Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sean Quinn Cavan rally gets the gobshites out in force

Once again we must ask ourselves an oft-asked question... 
Where else would you get it?

A businessman runs up massive debts during the bubble by speculating on Anglo Irish Bank shares and property, and thus goes bankrupt.

Because Fianna Fail and the Greens made the bank's debts sovereign, Quinn now owes the Irish taxpayer for the debts he ran up.  

The State attempts to secure Quinn's money and assets on behalf of the taxpayer through the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, and Quinn attempts to put those assets and money beyond its jurisdiction and out of reach.

This means, of course, that the taxpayer will have to pay even more of Quinn's debts if he brazens it out, while he will remain rich while being nominally bankrupt.

Fintan O'Toole puts it well in today's Irish Times:

"TAKE ALL the money raised this year by the cuts in child benefit. And from cutting the school clothing and footwear allowance. And all the cuts to jobseekers’ benefit, rent supplement and fuel allowances for the elderly.
Throw in the restriction of one-parent family allowance to children under seven. Pile on all the cuts in back-to-education allowances and community employment schemes. Take all of that money from the pockets of the poorest people in Ireland this year and you still haven’t reached the amount Seán Quinn agrees he owes the Irish taxpayer.
This is nothing to do with the €2.3 billion he borrowed from Anglo Irish Bank to buy its shares. This is the €455 million he borrowed to buy property – using that property as security. In all the noise and distraction, this much is undisputed: Quinn borrowed the money and put up the property assets as collateral. The State, however idiotically, took over that loan. Since Quinn can’t pay it back, the Irish people now own those properties."

Instead of expressing outrage at Quinn's attempts to evade paying at least part of his debts to the taxpayer, over four thousand thick gobshites crowded the streets of Ballyconnell, Cavan, last weekend to express their support for him.

Several figures including a priest, Father Brian D'Arcy, and some "stars" from the GAA - whose names I can't recall - took the podium to defend Quinn, pledge their undying support, and bolster his sense of psychopathic victimhood.

Cue lots of hysterical whoops and cheers of support from the assembled masses of half-wits.

Not only is Ireland a nation riddled with gombeens, it is one riddled with utter gobshites of the highest order.  

It is embarrassing, as well as infuriating, to behold.  

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Special Irish interest at London's 2012 Olympics

There is a special Irish interest at this year's London Olympics.   Not just Katie Taylor and the rest, but your very own Gombeen Man,  who lived in Stratford for 7 of his 9 years in London back in the late Eighties/early Nineties. 

It's a bit strange for yours truly to see the reporters standing outside Stratford Shopping Centre, which he trudged through on a daily basis while travelling into Old Street tube station for the daily grind on many a morning, before landing a  job in nearby Limehouse which was a bit more convenient.   

Back then Stratford tube station was a bit shabby, as was the shopping centre - though not anything as shabby as Crisp Street near the Limehouse workplace.  Newham, the borough where Stratford resides, was one of the poorest local authority areas in England back then... it might  still be. 

I have fond memories of the place though, and our octogenarian neighbours who were a bit Alf Garnett...

They were sound once they got over the idea of a couple of young Irish people moving in beside them during the height of the IRA bombing campaign, which killed many in London and elsewhere.  (And yes, I am also aware of the murderous activities of the UDA/UVF scumbags back then too). 

Once Alf and the other 'alf  (Bob and Anne, actually) twigged we didn't have a stash of Semtex in the shed, and a couple of balaclavas under the mattress, they couldn't do enough for us.  Or any blow-ins who might move in, I should imagine.  Stratford was like that - at least in our experience. 

One other fellow-Irishman might have noticed it too... Stratford staged a couple of Brendan Behan's plays at its Theatre Royal as long ago as 1954, under the guidance of Joan Littlewood.  And if you have seen any of Behan's plays, you will recognise that was the very epitome of tolerance. 

Good luck to Stratford.  I hope it benefits from its status as the venue for the 2012 Olympics. 

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

"Racial" map of Europe might have confounded Dev and the nation builders

I came across this map from Source Records of the Great War [National Alumni, 1923] recently.  Described as such:

"This map is a relic of the mania for national self-determination that followed World War I. Simply stated, the idea was that, wherever two or more people of one ethnic group are gathered together, they should have their own nation state. Or something close to that. It was a stupid idea then, and it has not improved with age.

