June 29, 2011

Reaching out to our global tribe taps a deep well of opportunity

Posted in Irish Independent · 259 comments ·

Looking out over from the battlements of the 13th century Cloghan Castle at Kilchreest in east Galway across the lush flat fields towards the Burren, it is not hard to see why the Normans fought for and then protected this land.

There are more than a dozen Norman keeps visible from here, dotted as far as the eye can see. This was the network of fortifications from which the Normans kept control of the area.

According to locals, the flat land explains not just the reason the Normans stayed here so long, it also explains why this is a hurling stronghold. After all one quipped, you can’t play hurling in the mountains or the rocky terrain of Connemara or Mayo — “sure you’d lose the sliothar”.

This piece of wisdom was imparted on Sunday night at the bar of Harney’s in Loughrea, where Ig’nus Harney pulled pints under the watchful eye of his father Ignatius Harney. Ignatius Harney played in the 1923 Galway All Ireland winning hurling team and his photo hangs proudly over the bar at Harney’s.

But that’s only a piece of the deep GAA tradition of this formerly Norman part of the country.

According to legend, the GAA was founded in Thurles on November 1st 1884, but this is not, in fact, true. The first GAA meeting was held on August 15 of that year, when Michael Cusack met with a group of nationalists in John Sweeney’s house on Dunkellin Street, Loughrea, to discuss the foundation of a sporting and cultural organisation.

Cusack realised that he needed the church on his side and approached the Bishop of Clonfert, Dr Patrick Duggan. Duggan understood straight away the potential of the nascent GAA but signaled to Cusack that he was too old and that the GAA needed a younger patron and he recommended an approach to the then Bishop of Cashel — Dr Croke — and so the seed of the Gaelic Athletic Association was sown.

Today, the same John Sweeney’s house in Dunkellin Street is home to an organisation which has the potential to change the game in the same way the fledgling GAA did in 1884.

The organisation is called Ireland Reaching Out (http://www.irelandxo.org). It aims to connect our entire diaspora with not just the country, but with the very parishes and townlands from which their ancestors left years ago.

In a world where millions of Americans, Australians and British people are trying to find their Irish roots, the aim of IRO is for the roots to find them! By tracing, using technology, genealogical records and local enthusiasts, the IRO team in east Galway have created a link to the past for hundreds of members of the Irish diaspora.

Having contacted them all over the world and invited them back to the parish of their ancestors, the IRO team have created something very special which has the potential to transform genealogy as we know it and more importantly, it could totally change the relationship between Ireland and the Irish tribe.

This week the first of the tribe came “home” to east Galway from all over the world to find out exactly who they are. They had responded enthusiastically to the invitation from their long-lost relatives.

On Sunday, they gathered for what is termed the “Week of Welcomes”. It was an extraordinary event. Third generation Irish people from America, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and Australia came back to their ancestral home in Loughrea.

In the great hall of Cloghan Castle, I witnessed an extraordinary homecoming where people whose great grandfathers had left small places like Kilconieron, Ardrahan or Woodford, were reunited with some of their living relatives. It is amazing how family resemblances remain even after three or four generations.

As this builds, and it will, it is impossible to know where it will end. But actively reinventing Ireland from being a small, humiliated country on the edge of Europe depending on IMF handouts to the proud homeland of a global tribe has to be worth pursuing. Fusing the diaspora’s need to belong, with our immediate need for an economic/tourist kicker is not hard to see.

Take, for example, the individual case of the man who is this week driving Loughrea’s diaspora around and taking them walking in the Burren. Walter McInerney is a local man whose passion is walking the beautiful hills around the Burren and who knows every track, boreen and road in this part of the world.

Walter worked for years in the construction industry until he, like tens of thousands of others, was laid off last year. After a few months on the dole and countless failed leads, he decided to do something for himself. So he set up www.celticcompasstours.ie to take visitors on walking tours of this most historic corner of the country. This week’s gig is his first.

So here we can see the returning descendents of Irish people who left over 100 years ago, coming back and generating the first chance for a local man to rebuild his life. The diaspora means business. For Walter McInerney, this is the first opportunity to get back on his feet, using his knowledge of the locality which was passed down from his father to him and amazingly, the first gig he has is being paid by people who are possibly long-lost blood relations.

On Sunday evening, as I sat under the photograph of Ignatius Harney, Ig’nus Harney pulled a pint and laughed with a young Irish American woman Cameo Wood whose great grandfather was the gardener in Lady Gregory’s house at Coole Park, up the road. She is now a successful internet entrepreneur based in San Francisco and was intrigued when contacted by the Ireland Reaching Out team.

Here in Harney’s she was being told about relations she’d never heard of, chatting about local history and her place in it. You could see that this was part of her personal jigsaw, but interestingly — as a net-savvy businesswoman — she constantly referred to the business potential of Ireland, a country she had not set foot in until a few hours earlier.

This is the potential of the diaspora; it is a deep well of knowledge and talent, which can be tapped if only we can see its promise. They have something to give us and we have something to give them.

Ireland Reaching Out’s Week of Welcomes is just the beginning. Given its enormous potential, it is fitting that it is housed in the building where a young, idealistic Michael Cusack first conceived of the organisation, which we now know as the GAA.

  1. Praetorian


  2. adamabyss

    The Road to Wigan Pier.

  3. Brendan Cronin

    Great story David!
    I have read about this organization working village-by-village and town-by- town to get the “Irish Foreigners” connected back to their homeland. It is great to see people such as Walter McInerney creating their own future instead of waiting for a decision from Dáil Éireann. Many Americans are also developing ideas and opening small companies as they realize that the job they lost is no longer in this country. It is said that if all the small businesses in the US shut down, the economy would collapse. I know I am speaking to the choir when I say that many of the great businesses in America were founded during a recession, when land and property were cheap and labor chomping at the bit for work-any work. So despite the gloom there is a movement underway.
    Perhaps not always highlighted in the international press, but there are lots of good programs here aimed at retraining people in new skills as the American economy continues its transition from manufacturing to service oriented companies — just like Walter McInerney.
    Best regards
    Brendan Cronin

    • Juanjo R

      You can’t create a healthy and viable economy just from tertiary services – you just have people selling useless things ( e.g. houses ) to each other in circles creating artifical piles of debt. Thats whats happened here already in case you haven’t noticed. You need to make things and sell them to others at a profit in a large way at the core of an economy to create REAL wealth. One fella doing the odd summer walking tour in the burren does not a healthy economy make. ( By the way the construction industry is not ‘manufacturing’ ).

      I’m from Loughrea originally and this I find this article ( which you call a story i.e. a fiction ) to be ridiculous on many, many levels. It bears more resemblence to PR piece than a cold piece of reasoning. I’ll post on that seperately.

      • {
        You need to make things and sell them to others at a profit in a large way

        This is very true but Ireland and the UK stopped generating wealth from manufacturing a long time ago. Britain used to built 80% of the worlds ships and then gradually became a service economy thanks to the Neoliberalist policies of Herr Thatcher. Now everyone is in debt and UK society has paid a heavy price in that it went to the dogs a long time ago

        We can’t compete in manufacturing because our costs are far too high. There could be a market in selling high quality manufactured goods to the rising middle classes in Asia but as for spanners and screwdrivers you can forget it

        The article, story or whatever you want to label it does indeed have an element of PR in it but this isn’t a bad thing because the story is essentially motivational and if it inspires even one person to follow one man’s lead and start their own business then it will have been a success

        The content of the article makes you think and it challenges you to think of other ways a person living in a remote area might earn a living. I have been thinking about this problem for years and I decided that Technology was the thing for me but for others it might well be going back to college and learning to become a barber or a car mechanic. Practical skills can earn you money and you can take them anywhere with you

        I personally got value from reading this article I don’t think it is ridiculous at all. I can understand why someone might think it sounds ridiculous but then it all depends on your perspective

        • Juanjo R


          Look at it – it is a story. Norman keeps and warm cosy pubs! The nearly men of the GAA! Most towerhouses were built in the 15th century. The Normans invaded in the 12th century. This is an image DMcW is pandering too more akin to King Arthur or Robin Hood – its not factual. The warm cosy pub in question – I was in it last Stephens night – I know the reality of pubs in Loughrea. As for that story about the GAA well – nearly never was! Its a pathetic BS story, a non-achievement, best left untold.

          My perpective is that I grew up there in Loughrea in the 80s and watched my brothers generation literally have to up sticks and move en-mass to find work in London. Many never returned, including him. I watched the town get on its feet a bit towards the mid-90s only to completely loose the plot in the noughties with mad (and often politically) stirred up property speculation. The planning authorities behaved in a crazy way – it wasn’t all speculation that did the damage.

          I’m soon to be part of the diaspora too and I won’t have such warm sentimental feelings for the old sod – I guarantee you that – nor will I be passing any on.

          I hope to post later today in full.

          • Thanks for your perspective Juanjo and I can see where you are coming from. There are two sides to every story

            I understand why DMcW could be accused of wearing rose tinted spectacles but for the most part his articles are informative, entertaining and well written. No-one is perfect

            I hate to see intelligent people like yourself leave this island and would rather that those us who consider ourselves to be outsiders stayed and helped to change it. I know it is not easy as many of us have been using the power of the pen in forums such as this for years to seemingly little avail

            However the archives of blogs like this contain a social commentary of Ireland that is damning in the extreme and shows very little kind sentiment towards the oul sod and rightly so. If we keep writing then we can all do our bit to out the truth and make sure that the bastards don’t get away with lying to us. And no more rose tinted specs please David

  4. Julia

    Interesting article David. I wish them all the best in Loughrea this week. Life goes on regardless of whether we default or not. Dinner still has to be put on the table.

  5. zohan

    It’s a pity we have no Irish people left to welcome them, they probably will need an eastern european language to get by !
    Country is f#’;ed

  6. Tull McAdoo

    Ireland does NOT have a large enough population to sustain anything remotely like “perfect competition”.

    It is my contention that there needs to be a critical mass of people, large enough in number and with a reasonable distribution of wealth to sustain the type of society that Irish people want.

    In order to sustain a diverse range of products and services, companies must be able to grow in terms of scale to make them both economically viable and economically efficient. In order to sustain this growth the population must be large enough and possess sufficient wealth.

    Because Ireland falls down in terms of population numbers and just as importantly in terms of wealth distribution, it was inevitable that the best it could do in terms of “free market” economics and the type of “neo-liberalism” that had worked its way onto the agenda ( accelerated under the PD influence) was to give the impression of competition.

    Ireland had gone from being a colonised country under the British, to an inward, inbred, Catholic dominated backwater that was happy to eat any of its own young that failed to escape through emigration. After people like T.K Whittaker and so on dragged it kicking and screaming into the modern world dominated by capitalism, it developed its usual “Irish solution to Irish problem” and set about rigging and gaming the system of capitalism with mostly duopolies and a smattering of oligopolies.

    People like Michael Woods and his infamous betrayal of abuse victims would be seen as the last defenders of a totally discredited regime that controlled Ireland’s education system, hospitals etc. and held Ireland back for decades.(Ireland’s Taliban if you will).

    The creation of mainly duopolies and oligopolies would be the main reasons for the development of the type of cosy, crony capitalism that ran Ireland in modern times. The arrogance, sense of invincibility and megalomania that comes with over lording a docile populace, especially from the Bankers, Insurers, Dept. of Finance and general landed classes including Pat Kenny’s much loved “West Brits” would lead to what I called groupthink and all the other flaws that has bankrupted the country both financially and intellectually.( They have de-railed their own gravy train as I have pointed out before)

    Time to finally get off yare knees people, this shit has gone on for long enough……….

    Mike Olfield with a modern classic……. I like the lady near the end with the white top playing the drums with great abandon, puts me in mind of the Kodo or Taiko drummers of Sado Island up in Japan….take it away Miguel and Goodnight Ireland , Sleep well.


  7. Colin

    Not one of your best articles David. East Galway is no fun in winter when its flooded. This lark is alright for a few weeks in the summertime, but can’t see a huge number of foreigners with the means travelling over to find their roots.

    A better idea would be micro breweries. Develop an excellent local product and bring foreigners in on a beer afficinado style holiday. BBC had a series last year called Hugh and Oz raise the Bar, and these two English dudes couldn’t believe how lacking Ireland was in local alcoholic beverages.

    This would be more sustainable and we could export it too. All the Irish bars around the world could import these products, a Shannon Stout, an Athlone Ale, a Leitrim Lager or a Portlaoise Porter. Lets stop drinking Guinness and lets stop bringing foreign kings and Queens into Guinness HQ. Guinness are treating their workers like crap anyway these days, agency staff in St James being exploited, 200 marketing jobs lost the day after the Queen’s brand boosting visit etc….

    • Guinness didn’t want any competition that’s why so many irish brewerys went bust in the past.

      Irish whiskey is basically only producted in two locations Midleton and the Jameson distillery in Dublin….they just come from a different vat and are labelled differently.

      Scotland has far more variety and uniqueness.

      • Deco


        Ireland has completely sat on it’s collective posterior with respect to Whisky production.

        And I would not mind, but in all likelihood we probably export the barley to the Scots to produce their whiskey, so that they get the value added part of the process.

    • This is very interesting Colin because when I first came here I noticed that it was the same selection of around half a dozen beers in every pub in the country. It was obvious that a cartel was operating in the brewing industry

      I ain’t surprised the English guys were shocked at the lack of variety because the UK has always had a tradition of independent brewing which brings much more choice and variety to the market

      Rather than drink in a brewers pub the real ale enthusiast will seek out a ‘Free House’ where the proprietor can order in any type of ale he likes rather than being locked into an agreement where he has to stock only ales supplied by the brewers

      Drinking beer in an Irish pub is akin to what life would be like if Microsoft was a brewing company. In contrast the Free House experience is like open source drinking in that the choice of beers on sale is determined by the what the punters want

      The Free House will usually order in a cask from an independent Micro Brewery (calling it ‘ale of the week’) thus helping to support small independent brewers

      It would be great to have independent breweries in Ireland but where would you sell your ale?

      The pub game here is a closed shop that is controlled by the brewing lobby and that is why Ireland is the Microsoft of Beer drinking nations. This needs changing

      • Colin

        Yeah Pauldiv, there’s a poverty of beers here.

        Why not use the Coop model to create and develop a local micro brewery? Perhaps it can be grant-aided by the state? Farmers could supply the apples, wheat, barley and oats to the brewery and get paid in shares of the business or kegs of beers? We’ll have to get David to switch alliances on the advertising and marketing side of things.

        • The brewing lobby is very powerful and it would stop any form of Government support to micro brewery start ups

          The idea of locally grown ingredients being used for brewing sounds excellent and so does the idea of using a barter system in addition to cash or metals for trading with suppliers

          For the end product there would be no shortage of customers. I don’t drink beer now because I simply don’t like the products in the pubs and supermarket shelves but if someone near me produced quality beers that are guaranteed to be free from additives and chemicals then I would start drinking beer again tomorrow

          There could be a worldwide market for quality Irish beer brewed in small independent breweries. Especially if the story of why these breweries started up was part of the brand identity. The target market would be the diaspora and a good place to start any market research would be in the east end of Glasgow and the Scottie Rd in Liverpool

          And if we asked nicely maybe David would change allegiance. We could give him a 10 gallon keg for his troubles

      • Deco

        Pauldiv – you have a point – there is a certain level of monopolistic behaviour with regard to one brewery.

