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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Louise Hannon's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
8:14 pm
Politicians need to see the bigger picture
So Ned O''Keefe thinks we could have a military coup in Ireland if things become much worse... He has been looking into his Chrystal Swing ball I see and perhaps has become intoxicated on the smell of what floats above his pigsties. I think I need say no more before some hack in Timbuckto sends this non story around the world to embarrass the hell out of us any more and makes a name for himself.

This week stood out for me more than most. I had the honour of having dinner with Rev Jesse L Jackson snr who was on a whirlwind tour to promote the Equality and Rights Alliance Roadmap campaign for a better equality and human right infrastructure in Ireland. I wasn't alone at the dinner as the steering group from ERA and Rev Jackson's support team were also there. Along with the dinner and his speech at the Dublin Castle conference centre the following day he helped enormously to raise the ERA profile.

The downside of all of this was reading the manifesto pledges from the political parties and finding no mention of the inequalities in Irish society and further any mention on how to fix the injustices that prevail. The Labour party was the exception to all of this.

Fine Gael manifesto

Labour manifesto

It seems that political parties will look at the economy and the health service, political reform of the Seanad/Dail and major things that affect the treatment of citizens but be completely blind to the inequality experienced in a number of key areas that are particularly relevant for the more marginalised in society. Poverty has been made worse by Fianna Fail/Greens budget cuts and they have created a society based on cronyism and the support of the party faithful, Reducing the minimum wage and trying over all to force down the wages of the lower paid is an absolute disgrace and politicians who signed up for this have no morality or integrity. Quote from the Rev Jackson.. “ The budget is a moral document”

Edit 17th February 2011 Davenport Hotel workers today were taken off roster for refusing to accept nearly a €1 less than they are currently getting on the old minimum wage. This is just the start.

Think about that line "The budget is a moral document" and then justify the cuts to carers, the minimum wage, social welfare, without commensurate taxes on the higher paid and those who can afford it, and most of all cutting out waste and duplication in the public sector Quangos, while leaving the Taoiseach still on a higher salary than President Obama.. A root and branch in depth look needs to be taken at how our taxation and social service system works because broad brush cutting is producing larger and larger numbers of socially deprived, trapped in poverty and more and more dependant on reducing state aid. What a waste of talent and a recipe for emigration, poor health and squalor.

Edit Monday 21st
The ERA full comparison of all the parties including the lack of equality policies in the FG manifesto

Friday, February 11th, 2011
1:18 pm
The SoDs don't get equality.
Are you bored with this election? I know I am because it seems to have been going on from the start of eternity when pussy wasn't even a glimmer in the tom cats eye. After a shaky start Fine Gael with a very amateurish approach to PR have improved. However their tweeting prospective TDs are still spamming in unison... Twitter seems to have defeated them so far in maximising their input. Most politicians are broadcasting their views instead of taking time to interact. Social media savvy candidates so far are Ivana Bacik and the young independent Dylan Haskins

No one else stands out in what I've seen this week. I missed the much hyped debate on TV3 between Michael Martin and Eamon Gilmore..Neither from what I can gather made a striking mistake.

What did strike me was Brian Lenihan saying the government has no mandate to put more money into the banks and he will leave that to the next government... This conversion on the road to Damascus is quite a miracle. It would seem that the Fianna Fail party see it as more of a poison chalice to give to the incoming government than a recognition very late in the day that Fianna Fail has no mandate. Very noble of them indeed after 14 years of cute whore politics, based on money. Their manifesto has no mention of inequality in Irish society and how they propose to fix that... The cute whore mindset is difficult to remove despite the soft focus on the new party leader, reading this stuff.

This Sinn Fein poster is more orange than green
Thanks to David McWilliams

Enda seems to still think builders are worth speaking to

Finally if you want to know what is happening inside the banks you could do nothing better than keep an eye on this blog. There is another banking/Euro crisis coming just in time for the incoming government to handle...

