September 10, 2015

Let the homeless refugees breathe new life into our ghost estates

Posted in Irish Independent · 138 comments ·

The refugee crisis has shone a light on an issue that in Ireland is always simmering under the surface: housing. A lot of people have made the point that we have nowhere to put the refugees if they were to come here. This seems a natural thing to say when you think of the difficulties of finding accommodation, the upward movement in rents and the extreme version of this – real homelessness.


But is this actually the case? Do we have too few houses in Ireland?

In fact, we have too many.

The 2011 census revealed that there were 289,451 vacant properties (14.5pc of total stock). Of these 59,395 were classed as holiday homes. In any ordinary housing market, approximately 6pc of properties would be expected to be vacant (120,000 in the Irish case), meaning that oversupply is about 110,000.

These figure come from the very informative website

Many of these houses are in ghost estates – a term coined in this column in 2006 following a shocking journey from Mayo to Dublin, when the ghoulish scaffolded skeletal structure of these estates seemed to be springing up on every bit of available land. Well, they haven’t gone away.

Could the refugees be housed in ghost estates? Of course they could.

My daughter suggested that maybe a good thing would be to give the Syrians the tools to complete these houses that were half-built. This doesn’t sound preposterous. After all, Japanese women rebuilt much of urban Japan with rudimentary tools after the Second World War.

Could the State provide the materials? Of course it could.

Such a development would be like a giant communitarian work programme, which would give the migrants a massive project and inject life into the estates.

This is what happened in Israel when over one million Russian refugees arrived into a population of four million in 1989-90. They built their own places to stay. It is what also happened in Germany in 1945 when 10 million displaced ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe arrived into West Germany with nowhere to sleep.

Some people may argue that no one wants to live in these estates.

Well, of course some people don’t, but lots would jump at the opportunity. If you are fleeing a country, you need safety and shelter and this is what these houses offer.

You would be amazed how quickly the fortunes of dereliction can be rectified by the presence of humans, by the enthusiasm for a new life and by the real human urge to get on with things.

We should regard the potential arrival of over 10,000 people as an opportunity. In addition, many of these estates are owned by Nama. It would be a blessing to the State to have regeneration. And given that so many are built in areas where the population is sparse, why not house these families in ghost estates?

If capacity is the problem, then there is no problem. We have lots of supply. The country is small and the people need somewhere to go.

If Germany can resettle 800,000 without excess housing, Ireland surely can house a few thousand families in houses that were actually built for Irish families. We have over 100,000 houses too many.

Let’s just briefly remind ourselves before we proceed why these estates exist.

They were built by speculators, financed by banks who thought they would sit on development land until the market began to rise, they would then finish building and ‘flip’ these houses onto the buyer, making a tidy profit in the process. This is worth remembering.

The plight of the refugees has drawn attention, once again, to the joke that is Irish housing policy. Not only do we have vacant and half-built housing in the countryside, we also have 8,000 vacant houses and 16,321 vacant apartments in Dublin where there is a housing shortage.

How can this be? Dublin is full of vacant sites that could be built on tomorrow. Dublin is full of land that is waiting to be developed and Dublin is full of people who want accommodation.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that Nama is selling development land and huge numbers of apartments to speculators. These speculators are sitting on these assets, creating artificial bottlenecks in the market, pushing up the prices and waiting for the prices to go sufficiently high so that they can ‘flip’ on.

Does it sound familiar?

What is happening now in Dublin is precisely the same as what happened in the ghost estates, except for now the speculators are American funds that have deep pockets and are only in Ireland to ‘flip’ Irish assets back to Irish people at ridiculous prices. They will then move on to the next troubled country and maybe come back to play golf and high-five each other on the 18th hole over the amount of money they made here.

This get-rich-quick-scheme for foreign speculators is orchestrated by the Irish Government and this is mainly why we have a housing crisis in Dublin.

In fact, the State introduced a capital gains tax freeze for seven years in order to facilitate property buying.

So why would you not sell on things for seven years, take the rents (if it is a block of apartments) and then sell tax-free?

Rather than allow the speculators to sit on the land, why not change policy and tell buyers of land that they have to have a ‘use it or lose it’ clause, meaning planning needs to be sought and foundations built in, say, two years?

The refugee crisis has revealed again the dysfunctional nature of the Irish housing market and the ludicrous situation that in the least populated country in Western Europe you can have too many houses and too few houses at the same time.

  1. Lius


    Why can’t we provide houses for the existing Irish homless first?

    If there are surplus houses after that then give them to the refugees.

    Charity begins at home.

    • salmonofdoubt

      This argument really is a lame duck. It shows lack of understanding in so many ways: For one, homelessness is unfortunatly a fact of life in all societies. It can not be eradicated by providing free housing for anyone who needs it. Although there are people being made homeless not of their own fault, but many others are. Some of them have no desire to partake in our society. As you are well aware some have drugs problems that have destroyed their lifes and nothing but their own willpower can bring them back into society.
      And people who make your argument know that very well, which means effectively the same as saying to please never provide housing to refugees, as our homelessness problem can never be solved!
      But more importantly, our homeless people are not victims of war, where their families and children run from war ridden zones. They barely escaped with their lives and fight for survival. Unless you confused migrants with refugees..

    • McCawber

      Wrong question.
      Why do we have homeless people?
      When I see a young woman on TV with three kids and no home, I ask myself how exactly did that happen.
      Initially I don’t know but then some further information is forthcoming she’s an unmarried mother.
      Here we go again.
      Why didn’t she stop after the first one.
      Nothing forthcoming about stable relationships etc.
      But even if there was, why I ask myself am I paying for two other people being selfish and irresponsible.
      And on a more basic level why am I paying so they can have a good ride, hang the consequences and EXPECT me to pay for their bit of fun.

      • coldblow

        McCawber, really! Don’t you know you can’t say things like this? In one short paragraph you manage to be sexist, judgmental, elitist and probably racist too. What will the rest of the world think?

        • Most places they cheer.
          Most immigrants I have chatted to think the same way. Two nights ago there was a gardeners festival dinner. Of the 15 there, only 2 were Canadian born and one was 6th generation. All European stock, conservative hard working people.

          That is the other side of immigration but on the whole they are approved for entry before they arrive here.
          Unlike 10 million illegal Latinos in the US and what is happening to Europe.

        • coldblow

          You know I’m pulling your leg there, McCawber.

          • McCawber

            Yeah I got that and anyway I’m fairly thick skinned.

          • jaysus

            Definitely thick to make comments like that. Why dont we forcibly sterilise all unemployed girls over 14???

          • McCawber

            Good idea Jaysus but with a number of conditions
            That the steralisation is as painless as possible.
            That it is reversible.
            As an aside 14 year olds (be they male or female) shouldn’t be getting themselves pregnant in the first place and may, in fact, be breaking the law.

    • McCawber

      And when they’re ask what have they done about it.
      It’s oh we’ve contacted the dept. of….
      What about showing some self respect and self restraint and getting a job.
      All we get is moral blackmail.
      Isn’t it terrible etc
      What have you done for your country lately, citizen socialist?

    • Deco



      The current media mania is nonsensical.

  2. bluegalway

    Much of the world’s attention has been focused on Europe and how it handles or mishandles the refugees. Many of the refugees, mostly Sunni, are from Syria.
    My question is this: why aren’t they going to the Islamic paradise practically next door – Saudi Arabia?
    After all, Saudi Arabia is the centre of the Islamic universe, a Sunni country, and of course filthy rich.
    Instead the Syrians would rather trek cross several countries, many of them unfriendly, endure humiliation, starvation, death and disease to get to a society and culture that will take them and take care of them.
    This is a comprehensive indictment of the way of life that the Saudis (and the Kuwaitis and the other Sheikhdoms) have created for themselves in the Middle East.

    • Chinablue99

      All this is true and more … for sure we help our own citizens first …. but many would not wish to live in a ghost town….. BUT Syrians come mostly from an agricultural background so many of the displace would be more than happy to eek out a small living off the land just to be safe … They would contribute enormously to the growth even embellishment of these ghost towns … at least they would be safe for a few years until it might be possible one day to return to their country. I lived in Syria … trust me Syrians love their country .. it’s a wonderful place .. fabulous climate, good land … what’s happening now is largely the fault of the US and others waging a proxy war on Syrian to get at Iran … America, the architect of this ME chaos should also take in 1,000s … so far, precious few… it’s a crime. Sylvia

      • ‘ what’s happening now is largely the fault of the US and others waging a proxy war on Syrian to get at Iran … America, the architect of this ME chaos’

        Correct. The biggest terrorists on the planet these days are the US and NATO

        Syria is supported by the Russian military protecting a warm water, Med harbour.

    • DB4545


      What “world’s” attention bluegalway? The Islamic world? They couldn’t give a flying f**k. China? They don’t seem to be staying awake at night worrying about this. The USA? Ditto. Latin American? Hasta la vista baby.
      The world could care less. It’s a news story to serve specific interests and the usual publicity hounds will get a bit of mileage out of it and then shed crocodile tears when the cameras are around. When I hear that Bono n Bob have signed over their kids trust funds to “feed the world” I’ll know things have changed. Otherwise it’s business as usual. That’s rock n roll.

  3. Peter Atkinson

    I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of your article David but a couple of points I feel need to be made here.

    At some stage, the very ghost estates you mention must have been envisaged as suitable for housing for Irish nationals. If this is the case, why wouldn’t a plan that you set out work for our own citizens. There are Irish citizens desperate enough to escape the hell of hotel and hostel living and move into somewhere they could call their own.

    If my information is correct, the majority of these displaced citizens have left their homes through war and persecution. If this is the case it would be safe to assume that they would prefer to be in their own land and not in Ireland. The word refugee would indicate that we offer refuge, and by definition would indicate a temporary arrangement. Offering one, two and three bedroom houses and apartments would not indicate this. Possibly parish halls, disused barracks and such like would be the answer here.

    My gut feeling here is we, as in Europe are giving a green light to the worlds despots to start a war to thin out their population for economic reasons. Could you imagine had we as a nation taken to arms in 2008 to fight the perceived enemy that we felt caused our downfall.

    Yes, as in all downturns, a section of our society take to the skies, the seas and the roads in search of work but eventually those who choose to return, do so.

    I feel that once again, the real poor will get left behind in this plan. The poor I’m talking about are the poor people living in squalor in Syrian border camps. It appears that the people that have made their way to Europe are the “well heeled” who can afford the trip, I don’t normally agree with the UK government on most things, but at least they have identified the area where real hardship needs to be alleviated.

  4. michaelcoughlan


    You must have been half asleep writing this article. The second half is grand. The first half is dreadful.

    So you really think we shoud house syrians in irish houses at the expense of the Irish taxpayer with record breaking irish emigration out of Ireland;

    The figure to April this year is around 80000.

    The world was shocked at the picture of the young fella face down in the surf recently when his boat sank.

    Here is a picture of several young fellas face down in the surf the difference being a few years in age, their Uniforms and of course they are full of bullet holes.

    So what’s the moral of the story?

    The syrian teenagers arriving here should take a leaf out of the page of the dead teenagers on the beach in Tarawa and realise that sometimes in Life you have to be prepared to fight and die as a man to prevent a situation where helpless toddlers find themselves face down in the same surf.

    Take them to an army base, train them, form a free Syrian Army and send them home to sort out the problem.

    Guess what Dathi? During the troubles many teenagers from the north from the nationalist community were taken to FCA bases and trained how to use weapons etc.


