Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

A tale of two TDs – McDaid says “not yes”, Joe Behan snuggles back up

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

The Cervical Cancer vote in the Dáil last week saw two on again, off again Fianna Fáil TDs vote completely differently on the matter,

Jim McDaid would not support the Government and abstained from the vote and had these strong words:

“We will pass a death sentence on a certain percentage of the 12-year-old girls whose parents cannot afford the cost of it.

“Is there anyone in this House who would not give the vaccine to their daughters today?” asked Dr McDaid.

He now gets kicked out of Fianna Fáil for a while as a result. Meanwhile, Joe Behan TD who many saw as a man of principle actually voted with Fianna Fáil in support of withdrawing the vaccine:

Mr Behan, who dissented on the medical card issue, has signalled he may be ready to return to the FF fold after he voted with the Government over the vaccine issues and said he backed the broad thrust of policies being pursued by Mr Cowen.

Obama koolaid flows in Ireland

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Already we’re getting everyone and anyone talking about Obama style campaigns here in Ireland. This however was a fascinating read. Uplifting too. That lad Tubridy already seems to be trying to do that with his Rock the Vote run campaign. I’ve noted press releases from those going in the local elections referencing change and even aligning themselves with Obama. Most of it pure guff. I’m just waiting for one of these morons to try and claim some kind of African ancestry.

Day 108/365 [Year 2]
Photo owned by thp365 (cc)

Last week Mick Fealty wrote a buzzword-laden piece for the Irish Times about the web and politics in Ireland and attributed the voting down of the Lisbon Treaty as being due to Libertas and their web “campaign”. By that he meant the pro-Libertas bent on

It’s a classic example of using smart, quick internet conversation to shortcircuit the 24-hour news cycle. In the process Libertas ran every single mainstream party in the Dáil ragged, through what the US writer Tom Watson calls an “investment in conversations”.

I think it might have been way more due to the fact that Libertas and others had a goal and a focus. Most of the existing parties had 1. No clue and 2. No respect for the voters and their views. “Just go out and vote cos we say so” being the attitude from most of the parties. Libertas understood people and their views on various things and helped exploit anger, annoyance, misconceptions and ignorance. Lisbon didn’t fail because of the web in Ireland.

Pat Leahy has a view like this in the Business Post:

The Lisbon referendum wasn’t lost because Libertas had a strong online presence; it was lost because the Yes campaign only asked 9 per cent of voters for their votes.

Piaras Kelly makes some very good points about politics in Ireland in his post here. Many of the current party people in Ireland are talking about doing an Obama for the locals and I note Fianna Fáil said they’d look at his techniques. Piaras is right though, it won’t work here because it’s still the same hacks trying to do that Internet thing. Look at how many of them got blogs before the last election and right away got their assistants to write them. Adding go-faster stripes to a horse and carriage does not make you Steve McQueen in Bullit. Obama brought about change because the core of his campaign was fundamentally different to the rest and it expanded out to every aspect of the campaign, including using the Internet.

Election Party at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Photo owned by JP Puerta (cc)

This quote from a Newsweek piece explains that the Web wasn’t used for shiny purposes:

“I don’t care about online energy and enthusiasm just for the sake of online energy and enthusiasm,” said Chris Hughes, head of New Media’s social networking. “It’s about making money, making phone calls, embedding video or having video forwarded to friends.” There was nothing starry-eyed about Hughes, who had been the Harvard roommate and later partner of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and made his first millions before he was 24. His goal was to make old techniques—like call centers and getting polling information to voters—more efficient. “When computer applications really take off, they take something people have always done and just make it easier for them to do it,” he said. “And maybe bigger.”

Obama style net-campaigning might work for a new party that uses some of the core ideals of the Obama campaign but it won’t work for the current ones unless their is an attitude change. I doubt that will happen with any of the parties that are corrupt at their core. By corrupt I’m not talking just about taking planning bribes, all the parties will fuck over people in order to survive and defend their people no matter the vile things they do such as Kathleen Lynch doing work for a child rapist or the fact that nobody for any party speaks out when the annual expenses list comes out. (Ah sure everyone does it). Strangely I think the Lad Turbridy might actually do it, even if he’s nicking most of his ideas from Sean Tevis, he’s creating a brand that’s not very tied to Fianna Fáil at all and that is probably an advantage right there. The clever way of looking for votes and counting them will help matters too. But for a party as a whole, I can’t see much of what Obama did being done by the parties here, they like their horse and carriages.

Green Party TD Paul Gogarty cares

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Watch this first before reading down. Please.

Found via David Cochrane is coverage of the antics of Paul Gogarty by Miriam Lord:

Sen Fitzgerald approached the microphone and made a number of points, many questioning Minister for the Environment John Gormley’s views on incineration and the Green Party’s bona fides in opposing the Rathcoole project.

As she spoke, Gogo suddenly jumped to his feet and collapsed on the ground, flailing his arms and rolling about before lying still for a few minutes. Then he picked himself up and sat back down.

Ah now. It wasn’t like he was wearing a chicken suit. Though that’s maybe because he doesn’t like meat, animal meat.

