Love Irish Food?

As reported here, the new “Love Irish Food” campaign could not have been launched at a better time. At least those Irish British chickens will no longer be, erm, confused. As for Máirtín’s turkey.. It’s the economy, stupid! To clarify, from the Notes to Editors in the press release [pdf file]. Love Irish Food is a privately funded independent organisation established to promote Irish food and drink brand to consumers. Membership of the organisation is based on strict criteria stating … Read more

There is no alternative?

Ciarán O’Hagan a bond expert at Société Générale, Paris has a guest post on Irish Economy. It’s an illuminating read, from the perspective of a bond market practitioner critical of NAMA. One of the pro-NAMA arguments he explodes is the notion that the bond market won’t tolerate a default by the banks on their obligations to their bond holders. Ciarán highlights the difference in the interests of the banks’ bondholders and investors in Irish government debt – Foreign investors *in … Read more

“Irish workers are alone in Europe..”

An odd argument from Jimmy Kelly, Unite’s regional secretary, in favour of a No vote on the Lisbon Treaty. “Irish workers are alone in Europe as having no legal right to representation by a union,” said Mr Kelly. “Irish workers are alone in Europe as having no provision for pension protection. “Irish workers are alone in Europe as the only ones whose right to fair pay and employment security are considered by their government as obstacles to economic recovery.” Doesn’t … Read more

“Extremists, he said, had no hesitation about lying..”

In the Irish Times Dan Keenan notes Garret Fitzgerald’s address to the second annual McCluskey Civil Rights Summer School in Carlingford, Co Louth. Turning to the limitations on freedom of speech, notably Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act between 1971 and 1993, Dr FitzGerald argued against what he said was “a liberal fallacy” that the broadcasting ban against members of proscribed organisations prevented their “exposure”. Citing Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and former DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley, Dr … Read more

Whilst academics and bloggers fiddle, the Tiger is going up in smoke…

A close relative was working for an Irish civil engineering company in Thailand when the Pacific Tiger economies went belly up. I remember him commenting at the time the levels of remorse at the misdirection of the fast profits of those growth years, and the lost opportunities for developing infrastructure. Ireland, I suspect will have benefited from the direction given it by the EU’s structural funds. But, as John Murray Brown notes, there is nothing left in the tank. The … Read more

BBC under fresh assault

It’s becoming more and more clear that the BBC will have to come up with something more to stem the tide of media and political criticism that makes it the victim of its own success. That success by the way, was founded on going on line early while the newspapers and all other UK mainstream media were asleep. Ex Guardian editor Peter Preston, whose paper has aims to become no less than the centre left’s website of choice for the … Read more

Murdoch blames the BBC for his incapacity to make money out of news…

James Murdoch’s McTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival has caused a stir. Not least at the BBC. In brief, James Murdoch reckons that the BBC is responsible for the fact his company cannot make money online, because the BBC is unfairly using its licence base to dump high quality news content on the net, for free. He also quotes Orwell and warns sagely about the danger of state monopolies. The intellectual core of his pitch is pure Hayck: …we … Read more

Peston: the blog is the bedrock of everything I do…

There’s an inordinate amount of rubbish talked about blogging, particularly about who ‘gets it’ and who doesn’t . In May 2005, a bunch of Irish bloggers appeared on David McWilliams’ Light Bite programme, and I think it was either John Ile or Gavin Sheridan who said that in ten years time there would be no distinction between mainstream and bloggers, that in fact blogging would go mainstream. Martin Stabe is a mainstream journo who ‘got it’ a long time ago, … Read more

Japan gives hope to the political underdog

After 54 years in opposition, Japan’s Democratic Party has won a landslide victory in the country’s general election. The centre left party’s victory has been welcomed by the markets as well as less privileged citizens. It’s the latest win for progressive politics in a major industrial country and follows Barack Obama’s election in the US and Kevin Rudd’s in Australia. Many will see it as further evidence that voters do look to the progressive parties with strong economic policies at … Read more

What’s The Story: publicly collating TDs expenses…

Gavin Sheridan is joined by Mark Coughlan on a new blog resource called, which aims not simply to open up data for public use, but they want volunteers to help them sort the data out so that it can be usefully interrogated. Mark explains what they want on a document that contains all the expenses for TDs and Senators from 1997 – 2008: While the document as it stands contains all data relating to political donations published by SIPO … Read more

Cofiwch Dryweryn

You have wonderful murals and stuff – we have graffiti. Here’s the background to the slogan – Now we are preserving it -Cool. DewiWelsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

“If you cannot imagine yourself wanting to riot..”