  5. As David mentioned, there were 230,000 empty homes in the 2011 census. With best possible estimates, there are probably now roughly 150/160 k empty homes (give or take 15%) considering the housing market activity since 2011 (construction, new mortgages, cash buyers) and demographics (net emigration, deaths etc). However since it is over four years since the census, it becomes more of a guestimate, as unfortunately sellers of homes don’t fill out a form to tick a few boxes such as if it was empty in the 2011 census, floor area etc to make our property database more transparent.
    As I wrote in Wikipedia under ghost estates:
    ‘Of the 230,000 empty homes in the 2011 census, around 10% of these were in ghost estates. In November 2013, the number of vacant units in unfinished estates was 6,350. As at December 2014 there were 5,563 vacant homes in unfinished estates, however this figure is revised down to 4,453 homes (in the report for unfinished housing developments) as the difference is 1,110 vacant homes in estates no longer deemed to be unfinished. This means that the number of vacant homes in unfinished estates in 2014 had decreased by 30% in one year. [7] Vacant homes do not include derelict houses and homes under construction’
    Also last year only 13% of NAMA was residential with less than 15,000 homes in its portfolio. This then appears to indicate that many of the vacant homes are in areas that people actually live in (I stand to be corrected).
    As David has written before, when house prices rise, owners of homes they want to sell hold of until prices have risen further- so the housing market continues as if many of these empty homes don’t exist.
    There should be higher property tax of empty homes (that have been empty over 2 years to allow bereaved families time) as well as lower income tax for landlords who let to people on social welfare.
    Of the 230,000 empty homes in April 2011, 59,200 (25.7%) were in Dublin and its 3 surrounding counties and 95,100 (41.3%) in all of leinster. While 38,000 empty homes in the border counties was alot, it’s still only 16.5% of all the empty homes.
    The report for unfinished housing published last December details the 4,453 finished vacant homes in unfinished estates during the summer of 2014 so hopefully much progress has been made since then in no longer making these estates deemed unfinished.

  6. DB4545

    David I think you’re just playing devil’s advocate on this and exposing the farcical world we’re living in.Your last article highlighted the world of gaeltachtenomics where taxpayers are expected to pony up 1.3 million so a well heeled minority have taxpayer funded flights to their holiday homes in a Celtic disneyland.You even had what seemed to be a PR spokesperson trying to justify a job “creation” scheme for 11 people which would cost Irish taxpayers half a million euros per job.

    Do you really think 10,000 Syrians should be subjected to living in two mile borris or roscommon listening to richie kavanagh or daniel o donnell given the trauma they’ve already been through? If that’s the fate you wish for these tragic people the your return to academia has already turned you into a cold unfeeling monster.

  7. [...] Let the homeless refugees breathe new life into our ghost estates (David McWilliams) [...]

  8. Adelaide

    You may be surprised but till recently Ireland had a world renown refugee programme that many other countries copied.

    I worked the best past of the 90′s as an ESOL teacher for the (ARP) Adult Refugee Programme in Dublin and had since kept in touch with my former colleagues, I use the word ‘had’ because the government in the last decade has dismantled the support provisions for refugees. All the former structures throughout the country plus staff are no longer exist.
    So why did the government dismantle a world renown nationwide programme run on a shoestring budget? Because they conceded that regardless of whatever support is provided here, and in other countries, the ubiquitous problem has no solution, that problem being the abysmal percentage of refugees who transition to employment. So the government pulled the last plug in 2012, even though ARP’s remit was unrelated to ‘transitioning to employment’. The government in a penny
    pinching sulk simply gave up on refugees.

    For an array of reasons too numerous to detail the sad fact is most refugees spend their lives depending on welfare. Many privately admit that had they known of the new life that awaited them they would have preferred to have stayed home and take their chances. You are dealing with human beings, not cogs in a wheel. To give you an idea of the their individual prospects here is a breakdown of my last class in
    the late 90′s.

    (ps illiterate meaning illiterate in their own language, usually accompanied by low numeracy skill)(out of respect I’m mish-mashing the details and excluding the nationalities)

    A 36 year old illiterate camel driver with a stutter and no formal education, witnessed his wife’s murder, unfamiliar with a computer/
    A 43 year old semi-illiterate shoemaker with basic formal education who lost his ‘working’ hand in an explosion, unfamiliar with a computer/
    A 27 year literate mother with full formal education with three young children, her husband was abducted and presumed dead,
    difficulty in learning English due to recently diagnosed dyslexia, shows traumatised behaviour, familiar with a computer/
    A 19 year old semi-literate goat farmer with no formal education, walks with a limp due to torture, shows traumatised behaviour, unfamiliar with a computer.

    I would finally add that on average each refugee subsequently brings over three family members, so that accepting N amount of refugees in reality means accepting Nx4 new arrivals.

    The one class of refugee least likely to succeed is the male devout Muslim. I stress the word devout. Before teaching Muslims I had zero knowledge or awareness of Islam. The devout Muslim has an unshakeable belief that Allah will provide. Hence they have no justifiable need for self-improvement, Allah will put in the effort on their behalf. And when their lives are not improving, their solution, to be more fundamental in their devotion to Allah and to further indoctrinate their children. My first experience with devout Muslim men was shocking but you became accustomed to it, they openly displayed in class racism, misogyny, homophobia, religious superiority, a disdain for western culture, a lack of hygiene and care for their appearance and no earthly curiosity/interest beyond the diktats of the Koran.

    The devout Islamic mind has no place in a civilised society. Relocating it large scale to Europe will be an unholy mess and the undoing of western democracy.

    My conclusion was that accepting refugees into a mature welfare sate simply does not work, we do them a disservice, and we should discontinue it, and comparing present day migration to the then ‘new’ open country of North America is disingenuous.

    For modern refugees, running away solves nothing.

  9. coldblow

    I cannot begin to imagine how these ‘refugees’ would be allowed to finish off the work on these houses, assuming they would want to. In one historic property I was involved with the guide staff were not allowed even to change a lightbulb but the OPW had to be called in to do it (calls would have to be made via the appropriate help desk and assigned a job number). I can’t remember now but this would probably have involved a contractor (who wouldn’t work for free) appointed by a competitive tender process advertized on etenders and possibly the European Journal, or whatever. On arrival at the site he or she would have to sign in at officer and furnish details of his or her safety statement, safety method, risk assessment and tax clearance certificate. He or she would need to be in possession of a hard hat and a quality assured ladder and safety harness that had been inspected by a competent authority during a period not exceeding six months. He or she would also need to remember his or her personal password (which must be at least 8 digits in lenght and contain at least one capital letter and two numeric values) in order to access the helpdesk (calls not allowed).

    Our New Irish arrivals would soon begin to miss the free and easy days under a relatively benign dictator (on the scale these things are measured by).

    Interesting to note the 10k figure. Is this what the govt has announced or a hint to them as to what we should be taking?

    I hope they don’t have a civil war in China.

  10. davybunyip

    Ghost estates are not the answer. Do we really want to set up Syrian ghettos ? These people may not have the language, skills or qualifications necessary to immediately embed themselves in Irish culture. It will require massive resources from the state. My brother in law teaches in a primary school in Dublin where nine other first languages are spoken along with English. Will the state provide the resources necessary for the children of these refugees to assimilate into the Irish education system when the majority of our kids are still being taught in damp, rat infested , overcrowded prefabs?

    Your point about the holding of assets to drive up property prices is shocking! Is the only difference between Fine Gael and fine fail is that fine fail helped the builders and developers to inflate property prices whereas Fine Gael are helping the property speculators?

  11. peppioshea

    The documentary “Urbanized”(Gary Hustwit,2011) among several other issues regarding human conviviality in built environments, offers a few examples from around the world on how to tackle scarcity of housing and yes, one of them is to give people unfinished houses and the tools to complete them and so far has proven successful…

  12. DB4545

    The government has announced “they’ll” be taking in 4000 refugees/economic migrants whatever you’re having yourself. That’s very decent of them and I’ll be sure to go down to visit them when the portacabins are built in the car park of Leinster House. Enda is cute enough to keep his gob shut and his picture away from this story with an election pending. I wonder how the conversation with Herr Merkel went on this issue.

    “Ve vant you to take 2000 Etna” “Begorrah and bejasus sure aren’t we great people altogether boss sure we’ll take 4000 and 16000 dependants on one condition”.”Vhat condition”. “I want to be the next EU Commissioner for refugees because I won’t be re-elected or be able to walk down a street in Ireland if this goes through”. “Zat is no problem Etna ,the same thing happened with Bertie and Brian we managed to secure some post-Taoiseach work for them with little difficulty”. “Done deal boss”.

  13. McCawber

    Just a small wee question about all of this.
    Will they like our climate enough to want to come and then having sampled it, will they want to stay.
    Just wondering?

  14. cooldude

    This seems to be a second part of a two part piece to promote the now politically correct view of the very real crisis in Syria. In the first part David tried to maintain that the Syrian conflict is simply a religious conflict between two forms of the Muslim tradition who simply dont like each other. Various contributions, including mine, showed fairly clearly that this so called civil war is really an attempt by the US/NATO/Israel forces, and their local allies of Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, trying to get rid of the Assad regime by whatever means possible. This attempt came unstuck in 2013 when they tried to blame a chemical weapon attack on the Syrian government when closer scrutiny later revealed it was a staged event sponsored by the rebels to try and get enough support for air strikes. The fact that Russia stepped in with a PEACE proposal which involved independent verification of the destruction of any chemical weapons held by the Assad government obviously went down badly with the warmongering neocons in the US and their friends in Israel. Next we have this sudden arrival of ISIS, who could have been wiped out very easily by airstrikes in Iraq if the US wanted to, but they wer’nt because the US had other plans for them. Now we have the total stupidity of the US supporting Al Quaeda in Syria to the tune on $1billion to try and wipe out ISIS. Lets stop the bullshit for a minute and admit that the only real agenda is to dispose of Assad’s government because he is not the west’s puppy dog. The ironic thing about all of this is that Assad has always protected the rights of Christians in Syria and they will soon all be massacred by the mercenaries who are sponsored by the west and their allies.

    The second part of this article is even more ludicrous because we have 25,000 Irish people facing eviction from their homes this year from the greedy banksters and their “friends” in the legal and political system. Not a word about these poor unfortunates David because you are simply afraid to go there and have a look at what is happening in the courts of this country every day of the week. And don’t start the whole “deals” shite because the banks are no longer interested in deals due to the increase in the value of property. Irish people don’t matter in this neo liberal political correctness nonsense being propagated by one of our greatest turncoats Peter Sutherland the very man who organized the bank bailout from the background.

    This column is turning into a Fine Gael propaganda tool and the analysis is consistently useless.

  15. Pedro Nunez

    This seems misguided and not a ‘proportionate means to a legitimate aim’. Merkel has misjuged this, Europe needs to do what it can but its not these folk’s fault but it is their problem and like the Irish famine migrants they needed to take ‘responsibility’ and be responsible. To expect to ‘invade’ EU countries with such unmitigated sense of entitlement coming from another culture and religions seems strange.
    Empathy is good (throw a lifebelt from the river bank), ‘let’s all go down together’ by overwhelming the West with passive ‘god’s will will provide; sympathy will be end in tears.


    Premiums for silver range from 13-35% over the alleged spot world price.
    This spot price is the phony manipulated price of the futures paper market. There is a major shortage of silver with delivery now 6-10 weeks or uncertain for bullion bars and coins.
    Why is the quoted price dropping although there is record demand.

    Central bank manipulation that is why. The same bankers as create the mayhem and subsequent refugee problems. People on the street are finding prices significantly higher.

    “The main problem America and the world has is what Morgan calls “the debt bomb.” He says the debt is at the center of the black hole of our problems. Morgan explains, “We are reaching a limit. All systems reach a limit. No tree grows to the sky.”” Greg Hunter.

