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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dail dissolved

Well, it was getting embarrassing.

First telling our unelected President to cancel all appointments for Friday afternoon, then bottling it at the last minute.

Then hapless Bert gets a quick graft of backbone from the party, who are fed up at watching their coalition lead erode in the polls.

And it's a dash to the Aras this morning to get La McAleese's autograph before she goes walkies abroad again, as is her wont.

So the Dail is now dissolved. A pity that couldn't be taken literally. Every five years, we could douse the lot of them in a strong hydrochloric acid bath for being useless, pocket-lining chancers.

It would certainly winnow out the less altruistic candidates for election, that's for sure.

Well, folks, you now have until May 24th to decide which chancer running in your neck of the woods is less likely to shaft the economy and you personally than the other chancers.

Don't let apathy win. Your vote counts. Quiz them on the doorsteps, question them on the issues that matter to you. Tell them about your shoddy health service, overpriced public-private partnerships on what should be essential infrastructure and your concerns about the housing market.

Demand costed plans for their manifestos. Seek evidence that they are not the corrupt, pocket-lining time-servers that we have so long suffered in this country in place of public representatives.

Consider voting for candidates that highlight issues you believe in, even if they won't form a government. People who espouse green issues, father's rights, a united Ireland, the preservation of your local hospital.

But make sure to give a preference high up to the candidate of the government of your choice.

Make your say count. There's no mandate for moaning if you didn't vote in the first place. This is your opportunity to hold politicians to account. It only happens once every four or five years. Use it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Lies They Tell - Part Three

In the 2002 Fianna Fail general election manifesto, Bertie Ahern promised an extra 2000 Gardai to target street crime and drugs.

But in 2007, we got instead a Garda Reserve of 125 yellow pack police.

In the 2002 Fianna Fail general election manifesto, Bertie Ahern promised 15,000 affordable houses every year for five years.

But the Affordable Homes Partnership was only finally established in 2005, and since then has delivered just over 600 homes, most of which are in the Dublin area.

In the 2002 Fianna Fail general election manifesto, Bertie Ahern promised a metro linking to Dublin Airport.

But in 2007, we're still waiting to even see the plans.

In the 2002 Fianna Fail general election manifesto, Bertie Ahern promised 3,000 extra hospital beds.

But in 2007, Mary Harney is giving land on hospital sites to developers and asking them to build the 3,000 needed beds within the private sector.

By their lies and broken promises, should they be judged.

kick it on kick.ie

Will he make a thousand days?

Sorry for the delays in updates. I've been busy.

So, obviously, is Tony Blair.

It's over 940 days now since our Tone promised to resign. That's nearly three years of lies, war and deceit from 'New Labour.'

Rumour has it he's going to go before the likely-to-be-disastrous Scottish election results.

And about time too.

Try not to cry on your way out the door, there's a good chap.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Skinner Towers Attacked!

Fair play to the boys in blue. Perhaps they aren't all the keystone cops and corrupt Donegal shysters I took them for, after all.

Last night, some scumbags tried to break into my house. I heard them before they got in, thankfully, and warned them off, calling the plod for good measure.

While I waited in the darkened house, mobile in one hand and huge knife in the other, watching the shitheads trying to make their next move, the local Gardai arrived within a mere fifteen minutes.

By that stage, the cunts had fucked off to try some house that didn't have an irate, awake Northerner with a huge knife in it, but the plod took a description, had a word with another neighbour whose gaff they'd tried to break into, and circled the neighbourhood for a good hour looking for them.

I don't know if they caught them in the end, but fair play for the effort.

I really hope the boys in blue did catch them, though, because if I ever see them again, my knife hand is very twitchy.

Vote for Parents' Rights

Voters in four constituencies in Ireland will get the chance to vote for parents' rights in the forthcoming election after the Fathers Rights-Responsibility Party became the state's newest official political party this week.

Candidates include former MEP candidate Liam O'Gogain, a veteran campaigner for shared parenting and founder of campaigning organisation Parental Equality, and Alan Beirne, one of Parental Equality's leading members who came to public prominence when he featured in RTE's groundbreaking documentary series on divorce some years back.

