Ireland’s Rio Olympics

What are we to make of the 2016 Rio Olympics?

NemesisMore to the point, how are we supposed to take it seriously when we know that hundreds or perhaps thousands of the competitors are using  performance-enhancing drugs?

What are we to make of the billions spent on a vanity project in a city where countless dirt-poor people became homeless when the government bulldozed their favelas to make way for the shiny new stadiums that benefit only the Brazilian rich?

What are we to think of our own participation in the Rio Olympics? Nearly all our boxers are now gone, some of them victims of bad judging and one who took illegal substances but was caught. There’s a murky story involving the alleged touting of tickets. People have been arrested, other people are targeted for arrest and meanwhile the head of the Olympic Committee of Ireland is seized with a delusion that we’re all idiots and the sport minister is a credulous fool who came down in the last shower.

But wait! Let’s not forget the wonderful O’Donovan brothers who captivated the whole world with their dry, laconic, laid back interviews after taking silver in the lightweight men’s double sculls.

Podium pants and pizzas.

Thanks lads. We needed that boost. It might get us past the disappointment of Katie Taylor’s defeat and the mind-boggling arrogance of Pat Hickey refusing to tell the sports minister anything about the missing tickets on “legal advice” and then inviting him to lunch.

The gods of Olympus must be filled with wrath as they gaze on these antics. But Olympus is six thousand milia from Rio and I suppose the gods’ powers must fall off in an inverse-squared sort of way, which means they can’t impose the Olympian ideal by force of will, even though they might wish to. More likely, they’d want to fling thunderbolts at the whole thing and be done with it.

Not Nike, though. The Greek goddess of victory, who diversified years ago and now makes a nice living from pseudo-Olympic activities around the world wouldn’t be flinging thunderbolts but Nike is very much the exception, apart from one other Greek goddess who might make the journey to Rio and I sincerely hope she does.


Now there’s a deity best served cold.

Maybe she’ll find time to share a salad with Pat Hickey.



Looks like Nemesis found time to have that lunch with Pat Hickey. He’s just been arrested in Rio and charged with three offences carrying a penalty of  up to seven years in jail.

Hickey is not just the head of the Irish Olympic committee. He’s also the most senior official in European sport.

The mind boggles.


Is Donald Trump mentally fit to be President?


Is he insane?Donald Trump

I don’t know. I don’t even know what the word insane means, if it means anything but I once received a useful working definition of insanity from a mental health professional. An insane person, he  told me, is somebody who holds false, fixed ideas and who is impervious to logic.

By that standard anyway, you’d have to conclude that Donald Trump is barking mad and yes, I know that’s not a medical term but I once knew a highly-qualified doctor who used it to describe his own psychiatric condition so I feel safe using it.

Donald Trump is barking mad, which of course is not his fault. Too much blame is attached to mental illness and I don’t want to demonise him, but we have to remember that this is the man who will have control of the Big Red Button, and this is also the man who asked why the USA doesn’t use its nuclear weapons.

This is the man who seems to say the first thing that comes into his head and who then goes on to believe what he just said, like a child playing fantasy games with an invisible friend.

This is the man who attacked the parents of a soldier killed in Iraq although of course, not being American, we might reasonably ask what this soldier was doing in another country. Still, that isn’t the point. The point is that Trump was unable to be courteous or dignified, unable to simply keep his mouth shut instead of attacking the Khan family,  mourning the loss of their son.

This is the man who incited gun nuts to assassinate his political opponent and then tried, like all schoolyard bullies, to pretend he didn’t say it.

Trump’s latest lunacy is to claim that Obama and Clinton founded ISIS, a  statement so deeply uninformed, so ignorant and so dishonest that it can lead to only one conclusion: this man is bonkers. Leave aside the actual foundations of ISIS as covered in this site some time ago. The fact that Trump might actually believe Obama founded ISIS suggests that he’s an illiterate, uneducated clown. On the other hand, if he understands the reality then he’s a cynical liar, but both options indicate a pandering to the stupidest, most incompetent slice of American society.

I’ve heard it suggested that Trump is experiencing dementia, which again, if true,  is not something he should be criticised for, but at the same time we have to be realistic. A demented person is not somebody who should be holding the BRB. A demented president is not somebody who should be forming friendships with Vladimir Putin. A demented commander-in-chief is not what the world needs at the head of the most powerful military machine in history.

Looking at Trump’s statements in the lead-in to the election, it’s clear that he has only a passing relationship with reality. Whatever Trump says is what Trump believes. It’s also clear that he has no understanding at all of world politics and that he might well get all his information from comics and Fox News.  Again, this is not something one would hope for in the president of the USA but we live in an upside-down world where words mean whatever we want them to mean.

We live in a world where an artificial bubble inhabited by fragile narcissists is called Reality TV, and Trump of course has dominated that genre through his arrogance, his stupidity and his ignorance, all fuelled by the one underlying force that holds such a universe together: money.

