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DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE DISAPPEARING ELEPHANT IN DUBLIN PORT ? March 31, 2017

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Well you will have your chance on Saturday night when some former Dublin Dockworkers go from the from the gang-plank to the stage : An evening of stories, as part of the 5 Lamps Festival , this Saturday , April 1st at Lloyds of Amien Street , starting at 8pm.
Here are some of the stories that will be told , by those that lived them ! . Also expect a few songs between tales ,and plenty more beside .
1. Standing in the Read (Paddy Daly)
2. The Uncertain Life of a Docker (Paddy Nevins)
3. Working with geniuses in the hatch (Miley Walsh)
4.The morality of smuggling (Declan Byrne)
5. The Hero William Deans
6. Dockers’ Tools (Pady Daly)
7. Preserving Our Memories through Photographs (Alan Martin)
8. Dockers were found of the odd drink
9. The Tallyman who missed the Elephant (Paddy Daly)
10. The singsong after a dockers’ funeral (Miley Walsh)
11. The traditions of Paying Our Last Respects (Paddy Daly).
(Directed by Niamh Gleeson)
All welcome to what is guaranteed to be a great night.

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Economic impacts on the RoI following the Brexit referendum… March 31, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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One may be sceptical of the source, or rather its more general motivations, but some interesting straws in the wind in relation to the economic impacts of Brexit on this state…

The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), citing data from the Central Statistics Office published on Wednesday, says the impact of Brexit is already damaging Irish tourism.

“The three-month trend from Britain [in visitor numbers to Ireland] shows a decline of 6 per cent but, looking at February alone, there is a very worrying decline of 22 per cent,” said ITIC chairman Paul Gallagher.
If that trend continued over the whole year, he said, it would cost up to 120,000 jobs in the economy. Britain accounts for two out of every five international visitors to Ireland.

That’s a pretty significant decline. Now, I suppose some might argue what if anything has this to do with Brexit, or rather the events following the referendum. But, that involuntary devaluation of sterling is likely the culprit, and that is a direct result of the referendum.

Troubling.

Bored now! March 31, 2017

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I’m not usually taken by these sort of articles, a piece by Katy Waldman on Slate on how ‘Trump is not having fun’ – though our own colourful folk antihero of St. Patrick’s Day gets a name check in passing, and most positive it is too, but this line seemed to me to be quite on the nose:

Why is Trump so out of sorts? It could be that he’s simply found, in fire-and-brimstone Donald, his latest role. Yet it seems equally likely that Trump has stumbled into an Aesop’s fable of his own making. Having received what he so fervently wished for, he’s now found that leading the free world is a miserable chore. Trump, who loves Trump more than he loves anything else, used to jet around selling that self-love to voters. Now he’s stuck in meetings pondering policies and ideologies that matter a whole lot more to the American people than they matter to him. As a candidate, he got to accuse the establishment of trashing the country. He played hype-man for a future in which he’d refresh our ideals. Now he’s accountable in the present to all the men and women whose lives haven’t become fairy tales since he took office. That’s not fun. That’s a full-time job, and that’s the one thing Donald Trump has never wanted.

What is very apparent, and falling poll ratings seem in a way merely to underline this, is that Trump is not really fit for office – I mean that in the sense that the article does. This isn’t what he excels at. I’ve seen this dynamic before – the businessperson who is all about the sale but never ever about the tedious work subsequently of actually ensuring that the reality lives up to the hype. And sure, that’s glib on my part to reduce this to such simplicities but there may be some explanatory power in them.

Governing is different. If those around Trump appear mediocre at best (and some interesting straws in the wind as to how reluctant others were to join the Trump ship – Tillerson doesn’t appear exactly bursting with enthusiasm) well he’s not the man to ensure that maters improve. It really is amazing on so many different levels.

I wonder at the ramifications. Will people ultimately go in four years (or three years and seven months – oh yeah!) for a safer more typical pair of hands, or will they gift him another go? Granted he might be impeached – though not yet, not so far.

And another thought. He’s seemed a fraction calmer in recent times, at least in comparison to the standard he has set to date – the intemperate tweet rate is still high but it seems a little lower. If it is that too may indicate waning enthusiasm. Or perhaps people are becoming a bit bored by him. That’d never do!

