France has brought in fines up to 700 euro if a man is found to be wolf whistling at a woman. This is in order to tackle sexual violence. Do you agree with it? Does wolf whistling make you uncomfortable? Should Ireland follow in France's footsteps?
In the wake of Independent Alliance TD John Halligan claiming he was denied being the sponsor for his Godson's Confirmation by The Bishop of Waterford, we as the question: Can only a practising Catholic be a child's sponsor?
Psychological abuse and controlling behaviour within a relationship is to become a crime punishable by up to five years. How does someone prove psychological abuse?
The AIB banking group has been accused of playing Big Brother with its customers after it emerged that it spies on customers' social media accounts.
The bank tells customers that the move "helps us understand your behaviour", what do you think?
Ahead of The Royal Wedding, Niall speaks to Seamus Kelly - spokesperson for Anti Imperial Action Ireland about the about the objection to RTE broadcasting the Royal Wedding.
Are the government doing enough to tackle domestic abuse in Ireland?
Niall asked listners to share their stories and thoughts on domestic violence. Different people have breaking points where they cannot take either the physical or domestic abuse from their partner.
Listen to what callers had to say.
Should women have to take their husband's name when they get married - asked a listener?
Niall had Australian Journalist, Broadcaster and Comedienne Catherine Devney on the show who had an interesting take on the topic - Marriage is sexist!
You don't want to miss this podcast!
What do you think? Should a woman take her husband's name in marriage?
How will you vote in the upcoming Repeal the 8th Referendum?
Niall had Cora Sherlock (Deputy Chairperson for the Pro-Life Campaign) and Sinead Kennedy (National Spokesperson for 'Together For the Yes Campaign') representing the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice campaigns join him in the studio to discuss the vote facing Ireland.
Listen to the arguments being put forward by both speakers as they canvas for your vote.
How will you vote in the upcioming referendum?
Heartbreaking Interview with Noleen Cullen who is seeking respite support.
Noleen is a 57 year old mother who has 2 adult children with special needs. She has taken care of them all her life and she talked Niall through the hardships of day to day life caring for her 2 children at home.
Noleen does not want to put her children into residential care but the emotional and physical pressures of caring for 2 handicapped adult children is challenging.
Noleen tells us why respite care is so important for her children but also for herself too.
This is one courageous woman and you need to listen to her story.
Do you think graphic abortion posters are wrong or reality?
The reason I want to ask you this question tonight is because of a message we got from a woman in Cobh.
Have a listen to it.
Hi Niall, I am fuming!!! Spitting feathers I am! So apparently there were
2 women in Cobh in co cork down the Main Street with a picture of a baby a “foetus” on a huge poster for the voting. Cobh has a no poster campaign for the tidy towns.
So they went down with the poster ... well there was war ... the locals called the guards said it was offensive. They said the poor kids walking home from school would be traumatized. My thoughts on this is that if they insist on teaching kids that young about being gender neutral in school then why not teach kids about abortion and ask them to look it up on you tube like they do with all their idols and see it’s life at 10 weeks .
I know at least 10 guys who have had their babies aborted in the UK most of them found out after and they were gutted. If I knew one of my grandchildren were aborted I would be so angry. I have an 18 year old who is refusing to vote because her friend’s say vote yes and she wants to vote no but she is afraid because her friends are telling her if she voted no then mothers who are in risk of their Life will die. Our kids need more education on both sides of the argument.
Don’t give out my name because Cobh is such a small town and I will be lynched!
Ok – let me explain this photo. It is a poster for the No side of the abortion debate that shows terminated babies or foetus’s (whatever way you choose to say it) at different stages from 8 weeks up to 22 weeks.
The pictures are quite graphic and the poster is quite a big one. From the photo that the listener sent in to us, it looks like it could be on a bus stop or billboard.
Tonight I want to know if you think these graphic posters are necessary in the campaigning or if they are too graphic.
According to our listeners, some locals in Cobh objected to the posters saying that it is graphic and not right that children would see it.
I am sure there are posters on the yes campaign that people are not happy with too.
Some people believe that graphic posters like this are the reality and should be shown.
Others however will say that they are offensive and unnecessary.
I am sure there are more like them around the entire country.
I want to get your views on them tonight –
Do you think graphic posters are wrong or reality?
Would you date someone who is bi-sexual?
We got an interesting email into the show. Have a listen to it.
Can you talk about something on your show for me? I recently starting dating a guy that I met online. We have been on a number of dates in the last three months. All was going well until he dropped a bombshell on me and I really do not know how to take it.
We were talking about our pasts and I was telling him how my last relationship was pretty serious to which he said so was his. He proceeded to tell me that his ex BOYFRIEND and him are still good friends.
I froze and asked him to did he mean his ex girlfriend to which he told me that he is bi sexual and his last relationship was with a man.
I was totally shocked. At the time I just went on with the date and after an hour or so I said I felt ill and needed to go home.
I am still in shock and don’t know if I am over reacting or old fashioned.
He is extremely attractive, has a great personality and we never stop laughing when we are together. I don’t know how to explain this but I never would have put him down as bi-sexual.
I am dumbfounded by this and don’t know what to do. I am afraid if I allowed this to go further and we did end up in a serious relationship, would he leave me for a man? Is he more attracted to men than women? Would I end up jealous of men and women?
It all seems too much. I spoke to a close friend of mine about it and she couldn’t believe it either. She said she couldn’t be in a relationship with a bi-sexual man and that I should end this now.
I don’t want to be old fashioned but I don’t know if I can continue to see someone who also likes men.
Please don’t mention my name.
What do you think of this message?
Do you think this woman is being old fashioned? Or would you be able to date someone who was bi-sexual?
In an ideal world, a person’s ex partners shouldn’t really be an issue for you. They left them for a reason and it should be left at that.
However, if their ex was someone of the same sex – does that change things for you?
Maybe you are bi-sexual or have dated someone who is b-sexual – I want to hear from you tonight.
So – would you have any issue dating a person who is bi-sexual?
Niall spoke to mother Evelyn Brown about the shocking story of her 7 year old daughter Anna.
Anna was born 7 years ago and Evelyn felt that there was something not right with her. Seven years arguing with Doctors and Specialists it was only last year that that the Medical community eventually gave Anna proper testing where it was tragically found that she has life changing conditions.
How did the HSE alloow this to happen? What is the future for Anna and what can you do to help?
A must listen to podcast.
Niall spoke to Fintan Dunne and the founder of 'Irish First Mothers' Kathy McMahon.
Fintan and Kathy are calling for women who were in the 'Mother and Baby Homes' not to work with the government to share their perosnal information.
