Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Castro on vacation

The official line that Fidel is so sick that his brother had to take over have been blown apart with the recent revelation that Fidel is not, in fact, unwell. No, instead, he's just on holiday.













Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's his birthday today


Just don't ask him his age; he doesn't know it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Salthill

I love the sea when it's wintry.





Of course, if I don't get work soon, I'll have to take to the street. I've found a place to work out of though.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Salthill

This is our new pad. A bit small for just the two of us, I know but we'll manage.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm off


Today's pretty much my last day in Sligo. I've off to Galway for a while, don't know where after that. I'll still be in Sligo on and off; Playspace, the house and an exam that won't go away will keep me coming back. But that's not all that will see me back here now and again.

I've been in Sligo for the guts of 10 years and while I mightn't have got a degree (yet) out of that time, I have made some great friends. Sligo's a great wee town with mighty people. Who knows, if they gotten O'Connall St paved, I might have stayed.

Thanks to everyone who helped make it my second home.

Last day...


... at the best job in the world. Thanks Kieran, Bill, Rory & Brian.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A letter to Conor Lenihan

Dear Minster for State,

In relation to the question of Sikhs and the Garda uniform, I am undecided. I believe that the Gardai should remain neutral in areas of faith but at the same time, the force must represent our community in it's entirety and diversity. I also believe that this question is just one of many that this nation must answer in the years to come. I believe that there is no easy answer. I believe that cool heads and smart people are needed now. I believe that we should look abroad and take advantage of the fact that this issue has run out in other counties already and we should look at how different nations tried to deal with. I don't believe that this is a problem but an opportunity for Ireland to embrace different cultures. I believe that integration is a two-way process and the onus doesn't just lie on "people who come here."

Your words:

If we are to take integration seriously, people who come here must understand our way of doing things. When the President and Ministers travel to the middle-east, they accept cultural requirements of the country and the culture they are operating in. It is a vice versa situation with regard to Ireland.

Integration doesn't just concern "people who come here." For example, a child born in Ireland of Sikh parents in an Irish citizen, yet he or she may well be unrepresented by his or her police force.

Can you please define, "our way of doing things"?

When the President and Ministers travel to the middle-east, they do so to visit. If they were to stay, I wonder would they give up their right to practise their faith.

Are you likening our government to the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar? And why did you use the middle-east as an example? Sikhs are mostly from Punjab, North America and England.

Like I said, I am undecided about this issue re the Garda uniform. But I would advise you, the man in charge of integration, to think longer and harder before you speak on his issue.

Yours,
John M Rogers.

Monday, August 20, 2007

We must protect the children


A man rang into Lifeline today to complain about the above image. It's from a Ryanair ad in today's paper.

He said that he was "quite disgusted." He said we must "protect not only our children but the way we view them." He described the image as "exploitative" and added that "you and I both know that there are sick people out there and that's what worries me."

--

What do you think folks? He's right of course. This is exploitative; just as Britney's video was. I have to say, the image doesn't disgust me; in fact, my first, unfortunate reaction was, wow, she's a hottie. But then, maybe I'm one of the sickos out there.

That's the problem I have with this guy. It's the whole won't-someone-think-of-the children attitude. I don't know if that picture is a danger to our kids. I'm not saying it isn't but I doubt it's a very big one. And I do know there are bigger problems. Obesity is a problem, right? The crap kids get fed at home. The lack of exercise because they're not allowed out anymore for fear of the 'sick people'.

So how come we never have anyone ringing Joe Duffy saying, "Joe, I was passing McDonald's and I looked in and there was a bunch of kids in there with their parents, all eating junk...."?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Is Richie Bennis into the Kings Of Leon?

This is class. From Michael Leister's online column from 5th July.

I doubt if Limerick hurling manager Richie Bennis is a Kings of Leon fan (though let's not jump to conclusions). However, he would certainly identify with some of the lyrics on their excellent current album 'Because Of The Times'.

On 'My Party' they sing: 'So now we're on our way / It's taking us on journeys where we wipe away the frowns amongst a crowded place', adding later: 'My cocky look emerges when you question my moves / Because you ain't got no taste / You're talking about my baby / I could flip you upside down and I could mop this place.' Now that I come to think of it, their sound is infinitely better than their lyrics .. but anyway.

Shannon

Aer Lingus are moving their Heathrow slot from Shannon to Belfast. (It's a wonder they didn't say the move was a protest against the US troops using the airport. We all rememeber how they used 9/11 to make some well needed staff cuts.) This is a blow to the west because this will mean that Shannon will have no link to Heathrow, which is a major international air transport hub.

I don't blame Aer Lingus for doing what they did; business is business. I blame the government for privatising Aer Lingus in the first place. Aer Lingus no longer serves the citizens of the state but the stockholders of the company. Profit before people; business is business. I also blame the government for failing to provide proper infrastructure for the west. This has resulted in the airport never reaching it's full potential and will now make it hard for the airport authorities to attract another airline with a Heathrow slot to spare.

This is good news for Belfast. Seeing the Unionist reaction, I think they're starting to realise that Northern Ireland's fortunes best lie in an All Ireland economy; business is business. (If and when the UK converts to the Euro, the state of Northern Ireland will exist in name only.) Access to Heathrow from Belfast is good news for all of Ulster and North Connacht - Sligo to Belfast is quicker than Sligo to Shannon.

However, with a continuation of bad regional development like this, we will end up with two black-holes of urban sprawl, with neighbouring counties sucked into Dublin or Belfast. (Kildare is now referred to as 'Dublin's doorstep' on the Bord Fáilte website. Dublin's doormat, more like.) The only reason Belfast hasn't exploded (bad use of language, maybe) like Dublin is because the troubles held it back for so long.

But with peace taking a strong hold, the climate is perfect for business to rise and claim all.

Evolution is a fact

Say it once, now say it again.

A lot of people think that evolution is just a theory. They're right. The only problem in that sentence is the word 'just'. You see there's a growing misconception, especially in the US, as to the meaning of the word 'theory'. Here's handy link that I found.

Theory of ir-relativity, or the old in-out

Here's a taste of my thoughts of late. I'm sure there's nothing here that hasn't been considered before by some philosopher way smarter than me. And I'm sure that this has been all figured out and written down somewhere that I can find it and answer these questions I'm just starting to ask. But for now, I want to figure this out myself. Here's what I wrote earlier.



--

I figured it out.

It's not faith, it's not choice. It's the theory of ir-relativity.

Let's say there are only two possible realities – Inside or Outside. (If reality is Inside, then outside still exists, only it's an illusion. If reality is Outside, then inside still exists as the mind.)

It is impossible to prove which is the true reality – there's no way to show to myself that I am awake. Two days ago, I decided that my willingness to believe that Outside is real can only be based on faith. This faith is the only one instance of blind faith we all need to get by.

However, let's reconsider. Up until recently, I believed in Outside, without even knowing that I believed because, I never once thought that life could be any other way. Then, ten years ago or more, I discovered "I think therefore I am" and I started to consider Inside. But I still believed in Outside.

