Government in meltdown!!

I see that the Fianna Fáil/PD government (Axis of Evil) is on the verge of meltdown. It seems that Bertie's little brown envelopes are causing quite a few problems. It is being reported on Slugger and on Politics.ie that the Government is on the verge of collapsing.

At the moment they all seem to running around like headless chickens, the blind leading the blind almost. If Bertie does fall on his sword, which would be a novel new concept for a Fianna Fail TD, then that really will put the cat amongst the pigeons.

Will the Government be able to stay on in its current composition of PD and Fianna Fail?

Will any future Fianna Fail leader decide that now is the time to cut the PD's loose and go it alone with the support of independents?

I really don't believe that there is much chance of a general election because neither of the Government parties would in much position to fight one.

McDowell is only leader a week and the Government falls apart, I suppose the big man upstairs does listen to your prayers after all.


Bye, bye Rangers!!!

It was with much delight on Saturday that i watched the mighty Bhoys totally dismantle what is in all reality a feeble and disorientated Rangers side! In the build up to the new SPL season we were told Rangers under the leadership of new manager Paul Le Guen were going to walk the league and totally obliterate any Celtic challenge for domestic honours. However once again the media hacks in the pro-Blue nose media (the Daily Record in particular) were irrefutably proved wrong. Celtic boasting Thomas Gravesen, Jan Vanegoor of Hesselink and Shunsuke Nakamura totally outclassed a second rate Rangers side. The sweetest of all ironies was Kenny Miller (yes the Bhoy that played for the Huns for 18 months) netting for thr first time in the Hoops against his old employers! Im sure he and many Celtic fans such as myself will forgive him for taking so long to score, now he has done what all Celtic players and fans dream of doing!!
You may wonder why such an article is appearing on a Republican blog site, but in many ways my following of Celtic is interwoven with my republicanism. Through republicanism I became at an early age, acquainted with the music of many great Glasgow rebel bands namely Eire Og, Charlie and The Bhoys and Shebeen. I saw the passion and ferverence they had for Celtic was on a par with that they posessed for republicanism, and it was not long before I followed suit. There are many republican fanzines available for republican minded Celts, one notable fanzine being Tiocfaidh Ar La (TAL), a worthwhile read even for republicans with no interest in football whatsoever. Parkhead has for generations been a bastion for the oppressed Irish community to portray their love for their native country, and the club itself was established to aid the needy Irish community in their dire plight. Many republican ballads and anthems are belted out at Parkhead including: Crossmaglen, Old Brigade, Let the people sing and Take it down. Many of the self proclaimed authorities on 21st century morals have riddiculed and concemned the singing of such songs. Many they claim, are secterian and offensive. I agree that secterianism has no place in any sport, but i wholly disagree with the assertion that republican ballads sung at Parkhead are secterian. They are merely an expression of the marginalisation and subjugation one section of the community has been subjected to. If this were offensive, then so too must the working class anthems sang at many sporting events and grounDS.



Michael Ferguson RIP

I was shocked and saddned to learn that Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast Michael Ferguson has died. Michael had an article in today's Irish News about his battle with testicular cancer.

This will come as a shock to the great many Republicans who knew Michael. He is a life long Republican and an extremely hard working MLA and Councillor who worked for the good of the community.

When I was Chair of the Cumann in QUB I had quite a few dealings with Michael in his role as our spokesperson for Higher Education and Learning. He was always available and willing to help.

In my second year when the QUBSU executive were in a battle with University Authorities over our publication of a Bi-Lingual handbook Michael was the one who stood up to the University top brass and supported us all the way.

These are just two of my abiding memories of Michael, I am sure that many people have many other memories.

What is known at this sad time is that the Republican movement have lost a key worker and comrade, the people of West Belfast have lost an excellent politician and his family have lost a devoted partner and father.

I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Louise, his children Hugh Thomas, Daibhead, Niamh, Aoife and the entire family circle.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Fianna Fail- Cute-whoreism

I see that Fianna Fail's mask is perhaps beginning to slip to show the real party within. Reports that the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, received payments from wealthy businessmen when he was Minister for Finance in 1993 does not bode well for their new image.

Mr Ahern has denied media reports that the amount received was between €50,000 and €100,000. The Taoiseach has confirmed though that the tribunal is investigating a number of payments he received at the time, apparently to pay legal bills associated with his separation from his wife.

Why would rich businessmen be paying the Mr Ahern's legal bills at that time? What favour did they receieve in return?

You don't get anything for nothing in this life!