        Beyond all that, I might even say that the brewer concerned is very good at making sure that it has a predominant influence on the entire culture. It seems that Guinness dominates Ireland to an even greater extent than McDonalds dominates the US sunbelt states. Basically they have society, via public discusion and the mores that define it’s limits, reordered almost to the point of making the society an enthusiastic host for saturation level Guinness.

        In fact one brewery, owned by a collection of English aristocrats, and the descendents of absentee landlords have had a very toxic influence on our culture.

    • imithe

      I’d have to disagree. DMcW wrote about this a good while ago. Since then, it seems a lot of work has gone into it at a ground roots level and real people are benefitting from their hard work now. Fair play to them.

      These people have created an opportunity which is already working and has great potential. They started with an idea, added some innovation, skill and labour and are now seeing the results.

      When you say “a better idea”, don’t you mean “another good idea”?

      • MT25

        well said imithe – two excellent ideas here and complementary.

      • Colin

        I take your point imithe, you can look at it as “another good idea” if you like, but I just can’t see this dispora arse-licking taking off and being sustainable. Consider an American named Murphy but of mixed heritage like most Irish Americans are. Murphy could be 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Italian, 1/4 Polish and 1/4 German. So he arrives in Ireland and finds out his great great grandfather was illiterate, desperately poor and so on and so on. He’s not gonna return the following year to find out if his great great great grandfather was related to the Earl of Dunraven. He may then be interested to visit Poland or Italy or Germany to find a more successful kind of ancestor which reflects better on his middle management position in the car manufacturing plant he works in.

        Thinking laterally about pubs, has anyone considered the idea of opening an unlicenced premises where the customer brings their own booze (bought from a nearby off-licence) and pays a cover fee (say €5) at the door and pays for soft drinks, mixers and teas/coffees at the bar at normal prices? Pub landlords would be outraged but powerless to stop it. Can anyone advise on whether they think its a runner? These places could serve food also, and remain open until late as they don’t “serve alcohol”.

    • coldblow


      This is one of my hobby horses so apologies for any repetition. It’s kind of related to the article too, at some level.

      I agree with what you say and Pauldiv describes it well too. But I don’t know if it’s the cartels so much as there being no demand for local beer, or local produce of any kind. You know, like you have all that kind of thing on the Continent, and as Pauldiv says in England with the small breweries. It doesn’t work that way here.

      I don’t think the Smithfield Brewery in Dublin is still going – they used to sell to a dozen or so pubs in the area but the barman would always seem a bit surprised if you ordered their stout instead of the Guinness that everyone else was drinking. They had a lighter beer called Beckets (?), which was quite tasty but very gassy.

      I recall earlier efforts to launch real ale (ie beer brewed naturally instead of the dead, gassed-up mass produced keg beers you get everywhere in Ireland). One was called Dempseys I think, about 25 years ago, I heard about it but never encountered it (bit like looking for a white rhino in the wild or a snow leopard) and it vanished without a trace. That just left Guinness, Beamish (kind of imitiation), that stuff they drink in Cork, Smithwicks (sweet, gassy, plastic), and rotgut lagers.

      Then one year in the early/mid 80s I was over here on holiday and a small brewery was brewing ‘real’ lager (an interesting concept – to me almost a contradiction in terms). Because I kept getting served Guinness out of habit it was hard to know what it tasted like when I finally got a pint, but it seemed nice and smooth.

      Just a couple of other points, not strictly relevant. The reason they serve many lagers ice cold is that if you allowed them to warm up they would be disgusting. The coldness of Guinness in recent years makes me very suspicious. Don’t drink any lager brewed or canned in Ireland (for that reason). Some of the big brands taste nice when abroad, eg in Denmark, but also in the Med, but not here. You get drunker much faster on English bitter than on Guinness – it goes to the head, despite the myths here. I had my first glass of Harp on Sunday, that’s the first one since 1976 when the hangover was so bad it put me off it for, what, 35 years. Wasn’t too bad but I wouldn’t want to drink many of them, just in case – with real ale you can drink more before you get a hangover.

      On the other hand, I saw some of that programme/ series you mention, that’s where they served up ‘real’ pear cider at some event (they poured dozens of bottles of Babycham into a keg and gave it a fancy name). Sad to say it seemed to fool some of the customers.

      There are two ways of assessing the situation in Ireland when it comes to beer.

      On the one hand you could argue that it is just more evidence of lack of discernment. (We have had lots of examples of this in various areas here over the years.) It’s similar to Geordies being proud of Newcastle Brown Ale. Why? I once bought a bottle of water in a Dublin pub. From Tasmania. Is water that scarce?

      You could make a case that the attitude to English football fits in with this: there is a rich ecology stretching down across the many divisions there, attendance figures, tradition, local lore, etc so that I look at the tables starting more from the bottom up and have barely any interest left by the time I reach Man Utd at the top, whereas here it’s the other way round.

      On the other hand, it can be seen as a healthy disregard for ephemera. The occasion is more important, the taste of the drink less so. Kevin Myers once wrote about how Ireland doesn’t do ‘local’ in anything in the food or drink line (searched but couldn’t find link), without even native names for some important flora and fauna, so it’s the French who catch the pike and put it into freezers in their camper vans to bring home and East European embassies having coarse fish caught to order in the canal, foreign markets who buy up more “unusual” sea fish (ie anything which isn’t cod or haddock), who set up micro cheese businesses, butchers, bakeries. Chocolate box villages, neat farmhouses without a feather or a straw out of place, local produce, ‘terroir’: the Irish are above all this, or below it, or just standing to one side unaware of it. Should we admire the Continentals for this or pity them? Interest doesn’t stretch much beyond acquiring a preference for NZ Sauvignon Blanc (and even here the Irish cultural vanguard once again misses the point, they educate themselves about wine but don’t even notice beer). But maybe it just doesn’t matter after all. Is it because we missed out on all that prehistoric Western European clearings-in-the-forest proto-capitalism stuff? Or does it go back further?

      I’m still making up my mind about all this.

      • Colin

        Yeah Coldblow, many good points there. I remember Myers article well. Thing is though, he grew up in middle class Leicester, which is fine. However, in places like Limerick there were dishes such as packet and tripe which could be re-developed into something more sophisticated and gentrified. http://www.skynet.ie/~ivan/packet_and_tripe.html
        Cheaper cuts of meats will become more popular with the Irish consumer thanks to Austerity measures, and perhaps we can rediscover and improve on old local dishes? Anyone for pigs ears?

        A quick google search for local Irish dishes comes up with this site.

        • adamabyss

          Tripe has to be the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted and I’m very open-minded (and open-mouthed) about food so I can’t see that one catching on!

        • Colin

          You could well be right there Adamabyss, never tried it myself. We’d need Chef Corrigan on TV to make the dish more acceptable and bring it into the 21st century.

          • Gege Le Beau

            I can second that, I have been around the world, eaten all sorts of dishes, tripe and drisheen is easily the most disgusting thing I have ever been subjected to and yes, as a child I too got the clip around the ear fro refusing to be tortured.

  8. Fellows,
    it takes me at least ten attempts to log in here now to actually get logged in…odd indeed.

    David is there something a miss with your authentication server?

    Greece will default that’s for sure so why are the IMF and ECB so keen on them to take a second bailout?

    I see it as pillage before the rape.

    These bankers are criminals!!!! Let’s not beat around the bush just because they wear fancy suits and try and bambuzal us with high brow BS….economics is simple don’t be fooled.

    As Max Keiser says capital punishment for crimes against capital.

    Take your money out of the banks ASAP, it’s the only way to sink them and save ourselves.

    The less money they have on deposit the more they need to back fill to keep their fractional reserve system going…remember they need 10% on deposit to loan out anything :-)

    Debt begets debt :-)

    • Do you really think David or anyone here knows what an authentication server is?

      Have you tried using a different browser?

    • I’ve had problems too a while back in April. Here’s a couple of things you could try. Firstly, if the problem occurs when posting make sure any links in your post are shortened by https://bitly.com/

      Otherwise, your comments may incorrectly have been marked as spam by Akismet server which manages spam for WordPress. I found Mark support@akismet.com to be helpful. Mark says Akismet doesn’t blacklist in this way but to check if Akismet is blocking, try placing a comment here:


      IT may be the webmaster needs to repair the WordPress database, two links here show how:


      I note some spam in my own inbox this morning sent to some other DmcW articles so maybe the spam filter needs to be checked and turned on/off again and the database if corrupted repaired and optimised as in above links.

      A wild card is the browser issue mentioned by other posters. Its possible Chrome has a corrupt cached page preventing the posting of form data.

      Download and install ccleaner http://download.cnet.com/ccleaner/

      and use this to analyse your browser history and delete/clean all temporary files in your browser history.

      Defragment your own hard drive on a regular basis and ensure you’ve decent anti virus software installed:)

  9. Forget luring in foreigners, they’ve barely enough on their own plate, we need to think and act local, get to know your neighbours, buy and trade locally as much as possible.

    We’re going back to subsistence so we’d better have something to trade, a skill, spuds, veg or an aul’ bottle of poitin :-)

  10. An inspiring story

    It is good to see someone getting a break especially when they create something out of very little. This is an good example of using lateral thinking to see the potential of what is right in front of you and using creative thinking to unleash that potential

    It is also a good example of making use of existing skills and knowledge to your advantage – a driving license and local knowledge put to lucative use in this case. That is inspiring

    People love to communicate and if you let them do it in unique or novel ways such as this then it will be a winner

    The reason this venture will be successful is that it offers people a unique sense of community and belonging. Try finding that on Facebook

    Many people of Irish descent would love to be contacted with details about their ancestors and the history of where they came from. It is a basic human need and everyone wants to know where they come from and who they are related to

    A recent study showed that Ireland is not very internet savvy and that many small tourism related businesses and potential new businesses are not making strategic use of the web for marketing and attracting new business

    Many tourism related businesses here are dying because they are still charging too much and lagging far behind the times

    An art gallery close by has some excellent work by local artists but recently the prices have been halved through lack of interest. They have no web presence at all despite the fact that you can get a web presence for free and a web site for a reasonable price

    The reason I suspect is that they are failing to differentiate between price and value. With a modest outlay and a willingness to learn some web savvy they could be up flying and recoup the original outlay many times over

    Hopefully prices here will fall even further to give visitors real value for money when they come to Ireland and not leave them feeling that Ireland is just a rip off

    • adamabyss

      Incredible! (regarding the art gallery). Any business that doesn’t have a web presence in this day and age is unhinged (pardon the pun).

      • lol nice pun. Yes it is incredible. All they would need is something like an art.com clone and they could be taking way more orders and in doing so they would be encouraging the artists to produce more art

  11. Just to blow any impression that Moriarty is an economic guru;
    Wouldn’t it be far better if we made something?

    Tourism’s great but it’s not everybody’s bag and I’d question the quality of a lot of the jobs being created.(Low paid catering jobs, selling trinkets, fathers/mothers working Sundays for less pay?)

    Let’s make good stuff – Like energy off probably one of the most suitable coastlines in the world. and export it to one of the biggest economies in the world?
    I mean who doesn’t know yet that we’re running out of oil? My nine year old was taught that in primary school over a year ago – Great Teacher!
    But it’s like;
    IMF? Nah not here mate? Never heard of them? There’s no IMF talking to us? I mean why would they? etc etc.)

    Or should we just wait til the lights go out or maybe pay the nice foreign gentlemen for the energy extracted on our own territory? Given them by the Lowry/Healy Rae types (to name but a few) who’ll retire handsomely with “their good names”!

    Oh for the love of……….just get me one rather large ex taoiseach tied over a barrel and the words “Smart Economy” completely made of barbed wire and no vaseline!

    • Johno

      I remember about 2 years ago watching something on the frontline about this. They were proposing on building damns or some sort in the west of Ireland , filling them with water , releasing the water to turn a turbine to create electricity. And just refilling the damns from the sea. I’m sure there was something slightly more to it than that :) But the idea was to sell the electricity to England and to mainland Europe. I know one of the problems was they needed the government to invest 10 billion into infrastructure but can anyone remember this? I say it was 18-24 months ago at this

      • Julia

        Spirit of Ireland. Great idea but no money. We’re to busy giving any money we have to foreign banks and billionaires.

  12. Praetorian

    This is what this neoliberal system brings, and people want to emulate it????

    People giving food for free to people in desperate trouble in Florida are arrested and branded as terrorists

    The homeless people in Las Vegas who live underground

    Tent Cities in the US

    If the above doesn’t speak of wholesale failure of a socio-economic system, what does?

  13. As an “Irish foreigner” I think that this is quite an interesting idea. It certainly might appeal to people far removed from Ireland but I think that it is meaningless to people with real, current links to Ireland and these are the people most likely to have a real drive to help Ireland as a country.
    I think that the appeal and the strength of “Irishness” is way overstated. I am married to a Pole and living in Holland and both the Dutch and Polish cultures have many unique elements where Ireland only has copies of British culture. In terms of cuisine what would be a typically Irish dish? I can only ever think of Irish Stew or Bacon & Cabbage. I can think of several Dutch and Polish dishes. In terms of language both Poland and Holland have their own languages and literary traditions. Ireland’s main language is English and naturally Irish writers aim for a worldwide market. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it certainly makes the Irish literary output less specific.
    My eldest daughter is 7 and regards herself as Dutch though she sometimes says that she if half-Polish and half-English too(language and nationality tend to get mixed up). She does Irish dancing but there really is very little more that I can do to connect her to Ireland. My wife has a much easier job because of speaking Polish to her and thus connecting my daughters to a strong culture with a diaspora just as widespread as the Irish one (and with their own international TV channel with English sub-titles and a Miss Polonia beauty contest à la Rose of Tralee).
    My daughter speaks English and watches the BBC sometimes and I read in English but that creates no sense of Irishness, it just tunes her into the British and American cultural landscapes.
    What I would really like is if there were Irish cultural schools where the Irish abroad could send their kids for the summer. The Irish colleges in Ireland are great but they are not geared towards kids who may not speak any Irish and who may speak English as a second or third language.
    Ultimately the language is the binding factor for me. The GAA, traditional music and dance and the language are the most unique aspects of Irish culture. I like reading and writing Irish. I speak a few words to the kids but I didn’t speak it well enough to raise them through it. Still they are really interested when I tell them what the Irish word is for something. It would really work for me if they could have access to the kind of “Irish cultural program” I am talking about. I think that this is the kind of thing Israel has set up for the diaspora who want to learn Hebrew.

    • MT25

      not sure if there is a “learnirishonline” website but maybe yourself or others on here could set one up – lots of grants available i’m sure. Perhaps the good folk at irelandxo could help out or even host the site.