Put it this way. If somebody asked me to cook a kitten in a microwave, the thought would cross my mind. But I’m an animal-loving vegetarian, so I wouldn’t do it.”

Dave goes on to mention on a press release from Fine Gael’s Brian (some of his best friends are of the coloured persuasion dontchaknow) Hayes attributing Paul’s spirited caring about local and national issues as being down to mental health issues:

Everyone knows Paul Gogarty is the original rebel without a clue but I’m seriously beginning to worry for his mental health as he continues to lead a double life.

That’s a bit unfair to to those that suffer mental health really. Paul just gives a shit, it seems. Maybe that’s why Fine Gael think he’s got something wrong in his brain.

Paul has promised a repeat. I hear it might be like this:

This is my second post about you Paul but you can probably guess I like Eamon more. 🙂

We can cry now, yes?

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Not Sleeping Tonight
Photo owned by honorfoto (cc)

The world watched tonight because this was a world election, with just Americans voting in it. All those people that were frustrated with their lives, their countries, the world around them just wanted a new regime and their American brothers and sisters voted for it tonight. Thank you.

Is Obama our new saviour? Have we the citizens of the world built him and his campaign up so much to represent the opposite of all that is so wrong with the world today? It seems so. That’s unfair though.

I don’t think we’ll irrationally expect this man to sort every problem but the way he has shown himself and led his team will see us expect to make the right decisions and tough decisions and explain why and hopefully the most powerful man in the world will inspire other world leaders and local leaders.

Did the world sigh? I think it just did after holding our breath for 8 years with massive hurting in the past 6 months as the last of that oxygen went away. Now we go to sleep without having to worry about tomorrow for a change, someone is watching over us and will for four years. Now we breathe and now we cry some happy tears. Thanks America.

Mr. Obama, I hope it goes well

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Good luck Mr. Obama, I’m quite cynical about your words but your campaign and how it was run is testament to a great leader and management team. That alone brings hope. If you win, it might give hope to all of us here in Ireland and every other country that people who want change can get it. Course it will also bring out all the half-assed wannabe style campaigns too.

Speaking of which, I see totally neutral Rock the Vote are running the campaign of Obama-esque (where are his FF logos and colours) Other Tubridy.

PQs – Parliamentary Questions – One way of getting politicians to tell the truth

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The examples of Fine Gael and Labour asking probing questions this week in the form of parliamentary questions have revealed that the National Broadband Scheme is going to be delayed, even more than we knew.

And now we also learn that the winning bidder who will be announced in November (which starts Saturday) is allowed to use satellite as a solution in 8% of the tender. Satellite isn’t broadband but then mobile broadband isn’t either.


To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if areas have been identified under the national broadband scheme as suitable for satellite internet access only; the percentage of the contract covered by this; the areas under the national broadband scheme that have been identified as being suitable for satellite internet access only; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Subject to agreement with the chosen service provider, rollout of services is expected to begin shortly after the contract is signed. The chosen service provider will be required to complete the roll out of services within 22 months of the contract award. All requests for a broadband service in the areas to be addressed by the NBS will be met.

The areas already covered by terrestrial broadband service providers will not be included in the NBS. The map showing the areas to be addressed by the NBS is available on my Department’s website and attached for information.

No specific areas have been identified as being suitable for satellite internet access. However, it is expected that some areas will be impossible to reach using terrestrial broadband platforms. The winning service provider will be allowed to serve up to 8% of the buildings in the NBS coverage area using satellite.

And we also learn that the post code system will cost 15 million quid but might never brought about:


To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his policy on postcodes; the cost of implementation; the cost of consultancy on this issue to date; his views on whether the growth of GPS will make postcodes redundant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The report of the board estimates that the cost of implementing, promoting and maintaining the postcode would be approximately €15 million.

A proposal concerning the introduction of postcodes went to Government in May 2007 and Government decided that, prior to the introduction of postcodes, further analysis to quantify the wider economic and societal benefits should be carried out. This analysis was recently updated and it will assist me to decide on how best to take the proposal forward. In this regard I fully accept that a postcode system can convey economic and social benefits, assist future competition in the postal sector and assist delivery of certain public services. I expect to bring a further proposal to Government in relation to the introduction of postcodes.

You can ask your local representatives to table questions and a lot of the time they’ll rephrase them to remove any leeway in the answers.

Dan Boyle – hmmmm

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I’d started off writing a blog post about how I thought Dan Boyle was a cunt for voting against Shane Ross’s broadband bill. I’ve slightly softened my stand after reading the transcripts of the debate. Dan has so far proved himself to be a massive apologist for everything the Government has done of late including fucking over pensioners.

(If Dan Boyle decides to seek re-election in Cork South Central I’ll probably do my level best to make sure he doesn’t get enough votes to get in, even if I have to go through a lot of personal finances to do so. I got burned once by the lieing Green Party, I’d hope to make sure others are aware of the lengths they’ll go to in order to inflate their egos about being part of the Government.)

