Thursday, June 30, 2005


NI racism tackled

I'm pleased at the news that the PSNI may set up special units to investigate the increasing number of race crimes in the North.

Shockingly, Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said there was now almost one racist attack a day in the province and described the problem as one of the biggest challenges facing his officers.

"The rise last year (recorded crime figures) equates to just under one (racial) crime) a day in Northern Ireland so is it is something we take very seriously."

The chief constable also told the Board many such crimes were linked to loyalist paramilitaries.

It's high time the disgusting level of racism in Ireland's north was tackled. Loyalists appear to be the main culprits and it's time these Loyalists finally learned that racism won't be tolerated in modern society.


Barrosso the Clown

Following on from my previous post, it seems Jose Manuel "Bozo" Barrosso has been making even more dumb comments today in Dublin. Want to know about his thoughts on the EU constitution? Read on...

'Speaking at the National Forum on Europe today, Mr Barroso said the body had helped to stimulate debate and encourage Irish people to back the Nice Treaty after initially rejecting it.

'He said the rest of Europe could learn from the Irish experience when trying to convince voters to back the proposed EU constitution, which has already been rejected by France and the Netherlands'.

The guy really is a clown. Yes, learn from the Irish experience which basically means - ignore a result that you don't like and tell the people who originally voted to go f*ck themselves whilst ploughing millions into a campaign to have this unwanted result overturned!

Sorry Bozo, but that's not an experience I'd urge the rest of Europe to follow. That experience is instead befitting of countries like Burma and Zimbabwe.

As I said, the EU cannot be trusted.


The EU prevents Holocausts!

I see European Commission President Jose Manuel Barrosso was in Dublin today urging EU leaders to "sell" the EU to its citizens.

What I found most interesting however was his stark warning for those who oppose the European project.

What was Europe 60 years ago? he asked.

"It was Auschwitz, it was the Holocaust, the worst pages of the history of mankind were written in Europe in that war," he said.

So by opposing the EU project we may bring about another Holocaust? Oh no! Someone give me a referendum quick so I can vote Yes! Have you ever heard such garbage? The EU prevents events lie Auschwitz, does it? And there was me thinking that was the role of the UN...

Another amusing line was this - "Ireland counts much more now than before becoming part of the EU".

More garbage. The only reason he says that is because our pathetic leaders have been more than willing to BEND OVER to the EU and its aims.

We all must remain very wary of the European Union. It simply cannot be trusted.


Thursday Thoughts: Blogging

Blogging has been the subject of debate in recent weeks. Gerry O'Sullivan touched on the debating aspect of it, while Richard Delevan explained how he had become disillusioned with it. Deaglan over at Res Publica has touched on the issue as well. With that said, I thought I would offer my two cents on the issue and I'm probably going to rub some bloggers up the wrong way when I say this but here goes:

Blogging is just a fad.

I can just imagine all those bloggers falling off their seats at this very minute but that's my opinion! Some people tend to think that blogging will be revolutionary and will signal the demise of journalism as we know it. I don't. Some people tend to think blogging will lead to more and more people turning away from traditional news outlets like newspapers, TV and radio. I don't. Some people tend to think blogging will one day hit mainstream. I don't.

Blogging is just a movement. And, like many movements, it will reach its high point and quickly fade away. As far as blogging goes in Ireland, the high point may have already been reached. For example, let's look at Slugger O'Toole. Will we ever see another blog that challenges its supremacy? Unlikely. Slugger is like the Microsoft of Irish political blogs. It dominates all others. Personally, I've no problem with that as I never intended to compete with it which is why I try to mix things up by adding humour and games and to basically touch on areas outside of Irish politics. To find a niche in the market-place so to speak.

Some bloggers however appear to want to be in Slugger's position and be at the forefront of the blogging movement. The blogging movement will not last though in my opinion. For example, let's look at those who blog now. Will they be blogging a year from now? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Frankly I'd be surprised if I am as I'm sure I'd like to get away from the whole scene by that time. I'm sure a very high percentage of those blogging now will not be blogging a year from now as they will move on from it.

Many see bloggers as would-be journalists influencing widespread opinion but I think this is a naive way to look on blogging. Look at someone like Kevin Myers. He writes an article while the public at large discuss it. Bloggers however usually allow comments and are held accountable. This, in my view, decreases the power of the blogger's article. The flip side though is that blogs without comments can end up doing badly in the blogosphere and have a small audience.

Alot of bloggers equate their posts with the articles that journalists write however I would equate posts by bloggers with pamphlets that are handed out on streets. The fact is, some will browse through it and may find what's there mildly interesting but most will either ignore it altogether or throw it away. Many for example have probably stopped reading this particular post by now!

Bloggers are in danger of getting too carried away with delusions of their own self-importance. Most bloggers should take blogging for what it is - a chance to be heard. A voice. In this small blog of mine I've spoken to people of all traditions, some with very different views to mine. I've spoken with people from Dublin to Belfast, from the UK to New York. One comment I remember fondly was left a couple of months back by an individual from Chile who commented on a post I had made wishing Ireland good luck in a World Cup qualifying game. He wished Ireland good luck and said he hoped both countries would qualify.

This, to me, is what blogging should be about - communication. Hearing from those across oceans and continents and acknowledging their views. This is what blogging is. No more, no less. And, as far as I'm concerned, that's nothing to be disappointed about.


The Lion's Share?

I was surprised and disappointed to hear courtesy of Slugger O'Toole about Nelson McCausland's call that the word 'Irish' should be dropped from the Lion's title.

Nelson McCausland said he had written to the rugby authorities to express his unease at what he described as "political correctness run amok".

He said the team had for decades been known as the British Lions, but the name appeared to have changed in recent years to include the word 'Irish'.

He said the team was drawn from the British Isles and should be known only as the British Lions, despite the fact that 11 of this year's squad are Irishmen.


It's discouraging to hear wallies like McCausland making remarks like this. Some UI readers may be surprised to learn that I actually like the idea of a 'British and Irish' team and that I have actually found myself rooting for the team when I've caught the matches on TV!

I like the idea of rooting for not only my compatriots, but English, Scots and Welsh as well without politics being brought into the equation. Sadly, clowns like McCausland undo all that by making such silly comments.

The 'British and Irish' name isn't to do with political correctness but to acknowledge the contribution of the Irish to the team. There are players playing for the team who are Irish-born, and not British-born.

Furthermore, the 'British Isles' argument is garbage since there is no nation based on the location. As well as that, some of us resent the archaic term 'British Isles' and much prefer IONA - Islands Of the North Atlantic. It's like the USA and Canada having a combined team and calling it 'America' and justifying that name based on Canada being part of 'North America'. I don't think many people would accept that over there, and we shouldn't accept 'British Lions' over here.

Let's not let muppets like McCausland spoil a good thing.


UI's Celtic Mythology - Briciu

Briciu was one of the troublemakers of Irish myth. An Ulster lord, he arranged a great feast to which he invited all the Ulster heroes, and ordered that the hero's portion be given to the greatest among them. At which point the three great warriors, Cuchulainn, Conall and Laoghaire, sprang up at once and began fighting each other for the honour. In order to settle the argument it was agreed that a monster should be summoned to test the courage of the three heroes. Briciu did this by challenging each other to cut off the demon's head, on the understanding that the following day that man should then lay his own head on the block.
Cuchulainn stepped up first and beheaded the monster, whereupon the creature rose, took up its head and departed. The next day Cuchulainn offered his own head and the monster pronounced him the bravest man in Ireland.


This seemed to me to be a very condensed version of the tale and sure enough, after browsing through another book on Celtic mythology that I own, "An Introduction to Celtic Mythology" by David Bellingham, it goes into far more detail, way more than I could rewrite but I will rewrite the last piece of the tale for you:

Cuchulainn not only knocked his head off with one blow but he also smashed it to bits on the floor. Even so the ogre arose, picked up the pieces and left. The following evening the ogre returned, knowing that Cuchulainn was a hero who kept his word.

