Posted in governance, media, tagged cash in hand, charlatans, finance, governance, government, inept, money, reform, spin on January 20, 2012 |
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Vincent Browne in cracking form, taking on Klaus Masuch of the ECB.
Notice Masuch’s reaction, it starts with a sort of sneer as if he could just ignore the irritating insect in front of him but then he gets more and more uncomfortable as Browne presses his point. Its just a shame that not one of the other journalists pushed any member of the Troika over Browne’s claims that we don’t owe need to pay unsecured bond holders and that the reason for paying them back is just to keep other European banks from getting into financial difficulties. Not to mention the fact that we shouldn’t be shoring up a now defunct bank.
The telling point from the past couple of years is the lack of any serious investigative journalism into what happened to our financial institutions and into why we have to accept what the Troika tell us to do. We have been told that we have to pay back a debt, most of which the Irish public did not incur, without any good reason. Our major media organisations have fallen in behind our political leaders in telling us that we have pay back money that we don’t have. Our journalists have been silenced, apart from Browne and Fintan O’Toole, and they have been marginalised as being eccentric or too left-wing to be listened to. There is a major story to be written about the ties that bind journalism with politics in this country, unfortunately that story will not be written by any of our journalists. If it is written at all, it will be written by the historians looking back at this gombeen nation.
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Posted in biffo, despair, fianna fail, tagged charlatans, finance, governance, government, inept, money, politicians, reform, resign on January 11, 2011 |
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So, we have an ex-Finance Minister and current Taoiseach (that’s Irish for incompetent buffoon) who claims that in accompanying Sean Fitzpatrick in 18 holes of golf and an 18 course dinner he never once discussed the malaise at Anglo-Irish bank. If you accept that barely believable premise then the question is – why the fuck didn’t he discuss the situation? Or more importantly, why didn’t he wrap a five-iron round Fitzy’s neck for breaking our whole economy? And nice to see Fitzy’s old friend Drumm backing him up.
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You won't catch me
So Fingers Fingleton is showing a bit of remorse for the way the Irish economy has gone down the toilet. Of course, you won’t hear the word ‘responsibility’ from the odious little toad. Nor will you hear him admit that the Irish Nationwide did anything wrong when it hid money that Anglo-Irish Bank was paying to its directors. This is the guy who oversaw a €280m loss at the building society before retiring on a pension worth €27.6m and who got a very handsome golden handjob of €1m, which Irish Nationwide is now trying to claim back. This is the guy who was at the helm of a massive money lending operation to Irish developers that is going to cost the taxpayer in excess of €3b.
What would you expect from a former priest?
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FAI Officer's pledge
Well done John Delaney and the FAI for scoring a spectacular own-goal in the same week that the Aviva Lansdowne Road stadium opened. Just when the FAI needed some good publicity to help push those disappointing corporate box sales they have to go and deny Limerick what could be a life-saving friendly against Barcelona.
To make things even worse, the FAI admit that there is a secret criteria for League of Ireland clubs that want to organise lucrative games against glamour sides. It seems that the clubs have to go to the bother and expense of making a fixture and advertising it before the FAI come along and say, “Well that contravenes our hush-hush deal with some company that we can’t name because, like all commercial companies, they don’t want the publicity”. And when asked what the criteria are that have to be fulfilled before a game can take place, the FAI pulls down its fedora, takes a drag on its unfiltered cigarette before drawling, “Kid, you don’t need to know”. And to rub salt into the wound, the FAI have arranged a friendly with Manchester United despite this taking place the evening before Bohs Champions League qualifier – breaking at least two of their own top-secret criteria.
The utter idiocy behind the 1984-type machinations is just staggering. As Emmet Malone points out in his Irish Times piece, the grassroots are now subsidising the FAI rather than the other way around. For too long the FAI have regarded the League of Ireland as an inconvenience instead of promoting it as the highlight of domestic football. They stand indicted for allowing, even encouraging, our best young players to disappear into the maw of the British football machine, to be ground up and spat out if they don’t make the grade.
It seems the Blazer Brigade is alive and well despite Roy Keane’s best efforts to shame them into some sense of decency. This summer sees the idiots close down the League while the World Cup is on. This despite June having the longest, warmest evenings of the year and giving clubs the best chance of getting bodies into stadiums. But no, Delaney and de lads would much rather be in Durban than Dalymount, sucking up to Sepp and in the hope of getting a few crumbs from the fat cats table. Lets hope that, this time, de lads don’t try and flog their ticket allocation to George the Greek.
The League of Ireland will never attract the Priemiershit barstoolers, shouting on their “local” team from Liverpool, London or Manchester. But the FAI could make it easier for families to get to games by making sure they are played at the weekend rather than having to shoehorn them into midweek just because the mandarins want to fuck off to hoover up the cheap booze in South Africa. Its time Delaney and his cronies decided whether they want the best for Irish football or for themselves.
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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, 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, 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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When Grandad comes down from the mountain to speak, you better bloody listen. Following an idea by English Mum, Grandad reckons that we bloggers could be doing something useful for the people of Haiti. There has been a lot of writing and twittering about the devastation, the relative culpability of France and the US in reducing Haitians to a below poverty level existence and the complete lack of tact of some cruise line operators.
The rise and impact of social media has enabled stories like this to be instantly shared around the world. While this impact and influence has shown itself in relatively minor episodes, such as the condemnation of Jan Moir’s bitchfest against Stephen Gately there have been few significant examples of social media actually achieving something worthwhile. Well now is the chance for all us bloggers, facebookers, beboists, mySpacers and twitters to take our hands off our keyboards and put them to good use.
Support the organisations like Shelterbox that are bringing life-saving supplies to Haiti. Once you’ve done this tell everyone else you’re connected with to do the same. Lets see what a global network can really achieve. Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day in the US, the epitome of inclusiveness, justice and action. Don’t let his ideals down.
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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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