Unlike our current Taoiseach, who had wealthy pals to buy him a house and bankroll his marital separation, many divorced and separated fathers in Ireland suffer real financial hardship when their relationships break down.

And unlike our current Taoiseach, they do not always gain unlimited or even any access to their children following separation.

The creakingly antique laws relating to parenting in Ireland are predicated on the outdated belief that a woman's place is in the home and the children's place is at her apron-strings.

Hence the phenomenon of so many children who are now being raised in Ireland without meaningful influence from their fathers. Around 40% of all births in Ireland are now to unmarried parents, but what those many fathers often do not realise is that the state gives their relationship with their children absolutely no protection.

They are not granted automatic guardianship of their children, and if they split with their children's mother, they must petition for access via the courts. They must also seek 'custody', that odious phrase with all its connotations of children as possessions.

Instances of bitter women denying fathers access to their kids, and being facilitated in doing so by our outdated legal system, run into the thousands. In fact, Irish fathers face the worst discrimination in Europe.

The adversarial, Kramer Versus Kramer, format pits mother against father on a queered playing pitch which ensures only that fathers must empty their pockets to finance their former partner's lives, while being simultaneously unable to have meaningful relationships with their children.

The result is that we are raising an experimental generation of children with no paternal input into their lives. Forget the media lie of deadbeat dads. We have a deadbeat system, and it is no wonder that it results in an ASBO generation where the Department of Social Welfare has become husband to lone mothers and father to their children.

The Fathers Rights-Responsibility Party advocate a mediated, shared parenting system that benefits all, especially the children.

To all voters in constituencies where their candidates are running, I urge you to offer these candidates a preference in the forthcoming election, a first preference if possible.

That way, you can send a message out to the incoming government, whoever they may be, that it is time we dragged our legal system out of the dark ages for our children's sake.

kick it on kick.ie

Friday, April 20, 2007

Save Alan Johnston

Please click on the link below for up-to-date information on kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston's current condition, and sign the petition calling for his immediate release unharmed.

Don't let Alan join the hundreds of journalists murdered every year while going about their job of reporting the truth to you.

Alan Johnston banner

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

1916 - The Musical

Following such box-office smashes as JFK - The Musical and Jerry Springer - The Opera, now we're getting an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza about the 1916 rising!

Here's their pitch:

Come with us on an incredible musical journey of courage, pride and determination, ‘1916’ is set against the backdrop of the Easter Uprising and political upheaval. Tracing the lives of those on the front line, the little people in the shadow of major events, this story of love and pain can only end in tragedy and betrayal.

Nice! This comes from the people who brought you Subtransmission, a play described as the 'Anti-Mary Poppins'.

Wherein, of course, a transvestite found on the internet comes to save a suburban family from hell, in case you hadn't guessed.

Inevitably, the people behind this nonsense are based in London, not anywhere in Ireland where it might be understood that a musical about the rising is a bit distasteful to say the least.

This just adds further grist to the mill about funding for the arts. All to often, it ends up actually funding arses, just like this lot.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

D- for canvassing

I've been a bit miffed at the lack of canvassing in our area. I would normally have expected Fianna Failures at the door on an hourly basis this close to an election, swiftly followed by that famous Sinn Fein election machine.

Obviously, one is an extremely privileged soul if you manage to get a PD canvasser to your door, since they're rarer than hen's teeth. And the Blueshirts don't tend to come around my area too often either.

But I'd gone to all the trouble to draw up a lengthy list of complaints for all parties, and hence I've been extremely disappointed at the lack of opportunities I've had to present them.

However, the Shinner juggernaut finally traversed our street today, and I was delighted to see that they're running honey traps now. A genuinely stunning young blonde came to the door, all day-glo teeth, Toni and Guy hair and fake tan, asking me would I consider voting Sinn Fein?

The short answer is of course, only at gunpoint, which when discussing the party in question is never entirely off the table.

But in order to produce my list of woes for the first time, I was initially non-committal.

"I'm still thinking about who to vote for," I pondered. "But it won't be Fianna Fail, because I'd like to see some change."

Unfortunately she picked up on my accent.

"You're from the North?" she asked perceptively.

"I am indeed, occupied six counties and all that."

"Ah, right," she looked at her clipboard, marked a tick against something I couldn't see, and started walking away.

