Trump in Trouble

Trump Administration sued by 16 States for declaring a National Emergency to fund the Mexican border wall 

Image credit: Kayla Velasque via Unsplash

Donald Trump’s government is being sued by 16 U.S. states for declaring a ‘’fabricated’’ National Emergency to fund to fund the Mexico border wall. 

President Trump filed a lawsuit on Monday in a Californian district court, in order to bypass Congress after he was refused the $5.7 billion needed for the wall promised in his election campaign.  

The lawsuit contradicts the U.S. Constitution which defines Congress as the final arbiter of public funds and some of Trumps own party have warned that the move could spur an influx of future presidents calling on the act whenever they fail to get their way with Congress. 

California has led the way in this case along with 15 other states including New York, Oregon, Hawaii, Virginia and New Mexico. 

Catherine Connolly, U.S. foreign policy specialist of the DCU school of Law and Government said, 

‘’While the case might be successful in California, which is where he filed the suit, it’s very likely that the case will end up going to the Supreme Court.’’ 

‘’Because Trump has framed the building of the border wall as a national security issue, that could work in his favour. If it reaches the supreme court, which I imagine it probably will, it could very well go in Trump’s favour. Of course, we can’t say for sure what will happen, but given past history on national security questions, generally the court will give deference to the President’’. 

‘’On the national emergency question itself, the idea that there is a national emergency in terms of the Southern border is essentially fabricated. Numbers of people apprehended at the Southern border are at their lowest since 1971 I believe, so it’s essentially a manufactured crisis of unlawful immigration. The President can declare an emergency, but he can’t create one.’’   

Connolly maintained that the only other way to stop the national emergency and the appropriation of funds would be for Congress to pass a vote of joint resolution. 

However, the President could potentially still veto this, 

‘’If every democrat was to vote to end the national emergency declaration, they’d still need four republicans to vote with them, but the President can veto this.’’  

As well as draining $6.6 billion from mainly the Defence Department budget, the Mexican border wall that Trump is proposing will have potentially catastrophic effects on species such as the already endangered Mexican grey wolf and the jaguar.

By Marianne Foody.

Tuesday in the Dáil

Credit: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

By Aoibhinn Bryant

It’s a quiet Tuesday in Leinster House, the bustle comes from raucous school children clambering their way through the narrow blue hallways, politicians and journalists alike worming around them. The merriness brought on from Pancake Tuesday stops short at the doors to the Dáil Chambers as the handful of TDs get ready for Leaders’ Questions.

The murmuring in the Dáil chamber comes to a stupor as the Taoiseach makes his way to his seat. With the go-ahead from the Ceann Comhairle, Fianna Fail leader Míchael Martin springs up to attention and lunges the political hot potato of housing to Leo Varadkar. Varadkar defends his minister’s actions, reaffirming his governments’ desire to that everyone has the right to shelter.

When its thrown back to Martin, his tone gets more and more heated as the Ceann Comhairle has to remind him a total of four times that “time is up”. Martin lambasts the government’s fanfare as they “prance around and not look at the real world”.

Varadkar replies back that it is in fact, Martin who is “prancing around and wagging his finger” while the government has been trying its best efforts to solve the housing crisis. This is met with unanimous shaking heads from the deputies from Fianna Fail, resembling a group hypnotism.

Next up is Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou MacDonald who brings up Saint Vincent de Paul’s recent report that has found poverty levels for lone parents has doubled in the past five years. MacDonald reiterates that the majority of these are working parents who “wake up at the crack of dawn”. Varadkar’s brows furrow and his frown deepens at the jab on his “people who get up early in the morning” campaign statement which attracted controversy at the time.

After a heated back-and-forth between the Fine Gael and Sinn Fein leaders, it’s time for Irish Solidarity-People Before Profit’s leader Paul Murphy in his jeans and runners to prove that he isn’t a part of the Dáil bubble. He raises the topic of the student’s strike for climate change and if the Taoiseach will listen to young people and their worries about the environment and if there is any initiative to make public transport free.

Varadkar says he will listen and there has been efforts to improve the public transport, mentioning the plans for Dublin Bus and MetroLinks. Michael Healy Rae looks up from his phone for the first time this session.

“Only in Dublin!” he barks before returning his gaze back to his screen.

Murphy retorts that Varadkar’s support for the student strike has given the green light for every child to walk out at school next Friday. While the chamber guffaws at his statement, a young girl in a pink dress presses her face against the window of the Press Gallery.

Just outside the doors of Leinster House, there is a noted absence of protesting crowds demanding for government action on a variety of different topics. Instead there is one man in pyjamas and a grubby t shirt perched on a chair, blasting ‘The Stone Roses’ from a small speaker and a sign on his lap. His name is Michael Wee and he’s here to champion veterans’ rights.

From Monday to Wednesday, Wee spends his entire time outside Dáil Eireann including sleeping out during the night. Next week, he plans to up the anty and dress as a Leprechaun, playing the tin whistle.

“I’ll be the Pied Piper, pushing the rats out” he gestures to the Dáil entrance.

Concern chief praises Ireland on Syria refugees

Credit vocfm.co.za

By Sabrine Donohoe

Concern Chief Brid Kennedy praised Ireland’s contribution to the Syrian crisis at a Dail Committee meeting today.

Kennedy, Regional Director of Concern, was responding to Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins and Fine Gael TD Sean Crowe, who questioned the ability of Ireland as a “small country” to influence change in Syria.

Head of Ethics and Compliance at Goal Mary Van Lieshout commended Ireland as one of the top 20 donors in humanitarian aid to Syria.

Van Lieshout claimed that Goal is supporting people in the Syrian district of Azaz, but not yet to other parts of Syria.

