Category Archives: Misc

‘Dublin Interactive’

A mural with a difference.

Brian Kenny, of Lightscape [a projection mapping & creative content studio based in Dublin] writes:

We developed this interactive wall mural to show us real time information about our neighbourhood.

Using projection mapping and interactive ink, it displays information about things like weather and transport links (more details at link below).

The ink is responsive to touch so you can order a pizza or a taxi by pressing on the graphic.

Dirty walls!

In fairness.

Dublin Interactive Mural (Lighscape)

Petition on Uplift

A petition has been launched calling on the Government to reverse its plans to put an estimated two million documents relating to the work of three commissions out of the reach of the public for 75 years.

The documents are related to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Residential Institutions Redress Board and the Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee.

Details of the plans to seal the documents emerged when Minister for Education Joe McHugh published the Retention of Records Bill in February.

The petition has been launched by Laura Collins, who is a daughter of an industrial school survivor.

Laura writes:

“This legislation cannot be passed. It goes against the FOI (Freedom of Information) Act.

“…If they lock these records away for 75 years, no one could investigate the cover-up which they created around the institutions and how they went on to further abuse survivors’ rights.

“They had gagged survivors during the Ryan Report so they cannot speak out. But we can, as their children. Please sign this petition and take a stand and help lift the blanket of secrecy. Thank you all.”

The petition can be signed here

This morning.

At the Grangegorman Primary Care Centre in Dublin.

Minister for Health Simon Harris and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hold giant-sized cardboard ‘medical cards’ to launch the Budget 2019 changes which come into effect this week and next week.

Changes include a €10 reduction in the monthly Drugs Payment Scheme threshold from €134 to €124; a 10 per cent increase across all GP visit card weekly income thresholds; and a reduction in prescription charges from €2 to €1.50 for all medical card holders over the age of 70.

Meanwhile…

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

At the Ireland V Gibraltar match in Gibraltar at the weekend

This afternoon.

On RTÉ’s Liveline.

Irish football fan Zino Kelly responded to an article in today’s Times Ireland edition which claimed some football fans are planning to hold a protest at the Ireland V Georgia match in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin tomorrow night.

The report said the protest will involve people throwing tennis balls onto the pitch.

But Mr Kelly claimed the allegation that people planned to throw tennis balls was from the “FAI propaganda machine”.

He said:

“It [the protest] will be interesting to see but it will definitely not tennis balls. Tennis balls, you know that’s trouble. I’d say you’d have to get on to the communications’ officer in the FAI to find out why, why that’s made the papers.

“Because it certainly didn’t come from supporters. And I’ve never heard of tennis balls at a match in Ireland before. So I think that’s a matter for the FAI to answer.”

He also said:

“For the last five years they’ve [FAI] been heavy handed – especially in the South Stand of Lansdowne Road and I think this is an excuse, when all the limelight is going to be on them tomorrow night.

“I think it’s a big excuse to continue that heavy-handedness by their stewards.”

Mr Duffy pointed out bags are normally checked at games as a matter of security.

But Mr Kelly said:

“They are indeed. But it’s a bit different when you go down to the singing section on the South Stand and there is, you know, there’s heavy searches and if you compare that to if you’re going to the West Stand and East Stand, there’s no searches.

“And this all stemmed from a protest 2014, when we were playing against the USA.

“…since then it’s always been more prominent in the South Stand.”

Mr Kelly also said he won’t return to watching Ireland play a home game, until John Delaney leaves the FAI “and indeed the whole board”.

He said:

“They have so many questions to answer.”

When he was reminded that Mr Delaney stood down from his role as CEO [but will take up the new role of executive vice president], Mr Kelly said:

“He’s still on their payroll and he still has as much, as far as we know, we don’t know how much influence he has, but to me, this is a made-up role and he is still the most powerful man in the FAI.”

Listen back here

Fans to stage Aviva protest over Delaney (The Times Ireland edition)

Earlier: Strange And Unusual

Pic: Richard Barrett

Tin-foil wrapped coverage of alleged Trump/Russia collusion in The Irish Times from last August (top) and last December (above).

“Russiagate” has been a news media obsession since Trump’s victory in November 2016.

The nonpartisan Tyndall Report pegged the total amount of time devoted to the story on the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS and NBC last year at 332 minutes, making it the second-most covered story after the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

According to a count by the Republican National Committee released Sunday, The Post, the New York Times, CNN.com and MSNBC.com have written a combined 8,507 articles mentioning the special counsel’s investigation.

The cable news networks, particularly CNN and MSNBC, have added hundreds of hours of discussion about the topic, too.

The story undoubtedly was an important factor in shaping voters’ perceptions before the 2018 midterm election, in which Democrats won control of the House.

