Sir, – According to a report in your newspaper, the European Parliament is currently focused on proposals that would require rural pedestrians to wear high-visbility jackets (Home News, September 29th). So at a time when the euro faces an existential crisis, our MEPs are busy drafting a dress code for yokels? That puts the emperor Nero in the halfpenny place. – Yours, etc,
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Sir, – Given the clear difficulties in finding suitable candidates and the ongoing issue of funding the national broadcaster, should we not give consideration to a constitutional change that would allow the president to be the winner of a new reality television show called So You Want To Rule Ireland? Prospective presidential candidates would live as housemates in Áras an Uachtaráin and would be set collective tasks such as “Greet the new Japanese ambassador at the airport”. This would allow a much broader field of candidates and the unfortunate discovery of skeletons in cupboards, closets or underneath lonely beaches near Dundalk would lead to a ratings boost instead of an electoral crisis.
– Yours, etc,
Thursday, May 19, 2011
The entry in the Registry comprises the first three letters of the applicant's surname, the first five letters of the first name, the date of birth, together with the date and codes for the relevant insurer and the type of policy.
So If my name is "MICHAEL GOLDSMITH" and I share a birthday with a deeply unhealthy "MICKEY GOLDSTEIN " I can be turned down for life insurance because of him or his policy history. Not only that, if I make a data protection act request I will be given his information....
The really bizarre thing is that the Data Protection commissioner is aware of this but doesn't seem to find it odd...
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The Irish State was founded by a group of individuals who believed in demonstrating the reality of Independence by throwing the new nation into a ruinous trade war with Britain and its empire. A happy willingness to antagonize its neighbours and harm its own interests simply to prove the fact of Irish independence continued for more than half a century, with mixed results for people who lived here.
Ireland now appears to have gone to the other extreme and is busy sacrificing the nation to avoid upsetting anyone in Europe. Let us not make the mistake of assuming that our selflessness will be reciprocated by France or Germany, both of whom promoted the concept of the Euro, insisted that their nationals had critical positions in the running of it and are now blaming the users of their currency for the for the terminal problems it now faces.
The government needs to make a conscious shift back towards the self-centred politics of the thirties and forties. At an absolute minimum the it should start publicly making contingency plans to implement the "Kelly Option" and other equally radical scenarios such as approaching the United States and asking to join if a catastrophic loss of sovereignty becomes inevitable. Such plans do not have to be put into action to provide benefits. Their mere existence will strengthen our position and turn us from supplicants into participants in the current process.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Had a letter in the Indo about this:
ENDA Kenny's comparison of Ireland's economic problems with the siege of Leningrad is bizarre. A far better historical analogy would be with the Treaty of Versailles. A single country is being accused of being solely responsible for a European disaster and is now expected to make financially unsustainable 'reparations' without any consideration of the long-term consequences for everyone involved.
Not only does Ireland now face a prolonged period of economic chaos ending in a default, but, like Weimar Germany, it has a deeply dysfunctional political system that is ill-equipped to handle the challenges it will soon face. The bottom line is that Ireland didn't invent the euro, but is expected to shoulder the blame for its failure.
It is now obvious that this country was run into the ground by an incompetent political elite, with not one single TD of any party attempting to stop the madness.
But while Ireland has an entire parliament building full of culprits, none of the architects and managers of the euro are being asked to explain why they stood back and did nothing while ludicrous quantities of debt flooded the periphery of Europe.
Until this issue of fiscal mismanagement is resolved, the future of the euro -- and the entire European project -- will remain in doubt.