Thursday, 28 June 2012

Declining Dublin tourist figures and closed car parks

Earlier on Morning Ireland  - state broadcaster RTE's take on what's happening in the country  -  they were waffling on about the decline of tourism numbers in Dublin, and how the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation suggested the capital could be marketed differently in order to attract new victims, sorry - visitors.  

It seems that 4.5 billion gullible  mugs visited the capital in 2007, with only 4 million expected this year.   That's still a lot of mugs.

The ITIC suggested promoting Dublin's rich literary heritage  -  no bad thing, considering the huge contribution Dublin's authors have made to English literature.   Something lost on the  gobshites at Dublin City Council who recently relegated the vernacular on tourist signage by making Gaelic more prominent - a language with little real historical or literal connection to the city for most people... and none at all for tourists.  That's Irish alright.

The ITIC have also suggested that Dublin's outdoor amenities be promoted more vigorously- the Dublin mountains on its southern borders, for instance.  

Funny that.  I was out that way for a spin yesterday  and took the pics you see here.  They feature the closed car park at Tibradden Forest where people are forced to park around the mouth of a shut gate and at the sides or a narrow country road if they want to savour the area's rustic attractions.

I have driven past here on other weekdays and have seen  far more cars clustered in this haphazard fashion, what you see in the pic is mild.   My car, by the way, is not in shot - it's at the side of the road behind me.

The car park only opens during weekends, and even at then it closes at "5pm sharp".  If you don't complete your circuit of the woods in time you will find yourself forking out €75 for your jalopy's release.  

If you want to park on a weekday - and there are plenty of tourists around on such days - you have to take your chances as above.  What do tourists think of this, I wonder? 

Whatever about the Voluntary Rangers cited on the warning sign, the semi-state forestry body, Coillte, employed 1,021 staff as of 2009.  Surely enough to open and close a few gates during a weekday in areas with sufficient demand for parking?

Apparently not. 

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Monday, 25 June 2012

Dublin Bus parody tee-shirt provokes legal response

The tee-shirt on the left emanantes from a website in the US which specialises in adorning its apparel with amusing takes on various corporate logos.  Some of them are quite clever - I like this one poking a bit of  fun at Twitter - and some are so-so.  See  Teevault here.

Here's another example (right)  -  this time from a website in the UK called Zazzle.  It uses elements of You Tube's logo to say something else.    It is hard to imagine Twitter or You Tube getting to hot and bothered about either.  

Not so Dublin Bus.  Artist Niall de Buitlear recently used the semi-state's logo (a semi-state we all subsidise through our taxes) on a parody tee shirt he hoped to sell on a website of his own called Tshock.

Niall simply inverted and slightly tweaked the logo to give it the appearance of a skull / Lucha Libre Mask.  For his trouble he was contacted by lawyers from Dublin Bus, who demanded he remove the images from his website and stop selling the tee shirts. 

We won't invert the Dublin Bus logo here, for fear of bringing the wrath of the company's legal eagles down on us, but you can stand on your head while viewing the screen or simply print it and turn it upside down to see its Totenkopf similarities:

Things have come to a sad pass when a young artist cannot supplement his income by flogging a few tee-shirts, designed on the same lines as those created by silk-screeners elsewhere,  without being threatened by one of our semi-state monoliths.  

Another example of the  "freedom" the boys and girls of the 1916 putsch died for, I suppose.

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Nearly 200 young people die in "care" of Irish State

Yesterday's Irish Times described how 196  young people died while in the "care" of the State between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Independent Child Death Review Group.

112 were said to have died of "non natural" causes; though it  is not clear how the remaining 84 deaths  -  given the age cohort  -  could be described as "natural".  But Ireland is a strange place.  

Given this country's sorry history with regard to the protection of children and young people, we shouldn't be overly surprised.  Remember the industrial schools?  The Magdalene laundries?  Remember the state schools, overwhelmingly run by the Catholic Church, where sexual abuse of children was rampant?

Our rotten  "republic", whose founders were perhaps the most conservative revolutionaries ever,  has failed the majority of its citizens since its sorry foundation...  though most of those citiziens might not be aware of the fact:  cowed, clueless, stupid and unquestioning as they are.

Those whom the state has failed most however, are the the most voiceless, disadvantaged and marginalised.  They have been more or less been left to their own devices since 1922... until, of course, the time comes for the authorities to place them in "care" or in prison.