Saturday, February 5th, 2011
4:52 pm
The silly billies of Irish politics
So this week the political parties set out their stalls so to speak...and then immediately started throwing stones at each other over the barricades . Labour are holding to some degree in the polls, SF are falling and Fine Gael are causing bemusement by their leaders bizarre attitude to a television debate, and the voters are completely confused. This makes for what we call a “normal” Irish election.

Fine Gael looked very amateurish in the media as against the more slick Fianna Fail approach this week and if it wasn't for Enda Kenny their polling rates would be in the stratosphere...Baron Gerry Adams is taking more stick for his lack of knowledge on southern politics/economics, and we are all busting ourselves laughing at the fun some are having as he tries to leave the British House of Commons where he never sat once in the first place...

Green Tea from RTE is well worth a listen if you need some more light relief.

Thanks to Ross Golden Bannon

Michael Martin trying to make us believe that he had no hand or part in the economic disaster of the last few years.. The phrase comes to mind " You can fool some of the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time"

On a different note, earlier this week the Irish Sun had a very derogatory front page piece on a transgendered woman lecturer at TCD. The invasion of this womans privacy was appalling and as a news story it was completely irrelevant as Vincent Browne said on his show on Monday night. Have the Sun nothing more serious to comment on other than who bedded who in the celebrity stakes and what is in a human beings pants? This was truly gutter press reporting. Perhaps the Irish people are getting used to transgendered people now judging by the lack of response to this EXCLUSIVE story and they are being seen as normal human beings and fellow citizens, I hope so.

Thanks to Kylie O'Reilly
Saturday, January 29th, 2011
12:40 pm
Social media will trip up our prospective politicians
So Enda Kenny went off with Michael Noonan to visit Barroso, President of the European Commission. What an expensive way to look something like the next party of government in the media. With Enda under house arrest for a couple of weeks, making no comment on anything they needed to do something, but this was a pure PR stunt and a waste of time. Nil points number one

The more I see of this long long election campaign the more it's looking like the party with the best spin and whoever has the best self discipline will pull the most votes, consistent with the fact that the country hates Fianna Fail. Kenny's handlers are acutely aware of the public perception of their man, as a waffler, and they are trying to mitigate it as much as possible. He may have ideas and experience but is no match in a television debate with Martin or Gilmore. Meanwhile Adams is all at sea with his figures on the economy. That's another story and the Greens are now irrelevant.

In terms of social media as an avid watcher most prospective TDs have not grasped the fundamentals on using Twitter and Facebook and many will depend on their handlers for the tweets... That is not a good idea. Tweets need to be the thoughts of the man or woman and not the sanitised version nor sent out in bulk as happened with FG tweeting the exact same thing yesterday.. That little gaff was irritating in the extreme and they obviously have not realised that it turns people off...Nil points number two Enda and company.

For all the faults of Fianna Fail they excel at one thing and that can be seen by their structured approach to the message. They will all sing off the same hymn sheet. Even the denial of the IMF bailout before it happened was pretty much in unison. Labour and Fine Gael need to concentrate on their people making them more aware of the party line in a much more disciplined way than we have seen up to now. They both need to concentrate on getting the same message over time after time. They need to set the media agenda and not be in a position of reacting to the sound bites of others. Fianna Fail will throw time bombs into the debate every so often as we saw this morning with Michael Martin saying he would support a minority Fine Gael government.. I can see this making Labour very nervous. It will take the media focus away from preaching the mantra.

Of course the unknown quantity here is Sinn Féin. They are weak on economics but have some star performers in Pierce Doherty and Mary Lou. An interesting election ahead and they are much more media savvy given their checkered history.