'Where is the hero Cuchulainn?' asked the ogre.

'I shall not hide from the likes of you,' answered Cuchulainn.

'You sound worried,' said the ogre, 'but at least you have kept your word.'

Cuchulainn laid his head on the block and the ogre raised his axe; everybody gasped and turned away. As he brought the axe down, the ogre turned the blade so that only the haft caught Cuchulainn on the neck.

'Now rise up, Cuchulainn!' cried the ogre, 'for of all the heroes in Ulster and indeed in the whole of Ireland, you are the greatest in terms of valour and honour. You are champion of champions and the prize of Briciu is for you alone. Your wife Emer is the first lady of Ulster. And if any of you dispute this fact, your days will be numbered.'

With these word the ogre left the room, but as he left he was transformed into Cu Roi, son of Daire, and thus ensured that his judgement of the three heroes was to be final.


So there you have it. This one took me quite some time to reproduce but hopefully you found it enjoyable.


A breakthrough? Not quite.

Alot of people have used words such as 'historic' and 'groundbreaking' to describe the recent deal which will see thousands of Orangemen parade in the nationalist West Bank of Derry.

I don't think we should get too carried away however. I certainly welcome dialogue between nationalists and the Orange Order. The problem is, there wasn't any!

The deal was brokered by the Derry Chamber of Commerce between the Orange Order and the Bogside Resident`s Group, who did not engage in face-to-face dialogue.

Ultimately, the Orange Order must be judged based on their actions. Hopefully we will not see the Orange Order engage in disgraceful acts like it has done in the past. If it acts with respect and decency throughout the North then that will be truly 'historic' and 'groundbreaking'.

Hopefully this will be the case. I doubt it though.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


What's in a name? Sadly, quite a bit...

I was saddened to hear of this story (hat-tip N.Irish Magyar) about a young couple from east Belfast whose home was petrol bombed in an overnight attack today which they believe was down to the fact that 19-year-old Roisin Orr has an Irish name. The woman is however a Protestant and has stated that "people should get the full facts before they start".

Speaking from their Braeside Grove home in the Braniel estate, both Mr Robinson and Ms Orr vowed they will not be intimidated from the home they have shared for 18 months.

Mr Robinson said: "It was about 2.45am when I was woken up with a banging on the front door. Then I heard this crashing and I told Roisin to stay upstairs.

"I went down the stairs and saw the state of the door. It looked like it had been hit twice with a hammer.

"They mustn't have been able to get in with a hammer so they threw the petrol bomb.

"A girl a couple of doors down said she saw somebody running down the bottom of the hallway.

"There was no getaway car, they were on foot."

The young couple believe the attack stemmed from an argument last Saturday night, when Mr Robinson confronted a man after their front door was kicked.

Mr Robinson confronted the man and was subsequently bitten on the face.

Ms Orr said she had been taunted in the street and has had sectarian abuse hurled at her - despite being a Protestant.

She said: "The people who did this are shallow and ignorant.

"They need to get the full facts before they start and not try to intimidate innocent people.

"We are supposed to have moved forward. We are not interested in politics, we just want to be left alone."

Ms Orr said she still has a copy of her baptism certificate from Stormont Presbyterian Church to prove she is a Protestant.

And Mr Robinson said he will be taking the certificate to the PUP.


This story is sickening and shows that there is a long, long way to go before the bigotry in the North goes away. What a sad state of affairs when a Protestant woman with an Irish name has to bring a certificate to the PUP, the political wing of the Loyalist terror group the UVF, in order to put an end to sectarian abuse directed at her.

Despite efforts by some to blame the problems of society in Ireland's north solely on Republicans, the fact is Loyalists are every bit as dangerous and remain a big obstacle for us all to overcome if we are to bring some semblance of normality to this island of ours.


The Irish love life!

Irish people are more satisfied with life than the average European, according to a new quality of life survey.

We don't rate the country's health system or public transport though.

But we do believe that education and pension systems are excellent apparently.

The survey's results aren't that surprising. Life is generally great in the Republic. It's time those from the North got to experience how great it is as well.

It's time for a United Ireland.


'What If'? Wednesday - Presidential Vote

I'd like to once more raise an issue relating to the Irish presidency, namely this key question - what if the six counties in the North were allowed have a say on the Irish presidency?

Below are what I see to be potential benefits and drawbacks to the idea:


- Gives increased legitimacy to the all-Ireland argument.
- Highlights to northern nationalists that the Republic respects them and their Irishness.
- Fixes the ludicrous situation in which we can have a president born in the North yet at the same time deny others from the North a vote on the presidential race.
- Highlights to Unionists that nationalism is heading in the right direction and is not pursuing its objectives in an aggressive way.
- Finally gives northern nationalists a Head of State that they can identify with.


- Some Unionists would likely be hostile to the idea and most would likely snub the opportunity to vote if it came along.
- It's doubtful that there would be many Unionists interested in running for the Presidency if offered the oportunity.

Overall though I feel the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and I think it's something worth pursuing. What do you think?


UI's Celtic Mythology - Blodeuedd

Blodeuedd (whose name means "born of flowers" or "flower face") was a beautiful, magical woman. She was conjured up by Math and Gwydion from the blossoms of oak, broom and meadowsweet to be the wife of Lleu, Gwydion's nephew, because Lleu's mother, Arianhod, had declared that he should marry no mortal woman.
For a time the young couple lived happily, but one day Lleu went to visit Math and while he was away Blodeuedd kindly offered hospitality to a passing huntsmen, Goronwy, the lord of Penllyn. Blodeuedd and Gronwy fell in love and began to plot the murder of Lleu. This was no easy task, for Lleu could be killed only while standing with one foot on a goat's back and the other on the edge of a bath tub, and only by a spear which it had taken a full year to make. However, even though the pair finally succeeded in meeting all the conditions and attacked him, he did not die but flew into the air into the shape of an eagle. Math and Gwydion set out to avenge Lleu. When they found Blodeuedd, Gwydion turned her into an owl, the bird of the night.


OK even though I'm paying homage to Celtic mythology, I have to say that this particular story is just too funny! Let me get this straight, the only way Lleu could be killed was by standing with one foot on a goat's back and the other on the edge of a bath tub, and only by a spear which took a full year to make? What?!

And how bummed must Goronwy and Blodeuedd have been after actually succeeding in meeting those conditions only for him to SURVIVE!

Ah, funny stuff.


Sinn City awaits...

The eagerly awaited IRA statement on its future could come before early August, Bertie Ahern told the Dail on Tuesday night.

Mr Ahern said that the British and Irish governments expected to hear from the terrorist group before the August bank holiday weekend in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Ahern told opposition TDs today: "We would expect to hear in the weeks immediately ahead before the holiday break in August. That is what we believe but we don’t have any definite information."

Yeah Bertie doesn't have any 'definite information' basically down to the fact that the very silly IRA Army Council messed up the summer vacation plans. You see, Martin Ferris was supposed to book the holiday in early July but there were issues with the travel agency and...well you know how it goes but not to worry, apparently the big trip has been arranged now for the holiday break in August!

Once they get that bothersome issue of the statement out of the way it's off to the bright lights of Las Vegas! The IRA are flush with the cash these days you see. Apparently they got a big surge of funds round about December last year believe it or not...


Top of the Mooning (sorry)

Thanks to Gerry O'Sullivan for informing me that images can now be uploaded on Blogger.

In light of this I figured my first image should be a very tasteful one.

And before anyone asks, no the image in question is not of Gerry Adams. From what I understand he is still in possession of that moustache of his...

