Tag Archive | politics

Rock the boat

imageThis blog feature was  first published in the NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network ‘Women’s Lives’ section in the Donegal Democrat News Paper on 17th December 2015

By Nuala Redmond

For more than a month now, there have been half a dozen foreign super trawlers fishing off the west coast of Ireland. The two biggest trawlers in the world are still here. Nuala Redmond hopes to rock the boat.

When life seems out of control, the big beautiful ocean can bring a unique perspective. For me, all becomes clear – whether I’m getting beaten up by a huge Atlantic swell, or whether the sea is calm and quiet. In Donegal Bay, I’ve seen dolphins, sharks, whales, seals, tuna and over 40 species of fish while working aboard Prospector 1.

My work involves bringing groups out sea-angling. The people who come aboard to fish are very often fishing for their freezer – some are fishing for leisure (these fish go back to the ocean) – but most of the catch is gutted and brought home to feed the families of our customers.

There are many of us who make a living from the sea here around Donegal Bay. And it’s a delicate balance – the sea, like a boat, will not be kind to those that are not kind to her. The sea, like a boat (or a woman), responds well to a little tender loving care.

We all depend on there being a reasonable chance of catching some decent fish, so when we see a posse of super trawlers fishing off our west coast for weeks at a time, we get a little worried. A super-trawler has a factory onboard and can stay fishing in the same place for far longer than any other vessel, enabling it to practically empty the fishing ground.

Our valuable fisheries are in danger of being depleted, affecting coastal communities in far-reaching ways: we have small trawlers fishing locally and supplying locally in areas like Killybegsand Rathmullan (these, by the way, are severely restricted in their quotas and species, and are boarded and inspected regularly). We have charter sea-angling boats filled with tourists expecting to catch fish. We have sight-seeing tour boats expecting to see dolphins, whales and seals – oceanic life is some of the most beautiful on earth. And we have hotels, pubs and restaurants catering for the people who come to do these things.

Super trawlers (pelagic freezer trawlers) have a quota for scad and horse mackerel on our west coast. They are allowed fish off our shorelines up to 12 miles offshore. When the fishing ground yields no more, the ships move on – but all the other fish and mammals (including dolphins, whales, sharks and tuna) that depend on scad and mackerel as a food source will also move on. My fear is then that supporting businesses built around a healthy oceanwill eventually collapse.

The by-catch on these vessels is cruel – seals, dolphins, sharks, turtles, and many fish for which they have no quota ­– die and are damaged in their nets. Recently, an Irish fisherman’s gear has been caught up and destroyed in a super trawler net. EU regulation 812/2004 refers to the need for an onboard observer to be present to monitor the by-catch, but it is unclear, and this week Simon Coveney has agreed to ‘explore’ putting observers on these vessels. The Irish Wildlife Trust is seeking clarity on this matter from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. Don’t forget, in 1991 Charlie Haughey declared all Irish waters to be a whale and dolphin sanctuary.

Perhaps it is impossible to get a total ban any time soon, it seems to be out of Irish politician’s hands, or so they say. Simon Coveney has refused to meet us to accept our petition (now almost 35,000 strong). It looks like our fight is to be with the EU. It may be prudent to limit our campaign to a few key points: extend the 12-mile zone to 40 or 50 miles; clarify the position and time-frame of the requirement for onboard observers; lower the quota for foreign boats in our waters; restrict the number of super trawlers to be allowed to fish in the one area at the one time; and open up some (currently banned) fisheries for our own small Irish trawlers.

For me, a fisherwoman in Donegal Bay, I feel privileged to be able to work with the sea and work among sea-creatures. I love my fish, I catch them and I help others to catch them, I kill them and I eat them. I always put the babies back and I never waste a fish. I support sustainable fishing industries that give regional jobs in coastal communities. I support life at sea.

Nuala Redmond works with her partner Peter Power onboard the charter angling boat Prospector 1 operating out of Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, and is part of the campaign ‘Stop Super Trawler on Irish Waters’.

