Thursday, 26 December 2013

Off the trolley at Christmas.

Christmas comes but once a year, and it is just as well in my case.  I don't know what category you fall into -  Pioneer abstainer, vegan pagan or, like me, blathered blogger; it's difficult to avoid the stuff even if you wanted to.

You see, on the left, a picture taken of a Tesco trolley destined for Gombeen Manor.  Well, you've got to have some booze there in case someone drops in, don't you?  It would be rude otherwise.

But isn't that what Christmas is all about, as an older Gombeen Nation post attests?   "Christmas", albeit with different names, existed this time of year among the ancients, long before the Christians (and other religious deceivers)  came along and attempted to take all the fun out of it.  

I remember as a kid finally teasing out from my Old Dear that Santa didn't exist.  The next logical question was "what about God?".  "YES, HE DOES!" was the unequivocal reply.

So you see, you can believe whatever brand of nonsense you want.  For my part, I'm off for another beer or two before the Leeds United v Blackpool match kicks off. 

 Another example of the misery that blind faith can bring...

Merry Christmas - in every sense.







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Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Blades at the Olympia Theatre - Boy One. Meantime Bono hobnobs it at Mandela memorial in South Africa

"Almost forgot to take you down Memory Lane..."

It was great seeing The Blades' "reunion" gigs  at the Olympia Theatre this weekend.  Not a full reunion really, but a two-off, so we're told.  It was a fantastic couple of nights.

 Back in the '80s The Blades were Dublin's best band, and I was lucky enough to have seen them as a three-piece at the Magnet on Pearse Street  -  that's like saying you were in the GPO in '16 or, more important, at the Sex Pistols in the Hope and Anchor in '77.  

They also played residencies in McGonagles and the Baggot Inn, had slots in Harcourt Street's TV Club, and played their farewell Dublin gig in the Olympic Ballroom, Camden Street, in 1986.   

Inspired by the Beatles as a kid, and the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Jam as a teenager, Paul Cleary - the band's songwriter - was one of the best around.  A look at the lyrics of "Tears that tell the truth" - along with a listen to that brilliant bass run - will confirm that for you.

Here's a snippet captured with my own fair hand at the Saturday gig, a song called Boy One:




The Blades and their contemporaries, U2, shared the bill at the Baggot Inn for six weekends on the trot in 1979.  U2 subsequently became one of the world's biggest bands, while The Blades languished in Dublin and never saw fame and fortune.   Paul McGuinness must have been doing something right, then...  he must have been a miracle worker, in fact.


Interesting so, to see mega-popstar Bono hobnobbing it with the likes of George Bush at Nelson Mandela's memorial do in South Africa last Tuesday, while Paul Cleary prepared for his Olympia gigs.

In 1984, Cleary gave his support to shopworkers at Dunnes Stores who refused to handle produce from the apartheid South African regime and went on strike over the issue.  If you'd been around in the 80s, a time of rampant unemployment and emigration, you'd realise what an incredibly brave, principled stand that was.   

Here's a poster advertising a benefit gig at the time:



Where was Bono back then, I wonder?



Here's to The Blades, Dublin's best-ever band.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

O Cuirreain to resign An Choimisinéir Teanga job (Irish Language Commission)

Add caption
The whole planet is in shock.

One of the greatest champions of human rights the world has ever known stepped off the stage last week. Things will never be the same.

I refer of course, to Irish Language Kommisar Sean O Cuirreain, who made public his intention to resign his post as head of of An Choimisinéir Teanga (The Irish Language Commission).   

For those of you who don't know,  An Choimisinéir Teanga is a quango set up to help English speakers, who also speak Gaelic, gain as much advantage as possible in the arena of State employment over everyone else, both native and non-native.  Some call them the Gaeliban, others The Irish Language Lobby.

This oppressed minority - who number 2% daily speakers outside an  education system where Gaelic is compulsory - are to be found among top civil servants, teachers, Irish Times readers, judges and those who grace the RTE credits at the end of each dire programme the state-subsidised dross-merchant produces. 

O Cuirreain isn't, of course, resigning right away... but he has announced his intention to do so in light what he sees as the lack of  Gaelic language services for "Gaeltacht residents".    As acts of martyrdom go, it's not exactly Robben Island, is it?

Bear in mind, please, that there is not one monoglot Gaelic speaker in the country, and many in the Gaeltacht don't even speak it to any acceptable level.  There are no poor Paidis or Peigs on rocky outcrops in the Atlantic who are only capable of pursuing vocal intercourse with state agencies through Gaelic.  

