Monday, October 31, 2005
Monday Madness - Halloween
I hate Halloween.
I tend to think as you get older that these holidays become less and less fun but at least holidays like Easter and Christmas retain a certain charm. But Halloween? That just becomes a gigantic pain in the arse. Having to buy sweets for all those greedy kids, taking care of your pets so they don't suffer an aneurysm from the bangers and fireworks, watching several unsavoury characters wheeling around their mouldy furniture so they can shove it on a bonfire. What joy!
Let's face it, alot of the things to do with Halloween are pure bullshit. Watching a bonfire? I mean, come on - it's a fire. What's so great about that? You know where else you can see a fire? At home. And as for these bangers, I have vented my fury at these things before. I can understand the fascination with fireworks as they are pretty to look at but bangers...go bang. You know what else goes bang? A bomb. You don't see people looking on them as fun though.
My advice to you all is to make something fun out of what is pretty much a glorified crapfest. Go somewhere if you can.
If possible, try heading to a fancy-dress party. You avoid the bonfires, bangers and greedy kids and what's more, it's pretty much your only chance all year to wear make-up - and that's an opportunity not to be missed.
Happy Halloween folks!
McGuinness is no Republican
Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness said yesterday that proposed new laws providing immunity for paramilitary fugitives is a sensible move.
Mr McGuinness told the BBC he believes the "on-the-run" law will not affect as many individuals as people think and described it as a "sensible move" and a "good thing".
Bearing in mind that the 1916 Proclamation, which the Shinners claim to support, advocates "equal opportunities and equal rights" to "all citizens" as well as "cherishing all of the children of the nation equally", it is apparent that Sinn Féin's view on OTRs contradicts traditional Republican values.
Then again, it wouldn't be the first time Sinn Féin contradicted traditional Republican values, would it?
McGuinness often harps on about the 'Republican struggle'. It is clear however that the real 'Republican struggle' is in relation to Sinn Féin's understanding of traditional Irish Republican ideology.
Stripping away our differences...
Angels, the Glengormley based striptease/kissogram agency, says it has dumped the RUC's old bottle-green outfits for PSNI kit in the interests of peace.
"You have to support the peace process, haven't you," said Angels owner Jeff Dowey on Friday.
"The RUC uniforms were hugely popular, but we had to move with the times. We expect the same response from the new PSNI ones. In fact, they are a lot sexier, so they will go down a treat."
Interestingly, as well as posing as policemen and women, Angels also dresses its dancers in the 'uniform' of paramilitaries - complete with balaclavas and baseball bats.
You know something, there's alot of doom and gloom when it comes to Irish politics. But when stories like this are exposed (sorry) and when we get to the naked truth of the matter (sorry again), encouraging signals for the future are laid bare (last one).
I find it all so very uplifting!
Sadly, I haven't been able to get him to leave!
Can anyone fare better than me?
Sunday, October 30, 2005
United Ireland is viable - economist
As Hamilton states:
"Perhaps the most important initiative to have come out of the Belfast agreement on areas of north-south co-operation in December 1998 has been establishment of the body to deal with trade and development -- subsequently named InterTrade Ireland. Although initially its role appeared to be restricted, in a very short time its remit has become much broader, taking in venture capital, regional development, policy and planning, science and technology innovation, e-commerce, public tendering and procurement, trade promotion and a remit to advance economic competitiveness.
"Traditionally, unionists have argued that Irish economic, let alone political, unity is a financial impossibility due to the size of the British Treasury's subvention to the north, the removal of which would have a dramatic impact on local taxes to support the public services.
"While breaking the financial link with Britain would involve severe costs, it is worth making some revised estimates of what the consequences might be in the 21st century. The south has been running a substantial fiscal surplus throughout the 1990s and it can be argued that Britain's subvention to the north is likely to fall.
"The hypothetical fiscal position for the whole of Ireland would be a deficit. However, that public deficit is likely to be below the Maastrict criteria of three per cent of GDP, making, in the short term at least, an integrated Ireland economy no longer something to be seen as a financial impossibility. While it remains uncertain as to whether a united-Ireland economy is inevitable and the process irreversible, what is clear is that the consequences of developments throughout the 1990s fundamentally changed the face of Ireland -- economically, politically, socially, culturally and geographically.
"The northern economy, with its traditional, uncompetitive and highly subsidised industrial base, has failed comprehensively and is in need of fundamental restructuring.
"The southern economy, on the other hand, while highly successful in terms of significantly increasing average living standards, is highly dependent on potentially transient US capital in a very narrow range of industries. It remains unclear as to its long-term performance, as recent events have emphasised."
Hamilton concludes by saying:
"The unprecedented turn around in the economic fortunes of the south, where average living standards are now above those in the north, has changed traditional economic approaches both north and south, opening up the possibility of further constitutional change."
Many unionists don't like to discuss the idea of a United Ireland on the grounds that it is not viable economically. Well, according to Mr Hamilton, this is no longer the case.
So now let us scratch that reason off the list! It is economically viable. The real question is, is it politically justifiable?
Only time will tell.
Herbert Asquith understood
‘You can no more split Ireland into two parts than you can split England or Scotland into parts. Ireland is a nation; not two nations, but one nation. There are few cases in history, and, as a student of history in a humble way, I myself know of none, of a nationality at once so distinct, so persistent, and so assimilative as the Irish.’
It's reassuring to know that at least some British Prime Ministers had a good grasp of the Irish situation...
United Irelander gets sexed up!
I don't know how many of these requirements I meet but hopefully I've at least got the sexiness part down with this image to your left.
Aren't they lovely altogether? G'wan the Irish girls!
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Where is the love?
That's right, out of 30,000 expected - 2,000 turned up.
Bad weather has been blamed on the miserable turnout.
Bad weather? Now there's a joke. Because you can imagine such a conversation, as the following one can't you:
"Come on noy, Billy. It's time to spread orr love throyoyt Ulster. Do ye have the UVF banner we' ya?"
"Ah sure thar's noy point 'n spreadin' orr love t'day, Arlene."
"And why noyt?"
"Ah shur, it's rainin'."
Nice to see that most unionists have sense and aren't touching that Love Ulster (sic) parade with a barge pole. I have documented the 'love' on that LU site quite a bit here on United Irelander. There is absolutely no need to have a group in Ireland's north like Love Ulster (sic) which is inextricably linked to Loyalist paramilitaries.