Why would they ask survivors to do such a thing?
Only one way to find out - Take a listen.
Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has found himself in a bit of hot water after he said he believes violence can, in certain circumstances, be justified to reach political aims.
In an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Mr Adams was asked about the Troubles, the current political deadlock in Northern Ireland and his hopes for a united Ireland.
He was speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement next week.
When asked if he believes violence is a legitimate means with which to reach one’s aims, he replied: “I think in given circumstances.
He went on to say “And the circumstances at that time in the North were that people were being denied their rights.
“The English occupiers refused to concede those and in fact attacked the demonstrators. The most disastrous mistake that the English government made is that they handed the situation over to the generals. That always leads to a militarisation of the situation. Military people are not there to pacify, they are there to subjugate.”
Mr Adams denied ever shooting at anyone during the Troubles but said he joined Sinn Féin after reading what the British government had planned for Ireland in the Special Powers Act.
He said “The people that I know didn’t go to war. The war came to us,”
“I woke up one morning, and the British Army were in occupation of the local school, the local football pitch, the local social centre, the roadblocks were up. They were stopping you. They were throwing you up against the wall. They were arresting you. They were molesting women, and so on and so on.”
Mr Adams was asked how he reconciled his Catholic faith with the use of violence.
He said “It’s still my view that the use of armed actions in the given circumstances is a legitimate response. Whether you exercise that right is another issue. And of course, there were many things that the IRA did which were wrong. And I both condemned at the time and deplore and regret it to this time,”
Mr Adams was also asked if the Belfast Agreement was worth the deaths of more than 3,000 people killed during the Troubles.
He said “Well, it’s hard to measure it in those ways. Of course, it would’ve been far better if not one person was killed or injured. But you don’t pursue and you don’t get progress without struggle,”
“And I say that as someone who has lost a lot of family members and friends and who has been tortured and shot myself. I’ve been there, and I’ve been at many, many funerals. But of course, you can only measure all of this at the end of all of this. And I do believe that Irish unity is going to be the reality.
Many people up North including the DUP are angry at his comments and have called for him to apologise.
They believe sending out the message that violence can be justified is wrong.
Do you think he should apologise? Or do you think violence during the troubles was somewhat necessary?
Today I want to know what you think.
Do you think Gerry Adams should apologise for saying violence is justified in certain circumstances?
Niall asked the question if ADHD is a real medical condition?
Many people online pass comment that ADHD is really just an excuse for badly behaved children yet other people say that it is a serious medical condition.
We asked our listeners what they thought.
Listen to what they had to say.
Would you stay in a sexless and loveless marriage?
We got an interesting email into the show. It is something we have spoken about on the show before but I think it is a prevalent issue today.
Have a listen to this message.
Can you talk about relationships where there is no spark anymore? I am currently in one and it is horrendous. I have been married for 15 years now. For the most part it was a happy marriage but in the last number of years it is gone stale, for lack of a better term.
My wife and I are no longer affectionate or passionate. We sleep in the same bed but that is as close as we ever are. We don’t kiss; we seem to only talk about matters concerning the kids and even watch TV in separate rooms.
I don’t remember an exact moment when things changed to be honest. It was kind of a gradual thing whereby we just stopped being loving towards each other. I think it is an age thing. We are both in our 40s. We haven’t had sex in about five years.
I am not blaming my wife for this by the way; I think it is both of us. What I am questioning though is whether or not we are expected to stay in this relationship. We have two kids who are in their late teens. Our girls still live at home with us. We do things together as a family like go for dinner every now and again but we never do things as a couple.
I have spoken to my brother about this and he said it’s an age thing and that once you get to a certain age in a relationship things start to go like this. I go out with my friends at the weekend for a pint and it is a little escape for me. I enjoy that. I have asked my wife to come but she never wants to so I stopped asking. It is now just assumed that I will go out myself.
I work and provide for my family. I am no dead beat, down and out – but I think as a couple we are in some sort of rut or routine – whatever people want to call it.
Is this normal? Are we expected to stay together? We have never once spoken about breaking up. I don’t know if my wife feels the same as me – she might – or she might be happy with how things are now. I have tried to speak to her about it but it doesn’t ever seem to be resolved.
I would be interested to hear people’s opinions on this – is this normal in a marriage?
What do you think of this person’s email? I feel for the man I really do. I couldn’t imagine being with someone who you don’t speak to, let alone are not intimate with.
Some people say being intimidate is not the be all and end all of a relationship. But if intimacy is not there in a relationship – it can feel like that.
I want to get your views on this tonight – Would you expect this man to stay with his wife?
So – here is the question today – would you stay in a loveless and affectionless marriage?
Should a ban be placed on evictions until the housing crisis improves?
An extra 488 children became homeless in Ireland last month, with a total number of families in emergency accommodation now over 1,700.
The government last week published its latest report for February, with the figure for homeless adults at 6,052 and the number of homeless children at 3,755.
In an opinion piece with TheJournal.ie this morning, Fr Peter McVerry claimed that the majority of people and families who are becoming newly homeless have been evicted from the private rented sector.
He suggested that “It should be made illegal for the next three years for banks or vulture funds or landlords to evict people onto the street, except in extreme circumstances such as refusal to pay rent or antisocial behaviour,”
Today I want to know what you think – given the current housing situation – should evictions be illegal for three years as suggested.
I read some comments online and there are mixed views on the subject.
Have a listen to some of them;
One person said; No. If you can’t pay for the property you’re living in, you have no rights to be there. End of. The property owner can’t be expected to cover the cost of the tenants living there for free.
Another person said; absolutely bananas, fine if people are genuine but honestly who would want to be a landlord these days
While it seems the majority of people think this idea would be crazy idea there are some who feel the family dwelling needs to be protected. Some say that the banks were bailed out yet the people are being forgotten about.
They say there are genuine cases out there that are being forgotten about.
I know that the issue of strategic defaulting is a concern that many people would have. They would think that people who can’t be evicted for a number of years won’t pay their mortgage.
But what about those who are struggling, they are trying to make ends meet, but ultimately end up out of their home and into a situation where they have no house and are forced into hotels.
I want to know what you think of this. Maybe you are in that situation and believe there should be more protection for families.
Or maybe you disagree completely and think this suggestion is ridiculous.
I want to know what you think.
So – should a ban be placed on evictions until the housing crisis improves?
Should teachers have the facility to take a career break?
Niall spoke to Garrett O'Dowd Founder/CEO of Teach and Explore. He tells us of the benefits of teachers being able to take time away from school.
