Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Bill Cullen - Greens' VRT killed Irish motor industry

It’s a long way from penny apples for some, and it will be a long time before the Irish motor industry picks itself up from the floor.

Bill Cullen, the Irish businessman who heads up RTE show “The Apprentice”, blames the Green-inspired VRT changes for sounding the death knell for the Irish motor industry.

“You’ve killed the motor trade. People can’t buy a new car and it’s all because of the Greens”, he said in a debate with Green senator Dan Boyle on yesterday's Pat Kenny Show . Cullen maintains that the VRT changes were "unnecessary" as the EU has already required car manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions by 2010.

While it’s doubtful that changes in the way VRT is inflicted are soley to blame for the stagnancy in the car market (the bursting of the bubble and the end of easy credit have to be primary causes) some might maintain that the tax changes were mere tokenism - and an attempt by Government to give some green credulity to what is essentially an unfair, uncompetitive and anti-EU tax.

Successive Irish governments have forced Irish motorists to pay substantially more for their cars than most other EU citizens, by as much as up 40% more in some cases. They have also denied motorists living in Ireland the right to import their cars into this country without paying what is effectively excise duty.

But now they disguise it as a “green” tax. In fact, they might have us believe they were world-leading visionaries in saving the planet, as they were taxing us blind before green issues were ever on the agenda. But we all know we don’t do visionaries here.

Bill Cullen is a rich man. So instead of discussing the finer points of tinkering with a tax that is contrary to EU principles, perhaps he should use his influence and wealth in a campaign to have it abolished altogether.

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Sunday, 28 June 2009

Quinn Direct Insurance – with the right address

There is a BBC sitcom entitled "Keeping Up Appearances" which features a woman by the name of Hyacinth Bucket (she pronounces it "Bouquet") who is an insufferable snob. The kind of person, you suspect, who might hold great store on someone having the "correct" address. A bit like Quinn Direct.

There was an interesting report in The Herald last week about an experienced driver with a full no-claims bonus who phoned up Quinn Direct to ask for a quote. “As soon as I said where I was from, they would not give me a quote”, said Michael Burns from Tallaght.

It seems that the company has a policy of excluding people with particular addresses from cover, on the basis of “high claims frequency” in “certain areas”. Mr Burns persisted in his request for insurance - no doubt pointing to the evidence of this no-claims discount - and Quinn Direct very kindly relented somewhat, saying that they “hoped to accommodate him”.

However, Quinn Direct continue to judge risk on the basis of postcode - rather on the more logical basis of someone's driving record. Witness the following from their website:

“…there are certain areas that have very high claims frequency and we are therefore faced with the choice of continuing to offer cover in these areas, which will have to be subsidised by other consumers, or stop offering cover. Having tried to resolve the problem for some time we feel we had little choice but to take the latter option at this time.

As an Irish Company we would clearly much prefer to see a solution whereby the level of claims reduces in these areas and in that regard we are very happy to interact with any relevant interested or representative bodies to see if a satisfactory outcome can be achieved whereby we recommence offering cover in the very small number of affected areas.”

It’s a risky business, insurance. But you don’t need to be an actuary to work out that someone with no insurance claims is probably a safe bet. And remember that insurance is compulsory in Ireland, so if an insurance company wishes to operate in the Irish market, surely they should be obliged to provide cover to all locations within that market? But all that aside, it’s typical that a company that boasts about its Irishness demands that your Irish address must not be an undesirable one... in their eyes.

I personally would not give my business to a company that operates in this manner. After all, my address might be a desirable one for Quinn Direct today, but will it have gone down in their Mrs Bucket-like estimation by next week?

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Friday, 26 June 2009

Near fatal road accident - and speed not a factor.

A recent AA survey revealed that 70% of Irish motorists admitted to breaking the speed limit during the last year.

That’s a shocking statistic. Shocking, that is, to think that 30% of our motorists are so anally retentive and unthinking, that they stay religiously within the speed limit, no matter what, and no matter how inappropriate it may be for the conditions.

Maybe that will explain the many instances of inattentive, sloppy driving seen on our roads. These fundamentalists of the highways are too busy scrutinising their speedometers to see what’s going on around them… including the queue of fifty cars stuck behind.