    The same bankers that create money for nothing, lend it as somebodies debt and charge interest. The money system requires ever increasing amounts of money,or it collapses like all Ponzi schemes, which automatically increases the overall debt until nobody can afford anything including another mouth to feed belonging to yet another economic refugee trying to knock your door down to get in.

    Get rid of the central banking Ponzi money and nobody will be able to afford a war or invasion, which are all fought on the back of the taxpayer as the national debts balloon, and we will have no refugee problem.

    All these events are staged and manufactured by the bankers to destroy the West and the cradle of modern civilization. Beware the NWO and their currency called SDR, Special Drawing Rights. They are set to ensnare you.

  17. SMOKEY

    Because I know he is actually smart, I know this article is a wind up. If i didnt know the ability of the writer and was reading this as a first, I would say the guy is on drugs or an idiot or a lefty dogooder who hasnt a rashers about construction, the management or practicals of this insane idea.
    And even if, what about the “instant slums” element it would create. I say send these iphone toting, overweight, future rappers, so called refugees, thats a laugh, straight back to thosewho caused the problem in the first place. Fuck em, we dont need them, we have enough scum on this island already.

  18. nostramartus

    There seems to be a real king canute mentality to many of these posts. The Hungarian government might have secured a few votes with their razor wire fence and riot police but it took the syrians only a few minutes to figure out they could dig under the fence and march on to germany. Even if the hungarian troops fired into the crowds they will just find another route, it isn’t much of a disincentive after missile attacks, barrel bombs and the mediterranean sea anyway.

    As for the responsibilities of other countries that’s beyond our control. We have a choice whether we want to make clever arguments or look for real solutions. If there isn’t enough residential property there is more than enough commercial property in every town and city that can be converted into residential homes with some imagination. Architecture students get free education in this country and many choose to emigrate to dubai and abu dhabi for better pay.

    They could choose social responsibility over financial enrichment if their middle class parents set a better example, but this country’s underlying property addiction overshadows all other considerations. It’s that addiction that prevents real solutions to homelessness and exorbitant rents. All arguments of employment displacement are twenty years out of date, Irish people were emigrating to Australia during the boom the balance of those left in Ireland were made mortgage slaves or drone commuters. Employment led to greater debt rather than greater freedom and wealth.

    Direct provision was a complete failure if it’s real goal was to exclude foreigners from the country, a walk through any city in Ireland on Sunday will prove that, but perhaps not the suburbs where the homogenous denial of reality can flourish. We can follow the example of the Greeks and Italians who waited for absolute crisis before reacting or we can recognise a necessity and act before houston station and shannon airport become homeless shelters. Doing nothing creates a group of third class citizens who will have to turn to crime to survive. In most cases the Syrians will only come to Ireland as a backdoor to Britain, pre-empting this with a human process of assimilation is common sense. If the economic cost is our only concern perhaps we should calculate the cost of inevitable accidents that will take place at Calais while a British Prime minister plays to grass root conservatism.

    Ultimately over time the Syrians will make their way into Britain impoverished enough to force them to use their education to work for minimum wage which enriches the establishment and will displace the educated Irish working there. Ireland needs a culture change as badly as the Germans need young workers because we’ve proven ourselves incapable of resolving a problem anyone who owns an over valued property has a vested interest in ignoring.

  19. nostramartus

    heuston station, damn spellcheck

  20. Deco

    Many years ago, I was talking with a wise man from China.

    He told me that there was no limit to the power of money to buy.

    Now, I understand. A wise man.

  21. redriversix

    With the amount of hatred , racism & vile comments I have heard over the last week..It will be a high security compound these people will have to live in.

    You know who the most dangerous man in history is ???
    No ?

    It’s the white Man

    Have a look over the last 500 hundred years at all the peoples we have butchered & enslaved.

    White people scare me !

    • salmonofdoubt

      Yes, massive xenophobia, (“I’m not a racist, but…” – arguments). On the other hand also massive individual support as can be seen in Germany, Austria. It’s a humanitarian crises, and should be seen as such. Xenophobic ranters on the other side are just that, nothing more.

      For the record though, Syrians (as they’re referred to in the article) are white people, or just people, for that matter. So your concluding statement makes little to no sense.

      • McCawber

        I prefer the other side of that coin.
        I’m white and I’m proud to be so but that’s not what makes me racist.
        I am a racist but so is everyone else.
        It’s wired into our DNA. Racism is part of our self protection mechanism. A stranger comes to town.
        Another example, I’m heterosexual and as far as I’m concerned that makes me homophobic. That’s the way I’m wired.

        No amount of legislation or brainwashing is going to change me.
        The key thing is self control and that applies to all kinds of bias.
        When you meet someone (That stranger) for the first time you categorize them, yeah night follows day too, I know.
        What you are deciding in those few seconds are things like
        Male/Female, Colour, Accent, Sexual orientation, like/dislike, trustworthy/not and so on.
        Body language is a big one.
        You do it automatically and it starts at a very young age, less than one – baby makes strange it’s called btw.
        I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture.

        • DB4545


          Can’t really argue with much there. No amount of social engineering can change people thinking what they think even if our present politically correct culture inhibits people from saying what they think. George Orwell called correctly in a lot of ways. I don’t know why white people buy into the guilt trip bullshit given that white western culture is the destination culture for refugees/asylum seekers/economic migrants. It’s not as they’re fleeing or finding refuge or opportunity in Asia or Africa.

      • coldblow

        What an odd exchange between Redriversix and yourself.

        ‘With the amount of hatred, racism & vile commetns I have heard over the last week’ For my part I have heard none of this. Are you sure you are not imagining it?

        ‘Yes, massive xenophobia, (“I’m not a racist, but…” – arguments). This last bit is a tired cliché. Can you point to any examples on this blog? Please be specific.

        Have you read Daniel Everett’s Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes about his work with the Paraha Indians of the Amazon, an isolated stone-age tribe on the verge of extinction? If so, you would probably agree with the author that they are vulnerable and in danger of extinction. Too much interference by neighbouring settled Brazilians or well meaning visitors like himself would upset and permanently damage the unique ecology of their culture.

        Cultures are like that, built up over long generations. With every language and culture that disappears the world is poorer for what it has lost. How many of the North American Indian tribes retain a culture worth the name? I have a huge interest in language and in foreign culture. I was particularly struck by a programme I saw on TV5 about the ancient Islamic library in Timbuctoo. Have your heard of it? I get up early every morning to listen to radio programmes from a variety of European nations.

        You cannot be patriotic without appreciating the distinctive qualities of other peoples, and vice versa.

        Did you read Adelaide’s comments above? Does she sound like she doesn’t care or is a “I’m not a racist but…” kind of person? Have you seen the tv reports? Have you seen how well Muslim Arabs have integrated in other parts of the world, such as the banlieus of Paris? What happens to the second and third generation Syrians brought up in foreign, indifferent lands where they are either resented by ordinary people or patronized by do-gooders who themselves care nothing for their beliefs and values? Many of them will feel short-changed by life and resentful.

        Have you noticed the recent hysteria? Or how Germany has lurched straight from a punishment beating of the Greeks into a bizarre reversal of immigration policy, coupled with an aggressive coercion of EU members who haven’t kept in step? Do you think this is good or normal? Do you seriously believe this will all end well?

        Look at the last two paragraphs from this recent Sindo article by Dan O’Brien, otherwise unremarkable for its parroting of conventional wisdom.

        Doesn’t the complete absence of debate, acknowledged by an open supporter of immigration, concern you? Can you analyse this, draw any conclusions?

        I assume you know what multiculturalism is and that you approve of it but perhaps you are not aware that it is promoted to undermine national cultures for ideological ends. (Look up Andrew Neather and ‘rub the right’s nose in diversity’ if you think I am making it up.) I assume you think you have no ideology but you assuredly do have an ideology by which you live your life, it is just that, like millions of others, you haven’t investigated it and, just as the speakers of RP don’t think they have an accent, you don’t even think you have one.

        I assume you are a young person by the tenor of your comments as your lofty condescension betrays your own naivety.

        • DB4545


          A clash of cultures is inevitable. Islam hasn’t had it’s reformation yet and I don’t want Islam’s version of the 30 year war fought on European soil. It’s like trying to assimilate millions of people who have the religious mindset of people from the medieval or Elizabethan age but who are fully tuned into modern technology and have access to modern weaponry. The Tudor kings with AK47s, laptops and smartphones.

          • coldblow

            They certainly have no place here in Ireland, both for our sake and theirs. A mixing and eradication of national cultures is the multiculturalist’s dream. I remember that song from my childhood:

            What the world needs is a great big meltin’ pot
            Mix it up, mix it up, and take the world and all it’s got.
            You can stir it for a hundred years or more
            And turn out chocolate coloured people by the score.

            I actually admire the Muslims’ sincere commitment to their own faith and culture, though I dislike much of it and think it should be kept at home. However for our sorcerer’s apprentices it comes in handy for underminining, in the name of multiculturalism and respect for diversity, what is left of our own values (which is their overriding aim) although they are playing with fire.

          • salmonofdoubt

            I probably have a different childhood background in comparision, but what I’d argue is that everyone, based on their innate human rights, has a place anywhere in the world. Just like the numbers of Irish emmigrants that have gone and are still and will always be going anywhere. But moreover, what are immegrants potentially undermining? Really? Our Christian churches that have become emptier by the week? We kept surrendering our old values all along, and establish new ones that are different and suit our times. I’d call this intellectual evolution, which should be seen as an advantage to old fashined, hard held beliefs that are just not standing the test of time.
            What I’d like to understand from this debate though is: what exactly are we clinging on? What are our values (frankly, other than “me me me!”), and who is included when defining such values? Only whites and catholics? If that’s the case then don’t tell me this country isn’t a xenophobe hub.

          • coldblow

            “anyone based on their innate human rights has a place anywhere in the world”

            It seems they have discovered a new human right and Mary Robinson should get to work on drafting the legislation.

            The reason there were so many Irish emigrants is because of the structural economic problems caused by capitalist colonialism, most particularly private property in land. It was fortunate that in later years the colonizer (GB) had an industrial revolution and could provide work, and also that the US, having cleared the original inhabitants (anticipating this new human right), were not turning away incoming labour. Can you see a difference in the present situation?

            “What are immigrants potentially undermining?”

            They will, through no fault of their own, add to the increasing anomie and impersonal character of modern life. To protect their own identity they are likely to form mini ghettos if dispersed and bigger ones if not. There will probably be a tearful welcome with people parade their pleasure and joy and acres of coverage and photos in the papers. When this dies down then what? Remember the Diana hystera (wasn’t it just terrible she was so beautiful and so young?) or the Brightest Day in Irish History last May when Irish people of every creed, hue and gender could not stop, y’know, smiling? Their arrival will add further pressure on public finances, in welfare, health and education, and it is likely that welfare rates will need to be reduced, though they won’t be able to admit that it’s because they will need to try and stem the flux of newcomers. This is taking too long. You can surely use your imagination.

            “We kept surrendering our old values all along, and establish new ones that are different and suit our times”

            You imply that the loss of the old ones is to be regretted and I don’t think you meant to say this. The second bit is interesting: we establish new values to suit the times. So you think what happens is that times just change and we have to adjudy our values to them? Who changes the times, or is this some mysterious process of natural selection? Does the choice of values not effect the times?