When the creators of this map used the term "race" they meant "speech or culture group". "Ethnic Group" would be the modern term. In modern usage, "race" tends to connote a biological classification, though the term is seldom defined precisely, if at all, by those who use it. Recent research has shown that genetic differences between European ethnic groups are trivial. See L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza et al., The History and Geography of Human Genes [Princeton: The Princeton University Press, 1994]."

Given that recent DNA research has rubbished the notion that we are a Celtic/Gaelic people - one of the cornerstones of Irish cultural nationalism - you might wonder what Dev and the rest of the nation-builders, who gave political expression to the ambitions of the rising Irish ruling class, might have thought of such cartography?  Not to mention the Boundary Commission, who seem to have put the border in the wrong place entirely...

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Friday, 20 July 2012

Bankrupt? Ireland or Belgium?

Ten years ago I had a discussion with an Irish "free-marketeer" type - you know, the ones who are all socialists now?  He predicted that Belgium would soon be bankrupt.

This, I might add, was the sort of person who thought Michael McDowell and Charlie McCreevy were economic geniuses. 

He wasn't alone back then of course, with media commentators from all Irish outlets eulogising the pair and their decades-late brand of Reaganomics-for-beginners. 

Back then, of course,  the Irish - or at least a disproportionate number of them, from postpeople to the likes of the Quinn family  - were movers-and-shakers, cut-and-thrusters, and go-getting property investors. 

You know, the kind of people who made Ireland bankrupt?

A recent visit to Belgium prompted me to think of this... and whatever Belgium's economic difficulties, it certainly seemed to be functioning and wasn't joining the ranks of the EU's  bailout nations.  Its capital's transport system consists of bus, tram and an underground network.  Its healthcare is truly excellent.  Its roads are pretty good.

Downsides?  Well, the bi-lingual nature of the country is a bureaucratic and administrative nightmare (it is officially tri-lingual, including German-speaking parts close to the eastern border) but at least that is real and genuine rather than imagined and engineered as in Ireland... more on that next week.  

Then there are the Madame PeePees.   Even if you spend a couple of hundred euro in a Belgian department store, and three pairs of jeans will see to that, you'll have to part with another 50c to the lady that minds the toilet if your bladder demands it.   Madame PeePees are as much a part of Belgium as Riverdance and failed would-be property tycoons are in Ireland.

I suppose every country has its piss-takers.

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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Aer Lingus and Dublin taxi experiences. Welcome... you're home once more.

Air travel is the new steerage.  It is one of the most humiliating experiences out there, fifty shades short of an S&M (as opposed to M&S) encounter.

Yesterday, I arrived at Brussels Airport a good three hours before the 4.20pm flight was due to leave for Dublin.   All was looking good as the bottle-green Airbus, "Ciara" I think it was called, pulled up to the apron.   Cue hours of agony, frustration and indecision.  

Owing to "technical reasons", the flight was cancelled and we were told - after several hours -     that we would have to scramble for tickets to unlock a one-night stay in the Holiday Inn, which was to tide us over until the replacement flight at 10.30am the following day.  I wouldn't be a prolific flyer, but I've endured it often enough to realise that this was very unusual.   

Anyway.  We then had a planeload of people vying, cursing and fighting their way onto a shuttle which only held a busload of people - great planning here, you see.  It was a bit like the Titanic in reverse, with the most unseemly, every-person-for-themselves scramble to get onto the coach, which arrived after a half-hour wait.   The unfortunate/civilised people who were left foundering at the stop - and to my shame I was not one - would have to wait for the next shuttle bus.  And this after several hours of hanging around Brussels Airport (Bottle of water €4.  Can of Stella €5.10). 

Then, at last, it was back to Ireland.  That was just the warm-up.  

Arrival at Dublin Airport prompted a false sense of relief when the baggage came out within about ten minutes.  A record!  Then it was out to the taxi-rank, and the most stupid, most ignorant taxi driver in the world. 

Your friendly Gombeen Man's "How's it goin'?" greeting was met with complete silence, as his travelling companion's decision to take her hand luggage into the cab rather than place it in the boot - it contained the fare - was met with an admonishment not to place it on the seats.

"Not the greatest conversationalist then" were my thoughts as we headed around the M50, "but grand, sometimes not having to partake in small talk is no bad thing if you're not in the humour".  And being knackered, I wasn't.