* Also the image is not mine. I got it through Google so hopefully no one will sue me for using it. (Not sure if Sinn Fein own it...)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Top Ten Tuesday - Guilty Songs

I was watching one of those music channels on TV a few weeks ago and they were running a countdown on 'Guilty songs' - songs that you like but feel a bit embarassed about liking. They asked various celebrities what songs they felt 'guilty' about liking. I'm sure you all could name many songs that you like but feel a bit embarrassed about liking. I know I could, which is why I decided to dedicate this edition of Top Ten Tuesday to the songs I feel a bit guilty about liking. I'll explain my choices for some of them. So without further ado:

1. Sugar, Sugar - The Archies
2. Celebration - Kool and the Gang (It's just great for celebrating)
3. Singed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours - Stevie Wonder
4. Rock the Casbah - The Clash
5. We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel
6. Over My Shoulder - Mike and the Mechanics (OK this one IS hard to justify)
7. Country Roads - John Denver
8. Space Oddity - David Bowie
9. Puff The Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul and Mary (for the nostalgia factor)
10. He Aint' Heavy, He's My Brother - The Hollies

So there you have it. Feel free to mention some songs which you feel guilty about liking.


Finally OWC tackles the issue...

Well it took a while but finally the key issue of the bigoted hate-filled article on Our Wee Country by 'Owen' (which can be viewed here) has been addressed on the site's forum (which can be seen here). While my polite attempts to get the issue of the article raised were met with disdain and insults, someone called "jacktheripper" who had this to say in response to 'Ricardo' who claimed I was "no intellectual heavyweight" :

"Neither it would appear is Owen, with his comments about Roy Keane being a gypsy, or as he calls it 'gipsy' and his stereotypical claims about drive tarmaccers.

"I actually cringed when I heard that and this united Irelander character has a valid point when he objects to these commenets."

Hear, hear! Finally someone over there acknowledges what I and several others have acknowledged on United Irelander and Slugger O'Toole, namely that the article is out of order. Another individual called "EZPZ" had this to say:


"Your points re Keane are in fact scurriulous and racist and could be perceived as incitement to hatred. You can dislike Keane to your hearts content but to throw 'traveller' related insults at him in public forum shows you up rather than any points you were trying to make re Keane.

"If that's the best you can do in satirising individual you don't like you're not exactly an intellectual heavyweight are you?"

Well said EZPZ! Incidentally, for those who are unaware of the comments in question, here are the comments mentioned in relation to the traveller community:

"Our purportedly "local" broadcasters set aside a full week of news time to cover the foul-mouthed outbursts and bad-tempered brawlings of one of Cork’s travelling community" (referring to Roy Keane)

"In all fairness being a psychotic gipsy can be a serious problem for a person. Roy was also probably concerned about his family. I’m told it’s been a tough few years for itinerant driveway tarmaccers"

As you can see, both Keane and his family come under attack with comments that contain slurs at the traveller community. Indeed, if one goes to the Our Wee Country forum which I linked to above and reads the final few pages, they will come across an extraordinary amount of hate and bile directed against Keane and to make matters worse, even his family come under fire AGAIN by, yep you guessed it, 'Owen' - the bloke who wrote the article in question. Here's what he says:

"Keane is a scumbag and from all accounts comes from a scumbag family. That's fairly well documented and widely known from people who live in that area."

These comments are bang out of order and where is it documented ('Owen' says it's 'well documented') that Keane comes from a "scumbag family"? From reports on RTE during the whole Keane/McCarthy furore, if any place was loyal to Keane above all others, it was his local area in Cork. Many of the neighbours that were interviewed I recall were in support of him.

The Our Wee Country Site, which has the temerity to term itself 'inclusive', is far from it in reality judging by that article by 'Owen' as it promotes hate and bigotry towards travellers and towards the ROI team and their supporters. I am heartened however that some people on Our Wee Country have the sense and common deceny to challenge this abomination of an article. Well done to the two individuals who spoke out. I note they have encountered criticisms for doing so. They have my respect however. Well done to them.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Monday Madness-Dreadful Injustice

I would like you all to read this disturbing article and I would like someone to please explain to me why the perpetrator of this ghastly and appalling crime, 16- year-old Michael McDonagh, has only been given nine years detention.

Could someone please explain this to me?

Is this what we are calling justice? Disgraceful.


Pregnant Britney to pose naked

Britney Spears is reportedly in talks with Vanity Fair to pose naked just weeks before she is due to give birth to her first child.

According to a Life & Style magazine a source said: "The negotiations are in motion. Britney desperately wants to do it and knows she has to stay in good shape."


What do they mean "stay in shape"? She's pregnant. The only shape she's going to be is round, isn't it?


IRA must make bold move - Blair

Any move from the IRA will have to be bold if unionists are to be convinced it is credible, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said. (hat-tip Slugger)

Mr Blair said the group must recognise this as a "one off opportunity".

He said if the IRA passed the "credibility threshold", the obligation would pass to unionists to drop their objections to power sharing.

Mr Blair and Bertie Ahern are meeting in Downing Street to review the political and security situation.


It seems like the usual claptrap from Tony Blair but what I find most interesting is Blair's comments that if the IRA makes such a bold move, the obligation passes to unionists to drop their objections to power sharing. This is very interesting from Mr Blair. If I was a Unionist I wouldn't like that comment one bit!

And what if the Provos were to make such a move and Unionists maintained their objections to power sharing? Would other avenues be explored? Dare I say, joint authority maybe?

Interesting comments indeed...

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Richard Whiteley Passes Away

I've just heard the news that Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley has died, aged 61, after undergoing a heart operation.

This is terrible news as Richard Whiteley was a mainstay for so many people in the afternoons on Channel 4.

He will be sorely missed. RIP.


Sunday Scrutiny-IRA Statement

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God. Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine - The Proclamation of the Republic

On Friday the Provisional IRA released a statement
admitting responsibility for the killing of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Derry and apologised to the girl's family.

At the time, the IRA blamed the British army for the shooting and said later that it had killed a soldier in retaliation.

The IRA stated that it accepted its failure to accept responsibility for the killing had added to the hurt and pain of the girl's family.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams praised the IRA for owning up to the killing: "The most important element in all of that is the Feeney family.

"I would hope that the statement helps to bring closure to that family and I therefore welcome that statement.

"At least the IRA is prepared to stand up and take responsibility for something which it did," he said.


First off, I will say that the last thing the IRA deserves right now is praise. Here is the reality of the situation:

- The IRA killed an innocent girl.
- The IRA did not own up to this killing and instead blamed it on the British army.
- They then killed a British soldier "in retaliation" for a murder that they had actually committed themselves.
- They have now apologised to the Feeney family but not the family of the British soldier they shot dead.
- Gerry Adams thinks this statement brings closure to the Feeney family, but what about the family of the soldier?

This statement by the IRA was truly shocking and if they have lied about this incident, what other incidents have they lied about? Can one blame the unionist community for opposing Sinn Fein/IRA with all its might? And how dare Adams say that "the most important element" is the Feeney family! What of the soldier's family?

Sinn Fein and their Provo cohorts have a long way to go it seems before they realise just how flawed their logic is. As far as I'm concerned, if we are taking the British State and their troops to task over past incidents and demanding apologies, when will we see the IRA apologise to the families of British soldiers?

We are told the ususal rhetoric from Sinn Fein members about moving on from "a conflict situation" and many political analysts have speculated about the end of the IRA, but if they cannot bring themselves to apologise about incidents that are completely and categorically wrong when it relates to the British army, how can we possibly move on from a conflict situation?

The IRA deserves no praise in this situation. They showed absolutely extraordinary cowardice and inhumanity and disgraced what true Irish Republicanism is supposed to be about. It is outrageous for Mr Adams to praise the IRA for owning up to this tragedy after more than THIRTY YEARS.