      • There are some good sites to learn Irish on-line but they are geared towards beginners. For children face to face works better so that is why an Irish college geared towards diaspora children would be fantastic.
        I am more likely to be sending my kids to language camp in Spain or France in the summers since Ireland doesn’t offer something like this.

        • bpositive

          Great way to fill some of those NAMA hotels.. Honestly, it’s great idea. An english speaking Irish cultural college. An English speaking ‘Gaeltacht’. On the button.
          You mentioned the GAA. Time we had a World Gaelic Games Championship I reckon. Who would win in a Holland V Poland Qualifier?

    • CitizenWhy

      Interesting comment, targeting children. In much of Europe there are “American Villages” where French, Italian, etc. parents send their children to camp to learn US English (all the counselors are from the US and French is not spoken). Perhaps opening some Irish villages in Europe and North America might work (but with English and Irish as the primary languages). Maybe this “Irish Village” experience will get them interested in visiting Ireland some time.

  14. We need more than ancestral kinship to stimulate the diaspora. A more cherished present example of an efficiently run state could do wonders for tourism, not blight it with the continuing mess we have now.

    Our open spaces need to be cherished and developed and mistakes of bungalow blitz, bad government, rape of the countryside avoided. In many areas, too late now.

    Norman Keeps and monuments/castles and imprint of our historical past should be developed on an ongoing basis with preservation/ redevelopment /restoration/construction…Good luck with Week of Welcomes.

    Of course the dangers for the politician and the economist of involvement with business, big or small is that it can potentially compromise both.

    In the case of the economist, it may lead to dancing on tip toes to avoid stepping on people’s feet, or biting the hand that feeds you.

    You may end up as an entertaining clubhouse lounge table brand meant to entertain rather than provoke with the uncontaminated/unvarnished truth no one wants to hear or see:)

    • The Road To Wigan Pier

    • CitizenWhy

      You make an excellent point.

      When we finally convinced my Irish born and raised mother to return there after 50 years, her comment when she am back was, “I should have gone to Paris and met the relatives there.” Since many of her relatives had children and grandchildren in Paris that was not an unrealistic reaction. She left Ireland because she felt that the church and state were on a course to corruption (and meanness) and her visit only reinforced that belief (none of her relatives were involved in politics or the church).


    With the punt nominally worth 117% the value of sterling, ireland is finished.Hence, the crazy unemployment figures.I see Quinn Insurance are taking on staff under the he new intern scheme !

  16. coldblow

    Another rambling post. That’s my mood today.

    I think it’s a good article. It’s something which is so obvious when you think about it. I find the response from the regular commentators, as usual when this theme comes up, to be interesting, as if a nerve is touched.

    As DMcW has said before, the official govt approach towards the diaspora is grudging at best. Well, we are all used to officialdom getting it back to front of course, but when you hear individuals arguing against a more imaginative treatment of the diaspora, or merely more recent emigrants, on the grounds that they don’t pay tax here so why should they have representation? etc (not that there’s any of that on this thread), this always surprises me and I ask myself where it comes from.

    What would have become of independence if it were not for the influence of Irish Americans?

    I’m not criticizing – everything has its own reasons.

    On one occasion we had American visitors and someone produced a taperecorder and my father spoke into it as if born to the occasion, like he was Eamonn Kelly or someone. It was so out of character and he wasn’t really saying anything anyway.

    Another time I was in the Ronald Reagan lounge in Ballyporeen when an American and his son walked in. They were touring the country but didn’t seem to notice all the Reagan paraphernalia (it was everywhere) until I mentioned it. (What? Did you let that bum in here?!) There was a local at the counter, an oldish man, a barfly really, and the American asked him why some people said “Sláinte” and others “Sláintche”. The question puzzled the local. I tried to explain that it was a dialect thing and that you get the latter the further north you go, but he wasn’t interested, he only wanted the opinion of Barry Fitzgerald.

    Sometimes the country resembles the set of the Quiet Man. And then the wind changes direction and we’re back to a scenario of rural primitives being sermonized from on high about the significance of the “New Irish” or wtf the theme of the day is. Both have a surreal make-believe quality. A country steeped in history and tradition where neither seem to have any firm basis in reality, being just more ideas soaked up from outside and reflected back in what is assumed to be the approved manner.

    If I didn’t live here already I’d just have to come and take a look at the place. David, a marketing idea?

    And when I think of Loughrea I think of the Achréidh, where the spailpíns from further west came to provide serf labour. It’s a landscape of stone walls, big farms and few houses. Dara Bán’s song comes to mind – Mná Bhaile Locha Riach – I have the tune in my head but not many of the words.

    I think of Raifeirí too, there’s a statue to him down the road in Craughwell. This was the heart of his stomping ground, he used to tour as far east as Loughlynn. I doubt the locals read him any more than Dubliners read Joyce. There were a couple of well to do (comparatively) farmers in the area, Marcus and Patsy Callinan (or Callaghan), who also had literary ambitions and composed in both English and Gaelic, and one day Raftery amused the neighbours with a scurrilous ‘hunt’ of one of the brothers (Marcus I think), where he “hunted” him in verse all over the neighbourhood and ridiculed him as he went. He was unaware that Callinan was listening at the door and went home and wrote his own particularly vicious ‘sciolladh’ in revenge – you won’t find half of the words in any dictionary – and chose his moment when the blind poet was again holding court and succeeded in reducing him to tears. I have it on tape somewhere (I don’t think it’s the original) and began writing out the words and looking them up. That didn’t get me very far. But the meaning is crystal clear all the same.

  17. Bon Jovi

    I am just back from D2 having gone there by train yesterday .On the feeder train from Limerick to Junct I was seated with three ladies from Castleisland , Kerry going to a wedding in Swords and we had a lot of banter .I was informed how they as farmers have got together with others in the country and sell their bacon under a new marketing name ‘Truely Irish’ and this can be accessed on google .

    On the train from the Junct to D2 I was seated with a young lady going to Bon Jovi and two middle aged business men from county Limerick and neighbours of Pat Short of Kilnascully fame..The men informed me that during their stay in China they were informed that the two most corrupt countries in the world are Nigeria and Ireland full stop.Other than technology which is beyond their comprehension they could not see any hope for anyone in the country and that we are sentenced to a life of slavery forever.

    Today on the return journey I was seated with middle aged Kerry couple from Tralee who had been to Bon Jovi concert and the usual economic banter was discussed .He is a truck driver and his sister is a medical surgeon in London Cromwell Hosp .His story is the same about his town Tralee .Everything is closing down.He makes his living driving often to Ukraine .

  18. Aftenoon,

    I am writing from the stena ferry going to holyhead-a journey many millioons of us have made over the years. This of the global irish is real and potentially transformative. Bear with me as i try to make it a reality along the lines of the jesish diaspora and israel or the indian diaspora and india. Given the massive population movements of recent years from countries wher people have hardly move in a millenium, diaspora economics and diaspora contrasints wil become significant in the same way capitak contsraints were in the more modn times.
    Best david

    • Praetorian

      One of the issues with the diaspora (which I hope isn’t a search for the next best thing) is what can you possibly offer those who either left in recent times or whose families were forced to leave sometime back? Ireland is a deeply corrupt country at elite level with some fine people generally who have little to no influence.

      Ireland at elite level is not for changing, I see it in my own city where old money and a few families have practically straggled the place to death, they simply dislike the status quo being challenged unless they are somehow involved in it for a dollar. In a broader sense, you can see what the election has brought about, same policies, family members being appointed to every job going and very little creativity in terms of stimulus.

      I think before you go out there pitching the idea, you better have a good idea of what you are selling because people may come looking for their money back (if whatever it is you are doing is run with a ‘profit motive’). I admire anyone trying to do something positive for Ireland and its people in an honest and transparent way, I don’t want to be a ‘knocker’ but it is very hard to save a country which is so hell bent on self-destruction, like some desperate post-colonial cry for help and we have had enough martyrs to last a life time.

    • @dmcw
      From the spellings above I am sensing the boat must be in a ‘wobble’ or the sub editors must be doing the hard work for you.

    • Malcolm McClure

      David: It is a personal rubicon when each Irish person decides to leave their homeland. I know that well, although I was able to return most years during a career working abroad. I can vouch that one gains immensely in all kinds of experience, so long as one doesn’t lose the run of oneself.

      It can even be a cause for celebration, so in that spirit, I offer an anthem for the prospective emigrant:
      I like the bit about ‘the bank up in the sky’. Bon voyage.

  19. Dorothy Jones

    I came back with hope and dreams after ten years professional experience abroad and a foreign language. I am leaving Irelnad now; just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on the exit strategy. I am disgusted at some of the actions I have seen and the continued reward of failure. Two words to prospective returning diaspora: ‘caveat emptor’

    • adamabyss

      Best of luck to you Dorothy; I’m sure you’ll do swimmingly well in Deutschland (where my own brother emigrated to in January). As for myself I have been away 20 years, just back for a year now and completed the first year of my degree – two more to go and I’m out of here. Despite liking many things and people in this country, I am aghast at the level of corruption and incompetence and am not hanging around here any longer than I have to.

    • Colin

      Good luck with everything in the future Dorothy. Hope the move works out. I’d love to know where to go in the world, at least you have an idea where best suits you.

    • Dorothy,
      We’ve never met but one can tell a certain amount about one’s fellow posters and your intelligence and integrity have always shone through.
      I am saddened by the fact that people of your calibre feel compelled to leave. I agree with your observation about our national culture of rewarding failure and consequently understand your decision.

      Sadly if the IMF/ECB wrote off all our debt and our budget was balanced tomorrow – What good is any of it when we still have a cultural/managerial cancer?

      I can only extend my heartfelt best wishes!


    • Deco

      Best of luck Dorothy.
      To survive in Ireland and not be subsidising the gombeen element takes an inordinate amount of effort.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Wish you the best Dorothy, I lived in Germany once upon a time, great place just try not to take it so seruously, hope you can continue commenting because unlike 90% of the commentators that make the TV you have much to say.

    • Dorothy Jones

      Thanks folks! Will still be here with my cyber-bucket and cyber-spade in our good host’s sandbox blog.

  20. CitizenWhy

    There’s dark side to getting foreigners interested in Ireland too. The following is a short piece about the formation of a private equity/investment bank by a number of people connected to Ireland. I suspect that their little company is being formed to snatch up cheap all the assets that will be “privatized” in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. In the USA, when the non-profit Health Maintenance Organizations, funded originally by the government, were privatized at dirt cheap prices the buyers made billions since they underpaid and then jacked up the profits by restricting the amount of money spent on patient care. Ever wonder why health care costs so much more per citizen in the USA than any other country (and the system does not even cover all citizens? The privatization of the HMOs is one big reason.

    Watch out, Ireland, when your public assets are privatized, in a collusion between foreign investors many of the Diaspora and local politicians, all your costs will go up.


  21. sean og

    Just a few observations over the last few weeks.
    I think anything is worth a try,everything is on the table and we will see the back of this sooner or later.
    But surely a country should focus on its raw materials.
    Our tourist industry can play its part and we can all do our bit in that respect.
    But what about the likes of our wind energy as proposed by “Spirit Of Ireland”.At a cost of a fraction of what was pumped into the banks we would have energy enough they say to supply the whole of Europe.Only a few weeks ago with the Japanese nuclear plant failure,our German neighbours were having an anti nuclear demonstration.This would get people back to work and solve Europes future energy crisis.
    Also David in one of his recent articles mentioned he was in the heart of London and said “this is were its at” alluding to it been the finacial nerve centre .Recently it was suggested that the reason London became such, was because it was built around the London underground.We have our minister announce the Metro North was to be shelved I believe it would have cost around 4 billion(it was only yesterday we had surplus of 2 billion).
    Surely its the likes of these projects for the immediate construction sector ,and for the long term benifit of all that should be considered.
    Surely we dont want to have our young people to again become our biggest exported raw material,again.

    • Colin

      The trouble with Dublin is the population density, its simply too low. There are too many properties in Dublin with large front and back gardens. If you seized the gardens and built 9 storey apartment blocks on them, then you might achieve the density required for a viable metro. Can’t see Dubliners giving up their gardens though. Central London is very high density.

      • Deco

        Generally, metro systems exist in cities that high urban population density – like cities in Germany, Britain and Italy. In most French cities the size of Dublin they have light rail and that is it. Also the system tends to operate nearly continually – all night long – though on different volumes.

        To make the metro work in Dublin, you would need residential development four stories high along most of the route. And houses that are occupying the same percentage of the surface area as happens in the inner suburbs like in Drumcondra or Rathmines. But nobody has though of that yet. The Tallaght model of urban spacing will not work, because everybody is too far apart, and there is too much “pony” space.

        To make a metro system work, either everybody uses it, or else the population density has to increase.

        If you look at Dublin you will also see that the employment growth is in the suburbs. But the housing density near the employment areas is not condusive to high volume transport.

        It might make more sense to have more DART lines, than a Metro. Or maybe a DART line from Howth junction to Swords – acheivable for those operating on a smaller budget.

    • Metro North is another white elephant disastrous idea. We simply do not have the population to sustain this project. Arguably the area served by the project is already well served by transport infrastructure. Yes, if planners plan for millions from NY suburbs to Manhattan; no, if only fleeing emigrants or Bertie Ahearne ‘they never told me about the banks’ from a deflating economy require transport to the airport. They should take a taxi or the Dublin airport aircoach. Money could be better spent on an outer ring road built for juggernauts and hulk carriers:)

      • Deco

        Metro North is a typical Bertie Ahern idea.

        Funding was never going to be a problem.

        and it was to buy votes.

        In the meantime, it might make more sense to concentrate on making the bus service perform the link in less time, and more efficiently…

        • Gege Le Beau

          I would support the metro system if I thought it would function properly, but based on the bus system I doubt it. The Jack Lynch Dublin is going to be closed for months at night while the Dublin port tunnel has a height restriction problem. Cork airport ran over budget, while some estimate €13 billion was overspent on the national roads project. A proper integrated and environmentally friendly transport system would have got the cars off the roads, but government sought the revenue from car sales, dooming us environmentally.

  22. The bankers win in Greece, but for how long will their win hold?


    “latest effort to treat the symptoms of Europe’s ills while steadfastly ignoring the underlying disease”

    Comparisons between Ireland and Japan should include NAMA and Fukushima, but I’ll leave that to you to work out:)


    “Deflation has left a deep imprint on the Japanese, breeding generational tensions and a culture of pessimism, fatalism and reduced expectations.”

    Its difficult to get economic data on Japan, snippets from above “Figures released in May showed that Japan’s economy shrank at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011, tipping the country into a recession”.

    Figures are sparse, precisely what effect on industrial output Fukushima has had, are very hard to discover. Same story on the effect of this on global economy.

    Interesting the comparison with the US “In 1991, economists were predicting that Japan would overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy by 2010. In fact, Japan’s economy remains the same size it was then: a gross domestic product of $5.7 trillion at current exchange rates. During the same period, the United States economy doubled in size to $14.7 trillion. In 2010, China overtook Japan to become the world’s No. 2 economy.”

