Mayor congratulates Limerick’s Ruth Negga on Oscar nomination

first_imgLifestyleArtsEntertainmentFilmNewsLocal NewsMayor congratulates Limerick’s Ruth Negga on Oscar nominationBy Editor – January 24, 2017 1098 Walk in Covid testing available in Limerick from Saturday 10th April No vaccines in Limerick yet Print Shannondoc operating but only by appointment RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR WhatsApp Linkedin Twitter Facebookcenter_img Catalyst International Film Festival launches today Email First Irish death from Coronavirus Previous articleMunster confirm Hart & Farrell capture as Hanrahan returnsNext articleGuitar night for Dolan’s Editor Limerick City and County Mayor, Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon has congratulated actor Ruth Negga on her Oscar nomination for her role in the film ‘Loving’.“I was absolutely delighted to hear the news, and all of Limerick is certainly rooting for her,” said Mayor O’Hanlon. “It’s great for Limerick – we’re on the map now in the film industry, especially with our new purpose built Troy Film Studios in Castletroy open for business.”Displaying his knowledge of cinema through the ages, the Mayor pointed to another famous local actor in commending Negga’s achievements, “Ruth is the second Limerick person to be nominated for an Academy Award.  Richard Harris was nominated twice.”Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “Ruth has done her family in Dooradoyle and Limerick very proud,” the Mayor said. “I will be writing to her on behalf of the citizens of Limerick to congratulate her on her nomination and the best of luck at the ceremony next month.  Win or lose, I would love to invite her and her family to a Mayoral Reception, when her schedule allows,” he concluded. Advertisement TAGSfeaturedMayor Kieran O’HanlonRuth Negga Surgeries and clinic cancellations extendedlast_img read more

Government Accountability & Transparency: SC Cares?