            “I’d call this intellectual evolution… old fashioned beliefs… not standing the test of time”

            From where I am standing this enormous change on immigration is anything but based on intellect and Eoghan Harris argues this. Perhaps it is an evolution of emotional intelligence (a concept Harris has referred to). I sincerely don’t know. I have been reading Jung recently and it could be that by some process of the collective unconscious we now find ourselves at the dawn of a new Age of Aquarius and it all works out well. I hope so, even though I hate to be proved wrong. From my standpoint, pc (which is very likely your own creed, even if you are not consciously aware) is a highly contradictory belief system which has not been tested in hard times (the years since WW2 have been years of prosperity).

            Also, regarding ‘evolution’, do you mean by the impersonal forces of natural selection? If so, how does this work?

            “What I’d like to understand from this debate is…”

            What debate? On the media? Harris refers to negative comments in the press but I have not seen one so far. On RTE? Do me a favour. Did you see David on the Late Late last night? Tubridy gave him a hard time didn’t he. Did you look at that article I linked to by Dan O’Brien on this thread, the last two paragraphs? Maybe you mean the social media. I’ve looked at Facebook and nobody wants to upset anyone else by saying anything critical.

            “What are our values apart from me me me”

            They were simple enough once. To be able to live in your own country without having to emigrate, to be content with your lot, to marry and raise a family, get a job. You know, the usual things people have always looked for. There was also a supernatural element in religion which reflected the deeper reality of human life. This was often echoed in music and literature. What is on offer nowadays?

            “And who is included when defining such values?”

            Are you serious? The politicians take direction from the media and Germany via the EU. I thought everyone knew by now who were the favoured classes and who were firmly out of favour, what is acceptable and what is definitely ‘inappropriate’. Are you still living in the 1950s?

            “only whites and catholics”

            Get with the programme. I threw away my copy of Stupid White Men because it was so, well, stupid. I regret it now as it would provide loads of material.

            “If that’s the case don’t tell me this country isn’t a xenophobe hub.”

            Cliches. Why do progressive utopians (which seems to be most people) have to have reactionary caricatures by which to affirm their own right-on-ness? “White catholics” seem to play the role that was filled in Communist Russia by the bourgeois, kulaks and anti-revolutionaris. It is beyond satire, well-padded baby boomers getting into their 60s and still indulging in the idiotic rhetoric of their youth (and believing it), still rebelling against the establishment. Furthermore why are they so shallow and stupid, intellectually speaking?

          • DB4545


            Your background or upbringing or any other personal attributes are none of my business. When you decide that you have the right to spend MY money through MY tax contributions without My consent then it’s very much my business. It seems to be a difficult concept for some people to grasp that you don’t have the right to spend resources unless you’ve received a mandate to do so by popular vote. It’s called democracy. If Enda Kenny and Fine Gael or any other party want to put the issue of mass immigration in their manifesto before the Citizens they are free to do so. Bono and Bob Geldof can do likewise if they decide to run for elected office. Use your own money or shut the f**k up. You don’t have the consent of the governed and if you try to govern without that consent and continue with this policy we will descend into anarchy.

    • All these people obtained their independence from colonial masters in the last 100 years and the usual thing is to immediately have a civil war to settle things between family!!

      Mao was not “white” and how many did he get rid of.

      I do not accept the white mans burden or the guilt trip that goes with it. All people are just as culpable when given the chance. Native Americans enslaved native Americans. Africans sold Africans into slavery.
      The list is endless and so are the blood baths etc.

  22. Bamboo

    Before we panick more, we should wait and see if these people actually want to come toIreland.

  23. goldbug












    Russia protecting its military base and oil supply routes adds to refugee problem in the West. ISIS is the pretend target for all this misery caused by the war on terrorists. Terrorists funded in the first place by US (read as us too) and NATO vested interests to attack and destroy Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya to name a few.

    All funded by Central bank fiat money charged at interest as a loan to every taxpayer in the Western hemisphere. Next time you pay taxes at the till think about what that money is spent on. It does not seem to be local social services which are now unaffordable, but we can still have the money to wage war. Have a look at your national debt and figure where the money came from and where it went to.

    The action in Syria is drawing in all the local Middle Eastern shake downs and despotic Emirates that are on our side for the moment. Have a look at Yemen too. It is now a Saudi war zone.


    Most refugees are stuck in camps in poverty.
    The ones making it to Europe are likely only those with the resources to pay for bus, boat and train transit once they walk far enough to find it. Maybe Eurpope is getting just the fringe, the cream of the crop, while the real problems are in the countries neighbouring Syria. They are overwhelmed.


    Partial suspension of the Dublin Regulation[edit]
    Main article: European migrant crisis
    Under the Dublin Regulation, if a person that had filed for asylum in one EU country illegally crosses borders to another country, they shall be returned to the former. During the 2015 European migrant crisis, Hungary became overburdened by asylum applications to the point that it stopped on 23 June 2015 receiving back its applicants who later crossed the borders to other EU countries and were detained there.[133] On 24 August 2015, Germany decided to suspend the Dublin Regulation as regards Syrian refugees and to process their asylum applications directly itself.[134] On 2 September 2015, the Czech Republic also decided to defy the Dublin Regulation and to offer Syrian refugees who have already applied for asylum in other EU countries and who reach the country to either have their application processed in the Czech Republic (i.e. get asylum there) or to continue their journey elsewhere.[135]

  27. coldblow

    Apologies, this one goes on and on. I was tapping away at it at odd moments throughout the day and I haven’t got time to do any editing.

    David has always been straight about his views and I am grateful that he welcomes open debate here. I want to move at a slight tangent from the article to the main issue and explain why his view, which is shared by the great majority of our politicians and media, but certainly not by a large part of the people, is wrong.

    I simply dismiss most media commentators on this because they haven’t thought it through, are simply following the (new improved) conventional wisdom and don’t really know what they are talking about. I make an exception for Eoghan Harris, who is also disposed to conventional wisdom, but who has the ability to question it, and who also challenges his opponents directly.

    I mentioned the other day that in Saturday’s Daily Mail Matt Cooper wrote about the need for the heart to rule the head on occasion and Harris wrote about it in the same terms in the next day’s Sindo, here:

    I’d like to respond to that here.

    ‘Last week some political commentators took a ‘let’s be realistic’ stance against economic migrants – whom they did not distinguish from political refugees.’

    I have heard several commentators refer to these. I accept that Harris knows what he is talking about but I have not seen any of these critical opinions. I don’t read the papers all much. I haven’t seen (DM, Indo, Sindo) or heard (Marian Finucane Show, Prime Time) anyone publicly challenge open borders. Everything is in the other direction. Ireland might be described as a liberal democracy but is more of a democratic dictatorship in these matters which are deemed as already decided and removed from public debate (except in rhetorical terms).

    ‘They then struck brave poses, claiming their stand was not popular. In fact it was exactly what Insular Ireland wanted to hear.’

    It is most definitely not popular in media circles and is popular among some ordinary people but not all (I’d guess it could be half and half). You would need a lot of courage to write in support of it in the papers or open your mouth on air. If I wasn’t used to commenting even here, and be sure of my analysis, I don’t think I’d open my mouth even on this blog. Look what happened to John Waters when he had the temerity to sue RTE (only after they failed utterly to retract). As far back as the early to mid 80s Desmond Fennell made himself most unpopular by daring to criticize his peers. He later wrote that people would take him aside and quietly tell him that he was right and he would ask them to say it out loud.

    ‘Insular Ireland – we don’t know whether it’s a majority or a minority – is always ready to read excuses for its own lack of empathy.’

    So he’s in the same boat as me about the numbers. Half of the country are extravert and they will largely be sympathetic to open borders, vice versa with the intoverts. He can reasonably argue that it’s about empathy but it isn’t all, or even mainly, about empathy.

    ‘Insular Ireland’s idea of an ideal opening line is this: ‘Terrible about the toddlers, but we must not let our hearts rule our heads.

    ‘Yes we must. It was heads not hearts that led to Hitler’s Holocaust and Stalin’s Gulags.’

    Good observation about opening lines, it’s what I would imagine hearing myself. I am not sure if he is right about Hitler and Stalin. Emotion played a big part in the former’s appeal at any rate. They were both utopian enterprises, to bring about a new order which aimed to bring about human perfection along rational scientific lines.

    ‘Pundits who pander to Insular Ireland’s prejudices also play to Insular Ireland’s ignorance.’

    Again, I haven’t seen any of these pundits myself, apart from Brendan O’Connor in the Sindo this Sunday last, who spent nearly all of his column prasising Bob Geldof and then at the end said that it probably isn’t the right time to take in refugees, not just now.

    The ignorance is surely on the other side. Columnists keep asking what, if not desperation, is driving these people on these long dangerous treks. But that is not the point. The most recent Prime Time told us very little. One speaker, a spokesman for an aid organization probably, said that people were in the water. But why? Boats are sinking. Again, why?

    After five minutes searching I found this, from the National Post, Canada, 16 April 2015:
    ‘Trafficking gangs sending migrants on perilous journeys across the Mediterranean are tipping off Italian officials in advance so that their boats can be picked up by coastguard an naval vessels’

    ‘The gangs have become so confident that their boats will be picked up that they even reduce the amount of fuel each vessel has before it sets out from north Africa, a former manager in the U.K. Immigration Service has revealed.

    ‘Yesterday, Laurens Jolles, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the latest drownings showed the need for a “strengthened and efficient capacity to carry out rescue”. He dismissed the possibility that it would make the problem worse, describing it as “an argument used by those who want to prevent anyone coming in from [?] Europe”.

    ‘However, Leese [Graham Leese, formerly of the UK Immigration Service and special advisor to Frontex, the EU's border control force [whom I have never heard of] disagreed. “The U.N.’s idea that one is obliged morally to take in people coming across in boats is a dangerous one because you are encouraging the very process that you are seeking to stop. Some of these people are desperate, but a good proportion are economic migrants, and either way, you shouldn’t be encouraging people to risk their lives in a boat.”‘

    We are told about evil traffickers and unsound boats but there is no attempt at analysis, only a reliance on good vs evil cliches.

    Harris again:’They [the pundits pandering to prejudice] do so by conflating bona fide refugees, for whom there is much public sympathy, with picky economic migrants.’

    Once they leave the war zone, certainly once they have left the camps, they are now economic migrants. The public is not stupid. They know that conditions in many parts of the world are not any better than those in the refugee camps so all are deserving of sympathy, that in perhaps most of the globe chaos, starvation and danger reign. They also know that Europe cannot solve the problem of world poverty by mass immigration. They suspect, as seems to have been confirmed from reports, that many of refugees from Syria are motivated by the desire to improve their lives.

    ‘But 70pc of those that entered Europe by boat this year are not economic migrants but refugees.’

    Such figures are wide open to dispute. People may suspect that those doing the classification are understandably sympathetic. By my criteria above none of them are refugees.

    ‘They have a legal right to asylum because they are in fear of their lives from war, rape and persecution in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria. ‘

    Any legal rights surely depend on the people’s willingness to admit the sense and reasonableness of such rights. People would ask why they don’t turn to their neighbouring states for shelter so they can return when things improve. It is reasonable to assume that along with economic security they are also seeking personal safety. People suspect, equally reasonably, that this cannot be solved by allowing mass immigration.

    ‘The refugee crisis is not caused by economic pressure but by four arned tyrannies. These are ISIL and Al-Qaida in Syria and Northern Iraq, the Taliban and Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Al-Shabab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria.’

    I am used to hearing those pressing for liberalizing immigration arguing that it is hard, if not impossible, to distinguish between economic and war refugees. The same people would argue that you cannot distinguish between the deserving and the undeserving poor. Even if border officials can make the distinction (and I argue that once they move from their first safe area they become economic refugees) the effects are likely to be mass immigration.

    ‘So if Insular Ireland, and its EU counterparts, really want to stem the stream of refugees it must tackle these four fascistic forces.’

