Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hollibob Pics

In November, the wife and myself decided to take some time off and do some exploring. We went to that London for three nights and then headed in Norn Iron, spending 2 nights in Belfast and 2 nights outside Ballymena - Haigh !

It was a fantastic trip, really great. The scenery in Ireland is spectacular and if you have never been north - go! We drove as far as Dundalk, hung a right and took the coast road to Carlingford into Newry and down the other side of Carlingford Lough. Magic.

First though, we went to London spending a few days in Kensington. Accommodation wasn't great but we didn't spend much time indoors. On the first day, we got the underground to Buckingham Palace then walked to the Thames via Westminster Cathedral, then Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.

The Cathedral is a spectacular building, all full of nooks and crannies. There are loads of little praying areas, all for different priests and most used by the looks of it. Some hold maybe 10 people, others are bigger. I didn't get any pictures inside as they prefer you not to.

After this, and Starbucks, we went to the Abbey and again a magnificent building. All around this building there is great architecture on view. The Abbey itself had restricted access on the day but still to walk around outside is cool. It reminded me very much of Notre Dame but with a more regal feeling about it. It's just like you would imagine when Kings and Queens were having mass years ago whereas Notre Dame has a more imposing feeling - to me anyway.

That day there were memorial services for Poppy Day and so there was something on at the side of the Abbey. As you can see in the picture, there were thousands of little crosses, with lots of them having peoples names on it. I watched for a while as men from all regiments looked around for their friends names. Many took pictures of them and many wife's took pictures of their husbands at the crosses. It was a very sombre moment to be honest. The picture I took represented only maybe a tenth of all the flags.

From there, it was onto the Houses Of Parliament, a building I really like. Maybe its because every time I see it all I can think of is Guy Fawkes and what the place, and indeed the world, would look like if he succeeded!

Along the back of the building, there is a really imposing statue of Richard I of England. It's just there, on its own with no other statue around. How cool would it be to be immortalised in a statue. Cool.

There is also a status of Oliver Cromwell but for fairly obvious reasons I didn't take a picture of it - me dad would kill me.

There is a lovely walk through a park, along the Thames. In this park is a tribute to Emmeline Pankhurst. On a fresh Winters day this wee park is lovely, bringing you up to Lambeth Bridge a a view back to the Houses Of Parliament

Tomorrow, we'll walk up the Thames from Lambeth Bridge to Tower Bridge, drink London Pride beer, eat a Sunday roast in a good London pub, watch the last 10 minutes of Chelsea v ManU on mobile text alerts and then have a kebab.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Clongriffin Christmas Market

Righty-o. There is a Christmas Market this coming Saturday in Clongriffin, Dublin 13. Everyone should come along as it will be magic. Below is the flyer for it though loads more stalls have been added since this was made.

Loads to do for the kids..and also for the adults!
Get into the Christmassy mood by donning your Santy gear and get your arse to Clongriffin. Click here for the directions.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kiddie Blog

So, we are due to have a little baby in March next year. It is without a doubt the most exciting and scary time of my life - and that's just thinking about it. What if it becomes a Manure fan (it wont I assure you, but still an adequate fear to have)? What if its totally different to me? How will I cope with less than 8 hours sleep? All questions that have me fretting.

However. if I ever make a website or blog showing endless, mind-numbing pictures of the little tyke you have my permission to put me down.

That is all.

p.s. yyyyiiipppppppppppeeeeeeeee

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mo, mo, Movember

I am growing a moustache this year for Movember. I have decided to put down my razor for one month (November) and help raise awareness and funds for men's health - specifically prostate cancer.

What many people don't appreciate is that men have a 1 in 12 chance of developing prostate cancer during the course of their lifetime and that prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, after skin cancer in Ireland. Facts like these have convinced me I should get involved and I am hoping that you will support me.

To donate to my Mo, you can either:
* Click this link http://ie.movember.com/mospace/177339/ and donate online using your credit card or debit card
* Write a cheque payable to Irish Cancer Society referencing my Registration Number 177339 and mailing it to: Movember - Irish Cancer Society, 43/45 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4

Movember is now in its second year here in Ireland and, the first year already saw some great results by working alongside The Irish Cancer Society. Check out further details at: http://ie.movemberfoundation.com/research-and-programs.

