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

How to stop broken political promises.

Posted by Jason O on May 26, 2009 in Irish Politics

You mean we have to do this stuff?Here’s a mad idea.

Why not let the opposition parties, say with 70 deputies, pass legislation which could be held in suspension until the day they enter office. It would mean that they could deliver all their promises on day one, or else the first act of the incoming government would be to vote against their own promises.

It’s not like the Dail doesn’t have the time to do it, and it would force the opposition to actually draft their legislative proposals as opposed to “calling” for vague things like a world class healthcare and an increase in the size of Curly Wurlys.


The Local Elections: Blackrock Ward

Posted by Jason O on May 26, 2009 in Irish Politics

Two guys running in the Blackrock ward worth looking at:

Victor Boyhan (Far left) is a former PD councillor now running as an Independent. I knew Victor in the PDs, where he was very much on the Progressive wing of the Progressive Democrats. He’s a decent guy who gives a shit about politics. And he’s endorsed by Paul McGrath!

Ronan Farren is running for Labour, and was involved in the European Movement. I don’t know him well (I think I’ve met him twice.) but I know a lot of people who do know him and rate him seriously as one to watch.  



Averil Power for Howth-Malahide.

Posted by Jason O on May 25, 2009 in Irish Politics

Averil Power

Averil Power

It is no secret that I am not a fan of Fianna Fail. Indeed, it is my belief that this country badly needs to deliver to Fianna Fail an almighty kicking to make the party realise that politics as usual is no longer an option.

However, There is one Fianna Fail candidate that I feel deserves to be elected, and that is Averil Power, who is running in  Howth-Malahide for Fingal County Council.

I’ve known Averil since we first met during the Nice 2 campaign. I have disagreed with her politically on a lot of issues. But she is more progressive than most of the Parliamentary Labour Party, never mind Fianna Fail, and she is also one of the most thoughtful and compassionate Fianna Fail candidates I have ever met. Averil is interested in ideas, and takes politics seriously, as a means of addressing wrongs in our society.


I know how this jars with my own feelings about Fianna Fail, and stuff I have written previously, and yes, I still hope Fianna Fail get creamed. But I also hope that amongst those who do survive will be people like Averil Power who might then have a chance to reform Fianna Fail into a party with honour. In American elections, candidates always talk about character, and most of the time it’s bullshit. But in this case, it is the real thing. Averil Power has character, and for that deserves your number one vote. 


A Conspiracy of Consent.

Posted by Jason O on May 22, 2009 in Irish Politics

The flag of a monster nation.

The flag of a monster nation.

Reading the excerpts from the Ryan report into child sex abuse, I’m struck by one thing. It would be very easy to point the finger at the Catholic Church and say “it was them”, and that would be that. Except it wouldn’t. The Dail knew, the Department of Education knew, and most Irish people had a rough idea what was going on. This is a small country, and it is hard to keep things secret. We may not have known the details, but we all knew that Charlie Haughey’s outgoings exceeded his modest TD income, and yet we collectively turned a blind eye. The industrial schools were no different.

We have a culture in this country of victimhood, and pointing the finger elsewhere and saying that “it was them.”  It was the British. It was the Famine. It’s the EU. It is never our fault. We are a country that is forever demanding apologies from the British for this slight or that.  Yet we can’t point anywhere else on this one. We’re the British during the Famine. We’re the Nazis exterminating the Jews. We’re the Americans wiping out the Indians. We did this.

Why? Because that was, and is, our culture. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t point out the flaws of others because someone might point out yours. When did we last vote for a candidate who actually had honour, and a willingness to do the unpopular thing not  because they had no choice (Fianna Fail today) but because it was the right thing to do? Joe Higgins spoke up for the rights of foriegn workers who could never vote for him, and got thrown out. Michael McDowell told a home truth about us as a nation, that we did not really want economic equality, and was lambasted for saying so, despite the fact that we vote that way every election. As a people, we don’t do honour. 

There were doctors and inspectors who went into the industrial schools. They must have seen abuse. Yet where was the chain of outrage from inspector to civil servant to minister? Where was the minister or deputy who read their reports and said “Not on my watch.” and faced down the archbishop? There wasn’t. Because even the tiny handful of deputies or senators or civil servants or judges who decided to speak out would have found the Irish people siding with the archbishop against them. They would have sided with him even as he excused the rape and murder of Irish children, because he was the archbishop and they were wicked children and it was so much easier to pour him another cup of tea and gossip to the neighbours about how the archbishop was in the house and had tea on the good china. That is who we are and how we go about our lives, and we don’t have time for men or women who stand up and say things that we don’t like but know to be true.

Want to point at monsters? Go point in the mirror.





Fianna Fail candidates support cooperation with NATO.

Posted by Jason O on May 21, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

Crowley supports cooperation with NATO "Where appropriate". Fair play to him!
Crowley supports cooperation with NATO “Where appropriate”. Fair play to him!

As pointed out by Adrian Weckler here, Fianna Fail eurocandidates are running on a European Liberal manifesto which calls for co-operation with NATO and enhanced defence cooperation within the EU. All of which I agree with, by the way. But it sure ain’t neutrality, I mean, would we promise the same to China?

I can imagine some people in Fianna Fail regarding me as a smartarse for pointing this out, but the fact is, in the European Parliament, this stuff matters, and Irish candidates can’t just pretend that it doesn’t.

The manifesto actually says:

” ELDR believes the EU should play an important role in contributing effectively to global security, where appropriate in cooperation with NATO structures. Therefore we call for major new efforts to strengthen and extend the European Security and Defence Policy by bringing together European defence-related resources and capabilities. This would enhance the EU’s military defence cooperation and its responsiveness to international security and humanitarian emergencies.”