    Recent experience in regime change (Saddam’s Iraq) have proven to be disastrous and there is little reason to think that further attempts along these lines will bring anything but more misery.

    As I said, Harris focusses on the heart rather than the head.

    We have seen four recent instances where emotion has overruled reason, or was likely a big factor in it:
    Cameron was reported to have been emotionally affected by the previous Labour decision to repatriat the convicted (but unlikely) author of the Lockerbie disaster and to have insisted (against the last ditch effort of Tony Blair to change his mind) on the move to overthrow Gaddafi, which has led to Libya’s degradation to the level of Somalia in terms of chaos and danger.

    Conservative ministers such as Michael Gove were openly swayed in their desire to launch air strike against Assad by emotional factors. Gove admitted in an interview (which I linked to here a few days ago) that he was still moved by the aftermath of an attack on a Syrian school. Luckily the plans were defeated by Westminster. This had been primed by the likely false flag chemical attack on his own people by Assad which were reported in emotive terms, with tv cameras lingering on dead and injured infants and children.

    Merkel’s apparently sudden volte face on immigration appears to me to have been dictated by her heart. It will be interesting to learn what actually happened when and if the story comes out.

    The reaction to the child’s picture which turned public opinion on its head.

    Having said this there are two ways of looking at the world, heart and head, which seem to be identical, or closely linked, to extravert and introvert attitudes. My views here are from the latter and, while those of the extravert side appear to me to be clearly mad, I cannot say which view of reality is correct, if either. When the sun of feeling is shining brightly in the sky the stars of reason are invisible. However the Pope, an extravert, spoke out in favour of the refugees and it is possible that this is a blessed insanity.

    • coldblow

      Another disaster which appears to have been triggered by mass emotion and foolish, misplaced ideas of honour seems to have been WWI. The Belgian guarantee, when you look at it, did not commit Britain to war. They seemed to have got carried away with themselves.

      • DB4545


        I don’t think anything Eoghan Harris has to say can advance any rational debate beyond the principle that he has the right to freedom of speech. This is a man who was nominated and by Bertie for the Senate. The interview of Harris defending Bertie remains a classic. Harris’s body language throughout the interview was clearly at odds with the words coming from his mouth. The other members of the panel laughed in disbelief. I accept that people can change their perspective but moving from Marxism to the Workers Party to Official Sinn Fein to Fine Gael to the Ulster Unionist Party and then on to Fianna Fail takes some ideological acrobatics. When I see Harris I’m reminded of a gentleman from Northern Ireland(now deceased) who was ready to lead the gullible into battle (providing he had an audience) but quickly left others to do the dirty work and serve the prison sentences.

        • coldblow


          You link is to Wikipedia which is useful if you want to find out the weight in kilogrammes of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall. It is also useful if you want to know what the conventional opinion is about everything under the sun. But it doesn’t contain the actual text of the Treaty which, last time I read it, did not commit the signatories to go to war, or anything close.

          Gladstone in 1870 recognized the vagueness of the Treaty when he made specific, limited commitments over the Franco Prussian conflict. Grey and the rest of the British cabinet would certainly have known this but chose to give the impression that the Treaty bound them. The British had been cooperating closely with France in naval matters and it seems as if the govt felt obliged as a matter of honour not to disappoint them. It is interesting to note that the the Treaty was set up in the first place to protect Belgium from ‘France’, Britain’s usual enemy, not Germany.

          I must look into it more some time but I think Grey’s impassioned speech in defending Belgium (which, like Poland a quarter of a century later, was not helped) will turn out to have been yet another case of emotion carrying the day. Britain’s interests were clearly best served by staying out of it yet it chose irrationally to sacrifice a generation and put itself at the tender financial mercies of the USA. Or as Eoghan Harris and Matt Cooper would put it, the heart won out over the mind.

          • Maybe “honour” played a greater role in Britain in those days than it did in Germany.

            “Belgium’s de facto independence had been established through nine years of intermittent fighting, the Belgian Revolution. The co-signatories of the Treaty of London—Great Britain, Austria, France, the German Confederation (led by Prussia), Russia, and the Netherlands—now officially recognised the independent Kingdom of Belgium, and at Britain’s insistence agreed to its neutrality.

            The treaty was an important document, especially in its role in bringing about World War I. When the German Empire invaded Belgium in August 1914 in violation of the treaty, the British declared war on 4 August. Informed by the British ambassador that Britain would go to war with Germany over the latter’s violation of Belgian neutrality, German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg exclaimed that he could not believe that Britain and Germany would be going to war over a mere “scrap of paper.”[6]”


    • redriversix

      Eh Merkels change of heart ?….

      has to do with having a opportunity to get a lot of workers for minimum wage. .

      while the citizens of that fine industrial country which never got a hand out or a bail ot.have to move around the World managing their newly acquired assets.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Sublime concise and superb as usual.

      • michaelcoughlan

        “while the citizens of that fine industrial country which never got a hand out or a bail out”.

        Not exactly true a a lot of debt was cancelled after ww2 and a lot of money poured in to rebuild the place buuuuuuuttttt…………

        your central point re prosperity is very pertinent and leads one to conclude that for doing the job properly in my view using Austrian economic principles instead of US and UK Keynesian ones they weren’t bailed out or handed out they were BOMBED OUT.

  28. Adelaide

    Stefan Molyneux: “What Pisses Me Off About The European Migrant Crisis”
    (30 min talk)

  29. redriversix

    Well , all the above articles & comments after mine are wonderful & intelligent and very lofty for after dinner discussions ( suppose that would be a “cook out” to you Smokey ? )

    But the bottom line is that the west has been fuckin over the east for years..& Africa and anywhere were else we explored or conquered.

    Maybe the reason the West is so attractive to refugees or asylum seekers or whatever you want to call them is because “we” had the industrial revolution whilst their Countries were stuck in feudalism or family hireacies for hundreds of years..? Or it could be a lack of information on their part ?

    Anyway..The fact still remains…white men and western civilisations have been killing , destroying & pillaging non-white countries , islands & continents for years.

    The West has treated middle eastern Countries with disdain for years..
    .imperalism, colonism, democracy v communism. .propping up Government friendly to western ideals no matter what that Govt does to its people….

    Saudi Arabia leads a coalition in Yemen fighting rebels… America & Britain sells weapons to Saudi.

    Saudi funds & supports Isis in Syria , Iraq or wherever they are today

    Al nusri in Syria is supported by America but it is a AL Queada group…

    Which was set up by the C.I.A to throw Russia out of Afghanistan in 79…

    And these few examples of fuck ups that happened because powerful white people in the West would rather talk & write lofty crap than try & face facts…

    The West could be the biggest sponsor of Terrorism. …

    Who knows ? We sure do not have “right” on our side…

    Oh , the hijackers on 9/11…wasn’t 17 or 18 of them Saudi ? Amerika sure did a great job in bringing democracy to Saudi Arabia didn’t they ? ?…

    Muppets (see puppets)

    • coldblow


      Thanks for the laugh. I suppose the comments are on the whole intelligent in comparison with your own simple but heartfelt contribution, but not loftier. Lofty descries the sudden generous new policy of Ireland its EU masters, in the middle of an unprecedented economic meltdown, to reverse its immigration policy and invite the Third World to give them their huddled masses. I acknowledge your extraordinary generosity and that of millions like you on the social media.

    • coldblow

      By the way Ireland didn’t colonize anyone. Ireland was colonized, for longer than any other nation on earth. I think Bermuda or somewhere like that comes next but the period is more than a century shorter. One of its legacies in Ireland is provincialism, which combines fierce local snobbery with a severe intellectual vacuum which forces them to borrow every idea from its former colonial masters and their peers. Have you noticed that nothing of any real importance is ever discussed in public? I don’t think Syria ever approached democracy though for a period in the 50s or 60s it might have given the vague impression of it. Still, they might be able to teach us a thing or two about it.

  30. DB4545

    This again demonstrates the need for local democracy in this Country. If David wants to allocate resources for housing in his local area using his tax resources and those of his neighbours he’s welcome to do so providing he has their consent. If the good people of Dalkey want to spent their resources to provide for the needs of 4000 or 20000 new residents that’s their choice. I suspect that if David put that proposal to his neighbours by way of a popular vote he might run into some difficulty.

    So why does he think he has the right or the consent of the people living in a different part of the Country to have their lives turned upside down? We changed the constitution to accept that we don’t have the right to govern the people of Northern Ireland without their consent. Why is it so difficult for people to grasp that your fellow Citizens who live 2/5/10/200 miles down the road also have those rights? We really need to consider the model of democracy that Switzerland offers. Imagine having to explain and justify to your neighbours exactly how you’ve spent their money which was collected for the common good.

    People proposing grandiose schemes paid for by your neighbours taxes would be run out of office in Switzerland or more likely would never be elected to public office in the first place. That’s why you don’t get Swiss Bertie Aherns, Brian Cowen’s, or Enda Kenny’s. It’s also why I haven’t come across the Swiss version of a Bob Geldof or a Bono. They don’t have the breathtaking arrogance to think they have the right to spend other people’s money and bank their own.

  31. redriversix

    What , pray tell ..has Switzerland got to do with it.?

    They invented the only chocolate in the world , if not eating correctly , can cause Brain damage..flooding the world with Toblerone.

    Sneaky chocolate of mass destruction…or C.M.D as the C.I.A call it.

    The future is a melting pot of different cultures , religions , faiths & different colours….Most of them from the middle east…who will flood Europe & a small percentage will have a chip on their shoulder and will be involved in attacks on the west….

    It is going to be almost impossible to prevent this…

    Happened all before…happening again

    In a truck stop in Mougins tonight in the South of France….lots of Arabs wandering around the , women & children sharing & preparing food.

    Question ?: no matter where I go in E.U the only attire on the backs of middle aged Arab men are Grey suits…always grey… is their a “Suit King” in Mecca ?
    Maybe a “Hector greys in Aleppo ?

    No waistcoats though ? Wonder what happened to the waist coats…

    Anywho..I’ll keep fuckin around down here in the real world while you college boys carry on with your pissin contest.

    Peace be upon you

    ( apart from you Smokey you Yankee imperalist Govt overthrowing barbecue eating , yard bird chasing redneck !!! How are you anyway ? )

    Footnote : can a Yankee be a redneck..or are all rednecks southern boys ?


    • michaelcoughlan

      Don’t forget to checK the trailer on the trucks rr6.

    • coldblow

      How do you know you are in the south of France?

    • coldblow


      That’s actually a clever post by you and it took me a while to work out why. It combines two extravert arguments.

      The first one is ‘Embrace Change’ (because it’s going to happen anyway and nothing you can do, or *say*, will stop it). That’s the big sign stuck on the front of the steamroller as it bears down on you. As you pick yourself off the road you can read what’s written on the back: ‘Get Over It’.

      The other one is ‘This Is The Real World’, related to the ‘Are you blind?’ and the English ‘university of life, mate’, and appeals to the self-evident truth of the argument, whose opponents are dismissed as out of touch. I have come across it a few times here, especially in the early years from entrepreneurs using it to shut up those who weren’t entrepreneurs and who they disagreed with (and usually contained the phrase ‘pissing in the wind’). It is very effective, which is why it is used so much.

      You mix in a bit of salt of the earth humour and add a nice human touch with the men, women and children sharing food bit. Who could resist? Eoghan Harris uses a variety of this kind of argument and all the media rely on different combinations. The have to as they are short of proper arguments. Personally I find it verges on the dishonest.

      Talking of the media, this is Brendan O’Connor’s (yet another Corkman) article on the subject in today’s Sindo:

      I think it’s quite good but he has, as expected, fallen back into line (remember last Sunday he was the only columnist I saw who expressed any doubt). The media are again speaking with One Voice and this huge shift in national policy can be pushed through by acclamation and without any debate.