If you are interested in following the progress of my Mo, click http://ie.movember.com/mospace/177339/. Also, http://ie.movember.com has heaps of useful information.

Mo Week 0 ---------------------------- Mo Week 1

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Irish Web Awards 2009

Banshee bones, Wheelies, Tayto’s, Lovehearts, Lindt Chocolate, Glow-glasses…and that was just Thursday! Its been a long few weeks.

What can be said about the Irish Web Awards that hasn’t been said before or someone hasn’t commented about yet this week? They are different to the Bloggies but are veering towards the Bloggies in terms of the fun element. I think the Webbies were seen as different due to the business element attending, but having seen how awards should be done, everyone embraces it now to make it the best awards ceremony in town.

I was sitting beside Hugh Linehan from the Irish Times and his wife, my cousin Jeanette, who were bowled over by the awards. They have been to all the other ceremonies – Spiders, Digital Media Awards, Film & TV awards and everything else - and they said that, without a doubt, they have never enjoyed an awards ceremony so much. They loved it. They loved the fact that the audience could see, via the bestest powerpoint presentation ever created (let John or myself know if you want a copy of the 160MB of goodness) pictures of the nominees. They loved the presentation. They loved Ricks interaction with the audience and the audience being asked to assist. They loved the actual awards which were fab (thanks Fran from Made In Hollywood). They loved the cupcakes, the sweets, the crisps, the food, the atmosphere – I mean, what wasn’t there to love about the awards.

I’ve seen some bitching and back-biting already about the awards. About the food, the judging, the winners, the PowerPoint, etc and it’s not nice. The amount of work that goes into this is phenomenal. It truly is. And considering all those who work on it have a full time job it makes it all the more remarkable. There is no panel of people whose sole job it is to make the awards happen. This is done afterhours, over lunch, weekends and other hours that people can find to make it happen. Certain items are intentional. The PowerPoint was meant to be like that as Rick said. We know its not the best that could be done but the challenge to make it that bad was nearly as tough as a challenge to make something brilliant. The effort that went into setting up the event, to get sponsors on board, to get the crisps & sweets & other items was huge as lots of companies hadn’t heard of the awards and were reluctant to help out. Some were great. So, before I give a good view on things, here some things I would like to point out:

1) If you didn’t volunteer to be a judge, you have no right to bitch about who won. You had a chance to help influence the winner by helping with judging. If your favourite site didn’t make either long or short list did you nominate it? It not, then shut up.
2) Did you volunteer or ask to help out with any part of the ceremony? If not, then don’t bitch about how it was. This was run with everyones best intentions and on peoples ‘free’ time people. If its not up to your usual standards then people will understand why you are not there next year.
3) Don’t bitch about the food and everything else. Show me where you can get something different each year, free food, some free drink, awards ceremony, chance to network and have a great laugh for €35? Again, fun events are meant to be fun hence the whole glow-glasses and sweeties.

Now, onto happy joy-joy things. Firstly, thanks Damien for a great event. Another stormer. Thanks Rick for presenting in such an affable and interactive manner. You do set the tone for the rest of the evening. Thanks Lexia for running the ppt show and John for doing my nut in ;) . Lexia, I know you were reluctant to run this but no one else could have done it. Ryan, again great pics. Thanks to everyone else for making it a great night and lovely to catch up with some heads that I’ve only just met through Twitter and in person. I enjoyed the night immensely and can’t wait for the bloggies. Both are growing into great events.

Damien, if you need help…count me in.

NB: Pics from Ryan (Rymus).

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Its a long road home

Date: 21st December 2008
Camera: Sony Cybershot 7.2 mega pixels
Settings: Automatic settings

Another picture on the ickle digital camera taken on the west coast of oz. I love driving on these roads. Air con up full, tunes turned up, shades on, car in top gear and only having to stop to wee or get petrol. That's the life.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A view to kill for

Date: 19th December 2008
Camera: Sony Cybershot 7.2 mega pixels
Settings: Automatic settings

Took this pic with our little travel camera. This was the view from my back door for a few days last Xmas in Oz. We were staying in Monkey Mia which is in Western Australia. What a view to wake up to in the mornings.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

We need to act now

Following the revelations in today's Sunday Tribune regarding the expenses accrued by John O'Donoghue, our supposed Ceann Comhairle, while in that office I think its time something happened. Something big.

