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SBP/RedC Poll April 29, 2017

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All the movement, bar a fall in Inds is within the MOE…

FF 28% [+2]

FG 24% [NC]

SF 18% [+1}

IND 10% [-3]

LP 6% [NC]



GP 3%


Green Sleeves: The Irish Printed Record Cover, 1955 – 2017 April 29, 2017

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More information here.

Selling the family silver? April 29, 2017

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This was noticed by someone recently – and many thanks to the people who forwarded it on. Not good to see collections from this period falling into private hands, as they said ‘to be seen only by the few’.


157. [IRA BORDER CAMPAIGN] A Scrap Album relating to the IRA Border Campaign

December, 1956 to August, 1957 of Newspaper Clippings from national and Northern Ireland newspapers. Large folio album bound in full maroon buckram with seventy-six pages of cuttings. All newspapers with dates identified. In very good condition. Unique. €395

The Border Campaign was a campaign of guerrilla warfare (codenamed Operation Harvest) carried out

by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) against targets in Northern Ireland, with the aim of overthrowing British rule there and creating a united Ireland. Popularly referred to as the Border Campaign, it was also referred to as the “Resistance Campaign” by some republican activists. The campaign was a military failure, but for some of its members, the campaign was justified as it had kept the IRA engaged for another generation. This campaign was the first major military undertaking carried out by the IRA since the 1940s, when the harsh security measures of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland governments had severely weakened the IRA.

The campaign was launched with simultaneous attacks by around 150 IRA members on targets on the Border in the early hours of 12 December 1956. A BBC relay transmitter was bombed in Derry, a courthouse was burned in Magherafelt by a unit led by an eighteen year-old Seamus Costello, as was a B-Specials post near Newry and a half-built Army barracks at Enniskillen was blown up. A raid on Gough barracks in Armagh was beaten off after a brief exchange of fire.

On the evening of 30 December 1956, the Teeling Column under Noel Kavanagh attacked the Derrylin RUC barracks again, killing RUC constable John Scally, the first fatality of the campaign. Others involved in that attack included two prominent IRA men, Charlie Murphy and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. On 1 January 1957, Seán Garland and Dáithí Ó Conaill planned an attack on the Police station at Brookeborough, but assaulted the wrong building. Two IRA men, Seán South and Fergal O’Hanlon, were killed in the abortive attack. Garland was seriously wounded in the raid. He and the remainder of the group were pursued back over the border by 400 RUC, B Specials and British soldiers.

The funerals of South and O’Hanlon in the Republic produced a strong emotional reaction among the general public there. The two men are still considered martyrs in Irish Republican circles. Up to 50,000 people attended their funerals.

The year 1957 was the most active year of the IRA’s campaign, with 341 incidents recorded. In November of that year, the IRA suffered its worst loss of life in the period when four of its members died preparing a bomb in a farm house at Edentubber, County Louth, which exploded prematurely. The civilian owner of the house was also killed.

The Republic’s government, led by John Costello of Fine Gael, feared that the IRA’s action would drag it into a diplomatic confrontation with Britain and in January 1957, it used the Offences Against the State Act to arrest most of the IRA’s leadership, including its Chief of Staff, Seán Cronin. Clann na Poblachta (led by former IRA Chief of Staff Seán MacBride) withdrew its support for the government in protest over this policy, and the government collapsed. In the ensuing Irish general election, 1957, Sinn Féin won four seats and polled 65,640 votes (c. 5% of those cast), while Clann na Poblachta’s vote dropped sharply.

The new government, of Fianna Fáil, led by Éamon de Valera proved even more hostile to the IRA than its predecessor. In July 1957, after the killing of an RUC man, de Valera introduced wholesale internment without trial for IRA suspects. Then in November 1961 his Minister for Justice, Charles Haughey established military courts which handed down long prison sentences to convicted IRA men. The use of internment on both sides of the Irish border made it impossible for the IRA, most of whose leadership was imprisoned, to maintain the momentum of their campaign.

Sacrilege…. April 29, 2017

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Don’t agree with this. Feels very click baity. Not least because of one glaring error in regard to the characters in Season 7 of Buffy in the following. 

