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What you want to say – 1st February 2023 February 1, 2023

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

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


1. Tomboktu - February 1, 2023

Prof. Conor O’Mahiny sums it up


2. Tomboktu - February 1, 2023

The nursing home scandal, the blocking of victims of sexual abuse in primacy schools, compensation for victims of mother and baby homes, and so on and on… each time, a phalanx of civil servants advised the ministers who we’ll now scrutinise (and should).

But we also need to bring civil servants behind advice into the spotlight – not an annual appearance by a secretary general at a committee with a scatter-gun of 57 topics that might be raised and the seven that are raised getting four minutes, but regular scrutiny of the assistant secretaries, principal officers, and assistant principals who do the detailed research, analysis and drafting — the people who set the agendas.

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3. crocodileshoes - February 1, 2023

Only a few days ago we read that civil servants advised that any scheme to compensate victims of defective apartment buildings should exclude those buildings (and residents) in which the defects had already been discovered and rectified. So if your building is surveyed now and deemed defective, you might get (an average) 25,000 euro compensation. However, if the defects were discovered 5 years ago and you probably had to borrow the money to get the work done, you somehow don’t qualify.
Justification? Well, the ‘advice’ seems to have been, we might get away with paying out less because some people would just write off the money and not think the stress and expense of pursuing a claim worthwhile. Water under the bridge. And – look on the bright side – some of them might have died.

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4. sonofstan - February 1, 2023

On strike again, this time along with teachers, railway workers and civil servants. An estimated 500k workers not working today in the UK.

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6to5against - February 1, 2023

From here, it seems that the strikes are enjoying reasonable support, but there doesnt seem to be any sense of this coming to a head. The government are shrugging it off, and the media quickly mention the strikes and moving on.

Is there any greater sense of urgency on the ground, in the UK, SoS? Or any feeling of growing pressure?

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - February 1, 2023

Good question, and I wish I knew: problem in still being relatively new to a city, and one where I was locked down for best part of two years, is that I only really know a quite small north Leeds bubble. (Leeds is Dublin upside down – north and west are middle class, east and south working class – with exceptions). So I never meet a Tory voter, or someone who voted leave, and I’ve really little idea what anyone thinks who’s not quite like me.


6to5against - February 1, 2023

Thanks SoS.

I’m pretty sure if it was happening here, the media clamour would be deafening at this stage. And I would have expected the same in the UK.

I wonder if the unions are happy to let it run – hoping to ramp things up slowly to shift the narrative their way in the medium to long term – knowing that there can’t be a quick victory with a Tory government who are reduced to playing their 80s back catalogue. And that the Tories are also happy to let it run, hoping that the strikes will play like a warm-up act for their nostalgia show.

But, whatever the reason, I find the whole thing curiously low-key for the biggest wave of industrial action in a generation.


sonofstan - February 2, 2023

Maybe not quite that low key – I’d say it’s been a while since the great mass of people here could name a current union leader: I suspect there are few people in the country who don’t have an opinion on Mick Lynch at this stage.

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Miguel62 - February 2, 2023

There’s reasons why the UK coverage is so low key. Consider what happens here as a contrast, where there’s a well understood framework of media coverage of industrial action. In the lead up to the action coverage focuses on the causes and is generally driven by the union involved. Officials and members are wheeled out to do media pieces and will air their grievances to great effect. On the day of the action itself, coverage pivots to the effects of the strike and there will be interviews with ordinary members of the public who have been discommoded. This tends to greatly annoy members of course! Then in the aftermath, focus switches again, this time on settlement efforts. Will there be talks? WRC involvement perhaps. Will the Labour Court intervene? Are ministers getting antsy? Will there be more strikes? Then it’s all over and swiftly forgotten as it becomes yesterday’s news in the unforgiving 24 hour news cycle.
Point is, there’s a “system” and the media understand the choreography of getting the dispute into the standard template. Whereas in the UK the whole industrial relations infrastructure has been dismantled to the point of non-existence as a matter of government policy over the last four decades. Everyone from the general public, media and even trade unionists themselves have lost the ready understanding of industrial relations that is still familiar in Irish discourse.

