Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

March 14, 2011


Hear it debated here.



March 4, 2011

I’ve been inactive on the blog for sometime and I think it is time to get blogging once more so if that is ok with all you guys. Watch this space for more controversy!


Britannia’s Shame Continues to Haunt

October 31, 2008

Today is a special day in the Irish calender. The 31st of October is of course Halloween/Oiche Samhna the great pagan festival and New Year which has been celebrated in Ireland for over 3000 years. But today is also the day when Steve Mc Queen’s film Hunger goes on general cinematic release in Ireland. It is 27 years since the death of Bobby Sands the IRA prisoner who went on hunger strike to the death in demand of political status as a prisoner. Ten men were to die before the strikes ended. I am not going into the details of the hunger strikes as they are well documented else where.

One of the things that struck and inspired me were international reactions to Bobby Sand’s death and election to Westminster. There were protests outside many embassies throughout the world, minutes silences in various parliaments and numerous statues erected. The most common tribute given to Bobby is perhaps a street name. There are many streets in France renamed after him in Nantes, St. Etienne, St. Denis and Le Mans Verzion. In Cuba there is a statue to Bobby Sands and his comrades in Havana. There is one memorial in particular which always gives me a smile and that is the re-naming of the street where the British embassy stands in Tehran. The Iranian government decided to replace Winston Churchill Street to Bobby Sands Street. Brilliant.

 Despite constant pressure by the British government to change the name the Iranians refused to bow to Whitehall’s pressure for years. I notice that the British say the British embassy in Tehran and can be found at British Embassy. 198 Ferdowsi Avenue. (PO Box No 11365-4474). Tehran 11344. Whether they decided to change location or the Iranians did succumb to British pressure I don’t know. From what I know Bobbby Sands Street is still the official name of the street. If anyone knows please get in touch.

Here is an article written from the Iranian perspective I took from the Bobby Sands Trust website. It’s entitled ‘The Night we named Bobby Sands Street’.


The film Hunger is released nationwide today.

Nature’s crisis

October 10, 2008

Following on from my previous post I would just like to make people aware that the current financial crisis is nothing in comparison to the crisis that faces Mother Earth.

This is an article worth reading from the BBC that the destruction of the rainforests is costing more to the global economy than the banking crisis.

Nature loss ‘dwarfs bank crisis’

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Barcelona

Rainforest in Kakum National Park, Ghana

Losses are great, and continuous, says the report

The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.

The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.

The study, headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, parallels the Stern Review into the economics of climate change.

It has been discussed during many sessions here at the World Conservation Congress.

Some conservationists see it as a new way of persuading policymakers to fund nature protection rather than allowing the decline in ecosystems and species, highlighted in the release on Monday of the Red List of Threatened Species, to continue.

Capital losses

Speaking to BBC News on the fringes of the congress, study leader Pavan Sukhdev emphasised that the cost of natural decline dwarfs losses on the financial markets.

“It’s not only greater but it’s also continuous, it’s been happening every year, year after year,” he told BBC News.

Teeb will… show the risks we run by not valuing [nature] adequately.”
Andrew Mitchell
Global Canopy Programme

“So whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today’s rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2-$5 trillion every year.”

The review that Mr Sukhdev leads, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb), was initiated by Germany under its recent EU presidency, with the European Commission providing funding.

The first phase concluded in May when the team released its finding that forest decline could be costing about 7% of global GDP. The second phase will expand the scope to other natural systems.

Stern message

Key to understanding his conclusions is that as forests decline, nature stops providing services which it used to provide essentially for free.

So the human economy either has to provide them instead, perhaps through building reservoirs, building facilities to sequester carbon dioxide, or farming foods that were once naturally available.

Or we have to do without them; either way, there is a financial cost.

The Teeb calculations show that the cost falls disproportionately on the poor, because a greater part of their livelihood depends directly on the forest, especially in tropical regions.

The greatest cost to western nations would initially come through losing a natural absorber of the most important greenhouse gas.