The seventh season overloaded the show with a sudden cast of thousands. Enter Buffy’s Potential Slayers, only two of whom, Kennedy and Rona, have anything resembling an identifiable personality (three if you count “being unremittingly irritating” as a trait, in which case you may include Amanda) and none of whom the audience have the time or the inclination to care about. They crowded out the original Scooby Gang (Willow, Xander, Giles and Cordelia) and required Buffy to be more “military general” than “Slayer”. Suddenly, episodes filled with pep talks and tactics instead of action interspersed with witty banter.

Frankly I think most seasons held up really well. Seven was interesting if only because it pulled together so many narrative strands so successfully. Moreover right to the end it maintained a genuine sense of peril about the characters. Sure there were a few longuers and in retrospect Caleb was less fully used than might be expected. But I really liked the way it dealt directly with misogyny in a way that hadn’t been fully explored up to that point and I have to wonder if some of the seemingly modish animosity to it derives from that focus on that issue.

Am half way through a rewatch – just finished Season 4 and while I always thought that was perhaps the weakest I’m slightly reappraising that judgement. I vastly prefer Riley this time around.There’s a lot to like in the portrayal of Spike and the idea of the Initiative was fantastic – the combination of fantasy and SF elements worked well. Bar in Adam. There I think there was an issue and I’m hard pressed to work out what it was. He seemed perhaps incidental to the action in a way that other adversaries didn’t. But perhaps that was the point of the exercise.

And now onto Glory, Dawn and Season 5.

Top of the Pops April 29, 2017

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I happened to catch terrestrial TV the other day, and along with the interminable ad breaks, there was a couple of Top of the Pops on. These dated from 1983 and it struck me what a weird programme it was. It has to be said the two editions weren’t great. New Edition were reaching to the heights of the charts and Spandau Ballet’s True was sliding down. Bright spots were the Beat and Funboy Three. Bar that it wasn’t exactly exciting. Blacmange’s … was on, a song I had quite happily managed to excise from my consciousness for nigh on four decades now. 

And it brought back all those endless weeks where there was nothing of any consequence on the programme. For all the times Motorhead appeared with Ace of Spades, or New Order graced us with their presence, or even half way good songs were played there was usually ten times that number of groups of little or no real interest. Granted there was  some entertainment in the perky jollity of whatever DJ or DJs was hosting it as set against some dour and grim outfit.

But yet we watched. I certainly kept watching on and off well into the early 1990s and intermittently after that until it was axed. 

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Advaeta April 29, 2017

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Got to love the internet. I put a search in recently for “feminist and shoe gaze” and what appears but Brooklyn based three person group Advaeta.

Their album Death and the Internet was released in 2015 to pretty much general acclaim and rightly so. It’s nine tracks, forty-three minutes long, and filled with propulsive music – guitar based and yes, touching on shoe gaze but with some other influences in there and some innovations all their own.

For Advaeta aren’t content to rest on the laurels of shoe gaze pioneers before them. Instead of smooth guitar sounds there is an abrasive quality to the sound that proves perhaps surprisingly listenable. Sure there’s echoey fuzz and reverbed guitar – those cathedrals of sound that shoe gaze has proved so adept at delivering since the early 1990s.

But on top of that is some notably muscular riffing. Church Cult typifies this perfectly. There are the chiming tones in the background, but then on top are bass sounds and crunchy guitar, so much so that this seems to nudge close to the louder end of psychedelia (and perhaps the shades of the heavier side of Joy Division style post-punk at times – exhibit A: Hazel Blue Eyes). But then there are the vocals – apparently shared, and which move seamlessly from near whispers to yelps. Those vocals owe much more, to my ears, to post-punk (the Slits come to mind listening to Your New Life in Pictures) than to later developments. And all the better for it.

It all makes for a compelling mix and to be honest it’s an hugely refreshing addition to an area of musical endeavour that can on occasion be somewhat smoothly predictable. This crashes and stumbles and lays waste to all around it and yet keeps on going. Not so much Slowdive as Spacemen 3 (or the more raucous moments of EMA) but a Spacemen 3 that managed to wake themselves up and go fast and then faster. For that’s another aspect that is hugely enjoyable – some of the songs tear along at a rapid rate of knots. And there’s the lyrics which appear to take a most sceptical view of human relationships. Much to like there.