    Will next decade at best for the peripherals in the likely event of soft default, bring about halving of current peripheral economies, or maintain them at output levels similar to at present while the economies of France and Germany double?

    • Praetorian

      I believe it will be short lived, we are going through the rounds, the people will have the final say. Italy has just announced a €66 billion austerity programme. There is the possibility that the populations in these countries will overlap and thus provoke a real crisis.

      There will also be an electoral reaction to what is taking place. The days of the coalition in the UK are numbered, if Labour didn’t have such a weak and android like leader they would be in with a big shot not that I expect much from New Labour.

  23. As a contribution to tourist infrastructure for the diaspora, a replica of Anglo Irish Bank. You need actors for all the staff to do this eg Seanie.

    For €50 you get 30 min to role play inside the bank. Choose a role you’d like to play, eg developer of loan consultant.

    WE’d need documents released through the Criminal Assets Bureau and records from the coming prosecutions? Shouldn’t be any problem for Quirke below.

    So you get to choose what property you’d like to obtain a loan for and act out the negotiations with the actors for a short bit.

    Then the actors tell you what actually took place, how much was given and a chunk of history regarding the loan approval that was given out. Plus where the status of the development or property is at right now.

    No doubt Pravda-RTE will act out these charades whenever the coming trial takes place.

    But my idea is to widen this out to the general public eg school children, to teach people about banking and what their taxes are paying for.

    Perhaps it could replace the White House in Tipperary’s http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0613/breaking23.html

    “The Tipperary Venue is the brainchild of developer Richard Quirke, a former garda from Thurles who is best known for running Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium gaming arcade on Dublin’s O’Connell Street. The venture has received support from the Coolmore Stud, Horse Sport Ireland, Bord na gCon, Shannon Development and Thurles Chamber of Commerce.”

  24. Deco

    Best of luck to those in East Galway who are trying to get their tourism venture up and running.

    My advice – keep clear of the quangoes – they are only interested in State Gombeen economics – finding ways of making themselves relevance, in return for levies, rates, and ridiculous projects that have to opened by the local equivalent of Johnny “Cash” O’Donoghue.

  25. Malcolm McClure

    DMcW says: “In a world where millions of Americans, Australians and British people are trying to find their Irish roots, the aim of IRO is for the roots to find them! By tracing, using technology, genealogical records and local enthusiasts, the IRO team in east Galway have created a link to the past for hundreds of members of the Irish diaspora.
    Having contacted them all over the world and invited them back to the parish of their ancestors, the IRO team have created something very special which has the potential to transform genealogy as we know it and more importantly, it could totally change the relationship between Ireland and the Irish tribe.”

    I’m afraid this isn’t good enough any more. It was tried in Donegal several years ago where a team in Ramelton attempted to discover family roots for a fee, with very mediocre results.
    Things have improved since then with web services like irl-co-donegal@rootsweb.com that have links to many excellent sources. People don’t have to visit Ireland in the hope that they’ll bump into a fifth cousin with whom they had a common ancestor 200 years ago.
    They can narrow it down using a combination of websearch and genetics.

    With all due respect to the GAA, family links are established with y-DNA in the modern world. The procedure is well established and is beginning to produce important and reliable results as more irish people contribute their samples to laboratories in Oxford or Texas.

    The R1b haplogroup is prominent in north-west Europe and almost definitive for Ireland.
    The descendants of Niall Nóigiallach may be the ancestor of one in 12 Irishmen. Scientists found an area in northwest Ireland where they claim 21.5% carry Niall’s genetic fingerprint,
    DNA testing can show:
    *if two people are related
    *your suggested geographic origins
    *if you match the Niall of the Nine Hostages DNA
    *your deep ancestral ethnic origins

    John Allen knows his ancestors came from England but he might be interetsed in the Dalcassian L226 cluster from Clare, limerick and Tipperary with their O’Brien associations. L226 is the SNP that defines the Irish Type III, the signature of the Dál gCais.

    If we are aiming to become a world class centre for scientific research we should certainly establish a large scale testing laboratory and clearing house for thevast array of genetic information already available. This would be valuable not only to researchers in family history but also to forensic investigation of serious crimes.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Instead of finding their ‘roots’, I wish people would find their humanity.

    • Interesting post, actually genetic research is one of the few areas in science we excel at in Ireland. Ireland has a state of the art laboratory in genetics at Trinity and its department is a contender for lead in many areas in this field. As Week of Welcomes gets its plug, I’m on offer for a customised GPS enabled mobile app that will take the user to their place of origin and supply them with local historical and genealogical information according to need, prototype available in less than 7 days for a fee:)

      • paddythepig

        Why not do a free app for starters, with limited content but which shows the basic idea? Then charge for the full bells and whistles.

        • They can use the information and say no to you, then go elsewhere and say I want a, b, c, d, e features X I saw did this way, can you do the same for nothing?

          But I could be too paranoid so sometimes I do as you say.

    • Juanjo R

      I’m not so sure people care…as this following piece satirises, its all about simplistic associations and identifiable cliches…


  26. Gege Le Beau

    To those who said the Greeks are corrupt who don’t pay their tax (nothing could be further from the truth), well, this is what happens when you take to the streets fighting for an alternative to austerity, actions few well paid commentators would ever be seen within a four mile radius of.

    Warning: violent scenes

    • Deco

      There are Greeks who do not pay taxes. Except the Greeks see the rich avoiding their taxes, and decide that it is absurd that the rest of population get stuck with the bill for their behaviour.

      In Ireland, we also have rich people avoiding taxes. Just do a scan of the top 10 listed richlist in Ireland. We know Michael O’Leary pays his taxes, because he keeps reminding us. And Sean Quinn pays the taxes to either NI or RoI, whereever they are due. But not so sure about the rest. In particular the Green Jersey brigade who love pressing the patriotism button but who seem to be running away from the boys and girls in Teach Earlsfort….”the TAX Diaspora”….

      • Gege Le Beau

        As you know Deco, there are the Greeks and there is the Greek elite, two very different and separate entities. Elites just got away with murder.

  27. adamabyss

    Off topic here posters; thank you for your indulgence:

    I was wondering if anyone saw the Vincent Browne show last night on TV3 and the almighty row between Kieran Allen, Constantin Gurdgiev, Declan Ganley and a well spoken lady who was shouted down and marginalised (as they usually are on this show; quite often by the host as well)?

    Link here: http://www.tv3.ie/shows.php?request=tonightwithvincentbrowne&tv3_preview=&video=37439

    I would be interested in what posters thought of the contributor’s opinions and demeanours.

    Thanks, Adam.

    • Colin

      If Lenin was still alive, he’d call Kieran Allen a useful idiot.

    • Colin

      This Patricia Callan of the Small Firms Association is getting a lot of airtime, she was on Vincent Browne this week and just appeared on Pat Kenny’s radio show. She wants to scrap Sunday Premium Payments. Its just another day of the week according to her. I say, in the most unparliamentary language possible, F**k You Patricia Callan, F**k You! Keep your shops closed on a Sunday if you don’t want to pay the premium. The sky won’t fall in if your cafe/shop/take-away doesn’t open on a Sunday.

      • paddythepig

        Are you saying that someone who wishes to work on the Sunday for a wage that doesn’t include Sunday Premium Payments, should have no right to do so?

        • Colin

          No. If Joe Idiot wants to work on a Sunday for the same rate as on a Monday, then that’s fine, let him work.

          But an employee who is asked to work on a Sunday and doesn’t feel inclined to do so, you know, he doesn’t consider it like any other day, he might like to have Sunday Lunch with the whole family, or kick back and read the Sunday papers on a lazy Sunday, or participate in a football match by playing or coaching or God forbid attend Church etc…. well, he should not feel compelled to work in the first place on a Sunday, and secondly if he is put under pressure to come into work, then he should be paid more for it. And if Joe idiot starts moaning about being paid less for doing the same work as someone who values their Sunday time more, then tough sh1t Joe Idiot – you made your bed you lie in it. But you know what’ll happen in reality, the manager/owner of the business will start making things difficult for the employee who values his Sunday, he’ll be given harder tasks, he’ll suffer snide remarks, and Joe Idiot will be lauded and trumpeted as a team player and made employee of the week and so on.

          What about teachers, lawyers, accountants, dentists, estate agents et al….can we not ask them to work on Saturday as well as Sunday and expect them to have the same bonus percentage rate increases as the cleaner, cook, waiter and the rest of the people working weekends?

          • paddythepig

            Why is the guy working a Sunday an idiot? If he chooses to work a Sunday, and if the employer chooses to pay him, what’s the problem? I don’t think that makes him an idiot. It has nothing to do with you, if you choose not to work on a Sunday.

            I don’t see any difference between teacheers, lawyers, accountants, estate agent … nad cleaners, cooks and waiters.

          • Colin

            No, the guy who doesn’t value his Sunday is an idiot, unless he doesn’t want to have anything to do with his family. The guy who works 7 days a week will end up with poor health. The guy who works on a Sunday at a Monday rate is an idiot. Look, I’ve done shift work before, evenings, nights, weekends, all unsociable hours, but I only did it because I was paid a lot more to do it. I would have refused to do it if there was no shift/weekend allowance. I’ll have you know your health suffers badly on these graveyard shifts, called that for a very good reason.

            If you see no difference between professionals and minimum wage workers, go try and start a school and hire teachers that opens Saturdays and Sundays, or expect an accountant to start your accounts on Saturday morning and have it finished on Sunday evening … but you know where the accountant will tell you where to go, don’t you?

            Do you want Gardai to have their shift allowances eliminated? Well, hope you don’t need to call them when you need them at night after your house is broken into, or when thugs intimidate you or your family late at night on the weekend. Night Nurses will pack it in, choosing day work only, the sick will die at night, all because there’s no recognition of unsociable hours. Sure air traffic controllers will ground all nighttime and weekend flights too if they don’t get compensated. You see, society needs people to work these hours and society recognises the impact these hours has, and awards them more money for the sacrifices made by these workers.

          • Colin

            I should just add, society does not need the local coffee shop to be open to serve Cappuccinos on a Sunday afternoon. People can manage without them for just one day, believe it or not. So, if the owner doesn’t like the Sunday wage rate she must pay, then she can simply close on Sundays, and be satisfied with profits from a 6 day working week. What’s wrong with that? If she’d determined to supply caffeine rushes to her customers, then compensate the staff for the Sunday, simples!

          • paddythepig

            You think there aren’t accountants who wouldn’t work on a weekend to get work? There are loads of accountants unemployed. If they want to work at the weekend to support themselves and their families, good luck to them. They are not losers at all.

            Somebody who works Sunday doesn’t necessarily work 7 days a week. I know people whose day off is during the middle of the week, and they do stuff with their family during their day off. If they don’t want to keep this arrangement going, they are free to leave their job, or train for a job where these demands are all subject to their free will. Nothing to do with anyone else but their own free choice. What is wrong with that?

            As for my local guard, I’d be happy if he ever did a day’s work at all, instead of skiving off, appearing at the odd funeral, or snoozing in the station.

          • Colin

            Absolutely, plenty of professionals who value their weekend time off more than you do. All accountants offices in every town and city in the land are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Ditto lawyers, dental surgeries, physios, gee….they all seem to value their weekends. Bet you John Allen doesn’t work on Saturday or Sunday, tell us please John? My GP never works weekends, Monday to Friday appointments only, he doesn’t want the extra money and he uses the weekends to do things like the ring of kerry cycle today. Not everyone is hungry for Saturday/Sunday work you see.

            As for people who work SMTWT with Friday off as you outlined, they can’t take their kids out of school during term and take them shopping/park/match(no friday afternoon matches anywhere I know)/beach, because the school won’t let the child off for that reason. Its antisocial no matter what way you cut it.

            Hope your remark about Gardai doesn’t end up biting you in the arse someday when you’re in your hour of need.

            But listen, I’m not stopping anyone working on a Sunday if they want. I’m just outlining that its a sacrifice working on a Sunday, and should be denoted by an increased payment. If you wanna work Sunday without an increased payment, hey go for it paddythepig. All I’m asking is that you respect those who do not wish to work it, and respect those who are demanded to work it by getting more money for it.

          • paddythepig

            Colin, I never disrespected anyone for their views on Sunday working. You did. You were highly disrespectful to Patricia Callan for her views, you labelled people who disagree with you on this topic as ‘idiots’, very disrespectful as well.

            You are fully entitled to your views on this topic, no-one is denying you that.

          • Colin

            I didn’t call anyone here an idiot, lets be clear about that. Someone who volunteers to work for 25% less than someone else is obviously not too clever, would you do it? I don’t see people marching on the streets saying give me work at 75% of the minimum wage, do you?

            Callan is a nasty piece of work, she was caught out with her muslim chef story on Vincent Browne – her story didn’t add up and she was embarrassed into admitting as much. She wants to screw the lowest paid people in this country, she makes Mary Harney look like a commie.

            You are supporting a neo-con ideology. I don’t know what occupation you have, but I’m sure you are not working in a coffee shop on a Sunday, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you ran a coffee shop that opens on a Sunday to satisfy your greed.

          • paddythepig

            Colin, it’s not like you to engage in semantics. You did call people who would work Sunday for a reduced rate idiots .. now you’re calling them ‘not too clever’.

            But you’re right about one thing. I don’t work in a coffee shop.

            Nor do I own one. But if I wanted, or needed to work in a coffee shop, I would. And I wouldn’t appreciate someone else imposing a price on my labour, just because they wouldn’t work for that price. The price would be between me, and between the employer.

            Neo-con? Come on, you’re scraping the barrel there. I’m arguing for people to be free to set their own price.

            If no-one wants to work at a lower rate, the employer is forced to raise the rate, or stay closed. That’s the market at work.

            Your stance is anti-jobs. If you don’t want to work Sunday for a normal rate, I respect your right not to do so. But I don’t think you have the right to expect everyone else to have the same view, and for that view to be imposed on society in law.

          • Colin

            Paddythepig, how about you go into your boss’ office tomorrow and tell him that you want a cut of 10% to your salary in solidarity with Patricia Callan’s drive. Any idea what your boss will say to you? He’ll probably say you’re an idiot or not too clever.

            Please show me the research showing that cutting salaries of low paid workers increases employment. Stephen Donnelly TD, a man who is independent, said on Dunphy’s show yesterday that there is absolutely no research showing reducing low paid wages results in higher employment.


            I’m not anti-jobs at all, I’m certainly anti-exploitation. I’ve argued all along for the last 4 years here that we should have a government jobs stimulus programme, there’s a lot more infrastructure here that needs improving. I don’t expect high salaries, 2001 level salaries for skilled engineers will do me, but I aint gonna work for 1991 level salaries, nor am I gonna work for free.

            I made it quite clear I don’t want to stop people working on a Sunday at a Monday rate if thats what they want to do. I’m arguing this course of action is not wise on behalf of those workers when there is law there entitling them to earn more than a Monday rate. And you’ll have further problems of having two camps inside a workplace, one working at premium, the other not. This will be a minefield for the manager, since bias in favouritism will become prominent, and you will have the premium group people feeling they’re gonna be scapegoated when anything goes wrong, and they’ll take the employer to court if the employer becomes biased, and the employer will lose!

