Category Archives: Misc

This afternoon.

Kevin Street Garda Station, Dublin

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan launching  ‘Policing Service for the Future’, a “four-year high-level implementation plan” which includes a new oversight body do away with the Policing Authority and the Garda Inspectorate.

Earlier: ‘A New Strategic Threat Analysis Centre’


Stop that.


From top: IMAGE Woman of the Year 2018 logo; Tweets between Áine Carroll and Image magazine’s Digital editor Dominique McMullan; Áine published their Women of the Year list at the weekend. All of the women featured were deserving of the accolade, but one thing stood out and made the list seem, well, odd. They were all white:

Dominique McMullan, IMAGE’s digital editor, responded on Monday to a tweet I had sent over the weekend (see above), but later deleted her reply.

Dominique subsequently reached out and provided a statement, which you can read at the bottom of this article.

There should not be two lists, and yet here we are. In 2018. With a white-only list and an alternative list that, frankly, I should not have had to compile.

Here are some exceptional women that IMAGE could have included, but didn’t:

Ellie Kisyombe
Ellie is from Malawi and is set to become the first woman living in Direct Provision to stand in the local elections when they take place next year. Running for the Social Democrats in the North Inner City ward of Dublin City Council, Ellie is an activist speaking out about Direct Provision and founded Our Table to highlight the ban on asylum seekers cooking their own food in Direct Provision centres. Ellie is seeking asylum in Ireland and has lived here for more than nine years. She was recently celebrated in an exhibition of specially commissioned works of art, Local Heroes, run by Dublin City Council Culture Company.

Wuraola Majekodunmi
Ola is absolutely smashing it as a fluent speaker of Irish and has a weekly radio show on Raidió Na Life every Saturday from 4pm-5pm. She is also a contributor to the Motherfoclóir podcast. With Nigerian heritage, she has a degree in English, Media and Cultural Studies from the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Ola is also a video producer and recently produced and directed a video, What does ‘Irishness’ Look Like, challenging stereotypical assumptions of what it means to be Irish in 2018.

Shubhangi Karmakar
Shubhangi is a young person of colour who is queer and disabled and who has recently moved on from housing insecurity to starting a not-for-profit brand. She raised over €10,000 for Repeal and other social causes in Ireland, on top of being a medical student and researcher who is lecturing publicly about the need for diversity in science communication. Shubhangi also recently created a website,, to platform diversity in Ireland.

FeliSpeaks (aka Felicia Olusanya) is a young Nigerian-Irish spoken word performance artist, writer and poet who is in demand. She delivers show-stopping performances and co-wrote a sold-out spoken word play called ‘BOYCHILD’. Felispeaks is also an award winning artist, honoured by the African Professional Network of Ireland for her unique contribution to the Dublin City art scene in 2017. Blurring the lines between music and poetry, she has performed alongside Saul Williams, Super Silly, JyellowL, NC Grey and more. With poems that explore different ideas of feminism, coming of age experiences and universal personal experiences, her art is centred on connecting with her audience through honesty, openness and thought provoking observations.

Ilaina Khairulzaman
Ilaina is scientist and public engagement coordinator with Sense about Science, a charity campaigning to challenge the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life. Ilaina has a research masters in immunology from Trinity College Dublin and is trained as a bioinformatician. Ilaina is also a campaigner and activist highlighting issues faced by migrant women and ethnic minorities.

Celaviedmai, also known as Maimouna Salif, is an Irish-born rapper who has opened for Lil Wayne, Mac Miller, Hoodie Allen, Tinchy Stryder, Sneakbo, Section Boyz and recently Jimothy Lacoste. She also wrote the catchy theme tune to the popular It Galz Podcast. The 25 year old from Galway is a talented songwriter and regularly performs at festivals and events, including Electric Picnic, the Fringe Festival and recently Working Class Heroes. Celaviedmai has been featured in the New York Times and Vice’s Noisey and is the face of hip hop in Ireland on Google. She has her own catalogue of music on Spotify.

Filomena Kaguako
Filomena is a blogger, YouTuber and Tedx speaker with a special interest in modern dating and relationships. She regularly features as a commentator and writer in Irish media and recently wrote about the nuances in implied consent for Her viral open letter titled ‘Dear Irishmen, Please Stop Sexualising Us,’ garnered immense media attention last summer where she shut down a phenomenon that has been recognised as the fetishisation of black women in dating circles. This catapulted her across the internet and featured her in over 15 publications worldwide, including Huffington Post, Refinery 29 and The Metro, to name just a few. Filomena made her television debut in May 2018 where she was part of the cast for a ground-breaking Channel 4 series called Genderquake. Watch her Tedx talk here.

