Thursday, October 21, 2010

Every Primary School Child in Waterford now a Waterford City Ambassador

Traditionally in Waterford City the Mayor visits every school to hand out School Attendance Certificates for children who haven't missed one, single day. This is obviously a great opportunity to speak to the children but in truth I was a bit worried about it. As a mum I know that kids can spot something phoney in about 10 seconds flat so I wanted to do something with them that would be real for them and good for the city. So I came up with the notion of making them all 'Waterford City Ambassadors'. I wrote the following pledge:

Waterford Ambssador Pledge

I am proud to be from Waterford
Irelands oldest City.
I promise on my honour
To always represent Waterford as best I can.
I promise never to litter our streets
To always treat others with respect
And to learn our history.
Waterford is my home
And from today I pledge to be a
Waterford City Ambassador.

All this week, in every Primary School in the City, children have been taking this pledge. They stand, with their hands on their hearts and they are so proud when they are doing it. I have been bowled over by their reaction, their enthusiasm for the idea and their pride in the city and in themselves. I sign and date the pledge and present it to the Principal and declare that 'through the authority of the Mayors Office, it is decreed that you are all now Waterford City Ambassadors'.

And you know what? The kids get it. They are keen to have a meaningful role and to have a purpose in the life of the city.

I now have plans to spin the Ambassadors Pledge out into the adult world (with a more adult version of the pledge perhaps). I have spoken to the Lions Club in Waterford City and they are very interested in the idea too. I am looking at having an exclusive 'Waterford City Ambassadors Pin' designed that people could wear on their lapel wich would signify their committment and hope to roll out this project very early in the new year. The Lions Club have agreed to sponsor the pins.

Perhaps this idea will grow and we will have a city full of Ambassadors all being proud of this ancient and mighty city of ours. Next year, we expect around 1,000,000 tourists to come to Waterford City. Wouldn't it be great to have a couple of hundred - or even thousand - Ambassadors ensuring that they get a once in a lifetime experience when they are here?

From little acorns......the children can show them how it's done! Thanks to all the schools for their huge welcomes and to all the children for being so inspirational!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

General Election In The Wind!

Sometimes the apple just ripens and simply drops off the tree. That is how it is beginning to feel with this current government and their tenure in office. It's feeling very much like they are about to just drop off the Government tree. A couple of things have made me feel that way. Some are tangible - others less so.

Firstly the announcement that the by-elections would be held in March/April. No way. That is virtually 'game over' and I suspect the Governement knows it will have lost its working majority before then. It seemed to me an almost coded acceptance that there will be a General Election in the Spring (although I would not be surprised if it were before Christmas in fact.)

Secondly, we have suspended bond auctions until next Spring. That would cover the period of 'instability' that an election would inevitably throw up so it gives a window of opportunity.

Thirdly, Fianna Fail know that they have no mandate to be introducing four-year budget plans; plans which seek to commit future Governments! I suspect the European Union is behind the four-year plan and that they will insist on a stable government to see it through. That means the GE would have to be brought forward as FF/Greens/Inds cannot deliver that - even if they were to go full term.

Then we have the whole issue of reduced pensions for those who retire after the end of this year! This, I would imagine would weigh heavily on the minds of certain TD's and Ministers who are likely to either not run again or would lose their seats. Next year those entitlements will be considerably reduced. This is a crucial one in my book. If there's going to be an election next year anyway (and by the looks of it that is inevitable) then why would you throw away your superior pension for the sake of four more months in office???? Especially when you are of the 'kind of grabbing mentality' that some of our elected represenatives have demonstrated!

Then we have the jumping jelly-beans known as the Fianna Fail backbenchers many of whom can smell an election in the wind and will be nervously trying to do everything to save their own seats. Unortunately for the Government that means distancing themselves from this current administration. Watch for the rats deserting the sinking ship I say. And a flurry of 'I put my constituency first' or 'Independent' runs.

The Government heads are down. The senior civil servant heads are down. If nothing else this Country needs an opportunity to let off steam and the 'machine' of the permanent Government needs an infusion of new thinking and new blood.

The signs are there. The election clock is almost at midnight from where I'm looking. Let's see who blinks first.