Keeping Women’s Equality on the Agenda

a women's place is in the world-365

By Finola Brennen, NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network Coordinator  

The Irish Government has made many commitments, drawn up many strategies and signed many obligations towards achieving women’s equality. Without a doubt some progress has been made but when you listen to women experiencing disadvantage and who find themselves marginalised, we know why the vital work of The National Collective of Community-based Women’s Network  (NCCWN) is needed.

In 2010 when local Government was been reformed 17 individual women’s networks successfully lobbied Minister Carey for our autonomy and holding our focus on working with and advocating for women experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation.

The NCCWN is managed on a voluntary basis by women who have been empowered within their own communities. Last year they managed a budget of 1.3 million, directly employed a staff of 44 and indirectly employed 156 women.

While each of the 17 networks may work in different ways, what we all have in common is a shared set of values that informs WHAT we do, HOW we do it and WHY we do it. Our vision is for a just and equal society for women and underpinning our work are feminist principles.

My work has been based in Donegal a very beautiful place but alongside that beauty and ruggedness is the reality of isolation and economic deprivation which impacts hugely on the everyday lives of ordinary women.

donegal_mapDonegal is

  • Predominately rural
  • The majority of lone-parents, homemakers and carers are women
  • It has the highest level of unemployment of all constituencies
  • Highs level of emigration
  • And has a very high age dependency ratio

Everyone wants to do the best for their children and their loved ones but for women who have a low income, who have a disability, are from the Traveller community, are full-time carers, or who for whatever reason have no economic independence these women know the reality of poverty and the effect this has on their health and the quality of their lives and that of their families.

Employment and Welfare

Once employment gave security and a quality of life but we now have 16% of those working, living in poverty. Women in particular are vulnerable to low wages and precarious employment with 50% of women earning €20,000 or less.

It is a fact that one parent families tend to have the lowest disposable income out of all the households in the state.  In Donegal 93.5% of lone parents are women. So what is their reality?

For women living only on social welfare benefits, the week in week out drudge of living on such a low income greatly adds to their stress levels and ultimately impacts negatively on their physical and mental health.

For some women managing means no heat while the children are at school, buying everything second hand for themselves and their children, including the school uniforms.  I know a number of women who cut their own hair as going to the hair dresser is a luxury they cannot afford and the word holiday is not even in their vocabulary. In rural areas it maybe the monthly trip to do the essential shopping that is their day out.

Incorporate into this picture childhood illnesses, or having a child with a disability and the consequences are unimaginable. The extra costs of attending the GP when a taxi is their only option of transport, or having to attend the hospital which could be over 40 miles away may leave the woman having to get into debt.

Lack of accessible affordable childcare especially in rural area compounds the poverty trap for lone parents with many women unable to access training or to find work.

Some women with no family support, no money for social occasions or interaction develop low self –esteem which compounds their struggle to stay healthy, for their greatest fear is, ‘What happens to my children, if I am sick?’

Domestic violence

For women who find themselves in a domestic abusive relationship, lack of economic independence can often be the main reason why she stays.  When a woman leaves the home and we know that this is the most dangerous time for women, in rural areas where transport is so difficult, it increases their risk of danger.

Ironically, it is the woman experiencing an abusive relationship that becomes homeless and dependent on the support of the frontline services as a safe haven. Legal support and advice is available through legal aid for women who cannot afford independent advice but there is an initial consultation fee of €130.00. Where does a woman with no income find this?

Disability

Cuts to home helps and people with disabilities is having a particular harrowing effect on the most vulnerable in our society.  Many women find themselves alone and afraid in their homes, especially in rural areas where you may not even see the light of your neighbour’s house.

What is now been put in place as care is a time managed operation that takes away that person’s independence because it is easier to do an action than afford the less abled person the dignity and respect of doing it for themselves.  There is little time to give value who they are, to chat about what is important to them. Those who are providing this service do their very best but they themselves are constrained by the system that governs.