Seems like most unionists agree.
Advance Australia Unfair!
Ireland lost 63-42 and Australia claimed the Cormac McNallen Cup with a 163-106 aggregate score.
I'd now like to take this time to congratulate Australia - on kicking the shit out of our players.
Was that supposed to be sport? I tuned in to watch an athletic contest but instead I saw ugly scenes which looked like they were taken straight from the Director's Cut of Gladiator. It was brutal.
Some of the Aussie players were roaming around like crazed animals. Foaming at the mouth and baying for blood. Just because we kicked their arses in the contest last time doesn't give them the right to kick our arses this time for real!
Kudos Australia. You've proven how great you are at behaving like a bunch of maniacal scumbags. I really don't think this is the kind of contest Ireland should be participating in though if every game is going to descend into a mass brawl.
Aussie Rules? More like Anarchy Rules.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Fun Irelander Feature - Accents
Me: So where are you from?
Him: I'm from Cork.
Me: (Deep breath) Oh right.
Him: Whereabouts are you from?
Him: Are ya?
Me: Yeah, why?
Him: Well, you don't sound like you're from Dublin. You don't have a Dublin accent.
Me: (Suppressing rage) Oh.
I was deeply hurt. I've always felt my Northside accent was quite prominent. Not long ago, I met a friend of a friend from the North who made my day when he said that my Dublin accent was noticeable unlike my mate's. Now I don't know what to think. Bloody Corkonians...
What about yourselves? Is your accent noticeable or not?
OTR amnesty is wrong
The piece above is an extract from the Proclamation of the Republic which was read out to the people of Dublin by Padraig Pearse on the steps of the GPO prior to the Easter insurrection. Irish Republicans view the Proclamation as sancrosant and therefore would not repudiate the above sentiments. With that being the case, why then are Sinn Féin pushing so hard for an amnesty on OTRs (On-The-Runs)?
This week, Secretary of State Peter Hain announced that paramilitaries who had not committed any offence since 1998, and had withdrawn support for terrorist groups not observing a ceasefire, would be eligible to apply for an amnesty from prosecution. Unionists have greeted the news with anger with the DUP's Sammy Wilson accusing Mr Hain of "making a mockery of justice".
Eileen Bell, Deputy Leader and Victims' Spokesperson of the Alliance Party, gave her views on the announcement in this article in the Belfast Telegraph. Bell stated:
"OTRs are Republicans who are either suspected of serious acts of terrorism but who have never faced the courts, or who have escaped from prison. They include people suspected of involvement in some of the worst atrocities during the conflict, such as the Enniskillen bomb.
"What could be more perverse? Paramilitaries, including those guilty of heinous crimes allowed to return to their homes in safety, while innocent people exiled by the relevant paramilitary organisation are denied that opportunity."
I agree with Mr Wilson and Ms Bell. I cannot see how one can morally justify giving amnesty to people who have murdered and maimed. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it also goes against the very teachings of Irish Republicanism.
What happened to "equal opportunities and equal rights" to "all citizens"? What happened to "cherishing all of the children of the nation equally"?
If Sinn Féin were true Republicans, they would oppose these measures vehemently. The fact that they do not oppose these measures and that they in actual fact support them tells you plenty about their Republican credentials.
Sammy Wilson stated the proposed amnesty for OTRs made a "mockery of justice". He's right. But it also makes a mockery of Irish Republicanism.
In recent days there has been much debate about who the true Irish Republicans are in the island of Ireland. At their recent Ard Fheis, Fianna Fáil put forward their case that they are the true flag-bearers of the Republican tradition. Determining who the true Republicans are in Ireland will always provoke debate but I think one thing is certain - whoever it is, it ain't Sinn Fein.
Friday Fun's Fascinating Fact
Yeah, but I'm guessing that's mostly due to females.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Thursday Thoughts: 1916 celebrations
Personally, I think it's great news. I am a Dubliner myself and I pass by the GPO regularly. O'Connell Street holds great importance to the people of Dublin and personally I have always felt a sense of pride when I've looked up at the GPO to see my nation's flag flying over it proudly. I believe that this is evidence of the evolution of events here in Ireland. The Easter Parades were done away with originally due to the violence which was taking place in Ireland's north. The very fact that we are now in a position where we can once again reintroduce this event is very positive news indeed. I think that there are three issues involved in Ahern's announcement however which need to be addressed. Firstly, why is this happening? Secondly, why is it important to "reclaim" the Rising as Ahern has stated? And lastly, how should Irish people greet this announcement?
With regards to why this is happening, it's quite simple - Fianna Fáil are trying to reaffirm to the Irish people that they are the true Republican party on the island of Ireland. It's not a bad idea on their part. Looking at the party over the last decade, one would be forgiven for thinking that the 'Republican party' had shifted their goal from a United Ireland to a United Europe and that the 'Soldiers of Destiny' had received their pension fund courtesy of the bureaucrats from Brussels. Well, apparently not. Apparently Fianna Fáil haven't forgotten their roots. I think it's more accurate to say that they haven't forgotten the benefits which go along with these demonstrations of patriotism. Sinn Féin have moved in on Fianna Fáil's turf and while Fianna Fáil aren't prepared to move in on the Shinner's turf north of the border, clearly they are prepared to play defensive. This is all purely lip-service to the idea of a United Ireland. It will look good on their manifestos for the next General Election.
With regards to why it's important to reclaim the Rising, personally I think the events of 1916 have been tarnished by two groups. The Provos who through their actions only served to disgrace the Rising, and the revisionists who seek to demonise the actions of the men based on the actions of the Provos. Guilt by association in other words.
"The Irish people need to reclaim the spirit of 1916, which is not the property of those who have abused and debased the title of republicanism," said the Taoiseach.