            Finally, you say your wages should be set between yourself and your employer and no one else. Well, you’re calling for the scrapping of the minimum wage in effect, as you may be prepared to work for below the minimum wage by that argument. I believe Minimum wages were enacted into law to prevent employers abusing employees. Almost every country in the developed world has a minimum wage law. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for you to change the world here and convince the world they don’t need minimum wage legislation. Start your own political party on this platform, and if you get elected to the Dail, I promise I’ll walk up and down outside Leinster House in my jocks. In a perfect world, you are right, but this is a far from perfect world, where nefarious employers are two a penny in this great little country of ours.

            Paddythepig, I also notice that I answer all your queries, while you don’t answer all of mine. Seems like you are nitpicking, and zone in on one angle of my arguments. Have you found a Dentist or GP or Lawyer or Accountant who’ll take Saturday / Sunday appointments? Let me know when you do, because I’d love to know where they are.

          • paddythepig

            Colin, why not just do a simple search on minimum wage on Wikipedia for example, and scroll down to ‘economics of the minimum wage’ for example. You could then logon to Youtube and see what Milton Friedman has to say on the topic. Would he rate as a valid source of opinion in your eyes, or would you prefer to stick with the ramblings of Stephen Donnelly? Not that you have to agree with Friedman lock stock and barrel, because I don’t. But his argument does have some merit in my opinion.

            As for doctors, lawyers etc … well I can’t speak for them. But I can tell you this. If they needed the work, they’d do it on a Sunday for whatever they could get. Any person would, if push comes to shove.

            As for estate agents, well I really really can’t comment on them at all, as I don’t really rate what they do as a real job.

          • Colin

            Paddythepig, can you show me the link to any research report that myself and Stephen Donnelly seem unable to find that suggests cutting low pay and minimum wages results in higher employment? Its a simple request now, isn’t it, and don’t tell me to google it for myself to find.

          • Colin

            Also, how is it you can’t speak about doctors and lawyers while you can speak ad infinitum about coffee shop workers and the minimum waged? Seems like a contradiction there. As for any person would if push comes to shove, well I’m afraid you’re wrong. I know plenty of people who refuse to work on Sundays, even if that means cutting back on a few luxuries.

            And what’s this about Milton Friedman? You quote him to support your argument and then tell me you think he’s full of wind?

            Also, please post here tomorrow and tell us what your boss tells you when you look for a 10% cut in pay, looking forward to hearing that one.

          • paddythepig

            Now that’s laugh out loud funny. You quote Stephen Donnelly, but you turn your nose up at Milton Friedman.

            You seek to impose your labour price on someone else. Why would you do that Colin? Are you afraid of competition?

            Since you’re so enamoured with labour price inflexibility, sure wouldn’t it be great if we doubled the minimum wage, and gave quadruple pay for Sundays? That wouldn’t impact the economy at all, and no unemployment would ensue.

            And all this from the man who was telling us a few weeks ago, how delighted he was that the price of his pint was coming down. Now Colin, tell us all, what would happen to the price of the pint if a. We deregulate the price of labour b. We impose further costs on the price of labour.


          • Colin

            ….I’m still waiting for your link paddythepig. Show me the evidence please!

            I didn’t turn my nose up at MF. I pointed out your schitzophrenic approval/dissaproval of his thoughts.

            I’m against ruthless Dickensian competition, I’m all for fair competition.

            Doubling minimum wages, it would be great, especially if we Print Baby Print all those Euros, Quadruple pay on Sundays? No thanks, I’d like to relax and unwind, but go for it if you like paddy.

            Come on now, what did the boss say this morning, we’re all dying to hear that one, could do with a great laugh. Are you gonna change your name to paddythemartyr?

          • Colin

            Oh, and as for the pint, yeah bring down the price, but not the wage, bring down the VAT, but not the wage, bring down the Brewery’s price, but not the wage, bring down pub overheads like Sky Sports subscriptions, but not the wage, bring down rates, but not the wage, bring down rents, but not the wage…… do you follow me now paddythemartyr?

          • paddythepig

            Colin, you’re not for competition at all.

            Your asides about me asking my boss for a 10% cut in pay, are silly, a vain attempt to avoid the core issue. Everyone knows that if your labour is priced in an open market, people don’t volunteer for unilateral pay cuts. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t accept a 10% pay cut if market conditions determined that their current wage is unsustainable. Or if they lose their job, they cut their price if they find it hard to get a new one. I’ve done this before Colin, I’ve no problem with it. Have you done it?

            You also seem to be obsessed with doctors, lawyers and estate agents – in an attempt to make it appear that wage flexibility should only apply to lower paid. Wage flexibility should apply at all levels.

            Your failure to see the impacts of doubling the minimum wage shows how out of touch you are. And forget your ‘Print Baby Print’ malarky ; it’s not worthy of (on my part) an attempted serious discussion on labour pricing.

            You should concentrate less on talking about running about in your jocks, or other silly asides, and deal with the core issue.

            What effect does labour pricing have on the jobs market?

          • Colin

            Ah Paddy, I knew you’d bottle it with the boss, you’re all for the lower paid taking wage cuts, while “I’m grand lads, no pay cut for me” is your answer when the question is put to you. Look, if you feel strange about asking your boss, I’ll ask on your behalf, send me an email at paddythemartyr@gmail.com and pass on your boss’ email address and I’ll do the request for you since you’re your so keen on people working at lower wages. You see, I don’t hear coffee shop workers demanding the Sunday premium should be withdrawn, its just the nasty cut throat people at the small firms association who are calling for this.

            ……I’m still waiting for you link which shows cutting wages produces more jobs, come on now, surely you read it somewhere and have misplaced the article somewhere. This is the core issue here my friend, go back to the top of the thread and you’ll find that.

            You do know the minimum wage increased by more than 60% here in the space of about 8 years, in a period where there wasn’t any Print-Baby-Print, so there’s no reason to think it couldn’t be doubled in the next 8 years if the printing presses were turned on and up to 11. Didn’t David explain the whole “Memo to ECB, Print Baby Print”?

            You say wage flexibility should apply to all professions, well you see Doctors and Dentists numbers are controlled by the Medical Council, through they number of approved college places, so I guess that’s not fair competition in your book, so what’s going on about that paddy? Nothing!

            You seem to believe in zero touch regulation, otherwise it aint kosher competition for you. Don’t think you’ve learned the lessons about light touch competition.

            By the way, I’m looking forward to my next cheapest pint, I’ll make a toast to paddythemartyr when I have it.

            Maybe this fella inspires you.


          • paddythepig

            Colin, live in a state of delusion if you wish, it’s your call.

            We all know the type of competition you favour. It’s not the sort where people are free to set their own terms, it’s competition where everyone has to engage on your terms.

            As an exercise, try going into google, type in a few keywords like ‘minimum wage’ ‘employment’ ‘effects’, and see what comes up. The bit of initiative will do you good.

            I must hand it to that Stephen Donnelly lad though. He sure has you in his back pocket. He produces an article full of the vacuous consternation, and Colin buys into it hook line and sinker. He takes home the big public sector salary, the fee for his so called article, an what do you get … an even bigger chip on your shoulder … an even more trenchant sense of injustice. I take my hat off to him.

          • Colin

            ……..still waiting for you report backing up what you claim, that lowering the wages of the low pay will create employment.

            I’m not in anyone’ s pocket, but I’d say you’re so far up Patricia Callan’s arse that you know what she had for dinner last night.

        • Philip

          Look…nobody wants to work on a Sunday. They may be desperate to work for anything on a Sunday and that what you are really saying is leverage this fact on the desperate becasue we can maximise margins on the backs of the desperate and make others desperate by creating competition among the poor. What a disgusting approach to people and life in general.

          I find it laughable to believe that for the sake of a few hundred a year an retailer will fire an individual – but they would gladly spend many times that much hiring an accountant for better tax avoidance.

          • Colin

            Apparently we have muslim chefs who are only dying to work on a Sunday, but the Indian (Pakistani in reality) Restauranteurs can’t employ him because of the extra €3 or €4 an hour the restauranteur must pay.

            But the question I have is why are we importing chefs when we have plenty of Irish ones on the dole? Did Irish chefs not learn how to make a curry in chef school? Are they confined to Ireland once they are qualified and therefore unable to cook foreign cuisines? Funny that because all the Pizza makers near me seem to be Pakistanis, so there you go, you can learn how to cook other nationalities’ cuisines? But what are they doing here?

          • Gege Le Beau

            I thought Kieran Allen did very well, I thought Ganley and Gurdgiev very poor, some really off commentary from two I would have expected more from, never got above elementary level.

          • Juanjo R


            He’s a pretty good speaker – I saw him last Saturday ( week) at the ULA forum but seriously just try reading one of his books – that would give anyone lots of real ammunition to hit him with. Actually – just trust me on it and don’t bother reading – its basically a waste of time.

            The russian doctor and the pseudo american neo-liberal were pretty intolerant and poor, that I certainly agree with.

      • Deco

        Does Ms. Callan honestly believe that having workers earn less for Sunday afternoon will make the customers spend more ?

        Surely if you pay people less, there will be less money spent.

        The whole thing is purely about pushing up margins.

        This was never an issue in the binge era, because the margins were good – now that margins have thinned, ideas are showing up to reduce wages.

        To be honest, the arguments of employers in this type of debate can sometimes end up in absurdity.

        Besides, we need to switch off the continually shopping is life nonsense for at least one day a week.

        “Consume less – live more” !!

        • Colin

          Yes, when Callan was pressed on the Indian restauranteur on the VB show, she started humming and hawing, and admitted she didn’t scrutinise the Indian man’s argument, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she just made that whole story up!

          We’re supposed to believe Irish crony capitalists are now public service organisations first and foremost, and profit making enterprises in small print. Give me an effing break love!

  28. Tull McAdoo

    To follow on from the above it might be useful to establish just who these duopolies and oligopolies are and what areas they control in Ireland.

    On the aviation front we have Aer Lingus and Ryanair who between them operate about 90% of all flights in and out of Ireland. Aer Arann do run some flights of their own but also run what is known as Aer Lingus Regional flights. Ryanair are interesting as they took on the establishment of Aer Lingus and ruffled some feathers especially with Colliers outfit at the Dublin Airport Authority. However it could be argued that Ryanair came to prominence as a result of an allocation of some landing slots in London that they “Picked up” back in the good old days. Wink. Wink.

    Next up we have the re-establishment of BOI and AIB as the so called “two —pillars” of Banking and between them they will control about 80% of the high street banking. Now we know their track record for ripping of folk to pay for writing off loans for their pals going back to CJH and Garret the Good. It was only when Bank of Scotland Ireland entered the market that the absolute rip-off in mortgage rates was addressed. Ansbacher fraud, Currency exchange fraud, dormant accounts fraud, mis-selling to old folk fraud………..

    Energy with the best paid Electricians on average on the face of the planet courtesy of the ESB with their chief Exec. McManus becoming a multi-millionaire for leading the CHARGE if ye pardon the pun. Their competition is Bord Gais believe it or not. Bord Gais were allowed to under—cut the ESB so that they could say that they had thousands of customers and represented fair competition Ha and then of course we had Airtricity entering the market to transform it from duopoly to oligopoly or was it the other way around with the GAS Company. Oh Dear. Oh dear.

    Passenger Services on the High Sea’s any takers there? for that one….. anybody????………

    Phone Services both landlines and Mobiles Monopoly? Duopoly? Oligopoly?

    Internet Services providers????……..hello is there anybody reading here…

    Suffice to say that the list is fairly complete, all encompassing if you will.

    State Capitalism is what you have in Ireland. It is there to serve the needs and wants of the insiders and their minions. It is administered by the Dept. of Finance and implemented by their glove puppets in IBEC and ICTU.

    IBEC look after licences, capital projects etc. for their members and pals while ICTU through benchmarking and the like’s of Croke Park deal look after their members. We all know now how the IBEC members bankrupted themselves, while at the same time running rip-off Ireland, while we also know now how people in the public service will sacrifice front line services in order to preserve their un—justifiable wage demands. It is not by chance that you hear a Hospital consultant saying that 200,000 Euro was “chicken feed” in terms of pay while one of his European colleagues working in Germany was happy to perform the same tasks for 80,000 Euro.

    So to summarise we have State Capitalism for the insiders supported by our taxes.

    We have a multi-national sector mainly American, supported by low corporation tax regime etc. and more importantly for them by a “docile workforce”

    We have the landed class supported by subsidies etc. from Europe and massive transfers as a result of planning decisions and so on.

    Free market Capitalism me bollox… cop yourselves on people…..have a look around the country and try and find the bigger fools. When you cannot find the bigger fool it means the bigger fool is YOU…… sorry to be so harsh and negative but somebody has to try and bring ye to your senses……

    • Deco

      We all know now how the IBEC members bankrupted themselves, while at the same time running rip-off Ireland, while we also know now how people in the public service will sacrifice front line services in order to preserve their un—justifiable wage demands.
      100% correct.
      i) It takes an extraordinary amount of stupidity to end up bankrupt after overcharging a captive market – and somehow or other large sections of IBEC managed the feat.

      ii) The classic example is the man who implies that he is the heir of James Connolly (now that Joe Duffy has stopped), Jack O’Connor – how much is on again as SIPTU boss – how many times the industrial wage is that again ? Plus David Begg, Des Geraghty (The FAS Fun Factory), Blair Horan (Vote Yes to Lisbon – because Brussels is paying for D2, not that the Irish no longer can afford it) – plus all the quangoes.

      Where possible avoid giving money to either.

      IBEC/ICTU is a subversion of the democratic process.

  29. Philip

    What I see is the good old ship titanic of the financial industry already holed by the CDS iceberg and sinking. We are now entering an accelerating phase where China is about the get the export drop shock and hard landing, US will default and the Euro is shagged and anyone with any money has nowhere to put it.

    And here we have our good host talking about a possible salvation leveraging tertiary activity and maintaining that diaspora will help us. There is an element of “fair maidens dancing at the cross roads” about this article.

    Time to wake up. Ireland along with many others is undergoing profound change and we are still analysing it using tools which worked well in the past but are now useless.

    The fundamental flaw which I see is not only in the financial industry but is also in most industries that rely on some common logistics or support framework. It is called “homogeneity” brought about by a global suppression of competition via acquisition and over regulation all of which seeks to stabilise and maximise margin. We use the same financial systems, search engines, food, enery systems etc all controlled by a handful of players. As any old systems engineer will tell you, these systems by their nature fail catastrophically. Witness the financial systems. I suspect we will soon witness similar problems with food, water, oil production and even the internet. Like every organism, it everntually suffers the 3rd law of Thermodynamics and entropy has its day. Entropy can never be reversed. History in all its forms shows this again and again.

    20th Century has seen the most massive progression in global systems and the 21st century will see the most massive collapses.

    We have 2 choices.
    1) Hope for the best. Which is really all we see happening now. And try and re-ignite what we once had. neo-liberalism etc etc
    2) have a law against any enterprise or organisation which is over 100 people.