Just as the Stern Review brought the economics of climate change into the political arena and helped politicians see the consequences of their policy choices, many in the conservation community believe the Teeb review will lay open the economic consequences of halting or not halting the slide in biodiversity.

“The numbers in the Stern Review enabled politicians to wake up to reality,” said Andrew Mitchell, director of the Global Canopy Programme, an organisation concerned with directing financial resources into forest preservation.

“Teeb will do the same for the value of nature, and show the risks we run by not valuing it adequately.”

A number of nations, businesses and global organisations are beginning to direct funds into forest conservation, and there are signs of a trade in natural ecosystems developing, analogous to the carbon trade, although it is clearly very early days.

Some have ethical concerns over the valuing of nature purely in terms of the services it provides humanity; but the counter-argument is that decades of trying to halt biodiversity decline by arguing for the intrinsic worth of nature have not worked, so something different must be tried.

Whether Mr Sukhdev’s arguments will find political traction in an era of financial constraint is an open question, even though many of the governments that would presumably be called on to fund forest protection are the ones directly or indirectly paying for the review.

But, he said, governments and businesses are getting the point.

“Times have changed. Almost three years ago, even two years ago, their eyes would glaze over.

“Today, when I say this, they listen. In fact I get questions asked – so how do you calculate this, how can we monetize it, what can we do about it, why don’t you speak with so and so politician or such and such business.”

The aim is to complete the Teeb review by the middle of 2010, the date by which governments are committed under the Convention of Biological Diversity to have begun slowing the rate of biodiversity loss.

Holy Blasphemy!

September 28, 2008

Consider this:

Tim prays to the Virgin Mary that he may pluck up the courage to ask out an office clerk that he fancies and that she accepts his invite. The same girl (Alice) prays to the Virgin Mother that another man (Tony) who works in the same office will ask her out.  While at the same time the man that the girl really wants to be with(Tony) is actually gay and is praying to the Holy Mother to be with the man who really wants to be with the girl(Tim) and hoping that he too is Gay.

What’s the Virgin Mother to do??

It has always bemused me how we are encouraged tor pray for divine intervention in times of need. I have serious reservations about this as it seems to be totally contradictory to what Christ and scriptures taught. If you look to the bible passage on the temptation of Christ in the desert : “On the other hand it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” – Matthew 4:7

If Christians are to remain true to their faith then praying for ‘little’ interventions such as success in a job interview or for good weather is surely blasphemous and offensive to their God.

There is a trilogy of epic poems by Patrick Kavanagh and in the first ‘Why Sorrow’ he confronts this issue eloquently when he pens:

‘Is the way of living That you are praying for in this God’s giving? Ah, Lad upon the road of life ‘Tis best to dance with Chance’s wife And let the road-menders that follow Sweep remorse into a hollow.’

So the next time you pray to St. Anthony to find your car keys or to St. Joseph of Cupertino to pass an exam, think twice.

Stomach Party

September 26, 2008

I’ve been a bit quiet for a while as my lack of blog entries demonstrate. My reasons vary from studying for exams Im never going to pass anyway, looking for and starting new work and most recently my sister’s wedding. An Irish wedding is bad enough but imagine 80 Irish people in a small village in Tuscany for one week. Without going into details of wht kind of a week I had I’d like to play this video by an American comedian called Jim Breur about the effects of mixing your drinks.  The Scottish accent aside I think it’s a hilarious routine.

Bill Cosby did some good comedy routines also on the subject which you can find on Youtube also. I just thought it was appropriate for me as I am still recovering from a crazy yet memorable week.

Pure Mule Weekend- A short Story

August 12, 2008


It was a fierce hot day in July and the work had worked up a right aul drouth on the pair of us. Myself and the other fella John had been under the Irish sun all day and were right and tired as well as sunburnt. Although that might sound laughable, with this global warming and what not, people do say that the sun is hotter and more dangerous these days. I don’t know shite but certainly this day I got a fair aul burning working out in the bog.