In the last two budgets the ordinary person has been severely hit in the pocket. Everyone, private sector and public sector, has been hit and yet this tool continues to squander our money on lavish trips. He stays in the best hotels, travels well above his station and worst of all - we've paid for his wife to see the world. Show me other business men that take their wife's with them on work? This is not good enough and not acceptable.

He must be sacked immediately for gross misconduct. An apology is not enough. Saying sorry for the needless spending of huge amounts of our money is not acceptable.

He should not be given the chance to explain or to pass it off onto the Joe-soap that booked trips. What I don't understand, is that the person who booked the trips when he was a minister still has a job. Surely if they booked trips that were extravagant and above what should have been spent, that's not doing the job right. But again everything glossed over and we were told to leave him alone as he said sorry...poor little bunny.

This man MUST be fired. He is not an appropriate representative of the Irish People, never has been in my eyes, and never will be. He is an example of everything that is wrong in Irish politics and with Fine Fail. He spends the tax-payers money without any thought or care for the people he was supposed to stand for and who worked harder than him to earn.

All money spent on his wife should be paid back into the tax coffers from his own personal wages. All hotels and use of car hire that was not related to his job (for example, car hire to go to horse racing events or flights to events other than state-related items) should be paid back from his personal money. His job should be terminated and he should only receive the pension money that he has accrued until now. No golden handshakes, no car, no pay off. Legislation must be changed now so that no more tax money is wasted on wasters like him or Rory Molloy. People who show disregard for their fellow people should not be rewarded as has been the case.

I think we as a people need to start to stand up and be counted or the budget will only serve to shaft us again. If we were French, German or Italian we would have taken to the streets at this stage instead of bending over and asking the Government for more sir.

Molloy needs to give back money. O'Donoghue needs to give back money and both never working in a public office job again.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Taxi regulation

A few months ago, I got a taxi from Dublin City Centre back home to northside.

I was talking to the lovely fella, lets call him Tom, about the whole taxi regulation thing and striking. A strike was coming up that weekend and he said he wouldn't be attending. His reason was he felt it was uncalled for and that taxi drivers brought it upon themselves.

Tom had been a taxi driver when it was fully regulated. Back when you had to queue for 2 hours on a Friday or Saturday night in Dublin for a taxi. Back when you called for a taxi at 7am and at 8.30am you were ringing for the 4th time to be told it would still be 10mins. Something had to change and did.

These strikes and most people marching never care about the customers. They care about themselves. When it was regulated they minted it. The customers suffered but they didn't care. When it became easier to get a plate, the customer rejoiced as it was now a much better service. Prices went up over the last few years to compensate for loss of earnings but its easier than ever before to get a plate, that itself is wrong.

Tom told me he knew people who worked 3 or 4 days a week during full regulation and that kept the family going. If they were going on holidays or needed extra money for Christmas they would work 5 or 6 days. he knew drivers that had massive houses from 3 days work.

When the news of regulation was coming in, taxi unions and drivers were approached to agree on a way forward. They refused all proposals put before them and hence what we have today was put in place. The main idea mooted to them was that each taxi driver would be issued with another plate - each of them would have two plates. They could sell that plate onto anyone and double the amount of taxis in Dublin and elsewhere. Tom told me that lots of drivers liked that idea as it would help control the numbers. Lots didn't like it as it would mean they may have to work 5 days now to earn their keep. Taxi and union heads refused and so the regulation was opened up.

Tom left the taxi business and went on the building sites during the boom. He's now near retiring age and is back in the taxi game just for something to do. He works day time hours just to have some social interaction and to "keep out of the wife's hair". He has no sympathy for the current situation as he was saying it was too controlled with no proper rota system or care for customers. He felt the two-plate idea was great but his voice, and the voice of many colleagues, wasn't heard or listened to by those apparently representing them.

If they hadn't been so pig-headed before, things could be so different now.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Llama Face.

For the day thats in it...

From Fota a few years back...and next just because its a top, top movie.

Simple Economics

I’ve been listening to The Frontline and all the Radio station debates on the possible pay cuts in the public sector. As you would expect from our Unions, their number one answer is to strike rather than look at the overall picture.

