A referendum on pairing magpies: superstition and economic policy

The Irish Independent is reporting that the: Government is to bring in a new licence-plate system next year amid fears that a ’13’ registration number would hit car sales. Cars registered between January and the end of June will have a ‘131’ registration. Those from July 1 to the end of the year will have ‘132’ on the plate. The decision is based partly on fears that superstition about a ’13’ reg would affect sales and partly in response to the …

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Healy-Rae: “…it should make decent Irish people – however innocent – cringe with refracted embarrassment.”

There’s a nicely understated piece of writing in the Irish Times this morning, by displaced northerner Donald Clark, who probably thinks about these things more than many of his neighbours. Clark whimsically probes some of the possible reasons that may be making northerners of all stripes think twice about what we once un-self consciously called the Free State. It starts and ends with the Healy-Raes’ use of Oireachtas resources (ie, not less than €2,600 of phone calls) to ‘help Michael, …

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…a very tight voting arrangement…

This is probably as daft a political scandal (by someone not called Wiener) as there has been for a while. It seems that over 3,600 calls were made from a Leinster House phone to a premium phone line at a cost to the taxpayer of €2,600. The premium line was to register votes for a candidate in a 2007 reality television show, Celebrities Go Wild.  The candidate was Michael Healy-Rae, heir to the cap-wearing dynasty’s Dáil seat in their Kerry South caliphate. At the time, his father Jackie was …

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