Dr. Ebun Joseph
Dr. Joseph is an author, social justice activist, motivational speaker, intercultural consultant and researcher in the field of race relations, racial stratification and the labour market. She oversees a module in UCD, the first of its kind in Ireland, called Black Studies and Critical Race Perspectives in Education. The course examines “the histories, social movements and contributions of people of African descent, as well as look[ing] at contemporary forms of Blackness in society and around the world.”

Vanessa Ifediora
Vanessa is a talented photographer and actress originally from Belfast. She was living in Japan when she took up photography to help her combat anxiety. Vanessa moved to Dublin in 2017 to attend acting school and from there contributed to the What does ‘Irishness’ look like video. Her mental health and recovery project, Zone In, was exhibited in A4 Sounds to raise money for the rape crisis centre and Vanessa’s newest project is called Off-White Sheets.

Clara Rose Thornton
Clara Rose Thornton is a spoken word artist, culture journalist, event organiser and radio and television broadcaster. Her work focuses on the arts and their intersection with social justice, identity politics, history and place. She is a three-time Dublin/Leinster Poetry Slam Champion. Clara Rose frequently contributes to RTÉ radio shows including “The Ryan Tubridy Show”, “The History Show”, and “Arena”. She was instrumental in founding the inaugural Black History Month Ireland in 2014, and toured the country as the observance’s headlining performer. She performs her provocative spoken word at festivals and venues across Europe and North America and her print cultural criticism is published internationally, including in the Irish Independent and the Irish Times.

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Ah here.

Brian Sammon writes:

UK demand that EU swap Ireland for Northern Ireland and assume responsibility for DUP…

How A Second Brexit Referendum Will Work (Telegraph [behind paywall])

From top: Pearse Doherty, of Sinn Féin; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon in the Dáil.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was responding to comments made by Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty about the recent eviction and subsequent events at a farmhouse near Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

He said the High Court doesn’t issue eviction orders lightly, and said 116,000 mortgages have been restructured while “only” 400 eviction orders were executed in the last year.

In response, Mr Doherty said:

“No family, regardless of their circumstances, and it’s not the Revenue that are evicting them, regardless of their circumstances, should have been treated in this way. This idea that banks enforcers, these thugs, and I call them thugs, can enter into somebody’s property, can cut down locks, break down doors, can take somebody out by their ears, can kick somebody on the ground and push them out of their own home and property, while the guards watch on, is not acceptable.

“And we have raised this with you countless times and it is not just bank enforcers that are unregulated, we have rent receivers that is unregulated. Why are they doing this? And why is the public so outraged? And I commend the public for standing up in solidarity with the family and people who are facing eviction.

“And standing against the type of thuggish behaviour that we’ve seen last Tuesday. Why are they doing this? Because your government has completely abandoned these communities. You have rolled out the red carpet for the vulture funds, you’re allowing thousands of sales of restructured performing mortgages to take place of the vulture funds outside of the code of conduct of the Central Bank.

“And you have allowed, time and time again, the banks to ride rough shod over ordinary people. So Taoiseach, will you…ensure that this is the last time that unauthorised, unregulated bank henchmen will be entering property and behaving in the type of despicable way that we’ve seen in Roscommon last Tuesday?

Mr Varadkar told Mr Doherty that he was “very concerned” that Mr Doherty “had nothing to say about what happened afterwards” – referring to events at the property on early Sunday morning.

He continued:

“Twenty or thirty people arriving in a cattle truck, armed with baseball bats, who then injured three or four other people. Set cars alight and caused an animal to be shot dead. I find it very concerning that you have nothing to say about that. You’ve made two contributions now and you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned…”

At this point Mr Doherty started to respond to Mr Varadkar and the Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat “The Cope” Gallagher called for order.

The call for order went on for more than 30 seconds.

After order was restored, Mr Varadkar said:

“Deputy, I condemn violence and thuggish behaviour by anyone, under any circumstances, so let there be no doubt about this. But in two contributions, in fact, in three contributions now, you have dismissed the fact that tax evasion is a serious offence.

“You have criticised the gardaí, you have criticised the High Court for making this order, having heard the cases…and you have said nothing about the thugs who climbed on the back of a cattle truck, 20 of them, broke into property, injured three people, killed a dog…”

Mr Gallagher began to call for order again.

