Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Patrick Kavanagh – Epic

You'd be worn out with it all – the same old, same old.

In "the news" lately:  Irish judges the highest paid in Europe, ditto TDs, teachers, coppers and all the rest.  

Speaking of the latter, there are ongoing (and still unaddressed) allegations of Garda corruption...  maybe we'll have a tribunal or Government investigation exposing it all in 20 years' time?   Maybe a few of them will get a taste of their own medicine and sample the inside of a jail?   

But no, didn't the great Irish public vote against giving Government investigations real powers in a recent referendum?  So the corrupt can continue to come out smiling for the cameras whenever such "investigations" take place. 

The Irish public. "The Peeple".  

The  same gobshites who voted for Charlie, Bertie, Lowry, Callely and other assorted shysters year-in year-out, decade after decade, all the way back to Dev himself.   The same gobshites who voted to keep the senate.

If you think about it too much you'll end up going insane... this is what the Irish people want, after all.  And you don't want to end up like them.

Sure 'tis a great little land.

And what better way to sum up Irish parochialism and small-mindedness than this 1938 work by Patrick Kavanagh?     "The Munich bother", by the way, is the Munich Agreement: when Chamberlain famously appeased Hitler in a hope to stop further Nazi expansion... "peace for our time".    

We all know what happened next... "The Emergency".  


I have lived in important places, times
When great events were decided, who owned
That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land
Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
I heard the Duffys shouting "Damn your soul!"
And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
Step the plot defying blue cast-steel -
"Here is the march along these iron stones."
That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
Was more important? I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said: I made the Iliad from such
A local row. Gods make their own importance.

Patrick Kavanagh

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Gardai bug Ombudsman shock?

Should it come as any surprise? 

The Garda have been bugging people for years, in so many ways. Even Justice Morris, who headed a tribunal of inquiry to investigate gardai misdeeds in Donegal in the 90s and 2000s.

The Morris Tribunal found extensive corruption and criminal behaviour by gardai in that county, some of whom tried to frame members of a family for murder. 

 They also planted “evidence” on people, and hid guns and explosives which they “found” later and claimed as arms caches, to aid their promotion.

 Indeed, Morris himself reported that "The Tribunal has been staggered by the amount of indiscipline and insubordination it has found in the Garda Force.”

The Garda also tapped phones of prominent journalists in the 80s, at the behest of the Fianna Fail minister of justice, Sean Doherty.

Given all this, is it really too far-fetched to think that the good folk at the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) suspected their offices might have been bugged? And is it any surprise that the last people to whom they might report their suspicions would be the Garda themselves?

The Garda are habitually uncooperative towards the GSOC, even sometimes refusing to submit documents to the ombudsman when claims of misconduct are being made.

The force also resisted attempts by the GSOC to look into the recent penalty points scandal, in which some gardai wiped the penalty points slate clean for themselves, their mates, their families, certain politicians and GAA “stars”.

Let’s play detective for a minute and ask who would possibly want to bug the GSOC’s offices?

No need to call Inspector Morse, is there?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Neknomination and a tsunami of hysteria

Look, I'm no spring chicken – far from it.  Any fluff to be found on me springs out only from my ears and nose.

But even I cannot help but have a good laugh at fogey Ireland when it comes to the web. If the reactions of the papers, RTE, Internet sources of less authority than this one, and high court judges are anything to go by, we are facing into an neknomination abyss.

 "Neknomination", if fevered reports are to be believed,  is "an online craze" sweeping the youth of Ireland, including our student future elite. You can tell they are students by the fact that they aren't able to spell "neck".

The Irish Independent describes it thus:

Alyson Henry – 03 February 2014

NEKNOMINATION is an online drinking game that has gained momentum in recent weeks in Ireland. The aim of the game is to down a pint of alcohol and then nominate someone else to do the same, giving them a window of 24 hours to do so. Most people who take part make a video of themselves carrying it out, and post it on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

The concept of the game has been described as: "Neck your drink. Nominate another. Don't break the chain, don't be a d***. The social drinking game for social media! #neknominate. Drink Responsible".

Some try to take Neknomination to extremes, downing disgusting cocktails or aiming to be ever‐more flamboyant or outrageous, sometimes with dangerous results.

The deaths of two young people this weekend have been linked to the game, causing concerns as to the impact the trend is having on young people and drinking habits.

According to latest reports however, it now seems that at least one of the deaths above had nothing to do with "the craze" but that reporting it so was due to the climate of neknomination hysteria

I see another angle here: that bit about "young people" and "drinking habits".  You just know where this is going – the authorities raising alcohol prices on the pretext of acting in the interests of spoiled brats who should know better.  And where do they get the money anyway?  Mummy and daddy, I presume?  So where do they fit in with  all of this?

