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?
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.
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.
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”. It is, of course, hypocritical nonsense.
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.
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]
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.
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;
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.
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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