my friends and family seem to have joined up over the last few months in particular. I’ve resisted up to now, but I may have to re-consider. I dropped in to see my dad yesterday, who is in his ‘80s. He was desperate to show me his new Facebook site. He had spent the previous hour writing on other people’s walls – as an ex-Garda he has frowned on that practice for the last 80 years. I am now seriously thinking that if I don’t get one then I’ll be left behind.

I had a rather busy day on Wednesday in the Seanad chamber. Some days are heavier than others; last Wednesday was one of those days.

I spoke on the Order of Business first thing in the morning. This was then followed by the Committee Stage of the Electoral Amendment Bill. We had an amendment down to limit the number of 3 seat constituencies – we believe that three seat constituencies make it harder for smaller parties to win seats. I spoke on the Bill on and off over a two hour period and I called a vote on the matter (which we lost heavily!).

Afterwards the House debated the situation in the Middle East. Myself and Seanad Leader Alex White have divided External Affairs between each other. Alex does anything in Europe and I do anything outside Europe. So, the Middle East is something I have to cover. (I am sure we will have a fight when it comes to debating something like French Guyana, and if the Indian Ocean island of Reunion is ever invaded by Madagascar then Alex gets to cover it, not me).

I listened in to the debate and waited my turn for my slot, only to be told that the Leader was guillotining the debate early. As a result, I never got to make my contribution. I was pretty annoyed because time had gone into the preparation of my speech.

The House moved directly on to debating the new Home Insulation Scheme. As the spokesperson on the Environment I also had to speak on this matter. When it finished at 7pm I had a matter down on the Adjournment Debate. By the time I finished I had been in the Chamber for a large amount of the day. I spent most of Thursday catching up on the office work that had built up during my time in the Chamber!

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