In an era in which we are trying to reach out to our unionist brothers and sisters, it is apparent that the Provisional IRA must step aside permanently and allow Ireland's north to grow without its presence lurking in the background.

It is perhaps only that which will bring true closure to the family of that British soldier murdered by murderers acting on the pretence of redemption.

In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called

Saturday, June 25, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Blathnat

I thought I would bring back this section on United Irelander which had a short-lived stint on United Irelander a few months ago before I took some time away from blogging. I would like to give my blog a more Irish feel in terms of culture and since my knowledge of the language is not great, I feel that writing about Irish mythology is a better idea. Incidentally, everything I write will be taken from "Celtic Mythology" by Arthur Cotteril which I wholeheartedly recommend. Today I will talk about Blathnat.


Blathnat was the wife of King Cu Roi of Munster. She fell in love with Cuchulainn, the great Ulster hero and enemy of Cu Roi, and betrayed her husband's people by showing the hero how he could enter her husband's apparently impregnable fortress. A stream flowed through the fort and when Blathnat poured milk into the water, Cuchulainn was able to follow its course. In the fierce battle that followed Cu Roi was killed and Cuchulainn was able to ride off with Blathnat. He also took with him Cu Roi's bard, Fer Cherdne.
When the party halted on a cliff top, however, Fer Cherdne took the opportunity to avenge his former master's death by grabbing hold of Blathnat and jumping over the edge with her in his arms.

So now you know about Blathnat, wife of King Cu Roi of Munster.


Saturday Survey

Hero of the Week: Bertie Ahern: I admire Mr Ahern for stating that he will take the British to the European Courts if they fail to co-operate with an inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Villain of the Week: Jim Nicholson: The UUP MEP slammed the decision to upgrade the Irish language to official EU status. Grow up Mr Nicholson! It's our language and we have a right to be proud of it!

Funniest Moment of the Week: Tim Henman's loss: This guy is hyped up to massive proportions year after year and we are forced to endure the incredibly irritating "Come on Tim!" chants while Sue Barker and the other BBC commentators gush over this overrated Englishman. Well he was kncoked out in the second round this week!

Dunce of the Week: David McNarry: He failed to become leader of the Ulster Unionists this week and I can't say I'm surprised seeing as this week he called for a ban on nationalist protests against Orange Order parades! Yeah, ban the right to protest! Anything else Mr McNarry? Shall we ban Irish tricolours too? What an idiot.

Celebrity of the Week: Tom Cruise: I'm no fan of his fascination with Scientology, but I must say I was impressed with how Tom dealt with that "reporter" who squirted him with the microphone. The stunt was so stupid that a primary school kid would be embarrassed by it.

Quote of the Week: "I don't want to be getting into a European scene if we can avoid it. It would be far easier if the British system were to co-operate on this, if not we will have to go the other route." - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern threatening legal action against the British if they fail to co-operate with the inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

I salute the stance of the Taoiseach. Let's just hope he keeps his word on this matter.

United Irelander's Busiest Day of the Week: Tuesday - 135 visits


What a result!

It was the vote that we were all waiting for. A vote that had much significance for people in both Ireland and Britain. And the results were made clear late on Friday night...

Roberto was evicted from the Big Brother house instead of Derek! What drama!

An amazing battle no question.

And in other news Reg Empey won the vote to become leader of the Ulster Unionist Party...

Friday, June 24, 2005


Friday Fun-News in Brief

Sinn Féin’s Caoimghghin "My name is really hard to spell" O Caolain and other Sinn Fein party members met in Dublin today to plot the party’s campaign for the forthcoming General Election.
"We’re preparing our constituencies where a number of priority candidates have been selected. We’re ready for the fight," he said.

Indeed they are ready. A shipment of petrol bombs and AK-47s has been sent down already and O' Caolain proclaimed: "Bring it on you Green party pussies"! (note-may not be true)

This was also the week in which US President George W. Bush
underlined his support for a strong EU.

Bush said the US "continues to support a strong European Union as a partner in spreading freedom and democracy and security and prosperity throughout the world".

Nice words. Of course Bush won't reveal the real reason why he wants to see a strong and united Europe - he won't have to worry so much about remembering the names of all those damn European countries.

And finally it's been revealed that Jennifer Lopez is designing a range of jewellery - for dogs.

An insider said: "Jennifer just got creative and wanted to extend the range of jewels for animals. She has always found it somewhat frustrating that there are limited accessories available for them."

Jennifer Lopez, catering to those she can really relate to the most - bitches.


United Irelander Responds

Some of you may be aware of this interesting thread going on over at Slugger in which myself and a few other Slugger contributors have been taking the NI football fansite Our Wee Country (which I've mentioned before) to task on the bigotry contained in this article by an individual called 'Owen'.

If you read the thread on Slugger you will see times when I have had to stand up to these OWC defenders all by myself, though it's nice to see other Slugger contributors backing me up on my opposition to this horrid article which OWC members regard as "humorous".

I've noticed an increase in visitors to the site in recent days which can be attributed to this thread on Our Wee Country's forums which has a right go at me! I thought I would respond to the latest OWC poster "bananaman" and his comments towards me on the third page.

"That thread is unbelieveable!

"He has contradicted himself so many times over flags, anthems and bigotry it's laughable."

Where did I contradict myself? Anybody know? If anyone has found something contradictory and wishes to raise the issue with me I'll gladly answer them.

"Fantastic job on exposing his hatred of all things Northern Irish and his real agenda."

My real agenda is making this island a better place. And it's laughable to claim my hatred on things "Northern Irish" has been "exposed"! When have I made a secret of my hatred for things "Northern Irish"? Indeed, if I'm not mistaken, one of my Top Ten Tuesday lists many months ago contained a list of things about "Northern Ireland" that I hated - Orange Order, no go areas etc. Things like that.

"It really is hard to believe people like this actually exist. It's Orwellian doublethink made flesh. Stalin would be proud."

Dear oh dear! A Stalin reference! Ah sure why not?! Stalin exterminated millions of people in his homeland, I oppose a bigoted article on a NI fansite. Why, we're practically one and the same!

"It is great to see people like this confronted and cornered."

Yeah you guys love to corner people with your numbers. Sadly for you, I'm more than willing to answer back when I'm good and ready.

"A lot of time and effort seem to have gone in by people to ensure his warped views don't get to air unchallenged."

Warped views? Is that what nationalists have? Is it warped to question why a NI football fansite which claims to be inclusive, has an article on its front page which contains bigoted remarks against the ROI team and its supporters? Incidentally, one OWC member admitted the article could be off-putting to nationalists if you read the Slugger thread. Sorry, "bananaman" but your post is one great big banana skin!

OK, I've said my response. Oppose me all you want but can you not also oppose the bigoted article that contains unnecessary remarks against ROI fans and which contains disgraceful remarks against the traveller community?


Friday Fun's Fascinating Fact

To take an oath, ancient Romans put one hand on their testicles...that's where the word "testimony" comes from.

You have to hand it to the Romans. They had some balls.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


SDLP accused over Grand Committee

The nationalist SDLP were today accused of blocking moves for a special House of Commons committee to have sittings in Northern Ireland.

During Business Questions in the House of Commons, Democratic Unionist deputy leader Peter Robinson urged the Leader of the House Geoff Hoon to use his influence to end what he claimed was a boycott of the province by the 43-strong Northern Ireland Grand Committee.

The East Belfast MP said afterwards: "The Grand Committee has never met in Northern Ireland because it is being blocked by the SDLP.

"SDLP members are being inconsistent in that they attend select committee meetings in Northern Ireland yet sought to veto the Grand Committee from meeting in the province."

But while the Grand Committees for Scotland and Wales have met in Edinburgh and Cardiff, Belfast has never hosted the Northern Ireland committee.