They constitute a grim reality that Official Ireland, and its many vocal and self-interested lobby groups championing their own various rackets, refuses to recognise.

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Monday, 18 June 2012

McCreevy's role in the euro crisis. Ireland's contribution runs deep.

"Eeeeeeeggghhhh, I've got a sure-fire economic plan to make ye all rich and happy as pigs in shite!!!!."

Charlie McCreevy was Ireland's finance minister between 1997 and 2004.  After setting the Irish economy on a steady course towards bankruptcy, McCreevy was  rewarded with an appointment as Europe's Commissioner for Internal Markets and Services. 

The rest is history - and present economic reality - as this article in yesterday's Sindo contends.


McCreevy's role in Spain's crash

By Brendan O'Connor
Sunday June 17 2012

YOU'LL never beat the Irish. We always prided ourselves on our inordinate influence in Europe and it turns out that this is true. It transpires that we didn't just ruin our own country, but now one of us is in the frame for helping to ruin the whole of Europe.

As Spain teeters on the edge of needing a full sovereign bailout, one of the factors that could bring down the whole eurozone, Bloomberg has been pointing one of the fingers of blame for the current crisis in the Spanish banks firmly at our own Charlie McCreevy.

Until recently, he was effectively the EU's financial regulator, the guy who should have been enforcing its rules on banking and markets, from 2004 to 2010, when he was Commissioner for Internal Markets and Services. And all this time, Spain's banks were cooking the books, storing up their recent trouble, and apparently the bould Charlie was "one of the more candid advocates of Spain's approach".

A few years ago it was generally thought that Spain's banks had somehow dodged the financial crisis. This is because Spain's banks had been massaging the numbers to make it look as if they were doing okay when in fact they were making huge losses.

Dynamic provisioning was a way of using past profits to hide current losses. It was encouraged in Spain but was against EU rules and Charlie should have stopped it. But Charlie was quite the fan of this form of cooking the books.

Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil has dug up some great exchanges from a meeting of the International Accountancy Standards Board in 2009, where Charlie admits that he didn't pursue the banks for their dodgy accounting, though he should have.

He points out that Spain's banks "have survived the crisis better than anyone else to date". Charlie goes on to say that "I, strictly speaking, should have taken action against them for doing this" (the dynamic provisioning).

Describing some of the rules on banking as "ludicrous", he says of the Spanish approach: "It's worked pretty well for them."

McCreevy dates his support for cooking the books back to his youth in Ireland. "I'm old enough to remember when I was a young student . . . in my country that I know best, banks weren't allowed to publish their results in detail. Why? Because we felt if everyone saw the reserves etc, it would create a run on the banks."

Of course, this is the same Charlie who blamed the Northern Rock crisis on excessive transparency and regulation, while he was the EU regulator.

It's classic stuff. They put an Irish guy in charge of regulating the banks, thinking: "How bad can it be?" He brings his homespun wisdom to bear and supports the Spanish banks in hiding their losses so they keep going, triumphant as far as he is concerned. And now it could contribute to bringing down the whole continent.

Talk about exporting our problems.


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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Seals beheaded at Dingle reserve - says it all

Sometimes, you really do despair for this place and some of the people in it.  

Perhaps a cull of the more brutalised/ignorant of Ireland's population might be unacceptable to many?  A bit right wing?

But maybe it is necessary for the survival of our species? 

The following recent Indo article was sent in by a reader.


Sick vandals mount heads of two seals on Dingle reserve

By Sarah Stack
Thursday June 07 2012
THE heads of two young seals have been mounted and stuck to the sign of a seal sanctuary.
The grim discovery was made by staff at Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary in Co Kerry shortly before 9am this morning.
Ally McMillan, animal manager, said the freshly cut seal heads had been nailed to a piece of wood, which was drilled to the sanctuary's sign.
Red paint, which resembled blood, was used to scrawl the words: "RIP Cull."
"It was sickening," said Ms McMillan.
"I wanted to be sick when I saw them.
"We were very worried because we have two seals here at the moment that are about ready to be released, but it wasn't them."
Gardai in the fishing port town have removed the seal heads and signs as part of their investigation.
It is feared they were targeted by people who want the sanctuary to close and who believe seals are destroying the local fishing waters.
Dingle Bay is also famous for its eco tours and cruises to spot seals, whales and the country's most famous dolphin Fungie.
The two dead common harbour seals are believed to be about six months old.
The alarm the raised by a man from the area passing the site who called the volunteers and said there was something on the sign.
Ms McMillan believes the seals were shot, but added there were no wounds on their heads besides the nails.
She said she is not opposed to the culling of seals when carried out humanly.
"I am from Australia and we cull kangaroos if there are too many, but there's research done first," she added.
"If they did that here and did proper research and counted seals in the Irish waters and found the population too high they could be a humane cull".
"For people just to take it in to their own hands and club or shot a seal is sickening."