More realistically, the kind of person more likely to insist on such interaction as Gaeilge is likely to be your well-heeled middle-class type who speaks Gaelic as a second language out of a Dev-inspired cultural nationalism, or who already benefits from the bureaucracy surrounding the language in the public sector.

An Choimisinéir Teanga, Conradh na Gaelige, and all the rest want to increase this bureaucracy to ring-fence more jobs for themselves and like-minded enthusiasts by increasing Gaelic requirements for state careers... simple as that.   In the past you failed your entire Leaving Cert if you didn't pass Gaeilge – you could have had seven "A"s otherwise – but nowadays they have to be a bit more subtle.

The reality is that there are more grounds for increasing the number of English/Polish speakers, or English/Chinese speakers, in state employment - including the police force.   But no...this is Ireland after all, and logic and reason seldom triumph.

As someone who takes the train to and from work most days, I can vouch for the intrusiveness of An Choimisinéir Teanga's diktats; having to listen to endless recorded announcements as Gaeilge –  especially on intercity trains serving commuter routes where the Gaelic announcements drone on for so long that there is no room to hear the vernacular between stops.   

Last week I had a nice English lady ask for clarification as to where the train was going, as she couldn't make head nor tail of the babble.  I told her I couldn't make it out either – nor possibly most of the other passengers – and that Dev and his grandson were to blame.  I did, however, know that the train stopped at Pearse Station.

Likewise, you will see many tourists looking quizzically around them as they frantically peruse their phrase-books, before the doors close and they land in some location they had no intention of going to.   How Irish is that, then?

Instead of humouring  the likes of Cuirreain, the government should grab the moment and repeal Fianna Fail's 2003 Languages Act, introduced by aforementioned grandson-of-Dev, Eamon O'Cuiv.

An Choimisinéir Teanga should then be shut down, being a commodity of nonsense bollocksology we can ill afford.

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Monday, 2 December 2013

Man set on fire, horse set on fire, woman blinded. Business as usual in Dublin.

A woman blinded by a scumbag who threw an egg from a moving car, a horse set alight by "feral youths" in Tallaght, a homeless man burnt alive in his sleeping bag in the Phoenix Park.  All horror strories that have featured in the news in recent weeks. 

In the case of the "feral youths", as described by The Herald, children as young as 12 to 14 years old have been flinging petrol bombs at each other in pitched battles, if that not entirely reliable publication is to be believed.

If it's true, it would make you wonder about the feral scumbag parents who brought such feral scumbag devilspawn into the world.  

"What did you do today, Johnny?".

"I threw a few petrol bombs at people and set a horse on fire, ma".

"That's nice, love".

The really worrying thing about all this is Ireland's demographic.  Paddy and Mary are still popping out vile brats like there is some kind of demand for them. 

I suppose this goes back to the days when the Catholic Church held sway on "moral" issues, contraceptives were an illegal novelty, and people were encouraged to breed without any responsibility once the urchin had vacated the womb.

Maybe the way forward here is to hold parents to account for the actions of their offspring? Or surely if they are unaware of the activities or their children, as they roam wild during school hours, they should at least be done for negligence?

Why should their kids be everyone else's – plus the odd horse's – problem?


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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dublin house sales at three-year-high as ghost estates to be demolished by taxpayers...

It's nearly getting to the point where you could take old Gombeen Nation posts from the archive, change the date at the top, and pass them off as new.   Such is the convenience of  blogging about Groundhog Day Ireland.

Or maybe it's the same as the chief character in Flann O'Brien's "Third Policeman" who is doomed to make the same awful, and only just bearable mistakes, into perpetuity?

I nearly choked on my Tayto and milk breakfast last week when I read the following in The Irish Times:

"The number and value of house sales in Dublin is at a three-year high, according to a new survey from myhome.ie, which also shows that the total value of transactions in the first nine months of the year is up by 29 per cent on the same period last year."

Then there were some "experts" (remember those?) on radio doing their utmost to assure us that we were not looking at another bubble in the capital.    I should certainly hope not, we still haven't paid for the first one yet.    

At the same time ghost estates, built with government tax incentives and dodges (and about which the "opposition" of the time were strangely quiet) are going to be demolished at taxpayers' expense.

Then there's all the other stuff...

It's a strange little country where HSE top management and executives receive salary top-ups for making a bollocks of running our health service, and where it was recently decided that taxpayers should subvent RTE even more than they do at present... by a body that contains an ex-RTE head.  Failed bankers too, have enjoyed bonuses while judges have used the constitution to fight changes to their pensions.

