While the potential consequences of Brexit rumble around unknowable and the thumpings of Trump scare the world, Irish politics has shown it can still compete with the worst. And can still beat them all.
Often I wonder why people continue to vote for the main parties that have run Ireland for decades. The recent scandal, still to be fully uncovered, magnifies that puzzlement into a state of total gobsmacked “I’ll never get it” disbelief.
But…what’s the scandal? It is, frankly, hard to believe this story and it’s even harder to see any way that it doesn’t indicate an immorality in the whole Irish governing system that requires not just a clean-out, but actual prosecution.
Several years ago an Irish police office, after much frustration, blew the whistle on how Irish police were abusing their powers by forgiving traffic offences from the police IT system.
A fairly petty abuse of power, really. One that any senior Police manager should have quickly sorted out. But the whistleblower was swiftly sidelined, nearly fired, and thoroughly made to feel that he should have kept his mouth shut. More to the point, his accusations were really not taken up with any enthusiasm by any of the (few) people in Irish politics who might have done so. The whistleblower, apparently a persistent type, suffered years of abuse and mistreatment but stuck to his story. And nothing really changed and no-one really dug into why.
Why? Well, it turns out that the Irish child protection agency put a note in his file that he’d been accused of child abuse. “Digital rape”, to be specific. Of an 8yr old. No police investigation followed since – after all – there was no actual crime to investigate and an investigation would have to have evidence, processes, courts and all. But the accusation ran around Irish political and journalistic circles for years. So support for the whistleblower was, shall we say, thin on the ground. Tie your political career to a child abuser? Not likely, eh?
One of the nice things about Dublin is that there’s a huge international influence that just wasn’t there a couple of decades ago. And – mostly – that international influence has blended nicely in to the local scene.
Every now and then you see something really interesting. Nicole van der Wolf’s jewellery is one of those things.
Go have a look here.
I guess this is worth saying, for the record.
Just ‘cos he’ll be President of the United States of America, I owe Donald Trump no more respect or deference than I did before. Which is less than zero.
And it is sad but true that the office of President of the United States of America – a great and honorable position in a great and honorable republic – is demeaned and disgraced by the fact that Donald Trump will hold that office.
And while he holds it, the office deserves no more respect or deference than required by maintenance of public order…and maybe not even that much. It depends on what the holder does.
While the phrase “Salute the rank, not the man” is a nice general rule, there are exceptions. This is one. Of course the same is true in lots of countries. Here, for instance. very much not as much as in the USA, but still true.
And even if Donald Trump doesn’t do the things he promised, it’s the things he said that forever damn him.
Just to have a link to point to for David Van Der Klauw’s submission, complete with the parable of the frozen oranges.
It’s worth the read. It demolishes the vast majority of myths and excuses on why housing is expensive. And it reminds us of why there’s a market in things….which is to supply those things to people as efficiently as possible. So when you hear people blaming house prices on “the market” you can be reasonably confident that it’s not actually “the market”‘s fault…more likely there’s collusion and price fixing (even if that’s implicit and not explicit) between govt and the existing landowners and developers.
There is much amusement in Ireland – albeit slightly nervous amusement – at the spectacle currently playing out in British politics.
A referendum that the winners didn’t want to win. A new PM and a surprising Foreign Secretary. Boris the buffoon is now one of the most senior members of the British Government and will be facing off against Britain’s allies and adversaries in a critical period. It’s funny and scary in equal measure.
Yet the amusement in Ireland obscures a truth that is scary without the funny side. Fianna Fail, perennial economy and life wreckers, are back at the top of the popularity stakes in Ireland.
Photo from linked Irish Times article.
Anyone looking east with amusement needs to concentrate on the idiocy closer to home.
Stockholm syndrome has nothing on what the Irish electorate seems to be able to do. Falling in love with your kidnapper is easier to understand than falling in love with this mob.
ISIS is the new terrorist organisation in the news. EVERYONE thinks they’re terrible. And yet there’s a funny silence in Ireland. Because we have some of the progenitors of ISIS in our national parliament. And they’re perfectly respectable people. Almost.
ISIS’ recent atrocity in Paris was particularly similar to two infamous atrocities by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the 1970s and not unlike a bunch since then. Whether by the PIRA itself or any of its spin-offs, the Irish republican terrorists aimed to massacre innocents. And they weren’t fussy about how. Their methods and attitudes were influential in forming the approach of other terrorist groups since, ISIS included.
The Birmingham Bombing and the Guildford Bombing are the particular two atrocities that should be in every Irish person’s mind this year. Innocent people blown to bits on a night out in town. Just like Paris.
The IRA and Sinn Fein make excuses, but they’re just the same as ISIS would make; “our cause is just”, “the result of historical oppression”, etc.
The debate will probably ease off again in a while since it’s unlikely that any of the main political parties cares enough to try to do anything, but it’s worth noting that the sectarian nature of Ireland’s schools is in the news at the moment. And it’s a national and international scandal.
Whatever you think about schools with an ethos (and most countries have them) the Irish situation is unusual. >90% of all primary schools are run by various arms of the Catholic Church. Another 6% or so by arms of the Church of Ireland. A scattered few are “other” or non-denominational.
For most people in the country the only local school is a Catholic school. Or, at best, there’s a Catholic school and a Protestant one. But mostly it’s Catholic.
So what if you’re not religious? Or a Jew or Muslim?