The Arizona shooting is causing the GOP and the Tea(pot) Party members to undergo some slippery moves to justify their deeply disturbing love affair with the gun. Jared Lee Loughner has been called “a mentally disturbed young man“, who belonged in an institution. Which rather raises the question, how could someone deemed too unstable to join the army or even to attend college walk into his local gun store and walk out with a weapon of mass destruction?
And if you want to know why Loughner did what he did – it’s because Americans are sinners and it was God’s punishment. What a great country.
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On the 4th February, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, formally initiated the beginning of Dublin’s year as the European Capital of Sport, 2010. In her speech at Dublin Castle the Lord Mayor mentioned that, “I love walking and swimming and I hope to use the opportunity of the European Capitals of Sport year to take up new activities. I will be encouraging all those that I meet when I’m out and about to enjoy being active this year too…”
Unfortunately, swimming will not be one of those activities, new or otherwise, that Costello will be able to encourage people to take up, in the Crumlin area at least. On 1st January, Dublin City Council (DCC) took the decision to close the Crumlin public swimming pool. This planned closure has been deferred until June due to a flood (sorry) of opposition.
The official reason coming from DCC is that fewer people are using the pool and that money needs to be saved. However, the pool is only open to the public for 4 hours each week and DCC has done nothing to publicise the pool in recent years. Despite this, there are over 30 groups that use the pool each week, including a group of special needs children, students on a two-year life-guard college course and after school programmes that target “Youth at Risk”. There is further scope to use the pool if it is promoted adequately, including Easter and Summer Camps, parents and toddlers swims and birthday parties.
The argument that DCC will save money by closing the pool is a rather spurious one as the staff employed at the pool will have to be redeployed elsewhere. Crumlin swimming pool took in €79,000 euro in 2009 and this could be increased by promoting the pool in the ways suggested. The cost of decommissioning the pool is €100,000, money that could be put back into the pool to keep it running. DCC has suggested that local and community user groups should take over the ownership of the pool and fully fund the costs of the pool. At the same time, DCC is putting €702,000 into Ballymun Leisure Centre, €643,740 into Poppintree Leisure Centre and €636,526 into Ballyfermot Leisure Centre. The people of Crumlin deserve the same respect. There will be a public meeting on Tuesday 6th April, at 7.30pm in the Scouts Hall, St. Agnes Church Car Park. Elected Representatives from all Political parties will be invited to address the people of Crumlin and help secure the future of the swimming pool. See the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=106995355999217&index=1.
With thanks to the Save Our Swimming Pool (SOS) group and to People Before Profit – http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.ie/node/346.
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Posted in children, church, culture, dublin diocese, fianna fail, law, paedophiles, society, state, tagged blasphemy, governance, government, inept, politicians, resign on February 17, 2010 |
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What happens to people in this country when they get to a position of power? Do they just subscribe to the adage that power corrupts? Or maybe its as simple as living in a culture where there is no responsibility and it doesn’t really matter what you do as you will not be answerable. Even the language of power doesn’t acknowledge that doing wrong must lead to some sort of punishment. Dáil deputies cannot be called liars in the Dáil, no they tell untruths or omit to tell the truth. If we did the same we would be liars and quite rightly so. Power is facilitated in this by the lack of action by the police and the courts.
Willie O’Dea told ‘untruths’ to the High Court. According to himself he forgot what he had said in a taped interview three weeks prior to the signed affidavit to the High Court. Actually what he did was perjure himself. Perjury is a criminal offence yet O’Dea has not been charged with the crime, let alone arrested for it. O’Dea doesn’t even recognise that he is further diminishing the standing of politics in this country.
The Catholic bishops of Dublin colluded with and facilitated the abuse of children in Dublin. This is another criminal act. Yet, as with O’Dea, the authorities have been silent on the issue. The bishops went off to Rome to kiss the pope’s ring (insert your own appropriate gag). They got a bit of a telling off and then listened as the weasel-faced bastard tried to blame a lack of faith for preponderance of paedophiles in the Irish institution. These bishops should be in handcuffs and chains and not colluding in writing a pastoral letter that will absolve them and put the blame back on the victims.