The debate on The Frontline on Monday was good but it done nothing other than open up an us-and-them debate between private and public sectors with each outlining exactly what they’ve lost. However, I do despise when the public sector mention they have had an X% pay decrease and talk as if no-one else has had the same decreases. In my view, when these debates are going on no-one should mention pay decreases that have affected everyone – such as the 2% tax levy and the PRSI levy. Then talk about what else you’ve had reduced.

The public sector also are bitching about their pensions as if they have a god given right to have one in the first place. It’s great that they had it but why should my taxes go towards someone else’s retirement. One man on The Frontline mentioned about his friend in Siemens getting a 10% company donation to his pension. I’ve never seen anyone get 10% in the companies I worked for or heard any of my friends in other companies getting it. In fact, in most private sector companies they will assist you in setting up a pension but might not donate anything or you have to be a minimum of 1 year in the company before you are entitled to a pension. And even then it’s a raising scale starting at around 3% and moving up to around 6% as long as you match it. In the public sector, do you get one straight away? If so, that’s no right.

Personally, I think the only way out of the mess is to start treating every single section of the public sector as a business – let’s call the overall company FFCo. At the moment, FFCo do not make enough money to make up what they are spending. In any normal circumstances, this would mean administration or closure for that company. You can’t spend what you don’t have, a factor that the employees of FFCo don’t seem to understand.

FFCo make their money from people working in PrivateCo. The more people working in PrivateCo the more money FFCo make. Until late last year, FFCo made lots of money from PrivateCo but did not invest wisely assuming PrivateCo would continue to have vast employees making them money. On the back of this, FFCo made deals with UnionCo to give pay rises to FFCo staff for no reason other than that they felt they deserved them. We have yet to see reasons for pay rises such as meeting, or indeed exceeding, set objectives as happens in PrivateCo. Maybe giving good ideas to their part of FFC0, applying for roles, increasing productivity in their jobs or any other the other reason that PrivateCo workers are measured against? Is it right that some FFCo people giving out about not getting the 3.5% pay rise are in the same job for 30 years? Where are the career aspirations? Where’s the proof you’re entitled to a pay rise? Can you justify why you need to get more money for doing the same job and meeting the same targets year after year? Matching inflation is not a reason. PrivateCo workers are not judged on inflation but rather on performance, attitude, ability and many other attributes. In one job I had, I got 2 pay-rises in 5 years - one for promotion, one for performance related work as I helped the company keep vital contracts happy. If the contract went, I went. Simple economics – if there was no job then why have someone on the books?

I don’t think that the frontline staff in FFCo should suffer as people in FFCo think will happen. On The Frontline, it only seemed to talk to the FFCo frontline workers. Where were the consultants who work less than 35 hours per week and Jabba The Hut gave big wages to 2 years ago? Where are the admin staff that merged as part of the HSE and were not let-go? How could FFCo employ several people to do the same job when the work wasn’t there?

Something needs to happen in FFCo or else it will fold and people in PrivateCo will also suffer. Striking is not the answer. In order to keep afloat, I know a company that done the following:
  • They assessed their staff and it was unfortunate, but some had to go as they had no current work for them and nothing incoming to put them on.
  • They reduced some staffs working hours to what was affordable.
  • The company cut all company pension contributions to 1% until we are out of the recession. Once things are better, it will be restored to pre-recession levels.

I think the above is perfectly acceptable. Employees can still put in as much as they can to their fund but the company can’t afford to keep up their payments. Again simple economics – money out does not exceed money coming in. If people didn’t accept the company would have to close or else make more people redundant.

One last point I would like to make before outlining my solution to the problem is this. FFCo workers work a 35-hour week. PrivateCo workers work a 40-hour week. When the recent ERSI report was released, did it adjust for this? Earning €30k for 35-hours means a higher wage than €30k for 40-hours.

