When Saturday comes . . .

I was working one Saturday morning and came across this great website called branch of science which deals with all things culturally football and then today, while workin’, I checked it out again and came across this cartoonist featured on one of itz pages named David Squires, and heeza blog called the sunshine room, and it was there I read all of his cartoons, and they’re very, very good.  parallel-universe-copy

Castletown House, Celbridge

One of Ireland’s grandest houses (actually more of a palace) and a fine example of the Georgian Palladian style.

Fortunately it didn’t go the way of Carton House – sold to investors and turned into a luxury golf resort – largely thanks to the intervention of Desmond Guinness of the Irish Georgian Society.

Best of all it’s dog friendly. Our girls were in canine paradise racing through the meadows, woodland and tree lined river banks.

 

 

nuuking to see here . . .

I thought i wanted to go to Nuuk, but i don’t . . . i don’t want to go there at all.  I can’t explain the want i had but i knew within five minutes that i didint want to go there.  Maybe i believed that this city of vitality, surrounded by immense nature and filled with vibrant Greenlanders leading fascinating lives of old traditions, modern twists, and diverse influences was for me, but it wasint.

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I just can’t picture  me and moo moo in this centre of modern Greenland, i just can’t.  Anyway, here’s a drive through Nuuk;

 

. . . uh! Jesper Gronkjaer was born in Nuuk, i didint know that . . .

Donadea Forest Park – Kildare

We discovered this gem of a forest park not far outside Kilcock. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Dublin and a lovely spot for a weekend walk. There’s lots of hidden treasures to discover, like the ruins of the old house, a gate lodge, an ice-house and a spectacular lake. There’s also a cosy cafe to have a bite to eat afterwards.

Public Holidays

bucket-spade-beach

The government is proposing to offer public servants extra day’s holidays in return for moving from weekly to fortnightly payment.

While we all thought that the heady days of public sector allowances, like extra leave to cash wage cheques (despite the fact that they are paid electronically) and overtime pay for staff not entitled to work overtime, were in the past, clearly that is not the case.

Most of us who work in the real world accept that if our employer decides to change how they pay us, we adapt and move on, grateful to be in continuing receipt of said pay.

Not so in the public sector. Such a fundamental change to their working conditions, which might involve having to budget or plan over 14 days rather than 7, is one that requires delicate union negotiations, inevitable concessions and even more anachronistic entitlements.

Boardroom Blitz

We, in Ireland, should be proud that we have such eminently qualified and prestigious luminaries on our state boards.

The fact that they are all well-connected to the Fine Gael parliamentary party or mates with a Minister is purely coincidental.

They were clearly appointed as a result of their vast expertise and experience in their relevant fields.

John McNulty Mace

John McNulty – IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) Board Appointee

Previous experience – GAA team coach, petrol station and convenience store manager

Ministerial car Ireland

Hilary Quinlan – Irish Water Board Member

Previous experience – Chauffeur and failed County Councillor

bowling alley

Darragh Loftus – Solas (State Employment Agency) Board Member

Previous experience – Bowling alley manager

Scout Up movie Russell

Dermot Lacey – University College Dublin Board Member

Previous experience – Scouting Ireland leader

Only in Ireland…

Election Apathy

I’ve never been so indifferent about an election as I am towards the by-election in our constituency on October 10th.

And I have never seen such a sorry selection of wannabe TD’s.

It’s really highlighted for me the genuine lack of choice facing Irish voters these days.

Here they are in all their smiling, baby kissing, funeral attending, GAA club visiting, school building, water rates abolishing glory…

First up this chick…

 

Cait Keane poster

Cares about families, elderlies and kids.

But I’m still angry with these guys over how they are screwing us on income tax and stealth taxes and how they haven’t made any moves to reform health and welfare.

That’s a no from me.

Next up this guy…

Paul Murphy poster

Single issue candidate. This is his third attempt to get elected to anything in 3 different constituencies. He looks kind of angry… and even if we elect him, there’s bugger all he’ll be able to do about the water charges coming towards us with the relentlessness of a runaway freight train.

So that’s not an option.

Now there’s the congenial looking Fianna Fail guy…

John Lahart letter

Cares about schools in YOUR neighbourhood.

But in all fairness I’m just not ready to vote Fianna Fail yet. The memories of financial Armageddon and the loss of our economic sovereignty to the Troika are still too fresh.

That leaves this bird…

Pamela Kearns poster

 

But sure they’re in government with Fine Gael and have rolled over on education, water charges and public sector reform (Howlin cut one out of 1,100 of archaic allowances) while still pandering to the unions that are crippling our economy.

Eh, no thanks Pamela.

And last up the wild card Independent…

Ronan McMahon poster

Another failed local election candidate. And while voting Independent in this country is a type of protest vote, it’s also a wasted vote as these guys have no real power, no voice and no policies.

No way.

There’s also a Sinn Fein candidate running but I’m so not going to go there… ever… If there was a Green Party candidate running, I’d most likely throw them a first preference as they’re the least offensive but there isn’t, so from where I’m sitting there are no good options here and that’s reflective of the political landscape as a whole. There’s never been a better time for a new party to arise.

The Great Pensions Robbery

Great Train Robbery

Private pension funds today woke up to find they were victims of an audacious theft. Overnight they had been robbed of over €700 million.

The perpetrators were known to the victims. In fact they were the Irish government.

