And they’re off..

The Irish Times confirms the speculation – “The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has set Thursday May 24th as the date for the general election.”

He went to Áras an Uachtaráin this morning to seek the dissolution of the 29th dail from the President Mary McAleese. The President then left the Aras for a week-long trip to the US.

Adds Before leaving, President Mary McAleese had just enough time to update the official website.

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  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    You’re a sad git, Pete, if you have to wait for the irish times to confirm ‘the speculation’ when the rest of us have been aware since early morning what’s going on viz a viz the General Election. Gee, man, wake up and smell the coffee….listen to RTÉ even…..

  • joeCanuck

    “the rest of us have been aware since early morning”

    After having got out of the wrong side of the bed, apparently.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin


    You are riding for Yellow for that kind of language! Pack it in!!

  • susan

    It’s so difficult to calibrate tone over the internet, Admin. I think of “sad git” as practically a term of endearment.

    Well, practically.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin


    I appreciate that, I really do. If it was a first time, I’d let it pass. But Oili is an old hand here and well able to calibrate his remarks. In fact, he has done so rather precisely on occasion.

    In short, he should know better!

  • Marcellinus

    I suppose we should now expect to hear the same patronising SF comments but in a Southern context… Instead of the SDLP being on the decline it will be FF is on the decline and in addition, just like here on Slugger, we will be forced to endure an ostentatious shrill of “How Great Thou Art”, where all the Shinner sycophants tell us SF is the only party on this island who is working for the people. Roll on the 25th!

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Gee, Admin, get over it. You’re threatening me with a yellow card for telling Pete to wake up and smell the coffee. Talk about sensitive…

    Whether the Irish Times confirms a story or not is surely unnecessary when Bertie Ahern has been live on RTE proclaiming the election. Just a case of forelock tugging from Pete to the Old Lady of D’Olier Street (now moved around the corner to the old Irish Press building).

    If you give me a yellow for that, you’re an even sadder git than Pete would be if he had to wait for the Irish Times blessing. All he had to do was read slugger and Mick’s post in which he had picked up, as he is obviously more awake than Pete, on the news from Dublin as it was happening.

  • I wonder if Bertie felt he had to call it, as recent polls are looking poor, and heading south.
    I thought he wanted the photo-op of Stormont May8th to then go into an election on a wave.
    Maybe the PD’s had something to do with it.

  • Pete Baker

    The coffee here smells just great, Oili, as it always does.. even if some of us prefer a lie-in before noting the official confirmation that Mick was awaiting in his earlier post.

  • Mick Fealty

    Is it really too much to ask for a modicum of civility? Or that you attempt to play the ball? It is form of action than you yourself have benefited from in the past. If it is too much, you can skip the yellow and take a red.

    If you choose the latter option I would have to rely on you to to observe it honourably, since I cannot ban you without also penalising your colleagues: something I do not wish to do.

  • Pete does that mean you’ll be going to the evening Mass, to have your sins forgiven?

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Do whatever you like Mick. I think I’m mature enough and civil and, oh, honourable enough to do what I think is right. Just to put the record straight, I should point out that this is another example of the partisan application of the ‘man not ball’ rule on Slugger. If I fart out of turn, I’m threatened with a red card etc while contributors and so on who incessantly play the man with regard to certain issues, remember Daily Ireland anyone?, have a very easy ride…I can recall no example when a man player on that issue got a red but no doubt you have records you can call up. I have played the ball and only made the observations that I did this morning in frustration at the ‘double posting’ on the same topic on slugger with both yourself and, then belatedly, PB getting in with tuppence worth.

    As far as I’m concerned, the questions remain over whether this is truly an impartial forum or just a place where open minded commenters, with a green tinge, are presumed to be targets for the less open minded of the slugger set.

  • forlorn fairy

    Parcifal evening mass? That went out a long time ago. Saturday evening mass and then Sunday morning. Unless there is still the odd one around.

    Coffee? In the mornings. Yuk.

  • Mick Fealty


    That’s not really an answer is it?

    “…the questions remain over whether this is truly an impartial forum or just a place where open minded commenters, with a green tinge, are presumed to be targets for the less open minded of the slugger set”.

    I’m more than happy for the question to be raised and for you or others to come to their own conclusions (though since you have not been slow in complaining about, and getting action on such targeting, I remain to be convinced that this is more than an opportunistic dig at the ref).