Noel Brett of the Road Safety Authority quango, speaks with unshakable certainty when he cites the above statistic as evidence for the continued existence of road deaths (which have been on a steady downward trend for years, by the way). “Speed is the most common contributory factor in road accidents", he will tell you. But the very act of driving a car is a contributory factor, if you want to be like that, Mr Brett.

Tell it to the Germans, who have no mandatory speed limits on the majority of their motorway network, but have fewer road fatalities than we do. So, it’s not speed – it's inappropriate speed. And then you have inappropriate speed limits, like 60km/h on some of our dual carriageways and 80km/h on side roads a donkey could hardly walk down. Mr Brett, please put a sock in it.

It's all a bit lazy too. The authorities like to preach to us about our responsibilities… but what about theirs? Look at the picture above. It is of an unguarded level crossing in Ballymote, Sligo. A car has just crossed the path of an oncoming train and narrowly avoided a fatal accident.

Where are the automatic barriers? How, in this day and age can we still have level crossings that rely on someone getting in and out of their car to open and close a cow gate every time they cross a railway line? What does the Road Safety Authority have to say about this?

What does it have to say about uncut hedgerows on dangerous junctions that obscure the view of motorists? What about roads that don’t have any footpaths, where pedestrians take their lives in their hands every time they walk home on them - particularly at night. What about badly surfaced, dangerous, pot-holed roads?

In my opinion any State-sponsored spokesperson whose stated aim is to improve road safety, but fails conspiciously to mention the primary factors in our road accident statistics doe not deserve our tax money.

Mr Noel Brett and Mr Gay Byrne, go and find something else to bleat about, instead of acting as cheerleaders for the companies that will fleece us with their privatised speed cameras.

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Thursday, 25 June 2009

IMF, Merril Lynch, Standard and Poor report on burst bubble.

"The economy is in the midst of an unprecedented correction. The stress exceeds that being faced currently by any other advanced economy and matches episodes of the most severe economic distress in post-World War II history."

International Monetary Fund report, 24th June, 2009.

It’s no surprise to any of us who were observers of the “boom” years, based on property tax breaks and credit that was not backed up by real money. The IMF expect the economy to shrink 13.5% in the period 2008-2010, and forecast 15.5% unemployment by the end of next year. The only surprising thing is that anyone could be surprised that it’s come to this.

Many was the time I walked around Dublin 15 and saw cars sitting in the driveways of houses that only a few years before were cheaper than the vehicles they now harboured. And no wonder… people were taking out mortgages to buy their wheels.

Anyone who was not caught up in the “feelgood” mood could see there was no logical basis for building apartments and houses that people did not want to live in. The boom was based on dodgy foundations (sometimes literally) and it was evident long before it was flagged on this, and other, blogs. And really, did American multinationals such as Microsoft setting up here really mean that the resultant increase in employment would make everyone a millionaire? Of course not. They’ve had jobs in other countries for decades and you didn’t see the same levels of ostentation that were evident in Ireland.

Finance firm Merril Lynch, at the height of the “can do / positive thinking” mood in 2006, predicted that Ireland would have 25,000 “millionaires” in 2009. At the time they made that forecast, there were supposedly 18,000 “millionaires” in the country. I use quotation marks because the term “millionaires” included the inflated prices of peoples’ homes.

In view of the correction to the inflated market that has already taken place – and I can tell you from experience that it is well over 40% in some parts of Dublin already - Standard and Poor have said that property prices will fall 13% this year alone, and 10% the next.

That means there will a lot less “millionaires” in the future.

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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

James Hardie set up in Ireland. Asbestos fund fears.

There is much trumpeting in the media today that Boston Scientific is to create 45 new jobs in Galway, having announced closure of its Donegal plant sometime in 2010. But that’s enough for the Government to create a gloss on things these days.

There has not been so much about the announcement by Australian building materials manufacturer James Hardie to set up here in order to reduce its tax liability; a fact brought to the attention of Gombeen Nation by a friend based in Australia.

The company, which was heavily involved in the manufacture of Asbestos-based products is currently paying into an Australian fund to compensate people who have suffered from Abestos-relelated illnesses, including cancer.

In 2001, the company shifted its headquarters to the Netherlands to reduce its tax payments, leaving behind a depleted compensation fund. Now even that’s not enough, and it is to come to Ireland to take advantage of the superior corporate tax avoidance opportunities on offer.