      As regards Merkel’s recent role we will have to wait for the story to come out to know whether it was all part of a cunning plan to get cheap labour (remember there are billions more out there who will all have got wind of it by now) or a spur of the moment emotional reaction.

      And just in case I haven’t made it clear already I think it is a big mistake but I am prepared (since I know from long experience that I don’t know everything) to be proved wrong. I would love to be proved wrong. This is a desperate state of affairs and there is no easy way out. If you keep them all out it is on your conscience, if you let them all in that too is on your conscience. Is it wise to radically and permanently change the nature of this country, and Europe, if it does nothing significant to improve the situation elsewhere? We can only pray.

      Finally, how would those people are supposed to defend our borders carry on when they now have even greater doubts than they might have had before that they are doing the right thing, and when there are cameras everywhere filming them?

      • redriversix

        Congratulations Coldblow

        Go to the top of the class and have a big cigar..

        Why ?

        Well….your last good man..your last paragraph.

        Without putting too fine a point on it..The immigrants , asylum seekers , refugees ..? Whatever..

        Cast your mind back last week…cordon of Hungarian police..? Facing off to a large crowd….

        What happened ? Crowd pushed..cordon broke ?

        These people have nothing to lose !! They know the forces of the west won’t use “draconian” methods to keep them in check.

        Therefore. No one died…messed about a bit ..poor camp conditions , lack of food & hygiene. .but no one died

        That is why the West will have to take them in…

        What are we going to do that has not already been done to this people ??


        Solution ??

        Harsh maybe ..but hey ..its me !!

        The West, America Britain, arms dealers , intelligence agencies , mercenaries , Corporations , N.G.Os charity workers.. doctors .. U.N , EVERYBODY remotely western…

        Pulls out ..goes home , from Middle east , Africa etc..

        Home NOW !! Let the citizens of those fine countries , Nations or Continents sort it out amongst themselves…

        Or the techinal term being..”mind our own business”

        Oh sure you’ll have argument’s about Russia or China taking over. ..

        But a line would have to be drawn in the sand. ( so to speak )

        Anywho…just a few thoughts..

        Otherwise , overtime Europe will be kaput. ..because , and I mean no racism by this…. if you look at the slums in Paris or Marseille.

        .ISLAM does not integrate with Western society

        Just doesn’t. .They don’t. . That’s fine..but their be a storm a comin…


        • coldblow

          Le Pen agrees with you that the Germans welcome the new labour.

          In the same link the German business fed. also welcome them and want the govt to remove the chance that they will be deported once they have been hired and also the condition that the jobs have to be offered to Germans first. This surprises me. I still think Merkel was acting ad hoc. Birrell in the MoS reports about very strong reaction among a sizeable minority of Germans, though many of them are older people.

          I agree that the West should not interfere any more as everything it has done to date has backfired. I notice, according to one link, that the Archbishop of Canterbury wants military action, apparently, to save Christians there. I see is pov but I don’t think it would do any good.

          • redriversix

            No. Military action to save Christians would not do any good.

            Because it would be screwed up from the start.

            The Pope said every parish should take in a refugee family.

            The Bishop of Budapest said No.

            I don’t know what the solution will be..I fear we in the a West will trundle down the same old road , upsetting people , flaming insurgency , racism etc etc … We will not try a new approach as the leaders today are intellectually lazy and will fall back on programmes from the past to see if they might work this time

            …..and all the time the “War on Terror” chips away in the background

            The financial crisis motors along….

            People STILL getting dragged in by Property porn…

            Now…where did I put my new Kanye West Sneakers ??

  32. Pedro Nunez

    Seems to be a lot of them ‘here’ already.

    • Have you ever heard anything as ridiculous in all your life?

      What an idiot.

      • coldblow

        The poor man/woman is confused and is ‘undergoing a process’. Who wouldn’t be confused working for RTE and all the opportunities that gives to fully realize your identity? He has read through the gender menu (57 choices according to Facebook) and decided that he will take all of them, although he will only be one of them at a time, depending on his mood and the time of day. Whenever I am in a pub or restaurant I want all of it too and I reckon I could eat two or three of them as well, without putting on weight (though there would definitely be some flatulence). When he comes back to the real world he might notice that it too has been undergoing a process of late. Still, I won’t let it affect my estimation of RTE.

  33. DB4545


    Well I suppose the good news in all of this is that at least Jeremy Corbyn isn’t prime minister and neither Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton is President yet. The way the world is going anything is f**king possible. I wonder what happened to Enda I remember he was elected a few years ago but he seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth? Maybe someone should give him a call to see if he’s ok and bring him up to speed? My fear is that I know (despite his attempts at gravitas) if Enda was sent to jail in the morning he’d be a prison bitch before sunset. I smell a snap election before the real shit storm starts.

    Maybe the Archbishop of Canterbury has woken up but I don’t think the news has reached the Pope. The Pope would like us to take in refugees. He might like to reconsider this given that his representative in Istanbul wasn’t treated too kindly by those nice folks from the world of Islam. The Bishop of Istanbul was beheaded in 2010(by his driver). That’s right folks 2010 not AD 1010 or even 1610. Five years ago.It may have been a fairly slow news day but I’d never heard about this and I do try to keep up with current events. Apparently the Pope thought that this should be kept low key in order to maintain “inter faith dialogue”. Call me sceptical but when your head is chopped off it tends to eliminate any sort of dialogue.

    I’m an optimistic kind of guy but I think a black swan event is on the horizon. I’m stealing this analogy from “antifragile” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and adapting it slightly for a local Irish market. Mr. Taleb is from a Lebanese orthodox christian background. His family have centuries of political experience in the middle east going back to the ottoman empire. Ireland is like a turkey being fed and prepared for Christmas by a butcher. From the turkey’s perspective the butcher appears benevolent. The butcher has a slightly different agenda.The turkey is being fed every day and if the turkey was able to chart its feeding program it would show a nice linear progressive graph. Right up to Christmas eve. That’s Ireland since we joined the EU. We saw the shadow of the axe with the banking crisis. But we haven’t done anything to move out of its path. Now would be a good time to start.

    • coldblow

      It’s all in the lap of the gods now (or in my case God). I occasionally dialogue with Him. My imagination supplies his bit – I’m not that far gone yet. This has been going on for the last eight years. What he always says is this: ‘I know I’ve had a laugh at your expense all your life, Coldblow. In fact, we all have. But I’m letting you see this [whatever it may be] so that you can have a laugh as well.’

      • coldblow

        If any of the Eritrean lads being washed ashore in the Mediterranean find out about it and they are worried that the army draft won’t be enough to prevent them from being sent home, they can always claim that their gender fluidity is under threat. I would get them into Ireland at least.

  34. redriversix

    Morning DB…

    Ireland still has a guilt complex & a inferioty complex…still looking for anyone to say how great we are..

    I like the butcher an analogy , creepy..but I like it.

    While we’re being fed..We will be a member of NATO within 5 years.U.S Bases will be here within 10..

    It’s 6.10 a.m here in Germany..another motorway truck stop…heading for Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. .vast amounts of commercial traffic here….

    Spain & Portugal ? Once you go outside the major cities… no commercial traffic…See a Truck ? Better get your camera out & note the species. .


    • DB4545


      Thanks but I’m not claiming the credit for the analogy, that belongs to Mr. Taleb. I just adapted it for the local market. If you have the time or the inclination you may be interested in what he has to say. He made his money profiting from the positive aspects of uncertainty so he’s not focused on thinking but doing and profiting from it. Or to use the Irish version a farmer may believe in fairies but they deal in pigs.

      I couldn’t agree more about one of our traits. We have this ridiculous desire to be liked. We need to build a f**king bridge and get the f**k over it and fast. If trucking is your real business(or a convenient metaphor)you’re in a nice position as you’re literally in the driving seat looking at Europe on the move. Like a cab driver you’re fares might fluctuate day to day and you can adapt but nobody can suddenly come along and hand you your life in a cardboard box and a redundancy package at 10 in the morning.

      You asked what Switzerland has to do with this discussion and mentioned the barbaric aspect of their chocolate which is true. It’s the only chocolate that can hurt you if you don’t treat it with respect. If you were sailing across the ocean and you came across Switzerland from a distance it would seem like a huge ocean liner. But when you get close up you find that there are 26 smaller ships(remind you of anywhere). The captains and crew of these ships co-operate for defence and finance and generally sail in the same direction but they are their own boss. The crew elect the captain and if he endangers the ship they have a mechanism to replace him. Anyone trying to attack this navy has a formidable task and nobody has succeeded in the last five hundred years.

      Ireland joined the EU Navy on January 01 1973. The rations have been good and we’ve been in some interesting ports. The officer class have done very well and the crew have got the occasional scraps. But along the way we’ve lost the capacity to remove the captain. The captain isn’t Enda Kenny (he’s just a junior officer). The captain is Angela Merkel. We know this because she’s giving the orders and making decisions without consulting her officers or crew. But she’s captain of a ship called the EU “Titanic”.

      It looks formidable but its weakness is becoming apparent. Nobody sailed across the Med to attack or pillage Europe in the past. They failed or succeeded in attacking individual Countries. One Country might sink but the rest sailed on to regroup and live another day. We’ve created a complex structure in an attempt to eliminate minor economic differences between Countries in Europe. But it’s just made us more vulnerable to major economic and political upheaval.

      We’re sailing full steam ahead into icebergs. Maybe it’s time to head for the lifeboats with other like-minded crews such as the UK? Switzerland has been a very successful lifeboat for centuries when the rest of Europe has been convulsed with political turmoil. A bit boring but very safe. Would you like to have that option available for all you hold precious? With a bit of work and lateral thinking that option is available to Ireland and its neighbours. If what’s coming doesn’t kill us it will make us stronger.

  35. Makes me laugh people trying to preserve Irish ‘culture’ from all the waves of immigrants that are going to eat our children.

    What culture exactly? Cowardice, corruption, snobbery, hypocrisy, nepotism and a healthy does of ‘can’t be arsed-ness (laziness).

    Then throw in a half-dead useless language (not my language), rampant alcoholism, diddly-diddly music, bleedin’ Riverdance, pontificating plonkers like Bono and Geldof, GAA jersey heads and rugger bugger bores – as far as I’m concerned you can throw the lot of it off the western seaboard and start again – there’s nothing I would miss from it – #paddywhackery

    Ok there’s a couple of decent writers and that’s about it. We need an #iconoclasm, considering what a disaster the first 100 years of ‘freedom’ has been and any potential immigrants can be part of that. If you can’t swim in the new Ireland then you’ll sink – tough shit.

    Culture my arse. Culture is what you make of your own life not what some other person tells you it is.

    • coldblow


      I will answer this as I am the only one who has mentioned or defended culture here and I spent the first three decades of my life, very nearly, in south-east London. One of the men in the building I work in was born in Lewisham Hospital and returned (sic) to Ireland with his family not long afterwards. I was born there the following year and four years later we moved out three miles in the Kent direction to a council estate in what used to be a country village and where inner city people, mainly from Bermondsey, had been settled. We bought a semi five years later. Around that time we drove through Lewisham again and I hadn’t seen it for a couple of years. It was like that scene from Fr Ted where the Chinese take over the island. On every street corner there stood groups of young West Indian men, along the main road and the shops, the odd one crossing the road. They were all wearing suits, skinny, not particularly tall as I remember, quiet, they must have just arrived as they didn’t seem to know what to do with themselves. They all watched us drive by, half curiously only, as there was nothing else to do, and I felt just a little sorry for them. I had no idea why this had happened, there didn’t appear to be any good reason and it seemed wrong, as if someone had made a mistake.

