Friday, 29 February 2008

Keane has pop at Cork compatriot Miller

That's the great thing about running a site like this - no shortage of raw material. In fact, the problem can sometimes be keeping up with it all.

The good thing, though, is that given prominent Irish personalities' propensity for coming out with plentiful pronouncements of a hypocritical, hyperbolic, histrionic and - erm - bullshitty hue (apologies for ailing alliteration), Gombeen man need never worry he'll run out of stuff to do.

Speaking of which: isn't it ironic that Cork crackpot Roy Keane, ex Man U midfielder and current manager of struggling Sunderland, has placed Corkonian cohort Liam Miller on the transfer list? It's not that long ago that Keane - who once gloated about a possibly career-curtailing tackle he committed on a fellow professional, and engineered his own departure from Ireland's World Cup squad in Saipan - was paranoidly accusing the FAI of dislaying bias against those who hail from his native county.

The perennially underperforming Miller was cited as an example by Keane:

"It definitely doesn't help Liam Miller. If he was (from) further up the country, I'm pretty sure he would be in the Irish squad. I don't just say these things. There's no doubt in my mind that Liam Miller being from Cork certainly doesn't help him." (Irish Times, March, 2007)

Evidently not, Roy. Not even with fans like you.

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Thursday, 28 February 2008

Murder of Polish workers in Drimnagh, Dublin

Gombeen Man is sickened and saddened by the murder of two Polish men by low-life skangers in Drimnagh last Saturday night. Marius Szwajkos died last Monday, while this morning in St James Hospital his friend Pawel Kalite lost his battle to survive a vicious screwdriver attack by a group of Mountjoy-fodder teenagers.

It is ironic that honest, decent people who come here to work and contribute to Ireland's economy should have their lives snuffed out by indigenous scumbags who will probably never contribute to anything other than our crime statistics and our social welfare bill.

Gombeen Man extends sincere condolences to the families of the workers, and hope that the police do their job and secure the convictions of those responsible.

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Saturday, 23 February 2008

Dustin the Turkey wins Eurosong.

Maybe there's some hope for this place after all?

Dustin the Turkey was cock-a-hoop after being voted ahead of all the other turkeys in Ireland's Eurosong competition tonight - much to the disgust of right-wing politician and Seventies Eurovision warbler Dana, and the man responsible for Boyzone, Louis Walsh.

The two sat po-faced as the public's phone vote was announced. There hasn't been such a shock result since Ted and Dougal raced past the winning post some years back with the equally controversial "My Lovely Horse".

The lyrics of "Irlande Douze Points" include the line "Give us another chance, we're sorry for Riverdance". Gombeen Man thinks it's high time the Irish issued an apology to the world for this prancing orgy of Paddywhackery, which has caused us far more embarrassment than Dustin's plucky entry ever could.

Go on ya good thing!!!

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Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Is this racist, or just incredibly stupid?

Fianna Fail councillor excuses exploitation of foreign workers.

A Louth County Council member, Jimmy Mulroy (left), who also happens to be an electrical contractor (according to the Indo), has suggested that lowly paid foreign workers in Ireland are "doing very well on Euro 8.50 an hour" - despite this being below the minimum wage.

Mulroy's logic, such as it is, is that pay in the workers' country of origin is lower than it is here. This is a statement that is so inherently stupid - even by Gombeen Nation standards - it hardly needs refuting.

Until Michael O'Leary introduces daily return flights to the EU accession states for the price of a bus fare, foreign workers have to endure the same high cost of living that the rest of us do. Looking at Mulroy's picture (Gombeen Man had not heard of him until now) it's safe to say that he is of a generation, many of whose number had to emigrate in order to find work... imagine the reaction in the 70s or 80s if a British councillor had called for Irish people working in Britain to be paid less than the indigenous workers, using the same reasoning?

Taken in tandem with the recent move of Irish hoteliers to reduce the pay and conditions of their staff, it is fair to assume that exploitation of foreign workers is far from being a rare occurence. But where are the unions? They are in a cosy 'social partnership' with the Government, that benefits cosseted public sector employees more than the workers who need it: those in the free-for-all private sector, many of whom are being exploited by unscrupulous Irish gombeen employers.

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Friday, 8 February 2008

Donie Cassidy urges shift to right.

What does the Fianna Fail leader of that inherently undemocratic body, the Seanad (Senate), do to justify his existence? Not much, it seems, other than blame non-Irish nationals for the deaths on our roads. Yes, it would appear that we Paddies were paragons of good, considerate, safe and sober driving until the foreigners arrived, dragging our standards down into the nearest 'R'-road ditch. Never mind the fact that there are a frightening number of Irish drivers who have never passed a test - including many with full licences who received them in a Fianna Fail amnesty during the 70s.