As she started knocking on the neighbour's door, I coughed politely and called to her, "I do have a vote, you know!"

"I know you do," she said. "But let's be honest, if you're from the North, you know Sinn Fein and what we stand for. So you're hardly undecided, are you? You're either with us or against us, and I reckon you're against us."

That's Sinn Fein for you, always fighting the war.

D minus for canvassing abilities, though.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Welcome to Jamestown

2007 is a real year for anniversaries. One of the most important is that it will be 400 years next month since the settling of Jamestown by English settlers.

Where's Jamestown, you may ask? Good question, as it's not on any contemporary maps anymore. It was the original settlement of the English in what we now call America.

Forget that fake origin myth about the Pilgrim Fathers. The original settlement was at Jamestown, though it didn't last very long.

In December 1606, over 100 settlers from London sailed from London under orders from James 1st (or the 6th, depending on whether you talk to the English or the Scots) to find gold and a westerly route to the trade centres of the Orient.

Yup, like all imperial adventures, it was a moneygrab, nothing more or less.

They settled Jamestown island in Virginia and almost immediately began fighting the actual inhabitants of the land, the Algonquin indians. Nice way to make friends in a new country. But there was no talk of multiculturalism or assimilation in those days.

By 1609, two-thirds of the population had starved to death. But the colony limped along for another ten years, until it was saved by the importation of, you guessed it, black slaves.

In 1622, the highly pissed-off local population took the battle to the colonists and killed 300 of them. King James was so annoyed he took the land into crown ownership.

The site remained of token importance as the location of Virginia's legislature until 1698, when the statehouse burned down. Within fifty years, it was buried below ground, the abortive first foothold of England on North American soil forgotten.

But its legacy obviously remains. Other English came, eradicated the natives and claimed the land. America became white, anglo-saxon and protestant, Wasp in other words.

Built on the back of black slave labour and continual immigration, not to mention genocide of the native inhabitants, the United States has good claim to be one of the least justifiable regimes on earth, from the very point of its origin to today.

On some level, Americans know this. Hence the continual desire of so many to hyphenate their nationality. They're not Americans, they're Irish-Americans, Latino-Americans, African-Americans.

In fact, the United States is so excited about celebrating its abortive birthplace that they've got luminaries like Bruce Hornsby and Chaka Khan to play at the celebratory event! Talk about ancient history!

On the other hand, the Brits are tremendously excited to resurrect memories of a time when they utilised theft and genocide to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of the world.

The current occupier of James' throne, good old Betty Saxe-Coburg Gotha, will be making a rare trip to the site of Jamestown next month not to commemorate the atrocities commited by the English at the site, but to 'celebrate' them.

What's to celebrate? English imperialism? Indigenous genocide? England doesn't lose habits easily. They're still involved in both activities today, in locations as diverse as Ireland and Iraq.

As Bruce Hornsby might sing, 'Some things will never change.'

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Finding a filling station

Looking to fill up your car with petrol in Ireland? I wish you the best of luck.

Never mind the long-standing suspicion among motorists that the majority of filling stations operate cartel pricing practices.

It's simply finding a petrol station that's becoming the problem these days. The Consumers Association is becoming concerned at the lack of competition in the petrol market, and their concern is mild compared to that of motorists.

Ten years ago there were 2,500 petrol stations in the Republic of Ireland. Today, there are fewer than half that number. And that's despite the fact that an average of 170,000 new cars have been registered in Ireland each year since 1999.

So, if we have many more cars on the road, why are there fewer petrol stations, rather than more?

One reason is property speculation. The ever-spiralling cost of property in Ireland has led many petrol station owners to cash in on the large footprint of their forecourts.

You'd be hard pushed to find a single station left in large swathes of the south Dublin suburbs anymore. They've all been sold off for development into yet more boxy apartments.

But here's another reason. Shell and Statoil are currently involved in taking up to €400 billion of gas and oil resources from the Irish people. They struck a deal with our corrupt government to take all of our natural resources and pay nothing in return. What a deal! Some might call it stealing, but to Shell it's just the deal of the century.

Now when some people in Rossport, concerned at the safety or otherwise having a high pressure gas pipeline running past their living rooms, started protesting this decision, Shell and Statoil did what any greedy multinational would do.