Mr Hoon acknowledged the DUP deputy leader’s comments, telling him: "Those responsible in the House will have noted what the Honourable Member said."


So the "Grand Committee" has never met in Ireland's north. So what? Robinson's making a big fuss over nothing.

I suggest Mr Robinson spend more time focusing on getting the institutions in Ireland's north up and running again!


UUP slams EU upgrade for Irish

Ulster Unionist Party MEP Jim Nicholson has hit out at the decision to upgrade the Irish language to official EU status, branding the decision "a purely political campaign".

"It will only serve to overburden a linguistic regime, which is already struggling to cope with 20 official languages," he said, criticising the British government's backing for the measure.

"We have got to question the (British) government's priorities in investing moral and financial support in the promotion of the Irish language at a time when budget constraints are being felt in public sector areas such as health and education," he said.


It's a shame the UUP are so hostile to such a key aspect of Irish culture. Sorry Jim but we are a part of the EU and it's highly appropriate that our official language have official EU status!

Ceart go leor?


Thursday Thoughts:Oath of Allegiance

Following on from my previous post, isn't it about time the archaic Oath of Allegiance to the Queen was dropped? I think it's wrong in this day and age to force MPs to swear allegiance to a monarch in order to take their seats.

Government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, for the people as Abraham Lincoln once said. The Queen has nothing to do with the people who elected the Sinn Fein MPs.

I think it is about time the British called on the Oath of Allegiance to be scrapped altogether. I feel its continued presence is harmful to Irish nationalism and I think it would be great if Sinn Fein MPs took their seats at Westminster.

I know that de Valera and Fianna Fail TDs, in order to enter politics in the Irish Free State, got around the problem of the Oath of Allegiance by signing it rather than swearing it. Is this an option allowed at present for taking up seats at Westminster?

It's time that us nationalists addressed this age-old problem of the Oath of Allegiance.


United Irish Republicans?

I've been browsing around The Blanket tonight (it's too warm to sleep) and I found some interesting articles, one of which being this article by Dr John Coulter whose views I find quite interesting. He argues republicans should form a single party for the island. The article is a few weeks old but I thought I'd offer a belated commentary on some of his comments:

"Just as the DUP needs to deliver on power-sharing with nationalists, so too Sinn Fein can shake off the perception it is merely the IRA Army Council's wee political puppet by having the vision to scrap abstentionism and take the oath at Westminster."

Interesting thought. I do think it's something Shinners should consider.

"Sinn Fein needs to look to the example of Eamon de Valera. As a vehement anti-Treaty activist, he lost the Civil War. But he became leader of the South by joining Fianna Fail and going into democratic government. Now that Sinn Fein has moved from the perceived 'extremes' to the middle ground of Northern politics, it is imperative abstentionism is ditched otherwise it will become a Biblical mill stone around Sinn Fein's neck."

A good point. Dev ended up becoming, in my opinion, Ireland's greatest Taoiseach. Yet beforehand, he had hated the system in place. By entering it, he changed it. Something worth thinking about...

"Eventually, too, Sinn Fein once it is totally democratic could merge with the SDLP to become a united, single movement known as The Republican Party of Ireland."

Not sure about this one. I can only see this happening if we end up seeing a united Unionist party.

"Long-term, Ireland should have only one republican party. In the South, Fianna Fail pushed the ethos of 'The Republican Party'. Now is the time to start building the foundations of transforming the pan-nationalist front into this single republican party."

I think questions remain over Fianna Fail's republicanism. I think if Sinn Fein becomes completely democratic and severs all ties with the Provos, many Fianna Fail republicans could simply jump ship to Sinn Fein. Along with alot of voters I might add.

What I do agree with Dr Coulter on most though is that Sinn Fein need to be open to new and radical ideas if they are to further Irish nationalism. I don't think it will happen though as they are enjoying political success by doing what they're doing now. A shame really.


Well said Jim Allister!

It's not every day I congratulate a member of the DUP (in fact, this may be a first) but I would like to praise MEP DUP Jim Allister for his delightful attack on President of the European Council Jean Claude Juncker in a speech at the European Parliament. (hat-tip About EU)

Here are Mr Allister's comments in full:

"For those who still cling to the European dream, your Presidency has been a stunning failure. Under it, the precious Constitution has shipwrecked on the rocks of rejection and the budget is an unmitigated shambles, with rancour - as in your speech today - being its currency. Out of this though, good could come. If the effect was to jolt European leaders into the same reality stream that many of their people already occupy, then a workable Europe could emerge. Root and branch changes are essential, in which the primacy of the Nation State should be re-established and Brussels' centralisation reversed, with wide-ranging powers repatriated to national governments and parliaments. A Europe built on sovereign states, training and co-operating for mutual benefit and not for the purpose of an unwanted and unworkable "ever-closer Union" has some hope of success. This present Europe - as your Presidency demonstrates - cannot work."

Amen to that, sir. I guess the DUP aren't all bad! As far as I'm concerned, if there's one thing that should unite the people of this island, it should be a fierce opposition to the democracy-denying degenerates who operate at Brussels and who threaten nation-states throughout Europe. We need people like Mr Allister to tell them that we're not about to be walked over!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Loyalist Flags Removed

Police have removed loyalist paramilitary flags from a housing estate in Holywood, County Down.

The LVF flags were taken down in the Loughview area on Friday.

A police spokesman said five men were questioned in connection with the incident and two were reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions.


Well done to the PSNI. It is absolutely disgraceful that these horrible flags be flown in unionist areas. Why must nationalist communities be forced to live in fear and be subjected to such intimidation?

It shatters the illusion put forward by certain unionists that the problems in society are down to Republicans. Loyalists haven't gone away either.


See you in court Mr Blair!

Tony Blair has five days to decide whether to co-operate with an inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings or the Irish government will take Britain to the European courts, it emerged today.

Irish premier Bertie Ahern told the Dail parliament that if the British Government refuses to hand over files when they meet at the Intergovernmental Conference on Monday, then he will begin steps to pursue the matter at the European Court of Human Rights.

"I put him on notice and I relayed to him ... that I had an obligation to the Dail parliament which has worked on this with me for the last five years," Mr Ahern said.

"I don't want to be getting into a European scene if we can avoid it. It would be far easier if the British system were to co-operate on this, if not we will have to go the other route."

If Mr Blair cannot co-operate, Mr Ahern said he will immediately seek legal advice from the Attorney General on preparing a case.


Those who have read United Irelander in the past will know that I have been very critical of Mr Ahern on numerous occasions but I will give credit where it's due. I salute Mr Ahern for his stance on this issue. There is no doubt in my mind that British Intelligence played a big role in the murder of Irish civilians in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

It is an issue I have covered in detail on United Irelander before and I have laid out lots of information on United Irelander's sidebar based on the excellent information by Joe Tierney.

It's time justice was done. With or without Mr Blair's assistance.


Orange Order Slams Decision

The Orange Order has slammed the Parades Commission's decision to re-route a contentious loyalist parade in west Belfast this Saturday.

The Whiterock parade normally passes through a security gate in the main Falls/Shankill "peaceline", but the commission has ruled that it should use a gate on Workman Avenue this year instead.

The ruling obliges marchers to use new roads built on the site of a disused factory, something the Orange Order has described as totally unacceptable.


What's the problem? Is the fun taken away from these marches when nationalists are not subjected to the triumphalism on display? The Orange Order are a joke.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


A step forward

The Taoiseach says the Irish government is pressing ahead with a white paper in the autumn on the EU Constitution.

I think that's a great idea. After all, toilet paper is awfully expensive these days...


