Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. (more…)
Brian’s Lenihan’s diagnosis of cancer – and the the manner in which his terrible news was broken – is going to dominate public discourse well into the New Year. He is going to release a statement about his condition early in the New Year. There will also be a continuing debate about TV3′s decision to run with the story on St Stephen’s Day.
Have just read the text of the deal. Three pages and then four blank pages for targets, not to be agreed until next February.
It’s a terrible fudge. Almost meaningless. Doesn’t even begin to address the issues.
This is the worst possie outcome. A bad deal. Almost worse than no deal.
It looks like a deal has been made. It’s just after 10pm now Copenhagen time and it’s emerged that the 28 most powerful nations – known as the constellation group – have forged a deal, aimed at curbing global temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius. (more…)
Tortuous, divided, fractious, elusive, maddeningly diverse. Trying to find out about the progress of negotiations over the past 10 days has been like trying to find a needle in a haystack – a haystack that’s been placed on a trailer that is being driven away from you at speed. (more…)
Looking at the boyish face of that noble young Garda killed in Co Donegal brings home how far into the abyss this country has gone. It also reinforces my point about the decline and semi-disgrace of the Church not being good news as it leaves this society without a moral compass. I am not a religious person but I recognise the value of people whose role is to set out standards of behaviour. Unfortunately, with regard to the child abuse scandal, those standards were flouted by some of the standard-bearers themselves. Resign the lot of you and let us start again like the Twelve Apostles did way back when.
There is an unreal air about Leinster House this evening. We are on the eve of the most important Budget since (at the very least) the measures brought in by “Mac the Knife” MacSharry in 1987. That Budget laid the foundations of the Celtic Tiger boom: what effect will Brian Lenihan’s speech tomorrow have? If it keeps us out of the bankruptcy boneyard we will be reasonably happy. It seems appropriate to reproduce the first stanza of Lord Byron’s The Eve of Waterloo here. I like reproducing verse that gave me pleasure at school anyway. Below that is a piece from yours truly in Monday’s print edition, which contains all my predictions for the Budget. My one cautionary (i.e., cop-out) note is that some of the final decisions may only have been made today. (more…)
Went to Mass during the weekend at a church in one of Dublin’s better-off suburbs. The congregation was largely late middle-aged or elderly. The sermon was terrible: the priest just rambled on, saying whatever came into his head. He had nothing to say about the continuing crisis arising from the Murphy Report. I have written in a previous post about the downside of the Catholic Church’s fall from grace. There is no moral compass to replace it and that will have consequences for society at large. But it appears that the Church, or a significant and very powerful element of that institution, lost its own moral compass when it came to dealing with child abuse. Whatever one’s views on Bishop Murray – should he stay or should he go? – the way the issue is being dragged out is helping nobody. In its fixation with protocol, the Vatican did itself no favours either. It certainly looks like we won’t be having a visit from the current Pope – unless he arrives in sackcloth and ashes.
The Taoiseach’s annual Cairde Fáil dinner of party supporters last night at Citywest was a low-key affair. Any journalists hoping for a row were disappointed. Brian Cowen’s speech was in the “Workmanlike” category: we shall soldier on, pay talks or no pay talks. (more…)
The Progressive Democrats arguably achieved most of their aims and their free-market, neo-liberal policies were adopted by the mainstream, so there was no further rationale for their existence. The SDLP in the North could say the same about their own role in the peace process.
No wonder Brian Cowen was reluctant to don the waders in Athlone last week. He knows that once he walks into the waters there is no retreat. For him the floods will never recede.
When he was elected Taoiseach you would swear his gifts were such that he could walk on water. Now, we have all learned that he can barely stay afloat.
But is he a survivor who can steer the ship of state to a safe harbour? Or are we looming at a man in a lifeboat with only one oar?
My own belief is that this Government will last almost its full term. But that Cowen will be a one-term Taoiseach.
He’s not a survivor like Haughey or Ahern. Sure he has been an unlucky general. But he has not helped his own cause.
Cowen refuses to play the PR game. The spin is that he’s unspun. He refuses to do artifice. But it’s been a disaster. He is wooden when he meets ordinary people. He gies through the motions during doorstep interviews which he’s terrible at. His language is just a string of meaningless jargon. So on the basis of no spin he won’t do the stuff he’s good at which is speeches off the cuff and longer sit-downs with the media where he can relax a bit and use some humour.
Cowen has to realise that this is not the era of Lemass and Lynch. He gave an abrupt interview with the media yesterday that teetered on rudeness. When a leaky boat is sinking there’s not much point in throwing the bailing can overboard, is there?