I agree completely. I think it's high time that we the ordinary people of Ireland took back the Rising. Why is the Easter Rising important? Because it turned the Irish political situation on its head. The importance of it cannot be underestimated. Had it not occurred, it is quite possible that a Union Jack would today be flying over the GPO. It is quite possible that Irish culture as we know it today would have withered and died. Had it not occurred, Fianna Fail itself wouldn't be around. It is a major moment in time and one that deserves in my opinion both acknowledgement and celebration. It symbolises, I feel, a very significant characteristic of Irishness - defiance. Not giving up. 'No Surrender'. The 1916 rebels put their lives on the line with one main goal in mind - to reawaken Ireland from her slumber. Some of the rebels paid the price for that with their lives. But the British authorities in turn paid the price for that by being driven out of the majority of the island. These things need to be remembered and the young people of Ireland need to be aware of their significance. It's not about indoctrination, it's about education.
With regards to how the Irish people should greet the news, I think they should greet it warmly. The events of 1916 should not be a source of shame for Irish people. There is no shame in standing up for what one believes in. The real shame is that the Rising had to happen at all. The real shame is that these islands weren't allowed to grow and develop and stand together in friendship. That the greed of the larger island became too great that it set about taking land from the smaller island until it eventually took the smaller island for itself. Therein lies the shame. For generations, this smaller island was suppressed and the few who tried to do something about it were quickly vanquished but the desire for freedom persisted. It would not die. Defiance. Should we be ashamed of that? No. After the Rising was put down and the rebels were taken away, they were jeered by the local Dubliners who had seen their city reduced to rubble. Some even spat on the Rebels. Should we be ashamed of that? No. We should be ashamed that the stranglehold of Britishness was at the time so great that Irish people had to find themselves at odds with their fellow Irishmen. In killing the 1916 rebels, the British had gone too far. The stranglehold had become too tight and Ireland was awake and gasping for its freedom. How should we feel about that? Proud! Proud that this small island of ours through its defiance was able to stand up to the most powerful nation on the planet and demand for itself freedom!
The revisionists have been putting in place their own stranglehold. A stranglehold on patriotism. In the Irish News, Susan McKay when writing on the plans for the reintroduction of the Easter Parade said:
"Ireland is a neutral and increasingly multicultural country. It likes to boast of its role in world peacekeeping. (Don't mention the Shannon stopovers.)
"Commemorating the past by showing off our ability to wage war, as Fianna Fail proposes, is entirely retrograde."
Nonsense! Is Ireland neutral? Yes. But does that involve being neutral in relation to our history? Must we stay out of that? Of course not. I was under the impression that our neutrality involved us staying out of wars, not staying out of commemorating our own heritage!
Are we increasingly multicultural? Yes. But does that mean we cannot embrace events which played a part in reviving our own culture? I say let people of all cultures here in Ireland line up on O'Connell Street next year in memory of the brave rebels of 1916!
Commemorating the past by showing off our ability to wage war? No, Susan. We will be commemorating the past by showing off our ability to never give up, and to never give in!
Please God I and the rest of the Irish people will have many opportunities from now on to pay homage to the rebels of the Easter Rising. No doubt that by this time next year, many Irish people, unionists and revisionist critics alike, will denounce the Easter Parade deeming it disrespectful and condemning those who turn out to honour the Rising. Well, we should turn out anyway. Not as a mark of disrespect - but as a mark of defiance.
"We seem to have lost. We have not lost. To refuse to fight would have been to lose; to fight is to win. We have kept faith with the past, and handed on a tradition to the future." - Padraig Pearse, at his court-martial on the day before his execution, May2, 1916.
Like what I've done with the place?
So what's the verdict? Do you like it? Or do you think it's a pile of shite?
I've added a poll to the sidebar so let me know what you think.*
*I happen to like it so even if you don't, it's still staying!
Ach, It's Dolmio
Go here and laugh or else pish off!
Don't worry. It's all in good taste. (ahem)
UI's Celtic Mythology - Uther Pendragon
*Note - This is the final Celtic tale I will be posting. All of these myths have come from the book Celtic Mythology by Arthur Cotterell which I highly recommend. I hope you have enjoyed the stories and you can read more of them in my archives.*
Monday, October 24, 2005
I've found myself quite eager to post while I've been away so I guess I still have the blogging bug so to speak. Despite this, I've come to another realisation - things are stale. I think I need to ring in a few changes. I'm going to try and go from stage 6 back to stage 5 so hopefully these changes will help me to do just that.
'Nationalism is built on revolution, but it must move forward through evolution'.
I wrote that around the time I set up United Irelander and I think it's applicable to this blog. With that being said, here are a few modifications I will make to UI:
- Return to the basics - This is an Irish nationalist blog. People of other political persuasions are of course welcome but I think it's time I got back to my roots and concentrated mainly on Irish political issues.
- Less is more - I feel that in pumping out posts and concentrating on quantity, I have only served to neglect the quality of the posts. It's been a while since I've felt truly pleased with anything I've written so with that in mind, I will be cutting down on the number of posts I write. (I know I said that before one time and I actually posted alot more afterwards but this time will be different!)
- Less features - I will be abolishing my weekend features which were 'Saturday Survey' and 'Sunday Scrutiny'. I will probably keep on the daily features from Monday to Friday. As for the Celtic myths, there are a few more tales I will post about and then I will be finished with them.
- New colour scheme - Last but by no means least, I will be changing the colour scheme to United Irelander. Yes, the trademark green will be given the boot! Long-term readers of UI who have been here since the start will remember it was the standard orange up until I revamped it to green around February. Well I will be changing the colour once more so stay tuned! (No doubt you'll hate it but sure what the hell...)
So there you have it. As for me, I'm still quite busy so the above changes won't be taking place until I return to the blog seat which will hopefully be this Thursday.
Until then, slán go foill.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Taking a break
I've noticed an increase in visitors to United Irelander of late which is welcome but since I enjoy debating with the people who comment here, it also ends up being even more time consuming.
My life is quite busy now out there in the 'real' world and so blogging has to take a back seat. As you know I've been mulling over whether or not I should give up this whole blogging lark so I guess I will make up my mind on that while I'm away.
Anyway, good luck and God bless.
God Bless America...and God help us!
First up - George W. Bush is a genius!
Now you've observed the intelligence of the US President, check out this clip highlighting the intelligence of a few American regular Joes:
Where to invade next?
Hey, Ireland's not on their list! But you better watch out Antonio from Italy!
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Sunday Scrutiny - PUP
"The Progressive Unionist Party is committed to conflict transformation and the processes that empower and build a strong, confident and vibrant loyalist community," it said in a statement.
