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Taoiseach puts himself on ejection seat, but stop talking about it!

There is a time in our lives when we all have to leave. I am not talking about that final leave, that will put us 6ft under, but I am talking about leaving a job, leaving a hobby, leaving a group of friends, leaving a football/chess/car racing/knitting/etc club. It is usually best if YOU can choose when you depart and also it is best to keep it a bit as a surprise just because it should ideally be on your terms not on other people’s terms.

The current Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, wasn’t clever enough to ensure that he was in charge of his future, but stupidly he indicated to the nation that he might not lead his party into the next election. Maybe he wanted to get some positive gain from this statement, but it certainly has back fired as his party and in fact the political landscape in Ireland seems to be mesmerised by the question WHEN will he step down. It totally distract from the real issues and it must interfere with the ability of the current government to do the best job they are capable of.

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the current Taoiseach, but at the same time I do think that day to day politics is a lot more relevant than the discussion about who will be the next leader of Fine Gael and the “peacocking” of his possible successors is really putting me off all of them. Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney or Frances Fitzgerald? Neither of them has been elected, so I don’t really care about them.

At the moment, there is one guy in charge. He is telling us about how Ireland will deal with a Brexit….and seems to talk more nonsense than sense. He is going to bring a silly bowl of shamrock to Donald Trump, a move that certainly doesn’t find support everywhere because of the person the American president is. And he didn’t impress with his handling of the recent whistleblower affair in the police force.

So no “Well done! Great job!”, but because I don’t think the discussion about him stepping down (when, how, where?) will bring Ireland forward in a positive way, I would prefer if the speculation about the date of stepping down and about the successor would not take up newspaper headline after newspaper headline.

As long as the man is in his current job, don’t distract him all the time! If he doesn’t give his job full attention, it might turn out even worse than now.

 

Are Irish Travellers are an ethnic minority? What about Cork people?

On Wednesday the Taoiseach declared the Irish Travellers as a ethnic minority in Ireland. This was done after many years of refusal to do so by government after government and it begs the question why 01 March 2017 was seen as the perfect day for it because the discussion about it is going on for a long time.

And with that long delay and the repeated refusal, the next question has to be about the WHY travellers were recognised as an ethnic minority. There are just about 29,000 people in Ireland that declared themselves as travellers in the 2011 census. Some still have a nomadic lifestyle but many are now “settled travellers” (an interesting Oxymoron). They speak their own language or rather a dialect that is called De Gammon (by Irish Travellers) or Cant (by non-travellers) or Shelta (by linguists), a language that sees words that derive from Irish mixed with English.

The definition of an ethnic group requires some or all of the following features:
a shared history; a common cultural tradition; a common geographical origin; descent from common ancestors; a common language; a common religion; a distinct group within a larger community.

Looking at these 7 points, I’d say six out of seven are probably applicable (the seventh is the religion which is not different to the majority of people in Ireland). But is that enough to make a group an ethnic group and – if the group is small – to make it an ethnic minority?

Compare that to Cork people! The majority of people that live in Cork have a shared history because they have common ancestors. They definitely have a common geographical origin and have some common cultural tradition that are different from people in the rest of Ireland. They certainly have a common language, boy! …and they are a distinct group within a larger community. So the same six seem to apply to people from Cork as to Travellers. Should we now declare “People from Cork” as an ethnic minority?

Or compare it to full-blooded programmers! They have a shared (recent) history and have common cultural traditions. (Don’t laugh, programmers would call it “cultural”. ;-) ) They fall short on the common ancestors, but share as much a geographical origin as Travellers. Programmers definitely have a common language and to a degree they have a common religion (not in the traditional sense of “religion” though). They are a distinct group within a larger community and you could even say that they have largely a common dress code and appearance. So should Programmers get recognised as an ethnic minority?

Sure, I am over exaggerating and not that serious (at least with the Programmers). But shouldn’t we question any categorisation in our society? I know, this article is not political correct. The right approach would have been to celebrate the Traveller’s new categorisation and say nothing else. But are we maybe much TOO politically correct?

Please note, that I don’t have any answers, but I do have a lot of questions!

Does the Irish Government know what “Brexit” means? – Irish 10 year plan in response to Brexit

On Wednesday (15 Feb) Newstalk reported that the Taoiseach will announce a 10 year plan in response to Brexit here. I expected to read about a plan that would talk about supporting the exploration of new markets for Irish companies selling currently into the UK; a plan for getting tourists from elsewhere to visit Ireland to make up for the short fall of tourists from the UK and a plan to deepen our relationships with the other EU countries (#WhoNeedsTheUKAnyway).

But I certainly didn’t expect to read about a plan that will “focus on areas such as investments in roads, public transport, and energy.” Something MAJOR went wrong here! One of us, either Enda Kenny or myself, has NO clue what “Brexit” means?!

My understanding is that “Brexit” means that once it happens, one of 27 countries, Britain, which is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will leave the EU. That country won’t pay any more money into the EU, but will also not get any money from the EU anymore. All contracts that currently regulate relationships with other countries in the EU will stop being valid for the exiting country and everything has to be arranged new with this country. Ireland does a lot of business with Britain, so there will be some impact, but the ONLY area Brexit will impact Ireland is in matters that have to do with borders and markets as fas as we currently know.

How does have focus on “investments in roads, public transport (!!!!!) and energy” have anything to do with a Brexit? Enda Kenny is quoted saying “That new Plan will show how we will invest in roads, in public transport, in energy, in water, in schools, in higher education and in hospitals and health facilities. It will include detailed, funded plans to complete the national road network, including links between Dublin and Derry and Donegal, and to accelerate delivery of critical public transport infrastructure.

“It will include substantial investment in the ports and airports that Ireland will need as a successful, global trading nation. And it will support the achievement of our international climate change obligations and our national objectives for sustainable development and environmental protection.”

I accept that streets to Derry (in Northern Ireland) could be affected by a Brexit, but how does Brexit affect public transport? Or education? Or hospitals? Or national objectives (the clue is in the word, Mr Kenny!!) for sustainable development and environmental protection?

Has Endy Kenny lost it completely? NOTHING of that plan will prepare Ireland better for a Brexit than doing nothing. Now having such a plan is a VERY good idea for a country and it is surprising that this was not considered anyway, but needed a Brexit as a trigger. Is it a matter of “…we only look after our own country if another country leaves the EU”?

Very very odd!

Enda Kenny – the Mayo eejit?

One of a number of problems in Irish Politics is the Parish Pump politics that is done. That means that politicians care much more for there people “at home” in their constituency than for the country. As a consequence TDs (members of the National Parliament) waste time with helping Paddy to get his passport faster because he forgot to apply in time or with going to funerals of every Tom, Dick and Harry, just so that their families will vote for that politician again.

It is bad and it could relatively easily get changed, but politicians don’t like change, so we have to live with it. But you would expect that the head of the country, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny has the interest of the country in mind as the highest priority.

We had in the context of the mess around building a new government and with the recent Apple ruling and a few other stories, quite significant events that needed a strong and decisive Taoiseach and someone who informs the people about his decisions. Did Enda Kenny speak to the nation at that time? I am not 100% sure, but I don’t think so.

This week Mayo (where he is from) is playing in a Football game. Yes, it is the final, but so what. And what does Enda Kenny do? He speaks to the nation to support his home county in a cringeworthy video, What an eejit!

Here it is: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDmpmOy5qAk

Can we please swap him for a LEADER of the country?

 

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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