first_imgColumnsGovernment Accountability & Transparency: SC Cares? Pranav Sachdeva23 Aug 2020 9:09 PMShare This – xThe recent Supreme Court’s judgment in Centre for PIL (CPIL) vs Union of India on the legality of the PM Cares fund is legally flawed and disheartening. It epitomizes the hands-off approach of the Court in recent years in public interest cases, where it trusts the executive more and questions it less. The current decade of 2011-2020 has clearly been the most turbulent period in…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe recent Supreme Court’s judgment in Centre for PIL (CPIL) vs Union of India on the legality of the PM Cares fund is legally flawed and disheartening. It epitomizes the hands-off approach of the Court in recent years in public interest cases, where it trusts the executive more and questions it less. The current decade of 2011-2020 has clearly been the most turbulent period in the history of the Supreme Court. This decade can be neatly divided into two starkly different 5-year periods. The country witnessed a powerful, assertive and highly respected Supreme Court from 2011 to 2015. However, the next 5 years from 2016 to 2020 witnessed the Court cede its authority to a dominant executive, while it itself became mired in serious controversies. In the initial part of the decade, the Court cracked the whip against arbitrary allocations of natural resources like spectrum and coal. It came down hard on illegal mining in several states. The Court struck down statutory appointment of the CVC because the appointee was facing a vigilance case. By the end of 2015, the judiciary’s respect in public eyes was so high that people cheered the Court for quashing Constitutional amendment creating the NJAC which had been passed almost unanimously by the Parliament and had been approved by legislative assemblies of over 20 States. From 2016 onwards, there was a noticeable shift in Court’s approach and it virtually stopped holding the executive to account on all important issues, be it false encounters, lynchings, citizenship amendment, NRC, electoral bonds, demonetization, Kashmir, arrests of activists in fabricated cases, draconian lockdown and the migrant crisis. This period also damaged Court’s reputation, since it brought huge controversies ranging from impeachment motion, judges’ press conference, medical college bribery case, sexual harassment case, Kalikho Pul suicide note, controversial collegium decisions and the Rajya Sabha appointment. The judgment of the Court in CPIL case is part of the above trend of the last 5 years where the executive has had its way on an important public issue. The petitioner CPIL had pointed out that while the Government notified Covid-19 to be a disaster under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DMA) and exercised huge powers under that law, but it failed to discharge its statutory duties of formulating a National Plan to contain Covid-19 (Section 11) or prescribing minimum standards of relief (Section 12). Most importantly, the petition asked for proper effectuation and utilization of the National Disaster Response Fund / NDRF (Section 46). CPIL argued that Government could not legally create a separate PM Cares Fund for Covid-19 disaster relief in derogation of the NDRF, and therefore, its receipts must be transferred to the NDRF. The Court however on 20th August dismissed the petition. The Court held that there is no need for National Plan specifically for Covid-19 since the general Plan formulated in 2019 (before the virus outbreak) and the multiple guidelines being issued by various ministries, are adequate compliance with the DMA. The Court also held that there is no need to lay down enforceable minimum standards of relief for Covid-19. Most disappointingly, the Court held that there is no illegality in constitution of PM Cares fund, and the receipts of it need not be transferred to the NDRF. As per Court, the money collected under the fund is not Government money, but funds belonging to a trust. Since the PM Cares trust was not funded through budgetary allocations but voluntary contributions, it could function like any other trust in the country. The Court’s judgment essentially equates the PM Cares Trust with other charitable trusts like Tata Trust, Reliance Foundation or Azim Premji Foundation, which are run by private entities and do not need a CAG audit or RTI Act compliance. The writ petition had pointed out that although the coronavirus has affected the entire world, India is the only country which witnessed a humanitarian disaster and a severe economic and employment crisis. This occurred because a draconian nation-wide shutdown was imposed without any expert advice, consultation or due notice. Moreover, the country has also failed to contain Covid-19 and the cases have surged exponentially. It was submitted that these multiple crises occurred due to government’s arbitrary and ad hoc decision making, by issuing over 800 guidelines/notifications within 3 months, and by not consulting experts or following their advice. Therefore, the petitioner had asked for a National Plan to be formulated specifically for Covid-19 by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) which would act as blueprint for all authorities and lay down a strategy to contain the virus and its multiple fallouts. The Court however felt otherwise. The petitioner had also argued that Section 46 of the DMA obliges the government to channel all donations and grants to the NDRF, which has to be used for disaster relief. NDRF is audited by the CAG, comes under the RTI regime and can be scrutinized by the Parliament. PM Cares could not be equated with any ordinary charitable trust since the Prime Minister was the ex-officio Chairman of this Trust. Further, Ministers of Defence, Home and Finance were all ex-officio trustees of the fund. Donations to the fund were sought by the Government itself, though various advertisements and through its official website.No Occasion For CAG Audit Of PM CARES Fund As It Is A Public Charitable Trust: SC [Read Judgment] PM Cares fund uses the name and picture of the Prime Minister himself. Clearly a message was given to the public and corporates that this is the government fund for Covid-19 disaster relief in case they wanted to donate towards disaster management, frontline workers, medical supplies, or relief for migrants etc. In fact, it was only on 19th June, two days after notice was issued in the CPIL’s petition, that the Government formulated a procedure for the public to donate to the NDRF and uploaded the bank account details for making the payment. Clearly the aim of the government was to divert all funds to the PM Cares Trust rather than the NDRF. Therefore, it was no surprise that in just 5 days, from 27th to 31st March, Rs. 3076 crores had already been collected as per the Government website. However, Government has till date not disclosed the amount collected from 1st April onwards or its utilization, which is believed to run into tens of thousands of crores. Under the Companies Act, corporates are obligated to spend two percent of their net profit on CSR activity, which goes into funding many educational, health, environmental and social initiatives. When the Government included donation to the PM Cares fund as a CSR activity, it was obvious that thousands of crores of money would be diverted by corporates, who are only too willing to please the Government, to the PM Cares Fund. In fact, donations over Rs. 2000 crores have been made by public sector companies under various union ministries themselves to this Trust, which is patently public money. If the Government had been transparent about the money collected and its utilization, and had not rejected independent audit and Parliamentary scrutiny, there would have perhaps been no occasion for any misgiving, even if the DMA mandated otherwise. However, the government completely blocked out all information concerning the fund, rejected RTI requests for even basic documents like copy of Trust Deed, appointed an auditor who was reportedly close to the ruling party, and the MPs of the ruling party reportedly did not allow the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to scrutinize the fund. Mala fides were writ large on the government’s attitude which wanted to use the huge sums collected as its private money. The Government’s counter-affidavit was noticeably silent on facts concerning the Trust. The Court therefore, in the first instance, ought to have asked the Government to place all information concerning the fund, the trust deed, the receipts, and the utilization before it. The Court ought to have questioned the Government why it created a parallel fund bypassing the statutory regime. The Government should have been taken to task for resisting a CAG audit or transparency since the Trust was undertaking state functions. A Trust headed by PM, with senior cabinet ministers as trustees, all in their ex-officio capacity, could not have been equated with an ordinary charitable trust. The money in the fund is clearly public money collected for a public purpose and Government could not have been allowed to pretend otherwise. However, the Court did not ask these pertinent questions and rejected the petition. The CPIL judgment, therefore, failed to hold the Government to account on an issue of significant public importance. As the decade draws to a close, one hopes for a return of a time when the Supreme Court was less trustful of the executive and interrogated it more, while guarding the rights of the citizens more vigorously.(The Author is an Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court)(This is an opinion piece and the views are of the author’s, not necessarily reflecting the views of LiveLaw) Next Storylast_img read more