Most women with disabilities or older women are reliant are state support and can afford to pay the transport costs for ‘getting out’ the money is kept for the trip to the Doctor or the chiropodist. In the case where wheelchair accessible transport is required this may have to come from an urban area and will be more expensive because of its exclusivity.

Childcare

Lack of accessible affordable childcare is huge barrier for women seeking some economic independence. According to a major economic report commissioned by the Donegal County Childcare Committee in 2013, the annual cost of full-time childcare for a two-child family is €16, 500. Among lower income groups 56% indicated that the cost of childcare prevented them from looking for a job. Within the childcare sector over 25,000 receive less than € 11 an hour women it is just another example of the value given caring roles which predominately are women.

A different future 

blog headerAll the above is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by the implantation of the Irish government’s policy’s, strategies and legal commitments locally, nationally and internationally.

The work and vision of the 5050 Group which seeks to bring a gender balance to politics in Ireland and NCCWN continued work in supporting and empowering women in our community’s is therefore critical in achieving social justice and equality in Ireland.

Where do Donegal Councillors Stand on issues of Equality and Social Inclusion?

dcc equaility answers

Where do the 37 Donegal County Councillors stand on issues relating to Childcare, Cuts to Carers, Domestic Abuse + Violence Against Women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Travellers, Women’s Political Representation and Equality within our society?

In early 2014, The National Women’s Collective- Donegal Women’s Network held a number of meetings to hear and collect what are the main issues locally and nationally for women in Donegal. Some of the issues discussed and debated were the lack of women’s representation, lack of local training and employment issues, cuts to home helps and services for the older person and people with disabilities, domestic abuse, lack of transport and accessible affordable community child-care. These meetings were supported by Longford Women’s Manifesto Project.

Following on from these meetings a questionnaire was designed by Network and an “Open Invitation” was sent out to the Donegal Councillors.

To-date the responses we have received have been insightful and we are delighted that all of the councillors who responded stated that they would work towards upholding and promoting the ethos of social inclusion, equality and human rights. Those who responded all agreed that gender equality is a fundamental principle underpinning the concept of social justice, and human and civil rights in Ireland.  And they further All pledged to sign up to the MAN UP campaign and to undertake a half day workshop on domestic violence in 2014 that would be delivered by Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service.

To read your local councillors full responses to our questions please click on their picture and you will be taken to their individual response. 


Donegal Electoral Area

Respondents 

  

As of 03/09/14 STILL WAITING to hear from these Councillors 

Barry O'Neill  Photo Clive  Wasson Noel Jordan Sean McEniff


Glenties Electoral Area

Respondents 

Marie Therese Gallagher  John Sheamais OFearraigh

As of 03/09/14 STILL WAITING to hear from these Councillors 

Michael Cholm MacGiolla Easpaig Terence slowey, sloweyt@eircom.net  Photo Clive Wasson Enda Bonner Seamus O Domhnaill


Inishowen Electoral Area

Respondents

Albert Doherty CiaranMcLaughlin 

 

As of 03/09/14 STILL WAITING to hear from these Councillors 

B McGuinness, mcguinnessbernard@gmail.com.  Photo Clive Wasson John Ryan Martin Farren Martin McDermott Nicholas Crossan Paul Canning Rena Donaghey


Letterkenny Electoral Area 

Respondents 

Jimmy Kavanagh gerry mcm Mick Quinn

As of 03/09/14 STILL WAITING to hear from these Councillors 

Ciaran Brogan - ciaran.brogan@donegalcoco.ie,   Photo Clive Wasson Cllr Ian Mc Garvey Dessie Shiels jamespatmcdaid@gmail.com, Photo Clive Wasson John O' Donnell Liam Blaney Michael McBride


Stranorlar Electoral Area

Respondents

Gary Doherty  

As of 03/09/14 STILL WAITING to hear from these Councillors 

Gerry Crawford Liam Doherty FG Martin Harley. marty.harley@hotmail.com  Photo Clive Wasson Patrick McGowan


Brought to you by the Donegal team at The National Women’s Collective Donegal Women’s Network.