Millward Brown poll tomorrow Sunday FF 16%, FG 34%, SF 10%, Ind 15% Labour 24% Grn 1%

With thanks to Kylie O'Reilly

Thanks to Karen Reddy
Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
10:56 am
The election campaign begins in earnest
The Finance Bill and the erronious statements made by some groups to muddy the electoral waters have made it difficult for voters to decide who gets their vote on the 25th February. Sinn Féin and those left of centre have been very vocal in their opposition to the Labour and Fine Gael strategy yesterday in negotiations to get the Finance Bill passed through the Dail

Here are the facts
1/ Labour and Fine Gael are against parts of the proposed Finance Bill.
2/ Fianna Fail and the Greens ( who now sit on the opposition benches and are no longer part of government will support the Finance Bill, and it will be passed to comply with IMF/EU bailout conditions.)
3/ Labour and Fine Gael decided to push for the speedy reading of the bill and an early election as a result. The Fianna Fail party is now in a minority government and there is a small chance that the bill might have been defeated if the situation had remained with FG and Labour opposing it.Again there was no guarantee either way. Because of this some more technical parts of the bill were left out notably the part relating to Civil Partnership. The Civil Partnership provisions stretch over a vast area of legislation and need to be carefully scrutinised and will be brought in as soon as possible by a new government. There is no point at this stage in allowing Fianna Fail to filibuster over divisive issues in order to prolong the life of this Dail.

Edit 16.34 25/01/11
Labour LGBT press release
Issued : Tuesday 25 January, 2011

Labour LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) has welcomed that post election a Finance No. 2 Bill would be introduced to Dáil Éireann that will include provisions relating to the tax status of civil partners under the Civil Partnership Act 2010.

“Cross party support has been agreed for this proposal and it will be taken early in the lifetime of the new Dáil. Labour will ensure that the Civil Partnership Act is fully recognized and implemented.

“Labour as a party remains fully committed to marriage for lesbian and gay couples.”


4/ Fianna Fail wanted a much longer time frame for the bills passage even though they guillotined the Banking Bill in the days before Christmas and it seemed to suit them at that point, but not this time, so why? Fianna Fail are in electoral meltdown and needed time to organise and regain momentum and that is the reason for Lenihan trying to stall the ball up to yesterday. Lenihan working for party before country?

5/ The government with the Greens are voting in favour of the FB so this will mean that the bill will go through unhindered and any amendments by Labour and Fine Gael will be ignored, and voted down. Given the situation Labour and Fine Gael decided to accept the inevitability of that and get the FB out of the way, thus denying Fianna Fail time to regroup. That is the strategy behind the agreement yesterday to run the FB until Thursday in the Dail and then in the Seanad on Friday and Saturday allowing for an election on 25th February.
Quote from the Irish Times today Tuesday 25th.
Opposition sources were quick to point out yesterday that there has not been a successful opposition amendment to a Finance Bill in a decade.


Meanwhile some levity. Enda has gone missing again. Thanks to Jim Sheridan

And finally thanks to tigerreborn

Friday, January 21st, 2011
9:51 pm
GUBU mark two and will Rufus bark?
I'm sitting here on a Friday evening and having watched the last weeks political events I'm like many people thinking... "I just don't believe what has happened" Comments made about TDs on Thursday walking around the Dail shell shocked could have been made about any one of us political watchers. This has been the most grotesque week I think I've ever witnessed and words are of no use to describe it. The sad fact is however that we are in a serious situation as a country and we have politicians acting like ten years old. In fact the ten year olds I have known would be more mature..
I said last Friday that they should all be working as comics in somewhere like the Olympia, or Vicker St perhaps and this week has borne that out in more ways than I could ever have imagined.

The week showed Brian Cowen to have very poor political judgment, a high propensity to cute whorish behavior and a few Fianna Fail TDs whose political judgment is not far behind their esteemed leader. He should not have won the vote of confidence earlier in the week. Mary O'Rourke was saying that it's too close to an election to change political horses and that may have influenced some. I'd be willing to bet Cowen would not win his confidence vote today... Offering backbench TDs a job to raise their profile in return for a vote is not too smart particularly when one Conor Lenihan conforms it on television...Nil points. For once the Greens showed their teeth and refused to allow political deckchair arranging even though the Titanic ship of Fianna Fail and the Greens is holed well below the water line and is sinking fast. Twelve points.

