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Mayor No. 349

Every year, Dublin City Councillors elect a new Mayor and last week was that day again. This would be a relevant event in many cities around the world, but not in Dublin. The mayor of Dublin has a big title (“Lord Mayor”), but absolutely no power to change anything. He will move into Mansion House for the year, will cut ribbons and open shops and has the BIG job of turning on the Christmas Lights in December.

Unless we get a directly elected mayor – and this should have happened years ago – he is just a figure head that we easily could do without. :-O Instead of a mayor, an unelected “City Manager” is running Dublin and he often even ignores what the Dublin City Council wants. “In the interest of the people” is different!!

The new mayor is the 349th one. Mad!

The name of the mayor is Nial Ring. Ring was part of disgraced Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s inner circle in Fianna Fail for many years, but when his party didn’t want to support him when he wanted to be elected as a councillor, he suddenly became a “Independent” candidate. In 2017 he lost his house in Clontarf because he didn’t pay the mortgage payments and had arrears of EUR 500,000, so maybe he is lucky that he can move into Mansion House now.

Dublin City Council: Are they all insane? – Clontarf Sea Wall

There are (too many!!) times when you have to question the sanity of the people that run Dublin City. Last week I wrote about the mess regarding College Green Plaza. Dublin City is definitely involved in that, but An Bord Pleanala was also a significant contributor to that mess.

This week it is getting worse. Much worse!

You might remember a big fight between Dublin City and locals in Clontarf about the flood protection wall that was built last year. The locals wanted to have a low walls so that their pretty views of the sea will not be disturbed and Dublin City banged their fist on the table and said: NO! The “No” was based on the expected flood levels and the Clontarf locals were the ones that appeared narrow minded and short sighted in that conflict. Dublin City went ahead and got the wall built and the locals had to accept.

Fast forward just little while to last Monday: In their January meeting, the Dublin City Councillors decided to LOWER the sea wall now by just 30cm for a cost of EUR 230k below the level that is the national flood level standard to …wait for it…. “improve the view for motorists”. Have you heard anything more bonkers from the shower of City Councillors? But that’s not all! After that it will cost another EUR 300k to beautify the shortened wall. And it is also expected that the wall will have to be raised again in a few years time.

The interesting thing is that Labour, the Green Party, some from Fine Gael and some from AAA-PBP were against the shortening of the wall, but the decision was 34 in favour and 21 against, 3 abstained. In the Council with 63 councillors there are 8 from Fine Gael, 8 from Labour, 6 from AAA-PBP and 3 from the Green party. That’s 25 who should have been against it (obviously the parties weren’t able to convince their own councillors).
And what parties are on the INSANE side of the house? It is Sinn Fein (16), Independents (11), Fianna Fail (9), Social Democrats (1) and Workers Party (1). Remember them when the next election comes along in 2019!

At the time of writing this, the minutes were not yet published. so a list of names who voted for and who against is not known and the above paragraph is a guess from the above referred to article in TheJournal.ie. If you want to watch the webcast, you can find it here and look for Topic No. 6.

80st Birthday!! Ignore it or celebrate it?

Imagine your granddad or grandma had their 80st Birthday today! What would you do? Would you ignore it or celebrate? Would you at least ring them? Buy them (or make them) a cake? Or get a Birthday Card for them?

Interestingly, this week as Ireland’s 80st birthday and it was duly IGNORED! :-O That’s odd isn’t it? Maybe we will have to wait another 20 years until it is worth celebrating? Or maybe what happened 80 years ago wasn’t …..hmmmm…. “juicy” enough to talk about it today?

On 29 December 1937, the Irish Free State became “Ireland” or “Eire” and the Irish constitution from 1922 was replaced by a brand new constitution. There was a referendum about that new constitution on 01 July 1937 and after a majority voted in favour of it, the new constitution came into effect on 29 December.

This means that formally, the Ireland we live in today was born on 29 December 1937 and consequently celebrates its 80st birthday this year. But who is celebrating?