 In Greece the Troika took the axe to such wasters, but Ireland is different I suppose.   

'Tis a quare place, alright.   


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Sunday, 10 November 2013

Varadkar cosies up to Conradh na Gaeilge on Irish road signs

"More Irish than the Irish themselves"

Even as a kid I could see that this officially presented twaddle was utter bollocks.  How can you "be more" than what is, in this sense, after all?


You know how there has been a clamour for many things to be tackled since the bubble burst?

Like:

Those who made the bank debts public property (the Irish Government of the time) being brought to justice.

The property tax.


DIRT tax -   the highest in the world. 


The continuing scandal of Vehicle Registration Tax.


The fact PAYE workers go into the highest income-tax bracket in, or at around, the 30-grand mark...as opposed to six digits in the UK. 


Continuing tax-breaks for builders and developers.


The Government massaging the true unemployment figures by cutting benefit down to 9 months, therefore ensuring that people who have paid taxes for decades slip quietly below the radar when their benefit runs out. 


Lots of things.


So how do you make your feelings felt when something concerns you?    Contact your local TD?

One of mine is Leo Varadkar.  When we moved into Gombeen Manor here a couple of years ago, when the gobshite investors were temporarily frightened off, we discovered that our broadband was utter w**k.   It was slower than dial-up.

We got onto the bould Leo, along with Joan Burton and Peggy Hamill and some other wine-and-cheese-party type from Fine Gael whose name escapes me.  Something to do with Queen's Park Rangers, I think.

Not one of them responded. 

Eventually - with a bit of non-lobby enhanced pucking, the provider rolled out the fibre - it seems our bit of Castleknock had been forgotten - and now we are sorted.

So, how do you get a politician's ear in Ireland?

Be Conradh na Gaeilge, it seems.  These gobshites who, in their previous incarnation as the Gaelic League, helped ruin Ireland's education system by sitting on school governing committees and insisting the Irish education system be geared more toward Gaelic revivalism than education (see Tom Garvin - Preventing The Future).  These Government-funded arsebags have got Varadkar's ear just like that.

Now if this quango of hobbyists and Gaelic-language lobbyists gets its way, we will have even more nonsensical and confusing road signage than we have at present, with priority (thanks to the odious O'Cuiv's Language Act)  given to a "language" that only a tiny minority of elitists and cultural nationalists actually speak...along with their mother-tongue Hiberno-English.  

They know what the country needs, begob.


Have a look at this bollocksology:








Green light for plan to make road signs 'more Irish'



Paul Melia – 08 November 2013, Irish Independent.


Intensive lobbying by Conradh na Gaeilge could result in road signs being changed to give equal prominence to our two official languages.

Road signs display English place names more prominently than those as Gaeilge – but Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has now given his approval to replace these signs over time with a new version designed by the lobby group.

The minister and officials met with Conradh na Gaeilge earlier this week, and it unveiled new sign designs which make placenames the same size in Irish and English.
While no signs will be replaced in the short-term – the National Roads Authority (NRA) has just spent €65m re-signing the road network – the new ones may be used when needed.
Mr Varadkar has asked the NRA to consider using them on a trial basis, but new regulations must be passed before they can be put in place.

Existing road-sign legislation stipulates that priority must be given to English place names.
"I like the new design and I do think there should be parity between Irish and English where it matters, like road signs that people see every day," Mr Varadkar said. "But it's a bit like an election poster – it's only when
you put it on a road and drive past that you really know whether it works.
"I have been in touch with the NRA and they are considering putting up a few signs on a trial basis to see what people think. These would be new signs that have to go up anyway so there would be no additional cost involved."
If it goes ahead, it means that road signs will be compliant with the Official Languages Act for the first time. 

Julian de Spainn, from Conradh na Gaeilge, said the idea was first mooted a number of years ago, but the last government wasn't keen.
"It's about the language. All these things make a difference. We teach children about the importance of mlanguage, and they go outside and see that English is more prevalent on road signs. It differentiates us from other countries, too, which can only be a good thing for tourism."

The NRA said it was an "interesting proposal" and while it did have bilingual signs, it "looked forward" to implementing the idea. "This initiative is being proposed by the minister and Department of Transport, and we look forward to their direction on it," a spokesman said.

Ho-hum.  In most other countries, signage is about offering information, direction and clarity. 

