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

A shameless piece of self-promotion.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 10, 2011 in eNovels & Writing

Love. The Government Way.
Love. The Government Way.

I’d really appreciate if those of you who have read my eBook “The Ministry of Love” were to go on to Amazon and review it, as it really helps with visibility on the site. Much obliged.

The other five billion of you who haven’t, you can get it here. You can download an easy-to-use (and free) Kindle reader for your PC, iPad or iPhone on that page as well.


New drama on TV: This looks interesting.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 10, 2011 in Movies/TV/DVDs

“Boss”: A new drama on US Network STARZ about Tom Kane, the Mayor of Chicago, starring a well known actor far more known for his comedy.


It’s time for Nick Clegg to step up.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 8, 2011 in British Politics

A man stands up.

A man stands up.

I’d like to see Nick Clegg give the following speech:

“Good morning. I think it is fair to say that all reasonable minded people have been pretty disgusted by what has being going on at the News of the World. I’m not going to repeat the details, because we are all very much aware of them. However, this scandal also raises a greater issue. The fact is, it is hard to believe that senior management at News International did not know of the practices that seemed to be standard at that newspaper. It is just not enough to close the newspaper, and fire lower level employees, many of whom were not even in the newspaper when these events occurred.

But, more importantly, it also raises the broader question about the prevailing attitudes at the highest levels of the company. The reality is that the same company, and the same senior management, are currently attempting to take total control of BSKYB.

It is my belief, and the belief of the Liberal Democrats, that News International is not fit to win control of this organisation, and it is a political decision that we will oppose. I have spoken to the prime minister and been very clear with him that this is a red line issue for us. If the culture secretary takes the political decision, and it is a political decision, to approve the takeover, I will lead this party out of government, and we will vote against the government in any subsequent motion of confidence.

Let me be clear: I do not want to bring this government down. This is a good government, led by a man I believe has good instincts and intentions. Believe me: no one will suffer more than the Liberal Democrats if there is an early election. But being in government for the Liberal Democrats means making decisions that are hard and right, and it is right that News International be prevented from expanding its malicious influence further into the media of our country.

I appeal to our Conservative colleagues in government to see this too. I do not want to fight a general election on the issue of News International. This country has far more important issues to deal with, but the Conservatives must be clear in their understanding. A decision to assist News International by this government will not stand. Thank you”


Jason’s Diary.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 7, 2011 in Jason's Diary

The long grass remembers broken political promises. Watching Denis Naughten agonising over Roscommon hospital must surely make Irish opposition politicians think twice about making throwaway promises at election time. He’s a good five years away from re-election, and could recover, but it goes to show that the Celtic Tiger days of throwing spending promises around during an election campaign could actually get you in the end. I’ll bet both he and John Perry will be far more cautious in their commitments next time, and that would not be a bad thing for Irish politics. The smarter deputies and senators in Fianna Fail will pay heed.

Labour’s Joanna Tuffy TD made some interesting points about political reform yesterday. She is correct that there is a hint of gimmickry about Fine Gael’s approach (seriously, who believes that the length of the president’s term of office is a huge issue? FG, apparently) but she made a remark which I found refreshingly honest about her own political beliefs:  “The idea of reducing the size and cost of government is a right-wing ideology and Tea Party philosophy,” Presumably, she uses “right-wing” in a pejorative sense, which means that she regards at least maintaining the size and cost of government as being the more noble aspiration. I disagree with her, but it’s an honest point of view. I actually have become far more convinced in the ideology of downsizing government, for the simple reason that I just do not believe it is possible for an Irish government to spend money properly, and so giving them as little as possible is the least worst option.

Finally, as I pay my €160 television licence, I was thinking “what do I get for this?” I get certain RTE personalities who seemed to be paid money detached from reality. But I also get a pretty good news service, and, it has to be said, my latest guilty pleasure on a Friday night: Double brand new episodes of “Nurse Jackie” and “The Big C”. Well done to RTE for a) getting good shows, and b) putting on double episodes, which is a great innovation for those of us used to watching TV on box-sets. Alright so, you get my €160 for another year with the minimum of bitching. But you’ve got to do something about those salaries. 