    I think we are in for a wild ride lads. Get used to growing yer cabbages and winter storage.

    • corkie

      Pssshewwww. Philip, That was the sound of your comment flying over the heads of all except those trained in the engineer’s black art. What I like about the laws of thermodynamics is that they had to create a zero’th law because the first law wasn’t fundamental enough.

      I’m not as convinced as you that our phoney banking and financial systems are a good fit for the application of these laws. But I do agree about the upcoming wild ride. The reasons for it are not the present machinations of the systems but just good old shortages of raw materials, oil, energy, metals etc.

      Bear in mind that a lot of effort is being put into making it impossible for most of us to freely grow our own food. As a trivial example see if you can obtain a viable Hop plant for yourself.

  30. John Q. Public

    This diaspora business is a bit dreamy for me. Do the diaspora really care about their ancestors really?

    • imithe

      From Homer Simpson’s Words of Wisdom: “You tried your best and you failed miserably.The lesson is ‘never try’ “.

      Are you Homer Simpson in disguise?

      • John Q. Public

        Not sure what you mean. If you mean never try, then I would disagree. Do 2nd and 3rd generation Irish Americans/Aussies/Argentinians etc. care about their ancestors? gimme a break! Most people outside Ireland have never heard of the place.

  31. As a recent immigrant to the US, I still have a deep interest in how things are progressing/regressing back ‘home’ (Yes, it’s still home to me).

    While all new ideas and initiatives are to be encouraged, I find this particular idea a little bit depressing. It reeks of synthetic paddywhackery and cute hoorism.

    It seems I cannot escape it at the moment. We are even exporting it! As a hurling fan/player, I’m charged $20 to watch each match with fellow fans in every bar in NYC. This, I’m told, is because of the deal the GAA has signed with Premier/Setanta. So much for growing the game in america.

    Lets invite all our distant cousins back home for a reunion so they spend money and talk business! …. Is that the plan? Talk about tinkering around the edges.

  32. Teehan

    Anyway the guy I spoke to on the train from Dublin tells me that all the bank managers in north Kerry are from south Kerry and the rest in the south and those from the north Kerry are sent to Dub, Crk and Lmk.That explains our Tull from the south and the predominance of Kerry organisations around the country .

    Anyway when they return home to the south Kerry and after crossing the border at Castlemaine they all stop for a pint .Tis a safe place begorrah and there is the music in Hanahs House or as its called Teehans.

    I am surprised why no one has not spotted the new stealth tax of €200pa for chicken husbandry at the back of your garden.Even if it is only one hen you have .So much for rural – urban divide!

    • John, I know you will like this story, I bought two mangoes in a Wicklow Spar shop today, reduced to 67c.

      At lunchtime, I ate one but there was some putrifaction close to the seed kernel at its centre.

      The other one, similar experience this evening.

      With modern methods used to extend the life of fruit, some fruits appear to react to the rays that kill the bacteria and fungi with the effect of rotting fruit from the inside out.

      Beware mangoes on special offer!

      • I am more concerned about how many eggs do you get for the stealth tax of €200pa and then gross that up after feeding costs .So the new tax regime policy is a tax on subsistence measures taken by urban people to protect their family welfare.Given that normally this activity has never been taxed before as it might have been seen as a ‘hobby’ now it is been included as though it is becoming classified as a parallel ‘benefit in kind ‘.

        It is a reflection of what to expect in the decembers budget .Will people be taxed because they have a vegitable garden for example ? Or what about if you sing in the church choir and you receive a stippend ?Taxing community associating commitments whereby giving your services without payment in lieu must be a close runner eg neighbourhood watch .Think about making your village the prettiest in Ireland ?Garden allotments come to mind .Of course the idea of a kid wanting to sell their school books and or comics or receiving winnings in a radio or tv show competition ? Now think about a kid serving mass and during funerals and weddings ?

        It is punitive and the penetration to charge for the air you breath or the life itself comes to mind .Well we already have ‘water charges’ forming a cavalry on your street where you live.Service charge on bins will be abolished in my opinion in next budget.

        Vat charges on normal uncooked food we eat is another consideration that will hammer us soon.

        Aside of all that no mention will be made about free handouts in the Dail and the Seanad or subsidised cheap meals in state civil service buildings .Or using the Dail phones as a free operating service to connect your friends worldwide.

        And dont forget the new revamped proposed property tax may be ‘rated ‘ according to the direction it faces ( a south facing carries the heaviest charge ) .I wonder how the Dalkey Book Festival will fare out in next years activity .

        • Small Farmer

          I remember in the early 1980′s the Revenue Practice up to then was not to allow any lady on year of marriage who married a small farmer ( up to £25 valuation ) to claim two personal allowances as Ms ‘A’ and then Mrs ‘B’ .It was a culture then that the working lady in marriage would look forward to a significant tax rebate then.

          This case was a County Galway claimant and was held in Galway in the Great Southern Eyre Sq .I had brought the case on behalf of the client .After at least three sittings she Won ( the lady client at all times was embarrassed to attend ).It was clear then that the culture practice of the Mandarins was to inhibit the small farmers and to operate a sexiest discrimination against women .It was as a result of the success of this case that the Revenue subsequently disbanded the claim in its entirity.

          The facts then were that the law did allow her to claim and clearly stated so but its legalese english was mis-read by the Mandarins and the then Practice by the Revenue was adverse to the rights of ladies who married small farmers .Subsequently the IFA and Media came on scene to publicise this significant event .

          The reason I quote this case is that there will be in my opinion some bugetary scheme to tax the taxpayer soon that will be unenforceable for legal reasons so we must be vigilant .

          Lastly , the basis of the Finance Acts upon which our tax system is based is ‘Equity’ and that word is clearly defined and honoured in years past to date ( well almost ).

          So the Question we must ask ourselves as the new further austerity measures unfold is : ‘Is it Equitible and can the taxpayer afford it’ ? Not withstanding the enscrined rights of the families in the Constitution we need to question the motives of


          The alternative is that the dynamic middle class will end up in a small enclave surrounded by an uneducated underclass of mass propotions and lost in a sectarian strife to claim their lawful rights .

        • Excuses

          Apparently on local radio this week a TD explained the reason they are taxing the hen in the urban garden is to ‘prevent the spread of Swine Flu ‘ and with the approval of ‘NOONAN’.

          • Merchant of Death

            We have already seen how the economic policies of the previous Minister for Finance gave name to Slave Trading in Ireland of all its citizens.

            Now with the arrival of ‘AUSTERITY ‘ we now have a new Merchant of Death of all its citizens in Ireland.

    • Malcolm McClure

      John ALLEN: Lots of good stuff here but fear that the ‘chicken tax’ is a suburban myth. Is someone confusing a henhouse with a second home? Or is someone converting a second home into a deep litter house– when they couldn’t find a buyer?
      Sshhuuuush! You heard it first here!

  33. Posters with their links and comments are sometimes really on the ball on this site:


    cbweb says:
    May 15, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Re Dominique Strauss-Kahn, what a very odd story, the guy is 62yrs old, in the middle of top level negotiations, not a rock star on coke? He was taken off his own plane due to join talks on Greece and Portugal. Did someone on Wall Street decide they didn’t like his position? Or maybe I shouldn’t have read ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’ by John Perkins? Is this a similar story to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ongoing problems fending off similar attacks. Was he set up, most strange indeed?”


  34. No Article in todays SBB by dmcw

  35. adamabyss

    Off topic again. I notice that KBC bank are advertising a lot on TV and the net these days. They are a new name to me although apparently they have been in operation in Ireland for 35 years. David is always talking about the necessity for new banking licences to be issued. How about everyone just transferring their money over to KBC and seeing if they will do any better with it than the two ‘pillar’ banks? Anyone have any pertinent information on KBC?

  36. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2011/0702/1224299938422.html

    Here’s some inside on the above story. Have reliable information the story is pure propaganda. There are not 2000 jobs currently unfulfilled and available. Could be its a honey story to add to the myth we need to hold CT to 12.5% to ‘bring all these jobs’ to Ireland.

    Multinationals provide a good jobs footprint to Ireland but ’2000 jobs currently unfulfilled and available’ is false.

    I know people at PhD level with experience of the jobs market some of whom have been forced to emigrate though they possess the highest in qualification.

    They say the jobs are not there.

    They also point to the scam of the HR recruitment market in Ireland. These are people who’ve been called to the 4 telephone interview jobs followed by the day long apprentice day when you play games with your recruiters and fellow job seekers on the hoped promise of another day to follow through on more of the same.

    Meanwhile the HR people are coining it setting up these useless exercises eg internet IQ tests, Internet Language tests, etc for people at PhD level!!

    Could it be they are claiming not be able to fill jobs that would end their search fees?

    The HR industry in Ireland is a scam that should be investigated.

    It might also be helpful if American Chamber of Commerce published the info on those 2000 jobs that are allegedly available, that is if they have not disappeared into the scam ‘internship’ hole, to see if they really exist and cannot be filled, or have not been filled by ‘Irish’ graduates.

    Or perhaps this is just the latest cat’s paw propaganda to support low levels of Corporation Tax alongside other scams to protect the interests of the insider’s extraction of rent form our society.

    Kudos for Gene Kerrigan today in calling for a maximum wage to complement our minimum wage.

  37. The word ‘aid’ package for Greece and Ireland has been bandied about. Its a bastardisation of the term ‘aid’ meaning the furnishing of help, support, relief. Our renegotiation of our ‘bailout’, another bastardization of the term ‘bailout’,


    means both Greece and Ireland instead of the writing off of portions of massive debt that will not be repaid, have agreed to economically crippling loan terms, on top of previous loans, that with their austerity and asset selling conditions, only guarantee the turkeys of Greece and Ireland will be fatter when Christmas comes around!

    I believe we’ve an extra 1% more to pay on our ‘bailout’, but am unclear of its implications though I reckon its due to as longer term, links to details if anybody has them?

  38. thirdeye

    The example of the normans protecting the new land they took over and the link with start of the GAA was revelaing in itself.Irish American lady chatting in the local pub with the natives and the wider Irish diaspra have kept their link to Ireland but have added the characteristics of the various countures they have resided in at present as American is the can do and succeed attitude.Strong Link to their fore fathers homeland but still with a “foreigner” outlook on our current problems.IRO idea has added for both the local and people of Irish heritage a link as you say we could foster.Are we too far away removed or too stubborn in the political elites to take on board what happened in Argentina as an example.Present Irish Party Politicians of FG,LABOR,FF,GREENS, who dance to EU tune and not their own national music.Politicians who appear in the present government like the last government not to listen to peoples concerns and the mantra that europe is correct and rejig our finances to fit into an economic model that does not work.Greece and Ireland may be the grip of EU/IMF but it appears by the political elites within Ireland has better chance to go back to the markets then Greece due to our export anf foreign based companies for me does not make any difference when both countries appear to hamstrung to protect French and German shareholders and any divergence from this paln will not be tolerated by the eu elites appear not to appear to take in the individual circumstances of each bailed out country like Greece,Ireland and Portugal.Euro is in a new version of the ERM debacle will happen if either Spain or Italy will cause the breakup of the euro as money in the fund has to stay at a certain liquidity level to protect the A++++ rated countries of Germany and France.

  39. CitizenWhy

    Perhaps next Easter Monday someone could write a “Happy Birthday, Ireland” along the lines of this brilliant piece on the USA.


  40. Noonan has announced CT is down 7% on year results, doesn’t really know why, CT tends to vary, could be they are offsetting against investment infrastructure.

    Doubt it, Mr Noonan, suggest Sarkozy et al behind the scenes have scrambled enough influence to clamp down on Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich CT.

    All of which begs the gombeen question as to why a Min for Finance can appear on RTE news and state he can’t tell why tax figures under any given heading including the simple arithmetic of CT, can be down by 7%?

  41. adamabyss

    It’s dead around here. No one could even be bothered replying to me regarding KBC Bank, haha.

    You would swear that the economic depression had passed and all was well with the world. Maybe it’s the calm before the storm?

    Here’s an article from the BBC on the Chinese property market -


    I know that Deco (and others) expect that the bubble will pop over there and they could be right but at least the Chinese government seem/ed to be trying to avert a major event – looking for the proverbial ‘soft-landing’ (!).

    “It is this kind of speculation that the Chinese government is attempting to rein in, using a whole raft of measures.

    Earlier this year a property tax was introduced, together with a ban on bank loans for a third property.

    In addition, first time buyers now have to make a minimum down-payment of 30%, and those buying a second property must find a 60% deposit as well as paying higher interest charges.”

    Why couldn’t the muppets around here have considered similar measures? Too busy lining their pockets no doubt (although I wasn’t here at the time and don’t have first hand experience).

    Apparently, Cowen was heard to say back in the day “Keep building the f**ckers!”

    • Colin

      The Chinese have no day of rest, or Sabbath if you want to call it so. Money has become their God. Over the years the Chinese have an awful rep for gambling much like the Irish have a rep for taking a drink, and you know what they say about gamblers – that they really want to lose all their money.

      The only country doing well these days is Israel. Its surrounded by aggressive and hostile neighbours, and even attracts Irish do-gooders intent on acting the maggot there over around the port in Gaza, and yet throughout all this, its undergoing a hi tech revolution, attracting billions of investment and providing their people with plenty of jobs. And listen, you know what day of the week it is there, because everything closes down on the Jewish Sabbath, and lo and behold, they have a thriving economy, low unemployment and people can go without their cappuccino for one day a week and live to tell the tale.

      • CitizenWhy

        Please, Canada, Botswana, and several Scandinavian countries are doing quite well, thank you very much. I am sure there are others.

        And in secular areas of Israel, such as Tel Aviv, no one goes without their cappuccino on the Sabbath.

        • Colin

          Yes, sorry, some Israelis are secular and visit Starbucks on a Saturday, and sorry I forgot to mention Canada and Scandinavia, but I think Israel is still outperforming them regarding venture capital investment per capita, and when you consider how small Israel is and that it has no oil, gas, iron ore or rich fishing grounds, isn’t it remarkable how well Israel is doing? And all that achieved even thought there’s a nutjob a few hundred miles away dreaming of wiping it off the face of the earth!

          • CitizenWhy

            I agree that Israel is remarkable as a society. And I a well aware of its hi-tech successes, knowing people in the USA who work with Israel in setting up operations in the USA.

            No one dares say it, but the really big question in the Middle East is, “Why can’t Arab countries be more like Israel?” Turkey, a non-Arab country led by a moderate Islamic party, is making strides in the direction of a fully modern, entrepreneurial society. And Iran, a non-Arab country, is making strides in technology (however much these strides are bent to perverse ends).

            Perhaps Israel is what it is precisely because it is not “blessed” – or cursed – with commodity resources. Countries blessed/cursed with extraction riches are the most prone to corruption and backwardness. Evil, forceful people know how to grab those riches for themselves, removing them from being a resource for society as a whole.

          • Colin

            Good points there CitizenWhy.