Top Ten Tuesday - Wimbledon Woes

I did not get to do my weekly rant yesterday so I thought I would combine it with my weekly top ten list. I see Wimbledon has started up again on the BBC. There are lots of things about Wimbledon that I despise. Allow me to present the top ten things about Wimbledon that I hate. So without further ado:

1. Tim Henman - I hate this guy. He just comes across as so smarmy and arrogant. A typical British snob. A toff. I delight in seeing him get knocked out each year and I note that there are a helluva lot of Brits who feel the same.
2. Henman Hill - What is this bullshit all about? Henman Hill? The name is just ridiculous. What's even more ridiculous is when the Canadian/Briton Greg Rusedski plays and they call it 'Rusedski Ridge'. Madness. It pisses me off. Alot.
3. Henmania - The term used for those annoying Brits who hype Henman up to epic proportions. 'Come on Tim', 'Come on Tim' is all you hear when Henman is playing. It makes my blood boil and I delight when he gets knocked out and those fools are shut up.
4. 'Tiger Tim' - This is the farcical nickkname Henman has been given. It hardly places fear in the pit of your stomach does it? 'Tim' isn't exactly a name that will do that. Think about it - 'Terrifying Tim', 'Tim the Titan' it just doesn't work. 'Tiger Tim' is just absurd altogether.
5. Greg Rusedski - This guy really bugs me. He's not even British! Brits have always made fun of the Irish who adopt Brits but does Rusedski have any connection to Britain AT ALL? He seems like a nasty indivdual as well. Remember his outburst one or two years ago?
6. Sue Barker - Henman's personal cheerleader. This one really annoys me and I don't like her on A Question of Sport either. She harps on and on about Henman ad nauseum. Just shut up already.
7. John McEnroe - This guy is a muppet. EVERY YEAR he says he thinks Henman will win. You cannot be serious John? He is licking up to the Brits that's all. He is full of himself to boot. He won't shut up when he's commentating either.
8. Annoying Commentators - They are some of the most annoying people you could ever listen to. As if McEnroe wasn't bad enough, you've got Boris Becker, David Mercer ( in love with Henman I think) and Henman fanboy, John Lloyd. The only one I like is the excellent Barry Davies.
9. Men in Suits - Why is it the draw is made as easy as possible for Tim Henman every year? It's an absolute disgrace. I've no idea who Henman plays in the first round but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they got some hobo off the street, handed him a racket and told him to go to Centre Court. It's just a joke.
10. Stupid Bow - I don't know if it's a requirement any more to bow to those in the 'Royal Box' any more but if there is, it should be stopped immediately! I have been disgusted to see other nationalities engage in this dreadful gesture in previous years. If it were me I wouldn't do it. I would lock eyes with them and hold my Irish head high. 'Royal box' would have a very different meaning in my eyes!

So there you have it. Feel free to comment on my choices or to offer up your own.


Saddam - Up close and personal

Saddam Hussein loves Doritos, hates Froot Loops, admires President Ronald Reagan, thinks Bill Clinton was “okay” and considers both presidents George Bush “no good”. He talks a lot, worries about germs and insists he is still president of Iraq.

These are just some of the details of Saddam Hussein's life in US military custody which appear in the July issue of GQ magazine, based on interviews with five Pennsylvania National Guardsmen who went to Iraq in 2003 and were assigned to Saddam’s guard detail for nearly 10 months.

An interesting insight into the former Iraqi Dictator's life can be found. For example Saddam was friendly toward his young guards and sometimes offered fatherly advice.

Yes, when asked by a guard what to do when the mother disagrees with him on something, he would urge the guard to have her executed. When asked by a guard what to do when a teacher has some bad things to say about his child, he would urge the guard to have her executed. And you really don't want to hear what his advice was regarding kids who date at a young age...

When one soldier told him he was not married, Saddam “started telling me what to do”, recalled the soldier.

"He was like: ‘You gotta find a good woman. Not too smart, not too dumb. Not too old, not too young. One that can cook and clean.'"

Then he smiled, made what was interpreted as a ”spanking” gesture, laughed and went back to doing his laundry in the sink.

Actually the guard in question had misunderstood Saddam. Rather, his advice was "you gotta find good women". One not too smart, one not too dumb...

The magazine said Saddam told his guards that when the Americans invaded Iraq in March 2003, he “tried to flee in a taxicab as the tanks were rolling in” and US planes struck the palace he was trying to reach instead of the one he was in.

"Then he started laughing," recalled one soldier. "He goes: ‘America, they dumb. They bomb wrong palace."

If America was dumb, what do you call those who refused to allow weapons inspectors into their country even though it was to transpire that they had no weapons anyway?

Still, it is interesting to learn about the guy. Saddam Hussein - apparently much more than a former murderous dictator who wears white underpants.


Put 'em up Paisley!

I see the Secretary of State met with Assembly members from the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists for the first time on Monday. For those who do not know Mr Hain, you can view a picture of him here.

DUP members were expected to take Mr Hain to task on the issue of parades. One must assume that it wasn't a very easy meeting.

In fact a picture of Mr Hain after the meeting can be viewed here.


Carry On McNarry!

One of the candidates in the upcoming UUP leadership election, David McNarry, has called for a ban on nationalist protests against Orange Order parades.

Mr McNarry claimed such a ban was warranted following the violence that accompanied a contentious parade through the nationalist Ardoyne area last Friday.


Indeed these are grounds for banning protests. As well as that Mr McNarry has used the UUP's poor results in the recent general election, to call for a ban on votes for nationalists.

David McNarry...a class act.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Barking Mad!

Since we've been hearing alot about Michael Jackson of late, check out the following hilarious video of Triumph the dog taking the piss out of Jacko's wacko fans.

You can watch it here.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Friday Fun-News in Brief

This week US President George Bush said the voting in Iran has been designed to keep power in the hands of a few rulers "through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy".

Well if America can do it...

Osama bin Laden and fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar are alive and well, a 'Taliban commander' said in a TV interview this week, adding that he still receives orders from Omar.

Yeah they're having a great laugh sleeping in various tents here and there. They love telling stories especially about the day they thought they saw a balloon... but it was actually a bomb or that crazy day they thought they saw a TV...but it was actually a rather large amount of sand. Happy days! Osama loves that type of lifestyle though. And you know where he'd really like? Prison. Let's hope he's there soon enough.

And finally, this week Tom Cruise had to defend his relationship with Katie Holmes which people had, unfairly, dismissed as a publicity stunt. Well you naysayers are wrong you hear, because it was revealed today that he proposed to Katie on the Eiffel Tower in Paris and she accepted.

See? It wasn't a publicity stunt and would you believe this news comes on the eve of the opening of Tom's latest film, War of the Worlds! Isn't that great? And you thought the relationship was a publicity stunt!


Ahern believes in the constitution

Taoiseach Bertie "Thank you France and Germany may I have another" Ahern has said he is confident the EU constitution can be saved despite the overwhelming rejection of the constitution by French and Dutch voters.

Speaking in Brussels this morning, Ahern said it was now up to individual governments to convince their people about the merits of the constitution.

European Union leaders have extended the November 2006 deadline for ratifying the EU constitution, seeking to salvage the treaty by arguing a period of reflection was needed following its rejection in French and Dutch referenda.

Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU presidency, said the removal of the November 2006 ratification deadline would allow for more explanation and debate and insisted the ratification process would go ahead.


Period of reflection my hole. "Period of reflection" is one of those buzzwords politicians like to use when their attempts at having things their way have been thwarted. It is sickening to have to observe these fascist phonies bastardising democracy whenever it suits them. The people in France and Holland have said they don't want the constitution and yet the EU pushes ahead with the "ratification process". They have mapped out the future the way they see it without even consulting with the people. It's a travesty.

Ahern says it's up to individual governments to convince their people of the merits of the constitution. Surely it's up to individual governments to explain why they refuse to listen to the opinions of nation-states and why they are pushing ahead with a constitution that we were originally told would require unanimous support?

I mean, what the hell is going on?