Should the HPV Vaccine be made compulsory?
The government is looking to increase the number of parents making their daughters take up the HPV vaccines.
It is always a contentious subject.
Should the HPV Vaccine be made compulsory?
Do you think criminals deserve a second chance?
The reason I want to ask you this today is because celebrity chef Neven Maguire said he does not regret employing a killer in his award winning restaurant in Co. Cavan.
Gerard Graham is serving a life sentence for battering his girlfriend with a wok and choking her to death.
He works at McNean House and restaurant in Blacklion Co. Cavan as part of a work programme with the Irish prison service.
Graham pleaded guilty o the murder of Dublin woman Charlene McAuliffe in 2002 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Neven said that he believes everyone deserves a second chance and that Graham is a good employee.
He told Rte Guide, “this man is a fantastic worker, has been with us for nearly a year, is due to be released next year and we plan to give him full time employment then”
Today I want to know what you think of this.
Do you think criminals, no matter what crime they commit, deserve a second chance?
Would you employ a criminal?
Prison is supposed to be a place to rehabilitate a prisoner so they are able to return to society. With that in mind, should they all be given a second chance so?
Or do you think there are some crimes that should never be forgiven and people should never be offered another chance at life?
I want to know what you think of this.
Do you think all criminals should be given a second chance?
Beggars in the Dorset town of Poole will be now issued with fines of £100 from their local council. Despite heavy criticism ‘Public Space Protection Orders’ – as they’re known - will be introduced from mid-April in a bid to “tackle anti-social and nuisance behaviours” according to officials. Fines could also be issued to those found sleeping rough in car parks and doorways.
The policy, also covers drinking alcohol and leaving unattended possessions in the street by homeless people. The policy is aimed at preventing and tackling anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder and protecting individuals and various communities from harm, the council said in a statement.
The initiative will be rolled out in the town centre, Holes Bay, Alexandra Park and the Ashley Road areas. Nearly 4,000 people in Dorset have signed a petition protesting the implementation of the policy. The action by the council has been heavily criticised by local residents including the Bishop of Sherborne.
Labour MP David Lammy called the policy “cruel and pointless.” “Fining people who are homeless and sleeping on the street is one of the most cruel and pointless policies I have ever seen,” he wrote on Twitter. “Why criminalise people for being poor and vulnerable? We need to focus on the support and housing services that homeless people need.”
However Poole councillor Karen Rampton said they wanted the town "to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone who lives, works or visits" adding "We are aware of the increase in anti-social behaviour in the Town Centre and Holes Bay areas and the new measure is a tool we can use, amongst others, to tackle this behaviour. The PSPO will not be used to target any specific group such as those people sleeping rough.
Councillor Rampton says “The council proactively works with individuals to encourage them to use the full range of support available from the council and local charities. Whether this is working with individuals who have a problem with drugs or alcohol, supporting individuals into housing, offering a hot meal and healthcare or providing intensive daily support to enable an individual to sustain a tenancy, we will continue to engage and support wherever possible our most vulnerable members of our community.”
So there you have it. Two very different approaches to dealing with homeless people being in sight and in city centre areas. This is something that we get contacted about at the show on a regular basis. Many people have said that they are sick and tired of being harassed at the ATM, on the bus and even at church and would like to see tough measures implemented to stop this behaviour.
On the other had there are people who say that kicking someone when they are down on their luck is something that should not be encouraged by councils and the government. There are genuinely people who are down on their luck and may find themselves homeless and begging just to survive. So tonight I want to ask you the question – Should begging be criminalised and homeless people fined like that in the UK?
Do you think it is inappropriate to breastfeed in public in front of children?
We got an interesting email into the show that I want you to have a listen to.
I listened to your show yesterday about parenting and heard a caller talk about breastfeeding. It reminded me of something I saw at the weekend that maybe you might be interested in talking about.
I was out with my two young kids in a well known child friendly restaurant. I was treating the kids and we were having a bit of a day out.
Anyway a woman and her partner and their new baby were at the table next to us when all of a sudden she whipped out her breast for all to see and started to breastfeed. She didn’t cover up at all and was almost exhibitioning what she was doing for all to see.
My children who are 8,5 and 3 saw her and started to ask me what she was doing and why she had her lady bits out. They were giggling but I was so uncomfortable!
I am a mother and have breastfed my children but if they needed to be fed in public I would go to a quiet room and if I couldn’t I would completely cover myself so that nobody could see me.
It is not that I was embarrassed but I would have respect for other people who might be uncomfortable. Lately I am seeing this trend of women who just do not have any respect for other people around them just like this woman I saw at the weekend.
There were many parents with their children and she did not care. She had it all out for everyone to see.
I am pro breastfeeding myself but I think we need to have a little bit of decorum about it in public.
Can you please talk about this on your show?
What do you think of this woman’s message? Do you think she has a point?
Is it inappropriate to breastfeed in public when other people even kids are around?
Or do you think she is wrong, that it is a natural thing to do and there is no reason to feel uncomfortable around it?
I asked people around the office today and some said it was no big deal and people need to get over themselves. Others said they would be uncomfortable if a woman breastfed in front of them.
So it was fairly split down the middle.
Today I want to know what you think of this email.
Do you think this woman is wrong or can you understand where she is coming from?
So – do you think there is something inappropriate about breastfeeding in public?
Should paternity leave be longer?
I read an interesting article today written by Cork Labour party representative Eric Nolan.
In it he talks about gender equality and inequality, gender pay gap, gender quotas, maternity leave, parenting and paternity leave.
He mentions that as a father he found it very difficult to return to work after a few days, having seen how much his wife went through in bringing their child into the world.
He said it felt wrong to be heading out the door when he knew there was more he could do at home to help.
He also says that he couldn’t help think that he was missing out on some important bonding time with their baby.
As you know the Government introduced two weeks paternity leave which came into effect in September 2016 but Eric said in his article that if we truly want gender equality then we need to significantly increase paternity leave.
I am going to speak to Eric about this in more detail but before I do I want to ask you if you think we need to do more for new parents in Ireland.
Before paternity leave was introduced, new fathers had to take holidays from work to be with their new born and their partner. Many companies give fathers a few days off to be nice but most new fathers have had to use up holiday days.
New dads receive €230 in state support per week, and they can take that fortnight's leave at any time in the first six months of their newborn's life.
Many countries allow paid parental leave to be split by parents in whatever way they wish. Eric mentions Iceland in his article where both parents get three months, with another three months to be split according to their preference. This leave is paid at 80% of their salary.
Although this sounds like a wonderful thing for parents and families, the reality is that businesses would no doubt suffer.