            Look at the list of Nobel winners, and its dominated in the physical sciences by Jews over the last 100 years or so, and yet Jews only make up less than 0.1% of the global population. The Arabs are still dining out on inventing Algebra (even though the concept of 0 was invented by the Indians, which the Arabs borrowed) 1000 years ago, and the world has passed them by in the meantime. The Jew has always valued education down through the years, and a love of learning and a love of books is fostered in that culture. And now utter survival is forcing them to push the boundaries of science to make their country safe.

          • CitizenWhy

            At one point in history Arab societies were far more advanced in math, science, and learning than European societies. But their universities” were places where a leading scholar would attract students and other scholars for a while, until a key death or a few deaths caused the collective learning enterprise to melt away.

            Meanwhile, in Europe in the early 1000′s the Code of Justinian (the Eastern Roman Emperor who had Roman law codified) was rediscovered on papal lands, after being lost for hundreds of years. The Pope, a learned man, took possessions and declared that the Papacy would be the sole authority in interpreting the newly discovered code. He and his scholarly advisors decided that the laws they would promote would not be bound by the precedents in the Code. Instead they would distill the principles behind the preceding decisions and that future laws would then be written and cases decided based on those principles, thus allowing for innovations (res novae). To advance the knowledge and practice of the law and these principles the papacy founded the first university (Naples). It went out of existence but the second, Bologna, exists to this day as do the many other papacy sanctioned universities of Europe (now secularized). In setting up these universities it was also decided to revive the curriculum of the old Roman universities – the trivium and quadrivium. Hence the liberal arts (which include math and science).

            In setting up these universities the model for faculty was based on the model for monasteries – that is, there would be a system of “professed” (proven) scholars/instructors on permanent payroll who would choose younger people to become professed in turn and take over university chairs, thus making the enterprise of collective learning permanent and cumulative. And subject to historical changes (like the Enlightenment, empirical science, and secularization). Without going into detail the graduates of the law faculties brought the rule of law even to the most authoritarian and totalitarian of monarchies an principalities, paving the way for social revolutions and the capacity for class mobility for the ambitious and talented.

            My point? Advances in knowledge and science by Jews would not be possible without the existence of the university systems of the West (now also Asian and global). All done, by the way, without the Irish, if I may dare say such a thing. Intellectual ambition and intelligence can’t go very far without a social institution to channel and advance them.

            The history of the rule of western law, the concept of human rights and the establishment of universities is laid out in detail by a Harvard Law Professor by the name of Henry Berman in his book “Law and Revolution.” The revolution (res novae, also meaning innovation) he is referring to is the revolution brought on by the medieval papacy. Berman is Jewish.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Hang on a sec, CitizenWhy. You appear to take it as a given that the Roman concept of ‘civilization’ as enhanced and promoted by Roman Catholic instituted universities represents an acme of human endeavour. That ‘renaissance’ swept through Europe and penetrated our own shores with Norman and later English invaders. The Brehon Laws of the native Irish were swept away contemptuously and the Irish were brain-washed to believe that an aristocratic ascendancy, supported by the church and educated to be an elite, had rights to property and obedience that far exceeded anything the Brehon Laws had envisaged.

            It is almost unknown and ignored by most scholars, but deep in the fastness of remote Tyrone, Fermanagh and Donegal the people maintained their resistance to the new-fangled concepts of ‘civilisation’ right up to the death of Shane O’Neill in 1569. Those peoole were the last to be ‘converted’ to the foreign ideas of ‘civilisation’ as promulgated by the Catholic Church and Its English supporters.

            It is occasionally noticable in the responses to DMcW’s blog that some of us have a deep-seated suspicion of elites and gombeen men, who are the inheritors of that old alien order. We may not realize the reason for this, but somewhere, written perhaps in our genes is a reverence for an old order of things that has now totally disappeared.

          • Colin

            Yes, I agree with your point. None of the Jews who won Nobel prizes came from Islamic countries, and remember pre 1948, a very large % of Jews lived in Islamic countries. Couldn’t see Lord Sugar (You’re fired) get to where he is today if he grew up and lived in an Islamic country.

          • CitizenWhy

            Malcolm McClure,

            I do not pretend to be expert or even well informed on the Brehon (Brahmin in Sanskrit) laws but I do know that they in essence were not confined to Ireland but extended through Celtic lands all the way to Armenia and supported a thriving trading culture because they had enforceable and uniform contract laws (including trade and marriage). The Celtic lands seems to have found a way to flourish under the rule of Judges, abandoned by the Hebrews in favor of a centralized kingship for defensive reasons (but with those who became known as Samaritans dissenting). This may have worked because the Celts lived in very fertile lands and were not under attack.

            Until the Romans. An English professor wrote a book a number of years ago ago about the Celts and their political economy. One of her main points was that the Celts were enormously wealthy and Caesar wanted that wealth. He won (ireland and Britain excepted, Britain conquered later). And Ireland certainly lost out to the Normans/English because it was a decentralized tribal society, however virtuous and lawful it may have been in many ways. Brian Boru was able to introduce a well governed centralized defensive system, including a regular system of taxes (Boru), but that all collapsed after his death due to tribal squabbling.

            One of the reasons Rome was able to conquer Britain was the Celtic custom of holding contracts sacred. The Celts in Britain felt they had a contract with the Romans and therefore were safe from Roman plunder. They were wrong. Then Romans, and Empires, did not hold contracts/treaties sacred when they interfere with their interests. The US did not respect its treaties/contracts with the native Americans, at least not when racist populist rule (under Jackson) replaced the patrician and well educated rule of the founding fathers, especially the Federalists, who strongly supported the terms of the treaties.

            In Gaul (France and Spain), after the Roman conquest the local Senates (largely made up of Celts) governed their city-states in a remarkably progressive manner, putting taxes to successful use for the public good and even manumitting most slaves (with a fund to get them on their feet). The long Celtic custom of the rule of law and the recognition of the humanity of all classes, combined with Roman organizational and government structures and the forbidding of human sacrifice, produced a humane (but not perfect) society not sufficiently studied when the history of Rome is dealt with.

            My main point about the rule of law had a context, which is simply that Europe was already under the rule of arbitrary despots and a dangerous feudal system (although some manorial law granted legal rights to serfs, due to the influence of the monks, great landlords themselves). The rise of the universities and the rule of law began to moderate the totalitarianism.

            Again, I don’t know a great deal about Brehon law but I doubt that the commercial and religious societies it supported could have given rise to the advancement of scientific knowledge. And Ireland is certainly better off with universities than it would be without them. Universities were an import, not home grown. And one way Irish Celts were kept in oppression was to deny them a university education, and later to make it very difficult to get one. Indeed if China develops a rule of law (its lack is the chief source of outrageous corruption and injustice) it will be because the university graduates are pushing for it. And Saudi Arabia, recognizing its social and religious backwardness, is focusing its modernizing and religious reform efforts on the formation of Kind Faud University.

            Other threads running through this discussion are the immaturity of Irish institutions and the cozy, tribal “insider” way of governing. The two are related and certainly make the gombeen man a reality. But not everyone who runs a prosperous farm or business and thrives in modern society should be labelled a gombeen man, especially if they make it a point to stay away from politicians.

            The main problem, beyond mis-governance, is the acceptance of neo-Liberal doctrine, a doctrine designed to use a banking system to multiply consumption and debt and to concentrate great wealth in a few hands. The purpose of any other system of running the economy (including social democracy, a form of market capitalism) would be to create widespread prosperity, since prosperity is a good thing and does not need to be based on imprudent consumption.

            The rule of law is not equatable with the misrule of Neo-Liberalism.

          • @citizen why

            The main difference between the brehon laws and the new foreign roman laws was in the former the laws were formed from the bottom up and the latter the laws grew from the top down .Brehon Laws were closly related to the Laws of Nature .

          • @Malcolm

            re “The Brehon Laws of the native Irish were swept away contemptuously and the Irish were brain-washed to believe that an aristocratic ascendancy, supported by the church and educated to be an elite, had rights to property and obedience that far exceeded anything the Brehon Laws had envisaged.”

            I think in large part this was due to the forward looking leaders of 1916 executed in 1916. I’m thinking of the history of the USA following its bloody civil war, that gave freedom to confederate/union slaves.

            In Tennessee initially for a brief window in time of less than a decade, blacks elected from districts with mulatto and black majorities, sent reps to the state assembly. There they worked to get civil rights, better living conditions, education for their communities. However. The backlash was the rise of the KKK and subsequent Jim Crowe laws eg subordinating the right to vote to property rights, literacy, etc. For another 80 years until the 1960′s there was not one black member elected to the state assembly.

            In Ireland, following the death of the ‘visionaries’, the revolution was hijacked by deeply conservative forces in Ireland.

          • @Colin

            Re ” isn’t it remarkable how well Israel is doing?”

            Try telling that to the Palestinians or those in Ghetto Gaza, or perhaps you mean the body count?

            Re Jewish success in the sciences. The success has come indirectly from Judaism, in particular Bar Mitzphah coming of age around the age of 12 yrs. For this the kids are not only educated in ritual/history/religion but in particular are prepared to come forward and read the Torah, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_and_Bat_Mitzvah

            We are doing away with the requirement to memorise literature/texts so we’re going to lose out on information, skills crucial to learning itself.

            That is why some universities are requiring special courses to deal with literacy deficits at university level.

            I’d say their success is not attributable to Judaism per se, but to skills in reading and learning that are a byproduct of their religious beliefs.

          • Colin

            jeez…..I’m putting out fires on all sides here these days….

            cbweb, you know damn well I’m talking about the Israeli economy, and not the military. I take your point about the Jewish tradition of learning has stood them in good stead, but as far as I know, young muslim boys are encouraged to learn off the koran in the madrassas and yet I don’t see that producing thriving scientific communities in these countries, I mean where is the Taliban scientific programmes aimed at improving the lot of the people there?

            Regarding Gaza, why can’t it unite with Egypt, extending the demilitarized border zone with Israel? Why can’t the west bank unite with Jordan and become a de-militarised province of Jordan?

          • @ Colin,

            RE “young muslim boys are encouraged to learn off the koran in the madrassas and yet I don’t see that producing thriving scientific communities in these countries”

            Good point there. But the Koran has brought peace to poor areas under Islam compared to the chaos of drug lords and anarchy in other places. Taliban should not be confused with mainstream Islam though.

            The answer to your point maybe lies with Judaism and its presence not in poorer countries but rich countries like the US, combination of opportunity provided by a wealthy society and early discipline related to skills taught in early religious education around the Torah fed by ambitious Judaic mothers in law:)

            I’m ill informed on these matters but you have to take the US Judaic diaspora and its contribution to Israel plus the US military support of Israel and Israel’s nuclear and military programmes so its difficult to see Israel in a truly standalone guise.

            Hopefully the conflict over there will be resolved and not stolen by the agendas of religious nutters and extremists on both sides.

  42. CitizenWhy

    Standard & Poor’s has pronounced, ex cathedra from the Church of Neo-Liberalism, that Greece will be in default if the banks are made to suffer any loses based on their stupid, irresponsible loans to Greece.


    So if a barkeep aggressively persuades a drunk to have many more strong, expensive drinks, is he completely off the hook when the drunk runs over a child?

  43. AndrewGMooney

    ‘In a world where millions of Americans, Australians and British people are trying to find their Irish roots, the aim of IRO is for the roots to find them!’

    David, this is a curious notion. I don’t need to find my ‘roots’. I am a grounded tree, the king of limbs. I danced at the first Irish Dancing championships ever…..I was 10 years old. I’d won every single dancing competition in Birmingham, Manchester, Corby, London. Dublin: same place. But all except Dublin populated by economic, cultural and political exiles (and their offspring, expelled by the suffocating nonsenses of 50s/60s Ireland.

    You mention ‘British’ people, there is no such thing: it is and always has been a ‘mongrel’ race. That’s it’s greatest strength. Ditto America. Oz.

    No one born of Irish parentage in Britain fails to be entrained, entertained and ‘exercised’ by the bi-polar complexities and unresolvable paradoxes of being both a ‘subject’ of the colonial oppressor and a ‘citizen’ of the now derided, discredited and, frankly, ridiculous 1st Irish Republic.

    From this comes an almost intolerable fixation with the notion of ‘home’. A wistful aspiration that no amount of visits to ancestral graves on damp hillsides can ever reconcile or assauge:

    “I was born on a boat on the Celtic Sea, midway ‘twixt Hollyhead, Dún-Laoghaire”

    There is no ‘home’ to go back to… and there’s no ‘home’ in Manchester, Birmingham or London: just flux, chaos and creative destruction- from which enormous immensities emerger.

    Ireland needs to absorb the history, patina and presence of the Diaspora far, far more than we need to immerse ourselves in any feeble nostalgia for a grief-stricken, largely self-imposed history of victim scripts, revenge fantasies and the latest delusional credit-binge mania.

    I hopeful of a more ambitious of a 2nd Irish Republic (which I will inaugurate) which will straddle and entwine with the 2nd British Commonwealth once this whole Euro-nonsense-disintegrates.

    The recent visit of Elizabeth Windsor was auspicious in many regards. Let’s see where it leads. Hopefully to a 2nd Irish Republic that isn’t based on arrant nonsense, fabrication and acelebration of the murder of innocent civilians (Kevin Myers, Ruth Dudley Edwards and other ‘revisionists/realists’,etc).
    Sinn Fein can explain who, exactly, blew up those pubs in Birmingham that had me as a 14 year old, patrolling the night bus with my ‘Irish’ mates to stop him being attacked by skinhead morons for asking for their fare with a Laois accent.

    “I’ve been dreaming of a time when the Irish: are sick to death of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and spit upon their names, alongside Cromwell. And denounce the Tribal Mind that still salutes them: Will they salute them forever?”

    Will this go down well when I sing it in the bar of Harney’s in Loughrea? Should be an interesting night…..

    As for singing: Enya and Sinead are…. quite good. But the ONLY artist ever to be granted permission by the estate of James Joyce to directly quote his words in another art form is non other than the inscrutable, enigmatic genius that is Kate Bush. Is Kate ‘Irish’ or ‘British/English’. Neither. She is both and more. A new super-computed cultural complexity that simply eclipses anything to recently emerge from the ‘original’ Irish cultural meme-o-sphere. ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’.

    ‘yes he said was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a woman’s body’


    Full marks to Tull McAdoo for spotting my previous attempts to post under an allusion.
    I’ve popped this provocation in at the end of the string so that no-one notices. Hope I get away with it.

    • @Andrew

      Welcome back .Our native inbred removed perception is devoid of the reality you expouse. We need to cease our insular mindset and absorb the seeds of new opportunities around us before we become extinct.

    • @Andrew

      Refreshing thoughts indeed, we are indeed too full of xcelebrations of our haunted past of Joyces’s ghosts. Following Ryan Tribunal and other tribunals these were more politely demonic than imagined by him.

      In part this is accounted for by erosion of insider power in this country that has been a gravitational counter force against the future of change threatening their power base.

      Wagons encircle as we speak. Politics, Dáil, role of the presidency, public service have all been exposed as wanting in our recent crisis and have yet to pay the piper.