There had been speculation that the party would distance itself from the UVF, which has been linked to at least four deaths in its feud with the Loyalist Volunteer Force.
The PUP’s allowances for the North's assembly have been suspended because the British government has decided it is not doing enough to curb paramilitary violence by the UVF.
As far as I'm concerned, the fact that the PUP are openly admitting that they remain aligned to an organisation which has been engaged in murder means that the gloves should now come off.
We've seen unionists harp on about the links between Sinn Fein and the IRA but they go strangely quiet when it comes to the PUP and the UVF. This is no longer acceptable because the UVF are right now a bigger threat to peace than the IRA.
In September, when Peter Hain announced he was declaring the UVF ceasefire over in light of their violence, he declared:
"They have got to find a political way forward and my door is open to loyalist representatives to find out what their agenda is.
"Their agenda for the future not just their past grievances, which are important especially in these deprived communities, but also what their future agenda is, because Northern Ireland has got to look forward."
It is quite clear that their 'agenda' is to cause as much instability in Ireland's north as they can muster. These terrorists and their proxies in the PUP must be tackled by the authorities as their intentions have been made clear and their intentions are not good.
If the PUP won't go away, it's time to declare the party illegal. They are simply a talking shop for loyalist murderers and an affront to democracy.
Craig, Daniel Craig
What do you think of the choice?
Personally I think it's a bad move. I just don't know if he has the characteristics that fit the Bond role. James Bond should have a presence, he should be suave, he should have that dry British wit and he should also be a hit with the ladies.
With that being the case, I think the producers should have plumped for this guy.
Judge sees red
Dana Lucin, 33, of Surrey, gave a very colourful explanation for a marajuana grow-op found in a building in Ashcroft.
Mr Lucin claimed he was hired to renovate the property in the southern Interior community by a Mr. Black, a Mr. Pink and a Mr. Blue and had no idea there were 2,500 pot plants growing in the building.
Mr Lucin also said the facility was registered to a Mr Peach.
The judge called Lucin's evidence totally unbelievable and convicted him of producing and trafficking marijuana.
Sounds like Mr Lucin was stoned when he was giving his testimony!
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Villain of the Week: Father Reid: The priest found himself in a spot of bother this week, not once but twice. Firstly for comparing the unionist community to Nazis for their past treatment of Catholics, and then again for stating that he didn't believe the Provos were involved in the Northern Bank raid. Despite these gaffes, I think the response of unionists has been pretty appalling. Take this for example. Disgraceful.
Funniest Moment of the Week: Spidey blockbuster: I personally thought this animation was hilarious.
Dunce of the Week: Ian Paisley Junior: This was his reaction to Father Reid's comments:
"He's apologised, but he's explaining away the reasons why he made those comments."
Talk about hypocrisy! Has your own father ever apologised for the things he has said, Ian Junior? What a moron.
Luckiest Persons of the Week: Swiss team: Roy Keane misses the game through injury, then Damien Duff misses the game through injury, then we end up with a referee who tries to stifle any hint of aggression from the players and to top it off, the Irish team doesn't turn up on the day. You lucky Swiss!
My favourite moment of the week: Passports for northern citizens: As a nationalist, I was pleased to hear that up to 25,000 people in the North will be issued with Irish passports this year. Proof, if any were needed, that the attempt to segregate Irish from Irish through partition has failed and failed miserably!
Quote of the Week: "The reality is that the nationalist community in Northern Ireland were treated almost like animals by the unionist community. They were not treated like human beings. It was like the Nazis treatment of the Jews" - Father Alec Reid.
Clearly not his finest hour but I personally see nothing wrong with the comments. I'm not like some unionists who are waiting with baited breath at the slightest sign of an insult so they can rush to the top of the moral high ground! Considering the disgraceful comments that he had to deal with, I can understand Father Reid's position.
United Irelander's Busiest Day of the Week: Wednesday
Love me do...
Well, not to worry. False alarm! They're still here and still loving Ulster the way only they can! Take for example this charming post by 'loughy larneloyal' directed at Republican posters on the Love Ulster site:
"do you feel unloved... picked on...nobody likes you`s..you smell....you have paedo leaders....then ur probably a republican.......................why the need to come onto a loyalist site??? do you feel you get a kick out of being a wanabe prod?............ get a life you republicans and as for your sympathisers why do you`s not all head to the sinnfein/ira forum you`s can take up ur issue`s there..............."
The love is back. (Sniff)
Kerr speaks out
I thought he spoke very well and defended his position admirably. The people in the audience were respectful and supportive of the man which pleased me because he is clearly hurting over Wednesday's result as much as the rest of us. I think that's one of the things that separates us from the English. The slightest hint of something going wrong and they go nuts whereas in Ireland, people seem to be more understanding.
Even though I was impressed with how Brian Kerr conducted himself on the show, I still think it's time we got in a new face.
I just think he is lacking in key areas, particularly tactically and also in terms of the style of play offered.
I think opinion is going to be divided whatever the FAI decide to do over Kerr's contract. I do think Kerr did his chances of a new contract the world of good though through Friday night's interview.
Land of the Fry...
Earlier today, when I was eating a rasher, or as you Yanks like to call it - 'burger dressing' - I noticed that my rasher contained the perfect likeness to...the United States of America.
That's right. You heard me. My rasher was the exact same shape as the good old US of A.
As I sat there in stunned silence holding the most powerful country in the world in my palm, I briefly contemplated putting it on eBay and chancing my arm. But then I remembered...I'm not American. I'm Irish. So I ate it.
And you know what? It was delicious.
USA! USA! USA!
Friday, October 14, 2005
You've got to hide your love away
I wanted to sample some more of their warm and good natured sentiments yet despite my efforts, I can't find their site.
Have they moved on to loving Scotland now or what? Where is the love?
A legend departs
In a statement released to RTE, Keane said:
"Like all football supporters in the country, I am disappointed that the Republic of Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup finals. Despite the efforts of Brian Kerr, his staff and the squad who made an endeavour to qualify.
"I believe recent criticism of Brian in the media is unjust and unfair.
"I would like to thank the players and staff for their efforts. Much as I would like to continue playing for my country, I feel the time has come to retire from international football and concentrate on domestic football for whatever is the remainder of my career.
"I would like to thank everyone for the support they have given me throughout my international career."