    I’m not upbraiding you for your frustration, just for your refusal to play by the rules! Now is it game on, or a voluntary walk off the pitch?

  • forlorn fairy

    Please lads come on……..

  • forlorn fairy, Mick’s the owner, he’s doing his job….still a bit of lad though, thankfully.
    Sunday evening… oops shows how long sice I attended… back fired 😉

    Who’s the Irish equivalent of Dimbleby? He’s great on election night?

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    This is an odd circumstance, isn’t it. I’m being invited to ‘walk off the pitch’ for what, for pointing out what was glaringly obvious in a light hearted way. How was I to know that admin would get ina huff about it and, as he hasn’t been so quick to get in a huff when the wind blows in the opposite direction, I point that out and that invites an intervention from Mick himself. I don’t intend to walk off the pitch but I will let the matter of how slow off the mark Pete was, five hours or so behind Mick and the rest of the politically awake, rest. It”s a side issue but I thought it worth raising given that this is an entirely unnecessary thread given it came on to the pitch way after the kick-off…

    As for the observation by Mick (though since you have not been slow in complaining about, and getting action on such targeting, I remain to be convinced that this is more than an opportunistic dig at the ref, I think the record speaks for itself. The way debates were conducted on the issue of Daily Ireland marked a low point for slugger. Not the finest hour of the implementation of the man not ball rule. Nuff said.

  • Mick Fealty

    Okay, a Yellow rather than a Red. But consider this thread bookmarked. Any repetition will result in a compulsory ‘red’.

  • SuperSoupy

    So this thread goes from the threat of a yellow, upgraded to a self imposed red, then ends with a yellow.

    wtf. For using the phrase ‘sad git’.

    Mad. Seems the ref is going card crazy. I would point him towards other worse use of language on topics today and recently but we might end up with an empty field if he’s that hormonal.


    (I take it I’ll get a red and my knees done for this)

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    A yellow for what? Get a life Mick. I couldn’t be bothered with this for a game of soldiers….

  • we all know where the problem lies; and we all know the action required.
    Do my eyes deceive me? Does my heart tell lies.
    Does my mind invent things?

  • OIlibhear Chromaill

    There are more things on heaven and earth, parsifal, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…

  • Olibhear wasn’t referring to you, I’m casting a general eye over particular problems that keep arsising.
    I read people, am not that good at politics, which is why I come here to learn.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    oops, Sorry, Parsifal.

  • redrum

    ‘And they’re off..’

    Pete, looks like the race was well on its way, when you took the first jump.

  • tks oilibheear,
    for my money’s worth if the provocation is in the thread headline, its natural and normal to react; otherwise we just have to take it up the arse all the time. The thread author needs a warning, followed by a yellow, red etc, for his/her persistant nuicance-making.

    of course if an ordinary reader/commentator fouls ( ad hominem )in a thread without provocation, that’s a yellow/red.
    No complaints.

  • forlorn fairy

    My money’s on Bertie getting back in.

  • forlorn, wouldn’t it be good for Bertie to bow out like Blair, after 10yrs, and a mammoth peace process? Go out on a bang hey? Give someone else a chance, maybe a question is? who would best replace him. Dermot Ahern?
    Gerry Adams of SF, that’d be interesting.

  • joeCanuck

    So Parcifal,
    I take it you would prefer to have contributors who mouth motherhood and apple pie platitudes that everyone can give the nod to, rather than provocative contributors (on both sides) who can get a good debate going?
    BTW, from the time I’ve been here, I’m not aware of contributors being allowed ad hominem attacks.

  • No joe, I’d prefer conributors to leave out the sarcy, snidy wind-ups, get a life, and present the threads informatively, intelligently and sensitively; because me old mucker the content of the news item is likely to be controversial enough.

    If then the contributor wants to ne sarcy, snidy etc let him/her get off their royal arse and get stuck into the comments section of the thread, let themselves be known and questioned, and participate fully in their creation.
    winding up and then fucking off is for arseholes.

    Any clearer?

  • joecanuck,
    p.s Mick is a good example of someone who presents thus, without the personal. So if he can do it, why can’t the rest. answer me that?

  • Marcellinus

    I agree with parcifal 100% though sadly, I don’t think it’s possible on the here Slug. This is, after all, Mick’s blog. He sets the tone of the blog but, on more than one occasion, he has proven himself to be unconcerned with notions of “fairness” and “bias”. However, that is his prerogative and commenting/posting here is not compulsory!