Many small business owners think the current paternity leave entitlements are pain in the back side. They see it as being down a man for two weeks as well as their usual holiday allotment.
Varadkar at the time encouraged employers to top up men’s pay to their full salary while on leave.
The word ‘bonding’ has been used a lot in this debate….that fathers need this time to bond with their new born child. Do you believe that the state should pay for fathers to bond with their child?
There are many fathers out there who believe that the paid paternity leave is too little and not enough time is being given.
Some have suggested 2 or 3 months would be fairer.
Today I want to know what you think.
Should paternity leave be longer than two weeks?
The Government has launched the second phase of its HPV vaccine information campaign today to inform and encourage schoolgirls and their parents to avail of the free HPV vaccine scheme.
Since the launch of the first phase of that campaign - which aimed to inform parents and girls about how the vaccine works, what it does, and the associated risks – the uptake rate of the vaccine has increased from 51% in 2016 and 2017, to 62%.
At a press launch today, Minister for Health Simon Harris said that it was important “that we don’t pat ourselves on the back and say we’ve made progress – we need to acknowledge that progress and keep going”.
The HSE’s campaign video will feature 25-year-old Laura from Co Clare, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was 24. Although she went through treatment for her condition, and was predicted to have a good chance of recovering, the cancer spread to her lymph nodes.
This meant that there was no treatment for her condition, other than palliative chemotherapy that would prolong Laura’s life.
Speaking at the press launch today, Laura said that she didn’t get involved in the campaign for sympathy.
She said “My dad used to say, no parent should outlive their child.
There is a vaccine there that saves lives – please think about it”
If received before a person is sexually active, the vaccine can prevent the development of HPV which can cause a number of cancers. It’s been recommended that the free vaccine programme also be rolled out to boys in Ireland once the update rate for girls is high enough.
Professor Grainne Flannelly, who’s a gynaecologist with the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, said that cervical cancer is a disease that affects “young women and young mothers”, and that there was a significant problem with HPV in Ireland.
Because of the spread of rumours and anecdotes about the vaccine on social media, the vaccine uptake rate plummeted dramatically, leading to the HSE to launch a campaign to inform students and parents about the benefits of the vaccine.
Due to similar fears about the vaccine in other countries, multiple tests on the stories and side effects reported by parents have been carried out making it one of the most-checked vaccines, and as a consequence, one of the safest in the world.
Today I want to know if you think all teenagers should be getting the vaccine, one there is no medical reason for them not to.
Although the uptake of the vaccine has increased, there is still a number of people and groups who are opposed to it. They claim their children have had adverse affects to the vaccine, even though the claims have been investigated and found to not be caused by the vaccine.
Should this vaccine be compulsory considering it is a safe vaccine that can save lives?
Or do you think it would be wrong to make it compulsory?
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to make things compulsory but unfortunately we have certain people spreading misinformation resulting in people not allowing their daughters get the vaccine.
I want to know what you think – So should the HPV vaccine be compulsory?
Wednesday night March 22nd saw a horrific fire broke out at Ballymun's Metro Hotel and Apartment complex. Classic Hits 4FM were on the site speaking to survivors, witnesses and local politicials.
Classic Hits reporter Robbie Kane was on the scene. During the show Niall also spoke to Independent Cllr Noeleen Reilly, TD Dessie Ellis of Sinn Fein, Journalist Darragh Brophy from The Journal.ie, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock and resident Joy who was evacuated from the building but lost all her possession. This was a show like no other as the rescue services battled the fire and saved lives.
Should religion be taught outside of school hours?
I want to ask you this today because a petition has been launched to do just that.
The petition has been started by Paddy Monahan who is a father of 1 and a campaigner against religious teaching and segregation in schools.
Paddy believes that religious teachings should be done outside of school hours and according to his petition so do a number of other people.
The petition so far has 715 out of 800 signatures so clearly there is some demand for this.
I am going to speak to Paddy about the petition in more detail but before I do I want to ask you what you think.
Do you think religion should be taught outside of school hours?
Minister for Education Richard Bruton is planning to do away with the baptism barrier in schools. He believes admissions rules are unfair and are putting some parents “under pressure to baptise their children in order to gain admission to their local school”.
Changes he plans to introduce by way of legislation this year will oblige Catholic primary schools to cease giving enrolment priority to baptised children in cases where they are over-subscribed.
The move will require a change to the Equal Status Act, which permits schools to discriminate on the basis of religion.
It now looks clear that Bruton will have a major fight on his hands in steering this legislation on to the stature books.
Submissions released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the depth of opposition from Catholic bishops and trustee bodies for thousands of Catholic schools, along with management bodies and missionary groups.
It also seems many of these groups are preparing to fight these issues in the courts, if required, and believe constitutional provisions, along with case law, give them good grounds to challenge any move which would discriminate against faith schools or parental choice.
So it seems this first hurdle won’t be an easy one to get over even though parents are telling us that they are not religious and do not want their children to be. The issue is that 90% of primary schools are under Catholic patronage so many parents are forced to send their children to Catholic schools.
Paddy beieves these children who are not religious but are attending a catholic school are being forced to sit away from the rest of their class during religious education.
He believes religious should be completely separate to school hours and today I want to know if you agree or disagree.
Should religious be separate from schools in Ireland completely?
Or do you think religion plays a positive role in schooling?
I want to know what you think,
So – should religious teaching be done outside of school hours?
Do you think people should be forced to retire at 65?
The reason I want to ask you this is because of the fact that Valerie Cox has won her case against Rte.
She said losing her job because of her age was "the most appalling thing".
Valerie who is 67 year old said she's delighted her successful Workplace Relations Commission case has been hailed as striking a blow against ageism in Ireland.
It saw RTÉ being ordered to pay her €50,000 after the WRC ruled she had been discriminated against on the basis of her age.
Her case was raised in the Dáil by Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin, who described it as a "landmark decision" and predicted it will open a flood-gate of similar cases.
Valerie’s full-time contract had been terminated by RTÉ in March 2016 when she turned the retirement age of 65.
She then found out in December 2016 her casual contract to front the early morning newspaper slot was also finished.
She said she was informed this was down to her age, despite there being two people over 65 working on the show at the time.
She was also going through a "very stressful time" in her personal life, given her husband Brian was struck down with an illness and spent several months in a coma in hospital.
I am going to speak to Valerie in a couple of moments about this but before I do I want to ask you if you think there is a real problem with ageism in Ireland.
There is no single fixed retirement age for employees. If you are employed, your retirement age is set out in your contract of employment.