A quick note for those commenting on the fears, or hopes, of wider society in 1969 – before the history that followed had unfurled. And it’s also worth mentioning the contemporaneous agitation and the subsequent co-option of “the sudden mood of the Catholic masses” by “the tiny Republican movement of the time”. Even, and perhaps particularly, when it comes to relatively recent history Stephen Fry’s comments are pertinent. In the end, I suppose history is all about imagination rather than … Read more

Mulley calls for judges for blog awards..

I see Damien’s calling for judges for his Irish blog awards for next year’s Irish blogger bash of the year… Let’s hope he’s ironed out some of the kinks from last year… I know he’s been thinking of Belfast as the venue for this year… but last time I spoke to him, he was struggling to find the right venue… any suggestions, {encode=”” title=”pass them on to the man himself.”}.. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written … Read more

The radical nest that was RTE

A final burst of history today as the Sunday Times homes in on the Sticky story within RTE, extracting from a new account by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar. The gist of the story comes under the category of “everybody knew” at the time but there’s lots of fascinating detail. RTE although not quite central to the Troubles was harder hit than was the BBC in Belfast as a national broadcaster by Section 31 and the associated mindset, the RTE … Read more

NI Human Rights Bill in the doldrums

How could a NI Bill of Rights be regarded as meeting the need when key rights are exempted? The project is in the doldrums anyway. An absorbing report of the McCloskey Civil Rights Summer School from Jeff Dudgeon below the fold. The lack of press coverage so far is a comment in itself: I argued that new rights were inevitably unpopular and had to be fought for almost by their nature, not imposed by statutory bodies. I mentioned that the … Read more

BCI: ‘Tonight with Vincent Browne’ can have sponsors if Vincent will only ‘lighten up’…

Love him or loathe, Vincent Browne is a heavyweight. When RTE dropped his radio programme Tonight with Vincent Browne, TV3 snapped him up and said thank you. He may not always be the most gracious of hosts, but the convening power of his address book is evident in some of the hottest debates on Irish television. Now, that alternative view on Irish politics could be lost not to mention RTE’s flagship, the Late Late Show, also put at risk by … Read more

“This has gone far enough.”

Niall O’Dowd’s apparent campaign against Trina Vargo, of the US-Ireland Alliance lobby group, continues with another editorial at his Irish Central website. Niall Stanage also gets another, more even-tempered this time, mention. The “Irish Voice Editorial” complains that “the Irish government is planning to give the U.S.-Ireland Alliance some $25 million over the next few years according to Batt O’Keefe, the minister for education there.” But the statement referred to notes that the intended funding, for the George J Mitchell … Read more

Invasion fears – hopes? – latest

Mountbatten, the Narrow Water massacre, 30 years of Thatcher, even the WW2 anniversary, it’s a great time for stoking up the memories. In August 1969, was the Irish army on the brink of invading up the Buncrana road as a new RTE documentary seems to allege? As a student back home in Derry, I remember the tingles coursing down my spine when I watched the mild mannered Jack Lynch delivering his “ we shall not stand by” speech on August … Read more

1911 census online

The National Archives in Dublin has just put the 1911 census of Ireland online. As far as I know this is the last all island census and you can search all 32 counties for your ancestors. I have just checked out the McDevitts at 455 Falls Road. The original household return is there with details of literacy, occupation and language(s) spoken. Conall

“All of the options have been assessed and that is the optimal solution”

In the weekend section of the Irish Times, Frank McDonald’s article – “No quick fix to bridge the gap” – on the options for the collapsed Broadmeadow viaduct includes this quote from an anonymous “leading structural engineer” A leading structural engineer, who does not wish to be named, describes the Broadmeadow viaduct as “not dissimilar to most of the national infrastructure we’ve inherited, like all those masonry arch bridges designed for the horse-and-cart era that are still standing today – … Read more