However, what if I don't bother believing in either? Since I can't prove if I'm awake or dreaming, the question of In or Out becomes irrelevant. Since neither can be disproved, then let them both be right.

Reality is inside and outside simultaneously. Faith is not required.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

"What if you're wrong?"

I love this.

By the way, this video explains some of what I'm up to right now.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Been a while

I've been busy - NYC, play in Galway, studying - so I've kinda abandoned the blog somewhat.

I'll be back though... watch this space!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Well pissed off

Well, I'm supposed to be in NYC right now but instead I'm in a hotel room in Claremorris. Our flight has been delayed indefinitely. Lots of funny things happened yesterday at the airport that I was dying to write about here but right now, I'm too fed up.

I just want to say that if you're considering flying with Flyglobespan from Knock to New York, don't. They're a joke.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

When will RTÉ have enough money?

RTÉ show the news live on their website along with other shows, like The Sunday Game. Recently, they've added an ad that you have to watch before the streaming starts. My version of Firefox can't handle this ad so anyone using Linux can't watch the news online any more. Instead of improving this useful service, RTÉ have limited it's access just so they can play another damn ad.

I ask you, what use is RTÉ? Or, at least, what point is the TV license?

Will we ever learn?


Galway are being tipped for All Ireland glory this year. Now, their performance against Mayo might have been a bit flattering but there's no doubt about it, they are a fine football team. On any given day, they have the beating of anyone in the country. Tomorrow, they take Leitrim on in newly refurbished Páirc Seán MacDiarmada.

Cork hurlers thing the GAA has an anti-Cork bias (what is it about Corkmen that they think the whole country is out to get them? Is it because they're so damn irritating). They don't know how easy they have it. The whole system is skewed in favour of the bigger counties.

Leitrim is a county with only ten senior football clubs... ten clubs. We haven't much hope in winning tomorrow but we do have some. And that's because we simply don't stop fighting. Always punching above our weight and possessing inordinate pride in doing so. And let me tell you, our defence is a fine one and if they play to their full potential and our forwards take their chances and we play with our usual fighting spirit, well... we'll see.

Will we ever learn? I bloody hell hope not.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

'Homo, homo, GAA'...

... is the name of a song that Drohan is writing. All about the boys in the shower after the match and hairy-legged camogie girls down the back of the bus.

But yesterday, I learned that being into d'acting doesn't mean you have to be a total sport-o-phobe. I met with Niall Cleary who's directing me again, this time in Autobahn for the Galway Youth Theatre. I also met with the Director of Galway Youth Theatre and we had a good manly chat about hurling. Now, Drohan and Colleary, you can feck off with the slagging! Do ya hear me lads?! Go on! Fuck off....

--

On Sunday, Leitrim take on Galway in the newly refurbished Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick. As usual, I expect the lads to give it hell for 70 minutes and sure we'll see what happens after that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Monday mornings

Monday started off well wrong; I slept-in in the morning. But things soon turned around. By that evening, I had two acting parts and a investment in a mango plantation in Cambodia. Cool, ha?


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Betrayal

Some thoughts for the Green Party supporters and voters who are calling "betrayal."

I was very disappointed that the Green deal did not include the end of US flights through Shannon, the re-routing of the M3 away from Tara and the end to hospital co-location.

However, we now have two Green Party senior ministers. And look at their portfolios; John Gormley - Minister for the Environment, Heritage and local Government and Eamon Ryan - Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Just think about this. We have a Green department of the environment and a Green department of energy; the areas concerned with the core principles of the party.

As for Shannon, the M3 and co-location, if the Green Party had turned down the deal, these things would've happened anyway. Everybody wake up, grow up and shut up complaining. The biggest part of every deal is compromise.

Let's just look at the first three principles by consensus adopted by the Green Party at its foundation:
  1. The impact of society on the environment should not be ecologically disruptive.
  2. Conservation of resources is vital to a sustainable society.
  3. All political, social and economic decisions should be taken at the lowest effective level.
Impact of society on the environment - Department of the Environment, Heritage and local Government; conservation of resources - Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; all political... decisions should be taken at the lowest effective level - Department of ... local Government.

This is big business.

--

An aside on Shannon - stopping the US troops from using Shannon doesn't bring an end to the war in Iraq, it just washes our hands of it.

--

Hospital co-location is the hardest pill to swallow for me. Seeing a party that was decimated as the PDs end up back in power is nothing short of a sickener but it's the price we pay for the system we have. It's bizarre that the two parties with most in common - FF & FG - will not share power but it's not unprecedented. It reminds me of the DUP and the UUP in Northern Ireland. However, it does result in crappy little parties like the Progressive Democrats getting into power.

--

So, this is a good thing for the party and the country and if you're one of these people crying into your breakfast this morning because of the Judas Greens, ask yourself, what would it take for you to accept the Green Party going into power? Or is it the thought of your party of protest becoming a party of power that makes you weep?

Government is the only place to be if you want to make the changes necessary for the good of the country.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Not only that...

... but we have Eamon Ryan for Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

--

The two new Green Party Ministers cycled to work yesterday, followed by their obligatory Ministerial Mercedes. The first thing they should do is get their security details on bikes.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Green Party Environment Minister

I can hardly believe it. This is a great day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We're in but Sargent has to step down

History made!

The Green Party has voted to go into Government in Ireland for the first time. 86% of the members present at today's conference voted Yes.

However, and this pains me, our leader Trevor Sargent seems to be on the brink of resignation. All this for a stupid statement on not willing to bring his party in with Fianna Fáil.

But that's for another day. We are in.

500 members...

... decide if we go into Government for the first time.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Greens out. For now

So, the talks between the Green Party and Fianna Fáil on the formation of a new government have broken down. Trevor Sergeant said insurmountable differences on climate change, education, health and Government reform were responsible for the breakdown.

This doesn't rule them out of going in with Fianna Fáil but it does show that they weren't willing to compromise on core policy for the sake of entering government. That's a good thing.

Watch the skies

Last night, around eleven o' clock, the old man rang me to tell me to look up.

He saw on the news that the International Space Station was due to pass over Ireland. He was laughing because the astronomer on RTÉ said that the space station would go from left to right.

So, out I went into the garden and kept an eye out because though I knew the time, I'd no idea where it would be coming from. Then, just on cue, she flew across the sky at an amazing speed, travelling west to east (by the way, since I was facing south, that's right to left). Half way across the transit, Daddy called me from where he's standing on the flat roof at home and we watched it disappear together.

--

NASA sent up a shuttle last night to the station, liftoff 00:30 our time. It too was expected to fly over Ireland. Daddy said that we would see the booster falling twenty minutes into the launch - 00:50. I, being all-knowing re the Space Shuttle, corrected him - the booster would disengage well before 00:50.

So back out into the garden and I stood watching the heavens again from about 00:30. A couple of minutes later, I saw a shooting star. Around, 00:43, I saw something moving against the stars, very faint, heading almost directly south. I thought that was it but the direction was confusing. So I kept watching and lo and behold, bang on 00:50, there it was, not as bright but travelling in the same direction as the station. I laughed out loud, don't know why.

