Digest – March 7 2010

You knows how this goes…


Splintered Sunrise; debating feminism in the 21st century.

Nyder O’Leary is class. When I’m editing GreatNewsWebsite.ie in 25 years he’ll be my lead opinion writer, whether he likes it or not. What he says about the idea that ministers should have experience running companies is on-the-ball here

If anything, the role of the politician is to sift through all the weighted advice, and make a decision that’s best for everyone from a social, economic, legal and cultural point of view. The only overriding passion needs to be a broad social vision, coupled with pragmatism about putting it into place. That’s a hell of a job description. The bunch we have now clearly aren’t up to it, but you’re certainly not going to get any social vision by embracing The Cult of The Entrepeneur.

Gerry Adams blogs from the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis.

Dear Irish editors, please read this Reuters’ piece before making moves towards online in the next few years. (CC it to your journalists too.)

Big mainstream-media publications, when they hire people to write their blogs, generally hire people with no blogging experience at all — something which is both ill-conceived and dangerous. Some journalists make good bloggers; most don’t. So rather than gamble that you’ve found one of the rare exceptions, why not make prior blogging experience a prerequisite for such positions?

The fundamental problem with Kouwe was that when he saw good stories elsewhere, he felt the need to re-report them himself, rather than simply linking to what he had found, as any real blogger would do as a matter of course.

John McHale; “resolution regime“.

The Sunday Independent parodies itself. Niamh Horan gets 1,800 words – a whole page – to cover the story that’s supposedly “gripping the nation”, something to do with Rosanna Davison, Glenda Gilson and Johnny Ronan. Read it for the hilarity. Brendan O’Connor (!) gets another few hundred words in with a comment piece also.

The Sunday Independent, Serious Newspaper.

Meanwhile, during a separate encounter minutes later with Ronan, eye-witnesses say Gilson kicked her ex-lover twice. Once in the groin and once in his upper-thigh, leaving the property developer bent in two and wincing in pain.

As an onlooker explained: “He buckled over the minute she kicked him, and he was shouting ‘my fucking balls’. It was madness. As she turned to leave, Johnny then took a swing at her and made contact with her backside.”

“Eye-wtinesses”, “sources close to…”, “her inner circle”… the story is so SIndo it’s funny. It’s like the time the Guardian had an offer of free gift-wrapping paper designed by Nelson Mandela with every copy, you couldn’t make it up.

Really though… what am I doing reading such nonsense. And blogging about it. Shame on me. Back to the usual…


London correspondent for Rúv (the Icelandic RTÉ), Sigrún Davíðsdóttir on the IceSave referendum.

Matt Yglesias on healthcare (again), this time focusing on how it should or could be priced.

The son of the founder of Hamas embraces Christianity and spies for Israel. Ouchies. The Wall Street Journal has an interview.

Michael Yon, Green Beret turned independent war reporter; “how hundreds of military personnel, millions of pounds and an experimental ‘lung’ saved the life of a British soldier… shot by accident in his own camp“.

Better prostehtics coming to a person with a limb blown off in a war without basis near you, soon. Good.

Fallows brings two pieces of clear-minded journalism.


I’m so envious of David Attenborough’s delivery. These Symphony of Science videos are top-notch. Click through for more. Oddly touching.

Digest – Feb 28 2010


For serious? What the…

Gardaí investigating the source of a leak which culminated in Trevor Sargent’s resignation last week have acquired the phone records of the reporter who broke the story and believe that his source is a serving garda.


All the Gardaí require to obtain the phone records of a journalist or one of their members is a suspicion that there was some sort leak? Whatever the source’s motives Sargent did wrong. The source is a whistle-blower and the journalist was doing what they’re there to do. Scary. Very scary. And not only because I’m a journalist.

The headline should be about the Gardaí observing the private activities of a private citizen by obtaining his private information (on the face of it) without reasonable suspicion that the citizen has done anything illegal. Whatever about it being against the law for a garda to leak information, the journalist has partaken in no illegal activity.

Gurdgiev on double dipping.