An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: Dancing the Local Issue Jig.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 6, 2011 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

The neverending dance.

The neverending dance.

It could be a hospital, or a school. The government TDs put on the pained faces, and murmur about voting against the government. The opposition bluster  with chests puffed out like peacocks. The facts, that the school is a bad use of finite resources, or that the hospital is actually killing its patients, is irrelevant. The dance is all about who loves the county more. Then there’s an election: all the players switch sides! The new government TDs, former opposition peacocks, are suddenly recognising the need “to be realistic.” The new opposition TDs, freed from government, are now bawling their eyes out wondering when will someone PLEASE think of the children!

The constituents are a mix of rightly cynical about promises for newer hospitals and air ambulances (Let’s see the helicopters first) and impervious to reason over passion, and fact over hysteria.

The dance goes on. And on. And on.


Did some judges just threaten a coup?

Posted by Jason O on Jul 5, 2011 in Irish Politics

Judicial independence cuts both ways.

Judicial independence cuts both ways.

The core arguments put forward by judges in their memorandum to government here on the question of judges pay are spurious and in one particular case, downright sinister. The judges suggest that an independent committee be tasked with setting judges pay. It’s an interesting idea, provided that no one on the committee have anything to do with being a judge, aspiring to be a judge, or being in anyway involved in the legal system. Think the the judges would regard some a composition as “appropriate”? I won’t hold my breath.

The report then points out that our highly paid judges are barred from doing nixers. This is an argument for what, exactly? That some judges can’t top up their pay? So what? Are they suggesting that that may make our judges more corruptible? Really? Well, if the authors know of Irish judges who have an income-based tipping point after which they’re open to brown envelopes, then we need to start hearing names, because there is no room in the Irish judiciary for corrupt judges. If that is not what they meant, then the point is irrelevant. Irish judges will remain clean no matter what we pay them.

The most sinister part reported in The Irish Times, and I accept, it may be out of context, is the following:

“Mere knowledge that the Oireachtas has the power to legislate to reduce salaries may be perceived, even if it is not so in fact, as having the potential either to pressurise judges on the one hand or, alternatively, make them more liable to view the other branches of Government with suspicion or even hostility.”

I’m sorry? View the other branches of government with “hostility”? Is that a threat? Are the judges suggesting that there are other judges who, if we reduce their salaries, may put aside legal reasoning and engage in judicial revenge against the government? Because there’s a phrase for that: It’s called a coup d’tat. If the authors of the report know of judges who will put aside legal reasoning to engage in such acts, the government should demand their names, and prepare impeachment papers, because they are no longer  an independent judiciary. They are traitors, and should be treated according.

The question of judicial independence is in question here, but not of the government interfering in the judiciary. This is a question of judges getting involved in politics, and they’d want to be real careful about that.


Outsource more TV characters now!

Posted by Jason O on Jul 4, 2011 in Movies/TV/DVDs

Bring back Lightman!
Bring back Lightman!

I read recently that the Tim Roth fronted show “Lie to me” had been cancelled after its second season. I wasn’t that surprised, because it was only a so-so show and most for the characters were pretty forgettable. However, Roth’s performance, as Dr Cal Lightman, a “human lie detector”, was very watchable, and I got thinking: Why don’t they use his character in some other more successful show, even as a part-time recurring guest? I could easily see him turn up in a few episodes of “Bones” or “Law and Order SVU”?

It wouldn’t be the first time, by the way, that a TV character has crossed over into another show. William Shatner’s Denny Crane and James Spader’s Alan Shore from “Boston Legal” both started out on “The Practice”, although it was with an idea to creating another show. Lou Grant, played by Ed Asner, made that most peculiar of leaps, from comedy in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to drama in “Lou Grant”. Colm Meaney and Michael Dorn both did it in “Star Trek”, although the record must be held by Richard Belzer, who has played the character of Detective John Munch in “Law and Order SVU”, “Homicide: Life on the street”, “The Wire” and “The X Files”.