Mr Ahern was an accountant by trade; he is not stupid by any matter of means. He must have known how this would have looked, the Minister for Finance receiving donations from wealthy businessmen. Why didn't he declare the payments?

I think it is about time that working-class Fianna Fail voters look again at their party of choice.

Does Fianna Fail really represent them, their families and friends?

When they were struggling to put food on the table these boys were being wined and dinned by the country's richest businessmen in return for favours that used their hard earned tax money.

No longer "Fianna Fail-the Republican party", it now reads "Fianna Fail- brown envelopes and cronyism"!


Time to play ball or lose the game

I see that the British and Irish governments are busy preparing for what happens on November 24th should the DUP decide that democratic politics is not for them.

According to an article in todays SBP the alternative plan, entitled ‘‘New Partnership’’, would see a greater involvement in the North’s affairs for the Irish government, with economic ties between north and south likely to be especially strengthened.

It is quite clear that both governments and most of the parties would prefer not to go down this road but what is known is that both governments are looking at this as a long term alternative.

It's understood that this new plan or "New Partnership" will involve an increased role for the Irish government in the North, beyond the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

As a Republican Plan B would not present me with many sleepless nights. I view this as a win win situtation. Should the DUP step up to the mark and engage with all the other political parties then great, if not then "Joint Partnership" will do just fine for the interium period before a United Ireland.

Unionists need to think long and hard about this, no more stalling will be allowed.

It's time to put up or shut up!

No time for spin

I always like reading Tom McGurks articles in the SBP because I find him refreshing; he doesn't beat about the bush. His article today looks at Michael McDowell and what we can expect from him in the future. What I found interesting about his article was how he describes the lost art of "gut politics"

"Politicians of various shapes and sizes come and go, but there can be no denying that McDowell is the archetypical heavyweight, the proverbial political ‘big beast’.These are now an endangered species in the modern spin-doctored, image-managed, rarefied world of consensual politics. In many ways, they are a dinosaur class, a throw-back to a previous political era when politics was a cut-and-thrust blood sport, when speeches came not from the autocues but from the gut, and parliament was the bull-ring."

My feelings on McDowell are well known but there is no one who can describe him as media groomed. That is perhaps the only thing that that I like about him, he doesn't bullshit or engage in spin. The latter has unfortunately crept into Irish politics and I think it is a bad thing.

One of my flat mates in London described me as blunt last week, I asked her what she meant by that. She said that it was a good thing and in fact an Irish trait, we don't do bullshit.

Irish people don't have time for spin; they resent it and would far rather have it served up straight even if they don't like it.

We constantely hear about the need to encourage more people, especially young people and women in to politics. In my opinion we are far less likely to do that when our politicians keep engaging in stage managed media performances that don't address the issue at hand.

We need to start cutting the crap from politics, call a spade a spade and stop worrying about appealing to all the masses. When you try to be all things to all men you fail, that is the nature of politics.

People like Charlie Haughey and indeed Pasiley were loved and loathed but you can't describe them as anything other than thought provoking. They didn't engage in media groomed politics; you knew what you were getting with those two.

Time to cut the bullshit!


New Republican blog

I would like to wish all my Comrades in Ógra Shinn Féin all the best with their new blog. Any new Republican voice in Bloglaigh na hÉireann is to be welcomed but more so when it is the voice of youth.

Blogging has its good sides and down sides, but I have found it to be an enjoyable experience.

All the best comrades!

He can't be wrong all the time

There must be a blue moon tonight because I find myself in complete agreement with Tánaiste and newly elected leader of the PD's/West Brits Michael McDowell.

Now before most of you rush for the men in white coats to take me away I am only in agreement with him on the issue of Ireland's refusal to give up its veto on justice issues.

The EU wishes to extend its powers and encroach further upon our national sovereignty in the areas of justice, immigration and police co-operation. The Finnish Justice Minister, Leena Luthanen, who is chairing the two-day meeting in Tampere, Finland, said it was undemocratic that a single member state can prevent an agreement reached by all the other members.

Trying to get every country to agree to legislation frequently led to so many compromises that the result was meaningless, she said.

What Ms Luthanen needs to be very clear on is that Ireland is a sovereign country with its own constitution, we don't need nor want an EU Superstate.

We are quite happy to co-operate with other European countries when it is in our best interest but we will not be lectured to by a foreign politican on what we should and should not do.

We have had 800 years of that, no more!

Bigots pay up!

I am delighted to learn that DUP councillors in Coleraine have had to pony up £2,000 each to cover an £18,000 legal bill arising from a court action taken by Sinn Fein councillor Billy Leonard.