By six in the evening it was time to pack up and head for a pint. We fired the tools in the back of the van and headed for the nearest watering hole. This drinking establishment was the refuge of the working – man, the country farmer, the husband out for a sneaky pint to get a few minutes peace from the wife and the local teenagers who are in a hurry to grow up. Anyway, the pints of black porter with creamy yellowy heads were set upon the mahogany and it was only then after that first sip that we realised the weekend had begun.


“Decorate the mahogany”, I shouted at the young lassie behind the bar. Fair play to her, she dutifully carried down the beverages we required without hesitation. I do feel sorry for those poor craters working in bars and listening to the likes of myself shouting abuse and acting the cod on the other side of the counter. But sure that’s what they get paid for I suppose.  It wasn’t long until the pub began to fill up and the evening was getting on a bit too. I was in two minds to go on home after a loch of innocent enough pints or nip over to the house, get changed into the glad rags and head into town for an all out session. It was a tough call. I decided to make my decision after one more pint of which was going down very easy. In consultation with my work colleagues we decided to do the honourable thing and spread our wealth among the valued vintners of the town.


Being fortunate enough to live within walking distance of the pub I gainfully strolled home where I was greeted by my doting mother, who naturally enough had the spuds boiled and waiting on me. I had the dinner in me in no time and ran up the stairs for a bit of a shower, shave and to red the pipes. It was 10 o’ clock by this stage and time to make a move. I told the ma I’d see her in the morning. “No bother son” she replied. I bolted out the door like a greyhound out of the trap. Got myself a taxi into town and met the lads who were already there waiting on me.


On these little adventures into town the only objective was to blank out the monotony of the previous five working days and give the weekend a kick-start. I’m not much of a philosopher but I don’t think the majority of lads who get drunk at weekends actually think about why they get drunk. They just do.


There we were in The Shamrock bar and sure the slagging and the craic had already started as I was approaching the lads. ‘Get a round in there you miserable cunt before you sit down’ was roared at me by Paddy. Paddy I could safely say would be the ‘leader’ of the group, not exactly the sharpest tool in the box but not a bad fella all the same. As I approached the bar the young barmaid whom we have sort of gotten to know over the past few months handed me the drinks and a smile to go with them. It was the kind of smile that would make me feel good about myself as if I was worth something. The smile of a passing beauty that so seldom happens but when it does it gives you a warmth so deeply personal you can’t explain.


The night continued as you’d expect with a rake of pints and as I wasn’t in the mood to go with the rest of the eejits. I just got myself a curry and a taxi home courtesy of ‘Mr.T’ the Nigerian refugee turned hackney that so patiently returns the drunks of Monaghan to their beds.




 The Saturday I would consider as the best day of the week. It can be the best day because you know that you will have Sunday to recover from whatever shennanigans may proceed. I got up about 10.00 am and had a fry that me Ma had made. For those unaccustomed as to what a fry might mean, it’s basically a cooked breakfast containing a lot lot of pig and swallowed down with a dose of tea.

After the grub I didn’t do a whole pile bar a few odd jobs about the house and getting a few messages for the mother who since having a bit of a tip in the car is too afraid to go into town by herself anymore.

It was the weekend of the All-Ireland Qualifiers and somehow Monaghan had made it into the quarter finals. The whole county was on a high and I have to admit for once I had some sort of pride in where I came from. How fifteen biys kicking a ball of inflated leather around a field can instill a sense of personal belonging and meaning to one’s life I can’t explain. It just does.

I made my way into town to make sure I got a good seat in the pub to watch the game. Well- That’s what I told my mother. More to the point I was gagging for a pint. I met the usual heads and it wasn’t long until the rounds were started. The match ebbed and flowed in an epic David and Goliath type contest. The Monaghan minnows against the might of Kerry. This time however the giant conquered and the contender was vanquished. There was no David sling with which Monaghan could hurl at Kerry.

Despite the loss the Craic continued and we carried on into the night still proud and specualting on the ifs and buts.

I don’t remember much about the tail end of the night as it was drenched in a hazy cloud of inebriation.