In Ireland, it is all about creating bureaucracy and promoting the deluded notion that we are a nation of Gaelic speakers, long after the Irish ditched their peasant (and spoken only) babble for modernity and progress.

Leo, you seem very accessible.  How can we get your ear to change things that really matter to the Irish people, rather than engaging with the type of lobby groups who brought ruin to the country?


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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Fair-haired Roma children and hysterical racism in Ireland

How bizarre it all is.

A friend of a friend works as a social worker, and was recently complaining about how difficult it is to obtain a court order to take at-risk children into protective care.  

She also spoke of the hostile attitude of some judges towards social workers, and was greatly stressed by her knowledge of children who were suffering abuse/neglect and were being effectively ignored by the state authorities.

Which makes the recent shameful fiasco surrounding the taking into custody of Roma children with light-coloured hair all the more appalling.

Think about this.  We have some racist bigot making groundless "tip-offs" on Facebook, which are then passed onto the police via a journalist.   We are then treated to the spectacle of the fuzz raiding the homes of two Roma families, one in Athlone and one in Tallaght, before taking away one child from each family,  on the grounds that their hair is fair and their complexions are pale.

The gardai, of course, claimed their actions were because the children were "at risk".   Strange then, that they left the other dark-haired children at home with their parents while running away with the fair-haired siblings under their arms.

Keystone Cops doesn't even describe it –  only it is no laughing matter that racist hysteria has once more found embarrassing expression in Ireland. 

Meanwhile we have a government that is busy  taking medical cards away from sick and dying children – plainly putting them in a geniune "at risk" category.

"Bizarre" doesn't really do it justice;  and nor do the gardai.


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Sunday, 20 October 2013

An Coimisinéir Teanga


Two of the three founding pillars of our wonderful bullshit banana repubic were the Catholic Church and the "Irish language".    The other one was their sporting wing, the GAA.  

The nuns and priests are on the run, cassocks and habits a-flapping.  

The other two are definitely still with us.   It might take another 100 years or so, but the De Irish Peeple, who voted to keep the Senate politicians in jobs,  will eventually get it and give them the bum's rush.  They're very sophisticated, you see. 

How about this, from a reader who works in the Civil Service?   





My  workplace Big Brick Building normally houses 400 – but in this recession this has gone down to 200. Our safety committee had dwindled but had re-convened: and decided to  do up the  internal safety signage of our Big Brick Building.

 Other signage throughout the building was also done up - since it had been drawn before the 2004 language act. However as internal offices changed rooms at times, not every office Had a sign ( eg Accounts office) on the door – most did not. 

So as well as safety notices, for example  "exit this way", they mostly contented themselves with putting new signs on each floor opposite the lifts - bilingually. 

I have no problems with this- even though office is squarely in central Dublin- and the public only use the ground floor...  therefore anyone getting to the remaining 5 floors are all Dublin-based English speakers.  However these signs duly went  up and some pointed out a "fada" in the wrong place on "Cead". 

What amazed me was when our admin staff came into my office and told us to take my home-made typed notice off the door: 

Parts of my Dept are re-organising  – and I am in one of the little set-up offices overseeing   the changes - a completely new office- so  to aid visitors  and service staff I put  up a notice:  "The ****** Transition Office’.   I was told to take it down as it  was English only.  The Irish Language Auditors were to be in the next day.  Of course they told me it was  OK to put it back up after they had gone!

So, better- NO Sign – in central Dublin - than one in English!

Compare the zeal of the Irish Language Auditors (!!!) - Nazis checking our Green stars are on - with the safety inspectors at Dublin city council.  Those who let Priory Hall pass due to ‘safety self-certification’- and it it took a suicide to force a solution. two Years Later……..

Of course the Irish language Nazis could also quickly fine us for any English only signs….. 

OK I don't know how often they issue fines- but the zeal of public officials doing a pointless job -  when safety in Priory Hall was never an issue...

If that poor man hadn't committed suicide he could have died instead in a fire there....



But  what  does all that matter?  Let's concentrate on matters important to Official Ireland and its career bureaucrats. Never mind the real issues, including many other Priory Halls that remain covered up or ignored.

Developers and builders are not subject, it seems, to regulations such as those described below.

Complaints & Investigations An Coimisinéir Teanga (The Irish Language Kommisar)
The Act provides for the imposition of a fine not exceeding €2,000 and/or imprisonment for a term of up to 6 months on a person convicted in court of refusing or failing to cooperate with or obstructing an investigation.

What''s "safety self-certification" in Gaelic, I wonder?