Today on every radio and television station we had Conor Lenihan turning on his leader with a vengeance. Vincent Browne on Tonight with Vincent Browne and Conor had an entertaining set too. Vincent asking the question is this Conor doing self interest and promoting himself moving away from the Cowan position. Vincent was just asking what 90 percent of the country has been thinking, for quite some time...See what you think?

Next week we have the Labour Party vote of no confidence in the government. Will Cowen still be leader?. Will Conor Lenihan be sacked? Will Rufus bark? Next week your guess is as good as anyone elses... We shall await and see what excitment lies ahead.
Friday, January 14th, 2011
5:46 pm
The best stand up comics should be in Vicker St
The madness gets even madder this week...We should put our politicians on the stage as stand up comics. They are worth a fortune and definitely don't know it. Pat Short, Brendan O'Carroll and Edel King would have serious competition.

Is there a country in the civilised world that has a Prime Minister who was accused of having a hang over after entertaining his troops and a government partner who is entertaining us with his one foot in, one foot out stuff. There is no need for an All Ireland Talent Show when these guys are around. Actually they are better than what RTE produces as entertainment on a Sunday night.

To crown it all Cowan is now consulting his party on what he should do next. Is this man who was hailed a few years ago as an intellectiual within Fianna Fail really that dim that he needs to consult? The dogs in the street know he needs to go and be replaced by a government that at least has some semblance of what it is doing. No one believes that Anglo was not discussed at Druids Glen and yet trotting out to tell us different are every Fianna Fail TD that their PR people can find who are good at lying and who can hide it the most. This is surreal. We know they are all lying and they know that we know and yet it still happens ad nauseam. This is the stuff of farce. Then of course we have the TDs who are being asked if they support Cowan, the speaking out of both sides of the mouth stuff, and still saying nothing. This is an art form of the highest order in Ireland. There is a job for many as ventriloquists in the Olympia I'm sure of it.

Then we have Ivor fighting for the the right to clear has name. Does it get any better as a comedy script this week? Mrs Brown should be in politics at least the script would be sharper.

From the Irish Times Letters

A chara, – The Taoiseach shoots a few birdies with the bogeyman of Irish banking under the eagle eye of the third man, and we all end up with an albatross around our necks. The Greens are talking about golf, the Opposition are asking about grey areas, the Taoiseach gets a yellow card but says it’s all black and white, the country is in the red and the rest of us are singing the blues. – Is mise,


As usual Martyn Turner nails it

I look forward to more insanity next week and the vote of no confidence proposed by Labour... Watching the Greens squirm will be fun....but there may be developments before then...Keep your radios tuned to the news.:)

Meanwhile Fine Gael have a new website again and Enda looking and talking like the hero from a cheap American detective novel. The American site builders accents must be rubbing off.

Edit 9pm
Eamon O'Cuiv will stand for Taoiseach if Cowen goes...This is absolutely ridiculous now. The show needs to be moved to the Olympia where they can do farce very well.

Edit Sunday 16th
You can now generate you own poster of Enda Kenny Thanks to Ronny Mitchell

Sunday, January 9th, 2011
3:27 pm
The contrasts are striking.
The events of the last week have seen more job losses and yet more revelations on how our political system works.

Ivan Yates of Celtic bookmakers fame puts his hand up and calls the job loses as his and his wifes fault and that is much to be admired as anyone with any decency would do the same.

Contrast that with the denial of Cowan /Ahern and company on who was responsible for making such a mess of this country financially and there is a very stark difference. They have put the blame on everyone but themselves and this mornings disclosures that Cowan and Sean Fitzpatrick were out golfing in the period between the Anglo share meltdown and the bank guarantee in September 2008,raises questions about how much Cowan knew at that time about the Anglo problems... I suppose they were talking about new putters and golf swings, among other things like the losses at Anglo and what Cowan would do to save a rotten bank by getting the weakest in society to fess up. Wouldn't that strike you as being a normal conversation?