      We are in the calm before the storm. Next budget will dip this country with water torture that will really bring home the state we are in.

      New ideas such as Commonwealth 11 should be explored as a remedy against the EMU fail.

    • coldblow

      I never realized Kate Bush had Irish connections (according to Wiki her mother was an Irish dancer) but I knew she went to school in Plumstead/Abbey Wood, S.E. London as the year after I left her school (a girls Catholic grammar school) joined up with my own. Not sure if she was in my year or the one behind.

  44. Feature Request: developing a small flex application for the desktop.

    It will have some features such as pages with links to international sites useful to those with an interest in economics, similar page with links to sites eg DmcW, irisheconomy, namawinelake and Irish bloggers on economics.

    Another page for those wishing to get up to speed will have a basic introduction to economic texts. Small effort to help people penetrate the financial veil of secrecy around such matters. So I need good suggestions around this.

    This will be a small flash application you can open on your desktop that will run in a browser.

    Please let me have links you’d like included, or other features you would like it to include eg Twitter sign on or Skype/gmail or other.

    It will be free and I may extend it to a mobile version:)

    Enjoy the good weather, stormy seas ahead this Autumn as Government dish up the medicine to pay for their ….

  45. Malcolm McClure

    CitizenWhy: Thank you for comprehensive and well-reasoned responses to my caveat about the Brehon Laws and for pointing to their analogues in antiquity. The Celts have been identified throughout time as a Society, united by common tradition and language rather than as a Nation, rooted in a soil and definitely organized as a state.

    We bring our Celtic identity with us wherever we roam. We do not excel as citizens, as we have an inadequate sense of a state and an insufficient sense of discipline. We value the individual and the development of personality within the law rather than the organization of a national infrastructure. We are heroes and poets rather than managers and statesmen.

    Our loyalty to a nation has always been a precarious thing. Our attitude to monarchy is summed in the expression: “He has no king who has no hostages in his chains.” Hence the House of the Hostages at Tara.

    We remain Celts whether we live in America, Australia or elsewhere and we usually gravitate to other Celts for companions.

    • Gaelic was not the original language of the Celts they acquired it after they reached the Atlantic coasts of #Europe .

      • CitizenWhy

        Irish/Gaelic in its ancient form was the language of the Celtic conquerers of Ireland, a relatively new group unrelated to the builders of New Grange. Genetic research has shown that the population of Ireland is most closely related to the Basques (not true for the rest of Europe except for Great Britain), whose language is unrelated to any other language, and was probably the language of the original Europeans, and possibly the language of the builders of New Grange.

        Gaelic/Erse/Irish is a branch of Eastern Celtic, which means that the Irish Celtic invaders probably emigrated from Turkey through North Africa to Spain to Ireland. The rest of the Celts in western Europe spoke the western version of Celtic. The Milessian Celtic invaders from Spain were described as a brown-haired laughing people. These Celtic invaders were of mixed race, the language, not race, making them Celtic Gaelic Irish. Eastern Celtic may be the oldest language related to the language of the Hittites, at least a computer analysis conducted a few years ago seemed to establish that premise. The expectation was that Sanskrit would prove to be the oldest but that was not the case. Farming in Europe spread out from the Hittites.

        • Galway , Donegal , Dingle are among many names that originally can be traced to the language of western Africa and Wolof language .There is no ‘probability’ as expoused by you above.

      • Malcolm McClure

        John ALLEN: Celtic culture, which is inseparable from their possessing dialects of an initially common language, goes back beyond Hallstatt and La Tène to the Urnfield and Tumulus cultures of the bronze age. Therefore Celts everywhere spoke a Celtic dialect by definition.
        They probably migrated from the Middle East across Europe and possibly N. Africa during the Neolithic. Language features that distinguish the Brithonic dialect from the Goidelic were likely innovations that spread from a centre on the continent but never reached the lateral areas of Ireland and Spain, where the ancestral form was preserved.

        • It is confusing then if they were the merchants and tradespeople of the Romans why did they speak in a germanic tongue as the Romans did ?The Romans never arrived in Ireland but the Celts did as merchants and they adapted to Atlantis a language that already was there before their arrival.There is no gaelic comparative to any other language in central , northern or eastern Europe.

          • The CORE of Gaelic is an Atlantic Tongue that arrived along the western seabord from North Africa ….ATLANTIS.

            We speak Atlantis and think likewise.

            Atlantis was the language of Newsgrange etc and Dun Aengus .

          • @malcolm

            The Celts as you discribe them and their dialect ( and thats not a language )are more akin to the Travelling Community of today .

          • CitizenWhy

            The Celts were not the merchants of the Romans. They had their own vast non-Roman land holdings from Ireland to Armenia and they traded among themselves, producing great wealth and a great accumulation of gold. The Celts also had a sophisticated legal system developed completely independent of Rome that enabled trade and the enforcement of contracts uniformly across tribal jurisdictions, without the need for a central government. This is why the Romans set out to conquer the Celts: they wanted that wealth produced completely independent of the Roman Republic or Empire,

            The Romans did not speak a Germanic language. There is a branch of the Indo-European (Hittite descended) languages centered on the Latin dialects, which originated in Asia Minor. At one time speakers of Latin and Celtic could understand each other but that was because they both had their origins in Asia Minor. German is a much later language than Latin or Celtic.

            The Celts in Asia Minor were absorbed linguistically first into the Ionian Greek cities and later, after being conquered, into the Greek and Latin speaking provinces of Rome in Asia Minor. Meanwhile the Celts who had emigrated westward continued to speak Celtic until being conquered by the Romans (France, Spain, Austria, etc.) or by German tribes. Ireland was not conquered by the Romans so Celtic survived there until the widespread use of English. Celtic languages also survived in peripheral Roman areas such as Wales and Brittany and Galicia in Spain.

          • The Green Deception by udder Mandarins

            The 1st Republic expoused what they wanted the world to believe and that was not true ,that the Irish are a noble race with a language from middle europe .They created this propaganda because they knew no one else outside of Ireland at the time ever studied it and what the government of the 1st republic were desperately attempting to do was to convince the world we are a nation and only for that reason and should deserve its national independence as a sovereign state and being a part of Europe as a race in culture and tradition.

            This was far from the TRUTH.

            Its ethos and policy effectively caused an ethnic cleansing among those who had no gaelic tradition to find a job in the civil service.

          • CitizenWhy

            John Allen, the Celtic Revival has its maudlin points but also had some real value.

            I agree that the imposition of Irish Gaelic as a requirement for many government positions in the new independent Ireland was a huge mistake. My own mother, teaching in the slums of Limerick, was outraged when she was told that she had to teach the kids in Gaelic. She argued against this, saying that these kids, so lacking in confidence, hardly needed to be taught their lessons in a foreign language (which Gaelic was for them), belittling them and further eroding their confidence in themselves. She insisted she could not speak Gaelic, resigned her post, and emigrated to New York. Many years later I heard her babbling away rapidly in Gaelic at an Irish dance. Her nationalist family (later to be active in the War of Independence) had in fact preserved Gaelic reading, writing and speaking in an area where that language was abandoned after Catholic Emancipation.

          • Malcolm McClure

            John ALLEN: May I suggest that you consult two volumes by Henri Hubert published in 1934 entitled ‘The Rise of the Celts’ and ‘The Greatness and Decline of the Celts’. These form a well-researched source for discussions about the Celtic language. Also Colin Renfrew’s ‘Archaeology and Language’ published in 1988. To round off the story I’d also recommend Marcus Tanner’s ‘The Last of the Celts’ 2004.
            I must admit that I’m rather attracted by some of the ideas in ‘Lebor Gabala Eirenn’. Subliminal memories in Ireland go back a long way.

            Regarding your ‘Atlantis’ hypothesis, there is indeed a possibility that part of the Irish Atlantic continental shelf was exposed and inhabited during the Holocene, probably some considerable time before the construction of Newgrange.

        • CitizenWhy

          Forgot to mention that the famous statue of “The Dying Gaul,” (Gaul = Celt) is of a Celt in Turkey, not western Europe. He is naked (the Celts fought naked), with a Celtic golden torque around his neck. His conquered Celtic speaking relatives would have been absorbed into the Roman Empire as Greek speaking (the East) or Latin speaking (the West, and some in the East), or as speaking both. In general the Celts quickly assimilated and prospered, becoming indistinguishable from their conquerers.

          The conquered almost always take on the language of their conquerers in order to assimilate and prosper. The marginalized sometimes hold onto to the old language and do not prosper.

        • Our native tongue Atlantis / Gaelic is a Bushmeat tongue with its subtle clicks to find the Panther and the Jaguar .

          • It needs to adapt to Prosecute Bankers and Rogue Politicians

          • During my short flights around western Africa in the 80′s I noticed upon arrival in a remote place how the local tribes would greet the passengers with their ‘ high jumping dancing’ and firmly holding their arms straight down beside them .

            It reminded me immediately of our own Irish Dancing.

          • Malcolm McClure

            John ALLEN: Now you are stretching credulity a bit too far. Panthers and jaguars are confined to the Americas, where I have seen them in the wild. Surely you are not suggesting that the Celtic language developed across the pond?

          • @malcolm

            Substitute it with Lions and Tigers I am not a zoologist the idea is still the same .

        • @malcolm

          The original language spoken by the celts and it was germanic insofar as those that arrived in Ireland via UK as in old english etc assimilated with the Atlantis tongue already in use in Ireland prior to their arrival.

          The Atlantic Ocean then was like a modern airport terminal that provided ease of transport of large number of people safely and originally they came from north Africa.Mant stopped along the way as in Basque and other coastal area in Britanny , Cornwall , etc .Thus the reason why the only surviving evidence of Atlantis related tongues are all COASTAL.

    • CitizenWhy

      Thank you for your kind words. I sincerely believe that ireland will prosper only when its banking system and civil service system deliberately hire proven executives (as well as native Irish) from the UK and Scandinavia. This cultural influence is necessary. My own Irish aunt, running a completely modernized and very prosperous farm on excellent soil (paying part time workers quite well) was surrounded by non-Irish modern farmers from Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and Germany. What does that tell you?

    • Tull McAdoo

      Did I or did I not sort out all this old jeenieology for ye people here before back in 2009. Jasus ye are going to have to keep up here, for there’s bigger shenanigans to fry here. Anyway here’s a repost just to jog the memories.

      1. jim says
      I was thinking of all these Westmeath people that left for Argentina years ago, Nugents, Buckleys, etc and wondered, when, one of their descendants would turn up for the World Cup with Argentina, Maradonna Buckley has a ring to it, lol.The FAI would be rooting around for birth cert’s looking to sign Buckley. In return we might get a hurler for Galway, Sean O Delgado, a nifty little corner forward.

      I suppose in recent times we have aligned ourselves with the Anglo/Saxon type culture even though some people do not realise that they originated from north of the Rhine in Europe.

      We have the ancestors of the Normans, Danes, Vikings, Celts and so on going right back to the Fir Bolge and the Tuatha da Dannan and the Hunter gatherers. Recent DNA comparisons suggest that our nearest and dearest on blood lines is non other than the Basques. Maybe we are Bilbao on the Boyne who knows.

      I met a few Scanlons and Newmans one time and with their sallow complexion and tight black hair, I thought that they must have arrived long ago from Moorish North Africa, probably through the port at Galway. I asked at the time if they thought that they might be Atlantians, to which they replied that they were from Offaly born and bred. Then again so was Obama’s people, Biffo’s from Moneygall on the Tipperary border.

      How about the people on New Foundland in Canada? I defy anyone to say that they don’t sound Irish when you hear them on the wireless!!!

      I suppose in a roundabout way the best we can say is we are Homo Sapiens just like the rest of the World. We started out black from Central Africa or there about and after a bit of towing and frowning we finished up on this bit of ground.We lost the bit of pigment in our skin through lack of sunlight and became the whitest race on the planet..If ye ask me I think as a species we moved too far north for comfort, too cold and wet, we might be better off doing the Spaniards and Portuguese a favor and take all them extra houses off their hands at the right money. We could rent or set this place by the eleven months for grazing, run a bit of fishing etc. during the summer to earn the few bob. Let the last man out when the clocks change in Autumn turn off all the lights and lock up.

      Jasus people when it comes to thinking outside the box you have to admit I’m a diamond in the rough, a diamond I tells ye. P.S. can ye imagine the look on Denis O’Brien and little Seanie’s faces when all 4 million of us turn up for a round of golf and a bit of R&R in their little hide away’s down in Spain and Portugal. Leitrim to tee off at 8.30, followed by Carlow and last out Mayo when the sappy feckers get out of bed.
      March 19, 2009, 1:48 am

      P.S. Kate Bushe’s Mom was a Daly who went to London, that’s why I used to link to some of her songs. Here’s one we were saving “as Gaeilge” no less….Take it away Kate..and Goodnight Ireland ,Sleep well.


  46. The name WALES is originally a germanic tongue meaning the land of the foreigners whereby the Romans banquished the celts then to those land now known as Wales.


    • CitizenWhy

      It was originally the Romans and then the Germanic conquerers of Britain who banished the Celts to Wales. Naturally the Germanic conquerers used a German term for the Celts driven to the remote and mountainous West.

  47. Is there a flicker of life and consciousness coming back to dead FF. I actually heard Michael Martin question the judgment of colleague and erstwhile guru and partner, Jean Claude Trichet.

    Michael Martin TD noticed the rise in interest would not help Ireland’s recovery http://bit.ly/pWllXI Honahan voted unanimously in favour of the rise confirming his Lord Cardigan of the Light Brigade/General Custer profile given by yours truly on numerous occasions.

    Interesting to hear Trichet put Ireland in its place in stating ECB represented 300 ml plus across the EMU not just Ireland.

    Increasing interest rates are an attempt by Trichet to put the brake on inflation and the roaring economies of France and Germany fired up with the success of their banks in dealing with the peripherals so far.

    When will Ireland realise we’re just a flea in the ear to Trichet and his colleagues who will turn us on the spit to suit their own agenda, not ours.

    Perhaps the march to the Dail of the DOF ( O Flynn ) Ballyhea group followed by the Roscommon group this week should be seen as small scout parties. The main zulu group will arrive next Autumn as this government slaughters the Irish economy in its next budget in Ireland’s economy abattoir, the Dáil.

    Here’s Enda The Titanic as he leads Ireland’s economic recovery and return to Trichet’s ‘competitiveness’


    Or maybe like Lord Cardigan when the time comes, he’ll just leg it.

    • Gilmore on News At One crowing about the great progress we are making ‘implementing the programme’ and the great progress we are making towards ‘achieving an interest rate reduction’.

      He said its strange given the IMF/ECB and Ireland are all of the view re these positive strides being made re Portugal and Ireland, that the rating agencies are not taking the same view.

      He failed to mention the markets taking the same view as the rating agencies.

      What a turncoat Gilmore has proved to be ?

  48. The 7th ….Day Before The Full Moon

    Already we have the News of The World Scandal , ECB Interest Rate Rise , Insurance Rate Cover Rise and the Default Arriving Closer .

    Drive Slow …….the clock is tic tic tic

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