bad timing

Dec. 8th, 2008 11:00 pm
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BCI announces a new TV channel catering to Eastern Europeans in Dublin just as 1/3 of the largest Eastern European group are planning on going home.

(I may be bending the facts a little here, since it's not obvious which parts of Eastern Europe the TV channel is catering to.)
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I wonder how many people read about the recall of ALL Irish pork products produced since September over their traditional morning fry of sausage, rashers and pudding?
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Dave Egger's "Once Upon A School" comes to Dublin: Fighting Words opens in January 2009, as best I can tell from the somewhat meagre website. This project was mentioned on Egger's site some time ago, but there were no updates forthcoming; now it looks like they're finally ready to roll.
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We won. Woo. What a terrible game; even the refereeing was rubbish.
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One of the more rabid and non-linear anti-Lisbon groups gave a predictable performance to a government subcommittee on the Lisbon referendum yesterday. I agree with the committee chairman: if they didn't go there to have a reasonable discussion, they're doing themselves and their supporters a disservice - even if I think that those supporters are utterly misguided and would do well to at least row in behind a less wingnut-oriented anti-Lisbon group. The important part of having people representing your views is that you need to make sure that they're actually doing so effectively.
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Or Glenageary, I have no idea where the boundaries actually are: an Obama/Biden sign in someone's window. I'm almost tempted to go knock on their door just to say, "HELL, YEAH!"
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Overheard on the DART: male garda stops a young, female learner driver as she is driving unaccompanied on a motorway while texting someone on her mobile phone. Says something like "I suppose you were texting the boyfriend". She says she doesn't have one, or words to that effect, and so the garda asks for her number and lets her off with a warning. The story was related by the female in question to a male friend of hers, so it's not exactly third- or fourth- hand.

For those not familiar with Irish law, learner drivers on their first (learner) license are required to have a fully-licensed driver accompanying them; they're not allowed drive on motorways; and anyone using a mobile phone without a hands-free kit is liable to get points on their license (12 points over 42 months and you lose your license) and (I think) an on-the-spot fine.
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Typical comments about the Irish soccer team focus on the "unbeaten" status, which generally doesn't mean a string of wins, it's more likely to refer to a string of draws. And the typical draw is an early Irish goal, 80 minutes of keep-away, and then a late goal by the opposition. Tonight's match against Cyprus was no different, except Cyprus didn't quite make the last-minute comeback; sure, there were some sublime moments, but there was also a lot of crap. And I still don't get this tactic of penetrating deep into the opposition's territory and then passing the ball backwards, allowing them time to shore up their defence and make things difficult to impossible for the attackers. What's it supposed to achieve, exactly? Anyway, Kevin Doyle (no, not the guy who plays Elvis) got a well-deserved man of the match award for sheer pace, although Richard Dunne was a good challenger for the title also. Roll on February, when we play Georgia.
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Enda Kenny volunteers to take a 5% pay cut in some sort of bizarre holier-than-thou attack on the incumbent government, or perhaps attempting to show solidarity with the ordinary man or something. Of course, if I were earning in excess of €100,00 per annum, I figure I could be this magnanimous, too. I had to dig around a bit to find that salary figure, although I'm sure there's an official reference somewhere. All the press reports I've been reading mention the 5% without indicating what it was 5% of; this piece of punditry from the Irish Times reveals that even after the pay cut Enda would still be earning over a hundred grand. Which Payscale suggests is significantly more than the ordinary man. Further silliness ensues: it's not obvious, according to the Times piece, if Kenny can cut his own salary; and despite some mentions to the contrary, it seems that not only are his senior colleagues not following his lead, there's some unrest in the party over the fact that the pay cut appears to have been a unilateral decision on the part of Kenny himself with no consultation with said colleagues. So not just a stupid, empty gesture, but one that puts him at odds with his own party as well.
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(Leinster House, that is)
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There's some irony (or perhaps no irony whatsoever, I'm not sure) in the fact that Ireland's best showing in the Olympics so far has been in "fisticuffs with rules".
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The stereotype of the arrogant Frenchman may or may not have legs, but Sarkozy certainly displayed if not arrogance, at least a lack of tact in apparently remarking that Ireland would have to vote again on the Lisbon treaty. Now, this being reporting, it's entirely possible that he said it was one of the options, or that he was referring to a modified treaty, or what have you. In today's BBC story on the issue, he's quoted as having said, "the Irish will have to vote again", which is technically correct - if we're to have any significant alteration of the current EU treaties, which we must have, sooner or later, then the Irish Constitution requires that the Irish will indeed have to vote again, and I think other countries should get the chance, too.

Anyway, the various political parties were quick to jump on it from both sides, with the incumbents attempting to do a discreet "shut up, you fool!" approach and the opposition doing their best to find a way to blame his comments on the incumbents. Ah, politics.
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I picked up the link to the previous post from Google News' Irish News filter, but it's getting harder and harder to read it because it's flooded with links to Irish tabloids whose idea of news is not so much "all the news that's fit to print" as "whatever voyeurism will get us a lurid front-page headline". It'd be nice to see a more intellectual counterpoint to the Irish Times, which has its own biases, but unfortunately it seems that the only Irish papers running an opposing point of view are doing so from the gutter.
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I'm no fan of our former Minister for Justice (given that I felt he was far too right-wing), but I can't help but feel that he's been somewhat misrepresented by the Irish Times in this article which claims he's in favour of a legal obligation to report crimes. If that was indeed what he said, it wouldn't surprise me, and it's the tricky sort of thing I haven't liked him for in the past, where on the face of it it looks harmless enough, but digging deeper it's veering off into over-policing. However, reading further down the article it appears that he's actually referring to someone who is already being questioned with respect to a serious crime, i.e. a witness or a suspect, which puts a slightly different tilt on his argument - I'm still not wholly comfortable with it, but it's hardly a KGB-style "kids! tell us your parents are capitalist running dogs!" as implied by the opening paragraph.
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AIB files found in landfill; opposition party rallies around with the usual cry of "Something Must Be Done!" - you'd imagine if they're so keen on reforming the law they'd already have something prepared on the topic...
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According to a newspaper I refuse to link to on the grounds that it's a poorly-disguised tabloid, "There are 195 independent states in the world, and people from 188 of them were living in Ireland at the time of the last census."
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So we have the OECD telling us our housing market is doomed, the ESRI telling us we're in recession, various goverment rumblings about belt-tightening, and the opposition party accusing the Taoiseach of being personally responsible for the global economic downturn (to be fair, he was the Minister for Finance before he was Taoiseach, but even if you believe that Ireland is one of the richest countries in the EU I don't think our budgetary decisions have had any significant impact in the face of, say, subprime-mortgage-related crashes). In the midst of all this, the general secretary of the IMPACT union suggests that prudent behaviour with regard to wages is "absurd", and also this choice piece of MATH FAIL:
He said: 'What we didn't have in the 80s was the Social Partnership framework that we have been working under for the last 21 years.'
Since, er, 1987 - which is the year that Wall Street crashed rather spectacularly obviously isn't in "the 80s".

(yes, I realise he's more likely to be referring to the early 80s. Let me have my snide remarks, dammit. Also I exaggerate Fine Gael's stance on the handling of the economy for much the same reason.)

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