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

The now (in)famous Coir question mark.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 28, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

An excellent post on Maman Poulet about Coir’s targetting of people with disabilities here.


Sinn Fein and Defence Spending: Eskimos complaining about paying for the fire brigade.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 25, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

A big tank: Bet the Shinners would have liked a few of them in 1969.

A big tank: Bet the Shinners would have liked a few of them in 1969.

Looking at Sinn Fein’s posters (You know, the one with the big tank!) gets me thinking once again about Sinn Fein’s mindset. I’ve heard Mary Lou ask, in a debate, as to whether we wanted our “Tax Euros” to be spent on weapons or health and education services. On the face of it, it’s a no-brainer. But what I’d like to ask Mary Lou is this: What’s Sinn Fein’s policy on the defence of Estonia? I presume they haven’t got one, and in fairness, no Irish party has one. But the Estonians do. They’ve had Russian tanks on their streets in the last 20 years, and take it seriously. That’s why they got into NATO as soon as they could, and support European defence cooperation and the European Defence Agency because they feel that they are the best guarantee of their freedom as a small country from a domineering large and agressive neighbour.

But by Mary Lou’s standards, they’re mad. Sinn Fein’s approach to European defence is like an Eskimo wandering off a passing ice floe into Dublin city, seeing a fire station, and chastising Dubliners for wasting money on these fancy red machines, because he’s never seen an igloo go on fire, and so can’t comprehend why anyone would need such a thing. Maybe if the Estonians got the Russians to wear tee-shirts with “B Specials” on them they would get the idea?

As for being forced to increase defence spending, yes, there is a committment by member states to improve their defence capabilities, but it is up to the member states to decide what that means. Look at the British debate about the Trident nuclear missile. Why hasn’t the EU intervened? Because it’s none of their business. The Lisbon Treaty is very detailed: If there is Brussels control of defence spending, why aren’t the actual details in it? Could it be because it doesn’t exist?      


The Liberals.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 23, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

Here come the Liberals.

Here come the Liberals.

You may have noticed some Yes posters from a group calling itself  “The Liberals”. I was curious myself, so made inquiries, and got the following reply.

”  We’re a small society of about 150 members founded in June 2008 to promote progressive policy and liberal issues. We felt there was a need to create a public advocacy group outside the party political process which can lobby on such issues as smaller government, separation of powers, dignity in the workplace legislation etc etc.”

You can email them here

Personally, I think the country could do with a liberal party, but here’s where the fighting starts. Put two Irish liberals together, and they’ll agree on gay rights and how awful Youth Defence are and what a good thing the EU is. But get them talking economics and taxes, and that’s where the snots will start flying.

Are the Liberals going to be just another version of the Labour Party or TASC? In terms of providing an alternative viewpoint, the country needs a grouping that will put the private sector worker first, in the same way that FF/FG/Labour have put public sector workers first. Oh sure, they’ll contest that, but the facts speak for themselves. Public sector workers are better paid, and have better terms and conditions because private sector workers subsidise them, and there is no political grouping in the country saying that.   

On the continent, liberals tend to be socially liberal but economically conservative, from the Dutch VVD to the German FDP to the Danish Venstre party. They win anything from 10% to 20% of the vote, speaking up for middle class people who work for a living and generate wealth. Don’t we have people like that in Ireland who deserve a voice? 


The best Lisbon Treaty information out there.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 22, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

The European Movement, which is taking a neutral stance in the referendum, has published a serious of factsheets on aspects of the treaty and frequently and not-so-frequently asked questions about the treaty. The fact sheets are quite possibly the most accessible yet meaty guides to the treaty I’ve come across, and well worth a look here.


Who gains from a No vote? A political fantasy.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 22, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty, Not quite serious.

As Ireland gets ready to vote on the Lisbon Treaty again, a powerful group meets in a hotel in

Meanwhile, on the roof of the Chicago Hilton...

Meanwhile, on the roof of the Chicago Hilton...

Chicago. A bit of fun I’ve been asked to repost here. Almost as fictional as a Coir poster.  


Coir want to break into your house and sniff your hair while you sleep?

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

Jesus: Reportedly "uncomfortable" to be associated with Coir, may place matter in the hands of his solicitors.

Jesus: Reportedly "uncomfortable" to be associated with Coir, may place matter in the hands of his solicitors.

Coir’s latest poster, which features an elderly woman, show that Coir isn’t really just against the Lisbon treaty. The elderly woman is presumably a hint at the blatant lie that the Lisbon treaty mentions euthanasia, a lie that UKIP also subtly hint at.