Interviews with Martin McGuinness in Hot Press March 31, 2017

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Jason O’Toole of Hot Press has compiled a number of interviews Martin McGuinness had with that magazine into a five page special. It makes for fascinating reading:

His father instilled respect in him for other religious beliefs. “My father died in 1973. He went to mass and communion every day of his life. But he was one of the most broadminded people I ever met. His closest friend was a
fellow worker – he was a Protestant – and the two of them were like brothers. There wasn’t a sectarian bone in his body. Their friendship had a very big impact on me.”
Martin was adamant that all religions should be considered equal. “We were brought up to respect everybody’s religion,” he said. “And to respect those who don’t believe in anything. I have to say that I respect all of them. There are times I sit in Protestant churches for different events that I am invited to, and I feel as comfortable in a Protestant church, or Church of Ireland, or Methodist church, as I would in a Catholic church.”

And:

He had no apology to offer for his decision to become an IRA man. “The thing people in Dublin have to ask themselves is, if they happened to be 18 years of age on the streets of Derry and saw people murdered by the British army, what would they do? Some of them would not become involved in the IRA, but no doubt a large percentage of them would.”

And:

I have little doubt that Martin McGuinness would have admitted to being an IRA member post-1974 if it hadn’t been illegal for him to do so. I also believe he was uncomfortable dodging the bullet on this question.
“It’s a bit of an anomaly, in my view,” he told me, “that people can still be arrested for things that they would be accused of happening way back 30/40 years ago. The difficulty with it is that the only people who seem to be arrested
are republicans. We don’t see too many members of the British Army or the old RUC arrested.”

There’s a lot more and I found it genuinely interesting. A tea drinker too, but not…

His Wikipedia profile classifies Martin McGuinness as a Pioneer. “That’s wrong,” he said. “I don’t consider myself a Pioneer. Every now and again I would take a glass of red wine with a meal. But that would be it. It doesn’t happen that often. I don’t go to the pub. I don’t drink beer. I’m not critical of anybody who does, it’s just I would prefer to be in my own house with a cup of tea watching The Sunday Game.”
“I did drink in the early days,” he added. “But the situation in Derry was so serious, in 1972, I took a decision that I would cease drinking. I’ve never really regretted it.”

Piece on Northern Ireland post #brexit from a Vote Leave Leaflet March 31, 2017

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VleaveNI

From a Vote Leave leaflet a piece on Northern Ireland, indeed the only reference to Northern Ireland I could find in the Vote Leave part of my pile of Brexit material.

This Week At Irish Election Literature March 31, 2017

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scan0066
The above is from a piece by Bertie Ahern om tackling the Party debt from a 1993 Fianna Fail Ard Fheis publication. Wonder how many there knew it was an FF fundraiser?

A Report of the 27th Fianna Fail Ard Fheis 1956 with details of motions, accounts, fundraising and other items

From the 1994 European Elections a leaflet from Pat Doherty of Sinn Fein running in Connacht-Ulster

A Kildare Flyer for the Right2Water March on the 8th of April 2017

Brexit fan March 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thanks to JM for pointing me towards an interesting letter from Nick Wright of the CPB in the Irish Times critiquing Fintan O’Toole from a British Lexit position. He argues that ‘The most important issue for half of all Leave supporters was British sovereignty. Only a third put control over immigration first, although both sovereignty and immigration as well as the economy were important to the majority of anti-EU voters.’

Given that in current polling 61% of voters demand immigration control one would wonder if the sovereignty issue was used by some, at least, as a means of coming across in a more positive light at a time when outright immigration control sentiment was less publicly acceptable, and given the fact of the win for Brexit now they feel less compunction in being, shall we say, tactful about it.

But even that point about how ‘immigration’ was important to the majority of anti-EU voters beyond those who prioritised it as number 1 should be deeply troubling for leftists of all stripes.

Then he writes:

A third of black and ethnic minority voters opposed EU membership, including a majority of Sikhs and Jews.

Perhaps, but two-thirds supported it.

Then he argues that…

The political outlook of Leave voters was equally mixed. More than a third of Labour and SNP and a majority of Plaid Cymru supporters opted to leave the EU, along with a quarter of Greens and almost a third of Lib Dems.

I guess I could argue that that’s not equally mixed but why be pedantic. Even so it indicates that the majority of supporters of all parties bar PC mentioned voted to remain. Significant majorities in all cases. He continues:

Just under half of voters described either capitalism, globalisation or both as a force for ill in society, and the majority of them voted Leave. In fact, they comprised around a third of anti-EU voters.