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BE INFORMED…About your 2014 Local Election Candidates

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Where does your Donegal Local Election Candidate stand on issues relating to Childcare, Cuts to Carers, Domestic Abuse + Violence Against Women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Travellers, Women’s Political Representation and Equality within our society?

Early 2014, The National Women’s Collective- Donegal Women’s Network held a number of meetings to hear and collect what are the main issues locally and nationally for women in Donegal. Some of the issues discussed and debated were the lack of women’s representation, lack of local training and employment issues, cuts to home helps and services for the older person and people with disabilities, domestic abuse, lack of transport and accessible affordable community child-care. These meetings were supported by Longford Women’s Manifesto Project.

Following on from these meetings a questionnaire was designed  by The National Women’s Collective- Donegal Women’s Network  and an “Open Invitation” was sent out to the 83 candidates running in the local elections to respond to questions identified  as areas of concern by voters in Donegal.

To-date the responses we have received have been insightful and we are delighted that all of the candidates who responded stated that they would work towards upholding and promoting the ethos of social inclusion, equality and human rights. All agreed that gender equality is a fundamental principle underpinning the concept of social justice, and human and civil rights in Ireland.  All  candidates pledged to sign up to the MAN UP campaign and to undertake a half day workshop on domestic violence in 2014 that would be delivered by Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service.

To read your 2014 Local Election Candidates full responses to our questions please click on the candidates picture and you will be taken to their individual response. This we believe will give the electorate an insight into each candidate as well as giving the candidates an open forum which could be helpful in securing votes.


Donegal Electoral Area

   Joseph McN Bernie Mulhern


Glenties Electoral Area

joe mc carron Marie Therese Gallagher


Inishowen Electoral Area

eilis haden Mary McCauley Albert Doherty CiaranMcLaughlin 


Letterkenny Electoral Area 

 sio John Watson gb Jimmy Kavanagh gerry mcm Mick Quinn


Stranorlar Electoral Area

charile Gary Doherty Alan McMenamin  Claudia Kennedy


Still waiting to hear from (as of 15/5/14)

DONEGAL ELECTORAL AREA GLENTIES ELECTORAL AREA INISHOWEN ELECTORAL AREA LETTERKENNY ELECTORAL AREA STRANORLAR ELECTORAL AREA
John Boyle Padraig Doherty Paul Canning Liam Blaney Gerry Crawford
Brendan Byrne Seamus O Domhnaill Rena Donaghey Ciaran Brogan Patrick McGowan
Sean Mc Eniff Hughie McBride Martin McDermott Michael Mc Bride Martin Harley
Michael Naughton Ian Molloy Mickey Doherty Noel Mc Bride Bert Galbraith
Barry O’Neill Enda Bonner John Ryan Ian Mc Garvey Seamus Kee
John Mc Nulty Terence Slowey Bernard McGuinness James Pat Mc Daid Brian McCrea
Patricia McCafferty John Curran Peter McLaughlin John O Donnell Liam Doherty
Laurence McManus Micheal Cholm Mac GiollaEasbuig Martin Farren Tom Crossan Tim Meehan
Jonathan Kennedy Michael Mc Clafferty Joe Murphy Peter Cutliffe
Michael McMahon Brendan Carr Nicholas Crossan Donal Cullen
Noel Jordan Seamus Rodgers Patrick McCarroll David Fisher
John Sheamáis O Fearraigh Ryan Stewart  Charlie McLafferty
Paul Ferguson Paschal Blake
Billy Banda
Dessie Shiels

The BE INFORMED…About your 2014 Local Election Candidates Initiative has been brought to you by the Donegal team at The National Women’s Collective Donegal Women’s Network.

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