--

An hour later, Daddy rings me again. He asked me if I saw the shuttle just now. I said I saw it at exactly 00:50. He said that he gave up looking for it and went to bed. He just looked out his bedroom window before turning in and he saw it, travelling in the same direction as the station. But this was an hour later.

I don't know which of us saw the shuttle. The other things were satellites or secret military shuttles or aliens, I don't know but there sure was a lot going on in the skies last night.

Monday, June 04, 2007

An Táin Bó Cúailgne


In Galway, last week, I bought a comic book... sorry... graphic novel version of the Táin Cúailgne. It's entirely in Irish (including the pictures!) and I've been translating it to English with my limited Irish speaking skills, a Irish-English/English-Irish dictionary and this website. It's just like Kinsella translating the first recension, just like it.

It's not very difficult Irish and I'm making ok progress but I have come across a few words and phrases that I can't translate. For instance (from my notes):

Is eagal liom = unknown
Carbaid = unknown. The line is, capaill agus carbaid, I used "horses and cattle"
Leogo = unknown
Aidhe = unknown. Could be a name

But my favourite is this:

Dar fia! = unknown. The line is, Dar fia! Is fial flaithiúil an bhean í do mháistreas, leogo! Now, fia is a dear... so I translated it, "Dear me! It's a generous and hospitable woman, your mistress, leogo!" I don't know what leogo is either

I didn't do well at this at the Leaving,

--

Funny thing though, I'm enjoying this exercise a lot. Yet if a teacher had handed me this to do in school, I'd have gone, -that's stoooopid.

--

I have to say, the comic isn't that well written. I said so to herself and she said, -two days ago, you hadn't a word of Irish in your head but now you're a critic.

Well, she didn't say it in words... she kinda said it by rolling her eyes.


Idioot

Not wanting to fall to easy national stereotyping but some French people are so arrogant.

This French guy comes up to pay for a call at work. It's four euro. I try to say 'four' in French.

-Four, he says.
-Aye, but what's that in french?
-Noooo, he laughs, -the Fench is too difficult. It's four, ok?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ongoings

Right back at the start, I said that the next government would be Fianna Fáil/Labour. Twenty minutes ago it looked like my preference, Fianna Fáil/Green Party could do it. Just as I went to write this, Dan Boyle, economics spokesperson for the Greens lost his seat. This is a huge blow. He was a big factor in the "de-mystification" of the party and would have made a fine minister.

It looks like the Green Party just about survived the squeeze from FF and FG and will return to the Dáil with the same number of seats. I think the party should have a big think-in about this election. While the presidential nature of this election was a problem, I think the party's message got lost partly in an attempt to not scare any perspective voters. I hope no-one came to the conclusion that a softly, softly approach would be best. It sure wasn't best for Boyle.

Vincent Browne says that the parties of the left should all opt out of coalition and regroup as a formidable block. Let FF and FG go in together, since they're so alike. I like this kind of thinking but there's no chance.

--

I just saw John O Donoghue and Jackie Healy Rae (both returned) have a chat on RTÉ -

JOD: You'll be coming with a list, Jack.
JHR: Aye, John and it'll be a sizeable one.
JOD: There was a man who made the pact with the devil. He got a purse that no matter how many times he dipped into, there was always more money.
JHR: Aye, John and I'm ready to move back in with the devil.

--

Just in - Ciaran Cuffe hangs onto his seat for the Greens. He said he went to the movies during the day to take his mind off of the count, he said he saw The Pirates of Penzance. I think he meant Pirates of the Caribbean - doesn't sound like he had his mind on the movie.

So, while it's not over yet, Bertie and FF look in good shape. The question is, will it be FF/Lab or FF/GP/Ind?

--

Mary O Rourke just won her old Dáil seat back. Brian Dobson said, - it wouldn't be wise to try and put Mary up on your shoulders.

Audible gasp from John Gormley on the panel.

Dobson soldiered on, - not that you wouldn't be able to... I just don't think she'd appreciate it....

--

I'm off to bed... ok, watch another half hour, then bed.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Roscommon - South Leitrim

I had Shannonside on the laptop and I just got the results from home.

Candidate
Party
%
Elected/Excluded
BAXTER, Hughie
1.8 Excluded Excluded



ELLIS, John*
17.2 Excluded Excluded



FEIGHAN, Frank
19.8 Elected Elected



FINNERAN, Michael*
21.7 Elected Elected



KELLY, John
9.9 Excluded Excluded



KENNY, Martin
8.4 Excluded Excluded



McDAID, Garreth
1.8 Excluded Excluded



NAUGHTEN, Denis*
19.4 Elected Elected



O'GARA, Noel66 0.1 Excluded Excluded

--

That means South Leitrim will not be represented in the next Dáil.

By the way, my constituency has yet to be mentioned on RTÉ.

Show a little grace

I just rang home, full of bile, vinegar and piss. I was delighted that McDowell lost. The old man took some skin off of me, told me that he felt sorry for the man and I should just relax. He's right. Tough luck, Tanaiste. Good luck to you.

So long, Poodle...

... see ya.

The big squeeze

A few TDs have been elected already. It's looking like that the independents are getting squeezed out by a return to form for both of the major parties. A long way to go yet.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Polls are closed

So, now the fun begins. A weekend of counting and results. And after that comes the government formation negotiations. I hope they never get rid of the manual count.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I might be way off

Well, according to a poll in this morning's Irish Times, the majority of people who watched the debate felt that Bertie won. Also, Fianna Fáil are back ahead, according to the same poll....

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Struth! Honest Abe really stuck it to the King or something

I was listening to a Podcast of an Australian interview with Cillian Murphy and The Wind That Shakes The Barley. The interviewer make the point that the Irish War of Independence was in many ways still unresolved unlike, say the American War of Independence where, and I quote, "I think we can all agree that slavery is bad."

Maybe he meant the metaphorical slavery of the colonists by the crown but I doubt it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

5 days out

The general consensus is that the debate ended in a draw. Enda started well and remained calm throughout but Bertie regained some of his composure and hit him hard on a number of points. It is unlikely now that the debate will have much effect on the election's outcome.

Right now I feel that the most likely outcome is still a Fianna Fail - Labour coalition.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Election news

Ok, I'm awful busy so this won't be very long.

This is the closest election in quite some time and thank God for that. Also, I'm seriously starting to think that FF & the PDs are on the way out. While I put little faith in polls (especially for the smaller parties) there's no doubt they can affect the outcome. Constant talk about the Alliance for Change's ongoing momentum can convince the public. However, the run-up to every election involves writing the PDs off.

Last night's messy four way debate between the leaders of the Greens, SF, Labour and the PDs was vaguely interesting. I hate to admit it but McDowell probably put his party back into contention. The fact that for a lot of the debate it was him against the other three will help his cause. Pat Rabbitte looked like he understood this dynamic best so he tried to keep civil at all time.