Developers can relax::  knowing they may remain less bothered about the placement of viable fire exits in their buildings than the Civil Service has to be with "fadas" on its internal signage.










Sunday, 13 October 2013

Liam Kelly half-way line goal against Sweden - a welcome distraction from the Republic of Ireland seniors.

You would have to wonder about the future of football in this country.   By "football", I mean "football' as understood by most of the world.   Not bogball, not rugger-buggery and not, even worse, the North American variety of the latter, which is played in armour. 

I refer, of course, to the beautiful game, Association Football – or "soccer". 

Despite the odds, this country has produced some wonderful footballers.  Johnny Giles, Paul McGrath, Liam Brady, Dave O'Leary, Packie Bonner, Frank Stapleton and, though I hate to say it, Roy Keane are all examples.

But decent players haven't been coming through in recent years, just headbangers like Stephen Ireland with more belief than ability and a bad attitude to boot.  I think things will get even worse in the coming years with so many young lads being lost to the dark arts of the GAA and the rugby lot.    

All aided and abetted by the utter ineptitude of the Football Association of Ireland.   Which means we will never again grace the World Cup finals or the European Championships' final stages.  

A work colleague of mine described how his kids have been lost to football thanks to the FA placing too much emphasis on competion at and up to under-12 level.

Basically, if a kid does not make the team he is out on his arse, or stood shivering on the sidelines watching his mates play.   I've some memories of this, having partaken in the Home Farm Mini Leagues as a kid, in the capacity described above. 

Kids don't need to be told they are no good - they are at the start of their football lives and even Europe's top leagues are well endowed with players who developed late on.   

There  is some glimmer of hope, as the FAI have belatedly appointed someone who plans to shake up kids' football in Ireland, with three-a-side non-competitive matches played with small goals and designed to give young players as many touches of the ball as possible. 

Ruud Dokter, a Dutchman, might sound like a Carry On character, but he could be just the thing Irish football needs to ensure some kind of future.

Mind you, with a few more goals like the one below by Reading's Liam Kelly – scored against the Swedish under 19s – things might not be as glum as we think.









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Monday, 7 October 2013

Seanad stays - Irish democracy elects to keep undemocratic house


De Peeple  have spoken. 

The “upper house” of elitism and privilege will stay.  The chamber whose members are selected by 1% of the population and by political cronyism  – otherwise known as “appointments” (See Irish Times graphic above).  

A chamber full of dead wood and dross – graced now and in the past by heavyweights such as Ivor Callely, Donie Cassidy, Jimmy Harte, Bertie Ahern, and Michael McDowell – rejected at the polls in his last general election outing.

Most of  De Peeple I am acquainted with never stop banging on about our corrupt and useless political class, yet when given a gold-plated opportunity to put a few of them out on their waffling arses arrives,  De Peeple elect – the only such input they have ever had into the Seanad – to keep these wafflers in jobs.

Amazing.

The Dublin chattering classes have much to answer for.  Even so-called “left wing” commentators such as Fintan O’Toole called for a “no” to abolition of the anachronistic upper house.   For once, the culchies led the way by voting "yes"  – from this perspective anyhow – as a clear urban/rural divide saw the city slickers vote “no’ decisively.

Irish democracy has thrown a fundamentally undemocratic institution an unexpected lifeline.
It gets curiouser and curiouser.




Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ireland is dying? Pacific Standard article.

Our "republic", readers will know, has always specialised in exporting its people - mainly because it's always been such a rotten kip.

Some reading this live abroad now, having voted with their feet (or because their parents did); some have lived abroad in the past, and made the mistake of coming back; some will undoubtedly evacuate in the near future.


It's so ironic, when you consider that so-called "confidence" of the bubble years...

B-B-Bertie Ahern was holding lectures on how to run economies.   Vested-interests economists were explaining how the Irish "boom" was "different" and how we were "catching up"...and it made perfect sense that a semi-d in the arsehole of nowhere was worth as much as a swanky apartment in Berlin.   Paddy and Mary were topping up their mortgages to plonk a new S-Class in their driveway every new reg-plate year.   

And the gobshites - many of the "blameless" Irish peeple Michael D so adores, the property tax-break politicians (many of whom had/have investment properties), the bankers, the media, the economists and the estate agents were manically dropping yet more incendiaries on the disastrous Ponzi-scheme conflagration.

And now the aftermath.  At least some of us can say we were never surprised.


The following, from the Pacific Standard, was sent in by a reader.  Well worth a read.

