Monday, 25 February 2013

I'm an Irish aboriginal. Ireland – Land, People, History by Richard Killeen. An excellent read.

You know the way cultural nationalists/Gaelic revivalists try to use the argument of primary possession to justify their plans to turn the clock back?

"We" spoke Gaelic before "we" spoke English, "we Gaels" were here before the Vikings/Normans/Scots settlers/Anglo Saxons were here...  you know the guff.

Well I am an Irish aboriginal if I'm not a descendent of any of the above.  It's the only way I can explain why, even as a child, I never had any truck with our state's definition of official Celtic Irishness. 

I've just finished reading a fascinating work called "Ireland, Land, People, History" by Richard Killeen, bought recently in Chapters of Parnell Street – the country's best bookstore. 

Killeen describes how Ireland was inhabited for about 6,000 years before the Celts, who started arriving about 500 BC,  displacing the country's original inhabitants – the people who gave us Newgrange, among other ancient marvels of our pre-Celtic heritage.   Down with the Celtic invader! Down with Celtic Imperialism!

There you have it then, the first instance of primary possession -  the Irish aboriginals.  I trace my contrariness back to them. 

There are other interesting snippets in the book too, which is nearly conversational in tone at times.  Did you know that the Orange Order was opposed to the Act of Union, for instance?  That Protestant women and children were rounded into a barn which was then set alight by so-called "republican" United Irishmen at Scullabogue, Wexford, during the 1798 rebellion?    No doubt you've only heard of Boolavogue, and Father Murphy and all the rest.   And here's the author's take on de Valera:

"De Valera was a romantic reactionary.  He believed in the moral superiority of the small family farm, of simple rural life over urban life, of an Ireland living as far as possible in seclusion from the world and steering her own course.  

The net effect of all this was the the Republic of Ireland (as it was formally declared in 1949) was the only country  in the capitalist world whose economy actually contracted in the post-war years.  

The population of the state declined in the first forty years of independence.  By the late 1950s, the game was up for social and economic self-sufficiency.  This old ideal, which went back to Arthur Griffith's Sinn Fein, had brought the country to its knees".

Killeen cites how over 400,000 Irish people voted with their feet, and got the hell out of the place between 1951 and 1961 alone – from a population of less than 3,000,000.  So much for independence.

"Ireland - Land, People, History" is an excellent read.  I can't remember how much it cost, but it was certainly under a tenner.

Well worth getting yourself down to Chapters for. 

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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Recalculating mortgages to reflect current market value?

This morning, wiping the sleep out of my eyes whilst waiting for the kettle water to boil, I could have sworn I heard someone on Morning Ireland say something along the lines of:

"...the Financial Regulator has said that people should be up-to-date on their mortgage payments before taking on other loans.  Mortgage payments should be a priority..."

As stated, I was only half-awake, so perhaps heard it wrong.  But Ireland is such a mad place that anything is possible.  

There is, you see, a suspicion  that many people who are in a position to pay their mortgages simply choose not to, because they don't like being in negative equity.  They also know that repossession rates in Ireland are way behind those of the UK... even for buy-to-let investors.

Now I am not saying that the first letter writer in this week's Irish Times falls into either of the categories above - she pays her mortgage diligently, as evidenced by previous correspondence to that same newspaper - but the missive betrays a certain mindset many in Ireland have in relation to post-bubble property debt.

I am sure there are even buy-to-let investors who borrowed large during the bubble in the hope of making a larger profit.   Would they too think their mortgages should be "recalculated" to take into account current market value? 

And if they succeeded in doing so, who would pick up the tab?   

You know the answer to that, Muggins. 

Irish Times Letters, February 16th

Sir, – At last the Government and the Revenue Commissioners will calculate the true value of my home.
I will send this on to my mortgage provider who can then duly recalculate my mortgage based on this invaluable information. – Yours, etc,

Sheridan’s Lane,
Lower Dargle Road, Bray,
Co Wicklow.