Gerry Adams amazed me. He was way off his game. He sounded like he didn't know the facts and is maybe not quite as in touch with the concerns of voters in the South as his party would hope.

Trevor Sargent did a fine job, if not a little subdued. Last night somewhat represented his party's major concern - getting squeezed out by the other parties. Also, he only ever mentioned global warming twice. He has a great point to make that investment in renewable energy is the best way to advance our economy yet he just about made it.

--

Tonight sees the leader's debate between Bertie and Enda. Enda Kenny intrigues me. Sometimes he sounds dynamic and witty and sometimes he sounds like he is on auto pilot. Bertie is an awful speaker, just awful so if he improves at all, he will impress.

This election is still hard to call. We've a week to go but most people have their minds made up with around three days to go. That means that the next few days are vital. I'd imagine there's a lot of undecideds left out there. The debate is the only time we really get to compare the Taoiseach with the man who would be Taoiseach, so many votes will be won or lost tonight.

--

Honest to God, I have no idea how this election will go for the Green Party. My head says one thing and my heart the other. But trust me, we need to really tackle the issues of the environment over the next twenty years. If we don't start soon, it'll be too late.

--

One final thought, I hope all the interest in this election - the fact that we seem to have a alternative option open to us this time and how close the whole thing is - ends with the best possible result... a massive turn out on the 24th.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Project, project, project....

It's due today! So I haven't been able to post any more election updates but I will soon.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Summer's here again

The Championship's back!

Very first day and already we have a quote from Colm O Rourke that won't be easily beat for Quote of the Year:

Every team needs three or four farmers in it....

Classic. Probably explains Dublin too.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Election update

Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money... McDowell opens his big mouth! Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money, Bertie's money....

Nothing much else bar SF changing their position on corporate tax....

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The All Leinster Football Championship

The boys on Radio 1 just previewed this year's football championship. Went something like this:

- What about Connacht, lads?
- If it's not Galway, it's Mayo.
- And Ulster?
- Donegal look good.
- Munster?
- Hard to bet against Kerry.
- And the big one, Leinster?
- Well blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah...

... Dublin....

In or out, Poodle?

Last night, it looked like the PDs were gonna walk. Now this morning, McDowall has called on Bertie to make a full public statement about his finances ahead of election day but the PDs will not pull out of the government.

This is just like what happened last October - McDowall had the chance to prove his party's worth as watchdogs but baulked.

What's interesting is that by all accounts, McDowall, Harney and O Donnell were good to go but party president Tom Parlon convinced them to hold on. If you ask me, this is because of two things - 1. the PDs don't want to be responsible for pulling down this government; 2. if they do pull out, that pretty much rules them out of going back in with FF after the election.

--

Hard to say how any of this helps the Greens or not.

--

One other thing. Even if FF win the election (ie form a government with one or two of the smaller parties or independents), Bertie isn't guaranteed his job. He may well have to go in the post election party negotiations.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Week 1

Well, we've had our first week of campaigning and it's been... interesting.

Even Bertie nods. I don't particularly like Ahern (not a personal dislike, I only ever met him once) but I always had the impression that he was a master of the business of politics and electioneering. He doesn't look it now. His bizarre early-hours dash to the Áras last Sunday to dissolve the 29th Dáil robbed Fianna Fáil of a properly staged dissolution. His performance at FF's launch later that day was short and not very sweet but the real shock was his refusal to take questions afterwards. Even his decision to call the election last Sunday is odd; it would've made more sense to call it a week earlier - he must have known that either the Mahon tribunal would start again this week or, if that was held off (as it was), the press would ask the tough questions anyway.

All this has left the Soldiers of Destiny running around like those headless chickens. FF won big time 5 years ago due mostly to the selling of Brand Bertie. But with the Chief reeling from bad press, his party looks more than a little punch drunk. And Bertie sure was swaying on his feet. I've never seen him deal with the press so badly - at times his irritation was palpable at the constant questioning in regards to his finances. On top of all this, today the PDs are more than distancing themselves from FF; they're holding a meeting to discuss these pressing issues. There's a good chance that they might walk out on the government.

--

Meanwhile, Fine Gael are flying. In fact, their campaign reminds me of Fianna Fáil's of the last election. Kenny is kept moving, moving, moving and doesn't say much of substance. This is a sound political practise - most times we end up with the last clown standing for Taoiseach, so for goodness sake, Enda, whatever you say, say nothing.

Labour are doing ok too. The media love Pat Rabbitte; the man's always good for a quote. Neither is the man shy of publicity stunts - today, himself and Ruairi Quinn had a barbecue where they roasted a list of the government's broken promises.

Nice idea but, just like the soundbites from Enda Kenny, this type of campaigning pisses me off. Village magazine this month has that same list of broken promises and it makes for compelling reading. Let Labour call a press conference and simply read out this article and the point is made with clarity and a bit more class.

Hard to say how Sinn Féin are doing. Today's poll in the Irish Examiner has them trailing. You know, Northern Ireland still doesn't register too highly with a lot of people in the Republic, shameful as that fact may be, and SF's success in NI doesn't guarantee the same south of the border.

According to many pollsters, the Progressive Democrats are in real trouble - one pollster puts them as having zero chance of returning to government. Their campaigning has been very negative, with attacks on the Green Party in particular. The Greens frighten the PDs - both parties are niche and if one goes up, it'll be to the cost of the other. However, much as I'd like to see the back of them, do not rule them out. This time 5 years ago, they looked to be dead and buried when Herr McDowell climbed a lamp post and stuck up that genius 'Single-party government? No thanks' poster. Many, many voters, distrustful and resentful of Fianna Fáil but unwilling to rock the boat, flocked to the PD banner on the back of that.

Still though, McDowall can't make the same claim again. He was presented with the chance to live up to his promise last autumn when the questions first arose about Bertie's finances but he chickened out. Hopefully, the voters will remember that.

--

Personally, and I know I'm biased, I feel the Green Party did the most substantive campaigning this week. They launched a superb economics package that was in no way anti-business but still goes towards helping the less well off.

Trevor Sargent was the only party leader to really stand up and ask Bertie to clarify his finances now, instead of after the election. Enda and Pat are still shy of explicitly doing the same. Partly due to a understandable wish to not get knocked off of their own message but mainly because of what happened last autumn - Bertie bounced back in the polls last time while the opposition leaders got burnt. Yet I am adamant that that wasn't so much a result of public sympathy to the Taoiseach but more a result of Enda and Pat's dithering over what to do or say. No such fear from Trevor Sargent.

I truly hope the Green Party get into government this time. The going consensus, for what little it's worth, is that the Greens will pick up more seats in this election. The global concern for the environment and the party's now realistic views on certain things like live exports has set them up well. But a strong vote for FF and Labour could well see them swamped and left with less seats than they have now. I read that some pollster on TV3 said that the best thing the Green Party could do is do as little as possible. I understand this idea but fuck it, politics should be more than just keeping your head down and hope you offend as few voters as possible. Let them speak their minds. Let them show us their plans. Let them fight a good fight and let the cards fall as they may after that.