Highlands Businesses Working to Reopen

first_imgBy John Burton HIGHLANDS – It is still very quiet and vacant along Bay Avenue but life is returning there.Eleven weeks after Super Storm Sandy hit, many buildings and businesses are still closed and shuttered. But, behind the emptiness and eerie stillness, there is activity as owners take on the work of repairing their businesses – with some already up and running.“I think we’re progressing in a very positive manner,” said Carla Cefalo-Braswell, president of the Highlands Business Partnership, the local business improvement district. So far there are about 20 businesses that are open or just about to, out of the partnership’s 70 members, which include a number of seasonal businesses.“There are very few who are not going to return,” she said.With charitable organizations, such as the Robin Hood Foundation, offering financial support for businesses and residents, there is a future, Cefalo-Braswell said.One of the businesses that has reopened along the borough’s Bay Avenue business district is the Welsh Farms. Its owner said his location has become more than just a convenience store in the storm’s aftermath.“People were so thankful to us,” owner Ben Saini said, explaining that residents were happy to have the store open and operating. “It made me feel so proud and a little better” after Sandy.Saini, who is originally from India, has owned Welsh Farm, 300 Bay Ave., for 16 years, and Katz’s Grill, 208 Bay Ave., a small luncheonette that is also open, for the past five years.Sandy hit his businesses hard, Saini said, with the bay’s waters causing more than about 3 feet of water to flood his two locations, resulting in about $125,000 in damage to Katz’s and another $75,000 Welsh’s Farms.Saini decided to forgo help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the federal Small Business Associ­ation, deciding that the red tape would be onerous. Instead, he said, he went directly to his banker and was able to quickly secure a loan to rebuild.Skip Ross (left), who owns the Sand Witch Shop, and a worker put the finishing touches on his Highlands shop as he prepares to reopen after the October storm that caused about 3 feet of flooding and considerable damage to his business.For Skip Ross, who, with his wife Donna owns and operates the Sand Witch Shop, 71 Waterwitch Ave., the issue has been dealing with the insurance company as he works to get his operation up and running.“I’m on eternal hold,” he said, as he held a cordless phone receiver to his ear, waiting for another insurance representative to answer.“The water was this high,” he said, reaching out to touch the restaurant’s wall, about 3 feet off of the floor. “I lost every piece of equipment I had.”The Rosses live around the corner from their business, just off of Bay, and saw the first floor of their home flood too. “We ran from Irene,” the hurricane that came in August 2010. “We thought we would be all right,” by staying and riding out Sandy, he said, acknowledging how wrong the decision was.“It’s defeating,” he said. “It brings you to the realization that we’re only human and Mother Nature rules.”Ross has spent about $20,000 for new equipment, though he tried to salvage as much as he could. “I know I lost as much in product,” he said, as he worked on getting everything in shape for his reopening. He reopened the shop the weekend of Jan. 5.Rosann Ketchow gets the offices at her Highlands business, Gateway Marina, back in shape and prepares to move forward in the aftermath of Sandy.Rosann Ketchow, who owns and operates Gateway Marina with her husband, has been in business at 34 Bay Ave. since 1994 and has a second location in Port Monmouth.Gateway is operating, continuing its work on winterizing and storing boats and repairing those that were damaged along the shore, she said.The Ketchows were in Florida when Sandy hit, but had taken some precautions before leaving. They placed computers and other equipment on high shelves and took other steps. But it wasn’t enough, Rosann Ketchow said. They got 5 feet of water in their office.“I couldn’t believe there was this much damage,” she said. “How could water do this much damage? “We never thought it would get to be 5 feet. Nobody did.”They returned from Florida with a generator that allowed them to warm the office as they began getting back in business, repairing and replacing what Ketchow estimated to be about $750,000 in damage to their “completely saturated” business.Outside, there was additional damage to some boats in storage and the storage area, with the water and wind destroying a portable tent-like enclosure where mechanics did some of their work.Some of the biggest hassles have been getting the phone and computer systems operating to allow the Ketchows to contact boat owners and vendors for much needed equipment and parts.Despite the problems, some business owners remain hopeful.As businesses – such as the restaurants and bars – return and again become summer destination spots, Welsh Farms owner Saini is hoping “at the end of the tunnel there’s a light.”last_img read more