Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Starbuck’s concessions in Social Welfare offices.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 20, 2009 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.



Minister Mary Hanafin is delighted to announce that due to the huge increase of middle class people signing onto the dole for the first time, she has decided to allow Starbucks to open concessions in dole offices across the country to help them adjust.

 As a further gesture towards the changing social structure of welfare recipients, Jobseeker’s Benefit will now be renamed iPod Users Chill Out Time Assistance.

A proposal to open offices in Marks and Spencer Food Halls is also under  discussion, as is a pilot scheme to pair single middle class people together for moral support during their first visit to Aldi to do their actual groceries as opposed to looking for a cheap power drill.


Adrian Weckler sums up the situation.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 19, 2009 in Irish Politics

Ceann comhairle, I'm calling on the government to set up some sort of elected legislature to oversee the government and scrutinise legislation! Have a look here. Pretty much sums up the villains of the piece: Us.


We think our cutbacks are bad? Look at California.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 19, 2009 in Just stuff

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a news conference on 1 DecemberIn 1978 California began a radical experiment when it passed proposition 13, which slashed property tax. It began a landslide of  moronic votes whereby the public voted to increase spending on stuff without raising the revenue to pay for it. 

This, coupled with gerrymandering of constituencies meaning that it is almost impossible for a sitting state assembly man to lose his or her seat,  a requirement that 66% of the assembly vote for a budget, and the fact that a proportion of spending is fixed by the state constitution  has left the state on the verge of bankruptcy.  

See this article from columnist George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times.


Fianna Fail: Great men for watching the horse’s arse galloping away.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 18, 2009 in Irish Politics
Fianna Fail leader, Thursday  03 Mar 2007.
It was extraordinary that the director of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement needed another 20 staff when he already had 36…….. the director, Paul Appleby, was getting additional staff, but not 20. It was a question of prioritising staff………………Mr Appleby’s office was getting four staff this year and it is hoped he will receive another four. “
Fianna Fail leader, Wednesday 18th February 2009
” I don’t know the identity of these people. It is under investigation by the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the regulator. ………………It’s a matter for the statutory authorities……………..If the regulator says the fraud squad needs to be involved so be it.”
Fianna Fail: Masters of the late barn door closure.


How Fianna Fail describe themselves to the BBC.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 18, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty
From the BBC. None of your high falutin’ political “ideas” or “policies” or any of that malarkey.

Brian Crowley MEP

“Our group is the fourth biggest within the parliament. It’s holding the balance of power between the bigger groups, the left and the right divide, so it gives you a certain amount of power.”

The Union for Europe of the Nations (right-wing anti-federalists) holds 44 of the 785 seats in the outgoing parliament. Mr Crowley represents the Ireland South constituency.


Oh Silvio!

Posted by Jason O on Feb 18, 2009 in Not quite serious.

This has been doing the rounds for a few years on the web, and I find it very funny. To be honest, I doubt it is real, but worth posting for the simple reason that it is not the sort of thing that anyone could honestly say Silvio Berlusconi wouldn’t do!


Great books you should read: Breaking the mould.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 18, 2009 in Books, Irish Politics

Breaking the MouldFor a former PD like myself, reading Stephen Collins’s “Breaking the Mould” is a bit of a journey through a misspent youth, as I can recall many of the events in it.

Collins does a good job of painting the huge air of expectation that surrounded the founding of the party, and the belief that it could turn the Irish political system on its head.

I’d recommend, in particular, that PD haters read the book, as it paints a very accurate portrayal of a) how unideological the party actually was, and b) how the so-called “right wing” agenda was never more than a figment of some fevered left and right wing headbangers. Given the ugly right wing voices beginning to appear on the political horizon, they may look back nostalgically on the PDs.   

What is most revealing about the party’s story is that after Haughey’s departure from public life the party absolutely struggled to define, even internally, what it was actually for, and how the party, from the Dail to us, the members, pretty much lost our nerve. That’s what killed the Progressive Democrats in the end.

Succinct and well written.


Negative campaigning is democratic. And it works.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 17, 2009 in Irish Politics

From The New York Times.

The Republican National Committee (Boo! Hiss!) is targetting 30 Democratic Congressmen from marginal districts with radio ads attacking them for their votes on the Obama stimulus package. What’s interesting is that, regardless of whether you think they are right or wrong, in the US individual congressmen are held accountable for their votes.

Why do our opposition parties let Fianna Fail TDs away with their records? We have FF TDs who vote in favour of government policy, and then campaign against it in their constituencies, and then go back to the Dail and vote in favour of it again.

The fact is, FG and Labour TDs are afraid to hold FF TDs to their personal records in case the FF TDs came back at them with attack ads. People say that negative campaigning “won’t work” in Ireland.  Curiously, those people are nearly always in Fianna Fail, and have the most to lose from the public actually knowing what they do. I always recall a story about a PD councillor being attacked in the street by an FF councillor for handing out a list to constituents as to how councillors voted on a rezoning issue. The FF councillor accused him of “blackening my name”. By telling people how he voted?   

These aren’t Fianna Fail policies. These are Michael Mulcahy policies. Chris Andrews Cutbacks. Barry Andrews no receipt expense policies, and they should be personally held to them. After all, they voted for them.



Beachhead established! Go! Go! Go!

Posted by Jason O on Feb 16, 2009 in Not quite serious.

 The entertaining and non-evil Tory blogger Mr. Iain Dale has reported this  joyous piece of news. I’m slightly saddened. I always hoped we’d eventually take Central Office with EU paratroopers, like a scene from “A Bridge Too Far.”


PD leader to join Labour? Why the shock?

Posted by Jason O on Feb 16, 2009 in Irish Politics

 There seems to be some surprise at recent speculation that PD leader Senator Ciaran Cannon may join the Labour party. I would suggest that the people who express ideological outrage at this might actually benefit from climbing out of the academic closet for a bit and spending some time in Irish politics.

The fact is, neither the Labour party nor the Progressive Democrats are as far apart as it has suited both parties to pretend to be. A play-act, by the way, mostly suited to assuaging the ideological headbangers in both parties.

In government, the “right wing Thatcherite” PDs let benchmarking and massive public spending growth go through on the nod. No Friedmanites these! In government Labour brought in a tax amnesty for the rich, and failed to bring in union recognition or the minimum wage, so hardly a page torn from the Big Book of Socialism either.

And yet, both parties boast a predominantly middle class electorate, are socially liberal, and have an inbuilt suspicion of  Fianna Fail for similar reasons. Also, both parties actually take the whole ethics in government thing quite seriously.  

Yes, there are differences on some things like private hospitals and the unions, but you’ll find those differences within FF and FG too. 

It’s not a surprise that he may head Labour way. Why, I can think of one very senior PD who only joined the party after being told they would not get a nomination in the Labour party.

And no, I ain’t tellin’.

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