Some contracts of employment have a mandatory retirement age (that is, the age at which you must retire), but they also have provisions for earlier retirement generally and/or on grounds of illness.
The usual retirement age in contracts of employment is 65. Many have provisions for early retirement from age 60 or in some cases from age 55 and most have provision for early retirement on health grounds.
In some cases, there is a statutory retirement age.
There is a statutory, (that is, set out in legislation), retirement age for some public servants. For people who joined the public service before 1 April 2004 this is generally 65. Since 1 January 2013, the minimum retirement age for new entrants is 66 rising to 68 in 2028 in line with the State Contributory Pension.
However, many people disagree with people being forced to retire and think it is age discrimination. They believe if a person is capable and enjoys their job they should not be turfed out because they have reached a certain age.
Others however, think retirement ages are only fair to make way for younger people trying to get into the job market.
Today I want to get your opinion on ageism in Ireland and on retirement.
Have you ever been a victim of ageism?
So – do you think it is discrimination to force people to retire at 65?
Should older drivers be forced to take an extensive driving test once they reach the age of 65?
I know we have spoken about this before but the reason I want to ask you this is because of horrifying video footage showing the moment a grandmother lost control of her car and mounted the pavement killing a woman who was visiting her young niece.
A 68 year old woman in the UK was jailed for 28 months as a result of the crash, which happened in December 2016.
Tragically a 44 year old died after being struck and slammed into railings, and the horror scene was discovered by her niece.
The car can be seen swerve from the right hand side of the road and into the pedestrian, before crashing.
Another man was also thrown into the side of a passing bus before landing on a crumpled heap on the pavement.
The grandmother was seen getting out of the car and rubbing her head before telling others that she had "lost her brakes".
She also tried to claim the woman she had killed had already been lying underneath the pile of bricks.
A judge sitting at Reading Crown Court was shown the footage during the sentencing hearing and told the grandmother that "It's a piece of driving where you made a serious mistake which had tragic consequences."
A judge heard that Sall was driving the estate car on a 30mph busy residential street when the "phenomenon of unintended acceleration" caused her to suddenly swerve, narrowly avoiding a lorry and bus before mounting the pavement and crashing into the railings and a number of passers-by.
A 20-year-old man on his lunch break was also struck and sustained life-changing injuries to both legs.
The grandmother sat with her hands in a praying position in the dock as the Judge delivered his sentencing to a packed courtroom.
The judge said "Whatever sentence I pass will be a harsh one for a 68-year-old's five children and 10 grandchildren.
The judge went on to explain the phenomenon of unintended acceleration, where drivers mistake the accelerator for the brake and in the panic press down harder on the incorrect pedal.
The grandmother’s family were in tears as their mother was led away to begin her prison sentence of 28 months behind bars.
The pensioner was also disqualified from driving for six years once she is released.
It was also noted that she wasn't wearing her prescription glasses that her licence said she should.
Today I want to know if you think people should go to prison for accidents.
This grandmother did not go out with the intension to kill this woman and due to a tragic accident a woman lost her life.
Some people will say that justice must prevail for the woman who lost her life but is a prison sentence the right punishment for this grandmother?
I want to know what you think –
Do you have any sympathy for this Grandmother?
Will you be attending the Pope’s mass in August this year?
Pope Francis has confirmed he will make the first papal trip to Ireland in nearly 40 years, visiting Dublin on August 25-26 for a Church meeting on families.
The World Meeting of Families is taking place in Dublin August 21-26. The 81 year old Pope will preside at the closing ceremonies on the final two days.
He will take part in the ‘Festival of Families’ in Croke Park on August 25 and the following day he will celebrate mass in the Phoenix Park.
The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has welcomed the news today and said they are "deeply honoured" that the pontiff has chosen to come to Dublin.
Full details of the Pope's visit will be released at a later date.
Last month, the third national collection to help fund the visit and the World Meeting of Families took place in parishes across Ireland.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has estimated the cost of both at €20million. He said the two national collections which took place last year brought in €5 million.
He did not rule out help from the Vatican and, when asked about the State, said he believed a visit by Pope Francis would be treated the same way as the 2011 visits of Queen Elizabeth and US president Barack Obama.
Speaking in the Dáil in January Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said “even though it is not formally a State visit the assistance provided to Pope Francis will be the same as if it were.” His department was assisting Church authorities in the organisation and preparation of the visit, he said.
A spokeswoman for the WMoF2018 said funds raised in the national collections would help defray costs of hosting the gathering and the papal visit.” She expected there would be at least one more national collection, possibly in June.
Funding is also being sought from likely contributors in the Irish business world and from Irish America, including those who helped fund the last World Meeting of Families at Philadelphia in 2015.
Today I want to know if you are happy about the visit.
Do you think it will benefit the country?
It will bring tourism to Ireland, there is no doubt about that but in the grand scheme of things, it could cost the state too.
The church is adamant that it won’t cost the state but Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said he believed it would be treated like a state visit similar to the Queen and President Obama which did cost money with road closures, security and more.
I want to know what you think of the visit. Are you happy about it?
So – will you be attending the Pope’s mass in the Pheonix park?
Would you be insulted if your partner asked you to sign a prenuptial agreement?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly won't sign a prenuptial agreement in advance of their May 19 wedding.
The American actress and British royal will exchange vows at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in a number of weeks. Markle boasts a personal fortune of an estimated $5m and Harry's has a net worth of $30m.
According to the Daily Mail, the couple won't be signing the legal documents before their wedding, which would protect both their individual assets should they split.
A source told the paper that "There was never any question in Harry’s mind that he would sign a prenup,"
According to the source "He’s determined that his marriage will be a lasting one, so there’s no need for him to sign anything."
Harry is said to have inherited $18m from his late mother Princess Diana's estate with another $36m in assets and his official royal expenses are covered by the Duchy of Cornwall trust, set up by his father Prince Charles, to cover the professional costs of being a royal for him, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and his wife-to-be.
He's following in his older brother's footsteps as William and Kate both chose not to sign a prenup before they wed in 2011.
Lawyer Julian Hawkhead told Us Weekly that prenups in the UK are different to those in the US as they do not feature specific clauses covering for infidelity or conduct in the marriage.
He said "They do not have the same weight as the Hollywood prenups and divorces you may read about all the time nor will they include penalty clauses for bad behaviour. The English courts rarely consider the behavior of the parties as relevant when dividing up assets,"
A pre-nuptial agreement (also called an ante-nuptial agreement) is an agreement entered into by a couple before they get married. In some cases a couple may enter into a post-nuptial agreement after they get married.
