Friday, 2 November 2007

Is Bono a hypocrite?

Or has Gombeen Man got him all wrong? It seems that he treats his workers very well, as five employees of U2 Ltd "shared almost €18 million in wages last year, the firm's accounts show" (Irish Times).

Wait. Five employees? It couldn't be messrs Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen and Paul McGuinness? We'll never know, as it seems that the accounts don't name the employees. But let's just take the leap anyway, and make that assumption.

Not that Gombeen Man has a problem with jaded rock stars banking money out of proportion to the merits of their artistic endeavors - that's Rock 'n' Roll, after all.

What he does have a problem with is the shameless, continuing, sanctimonious posturing of Bono on the theme of eradicating world poverty and telling us how our taxes should paid. Especially as U2 took their recording and publishing business to the Netherlands when there was a cap put on the Republic's tax exemption for 'artists' - which meant that Bono and Co. did not pay a penny of tax on the millions they got from royalties. No wonder they wanted the media to lay off Charlie Haughey, who introduced the exemption.

It's amazing that this vertically challenged clown gets such an easy ride from the same media and the gullible Irish public.

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Thursday, 25 October 2007

Compulsory 'Irish', Big-time.

The following - in green - is from a Gaelgoeir who managed to have a letter printed in the Irish Independent, calling for Gaelic to be made the new spoken language of Ireland... whether we like it or not, apparently.

English football and the Irish language

All those letter-writers discussing why people here support English football teams, not German or French teams (Letters, April 23) are simply, but most sadly, missing the point.
People here support English, not Spanish soccer teams, get hot under the collar about the Manchester United takeover, not the AC Milan takeover.

They read English, not German papers.
They watch English not Serbian TV stations.
They emigrate to English-speaking not Spanish-speaking countries and look to London, not Moscow, to solve their problems.
Brendan Keenan, Ecconomics Editor of the Irish Independent has rightly said, 'We would not have the problem (rising sales of English papers here) if we were all Gaelic-speaking'.
He was taking part in a 'Prime Time' special on the sales of English papers here.
We are now in a very strange situation. (Gombeen Man in agreement here).

Some years ago, an English soccer team came to Galway to play against Galway United as a fundraiser.

There were more people from Galway supporting the English team than were supporting Galway United.
A GAA friend of mine told me that a quite a few GAA people, who had no interest in soccer, went to the match just to make up the numbers in support of Galway.
Additionally, the money that is being spent on the Gaeilge effort, E500m per annum, according to recent figures, would be far, far better spent.
Getting down to serious business on the revival of Irish as the real spoken language of Ireland takes just one phone call.
That phone call would be to the Israeli Embassy in Dublin to ask the only nation, in recent history, to engage in language revival. 'Tell us please how do you do it?'
The Israelis did it over two generations, from 1880 to 1930.
And, in view of the fact that they did not have words for things like 'doll', 'handkerchief' or 'ice cream', and we do, we could in one generation become the second nation in recent history to engage in language revival.
An Israeli chap said to me, 'But you Irish did not go for language replacement' as we discussed the contrast between Irish and Israeli language revival policies.
Very simple, but very harsh and most extremely tough.

Gombeen Nation replies:

Micheal Bearra, of Spiddal, seems to be on a letter-writing mission to
convert us all into Gaelic speakers (Letters, October 23rd).

Insultingly defining those who watch 'English' football teams as engaging in
"thick mickism" (how many Englishmen play for Arsenal, Chelsea, and
countless Premiership teams whose make up is undeniably international?), he
then goes on to provide the best example of that with his ludicrous appeal
to 'revive' Gaelic as the 'de facto' language of Ireland. What laughable

Despite the narrow worldview of many Gaelgeoiri, who like to paint the Irish
as a homogeneous Gaelic entity - despite us being a mix of Picts, Celts,
Norse, Normans, Anglo-saxons and God knows what else - only a small percentage of us
really, or want to, speak Gaeilge. Just to fully shatter the illusion
caused by Micheal's Gaelic-green tinted glasses, let him consider the

CSO figures state that 1.6 million people speak Gaeilge on a daily basis. A
figure used by the 'Irish' Language lobby to exaggerate its true popularity
(and no doubt keep their industry going). However, that figure includes
everyone from the age of Three upwards, in an educational system where
Gaeilge is STILL a compulsory subject.

In fact, further study of the Census figures show that only 72,000 people
outside the education system claim to speak Gaeilge on a daily basis: 4.4 per cent of
the population - despite all the taxpayers' subsidies. And how many of
those work in areas of employment where Irish is still a requirement or/and
an advantage?

If anything, rather than calling for Gaeilge to be enforced as the spoken
language of the country; perhaps we should vote to remove its status as the
'first official language' of the country, as such a move would pull the rug
from beneath the feet of Micheal and his language-fascist compatriots.

Referendum, please?