--

So, there we have the first week. Today's polls say that the government parties are neck and neck with FG and Labour. I'd imagine there's a lot of undecideds out there to be won yet - those votes could well be mopped up by the smaller parties and independents.

Fianna Fáil might have started awful and there's no let up in the questions on Bertie's money but I still think they'll pull it off. Vincent Browne's grilling of the Taoiseach (it was the business) on Thursday probably did Bertie the world of good. And he's still got three big events of state ahead of him - addressing the house of commons, the opening of the Assembly and Paisley's visit to the Boyne.

An interesting question that isn't been asked much lately is, who's leaking Bertie's transactions with Mahon? And thank you, whoever you are. Ahern's lies grow with every day and he is seriously running the risk of totally contradicting himself.

One final thought - here's a combination of parties that might make up our next government; Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and... the Progressive Democrats.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blast from the past

This is brilliant news. I can think of no better image for modern Ireland than a massive bypass on Tara.

From today's Irish Times Breaking News:

Last Updated: 01/05/2007 19:01

Work on section of M3 halted after archaeological find

Charlie Taylor

Construction work on a section of the controversial M3 motorway, which is to pass through the Tara/Skreen valley, has been stopped after the discovery of a prehistoric "henge" by archaeologists.

The Department of the Environment confirmed this evening that Minister Dick Roche had received a report that archaeologists working on the route have found evidence of a monument at Lismullin, Co Meath.

The minister is now consulting with the director of the National Museum after the National Monuments Service inspected the site. A spokesman for Mr Roche said: "Work at or near where

the find was made has been suspended". He said most of the work being carried out in the area was of an archaeological nature.

He said Mr Roche was hoping the matter would be dealt with "as a matter of urgency" by the director of the National Museum.

The prehistoric "henge" site is a circular enclosure which is estimated to be about the size of three football fields.

Currently, the archaeological team is authorised to continue to clean back the surface of the area, to complete a plan of the features and to check for associated features outside the enclosure. A small number of stakeholes are also to be excavated to try to recover sufficient material for radiocarbon dating.

The Campagin to Save Tara said it was "delighted" that the discovery of the monument meant that construction of the M3 would temporarily cease.

Spokesman Michael Canney said: 'Everybody knew that this route was destined to destroy the landscape of Tara if it went ahead. The advice of national and international experts was ignored.

"This route was chosen because it was favoured by local politicians and businessmen. That this monument has been discovered is more by accident than by design and many other sites that were of significance have been hastily and inadequately surveyed.

"We now call on the Government and the NRA to abandon this route, admit they have made a serious mistake and act properly and positively to protect our heritage."

The pro-Tara group TaraWatch, which originally reported the site to the Keeper of Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland yesterday, said that Mr Roche should reroute the M3 in order to avoid the monument.

"This site is a show-stopper and is without doubt a national monument of world significance according to our experts. It would be a sin to demolish it," said TaraWatch spokesperson Vincent Salafia.

Green Party environment spokesman Ciaran Cuffe said his party's concerns about the M3 had been vindicated

"As far back as March 2005 I stated that going ahead with the proposed route for the M3 would be an act of cultural and historic vandalism.

"Only yesterday Martin Cullen was turning the sod for the M3 project, yet today work has been suspended. I am once again calling for all work to come to an end, in particular the massive floodlit Blundlestown interchange, and for the upgrading of the existing N3 to take place instead."

© 2007 ireland.com

Monday, April 30, 2007

First turn

Mahon tribunal is postponed until after the election.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

And we're off!

So, Bertie called into Mary this morning and brought an end to the 29th Dail. We'll have an election on May 24th. Between now and then, we will have Tom Gilmartin and the Quaryvale accusations, Bertie and Ian at the Boyne, Bertie, Tony and co. at the opening of the Assembly and Bertie addressing the joint houses of Commons. We'll also have lots of twists and turns.

I hope that the Green Party will be in government but I still think it's gonna be Fainna Fail and Labour.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Peace at a time

Yesterday morning, we hadn't even gotten up yet and we were already having a BIG TALK on immigration and racism and government when we heard birds outside.

Trish went, -what's that?
I said, -pigeons, probably.

She hopped out of bed, opened the curtains and there were two doves on the windowsill. We were speechless. They flew off, circled the roof tops and landed back on our windowsill. Trish practically squeaked with excitement. Then they flew off.

I don't know why but I felt it was the most beautiful thing to happen in so long

Saturday, April 21, 2007

No end in sight

On Wednesday, up to 200 people were killed in a series of bombs in Baghdad. This slaughter was somewhat overshadowed by the Virginia Tech massacre.

200 people in a single day. One bomb killed 150 people in a market place where labourers were rebuilding after a previous bomb. A witness described how the market place was turned into a "swimming pool of blood."

--

Mission accomplished, eh?

"To be a good mom, you need to be an armed mom"

Today's Irish Times has an article on gun culture in the US. Here's a brilliant quote in relation to marketing guns to women and how it helps the image of gun ownership -

"So that instead of thinking of about someone like Cho, the crazed loner out shooting his fellow students, we think of a nice, blond, suburban mother tucking her children into bed with a .38 on the nightstand. It's a much softer image."

A softer image indeed.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

And there ya have it

Leitrim 2-10 1-14 Monaghan
Offally 1-16 4-11 Roscommon

That means Roscommon make the semi-finals and division 2 next year and Leitrim will play division 3 football next year. At one stage in the second half, we were leading and Roscommon were losing but it wasn't to be. You get what you deserve in football and division 3 is better than division 4.

Now that the league is out of the way, we can concentrate on bigger business - the championship.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The elite

Irish writer, John Connolly was on Radio 1 this morning. When asked about other Irish crime writers, he recommended Ken Bruen. Bruen writes about, Jack Taylor, a disgraced cop (wow, that's new) based in Galway. As I'm moving to Galway soon, I said I'd check him out.

So, I read a quick preview of the first Jack Taylor novel, The Guards, on Bruen's website. And I cracked up at the following...

Jack Taylor's life is spiraling downward. Dumped from the Garda Siochana ("the Guards"), Ireland's elite police force, he now passes his days drinking in a friend's bar....

I love it - Ireland's elite police force. It put me in fear of good old Ken Bruen until I got hold of his book from the library and read the first couple of lines...

It's almost impossible to be thrown out of the Garda
Síochána. You have to really put your mind to it....

Now that's more like it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Outcomes

Actually it is a hell of a lot more complicated than I thought.

WARNING! If you have no interest in the GAA or sport in general, this post may well cause the blood to flow from your eyes!

Right now, NFL Div 2A looks like this (courtesy of www.leitrimgaa.ie):

TeamPWDLFA+/-Pts
Monaghan66004-905-483912
Roscommon64026-716-58138
Leitrim64026-673-6798
Longford630313-703-76246
Offaly63036-816-59226
Clare63036-686-6716
Carlow61055-5810-81-382
London60064-4711-96-700

Last Update: 20:30, Wed 11 April 2007

Now, Monaghan have won the division; whatever happens on Sunday, their semi-final place against Meath is assured. But as to who wins the second place, this is where it gets tricky.

