Thursday, March 26, 2009

Naked truths

If a Bolton St lecturer had known that his caricature was going to expose the dark side of the Fianna Fail government, I'm sure he would have done this a lot sooner.

The farcical situation which is "Cowengate" just highlights the powers that be in Dail Eireann for what they truly are; a sad, deluded bunch of individuals, desperately clutching the political straws. Not only that, but it's highlighted Brian Cowen's darker political side, something which will no doubt have many of his critics tilting their chairs with smug "I told you so" grins plastered across their faces.

This isn't the first time Brian Cowen has shown his dictatorial streak. If you recall the Lisbon Treaty debacle, the whip was firmly cracked within the Party, and hell would have no fury like the punishment which would be dished out to those who did not toe the Party line. It's moves like these which have seen divisions emerge in Cabinet and a strong sense of resentment towards An Taoiseach fester in the minds of many prominent politicians in power. Unfortunately, Brian Cowen's holding all the cards in the deck, and what he says, goes - for now.

But back to Cowengate. Not only is this a gross misappropriation of Garda resources, in a time where confidence in the ability of our peacekeepers is low and the ghost of the Troubles threatens to rear its ugly head again, but it's an appalling affront to free speech and the right to freedom of expression. A prankster puts some saucy caricatures of An Taoiseach in a prominent national gallery. RTE thinks that this will be a bit of a giggle and includes it as a bit of fluff at the end of one of their news broadcasts. The artist contacts The Ray D'Arcy Show on Today FM anonymously and says "it was me what did it."

Cue howling indignation not seen since the days of Section 31. Cue RTE having to issue a grovelling apology. Cue Gardai issuing a warrant for access to the emails of The Ray D'Arcy Show to discover the identity of the artist. Cue the DPP preparing a file on the same individual, a one Conor Casby, a lecturer in DIT Bolton St, on charges of indeceny, incitement to hatred and criminal damage. Apparently, it's illegal to stick something to a wall these days. Not only that, it's also illegal to satirise politicians. I suspect the ERU are speeding towards Martyn Turner's house, demanding that he issue a public apology for all of his caricatures in The Irish Times lest he face the firing squad.

This will never come before the courts, but the very fact that the government has made a mountain out of the proverbial molehill has made us the laughing stock of the world's media. We're being compared to North Korea and even The Huffington Post, an influential American blog, is guffawing away. It's also setting a dangerous precedent. The government has shown a dangerous desire to limit the rights of free speech and freedom of expression when it suits them. Even opposition TDs are prevented from raising the issue in the Dail by the Ceann Comhairle.

Apparently, it's OK to strip us of our rights when the Taoiseach is stripped of his clothes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Proof, if ever it was needed...

...that Sinn Fein are, and always shall be, murdering scum.

Ex-SF councillor charged with murder

Armed police at Lisburn Magistrates Court yesterday, where a 17-year-old youth appeared charged with the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll in Co Armagh earlier this month. Photograph: Paul Faith/PAArmed police at Lisburn Magistrates Court yesterday, where a 17-year-old youth appeared charged with the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll in Co Armagh earlier this month. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

A former Sinn Féin councillor appeared in court today charged with murdering a Northern Ireland policeman.

Brendan McConville (37), also denies possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life following the shooting dead of PC Stephen Carroll earlier this month.

The dissident republican Continuity IRA claimed responsibility following the death in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

There was a heavy security presence at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court, with riot police standing guard and security checkpoints in the city.

Mr McConville served on Craigavon Borough Council from 1993 to 1997.

He was charged with possessing an AKM assault rifle and 26 rounds of ammunition but denies shooting Mr Carroll.

There was no application for bail and he was remanded in custody until April 3rd at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court.

He has been in custody for 15 days.

(swiped from The Irish Times)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bloody drama queens

The results of last night's DIT Drama Awards (as texted by David Gavigan);

All Right On The Night: The Collection

Raising The Bar:
Ill Met By Moonlight

Rookie of the Year:
Orla Kinsella

Best Vibe:
John May & Orla Kinsella, Two

Best Ensemble:
Ill Met By Moonlight

Best Original Writing:
Eric Fitzgerald, Writer's Bloc

Best Comedic Performance:
Maurice Flynn, Ill Met By Moonlight

Best Costume
: Two

Best Set Design:
Ill Met By Moonlight

Best Lighting & Sound:
Emmet O'Grady, Ill Met By Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress:
Phillipa Carson, The Collection

Best Supporting Actor:
Maurice Flynn, Ill Met By Moonlight

Best Actress:
Orla Kinsella, Two

Best Actor:
John May, Two

Best Director:
Emmet O'Grady, Ill Met By Moonlight

Best Production:

Sure, only raging I wasn't there.

EDIT: Wank, we didn't actually win Best Lighting & Sound. Still, fair play to Emmet all the same. He's lovely.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tax this, you cunts

Anger does not beget coherence, so forgive me if this descends into a rant.

Since this whole sick debacle began, it's highlighted the hypocritical and reactionary nature of a Fianna Fail government like no other event in the history of the Irish state. A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but fuck it, I'm in that sort of humour today.

Fees, or some forms of payment, for third-level education are being re-introduced, as of 2010.

That's right, kids. The government who has maintained a steadfast commitment to investing in education and making sure it flourishes, as it's our only way out of the economic downturn, have flipped the giant bird to students up and down the country by promising to slap extortionate fees upon them for their bald faced cheek in seeking education. Well done, Biffo and co. Well done on succeeding in releasing your grip on any hope of this country ever pulling itself out of the quagmire that you led us into.

Education leads us to the taxation which will finance further education. Graduates naturally gravitate towards higher paying jobs, thus paying higher taxes which feed back into the education system. Fees or whatever fancy moniker you wish to paint upon them are nothing more than a barrier to education. They feed social segregation and push away the classes which have benefitted most from free education. It's counter-productive in the extreme and it's a move that will see the government reaping what they sow - a country which will soon be blighted by a massive brain drain in case of a graduate tax or no graduates at all in the case of fees.

The duty of the government is to fulfill the will of the people, to make the decisions requested by the electorate. In this move, they have ignored the wishes of a sizable proportion of the same electorate.

This will come back to haunt you, Batt. You know it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Last night

I had a dream. It was vivid. It was unsettling. It was heavily based on the format of Fallout 3, oddly enough (though not that oddly, if you know me well enough).

I was in a house. Well, a house of sorts. It was like a community bundled into one building too small to hold it all. It was under the stewardship of a tyrannical dictator.

One part of it involved a friend of mine desperately begging me for money to save them from an abusive relationship. I woke up thereafter, but the image of them with profound sadness and desperation etched across their face has been burned into my mind's eye ever since.

I can't think of it without developing a horrible, sinking feeling in my stomach.

But it's only a dream.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Ramble on

New post for the first time in a while via another source. Germany looms like a lighthouse. It's two hours to my flight. There's a lot I'm going to miss about home;

- Guinness
- Bacon and cabbage (fuck me, I'm a gigantic culchie)
- O
- Everyone and anyone
- The wonderfully black Irish sense of humour
- Terrible Irish TV (to be soon replaced by terrible German TV)
- Munster matches
- Almerciful sessions

I'd continue, but this list is beginning to seem remarkably clichéd. Auf wiedersehen.

By the way, pet - I'm not gone forever and ever. The aerodynamism is working out swell, though.