They sacrificed their forecourt operations in order to safeguard their mammoth offshore freebie windfall. They sold off their petrol stations, in other words, because protests and boycotts were beginning to happen.

Much easier to dispose of those troublesome assets at a profit rather than face down the legitimate anger of the Irish people whose wealth and future security they have taken for nothing.

So the next time you're cruising the streets, your fuel guage in the red, desperately looking for a petrol station that's open, remember who is responsible and why.

Blame property speculators, blame the scumbags who ran Statoil and Shell, and blame the current government for this appalling Corrib deal which stole this country's natural resources wealth and gave it to Norwegians instead.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to everyone. Sorry I'm late with the well wishes, but I've just emerged from a chocolate-induced coma.

One thing still confuses me, though.

Could someone please explain to me what this Jesus fella dying or not dying as the case may be has to do with a giant Harvey-type bunny and chocolate eggs?

How come the giant bunny lays eggs anyway? And why are they made of chocolate?

Not that the chocolate did me much good. I think the Easter Bunny hates me.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Man United - violence's common denominator?

Anyone who can work out what I might have been doing in Istanbul in May 2005 will quickly realise that I'm no fan of Manchester United.

The team that Fergie built always annoyed me. Not their successes. Every trophy gets won by someone each season. But the fact that the authorities always seemed to side with them. Jammy decisions, long minutes of extra time when they are losing, no away penalties at Old Trafford...

It all added up to a genuine annoyance factor.

But now there's a new reason to be concerned about Manchester United. Let's rewind briefly to the Eighties to explain this fully.

In the late Seventies and early Eighties, English teams dominated European football. In only a few seasons, Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa all claimed the European Cup. Other teams like Ipswich and Tottenham claimed the UEFA Cup.

Even Everton and Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen won the Cup Winners Cup. Europe simply couldn't compete with the British footballing juggernaut. The only rivals they had were each other.

Then came Heysel. The facts of Heysel, despite a number of different investigations, remain unclear. But what is certain is that UEFA approved a delapidated and dangerous stadium for the 1985 European Cup final.

Then local police, who swiftly lost control of the Juventus and Liverpool fans flooding to the game, allowed overcrowding to develop to dangerous levels in some parts of the ground. An hour before the game, trouble began between the two sets of fans.

It is believed by a number of eye-witnesses that members of the infamous Chelsea Headhunter gang were responsible for initiating the violence from within the Liverpool crowd. Whether this is true or not, the trouble began in the Liverpool end.

Then the wall collapsed, and in the aftermath, 39 people died, mostly Juventus fans but including one Irishman Patrick Radcliffe. UEFA made sure the game continued despite the deaths, but once the game was over, they made Heysel - which was in part their own fault for choosing a deathtrap for a European final - the excuse to throw all English teams out of Europe.

It was a popular decision with clubs from other countries. They felt they might stand a chance of winning something again. English clubs were banned from European competition for five years, and Liverpool six.

While occasional trouble still marred the terraces in Britain in the Nineties, it was nowhere near as bad as the hooliganism had been only a few years before. Sporadic, occasional terrace or post-match scraps would occur, but nothing remotely like on the scale it had previously.

But following a series of studies, the removal of terracing and the creation of the Premiership, soccer violence became extremely rare in Britain by the time that English clubs were permitted back into European competition.

And so to this season, and why we should be concerned about Manchester United. Last night, in Rome, Manchester United fans fought with Italian police in and out of the ground. No doubt, the London press will highlight harassment of fans, claim the police were heavy-handed, point out how local 'ultra' Roma fans attacked and targetted the poor English.

I'm sure this will occur, because that's exactly what happened the last time that Manchester United fans were involved in trouble abroad. When was that, you may ask? Less than two months ago, actually, when again Manchester United fans were involved with clashes with police, in France on this occasion.

Now, once again British teams are becoming dominant in European competition. Liverpool winning the Champions League, Arsenal making last season's final, Chelsea perennially in the semis. Even clubs like Middlesborough and Celtic reaching the UEFA Cup final.

As the Guardian's Paul Doyle has astutely pointed out, such is the financial dominance of English teams that, more even than during the early Eighties, English football dominance in Europe is set to become the norm.