    It is hardly surprising therefore that political groupings form; groups that attempt to stifle the debates which they are unable to respond to with reasoned argument. I think the derisive ad hominem type comments are with us for the foreseeable future. They are easy to spot as they often accompanied with casuistry and prevarication.

  • cheers marcellinus,
    Mick, another name to add to the growing list.
    Are we all still so wrong?

  • forlorn fairy

    Parcy, no I like bertie, tho he did have a rough time of it (Teflon Taes- no I won’t attempt to spell it LOL but you know what I mean) For the reason you said, who’d replace him? I see Adams predicting that the SF party will be in power on both sides of the border by the end of may. If I could I’d like to bet with him on it, for honestly I don’t forsee SF getting any bigger quota than they already have. I would not like to see SF hedgemony thru out the island, nor would I like to see them be king makers. Though to be honest when they were in Stormont no matter which office they held they were a safe pair of hands, (conservative and indeed are responsible for the private sector gaining a lot of ground in education. That is big business paying for school buildings etc, wouldn’t like to see the same thing happen in the health service when stormont does eventually get up and running).
    I think Adams is talking big before the election, can’t see any gains coming to pass tho.

  • JD

    I predict 10 to 15 seats, if correct this begins to open up the entire political establishment in the 26, political realignment in Ireland and 2016 is very much within reach.

  • ceannaire

    I have been a long time viewer of this site and I think Mick has done a great job – all being said and done. However, this morning he has got it wrong with Olivier. This person made a comment which, in my view, was fairly mild compared to some of the (very personal) comments made in some posts. Maybe a hangover today, Mick (shit – hope there is no red card for me now!!)

  • forlorn fairy
    I don’t mind who wins, just so long as there’s a concerted affort to reach out and persuade the unionists to join in the re-unification of Ireland.
    Not promises or lip serive, but policies.

    If this doesn’t happen and the southerners just get rich and lazy, and the North all drowsy and sleepy, its all over.

  • Marcellinus

    I’m starting to get a bit worried; I find myself agreeing with people on here (which makes a change!)

    parcifal, I also agree with your no12 post and I think ceannaire is right too. Judging from posts made by Oilibhear Chromaill, I have little time and little in common with him, however, I have to say, on this occasion I don’t really see a need for cards and warnings. Unless I’m missing something (and that could be the case!) I think it is a lot of fuss about nothing.

    As far as the May 24th General Election is concerned, I think it is only to be expected that Gerry will be talking up his party. We will hear the usual “aren’t we great” and the “everybody else has let you down” claims. There’ll be plenty of calls to “join with us for a brighter future” and plenty to “activists” tellings us that, unlike anybody else, they are working “on the ground”. However, when the dust has settled, I too predict there will be little change in the political demography in the South. Of course there will be a few gains and a few losses here and there. I think FF will be returned, may be with a reduced mandate but overall it will be business as usual. I don’t hear or see any great changes or sways in public opinion and I can’t see anything happening to the contrary. Let’s face it, Bertie has no “Iraq” now does he?

  • Pete Baker

    “No joe, I’d prefer conributors [sic] to leave out the sarcy, snidy wind-ups, get a life, and present the threads informatively, intelligently and sensitively”


    Let’s not startle the horses, eh?

    Given the reaction to this post, and others over the weekend, perhaps you have a particular example in mind, parci? Because there’s nothing that’s challenging about what’s been posted here.

    But I should remind you, my blogging isn’t about protecting the sensitivity of some readers – nor has it ever been about that.

    It’s about noting what’s going on and, on occasion, my reaction to that.

  • today was not a good example peteb, and thank you for at least engaging.
    Please do shine the torch, more brightly even.
    My arguements aren’t about keeping things in the dark.
    All I’m saying is that its more likely to be productive if your own personal reactions to your thread are made in the comments zone, then there’s a sub-division which we can all go along with. Is that not fair?

  • susan

    I am so confused.

  • The yellow cars for OC seems amazing for his comments when just a few days another blogger (Marcellinus) responded to one of my posts by referring to me as “Sinn Fein Shite”.

    It took myself and other bloggers to reprimand him, while Slugger Admin took no action whatsoever…

    If you’re gonna issue cards Mick, make sure they are issued to all who are culpable and not just the odd one here and there. The language of Marcellinus towards me was equally if not worse than this case today…

  • Pete Baker

    So you don’t actually have an example, parci.