As I understood it, we need to beat Monaghan and Offally need to beat Roscommon for us to come second. This is extremely possible - our game is in Cloone, Monaghan don't even need a draw from the game and Roscommon have to play in Offally.

But, of course, nothing's as simple as that. Here are just 15 of the possible outcomes for the division (again courtesy of www.leitrimgaa.ie):

1. If Leitrim and Roscommon both win next Sunday, score difference will decide second and third, at the moment Leitrim are four points behind Roscommon.

2. If Leitrim and Roscommon both draw Roscommon will finish second and Leitrim third on score difference.

3. If Leitrim draw and Roscommon lose Leitrim will finish second.

4. If there are wins for Monaghan, Roscommon and Clare next weekend, Offaly, Longford, Carlow and London will play in TM Cup and Division 4 2008. Leitrim and Clare will play in Qualifiers 2007 and League Division 3 2008, with Monaghan and Roscommon playing in Division 2 2008.

5. If there are wins for Offaly, Longford and Monaghan, then Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford and Offaly will be tied on eight points each and playoffs will be required to decide who qualifies for Division 2 (one team), Division 3 (two teams) and Division 4 (one team) from among these four.

6. If all three games finish level, Roscommon will finish second, Leitrim third and playoffs will be required to separate Longford/Clare/Offaly to decide one reaming place in Division 3 2008 and two remaining places in Division 4 2008 and TM Cup 2007

7. If Offaly/Roscommon and Longford/Clare matches are both drawn then Leitrim will finish second if victorious over Monaghan.

8. If Offaly/Roscommon and Longford/Clare matches are both drawn then Leitrim will finish third if losing/drawing versus Monaghan.

9. If Longford/Clare draw and there are wins for Leitrim and Offaly, then Leitrim will finish second.

10. If Longford/Clare draw and there are wins for Monaghan and Offaly, then Leitrim, Roscommon and Offaly will be tied for second place and playoffs will be required to determine the remaining one place in Division 2 and the two remaining places in Division 3 with Clare, Longford, Carlow and London playing in Division 4 2008 and TM Cup 2007.

11. If Offaly/Roscommon draw and there are wins for Leitrim and Longford then Leitrim will finish second.

12. If Offaly/Roscommon draw and there are wins for Monaghan and Longford then Leitrim will finish fourth.

13. If Offaly/Roscommon draw and there are wins for Leitrim and Longford then Leitrim will finish second.

14. If there are wins for Monaghan, Longford and Roscommon: Monaghan & Roscommon in Div. 2 with Leitrim and Longford in Division 3 2008 and the remainder in Division 4.

15. If there are wins for Monaghan, Clare and Roscommon, Monaghan and Roscommon will play in Division 2 2008, Leitrim and Clare will play in Division 3 2008 with Longford, Offaly, Carlow and London playing in TM Cup 2007 and Division 4 2008.

Phew. Now I'm lost.

Why is this important? It's just the league. The Championship is where it's at!

True, but Leitrim in a league semi final would be super, as would division 2 football next year. However, it's even more serious if we lose. Because, and here I'm a little unsure, if we end up on the bottom of the division on Sunday, not only do we end up in division 4 next year, we don't get a qualifier shot in this summer's championship. That is, if we lose in the Connacht championship, we'll be dumped straight into the Tommy Murphy Cup! The fucking remedial football class (woohoo, big change on last year's attitude).

So, let's just hope we win... and Roscommon lose. Hang on, isn't that what we always want? Sure this isn't confusing at all.

Monday, April 09, 2007

When football and maths COLLIDE

Actually it's not that complicated. If Leitrim beat Monaghan next Sunday in Cloone and Offally beat Roscommon on the same day, then we make the league semi-finals and division 2 next year. However, despite the fact that beating Monaghan in Cloone is do-able, even if we don't progress, the championship is just around the corner.

Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Good Friday disagrees with me

Imagine it, you walk into a supermarket, buy a few items, remember to get sweets for the kids, go to get them but the sweet aisle is cordoned off. You ask a shop assistant why and he says it's because Jesus died this day, 2000 years ago or so.

Pure daft.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Up again. Down again.

I've a new piece on 269 here.

What did you give up for Lint...?

... I gave up going to Mass, Father.

--

Myself and Lutz have an idea for some invisible theatre on Good Friday. We're gonna stand at the head of the queue in the canteen and make sure that everyone has the fish. We're going to be the Crispy Soldiers of Christ - living patron saints of battered cod.

Good saint -

You'll try the fish, you will? Good girl. Don't ya know that for every ham sandwich ate today, an angel drops dead of an aneurysm?

Bad saint -

Sausages! Sausages! Our Lord didn't get himself hammered to a couple a lengths of four be four out foreign just so you can stuff mate into your face!


From past experience, I think the canteen ladies will be on our side.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fuckability

Maria Doyle was my favourite Commitmentette. She was always the sexiest. Her new song - "Fuckability" - proves me right. So now you know.



Wednesday, March 28, 2007

May as well have Terry Keane

I always said Roy Keane was an idiot. Last week he spouted nonsense about an anti-Cork bias in Irish soccer. Now he's taking a shot at Given saying he's going after a record number of caps for "a pat on the back." I told ya from the start, he's nuts.

--

But seriously folks, it's amazing how someone can be so spot-on one week (Roy's opinion on the FAI's "that'll do" attitude) and so off the mark the following week. What he said about Shay Given is simply stupid. Is the man's job at Sunderland so easy that he has time to go off on one of our true footballing servants?

Thank God for the holy trinity of Brady, Dunphy & Giles... and Bill

I love the honesty of RTÉ Sports. And it's nice that it's getting noticed further afield.

From The Guardian online (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/02/22/the_irish_eyes_who_will_not_ha.html):

The Irish eyes who will not have left Ronaldo smiling


by Alan Ruddock

February 22, 2007 2:29 AM

RTE's John Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady have no peers when it comes to football punditry.

At what point did television producers decide that football fans were to be treated with contempt? Was Jimmy Hill too abrasive for the modern age, too likely to upset fragile egos (though, in fairness, it could have been the beard)? Blandness is now almost universal on British TV, whether it's the crafted dialogue on Gary Lineker's Match of the Day, Steve Ryder's obeisance at the feet of sporting gods or Jim Rosenthal's - well, better to let that one lie. On Sky, where Andy Gray and Richard Keys at least attempt analysis, the surface is barely scratched and conventional wisdoms go unchallenged. "The lad will be disappointed with himself for that performance" now comes at the top end of the most stinging rebukes and most of what passes for television analysis would not pass muster in a pub. With few alternatives on offer we mutely accept it, nodding sagely that the lad could, indeed, have done better. There is, however, a better way.

In a brief clip on Tuesday night John Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady demonstrated that they have no peers in the business of football punditry. Two great players and a former journeyman player turned great controversialist were dissecting Manchester United's win against Lille. They didn't dwell for long on the referee (two correct decisions, one goal disallowed, one awarded) or get overly excited by Lille's foot-stomping childishness but focused on analysing different elements of the game.