Pre-nuptial agreements vary according to each couple’s particular circumstances but generally they make provision for financial and property matters, and other issues, following the breakdown of the marriage. They can cover issues such as lump sum payments, pensions, maintenance and custody.
A couple enters into an agreement in order to try and avoid a dispute if they separate. Some pre-nuptial agreements cover issues arising during the marriage. Under Section 113 of the Succession Act 1965 a spouse can renounce his/her legal right share in a pre-nuptial agreement.
Here is a hypothetical situation – both of you are pretty successful in your careers and are about to get married. You both have a good salary behind you and have worked hard for it.
Your partner suggests you both sign a prenup – would you be insulted that he or she is suggesting a clause in case the marriage doesn’t work?
Or do you think it is smart and everyone should sign a prenup before they get married?
Is it basically putting a doubt in the marriage from the start?
According to the latest figures from the Courts Service, More than 4,100 couples around Ireland applied to divorce in 2016; a further 1,300 or so applied to separate.
Dublin had the most divorce applications, at 1,411.
I want to know what you think of prenups tonight-
Would you be insulted if your partner asked you to sign one?
Would you tell your boss if your work colleague had a drinking problem?
We received a Facebook message into the show over the weekend. It is a dilemma that I’m sure some of you out there will be all too familiar with. Here take a listen.
“Hi Niall, I’ve never written into the show before but I know that you sometimes get your listeners to help with problems that some people have. I need help or more specifically a friend of mine at work needs help.
I’ve been working in the Civil Service for the past 6 years. Another woman joined the same time as me and we have gotten all well. We’re both in our late 20’s and enjoy the craic. There is one problem that seems to be getting out of hand.
Lisa (not her real name) enjoys a drink like all of us. However Lisa will happily be out on the town 5 nights a week. She jokes that she has the constitution of an Ox but I have been noticing that you can now smell the alcohol off her several mornings when she comes into work.
She’ll drink a bottle of mouthwash in the morning to mask the night before. While she’s in work she meets all her deadlines and our boss praises her.
That’s all great but I know that when she goes to the bathroom with her handbag – she’s going in to take a drink.
I’ve mentioned it to her before and she has promised that she would be more responsible but that only lasts for a few weeks and she’s back to her normal ways of pretending that she’s not out drinking every night.
Her response to me all the time is that we’re only young once and we should make the best of it. However Lisa has taken to driving into work some days when she’s running late and this now is getting out of hand. What if she kills someone or gets pulled over by the Gardai. She would definitely fail a breath test after the nights that she has.
My Mum tells me to stay out of the problem. She’s worried that if I tell our manager at work that this could end in a disciplinary case in the Civil Service. I don’t want to be seen as the employee who ratted out her colleague? On the other hand should I tell our manager as she is [potentially going to kill someone or have an accident at work if her5 drinking continues to get worse.
I feel like I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. I’m finding it hard to sleep with the worry. Can you and your listeners help? Louise”
There you have it. From the sounds of it Lisa is working with a fully functioning alcoholic. You know there are many people out there who hide their alcohol addictions and they do it so well. The longer they do it without being caught or an intervention from work colleagues or family the worse the situation will get. So what should you do? Should you bring your colleague’s and possibly friend’s drinking problem to the attention of your boss? Would it be for their own good or should you just mind your own business? We all have to take responsibility for our own actions.
So would you rat out your work colleague if they had a drinking problem?
Listen to what you had to say.
Niall was joined in the studio by Fine Gael TD Noel Rock to discuss the weekend vandalism that took place in Tallaght. Why do you think the criminal behaviour happened? What action should be taken against any individuals found guilty?
These were the questions that Niall discussed and things got very heathed with many of the callers.
Taks a listen.
Do you agree with the Death Penalty?
Following the recent Florida High School shooting many people are discussing the use of the death penalty.
Would you agree with the introduction of the death penalty for serious crimes in Ireland?
Listen to what people said to Niall?
Is it O.K. to take your children out of school to go on holidays?
Family holidays are so expensive during peak periods that some parents take their children on holiday during the school term.
Many said they had no problem doing this but others said that it doing damage to children's education.
What do you think?
Listen to what people had to say.
Niall had Ibrahim Halawa in the studio to talk about his time that he spent in prison in Egypt, the sequence of events leading up to his improsonment and what has happened him since returning to his home in Dublin.
We were shocked to learn about the death threats that Ibrahim has received since coming back to Ireland.
This is a must listen to podcast!
A sniper was hired to cull some 200 deer in Dublin's Phoenix Park in an effort to keep the herd numbers under control.
Some people thought there could be a better way to manage the number of deer in the national park without having to kill the deer. Others said it was necessary and people need to stop complaining about this common practice.
Niall asked if you supported the deer culling? Animal activists had a very strong opinion in the issue.
Take a listen.
The government is proposing that students who want to opt out of religion calsses in schhol should be taught another subject instaead of supervised study.
Niall asked if you would support such an initiative.
Listen to what you had to say on the subject.
Is it irresponsible for parents to let their daughters go to a school disco dressed provocatively?
That was the question that a listener posed to Niall. A mother told us how she saw 14 year old girls wearing "bra tops" to a disco. She felt that it was totally inappropriate for a child to be dressed like this.
Does this mother have a point? Is it wrong for young girls to be dressed so provocatively or is this just the style of the 21st century and parents should teach their children to be sensible?
Irish Water has confirmed that plans are in place to introduce excess water charges from next year.
A report from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) confirmed the suspension of water charges would continue until December 31st, 2018.
Excess use charges will not begin until January 1st, 2019, “at the earliest” while bills for excess use charges will not be issued until July 1st next year “at the earliest”.
Charges to domestic customers will only apply when water in excess of 213,000 litres per year is used.
The CRU said there will be no charges to domestic customers in any circumstances in 2018.
The rules and processes relating to excess use charges will be determined by the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.
Irish Water said a public consultation would be carried out to determine what constitutes excess usage.
In a statement Irish water said “The Water Charges Plan clarifies that there will be no charges for water services for domestic customers in 2018; provides that excess use charges will apply from 2019; advises that detail regarding excess-use charge levels, commencement dates and associated rules and processes will be agreed with the Minister and the CRU and provided in a later version of the water charges plan,”
However, Solidarity TD Paul Murphy has said the introduction of excess water charges starting from next year could lead to a reintroduction of water charges in the future.
He said “Irish Water plans to charge for water from next January “will come as no surprise to those following the debates in the Dáil”.
In a statement he went on to say “Clearly, any excessive usage charges would only be the thin edge of the wedge in attempting to reintroduce water charges for all,” he said in a statement.