Then the Taoiseach said:

“Deputy, deputy, when it comes to Sinn Féin and the rule of law, and public order, and condemning violence, it doesn’t take very long for your balaclava to slip.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Previously: Cause And Effect

The Family Has Returned Home

From top: Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin (centre) with members of his front bench last week announcing his party’s commitment to extend a confidence and supply arrangement that will keep Fine Gael in power; Derek Mooney

“There is nothing as unreliable as unremunerated advice.”

This is not a bad thing to bear in mind when you read online opinion pieces, particularly where the writer is an interested participant rather than a disinterested observer.

Opinion pieces from interested players offer a more “in the game” analysis that can sometimes be as much about what the author hopes will happen as it is about what they think will happen. The informed analysis is offered as much in the hope that it will help influence or guide an outcome as it in the desire to inform the reader.

This rather rambling introduction is all by way of me trying to explain why I have been saying over the last few weeks that Fianna Fáil would not renew its confidence and supply agreement.

I am not happy with the outcome. This is not because I have a Corriboard fetish and urgently need an election in February, March, April or May to satisfy this desire.

I do grasp the rationale offered by Micheál Martin and can totally understand why no one would want to have an election here just when Britain is leaving Europe – even with a full Withdrawal Agreement.

I take his point that when it comes to the timing of the next general election, the gap between him and critics is over a few months.

My problem with this particular iteration of a renewed confidence supply agreement is not that there is one, but rather that it is includes a commitment to another budget.

I accept the argument for a period of political certainty and calm here around the Brexit exit, but I do not see what agreeing to another Budget achieves.

Indeed, it is because I believe the Brexit concerns are legitimate and sincere that I question the wisdom of agreeing to another Budget. That timeline appears to be based on the prospect of Brexit proceeding on March 29th next.

But what if it doesn’t?

What happens if no agreement is reached in the House of Commons in January? What happens if the House of Commons rejects Prime Minister May’s Withdrawal Agreement when it votes on January 14/15/16 and the political impasse there continues.

Westminster’s European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, sets January 21st as the final deadline for Parliament agreeing any Withdrawal Agreement.

Why not wait until then to know the outline shape of the Brexit timeline and then decide the duration of any Confidence and Supply extension?

It seems just as likely as not that Westminster will realise by January 21st that the only consensus it can reach is on the need to avoid a No Deal Brexit – and the only way it can do that is to delay the March 29 Article 50 exit date.

For how long might it seek to delay its exit? Three months, six months, a year?

Should the House of Commons decide that is it going to have a second referendum, though I accept that there does not seem to be a Commons majority for this proposal right now, isn’t it likely that this would take some time to organise and arrange?

Surely the one lesson that even British politicians have come to learn from the 2016 disaster is that you do not rush head long into a referendum process?

While the timing of any Irish election should take a whole range of domestic and international matters into consideration, should that date be so predicated on events in Westminster?

Should Fianna Fáil be committing to another Fine Gael budget now, based on what may or may not happen in an increasingly deadlocked and dysfunctional House of Commons?

Why not wait one month more to decide on how to proceed? To wait just one month longer until we have some better idea of what may happen would not have been an unreasonable decision.

I know Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney were bleating on about their need to have political certainty on the government’s longevity, but certainty is one of the luxuries you lose when you form a government with barely a quarter of the vote.

Besides their desire for certainty was hardly stopping their minions spinning about how Fine Gael was ready and hoping for an early election.

Which brings me to one of key arguments behind the one-year extension: the prospect that the result would be deadlocked leading to three or four months of negotiations on the formation of a new government.

Micheál Martin has repeatedly said that we could not afford a four-month period of governmental inactivity and indecision.

Four months of governmental and ministerial indecision and inactivity. How would we tell the difference?

Political commentators have praised Martin for his decision. I am not going to demure. While I disagree with him on allowing another Fine Gael budget, I can see why he has done it and I accept his sincerity in doing so.

I do however disagree with the pundits when they say that Martin has played a week hand very well. Martin’s tactical handling of Varadkar since September has been skilful and does show that he has a better understanding of how Varadkar ticks than Leo has of him, but I strongly disagree with the idea that Martin was opening with a weak hand. He wasn’t.

I agree with the analysis offered by Marc MacSharry TD. in his email to Martin which Hugh O’Connell published in last weekend’s Sunday Business Post. Deputy MacSharry was correct in his assessment of the situation, particularly on Fianna Fáil being in much a stronger position than maybe it itself recognised.