It’s odd having to point out in a critique of a letter by a Marxist that a strong strand in conservative (and reactionary, and fascist) thinking holds precisely those views.

And odd too this concluding paragraph…

As part of the Lexit (Left exit from the EU) speaking tour currently in Ireland and talking to audiences in Cork, Dublin and Newry, it struck me that there are two kinds of unionists on this island – UK unionists and EU unionists – and I am surprised to find people who stood against the Lisbon Treaty as an outrage against Irish sovereignty now find it expedient to suggest that, because a majority of people in the Northern Irish statelet voted to remain in the EU, that this should trump the expressed will of people in another country.

I’m not quite sure what he’s saying there at the end, but it seems to be that those who are anti-Brexit (in Ireland) seek to frustrate Britain’s exit from the EU. But that’s simply inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the reality.

If England and Wales, and note he doesn’t bother to mention Scotland directly (telling that too given how Brexit is impacting on the actual UK), want to exit that is their absolute right. We’ve long stated on this site that Brexit must occur – that is that the UK leaves the EU as a member (though we’ve also argued for the softest possible Brexit in order to minimise disruption to workers on all these islands).

But I think by contrast most people in this state and on this island don’t believe that a vote in relation to “the expressed will of people in another country” should impact undemocratically on people on this island and that the British government seeks to impose it on Northern Ireland (and arguably Scotland) over a democratic vote in that ‘statelet’ is deeply problematic. Not his problem, I guess.

After Brexit? March 30, 2017

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Ray Bassett writes in the SBP at the weekend yet again about how…

…there has been no serious examination in Ireland of the alternative to the present strategy (of remaining fast to the EU), namely a bilateral deal with Britain, which perseveres as much as possible of the statue quo; and subsequent negotiations with the remaining 26 member states about retaining our access to the single market, either with a special status inside the EU, or, if that is not possible in some close association with the EU. Ireland needs to be keep its options open in an increasing uncertain environment.

Of course for Bassett it is cut to the chase:

One of those options has tone an Irexit, forced on us by the terms of Britain’s agreement with the EU, or alternatively by unpalatable changes internally to the operation of the EU. There is no good option or us from Brexit.

That last is true. But what does he mean by ‘serious examination’. I find it highly unlikely that the potential outcomes haven’t been considered in all this by the government, DFA, etc. But there’s a problem and this was articulated some weeks back in the same paper by another former diplomat. It makes no sense for this state to lay out its cards on the table at this point. Quite the opposite. A wait and see posture is vastly more sensible given the chaotic trajectory of the UK itself (and all the other issues relating to its coherence as a single state). Secondly does he mean that Irexit isn’t front and centre? Well that’s a different issue. He seems oblivious of the fact EU membership remains strongly supported by the population of this state. Overwhelmingly so.

Thirdly, and perhaps most oddly, there’s a further fact. It is generally acknowledged that in purely economic terms the exit from the EU by the UK is going to be profoundly negative. A self-inflected wound that will place barriers between it and key markets, isolate it politically and in other respects, and see an improverishment of its citizenry. Those who counsel that the ROI should follow that exit seem unaware at best and indifferent at worst of the implications of that. Why would we tie ourselves to a state that was doing any such thing? It makes no sense whatsoever – again whatever our feelings about the EU as an entity or how we can hope to move on from it in the future.

That indifference, that unawareness, is deeply troubling.

Signs of Hope – A continuing series March 30, 2017

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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

No General Election here March 30, 2017

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Richard Colwell writing in the SBP at the weekend after the latest RedC poll argues, hardly surprisingly, that ‘were we to have another election the result would leave using pretty much the same situation we are in now’. And he notes that FF might take the position of FG but similar issues remain in terms of government building with FF struggling to build a coherent bloc. Indeed he suggests that FF support may have faltered in its upward trajectory, one seen in recent months.

Colwell disagrees that Independents and others are losing massive support. ‘[they] appear to remain strong…’ and notes that the support base is between 13% and 16%.

And from all this? He argues that ‘with a stable picture among he electorate, and with no party securing any meaningful momentum it is unlikely we will see any party forcing a general election soon’.

Difficult to disagree.

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