Brady and Dunphy had prepared a package of Cristiano Ronaldo's entire contribution - completing, to memory, one pass out of 10, while losing possession or fluffing scoring chances every other time he received the ball. The clip concluded with Ronaldo's substitution, head shaking at the injustice of it all, spitting in disgust and shrugging his way past Sir Alex Ferguson, his manager.

Giles, Brady and Dunphy - along with Bill O'Herlihy, their host and interrogator - are brought together by RTE, the state-owned Irish broadcaster, to analyse football. They do not hold their punches. Brady and Dunphy have little time for the hype that surrounds Ronaldo, while Giles's scepticism is slightly more restrained.

For all three, Ronaldo is talented but well short of the greatness that has been bestowed on him by his manager and the British media. They see his flaws, his petulance, his failure to deliver on the biggest European occasions but they also see deep cynicism at work.

The hyping of Ronaldo, in their eyes, is about inflating his value for the balance sheet, and has little or no connection with reality. Ronaldo is a commodity rather than a footballer, a player measured not by his contribution on the field but by his potential contribution to the bottom line, so long as the marketing of him can deliver a profitable transfer.

Agree or disagree, but it is an analysis that demands a response and cuts through the hyperbole that usually gushes forth from British TV studios. Critically, RTE's gang of four treat their viewers as intelligent and informed fans and approach each match they review with a determination to provide insight and provoke response.

Their approach is in stark and dismal contrast to what passes for analysis on British television. There are rare exceptions - Martin O'Neill was a breath of fresh air during the World Cup and Graeme Souness occasionally punctures the mood of celebration - but for too much of the time producers and pundits appear to treat viewers with contempt.

It is not beyond the wit of the BBC, ITV, Sky or Setanta to recognise one simple fact: fans are not morons. They deserve better than pap and I am convinced they would respond enthusiastically if treated with respect. It might, however, knock a few million off Ronaldo's asking price.

I say it again... idiots, slow down

Yesterday brought another first for Ireland - our very first motorway pile up. Over 60 vehicles were involved. The cause of the multiple accidents - heavy fog and motorists speeding. The authorities said that it was lucky no-one was killed. That stood until today, when one of the victims died from her injuries.

Speeding in fog. We don't know how to drive in Ireland. Plain and simple. We can blame the road authorities for not fitting "smart" speed limit signs but this is our fault. The visibility was down to nothing yet no-one slowed down. And people were driving not only without fog lights, but with no lights at all!

--

It's an Irish mentality. Last Saturday night, I was driving home from Carrick and we hit some fog. Trish said to put on my fog lights. I said - don't be silly, fog lights are for really heavy fog.

--

No-one learns from any of this. This morning, we had an accident on the N3 near Navan at Garlow Cross. Two lorries and three cars collided when one car clipped several vehicles coming in the opposite direction when it tried to overtake.

The crash happened in foggy conditions.

Get over that hill

At work, listening to RTÉ Radio 1's coverage of the Ireland v. Slovakia match in Croker. Des Cahill says that the Slovakian fans are set up on Hill 16 "where you'd normally find the Dubs."

I hope the Slovakian consulate checked with the Dublin GAA supporters club first. And for God's sake, when the teams take the field, the Slovaks better not practise shots into the Hill because that's just not nice.

--

Now they're talking about hurling, which is cool except it's Dublin hurling....

Monday, March 26, 2007

Happy birthday

Today is my blog's first birthday and my dad's seventieth.

--

James Rogers Snr, born March 26th 1937. That's before the second world war yet he beat me in chin-ups on Saturday! We all went for dinner Saturday night in Carrick. The waitress brought up a birthday cake for him and everyone in the restaurant started clapping so Daddy started waving at them! Priceless.

--

Then he said a few words. He said he didn't know what he did to get "such good kids." I didn't know what to say but I do know that we were all very lucky to have him as our dad.

--

Christ, I'm getting horrid honest on this blog.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

As Keane as always

Whatever about the anti-Cork bias, the man is otherwise spot-on. Just read his comparison of the FAI with the "rugby lads."

From www.ireland.com:


Keane takes shot at FAI


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Roy Keane signalled his war with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) was far from over today - a year after hanging up his boots.

Keane, whose spat with former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy divided the Republic, launched a fresh attack on the governing body five years after the World Cup debacle in Saipan.

The Sunderland manager accused FAI chiefs of infecting the national squad with mediocrity while discriminating against Cork-born players.

He said: "It definitely doesn't help Liam Miller. If he was (from) further up the country, I'm pretty sure he would be in the Irish squad. I don't just say these things. There's no doubt in my mind that Liam Miller being from Cork certainly doesn't help him."

The Corkonian said his early career was frustrated by Dublin-based officials overlooking him in favour of players from the capital city.

"It happened to me when I was 17, 18 years of age, being in Irish squads with youth teams, not getting a game and lads ahead of you, who are still a year younger than you, who could have played a year later, getting a game," he said.

"It happened to me at Bray Wanderers when I played France for the Irish under-16s or 17s - lads getting on in front of me who still had another year under age, the following year.

"The lads who got ahead of me that night were from Dublin and the manager that night was from Dublin. I know Steve Staunton's not from Dublin but a lot of the FAI are."

Asked if Cork-born players had to play better than everybody else to get selected for the national squad, he replied: "You've hit the nail on the head. Without a doubt."

At a charity fundraising launch for Irish Guidedogs for the Blind, the former Manchester United and Celtic star also launched a broadside at his former international team-mates.

Ahead of this weekend's European Championship qualifier, Keane suggested several senior members of the side were only getting picked by manager Steve Staunton because of their media image.

"There's a fine line between loyalty and stupidity. A very fine line. You've got to be loyal to lads who've done OK, but once you keep playing them on the reputation they've built up through the media or because they do lots of interviews, then it's wrong - it's 100 per cent wrong," he said.

"Come Saturday against Wales the senior players - four or five of them - have to step up to the plate. But they've been asked before.

"That's why I don't get bogged down by saying we've got world-class players with Ireland. You look at some of our lads at the bigger clubs... none of these players at this moment in time are setting the world alight at their respective clubs."

Keane berated the team for celebrating after beating San Marino and advised them to take a lesson from Ireland's other national sports sides following their recent successes.

"The FAI, the soccer, can learn a lot from the rugby lads, even the cricket lads. If you go into something believing you're going to get there, then there's a good chance you'll get there," he said.

"If you think you're not going to get there I guarantee you won't get there. And that definitely comes from the top, the FAI. If you cut corners, that gets through to the teams. If you do things half-measured, you're not going to get nowhere."

He continued: "You look at the rugby lads, they don't seem to be resting on their laurels, they don't seem to be patting each other on the back for winning Triple Crowns. They want to be winning Grand Slams, they want to be going to the World Cup and giving it 100 per cent."