More incredibly, if that most out-of-touch section of the Irish populace – the judiciary – is to be believed, neknomination will result in a tidal wave of murder and rape too.  See below:

A High Court judge has said if Internet drinking contests continued, they would result in a “tsunami” of homicide and rape prosecutions before his court.

Mr Justice Paul Carney was speaking as he was sentencing a 38-year-old Waterford man who, after drinking six to seven pints of Budweiser, raped an acquaintance having offered her a lift home from their local nightclub.

The man yesterday received an eight-year sentence with the final three years suspended. An 18-month post-release supervision order was also imposed and the man was registered a sex offender.

Woah!  Steady on, Your Honour.  First of all, the man above is 38 years old.  

Apart from that, It's something of a leap – even from comfort of a well-upholstered judge's seat – to equate a stupid drinking game played by young people incapable of actual social interaction with acts of murder and rape. 

Surely if all these silly dares take place in front of a PC, laptop or smartphone, it's more likely that participants with be up in their bedrooms with the doors locked, and are more likely to fall into their beds after their Jägerbombfest?   They're quite possibly less likely to be outside causing inconvenience to others, as happened in my day. 

And rape?  Sorry, I am not making light of this, but has Judge Carney never heard of Brewer's Droop?  If our pampered youth manage to stagger out of their safe suburban homes after a session of neknomination, they are highly unlikely to be any condition to rape or murder.

No more than Grand Theft Auto, a silly craze cannot be held responsible for such serious crimes.    Someone who does such things will do so without any encouragement.  

We are faced with a tsunami of hyperbole and hysteria, more like. 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Garda whistleblower and penalty points – one law for us and one for them

Some people think very highly of gardai, that they are there to protect us and all the rest.   I must confess that I'm not one... I've only every been inconvenienced by them. 

The first time I was about 8 years old, and awoke to the sound of banging on the door one early morning.  Minutes later, a plain-clothes redneck with his gun holster showing from underneath his substantial lapel was in my – and my brother's – bedroom, blustering the big "Hello lads", in the creepy, voice-of-authority manner that teachers and priests of the time also employed.

The second time I was about sixteen, and had forgotten about a tin of Dandelion Market grass that I had bought months previously.  I'd tried it and thought it was crap, before consigning it to a mantlepiece in one of the empty rooms up the house (we lived in the rented ground-floor flat of a rather dilapidated Georgian building).  

I thought I'd been had, to be honest with you, and the hustler who had sold it to me had given me a tin of thyme.  The bould boys in blue were of another mind, however –  apparently it was the real thing.  They confiscated it, of course.

They were welcome to it, as far as I was concerned.  I thought it was utter rubbish, and felt no effects from it at all.  To this day I can't figure out the fascination with cannabis that many people have, including hick gobshites like Luke "Ming" Flanagan.  

There aren't too many of you, I'm sure, who can boast about their gaff being raided, not once - but twice, during their childhood?  "Why did it happen?" you ask.

Well, we had a very bad time with landlords in Yours Truly's formative days.  On one occasion said landlord even turned up with some heavies and threatened the old man, who was having none of it, to his credit.    I think the old dear then approached some splinter group – possibly Official Sinn Fein (who now make up much of the Labour Party).  

We ended up appearing in their paper, as they took some pictures and highlighted our rather poor living conditions.  Before they did that, though, I had to take down my "Leeds United" pennant from the wall – so much for them being internationalist socialists, eh?  Even an 8-year-old kid could see something odd about that.

Then there was a mad aul'wan who lived down the road, whose hubby was in Portlaoise.   The old dear used to chat to her if she bumped into her in the street.  She was very fond of animals - I remember remarking at the time - but not so much of people, given the IRA's (and loyalist terrorists) penchant for unspeakable atrocities during that awful era.

Maybe speaking to that aul'wan was enough to get the plain-clothes men out of their Cortina a second time, all those years after the first visit?  Who knows?   

To this day I continue to be inconvenienced by them.   You visit any Friday-night city in the UK, and you will be amazed by the amount of fuzz on the beat in potential watering-hole trouble spots.  

Then have a saunter through Temple Bar on a Friday or Saturday night, as scumbags prowl the streets looking to rob and batter drunken revelers.   It really is a frightening place, and those fluorescent yellow jackets are a puzzlingly rare sight amid all the mayhem.

