Sunday, October 11, 2009

 

Launch of Youth Attitude Report

The week just finished has been one of the most “full-on” that I’ve had for quite some time. On Monday afternoon I launched our new report on the views of young people in the Commuter Belt. It’s called “Youth Attitude” and is the culmination of quite a lot of work and effort by myself and my team. We held the launch at Labour HQ on Monday afternoon. Paul, Ciara and James were there (they had all worked on the report) as was Liz McManus, who was the joint launcher of the report.

The launch itself went well. We made our points about young people needing more Youth Cafes and that NAMA should be giving us a social dividend such as this. The point was picked up by a few radio stations, such as 2FM and INN and it went out on the airwaves for the rest of the day. It was also picked up by The Six One News on RTE, who showed a clip of the launch on their show.

Survey into Youth Attitudes
Here’s a photo of myself and Ciara at the launch

The next morning we got a good write up in The Irish Times and the Irish Examiner. I was also asked onto LMFM and Kildare FM to discuss the report.

Once the interviews were over I headed into Leinster House for the Audit Committee Meeting. The Audit Committee reviews issues in relation to the running of Leinster House (such as the payroll system, the upkeep of the building itself, the IT system etc.). It feeds into the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission. There are three politicians on the Audit Committee. Myself, Senator Jim Walsh and Deputy Tom Hayes. They are both also on the Commission, although I am not. Whilst a member of the Commission gets €16,000 a year for membership, audit committee members do not receive remuneration.

At the meeting the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Tom O’Higgins, announced that he had tendered his resignation. He passed around a copy of his resignation letter, which was duly subjected to a Freedom of Information request from the Irish Times and ended up in Thursday’s Irish Times.

I spoke about the matter on Wednesday and was contacted by several journalists on the matter. Subsequently, I was quoted on the front page of Thursday’s Irish Times and was asked to go on Morning Ireland, 4Fm, INN, Country FM and LMFM. I also spoke about the matter again in the House; my contribution was played on Oireachtas Report that evening. Basically my key message was that in order to restore some credibility to the parliament the Minister needs to introduce a new system of expenses immediately.

It appears that the message got through. The new Programme for Government has got a section in there promising that a new system of expenses will be introduced shortly.

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