But the conclusion of the inquiry has put a question once hazily debated into sharp focus: Did the mainstream news media mislead?

Only YOU can decide.

Conclusion of Mueller probe raises anew criticisms of coverage (Washington Post)

Saturday: ‘Closing In’

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove (above) has been touted to replace Theresa May as a possible ‘caretaker PM’

The Thing from Planet Gove

Its handshake is that of a slightly disreputable funeral director.
Its eyes those of an opinionated alligator
that sometimes reviews opera for the London Times.
Its mind is a free trade slaughterhouse, busy
making mincemeat, as cleanly as possible,
of other people’s children, bony old parents
and the occasional small business person
who was just wrong place, wrong century.

But its regular appearances on TV impress
the sort of people who have sexual relations
with their cars. Or their neighbours
cars. The female it dreams of is
Rupert Murdoch’s more withered sister
who lets it stand on its tippy-toes in a tutu
inherited from a former grandmother
who was briefly a dowager Duchess
until the unfortunate headlines
made her true position undeniable.

And it is written in Scripture
that at a time such as this
a thing such as this
would ascend to Earth and give us –
leaving god aside for the minute –
proof of Satan’s existence.

Kevin Higgins

Michael Gove’s allies scheme to parachute their man into No 10 (The Times)

Pic: Getty

From top: Netta Barzilai after winning the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest securing Israel the right to host this year’s competition; Ireland’s entrant Sarah McTernan; Bryan Wall

It’s hard to imagine that the Eurovision song contest would become a political issue. Of course, there is the phrase of George Orwell’s that “All issues are political issues”. But the Eurovision contest?

How seriously it is usually taken varies from country to country. Ireland’s record on it is mixed. All in all though, we usually treat it as something anodyne; a harmless distraction that comes around for one night, once a year. This time it’s different. This year the contest is being held in Israel.

For Israel, the Eurovision is an opportunity to whitewash itself as it is so often found of doing. It can present itself to the world as a liberal, western nation that likes the same things we do.

Given the reality of the situation, hosting Eurovision is a propaganda coup of exceptional proportions. And as a result, there have been calls to boycott the competition.

Charlie McGettigan, a former Irish winner of the competition, has also added their name to the list of those opposed it being held in Israel. As has Mike Murphy. RTÉ and others have decided any controversy about this can be ignored.

The result is the claim that calls for a boycott are unfair to both viewers and Ireland’s representative this year. We are given to believe that it is simply a bunch of ne’er-do-wells being difficult.

So what’s the problem?

Israel is a state unlike many others. Its status is exceptional. Its boundaries are variable depending on military necessity. It is not a state of its citizens, making it an extreme outlier compared to the rest of the world. Instead, it is the state of the Jewish people, a not so subtle or unimportant distinction.

The religious right hold a substantial amount of power both politically and socially. But probably most importantly, the state is highly militarised. And this reaches right down through all the layers of Israeli society. It is a military society par excellence.

Netta Barzilai, Israel’s entry for Eurovision last year and who won the competition is herself a military veteran. As are the majority of Israelis. This is because military service is mandatory.

But not only are the Israelis that Sarah McTernan is expected to perform for either currently in the military or former members, the majority of them believe in an Israeli-Jewish ascendency.

Most Israelis believe “crucial decisions on security matters should only be made by a Jewish majority vote”.  A majority also believe “a Jewish majority vote is essential for decisions pertaining to economy or society”.

At the same time, and unsurprisingly, the Israeli military is the most trusted institution in Israeli society. It is a modern Sparta.

This is hardly surprising given the militarisation of the state. And all of this is without taking into account the treatment of the Palestinians.

This is why Eurovision will be such a propaganda victory for Israel if the competition goes ahead. And it is also why calls for McTernan to pull out of the competition should be taken seriously.

She, along with all of the other performers, will be used to present a veneer of respectability over gross human rights violations and a state whose politics skew heavily to the right.

It’s an old tactic used by the state’s supporters. They encourage people without a deep understanding to look at how liberal and progressive Israel is compared to other countries.

It means ignoring the razing of Palestinians lands and homes, not to mention the history of their ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Israel’s founders less than 100 years ago. It means ignoring the apartheid system there.

A system that ensures that citizenship and equal rights are premised on the idea that one is not a Palestinian. And this is just the Palestinians who live within the internationally recognised borders of Israel. This doesn’t include the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Israeli state and society is therefore not something that should be cast aside in the name of artistic freedom or neutrality. To claim be neutral in a situation such as this is to be complicit. Justice demands, at a bare minimum, our solidarity with victims of injustice.

The Palestinian cause is deserving of our solidarity. Right now this means calling for a boycott of the Eurovision contest on these grounds.

