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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Truth

Congratulations to Michael O'Brien for telling the truth to the world last night.

A Fianna Fail minister was told in 1955 about the abuse in these schools and did nothing. And Fianna Fail kept assisting the church to cover it up and avoid its responsibilities for decades.

Even after the truth first emerged, they sent battalions of lawyers in to the Laffoy tribunal to browbeat victims of rape and sodomy. They obstructed Justice Laffoy to such an extent that she quit the tribunal in disgust. They indemnified the Church from paying compensation for their many crimes.

Fianna Fail are complicit in the mass rape and abuse of children for nearly half a century, and are still on the side of the rapists and not the victims.

Let's not forget the truth.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Commemorate 1798

It's time the Irish nation commemorated the United Irishmen and the rising of 1798 properly.

Their vision of a free, equal society throughout all of Ireland offering liberty and prosperity for all Irish people, be they Protestant, Catholic or Dissenter (or, we could well add today, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheist, of all faiths or none) is as essential and enlightened today as it was 211 years ago on this day when the United Irishmen first arose against colonial oppression.

We have two bank holidays back to back in Ireland - May Day, an increasingly tokenistic vapidity allegedly in the name of working people, and the June bank holiday, which has no point to it at all save a day off work.

Let us replace one of these with a national day of celebration of ALL Irish people on May 24th, the anniversary of the 1798 rebellion.

Let us abandon the Paddywhackery of the 17th of March to the diaspora and the Catholic church. It is their festival, not that of Ireland and its residents.

Let us claim our OWN day of celebration, and there is no better one to celebrate than May 24th, the day when brave men and women sought to claim freedom for all the people of Ireland.

Please sign the petition to call on the Government to initiate a national day of celebration on the anniversary of the 1798 rising to commemorate that vision of the United Irishmen, in the hope that one day we might create the nation that they dreamed of.

Sign your support for a national day to commemorate the vision of 1798!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Recycling: some questions

I went to a dump in Belfast, and dumped some wood. I had a pane of glass too.

There being no place to dump glass (only bottles) I asked the lad where he wanted it.

"Glass? That goes in soft furnishings," he said.


A few months back, I went to a dump in Dublin and dumped some gardening waste.

I was charged money for the privilege of doing so.

And they wonder why people fly-tip like tinkers in the Republic.

So my questions are fairly simple: why isn't using recycling centres free in the Republic in order to encourage people to USE the damn places instead of fly-tipping sites of natural beauty in the middle of the night?

And if glass counts as soft furnishings, how efficient is recycling anyway?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

None of this is real

While watching the Vinnie Browne show, I took refuge in reading this academic study which concludes, on the basis of an overview assessment of modern scientific discoveries, that none of this is real.

You're not real, I'm not real, Vinnie Browne isn't real, the recession isn't real. In fact, the world, and the entire universe, are not real.

Instead, apparently we are living in a virtual reality projection.

This theory apparently resolves all of the major insoluble issues facing science currently, such as the Big Bang and the universe's possession of a maximum speed, as well as the many bizarre things occuring on a quantum level, such as the existence of quantum equivalence and the uncertainty principle.

That doesn't mean The Matrix, by the way. There is no ur-reality in which we slumber while we dream this one. As the paper states, unlike the virtual realities we have created, like The Sims, we are unable to see the reality through the guiding interface, because we're entirely contained within it.

I dunno if that helps anyone worrying about the global downturn or suffering from depression to know that their concerns aren't real, though.

So, how do you all feel about being virtual?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A question for unionists

I have a question for anyone who considers themselves to be a Unionist. It's something I've always wondered about, so I'm putting it out there now.

What aspects that you, as Ulster Unionists, envisage about the prospect of a United Ireland make you opposed to it?

It seems to me that given the lack of any actual presentation of a vision for unifying Ireland by either Sinn Fein, the SDLP or the Southern parties, that there is no actual vision on the table. Rather, the idea of a United Ireland is a vacuum, an absence, a tabula rasa.

So since a unified island nation could potentially be anything you wish it to be, what is it that you, as Unionists are concerned about?

Rules of Engagement: Entitlement to British citizenship is already secured under the GFA, and the Republic isn't a Catholic theocracy.
Therefore arguments based on an attachment to a British (or to be accurate a Northern Irish or British-Irish) identity or opposition to the Catholic Church aren't valid for the purposes of this discussion.
Trolls posing as Unionists and those suspected of being such don't get to play, and non-Unionists don't get to second-guess or mindread what they think Unionist opinions on the issue really are.