In fact, the only time I regularly see the gardai is when I am in the car, and spot them pointing their laser guns at traffic on roads with inappropriately low speed limits.  Or hiding in the backs of vans with blacked-out windows doing the same thing.  

And is it any wonder that they dedicate so much time and resources into applying aspects of "the law" that they themselves are immune from, if the snippet from a recent Indo article is to be believed?

Garda whistleblower makes new charges over penalty points

25 January 2014

A GARDA whistleblower who is due to give evidence to TDs next week has made a fresh batch of penalty point allegations to the Dail's spending watchdog.

They include claims a garda arranged for the termination of penalty points for 10 members of his own
and extended family.

Several cases where senior gardai allegedly quashed points for other officers are also cited in a letter
from the whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe, to the Public Accounts Committee.

Also highlighted are several instances where senior officers allegedly cancelled fixed notice penalty
charges even though the offences occurred outside of their district.

The new claims come as Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan awaits legal advice from Attorney General Maire Whelan on whether he can stop Sgt McCabe giving evidence to the committee.

Sources close to the commissioner have indicated he does not want to have to seek a High Court
injunction to halt next Thursday's hearing and is hoping that a compromise arrangement can be reached.

The commissioner believes discipline and order within the force will be compromised if a subordinate
officer is allowed give evidence to the Oireachtas.

It looks like the Garda commissioner is here demanding that honesty within the force is to be avoided at all costs, though baulking at a High Court injunction to thwart the enquiry – which even he might see would not go down too well with the public his members like to hassle.

How, even in a rotten counrty like Ireland, can an  an honest copper  who is prepared to give evidence against corrupt colleagues be seen as a threat?    As a catalyst for "a breakdown in discipline and order in the force"  no less?

Bizarre... even by the standards of the place.

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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

CAPTCHA - so illegible that only spammers can make it out

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Just an example of the numerous spam emails the blog gets (and I know we've touched on this before).     Whenever you have spam, of course, you have CAPTCHA – described by Wiki in the following manner:

"CAPTCHA (an acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart") is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human."    

You'll be familiar with CAPTCHA,  and will no doubt have torn clumps of scalp from your head while trying to decipher it.   

Cracking the revamped  WW2 Enigma code was a huge challenge, until those chaps at Bletchley Park discovered the existence of a fourth rotor on the encryptors of the Kriegsmarine.   But cracking CAPTCHA?  Not a chance (see below).

Even at that size you can't make head nor tail of it. It has become so illegible that humans can no longer make it out.  

Spammers still can, if my inbox is anything to go by.   The other problem is that people post comments that never reach me –  I know this as they've complained their contributions haven't seen the light of day.  

As if the Sisyphean task of the poor blogger was not uphill enough – eclipsed as his/her medium has been by Twitter, Facebook and all the rest – without this rotten software making the gradient even steeper. 

Thing is, CAPTCHA had improved recently – it had become more legible with easier-to-make-out text and a photo containing a number.  Comments came in unimpeded and the spam box grew no bigger... so you have to wonder why they changed it again.

Turning it off isn't an option, as it means my phone would never stop ringing for spam notifications, so it looks like we are stuck with it.  

Sorry for the inconvenience...

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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Beep if you're Irish - Leo Varadkar and road safety

Given that we still have the highest birthrate in the EU, it will come as no surprise to you that so many Irish people are forever on the horn.  But what about in the motoring sense?

In my experience - and I have lived in the UK, worked in Germany and Luxembourg, spent a bit of time in Brussels and driven as far south as Mazarron in Spain and as far east as Halle in Germany - Irish drivers are bloody awful.  Possibly worse than the Belgians.

Despite the country having more roundabouts per square centimetre than a badly chickenpoxed visage has pock-marks,  the Irish don't know how to use them.  "Signal, turn" is an abstract concept for them.  Either that, or they are trying to save the planet, the polar bears and electricity by not using those orange things on the four corners of their automotive conveyances. 

Three lane motorways?  The inside lane is usually left empty, with the exception of trucks - often going at higher velocity than private cars in the middle and rightmost overtaking lanes.

Red lights?  They are like those things matadors wave at bulls, and simply invite a reckless charge. On my miserable little half-hour lunch break in Dublin's city centre, I routinely lose count of how many times I see some arsehole break a red light, when there are pedestrians just about to cross the road, only to get as far as the next set of lights. 

The solution for all these ills from our  transport minister, Leo Varadkar,  is to put average speed cameras on the motorways. Well Leo, it is obvious that only a great mind like yours can qualify for, and get through, seven years of medical college.