Gene Kerrigan on the Your Country Your Call nonsense. Simon McGarr’s blog post looks at it from a different angle, he points out several details in the terms and conditions of entry that would make you wonder. Additionally, the people behind the scheme are interesting. Continue reading “Digest – Feb 28 2010”

Digest – 21 Feb 2010

Blah blah, it’s the weekly round-up.


Ireland After Nama with probably the most in-depth analysis of the Irish electoral landscape ever blogged. Ever. In the whole world.

Micheal Burke of Progressive Economy on Germany calling on Greece to tighten belts, with a nod to the disease that is tax dodging in Greece.

Aoife O’Donoghue of Human Rights in Ireland on passports and assassinations.

Hugh Green, a Green [Party member], on O’Dea and Fianna Fáil culture.

I used to think Fianna Fáil corruption was of secondary importance to the broader matters of class domination and corporate power in Irish society. But it is becoming fairly clear to me, somewhat belatedly, that its bare-faced corruption, with the corrosive disenchantment and apathy that it creates among vast swathes of the population, is in itself a devastatingly effective instrument for maintaining the rule of the gombeen bourgeoisie.

Today is the two year anniversary of the peak of the boom, notes Gerard O’Neill. It’s been downhill since then baaaaybbbbayyy.

– WORLD Continue reading “Digest – 21 Feb 2010”

Digest – Feb 14 2010

The weekly round-up:


Tom O’Connor of Progressive Economy on government policies and the revamped spin being put on them. Read the comments too.

Ronan Lyons with a great piece of analysis on men between 20 and 24 and unemployment;

These astonishing figures add up to almost 100,000 job losses in a segment of the population that had only 175,000 employed at the peak of the boom. Over 55% of jobs for young men have disappeared. One occasionally hears the argument that, as bad as things are, an increase in unemployment of ten percentage points means that 90% of us are in more or less the same position now as during the boom. What these figures show is that while the rest of the economy has lost perhaps about 10% of its jobs, young men have lost more than half theirs.

Rob Kitchen of IrelandAfterNama puts his finger on it.

The Cedar Lounge has the best piece on the George Lee thing. (The Tribune has a four page spread on it today, four pages! Plus other stories on Lee on the news pages. It happened Monday!)

Damien Mulley’s FOI on wasteful government spending on a now-scraped website is on his blog.

– WORLD Continue reading “Digest – Feb 14 2010”

Digest – Feb 2 2010

You know how we roll on Sunday nights/Monday mornings…


Constantin Gurdgiev asks is Anglo riskier than Nama?

If you have ten minutes, read this speech made to a near-empty Dáil chamber by Fergus O’Dowd.

Edward McGarr of McGarr Solicitors on the DCC/Flavin stuff.

Formal submissions by TCD students to Oireachtas Committee on Electoral Reform.

Dublin Opinion drew my attention to this quite interesting theory.

The new 30kph speed limit in Dublin city centre is causing quite a stir. This post by Ferdinand von Prondzynski is a good round-up, the comments reflect the public feeling. Gerard O’Neill also writes on the topic. I’m in agreement with those who want to limit lifted.

Fair play to John Gormley for sticking to his guns… on one thing at least.

– WORLD Continue reading “Digest – Feb 2 2010”

Digest – Jan 31 2010

It is Sunday, right?


The motortax.ie website cost €523,000 to maintain last year according to an official response given to Fine Gael senator, Paschal Donohue. An insane figure. Question: if it was Fine Gael in charge would they have just hired in cheap Russian freelancers and used the intellectual property of another organisation (then attempted to pretend they didn’t do anything of the sort) to keep the website running? Fair play to Senator Donohue for bringing the figures to light all the same.

Gerard O’Neill of Amarach Research on the idea of trickle down employment.

In Wicklow: Councilors seek inquiry into issuing of waste permit. Very interesting case that one. It’ll run and run.

One from each side of the specturm, both adding to national debate: Constanin Gurdgiev on the knowledge economy. Michael Taft memo to IBEC on Ireland’s wage levels.