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Posted in children, culture, lifestyle, society, tagged dignity, expoitation, finance, money, pay, work on February 9, 2010 |
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Rosemary MacCabe’s Irish Times blog has generated a bit of excitement but I’m sure that it Rosemary wishes that commentators concentrated on the clothes and not the ethics. Extolling the virtues of Penny’s (Primark) cheap clothing is one thing but professing ignorance of their history of involvement with Asian sweat shops that use child labour is not something one would expect of a journalist employed by a reputable paper.
Rosemary is correct in saying that she’s not writing about business ethics. However, to go on and say that, “cost is not the deciding factor in whether or not a store or designer uses child labour, and that I don’t necessarily think banning child labour outright would be a positive move for anyone involved.” is ignorance in the extreme. While banning child labour is not in Primark’s best interests, to say that exploiting children is a positive because their families have no alternative is quite shocking. Children die, get injured and maimed while working 12 hour, and longer, days. They don’t get enough food, water or sleep, they are brutally beaten and suffer disability.
Maybe Rosemary would do well to do some research into the subject for her next Irish Times piece. She could do worse than look at the website of the International Labour Organization for more information. Primark has signed up to the Ethical Trading Initiative, under which it should, “contribute to policies and programmes which provide for the transition of any child found to be performing child labour to enable her or him to attend and remain in quality education until no longer a child.” However, there is no sign that Primark takes that responsibility seriously.
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Posted in charlatans, fianna fail, law, society, Up against the wall, yes minister, tagged begger, government, inept, politicians, resign on January 26, 2010 |
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From Dermot Ahern’s (Minister for Injustice, Xenophobia and Jail-for-All) website:
There are various reasons why the law on begging needs to be reformed, not least the fact that some vulnerable members of the public are often fearful when approached on the street by individuals begging.
Intimidation and threats of violence are sometimes used by these people and women and the elderly are often fearful for their own personal safety.
At last he’s doing something about politician’s begging canvassing for our votes…
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Posted in charlatans, culture, society, state, Up against the wall, tagged cash in hand, finance, governance, inept, money, regulation on January 20, 2010 |
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So long, suckers...
Jim Flavin must be laughing up his very expensive designer shirt sleeves today. The state regulator on all things corporate, the ODCE (Only Dickheads Can Enter), has decided that Flavin is a model upright citizen and a shining example to us all. In 2008 Paul Appelby, head of the ODCE (Our Directors Completely Exonerated), had established an investigation into Jimbo and his mates in DCC (Duping Cretinous Counsel) led by an SC (Superior Carrion) Bill Shipsey.
Obviously Shipsey’s report must come as some surprise to the five judges of the Supreme Court who ruled that the Fyffe’s trading information that Jimbo held was price sensitive and would have a negative effect on Fyffe’s share price. For more background, Ireland.com has a timeline of the important events.
Apparently, Shipsey based his findings on a cosy wee chat with Jimbo and found him to be an extremely nice man, kind to animals and good with children. Indeed, Jimbo didn’t realise the information he possessed was price sensitive or would have an effect on Fyffe’s shares. And who could doubt that finding? After all, Jimbo has only a mere thirty-odd years share dealing experience and wouldn’t know all the finickity little laws around directors’ responsibilities and could hardly spell insider dealing. In fact, it’s a wonder that the ODCE (Organising Dances: Creating Enjoyment) would even make a fuss about a ensuring our corporate laws were upheld, sure its only the Supreme Court that was bothered about this little matter in the first place.
Now that Jimbo has been given a gold star, expect him to be named as the head of the banking inquiry.
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Posted in biffo, blasphemy, charlatans, children, church, civil service, culture, dublin diocese, Equality, fianna fail, ireland, media, paedophiles, society, state, unions, Up against the wall, work, yes minister, tagged blasphemy, civil servants, darwin, film, finance, government, inept, john cushnie, michael dwyer, money, pay, public, reform, resign, spin, strike on January 6, 2010 |
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The 2009 Darwin Awards Nominees are up, check out http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2009.html. My own favourite is the woman that died trying to save her moped.
With a bit of luck the Government will miss Gabon’s reform of Civil Service lunch breaks. It’s interesting that in what is supposed to be a knowledge economy that there is such a reluctance to have Civil Servants avail of teleworking. The Department of Finance claims that it is too expensive to equip our homes with office furniture and that there are health and safety issues (our houses become more deadly if we work there, apparently). And there is also a concern about remote linking to Departmental computer systems. However, if we really want a flexible work force equipped to deal with the demands of a fast changing society then we need to look at this type of working. Taking the last few days into account I wonder how many civil and public servants availed of annual or flexi leave to avoid battling the elements to work. At least if they had the option of teleworking they would have been productive.
