Political Integrity and Political Courage in Ireland – if you can find it

A couple of events in Irish politics recently made me wish I lived in a country where political integrity and courage existed much.

With honorable exceptions, they don’t.

On one hand we recently had Lucinda Creighton announcing the formation of a new political party. That’s all fine, but she’s still a sitting TD in a seat that she won as a Fine Gael candidate. And thus was supported by Fine Gael money, Fine Gael voters, and Fine Gael party workers. Worse, she was even supported by my money which Fine Gael gets from the taxpayer as a big party. And there’s absolutely no pressure within politics or from the Irish media for her to resign the seat and re-win it (or not) as either an independent or as a leader of a new party. Meantime she has the pay and public visibility of a sitting TD and the uncritical attention of much of the Irish media. And when challenged on the topic Ms Creighton makes it clear that she feels no obligation to go back to the electorate. None. Regards it as a stupid question.

So in her mind it’s OK to be elected with money, votes and effort from one set of people, leave those people behind and continue to sit in her seat as a TD. Let’s say I think that’s lacking political integrity.  In the UK even Tories defecting to the much-maligned UKIP have all stood for re-election. But not in Ireland.

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Same old housing bubble, same old hypocrisy

Ireland is re-entering on the path it’s tread several times before.

Housing is the flavour of the day, at least as long as there’s a mortgage on it. High house prices are again a good thing.

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Recently the Central Bank tried to bring in some measures to reduce the madness, opposing 100% mortgages. There was a flurry of politicians, including many from the government, saying how dreadful this was and that it would “lock young people out of housing”. I tried to summarize some sense in a letter to the papers.  But I fear that the dodgy politicians have an all t00 willing audience on this topic. The Irish general public want to spend all their money on houses. Apparently there’s a consensus that it’s a good thing to have young people borrowing huge amounts for housing in a country that’s almost all open land. And even in Dublin some simple steps could resolve the housing problem in short order. But don’t hold your breath.

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Sir,

The usual Irish political hypocrisy on housing is returning to historic levels. While govt TDs and  ministers complain about how a rule requiring 20% deposits will “lock young people out of housing”, it is government policy that is largely responsible for high house prices in one of the least built up countries in the OECD.
Development levies on new housing, yet no effective property tax or land tax.VAT on housing construction. Effective limits on competition in the Irish bank market driving mortgage rates much higher than most EU countries. Effective prohibition on eviction of mortgage defaulters restricting supply and forcing interest rates higher. Market manipulation to recapitalize the Irish banks and protect the taxpayer (or their pensions). No reform in the rental market making long term rental an unpleasant and unstable option.
There is no end to the hypocrisy. It is explicit Irish government policy to inflate house prices. This, more than anything, locks young people out of housing. Yet you can continue to expect the politicians to blame the Central Bank. It’s all a lie. Again.
Regards
Hugh
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Yep – once again, letter writing is the lowest form of political expression. Apart from being a supporter of Sinn Fein.
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Elections elections elections – an Irish Ozymandias

There are elections on in Ireland, both for the European Parliament and for the local councils and corporations.

I keep wondering if it’s too late to register for the European elections. At least then I’d have a candidate I wasn’t ashamed to vote for.

As for the local elections, there are a couple of good independents to vote for so that’s good. It’s important to state that NOT one preference will go to ANY party candidate.  FF are a solid disgrace. FG and Labour have proven to be liars, particularly Labour. SF are cause to emigrate if they ever get into power. And the left parties in Ireland are all nuts.

No-one remains. It’s like Ozymandias and the debris of Irish democracy.

Irish Democracy

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Sun Hat and a fleece

It’s possibly a uniquely Irish clothing combination; a panama hat (or other sun hat) and a fleece or softshell.  I can’t think of too many other places where it’d ever be an appropriate dress code. Sweden, perhaps, or the North East coast of England in the summer. Texel maybe.

In any case, it was the perfect solution to Ireland’s recent “heatwave”. Air temperatures of 14 degrees, but not a cloud in the June sky.  Instead of being freezing cold AND sunburned, you can be warm and un-toasted.  A really good solution. Mind you, wearing a panama hat does still seem to cause some socio-economic assumptions in Ireland.

Apart from that, we had a week where the Irish climate tried (briefly) to redeem its reputation in our household. After showing wintry photos of Dun Laoghaire harbor in May, here’s a tropical photo in June.

Dublin Bay in June
[photo from Brian Murphy’s FB page]

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Weather refund

I occasionally write product reviews.

If this Spring were a product I wouldn’t just want my money back, I’d want a class-action lawsuit to bankrupt the manufacturer.

Coldest March in decades. Coldest April in decades. Then we get the start of May with strong winds, showers and cold.

This photo ought to be a picture from a January storm in Dun Laoghaire harbor.

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Instead it’s a Saturday in May. 49 knot winds, hailstones and cold. In case you don’t know, 49 knots of wind is a Force 10.

The official description for Force 10 says this;

Trees are broken off or uprooted, saplings bent and deformed. Poorly attached asphalt shingles and shingles in poor condition peel off roofs.”

May.  I’m reminded of that old TV program in Britain – “The Darling Buds of May”. They’d get their buds blown off this year.

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IOK:

This is amazing. Once again, when asked a simple question, an Irish Government Minister shames the idea of democracy with an evasive non-answer. It’s a disgrace.

Worse, the Minister is giving increased credibility to the party that is asking these simple questions……the party that can probably do more damage to Ireland than the rest of them put together. And that’s saying a lot.

Originally posted on NAMA Wine Lake:

A theme examined on here before – here and here for example – is the unprecedented benefit to the well-being of this State from oversight by the bailout troika. It mightn’t feel like it to us now, with austerity budget after austerity budget, a collapse in living standards, high unemployment, emigration and scary debts, but really this misses the bigger picture as regards governance – the mistakes were made in the 2000s and the present period is about dealing with the mess from that legacy. When future historians look back at the big-picture history of Ireland, they are likely to conclude that Ireland in 2010-2015 enjoyed a Golden Age of enlightened governance. I say “2015” because, although we will receive the last of the bailout funds at the end of 2013, the Troika will still continue to visit but their reviews and conclusions were become increasingly less significant to the…

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Ireland’s shameful past

The official reports on the abuse that was happening in Ireland’s industrial schools and orphanages is old news by now, but I was just re-watching the “States of Fear” program that brought it all to light.

Scary to think that I spend the ’70s and ’80s walking up and down outside St.Josephs and never even wondered what was going on inside. There was even a boy in my class who lived there.

And still, today, we can see that there’s more horror still hidden.

Read this.

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