It's a shame to see this happen but it was to be expected. We will never see another player like Roy Keane again. I don't think Manchester United will either when he eventually hangs up his boots at Old Trafford.
Without a doubt the most outspoken and controversial footballer in Irish history and perhaps the most controversial Irish sportsman. Full stop.
Opinion on Keane is sharply divided in this country. Some adore him, others detest him. I have friends and family who fit into both categories. Personally, I think he is fantastic and I'm glad he returned to the side for one last hurrah. I wish him well at club level with Manchester United.
My favourite Keane display in a green jersey was against the mighty Dutch at Lansdowne Road in a crucial World Cup Qualifier in 2001. In the opening seconds, Keane crashed into Marc Overmars thus setting the tone for the rest of the game. Welcome to Dublin, Marc. You're in for a tough oul' day. They were. Ireland won the game 1-0, and with 10 men. Keane was world class that day.
Sorry Robbie, but there's only one Keano. And we'll never forget him.
Fun Irelander Feature - 7 stages of the blog
1. Introductory phase - You have taken the plunge and set up a blog. You've read quite a few blogs and you feel that it's right up your alley. You greet things like the Blogger template the way a young Irish child greets the Irish language for the first time. With complete and utter bewilderment. You wonder how long it will take for you to destroy your own blog.
2. Enjoyment phase - You're actually starting to get the hang of the thing. You develop your own style of writing, you enjoy putting forth your views and you begin to understand why blogging is so popular. You master how to link to other blogs and you notice you are getting quite a few visitors to boot which gives your ego a lovely oul' boost.
3. Loony phase - You go a bit Mariah Carey with the whole blogging thing. You become obsessed with increasing the number of hits to your blog and you try to take over the blogosphere. You get more visitors than ever before and convince yourself that you are terribly important and that people demand to hear your thoughts on every little issue. You begin to look on blogging as a chore and a responsibility.
4. Resentful phase - You're pissed off with your blog now. You didn't sign up for this. You get angry at letting yourself become consumed by blogging and decide to 'go on vacation' or 'go on hiatus' to get you head together and escape the blogging craze for a while.
5. Enlightenment phase - You're back and you're better than ever. It's all so clear to you now. You understand what blogging means to you at this point and you accept it for what it is. You are over stage 4. You start to enjoy blogging once more you settle into blogging far more comfortably.
6. Blogging through the motions phase - Things have become so comfortable that they are mundane. The tempestuous relationship that you once had with your blog now feels more like a loveless marriage. You feel your blog puts forth its messages more effectively yet you're not really sure what it is you're trying to say any more. You begin to ponder about the future of your blog and resort to stupid posts such as ones commenting on 'stages of the blog'...
7. Disillusionment phase - You realise it's time to call it a day. Your blog has come as far as it can and blogging begins to feel unimportant. The lofty ideals you felt for blogging in the earlier stages now merely evoke from you a wry smile. You begin to understand that blogging is not as important to your life as it once was and you decide to make your final post - your goodbye.
To me, these are the seven stages of the blog. And if you want me to be perfectly honest, I feel I am definitely in stage 6 right now and growing ever closer each day to stage 7.
All-Ireland football team needed
I agree with Ronnie Whelan's assessment. The situation then is thus:
- We have a below-average team in 'Northern Ireland' who lack a number of quality players to make a serious impact on the world stage.
- We have an average Ireland team who contain some quality players, but lack the quality in depth to maintain a serious challenge in getting to major tournaments.
- We have an organisation in the IFA who claim they want to have a team that northern nationalists can identify with.
- We have an organisation in the FAI who are detested by most Irish football fans for their shocking incompetence and amateur outlook on the game.
It would seem to me, from weighing up the situation noted above, that the best solution to safeguard the future of Irish football on this island, is to push for an all-Ireland rugby team such as the one we have for Rugby run by one organisation, preferably the IFA.
The population of this island is just too damn small to continue with two teams. One average team and one poor team, when together, could be good if not great.
Football legend George Best earlier this year called on the football authorities to set-up an all-Ireland team and I think it's high time we did just that. Would Irish rugby be as successful if there were two Irish teams on the island? I do not think so.
Divided we are decent, but united we could be strong. Issues over anthems and emblems could be resolved just like it was for the rugby team.
Some may wish to let emotions get involved and dismiss this idea outright without a second thought but let's just acknowledge something. Next year, in Germany, this island will be unrepresented. How many more tournaments must the people of this island watch from the sidelines?
Isn't it worth a shot at pooling all our resources together? People can talk all they want about what divides the people of this island north and south but there's some things which are common characteristics for all of us. Passion. Heart. Desire. Patriotism.
Why must we let the arena of politics harm our chances in the arena of sport?
The unified German football team will kick-off the World Cup next year. Meanwhile, representatives from the divided Irish teams will have to watch from at home. Let's change that sorry situation.
Community spirit being killed - PDs
Junior Finance Minister Tom Parlon (pictured left) today told a PD conference on Sustaining Communities that Ireland’s rapid economic growth in the past 20 years had also created profound social changes.
"While much of that change has been positive, many people feel that the sense of community, which for most of us has been a defining characteristic of Irish life, is fast diminshing," he said.
"Nobody in their right mind would want to go back to the dark days of the 1980s, however it is equally undeniable that the bonds which bind communities have been weakened over the same period.
"Too many people now work in one location, live in another and socialise in a third. They are resident in areas but not necessarily members of a community. Commuting is proving the great killer of community spirit."
I don't always find myself agreeing with the PDs but I do think they are right on this matter. The community spirit is dying in this country. Society is becoming more and more individualistic. People seem too wrapped up in their own little worlds I feel.
With all the success of the Celtic Tiger we have neglected to see what it has cost us - the sense of community involvement.
One has only to use public transportation in Dublin to observe this trend. Person gets on bus, sits beside stranger, takes out iPod, Discman or mobile phone and makes no effort to converse with the gentleman or lady sitting right next to him.
I think it's such a shame because I find meeting someone new and having a pleasant conversation to be a great way of brightening up the whole day.
We might have material wealth in this country. But that's not going to enrich our lives...
FIFA shortlist farce
What makes me say that I hear you ask?