It’s always sad when people who we respect have to take their leave but the last week saw two of my particular (and peculiar) favourites take their final bow. Michael Dwyer has been one of the more interesting and knowledgeable film critics of the past 25 years or so. I remember coming across him first in the In Dublin magazine many years ago and when he established the Dublin Film Festival with Myles Dungan. While I might not have agreed with everything he wrote I did admire his style of writing and the way he supported the film industry in Ireland. He was particularly good at interviewing film makers and the last time I saw him was at the 2007 Dublin International Film Festival when he presented Gabriel Byrne with a Volta and the following interview was fascinating. Dwyer set the bar for critics and he will be sadly missed although Daniel Day-Lewis said during his eulogy that he was relieved that Michael Dwyer never got round to seeing ‘Nine‘.
Another who turned his last sod was the landscape gardener John Cushnie. Cushnie had been part of Gardeners’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4 for the last fifteen years. GQT is a typically English institution, combining wisdom with wit and eccentricity. Cushnie could be forthright in his opinions but he had a wicked sense of humour and wasn’t afraid to send himself or his fellow panelists up. As a working gardener he had a real insight into the struggles of the (extremely) amateur genus.
Bow the Knee
Biffo is a creationist. He’s also a master of spin – at a time when we are dramatically cutting our aid to Africa he is patting himself on the back about the work we are going to do to help prevent climate change in the third world. We would have been better served if Biffo had pointed out the inadequacies of the Pope’s response to the Ryan and Murphy reports of 2009. In fact we would have been better served if Biffo had just kept his big mouth shut.
We are all individuals
Bit of a kerfuffle over at Twenty.
Apparently, it is now illegal to blaspheme in Ireland.
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Posted in biffo, civil service, Equality, fianna fail, ireland, media, society, state, strike, unions, Up against the wall, work, yes minister, tagged finance, government, inept, militant, money, pay, public, strike, support on January 5, 2010 |
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Well earned bonus
One story that the Government tried to bury on Christmas Eve eve looks like growing legs. The decision to reverse the pay cut given to top civil servants is up there with John Bonham having one more for the road. The idea that these well paid servants of the people had been hard done by in having their bonuses removed last year is laughable.
For a start, I don’t recall any of these mandarins not receiving a bonus, certainly all the top management in my Department always got their bonuses regardless of output of their various Divisions. As well as that, the bonus was supposed to be performance related but I don’t recall any criteria being applied by which performance could be measured. I’m sure there is a Department of Finance circular detailing the criteria but life is too short to be reading their bullshit.
The mainstream media is slowly turning its attention to the story. Scary Carey in the Times had an unusually well-written piece that actually addressed the issue and managed not to mention any of her auctioneer/county council family members – a first for her, I think.She hits the nail on the head when she says that this is all to do with saving the pension arrangements of the top rank in our public service. And who could bet against the Government reversing their own pay cuts when the Dail finally gets round to reforming politicians expenses?
What the reversal actually boils down to is that the top management of civil servants will take a pay cut of about 4 per cent. That is almost half of what I am being hit with (6.5% from this week). Yet, I will be expected to do more work this year due to the amount of people who have retired in the past four months (my Department will lose 20% of its staff) while our top management will not have any extra burden on their shoulders.
There isn’t much public support for civil or public servants at the moment but over the next few months we are going to witness a considerable reduction in the level of service delivery from the public sector. This will not be our fault but you can be sure that Cowen and Co will spin it, with the cooperation of most of the media, that we are the ones to blame, yet again. It’s just a shame that we aren’t more militant in this country, otherwise that shower of inept wankers in the Dail would be cowering like dust mites in front of a Dyson.
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This blog has been an intermittent affair but the recent booze-fuelled break has meant that I’ve been even more remiss in updating than a government press secretary. So what happened over the past couple of weeks?