*********************************************

Ireland Is Dying

Why so many people—an average of 10 every hour—are fleeing the Emerald Isle.


Remains of the 12th-century Trim Castle in County Meath, the largest Norman castle in Ireland. (PHOTO:ANDREW PARNELL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Rest in peace, Seamus Heaney. The latest exodus from the Emerald Isle has reached hyperbolic speed. The Financial Times titillating its readers with data porn:
Ireland’s rate of emigration is continuing to increase and at one stage one person was leaving the country to live abroad every six minutes – the highest number since modern records began in the late 1980s.
New figures published on Thursday show 397,500 people have emigrated since Ireland’s financial crisis began in 2008, with most travelling to the UK, Australia and Canada in search of work.
During the same period 277,400 people have returned or moved to Ireland, giving a net outward migration figure of 120,100. In a 12-month period from April last year, 10 people left every hour.
Using the same cited data for the same 12-month period, more than 20 people moved to Ireland every hour. Of course, that also means over 30 people emigrated from Ireland every hour. The centerfold shot:
Almost a third of 15 to 24-year-olds, who grew up during an era when highly paid jobs were plentiful, are now out of work and even those with jobs have seen their wages slashed. More than a third of people leaving the country in the 12-month period to the end of April were between 15 and 24 years of age. Some 50,900 of the 89,000 people who emigrated were Irish citizens while the rest were nationals from other countries.
Yes, throw some dirt on dear old Dublin. The Celtic Tiger can no longer hunt. Time to put her down.
Two variables explain much of outmigration, age and educational attainment. I’ve posted quite a bit about ties between a college education and geographic mobility. Concerning age, the younger you are (as an adult), the more likely you are to leave. Relatively speaking, Ireland’s population is young:
In contrast to general European trends, the birth rate in Ireland is soaring. According to the Economic and Social Research Institute’s latest Perinatal Statistics Report, Ireland’s birth rate increased nearly 30 percent over the past 10 years, equating to about 17,000 more births in 2010 than 10 years before. The island boasts the highest birth rate of any European Union member.
Galway, a small college city on the Irish west coast, likes to tout itself as the “youngest city in Europe.” In 2001, 40 percent of Ireland was under the age of 25. When the going gets tough, the young and college educated get going. Everywhere, not just in Ireland. All those babies will grow up and go to college.  Then they will move away like all the other twentysomethings around the world.

*********************************************

******

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn on Seanad abolition – Sunday Times article

It's not that often you get to vote on something that really matters to you, is it?  

I mean, as far as general elections go, you might as well subscribe to international anarchist Emma Goldman's maxim "If voting changed anything they would make it illegal'.




And it's so true.  When it comes to voting my only interest is getting the ones I like least at any given time out of government, though usually it means they simply cross to the other side of the floor for four years and keep their jobs in the meantime.

The great thing about voting to abolish the Seanad (Gaelic for "Senate" - no wonder so many Irish people can't spell properly) would mean that a whole chamber of wasters, shysters, failed TDs and waffling gobshites - with the exception of Bacik perhaps - will be out of a job.  Or one of their jobs, anyway.   

McDowell will have to go back to being a barrister, where the sincerity of ones argument is secondary to its eloquence.  So he should be at home there.  The rest of them will have to devote themselves to their other earners, or coffee mornings and the like.

You hear Irish people complaining about politicians every day.  Let's see what they – a famously conservative constituency – do when they get the chance to actually vote some of them out.

The following article by Brenda Power is well worth a read.


Seanad fat cats should be left to Their Wounds
BRENDA POWER, Sunday Times, 22nd September, 2013

In what parallel universe does Maire Geoghegan-Quinn imagine that her enthusiasm for the Seanad’s retention will have any other effect than to hasten its demise? 

Rarified ast he atmosphere in the VIP section of Dublin airport must be, which Mrs GQ enjoys at a cost to taxpayers of thousands of euros per year, it cannot have removed her from reality to the extent that she believes her support for the upper house will influence voters next month. In fact, one more such endorsement- from, say, that paragon of parliamentary propriety Bertie Ahem-and the electorate won’t
just stop at abolishing the Seanad but may well burn the whole place to the ground. Geoghegan-Quinn revealed she “cut her teeth” as a minister in Seanad debates in the late 1970s, and it taught her everything she knew about politics and legislation. 

