Tory MP says it was OK to bill taxpayer for his 500 tree forest, critics are "jealous" of his private forest [2009]

People outside of the UK might have missed the huge scandal over MPs’ expenses – basically, it turns out that Members of Parliament have been billing the public for all kinds of crazy things, including mortgages that they’d already paid off, maintenance on their moats (I shit you not) and pools, tampons (for male MPs), private security details, and so on. Most MPs have fallen over themselves to apologize for their unethical behavior.

Not Tory MP Anthony Steen.

Steen billed the taxpayer for maintenance of his 500-tree forest, upkeep of which was apparently necessary to the conducting of his duties at Parliament.

Steen says that constituents who resent their tax money going to pay for his forest are “just jealous.”

Read the rest…
It's Official: Ireland Says Yes to Same-Sex Marriage

   Ireland has voted heavily in favor of allowing same-sex marriage in a historic referendum that marks a dramatic social shift in the traditionally Catholic country. | Photo: Reuters   

The final results are in, and Ireland has just voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by referendum Saturday, after a landslide vote. With the vote counted in all but three constituencies, 62.1 percent of Irish voted in favor of same sex marriage, while 37.9 percent voted against.

The strongest votes in favor of same-sex marriage were in constituencies around Dublin, where the Yes vote was higher than 70 percent in some areas.

The largest margin in favor of same-sex marriage was in Dublin South East, 74.9 percent voted Yes, while 25.1 voted No. Rural areas saw lower support. One of the constituencies where the vote was most closely split was Donegal South West, which voted 50.1 percent in favor, 49.9 percent against. The only constituency to vote down same-sex marriage was Roscommon-South Leitrim, where the vote was 51.4 to 48.6 percent. Nationwide, turnout was 60.5 percent, significantly above previous referendums in Ireland in recent years.

The announcement that Ireland had voted in favor of same-sex marriage was quickly followed by a renewed wave of celebration at Dublin Castle, where equal marriage supporters had gathered throughout the day to hear the results of the referendum. The first celebrations had broken out as polls opened in the morning, and continued as the vote count came in over the afternoon.


In defence of Roscommon/South Leitrim

There have been quite a few sneering and cruel remarks about the people of Roscommon/South Leitrim that voted ‘No’ by a narrow margin(51.48%) in #MarRef. That was surely a disappointment for the 17,615 constituents who voted ‘Yes’ but more soul destroying for that county and a half was the attitude of many social commenters who took the opportunity to belittle and demonise the entire population there. Screwed over by government on issues like healthcare access, job creation and clean drinking water, these are not people who deserve that treatment. These are people who are mostly used to being forgotten about and not noticed. Some things to note:

* Several other constituencies had incredibly tight votes - Donegal West was Yes by .05% or 33 votes - it was a very closely contested referendum in other rural areas. It’s a shame there were any constituencies that voted ‘No’ but to be the only one is unfortunate.
* These are counties ravaged by emigration and the flow of younger inhabitants to urban centres and jobs. Sligo, Dublin, Letterkenny and Galway are typically the places where they live and vote. Ros/South Leitrim doesn’t have an urban centre larger than Roscommon Town (5,700). The younger voter is evidently a Yes.
* Having canvassed voters’ opinions in the area* in the run up to Friday, I noticed there was a disconnect with the Yes campaign and message that I hadn’t encountered in Dublin. Many rural people felt talked down to and alienated. They felt shouted at. They got left behind by the Yes campaign which is worth reflecting on.
* 17,615 people in Ros/South Leitrim voted Yes. I hope they are joining the rest of the country in celebrating this proud moment in our nation’s history and not downtrodden because some cloistered urbanite(s) have decided it’s a good time to hit the culchie thicks with a stick.
*This weekend is a time for unity and for us all to share in this wonderful moment in Irish history. Anyone who wants to tell you different is missing the point and needs to be told where to go. 

YES to equality.

* Though raised in South Leitrim, my constituency is Sligo/North Leitrim. Not confusing at all. Thanks electoral commission. I live in Dublin with my family. I voted Yes in #MarRef.

anonymous asked:

What county in Ireland was the one that voted No?

It was the Roscommon / South Leitrim constituency (which are combined for reasons I don’t pretend to understand. Maybe population issues). Details:

I feel a wee bit sorry for them, because when the enabling legislation goes through and heaps of people start arriving here from the States to get married, I have a feeling that nine tenths of them will avoid that red spot on the map like the plague. Ah well…

And this is what a not-so-close Irish referendum looks like - all but one constituency voting in favour of extending marriage to same-sex couples. I sort of predicted it, simply by plugging in the estimate national poll figures into the 1995 results (strangely, the only constituency to vote No, Roscommon-South Leitrim, formed part of one of the five non-Dublin constituencies to pass the divorce referendum). I didn’t think Donegal would say No, despite its past habits - and I was proven right, even if by a mere 33 votes in the case of Donegal South West. The pundits are proclaiming the end of the rural-urban divide, but it’s quite clear it hasn’t gone away, just that the whole country has shifted towards a more liberal stance - Dublin more so still than elsewhere, although the gap has shrunken slightly; and within that, the dominance of the middle-class suburban constituencies has given way in part to high turnout and high Yes votes in more working-class (and younger) central areas, on this issue at least. Suddenly it feels a bit more like an actual republic.