On the FAI, he added: "If you're used to mediocre, that will get through to the players. A 'that'll do' attitude has been going on far too long. That'll do the Irish fans. That'll do us. But I think the Irish fans are getting a bit fed-up with it."

© 2007 ireland.com

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mother's day

Earlier today, my new housemate, Seamus said to me, -did you call your one?
-Excuse me?
-Did you call your mum?

And I stuttered and then laughed and said no, I didn't.

--

My mum died when I was little. To be able to type that is an improvement but it's all I needed to say to Seamus. Instead, I actually ran and hid in my room.

I don't know why I act like this? But it's selfish and it serves no purpose. It's not like it respects her memory; I can hardly remember her and I rarely, rarely think of her. But I'm afraid if I normalise her death and get on and grieve her, it'll take away my license to behave like someone in Dawson's Creek. This behaviour is all I have left of her.

--

I really don't want to post this.

Arah, that's not fair

I suppose it's what you make of it and yesterday I had a lovely day in Mayo with "herself." Unfortunately, the rugby pissed me all the way off and after that I could only see the rain and the pissheads. Why are we such messy drinkers in this country?

--

I'm at work now and I have a few jigs and reels on the stereo and it's the business. I love being Irish but I hate the smugness - "we're Irish and we're horrid funny and sure doesn't the whole world love us and want to be us and we TRICKED THE DEVIL!" - that's taking over. Ray D'Arcy does a great show on the radio but he's the worst culprit for this bollix.

--

When I think of IRELAND and, to be honest, I rarely do, I think of home. I think of Sundays in Mohill and the kitchen steamed up with the dinner and Michael O Muircheartaigh on the radio and if that sounds twee, it ain't because that's exactly what's happening right now.

Paddy's Day gone to shite

Or was it ever any other way?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

2 points

Fuck it to fuck fuck fucking fuckers.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Websites

I've got two new websites: John M Rogers - www.johnmrogers.co.nr & John The Bad - www.johnthebad.co.nr.

Lent is what you do

From Trócaire's website:

“The role of women in our global society has changed dramatically over the past century. In many countries, women have the right to vote, to own property in their own name, to work in every profession, to join the army or to do any number of other things that were forbidden to them in the past because of their gender. Because they were women they had to adopt a particular role in society.


“While great strides have been made towards gender equality in the developed world, in large parts of the world women have still not achieved full equality. In order for this to happen, men and women must work together to ensure that both have equal opportunities and rights.


“Women suffer sustained violations of their human rights, particularly in societies torn by conflict. Domestic violence and other forms of violence against women, such as trafficking, forced prostitution and rape – including marital rape – is a common experience for women. Violation of women’s human rights increases their vulnerability in many ways. In this context, achieving gender equality is both a matter of human rights and of great urgency.


“Trócaire’s 2007 Lenten campaign promotes gender equality – looking at the social roles that men and women have been assigned and how the two genders are often valued differently, as men have more rights and opportunities in many societies.
“If we had true gender equality, women and men would have equal rights under the law and equal participation in decision-making. They would also have equal access to and control of resources such as food, water and land and benefits granted by states.


“In our world today:
• 70 per cent of people living in poverty and 66 per cent of those who can’t read or write are women.
• Worldwide, women earn 69 per cent of male wages. There is no country where women earn the same as men.
• A total of 70 per cent of refugees and displaced people are women.
• Women are more vulnerable than men in conflict and are more often victims of violence
• Women produce nearly 80 per cent of the food on the planet, but receive less than 10 per cent of agricultural assistance
• In 2006, more than twice as many young women were living with HIV as young men
• Women, not planes, trains or trucks, still carry two thirds of Africa’s goods


“Yet women have enormous power to make positive change happen in their communities. Trócaire works in countries where women are often the main providers for their families and have the primary responsibility for their health and welfare. But women in these countries do not have equal access to the resources and services that are vital to them and this makes and keeps them poor.


“As a result women’s experience of poverty is different to that of men; it is more severe and more prevalent. The quality of life for society as a whole is adversely affected by gender inequality, hindering development and poverty reduction.
“There are a number of international agreements such as The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). At the Fourth World Congress on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995 it was agreed: “The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and men are a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a women’s issue.”


“The United Nations passed resolution number 1325 in the year 2000 that called on countries to:
• Protect women and children in conflict
• Prevent violence against women
• Ensure women can participate in peace processes


“But world governments have not fully implemented this resolution, so Trócaire is urging Irish and British politicians to put it into practice.


“International Women's Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by language and by ethnic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their day, they are celebrating at least nine decades of work towards equality, justice, peace and development.
“International Women’s Day is a celebration of the story of ordinary women who have changed history through the ages through their work for gender equality. It has been observed since the early 1900s. This year, a number of events will take place to mark International Women’s Day, including a meeting at the UN of the Commission on the Status of Women to review progress towards global gender equality”.

When is politics not political

Stella mentioned on Thursday that the ads for the Trócaire Lenten campaign on gender inequality was ordered off the air because the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland "prohibits advertising directed towards a political end."

I was pissed off. Think on it - here is Trócaire's mission statement:

Trócaire envisages a just world where people’s dignity is ensured, rights are respected and basic needs are met; where there is equity in the sharing of resources and people are free to be the authors of their own development.

How is any of the above not political?

I said to Bob that I'd love to meet the idiot who made the complaint and ask them why? But Bob said that idiots make complaints like this all the time yet why was it upheld this time? He reminded me that this was an election year and we should try and figure out how Trócaire's campaign hurts the government.

On Thursday, Vincent Brown wrote in Village.ie -

The decision of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) to instruct all commercial broadcasters, including Today FM and TV3, to cease broadcasting the Trócaire advertisement on gender equality is incomprehensible.

The television and radio advertisement campaign draws attention to the reality that female babies, irrespective of their origin, their ethnicity, their state of health or otherwise, all share a common disadvantage by reason of their gender. The advertisement also includes a section encouraging members of the public to access the charity's website to donate online or order a Trócaire box.

The website in turn asks individuals to participate in the campaign for gender equality by signing a petition lobbying the Irish Government to enact a specific UN resolution on the issue.

The BCI said in defense of its decision: "Following detailed consideration...it is the commission's initial view that the advertisement is contrary to Section 10(3) of the Radio and Television Act, 1988, which prohibits advertising directed towards a political end."

I contrast RTÉ has decided to broadcast the advertisement. Peter Feeney, head of public affairs with RTÉ, said "RTÉ's view is that we define political ends quite tightly....We would feel this Trócaire advertisement is much more general in nature….. we also try to draw a distinction between national campaigns and international campaigns."

The part I put in bold could well be the key to all this.

Trócaire Director Justin Kilcullen said on Newstalk radio on Sunday morning that it was Today FM who brought the issue of the ad to the BCI.

All very interesting.

--

RTÉ have ignored the BCI's ruling. How can they do this?

Also, someone made the point in the same radio show on Newstalk that the BCI have to come down hard on any ad campaign that pursues a political agenda. Otherwise, we could end up with a situation like in the US where powerful vested interests get all the airwaves.

It's complicated.