“However, there is a world of difference between Irish Water’s plan for charges and their actual implementation. Water charges remain politically completely toxic.”
Mr Murphy said the implementation will be met with “mass opposition” from people who had campaigned against the introduction of water charges.
I am going to speak to Paul Murphy in a moment but before I do I want to ask you if you would be happy paying for excessive water use or if you will be taking to the streets again.
Many people hailed the end to water charges as a victory for those who protested. Now they are threatening to return to the streets if we're charged for excess use.
Will you be taking to the streets? Or do you agree with paying for excessive use?
So – do you think it is fair to ask people to pay for excessive water use?
According to new research children in Ireland are putting themselves at risk by contacting strangers online.
Figures released today by CyberSafeIreland, the children’s internet safety charity, show that one-third of children regularly contact strangers online.
The research, which surveyed 1,500 children aged between 8 and 13 from September to November 2017, also found that over one-third of children rarely or never talk to their parents about online safety.
Of this group without parental engagement, over 34% are in regular contact with a stranger online and 50% use social media and messaging apps that are meant to be inaccessible to users under 13 years of age.
The survey found that 67% of children aged between 8 and 13 own a smartphone and over a quarter (28%) are spending more than two hours per day online, with widespread (69%) use of social media and messaging apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
Ahead of Safer Internet Day, which is happening today, a leaflet with advice about keeping children safe online – covering privacy and health concerns – was sent to all primary schools across the country.
I am going to speak to Avril Ronan from Cybersafe Ireland about keeping kids safe online but before I do I want to ask you about children having access to the internt and if you think it should be limited to a certain age.
Last week, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defended the government’s decision to set the digital age of consent at 13, saying it was based on advice from children’s charities and the Children’s Ombudsman.
However, he said he understands that the issue is a cause of concern for parents.
The digital age of consent, which was agreed by the Cabinet last summer, refers to the age from which it is legal for data controllers to hold data gathered on children and teenagers. For children under the age of 13, parental consent will be required.
It could be argued that 13 has been the de facto age of digital consent for some time in Ireland – it’s the minimum age for setting up a Facebook account, for example. However, the age had to be officially set before the EU General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on 25 May 2018.
Keeping children safe online has been in the spotlight recently after a number of high profile cases, and Communications Minister Denis Naughten recently said the government is moving towards appointing a Digital Safety Commissioner.
The Government are also going to examine proposals for age limits on smartphones. Varadkar said an age limit for the devices was definitely something he will give consideration to and examine.
Today I want to know if you think under 14s should be banned from the internet and from having a smart phone.
Or so you think that is too restrictive?
It has been argued in the past that teenagers do not fully understand the ramifications of posting online for the world to see. The dangers of bullying, revenge porn, and in very extreme cases suicide is something linked to the internet that we cannot ignore.
So – should we keep them away from the internet and social media for as long as we possibly can?
Or do you think we need to embrace social media and the internet and let children be a part of it.
I want to know what you think –
So – do you think the digital age of consent being set at 13 is too low?
Niall asked if adopted children should be allowed to know the identity of their biological parents?
He spoke of his own personal experience of being adopted.
You don't want to miss this podcast.
Well this one had us debating in the office today. Have a listen to this email we received.
Have a problem with my son need you to help make the wife see sense.
My oldest lad is turning 21 and well… let’s just say he’s not cut from the same cloth as me. I was your typical jack the lad growing up but my son literally sits in his room playing play station when he isn’t at his part time job. He isn’t into the pub or nightclubs and literally has no idea how to speak to women.
There’s never been a girl round the house or even a mention of one on the scene.
Anyways to cut a story short I’m fairly sure my lad hasn’t lost his virginity yet- and I think as a man coming up to 21 there’s something wrong with that. I have spoken to him about it and he said he is just shy and not comfortable around girls.
So for his birthday I want to get him sorted- so if he’s embarrassed about the whole thing it might take the pressure off and give him some confidence.
I think it’s time to bring in a professional if you know what I mean. I was thinking of booking a lad’s weekend to Amsterdam and basically just letting him have fun.
Was talking to the wife about it and she’s hit the roof- thinks I’m being insensitive and irresponsible. But the lads an adult- I don’t see any problem with getting him a prostitute if it makes it easier for him to seal the deal and then meet proper girls in the long run. I don’t want my son to be a virgin at 21 or worse, older.
What do you reckon? Is the wife right or am I?
Look- he’s dead right no man I know would have wanted to be a virgin at 21.
But is getting your son a prostitute really the solution?
If I think back to my youth, I think I would have been horrified if my father suggested a weekend in Amsterdam with prostitutes.
But it was a different time and maybe these days parents are more liberal.
What do you think? Is there anything wrong with getting a prostitute for your son?
Are protesters over reacting to a clothing shop's racy toilet door picture?
Niall spoke to David James Kerr who owns a store in East Belfast of the same name.
His store is causing a huige controversy when people were calling for shoppers to boycott the store when they saw a racy but tongue and cheek picture on their toilet door.
The picture depicts 2 people naked from the waist down but you cannot see anything of note!
David explained that he has had the picture up in his shop for over 3 years and had no complaints - so why change it now?
Listen to what happened!
There is a campaign to extend Ireland’s night club hours and it is being led by the organisation ‘Give Us The Night’. We will be speaking to one of the founders and organisers of the group now in a moment.
Just to give you the background on the group ‘Give Us The Night’ is an independent volunteer group of professionals within the music industry, campaigning to bring about a change to the licensing laws in Ireland, with particular regard to nightclubs.
They formed as a campaign group in September 2004, in response to Garda Síochána proposals recommending the curtailing of nightclub opening hours to 1.30 am from their current 2.30 am curfew.
Currently their campaign is lobbying for sequential closing times between bars, late bars and nightclubs across Ireland and creating debate and logical discussion about licensing laws with a view to bringing in progressive Irish licensing laws for the whole country in the long term.
This has caught the public’s attention this week with many people saying that having later closing times on night clubs will avoid the nation’s street every weekend night filled with thousand of drunk party revellers descending on fast-food outlets and taxi ranks at the same time. The inevitable happens and drunken people get into fights fuelled by alcohol and too many people concentrated in one place.
That surely can be avoided if we adopt the European closing hours of night clubs where people don’t feel the need to rush their night out and drink in a short period of time. Plus it provides more employment for the nightclubs and possibly less drunken behaviour for the Gardai to deal with.
Others though are saying that there is no need to shorten the night club hours. People are already drinking in bars and at home before they hit the night clubs. Others are saying that this is only putting temptation in front of people which could lead to more people becoming dependent on alcohol. Heaven knows we already have an alcoholic issue in Ireland. One look down the main streets of any town will show you that.
