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Help! Elections in Ireland – Who should I vote for?

In the past it was simple: Either you were the type who would vote every time (even if it is your first opportunity) or you are a non-voter. And if you are the voting type, then you probably had a good idea who you would vote for.

But after years of “same old, same old” even if the government was provided by different parties and coalitions, people are quite confused this time. Politicians promise the “sun, moon and stars” before an election and afterwards…they totally disappoint. And the shocking thing is that even the ones that we had put our hopes in will disappoint.

If they all disappoint should I even vote or just forget about it?

Yes you should definitely vote, because the people in government will – without a shadow of a doubt – influence your future quite significantly. And if you are not part of choosing them, then maybe your dim neighbour from down the road or the obnoxious guy in your company might have more control over your future than you do. Not good!

Yes, but if I decide to vote, WHO will I vote for?

Ideally you should compare your opinions with the opinions of the candidates in your constituency to know who to vote for. And there is a website that can help you (and it won’t take long). Go to whichcandidate.ie and answer the few questions about your opinions and then the system will compare it with the answers from candidates. The result will not be a perfect guideline, but might help you to find the right direction.

Can you tell me in general something about the parties?

Sure, the biggest problem in Irish politics is that there is too much of the same. So for eternity Fine Gael (FG) and Fianna Fail (FF) were the only two big parties and they were just alternating in government. FF was in government when the economic crisis happened and a lot of people swore that they will never forget that and will NEVER again vote for FF. But surprisingly (or maybe not), a few years of Fine Gael government (with FF’s full endorsement – they called it a “Confidence and Supply” agreement), now suddenly people will consider voting FF again just to get rid of FG.
Another unexpected thing happened with the emergence of Sinn Fein (SF). Sinn Fein has as bad bad past, considering their direct involvement in the Northern Ireland conflict and the ongoing criminality through their IRA links. But people are so disillusioned by FF and FG that they seemingly are prepared to gamble the house on Sinn Fein.
SF will definitely change things more significantly than any continuation of the FF/FG governments will, but the big question is if that change is not too risky.
“Protest Voting” (to punish a former government) is always a dangerous move, because the party you voted for could win the majority and consequently be in power for the next 4 years.

What about the other parties?

Labour and Greens were part of previous governments and didn’t necessarily impress back then. The Social Democrats and People Before Profit were not yet involved in governments before. All four will never become strong enough to lead the government, so yes, you can vote for some of their candidates, because a coalition will probably be a good thing for the country.

So if one of the parties are not so great, should I vote for an Independent candidate?

No, no, no, no!!! Do not vote for ANY independent candidate. IT is very odd that 20% of the people in Ireland are prepared to give independent candidates their vote because the Independents either achieve nothing or they will or they will sell their soul to the highest bidder of the other parties, which will totally compromise them. Independent candidates are MAYBE good for the constituency, but because they are only interested in getting re-elected, they have NO interest in national politics outside their constituency.

Shane Ross, an independent who helped the previous government, achieved great things for his constituency, but was the worst Minister for Transport.
Michael Lowry, who was once a minister and was kicked out of FG, has been described as “profoundly corrupt”. The Healy-Rae Candidates from Kerry are only interested in Kerry gaining from whatever they do. They couldn’t care less about the rest of Ireland.
So Independent Candidates are unreliable, change their opinion depending on who offers them most and would definitely run the country into the ground…as long as their own voters get an advantage.
Do NOT vote for Independents!!! NEVER! ;-)

Thanks for the advice, but I still am not sure who I should vote for!

