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What you want to say… Open Thread, 29th August, 2012 August 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. Brian Hanley - August 29, 2012

Four days hasn’t improved this article. maybe you should start an Irish Times ‘stupid statement of the week’ thread?


EamonnCork - August 29, 2012

Jesus wept. I think that one deserves some kind of annual award for its combination of obnoxiousness and sycophancy. It’s the Plan 9 From Outer Space of feature articles.
WARNING: Don’t open the link if you are of a nervous disposition or have an allergy to stage Irish idiocy.

Séamas Ó Sionnaigh (An Sionnach Fionn) - August 29, 2012

Just read that sycophantic nonsense. Some of the opinions in it were little more than the intellectual excrement of the average Tea Party troglodyte.

Well, I suppose if you view a nation-state as simply a business corporation, there to create wealth for those entitled few at the top, then of course you’re going to want to reduce democratic representation as far as possible so that the workers are more compliant. After all few Irish or American businesses welcome or genuinely engage with works councils within their structures.

Lobbying or donating to political parties is no different from buying influence within a trade union or having a few tame trade union officials in your pocket.

Frustrations with certain laws and regulations is understandable when businesses can normally just tear up trade union agreements or rewrite awkward HR rules that are seen to favour or protect their employees’ rights.

It’s all just business and they understand business. Democracy is just plain confusing.

Strange though that the folk on the extreme edge of capitalism never seem to take their ideology in the direction of share holding: of viewing citizens as stock holders, people who have invested in the business corporation, who have a say in its running and have a right to a return on their investment.

But then that’s just another form of democracy (albeit flawed).

I suppose this is part of the “Ireland Inc” nonsense that we hear ad nauseam from Kenny, Glimore and Martin. But where is the alternative view?

How about viewing a nation-state as a “community of communities” and not just a glorified big business?

RosencrantzisDead - August 29, 2012

Frustrations with certain laws and regulations is understandable when businesses can normally just tear up trade union agreements or rewrite awkward HR rules that are seen to favour or protect their employees’ rights.

When businesses are reaching around for something to complain about, they invariably bring up the rather vague category of regulation. Paul Krugman made this very point on that Newsnight interview. Incidentally, I had a business person complain not so long ago about how the Catering JLC was wrecking his business. I bided my time before pointing out that said JLC was declared unconstitutional last year, so I was confusing how it could still be wrecking his business. He gave no reply.

Ed - August 29, 2012

The IT seems to have a rule nowadays that its main female journalists must write articles with all the intellectual rigour of a Malibu Stacey (‘let’s solve all our problems with a big bowl of shamrock ice-cream just about sums up this article). ‘Least there’s a letter in the paper today rebutting some of the arse-licking nonsense:

“Regarding Kathy Sheridan’s article about Martin Naughton and the upcoming Notre Dame vs Navy football game in Dublin (Weekend, August, 25th), we are told that Don Keough, former board chair at Coca Cola, “broke through the glass ceiling of No Irish Need Apply”. Mr Keough assumed his position 20 years after John F Kennedy was elected president, over 60 years after Al Smith was elected governor of New York, and at a time when – as is probably still the case today – having an “Irish name” is more of an asset than a liability in politics and in business …

Dr. X - August 29, 2012

And this in the paper that once published Mary Holland.

2. Anthony - August 29, 2012

Are there any plans to protest against the Navy American football team who will be in Stephen’s Green tom.?

3. TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - August 29, 2012


Youtube never ceases to amaze me. Some very good historical clips on the abortion referendum.

irishelectionliterature - August 29, 2012

Some great stuff there.

4. Ed - August 29, 2012

Thought I’d seen everything, but …

“In a bizarre twist, the National Prosecuting Authority has charged the 259 arrested Marikana miners with the murder of their 34 colleagues, shot dead by the police.”


eamonncork - August 29, 2012

Time for another measured statement from the ICTU pointing out that there’s right and wrong on both sides.

D_D - August 29, 2012

Eamoncork, you get my ‘clever statement of the week’ for that. Well done.

eamonncork - August 29, 2012

Is there a cash prize or do I have to be content with the enormous prestige?

tomasoflatharta - August 30, 2012
Blissett - August 29, 2012

I cant make hear ass nor tail of that article.