But I digress.  Have you - apart from your missing tax money that goes towards financing children's allowances - noticed the latest craze for the horn in Ireland?  It seems the only part of a car's anatomy Paddy and Mary are familiar with is the button in the middle of the steering wheel, which is often used as a kind of retaliatory device.

I've never seen this anywhere else.  It is a relatively new thing that's only become apparent in the past couple of years, and is a sad reflection on  the generation of gobshites that are the future of this fucked-up little country. It's like an auditary affirmation of their utter arseholery, and saves you the trouble of having to consult BoardsDotIE or PoliticsDotIE.

Here's an example.  A few months back I was on the road leading from Clonsilla to Castleknock, when the car in front had to slam on its brakes when some half-wit emerged from a side road.   Understandably, the driver of the car who had averted an accident by hitting the anchors beeped his/her horn.  What was the response from the gobshite who pulled out from the side road?  A contrite wave, a finger pointed to their thick head, an acknowledgement of being in the wrong?     No, of course not  - they beeped their horn back.

Can you think of anything more stupid?   To be honest - and maybe I shouldn't say this - if I had been in the car that had to stop, I might well have followed them to the next set of lights and punched theirs out.  

And that would have done a lot more for road safety in this country  than Leo Varadkar and the RSA ever will.

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Friday, 3 January 2014

Done Deal car for sale – no "Polish" / "foreigners" need apply

This ad, evidently placed in DoneDeal recently by some thick-ignorant gobshite, has – understandably – prompted considerable controversy on the web.  

It was recently taken down by said advertising site, but here is a cache screenshot so you can see it in all its glory, orthographic inaccuracies included.

But is such ignorance so surprising in a country where a senator can proudly declare he will not get into a taxi driven by "an obvious non-national"  and then argue that his comments were "taken out of context"?

Leading by example?

It's shocking how little debate there is about such attitudes, especially as they appear to permeate all levels of Irish society.

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Thursday, 26 December 2013

Off the trolley at Christmas.

Christmas comes but once a year, and it is just as well in my case.  I don't know what category you fall into -  Pioneer abstainer, vegan pagan or, like me, blathered blogger; it's difficult to avoid the stuff even if you wanted to.

You see, on the left, a picture taken of a Tesco trolley destined for Gombeen Manor.  Well, you've got to have some booze there in case someone drops in, don't you?  It would be rude otherwise.

But isn't that what Christmas is all about, as an older Gombeen Nation post attests?   "Christmas", albeit with different names, existed this time of year among the ancients, long before the Christians (and other religious deceivers)  came along and attempted to take all the fun out of it.  

I remember as a kid finally teasing out from my Old Dear that Santa didn't exist.  The next logical question was "what about God?".  "YES, HE DOES!" was the unequivocal reply.

So you see, you can believe whatever brand of nonsense you want.  For my part, I'm off for another beer or two before the Leeds United v Blackpool match kicks off. 

 Another example of the misery that blind faith can bring...

Merry Christmas - in every sense.

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Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Blades at the Olympia Theatre - Boy One. Meantime Bono hobnobs it at Mandela memorial in South Africa

"Almost forgot to take you down Memory Lane..."

It was great seeing The Blades' "reunion" gigs  at the Olympia Theatre this weekend.  Not a full reunion really, but a two-off, so we're told.  It was a fantastic couple of nights.

 Back in the '80s The Blades were Dublin's best band, and I was lucky enough to have seen them as a three-piece at the Magnet on Pearse Street  -  that's like saying you were in the GPO in '16 or, more important, at the Sex Pistols in the Hope and Anchor in '77.  

They also played residencies in McGonagles and the Baggot Inn, had slots in Harcourt Street's TV Club, and played their farewell Dublin gig in the Olympic Ballroom, Camden Street, in 1986.   

Inspired by the Beatles as a kid, and the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Jam as a teenager, Paul Cleary - the band's songwriter - was one of the best around.  A look at the lyrics of "Tears that tell the truth" - along with a listen to that brilliant bass run - will confirm that for you.

Here's a snippet captured with my own fair hand at the Saturday gig, a song called Boy One:

The Blades and their contemporaries, U2, shared the bill at the Baggot Inn for six weekends on the trot in 1979.  U2 subsequently became one of the world's biggest bands, while The Blades languished in Dublin and never saw fame and fortune.   Paul McGuinness must have been doing something right, then...  he must have been a miracle worker, in fact.

Interesting so, to see mega-popstar Bono hobnobbing it with the likes of George Bush at Nelson Mandela's memorial do in South Africa last Tuesday, while Paul Cleary prepared for his Olympia gigs.