It was a bit odd, however, that the driver was constantly twitching around in his seat and managed to miss the N3 turn-off for Castleknock despite being told twice it was coming up.  I mean, aren't some of our rather-too-proudly-indigenous taxi drivers very fond of trumpeting their "knowledge" of Dublin to all and sundry?

Don't get me wrong, anyone can make a mistake, but this little bollocks seemed to think he was in the right - even when he had to be directed back from the N4, past Palmerstown and up by Chapilizod in order to rectify his own cock-up.  

"Why didn't you tell me to go by Palmerstown earlier????" he had the cheek to ask.
"Hold on, we shouldn't even f***king be here!", was  the reply.  Not that it made any impression, as I'm sure yer man wasn't the full florin.  

You see, it does not take long to get back into things once you set foot back in the place.

Welcome back to Ireland.  Welcome back to Dublin.

Maybe Aer Lingus was trying to tell us something?

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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sorry it's been quiet...

Sorry it's been so quiet lately... sometimes life gets in the way of blogging and that's what happened over the past 10 days or so. 

Hopefully we'll be back up-and-running this week.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Justice for Magdalene survivors

"It is not easy to stand outside the mainstream and to continue to press for the truth, but we know this is the way in which human rights defenders undertake their work in every country around the world."

— Dr. Maurice Manning, President, Irish Human Rights Commission (9 Nov. 2010)

A comment on the last post suggested the blog give a permanent link to the campaign seeking justice for the Irish State's Magdalene laundries survivors.  

 It is incredible that these people are still in the position of  having to fight for justice. 

It shows that those who think the bad old days are in the truly in the past should not be quite so smug...

Justice for Magdalenes

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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Little Skeletons - unpalatable truths about Irish child abuse scandals

Sometimes running a blog like Gombeen Nation can be a bit like ploughing a lonely furrow.  Given the blog's constant criticism of Irish orthodoxy, it's never going to be a hit with "de people" as such.

"De people", you see, are not given to questioning the conjured-up, mythical definition of Irishness used by our ruling class to establish their nation state's borders back in 1922.  They are not used to questioning anything   that is the trouble.

"De people" are a bit thick, to be honest – dulled and cowed by a rote education system that sends half-literate, semi-numerate gobshites to under-achieving universities to be processed as pillars, and perpetuators, of the establishment themselves. 

The country's founders such as Dev were reactionary cultural nationalists, they founded their infant - some might say errant -  state on a platform of  neo-gaelicism, steeped with conservative Catholicism.   And natural forces help anyone who lay beyond the field of this narrow vision, such as it was.  

They founded a state where a docile, unthinking, unquestioning public kow-towed to their betters, and acquiesced in the torture, abuse or outright murder of thousands of children in its  education system, in its industrial schools, and in its Magdalene Laundries. 

"De people" blame the Church now, as the state considers that to be acceptable nowadays.  This gets the polticians and the Irish people off the hook quite nicely, they think.  But the Irish state and the Irish people were ultimately responsible for all of the atrocities cited above.  

A journalist going by the nom-de-guerre of Tomás Mac Glasáin has written a comprehensive, and highly readable, proposal for an uncompromising book tackling the issues above.    He is in the process of finding a publisher at the moment, which I sincerely hope he does. 

There is a fair bit of reading in this, so I suggest you print out each chapter and peruse them at your leisure.  

You will find it worthwhile.

Little Skeletons  by Tomás Mac Glasáin

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Monday, 2 July 2012

Eamon Dunphy on Spanish national anthem... no words to describe it.

RTE football pundit and professional gobshite controversist, Eamon Dunphy, has excelled himself this time. 

Commenting on the Spanish footballers' silence as their national anthem was being played prior to their European Championship showdown with Italy, he made this prize observation:

"There is a unity between the Catalans and the Spaniards which is very important… Traditionally Spain have underachieved because the players of Barcelona, and the Basque country indeed, and the Castilians don’t get on. But that rift has been healed by this generation of players. And notably, when the Spanish national anthem was being played no Spanish player sang it. I think that was a recognition that [the players] say nothing… keep quiet. For the purposes of football, they have left a culture and their politics in the dressing room and played for their nation."

Talk about supplementing verbal diarrhoea with a strong dose of laxatives  -  unlike Eamon, the Spanish national anthem contains no words..

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