President of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia, Barry Robson, is concerned about the latest moves impact on compensation payments. "Hardies are always looking to find a safe tax haven, so this is nothing new," he said. "What we are very concerned about is, in all of this moving around the world, moving from country to country, it eats into the profits, and also makes it less likely that they can put money into the fund."

According to reports, it will cost the company between $51m to $71m to set up here.
Isn't it great that we can still attract the cream of world corporations to our rotten little land.

What next? Union Carbide?

Australian news report

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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Pig-headed gardai and compo claim skangers

 Picture the scene. Driving along, minding your own business, when you stop close behind the car ahead at a roundabout. Suddenly, the occupants of the car notice your proximity, and have a brief chat before emerging to accuse you of back-ending them.

Shocked, you get out and look, but can see no damage to your car or theirs. But you are understandably intimidated as it is a two-on-one situation, and the people involved are quite obviously lacking in honesty and integrity being, as they are, out for a compo claim.

So. Two skangers are shouting the odds, and demanding your insurance details, even though you have not touched them. So rather than give your name and address, you make them up to keep the skangers at bay. Then you leave the scene, shaken, and resolve to report the incident at the Garda station the following morning.

Morning comes, and in you go. You engage the attention of the disinterested copper behind the desk. However, he does not seem to think your case is too important and does not even take down your details. A week or two later, you get a letter from the skangers’ solicitor (the coppers gave them your address) suing you for “injury, emotional distress and trauma”. Loss of earnings are not being sought… draw your own conclusions on that one.

You get in touch with your insurance company and an assessor examines your car and the compo skangers’, before concluding that you are not responsible for any of the numerous bumps and scrapes on their car. You go back to the cop shop to give a statement to one of Templemore’s best. Sadly, she doesn’t seem to be one of the more intelligent ones (it’s all relative), but you point out that the insurance accessor maintains you did not damage their car, and has advised the insurance company not to pay out. This backs up your contention that you never touched the skangers’ car.

So that’s that, you think. Until 10 months later plod knocks at your door to give you a summons for fleeing the scene of an accident. “But there WAS NO ACCIDENT”, you say again. You phone up the insurance company once more, only to discover that the ban Garda (not ban in the English sense, unfortunately, but Gaelic for female I think) has not even bothered her fat arse to contact the insurance company to see their accident report. If she had, she would have seen there was no accident scene to "flee".

The above happened to a friend of mine recently. Now she has to go to the trouble and expense of hiring a solicitor to point out the obvious in a court of law.

Any chance of the coppers pursuing the skangers for making a false-claim?
Not a chance. Too pig-headed you see.

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Sunday, 21 June 2009

Britney Spears, the baby-boom and my pension

Readers of the blog will be familiar with Gombeen Man’s struggle to move house, which has been going on for many years now. The sad thing is, although first-time buyer homes have dropped from the Beverly Hills prices of a couple of years ago (and still have some way to go, I’ll wager), it appears that anyone with a somewhat “grawnder” house in Dublin 15 seems to think we are still in 2006 – the height of the boom.

So, in a bold move, I’ve been looking to buy closer to my roots near town. There was a nice little place in Ringsend which attracted my attention, so being familiar enough with the area many years back, off I went to check it out.

With that in mind, I turned off Bridge Street (Ringer’s main street) onto Thorncastle Street, where clusters of Ringsend’s less socially adjusted denizens used to gather in the distant past – if only to shout abuse/throw things at an embryonic Gombeen Man as he went through the territory on his Vespa scooter in his mod days.

Imagine my surprise when I was confronted not with a hostile gathering of ne’er-do-wells, but a battalion of advancing Britney Spears lookalikes – every one of them vying to outdo their heroine in the economy of their apparel.

After the palpitations had eased, it occurred that the surreal phenomenon was only a temporary one, being the result of a concert by Ms Spears in the nearby O2 arena, and not a result of a radical shift in the social demographic of Ringsend. But I still looked at the house, all the same.

Which brings us on to demographics. Britney Spears, like the rest of us, has gotten older and matured (relatively speaking) with her fans, who ten years ago had just put down their Barbies. It’s a necessary part of the pop star’s career – move with the times, re-invent, and avoid having to pick up an early pension.