    And I’d already commented on this thread earlier.

    But you’re seriously mistaken if you believe that any original post is somehow exempted from the commenting policy.

    In fact, being an original post means it will almost certainly be more considered than most of the comments.

  • noting what’s going on?
    here’s my checklist peteb of good threads:

    Check sources.
    Enquire as to particular newspapers slant.
    Ask further questions. ie credibility
    Check agenda of news item.
    cross check with your own agenda.
    Check: am I telling myself what I want to hear or believe?
    ask self Am I shit-stirring or providing insightful information?
    Try avoiding sarcasm and cynicism in thread title.
    There’s plenty of reactions of that order in comments zone.
    Be brief, be concise, be informative, be intelligent. Try not to be too depressing , too repetitive, or too punishing.
    In short don’t be lazy; use head.

    Ok howzat?

    Guaranteed you’ll have better debates, better contributions, less attacks on self, more questioning, more livelivess, more participation.

  • susan,
    trying to get it right, too many threads are just going off on tangents, many related to original thread and/or author of said thread.
    peteb I can provide examples and will in the future, for now happy to just air views ok.

  • Pete Baker

    There seems to be a few conversations taking place at the same time here, susan.

    Most of them have nothing to do with the actual topic.

    And parci… love the fact that you’re telling me how, if not what, to blog.. even if you don’t have an example of where you think I crossed your line..

    I’ll take your advice under.. ermm.. advisement.

    And back to the topic..

  • susan

    Parcifal, would you submit the same checklist to Chris Gaskin at Balrog?

    Chris Gaskin and Pete Baker both post under their own names, and don’t pull punches with their opinions. While I have differences of opinion with both of them, I respect the integrity with which they form their opinions. Neither is sectarian nor sexist — although Pete is a little evangelical in his atheism for my taste, but he’s the blogger.

    And Marcellinus, before you attempt to shred Chris’s integrity, perhaps you should read his blog on Martin Ferris’s arrest and compare it to your criticisms of Mick Fealty for reporting that an elected official in charge of spearheading an anti-speeding campaign may have been speeding outside a PSNI office.

  • well peteb I’m going easy on you 😉

    you may laugh but a print out of my guidelines, will keep you on the straight and narrow.

    Pin em up beside your PC , and scan before pressing ENTER.
    They’ll prevent a multitude of sins.

    On topic, I see Berties already been accused of hijacking historic North-South celebrations, in the Sunday Tribune. Can’t get link to work.

    Maybe one for the morning

    Nite all

  • Pete Baker

    I’ve always been a little evangelical in my atheism, susan, especially when I look at the wondrous universe around us.

  • Pete Baker

    “well peteb I’m going easy on you 😉

    you may laugh but a print out of my guidelines, will keep you on the straight and narrow.”

    ‘Course they will parci.. ‘course they will.

    ‘Cause, like, I needed guidance..

    As previously mentioned..

    I’ll take your advice under.. ermm.. advisement.

    And back to the topic..

  • well peteb I’ve bookmarked this thread, for future HTML linking if necessary!

    I did mention the ontopic sunday tribune, perhaps missed by you!

    I will do that susan and let chris know straight away. As to defensiveness on the part of commentators, perhaps suitable guidelines like the one I’ve drawn up for thread authors could be drawn up for commentators; but I’m tired now.

    and now back on topic

  • Pete Baker

    “but I’m tired now..”

    ‘Course you are, parci.. ‘course you are..

    Btw.. that would be a commenting policy you had in mind?

  • SuperSoupy

  • going the extra mile

    the commenting policy doesn’t cover how to, it covers how not to. So its a rule, I did say mine was a guideline to better blogging.

    They might even be worth refining and offering as a blog in itself on Sluggers.

    reading the comments policy, I found no reference to the title’s construction, just the responses; if you want to get technical on the devil in the detail.

  • susan

    “A Different Kind Of Muppet.”

    lollol, Soupy.

  • Pete Baker

    “So its a rule, I did say mine was a guideline to better blogging.”

    And once again..

    As previously mentioned..

    I’ll take your advice under.. ermm.. advisement.

  • ok cool pete I just looked up advisement, and it had a different meaning to what I’d thought.

    Full moon wednesday 10.00 am, but that’d be another more esoteric set of astrological guidelines to be aware of; if one is feeling conflicted, and doesn’t know why.