The Donald, all his life, has bought everything he ever wanted. He has no experience of relating to his fellow human beings as an ordinary, vulnerable person like the rest of us and therefore no knowledge of how people relate to each other and yet he tries to fake it, fooling many people in the process.

Psychopaths tend to be expert mimics. They watch other people’s emotions. They study how people respond, and they reflect it back in a highly-convincing way, but I’m not saying Trump is a psychopath. I’m just saying that if I looked for a parallel, the best one I could find would be Patrick Bateman in Brett Easton Ellis’s novel, American Psycho — but without the murders, obviously. I’m not saying Trump has murdered anyone, though I wouldn’t feel so confident if he ever got his fingers on the Big Red Button.

Truthfully, if this man becomes President of the USA, we all need to worry.





Imelda May at King John’s Castle

The minders probably won’t let me run away with Imelda May, but if I can figure out a way to do it, I will.

King John’s Castle is probably the ideal place, since I can dress up as Erroll Flynn and swing from a chandelier to abduct my favourite temptress, while at the same time skewering a couple of henchmen with my trusty rapier. I’ll leap over the ramparts into the waters of the mighty Shannon and laugh at the Sheriff of Nottingham as he grinds his teeth and twiddles his evil moustache.

Go back to Nottingham, I’ll shout at him.

That should quieten him. I bet he’ll have no answer to that.

En garde! he’ll snarl, waving a little sword, but it will be too late as I bear my fair maiden downriver in a waiting boat crewed by fearless comrades.

We’ll repair to my castle where gentle maidens have prepared a bed of damask and silk for my sweet Imelda, but naturally, I’ll be a perfect gentleman. Imelda will learn to care for me in time I’m sure but if not, at least I’ll have saved her from the clutches of evil sheriffs — especially those from Nottingham.

I can’t wait to hear my heroine in the grounds of an 800-year-old castle. Does it get better?

Where every area is a VIP area.

Where the security wear chain mail and carry maces.

A place where no Norman sheriff will ever threaten our beloved Imelda, lest he feel the taste of cold steel.

Let’s hear it for Imelda May, the coolest, sassiest, psychobilliest performer ever.

Religion Sexuality

Maynooth sex scandal – Archbishop pulls out

maynooth seminary

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has had enough of all these sexual shenanigans in the National Seminary at Maynooth.

He’s pulling his students out and sending them to the Irish College in Rome where he hopes they’ll get greater exposure to cosmopolitan European culture and they won’t be shagging each other.

Who could blame him? If Maynooth wasn’t good enough for Ireland’s first Cardinal, Paul Cullen, nearly 200 years ago, why should it be good enough for Diarmuid Martin’s vulnerable young protegés? Admittedly, of course, Cullen’s father had a different reason for sending his lad to Rome. Hugh Cullen wasn’t letting any son of his attend a Catholic seminary provided by the perfidious English oppressors whereas Diarmuid Martin is more concerned about The Gay.

That’s right. I said Gay.


There’s a seminary full of men, sequestered away in a monastic environment and some of them turn out to be  gay.

Not only that, but some of them turn out to be sexually active.

Who knew?

One way or the other, Archbishop Martin is worried and to be fair to him, his concerns are probably not based on the fact that the activity is homosexual. That’s more or less a given, since  it would be hard to see how anyone would engage in heterosexual activity in a place where there are no women.

I know. It  doesn’t have to be heterosexual. You could point out that there are sheep in Kildare and no doubt the occasional frog but from what he said, Martin seems to be more troubled by what he perceives as an atmosphere of coercion. Martin thinks Maynooth is a place full of abusers preying on emotionally-vulnerable young men.

Who could have imagined that the seminary churning out Ireland’s priests would be sexually abusive, especially when you consider how balanced and emotionally complete Ireland’s priests have proven themselves over the centuries? It’s astonishing.

But apart from the sexual aggression, Martin also seems to be worried about the shagging. By the sound of things, the lads in Maynooth are getting laid like jack-rabbits using social media, and who could blame them? Their final vows will include not only celibacy but also chastity, so why not make hay while they can?

Te morituri salutant.

Martin doesn’t think his priestlings should be getting laid and of course, he’s the boss. But given the consequences of that policy over the centuries, perhaps he’d be better off just saying nothing. Let them get on with it. Let them use dating websites, gay or straight and who knows? He might even end up with emotionally well-adjusted priests and what a difference that would be, although of course it’s too late to change anything. The damage was done a long time ago and the Catholic church has already lost the hearts and minds it needed to survive.

Now, it’s true that Diarmuid only has three seminarians to educate this year when in times past his predecessors might have had dozens. That’s why he was sending them to Maynooth: Clonliffe College closed years ago due to lack of interest but let’s not focus on numbers.

Diarmuid Martin must be feeling pretty despondent. The institution he devoted his life to no longer enjoys the confidence of the general public and here he is, the Archbishop of Dublin, saying that he has no confidence in the national seminary.

Nobody trusts the clergy, and the top cleric doesn’t trust the place that makes the priests.

Artificial seminarians, so to speak.