As is true of the album in its entirety.



Church Cult

Divide (Live)

Hazel Blue Eyes (live)

The post-Brexit plan for Britain trading with its former…er…empire… April 28, 2017

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Not getting a very good reception… predictably enough…

The head of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations has ruled out a free trade deal with the UK until at least six years after Brexit and taken a sideswipe at the idea of a new British trade empire.

The ACP chief, Dr Patrick Gomes, condemned “reactionary” Whitehall talk of a second era of British colonialism – dubbed “Empire 2.0” – and poured scorn on the government’s trade strategy.

Entitlement culture April 28, 2017

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From the Guardian…

The Tate has come under fire after it asked members of staff, many of whom are not paid the London living wage, to contribute towards a boat for the departing director, Nicholas Serota, just one week after their canteen discount was taken away.


A notice which went up in the staff rooms of both Tate Modern and Tate Britain on Wednesday asked employees – including security, cleaners, and those maintain the galleries and work in the cafe and gift shop – to “put money towards a sailing boat” as a “surprise gift” for Serota.

Cork and US flights… April 28, 2017

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And more from Archon!

Alice, after falling through a rabbit hole, found herself in a world where nothing was what it should have been. Strangely, there’s a connection between Lewis Carroll’s excursion into whimsical absurdity and the fantasy world created by Norwegian Airlines and their Corkonian acolytes who promised flights from Cork to Barcelona, New York and Boston.

But Cork’s finest and dandiest – the Movers and Shakers – did not fall down a rabbit hole like Alice. Metaphorically they travelled upwards in a hot air balloon that reached a stratosphere of hopes and expectations until it was pricked by the Norwegians and the Dublin Airport Authority. Then, everyone came tumbling down to terra firma, much to the embarrassment of the adventurers and the discomfiture of the wider world of Leeside citizens.

Sadly, in spite of their efforts, all that the magnificent gents and ladies in their flying machine could boast of achieving were three weekly flights from Cork to a remote airport in the Boston area. The promised New York service turned out to be a far-fetched sequence of mental images, a daydream, as was the route to Barcelona.

The disbelief in the city was almost tangible and, oh, what a falling off was there for Lord Mayors, the Leeside Chamber of Commerce, a very prominent Fine Gael MEP, local and national politicos, Cork Airport and Dame Indakinny who had personally lobbied the President of the United States on behalf of The Real Capital and its troubled airport.

And, deliberately or otherwise, to rub Fine Gael’s Cork nose in the muck, Norwegian Airlines announced Shannon would get four transatlantic flights a week to the land of opportunity, Belfast five and Dublin twelve.

Immediately the penny dropped for political commentators: despite the herculean efforts of Cork Fine Gael – and it must be acknowledged that the heroines and heroes lobbied ‘tirelessly and honourably’ – Dublin Airport had ‘gazumped’ them. In doing so, it consolidated its ‘all-out and wholly-unhealthy monopoly of Irish aviation,’ as former government minister Alan Kelly put it.

The Leeside perception was that the Cork campaign had been used as a political pawn to facilitate secret efforts by Norwegian Airline to get US government permission to fly from Ireland. Cork did all the running but Shannon and Belfast benefitted more – while the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) walked away with first prize.

Interestingly, last year after the Irish Air Line Pilots Association (IALPA) opposed the plan on the basis that the Norwegian company was using Ireland as a flag of convenience to circumvent Norwegian employment law, the Mayor of County Cork, John Paul O’Shea denied that local politicians were being used as pawns. ‘We can see the benefits,’ he indignantly declared.

And then, last week, the boss of Norwegian Air, Bjorn Kjos, arrived on the scene. He had kept his light firmly under a bushel while our local Fine Gaelers were busy crusading for the goal of Cork to New York, Boston and Barcelona routes. Ironically, Kjos put the boot firmly into Cork as far as the New York route was concerned.