To help ease the overall pain and keep FFCo in business, I feel the following are something’s that FFCo needs to do:

  • Reduce pension contributions down for everybody in FFCo down to 1%. Make a deal for it to be reviewed on a 6 or 9 month basis. Once the country is out of recession AND making money start to increase again over a period of time. All new staff in FFCo should not get a pension by default but rather only after 1 year.
  • Increase FFCo workers from 35 to 40 hours per week in line with PrivateCo. No extra pay for this. This is a form of benchmarking as well.
  • We can’t reduce the Frontline staff in hospitals, schools, special needs assistants, fire service, paramedics, etc. We need these areas to be staffed correctly to ensure the country remains safe and in health. But, maybe look at rotas, staffing etc. Could there be some efficiency here?
  • Look at the admin staff in FFCo. In order to keep people of the live-register full time, reduce some working hours. When the HSE merged how were people not let go? We can’t afford full-time dole payments but we could endure some people on 3 days a week rather than 5 as the dole is less than wages.
  • Offer time-in-lieu instead of overtime.
  • Entice job-sharing with those staff that are close to retirement or would like more time off. I’m sure some FFCo employees would like to work less hours.
  • Review job objectives, targets, etc for all FFCo employees and these staff need proper reviews with their departments results made public. In a call-centre in PrivateCo, if more calls come in then employees will take more calls. In FFCo it appears that you are told you’ll have to wait longer for an answer. I’m not saying hugely increase targets but are they ever increased.
  • We can’t increase taxes or reduce wages anymore. FFCo not making contributions to your pension is NOT a reduction in wages.
  • The child benefit should be means tested based on your net income AFTER you have paid everything per month. Not on your gross salaries added together. You should be asked to show 12 month evidence of your mortgage payments, loans, monthly donation to charities and how much you need to live per month for food and bills. You should also have a realistic amount of money for savings. After that if you have more than XX amount you don’t get child benefit.
  • Reduce VAT by to 1% lower than the previous version. Encourage people to spend a bit more.
  • Banks won’t give a mortgage to people if they have loads of re-possessed houses on their books at their own cost. FFCo to set up a house-based Bank or set up a dept within each bank we’ll call BankCo. People are in serious debt at the moment with some struggling to make payments. Anyone can apply – with all necessary evidence (letters stating they have been made redundant or on reduced hours, banks statements, proof of loans and mortgage etc – to have their mortgage transferred to BankCo. BankCo reduces the mortgage payments they pay each month to what is affordable (judged and agreed by BankCo and the mortgage payers) but the amount of interest currently being paid is still paid to the main bank. This means the main bank still makes money, people keep their houses and will deduce rental assistance payments being made to those out of work and kicked from their homes and now renting. Your home can still repossessed I f you don’t make the payments you agreed to. Once the recession slows down and you are back on your feet your mortgage is moved from BankCo to the previous holder with the previous payments happening again. Just to note, the length of your mortgage is not reduced so at some stage you will have to pay what you were unable to pay during the recession.
  • Finally, chase those people who have got or wasted taxpayers’ money such as FAS, etc., and received redundancy. The mismanagement of FAS is tantamount to gross negligence or gross misconduct with our money. They should be fired with no handshakes. They take what they have right now and leave.

These are just some of my views on the situation. I’ll leave with one item that is really bugging me. People like Peter McLoone and weirdy-beardy Jack O’Connor keep going on about the Unions helping the ordinary people on the frontline keep their jobs. We need to stop concentrating on your Joe Soap FFCo employee and chase the developers and bankers that brought the country to its knees. The same people, of which, some are your members? Why should we trust Unions whose members are also responsible? The same FAS company which McLoone was a member off and sat idly by watching the ‘due-process’ take place when he could have stopped millions being wasted by intervening earlier?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

He's Electric

Picture taken at Electric Picnic. Just like it.

Date: 30th August 2008
Camera: Sony Cybershot 7.2 mega pixels
Settings: Automatic settings

Friday, September 25, 2009

Missing headlight in the sky

Picture taken on the road to Dingle. Quality not great but something either eerie or soothing about it.

Date: 14th April 2007
Camera: Sony Cybershot 7.2 mega pixels
Settings: Automatic settings

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Photo taken on Dollymount Strand.

Date/Time: 12th July 2008, 18:58
Camera: Sony Cybershot 7.2 mega pixels

Settings: Automatic settings

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Public Sector Pay...why o why

Saw a story in the Irish Independent on a survey done on Public v Private sector pay in Ireland. As always, its disgusting. Every month a 'senior' union representative is on the radio going on about parity of pay against private sector or how they are hard done by the recent Government budget etc.