If you want to find out what celebrations there are, you ring some family members, right? Well, I did that! On 29 December, I rang Dail Eireann, but they seemingly weren’t even aware of the birthday and the PR person had left already and won’t be back until next year. Then I rang the Fianna Fail Headquarter and they are all on holidays until 02 January. Then I tried to reach Fine Gael and they are also on holidays until 03 January. I also couldn’t find a newspaper that wrote about this birthday. :-O

So, I guess grandma/grandpa is just unlucky to have a birthday at the wrong time of the year!?

Or could this birthday “ignorance” have something to do with the fact that the current government is from Fine Gael and Fine Gael was the party that campaigned for a NO at the 1937 referendum? They were totally opposed to the new constitution, which was promoted by Fianna Fail??

Let’s ignore any possible reasons and wish: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ireland! ;-)

Minister of Finance’s “Me Me Me Me!” at Budget Speech

On Tuesday the Budget 2018 was announced by the Minister of Finance Paschal Donohoe. He was talking for about 1 hour about the state of the country, the future of the economy and about all the changes that 2018 will bring regarding taxes, charges, social welfare, minimum salary, subsidies etc.

It wasn’t an exciting speech and it is certainly not an exciting budget and since most aspects were already “leaked” beforehand, there were very very few surprises. As it seems, everybody will get a bit more money, but it is a tiny amount of money so no big parties!

Richard Boyd Barrett from People Before Profit is not someone I usually agree with, but in this case he was spot on. He said “This is a budget of crumbs.”

The only thing that got my blood boiling, but I will write about that another time, is the nonsensical sugar tax that will be introduced in April 2018.

Today, though, I want to point out another odd thing. Why is it that all Finance Ministers suffer from an ego-syndrome when they announce the budget. The current minister is not the first one that constantly talked about “I will….”, “I have decided…”, “I am increasing…”, “I am allocating….”, “I am providing….”. What is this nonsense?

No Minister of Finance makes these decisions on his own. He needs to agree them with the Taoiseach, other ministers, coalition partners and in the current government even with the Fianna Fail opposition and before all that, the whole work was done not by the Minister but the employees in his department. So would a “we” not be more appropriate than the constant “I, i, i,….” or “me, me, me, me” focus?

Politicians are odd animals anyway and nearly all are power hungry beasts, but the budget speech is a special ego trip every year, it seems.

I know you will not click on this link. ;-) But in case you want to read the whole speech, you will find it here.

 

The new government IS a Fine Gael – Fianna Fail coalition!

So they made it!! After 70 days finally a new government has been elected when on Friday Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) was re-elected as the Taoiseach.

It is called a “minority government” that is tolerated by Fianna Fail and supported by some of the Independent TDs. When the Taoiseach got elected, the Fianna Fail TDs abstained and therefore a handful of Independents was enough for Enda Kenny to get the majority.

Odd that Micheal Martin didn’t want to be in power since it was offered to him to be part of the government through a coalition. But the reason why Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail didn’t want to get involved and form a Grand Coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is because they were worried that the electors would punish them for it in the next elections. In recent elections the smaller coalition partner (i.e. Greens and Labour) was always blamed more for a screw up of the government than the dominating party and Micheal Martin didn’t want to risk that.

So the solution was a to tolerate a minority Fine Gael government. But does that REALLY change the situation?

Is Fianna Fail now NOT part of the government and will they by innocent if Enda Kenny does a bad job?? Actually NOT AT ALL!! This is really a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, just with the odd configuration that Fianna Fail will not contribute in a positive way in the day to day running of the country.

Why do I call it a coalition? Well, if you sit down with the other party for days and negotiate a “deal” that will last for three years, during which Fianna Fail will support whatever Fine Gael does then you can’t claim anymore that you are innocent! It is like standing next to someone who commits a criminal act and not doing anything. You will NOT get away with your “I had nothing to do with it!” claim.

So this new government is a Grand Coalition, just not by name! And if Enda Kenny screws up and Fianna Fail won’t stop him because they promised to support him for 3 years, then Fianna Fail will also have to be appropriately punished for it! Don’t fall for Micheal Martin’s trick!

 
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