But what about the teeny-boppers of the future? It seems in Ireland there will be no shortage of this commodity. Ireland’s population of young children is the highest of any country in the EU, according to last week’s CSO survey. 7.4% of our population were four years old or under, and 6.9% were aged between five and nine, concentrated mainly in the commuter belt of Dublin.

So what awaits them in the Ireland of the future? What are the Government's responsibilities? For one, it is incumbent on the authorities to break the habit of the State’s lifetime, and ensure that each of these children (15% of under-four’s families are new arrivals in our country) are given access to relevant, inclusive and effective English-language-medium education.

This is particulary important given successive governments’ failure to tackle their long-standing record of educational disadvantage in working class areas, where one-third of children are reported to have “severe” literacy problems. If young people leave school able to read and write, they might have some hope of functioning to the best of their potential in an economic and a social context.

That would mean that those of us who aren’t Britney Spears might have some kind of pension to fall back on when our working careers come to an end.

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Thursday, 18 June 2009

Bord Gais leaks customers’ bank details.

Whenever a gas bill drops onto the Gombeen Manor doormat, you will hear the exclamation “gosh!!!” reverberating around the corridors. Well, maybe not “gosh!!!”, but something a bit more expressive. Gas bills are very expensive at the Manor, you see.

However, “gosh!!!" is quite appropriate - even if lacking in some impact. “Bord Gais” is the makey-up Gaelic name for our semi-state gas board, and “Gais”, you see, is pronounced “gosh!!!”.

“Gosh!!!” (or something more expressive) is what many of the company’s customers exclaimed this morning when they heard news that Bord Gosh!!! - sorry, Gais - “leaked” their confidential bank details to third parties, thanks to what can only be mind-numbing incompetence.

It seems there was a break-in at the company’s offices on June 5th, during which four laptops were stolen. One of these laptops contained the unencrypted bank details of 75,000 customers who had recently switched from the ESB (Electricity Supply Board) to the gas company to avail of the latter’s “Big Switch” campaign, which offered to supply gas and electricity in one package.

That’s bad enough, you may think. But the truly stunning thing is that it took 12 days for the public to become informed of the at-risk status of their bank accounts, and even then only through media reports. Its seems that Bord Gais is now advising that customers check their accounts, presumably to see if there is anything left in them.

Customers can expect an official letter from Bord Gais to drop onto their doormats sometime next week “informing” them of the situation.

Well, we are taking semi-state body here, after all.

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Monday, 15 June 2009

Fada love of God - signs spell no Gaeltacht funding

Unemployment is our new growth industry. Tax revenues are plummeting. Cutbacks are being made across the board on infrastructural projects. Hospital beds are lying empty while people wait for vital operations, as the Government cuts back on public spending. Only the most truly vital and noble causes, such as civil servants’ and politicians’ State pensions, will continue to enjoy undiminished funding as before.

Exemplary use of public money by Mayo County Council, too. It seems that a former Raidio na Gaeltacheata journalist, Sean O Healai, spotted some Irish Language road signs were misspelt in that county – 33 to be exact. And we thought all that news of economic meltdown was bad! This is shocking stuff altogether.

But it’s a very serious matter you see, as according to an Irish Times report O Healai noted that the Gaeltacht status (and the resultant subsidies) of three areas in Mayo could be lost as a result of these Gaelic orthographic inaccuracies, so all of the signs are to be replaced forthwith.

It’s just as well Mr O Healai was on hand to spot the errors, otherwise nobody might have noticed.

Can we really afford to squander public money on such utter nonsense?

See also Belmullet to be painted out of the Gaeltacht?

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Sunday, 14 June 2009

We’re not a low-tax economy, Part ∞. End VRT now!

It’s been said before on Gombeen Nation – we don’t live in a low-tax economy. Not unless you’re Microsoft, Bono or one of our many millionaires who avoid paying tax to our cash-strapped exchequer through perfectly legal means. But someone has to pay it, right?

Step forward the PAYE worker, who pays top-rate tax on earnings over €36,400– not to mention the income levy. (PAYE workers paid €10 billion of the total income tax take of €13.5 billion in 2007). Step forward VAT, at 21.5%. Cheque book tax. DIRT tax. Insurance premium tax at 2%. Credit card tax.

Possibly most criminal of all – as it contravenes the principles of free trade within the EU - is VRT (Vehicle Registration Tax). Again, it is not the first time it has been mentioned on Gombeen Nation (do a search to confirm). But a look in the motoring section of today's Sunday Times brought it fresh to the surface here like a recurring cold sore.