Incidentally, saw this statement from Cosatu yesterday, seems to me to be a change in position.


Mark P - August 29, 2012

That is fucking disgusting. Have the SACP, part of the governing tripartite alliance, said anything about this development yet?

Blissett - August 29, 2012

Nothing on the website anyway.

5. EWI - August 29, 2012

“Shorter WaPo: In spring of 2007, someone in the Bush administration (unindicted co-conspirator Richard Bruce Cheney? Neocons?) Sends uber hawk Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff to Oil Gulf with instructions to provoke a war with Iran.”


6. EWI - August 29, 2012

Others are free to disagree, but I found the RIC/DMP ‘commemoration’ last weekend to be in particularly bad taste.

eamonncork - August 29, 2012

A read of Chapter Six in Padraig Yeates’ monumental and monumentally good book on the lock-out which deals, among other things, with the unprovoked DMP and RIC baton charge in Sackville Street which led to several hundred injuries, would lead to the same conclusion.
By all means anyone who wants to commemorate the two police forces should be free to do so but their decision should be put into context by examining the actual behaviour of the forces instead of the repetition of cliched nostrums about ‘maturity’ and ‘inclusiveness.’
Very odd to see the subject coming up a year before the centenary of the Lockout. Does this mean we’re going to have Fine Gael telling us that any commemoration of that event will have to give equal credit to the police and the employers? Bet it does.

RosencrantzisDead - August 29, 2012

“William Martin Murphy has been a largely misunderstood figure…”

I have provided the Independent with the lede to launch a thousand columns.

EWI - August 29, 2012

Let’s not forget that the Black & Tans and Auxiliaries are being included here, either. And the RIC’s conduct in the Land War and Famine.

And of course there was an RUC representative welcomed along to this occasion.

WorldbyStorm - August 29, 2012

I’ve a few thoughts on it myself which I’ll put up tomorrow, but I’d tend to agree with you EWI (btw, did they commemorate the Auxiliaries and the Black and Tans too?).

EWI - August 31, 2012

Of course they did.

Roasted Snow - August 31, 2012

The RIC as I remember recieved the Royal tag after their distinction in handling the Fenians in 1867.

EWI - August 31, 2012

1848, shirley?

Dr. X - August 31, 2012

No, ’twas 1867.

7. Brian Hanley - August 29, 2012

The Auxiliaries and Black and Tans were members of the RIC and made up a very large chunk of the 500 or so fatalities that were being commemorated. The idea that most of the policemen killed were Irish Catholics and local bobbies prior to 1919 doesn’t stand up. Some of them were, lots of them weren’t. (There’s also an implicit sectarian idea that Irish Catholic cops are more deserving of commemoration than bad Protestant/British peelers). The uniformed DMP were not targeted from 1919-21 by the way.
This is going to one of the problems of the whole idea of ‘inclusive’ commemorations. Stephen Collins had half a point when he asked why there was no worries about commemoration of the original UVF but no official commemoration of the RIC/DMP. But of course there is very little nostalgia in southern Ireland for the UVF, but a bit of an industry in RIC commemoration.
The argument that while the Tans and the Auxies were bastards, the RIC didn’t take part in atrocities is more complex as well. In some areas the Tans and Auxies didn’t do very much (and you’ll even find republicans praising their bravery or occasionally their moderation) but there’s also evidence that the drive for reprisals often came from local, Irish, policemen.

EamonnCork - August 29, 2012

There’s an interesting piece to be written about the wildly oscillating positions taken on commemorations by the state. 1966 – utter unquestioning nationalist triumphalism. 1976 – no commemoration at all, except by ‘subversive elements.’ 2013-2016 – Who knows? But I suspect an ahistorical approach devoid of any value judgements whatsoever and conducted in a slightly embarrassed manner.

Dr.Nightdub - August 30, 2012

Well they certainly managed to skate right past the 90th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. It’s as if history can only go in hundred-year cycles now.