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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Sinn Fein and plum jobs for 'Irish' speakers

Given Sinn Fein's tendency to use populist leftist rhetoric when it suits, it is nice to see them forced into showing their true, right-wing, lumpen-nationalist colours now and again. This time it is about Immigration Minister Conor Lenihan making modest noises about opening up the civil service to Ireland's new arrivals.

Shinner TD Aengus O Snodaigh, in an An Phoblacht article with the absurd headline of "Government Assault on Irish Language Continues" was forced to break cover in this regard, on what he sees as Lenihan's plans "for the removal of Irish language requirements for civil servants", to encourage foreign nationals to join.

Apparently Aengus and the Shinners think it's perfectly OK to exclude foreigners from the civil service because they - along with the vast majority of Irish people - do not speak 'Irish'. It is well-known that the Shinners are notoriously slow learners - but even they should be able to see that the State's policies of making 'Irish' compulsory in schools has not worked, and that excluding people (Irish and foreign) from State employment because they don't share the Shinner enthusiasm for "de language", and reserving plum jobs for 'Irish speakers' is not only wrong - it's counter-productive because of the resentment it builds up.

But then again, this is a party that chose to introduce its election manifesto 'as Gaeilge' rather than in the vernacular. Nice to see that they accordingly got the spanking they deserved in the southern elections. Could have been worse, could have been a kneecapping.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Irish Drivers

In a country where you can drive to the testing centre on a provisional licence, fail, and drive off into the traffic again, it's not surprising that the standard of roadcraft often leaves a lot to be desired. Steve Lane (!), of Dunboyne sums it up well in today's Metro, with his Commandments for Motoring Muppets:

1. Thou shalt have a reg plate in italics.
2. Thou shalt display a "Baby on Board" sticker.
3. When learning to drive, thou shalt display an L-plate in an inverted position.
4. Thou shalt obscure the rear view with cuddly toys on the parcel shelf.
5. Thou shalt remain in the overtaking lane of the motorway on the basis that "I'm traveling at the speed limit, so no one should be overtaking me".
6. Thou shalt inexplicably indicate 'right' at a roundabout when you are going to go straight through.
7. Thou shalt slow to 50 kph at the bottom of the on-ramp before attempting to merge with motorway traffic.
8. Thou shalt accelerate through the amber light at busy pedestrian crossings.
9. Though shalt fail to acknowledge drivers who make space to let you out from side roads.
10. Thou shalt drive in semi-darkness without headlights 'to save fuel'.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The Roma and discrimination

Recently, there was a great media hoo-ha over a group of Roma families who encamped on a roundabout in north Dublin.

Subsequently, an head-2-head poll (published 6/8/2007) asked the question:

"Do the Roma face discrimination?".

62% of respondents believed the answer was "no".

Most rational people would accept that the Roma suffer, and have suffered, widespread discrimination in their own countries of origin and abroad. There is also the minor fact that between 220,000 to 500,000 Roma are thought to have been murdered by the Nazis when their countries were invaded during the Second World War.

So, for visitors to the Irish Times website to issue a blanket denial on the issue of discrimination - on foot of a minor occupation of a north Dublin roundabout - really is quite puzzling.

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Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Was Pearse a proto-fascist?

Umberto Eco attempted to define the characteristics of proto-fascism as the "cult of tradition, a rejection of modernism, the cult of action for action's sake, life lived for struggle, and a fear of difference".

The Nazis sprang out of the aftermath of the First World War, and harked back to the rampant nationalism of that time. Their ideas of nationhood were classically proto-fascist, based as they were on notions of race, land, ancient myth and what they saw as a mystical association of the German Volk with the soil of Germany - including those parts ceded by the Treaty of Versailles - which they called "Blut und Boden" (blood and soil).

They rejected modernity - embodied, for them, in the admittedly disastrous form of the penally constrained Weimar Republic - pining instead for aspects of the old, militaristic, Imperial, pre-war past. Their 'philosophy' was also deeply entrenched in myth and an idealised, insular, folk-based past.

It could be alleged that the ideas of Pearse were not very far removed from the type of thinking that spawned Nazism, based as they were on notions of a homogenous Gaelic past, which excluded all other influences:

"For Pearse, the idea of a blood sacrifice had additional appeal. Even as a child, he had unusual fantasies of self-sacrifice for his country, derived from Celtic myths and religious writings." - Source, BBC website/history/Easter Rising.

Pearse's penchant for the idea of 'blood sacrifice' is further illustrated by the following quotes:

"Bloodshed is a cleansing and sanctifying thing" - 1913


"The old heart of the earth needed to be warmed by the red wind of the battlefield' - 1915

Admittedly, such strange ideas were not unique to Pearse at that time - many extreme nationalists throughout Europe had similarly rabid beliefs - but the interesting thing is that these ideas were rejected for the nonsense they were after the slaughter of the First World War. Indeed it was only the fascists, with their reactionary outlook and rejection of democracy and progress, who clung to them - with the terrible consequences of further war and mass genocide.