Photo owned by sophiea (cc)

Anyways, on to Shane Ross’s valiant attempt at his broadband bill. Shot down by the following people by the way, if you want to visit them and complain, this is who they are, a lame email won’t be enough I should think. Visit them.:

Boyle, Dan.
Brady, Martin.
Butler, Larry.
Callely, Ivor.
Carty, John.
Cassidy, Donie.
Corrigan, Maria.
Daly, Mark.
de Búrca, Déirdre.
Ellis, John.
Feeney, Geraldine.
Glynn, Camillus.
Hanafin, John.
Leyden, Terry.
MacSharry, Marc.
McDonald, Lisa.
Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
O’Brien, Francis.
O’Donovan, Denis
O’Malley, Fiona.
O’Sullivan, Ned.
Ormonde, Ann.
Phelan, Kieran.
Walsh, Jim.
White, Mary M.
Wilson, Diarmuid.

So Dan gets up and backs up Eamon Ryan, you know, the guy that lies about how good things are when it comes to broadband. Just like the crazies in his Department.

While I think it’s really shitty to stand up and shout down a bill that was doing good, Dan was constructive at times and living on planet WTF at other times such as:

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is sufficiently energised in pointing his Department in the right direction in fulfilling this policy goal. He has enough commitment and knowledge of the subject to ensure the goals are met. It is not facetious to say that he knows in computing terms the plural of “mouse” is “mouses”. He is the one Cabinet member with a knowledge of how particular technology choices in this area work.

Mouse, mouses. Shuddup Chris Farley. In the next bit he at least pointed out he differed in opinion to Ryan and praised a lot of Ross’s bill.

One function for an overseeing agency would be to ensure broadband penetration is reached critically in each of those sectors. The Minister has indicated his personal priority as regards broadband in schools. I am confident there will be significant advances in this area. It must be recognised better broadband access for households has other implications such as encouraging home working and preventing unnecessary commuter transport.

The difference between technology platforms is an area I believe could be more tightly regulated. Will the majority of broadband service be delivered through cable or some other platform such as satellite? The Minister indicated that because the greater increase in broadband services is through mobile platforms, this seems to be policy direction. I am not sure that should be the case. There are still opportunities to have a cable-based system that will carry as much of the broadband network as possible while having the mobile broadband as an add-on.

The Minister is open to debate on the issue while at the same time progressing policy goals in this area. I would like to see Senator Shane Ross, who has taken an interest in this area, engage in further goading of the Minister, the Department and the Government on broadband services. I know the Minister has stated he will not accept this Bill but there is still a need for the Minister to explain what he intends to do in regulation and legislation, if necessary, in this area.

Schools? More schools have a satellite dish feeding them Internet access than proper broadband. Satellite is not broadband. Also Ryan has said 2009 will be when his Department will reexamine broadband in schools. I find it very interesting that broadband in schools is the new fad from the Department. Love how they’re talking about fibre? How many have fibre now? How many will have fibre in 2009? You don’t know. The Department doesn’t know because it’s made up. Pulled out of the air.

Two questions if answered honestly by Boyle and his party members would push things along:

  • Will you agree that mobile “broadband” is not in fact credible broadband and is more like mobile dialup?
  • Will you agree that these mobile figures should not be used by the Government to measure broadband subscriptions?

Were such an honest answer given, it would make progress in my view because there’d be less lies to hide behind and more motiviation to make progress. Unlike now.

G’wan the Pin – Fianna Fáil and the Green’s €6.5Billion Builder bailout to be investigated by EU

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Everyone’s fav property website (except maybe for Fianna Fáil, the Greens, Daft, MyHome and the developers) has done it again. They were first to point out that the Home Choice Loans scheme was dodgy as fuck and now they’ve raised it with the EU, who are going to investigate it. This is probably the next big scandal from the budget. Stay tuned here. This is people power and the web working for the common good.


After hundreds of contributors to website recently lodged complaints with the EU.
The European Commission has now confirmed that it is to carry out
further investigations under EU State Aid laws regarding the
governments ‘Home Choice Loans’ scheme unveiled in Budget 2009.

Part of the complaint alleges that the scheme is a “Subsidisation Of
Certain Residential Property Developers” and “Distorts” the market in
favor of Big Developers carrying a heavy stock of unsold properties
across the country at the expense of buyers and tens of thousands of
existing sellers. Tom Parlon, Construction Industry Lobbyist is
credited with the successfully ring fencing of €1.65Bn of Tax Payers
money to bailout the developers via this scheme. Some commentators
estimate the true cost could rise to in excess of €6.5-10bn.

Such numbers put the medical card controversy into perspective while
also revealing the massive extent to which the governments appetite to
help an Tax incentivised and formerly profitable industry before the
public health interest into sharp contrast.

The Commission reference for the case is “CEL – CP300/2008 – Housing
Financing in Ireland”.


Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Michael Kennedy TD for Fianna Fáil – Champion gobshite

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

And the winner is Michael Kennedy TD. Single parents with 10 kids getting free houses. Said during the medical card protest. Yeah, blame them, if they exist outside of their urban legend.

I very very very much like what Declan said in the comments over at RedMum’s gaff:

TDs dont understand people who are entitled to the medical card because most politicians have spent decades arranging to get the card for people who are *not* entitled to them. The idea that anyone in the country could have a legitimate claim for a card is totally alien to them.