Michael Carley - August 30, 2012

I’m quite happy with people sticking to quarter, half and full centenaries: there is no need to have a major commemoration any more often than that.

que - August 30, 2012


i foresee neutral commemorations and rte documentaries exploring the trauma felt by the firing squads of 1916 called “You died but what about me”

EamonnCork - August 30, 2012

Pitch that as a programme idea at RTE. You track down a descendant of one of the firing squads, have him traipsing around Dublin in the rain to a soundtrack of Enya and end it with him saying, ‘In many ways Great Uncle Albert was another victim of 1916.’ A scene where he plays pitch and toss with Michael McDowell is optional. You might give us a look at the IFTA Award after you’ve won it.

EamonnCork - August 30, 2012

‘He suffered a great deal from backache in later life did Great Uncle Albert because he had to bend down while shooting because James Connolly hadn’t the manners to stand up. But he came to forgive the Irish in time and I hope I can follow his example.’

Michael Carley - August 30, 2012

A drone controller speaks:

“There are different types of courage,” says Jon, a lieutenant colonel, standing in an officers’ bar adorned with a replica medieval suit of armour, a framed tomahawk and oil paintings of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. “Ours requires moral courage. We take moral and legal risks. If I pull the trigger and I’m wrong I have to live with the consequences.”


CMK - August 30, 2012

If you’re going to invoke ‘moral courage’ then it’s advisable to employ a moral philosopher to at least show that you’re serious. And the US military has done just that by employing Dr. ‘There is no downside’ [to drone strikes] Bradley Stawser. He’ll go far.

CMK - August 30, 2012
RosencrantzisDead - August 30, 2012

I had to click the link to verify that had actually been said. It sounds like something Armando Ianucci would have dreamt up.

RosencrantzisDead - August 30, 2012


The philosopher in question clarified his views in a later piece.


CMK - August 30, 2012

I don’t really buy it. Of course, as a professional philosopher, he can’t be seen to be too gung ho, which was clearly implied by his ‘no downside’ comments, but there the point that he is being employed by a military engaged in extensive drone attacks that have killed thousands, so far. I doubt the US Navy would be wasting its money on someone who has developed a position detailing that drone strikes represent a barbaric extension of asymmetric warfare by a state capable and often willing to kill civilians via video link.

8. EamonnCork - August 29, 2012

Just watched this excellent documentary, made by an Irish director Shane O’Sullivan. Utterly absorbing with some extraordinary archive footage. Recommended viewing for anyone with an interest in far left revolutionary movements of the seventies or the general politics of that time come to think of it.

Dr. X - August 30, 2012

Also very good is the 1973 Canadian documentary Action, about the October Crisis of 1970.

Almost all of it is on youtube, and you can find it on the National Film Board of Canada website as well.

eamonncork - August 30, 2012

Thanks for the tip on that. And there I was thinking that the National Film Board of Canada only existed to fill in the three minute gaps between programmes on RTE when I was a kid.
Speaking of documentaries, does anyone have The Battle of Chile on a DVD that will work on an Irish machine? Or am I going to have to buy a multi-region yoke?

Dr. X - August 30, 2012

Here’s the first part:

9. LeftAtTheCross - August 30, 2012

Kids back at school this morning. Summer is over. How was it for you all, feeling rested and mellow and full of resilience for the political and life struggles ahead? Or?

eamonncork - August 30, 2012

Nice to see the sun shining this morning when they have to go back to school after it pissing rain on them for most of the summer. A valuable lesson for them in the unfair nature of life.

Jim Monaghan - August 30, 2012

Maybe reverse the holidays and term time. Trick God

irishelectionliterature - August 30, 2012

My young lad started secondary this week. He got a set of house keys, is getting the bus to and from school now and was trained how to turn off the alarm.
Was also given time estimates for his dinner in the microwave and so on. ….
Anyway arrived home yesterday to find that he’d locked himself out. ….

Starkadder - August 30, 2012

It used always be sunny during the exam season and
then burst into rain as soon as we were on our school
holidays. The sort of cruel irony Roald Dahl or
Villiers de l’Isle-Adam would have appreciated.