Jeremy Clarkson has a review of the Mini Cooper S convertible in that paper. It might be a car you are interested in, or it might not. But never mind that, it's a subjective thing... but the same applies to any car you might be interested in. The Mini's not a gas-guzzler, it’s pretty cute, and it’s a fun vehicle by all accounts. And it's not even a real Mini – so you shouldn’t have to push it. In fact Clarkson says its as near to being a mini as “Julie Andrew’s (Sound of Music) nun frock.” So that’s good news all round.

What isn’t good news, however, is the Irish price for such a vehicle. Across the water, or across the border, our counterparts only have to pay £21,205 (€24,885) whereas we have to pay €40,350. That’s a staggering €15,465 more that the Irish motorist has to pay in tax to buy this car.

When the Irish politicians knock on your door in the next few months looking for your Lisbon Two ‘yes’ vote, ask them when they are going to be good Europeans and honour repeated EU requests to scrap VRT.

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Friday, 12 June 2009

Illegal dumps and Gombeenimbyism

It really is a nation of gombeenimbyists. In case you're wondering, that's a synthesis of gombeen and N.I.M.B.Y (Not In My Back Yard).

We've a chronic waste disposal crisis in Ireland. Years of planning objections mean it's practially impossible to build an incinerator - no matter how remote the location - and we are running out of landfills (if you exclude our beaches on a hot summer afternoon).

So what do we do? Dump illegally. Or, more accurately, some shyster with a truck and a trailer will do it for you. Witness the craze for illegal dumps in Wicklow some years back, which were crammed with hospital waste and God know's what else. But of course you can only have so many illegal dumps. So what then? Dump it over the border, of course!

According to RTE News the taxpayer will have to pay at least €3 million to clean up 20 illegal dumps in Northern Ireland, containing waste from the Republic. In fact, the bill could be far higher as it will include 80% of the costs of extracting the waste from the sites, and then making them presentable again, so more speculative estimates put the cost in tens of millions. So what will we do with it then, I wonder?

Sadly, it seems to be a very Irish trait: ignore reality long enough and hope it might go away. It's time for us to accept we have to take responsibility for our own rubbish disposal, whatever that may entail.

Even if it upsets a few nimbies.

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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Sinn Fein in Dublin disarray - Burke quits

It gets worse for the Shinners in Dublin. Hot on the heels of Mary Lou McDonald's ejection from her little-used EU parliament seat, and the party’s poor showing at local level in Dublin where it lost four seats – comes news that Christy Burke is quitting the party, citing lack of support in the by-election campaign.

Burke managed to hold on to his North Inner City seat, but now the head of the Shinner’s Dublin branch, Aenghous O’Snodaigh, wants him to hand it back, arguing that it was won under "the Sinn Fein banner". This seems to ignore the point that many people in working-class areas of the capital chose not to "vótáil" for the Shinners, including neighbouring Fingal where - despite a major effort - they did not get one solitary seat.

O’Snodaigh, of course, is no stranger to foot-shooting statements. Back in 2007, he opposed Conor Lenihan’s plans to aid immigrants’ integration into the workplace by relaxing the Irish language requirement in areas of State employment. Of course, far from seeing this as a progressive measure, O’Snodaigh and the Shinners saw it as an “attack on the Irish language”. See Gombeen Nation, August 2007.

Then as now, it might well suit O’Snodaigh better to keep his mouth shut, as Burkes’ popularity after 25 years of local activism is quite likely independent of old party affliations.

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Monday, 8 June 2009

Congrats to Joe Higgins, MEP.

Congratulations to Joe Higgins on his election to the European Parliament. Joe has been a tireless worker locally in Dublin 15 for many years, and it was a great disappointment to many in Dublin West – Gombeen Man included - that he lost his seat in the last General Election.

Even those who would differ with Joe on some points (such as Lisbon) would agree that he is a force for good, is 100% genuine, and really is “the best fighter money can’t buy”.

Gombeen Man is sure he will use his new position as an MEP in a positive way, hopefully from within a strengthened European Parliament post Lisbon Two, to fight for workers’ rights from within.

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Sunday, 7 June 2009

Eoin Ryan, Slurp! Slurp!

