Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Patrick Kavanagh – Epic

You'd be worn out with it all – the same old, same old.

In "the news" lately:  Irish judges the highest paid in Europe, ditto TDs, teachers, coppers and all the rest.  

Speaking of the latter, there are ongoing (and still unaddressed) allegations of Garda corruption...  maybe we'll have a tribunal or Government investigation exposing it all in 20 years' time?   Maybe a few of them will get a taste of their own medicine and sample the inside of a jail?   

But no, didn't the great Irish public vote against giving Government investigations real powers in a recent referendum?  So the corrupt can continue to come out smiling for the cameras whenever such "investigations" take place. 

The Irish public. "The Peeple".  

The  same gobshites who voted for Charlie, Bertie, Lowry, Callely and other assorted shysters year-in year-out, decade after decade, all the way back to Dev himself.   The same gobshites who voted to keep the senate.

If you think about it too much you'll end up going insane... this is what the Irish people want, after all.  And you don't want to end up like them.

Sure 'tis a great little land.

And what better way to sum up Irish parochialism and small-mindedness than this 1938 work by Patrick Kavanagh?     "The Munich bother", by the way, is the Munich Agreement: when Chamberlain famously appeased Hitler in a hope to stop further Nazi expansion... "peace for our time".    

We all know what happened next... "The Emergency".  


I have lived in important places, times
When great events were decided, who owned
That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land
Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
I heard the Duffys shouting "Damn your soul!"
And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
Step the plot defying blue cast-steel -
"Here is the march along these iron stones."
That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
Was more important? I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said: I made the Iliad from such
A local row. Gods make their own importance.

Patrick Kavanagh

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Gardai bug Ombudsman shock?

Should it come as any surprise? 

The Garda have been bugging people for years, in so many ways. Even Justice Morris, who headed a tribunal of inquiry to investigate gardai misdeeds in Donegal in the 90s and 2000s.

The Morris Tribunal found extensive corruption and criminal behaviour by gardai in that county, some of whom tried to frame members of a family for murder. 

 They also planted “evidence” on people, and hid guns and explosives which they “found” later and claimed as arms caches, to aid their promotion.

 Indeed, Morris himself reported that "The Tribunal has been staggered by the amount of indiscipline and insubordination it has found in the Garda Force.”

The Garda also tapped phones of prominent journalists in the 80s, at the behest of the Fianna Fail minister of justice, Sean Doherty.

Given all this, is it really too far-fetched to think that the good folk at the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) suspected their offices might have been bugged? And is it any surprise that the last people to whom they might report their suspicions would be the Garda themselves?

The Garda are habitually uncooperative towards the GSOC, even sometimes refusing to submit documents to the ombudsman when claims of misconduct are being made.

The force also resisted attempts by the GSOC to look into the recent penalty points scandal, in which some gardai wiped the penalty points slate clean for themselves, their mates, their families, certain politicians and GAA “stars”.

Let’s play detective for a minute and ask who would possibly want to bug the GSOC’s offices?

No need to call Inspector Morse, is there?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Neknomination and a tsunami of hysteria

Look, I'm no spring chicken – far from it.  Any fluff to be found on me springs out only from my ears and nose.

But even I cannot help but have a good laugh at fogey Ireland when it comes to the web. If the reactions of the papers, RTE, Internet sources of less authority than this one, and high court judges are anything to go by, we are facing into an neknomination abyss.

 "Neknomination", if fevered reports are to be believed,  is "an online craze" sweeping the youth of Ireland, including our student future elite. You can tell they are students by the fact that they aren't able to spell "neck".

The Irish Independent describes it thus:

Alyson Henry – 03 February 2014

NEKNOMINATION is an online drinking game that has gained momentum in recent weeks in Ireland. The aim of the game is to down a pint of alcohol and then nominate someone else to do the same, giving them a window of 24 hours to do so. Most people who take part make a video of themselves carrying it out, and post it on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

The concept of the game has been described as: "Neck your drink. Nominate another. Don't break the chain, don't be a d***. The social drinking game for social media! #neknominate. Drink Responsible".

Some try to take Neknomination to extremes, downing disgusting cocktails or aiming to be ever‐more flamboyant or outrageous, sometimes with dangerous results.

The deaths of two young people this weekend have been linked to the game, causing concerns as to the impact the trend is having on young people and drinking habits.

According to latest reports however, it now seems that at least one of the deaths above had nothing to do with "the craze" but that reporting it so was due to the climate of neknomination hysteria

I see another angle here: that bit about "young people" and "drinking habits".  You just know where this is going – the authorities raising alcohol prices on the pretext of acting in the interests of spoiled brats who should know better.  And where do they get the money anyway?  Mummy and daddy, I presume?  So where do they fit in with  all of this?

More incredibly, if that most out-of-touch section of the Irish populace – the judiciary – is to be believed, neknomination will result in a tidal wave of murder and rape too.  See below:

A High Court judge has said if Internet drinking contests continued, they would result in a “tsunami” of homicide and rape prosecutions before his court.

Mr Justice Paul Carney was speaking as he was sentencing a 38-year-old Waterford man who, after drinking six to seven pints of Budweiser, raped an acquaintance having offered her a lift home from their local nightclub.

The man yesterday received an eight-year sentence with the final three years suspended. An 18-month post-release supervision order was also imposed and the man was registered a sex offender.

Woah!  Steady on, Your Honour.  First of all, the man above is 38 years old.  

Apart from that, It's something of a leap – even from comfort of a well-upholstered judge's seat – to equate a stupid drinking game played by young people incapable of actual social interaction with acts of murder and rape. 

Surely if all these silly dares take place in front of a PC, laptop or smartphone, it's more likely that participants with be up in their bedrooms with the doors locked, and are more likely to fall into their beds after their J√§gerbombfest?   They're quite possibly less likely to be outside causing inconvenience to others, as happened in my day. 

And rape?  Sorry, I am not making light of this, but has Judge Carney never heard of Brewer's Droop?  If our pampered youth manage to stagger out of their safe suburban homes after a session of neknomination, they are highly unlikely to be any condition to rape or murder.

No more than Grand Theft Auto, a silly craze cannot be held responsible for such serious crimes.    Someone who does such things will do so without any encouragement.  

We are faced with a tsunami of hyperbole and hysteria, more like.