Though other motives are being attributed to Martin I suspect his primary motivator is as he says : he genuinely believes he is doing this in the national interest.

Regarding any secondary interests he may have, might I suggest that they may not be as base as others think. I do not think he is simply avoiding an election because he fears the outcome, I think his most base motivation is his desire to keep the possibility of his model of “new politics” alive.

By that I mean that Martin hopes to create the conditions where, in the event of Fianna Fáil finishing up with more seats than Fine Gael, Fine Gael feels compelled to offer Fianna Fáil the same “new politics” deal he gave them in 2016. The problem with this thinking is that Varadkar is not Kenny.

But discussion of that prospect is for another day, regrettably one twelve or more months hence – though who knows what still may happen if Brexit does not proceed as planned in March.

In the meantime, have a great Christmas and I will be back here pumping out more analysis in the New Year.

Derek Mooney is a communications and public affairs consultant. He previously served as a Ministerial Adviser to the Fianna Fáil-led government 2004 – 2010. His column appears here every Tuesday Follow Derek on Twitter: @dsmooney


The GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 this morning

Anon writes:

If you work in Dublin city centre, and perhaps not even if you do, you walk past them many times a day.

They lie or sit on the street, in a way that travellers to Egypt, or Lisbon, or Turkey, may be familiar with. But it is not Egypt, or Lisbon, or Turkey, and the weather is wet, and cold, and the Dublin wind is vicious.

Their faces are red and mottled and their heads down, conserving their energy for the bigger fight of the night.

They lie sideways to shield themselves from the wind, in front of windows full of mannequins decked out in sequins and rhinestones, against the doors of the city’s institutes of higher education, or on the steps of museums and the GPO.

Some have lost work, others families, by death or divorce. In childhood, or after it, many, if not all have suffered pain during their lives, pain maybe even greater than that which they are suffering now.

Their existence challenges the comfortable universe which we are still entreated to believe exists in this country but which, inside, we know does not, and maybe never did.

To hide our pain and fear, we pretend that they do not exist, and, where this pretense is unavoidable, salve our wounds by blaming them for their misfortune.

When asking ourselves – what has brought them to this pass, we focus on the self-medication they have used to kill the pain, rather than the pain itself, and its causes deep in our society; we focus on their ill-judged disarrangement of their lives, rather than on the people responsible for this disarrangement; not them, but the people who are running this country have created a situation where citizens are being forced out of their homes by men with dogs employed by foreign firms, like something out of the Land League, the Black and Tans.

We pay heavy taxes to what we believe is an independent State to have this State run properly, to have homes for our people, hospitals for our sick, schools or our children, not just so that we and our families can have a safety net if things go wrong, but also so that we can live in a society in which people feel, safe, respected, cared for and able to get on with the wonderful business of living.

We live in a city where, despite all possible reasons to the contrary there are still people uncared for and neglected in this way, even if we ourselves never need this safety net, we are damaged and diminished in an irretrievable way by their pain, and our ignoring of it. Our perception is subtly shifted, places we loved seem tawdry, people we admired look hollow, our joy in life is taken away.

It doesn’t seem like Christmas this year.

And rather than asking: why is it this way, why do I seem so distressed when I have a job, a warm home, when I’m the lucky one, remember that no person is an island, that to ignore the suffering of others is ultimately to take away one’s joy in life, that to deny pain and fail to act out of fear, or to cling to a non-existent dream that all is alright (as RTE do) is to be a serf, and worse still to know it.

We live in a democracy. We are told we have the power. We need to start believing it, and, further, that a democracy is about, not just caring for others, but also for oneself. Because each other person’s pain affects us more than we know.




Pat Rabbitte is appointed as new chair of Tusla (The Irish Times)

Pat Rabbitte?


Carlow Weather tweetz:

9.1c in Carlow with some blue skies visible in the distance as the frontal cloud clears East. Turning cooler with showers moving in from West. Lot of uncertainty on the weather charts for the weekend with some showing a risk of more rain Saturday night into Sunday.


Carlow Weather

Met Éireann

Helen O’Rahilly tweetz:

Stolen from Drumcliff cemetery, Sligo (where WB Yeats is buried). This figure, sculpted by my friend Jackie McKenna, was stolen on Sat night/Sun morning. ‘The Cloths of Heaven’ needs to be returned. Please RT.


Life-size bronze statue stolen from beside Yeats cemetery (RTE)