Monday, 11 June 2012

Ireland 1, Croatia 3. 87% collide with reality.

Bloody hell.  That was excruciating.

A 1-3 defeat by Croatia...  the side that many thought we would have our best chance against.   So much for that, then.

Indeed, before the match kicked off yesterday evening, RTE's Bill O'Herlihy announced that 87% of respondents to an RTE poll thought Ireland would beat Croatia (ranked 8th best team in the world by UEFA).

How could so many Irish people get it so wrong, eh?   I'm shocked.

It's just damage limitation from now on folks, unless we wheel Ray Houghton out  for the Italy match...

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Friday, 8 June 2012

Mick Wallace VAT underpayment results in 2.1 million euro settlement

I had reason to be in Wexford the other week and was party to a conversation in which a taxi driver declared his staunch support and admiration for independent TD Mick Wallace - not the only person in the locality to do so. 

This was before Wallace settled - or his company settled - a sum of €2.1 million with Revenue after he had  deliberately under-declared VAT payments made by the firm.  A sum which Revenue is unlikely to get as the company is now in receivership.

I've always thought Ireland a strange place, even as a kid growing up in it.  Where else - seriously - would you get an ex property developer socialist?

Mind you, we also have socialists who are against property taxes.  We have patriotic, investor-supporting anarchists.  We have (strangest of all) self-professed "socialist" teachers.  Socialist in the deformed Stalinist-state sense I suppose, insofar as they would  swear two-plus-two was five in order to maintain their privileges, like the most Stakhanovian apparatchik, and keep the whole rotten edifice in existence. 

I do think Wallace is genuine, however.   And I'd say he's an alright sort.  And at least he is not that gobshite Ming Flanagan with his hick twenty-years-too-late "I smoke pot, you know" posturing.  The prat who stood out in supported of a failed compulsory Irish policy when Enda Kenny talked about scrapping it.   Kenny subsequently caved into the lobbyists, of course.

Wallace seems OK though.  For instance, he has single-handedly provided football facilities for kids in his part of the country, where few - if any - existed previously.  I mean "football" as it is understood throughout the whole world apart from the USA,  where they require armour to play rugby.  

"Soccer", some call it.  Wallace has done a lot for the world's greatest game in that particular corner of a country cursed with the Irish establishment sports of Bogball and Stickfighting. 

Several of Wallace's former employees called radio stations to support him today, and it seems he was a good bloke to work for.  And I must say I found it funny to watch the feigned indignation of TDs getting all worked up about tax-compliance and morality, in a shysters'  parliament that deliberately encouraged tax avoidance during the bubble, and possesses all the morality of a paedophile priest set loose in a Kindergarten. 

It's difficult to see, however, how Wallace has not left himself open to easy comebacks by his political opponents should he ever speak on subjects such as public services, social welfare or the rest... all funded, of course, by taxation.  

What might be interesting, I believe, would be a thorough investigation of every single Dail TDs finances.  Property investments, business links,  tax returns and the rest of it - even as they are serving TDs.  I'm sure you would find quite a few forced to exchange sham indignation for  prudent silence.

Wallace's under-payments at least date to before his election to the Irish parliament, but it's hard to see how his political career can continue - and it is finished for a fact if bankruptcy concludes his business affairs.

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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

It's political correctness gone mad...

Quirky public notice/artwork spotted in Wexford General Hospital.   

The message is, seemingly:  "don't hit the nice policeman".  

A sentiment that produces little empathy in these quarters, given the nature of the previous post.

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Friday, 1 June 2012

Garda speed camera van Navan Road

Spotted on the Navan Road, pic taken by your very own intrepid Gombeen Man.

For the record, the van is parked just after the Esso fuel station, on the Dublin-bound side of a perfectly good dual carriageway.   The speed limit is 60 km/h (try keeping to such a speed on this stretch - narrow rural boreens in Ireland have an 80 km/h limit) and the van is situated just a couple of metres before the 80 km/h sign.  

Draw your own conclusions

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