Crap. Rubbish. Total bolloxs.

According to this report, on average a standard employee in Public sector earns around 25% more than their equivalent in the Private sector. What is more galling, is that someone who just graduated from college/uni earns around a-third more. Yes, they get circa 31% more as a starter salary compared to private workers.

Over the last 10 years all we heard from the unions is to make the pay equal. Mr X in Public Job earns 10% less in base salary than My Y in Private Job. That they should earn the same. However, take all the perks and, more importantly, the job stability into account, and Public always earn more. In Private sector you have to EARN you wages. I've heard too many stories directly from people in the Public sector to know that its about time it was run as a business as it costs too much. Targets and objectives are essentially non existent. Remember this letter from a 'poor civil servant'??

I'm all on for the pay cuts. Give them the parity they so desperately crave. Bring the wages back in line, but not all cuts I agree with.

Money has to be spent on health. There have been too many cuts so far and our health system is going down the tube. Here are some examples:

- Last week my 2-year-old nephew was in for an operation (nothing serious). However, it took over 1.5 hours to get a porter to wheel him from theatre to recovery. Due to staff cuts (which the HSE and Jabba the Hut refuse to acknowledge are actually happening) it took that long to get a porter.

  • A friend of my sisters has cysts on the brain. Shes been waiting since July for a referral. She has no idea when she'll know when she'll be seen.
  • My cousin was on the holiday-work visa in Oz. He damaged his knee (cartilage) playing football. He had a scan and diagnosis out there and knows what needs to be done. He had to come home early from his trip as he couldn't work out there and couldn't afford to stay. He's been told it could be another 8/9 months before he is seen over here. To be told what he has from specialists from Oz. They wont take the diagnosis from the Oz doctors here and will have to have the exact same tests and scans done again. And in the meantime he's not sure what to do and his knee could be done for life. He's 24. He's seriously thinking about going private but the costs could be huge.
  • A friends child has grommets which affects speech. They are waiting for this to be sorted. They've been told, by a specialist, that they need to get this fixed before the child is 4 or 5 otherwise the child will need to go to speech therapy - therapy which the State pay for. The mad thing is, its cheaper to have the operation rather than the speech therapy. Both of which the state pay for. But it seems they would rather take the big cost. Save money Mary??

In my view, nurses and (some) doctors don't deserve pay cuts. Some deserve pay rises. They are crucial to our way of life and in keeping alive. But the state don't see it that way. They need to seriously look at restructuring the entire Health service. I'm sure there are many, many admin staff who are not needed. I'm sure there are better roster structures to look at. I'm sure there are better and more efficient ways to treat people. But instead it's widespread salary cuts...but probably not at consultant level.

Something really needs to be done before it becomes a situation where a visit to a hospital could kill ya before curing ya.

Pat Kenny, Frontline

I watched the first Pat Kenny 'The Frontline' program last night and it was great to see a program that really listened to people and also allowed them time to talk back with their grievances.

One of the gripes I had with 'Question & Answers' was that it was almost too intellectual and never really allowed people time to speak. Questions were asked, the panel answered, but not enough time was spent on, as Joan Burton would say, the ordinary people.

'The Frontline' allowed people to ask their questions, receive answers and they were given time to respond to the answers they received. It was great to see Pat Farrell and Tom Parlon (a man I have so little time for I'd rather spend the afternoon with Alex Ferguson & Gary Neville) squirm in their chairs. Men who assisted in our current financial state. Men who until last night never had to face up to the facts of their members actions.

I agreed with Fintan O'Toole from the Irish Times when he spoke about the NAMA money going into the wrong places. Why is none of the money going to a fund to help people to KEEP their homes if/when their jobs go? The last thing the country needs at present are more houses on the market and the state paying rent for people. The Government, as a large shareholder in the banks, should be making the banks help people restructure mortgages so they are paying less now. People will spend the money saved if they can, and if not it keeps people in their homes and prevents more looking for rent or assistance from the state. Instead Lenihan will bail the banks at the cost of the people.

