Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The last episode of the drama serial proof was on RTE last night. Wow, what can I say? High drama, but the ending was predictable enough. The leader of the Social Democrats, who has just won the general election with a landslide, is presented with the evidence of his P.R. man’s wrong doing. His campaign I found to be funded by the illegal trafficking of refugees into Ireland. What does he do? He makes his victory speech ignoring the evidence presented by the journalists. Nothing changes. Was I foolish to expect otherwise.

After Proof we had Questions and Answers, which is a current affairs programme, where members of the audience get the opportunity to pose questions to a select panel of five journalists/politicians/writers.

One question concerned the recent High Court ruling against section two of the Irish Immigration Act. Most of the panel agreed that the act had to be amended. The one member of the panel who disagreed was Noel Ahern brother of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and junior minister. According to Noel the government intends appealing the High Court decision.

The audience was then given the opportunity to speak briefly on the question. One individual stated that the country can’t afford so many people arriving. Irish people went to continents, while we are one small island on the edge of Europe. If anymore refugees come in we’ll be flooded out. The usual rubbish. As one of the panellists pointed out there are thousands of Irish illegal immigrants in the USA.

Another member of the audience stated that if we get rid of all the immigrants the budget deficit would cease to exist and there would be no more unemployment. The reality in Ireland is that if you wear to wave a magic wand right now and get rid of all those with an Eastern European accent or dark skin or from South East Asia and employed as a nurse, our country would grind to a halt within a number of hours.

The fact is Ireland is now dependent on it’s immigrant community to do all those dirty, difficult, dangerous jobs no-one else in Ireland wants. Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Ireland of the Welcomes.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Just before Christmas an Irish political commentator stated that because of the importance of the upcoming general election in America everyone in the World should have a vote. At first I was in general agreement. It would certain people feel give everyone a say in World affairs. On secondary consideration I said no. What this would mean is that the World for its own vested interest, would be meddling in the internal affairs of the United States.

How many times have people protested over America’s interference in the internal affairs of other countries? For someone in Ireland, Argentina, South Africa or India to have a vote in the American election would be no better.

It’s early days yet but it looks like John Kerry’s going to get the Democratic Party nomination. From a European point of view Kerry looks like a strong Abe Lincoln patrician like figure. He seems to be just the type of individual necessary to be at the helm of America in this critical time in World affairs. But here I am an Irish guy telling the American people which way to vote.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Dublin city centre suffered sever disruption yesterday due to the meeting the Ministers for Justice from the fifteen EU member states. Members of the Gardai (The Irish Police Force) dressed in luminous yellow bibs were clearly visible standing about in groups of three or more discussing the issues of the day while providing security for the good and the great of Europe.

Businesses in the vicinity of Dublin Castle complained because of access restriction. It’s been a long time since I saw some many Gardai congregate in any one area. Such is the fear of embarrassment in government circles regarding the possibility of demonstrations during our presidency of the EU, that no expense is to be spared in the area of security.

The issue discussed yesterday in Dublin Castle was that of illegal immigration into the EU. A figure of €30 million has been set aside in returning illegal immigrants to their country of origin. However there is still disagreement concerning an EU wide harmonising of procedures for dealing with asylum application.

The €30 million should quash the argument the racists have that the deportation of illegal immigrants costs the Irish taxpayer money, not for the first time the EU foots the bill in Ireland.

On the issue of immigration the Irish High Court have ruled against Section 2 of the Irish Immigration Act. The legislation in this act was found to be unconstitutional. Needless to say the Irish Minister for Justice Michael McDowell is not pleased and intends consulting with the Irish Attorney General concerning the High Court’s ruling.

In the meantime hundreds of legal challenges are expected against deportation orders issued to the parents of children born in Ireland. The Irish constitution states that it will cherish all children equally, (providing of course that they white, Catholic and of Celtic/Irish racial stock).

It’s fascinating to read the reports in the Irish papers concerning the issue of immigrants and the High Courts ruling. The Irish Independent the leading right wing newspaper bemoans the ruling, while the Irish Times, a left wing liberal newspaper, takes a stance sympathetic to asylum seekers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

In his column in today’s Irish Times (20/01/04) Fintan O’Toole writes concerning the protests by women of the Islamic faith, which took place throughout Europe last Sunday. The protests themselves centred upon the proposal by the French government to ban the wearing of headscarves by Islamic girls in schools.

O’Toole points out that in Lara Marlow’s report on the Paris demonstration many men forbid the media to speak to veiled or semi veiled women who walked behind them. In Dublin our own Green MEP Patricia McKenna stating that this ban is an attack on democracy. Others in the protest state that this is an attack on Islam.

It must be pointed out that the modern French Republic is a secular state. Displays of religion are banned in all schools. What this means is that in French schools crosses are not displayed, Jewish boys cannot wear skullcaps and Islamic girls cannot wear a veil or a headscarf. It is a law perfect in its simplicity. It is a law that is non-discriminatory and applies to all faiths equally.