      The children on my estate were rough and foul-mouthed (for the time), all of us remember it like that, and my accent used to horrify my mother and any visiting relations from Ireland or America. It hasn’t really softened much I am pleased to say. My parents moved back on retirement and years later an old friend visited while I was there and complimented me on not having lost my Mottingham accent (pronounced Mo”ingam with a glottal stop – that’s giving nothing personal away as it is invisible and nobody has ever heard of it, even some who live right next to it), which pleased me enormously. Fifty years on I still look back with fondness and, though I consider myself Irish, that as much as anything is who I am and will always be and it seems as if every event, big and small, is impressed on my memory.

      An odd thing happened later. Until three years ago (he is 14 now) my son had a pronounced English accent, not the same or as strong as mine, although he was born and raised in Dublin and had never set foot there.

      We went ‘home’ to Ireland on holiday every three years. What impressed me more than anything was how everybody knew everybody and you found yourself put in the spotlight and being discussed. There was this faint undercurrent in the air, a feeling of almost unbearable sadness in the air. Very occasionally you would sense it more strongly, perhaps in memory, when it threatned to overwhelm you. What was that about?

      Years later, in my early twenties, I got hooked on learning languages and used to get Linguaphone courses from the library. One day I notice that it had ‘Irish’ (or Gaelic as I like to call it, when I remember, just to annoy everyone). I won’t do that, I told myself, as I had been justifying the others to myself as something that would make economic sense and help me with my career, and this clearly wouldn’t. But I was curious, and when I took it in my hands from the library assistant I got a very strong feeling that this was mine. You may smile but I wasn’t expecting it. As it turned out it was the only one that helped me practically.

      Anyway, that’s what culture is and I think it is the same, only different, in every single part of the globe, whether on the roof of the world in Tibet or on the banks of the Paraha in the Amazon, even in the huge metropolises where many go for work, excitement or anonymity. Even there you will find it, faint, eccentric and unfathonable, when you turn the noise down.

      This can be dismissed as sentimentality but that means as little as dimissing someone as racist when you think about it.

      There is much to be said but most of it is so obvious and time and space are short. But one thing worth mentioning are the descendents of Irish emigrants to Argentina and other parts of the world that David wrote about in his columns in the past. You know, that diaspora thing. They couldn’t get visas to Ireland because the immigration rules didn’t allow them. And yet if you are a Syrian you get fast tracked to automatic Irish citizenship, if I heard it right. I thought these were supposed to be refugees seeking temporary asylum.

      No culture my arse. Why do you look in here then or why do you care? The Chinese in Tibet would probably agree with you. And the stupids who want to bring about multi culti heaven on earth.

      Also, I don’t share your view of the decent Irish writers. Hugely over-rated on the whole.

      Declan Lynch shares your opinion about the rugby, and so do I:

      • coldblow

        Also “Culture is… not what some other person tells you it is.”

        Don’t tell me what to think.

        And you can call me Maureen.

      • Coldblow, I’m all for mixing up cultures – I don’t care where people come from and I don’t care about most of the meaningless relics from the past including the crappy Irish language. I prefer to look forward. Paddywhackery as I say – awful stuff. Stay away from Ireland in 2016, that’s all I’m saying.

        “No culture my arse. Why do you look in here then or why do you care?”

        This is a logical fallacy, there’s no connection between the two statements. I can come in here and talk even if my view on culture is different than yours.

        I’m here in the West Indies at the moment, my daughter is spending a few weeks in a local school here before she goes back to the US. During the summer in Ireland she was talking with an Irish accent but yesterday I overheard her talking to some local kids in Antiguan dialect which was funny. Her normal accent is American but when we visit England during the summer she picks up a bit of that too.

        It’s a pity we can’t all be as open to new cultures and experiences as kids can.

        Back to work for me. I know I didn’t address all of your points, I’m under time pressure – but thanks for the response.

        • coldblow


          I’m out the door (early for once) for my dinner but just to respond, just as quickly.

          Why is openness to new cultures self evidently a good thing? I know there are obvious arguments to be made and I will spare you the need to make them.

          Re logical fallacy, leave out the ‘no culture my arse’ and then consider the question. I wasn’t linking them strictly logically.

          Why is looking to the future preferable to looking to the past? That’s a psychological issue of course and I won’t go into it all again now.

          • “Why is looking to the future preferable to looking to the past?”

            Can’t change the past but can change the present and future. I hope to be alive in the future and for my daughter to be too. I enjoy life.

            Openness is more conducive to happiness. Closed minds (and closed borders) breeds division, contempt, hatred and conflict.

          • The ‘culture my arse’ comment pertained to Irish culture (or lack thereof) in particular, not to the concept of culture in general, which of course I recognize exist. I like mixed cultures, that’s my preference. Let’s not bother with semantics coldblow, you know what my general view is, and I know what yours is. Live and let live. I think Irish culture is SHIT though, if I had to comment on it specificially.

          • coldblow


            We know where we both stand, though I don’t think you really understand my position while I think I do yours. Anyway, you can treat the following as addressed to nobody in particular if you want.

            Language. I was always surprised when I used to come over here on holiday when I was younger and people would complain about having to learn Gaelic. It was as if some kind of human right had been violated. My own son comes out with this sometimes. He went to a Gaelscoil and he picked it up from his classmates. I would call this social attitude inherited stupidity.

            Diddley eye music. There are few experiences more satisfying that advancing and retiring in a Caledonian set to a decent reel and with a good springy floor under your feet. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen often.

            There is much I don’t like but I don’t blame traditional Irish culture for it, rather the snobbish provincialism that just would not stand for this kind of thing. Seamas Tansey said once that by the early 60s and before the Ceoltas revival if you picked up a fiddle in Sligo you’d be chased out of town. My mother tells of neighbours who would be walking on air afterwards if a shopkeeper make much of them on a visit to town.

            The alcoholism was the solace of ‘a ruined people’ (Crotty’s words). For my part I find it odd the way French, Belgians and other nations can spend so much time sitting over a meal and wonder how they don’t develop piles.

            Cowardice, corruption, nepotism etc are not unique to Ireland. What is pretty unique, I find, is the ease with which Irish people criticize their own country. Lots of foreigners like Irish culture but that doesn’t really prove anything as more of them like the Eurovision. The apeing of the ways of the oppressor is well known in the literature about colonialism. colonisalism.

            Irish intellectual originality is of course conspicuous in its absence. Ideas are simply borrowed without examination from abroad, including your belief in the self evident virtue of progress, diversity, immigration and the rest of the progressive agenda. This also includes the laughable conviction that holding these views demonstrates an open mind, when it is of course evidence of the opposite.

            An appreciation of your own culture leads to an appreciation of other nations’ cultures and vice versa. The progressive agenda is a modern phenomenon which derives its meaning from the denigration of all of these cultures. This is one reason why Islam is actively tolerated; it is a stick to beat Christianity with.

            The utopian creed of working towards a bright future for all seems to owe much to the teleological bits of Christianity. It was tried twice, disastrously, in the 20th C, in Russia and Germany and we are working our way now through the second American attempt (the first was the American Revolution) and its efforts to introduce democracy in the Middle East. And of course there was the French Revolution and its Cult of Reason.

            ‘We need iconoclasm’. No, that’s what we don’t need. What good on earth would that do. What is the sense in dogmatic attempts to introduce multiculturalism into a country which already has more than its share of problems simply to satisfy this unthinking dogma? We know what it will achieve yet still insist on doing it. For what?;

          • Pedro Nunez

            Michael D. says (he on this issue being as unthinking of the law of unintended consequences as anyone else- quoted by Emily O’reilly); “that is that there is a deep-seated anti-intellectualism prevalent in Irish public life. He did not quote Isaac Asimov on that subject, as it relates to the United States, but let me do so instead. ‘Anti-intellectualism’, said Asimov, has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.

            Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater on ‘Irish culture’, Sligo changed and hosted 2 of the most successful Fleadh Ceol na h’Eireann and always had the Trades club sessions and Easter Feis Ceol and Feis Slighidh.

            The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” s one of the Delphic maxims and was inscribed in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, we need a reference point to appreciate other cultures.

            Subscribe ‘Coldblow’,

          • “Ideas are simply borrowed without examination from abroad”

            Incorrect coldblow. I’m sitting here on my computer watching a Caribbean sunset and trust me I am not letting anything or anybody pass me by without examination.

            What other countries have you lived in apart from Ireland and the UK coldblow?

          • The rest of your latest post contains so many groundless and pejorative statements (that you try to present as if they are fact) that I ‘can’t be arsed’ replying to it, so I’ll leave it at that.

            Must be the Irish culture in me.

            Ok then, here’s a few:

            “An appreciation of your own culture leads to an appreciation of other nations’ cultures and vice versa.” – SAYS WHO? WHAT IF YOUR ‘OWN’ CULTURE IS SHIT – DOES THAT MEAN YOU CAN’T APPRECIATE ANY OTHER CULTURE? – TOTALLY MADE UP AND ILLOGICAL STATEMENT.

            ” I would call this social attitude inherited stupidity.” – AND WELL YOU MIGHT.

            “There are few experiences more satisfying that advancing and retiring in a Caledonian set to a decent reel” – THERE ARE PLENTY.

            “This also includes the laughable conviction that holding these views demonstrates an open mind, when it is of course evidence of the opposite.” – IS THAT A FACT? HOW SO?

            “including your belief in the self evident virtue of progress, diversity, immigration and the rest of the progressive agenda.” – I DON’T FOLLOW ANYONE’S AGENDA EXCEPT MY OWN, MOST OF IT DEVISED FROM REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCES, NOT FROM THEORY.

            You’re living in the past century coldblow. Anyway no hard feelings, you’re entitled to your opinion too. Sorry for the CAPS but we all know how bad the formatting on this blog is, there wasn’t a more expedient method.



        • Antaine

          What you describe about your daughter picking up different languages/dialects sounds good. But what happens in future with all the multi-culturalism when there’s one language and its a boring homogenised mess? Do you not enjoy hearing the various languages of the world? Or do you prefer holidaying where there is English spoken?
          I enjoy experiencing new cultures and places but I fear that one day we’ll be left with everywhere seeming like the same place. Big Department stores will be the same throughout the European Cities, small stores will have been decimated and you can only dine in the local McDonalds, Burger King, Costa Coffee etc.

          • That won’t happen Antaine – sub-cultures (and language dialects etc.) often splinter off and develop in new directions.

            The world (in my view) is simply too big and diverse for everyone to be subsumbed into one big global (and boring) culture.

  36. coldblow


    Thanks for the reply and I will respond here for reasons of space. When it gets heated it can get interesting, certainly more interesting than exchanging compliments. I agree that a lot of our culture is very bad but not all. If you take the Late Late as exhibit A, then as my son should know well by now there are four reasons for its utter uselessness, in no particular order: the host, the guests, the music and the audience.

    I was taking your point too widely at first, ie as one of identity as identity is of course threatened with being overrun by mass immigration. About appreciating other cultures I see your point. If I were living in the USSR or in some utopian Ireland of the future, which seems to be rapidly on the way, it would be difficult to appreciate your own culture, which could indeed be so bad that you see what is good in other ones. However I think the point is valid in regard to respect for your own heritage and culture: in that case you will also love, and not hate, that of others. You would appreciate the particularities and respect their wish to retain their own culture (even if you don’t approve of it, as most of us would do in, say, Saudi Arabia, or even France). You would not wish to inflict on them the anomie and rootlessness of Nowhere.