Well they've only gone and put David Beckham, yes that's right DAVID BECKHAM, on the shortlist for FIFA's World Player of the Year! David Beckham? David Beckham?!
What on earth are these guys smoking/drinking/(insert as required) ?
David Beckham has been unbelievably average at Real Madrid. Yes his form has picked up for his club recently but there is no way in hell this guy can be classed as a serious contender for World Player of the Year. Yes he's a good-looking individual but that's no reason to include him on the list!
To make matters worse, Arjen Robben makes the list as well - Damien Duff does not. Huh? Duff is clearly the superior winger. Robben has been shite this season and Mourinho would clearly favour the Irishman over the Dutchman. Remember how important Duff was in the Premiership and in the Champions League last season? Remember that quality goal he scored at Stamford Bridge against Barcelona in that cracker that Chelsea won 4-2? But Duff can't be included! No, he actually has talent!
Believe it or not but Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo even made the shortlist ahead of Duff. Absolute bollocks.
Friday Fun's Fascinating Fact
I had no idea that this was the case but it is indeed true! Apparently he was a cheerleader in his college days. You can see a picture of Dubya the cheerleader right here.
Incidentally, this is NOT an accurate portrayal of what he looked like as cheerleader!
UI's Celtic Mythology - Uathach
Women eh? Always going for the bad boy! I think this is another great Celtic tale and I love the way Cuchulainn easily slays Uathach's lover as he tries to be the hero! How can you not like this guy?!
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Irish Blog awards? Why not?
These categories have been suggested:
- Best Blogger
- Best Blog Post
- Best New Blogger
- Best Contribution to the Boggersphere (Tech wise)
- Best Potential Blogger i.e. Someone we'd like to see blogging
- Best Photo Blog
- Best Fictional Piece in a Blog
- Best Art Blog
- Best Political Blog
- Best Group Blog
- Best Comment/Commenter
- Best Personal Blog
Sounds good. But I've a few questions. Who are the judges? Will it be based on a voting system like that You're A Star programme? Will I win anything?
Since people have been encouraged to think of other categories I would suggest:
- Funniest blog
- Funniest post
- Most controversial post
- Most controversial blogger
- Best mainstream post (ie one which transcended the blogosphere or 'boggersphere')
- Best looking blog (I'm a shoe-in here. Not.)
If you can think of other categories, feel free to post some of them up.
And most importantly may the best blogs win.*
*(By the way Damien Mulley, I think your blog is great and your idea is genious. Just saying...)
Unionism, Nazis and so forth...
Father Alec Reid's remarks were made at a public meeting in south Belfast also attended by Reverend Harold Good, the Protestant decommissioning witness.
Here is what Father Reid said:
"The reality is that the nationalist community in Northern Ireland were treated almost like animals by the unionist community. They were not treated like human beings. It was like the Nazis treatment of the Jews."
My take on that? A perfectly reasonable statement. Bigotry is bigotry. What's with all this bullshit that unionists are coming out with about how some bigotry is worse than other bigotry? Anti-Catholic attitudes are just as bad as anti-Semitic attitudes. I have the guts to accept that the Irish Free State treated protestants poorly in the Twenties so why can't unionists admit that Catholics were indeed 'treated almost like animals' in the sixties by the Northern Ireland State? Father Reid has since apologised for his remarks saying he lost his temper. Fair enough, although I wouldn't have apologised myself. But it's not over...
UI readers know I just love to sift through the bullshit of Irish politics so permit me to do just that by analysing some of the laughable comments made on this non-issue. First up, son of Dr Evil and chip off the old block, Ian Paisley Junior:
"He's apologised, but he's explaining away the reasons why he made those comments."
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA! The bullshit-ometer is going haywire! Let's have a look at some of the comments made by Ian Paisley Senior over the years, shall we?:
"This Romish man of sin is now in Hell!" to a packed Ulster Hall after the death of John XXIII in June 1963.
"I will kill all who get in my way", which was shouted out at certain reporters following a loyalist rally in 1968.
After a loyalist rally in 1968, Ian Paisley justified the burning of Catholic homes by claiming: "Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners"; he also said the massive discrimination in employment and allocation of public housing for Catholics existed because "they breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin".
"The Provisional IRA is the military wing of the Roman Catholic Church."
"Ulster Resistance is not for the faint or half hearted and we will use all means which are deemed necessary to defeat the Agreement." (Ulster Resistance rally, Belfast, November 1986)
Now I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Ian Paisley Senior has NEVER APOLOGISED for these disgraceful comments!
Be very careful standing on the moral high ground Ian Paisley Junior. You might get a nosebleed.
Next up, the DUP's Nigel 'I never smile' Dodds who, again, sends our bullshit-ometer into overdrive:
"The remarks by Alec Reid are appalling and reveal a mindset which could be portrayed as deeply bigoted and fundamentally racist."
Hmm. Are these sentiments shared by your party leader, the Rev Ian Paisley I wonder? Is he 'deeply bigoted'? What do you think, Nigel? And how are the comments 'racist'? How did the 'R' word come into this? Skin colour wasn't mentioned at all! The comments are about as racist as they are misogynist!
I'm sure you're all incredibly interested in what Reg 'I still matter honest!' Empey had to say:
"It destroys confidence because how can the word of somebody using that sort of language be taken seriously."
Oh now decommissioning can't be taken seriously! Gee, I never saw that comment coming! Let's see Reg, you ask 'how can the word of somebody using that language be taken seriously'. I'm guessing in the same way that the word of someone like Ian Paisley has to be taken seriously. Nothing to say about the language he has used in the past, Reg? Of course you don't. We wouldn't want to destroy the confidence you have in your hypocritical position!
Lastly, let's look at the comments made by Willie Frazer of the victims' group Fair who walked out of Wednesday's meeting in protest:
"I did fly off the handle but I could not sit there and allow him to accuse the unionist people of persecuting the Roman Catholic community for the last 60 years. That is far from the truth."
Er...no it's not far from the truth it's actually spot on! I suppose the civil rights campaign by Catholics was just a nasty Fenian effort to attain a United Ireland, eh? Issues like gerrymandering never occurred, right?
It seems to me that the reason so many unionists are so incensed by Father Reid's remarks is that they have hit a nerve! The truth hurts! Sadly, we can't run away from our past and if we fail to confront it, it will consume us all.
