Sunday, February 29, 2004

Is it just me or does anyone else feel unsettled over the events concerning the murder of Brian Murphy outside Anabel's night club four years ago. The jury has delivered its verdict and all that remains is sentencing. Five families are effected and countless others are engaged in introspection.

Four young men past pupils from an elite college in Dublin attack another young man outside a nightclub. He lies on the ground is kicked in the head and dies, brutally. The violence is in itself disturbing. But what is equally disturbing is that the four young men accused went to Blackrock College. A private school. These young men are expected to be the future leaders of the country. I may be wrong, but did Eamon deValera attend Blackrock College?

Were they young men of privilage who considered themselves invunerable? At a particular time and place? The wrong time and place. The Sunday Independent this morning has a photo of a girl on the front page whom it is supposed was the cause of the row. I'd imagine she would have preferred to lie low.

One report in the Sunday newspapers likened the young men involved The Untouchables. They regard themselves beyond reproach. Are laws for small people? Our laws should be viewed by all as totally impartial. Justice must be seen to be served in a just fashion. Anything else is a farce. But justice will not bring Brian Murphy back to life.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Humour in an odd way amazes me; I suppose it’s all a question of taste. I remember Christmas morning 2002 lying in bed listening to a CD of Billy Connolly live in the Albert Hall. A few days before Co had just broken it off with me and gone back to her old fiancé. The week before Christmas is not a good time for a romance to break up. Then again is there ever a good time? Being Christmas I’d a few plans but Co dashed all those. I couldn’t really bear to watch all the families and happy couples out shopping. I just wanted to curl up, not talk to anyone and re-emerge with my heart repaired in early January. I couldn’t get Co out of my mind and on Christmas morning was really miserable. I put on Billy Connolly and for a brief period my heartache was forgotten. I know some people find Billy Connolly vulgar but for an hour or so one Christmas morning Billy chased away my broken heart.

It’s freezing cold this morning in Dublin, well by our standards. It’s snowing sporadically. Got a text from D in Madrid asking me to go over for a week might do, might do.

At long last I finished reading “Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, all 867 pages. Wow. It took me well over a month, but I’m pleased with myself and my trenchant determination to finish the book. If you like mechanised fantasy this is the one for you.

Wouldn’t you know it the once I cheer for Manchester United in the Champions League they loose. Porto beat them 2 – 1 in Portugal.

I've just started reading "The Ordinary Person's Guide To Empire" by Arundhati Roy. Well worth picking up for its passionate invective. I'd highly recommend any of her writings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Rule 42 and the reasons why the GAA should allow Rugby Union Football and Association Football to be played in Croke Park

1. In the 1980’s the GAA All-Stars toured England and played in Watford, Brentford and Luton Town Football Clubs’ ground.

2. Last year Ireland played Australia in the Compromise Rules Series. One of the pitches they played on was the MCC Ground. MCC stands for Melbourne Cricket Club.

3. Further to the above. In a previous Compromise Rules Series matches between Ireland and Australia took place in the WACA Bowl. WACA is an acronym for the Western Australian Cricket Association.

4. The thinking that Rugby Union and Association football would poach GAA players. Setanta O’Halpin went to Carlton Australian Rules Football Club, not Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Munster, Saracens or Toulouse. Where’s the real threat to the GAA coming from?

5. The Westmeath Gaelic Football team travelled to Sunderland Football Club and used the training facilities there.

6. In November 2003 the Inter Provincial hurling final between Leinster and Munster took place in the Giulio Onesti Sports Complex in Rome. The GAA availed of the goodwill of the stadiums authorities. Ironically not one sport which makes regular use of the Sports Complex can be played in Croke Park.

7. The GAA received €60 million of taxpayers money to renovate Croke Park. Association Football players and Rugby Union players pay tax. In the opinion of many once the GAA used tax payers money to renovate Croke Park it became a national stadium.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Power over people can be a wonderful thing. Be that power over a few or power over a nation. Down through the years I’ve worked for a number voluntary organisations.

Five years ago I sat on the committee of a charity in Dublin and saw people I know and respect go to great lengths to obtain power. Indeed I was at the receiving end of their power lust. Some of these people I call friends and indeed we still are friends. In the process a team, which worked together, very quickly fell apart with bitter recrimination. They pass each other on the street without talking. Now that charity is no more, but the fallout continues. I never again look at charities through rose coloured glasses.

Two years later I found myself working abroad and unwittingly in a position of power. Again working for a charity but this time joint assistant director (for want of a better term). The idea of control turned my stomach. Lucky for me the other joint assistant was of the same opinion and very reluctant to accept the mantle of power. So we made a pact. The result everyone knew where they stood and the group achieved each and every one of its aims.

Time passes and since September 2002 I’ve worked for another group in Dublin. I’ve made good friends with people and we worked together as an excellent well co-ordinated team. I’ve recently been offered and accepted a minor position with some responsibility but not particularity important. I intend to carry out my job to the best of my abilities. I get on very well with the people that run the group, if I wanted a position of power could be mine, but that is of no interest to me now.

Recent months have seen someone of good intelligence and good capabilities join the group. This individual doesn’t like me because I socialise with the people at the top. You know the feeling you get deep inside. You meet someone for the first time and straight away you realise that this individual doesn’t like you.

Now I’ve stood back and watched from afar how this person operates. I’ve witnessed them ingratiate with the top table with a haste I found dizzying. I don’t want power and I’m not going to engage in a power struggle during my spare time. Been there, done that etc. But what’s the solution? To walk away? To stay and battle it out? Am I crying wolf? I’m not too sure.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Read Riverbend's post for February 15th. Little I can add.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Here's an email someone sent me. Again it's sad but true, concerning the Luas this time.