Donie - for it is he - has called for a speed limit of 80km/h to be imposed on foreign drivers. "I think that there should be a speed limit of [80km/h] put on anyone coming from another country that are (sic) going to use our roads, particularly from destinations (sic) where they are driving on the opposite side of the road". When this selective approach to traffic enforcement - which Gombeen Man is sure may be contrary to the spirit of the EU - was challenged, Donie's retort was emphatic in its unashamed simplicity: "The colour of your skin does not matter if you're dead".

Presumably in a spirit of international and racial reconciliation, Donie went on to suggest that "Maybe in time we should have a look here in Ireland at the possibility of changing and driving on the other side of the road." Stop there, Donie, enough!

Gombeen man presumes that German drivers, despite their generally fair skin, would be hit by the former showband man's new law - though 60-odd percent of their motorways have no speed limit, and their road deaths per head are fewer than ours. He also suggests that the authorities devote more time to reducing road deaths by tackling the real causes: poor roads, drink-driving, an aversion to seat-belts, lack of footpaths in rural areas, and generally bad driving.

Interestingly, road deaths have actually been on a steady downward trend over the years (despite what some media hysteria would have you believe), and some of the credit for this is due to car makers' improved safety features. Included among these are airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. The latter option, by the way, is only available as an option on some Irish cars - despite the fact that it is a proven safety feature, as it can prevent a vehicle skidding out of control in critical situations. Why? Because the Irish Government applies its punitive VRT tax even to potentially life-saving automotive technology.

It would be interesting to hear Donie Cassidy's views on that.

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Thursday, 7 February 2008

The Misery of Irish Rail.


Easing back into the blog after that long poteen-induced lay-off, Gombeen Man is going to brazenly lift a piece from the Irish Times Pricewatch column - which appears every Monday.

It concerns the notorious Dublin-Maynooth line, on which Irish Rail has seemingly been slower to add carriages than the developers have new apartments along its route - a so-called SDZ (Strategic Development Zone).

On his sojourns into the Big Smoke - usually to the Central Bank to change hoards of old money found in long-forgotten hiding places around his whitewashed cottage - he too has been known to use this very line.

Railing against shorter trains

A reader from west Dublin was prompted to get in touch after modifications made to his commuter rail service left him and his fellow passengers squashed like sardines into the carriages daily. "It takes a perverse talent - not to mention a hard-necked disregard for popular outrage - to actually halve the passenger capacity of a given train in the face of spiralling passenger numbers, but Irish Rail have done just that," he writes.

"Last month a new station on the Maynooth to Dublin line opened near the Phoenix Park, at which time Irish Rail made changes to the timetable. Most rational souls might imagine they put on more or longer trains at peak times - but that is not the Irish Rail way. Instead, they employed the revolutionary tactic of halving the existing peak-time trains going through Tara Street." The result is, he says, "dangerous overcrowding and people left stranded on the platform".

He says that the train which leaves Tara Street shortly after 6pm used to have eight carriages but, for the last week in January, "it was a four-carriage affair. The overcrowding is such that it would shock Dart users," he says. He contacted Irish Rail by e-mail last week without much hope of getting a reply and he wasn't far wrong - apart from an automatic "thank you for your e-mail" response, he has so far heard nothing.

"I have always considered my sympathies on matters of economics and politics to be decidedly left-of-centre, but now find myself pining for an Irish Margaret Thatcher to arrive on the scene, privatise the lot, and put the incompetents responsible on the dole," he concludes. While that might be just a little extreme, we do take his point.

We contacted Irish Rail on his behalf, and spokesman Barry Kenny assured us that the trains departing Tara Street in the evenings had not been shortened as a matter of policy as our reader thinks. Kenny said that, on one day in the week our reader is referring to, "a mechanical issue" had led to the number of carriages being reduced from a normal eight to four.

Since then, he said, there have been six carriages on the service leaving Tara Street shortly after 6pm. This was a "short-term" reduction to allow for maintenance on some carriages. Carriages on the Dublin-Sligo line were being upgraded, and once that process was completed, the older carriages would be commissioned for use on the Dublin to Maynooth commuter line. Kenny said that he expected the service to be back up to its full capacity of eight carriages "by the end of February or the beginning of March".

We asked if commuters could expect to see a similarly short-term reduction in fares to compensate them for the increasingly cramped conditions, but the answer was a fairly emphatic no.

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Gombeen Man hasn't gone away, you know.

Gombeen man has not been too active in the Blogsphere of late. This was down to a combination of natural indolence and persistent poteen abuse. This was so bad, in fact, that he had forgotten all about the blog - until a satoriesque, lucid moment upon waking up from a particularly heavy binge of several months.

Suffice to say that Gombeen Man is a strict Catholic, and is giving up the Poteen for Lent, whilst indulging in much guilt-ridden self-flagellation and a barefoot run up the side of Croagh Patrick until the soles of his bunioned feet are cut to ribbons. New posts will follow.

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