Billy was excluded from the council's Christmas party last year. As a result he took Coleraine Borough Council to court over the decision not to invite him to the event. Reflecting on his victory he said

"Legally, financially, and morally, it has been shown to the public that the DUP mayor acted wrongly. That is more important than the personal loss to the DUP councillors. If they had not been so politically and crassly stupid about this issue, it would not have happened at all."

I am glad to see that even as a lone Sinn Féin representative Billy is leading the fight against bigotry and discrimination in Coleraine.

This was a victory for Equality!


Time to take a stand!

I am shocked and angered by the Muslim reaction to the speech that the Holy Father gave last week. We have seen Catholic Churches firebombed, a Catholic nun shot dead and a section of Muslim who believe that they have the right to behead Catholic school girls just because the Pope may have insulted them.

I attended mass yesterday at my local church in London and found a locked church when I arrived, this is unusal in my experience as most church's are opened all the time. Myself and an old woman waited a minute and then the Priest looked out from the top window and came down to open the door. He explained that he was worried about a violent reaction to the speech the Pope gave last week.

The Pope was right to make the speech that he did, it was about opening up debate. Islam is not some kind of "that which must not be challenged" religion. Every religon is questioned and probd and Islam is no different. Muslims have no right, no right what so ever to kill and maim Catholic school children simply because they are "annoyed".

We constantly hear that Islam is a peacefull religion and I know that it is from my muslim friends. Islam is no more violent or evil than certain parts of Christanity. The time has now come for moderate muslims to stand up to these lunatics and fanatics.

I would like peoples views on this and do bear in mind that I am not a pro-western, right wing nut job. My previous posts have made that clear but this whole episode has changed my mind on the threat that we face from radical Islam.


Daily Ireland is no more.

I see that after 20 months of publishing, the Daily Ireland has been forced to close. Now I can't pretend this will affect my life too much as I never really read it. I tried it when it first came out but to be honest, I wasn't overly impressed with the product as a newspaper and soon switched back to the Irish News and, more recently, the Irish Times.

The one thing I will comment on is the level of what seem to sheer hatred and vitriolic abus levelled at the paper and its owners by people from various different parts of the political spectrum, Unionists and SDLP supporters. The thread on its closure on sluggerotoole is a prime example although there have been many other in the past. The Daily Ireland was biased. Of course it was, all newspapers are. The Newsletter is biased towards the DUP, just as the Irish News rarely strays too far from the SDLP party line. The problem people seemed to have was that the DI dared to express an editoral line close to the party supported by the majority of Nationalist voters. It seems that some would prefer to go back to old days of exclusion and censorship for Republicans, despite their claims to be "democrats". The manner is which they express their glee says more about them than it does about anybody associated with the Daily Ireland.

A tale of two leaders

It's been a political week dominated by changes (or the lack of them) at the top in government parties in both Britain and Ireland. But the differing manner in which both leaders have handled the issue has been stark. In Dublin, Mary Harney managed to defy the old political saying that "All political careers end in failure" by resigning as leader of the PDs while currently tainaiste. As Harney exited with her dignity in tact (despite the haimes she seems to have made of the health service), across the water Tony Blair seems unwilling to recognise that his boat has long since sailed. Unlike Harney, Blair was unable to recognise when his time was up. Instead George W. Bush's favourite servant continues to desperately cling to power in a party that no longer cares for him and seems willing only to tolerate him in the short term for fear that to oust him now would be a wasted and pointless effort. After all lame ducks simply never rise again.

Blair has nobody to blame but himself. Whether its politics or football, I've always believed that "when you say that you're going, you're gone". The moment Blair admitted that he would not fight a fourth election, he was a goner and the Brownite vultures circling were unlikely ever to allow him to walk off triumphantly into the sunset. Bertie Ahern may face a similar problem in the upcoming years as he approachs his 60th birthday, the date which he has said he will retire at.

Right now however, Bertie is probably much more worried about who will be joining him as his number two. Michael McDowell is the front runner but he's not exactly the most popular of figures outside his party and the statutory rape scandal earlier this year may well have damaged his credentials. If Liz O'Donnell decides to run, she may well run McDowell close. While McDowell is apparently popular with his party, the PDs want to be in government and I get the feeling that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would be keener to do business with O'Donnell than McDowell. Personally, the PDs are the southern party I have the least respect for and I must say that personally I hope the new leader won't have too many TDs to lead come the next election. How ironic would it be if Mr. Ego finally got the leadership job he craved only to find himself evicted from the Dáil by the Irish people at the next election!