What have I been saying?

Loyalists have attacked a Catholic home in north Belfast ahead of a contentious Orange Order march in the area this evening.

Ardoyne resident Joseph McBride said the attackers threw a garden ornament through the window of his house early this morning and shouted "up the UVF" as they sped away from the scene.

The attack came ahead of the annual Tour of the North parade, part of which is due to pass through the nationalist Ardoyne area.


Numerous times on United Irelander I have spoken out against the danger of the Orange Order and the hate and contempt it incites in people. Recently I was told by a contributor that the Orange Order are a "calming influence" and that they are a benefit to society!

Well to that contributor and people like him I will simply ask that they read the news and observe incidents just like this one. I doubt the family involved look on the Orange Order marches as a "calming influence". It's high time the Orange Order disbanded for the good of society!


A Difficult Game

I used to link to a few good games here on United Irelander on Fridays but I haven't done so for a while. Well, this Friday I will.

Be warned though - this game is very difficult. It's a point and click-type adventure and I found it really tough.

Give it a try and post on how you did. You can play it here.


Friday Fun's Fascinating Fact

In Athens, Greece, a driver's license can be taken away by law if the driver is deemed either unbathed or poorly dressed.

Mental note - If I ever go to Greece, I must use public transportation...

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Thursday Thoughts: Bloomsday

Happy Bloomsday to everyone at United Irelander! Today is the day one celebrates the life of arguably the greatest Irish writer of all time, James Joyce. His novel Ulysses is also celebrated on this day. Can we make more of this day though? Can we make it a day when we celebrate Dublin and Dublin city's culture?

James Joyce is synonymous with Dublin. The novel Ullyses is set on one day, June 16th, in Dublin. Not only that but another one of his most famous works is the book Dubliners, which contains many short stories, most notably The Dead.

Dublin is a city thriving with culture. It's the capital city of the Irish nation and yet there is not a holiday or system of celebrations in place for Dubliners. Dublin seems to lack the camaraderie that is evident in other Irish counties. Therefore it would be wonderful to make June 16th a celebration for Dubliners and the city of Dublin!

Ireland is in desperate need of more public holidays as we are well behind other EU countries who have far more. I say we make June 16th a celebration for Dublin culture. We can allow other Irish counties to join in and if they choose not to, who cares!

As far as I'm concerned today is a day when I will focus less on my Irishness and more on how lucky I am to be a Dubliner born and bred. It's blue blood running through my veins today and I intend to spend today reJoyceing (see what I did there?) at the fact that I was lucky enough to be born in the greatest city on earth!

Báile Átha Cliath go Bragh!


More bad news for EU Constitution!

I am delighted at the news that Luxembourg has decided to postpone its proposed referendum on the EU constitution!

Not only that but the Danes and the Irish are now reluctant to call a date for a referendum on the constitution!

The constitution looks to be a dead duck at this stage. The French voters rejected it, the Dutch voters rejected it, and a recent poll indicated that Irish voters will reject it if we are given a referendum. The British don't seem to want to call a referendum either and you can bet your bottom euro that they will reject it!

Democracy eh? You gotta love it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


'What If'? Wednesday - Different Approach

I spotted a post by Mick Fealty over on Slugger O'Toole today commenting on this survey by NI Life and Times. Admittedly it makes for bleak viewing from a nationalist perspective.

59 per cent of people surveyed claimed they wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom, with 22 per cent favouring Irish reunification. 11 per cent favour an independent NI, (which I feel is unworkable) with 2 per cent wanting something else and 7 per cent who say they do not know what they want.

Others have weighed in with their feelings on the issue. Everything Ulster and Andrew McCann over at A Tangled Web are, unsurprisingly, delighted with the findings. However, I don't think nationalists should throw in the towel just yet.

I don't like to place too much emphasis on polls and I don't think it is that easy to make assertions from them. As Richard Delevan pointed out recently, "reading a poll is as much art as science". I confess that I am no expert when it comes to polls, but permit me to point out something that others have yet to acknowledge.

I was very interested in the section which detailed the results for people's different ages. It is easy to see a stark difference between the older generation and the younger generation. For example, when one looks at the older generation aged 65 and over, the results are as follows:

Remain part of the UK - 71%
Irish Reunification - 18%
Independent State - 3%
Other (specify) - 1%
(Don't know) - 7%

Now when looks at the younger generation aged 18-24, the results are as follows:

Remain part of the UK - 47%
Irish Reunification - 21%
Independent State - 22%
Other (specify) - 0%
(Don't Know) - 9%

Now one can draw many different conclusions to polls and many different conclusions can be drawn from the above information, but it seems to me that the younger generation is more open to different ideas and if one adds up the other options aside from the one favouring remaining in the UK, 47 per cent favour the status quo with 53 per cent favouring a new way forward.

I would like to make a final comment on the issue of Irish Reunification itself. It seems to me that we must pay close attention to what the people here who dismiss the idea of Irish reunification are actually dismissing. As it stands, there are no concrete proposals on Irish Unity in place. When Irish Unity is mentioned, does it conjure up an image of the present Irish Republic except one that will function on 32 counties? Does it conjure up a Sinn Fein-type United Ireland? I imagine the United Ireland that these people dismissed in the poll is one that many people in the South would dismiss too! In other words, they have dismissed a flawed model which, to me, isn't a devastating blow to Irish nationalism at all.

Some nationalists, such as myself, are open to new ideas and a way forward based on compromise and mutual progression. It is time that Irish nationalists focused on developing intelligent and inclusive proposals to target those who are not content with the status quo and it is clear from the poll that younger generations are certainly open to new ideas. It is time that nationalists started focusing on that.


McDowell applauded on alcohol reform

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell was reportedly applauded by Fianna Fáil TDs last night after briefing them about his plans to reform Ireland's alcohol-licensing laws.

Despite speculation that the meeting could descend into a row, reports this morning said most of those present were satisfied with the minister's remarks.

Mr McDowell reportedly told the Fianna Fáil TDs that he was determined to press ahead with his planned reforms, but would accept workable amendments put forward by people with concerns.

The minister had been planning to introduce thousands of new licences for continental-style 'café-bars', but was forced to abandon the move due to widespread opposition from Fianna Fáil back-benchers.

They argued, along with the Irish Medical Organisation, that the move would exacerbate Ireland's binge-drinking problem.

Mr McDowell subsequently said he would completely deregulate the sale of alcohol in restaurants instead of introducing café-bar licences.

He said last night that this was always his preferred option, but the café-bar move had been recommended by the Commission on Liquor Licensing.


I too applaud Mr McDowell over this issue. It's time Ireland's silly laws were sorted out and that we treated alcohol in a proper fashion. Mr McDowell's proposals do just that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Our Wee Country answers...sort of

I'm pleased to see a speedy response to my earlier post which followed up on the bigotry of this article on the front page of Our Wee Country. I called on the readers of OWC to take a stand and do something about the article and the response was...not great. Read it for yourself here.

'spadetownboy' rolls his eye at my request. (great attitude towards sectarianism, eh?)

And Ricardo, who I have been debating with of late, states I'm 'no intellectual heavyweight' which is quite funny since I think it's fair to say that I came across better than him in our exchanges(I'll let those who have read them decide for themselves).

Ricardo thinks I'm deliberately trying to get a reaction. What gave you that idea? The fact that I asked readers of OWC to give a reaction? And this is the guy who claims I'm no intellectual heavyweight!

Ricardo then states he "won't be biting". Um, didn't you bite by virtue of responding to the thread in question? It's just that your response was not very helpful at all but as someone who defended the disgraceful article, I'm not surprised at your lousy reaction.

Let's see what the reaction is by other OWC readers to blatant sectarianism...