Fintan O'Toole also stated we should, as a people, be taking to the streets. Other than ourselves and the British, every other European country would be on the streets at this stage looking for Government removal. Fintan, if you set up the movement - they will follow. We need a movement not associated with any political party and instead a people movement is needed.

The only part on the program that disappointed me was at the very end. When Clara asked Brian Lenihan if the people let go from the banks got a golden-handshake and were still getting their pensions he never answered and wasn't pushed to answer. We deserve an answer and if they were given golden-handshakes (like the outgoing counsellors were) then why? If some are no longer working and still getting paid a pension then why? If they only got the pension part they 'earned' then fair enough.

Finally, Pat just got it slightly wrong with his final point to Brian Lenihan. He said the Minister will be remembered one way or the other:
- The man who saved the banks and saved the economy.
- The man who broke a generation.

I think its more:
- The man who saved the banks and saved the economy.
- The man who broke a few generations.
- The man who saved the banks and forgot about the people.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I can feel the summer breeze

"So, what ye up to for the summer then? "
What’s this about summer I hear you say?
"Well, according to Sky Sports, the BBC, ITV and RTE the Premiership season is over so it must be May and hence summer is on the way."
"Well, Spurs are Champions on goal difference from Chelsea. Liverpool are in mid table. Man Utd have their worst season in a long time and Everton are relegated."

All this is true if you believe the utter, utter rubbish sensationalism that all are portraying after only three games. In these three games Liverpool have lost twice and therefore have no hope of winning the league. Yes, we are a huge six points of Chelsea, three of Man Utd and since we are three ahead of Everton they have no hope of catching us and therefore are already down. And Burnley are in the UEFA cup (sorry, Europa League).

What has happened to the world? Why is everything – in this case nine month’s worth of football – judged on only a few days of time? Why has everything become a must win, a must-not lose, a must-do-something-or-be-damned? Why? What happened to logical and reasonable debate? And basing an opinion on a good sample of statistics and information.

This morning Sky had a poll asking it Liverpool could still win the league. As it stands, after three games, they are on three points, six points off the leaders – a HUGE six points which makes every one of the remaining 35 games a must-win. Based on last season, we are one point worse off than against the same opposition. Last season Liverpool lost 2 games and only came second and therefore, in the ‘top’ *cough* pundits eyes if they lose one more the league is gone. Even if they beat Stoke away, Hull at home, and match every other result of last season. That would give them three points more than last seasons total. Utd could lose to Arsenal on Saturday, Liverpool beat Bolton and go level on points with Utd - would that mean Utd are also out of the title race?

To be perfectly honest, all this ‘in the moment reaction’ is actually driving me away from the game. I get deeply frustrated at listening to so-called experts talk during a match as most talk utter, utter drivel. Most commentators are no better. Andy Gray continually gives out about zonal marking yet Liverpool have conceded less goals from set pieces over the last 4 seasons compared to any of the other clubs – yes, less than Utd who do man-marking and yet they never get chastised. Every single moment of a game is analyised and soon we will have the "Title Deciding" weekends. In October. Yawn.

With Alonso gone, it’s obvious to see Liverpool are struggling a bit but anyone who has ever played or followed football knows you can’t take a crucial part out of a team and not suffer a bit at the start. Most ‘experts’ (a loose term) blame Rafa for selling Alonso but what could he do? Alonso asked to leave – he handed in a transfer request – so the choice was not Rafa’s. Most pundits still refuse to remember last summer when Alonso was for sale and no-one came in for him – one excellent season later and he’s worth over £30m. Again, a poor reflection of the times we live in when one good year does that. Personally, I’ve always loved watching Alonso play, his passing and eye for a shot from 60 yards are a pleasure to behold. But he never scored many goals for a midfielder. When he arrived first he was very good, got injured for a few months and finished the season well. The next year he was good, then OK, then average, then excellent. Not exactly consistent really and he was injured a fair bit.

I’ve seen one supposed betting expert say Aquilani is a panic buy. I do wonder how they figure this out. He was watched for some time by Liverpool and indeed they made the first move when before Alonso left – they just didn’t have the money until Alonso left hence why he was bought so quickly afterwards. Again weak journalism, with no facts or knowledge to back up statements. Sir Alex bought Valencia within days of Ronaldo leaving yet this was not a panic buy? Mmm.

