Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Top Ten Tuesday - Irish embarrassments

Oh bollocksThe big topic in Ireland of late has been last weekend's violence in the capital city over the contentious Love Ulster parade. While the events which took place on Saturday have stirred quite alot of controversy and debate, one thing seems to have been universally acknowledged - Ireland was embarrassed.

Retailers have claimed that Saturday's scenes may have done damage to Ireland's image abroad and while the thugs who rioted do not in any way represent the majority of decent peaceful people in this part of the island, it hasn't done the peace process any favours that's for sure.

Yes, Ireland has been embarrassed big time. It's not nice when your country is embarrassed and as I got thinking about this I began to recall other moments in recent times which have left me wanting to cringe. Therefore I have decided to list them in this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday. So without further ado, I give to you the top ten Irish embarrassments of recent times:

1. Keane/McCarthy conflict - For me, this ranks as the most embarrassing moment for Ireland in recent times. It's the World Cup, the greatest sporting event on the planet in my view, and the country is excited to see how Ireland will do - and then the captain and best player falls out with the manager. What a disaster this was! It turned families and friends against each other and for a time it was as if there was a sporting civil war going on. I remember how the rest of the world seemed gobsmacked at what happened. The British media thought we were a real joke following it and even Bertie tried to intervene! Ah memories...

2. Colombia Three return - This was another debacle. Colombian authorities are searching for them and they go and give an interview with the state broadcaster RTE telling everyone that they're actually in Ireland! Of course unionists went ballistic and it caused the Government much embarrassment, particularly with the US.

3. O'Connell Street riots - As I mentioned above last Saturday's events have left Ireland looking quite embarrassed as hundreds of people, mostly scangers, proceeded to tear the city centre apart and to attack the Gardaí and journalists. Outrageous stuff.

4. Nice treaty re-run - Alot of people might argue that the bigger embarrassment was that the Irish people initially rejected the Nice Treaty but for me, that was a wise decision and an example of democracy in action. What was not democratic however was basically saying to those who had bothered to vote, 'Sorry your vote didn't satisfy us so we're going to make you all vote again'. Democracy in this country was well and truly pissed on the day the Government decided to run the Nice treaty referendum again after a multi-million euro campaign. Disgracefully, they got their way the second time around but Ireland's reputation as a democratic country took a hammering that day. An embarrassing farce.

5. Priest attacks Olympian - What a joke this was when Father Cornelius "Neil" Horan went and ran Brazilian Vanderlei de Lima off the road in the men's Olympic marathon which the Brazilian had been leading. I remember everyone initially thought it was a Scot because he was wearing a kilt (see picture above) but no, it was an Irishman sadly. I remember RTE ran reports at the time saying how Ireland was very unpopular with Brazilians after the incident. You can hardly blame them for that but this guy Horan is as disliked here as anywhere else. I stand by my original solution to the problem - lock him up in a Brazilian jail. That would have taught him a lesson!

6. Sinead O'Connor rips photo of Pope - Ah yes there was a big furore over this when Sinead O'Connor tore up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live in the US. To be honest O'Connor has always seemed to me to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic so I never really paid much attention to this and her other equally embarrassing stunts such as when she became a 'priest' (sigh).

7. Aeroplanes attacked - This to me was a total embarrassment when anti-war protesters went and desecrated US aeroplanes in Shannon Airport. This was not long after 9/11 which made it even more embarrassing and shameful. The Irish government were made to look like idiots by not being able to protect US planes and it didn't help our standing in the US. I think most Americans acknowledged however that those who attacked the planes did not reflect the wider Irish public.

8. President's comments on cartoons - Mary McAleese has gotten herself into plenty of trouble over her views, particularly with Protestants in Ireland's north, but I thought her recent comments on the controversial Muslim cartoons were far more embarrassing. The President told Saudi Arabia that ALL the Irish people opposed the publication of the cartoons. Um, I didn't! I did however oppose my head of state engaging in such an overtly political subject which was not necessary whatsoever!

9. Last year's Eurovision entry - Oh man. This was cringeworthy to say the least. For those of you unaware of Ireland's act and for those of you who have simply forget them altogether, here they are. They don't really look like pop stars, do they? Sadly for us, they didn't sound like pop stars either and Ireland was humiliated in front of the rest of Europe. Still, at least it put an end to You're A Star picking the Eurovision song entry so I guess we should be grateful for that at least.

10. Two words - 'Bertie' and 'Bowl'. We're meant to be one of the wealthiest countries in Europe yet we can't even build a decent football stadium. Ludicrous. Things got really embarrassing when Ireland made a bid with Scotland to host Euro 2008 however with pie in the sky hopes of a new ground being built and the GAA unsure about opening up Croke Park, European officials wisely chose elsewhere and Euro 2008 will now be held in Austria and Switzerland. Why do we make such a mess of things in this country?

So there you have it. The top ten Irish embarrassments of recent memory. Feel free to comment on my choices or to offer up some of your own.


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