In 1984, Cleary gave his support to shopworkers at Dunnes Stores who refused to handle produce from the apartheid South African regime and went on strike over the issue.  If you'd been around in the 80s, a time of rampant unemployment and emigration, you'd realise what an incredibly brave, principled stand that was.   

Here's a poster advertising a benefit gig at the time:

Where was Bono back then, I wonder?

Here's to The Blades, Dublin's best-ever band.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

O Cuirreain to resign An Choimisinéir Teanga job (Irish Language Commission)

Add caption
The whole planet is in shock.

One of the greatest champions of human rights the world has ever known stepped off the stage last week. Things will never be the same.

I refer of course, to Irish Language Kommisar Sean O Cuirreain, who made public his intention to resign his post as head of of An Choimisinéir Teanga (The Irish Language Commission).   

For those of you who don't know,  An Choimisinéir Teanga is a quango set up to help English speakers, who also speak Gaelic, gain as much advantage as possible in the arena of State employment over everyone else, both native and non-native.  Some call them the Gaeliban, others The Irish Language Lobby.

This oppressed minority - who number 2% daily speakers outside an  education system where Gaelic is compulsory - are to be found among top civil servants, teachers, Irish Times readers, judges and those who grace the RTE credits at the end of each dire programme the state-subsidised dross-merchant produces. 

O Cuirreain isn't, of course, resigning right away... but he has announced his intention to do so in light what he sees as the lack of  Gaelic language services for "Gaeltacht residents".    As acts of martyrdom go, it's not exactly Robben Island, is it?

Bear in mind, please, that there is not one monoglot Gaelic speaker in the country, and many in the Gaeltacht don't even speak it to any acceptable level.  There are no poor Paidis or Peigs on rocky outcrops in the Atlantic who are only capable of pursuing vocal intercourse with state agencies through Gaelic.  

More realistically, the kind of person more likely to insist on such interaction as Gaeilge is likely to be your well-heeled middle-class type who speaks Gaelic as a second language out of a Dev-inspired cultural nationalism, or who already benefits from the bureaucracy surrounding the language in the public sector.

An Choimisinéir Teanga, Conradh na Gaelige, and all the rest want to increase this bureaucracy to ring-fence more jobs for themselves and like-minded enthusiasts by increasing Gaelic requirements for state careers... simple as that.   In the past you failed your entire Leaving Cert if you didn't pass Gaeilge – you could have had seven "A"s otherwise – but nowadays they have to be a bit more subtle.

The reality is that there are more grounds for increasing the number of English/Polish speakers, or English/Chinese speakers, in state employment - including the police force.   But no...this is Ireland after all, and logic and reason seldom triumph.

As someone who takes the train to and from work most days, I can vouch for the intrusiveness of An Choimisinéir Teanga's diktats; having to listen to endless recorded announcements as Gaeilge –  especially on intercity trains serving commuter routes where the Gaelic announcements drone on for so long that there is no room to hear the vernacular between stops.   

Last week I had a nice English lady ask for clarification as to where the train was going, as she couldn't make head nor tail of the babble.  I told her I couldn't make it out either – nor possibly most of the other passengers – and that Dev and his grandson were to blame.  I did, however, know that the train stopped at Pearse Station.

Likewise, you will see many tourists looking quizzically around them as they frantically peruse their phrase-books, before the doors close and they land in some location they had no intention of going to.   How Irish is that, then?

Instead of humouring  the likes of Cuirreain, the government should grab the moment and repeal Fianna Fail's 2003 Languages Act, introduced by aforementioned grandson-of-Dev, Eamon O'Cuiv.

An Choimisinéir Teanga should then be shut down, being a commodity of nonsense bollocksology we can ill afford.

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Monday, 2 December 2013

Man set on fire, horse set on fire, woman blinded. Business as usual in Dublin.

A woman blinded by a scumbag who threw an egg from a moving car, a horse set alight by "feral youths" in Tallaght, a homeless man burnt alive in his sleeping bag in the Phoenix Park.  All horror strories that have featured in the news in recent weeks. 

In the case of the "feral youths", as described by The Herald, children as young as 12 to 14 years old have been flinging petrol bombs at each other in pitched battles, if that not entirely reliable publication is to be believed.

If it's true, it would make you wonder about the feral scumbag parents who brought such feral scumbag devilspawn into the world.  

"What did you do today, Johnny?".

"I threw a few petrol bombs at people and set a horse on fire, ma".

"That's nice, love".

The really worrying thing about all this is Ireland's demographic.  Paddy and Mary are still popping out vile brats like there is some kind of demand for them. 

I suppose this goes back to the days when the Catholic Church held sway on "moral" issues, contraceptives were an illegal novelty, and people were encouraged to breed without any responsibility once the urchin had vacated the womb.