It has been said that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.  That may or not be, but nevertheless,  the following response by another letter writer is excellent:

Irish Times Letters, February 20th

Sir, – What a fantastic idea from Sorcha Donohoe (February 16th) who wants her mortgage recalculated to reflect the current value of her property. If only she had had that idea years ago, during the property bubble.

If mortgages had been reviewed annually to reflect the value of the property, repayments would have spiralled upwards every month, our banks really would have been the healthiest in Europe and we would never have got into this mess in the first place! 

Of course that is assuming that people would welcome such an arrangement and would be willing to share their gains when property values soar and not just their losses when values plunge. But now that I think about it I don’t remember any similar suggestions in your paper back then. – Yours, etc,

Pinewood Avenue,
Glasnevin, Dublin 11.

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Monday, 18 February 2013

Fianna Fail largest party in the country according to Sunday Independent poll

Interesting poll in the Sunday Independent.   It seems that Fianna Fail are once again the biggest party in the state, and if an election was called tomorrow, they would be in a position to go into coalition with their natural, fellow "republican" bedfellows, Sinn Fein.  

The article did state they might also favour a reprise of their past coaltion with Labour, which did untold damage to that party after it bed-hopped from Fine Gael's embrace to snuggle up with the Soldiers of Destiny.

So, the biggest party in the country again, only a few short years after bankrupting it. 

 They're a funny lot, the Irish - they'll bang on about The Brits and the supposed 800 years but they'll run out and vote for the very shysters that gave Cromwell a run for his money in the amount of damage they did to dear old Erin... just yesterday, in relative terms. 

And who they hell can you vote for here anyway?  Fine Gael have shown they are no different when it comes to local backyard politics.  James O'Reilly and the primary health centres in his own constuency being one example and Enda Kenny's Mayo being the the beneficary of disproportionate amounts lottery money.  Not to mention his conservatism on abortion rights and all this empty promises, from ending compulsory Gaeilge to abolishing the senate. 

So who do you vote for if you are not a Cyclops nationalist or a public servant?  The former are well catered for by FF and SF.  The latter by FF, SF, FG, Labour, the ULA and the Socialist Party. 

Labour in  particular, would run the country into the ground to preserve FF's original Croke Park deal which the fine Irish proletarians who make up  the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors are threatening to down tools over, if it is touched.  Marx would be very confused, indeed.

There really is little to chose between the Irish parties in many respects, when it comes down to it.  Apart from the fact that one of them did single-handedly bankrupt the country... so by rights Fianna Fail should not even exist any more.

But Paddy and Mary will forgive them that little indiscretion once the other lot have been in power for a term. 

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Wicklow County council tells estate residents to pay developer's fees

The Sunday Business Post recently reported how Wicklow County Council was chasing occupants of an Avoca housing estate for development levies which were unpaid by developer KJK Kilbride, now dissolved.

Even by Irish standards, this is a new low.

Bankers, developers and speculators - both private individuals and companies - have been bailed out, with many failed developers still living the high life even as their loans have been bought at multiples of what they borrowed for is really worth by Nama (read taxpayer).

Likewise, there are many buy-to-let investors sitting on properties and not paying back mortgages, even when they could, as their "investments" have dropped in value.  

Now we have a county council, pleading poverty and a lack of funds, pursuing aspiring owner-occupier mortgage payers for money a developer should have paid before anyone moved into the estate.

For those who did not get involved in pumping up the property bubble back in the day, it seems it is only a lose-lose situation in our crazy little country.  A country where the sensible and prudent are punished while  the reckless and profligate are rewarded.

No wonder they never seem to learn from their mistakes.

The following excellent summary was taken from a poster going by the name of Damus, on

damus damus is offline
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Wicklow County Council Now Targeting Homeowners for Unpaid Development Levies! 

This really takes the biscuit....there's an article in todays SBP by Michelle Devane about how Wicklow County Council is pursuing homeowners for the payment of unpaid development levies that is owed to them by the developer. This move by WCC may have wider implications for other homeowners in similar estates around the country who may find themselves in a similar predicament if WCC are allowed to get away with this.

And this is the reason why I am highlighting this - someone has to say enough is enough - and hopefully the information that I am putting out in the public domain will help these homeowners!