Apparently, Brian Lenihan will soon start to lose that unbelievably black hair due to the interference in his private life by TV3. There has been a lot of pontificating about the decision by Halligan and her mates to give the Minister a deadline to inform his family about the seriousness of his illness before broadcasting an ‘exclusive’ on December 26th. There are a number of issues with this story that are a bit puzzling.
First of all, looking at the timeline, it would appear that the Government Press Office knew about the illness before Lenihan’s family and called on the major media outlets not to publish the story until the Lenihan family had been informed. This just goes to show that there is a very cosy relationship between the Government and news media. Why should news of this magnitude not be reported? It is a significant piece of news because a serious illness may have an effect on the ability of Brian Lenihan to do his job – one of the most important jobs in the country. Surely, to avoid the sort of mess that has occurred, the Press Office or Brian Lenihan should have issued a statement once the family had been informed – and I assume the family would have been informed very soon after Lenihan was given the news.
The second puzzling element is that TV3 gave Lenihan 48 hours to tell his family before broadcasting the news. Why wait? If TV3 thought the news was important then they should have reported it immediately.
What really has me scratching my head is the amount of comments in the so-called serious press about the “terrible” invasion of Lenihan’s private life. Once again, Irish journalism trips around the periphery of a subject without getting to grips with the important aspects. The Irish media, with a few honourable exceptions, has become a mere reporting and PR machine and the lack of any serious investigation into Irish politics and society in the past decade is something that should make Irish journalists stop and ponder. The likes of Gavin’s Blog, Maman Poulet and Public Inquiry seem to be doing more to uncover what is going on in our state than any of the mainstream media outlets.
Another aspect of this issue is the fact that Lenihan has no problem getting treatment at the Mater Private Hospital. It’s great that he can afford to have private treatment but I wonder how he feels as other patients or would-be patients suffer as the public hospital plans to close down beds and reduce services. As Minister for Finance, the decisions that Lenihan takes has a direct impact on the most vulnerable in our society. Fianna Fail and Mary Heartless have spent the past ten years or so trying to destroy what could have been a very good public health system.
There is no surprise that when Lenihan chose to address the nation that he picked RTE to broadcast the interview. This is not just because of the crass report from Halligan at TV3 but also because RTE have become the Government broadcast agency. This is the same station that chose to issue an apology to Brian Cowen because it reported the story about those pictures smuggled into the National Gallery.
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Lenihan on his white elephant
Just when you thought that things couldn’t get worse. We’ve had paedophile priests protected by their bishops, rapists hailed as heroes and Roddy Collins coming back to bury manage Cork City. Now we see NAMA – the Batmobile of the finance minister – will be run by a selection of heavyweight idiots, most of whom were involved in getting us into the economic mire that we’re in. Here are seven of the illustrious appointees, no doubt on salaries and expenses commensurate with their abilities.
Arthur Frank Daly: Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners from March 2002 to March 2008. He was formerly Accountant General of Revenue and Head of Strategic and Business Planning. Obviously the strategy and planning involved aping the policy of Nero and fiddling while the economy burned.
Eilish Finan: the former Chief Financial Officer of AIG Global Investments. Would this be the same AIG that US taxpayers had to bail out to the tune of about $185m? Should be used to pissing our money up against the wall then.
Michael Connolly: a former member of the Bank of Ireland senior management team and member of Financial Services Ombudsman Council. So, double the experience of being part of a completely useless and fucked up organisation. Welcome to (more of) our money.
Peter Stewart: Managing Director of O’Donovan Stewart & Company – firm of chartered accountants and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. Director of a broad range of companies including a bank and an investment intermediary company regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. The key word in the last sentence is ‘regulated’.
Brian McEnery: senior partner in Horwath Bastow Charleton specialising in corporate finance and Corporate Recovery – and has experience in dealing with the Corporate Enforcement and ODCE aspects of insolvency cases. National adviser to the INHO (Irish Nursing Home Organisation) – should be used to fleecing looking after old peoples money.
Willie Soffe: Chairman of the Dublin Transportation Office and former County Manager of Fingal County Council. Isn’t it great that we can get around Dublin so easily now?
Stephen Seelig: Advisor in the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department. The bloke who said, “The drafting of the determination of ‘long-term economic value of bank assets’ is masterful. It is both sufficiently specific and sufficiently vague to allow appropriate flexibility. I hope you can retain this language.” This bloke has a bright future, unlike our economy.
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