I know, it is REALLY difficult this time. I could tell you who I would vote for, but you are not me and your opinions might be different than mine, so even telling you won’t help you much.
So, let me just remind you again of my main recommendations: NEVER vote for Independents. Always vote for the party (or parties) you want to see in government, never vote out of protest for a party that you don’t necessarily want to have running the country. Don’t just vote for a specific party because lots of other people say so! Make your own decision! Be aware that all three main parties (FG, FF, and SF) have a bad historical record and then decide whoever’s bad record you can live better with. Is it ruining the country in 2008 (Fianna Fail) or not making anything better in the last 8 years (Fine Gael) or is it the involvement in the killings in Northern Ireland (Sinn Fein)? You need to decide! On the positive side: Maybe Fianna Fail have learned how to do it better after 8 years in the opposition? Or Fine Gael needs more time to fix things better? Or Sinn Fein is a changed party since the Good Friday agreement?


Disclaimer: As you probably know, I am a foreigner and therefore I have no clue anyway (according to some commentators on public news forums), so because of that, feel free to discard my opinions completely. ;-)

Bad News about some events in Dublin!

Today I have lots of bad news and I am reluctant to spread all this doom and gloom because I prefer to spread joyful and happy news, but our event world in Dublin got some very unfortunate news that I have to share with you!

Yesterday the organisers of the Oktoberfest Dublin announced on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OktoberfestDublin/posts/2441964082556827) that “the 2019 event cannot go ahead due to unprecedented increases in our insurance premium”.

They then continue to explain that the claim culture in Ireland brought them to the decision to take a break this year. At the end of the post they offer some hope by saying “[we] ask you to look forward to Oktoberfest 2020.”

BUT there are other developments that will make Oktoberfest 2020 VERY unlikely: Dublin City is attempting to implement a “Water Animation Strategy” (Yep! That’s what they call it!), which will see George’s Dock being turned into a 250m long commercial whitewater kayaking course for a whopping 15mio. So then there will be no more events on the platform in George’s Dock or around the chq Building. (www.thejournal.ie/outdoor-pool-kayaking-ifsc-3965859-Apr2018/) And since an event like the Oktoberfest needs some suitable space where neighbours won’t complain about a beer festival until late in the evening, it is very unlikely that another venue will be found.

This is bad news for events in Dublin, but I hear some of you saying that it is just a beer festival, so not the biggest loss. You might be right, but read on…

In other recent news, the organisers of the “Dublin Flea Christmas Market” have announced (dublinchristmasflea.ie/) that the market will NOT take place anymore. In 2018 it was at the Point Village and happened over two weekends with 280 stalls. In 2019 there will be no more market because no suitable venue can be found (the building where the market took place in the last few years now has a tenant and is not available anymore).

Since this was the last large scale Christmas Market (not in the traditional meaning of a Christmas Market, but still a big market at Christmas!), this means that we really have hit rock bottom as far as Christmas events are concerned. Dublin City would have to take ownership of a market and NOT outsource it to an event management company, that’s how markets can be so successful in Germany and Austria and Poland etc, but Dublin City has no real interest!

One indication is this: If you had some hope that the closing of College Green for traffic would get Dublin City to put on some brilliant events, you will unfortunately be very disappointed.
Last weekend was the first of a few temporary College Green closures which will happen this summer to test the impact the pedestrianisation of this area could have and Dublin City promised “three great events” over three weeks under the headline “Summer Sundays on College Green”.
But the first one was the poorest of events that you could imagine. :-O The whole area from Trinity College to George’s Street was closed for traffic, but nothing was done with it! The area was just empty! A few small tents on the median just outside the Bank of Ireland building invited to “Drawing in the City”, but if that is what Dublin City calls a “great event”, we are truly doomed!

With over 80,000 followers and with a reach of over 30,000 for the weekly event post, we are one of the biggest event communities in Dublin and definitely the biggest community for free events. So can we do something to improve the situation in Dublin? Leave your suggestions below and also please spread the news to your friends, families and colleagues!

May your week be Event-Full!

–Joerg
(www.dublineventguide.com)

Skirts for the boys? – Gender Neutral School Uniforms

St. Brigid’s National School in Greystones has decided that from September “gender neutral school uniforms” will be introduced, which means that boys will be allowed to wear skirts and girls are allowed to wear trousers.