Since its inception in 2011, the infamous Pension Levy/Theft has netted the state over €2 billion, so it’s unlikely to be abolished anytime soon.

Experts estimate that the Levy costs the average worker over €390 a year. But because it doesn’t come out of your income, you’ll only realise you’ve been robbed much later when you retire.

As a result the Pension Levy doesn’t provoke the same outrage as the Property Tax or Water Charges but it’s just a lucrative for the government and much more insidious as it’s a tax on our futures.

A new departure

Departure Gates Dublin Airport

Fine Gael came to power in 2011, capitalising on the greatest economic collapse this country had ever experienced. Their manifesto promised a new type of politics, a radical new departure, and an end to the corruption, cronyism and collusion that had defined the tenure of their predecessors.

Looking back over the past three years, they claim to have succeeded in their objectives. The economy is on the path to recovery, unemployment is falling, tourism is booming and consumer confidence is returning.

But in actuality nothing has changed. They have missed the opportunity that the economic collapse represented to deliver genuine reform.

The Public sector has emerged largely intact from the recession. Their bloated pay and conditions remain sacrosanct. Increments are rapidly reversing any temporary, half-hearted cuts that were made. Nothing has been done to address the enormous liability that their defined benefit pensions represent and the gap between the public and private sectors continues to widen.

Even Fás are back in town, rebranded as Solas, and continuing to waste public money on overpaid execs, they are currently recruiting for a Spin Doctor and are offering a package well in excess of €100,000.

One of the central pillars of Fine Gael’s election campaign was the abolition of the multifarious Quangos that were costing the tax payer untold millions, with nothing to show for it.

Today it’s clear that not a finger has been lifted to address the Quangos. There have been a handful of mergers, however all personnel remain employed on generous public sector contracts. As reported in the Business Post last Sunday, Quangos are flourishing under Fine Gael. For example, we now have The Food Safety Authority and Safefood both in receipt of significant state funding and both tasked with doing exactly the same thing.

And as for cronyism – Enda’s farcical appointment of his pal John McNulty (a failed local election candidate) to the Seanad and Pat Rabbitte’s parachuting of two supporters onto state boards as he left office, send a pretty clear signal.

The government is pointing to the resurgence of the Property Market as a barometer for economic recovery, however as much as in 2007 what they have delivered is a dysfunctional property market that has been manipulated by vested interests and government policy to the detriment of young first time buyers, who are being told they may never achieve the “dream” of owning a 3 bed semi in the suburbs… Yet NAMA has ensured that big developers are now back in business. All the villains who wilfully destroyed this country had to do was take a couple of years off, go on a bankruptcy holiday, come back and start afresh.

Our Health service remains in crisis. Overcrowding and waiting lists are as severe as ever, while the HSE still suffers from a shortage of doctors and a superfluity of clerical staff, middle managers and administrators. Nothing has been done to reform this behemoth under James Reilly and nothing will continue to be done under his successor Leo Varadkar.

And all the while the squeezed middle have borne the brunt of austerity, while certain privileged and protected classes were insulated from it, and they will continue to do so in the form of onerous taxes and stealth charges – waste, water, property, USC, pension levy and more – for decades to come; struggling in jobs they won’t retire from until into their seventies and living in houses they can’t afford to own.

So the new departure Fine Gael promised hasn’t really delivered for most of the coping classes.  The only departure they are really offering many people is the opportunity to leave.

“Ya wide about what’s happening?”

like many people who work, i have two days off a week, and on occasions i must take them when it doesint suit . . . me, such azza Monday, orra Tuesday, orra Wednesday, a Thursday, Friday and so one and on and on and I do like those mid – week days to myself as i spend them listening to RTE Radio 1, which reminds me of my mother, as the channel would always be on at home azza child, and azeye think of her now, i remember her gift to both me and moo moo last Christmas when she produced a gift card for two nights B & B inna hotel outside Galway.

“Now! you two, just relax and leave the dogs at home and . . . and . . . and you two just . . . relax, you’re always going here and going there and you can never just stay in the one place and do nothing, so you enjoy this break and RELAX

. . . and we did, leaving early from work onna Friday afternoon, listening to Newstalk with George Hook, who kept us company the entire journey, which took just under two hours, arriving at our hotel just after six;

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where we checked in and took a beer from the bar outside and indjoyed the view from the terrace above the main road;

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. . . and when we weer finished we showered and changed and left for the large town behind the hotel, stopping first inna bar called O’Connells onda square;

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where we smoked our smokes and drank our drinks in the large yard out tha’back and met Mark witha beard from down south who was alone waiting onna friend, and when she arrived we left but not before saying goodbye to our pals with the tats from Dublin;

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We had booked a table for two inna restaurant named Aniar, the only Michelin star’d restaurant inda whest, although i had seen the menu andeyed read the reviews so i thought to myself NO! it seems a bit pricey for what you get so . . . i phoned them and cancelled and booked a different restaurant inna different part of town for the two of us and after our five drinks onda square myself and my stumblie wife walked towards our new adventure and by the tim we got there, well . . . it was dark;

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. . .and we waited outside forra while and then weer asked to come in;

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. . . where we indjoyed a luvvely meal at luvvely prices and afterwards thought? itz time to go home, so we did where we viewed the view drunk;

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. . . and talked the talk offa drunk to Rick from Minneapolis , and then we went to bed, where we slept inna BIG bed.

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