Eamon Gilmore was quite right Cowan is an economic traitor, a man of no principles and morally bankrupt like the banks he tried to save., clinging on to power by keeping three by elections on hold until forced. The old saying is very true... Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Everyone apart from the fourteen percent who still support FF as shown by the recent polls know this is true.

Meantime David McWilliams is labouring away at the laptop telling us in ten steps how to stop the meltdown. Will anyone listen to this man who really matters? I doubt it and that is a sad fact.
Perhaps we can get David elected to the Dail and a few more like him to see with the experience that they have what can be done... At the very least he should be taken on by the new government in an advisory capacity if they are serious in effecting an economic turnround, and my bet is that he would cost a lot less than the crowd who advised Cowan/Lenihan etc., before the bank guarantee

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
4:47 pm
CP jigsaw comes together
S.I. No. 649 of 2010.
The Minister for Justice and Law Reform, in exercise of the
powers conferred on him by Section 5 of the Civil Partnership
and certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, has
made an Order, entitled as above that declares certain classes
of foreign relationship to be entitled to be recognised in the
State as civil partnership.
Copies of the Order may be purchased directly from the
Government Publications Sale Office, Sun Alliance House,
Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, or by mail order from
Government Publications, Postal Trade Section, Unit 20,
Lakeside Retail Park, Claremorris, Co. Mayo.
Price: €2.54.
Secretary General,
Department of Justice and Law Reform.
December 2010.
Friday, December 31st, 2010
1:37 pm
Good riddance to bad rubbish
At this time of year we tend to look back at the past year, and the things that we could or would like to change or if we have the chance do differently in 2011.

Some things marked 2010 for me. These are the low points.

1/ A banking system and a government in continued denial.
2/ A Finance Minister that kept telling us that ever increasing NAMA haircuts and bank loss figures were final figures.
3/ A lazy media that had no savvy to see though government spin and bullshit. It took us to read the foreign press to know what was REALLY happening in Ireland.
4/ A morally bankrupt government kept in power because they refused to hold three by elections for over 18 months, which carried on without any obvious mandate to wreck even more financial havoc.
5/ A government that had no idea what was happening within the banking sector and eventually was told by the ECB that it could not support the Irish banks any longer without and IMF bailout. I suspect here that Lenihan may have known the bank run was happening, but couldn't figure out a way of stopping it.
6/ A Roman Catholic Church in denial from Pope Benedict down, and a system of control which is corrupt and morally wrong. There is a canker in this church which if Jesus were around today, he would be in the temples over turning the money lenders tables again.
6/ The correlation between international money and our small and open economy, and the damage international finance is able to inflict on countries like us, because, it doesn't seem to matter if they make mistakes for greed and profit that they can still screw us to get that money back by hitting the poorest in our society. Where is the morality in that?
7/ An ex taoiseach appearing in a kitchen cupboard television advertisement
8/ The abysmal handling of weather related events, by our government, local authorities, but this appears to be universal because the New York blizzard of December provoked the same response.

I could add to this list, but rather than depress anyone reading this, let me look at the good things of 2010.