* Earth to Mars: Approx. 77 Million kms

* NASA Spirit Cost: Approx. 321 Million

* Launched: 10-06-2003

* Landed: Jan 2004

* Status: Working


Length of first two lines: Approx. 25kms

* Luas cost so far: Approx. 675 million

* Construction of Line A, commenced in September 1999.

* Status: Not working

Saddened and dismayed I read that last week the Irish Government formally recognised the military regime in Rangoon, Burmah. The Government has justified this by stating that recognition would "contribute more directly to promoting the process of democratisation and national reconciliation in Mynanmar/Burmah" (Irish Times). Burmah Action Ireland are rightly not too pleased and have stated recognition would only legitimise the military government of Burmah.

This is sad but its also true. I picked it up here

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520


Law Enforcement:
I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.
I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.
I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.

I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas, in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock. I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.

I changed Texas pollution laws to favour power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America. I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money. I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history. With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.

I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week. I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury. I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history. I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period. I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period. I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month. I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President. I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations. My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. History, Enron.
My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision. I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip- offs in history. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed. I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history. I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts. I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in U.S. history. I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government. I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history! I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission. I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law. I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention. I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election). I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television. I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Centre attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history. I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind. I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. citizens, and the world community. I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families -- in wartime. In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends. I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security. I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD. I have so far failed to fulfil my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden [sic] to justice.

All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view. All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view. All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.


Friday, February 13, 2004

Something good Today 1:
Another magical sunset in Dublin this evening yahoo.

Something good Today 2:
Just as I was leaving work I got a call from Claddagh Records in Cecilia Street to say that the record I ordered is in the shop. I can pick it up whenever I want. Ten minuets later I had it in my hand. It's called "Bari" and is by a group based in Spain called
Ojos de Brujo. An atmospheric mixture of flamenceo, rap, and techno. A double yahoo.

Something good Today 3:
Just confirmed that the magical diva from Mali, Oumou Sangare will be playing in Liberty Hall in Dublin next Thursday. Treble yahoo

Tomorrow is Valentines Day. The last two Valentines days I spent with C and now she’s getting married in June. We were and are very good friends but ...... I met her just before Christmas last year and she invited me to the wedding. I think I’ll give it a miss. Too late I realised how important C was in my life. The guy she’s marring seems genuine enough, I met him once, though in no way would I be in his financial league. Like the line in the song says “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone”.

The death of the 19 Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay last weekend scares me. Frightening to think that their loved ones are at home wonder where they are, waiting in expectation for a letter or some other form of communication. Who were those Chinese who died? What were their names? What stories did they have to tell? We will never know.

I’m reminded of the three Bosnian farm labourers who died in a car crash last year on their way to work in north county Dublin. They survived the unknown hardships of war, only to perish while travelling to a job most Irish people would now turn their noses up at. I keep thinking of our own history, how many hundreds died in the coffin ships? We have I think forgotten our past. How sad.

Monday, February 09, 2004

According to a survey in todays Irish Times 80% of people are in favour Rugby Football and Association Football being played in Croke Park. 12% are of the opinion that Croke Park should remain closed to those games. While 8% don't know.

The survey was wide ranging in is scope covering both rural and urban Ireland. As it turns out both were in overwhelming support of the opening up of Croke Park. It is only going to be a matter of time before this rule gets deleted off the GAA statute book.

Today at lunchtime I went to Patrick’s Park by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin’s Liberties. There weren’t that many people around and the day was rather mild. I suppose it being early February the tourists had yet to arrive in force. In fact there were none around at all at all.

The park itself is not particularly large and you can see everyone rambling about inside. Stuck between two very busy rows of traffic the park is an oasis of silence, which is oblivious to the outside world. The atmosphere was quiet and sedate. One person was reading a book, a few others sitting on a seat talking; someone else was eating their lunch. A small fountain in the centre of the park bubbled away silently. I didn’t hang around too long and left after ten minuets savouring the moment.

Friday, February 06, 2004

The last two evenings the sunsets over Dublin City have been amazing. The sky has become a pallet of oranges, reds and ochres. The first memorable sunsets of the year. It helps brighten up the evenings on the way home from work on the bus.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Where’s the last visual sign of Christmas in Dublin? As far as I know it’s Coady’s Restaurant/Café, at 39 Dame Street. At the back of the café there’s a rather large mirror with a painting of a candle and in the corners representations of holly and ivy.

It also has the only visual non-governmental sign of Ireland’s presidency of the EU that I’ve seen. Back of the café again, sidewall this time, there hangs the EU flag (blue background, twelve yellow stars) slightly the worse for wear.

Monday, February 02, 2004

For some strange reason one of my favourite places in the city is City Quay. If I can I try and make my way down to that end of the city and position myself just down from the Dockers pub. Through the rush of traffic there’s a semblance of the sea. In the distance you can observe cars and lorries crossing over the toll bridge. Behind that you can see the massive car ferries bringing the populous toward depressing Hollyhead.

If you walk toward Matt Talbot Bridge you come to a brass statue entitled “The Linesman” by Donie McManus. It is I suppose a homage to a bygone era in Dublin social life. The era of the great ships coming into Dublin port from the four corners of the World. The era of the stevedore and wages paid in the pub.

On the far side of the Liffey there is a piece, which consists of seven statues entitled “The Famine” by Rowen Gillespie. It commemorates the Great Irish Famine (1848), when over a million people died of starvation and a million more were forced by emigrated from this fair land. This sculpture is one of the most eerie I have ever encountered. The figures are representations of emaciated figures from the famine period.

Towering over “The Famine” you encounter the flagship of Ireland’s economy, the Irish Financial Services Centre House. Next door to that you have the AIB Trade Centre. Rather ironic I think. Who, I wonder, is laughing at whom? Who is judging who?

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