Maybe the way forward here is to hold parents to account for the actions of their offspring? Or surely if they are unaware of the activities or their children, as they roam wild during school hours, they should at least be done for negligence?

Why should their kids be everyone else's – plus the odd horse's – problem?

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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dublin house sales at three-year-high as ghost estates to be demolished by taxpayers...

It's nearly getting to the point where you could take old Gombeen Nation posts from the archive, change the date at the top, and pass them off as new.   Such is the convenience of  blogging about Groundhog Day Ireland.

Or maybe it's the same as the chief character in Flann O'Brien's "Third Policeman" who is doomed to make the same awful, and only just bearable mistakes, into perpetuity?

I nearly choked on my Tayto and milk breakfast last week when I read the following in The Irish Times:

"The number and value of house sales in Dublin is at a three-year high, according to a new survey from, which also shows that the total value of transactions in the first nine months of the year is up by 29 per cent on the same period last year."

Then there were some "experts" (remember those?) on radio doing their utmost to assure us that we were not looking at another bubble in the capital.    I should certainly hope not, we still haven't paid for the first one yet.    

At the same time ghost estates, built with government tax incentives and dodges (and about which the "opposition" of the time were strangely quiet) are going to be demolished at taxpayers' expense.

Then there's all the other stuff...

It's a strange little country where HSE top management and executives receive salary top-ups for making a bollocks of running our health service, and where it was recently decided that taxpayers should subvent RTE even more than they do at present... by a body that contains an ex-RTE head.  Failed bankers too, have enjoyed bonuses while judges have used the constitution to fight changes to their pensions.

 In Greece the Troika took the axe to such wasters, but Ireland is different I suppose.   

'Tis a quare place, alright.   

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Sunday, 10 November 2013

Varadkar cosies up to Conradh na Gaeilge on Irish road signs

"More Irish than the Irish themselves"

Even as a kid I could see that this officially presented twaddle was utter bollocks.  How can you "be more" than what is, in this sense, after all?

You know how there has been a clamour for many things to be tackled since the bubble burst?


Those who made the bank debts public property (the Irish Government of the time) being brought to justice.

The property tax.

DIRT tax -   the highest in the world. 

The continuing scandal of Vehicle Registration Tax.

The fact PAYE workers go into the highest income-tax bracket in, or at around, the 30-grand opposed to six digits in the UK. 

Continuing tax-breaks for builders and developers.

The Government massaging the true unemployment figures by cutting benefit down to 9 months, therefore ensuring that people who have paid taxes for decades slip quietly below the radar when their benefit runs out. 

Lots of things.

So how do you make your feelings felt when something concerns you?    Contact your local TD?

One of mine is Leo Varadkar.  When we moved into Gombeen Manor here a couple of years ago, when the gobshite investors were temporarily frightened off, we discovered that our broadband was utter w**k.   It was slower than dial-up.

We got onto the bould Leo, along with Joan Burton and Peggy Hamill and some other wine-and-cheese-party type from Fine Gael whose name escapes me.  Something to do with Queen's Park Rangers, I think.

Not one of them responded. 

Eventually - with a bit of non-lobby enhanced pucking, the provider rolled out the fibre - it seems our bit of Castleknock had been forgotten - and now we are sorted.

So, how do you get a politician's ear in Ireland?

Be Conradh na Gaeilge, it seems.  These gobshites who, in their previous incarnation as the Gaelic League, helped ruin Ireland's education system by sitting on school governing committees and insisting the Irish education system be geared more toward Gaelic revivalism than education (see Tom Garvin - Preventing The Future).  These Government-funded arsebags have got Varadkar's ear just like that.

Now if this quango of hobbyists and Gaelic-language lobbyists gets its way, we will have even more nonsensical and confusing road signage than we have at present, with priority (thanks to the odious O'Cuiv's Language Act)  given to a "language" that only a tiny minority of elitists and cultural nationalists actually speak...along with their mother-tongue Hiberno-English.  

They know what the country needs, begob.

Have a look at this bollocksology:

Green light for plan to make road signs 'more Irish'

Paul Melia – 08 November 2013, Irish Independent.

Intensive lobbying by Conradh na Gaeilge could result in road signs being changed to give equal prominence to our two official languages.

Road signs display English place names more prominently than those as Gaeilge – but Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has now given his approval to replace these signs over time with a new version designed by the lobby group.