Evidently, she believes this will convince an awed populace to race to the polling stations on OCtober 4 to support the Seanad’s existence, berating ourselves for ever having considered voting Yes. The institution that taught an archetypal Fianna Fail grandee, now a featherbedded Eurocrat with a €250,000 salary plus expenses, everything she knows about politics? More of that, please. The chamber that instilled in Geoghegan-Quinn such disdain for the hard-pressed taxpayer that she clung to her €104,000 ministerial and Dail pensions, on top of her EU salary, until it was wre.sted away by dint of shame and public outcry? 

The Seanad that taught her how to bat off queries about enthusiastic use of the airport VIP lounge (in the last six months of 2012 it cost us €5,654 to have GQ pampered between flights to Brussels) by pointing out it was a long-standing privilege for persons of her elevated status- how could we contemplate its abolition? 

There is an argument to be made for a reformed, more democratically elected seanad; Geoghegan-Quinn, however fondly she fancies herself, isn’t it. When the Oireachtas resumed last week, it took two efforts to raise a quorum in the Sean ad because not enough members turned up for the debate. The week before, we learned senator Terry Leyden had made an “honest mistake” when abusing Oireachtas postal privileges to send out €300 worth of invites to a private event. The Seanad could have been reformed years ago had any such impetus come from the people elected to it. But since the senators themselves have shown such cavalier contempt for the chamber which they purport to value, how on earth can they expect the voters to respect it? 

Everything about this unedifying saga - from the taoiseach’s initial journey from reform to abolition while Fianna Fail passed him on the road in the opposite direction, to the cynical posturing of the political debate - embodies those elements of Irish public life the electorate will almost certainly reject on October 4.

Meaningless promises, blatant self-interest, ovenweening arrogance, breathtaking condescension, abundant hot air and vastly inflated expense claims are all dressed up as a vital service to a thankless riffraff. 

Most hilarious of all is that the government’s advertisement campaign is predicated on a gleeful
 reminder that we don’t trust a single one of them. “Fewer politicians!” their posters shriek. 

An even more effective billboard would feature a giant image of Maire Geoghegan -Quinn, a vision of bloated self-irnportance in an executive airline lounge, with the slogan:

“Keep the Seanad – it got me where I am today!”


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Sunday, 15 September 2013

World Parks Day, Dublin. Craggy Island isn't in it.





Was walking through the Phoenix Park today when I came upon the spectacle you see above.  

A "Gathering" event called World Parks Day which put me in mind of the "Funland" Father Ted episode.  

The footage is short as I was so embarrassed by it all, to be honest, I wanted to get away as quickly as possible.  

Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan had their fingers on the pulse, it seems.


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Saturday, 7 September 2013

A donut shop and a fight on Talbot Street - no prizes for guessing where the coppers are.

It’s been said before on the blog that Ireland doesn’t really do entrepreneurs. I mean, there was a time when opening a pub was seen as the height of go-for-it vigour in Ireland, and even the likes of Michael O’Leary just copied a business model that existed elsewhere.

There’s no Irish Steve Jobs, nor Bill Gates, nor Alan Sugar. The Irish Dragon’s Den is filled with people who hire tuxedos, worked in construction or sell coffee for goodness sake.

Traditionally, Ireland has only attracted jobs by shamelessly splattering its collective sphincter with Vaseline and bending over for a good shafting by US multinationals, who are only here for a bit of tax "relief"  in this jurisdiction and others.

But there is someone out there who really has their head screwed-on when it comes to spotting a business opportunity – step forward the person who opened the doughnut shop on Talbot Street, just around the corner from Store Street Garda Station.

I walk down this street - or part of it - regularly enough, and it is one of the few thoroughfares where you might see a lesser-spotted Boy or Girl in Blue now and again. Not to deal with crime, or the countless skangers, scumbags and druggies roaming the area; but waddling their ample blue-serge arses in and out of said doughnut shop. I kid you not! 

Apart from those lunch-break sightings, these rare creatures are only to be found within the cosy confines of the station, even when stuff like this is going on a hundred metres away.





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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Feeling sheepish in Wicklow




It takes all kinds, I suppose  -  even those who have a paraphilia with zoophilia. 

In other words, humans who are sexually attracted to (other) animals. 

They don't just exist in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, New Zealand and Yorkshire either - here's a case from the Netherlands, and here's another from London.

Then there's this one from a couple of years back which I'd forgotten about...

Irish Woman Dies after Sex with Dog  (8th July 2011, Pets.ie)

A Limerick woman died after suffering an allergic reaction to dog’s semen according to the Irish Daily Star.  The 43-year old mother of four willingly engaged in intercourse with an Alsatian in 2008, after arranging the tryst on an online bestiality chatroom.