1/ The sportsmen of this country did us proud whether in rugby, boxing, both male and female,golf, etc.
2/ Our actors and actresses of stage and screen, who have gained world wide acclaim.
3// The resignation of people like Bertie Ahern and his cohorts in Fianna Fail and a recognition by 90% of the population who is responsible for our economic demise.
4/ Our exports are again increasing.
5/ Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters who are in relationships can now commit to their loved ones by the enactment of the Civil Partnership Bill. It's not enough but at least it is a start and there are several flaws.
6/ Our transgender brothers and sisters will now have a Gender Recognition Act in the short term giving them a formal legal status following the ECHR judgement of 2002... I know it only took eight years to deal with this judgment..the speed of our legislators is to be admired.
7/ At this point I have now decided to stop.
Happy New Year, may you and all your loved ones be safe and as prosperous as possible in 2011
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
1:14 pm
Happy Christmas
As the Siberian weather continues a pace and temperatures drop to -10 etc. I'm sitting in Rathmines having postponed an appointment looking at more and more snow falling. I suppose the temperature fall has been a bit like what has happened to our GDP and sort of ironic that as we enter into financial austerity brought on by the ECB we also enter a very deep freeze. Is this what the bible predicted for the end of the world? I hope not, but for some the financial straight jacket we are in will be intolerable. I'm thinking of the two people who seem to have taken their own lives in the Grand canal, both young, both with a lot to live for, but obviously they didn't see that bit. It's a tragedy that as a country we have so little mental health support services at a time when they are needed so much. We are a country driven by money to the exclusion of the care of our must vulnerable people.

Last night RTE showed how the developers with loans in NAMA are hedging their bets and putting property into wives names and still flying private helicopters and living expensive lifestyles. In the meantime a woman who has cancer and is pregnant and needs an abortion is forced to go to the UK because the ethics committee at a Cork hospital refuse her an abortion.


For Gods sake can we not get this society of ours functioning properly? It's dyslexic to say the least. Equality in our society is going down the pan and getting worse with financial cuts while the mighty live high on the hog with no shame whatsoever.

We need abortion legislation now. It's nearly 19 years since the X case and now finally the ABC case again highlights the lack of lead from a goverment still tied to the coat tails of Roman Catholic church dogma. Where is the compassion from either a draconian church which purports to love thy neighbour and a government with no idea or will to lead on matters aside from economics?


As Christmas approaches should we not be thinking less about material possessions and more about being decent human beings to those around us? Can any of us live with a conscience that condones abuse of money, power and privilege in the season of goodwill. I hope not, but I'll not hold my breath as far as the NAMA boys of this world are concerned and the people who govern us. Change needs to start at the top by example, not the cute whorism we have seen for years.
Sunday, December 12th, 2010
5:05 pm
A truely bizarre week
What a week for the Irish people?. I think it is one which will be remembered by many for the brutal reduction in the minimum wage, and further cuts to those on welfare. Next year will be very difficult for many and the stupidity of it is that a lot of the cuts will mean that there will be more pressure put on the welfare services such as the HSE and voluntary bodies many of whom are already struggling under grant funding cuts so state services will be paying out more. Capital spending cuts will put another perhaps 20,000 plus people in construction out of work. The reduction in the minimum wage affects 4.9% of the employed population and will do nothing but put more profit into the hands of employers and mean that those on a contract on the minimum wage will be let go and replaced with those on a new lower rate.

Edit Noonan FG finance spokesman has picked this up today Sunday 12th

Hotels have been doing that to cut costs. I was chatting to a man who was employed for 20 years by the same hotel only to be replaced by someone on the lower current figure and no doubt they will now be replaced too. This is a race to the bottom. Those on the minimum wage are struggling as it is. The appropriate approach should have been to push for agency/utility efficiencies to reduce electricity and other prices instead of slashing and burning those who had no part in the Celtic Tiger.

The appalling thing which most annoyed me this week was Micheal Lowry trying to take the moral high ground and insisting that his support for the budget was the right thing to do. These guys like him and Healy-Rae have some brass neck. The sooner they are gone the better, but somehow I
don't think that will happen any time soon. Parish pump politics prevails.

In other news TDs mobile phones were published on the internet.

I think this is a good thing. Our politicians are sitting in ivory towers of their own making and have no idea what the public are thinking. Had they any idea they would have called an election some time ago, so perhaps voters venting anger is what they need, particularly those who still insist in the government parties that they had no other alternative but to go for the EU/IMF bailout even after they themselves got us into this mess in the first place. They even insisted this week that the €40 million bonuses paid by AIB to employees could not be overturned, something which I found like many to be quite incredible, but just another example of a lack of intelligence and urgency that we have seen for some time particularly in the last two years. Emergency legislation can be brought in over night if there is a POLITICAL WILL.