While it is true that not all those that took part in the Easter Rising shared the same outlook as Pearse - Connolly, for instance, had a socialist agenda - it is telling that Pearse is still viewed with such an uncritical eye by Irish nationalists today, and is held in general high esteem by the wider public.

Indeed, it might be argued that we can only consider ourselves a mature pluralistic republic when we can see Padraig Pearse for the proto-fascist reactionary he really was.

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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Life's Great Sperm Race

Time for to lift the mood with a bit of Irish wit, rather than bullshit, for a change. Some graffiti spotted in Richmond Street last week:

"I can't believe that out of 15 million sperm, Kevin (surname withheld) came first"

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Monday, 30 July 2007

Epic Sons of Ireland

An insider brought the following MySpace page to the attention of Gombeen Man. It's from a group calling itself The Epic Sons of Ireland who, it seems, have placed the Irish right at the top of the master race pecking order. This came as a surprise to Gombeen Man, who did his bit for the anti-fascist cause while living as an economic migrant in the London of the 80s and 90s. At the time, British fascists had an affectionate term for we Irish: "Bog Wogs". Gombeen Man - never one to be constrained by objectivity - imagines the authors of the site are spoilt Celtic Tiger Brats, living at home under their parents' feet.

Obviously, empathy with those who have had to leave their own countries in search of a better life is not a quality they could be expected to have.


This is the Official Myspace of ESOI, The Epic Sons of Ireland. This was a group created at first by Max Schutte and Joe Daley to oppose the large amount of non-Irish in our area. We hope to one day make this global. Josh Norton got the ball rolling by making a group, so due something about it... SHIT! This is not a hate group, us Irish are just better than you. One more thing.....


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Sunday Tribune and the Irish Language Industry

Gombeen Man has observed that many of the dahlings of the Irish media have a 'gra' for the auld 'native tongue'. And why wouldn't they? Sure how could you get on in RTE without it?

How could a major talent such as Hector flourish without Official Ireland's first notional language? And aren't the Gaelic schools a handy, free, middle-class route to third-level education, with a few extra points thrown in for doing the Leaving in 'Irish'?

On the 15th of July, the Sunday Tribune published an article by an "Irish language" supporter claiming that 1.6 million speak "De Language" throughout the State.

What the letter didn't point out - and the Tribune left unchallenged - is that this 1.6 million figure includes children at school (even Kindergarten) from the ages of 3 years up.

In fact, 2002 CSO Census figures say that:

"a quarter of those who indicated that they could speak 'Irish' [a quarter of the above figure] were reported as speaking it on a daily basis. Most of these (76.8%) were in the school-going ages."

That puts the 1.6 million figure in perspective doesn't it? Then remember the State jobs and teaching jobs, the legal profession and others all requiring prospective employees to have "Irish" and it really paints a picture of the true popularity and proficiency of the "language" among the real public.

It's a pity a Sunday newspaper will uncritically publish such misleading information.

Gombeen Man calls for an end to compulsory 'Irish', subsidies, and the Stalinist State approach to its promotion!

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Irish Speed Cameras

There's an excellent, and long anticipated (for Gombeen Man, anyway) site warning Irish motorists of the increasingly fat cash-cow that is the speed camera. The site shows the location of speed cameras via a map, with a detailed description of each location and camera type - including our sneaky Boys and Girls in Blue hiding in the backs of vans - usually on the safest, but busiest, roads in the country.

Indeed an EU study showed that the most dangerous roads are the single-lane country roads and that the safest were the country's slowly expanding dual-carriageway and motorway network. It also showed that the authorities obsession with 'speed' alone is another piece of bullshitty nonsense typical of our little land - Germany's Autobahns have no mandatory speed limit on close to 70% of its network, yet they have fewer fatalities than we do.

Any chance of getting the coppers out of the pubs and into the carparks to apprehend pissed punters before they head out onto our backroads to wreak death and havoc?

The site is

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Little Lad of the Tricks

Is there anyone out there who can give an innocent interpretation of this poem by 1916 hero, Padraig Pearse? This was written by him in 1909, one year after he set up the St Endas School for Boys, in south Dublin.

Was this the template for the Christian Brothers, and all that followed?


by Padraig Pearse.

Little lad of the tricks,
Full well I know
That you have been in mischief:
Confess your fault truly.

I forgive you, child
Of the soft red mouth:
I will not condemn anyone
For a sin not understood.

Raise your comely head
Till I kiss your mouth:
If either of us is the better of that
I am the better of it.

There is a fragrance in your kiss
That I have not found yet
In the kisses of women
Or in the honey of their bodies.

Lad of the grey eyes,
That flush in thy cheek
Would be white with dread of me
Could you read my secrets.

He who has my secrets
Is not fit to touch you:
Is not that a pitiful thing,
Little lad of the tricks ?

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