The European wide were demonstrations essentially one in support of religious expression but one thing struck me as being ironic as I looked at the report of the Dublin demonstration on RTE the national TV station. There in the middle of all the veiled women were two young guys flying flags of the Socialist Workers Party. Its ironic in the sense that down through the years in Ireland the Socialist Workers Party have fought tooth and nail against any form of religious misuse of authority and here they are coming out in support of a religious edict which many women find very restrictive.

I agree with O'Toole when he states that "There is a real danger that, in the name of tolerance, we end up validating ersatz traditions that use religion as an excuse for oppression".

This blog is in no way anti Islam. It is pro freedom.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

This afternoon Dublin is dark and depressing. Compared to recent days it’s not that cold. We were promised snow but that has yet to materialise.

We have a new drama on RTE, the main Irish State run TV station. It’s entitled Proof and is pure fiction. The story line involves drugs, corrupt egocentric politicians, licentious reporters, planning permission, violence on the streets of the capital, a country that gives out about refugees while sticking its hand out to Brussels.
I’m reading Duende, A journey in search of Flamenco by Jason Webster. It’s a travel log and an autobiography. It tells of the author’s travels around Spain in order to experience Flamenco. Truth to tell it’s a look at a Spain we don’t normally see. A tale of modern day Spain with echoes of Laurie Lee throughout.

Speaking of things Spanish, D hope all is well in Madrid. Will blog again soon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Apologies about the last post it was hastily written.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Hello everyone,

Not too much to report it's all vey quiet at the moment. Things are starting to look up for Barca at long last. The guys have had a really rotten time but thats the way. Oh well see you soon. Well perhaps there is a bit more.

Last night I was walking through The Coombe and James Street with my brother. It was the first time in I don't know when I'd been back in my old stomping ground in Jamebo. Wow the memories. A woman on one of the balconies in the flats was taking down her Christmas tree lights. One or two people passed us. Nobody I knew though.No one I remembered. My brother had parked his car at the back of Guinness's Brewrey in a dark dingy spot. It was like PKD or Kafka novel. The streets illuminated by a dull light. We drove home. An alternative non tourist Dublin.

Friday, January 09, 2004

The other evening I was meeting a friend from Spain. Working as I do in the city centre I decided not to bother going home and making my way back into the city. I got something to eat then went for a wander around. It had been quite some time since I'd done this at night. Usually I'm tearing around running from one spot to another.

What particularily took my fancy was the Liffey. The bridges which span our river sparkled. The river itself was illuminated and the reflection of the bridges in the Liffey would have been a photographers delight. I stood entranced at the beauty of it all. It's always the case that you take for granted whats on your doorstep. Yes in many instances the city has improved its image but at what expense?

Can you recall for years the derelict buldings that overlooked the Liffey? Anything would be an improvement. The appartments which replaced them are nice but are they part of a vibrant city? In my opinion they are not.

Before the old houses were bought up and left for years to rot those houses were home to people, to communities. Ok you may say that they were dangerous and you were giving the people who lived in them a new start by transplanting them out into surburbia. The thing is the housing estates in Dublins surburbia were badly planned with no amenities. Communities were sundered and the result was social degredation on a massive scale.

Years later we have a housing boom and the era of the Celtic Tiger (RIP). The city centre is developed piecemeal and the quayside is filled by soul less appartments. Those property speculators who sat on the houses and allowed them to rot thrive while others remain in poverty.

Monday, January 05, 2004

I was listening to our national radio station last Friday. They were discussing the changes in Iraq since the liberation of the country by the American army and its allies. Iraqi's the Irish population was told now have access to the internet and email and cell phones have also been introduced into the country. The benefits of America. Funny reading the various blogs from Iraq I get the impression that access to the internet and cell phones were available prior to liberation.

Is this just another example of the propaganda pumped out by the western media? We liberated a poor arabic third world country and they don't apperciate that fact. Rubbish! Read the blogs people. The tuth in the news.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

I’ve left aside Tropic of Cancer for another day. I’m nursing a bit of a hangover after the New Years Eve festivities to tell the truth. Think I’ll take it easy today.

In case anyone wants to know more about Strumpet City and Bachelors Walk. Strumpet City is a novel written by James Plunkett. It is set in Dublin at the start of the 20th century. It centers around tenement life in Dublin and in particular deals with the 1913 Lockout inspired by Jim Larkin. It was adopted for tv in 1979 and shown again on the national station RTE1. Bachelors Walk is a comedy set in Dublin. It deals with three single men sharing a house along Dublin’s quayside. It ran for three seasons and was an incredible success. Hope that answers any questions.

Gotta go. Happy New Year everyone.

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