So, when Man United's fans get into trouble on the terraces with police in two different countries in two months, I start wondering what the common denominator is. And the answer is, of course, Man United's fans.

And then I think back to how Heysel was used as an excuse to break English dominance of European football competitions, and I wonder how many more terrace rampages from United's band of travelling thugs it will take before UEFA decides to ban English teams in Europe once again?

Update, Friday 6th: And now we have Spurs fans rioting in Seville in Spain, and it has emerged that UEFA chief Michel Platini wrote to every FA in Europe last month in strong terms warning about violence being the poison that is killing football. How long before English clubs get banned? One more incident? Two?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


The Ulster Defence Association is a loyalist terror group, founded in 1972 at the height of the Troubles.

In the Eighties, the UDA and their various proxy names (UFF etc) killed only two Republican paramilitaries, but over 100 innocent Catholics in Northern Ireland.

Many of these killings were done in collusion with the RUC and the UDR, the official, British government-sponsored agents of justice in Northern Ireland at the time.

The UDA is heavily armed, and engages in internal feuding as well as internecine feuding with the UVF, largely in turf wars relating to the profits of drug dealing and racketeering in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The UDA is a proscribed organisation, of which membership is a criminal offence. Despite a promise in 2005, years after the IRA disarmed, to 'consider their position', the most recent Independent Monitoring Commission report highlights that the UDA continues to be involved in organised crime, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, extortion, money laundering and robbery.

So can anyone please explain why it is that UDA leader Jackie McDonald can be seen shaking the hand of Hugh Orde, chief cop in Northern Ireland, yesterday without feeling the cool clink of cuffs around his wrists?

Can anyone explain why it is that the UDA - a criminal organisation that refuses to ceasefire or disarm - is set to receive £1.2 million pounds from the British government, despite openly refusing to even consider handing in their weapons?

The pictures of McDonald grasping the hand of the leading policeman of the land is reminiscent for many people of recent times when innocent Catholics were murdered by the UDA with the RUC's blessing.

It rubs salt in their open wounds when they see police and unionists attempt to lie about those crimes, and seek to pour scorn on Nuala O'Loan's report into collusion.

But the sight of paramilitary leaders, whose followers are known to be active criminals and known to be armed to the teeth, not only walking the streets freely but shaking hands with our 'reformed' police force leader and then actually receiving millions of taxpayer pounds to do so makes me sick.

Oh, did I mention that this particular drug-dealing, Catholic hating, tooled up, bigoted piece of filth Jackie McDonald is also great and old pals with our own gullible and unelected president, La McAleese too?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More airline industry scumbaggery

Following hard upon Ryanair's kind offer to bill its customers twice for flights they already had bought and paid for, now it looks like Aer Lingus are getting on on the act of treating their customers like cash cow cattle.

From tomorrow, they intend to charge customers 3 euro just to reserve their seat on flights to the UK and Europe.

Then in May, once the charges have been established, they intend to hike the costs to 10 euro for pre-booking in the first five rows and 15 euro for pre-booking exit row seats.

But the killer in relation to these new stealth taxes is why Aer Fungus are doing it. To extort their customers? Of course not. To maximise unearned profits? Absolutely not.

They are introducing these charges "in response to customer demand." Okay, hands up everyone. Who rang up Aer Lingus and said, "Wouldn't it be great if you charged me a completely unjustifiable fee to book my seat on the plane?"


Didn't think so. It's just your national airline behaving like grasping scumbags, not unlike their 'rivals' Ryanair. And then lying about it by telling us that somehow, we all asked to be charged more for this nonsense.

This is on top of them charging for baggage like Ryanair, and then hiking that charge within a mere two months by 25%.

The National Consumers Agency are bleating about this, of course. But what we really need is an airline regulator with teeth to tell these thieving, scumbag airlines where to shove their never-ending list of bullshit charges that inflate the advertised cost of an airline ticket from, in one instance I bought, 1 cent up to well in excess of 50 euro.

Still cheap at the price? Not when you consider the squalid conditions of checking in or landing at Dublin airport, not when you are continually disturbed throughout your flight with trolley dollies trying to sell you shit like scratchcards that no one wants, and not when the plane lands miles, often even a country away, from the advertised destination.