In fairness, by global standards, it’s fairly tame stuff, but considering that our troops have served under NATO command in Yugoslavia, and US troops use Shannon (And a couple are apparently based there for logistical reasons) what exactly is Fianna Fail’s definition of a breach of neutrality? The truth is, FF is opposed to us formally joining NATO, but everything else is on the table. Why don’t they just say that? 




Is Libertas a Catholic version of the DUP?

Posted by Jason O on May 21, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

A report from The Economist here. Given that Libertas  STILL has not published a detailed manifesto, we’re still not sure what it stands for on non-Lisbon issues. However, as this piece points out, and its Irish candidates utterances confirm, there is a religious undertone to the party, and not a nice Church of Ireland happy clappy one either.

Seriously, aside from Lisbon, what have we heard from some Libertas candidates? Stop foriegn workers, Euthanasia, Abortion, and Same Sex Marriage. 

There are a fair few people who will vote for that platform. But let’s be up front about what it is that we’re been asked to vote for. There is a section of the country that will always bow to the will of the Catholic Church, and they are as entitled as any to their own political party. But given the week that is in it, and the report issued, you’ll forgive me, a Catholic, from not being too enthused about letting the Catholic Church and their lay battalions too near any levers of power either here or in Strasbourg.    


Dail Perks: Let the Opposition decide.

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

Perks: Let it be Enda and Eamonn's first test.

Perks: Let it be Enda and Eamonn’s first test.

There is much finger pointing and grimacing going on in both Ireland and the UK on the issue of TD/MP salaries, expenses and perks.                         

I have a possible solution: Let the opposition parties decide. Let the Taoiseach come out and announce that he will implement whatever proposal FG and Labour suggest, provided that the proposal is not biased against government TDs, and that all TDs will carry a fair share.

For the government, it’ll be the problem off their plate.

For the public, it’ll be a solution.

For the opposition parties, it’ll be a first test as to how reforming they actually are when given control of something. Winners all round!

Save for the snots flying when opposition TDs realise that it’ll be the kiss of death, removing from them the power to grandstand whilst being held in public revulsion for not going as far as they use to harrumph about. Still, if you don’t want the job, feck off so. 


The European Parliament: The All Bran of Politics.

Posted by Jason O on May 18, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

You know it's good for you, but you'd much rather a nice fried Dail instead!

You know it’s good for you, but you’d much rather a nice fried Dail instead!

What is it about the European Parliament?We all go on about demanding more democracy in the EU, and yet here’s the EP sitting in the corner shouting “Hey! Look at us! We’re elected!” and yet, across Europe, people just don’t care. Why?

First, there’s history. In 1979, when we first elected the the EP, it had no power, other than the power to eat very good if slightly heavy Franco-German cuisine (A lot of sausages in sauce so thick it would have voted for George W.) and maybe contract gout. But, since then, it has gained massive joint powers with the Council of Ministers, control over the budget, and the power to sack the commission. But you still think I’m just mouthing off eurocrat balls, don’t you?

Ok then, let’s put it another way. There are over 15,000 lobbyists lobbying the parliament. Why would business, the unions, and social groups spend their money lobbying a parliament that had no power? Are they drunk?

Or consider this: Most Eurosceptics complain about the unelected European Commission as an evil cross between Darth Vader and the Eurovision Song Contest. Yet, here’s the thing: The European Commission is afraid of the Parliament.

Yes, the mighty European Commission, that faced down the US over steel tariffs and faced down General Electric over mergers and beat up Intel and stole its lunch money and actually took its mickey* out and slapped it on the table when fighting with Bill Gates and said ” Think yours is big, Bill? Get a load of this!” is afraid of the European Parliament, because the Parliament can (And has in the past) sack the Commission. It is to the  almighty  Commission what kryptonite is to Superman. So, next time you see President Barrosso stand astride Europe in his red underpants, tell him to be afraid. Or at least put on trousers.   

Finally: I’m an unashamed pro-European, so why believe me? Well, this is what Open Europe, a British eurosceptic thinktank, said about the  “powerless” European Parliament:

” The European Parliament has substantial powers to influence daily life….. and takes decisions affecting everything from working time to energy and internet use. In fact, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) now effectively have a ‘veto’ over national governments on about 75% of all European legislation…….the often repeated claim that MEPs ‘lack real powers’, is largely inaccurate. The Parliament has grown in power with every new EU treaty. The Lisbon Treaty will be no exception. If it is ratified, the number of areas where MEPs share powers with national governments will double.”

It’s tediously boring, because it debates things like airfares and internet access, which we all know is important but God, don’t make me talk about it! It’s like bran. You know it’s good for you but you’d really prefer a rasher sandwich instead.

And yes, I know: “The European Parliament, it keeps you regular” isn’t the slogan of the age, but it’s true. Boring, yes. Irrelevent? No.

So go out and vote for someone who at least sounds like they’ll take it seriously.

*Yes, I do use the word “mickey” a lot in my posts. It makes me laugh. That and the word “strumpet”.  



Interesting anti-BNP site set up by a Tory.

Posted by Jason O on May 15, 2009 in Just stuff

Interesting here.  Set up by Conservativehome  founder Tim Montgomerie.


Libertas to support Irish workers being thrown out of English jobs?

Posted by Jason O on May 15, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

Send him home? He is home, surely?
Send him home? He is home, surely?

From today’s Irish Times.  Does Libertas in the Czech Republic support this? More to the point, do Libertas support other countries, like the UK, doing this to Irish workers? After all, isn’t this the same policy as the BNP? You would think that Libertas, supposedly a Europe wide party, would have a grasp of the European wide consequences of their actions. If we throw out other people, they will throw out ours. Duh!

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