The minister and officials met with Conradh na Gaeilge earlier this week, and it unveiled new sign designs which make placenames the same size in Irish and English.
While no signs will be replaced in the short-term – the National Roads Authority (NRA) has just spent €65m re-signing the road network – the new ones may be used when needed.
Mr Varadkar has asked the NRA to consider using them on a trial basis, but new regulations must be passed before they can be put in place.

Existing road-sign legislation stipulates that priority must be given to English place names.
"I like the new design and I do think there should be parity between Irish and English where it matters, like road signs that people see every day," Mr Varadkar said. "But it's a bit like an election poster – it's only when
you put it on a road and drive past that you really know whether it works.
"I have been in touch with the NRA and they are considering putting up a few signs on a trial basis to see what people think. These would be new signs that have to go up anyway so there would be no additional cost involved."
If it goes ahead, it means that road signs will be compliant with the Official Languages Act for the first time. 

Julian de Spainn, from Conradh na Gaeilge, said the idea was first mooted a number of years ago, but the last government wasn't keen.
"It's about the language. All these things make a difference. We teach children about the importance of mlanguage, and they go outside and see that English is more prevalent on road signs. It differentiates us from other countries, too, which can only be a good thing for tourism."

The NRA said it was an "interesting proposal" and while it did have bilingual signs, it "looked forward" to implementing the idea. "This initiative is being proposed by the minister and Department of Transport, and we look forward to their direction on it," a spokesman said.

Ho-hum.  In most other countries, signage is about offering information, direction and clarity. 

In Ireland, it is all about creating bureaucracy and promoting the deluded notion that we are a nation of Gaelic speakers, long after the Irish ditched their peasant (and spoken only) babble for modernity and progress.

Leo, you seem very accessible.  How can we get your ear to change things that really matter to the Irish people, rather than engaging with the type of lobby groups who brought ruin to the country?

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Fair-haired Roma children and hysterical racism in Ireland

How bizarre it all is.

A friend of a friend works as a social worker, and was recently complaining about how difficult it is to obtain a court order to take at-risk children into protective care.  

She also spoke of the hostile attitude of some judges towards social workers, and was greatly stressed by her knowledge of children who were suffering abuse/neglect and were being effectively ignored by the state authorities.

Which makes the recent shameful fiasco surrounding the taking into custody of Roma children with light-coloured hair all the more appalling.

Think about this.  We have some racist bigot making groundless "tip-offs" on Facebook, which are then passed onto the police via a journalist.   We are then treated to the spectacle of the fuzz raiding the homes of two Roma families, one in Athlone and one in Tallaght, before taking away one child from each family,  on the grounds that their hair is fair and their complexions are pale.

The gardai, of course, claimed their actions were because the children were "at risk".   Strange then, that they left the other dark-haired children at home with their parents while running away with the fair-haired siblings under their arms.

Keystone Cops doesn't even describe it –  only it is no laughing matter that racist hysteria has once more found embarrassing expression in Ireland. 

Meanwhile we have a government that is busy  taking medical cards away from sick and dying children – plainly putting them in a geniune "at risk" category.

"Bizarre" doesn't really do it justice;  and nor do the gardai.

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Sunday, 20 October 2013

An Coimisinéir Teanga

Two of the three founding pillars of our wonderful bullshit banana repubic were the Catholic Church and the "Irish language".    The other one was their sporting wing, the GAA.  

The nuns and priests are on the run, cassocks and habits a-flapping.  

The other two are definitely still with us.   It might take another 100 years or so, but the De Irish Peeple, who voted to keep the Senate politicians in jobs,  will eventually get it and give them the bum's rush.  They're very sophisticated, you see. 

How about this, from a reader who works in the Civil Service?   

My  workplace Big Brick Building normally houses 400 – but in this recession this has gone down to 200. Our safety committee had dwindled but had re-convened: and decided to  do up the  internal safety signage of our Big Brick Building.

 Other signage throughout the building was also done up - since it had been drawn before the 2004 language act. However as internal offices changed rooms at times, not every office Had a sign ( eg Accounts office) on the door – most did not. 

So as well as safety notices, for example  "exit this way", they mostly contented themselves with putting new signs on each floor opposite the lifts - bilingually. 

I have no problems with this- even though office is squarely in central Dublin- and the public only use the ground floor...  therefore anyone getting to the remaining 5 floors are all Dublin-based English speakers.  However these signs duly went  up and some pointed out a "fada" in the wrong place on "Cead". 

What amazed me was when our admin staff came into my office and told us to take my home-made typed notice off the door: 

Parts of my Dept are re-organising  – and I am in one of the little set-up offices overseeing   the changes - a completely new office- so  to aid visitors  and service staff I put  up a notice:  "The ****** Transition Office’.   I was told to take it down as it  was English only.  The Irish Language Auditors were to be in the next day.  Of course they told me it was  OK to put it back up after they had gone!