What I'm really curious about here is what do Unionists believe a United Ireland might look like, what do they fear or oppose in that, is there a form of United Ireland acceptable to Unionists, and if not, why not?

I await your answers with eager interest. The floor is yours.

Friday, May 08, 2009

How corrupt is UEFA?

I'm now officially suspicious about UEFA.

Normally, when people refer to corruption in football, they mean attempts to fix matches by dodgy Far Eastern gangs. The discussions focus on whether players 'threw' games, whether they might have taken a 'bung', whether the betting patterns reveal a coup.

But I'm beginning to wonder about UEFA's role in a couple of very odd incidents.

The first relates to whether they have been rigging the draw for the Champions' League in order to manipulate the big box-office matches that they want. Last year, the quarter final draw was revealed to a Liverpool fans website two hours before it was made.

Now, that's either a 104-1 lucky guess, or else it is overt corruption. According to UEFA, it was just a lucky guess. They then refused to say anything further on the matter.

However, the original post which revealed the draw suggested that not only was the draw a pre-decided issue, but that the details had come from a disgusted UEFA employee and that bookies had ceased to take bets on the matter, which they indeed had.

But things got even stranger on Wednesday night. My sympathies go out to Chelsea, who were effectively robbed of a second successive Champions' League final appearance by the extremely erratic, if not downright bogus, behaviour of the referee, who is now in hiding after he denied Chelsea at least two legitimate penalties.

Feeling hard done by, one Chelsea player chased the ref about the pitch yelling in his face, while another roared his disgust at the TV cameras, and a third has since come out stating that he believes the ref was 'under orders.'

Sour grapes? Perhaps. Until, that is, you hear that the UEFA website posted the result of the game HOURS before it even kicked off!

The 'test' post was supposedly a dummy run. But it had the correct score and even named the players who were booked!

Chelsea's manager, one of the most respected and experienced names in football, has openly speculated that the referee was under orders not to allow Chelsea to proceed to a second final against Manchester United, because UEFA thought a second all-English final looked bad.

Of course, UEFA have dismissed suggestions of a fix. But they also ordered the match referee to go into hiding and not to talk to the press.

Books such as the excellent 'The Ball is Round' have examined the corporate corruption of UEFA, and its parent body FIFA, and revealed how football administration at the very top is run by some extremely dodgy people.

I'm now wondering just how dodgy they are. Dodgy enough to rig a draw? Dodgy enough to rig a game? Dodgy enough to pick and choose who should play in the world's biggest club football game - the Champions' League final?

Perhaps they are.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Investing in Education, or Old Skool discos for middle-aged men?

The government's all about education, they say. You know the buzz words - fourth-level learning, research and development, the knowledge economy.

Apparently none of this stretches as far as actually investing in education, of course. We'll be seeing third-level fees re-introduced after a two decade absence shortly (to add to the existing four figure sum 'non-fees' for 'registering' in college.)

And kids in schools with leaky roofs, no hot water but hot and cold running rats and roaches will have to take comfort in the fact that the education minister has secured additional funding this year - for renting prefabs, some of which have been in situ since the Eighties at this stage.

So, in this morass of misery that is the Irish education system, it does one's black heart much joy to see Irish universities hosting major international conferences into ground-breaking areas of research of significant importance to us all.

University of Limerick, take a bow. In these times of recession and Dell lay-offs, heaven knows the Mid-West is miserable now.

So fair play to the eggheads, who last year started something they couldn't finish. But this year they did finish it - two full days of a symposium dedicated to the work of Morrissey.

Seriously, they spent funds on studying the works of the old misery monger for two days. Don't believe me? Here's the awful, academic-meets-Manc-quiff proof of it all:

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but I'm not entirely convinced that indulging fortysomething daffodil-inspired obsessives is where our university system should be focusing its funding and attentions.

No doubt everyone present were charming men, but ultimately, what difference does it make?

Actually, shoehorning Smiths songs into a blog post may be fun, but spending state education funding on this sort of thing isn't justifiable when working class kids are forced to abandon third-level plans and kids are dodging the rodents in their pre-fab classrooms.

Silly and indulgent research events like this one might have been grand at one time, when we as a nation had the cash to be frivolous. But today?

That joke just isn't funny anymore.