John Burns’s piece in today’s Sunday Times on the blogger who paid out €100,000 for libeling someone is interesting, and not just for bloggers. The blog which is the subject of the story is so obscure that Google finds zero – repeat zero – inward links. This is despite it having been operational since May 2005 (contrast that with TheStory; we’ve only been going since October or so, yet there are over 800 inward link results to the front-page alone). Additionally, the writer’s profile has only been viewed 3,000 times since the blog opened – or less than once per day.

So it’s a little-known, to say the least, blog.

With that in mind I’m making the assumption that basis of the argument put forward by legal team for the people who felt they’d been libeled was “if you Google my client’s name, one of the first results is that blog post. That post is libelous”. If my assumption is correct (and it may not be!) then the case was on the potential future damage to an individual’s reputation if their name had been Googled, rather than the damage done by the publication of the post itself. That’s interesting. I’d love to know TJ McIntyre, Eoin O’Dell or Simon McGarr’s opinions on the matter.

– WORLD Continue reading “Digest – Jan 31 2010”

Digest – Jan 24 2010

It’s how it goes down every Sunday night/Monday morning.


Garibaldy of the Cedar’s has an interesting post on the changes in centre-leftism. The comments are worth reading too. Also over on the CLR, WorldByStorm deconstructs John Waters’s latest musings; the financial crisis… it’s all in your head… courtesy of the journalist [claims John Waters].

…[Waters] apparent inability to accept that people can arrive at opinions about matters without mediation by journalists or politicians and that these opinions can diverge quite strikingly from his own thoughts is now palpable. Or, to put it another way, he just doesn’t seem to get that other people have beliefs and thoughts of their own and aren’t just empty vessels or actors who must dance to his, or anyone else’s tune.

Journalist, Gerard Cunningham, on the news business. Note the word business.

Author and freelance court reporter Abigail Rieley has been covering Eammon Lillis’s trial for the Evening Herald and Sunday Independent, but her blog is where the real depth can be found. She’s writing long-form, descriptive, prose almost daily about what happens each day in court. Go there and read up.

Constantin Gurdgiev expands on Brian Lucey and Charles Larkin’s Sunday Business Post piece on where our third level sector needs to be moving.

Nyder O’Leary, despite finding himself hitting a wall with FOI, has an excellent article on the cost of building schools. It nicely illustrates  the general non-decision-making of Government and their habit of kicking to touch via Commissions.

– WORLD Continue reading “Digest – Jan 24 2010”

Digest – Jan 17 2010

Roll up roll up and that jazz.


Anthony – typically pulling no punches – on Revenue.

The observations of the Puckstown Lane blogger on banking inquiries, post-bust. Also, Veronica on IrishElection.com.

Simon McGarr fillets this bizarre opinion piece by Breda O’Brien.

Shane Coleman makes a lot of sense in The Sunday Tribune today, highlighting the need for nuanced commentary and analysis. Batt O’Keeffe is a minister I have some time for, he has put his head above the parapet on third level fees and actually made some decisions while in Education. Whatever you think of his decisions – closing schools due to weather in this case – at least he made some, something our Taoiseach could consider doing more often.

Also in the Tribune today, ‘What next for Anglo?‘, ‘The Price of NAMA for taxpayer keeps rising‘ and ‘Glass bottle site valuation ‘ignores emissions’. Their Business section really is top-notch today, the revamp looks like it’ll be a success (I’m not a big fan of the opinion section most weeks however).

I thoroughly enjoy the writing on Booming Back. This post is worth reading in full but the (quite funny) description of the Green Party (written by a former member) is particularly quotable:

The more astute of you will no doubt be pointing out that I used to be a card carrying member of the Green Party. This is true, but I viewed the Greens as a loose collection of activists banded together in an attempt to use collective strength to drive forward their own disparate environmental and social justice agendas, like the Shell to Sea campaign, the Tara bypass, opposition to Shannon Rendition flights and the Poolbeg incinerator. I was wrong. The Greens are in fact a loose collection of folks banded together for the sake of banding together. Social justice and activism seem nowhere on the agenda, the party’s sole drive is to stay in existence, an apolitical Oroborus endlessly devouring itself in an orgy of self-preservation through self-consumption. My mistake, I’ve moved on, and to reference Žižek quoting Beckett, I must fail better next time.

