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

The Diary of Arthur Henchy TD Part 7.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 18, 2014 in Not quite serious., The Diary of Arthur Henchy TD

So, after much political peacockery, thrust-out chests and indignation in the chamber over GSOC, do we actually know if GSOC was bugged or not? Do we in our shite. We might as well all have been playing the banjo in the chamber. Sad thing is that I look at the special advisors and media handlers and they all think this play-acting is all achieving something. Now onto another bunfight about Frank Flannery. Of course, we used to do the same to people “close to FF” when we were in opposition. All a load of nonsense.


Looking at some of the people being selected for the European Parliament, I can’t help thinking that Colm McCarthy’s observation is pretty much correct, that the Irish people think that there’s some Yoda fella in a back room making all the real decisions, and so we can elect clowns because it doesn’t really matter. I often suspect that if we had to directly elect people with real jobs, like air traffic controllers or brain surgeons, the voters would carefully scrutinise their CVs to see did they run Heathrow Control for ten years, or act as head of surgery in Cedar-Sinai or the Mayo Clinic? Yet ask Irish people to elect someone to run a €150 billion euro economy, and we ask was he any good at the hurling?


My best pal in this place is Tom Lavelle, who is FF TD for Mayo North West, or as he says, seven cows, three sheep, 4000 gas workers, 3000 Guards, and 500 Dutch and German ecowarriors.

Tom and I both came in 1981, although he did better than me, spending a few years as minister of state for something involving paperwork, and three months in the cabinet as minister for defence in the chaos of 81/82. Tom always reckons Haughey named him to the cabinet by accident because he got his name wrong, as Tom had not been what was called a Haughey man. Funnily enough, he always maintains that he and Haughey got on well personally, which didn’t surprise me. Unlike me, Tom went to university, studied abroad a bit, and takes an interest in global politics, and Haughey always enjoyed a discussion about The Big Picture. “Ask any of these fuckers about The Big Picture,” he told Tom once, pointing at his cabinet ministers, “and they’d wonder were you talking about screen one in the Savoy.”

Once a week, we get away from the bubble and nip out for lunch. I was asking him how things were going in the DeValera Party. He rolls his eyes. “Micheal, God love him, is doing his best. But some of them think now that 2011 was just a statistical hiccup, and we’ll be back in 2016. There’s a gang of young bucks who’ve started saying that the Irish people owe us an apology. An apology!There’s murmurings about the need for a new leader. The name doing the rounds is Niall Collins.”

“Niall Collins?” I ask, holding me club sandwich in mid-bite. “Sure, when did he start lighting up the place?”

Tom shrugs his shoulders.

“I haven’t a notion. They keep using the word “shrewd” to describe him. I’ve no idea what they’re talking about. Someone saw him reading a book, and they got all excited. You know what they’re like. Do you know that half the last parliamentary party never said a word to Martin Mansergh? Half of them thought he spoke a different language, and the other half were afraid they’d catch it. There’s one of them who blushes every time Averil Power speaks to him and runs out of the room.”


Masterful stroke by Big Phil on the Dublin Mayor thing. He knows councillors don’t want it, but wants to be seen as a man doing things, so he actually transferred the power to stop a referendum on it to the councillors, who will now claim that they’re in favour of reform, just not this reform. Hey presto, the referendum gets blocked, Phil says it was not his choice, nobody gets blamed, and all parties get to say they’re in favour of an elected Dublin Mayor. If Machiavelli were alive today he’d be taking notes and asking people how to spell “Kilkenny”.

Arthur Henchy TD was elected first for Kildare East in 1981. Some of the statistics he studies don’t have horses names beside them.


News from Ireland 2020: Surprise Yes vote on Nuclear Plant.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 18, 2014 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.
Coming soon to Carnsore.

Coming soon to Carnsore.

Wexford 2020: Despite a series of opinion polls predicting defeat by a 10 point margin, Wexford County today voted by 57.1% in favour of the ESB proposal to build a nuclear power plant at Carnsore Point. Leaders of the NO campaign were quick to condemn the result, pointing out that the voters had been bribed by the Community Gain package that had been promised by the government if the proposal was ratified by the voters of the county.

Under the package, every existing home will be entitled to a a tax free lump sum of €5000 each year, as a recognition of the county’s willingness to “bear the burden” of hosting the nation’s sole nuclear power plant. It is hoped that the scheme, which will last for 20 years, and cost the ESB approximately €28 million per annum, will protect property prices in the county.

The leader of the NO campaign, Sebastian Wilcox-Smyth, speaking from his home in Dalkey, said that the people of Wexford had no right to impose nuclear power on the “ordinary people”, and would be taking the matter to the High Court. Wilcox-Smyth was involved in a controversy during the campaign when it emerged that his group, People Before Everything, had previously campaigned against the building of wind farms near anywhere “where human beings dwell.” The YES campaign suggested building them on Mars.


What about a Netflix for newspapers?

Posted by Jason O on Mar 18, 2014 in Jason's Diary, Just stuff, Politics

As newspapers and magazines vanish behind paywalls, I find myself in a conundrum. See, I understand the economics, and it’s one of the few areas I agree with Rupert Murdoch. Quality journalism can’t be free: someone has to pay for the journalists to go places and ask questions and to professionally report on that news. Everything can’t be free.

But here’s the problem: I’ve been spoilt. I want to read more than one newspaper and I don’t want to pay €20 subscriptions for a single one. I want to read The Economist, and New York magazine, and The Daily Telegraph and The Times and the New York Times and The Washington Post and The Guardian and The Independent and Der Spiegel.

So, what am I willing to pay for? Consider the Netflix option. I effectively pay €84 a year for that, but look at the choice. I feel like I’m getting value, and importantly, I’m paying-as-I-go, so I don’t take the hit of a large subscription.

So why not offer me a monthly subscription, but let me pick and swap, say, 10 of the wide selection of periodicals.

That I’ll pay for.

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