Monday 24 October 2016

Editorial: Where's the urgency on Ibrahim Halawa case?

ibrahim halawa
ibrahim halawa

IF Ibrahim Halawa’s trial goes ahead in October – and that remains a big ‘if’ – he will have spent more than two years in custody.

This follows the postponement of his trial in Egypt yesterday, for the third time. Mr Halawa’s appearances in court have also been postponed on

a number of occasions.

The young Irishman stands accused of myriad charges alongside some 490 other people. Such circumstances are very likely to hinder any

chance he has of securing a full and fair trial.

Mr Halawa is an Irish citizen and is entitled to whatever representation and protection we can offer him.

To date, despite assurances that the matter is being monitored, the Government has displayed a lack of urgency in its response to this case.

The Australian government succeeded some months ago in freeing its citizen, Peter Greste, after a lengthy campaign.

Why won’t the Irish Government use a similar approach in the Halawa case?


Sugar tax is on the menu

IS it time to impose a sugar tax?

The measure, which has been called for on a regular basis in recent years, would be a key measure in tackling Ireland’s worsening obesity crisis,

the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) says.

But last month, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the jury was out on such a tax, and that research has shown such a measure can be ineffective.

One thing that’s not in doubt, however, is the extent of our obesity problem.

The IHF says the cost of obesity will quadruple in the next 15 years if unchecked, and reach €1,175 for every man, woman and child in the State.

This crisis cannot be left untackled.

Existing initiatives, while worthy, are clearly not working.

In the absence of any better suggestion, a sugar tax may be a crude but effective way to tackle the problem.

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