Why are they doing this? Because Coir/Youth Defence aren’t just against the EU. They’re making this stuff up because they are opposed to modern Ireland, to women having equal rights and gays going about unjailed. They’re not even sure about letting people from minority religions legislate in the Dail (See here.) They’ve engaged in various bits of trickery, like making up a lie about the minimum wage and then sticking a question mark beside it to suggest that they’re just speculating.

Well, here’s some speculations about Coir/Youth Defence:

Coir think the Ryan Report was written by Dan Brown.

Coir wouldn’t vote for Sarah Palin, on account of her being too liberal. And womany.

Coir says No to evolution. That Fred Flintstone was a real historical figure, you know.

Coir would have accepted the Lisbon treaty if it had been chiselled on stone tablets, and handed over by a fella with a long beard. And Charlton Heston’s voice.

Coir believes that the EU supports euthanasia, microchipping babies, and making all ice cream cod liver oil flavour.

Coir is only slightly embarassed to be on the same side of the Lisbon referendum as people who would have been shooting at the GPO in 1916.

Coir believe that Voldemort has been asked to be EU commissioner for Toddlers Affairs.

Coir is trying to touch Yes voters in their special place.

Coir condemns the EU for interfering in the old traditions, like banning witch-ducking and letting husbands list “the wife” on the household property insurance.

Coir say that if you vote Yes you’ll catch the gay.


We Belong 90210

Posted by Jason O on Sep 18, 2009 in Lisbon Treaty, Not quite serious.

We Belong: Putting the "bon!" into Lisbon.

We Belong: Putting the "bon!" into Lisbon.

Just persuing the website of the We Belong-Yes campaign, I was struck by this page containing headshots of their campaign team: It’s like the cast list of Melrose Place.

Jaysus. You wouldn’t want to be a short, hairy, ugly fat bloke with a beard!



UKIP’s two faces on worker’s rights.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 17, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

UKIP: Two faces on worker's rights.

UKIP: Two faces on worker's rights.

UKIP are currently delivering leaflets calling on Irish workers to vote No to protect worker’s rights. Yet that’s not what they say in Britain.

Here’s John Whittaker, a UKIP MEP:

” …But, unlike the United States of the 1930s, this adjustment is made more difficult in today’s Britain by our elaborate structure of employment law that holds up wages, provides for generous benefits, makes severance difficult and generally makes labour markets inflexible. Given all the costs and red tape involved in employing labour, it will be a long time before any small businessman with a brain considers taking on more staff again.

It is a measure of the extreme detachment of the European Union that at this time when all member states are facing severe economic difficulties, they continue to insist on rules that make life even harder for business, for instance, statutory employment rights for temporary workers.”

UKIP: Friend of the workers?

You can see the full text here.



PANA calls for army to use special “give-a-hug” bullets.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 16, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

The Irish Defence Forces: PANA wants to create the world's first arms-free army?

The Irish Defence Forces: PANA wants to create the world's first arms-free army?

Alright, so I’m taking the piss, but seriously: PANA have lost the plot. Carol Fox from PANA spoke at a press conference attacking the Defence bill going through the Oireachtas. Below is from The Irish Times (Kitty Holland.)

 ” Dáil and Government approval will now be required before Ireland can be involved in certain armaments programmes, but the guidelines for that approval are nonsensical.” Quoting the Bill, she said the Government was saying it would support weapons systems and capabilities that would enhance ‘UN mandated missions engaged in peace keeping, conflict prevention and the strengthening of international security. Short of nuclear weapons, this could apply to nearly any weapons system in the world,” said Ms Fox. “It’s hard to imagine Government Ministers sitting around a Cabinet table determining whether weapons systems are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and ensuring that only UN mandated soldiers will be firing those weapons.”

In other words, PANA are basically anti-weapon, in that in their purist world the Defence Forces should not really be dirtying their hands with stuff that kills people, or worse case scenario, have only “defensive” weapons? Body armour, but no rifles, maybe?

PANA assumes that the world is just full of reasonable people. It isn’t. Ask anyone who lives in southern Manhattan.


No campaign attacks Lisbon for NOT legalising abortion.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 14, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

Is there anything they won't say?

Is there anything they won't say?

A group called  “Women Say No to Lisbon – Again” has attacked the Charter of Fundamental Rights attached to the Lisbon treaty for ignoring “women’s human rights in several areas, including the right to childcare, reproductive and sexual rights…”

Reproductive and sexual rights? What does that mean? The freedom to choose abortion? So now the No campaign are attacking the EU for not legalising abortion as well?

I’ll have a bag of dry roasted, please.

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