I found this video on negative equity which struck a note with me and it's symptomatic of how many find themselves presently.

Finally it's reported that Gerry Ryan who sadly passed away had traces of cocaine in his body and that the insurance companies who insured his life may not now pay out... A bizarre week indeed.
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
1:15 pm
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
4:42 pm
FF "the party of equality" rings very hollow today
Below is a statement for Frances Byrne which everyone should endorse fully

No comfort for the poorest families: lone parents respond to Budget 2011
December 8, 2011

It has been almost 24 hours since Budget 2011 was announced.
It is fair to say that since OPEN was founded in 1994 by 8 local lone parent groups, lone parents have never reacted so angrily to a Budget announcement. Online and on radio and television stations, lone parents are frustrated and concerned.

There are 3 things which have really angered our families.

No comfort to cushion the blow:
58% of lone parents have one child. Those with 1 child who survive on social welfare received cuts yesterday totaling €530 next year. This includes a €10 per month reduction in child benefit which was not compensated to families on weekly social welfare payments as was the case this year. So there was no attempt to soften the blow for the families who will really feel the impact of this cut. 65% of children in poverty in Ireland are growing up in one-parent families – these changes will have a huge and lasting impact on those children.

No comfort from the cold:

The government has made no change to the fuel allowance payment. Last year they promised to provide poor families with a voucher or other payment to compensate them for the carbon levy. There has been no compensation and to make matters worse, as part of the 4 year plan, our government has committed to doubling the levy with no commitment to help those in poverty to cope. Yesterday families who receive Fuel Allowance (€20 per week from September – April) were told they would get a one-off payment of €40 to cover costs associated with the current cold spell – this is actually an insult to these families.

No comfort for the future:

In spite of repeated promises to protect the poorest, the government in fact confirmed yesterday that these savage cuts will be repeated in the next three budgets. This has caused widespread concern among low income families who have genuine fears about the futures of their already hard-pressed families.

As well as these announced changes, OPEN is really concerned about the proposed €1 cut to the hourly minimum wage. This will drive down the wages of all of those on low incomes and create a climate where the reduction of basic social welfare payments will in future be deemed as vital to ‘make work pay’. The proposed cut will not create one job. For lone parents who are desperate to become economically independent, this cut will add hugely to their sense of despair. A low minimum wage will halt their progress and a cycle of dependence on state payments and supports will become more vicious and difficult to break. It is an act of economic and social vandalism. We can never trust again empty promises to ‘protect the vulnerable’ if our Dail votes to cut the National Minimum Wage.

Various media and other reaction from lone parents is on our website (www.oneparent.ie) and our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/we-are-open).

Frances Byrne

Chief Executive


representing lone parent groups in Ireland

National Centre

7 Red Cow Lane


Dublin 7


T: +353-1-814 8860

F: +353-1-814-8890

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
8:48 pm
My receipe for warm stew on a cold night
Find the largest pot you have.
Fill 1/3 full of water
Add one chicken stock cube
Add one stalk of celery chopped
Add one stalk of a leek chopped.
Add one garlic bulb crushed and chopped fine, or less depending on taste.
Add three cups of frozen peas
Add two chopped carrots
Add thee small potatoes sliced in half and peeled or three roast potatoes if you haven't a fresh bag.
Add whole pepper 1/2 teaspoon

Fresh mince (low fat) approx 8oz Cook in a non stick pan with no oil.
Add Soy sauce to season and when cooked add a half glass of white wine and simmer for five minutes slowly turning the mixture.

Bring the pot to the boil and add the mince steak.
Boil for five minutes then turn heat to low and simmer for an hour.