10. ghandi - August 30, 2012

Have a listen to Rob Steenson’s latest offering here

11. Jolly Red Giant - August 30, 2012

I see the ANC have completely lost the plot.

250 Marikana miners arrested after the police massacre have been charged with murder.

12. Starkadder - August 31, 2012

The late, great Ray Bradbury was named as having
“suspected Communist leanings” by the infamous
HUAC snitch Martin Berkeley:


13. RosencrantzisDead - August 31, 2012

Would it be worth expanding Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week to cover other publications, forms of media, and indeed the whole week. I find that there is a steady stream of risible pieces on both radio, television, and in print throughout the week.

Also, I think the focus on the Sindo may be counterproductive. If the Sindo was personified it would be Eoghan Harris or Niamh Horan i.e. hacks who will say anything in order to get attention. We may be unintentionally feeding this in some small part.

Just a thought.

Garibaldy - August 31, 2012

If you want to wade through all this be my guest RiD!

RosencrantzisDead - August 31, 2012

I meant to say it could be made up of contributions from commenters, rather than having yourself or WbS read ‘the whole Irish media’. To force one person to do all of that would be contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and probably actionable.

14. Dr. X - August 31, 2012

A quick question for those of you with some knowledge of Stephen’s Green and its monuments.

I was talking to an American colleague this morning who said that he and his (German) wife had been visiting Dublin when they were suprised to see a monument that appeared to thank the Irish people for thier assistance to Germany during the Second World War.

I personally find it hard to believe that such a monument would ever have been erected in Dublin (though I do have a vague memory that there may be a monument somewhere given by Germany in thanks for aid and assistance in the post-War situation, which would be a different wasserkocher of fische altogether).

So who’s right? Is there such a monument in Dublin?

statue - August 31, 2012

That’ll be the three marys monument at the Leeson Street entrance to St. Stephens Green – donated by West Germany to the people of Ireland in recognition of their assistance in the immediate post-war world.

There is no monument to Ireland’s assistance to Germany during the war – except that is De Valera’s signature in the book of condolences on the suicide of Herr Furher in April 1945 – so your colleague’s wife is mistaken. It is for post-war help – the same reason why the West German soccer team’s away strip was green.

Jim Monaghan - August 31, 2012

The wiki entry is “a group representing the Three Fates inside the Leeson Street gate (a gift from the German people in thanks for Irish help to refugees after World War II)”.I think it is a powerful bit of sculpture.
There was a number of children who were given refuge here. A friend got the name Hildegarde as a result.Maybe we should have given refuge to Nazi scientists like the USA and the USSR.
The condolence thing was a bit bizarre. But hardly meant as support. . It was over by then.

Dr. X - August 31, 2012

My guess regarding the condolences is that it was a piece of cool caculated cheek, intended as a gesture of defiance to London and Washington.

It’s interesting that the fact that the Dail adjourned for the day on hearing of the news of FDR’s death is much less well known than Dev’s decision (deeply unfortunate in my view, even if it was for the motives I’ve just suggested) to offer condolences to the German minister.

Dr. X - August 31, 2012

Oh, and thanks for the response, lads.

Tomboktu - August 31, 2012

Maybe we should have given refuge to Nazi scientists like the USA and the USSR

Erwin Schroedinger, scourge of every third-year undergraduate physics student and cats, did come here. When I was studying pysics in the 1980s, and struggling with his equations, I was surprised to discover a blue paque to him on Merrion Square.