So, better- NO Sign – in central Dublin - than one in English!

Compare the zeal of the Irish Language Auditors (!!!) - Nazis checking our Green stars are on - with the safety inspectors at Dublin city council.  Those who let Priory Hall pass due to ‘safety self-certification’- and it it took a suicide to force a solution. two Years Later……..

Of course the Irish language Nazis could also quickly fine us for any English only signs….. 

OK I don't know how often they issue fines- but the zeal of public officials doing a pointless job -  when safety in Priory Hall was never an issue...

If that poor man hadn't committed suicide he could have died instead in a fire there....

But  what  does all that matter?  Let's concentrate on matters important to Official Ireland and its career bureaucrats. Never mind the real issues, including many other Priory Halls that remain covered up or ignored.

Developers and builders are not subject, it seems, to regulations such as those described below.

Complaints & Investigations An Coimisinéir Teanga (The Irish Language Kommisar)
The Act provides for the imposition of a fine not exceeding €2,000 and/or imprisonment for a term of up to 6 months on a person convicted in court of refusing or failing to cooperate with or obstructing an investigation.

What''s "safety self-certification" in Gaelic, I wonder?

Developers can relax::  knowing they may remain less bothered about the placement of viable fire exits in their buildings than the Civil Service has to be with "fadas" on its internal signage.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Liam Kelly half-way line goal against Sweden - a welcome distraction from the Republic of Ireland seniors.

You would have to wonder about the future of football in this country.   By "football", I mean "football' as understood by most of the world.   Not bogball, not rugger-buggery and not, even worse, the North American variety of the latter, which is played in armour. 

I refer, of course, to the beautiful game, Association Football – or "soccer". 

Despite the odds, this country has produced some wonderful footballers.  Johnny Giles, Paul McGrath, Liam Brady, Dave O'Leary, Packie Bonner, Frank Stapleton and, though I hate to say it, Roy Keane are all examples.

But decent players haven't been coming through in recent years, just headbangers like Stephen Ireland with more belief than ability and a bad attitude to boot.  I think things will get even worse in the coming years with so many young lads being lost to the dark arts of the GAA and the rugby lot.    

All aided and abetted by the utter ineptitude of the Football Association of Ireland.   Which means we will never again grace the World Cup finals or the European Championships' final stages.  

A work colleague of mine described how his kids have been lost to football thanks to the FA placing too much emphasis on competion at and up to under-12 level.

Basically, if a kid does not make the team he is out on his arse, or stood shivering on the sidelines watching his mates play.   I've some memories of this, having partaken in the Home Farm Mini Leagues as a kid, in the capacity described above. 

Kids don't need to be told they are no good - they are at the start of their football lives and even Europe's top leagues are well endowed with players who developed late on.   

There  is some glimmer of hope, as the FAI have belatedly appointed someone who plans to shake up kids' football in Ireland, with three-a-side non-competitive matches played with small goals and designed to give young players as many touches of the ball as possible. 

Ruud Dokter, a Dutchman, might sound like a Carry On character, but he could be just the thing Irish football needs to ensure some kind of future.

Mind you, with a few more goals like the one below by Reading's Liam Kelly – scored against the Swedish under 19s – things might not be as glum as we think.

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Monday, 7 October 2013

Seanad stays - Irish democracy elects to keep undemocratic house

De Peeple  have spoken. 

The “upper house” of elitism and privilege will stay.  The chamber whose members are selected by 1% of the population and by political cronyism  – otherwise known as “appointments” (See Irish Times graphic above).  

A chamber full of dead wood and dross – graced now and in the past by heavyweights such as Ivor Callely, Donie Cassidy, Jimmy Harte, Bertie Ahern, and Michael McDowell – rejected at the polls in his last general election outing.

Most of  De Peeple I am acquainted with never stop banging on about our corrupt and useless political class, yet when given a gold-plated opportunity to put a few of them out on their waffling arses arrives,  De Peeple elect – the only such input they have ever had into the Seanad – to keep these wafflers in jobs.


The Dublin chattering classes have much to answer for.  Even so-called “left wing” commentators such as Fintan O’Toole called for a “no” to abolition of the anachronistic upper house.   For once, the culchies led the way by voting "yes"  – from this perspective anyhow – as a clear urban/rural divide saw the city slickers vote “no’ decisively.

Irish democracy has thrown a fundamentally undemocratic institution an unexpected lifeline.
It gets curiouser and curiouser.