The possibilities are endless. “Bones” is set in the FBI in Washington DC. Would it kill them to bump into White House Chief of Staff Josh Lyman? Or solve a crime involving former President Bartlet? Or what’s Special Agent Scully doing these days?


Let individual TDs authorise spending in their constituencies.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 2, 2011 in Irish Politics

The power to spend money: the mark of real political power.

The power to spend money: the mark of real political power.

One of the more frustrating features of Irish politics is the fact that the great majority of elected officials in Ireland have little actual power. They have the power to ask questions, and the power to lobby, which in Ireland can be quite effective, but unlike officials in other countries they have little statutory power to actually make decisions in their own right. It’s different in other countries. In The US, for example, individual congressmen can earmark spending for projects. The late Charlie Wilson is famous for basically organising a private war (with tacit support from the Reagan administration) against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Now, let’s be honest: it does lead to a lot of pork barrelling as congressmen throw money at dubious projects in their districts in a bid to curry favour with their constituents. I can think of two Irish deputies, just off the top of my head, both in the headlines in the last six months, who would think nothing of throwing millions around their constituencies. We don’t need that carry-on.

But supposing there was another way. Take John Perry, TD for Sligo-North Leitrim. He made a big promise about funding cancer services in his constituency. Supposing he had the power to deliver. Supposing he could earmark the funds needed for the services in his constituency. But here’s the quid pro quo: the funds have to be raised in his constituency before they are spent. In other words, it can’t add an extra cent of extra spending to the exchequer. If the people in his constituency really want the service, they cough up with a levy. If they don’t want to pay the levy, then they can’t really want the service. Yes, they’ll be outraged, and say that they pay enough tax (or that taxpayers elsewhere should pay), but then the onus is on him to find money from somewhere else in the budget to fund the service, with other deputies watching him like a hawk to make sure he doesn’t just cut something in their constituencies. We can add in the safeguard of letting other deputies from the same constituency veto the proposal if they wish, but it would give individual deputies power with responsibility. They’d either raise the money locally, or scrutinise the budget looking for waste to fund their local projects. Either way, the taxpayer benefits.  

One of the side-effects, I suspect, is that when Irish voters see a direct link between more spending and their wallets, they’ll vote for leaving their wallets alone.


My favourite restaurants.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 1, 2011 in Jason's Diary, Just stuff

Gotham: Mmmmmmmm

Gotham: Mmmmmmmm

As anyone who has admired my bulging waistline will tell you, I like to eat out, and so I thought I’d pen a few words on some of my favourite eateries. All would be middle of the road price range:

Gotham, in South Anne Street and Stillorgan. Good pizza, excellent brunch menu, and one of the few places in Dublin that a meat and potatoes guy like me will eat a salad for a main course. Their pear and parmesan salad does that weird thing most Irish salads fail to do: Be actually tasty and filling.

Koishi in Ballsbridge is one for the sushi lovers, and unlike Yo Sushi, you will be able to leave satisfied without taking out a mortgage. Ask for a window seat and you can watch the Guards sneaking across from the US Embassy to The Embassy Grill for a sneaky battered sausage and chips. 

The Leopardstown Inn (Go on, guess where it is) does both excellent bar grub and Greens restaurant upstairs is also well worth a visit. The Lep Inn also does a very tasty Sunday carvery (Try the beef and mushroom pie) although I found it a bit pricey. Having said that, it got the mother’s seal of approval, and my mother knows her carvery. Decor, resembling an upmarket 19th Century French brothel, is nice too.  

Bijou Bistro in Rathgar. Good brunch menu, and great modern European menu, with plenty of gravy.

Finally, just tried Paulie’s Pizza beside Slattery’s Pub on Grand Canal Street. Rough and ready, and a tiny place, so don’t be discussing having an adulterous affair or corporate espionage, but the pizza is excellent. I would have included a link but their site seems to be down.  

Copyright © 2018 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.