The Committee board suggested that Ireland meet its target of taking in 4000 Syrian refugees and use its influence in Brussels to push the UN to engage with the government in Syria.

Senetor Ivana Bacik said however that Assad has had a “de-facto victory”, with the “aspirations for support no longer tenable” after Russian and Iranian intervention.

Kennedy claimed later on that Concern would do more for Syrians to support themselves by re-building agricultural and business in Syria.

Women in “bread-winning situations” whose husbands may have passed away or otherwise will be a key focus of the charity.

Independent TD Maureen O’ Sullivan emphasised the resilience of Syrian refugees in rehabilitating to their hometowns after the destruction they suffered.

O’ Sullivan, called on all parties to hold accountability for the war crimes Syria has endured.

Ireland committed to accepting 2622 refugees in 2015, but has accepted 1022 Syrian refugees from Greece as of December 2018.

More than 5.6 million Syrians have fled their country since the civil war began in 2011, according to UNHCR figures from last year.

Taoiseach slams “eco-socialism”

Credit rte.ie

By Marianne Foody

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar rejected claims from socialist TDs in the Dail today for the government’s failure to tackle environmental issues saying, ”socialists are no friends of the environment”.

People before Profit TD Paul Murphy raised the case of 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg whose recent efforts have gained her global attention.

Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture school strikes initiative saw over 30,000 students globally take to the streets every Friday and Murphy maintained that the government needs to listen to the Irish youth who will strike on March 15th.

Varadkar stated that eco-socialist policies are not what Ireland needs and although he is inspired by the children of Ireland, he said socialists need to listen too and pointed out that PBP objected to water charges and a carbon tax saying,

‘’Without a carbon tax we cannot achieve our targets’’.

Murphy accused Varadkar’s government of ‘‘greenwashing’’ and using climate change to implement a carbon tax although, he said,

‘’It’s the larger companies who are at fault here.’’

‘’Ireland is the third worst in the EU for renewable energy. 90% of corporations are responsible for 63% of global emissions – these students should be joined by trade unions to enable the just and rapid transition that we need. We need eco-socialist policies,’’ said Murphy.

When Varadkar confirmed that he supported the children who will strike on March 15th around the world, Murphy described it as great, as long as it wasn’t just a ‘’patronizing pat on the back’’.

The PBP politician argued that free public transport in Ireland would be an effective policy to implement costing the State €600 million per year, the same amount Ireland will be fined annually by the EU for failing to meet renewable energy targets and cutting emissions by 2020.

An Taoiseach confirmed that free public transport would not be a possibility as it is already ‘’at full capacity’’ and thusly can’t be used anymore than it already is.

Ireland has committed to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 but we are not set to meet those targets and as it stands our emissions are rising.

In fact, the States own appointed Climate Change Advisory Counsel (CCAC) outlined in its 2018 report that Ireland’s trend of rising emissions was ‘‘disturbing’’.

90 year old farmer did not die from injury impact, court hears

Credit: Gabija Gataveckaite

By Gabija Gataveckaite

The autopsy of the murdered 90 year old farmer showed that he did not die on impact from blasts to the head with a blunt object.

The trial also heard this afternoon that some of Paddy Lyons’  injuries were from a potential fall on his right side.

Mr Ross Outram (28) has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Paddy Lyons (90) at Loughleagh, Ballysaggart, Lismore, Co Waterford on a date sometime between February 23rd and 26th, 2017.

Giving evidence to the trial today, state pathologist Professor Jack Craig stated that Mr Lyons’ autopsy indicated survival for some time after the injuries were sustained.

Mr Craig explained that axonal injuries found in Mr Lyon’s brain showed that he did not die on impact from injury.

Under cross examination by John O’Kelly SC, prosecution, Mr Craig explained that Mr Lyons was alive for sometime between 30 minutes to several hours after sustaining injuries.

The trial heard that Mr Lyons’ autopsy showed that he had ‘ill health’ and had a fractured hip, osteoporosis,  lacerations to the skull and face, bruising on the scalp as well as fractures to his ribs among other injuries.

Potential fall

The pathologist explained that injuries to the right side of his body may be explained if Mr Lyons had a fall to the hard concrete ground.

In this case, injuries to the right side of his face, lower jaw, right ribs and the hip would be explained. He stated that it was ‘unusual’ for a hip fracture to be caused by a blow to that area.

Under cross examination by Michael O’Higgins SC, defence, Mr Craig added that the fall could have been a ‘spontaneous event’ or Mr Lyons may have been ‘pushed to the ground’.

“If he had fallen over for whatever reason, fractures of the hip are very common in elderly people,” he said.

Mr O’Higgins then told the judge that there is a ‘fork in the road’ as to whether Mr Lyon’s potential fall was a spontaneous event, or if he had been pushed to the ground.

After his fall, Mr Lyons would have not been able to bear weight on his right hip, and so would have crawled to his armchair, where his body was found.

“He could have crawled a short distance,” Mr Craig told the jury.

A ‘material that looked like ash’ was also found on Mr Lyons’ knees during his autopsy, which may have adhered to his legs after he fell.

“When he was initially assaulted, he was capable of movement, he fell and crawled to the chair, where he eventually died,” said Mr Craig.

Concussion

The jury later heard that Mr Lyons enduring a concussion from injury to his head is ‘purely speculative’.

Giving evidence to the jury earlier in the trial, assistant state pathologist Margot Bolster stated that Mr Lyons ‘almost certainly’ sustained a concussion after blows to the head.

However, Mr Craig told the jury that a concussion is found on someone who is alive, and not a pathological finding.

He added that “shock associated with injury is a very considerable factor in a fatal outcome”.

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