Twenty-four homeowners have received letters of demand from WCC telling them that they will have to pay the unpaid development levies of between €2,300 to €4,803 for Brook Meadow estate in Avoca. The letter demanding payment within 10 weeks also "threatens" them with a fine of up to €13k or up to two years imprisonment for the criminal offence of non-payment .

The firm behind the Brook Meadow Scheme, KJK Kilbride was dissolved last year after the directors of the company sought a voluntary strike-off from the I'll come back to this particular point later. While there are 54 houses in the estate, only 24 homeowners have received letters demanding a total payment of €65,260.

WCC told the SBP that the development levies were a charge on the property and not on the developer. Seemingly, WCC seems to think that homeowners have a contractual obligation to pay levies that are unpaid by a developer, which is odd considering the levies are attached to the planning permission which is sought by the developer not the homeowners. The warning letter seeking payment referred to how under "Condition 3" attached to planning permission that WCC was pursuing the developer for the unpaid levies, but that it was also obliged to pursue the property owner for the unpaid levies. Yet condition 3 actually states that "the developer shall pay" the sum of €1,200 per house - nothing about the homeowner actually being liable for the levy!

So the first question is why are the letters demanding payment only being sent to 24 homeowners? Are the remaining properties in the development unsold, with the council expecting the 24 homeowners to pick up the tab for the 30 unsold properties? Perhaps the more interesting point is that WCC maintains that "it is normal practice when purchasing a house to hire professionals to check if there are any obligations pertaining to the property concerned. During such a process, these debts would be flagged at the time of the purchase". Well I am sure that WCC is also aware that it is also normal procedure as part of a voluntary strike off for the directors to seek a Revenue statement clarifying there are no obligations relating to the company seeking a strike-off. It is also normal procedure for a notice to be put in the newspapers notifying all interested parties that the company is seeking a strike-off.


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Friday, 8 February 2013

Mother Teresa one step closer to sainthood after appearing in fried egg

What a week. 

 The Other Half was bitten by a dog while out for a peaceful walk in the countryside and the PC was incapacitated by a virus pretending to be the police looking for €100 to be sent to a bank account in Russia. 
Top tip:  don't turn off your anti-virus software for even a millisecond, no matter how annoying the update-caused chugging of your CPU.  It's not clever.

Computer viruses are no fun, and any solution you will see online will be a load of shite.  You'll only end up taking it to the computer guy in the end, after a whole evening of farting around following forum blind alleys. 

This one was picked up from a dodgy video streaming site - I saw it happen.

  When I say "dodgy", I mean "dodgy" insofar as it wasn't a video streaming site showing Hollywood blockbusters for freepence, it was a bogus site.   Not "dodgy" as in the type of site a certain kind of priest might visit.
And now that we're conveniently onto matters religious... 

You will recall that Mother Teresa - friend of murdering chemical companies and assorted dictators, and accordingly beatified by the last Pope -  passed on into the hereafter some years ago?

You might, therefore, be surprised to learn that she recently moved one shuffling step closer to sainthood by appearing in the white of a fried egg a reader was preparing.

If you look to the right of the pic (left) you will plainly see the Wrinkled One gazing serenely outwards.  You can even make out the pattern of that famous tea towel worn humbly above her visage on the detail pic (right).

Bless yourself and genuflect, for it is surely the final sainthood-clinching miracle.  The decider for the boys (for they are boys) in the Vatican.

Gombeen Nation is proud to have been chosen to spread this wonderful news...  a sign that things are looking up after recent travails and torments.

And another world exclusive.

They will be bulling at The Irish Catholic.

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Monday, 4 February 2013

Begging in Dublin... guaranteed Irish

I have long held the view that racism is deeply institutionalised in Ireland.  And when something is institutionalised it means that very few people even notice it.  It permeates all levels of society, from judges to down-and-outs.  

Having lived outside Ireland for many years  - too few, in retrospect  -  I can honestly say that I've never seen someone begging on the streets and trumpeting their nationality in hope of favour.  

The pic below was seen in The Irish Times, Friday, February 1st.

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