Getting jiggy with the jackeens

British lap-dancing club supremo Peter Stringfellow is reportedly planning to open an "up-market" lap-dancing club in Dublin. It will be situated in the Parnell Centre, just off O'Connell Street.

Stringfellow, who already operates a string of lap-dancing clubs in Britain, is reportedly planning to invest €3m in the venture.


I don't think this is a good idea. While I have nothing against lap-dancing clubs, I can't help but feel that this will be a sleazy and unnecessary addition to the City Centre. I've a feeling there will be plenty of people who will kick up a fuss over this plan. Watch this space...


Top Ten Tuesday-Worst Entertainers

I see that people are being asked to vote for who they think is Ireland’s greatest living entertainer as part of the ESB/Rehab People of the Year Awards, which were launched today.

Stars of light entertainment, film, drama, music, TV, radio and comedy can all be nominated for the award. Votes can be cast

For this edition of Top Ten Tuesday however I thought it would be better to list the top ten worst living Irish entertainers. (actually I couldn't come up with ten good ones). So without further ado:

1. Ryan Tubrudy - In my view the worst and most annoying 'entertainer' that Ireland has. What really pisses me off about this guy is that an awful lot of Irish people appear to like him. How did he end up with a TV show? He's a muppet.

2. Brendan O'Carroll - It's people like him who give Irish people, and particularly Dubs, a bad name. He's about as funny as an ingrown toenail. Apparently in Ireland, to be regarded as a 'comedian', you must act like a common as muck Dublin stereotype. Pass the sick bag.
3. Shirley Temple Bar - This monstrosity presented Telly Bingo and still does I think. What a great idea by RTE! Have a transvestite read out bingo numbers at peak-time viewing when kids are at home watching! Perhaps RTE are trying to deter future generations from taking up bingo in their older years?
4. Marty Whelan - He annoys me alot. There's just something about him. (it's not charisma though)
5. Westlife - About as entertaining as gastroenteritis. Listening to one of their records will give me the effects of said illness.
6. Dara O'Briain - You may know him as presenter of 'The Panel'. He's a comedian (apparently) and has some show out now on the BBC. I just don't like this guy. It's his voice. And his stupid grin. And his jokes. And his personality and...
7. Fran Cosgrave - He only seems to get on British TV by virtue of being Irish. I can't stand people like him who milk Irishness for all it's worth. "Hi I'm Fran Cosgrave and I'm Irish", "I better show the oul' Irish charm", "stroke my clover", "begorrah" etc. Just shut up already.
8. Twink - Kind of like a female Brendan O'Carroll, acting like the stereotypical Dubliner one would hope to avoid on Moore Street. She's probably a nice woman but she's just not entertaining. Not at all.
9. Linda Martin - OK she won us the Eurovision once, but because of her association with that 'You're A Star' shite and the revived 'Lyrics Board', she must be regarded as terrible. 'Why Me?' was the winning song she sang at the Eurovision. Watching her on TV I can't help but feel, 'why us?'
10. Caroline Morahan - Who's that, you ask? You will find a picture of her here and she currently presents 'Chance To Dance' on RTE. A good looking girl but the brains and the talent just ain't there sadly.

So there you have it. Feel free to comment on my choices or to offer your own. I've not included many in the music industry and I notice I've no one from the film industry so I'm sure you can think of a few annoying Irish people that I've left out.


Taoiseach worried about marching season

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has hinted that this year's marching season in the North could cause difficulties on a number of fronts.

Mr Ahern told the Dáil that no progress is being made on Drumcree, which has traditionally been a flashpoint in County Armagh.

He added that the Orange Order is planning to march in Derry City this year.This is a move that could cause problems.

The Taoiseach said: ''There is a huge concern in Derry about a proposal from the Orange Order to have its main celebration in the city for the first time in 13-years.

''The order is continuing to refuse to engage in direct talks with the residents in Derry. In contrast the apprentice boys have made an agreement on an annual basis.''


Proof if any were needed that the Orange Order is inciting sectarian tension ahead of the marching season. The Orange Order are more concerned with causing difficulties for nationalists rather than upholding any sort of tradition.

Me thinks it's time Unionists wised up to this dangerous organisation and called on it to disband.


A follow-up on bigotry

On this post on Thursday, the 26th May, I drew readers' attention to a website called Our Wee Country which styles itself as "A Northern Ireland fanzine by the fans for the fans".

I drew attention in particular to this article by an individual called Owen, which can be found on the front page, which contains an overwhelming amount of vile sectarian bigotry such as the following:

"Given the choice, however, between a ruling elite that have been crossbred with iguanas and listening to the beggars’ bullshit (how he describes the Irish) I must confess I’d go for the former every time"

"Our purportedly "local" broadcasters set aside a full week of news time to cover the foul-mouthed outbursts and bad-tempered brawlings of one of Cork’s travelling community" (referring to Roy Keane)

"In all fairness being a psychotic gipsy can be a serious problem for a person. Roy was also probably concerned about his family. I’m told it’s been a tough few years for itinerant driveway tarmaccers"

"Of course the most shocking thing about the Keane affair was the reaction of those fun-loving scamps, the beggar supporters"

"Not entirely surprising that they supported an abusive and violent scumbag when you consider we’re talking about a country where dishonesty and casual criminality are often viewed as endearing national quirks"

"Of course the most disgraceful piece of hubris and mendacity was the claim that the tinkers outplayed Spain. The Spanish (once again the beggars found themselves behind) had the ball in the net three more times and each effort was struck off, Mick’s multinationals equalising penalty came from a highly unconvincing foul on Niall Quinn"

"The Republic and their fans were on the plane home with only their self-delusion and whatever they’d stolen from their Asian hosts to bring with them"


As you can see from the above comments, it highlights a deplorable attitude towards Irish people. This Our Wee Country site is a very popular site for NI fans which begs the question - why does it have such a hate-filled article on the very front page of the site?

This article deserves to be removed immediately. If any OWC readers happen to read my site, hopefully they'll raise the issue of the article with the owner of OWC and ask that it be removed. Why an article about the Republic of Ireland's performance in the 2002 World Cup is worthy of being mentioned on a NI site is beyond me. It is a terribly disappointing reflection on the site itself.


Killings Were Justified - Poll

The gardaí were justified in killing two post office raiders in Lusk, Co Dublin, last month, according to an opinion poll published this morning.

Colm Griffin, aged 33, and 24-year-old Eric Hopkins were shot dead by armed gardaí who were lying in wait when a gang tried to rob the local post office.

More than 70% of respondents to The Irish Times poll said they believed the shootings were justified, despite the fact that only one of the dead raiders was armed.

Just 17% said they did not believe the shootings were justified, with support for the gardaí's action lowest among young people, people in Munster and Sinn Féin voters.


I must say that I do agree with those who say the gardaí were justifed in the actions they took with the raiders. If you put the lives of civilians in danger then you can have no sympathy.

On a side note, isn't it interesting that Sinn Fein voters are amongst those who don't support the gardaí's actions? Why it's almost as if they are turning a blind eye to criminality. Fancy that!


45% want EU referendum

I'm saddened that 45% of respondents to a poll in The Irish Times said they wanted an Irish referendum on the EU constitution to go ahead despite rejection of the document in France and the Netherlands.

However in better news, opponents of the proposed constitution were found to outnumber supporters, with 35% saying they would vote 'no' and 30% saying 'yes'.

Just 9% said they had a good understanding of the issues involved in the debate.


It doesn't make sense in my opinion to have a referendum on a constitution that appears to be dead. I was pleased to read on A Tangled Web today though the news that the French have apparently abandoned plans to have other EU nations ratify the constitution.

With regard to The Irish Times poll, it's great to see that most Irish people oppose the constitution and it's significant to note that only 9% say they have a good understanding of the issues involved when the Taoiseach last week, when speaking on the constitution, asserted: "I don't think there's any confusion".

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