    About ideas being borrowed without examination that is definitely true from my standpoint, which is that of an introvert. Michael D. (mentioned here) would be a good example of an extravert, seeing as most politicians are of that persuasion. If countries could be assessed then Ireland would be so extravert that it would need to be taken into care, the equivalent of Homer Simpson spending their life savings on a hamburger. You need a Marge to protect him from himself. Think of me as Marge. Extraverts accommodate to the existing perceived reality (currently pc). Their interpretation of the meaning of that reality is where they fall down as they are prone (if not doomed) to be unable to escape from conventional wisdom, so they convince themselves nowadays that they have open minds (an open mind being a contemporary virtue) and that they are independent thinkers (ditto). Also they rely heavily on what I call ‘extravert cliche’, an over-simplification.

    Jung, in his Psychological Types (available on line) writes, after saying that each side sees the worse aspects of the other (introverted thinking appearing to be arbitrary (as my earlier posts doubtless appear) while extravert thinking appears banal and sterile (look all around you)). He writes, that is, of the tendency of extraverted thinking to subordinate itself to the objective data where it ‘proceeds to amass an accumulation of undigested empirical material. The oppressive mass of more or less disconnected individual experiences produces a state of intellectual dissociation, which on the other hand, usually demands a psychological compensation. This must consist in an idea, just as simple as it is universal, which shall give coherence to the heaped up but intrinsically disconnected whole.’

    There’s my extravert cliche, in the last sentence. I am a bit annoyed because I thought I’d worked that out myself, and I got my first ideas here too, about six years ago. Well, I did work it out, but feck it anyway. Examples of extravert cliche? Evil traffickers, it’s all the fault of the Catholic Church or Peig, change is good, democracy is good. I only looked at Jung (whom I had read about briefly as a teenager) a couple of weeks ago, to see what he made of the idea of extraversion, seeing as he coined it. I got my original ideas from Dorothy Rowe who probably read Jung herself so it ws like coming back to the source, although my version explains things better perhaps as I’ve been going my own way for a long time. But I tell you what, he was sharper than I thought he would be and PT is packed with startling insights, some of which I had already arrived at independently. And what do psychologists think extraversion is nowadays? Why, a ‘continuum’, as if it were something wishy washy like gender fluidity. It isn’t. You are either an extravert or an introvert, and (as I can bear out Rowe’s insight) the opposites always attract.

    He continues: ‘But whenever thinking primarily depends on not so much upon external facts as upon an accepted or second hand idea [this is where Ireland and pc comes in] the very poverty of the idea provokes a compensation provokes a compensation in the form of a still more impressive accumulation of facts, which assume a one-sided grouping in keeping with the relatively restricted and sterile point of view…’ He then gives ‘scientific literature’ as an example of this. I would give the Irish media as another, except that there isn’t even the impressive accumulation of facts, just an impressive repetition of a few of them (and they are probably wrong). Anyway, if you don’t believe me perhaps you might believe Dr Jung. It really is an extraordinary piece of work, AND he was (I believe) an extravert.

    And in terms of uncritical importation of the (useless) ideas of others by Ireland you need go no further than RTE and gender fluidity. Did they work that one out for themselves?

    Pedro, that is a great quote by Asimov. I think I get your point about Michael D and unintended consequences.

    • In my opinion and experience it’s far too simplistic to separate humanity into just two groups – your much vaunted extraverts and introverts.

      Such generalisations are (again in my opinion and experience), in the most part, next to useless.

      I tend to evaluate each individual person, characteristic, situation. etc. on its own merits.

      As a combined whole, there’s very little in Irish ‘culture’ that appeals to me or impresses me – this blog and some of its contributors (including David of course) are probably some of the best things!

      I don’t think most intelligent people would miss or lament a large part of the #paddywhackery that masquerades as Irish culture if it were to suddenly disappear overnight.

      • Pedro Nunez

        I thought ‘Paddywhackery’ was an imported American concept to amuse the tourists with ‘Darby O’gill’ and the little people versions of Irish life as in the mid 20th Hollywood movies. Its about as Irish as some say Gaelic fooball (for some a ‘made up’ game in the 1890s- not an ancient Gaelic sport like hurling) or as Scottish as kilts, and tartan and sporrans Scein dubhs all made up for Voctorian tourists to the Highlands after they’d cleared the Highlanders to Canada and elsewhere.

        “Only the great generalizations survive. The sharp words of the Declaration of Independence, lampooned then and since as ‘glittering generalities,’ have turned out blazing ubiquities that will burn forever and ever”.
        Ralph Waldo Emerson. A lecture on ‘Books’ delivered in 1864; the quoted phrase ‘glittering generalities’

        “The word generalization in literature usually means covering too much territory too thinly to be persuasive, let alone convincing. In science, however, a generalization means a principle that has been found to hold true in every special case. … The principle of leverage is a scientific generalization”. Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975).

        “Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of organized life”.
        George Bernard Shaw in: Bridges to Better Writing, Cengage Learning, 15 January 2009, p. 237.

        or “All generalizations are false, including this one”.
        Mark Twain in: Normand Baillargeon A Short Course in Intellectual Self Defense, Seven Stories Press, 4 January 2011, p. 61.

        Thinking ‘Fast and Slow by Daniel Kannerman is good on the heuristics of this or Meme theory

        “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”.
        Marcus Garvey

  37. coldblow

    Adam, a long one for you.

    ‘In my opinion and experience it is far too simplistic to separate humanity into just two groups.’

    In my own opinion and experience this is the most common objection made by extraverts, and almost as amusing as their furious ‘You can’t generalize!’ (as in, ‘You are not *allowed* to generalize!) There seem to be some kinds of thought that they find impossible to grasp, unless first shared by everyone else, or at least I used to think that until I came across a number of prominent extraverts who appear to have proved that wrong. I still think though that some degree of diminished responsibility applies. By the same token, as Cooper and Harris wrote a few days ago, the heart has its own reasons (Jung describes thinking and feeling both as ‘rational’ functions, see below) and I am probably incapable of fully understanding them. I can therefore insist on the validity of my reasoning only from my own standpoint, but I feel (sic) obliged to do so.

    Jung ‘Psychological Types’. Ch 10 (which is all I have), third paragraph:
    ‘The two types are so essentially different, presenting so striking a contrast, that their existence even to the uninitiated in psychological matters becomes an obvious fact, when once attention has been drawn to it.”

    Jung breaks each (E and I) down along four lines: thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. Thinking and feeling he describes as rational and the other two as irrational. He has an interesting theory about how when thinking is dominant feeling is repressed into the unconscious and vice versa. Unconscious thinking and feeling (indeed all 4 functions) are characteristically childish and archaic, but they erupt into consciousness. Where did all the grief for Diana come from? I knew a little bit about this when I was a teenager but had dismissed it since. I would still do so now, especially as Jung appears to have been yet another extravert, but for all the insights I met in this chapter. Nobody else I know of, apart from Rowe, has come close. Nevertheless, my own observation and experience lead me to identify feeling with extraverts and thinking with introverts.

    The big problem is identifying each type. Rowe’s insight makes this possible and not very difficult. Well, I can do it, usually fairly easily but there are many hard cases. I am astonished that nobody followed it up. I read Susan Cain’s Quiet: the Power of Introverts (I think that’s the title) earlier this year to see if others had got a handle on it. The answer is no, not really. Many of the famous people she classified as introverts, including Einstein and Gandhi, were very likely introverts. If she understood it she wouldn’t make such mistakes.

    I have heard nobody explain the recent convulsions of public feeling and opinion in this way, the only way it can be explained. Many kinds of belief and behaviour cannot be explained except by the fact that they do it because they do it, in other words extravert accommodation. I gave a few compelling examples of this in recent times here over the past few days. Perhaps the best is Michael Gove trying to put a brave face on his govt’s failure two years ago to get their bombing initiative past Parliament. Gove, like most politicians, is an extravert. Remember, he wasn’t emoting because of a picture of a drowned child but rather because of reports of Assad shelling a school. On this occasion he wasn’t quivering with emotion because he wanted to admit refugees but because he wanted to *bomb* the same people. In a good cause, of course, except it is the other side they want to bomb now. Where are the solemn, self-regarding crowds out protesting against it?

    ‘Such generalizations are… next to useless.’

    That is funny of course, but you hear it all the time from extraverts. Actually it falls in the category of ‘extravert cliche’. I haven’t mentioned other characteristics, as identified by myself for a while, but the three others that occur to me are:

    1 Extravert rhetoric. This is when the form and sound of the words obscures their meaning. Orwell (interestingly, another extravert) nailed this in his Politics and the English Language (I think). Extraverts like to use words and phrases like ‘semantics’ and ‘logical fallacy’ where I prefer plain English: ‘splitting hairs’ and ‘it does not follow’.

    2 Extravert gravity. This is the odd flocking of extraverts around conventional opinions and causes. My mind tells me this but the flock is doing that. What would Homer do?

    3 Extraverts as enforcers of correct behaviour. I was conscious of them circling in furious silence around the blog, outraged by my racist views (whatever that may mean anyway – see ‘extravert cliche’ above) until they can no longer stand it and have to land and give it to the heretic. In your own case you began with: ‘Makes me laugh people trying to preserve Irish ‘culture’ from all the waves of immigrants that are going to eat our children.’ I am only reproducing it because its examples of extravert cliche, rhetoric and enforcement.

    There are other characteristics such as taking things literally that shouldn’t be, hypochondria and obedience to authority (this one is a bit complicated, as they are also the ones who rebel).

    Introverts by nature do not blow their own trumpets. (Guess who do though!) But I will make an exception now and it is only fair as those who are clever get all of the criticism but can’t enjoy the benefits. I admit I was always very clever as reflected in my academic results at grammar school where I was always top of the class (and year) by a clear distance. Looking around in the loft years later I came across some document or other that told me that among the six subjects I had won prizes for at O level was chemistry. Chemistry? I was never even any good at that and I had never remembered coming top in it. Physics, Latin and History yes. The odd thing is that I never thought I’d get any trophy or recognition because that sort of thing didn’t happen to the likes of me (though I did). Extravert objection: academic intelligence is not the only form of intelligence! On the other hand I always thought I was cleverer than what the academic record showed and I even nursed illusions that I would become a great psychologist, which seems comical to me now, like so many other things. And yet it is an odd coincidence (about which Jung had much to say) and I actually did a term of psychology before deciding it was useless (which it was) and changing course. What I remember most is sitting in the lab (lab!) wondering what supernatural influence was stopping my calculator from working properly, which was hardly the right scientific attitude. I am telling you this now so that these ideas are not thoughtlessly or unconsciously (pun intended) dismissed, although they will be, seeing as that is the very thing they imply, which is all right too by me. In the light of this, why would I accept your opinion and experience above my own? Well at least you have been told.

    Which reminds me of something that happened to me when I was teaching in England years ago. A mother of one third year boy who was working in the school as a volunteer one day asked to speak to me urgently. ‘My son tells me you gave him lines for talking and when he handed them to you you tore them up and threw them in the bin and then put him on detention! That doesn’t seem fair to me, Mr Coldblow.’ ‘That’s right.’ ‘What! Why did you do that?’ ‘Because he handed them to me at the end of class, when he should have been working.’ ‘Oh. He never told me that.’

    Setting out my reasoning is time consuming, even if it is good writing practice. I have said it all all many times before but still the extraverts come back with superficial, poorly thought out (and short) rejoinders which cost very little in time or effort. Nevertheless it is worth doing so as nearly all of my comments come from this angle.

  38. [...] come back to haunt us”. The homeless and those paying exorbitant rents might wonder why there are still 8,000 vacant houses and 16,321 vacant apartments in Dublin alone – five years after Fianna Fail [...]

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