The change was “entirely student-led” the school says and after a trigger from the students, the school checked with the parents and then decided to go ahead with the change.

On Facebook (and probably in society) this approach is praised by some and ridiculed by others.

In my opinion, it is loooong overdue to allow girls to ditch the nonsensical skirts in cold Ireland. In fact, I think everyone should be allowed to wear whatever they want, but that might still be a step to far.

Growing up in Germany where school uniforms don’t exist, I still find it odd that schools in Ireland still have school uniforms in 2019. I had many discussions with friends about this topic and understand that the opinion is that a school uniforms reduces the pressure and competition for students to wear “cool” clothes, but uniforms are part of adult life and I think we should give our kids the chance to live their individuality as long as they are in school.

The new approach in the National School in Greystones is at least a little step in the right direction. People panic about boys suddenly wearing skirts and – you know what – this is stupid argument! I would bet money on the fact that it is extremely unlikely that any of the boys will suddenly wear skirts, but why did it take until 2019 to let the girls wear trousers if they wish to? It is time to change!

However, there is still a problem in my eyes: Why do schools force kids to wear ties? Pupils in St. Brigid’s National School have to wear green ties, no matter if they are boys or girls. Can we PLEASE simplify the uniforms and make them child compatible.

www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2019/0620/1056436-st-brigids-national-school-greystones/

www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/weve-had-a-few-negative-calls-wicklow-school-on-decision-to-introduce-genderneutral-uniform-policy-38238725.html

Father’s Day Presents Without Imagination

Father’s Day is ahead! I don’t really rate Father’s Day and think it is equality-triggered nonsense to have a Father’s Day as a counterbalance to Mother’s Day. This is not because father’s in general don’t do a great job with kids, but it is because no matter what we tell ourselves, mothers will ALWAYS do much more and give up a huge amount more than father’s in connection with raring kids.

But let’s park that for now and let’s have a look at the Father’s Day presents in super markets. Without question, you will find Slippers (preferably with Star Wars, Simpsons or Batman symbol on it), Pyjama’s, Shavers and then the absolute favourite of any man (I assume), the “Nose & Ear Hair Trimmer”. I mean, come on, if you got any of these presents wouldn’t you be ecstatic? The supermarkets think you should be! Shame on you if you expect more imagination! ;-)

And just to make sure that this doesn’t seem like a one-sided post. ;-) Yes, I also think that Mother’s Day presents are outrageously unimaginative. How about a hand mixer or a blender? Or a weighing scale? Or if you are lucky, you might get a footspa or an acrylic nail starter kit. :-O

Dublin: Soooo expensive!

If you live in Dublin, this is NO surprise to you: Dublin is crazily expensive and there is no proper justification for it.

Now even knowing that and being exposed to it every single day, sometimes you just come across something that puts it right in your face again. Today it was an e-mail from Riu Hotels. Riu Hotels is an international hotel chain founded by the Spanish Riu family in 1953 in Mallorca and now owned by TUI.

Not tooo long ago, the Riu Hotels group bought the Gresham Hotel in Dublin’s O’Connell Street and today I got an e-mail from them because I signed up as a “Riu Class” loyalty scheme member. (Don’t ask me why I signed up! :-) Yes, I stayed once in Riu Hotel, but it is not that I often stay in hotels and I have no specific preference for any chain anyway, but I am digressing.)

So that e-mail lists some special offers for Riu Hotels and the list goes:

Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin — From EUR 178
Hotel Riu Plaza New York Times Square — From EUR 141
Hotel Riu Plaza Berlin — From EUR 69
Hotel Riu Plaza Miami Beach — From EUR 157
Hotel Riu Plaza Espana Madrid — From EUR 162

I didn’t look into details and conditions of these special offers, so there could be some differences, but isn’t it just typical that out of five hotels worldwide, the MOST expensive one is the one in Dublin!?

 
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