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
5:43 pm
From political dinosaurs to the real ones.
An amazing video of bones found in Colorado.
A treasure trove of fossils.
Saturday, November 27th, 2010
2:22 pm
And the best placard award goes to
Some of the best of todays placards

This photo seems to catch the mood superbly

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
12:39 pm
Political interference
Olli Rehn has been quite clear in not wanting to get involved in internal Irish politics, but his friends in the EU/IMF /ECB have been less reticent.


The IMF etc. are foisting on Ireland a bailout package that in the long run is not sustainable. Interest rates cannot be met and Ireland will default eventually after being sacrificed on the alter of saving the Euro along with German and French banks who lent recklessly in the first place.

The Euro will not be saved either and what will it have all been for? To save face in Europe? Some say that the EU is doomed if the Euro fails but I don't think that is the case and is scaremongering, but at the same time practical common sense should prevail and political dogma should not get in the way of practical economic reality. That is what is happening at the moment. A financial sticking plaster is being put in place over Ireland in the hope that it will heal. If the contagion spreads from Europe globally as has been predicted then the depression of the 1930s will look like a picnic in the park.

Jezus ... this bra is way too big for me !!

El-Erian: Ireland Is On The Verge Of A Horrible Bank Run That Will Devastate A Whole Generation



Edit National 4 year plan announced at 2pm today

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
8:44 pm
IMF Loans may not be managable
I've been watching how this bailout is unfolding. A number of economists think that we cannot repay the loans we are now taking on. Some think the way out is to make bondholders into shareholders and stop repaying all this interest. I would run with that one. What this country will become is one huge debt servicing agency.. In any case it will be at least ten years before we emerge from this mess and a generation of our best children will be gone and that is the tragedy of the worse government mismanagement in the history of this state.



Louise Hannon

One question….will the interest and capital repayments on all this not drag us down further and be impossible to cover?

on November 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Reply

It’s a good question – I think we have arrived at the point where we need consider if the burdens we are facing are “manageable”. Clearly at some point the costs won’t be manageable and when we get to that point, if not before, we need consider default. Once we take the bailout from the EFSF/EFSM and inject most into the banks then we explicitly make this a sovereign debt issue – yes, you could argue that the bank guarantee puts us in that position anyway, but I would still argue we can undo the bank guarantee.

But yes, the debt and interest will be crippling but whether it is still manageable is another question.

12:00 pm
Green Party statement today
The past week has been a traumatic one for the Irish electorate. People feel misled and betrayed.

The Green Party believes three things must be done in the coming two months to safeguard the future prosperity and independence of the Irish people.

These are:
Producing a credible four-year plan to show we can make our Budgets balance by 2014.
Delivering a Budget for 2011.
Securing funding support from the EU and IMF which will respect vital Irish interests and restore stability to the Euro area.

We have always said that our involvement in government would only continue as long as it was for the benefit of the Irish people. Leaving the country without a government while these matters are unresolved would be very damaging and would breach our duty of care.

But we have now reached a point where the Irish people need political certainty to take them beyond the coming two months. So, we believe it is time to fix a date for a general election in the second half of January 2011.

We made our decision last Saturday after a long series of meetings.

Since entering government in June 2007, we in the Green Party have worked to fix and reform the economy. It has been difficult. We have taken tough decisions and put the national interest first.

We cannot go back and reverse the property bubble and the reckless banking which we consistently spoke opposed. Nor can we control the market turmoil which has afflicted the Euro area.

We have taken extensive measures to recognise the losses and stabilise our banking system. However, it is now clear we need further measures to give market confidence about our banks and public finances.

We are now discussing ways of restoring stability to the banking system with the support of our European colleagues and the IMF. We have to ensure that the terms of any such support are in the interests of the Irish people and the wider Euro area. The timeframe for achieving a four-year plan, Budget 2011 and a good outcome from IMF/EU talks is very short. These matters must at this stage take priority ahead of everything else.

Despite our difficulties and disappointments, I believe we can get out of this situation. We must all work together to ensure the best outcome for everyone.
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