The owner of the dog, Sean McDonnell, 57, is being charged with the woman’s death and could face life in prison if found guilty. 

Tests show that following sex acts with the Alsatian, she suffered a reaction similar to that of someone with peanut allergies. The woman fell ill at 7.30 on October 7th and
died just half an hour later. The Alsatian has been kept in quarantine ever since the incident.



Bloody hell... the world can be a scary place.  Especially if you are a sheep (or a dog).

And whatever you think about this off-beat post, let me assure you that I'm only joking in the video above.

I go driving in Wicklow soley for the roads, mutton else.




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Monday, 19 August 2013

Top Gear v Fifth Gear. A triumph of nonsense over substance.

This post has nothing to do with Ireland or life in it, but we all need a break now and then.  Even me.

  It's about quality and public taste, and how the two are very often diametrically opposed – often helped by marketing people, all too keen and ready to exploit public dim-wittedness.

This is an international phenomenon.   History is littered with dubious, but successful,  products that eclipsed far better rivals. 

During World War Two, for instance,  the Luftwaffe had the Messerschmitt 109 – an aircraft inferior in most important respects to the Focke Wulf 190.   The later FW 190s were even a match for the mighty North American Mustang, yet the aircraft played second fiddle to the older BF109 throughout the war. The Messerschmitt was a bugger to fly and many of them were written off in take-off and landing accidents due to the wheels being too close together, a consequence of their weak wings.

Back in the 80s there was the VHS video system.  It was poorer than its rival Betamax, but that didn't stop VHS becoming the standard whilst Betamax was consigned to the cassette bin.   A triumph of slippery marketing types in large-framed Elvis Costello glasses and speckled suits.   You have to wonder how these people have made our lives worse than they could have been, with their cliche-crammed bullshit and bollocksology.

Then there is Top Gear and Fifth Gear.   Sweet suffering Christ, what an utter crock of shite Top Gear is, but that hasn't stopped it becoming one of the most popular TV series in the world, along with an execrable live touring show.    I stopped looking at it years ago, after they thought it would be a fabulous wheeze to take the wheels off a Jaguar XJS and put train ones on in their place.  They then drove the car on a track... a railway one.   Madcap stuff indeed, and quite possibly hilarious if you are three years old or are a public schoolboy.  

The only vehicle that features on the show these days is the one that carries the massive egos of its three journalist presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. By contrast Fifth Gear, which of late has been on Discovery, boasts at least three ex-racing drivers who know their stuff and actually review motor cars... sometimes even motorbikes.  

Despite all this, Top Gear can count its viewers in multiple millions; Fifth Gear, on the other hand, is relatively cult viewing.   

I suppose it all comes down to popular taste, which tends to favour the lightweight – but the power of the Beeb and slick marketing must play a part too.

"Marketing" remarked Edwin Land "is something you do when your product is no good".

Ouch.


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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

€35,000 booze donation from Shell to gardai?

Multinational conglomerates like Shell are well used to operating in godforsaken Third World countries.   They know how things work, how to keep corrupt authorities sweet.   How to oil the cogs of power to keep them turning in the right direction.

Last Sunday’s Observer – and it would be a British, rather than an Irish media organ – claimed that a company contracted to Shell donated the Belmullet plod €35,000 worth of booze, after some particularly dedicated work against Corrib gas protestors.

See follow-up in today's IT, below.

You needn't expect much from  the "investigation" into gardai, by gardai, on the matter. 

They'll probably just clutch their heads and say they don't remember anything about it.




Senior garda examining claims alcohol was delivered to Mayo station
Lorna Siggins  Irish Times, Tuesday 13th August 2013


An Garda Síochána has appointed a senior officer to examine claims a company contracted to Shell E&P Ireland delivered large quantities of alcohol to Belmullet Garda station in Mayo. The Garda Press Office confirmed to The Irish Times last night that “a superintendent has been appointed to examine the matter”.

It is understood Supt Thomas Murphy of Swinford Garda station has been instructed to contact the contractor, OSSL, in relation to a number of allegations against the force.

The “examination” has been underway for more than a month, and is subsequent to inquiries previously conducted by the gardaí following “allegations” made to the district officer at Belmullet Garda station on December 7th, 2011, that “alcohol was distributed to members of An Garda Síochána on behalf of Shell E&P”.


Inquiries conducted in relation to the December 2011 allegations had “found no evidence of alcohol being distributed to members of An Garda Síochána by, or on behalf of, Shell E&P”, gardaí have said.