It’s not just the pundits that bring this to games. Supporters (or alleged supporters) also join this bandwagon of changing their minds with every game or indeed during games. A few seasons back I was at the Liverpool v Galatasaray game at Anfield in which Crouchie scored that brill scissor kick. I sat beside a fellow Irishman whose opinion on a player changed DURING the game. This player passed lovely and helped set up some chances. He was a god to this supporter beside me. Then, he attempted an audacious pass, which if it came off, had us in for a certain fourth goal. The pass was just slightly under hit; the other team broke and had a chance. Suddenly, the player should be removed from the pitch immediately and never play for Liverpool again. No matter what the player done for the rest of the game it wasn’t good enough for him. I was taught to applaud such skill, cheer the player on so they don’t get down-hearted and be a fan to help the team. Not get on their back at every misplaced pass or mistake – which are inevitable.

Now people who watch sport change their moods frequently; they class supporting a team as watching the match, wearing the newest kit and maybe going to a few games during the season - not supporting their team when they are down or cheering harder when they are losing. I’ve even seen ‘fans’ at Anfield who do not know the words to ‘You’ll never walk alone’ – and I’m not talking about kids here but adults who could not possibly fit anymore gear onto their bodies. And they never sang or cheered the whole match...well done folks. Hope it was worth the trip.

I’d just love a sense of reality to come back into sport. Titles and championships are not decided in a moment. Yes, there are knockout tournaments where one game can make or break you, but you have to get to that stage. You have to consider the whole campaign and not just one game. Sport is about a season and following your team until the end – and not just for three games.

So, you off anywhere nice for summer?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I used to have this poster on my desk at work 'till my Egyptian boss asked for it to be removed. not sure why...it kept great control on Mulley.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is there anything it cant do?

What I'd love tonight....

Father Collins Park, Clongriffin

On 27th May, Irelands first wholly sustainable park opened near my gaf - Father Collins Park in Clongriffin (near Donaghmede). I have to say its fantastic and gets great use from all around. Some pics below and click here to see where on Google maps it is.

..and one day they will.

Found this in my archives. Took this when they were doing up the O2 a good while back. Check out the monkey in the background. Deadly.

I love monkeys.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hats off to Irish Rail

In the past, I've been very tough on Irish Rail and I think it was with good cause in most cases. But in the last two weeks I've been to Galway twice and I have to applaud them for a very enjoyable trip each time.

Both trips I've managed to bag Carraige A (supposed to be First Class) but isn't really. The carraiges on these new trains are very comfy and with power points in them it makes laptop usage easy.

However, the real reason for totally applauding them, is their handling of an incident on the train today. A fella sat opposite to me and from the moment he sat down until he was removed from the train he was a bundle of trouble to all the other passengers. But how he was dealt with by the staff was first class and ensured that the other passengers suffered no further. The issue was dealt with very quietly and efficiently.

Hats off Irish Rail and especially to the ticket inspector who was excellent throughout.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Some piccies from a trip to Glendalough last year..

Dollymount Strand, Dublin

Here are pictures I took on Dollymount Strand last summer (with the good weather of the last week I remembered these).

There are always kite surfers down there and its definitely something I'd love to try.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Howth head

Took this pic mid December last year at 8ish in the morning. Its on the coast road near Sutton and its of Howth Head. Took it with my Sony Ericsson K850i camera phone.
Saw many morning like this..really nice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Van

Took this pic last September outside work. Love it...check the door.

Dear blog

Dear blog,
its been a while since I last paid you some attention. I could feel you waiting, wanting me to come by and see you but I ignored your calls. I am desperately sorry its taken so long to get back to you, but now I think I can pay you the attention you deserve.

So many people between the last post and this one have stopped blogging and their blog is now a sad place. Previously places full of laughter and sadness, joy and sorrow, and fun and no fun are now desolute places. I'm sure there is a place where blogs go to 'rest' but not for you.

You have been in bloggy home for a good while and its time now to take you out of that home, dust you down and bore the flucking pants of people.

Yes blog, become my voice again and let me rant with no apparent direction or composition.

Thanks for waiting,


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Org Chart..

Saw this on a van on Tuesday:

Wonder are they part of an Umbrella-ella-ella organisation?