Sometimes moving on is difficult, but that's not an argument for us to bury our heads in the sand and live in a permanent state of denial.
As it relates to this island, 'Don't mention the war!' is not an adequate solution by any means.
Thursday Thoughts: Kerr-less Ireland
Ireland's match last night against Switzerland proved to be a damp squib. A match that Ireland needed to win to guarantee at least a play-off and yet the performance was so...bland. So ordinary. So uninspiring. And ultimately, I think responsibility for that rests with the manager.
Permit me to look at three key areas in which I feel Kerr has been unsatisfactory:
Player selection - John Giles hit the nail on the head prior to the match when he said that a manager must know his best team and stick with it. Major changes were made to the Ireland team ahead of the game and that should not happen. I did support the idea of O'Shea in midfield but not just against the Swiss. The fact is, players in midfield for Ireland have been ordinary. Holland and Kavanagh for example and Kilbane in particular. How Kilbane gets in the team is a mystery to me. Bottom line is, some of these players just aren't good enough to make the first eleven. Kilbane must go. Stephen Carr can no longer be picked ahead of Steve Finnan. Stephen Reid must be given more of a chance and some young players must be blooded. Also on current form, Morrisson can no longer be a first-choice. Connolly deserves another chance as well along with Elliot and young Doyle.
Tactics - I think Kerr's tactics are too conservative and predictable. I was disgusted that in the dying minutes of the Swiss match, who comes on? Gary Doherty. A guy who is lucky to make the bench at Norwich and who plays as centre-half, coming on in a crucial World Cup qualifier and being looked on as a saviour. I mean, route one football was employed all evening and it failed. Why not instead, on the sixty-minute mark perhaps, bring on Elliot and take off someone like Carr thus making it 4-3-3? At least have another system to fall back on rather than just simply hoof it forward. Gary Doherty is a donkey and all he did when he came on was give away free kicks. It was ridiculous.
Style - Ireland under Kerr have been horrible to watch. As I said, Kerr is conservative which usually means Ireland play a very dour, negative game. We Irish fans want attacking football. We've seen too many Irish teams play defensive games, particularly under Charlton. We don't like it. We want entertainment. Can anyone think of a match under Kerr where we really went above and beyond ourselves and played the opposition off the park? I can't. Probably our best game was away to France. A 0-0 result. Says it all really.
Brian Kerr tried his best and no one can say otherwise but his best was simply not good enough. Yes we had our two best players missing but that doesn't justify the baffling player selection, the inept tactics or the dull lifeless displays.
I think we need a new manager. One who can get the most out of a group of players who are, let's face it, not top-notch by any means. We need to build for the future. We need a manager who can instil an attacking mentality into the side.
My ideal choice as manager would be David O'Leary but I can't see that happening. Martin O'Neill would be marvellous but I question if he would want to put himself through the inevitable hassle he would get from certain extremist unionist elements. Besides, he may be Malcolm Glazer's newest employee.
What are your own thoughts though? Should Kerr be given the boot? And if so, who would you want in to replace him?
The INO said the worst of today's overcrowding was in Dublin's Tallaght Hospital, where 51 people were waiting for admission to a hospital bed.
The Tánaiste and Health Minister Mary Harney announced an action plan to deal with the overcrowding problem earlier this year, but nurses say it has yet to have any affect on the situation.
I said it on Tuesday and I'll say it again. It's high time Mary Harney stepped down from her position as Health Minister.
She has proved an abject failure.
Take that, partition!
Up to 25,000 people in Ireland's north will be issued with Irish passports this year, it has emerged.
Over 40 post offices across the border will process the service.
Irish pensioners across Ireland's north already get free passports after Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern announced a waiver scheme in August for all citizens over 65.
Mr Ahern said today: "This year 25,000 people in Northern Ireland will avail of our new Automated Passport System through a network of 40 post offices.
"The €27.7m system fully meets all international specifications and is widely regarded as one of the most secure in the world today."
Up to 650,000 Irish passports in total will be issued this year resulting in €33m in revenue.
Very good news. The Irish nation is alive and well. The border's attempt to segregate Irish from Irish has failed.
It's a dog's life
Carey was left speechless when the airline she was flying first class with refused Jack a berth "because he's too big" - and was amazed staff said they would have made an exception for a "famous" pooch.
She says: "They said, 'We'd only allow it for a famous dog.' Please! He has three websites dedicated to him."
Most people are either a dog or a cat person. It's clear what Mariah Carey is - a crazy person.
UI's Celtic Mythology - Uaithne
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
So we're out then...
In UI's poll, 67% said we'd win. You fools!
And as for you Uri Geller, you have alot to answer for!
To sum things up - Bollocks anyway.
Come on Ireland!
(G) Shay Given
(D) Ian Harte
(D) Richard Dunne
(D) Kenny Cunningham
(D) Stephen Carr
(M) Kevin Kilbane
(M) John O'Shea
(M) Matt Holland
(M) Andy Reid
(F) Robbie Keane
(F) Clinton Morrisson
Morrisson has been preferred to Elliot and Carr has been preferred to Finnan but the big news here is that O'Shea comes into central midfield. If you remember, I myself advocated that O'Shea should come into central midfield. John Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady don't agree with the decision but I think it's the right call. It's a gamble but one which I feel will be successful. Don't let me down John O'Shea!
Come on Ireland!
'What If'? Wednesday - Irish victory
My question is - what are you going to do if Ireland win?
I think if Ireland win some serious celebrations are in order.
This particular beverage would be consumed quite a bit I imagine.
I won't bother asking what you would do if Ireland won and France slipped up against Cyprus meaning we qualified automatically. The country would go nuts! Workplaces around the country would be inundated with staff calling in sick the next day:
'Yeah I must have gotten that 24 hour stomach bug that's been going around'.
'So you didn't watch the match last night then'?
'The match? No. I'm not into football. I was up last night doing those papers you wanted.
(Same again mate?)
'What was that'?
'Uh, that was just the TV.'
The above passage in no way suggests I will do likewise should Ireland win today!
So what about yourselves? Where are you planning to watch the big game and what are you planning to do if we get the result we need?
BNP ditch plans for Ireland's north
Strategists have ordered members in Belfast and surrounding towns to concentrate on financing its future advancement plans in Britain.