He announced that Cork Airport’s longest runway, 17/35, 2,133m (6,998 ft) was probably too short to accommodate the take-off of a fully-laden New York bound Boeing 737 Max aircraft. So, the likelihood was no flights to the Big Apple; and now he tells us!

Which raises this intriguing question: why did Kjos and his airline company encourage the Cork lobby to promote the New York flights when the planes owned by his company couldn’t make the journey in the first place?

Even more curious is why the meeja, such as the Indo/Sindo and RTÉ, did not pick up on the runway issue.

And it’s not that the length of the main runway was a closely guarded secret. Any adolescent plane spotter could have given Kjos details about the main runway, the 17/35, its exact length and the fact that there is little room for further expansion because the land falls sharply at the end of the runway (the runway already has been lengthened from 6,000ft to 7,000ft).

Indeed the problem facing Cork Airport is the topography of its sharply falling ground to the south of runway 17. The fact of the matter is that Cork Airport is limited to relatively short runways, which – sad to say – also limits its potential for long-haul or transatlantic travel. In other words, the airport cannot handle fully-laden large wide-body aircraft although on occasions chartered 747s have brought Munster fans to a big European match.

Nevertheless, such pernickety details were not raised publicly until last week by Mr Kjos. Nor, apparently, did the length of the runway ever concern the Fine Gael dominated lobby group. Ex-Minister Kelly is now demanding that the DAA ‘comes clean’ on the Norwegian deal.

In the meantime over-trustful and impressionable Corkonians – aren’t we all? – who had thrown themselves enthusiastically into the campaign, now are somewhat peeved at having been treated as goms.

And now for something serious: Last January it was reported that Landmark Media Investments, the owners of the Irish Examiner, was considering an Indepenent News and Media (INM) link with the Irish Examiner – not an outright purchase, dontcha know, just a ‘link.’ Of course, INM (30 per cent owned by Denis O’Brien) would face serious competition issues and much concern from the literate public if that particular newspaper group sought an outright purchase.

In March, it was reported that The Irish Times was interested in bidding for the ex-old lady of Academy Street.

Last Sunday, the Sunday Business Post said both The Irish Times and the Indo/Sindo had entered into ‘an official sales process for De Paper.’ (The Examiner has a circulation of 30,000 copies, down 7.8 per cent on last year). Then, on Monday, the Indo/Sindo declared it was not in talks to buy ‘De Paper.’

Wow! What excitement! And what mental uncertainty and apprehension we’re experiencing as we watch this fascinating and mysterious situation unfold. As Willie Wonka said, ‘The suspense is terrible. I hope it lasts.’

Our man in Dinty’s: ‘Cripes, boy, did you ever see anything more tacky, naff, tawdry, dysfunctional, incoherent and gutless as the carry-on among Coveney and Varadkar as they vie for Kenny’s job, that of an honest-to-god harmless auld craytur who’s not dead yet (politically or otherwise), and who has no immediate intention of resigning as leader of that screeching bag of cats that wants his job and the loot. And, answer me this: does anybody really care if Tweedledee or effin’ Tweedledum gets the job?’

Here’s a joke that an air traffic controller is said to have cracked as a transatlantic flight attempted to land at Cork Airport: ‘Lufthansa 751 too fast. Turn right at end of runway, if able. If not able, take the Farmers Cross exit to Elm Hill. Then take a right at the roundabout to return to airport.’ He was sacked!

The DUP and UUP… April 28, 2017

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Newton Emerson has an interesting point in the IT this week in relation to the UK General Election and the effects of that upon Northern Irish politics. He writes;

One thing the DUP seems guaranteed to lose in June is its leverage in a finely balanced Westminster.

The party has cherished a belief it will not be betrayed at Stormont by a Conservative government with a narrow working majority and Brexit rebels of both the Remain and Leave persuasion.

Whether that belief has been warranted – and the evidence has been scant – DUP morale will plummet once its seats are clearly surplus to Tory requirements.

That could end up being a surprisingly potent effect of this election.

Indeed. But what of this?

The first-past-the-post voting system produces blunt majorities. If the DUP and the UUP hold their current 10 out of 18 seats, they will present this result as a mandate for leaving the European Union.

Has the UUP changed its stance on Brexit in the last month or so?


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