One of the many reasons I nominated Bryan Mukandi in the best blog from a journalist category – if you’re reading, Madam, I reckon his face would look well on the opinion pages.

WORLD Continue reading “Digest – Jan 17 2010”

Digest – Jan 10 2010

Hear, hear for The Sunday Times editorial (though I disagree with the statement on there being too many TDs).

The government, but also the political establishment generally, must bear most of the responsibility for this lack of civic mindedness. It is a direct descendant of cynicism and weariness with a selfish and at least semicorrupt political system.

If Irish people thought that the country was being run fairly, and that decisions were being genuinely taken in the national interest rather than purely in the self-interest of ministers and political parties, they might sign up as equal partners in the great programme of national self-sacrifice that still lies ahead.

Also from The Sunday Times, ex-politicians paid €40,000 to watch DVDs.

We’re turning a corner!

I was buoyed to see The Sunday Tribune Business section lede ‘Gardaí poised to arrest Anglo Irish Staff‘ having heard about the Criminal Assets Bureau raiding the home of a top-ranking Limerick bank boss earlier in the week. Unfortunately other stories on the same page include:

[SPIN WARNING]: Referendum needed for banking crisis probe (says head of the Oireachtas regulatory committee, a Fianna Fáil TD)’,

Anglo-Nationwide investment [made with taxpayers’ money] will be lost

and ‘Trio of insiders in race for AIB job‘.

Elsewhere, TDs expenses hit a record high last year, according to The Sunday Independent, don’t worry, the Independent Electoral Commission will solve all this, all of it. Ehem.

Gerard O’Neill (economist) of Amárach Research offers to buy Eamonn Ryan a subscription to Sky TV.


The of data analysis and mapping is still in its infancy. However, this one of The Underpants Bombers’ online activities is interesting reading (and viewing, see below, though you’ll need to read the post, or this one,  for some semblance of context). Every journalist should have a gander and good think about the possibilities. An English and History degree might have been useful when looking to land a job in the media over the last ten years, but over the next twenty will a Computer Science one be more valuable? Methinks it may.

Continue reading “Digest – Jan 10 2010”

Digest – Jan 3 2010


Fiona de Londres of UCD on the Human Rights in Ireland blog, writes about the blasphemy law.

Cian O’Callaghan of Ireland After NAMA on NAMA staff being exempt from public sector pay cuts.

Belfast Gonzo of Slugger on dissident republican’s “uninspiring” New Year’s statement.

Suzy on the Green Party state board appointees.

Interesting piece on the possible non-illegalities and potential failures of the Athiest Ireland campaign of purposeful blasphemy by Colm MacCárthaigh.

Brendan Hughes of the Irish Internet Association’s Social Media Working Group on the opportunities for Ireland in 2010.

There has been a growing mistrust of all that is BIG. Big business. Big government. Big economy. Big media. Big brand. Big church. The past 18 months was particularly torrid for BIG. The corporations and institutions that dominate modern society, for increasing numbers, are no longer seen as the bastions of all that is good. The doubters are no longer just those on the fringes or with leftist leanings. Capitalists, communist and fundamentalist alike are taking a stand.

In many cases we are revolutionaries and not even aware of it. Have you transferred from a monopolistic brand in favour of a new market entrant? Have you read a blog instead of an opinion piece on a broadsheet? Have you purchased online from a foreign retailer rather than head to the local mall? There are many small acts that cumulatively and over time mark a clear shift in intention and action away from BIG organisations.

However BIG is not going away…

VonPrond on Student “Enterprise”. This raised a few questions for me. He notes that many students would be engaged in would could technically be called full-time employment. I worked about 30 hours a week while in college, I think, taking in freelancing and part-time working. I then quit part-time working (in Debenhams, oh, the glamour) and struggled freelancing for a while before taking two (unpaid) internships which led to reliable freelance work (for the time being). I should still be in college now, actually, but deferred the last year. Continue reading “Digest – Jan 3 2010”