    No need to over-egg the pudding 😉

    This really is g/nite

  • I thought I sensed my ears burning

    Thanks for the kind words Susan

    In relation to Parcifal’s suggestion for some type of blogger checklist, I think not.

    On my blog I decide what I write about, I decide the tone, I decide if I wish to shit-stir etc

    In that sense it’s up to Pete how he writes his threads

    In short

    It’s a non-runner parcifal 😉

  • Marcellinus

    macswiney, “…just a few days another blogger (Marcellinus) responded to one of my posts by referring to me as “Sinn Fein Shite”…”

    Wrong. As I pointed out to you on that thread, I used the term “Shinner shite” to refer to what was being said (i.e. the shite of the Shinner)and not to who was saying it. May be it is you who can not tell the difference? Yet more evidence, (as if any were needed!) of the Shinner arrogance that wrongly presumes that everyone thinks and acts like they do. For anybody who is interested, here’s the link.

    Susan, if you can provide a link to CG’s thread on Martin Ferris, I will have a look at it though I fail to see what relevance it could have, regardless of what he says.

    My concern about the Alex Attwood thread centered on the fact that it was based on “unconfirmed reports”; in short nothing more than “gossip”. It was not about Alex Attwood, Martin Ferris or anybody else for that matter. Now those “unconfirmed reports” may have turned out to be true but equally, like all “gossip”, they may have turned out to be wrong. What resulted was simply another thread that afforded Shinner sycophants the opportunity to do bit of SDLP bashing. As humourous as that may have been for them, this type of thread only trivialises and demeans the bigger issues; in this case it was the very important issue of road safety.

    parcifal is right to raise this issue. The standard of the threads is important if this site is to maintain it’s integrity. If we are to have threads based solely on gossip, rumour and hearsay, the standard of blogging will only be diminished. It seems that the Slug is becoming a cold house for SDLP supporters and anybody else who doesn’t support the Dupper/Shinner combo’. May be Mick is happy with that because, after all, it’s his blog.

  • Briso

    >On my blog I decide what I write about, I decide
    >the tone, I decide if I wish to shit-stir etc

    >In that sense it’s up to Pete how he writes his

    Quite right, and the responses you get will be shaped by what you post. You want to stir shit, shit is what you’ll get. Long discussions about the poster and not about the topic. You’re within your rights of course.

    For myself, Fair Deal is the example of a ‘biased’ blogger who manages to stir up debate on the topic rather than himself (except when the topic is himself), mostly (and certainly recently).

    Mmmm, that’s an inelegant sentence. I hope you know what I mean…

  • marty (not ingram)

    Guys, it’s the Internet, not the Oxford Debating Society. I think you’re all taking things a bit too seriously.

  • no complaints chris, you’re entirely open about what you believe and where you’re coming from.

    However due to Slugger’s uniqeness, one would have thought that a successful thread is one where the commentators get stuck into a good debate; so the guidelines would help frame that desirable outcome.
    satisfaction levels can’t be that high if too much criticism is direced towards the author; when just a wee bit more self reflection avoids that clash. More light, less heat surely ?

  • DK

    “However due to Slugger’s uniqeness, one would have thought that a successful thread is one where the commentators get stuck into a good debate”

    Instead of whining for 50+ posts about the fact that the thread was started at 11am instead of the very second the election was anounced.

  • DK
    I admit it was an extended whinge, but there was some light at the end of the tunnel, and mercifully it wasn’t a freight train 😉

  • forlorn fairy

    I think Pete Baker posts excellent threads, they are put up intelligently and he is one of the most unbiased bloggers on slugger. I would say Fair Deal is biased toward a certain view but not Pete Baker. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t post his views only that I find him quite objective most times in all he posts. Granted this one was a little late, but thats not usual for him, and he does take an awful lot of stick but weathers it charmingly in my opinion.

  • marty (not ingram)

    Forlorn Fairy – you aren’t Pete’s mum by any chance? :O)

  • forlorn fairy

    lol no marty, only speaking as I find.

  • My focus has been and will remain on the uneven application of the man not ball rule. I can get a yellow for addressing Pete as a sad git, albeit conditionally, and over on another thread people who are walking among us can be accused of being murderers, adulterers and touts. Whereas guilt on the first issue is matter for a court, guilt on the issue of ‘touting’ can lead to mob justice and a violent end.

    That’s why I think the man not ball rule should be evenly and consistently applied.

    The thread to which I’m referring is the Another Informer Re Revealed thread first posted on 22 April.