But is the extension of the opening hours of night clubs the way forward? So today I want to ask you today is – Should Ireland follow the rest of Europe and extend their night club opening hours?
Should a man have the right to walk away from fatherhood completely if it was never something he wanted?
Should a man have the right to walk away from fatherhood completely if it was never something he wanted?
Today on the show we spoke about the repeal the 8th referendum. We heard from so many people with opinions on it ranging from women who have had abortions, men who have regretted their partner having an abortion and people’s views on repealing the 8th in general.
Near the end of the show we got a very interesting text on the subject with respect to equality.
Have a listen to it:
Niall, if a mother can make a decision to rid her unwanted baby... surely a man should be able to make a decision not to be a dad... after a child is born. Is it only women who have a choice? The dad would be a dead beat dad in my eyes, but what about equality?
I thought it raised an interesting debate on the rights of Father’s, or in this case the right to not want to be a Father.
On today’s show and for the next couple of months we will hear the repeal side say that a woman should have the choice on whether or not she wants to be a mother.
I don’t have an opinion on that, as I have already stated – but does a man get the same choice.
Let’s say a woman decided she wants to keep her baby but the man doesn’t want to be a father. Does he have the right to walk away?
By walk away I mean simply have no input into the child’s life, pay no maintenance and just pretend he didn’t father a child.
I know it takes two to tango and some people will say if he was capable and willing to jump into bed and do the deed then he should deal with the consequences – meaning the fact that he will now be a father.
But if a woman can have a choice about being a mother, shouldn’t a father have the same choice?
I don’t want to talk about repeal tonight – I want to talk about a different side of it – the father not wanting to be a father.
So I want to know what you think -
Should a man have the right to walk away from fatherhood completely if it was never something he wanted?
Would you get rid of a pet for a potential partner?
There is a dilemma I read online that I thought was an interesting discussion.
Have a listen to it.
My boyfriend has two cats and it has emerged that I am allergic. We are only together six months but it’s actually a make or break situation now. I react really badly to his cats and I don’t think he is up for getting rid of them.
I don’t know what to do here – I think if he is serious about our relationship going further he would get rid of them. Is it wrong of me to expect him to get rid of his cats?
What do you think of this dilemma?
Would you get rid of a pet for a potential partner? Or do you think it is wrong to even expect that?
We have spoken in the past about getting rid of pets for various reasons, a baby on the way or a partner having a fear of a dog or a cat.
It really comes down to who you would think is more important.
Would a six month relationship be long enough for you to consider getting rid of a pet?
Or would your pet always come first?
I want to know what you think –
Would you get rid of a pet for a potential partner?
Do you believe in demonic spirits and the need for exorcisms?
Ireland's most prominent exorcist has put pressure on the Catholic Church to assist with an issue that is sweeping the nation.
Father Pat Collins says that he has been overwhelmed by "an inordinate number of calls from people, and emails" requesting exorcisms.
Collins has penned an open letter urging Irish bishops to train up priests in order to meet demand, in which he pointed to "increasing evidence of the malicious activity of the evil one."
Speaking to the Irish Catholic, Collins noted that, “It’s only in recent years that the demand has risen exponentially," adding that he is "baffled" by the lack of demonic education in the priesthood.
Fr. Collins stated that anyone who dismisses the need for exorcists is "out of touch with reality."
Each diocese in Ireland is required to have a trained exorcist who has the ability to recognise whether a case of possession is real or the result of mental or psychological illness.
In 2014, the International Association of Exorcists - made up of 400 Catholic leaders and priests - revealed that the level of global demonic activity had resulted in a "pastoral emergency."
It might sound like something only found in Hollywood, but the demand is there - an exorcism hotline was set up in Milan in 2012, while 2016 documentary Hostage to the Devil tells the story of Fr. Malachi Martin; a priest from Kerry who dedicated his life to battling evil.
Do you believe in demonic possessions and the need for exorcisms?
Do you want to 'Repeal the 8th Amendment'? That was the simple question that Niall asked people today.
With the news from the Government that the country will vote on this referendum by the end of May, Niall wanted to test public opinion now so we can compare the results the closer we come to voting day.
So how will you vote in the Referendum?
Should the leader of the country remain impartial on the abortion debate?
Over the weekend Leo Varadkar said that he will campaign to liberalise Ireland’s abortion laws.
In an interview with the BBC, Varadkar said he was in favour of changing Ireland’s abortion laws.
This is the first time he has given his public opinion on the matter.
The Eighth Amendment grants the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child – effectively making abortion illegal except in very limited circumstances.
When question over whether he would be campaigning for the abortion laws to be relaxed, Varadkar said:
“I’ll be campaigning for them to be changed and to be liberalised, yes.
“As I’ve said on many occasions I believe Ireland’s abortion laws are too restrictive and need to be liberalised.
Varadkar was pressed on whether he would call himself “pro choice”.
He would not give a straight answer and said “Again what do those words even mean? Every single person I know who says they are pro choice believes in some sort of restriction,”
He did say that he does not believe in late term abortion for example up to 38 weeks.
Some commentators have expressed confusion that the Taoiseach decided to give his views and stance on the matter for the first time to an international outlet.
It is expected that Varadkar will set out his full views on the matter – around whether he backs a straight repeal – following the special cabinet meeting today.
Today I want to know if you think it is appropriate for the Taoiseach to give his opinion and essentially take a side in the abortion debate.
I read some comments online about this. I want you to have a listen to some of them:
I don’t think it is right that the Taoiseach has publicly taken a side in this referendum. It was the exact same with the marriage equality referendum. The Government simply go with the populist vote.
I am pro-life and it is not right that I, a citizen of this country, have to read stories of how the man who is supposed to lead us goes against everything I believe it. The leader of this country should be campaign to save more lives not help end some. He is entitled to vote and have his opinion but he should do that in the privacy of a polling booth and not go against half of the citizens of this country in such a public manner. He does not represent me or my views.
Another person said:
Not right that he is taking sides. He should be impartial and represent all of the people of Ireland.
Not everyone thought he was wrong however, have a listen to this comment:
I am delighted that Varadkar has publicly stated his view on the 8th. It is about time we had people in power who stood up for what is right. Women should never be forced to do anything by the state and the current 8th amendment means the state has a power over a woman’s body. Finally a leader I can support fully as he represents the majority of the people of Ireland’s views.
I want to know what you think of this –
Do you think politicians and the Taoiseach should be impartial in the abortion debate?