I have more I kinda want to say about democracy and rights and pluralism and argumentation, but for now here’s the result we mostly expected but couldn’t quite believe would be true.  

damndonnergirls asked:

So happy for Ireland! Congratulations!

Why thank you. It’s wonderful. It’s hard to explain how incredible this is. In 1995 the Irish people voted in favour of allowing divorce by 50.28%, that was a difference of just 10,000 votes; no constituency outside Dublin voted to allow divorce. Twenty years later and we’ve voted in favour of same sex marriage by over 60% and it’s been passed by all but one constituency. Rural and urban, young and old, lgbt and straight, voted in favour. Even my rural, conservative constituency voted in favour. That’s a remarkable journey for a country to take in such a short time.


The final results are in, and as predicted there was an Yes vote in the Marriage equality referendum in Ireland today.

For me the surprising thing was the scale of the of the victory. In parts of Dublin, 3 to 1 in favour, in Cork 2 to 1 in favour. A majority in 42 or 43 constituencies voted in favour and in Roscommon-South Leitrim the margin of defeat for the Yes was just 2%

It was not just the young or the LGBT community voting in favour, but people from every part of the community voted in favour of equality. 

Urban and Rural, Young and Old, Gay and Straight were united in choosing to vote for equality. 

Nearly 2m people voted and over 1.2m decided to stand on the right side of history. They choose not to listen to the Magisterium, the evangelical Americans funding the no campaign or the voices of conservatism and fear that warned of the breakdown of the family. Instead they listened to the message of love and acceptance. 

All of this brought a little tear to my eye. It made be proud of the country in which I now live. 

Last constituencies:

Clare: Yes 58.27% No 41.73%
Dublin North East: Yes 66.70% No 33.30%
Cork East: Yes 61.72% No 38.28%.
Cork South West:
Yes 55.97% No 44.03%.
Cork North West:
Yes 57.87% No 42.13%.

First country to vote on equal marriage and Ireland does us proud.

IT’S OFFICIAL! Ireland votes yes to gay marriage - BY A LANDSLIDE!!

by Louis Doré in news

Irish voters have backed legalising gay marriage by a landslide- a stunning result that illustrates the rapid social change taking place in this traditionally Catholic nation.

In the map above of Ireland’s 43 constituencies the green represents those that said ‘yes’ to gay marriage. Only Roscommon-South Leitrim, which is largely rural, had a majority of ‘no’ votes.

Overall 62.1 per cent of Irish voters said “yes” on a turnout of above 60 per cent. The figures show over a million people (1,201,607) voted to legalise same-sex marriage, while  734,300 voted against.

- original article here [x]


Ireland says Yes by up to 2:1 margin

The same-sex marriage referendum will be comfortably passed, based on early tallies from across the country.

“The margin of victory is tipped to be heading towards a 2:1 majority.

The high turnout favoured Yes campaigners as the efforts to get the vote out worked effectively, particularly among young voters.

Few, if any locations, are showing a No vote winning the referendum.

Even in traditionally conservative rural area, the vote is coming in at 50:50.

Dublin will be strongly Yes, right across the city and county. But this trend is being matched in locations across the country. The very early tallies in Mayo, Wexford, Wicklow, Roscommon and Clare all signal a Yes vote.

The barometer constituency of Tipperary North is showing a 60:40 split.

A Fine Gael strategist said he expects the result to be up to 2:1 Yes vote.

“It’ll be about 65-66pc carried across the board,” the strategist said.

Labour Party junior minister Kevin Humphreys, who has a reputation for calling vote results early, says the vote will be Yes.

His estimates from his own constituency of Dublin South-East show some boxes coming across with results of anything up to 80pc Yes.

Although the areas concerned would be strongly liberal, the pattern indicates a strong Yes elsewhere.

“The trend is so big here, it has to be matched to a degree across the country,” he said.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin also said he believes it will be a strong Yes vote.

Mr Martin said he had never seen so many young people voting before.

“This is very much above and beyond and transcends party politics,” he added.

Read the full piece here

Photo:  Dylan Haskins and Leanne Keogh, Wicklow, members of the Irish LGBT community living in London arrive home at Dublin Port to vote in the Marraige Equality referendum. Picture: Arthur Carron