While the Irish system has its faults, it at least is conducive to the ongoing relevance of unions. It would be a huge strategic victory for the UK to get to a similar point. And build from there


6to5against - February 3, 2023

That’s all wonderfully well-put. Articulating ideas I hadn’t quite managed to put together.


Wes Ferry - February 2, 2023

Talking to a teacher in London Thursday night and he said union membership in his area has rocketed, something I’d heard union leaders claim on TV news.

That said, it seems the Tories are determinedly Thatcherite on defying workers’ calls to match cost of living rises while Starmer’s Labour wrings its hands in mock horror and happiness at polls that swing in their favour.


sonofstan - February 9, 2023

Slight return to this: on the picket line again today and it seemed like every Royal Mail van and every ambulance that passed us beeped support, and nurses on their way to the hospital made detours to say hello…so the strike wave is building solidarity across sectors at least. Our student union is supporting us this time, and students seem a lot clearer about what we’re doing. So it may not be coming to a head, and we all know how long it takes to shift the consensus, but I feel we might be nudging the ship off course a little.

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6to5against - February 10, 2023

Good to hear SoS.

I think an ongoing campaign to change the conversation could be a good thing, if the campaign can be maintained. Its hard to see any quick resolution being a good resolution, so better to aim for that slow burn and to hopefully shift that public consensus, as you say.

And for the first time in forty years, I really think that that might be a possibility.

Liked by 1 person

Tomboktu - February 3, 2023

Last week, BBC Radio 4 had an interesting episode in The Bottom Line that discussed how strikes come to an end



5. Tomboktu - February 2, 2023

There are a few places on my route to work where existing buildings on reasonably narrow streets have been taken down and new, taller, buildings have gone up, and the reduction in light levels at street level between the time when the sites were cleared and now is very noticeable.

Liked by 1 person

6. Tomboktu - February 2, 2023

Hungary has a Milton Friedman University


7. Tomboktu - February 3, 2023

I, for one, did not know he had done a song with this title


Fergal - February 3, 2023

Anti-immigration march in Mullingar last night attracted 300 according to the IT and had a significant Dublin contingent.
– Did these people take to the streets when the Robert Troy and his eleven houses story broke
– What other march would attract 300 of a Thursday night? A cause for concern…
– Do they not have anybody to love in their lives? Children to ferry to training sessions, friends to catch up with…?
– Where do they get all this energy to hate other human beings?
Depressing and dangerous

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2023

That too me is the key dislocation here. Where were they on a hundred and one other issues? And why weren’t they there? They’re like AWOL for everything else and only now…


8. tomasoflatharta - February 3, 2023
WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2023

That’s a great piece by AM. And his point about the sheer hypocrisy wrt the near industrial levels of abuse committed by those in the RC and the coverups…

Liked by 1 person

9. Paul Culloty - February 4, 2023

Ask a leading question …


WorldbyStorm - February 4, 2023

Jesus Christ.


10. sonofstan - February 5, 2023

Trainspotters arise! You having nothing to lose but hours of your time.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 5, 2023

Wow, that’s fantastic.


Michael Carley - February 5, 2023

Beat me to it.


11. tomasoflatharta - February 5, 2023
12. Paul Culloty - February 6, 2023

Niamh Breathnach has died:


Tomboktu - February 7, 2023

Her decisions as minister for education will be the main focus of the obituaries, and understandably so.

But she has another legacy. Nefore she was a TD she was key in getting Labour to adopt its policy on what became the Equal Status Act, which bans discrimination in areas outside employment — when buying goods or using services, and by educational establishments. It arose from a woman contacting her because when she looked for a bank loan to set up a business, she was told to get her husband to apply for it. Addng a ban on this kind of discrimination to the existing law on employment equality was made Labour policy at a conference and they introduced a bill in 1990, when in opposition. (It didn’t become law until a decade later, in 2000, after Labour had gone into government and come out of it again. Her colleague Mervyn Taylor had been the Labour minister charged with bringing that bill to the Dáil, which he did late in the coalition’s term, but his version of the bill was declared unconstitutional after Mary Robinson referred it to the Supreme Court. The government that came after that one tweaked Taylor’s bill, and Fianna Fáil’s John O’Dinoghue steered it through the Dáil and Seanad.)

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