 One of the rituals of rural Ireland that is still hanging on by a thin thread is the Sunday mass. Regardless of what sort of a sham you made of yourself the night before if the auld doll is still the ‘Bean an Ti’ she’ll have you up and out the door to get your weekly dose of communion. Sunday mass for me is usually a time for piecing together the events of the night before while I look around the chapel and see faces that provide me with flashbacks. My mind wanders and thinks; was I talking to Fintan Duffy last night or did I dream that? Did I organise a camping trip with John Murphy whom I haven’t met since we were in primary school?

Mass is the reality check needed after a week of monotony and mind numbing work and a weekend of excessive behavioural expression.

The sweats and shakes continue until the Sunday roast is dutifully eaten. That Sunday as I lay on the sofa after having my dinner I thought about my life. I thought about many things. I drifted off and imagined myslef doing something I had always wanted to do but never did. I imagined the achievements I was capable of and I hoped that somehow I would make things different.


Yes, Sunday was the day to take stock and ask yourself why do I do the same aul carry on week in, week out? I went to bed that evening contemplating these thoughts. I went to bed with the knowledge that I could do something better with my life. I knew I was stuck in a rut. I knew I was wasting my life. I knew I was a loser. I went to bed that night knowing I would get up in the morning to go to the work I loathe so much and my week will proceed exactly like the ones before and the ones to come. I went to bed knowing nothing will change.



Mc World

June 20, 2008

Been in limbo for a day. Bed is a refuge.

The light of sunset drowns out the noise.

The lovers walk hand in hand, while I watch from my window.

Longing for someone, yet the desire for love doesn’t exist.

The words of wisdom no longer make sense.

Who do you believe? The sane? Who defines sanity?

If the shoe fits wear it, if it feels good it is good.

Live for the day, what I need I get, what I get I

Want more. Choice no longer exists, only wants and desires.


“I’m fed up. It’s not just life, but the fact that I am no longer a person but a victim of consumption.”  “Run of the mill scares the hell out of me”; said the two homeless vagabonds playing chess with their buddies in the summer sun of the city park. “Me too”, says his scruffy, unkempt counterpart. With their shopping cart of possessions these lonesome hobos have it better than us cooped up in our rented downtown apartments with our air conditioning and leather sofas with the hire purchase TV set and DVD player complete with the latest releases of Hollywood tripe that infects and taps into our subconscious controlling our every thought and action. Action that is now determined by images beamed from the heavens, but conceived and contrived in the conniving quarters of the oligopolies and freewheeling masters who control us with sinister smiles and cartoon characters with their theme parks. It is becoming impossible to tell where the theme park begins and the world ends as both conglomerates into one.


       I had a dream. In this dream I have chosen destitute poverty as the only means of escaping being ensnared by the environs of evil and greed. What Lennon spoke of, no possessions I give it a go, to see if its true. The freedom of poverty has carried me far, I sit on my own in a bar. Working when I need to on hand to mouth, I ask the bar tender to alleviate my drought. It wasn’t long until we got engaged in a conversation, whether it was of a deep and thought provoking nature or just some drivel about the weather I can’t remember. It’s not the issue, the point is that there was someone there to listen to me when I needed it. Yes, he was only a random stranger getting paid to serve drinks while he studies for a better job but who cares.  He was there for me and spoke to me when nobody else was. There was no need for counsellors or self help courses- just a bit of human kindness. If we could all just be a bit more human things would be so much better.

The western world is supposedly a Christian world where we have ‘Christian values’. Christian values were summed up by Christ in Matthew 22: 37-39, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

So practically we have to love God first and our neigbour second. This doesn’t bode well for there are those who are pretty nasty to their neigbours but it doesn’t matter as they are great buddies of the supreme being.

Humanists make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values. They seek to make the best of the one life we have by creating meaning and purpose for ourselves. We take responsibility for our actions and work with others for the common good.
  There are too many people in our society who take advantage of others usually for their own economic advantage. I want to live in a more humanist society not a Christian powerblock.

Like the bar man that just said a few simple words don’t get down by life get up by living it. There are many distractions but basically we have a choice- Get busy living or get busy dying.