Brian Hanley - August 31, 2012

At the risk of kicking all this off again….there was no good reason why Dev had to make a big song and dance of condolence for Hitler. It caused outrage outside Ireland, and not just among opponents of neutrality. There’s dozens of letters in the de Valera papers from ordinary Irish Americans (some of them supporters of de Valera on his 1920 US tour) who were bewildered. Mike Quill of the New York transport union published a big article denouncing the visit. The footage of the concentration camps was already out by that time. De Valera could have let Hitler’s death
pass. Churchill’s attack on neutrality allowed Dev to take back the nigh moral ground (in Ireland at least) but it doesn’t mean you have to defend the legation visit.
There was a committee set up to aid German children in 1945. It got a lot of support and undoubtedly many of the people who supported it did so for humanitarian reasons. That’s what the statue commemorates; I’m not sure it was donated by the West German government though. But some of those who supported the ‘save the German children’ campaign made clear that they were doing so because they were sorry Germany had lost the war, and that they saw the Germans as the primary victims.
Quite a few low-level former Nazi collaborators were let live here in the late-40s (some were-to put it mildly ‘unrepentant’. When the German agent Hermann Goertz was buried in Deansgrange complete with swastika-bedecked coffin and Nazi salutes in 1947, the Irish ambassador to Rome remarked that Spain was the only other European country where the swastika could be so openly displayed.
Just sayin.

Dr. X - August 31, 2012

I wasn’t trying to defend his actions! I was merely speculating on the possible motives behind DeValera’s peculiar behaviour in this matter. That’s all.

eamonncork - August 31, 2012

I agree completely with Brian. And I’ve always found Dev’s speech replying to Churchill to be a load of crap which tapped into a certain national tendency towards the self-pity. ‘Never mind about the second world war, look at us.’

WorldbyStorm - August 31, 2012

Fair point Dr. X. I didn’t take the idea that you were defending it.

But also got to say that like Brian and EC’s thoughts, it’s hard to understand the visit to the Legation. Some researchers suggest it was a personal gesture to Hempel (head of the Legation) but it was well over the top if so and to be honest in some respects if it hadn’t been for Churchill’s immoderate response to it it would have played far far worse again and to the detriment of the state.

Dr. X - August 31, 2012

Is it possible that Dev was living mentally in the nineteenth century (as his social policy seems to indicate) and that he did not understand the nature of the world he was operating in?

(Again, I’m not trying to excuse his deplorable actions).

15. irishelectionliterature - August 31, 2012

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh explains why he is bringing forward a Social Welfare Amnesty Bill before the Dáil. He says that it could save the taxpayer €50 million.

16. RosencrantzisDead - August 31, 2012

Former TD Paul Gogarty really needs to explain this:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6D8cmIq5oY&w=560&h=315%5D

17. Brian Hanley - August 31, 2012

‘Is it possible that Dev was living mentally in the nineteenth century (as his social policy seems to indicate) and that he did not understand the nature of the world he was operating in? ‘

During the 30s De Valera had performed well, and was widely praised, for his role at the League of Nations. He had defied Irish public opinion over Spain (where the majority wanted the state to recognise Franco’s rebel government) and to a lesser extent over the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, (when there was substantial pro-Italian feeling), so I don’t think it was the case he was out of touch. Privately he was a pretty deft mover during the war years in terms of relations with Britain etc. The standard explanation is that he believed absolutely in formal neutrality, and as he would have given condolences on the death of any head of state (as with Roosevelt) Hitler was no different.

Dr. X - August 31, 2012

I take your point about his deftness, but does that really contradict the earlier point about Dev’s worldview?

Brian Hanley - August 31, 2012

I don’t think he had a 19th century world view. I might not agree with his world view, but I think he was of his time. Plus he reflected his society as much as he led it. The Catholic bishops wanted far more than he gave them in the Constitution for example. De Valera was able to condemn the Fethard-on-Sea boycott while Labour’s Brendan Corish supported it. He could claim in 1926 that Connolly was the one 1916 leader he admired the most. Fine Gael certainly adopted more right-wing positions on international affairs during the 30s.
None of that explains the Legation visit and I don’t really know why he did it either.

18. irishelectionliterature - August 31, 2012

World’s richest woman says poor should have less fun, work harder


19. Gearóid - September 1, 2012
TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - September 1, 2012

Resigned or pushed out?

This is strange and bizarre. I know her support for Mick Wallace is rather unfortunate but it’s certainly not a reason for resignation. Also hands up who could see this coming?

TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - September 1, 2012

Another thing – it’s a major loss for them.

20. doctorfive - December 8, 2012

ULA have tabled nearly half the total Private Members’ motions and Bills brought forward by the Technical Group to date

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