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