The policy contradicts a pledge by BNP leader Nick Griffin to stand at least five local government candidates during his last visit to Northern Ireland nearly two years ago.
And a fierce opponent of the party regarded as neo-Nazi extremists, SDLP Assemblyman John Dallat, was elated by the re-think.
He said: "The BNP or their sidekicks the National Front did us no favours and did everything possible to ignite racism.
"Thankfully for once the main political parties gave them the once up the posterior and I only wish the same level of co-operation was available on all forms of sectarianism or racism."
Well said Mr Dallat. The BNP are a truly horrid party based on an awful ideology and their presence in Irish politics is most unwelcome.
There aren't many issues that Irish nationalists and unionists can agree upon but I'm sure we can all agree that this is very good news and that the BNP can offer nothing constructive for this island.
Bomb left at school in North
The find angered headmistress Lesley Meikle.
"How dare they endanger children's lives?" she said.
"This is the second time. It is absolutely disgusting, despicable. Who do they think they are?"
Ian Paisley, who visited the scene during the alert, called for the arrest of those responsible.
"Those who engage in such dastardly deeds and plan to murder as many as they can must be brought to justice and removed from public circulation if schoolteachers and pupils are to work in peace," the North Antrim MP said.
Sinn Fein Assembly member Philip McGuigan said the incident showed loyalist paramilitaries were intent on creating difficulties and dangers for the community in north Antrim.
"To leave these deadly devices in public is worrying, but I would have to ask what these people thought they were doing when leaving these things on the premises of a children's school," he said.
"As a society we need to challenge the sectarian attitudes that exist. There can be no excuse for the targeting of a school whether it is Catholic, Protestant or indeed any other type of school.
"It is also essential that we close down the political vacuum that is being filled by loyalist sectarian violence."
What kind of monster targets a school? These people are beneath contempt.
I agree with Mr McGuigan on loyalist violence. The focus must be placed on these loyalists who are intent on terrorising innocent civilians.
Yet another Govt project disaster
Fine Gael claimed in the Dáil that a €3m one-stop-shop portal, launched by former Health Minister Micheál Martin amid a fanfare of publicity in 2004, was abandoned earlier this year.
Party leader Enda Kenny said: "The portal is not up and running because it doesn’t exist.
"It has disappeared into the same black hole as the e-voting, the PPARS, the Digital Hub, Punchestown and all of the others."
Health Minister Mary Harney admitted that the project, which was worked on by IBM and Accenture firms, was suspended earlier this year because the technology wasn’t compatible.
"Work on the portal was suspended by the HSE last February because it seemed the technology may not have been compatible,"she said.
So there's €3m down the drain. As Enda Kenny said, it has disappeared down a black hole. I'd like this Government to be met with a similar fate.
It's time for a change of government at the next election, folks. A government that is not in the habit of pissing our money away...
Uri in for it now, Switzerland!
That's right, psychic Uri Geller is going to use his powers to help Ireland beat the Swiss by flying a helicopter over Lansdowne Road just before kick-off to focus the energy of fans watching the match on TV.
The psychic said while nobody could predict the outcome of the match, the science behind positive thinking was very tangible and he wanted to focus the consciousness of Ireland fans to help their team win.
"I’m not a miracle worker and it’s a very difficult match.
"They need to be positive and believe in themselves," he said.
"It is down to the talent of the players, but it’s also up to the fans to give that extra support."
Geller said he had visited Ireland on a number of occasions for business and wanted to even things out after helping some of the Israeli football squad ahead of the match they drew with Ireland.
"The Irish people are one of the kindest and most cheerful and nicest people that I have ever met."
Hmm. I don't know what to make of this. Especially since Geller's own country, Israel, are not out of the hunt for a play-off spot. Then again, we need all the help we can get in this game so I'm not going to knock it!
So wherever you are planning to watch the big game this evening, just remember - think positive thoughts!
Something to get your teeth into...
The group said 80% of the population could get free or subsidised treatment from their local dentists, but many people just don't know about it.
The IDA plans to launch an awareness campaign to encourage more people to avail of annual check-ups.
Chairman of the GP Group of the IDA, Dr Tom Houlihan, said that, of the PRSI scheme, only 30% of those who paid PRSI actually took up treatment on the scheme, and 18% of the medical card holders took it up.
"What people are entitled to free of charge is an examination and a basic cleaning every twelve months," he said.
That's certainly news to me. I haven't actually been to the dentist in a while.
Why wasn't this information made more readily available by the Government for the general public?
UI's Celtic Mythology - Twrch Trwyth
Hold on...the boar kept a comb, a pair of scissors and a razor? Sounds like it was better groomed than yours truly!
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Top Ten Tuesday - Swiss things
1. Swiss neutrality - The Swiss take their neutrality seriously unlike ourselves. There was no 'neutral on the side of the British' situation for the Swiss. They do what they say! If there's a war you better believe they're not taking part!
2. Wary of EU - Switzerland is not a member state of the EU. They are clearly very wise!
3. Swiss Army Knives - Where would we be without the Swiss Army Knife?
4. Ursula Andress - Yes, everyone's favourite Bond girl is Swiss!
5. Swiss Alps - They be mighty impressive Alps!
6. Swiss cheese - The Swiss love their cheese, and we love it!
7. Roger Federer - If he hadn't come along, Tim Henman might have been the one winning Wimbledon!
8. Martina Hingis - Martina will always be remembered for the way she whooped arse Swiss-style when she burst onto the women's tennis scene. She likes to shower as well which is always nice.
9. Swiss motto - I like the Swiss motto - 'One for all, all for one'. Where did they get the idea for that one I wonder?
10. They signed up to the Dublin Convention. Go Dublin! I mean...Switzerland!
So there you have it. Feel free to comment on my choices or to offer up some of your own.
And as for you Switzerland, we Irish will treat you nice for today, but soon you will have the entire nation going after you! Neutrality is not an option tomorrow!
(G) Shay Given
(D) Ian Harte
(D) Andy O'Brien
(D) Kenny Cunningham
(D) Steve Finnan
(M) Andy Reid
(M) Matt Holland
(M) John O'Shea
(M) Stephen Reid
(F) Robbie Keane
(F) Clinton Morrisson
That would be my team. What would be yours?
© 2008 United Irelander.