I am emailing to wish you and all those close to you the very best for the upcoming Easter break, and to update you on some of my recent activity in the Seanad - see updates on key issues below. Although the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect us all here, and countries worldwide, the ongoing vaccination programme reminds us that better days are still to come. The most important priority is to continue to support the national public health effort. I will do all I can to help with this, as I know we all will.
Written for Trinity College Dublin's Covid-19 Law and Human Right's Observatory. A link to the article on their website is available here. Updated 14 September 2020
What is a ‘Lockdown’?
Over the past year, governments worldwide have used ‘lockdown’ strategies to suppress transmission of Covid-19. But this has meant different things in different countries. Some authoritarian regimes have imposed tough restrictions on public movement, with penal sanctions attached. But in Ireland - as in most Western democracies - ‘lockdown’ has involved a combination of ‘soft’ guidelines without sanctions for breach; and ‘hard’ rules carrying the force of criminal law.
Speaking today on the Seanad Order of Business in advance of the debate on the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020, Senator Ivana Bacik expressed condolences to the families of all those bereaved as a result of the coronavirus, and to all those affected by it through illness or loss of income.
The Presidents of all of Ireland’s Universities and Institutes of Technology have today (Monday March 16th) issued a plea to every student to fully follow set guidelines on social distancing to protect themselves from infection and to slow down the spread of Covid 19 in order to protect others.
The Presidents have issued a joint letter which is being emailed to up to 250,000 students today to recognise the seriousness of the public health challenge and to act responsibly in the weeks and months ahead.
Thank you for the great ongoing support. I am emailing to update you on the Seanad campaign. Ballot papers have now been sent out by registered post to the approx. 64,000 voters on the Dublin University/Trinity register and must be returned by 11am on Tuesday 31st March – exactly three weeks from today!
I am emailing to update you on the 2020 Seanad elections for Dublin University. I submitted my nomination papers in advance of the closing date (14th February 2020), and wish to thank all of those who kindly proposed and nominated me, and those who have offered me support. If you would like to be listed as a supporter on my website, I would really appreciate that – please do let me know.
As we approach the end of the year, this last week has been very much overshadowed by sad news, with the sudden death of Cormac Ó Braonáin, national Chairperson of Labour Youth, and a good friend and comrade. Along with other Labour colleagues, and TDs and Senators from other parties and groups, I spoke in the Oireachtas this week to express my sympathies to his family, friends and to the many communities with which he had been so actively involved.
I welcome the Cathaoirleach back; it is good to see him back with us. I commend all our colleagues who are taking part in Senator Ruane's football match tonight. It is good to hear about it and may the best team win.
I support Senators McDowell, Gavan and Ruane on the issue they have raised about the pay of secretarial assistants in the Seanad. It is something we have all been aware of and Senator Gavan is correct that we have not been giving it enough attention.