Category Archives: Misc

So as not to clash with Vincent Browne’s final show on TV3, Broadsheet on the Telly will air at our winter time of 11.45pm tonight.

The show will be streamed LIVE above and on our YouTube channel.

Our panel will chew over the departure of Vincent (above with TV3’s Sinead Desmond), Irish Water, the Disclosures Tribunal and we will have a further expert look at the RTÉ accounts.


All are welcome.

Previously: Broadsheet on the Telly on Broadsheet


Mags Gargan, in The Irish Catholic, reports:

The Government does not know the cause of death of the majority of the asylum seekers who have died in State care in the last 10 years.

“While two people are recorded as dying as a result of suicide and one resident was stabbed to death, the “suspected cause of death” of over one third of the people who have died while resident in the direct provision accommodation system is unknown.

In response to a Freedom of Information request from The Irish Catholic, the Department of Justice released figures which show that 44 people have died in the direct provision system between 2007 and 2017, including three stillborn babies and one “neonatal death”.

In 15 of the cases the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) record the suspected cause of death as “unknown” or simply “died”.

Among those listed as unknown was a 41-year-old man who was “found in room by roommate” in 2008, a 53-year-old man who was “found dead in his bed at 9am” by his roommate in 2012, a 35-year-old man “found unconscious in room and died in hospital” in 2014 and another man in 2015 “found unconscious in room and died in hospital”.

Cause of one in three deaths in direct provision system is unknown (The Irish Catholic)

I write as a homeless citizen in my late 30s. My father had a house, a car and three children when he was my age.

The Irish capitalist system has failed my generation when it comes to housing rights. The laissez-faire housing strategy has failed us.

I call for a bailout of the sizeable homeless population of Ireland and the urgent utilisation of State power to act as social entrepreneur in resolving inequality of conditions as far as housing is concerned.

Only the bypass of market forces can resolve the situation. We cannot wait any longer for social justice.

Gavin Bushe,
Dublin 22.

A bailout for Ireland’s homeless (The Irish Times letters page)

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and new Chief Justice Frank Clarke

This afternoon.

Department of Justice

The Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan at the presentation of the newly-published Irish version of the Rules of the Superior Courts to newly-appointed Chief Justice Frank Clarke, a life long supporter of Fine Gael.

Good times.


From top: Dublin unemployment queue; Eamonn Kelly

Writer and activist Eamonn Kelly this week concluded an investigation into job activation schemes in Ireland.

Many thought he lacked positivity..

Eamonn writes:

I noticed that one of the criticisms leveled at my articles about JobPath was that they were “negative”.I’m aware that there is a view that negative thinking is destructive of “good” ideas, to the extent that some overly-enthusiastic positive-thinkers appear to believe that negative thinking needs to be stamped out in the name of progress.

The concept of positivity is one that is held dear by Irish people who regard themselves as “progressive”, and is a common badge of honour sported among the artistic elite in Ireland, and often regarded as a necessary antidote – or even as a challenge to – traditional Irish “begrudgery”.

The underlying assumption being that begrudgery and negative thinking are the same thing. Which they’re not. One is destructive envy; while the other, critical thinking, seeks ultimately to be constructive.

There is a strain of positive thinking abroad in Ireland that originated in the US, and it is not as wholesome as its smiling presentation might suggest. If this were a self-help manual we might dub this particular strain of positivity as Toxic Positivity.

The US journalist Barbara Ehrenreich wrote two books on this type of positivity: “Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World.” and “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America.” Their titles alone shed light on the problem inherent in certain basic assumptions concerning positive thinking.

Ehrenreich shows how positive thinking has its roots in corporate America, where it mingled with US-style Christianity, to produce a strain of delusion that leaves people believing they can think themselves rich by smiling and adopting a positive mental outlook.

The downside to this idea of course, is that you can also “fail” to think yourself rich, by falling into negative thinking, a kind of Corporate original sin that causes not only poverty, but also cancer and brain tumours and all the other awful maladies that life can throw at people.

This idea, that people are architects of their own misfortune through “wrong” thinking, is a very convenient fiction for the various power entities that rule the world.

At its most cynical, and even darkly comical, a corporate spokesperson might claim that people who were say, poisoned by arsenic in the sugar brekkies, have only themselves to blame for not thinking “correctly”. (The spokesperson might be right. They should be eating natural oats.)

The concept is genius really, because it also contains an in-built guilt system that gnaws away at some unfortunate people who may truly believe that if they had thought more happy thoughts, in a more consistent manner, that their lives mightn’t have turned out to be quite so miserable.

But the basic, wildly magical assumption that you can think yourself rich, and that you can think the world into being a better place, by affecting constant contentment, is a travesty of the knowledge that imagination, perhaps more than any other human trait, has the power to shape reality.

Such a power is of course dangerous to certain entrenched powers.

The toxic positive thinking model, appears to deliberately set out to destroy these “dangerous” imaginative and creative attributes, offering a more childish positivity, one that results in the creation of good and obedient workers who smile and smile and smile, toiling away in non-union working environments, suffering decreasing wages year on year, and longer working lives and decreasing pension benefits.

But they smile on, smiling as big as they can, in the vain hope that their forced positive mental attitude will somehow change the awful world their corporate masters are imposing on them.

This kind of positivity has been sold so effectively that it is now almost a religion, and one of its mortal sins is, you’ve guessed it, negative thinking. Once an attribute is considered a type of “sin”, it really needs to be watched closely, particularly in Ireland, simply because we were so deeply indoctrinated by the Church over so many generations that we’re likely to be a little over-sensitive to things like sins and sinners and judgements and commandments and so on.

This is perhaps why it has been so easy to convince the public that the unemployed are economic sinners deserving of being penalized by the JobPath system.

Given the prevailing unquestioning acceptance that positive thinking is a social “good”, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a scenario where a law might be passed designed to reprimand people for expressing negative opinions, on the grounds that such opinions might be undermining a perceived national or regional success story.

Orwell anticipated this in “1984”, and called it “thoughtcrime”. The political intention of the authority in “1984” was to destroy opposition at source by destroying imagination.

The strategy was to simplify and reduce language, destroying its richness and its complexity, reducing concepts to one-word or one-phrase simplicities, depriving the imagination of the tools to think.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer.

Previously: JobPath: The Great Social Protection Swindle

JobPath And Class Discrimination

JobPath And The Reality Of Employment Activation


Before: Montague Street, Dublin 2

After: Montague Street today

Ultan Mashup writes:

Montague Street (Dublin 2) is not paradise. But there was no need to close the Post Office for locals and put up a bakery for the usual suspects in the locale. I thought PornDog (now closed) – also on same street – took the biscuit.

When are we going to have a debate about hipster and millennials’ gentrification in our cities?