Many Irish artists have already pledged to boycott Israel so the request of McTernan is nothing unique. Nor is it bullying, despite what others like to claim. It should be seen as part of a wider movement by which to pressure Israel into accepting the idea that Palestinians are entitled to basic fundamental rights.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement does just this. Israel will continue to flout the rights of Palestinians so long as their Occupation and persecution is cost-free. A boycott costs the Israelis, both economically and socially. And it is working.

How else can you explain the sheer effort that the Israeli government has put in to countering the boycott? It does everything from smearing advocates of BDS to employing legions of people to promote the Israeli viewpoint online.

This Hasbara as it is known is the biggest indication that BDS terrifies the Israeli government. On top of this is also the evidence that the Israeli government has lobbied the Irish government to block the Occupied Territories Bill.

A letter, obtained via a freedom of information request, was sent from the Chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog, to Simon Coveney, the minister for foreign affairs. Herzog called the bill, which if enacted would outlaw trade with Israeli settlements, anti-Semitic.

He also went so far as to say there are some “who would interpret it as an official encouragement to more hostility, and indeed more hostilities” in the region.What’s more, he said that he was “offering my help to try and prevent it” from becoming law. In closing, he told Coveney “We need to join efforts to block this Bill”.

Although the bill is unlikely to become law it already represents a victory of sorts. It shows Palestinians that people do care about them and their future, as well as their past. And it shows the Israeli government that brutality and occupation comes with a price.

For these reasons the Eurovision this year is anything but normal. It is a chance to damage the Israeli propaganda machine that tries to convince the world that the Palestinians are a free people, if they even exist at all.

We can play our part in that if we care about human dignity and rights. And so can Sarah McTernan.

Bryan Wall is an independent journalist based in Cork. His column usually appears here every Monday but owing to the Bank Holiday… Read more of Bryan’s work here and follow on twitter:  @Bryan_Wall

Previously: EU May Like This

Pics: Getty/The Irish Sun

From top: Fran Rooney; John Delaney

“What is very strange is that the entire arrangement with the €100,000 loan … that it wasn’t disclosed, but particularly the fact that he [John Delaney] tried to seek an injunction [against the Sunday Times] to have it suppressed and to have the article suppressed.

That raises an awful lot of questions. It’s very unusual. This is an organisation that has extensive banking facilities, so should be in a position to go to its bank for a short-term loan. It’s just very strange.

The fact that it wasn’t disclosed, it wasn’t in the accounts, it wasn’t disclosed at the AGM … there was a whole area of secrecy around it, looking for a court injunction to prevent the article by The Sunday Times being published last week.

The very interesting thing that we should all remember here is that the Football Association of Ireland is a publicly funded body so this is taxpayers’ money.

It should be disclosed immediately through Sports Ireland, through the department – through Shane Ross’s department.

To actually do something that appears to be hiding a transaction and then appearing later on not only to hide it, but to try to have the matter obliterated … by having a court injunction.”

Fran Rooney, former chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland on RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier.

Questions over FAI controversy go beyond Delaney – Rooney (RTÉ)

FAI chief John Delaney steps aside amid financial queries (Mark Tighe, Sunday Times)

UPDATE:

Further to reports in yesterday’s Sunday Times that the FAI paid rent for properties in which John Delaney lived for several years

Namely that, since 2016, it paid €3,000 a month to rent a Wicklow property from former RTE broadcaster Grainne Seoige for Mr Delaney and it also paid just under €3,000 a month for him to live in Malahide, Co Dublin during a separate period…

RTÉ reports:

FAI workers are asking for an explanation of why they had pay cuts at a time that the organisation began paying rent for chief executive John Delaney.

…Today, SIPTU Sport Sector Organiser Denis Hynes said: “FAI employees were enduring reductions in salary of between 10% and 15%, which were implemented on what was meant to be a temporary basis in 2012.

“This issue has particularly incensed our members because when the cuts in their pay were originally imposed, John Delaney stated that he was taking a similar reduction in his earnings.

“However, it would now seem to be the case that, in 2016, the FAI decided to reimburse the reduction in its CEO’s salary through a payment in kind on a large property.

Our members had to wait until January of this year to receive the final restoration of their pay after long and difficult negotiations between management and SIPTU representatives.”

FAI staff had pay cut while Delaney rent paid – SIPTU (RTE)

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the chores of life, grooming and pruning, we’ve got you covered 😉🌳

A post shared by theGardener.ie (@thegardener.ie) on

Gulp.

Tidy-bearded James O’Driscoll delivers a timely, if splutter-inducing, warning for ‘bush’ owners along with a Spring plug for the gentle, trim-tacular talents of Kevin Whitty aka The Gardener.

The Gardener

Previously; Meet The Gardener