The poster on the left was spotted on the Dublin north quays this morning. I don’t know who is behind it, but it’s quite amusing nevertheless. Excuse the poor quality of the picture, as I took it with my less-than-cutting-edge mobile which runs on steam.

It reads “Please send me on the Gravy Train to Europe. Slurp! Slurp!” and purports to be an election poster for Fianna Fail’s Eoin Ryan.

If the current election polls are to be believed, however, it looks like Mr Ryan will be disembarking said train. Sadly, it looks like smug Shinner Mary Lou McDonald is set to keep her seat.

I'm sure Mary Lou loves a sup of gravy too, on the occasions she bothers to turn up, that is.

8.00am June 8th.

Glad to say I was wrong. Thankfully, it looks like McDonald won't be getting her happy meal ticket either. Socialist Pary candidate Joe Higgins has won the third Dublin seat.

Congrats, Joe!!!!

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Thursday, 4 June 2009

Leaving Cert English Exam "leak" causes chaos

You’d think it was a handy number within a handy number – and how difficult could it be? You turn up at a school hall with a batch of exam papers and pass them around to expectant Leaving Cert students, then sit back and read the Indo for a couple of hours.

But the fact that an exam supervisor in Drogheda yesterday handed out Leaving Cert English Paper II, instead of Leaving Cert English Paper I, means that the system has been thrown into chaos.

Before you could say “Iambic pentameter”, a roomful of students were presented with a sneak preview of today’s planned English Paper, meaning that rumours of its contents were circulating on the web by the afternoon. Result? All the papers must be recalled and new ones set for next Saturday.

What was it teacher used to say? “Must try harder”.

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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Tourists beware! Bring lots of loose change.

No, not for beggars or muggers (you’ll need the paper stuff here), but for Dublin Bus (in which case you won’t).

As someone who tries to avoid the bus whenever possible, I didn’t know this. Don’t get me wrong, I use public transport every working day – the train being the preferred option. But I consider a seven-mile walk from town to Blanchardstown preferable to the Hell-on-wheels that is the number 39. Try it one night, and you will understand what I mean.

But never mind all that. I knew that Dublin Bus did not give change, but I didn’t know that they don't accept notes either. A letter in today’s Irish Times tells the tale of someone who took a bunch of excited kids on the bus for an outing, and proffered the correct fare to the driver. Correct or not, they had to leave the bus because Dublin Bus does not accept paper money.

But the thing is, what if you are a tourist? I had a quick search and came across a story on Boards where someone’s heart sank as they noted that the cluster of Spanish tourists in front of them were grasping €5 notes in their hands. Not their fault, how were they to know they’d be turfed off the bus in view of a queue of disgruntled commuters? Welcome to Ireland.

But to be honest, I wonder why they bother.

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Monday, 1 June 2009

"Treasure the children equally". Official Ireland owns up.

It was quite nice to get a break from the bullshit of Irish life while on holiday, interrupted only by two Sunday Indos (the only Irish Sunday paper available in Gran Alacant). Though not a great fan of that particular paper, there was a lovely photo of a bishop throwing in the ball at a GAA match in Croke Park sometime in the 50s or 60s - presumably just after the Artane Boys Band had left the pitch. What a snapshot. Two pillars of Official Ireland - the Church and the GAA, while the State's victims are well out of the picture.

Needless to say, Official Ireland's belated admission of the abuse that took place in State-funded religious institutions featured highly last week. Also, the role of many Irish people who knew what was going on, and had no problem with it, was made clear. Then there was the role of the Garda, who chose to ignore complaints and even condemned young people to such institutions.

So now we have been told that the abusers will be pursued by the law. No doubt we will have practising Catholics and professional craw-thumpers telling us that this all happened a long time ago, and bygones should be bygones. We can expect degrees of Christian tolerance and forgiveness usually conspicuously absent from that quarter.

In truth, such apologists have had far too much say in the past, so should be duly ignored. Old and frail or not - just as their victims were young and defenceless - the abusers should be hunted down and brought to justice with the same vigour as war criminals.

Until that happens, there will never be closure.

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Change of email address

Sorry about the hiatus... just back from holiday.

Just noticed that my old "Lookout" email address doesn't seem to be functioning, from now on Gombeen Nation can be contacted via

Any emails sent to the old email will have been lost - so if you've sent anything recently, please re-send to this address!



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