That leaves him in a difficult position, wouldn’t you say?


Killing Heydrich

Reinhard HeydrichIf a young German naval officer had not made a girl pregnant, and if that girl had not been the daughter of Großadmiral Erich Raeder, it’s quite possible that millions of lives might have been spared, but instead the young  sub-lieutenant was charged with conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and was kicked out of the navy.

As events would later confirm, the navy was right. This 27-year-old officer was far from a gentleman.

Not only would he turn out to be a sex addict and a drunkard, but also a gifted administrator and a cold-blooded psychopathic killer. Not to mention a concert violinist of considerable talent.

Stung by the humiliation of his dismissal from the service, young Reinhardt Heydrich managed to secure an interview with 31-year-old Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, who was setting up a new counter-intelligence unit. Whatever descriptions you could apply to Himmler, “educated” and “well-read” would not be among them, and neither would Ubermensch by any stretch of the imagination.

Heydrich’s sales pitch, based on any old nonsense he could remember from reading spy novels, impressed the nasty little Reichsführer so deeply he hired this tall, athletic, cultured, walking embodiment of Aryan manhood on the spot.

Heydrich was logical.

Heydrich was ruthless.

Heydrich played classical violin.

Heydrich was everything  that Himmler was not and now, suddenly he was head of the nascent Gestapo even though to begin with he only had a typewriter and a desk, but that wouldn’t last long.

Thus a monster was born.

I’ve often said that we should never be shocked by the actions of monsters, because monstrous things are in their nature. It’s far more shocking when ordinary men and women carry out monstrous acts but Heydrich is the exception. Heydrich, for many people – even Hitler – was the very embodiment of Nazi evil. A cold, heartless functionary with no scruples about murdering millions. A man whose inner darkness is written on his merciless face and in his dead, unfeeling eyes.

There’s something about Heydrich that proclaims the very essence of totalitarian cruelty and something also that suggests he might well have ended up behind the Führer’s desk if his own arrogance hadn’t opened up the opportunity for his Czech killers to exterminate him. This man, after all, was speaking of being an Admiral when he was only an 18-year-old naval cadet. This is the individual described by Hitler after a long private meeting as a highly gifted but also very dangerous man.

You’d need to fear someone who made Hitler nervous.

I’ve just finished a fascinating book called HHhH by Laurent Binet. A meta-novel, you might call it, since it’s Binet’s attempt to describe his struggle as he writes about the assassination of Heydrich, the Butcher of Prague. The man with the iron heart as Hitler once called him.

Yes, it’s a strange title for a book and we’ll come to the reason for it presently, but it offers such interesting juxtapositions that I couldn’t put it down. In some ways, it reminds me of Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor, a novel about a modern-day detective investigating a series of murders, who somehow finds himself connected across the centuries with the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, formerly an apprentice to Christopher Wren and designer of six churches in the reign of Queen Anne, laid out in a Satanic pattern on the map of London.

It’s rare that a novel sets me on a quest, but I once visited all of those Hawksmoor churches the same day, even HHhH Laurent Binetthough I was already familiar with four of them before I read the book. The only other novels to have raised such an  urge in me are Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by the great Hunter S. Sadly, though, I have yet to visit Bombay or go on a savage acid and alcohol-fuelled journey with my Samoan attorney to the heart of the American dream.

But maybe there’s time yet. Who knows?

Let’s return to Laurent Binet’s book HHhH and the conundrum of why it’s listed as fiction even though the subject is clearly historical and political. I don’t know the answer to that, except to say that Binet has somehow managed to write a book about writing a book while at the same time keeping scrupulously to the historical facts as far as he can establish them. And after all, what historical account of anything can claim to be completely factual?

But Heydrich.

What about this cold-blooded reptile? I’m as trapped in his cobra stare as Binet is. I detest him as much as the other high-ranking Nazis did. Even now, seven decades after his death, I fear him a little, because this man had the darkest soul I have ever encountered and who’s to say that, like Hawksmoor, he might not reach out across time and touch me with his bony dead fingers?

This man swept into Prague at the age of 37, already head of the entire German security apparatus. The most senior secret policeman in the Reich, commanding the Gestapo, the Sipo, the Sicherheitsdienst, immediately set to work executing Czechs and banishing people to concentration camps, but this Acting Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia didn’t allow his onerous task to distract him from planning the Holocaust. And of course, in good time, he would chair the Wannsee conference during which the administrative details of the Holocaust would be agreed, permitting the destruction of all European Jews and other undesirables.

Heydrich was an absolute monster, without feelings, without scruples, without emotion. Even his boss Himmler, the appalling little toad, had the good grace to faint when the SS murdered Jews in front of him, but everyone knew that crossing Heydrich was tantamount to suicide.

He was crude, he was aggressive, he was a vile drunk. He haunted whorehouses. He was a cruel thug. He was a merciless organiser of industrial death.

Yet, when he played the violin, his face lost its coldness, its arrogance, its cruelty.

When Heydrich played the violin, he became human for a time, and he became transported into the vaults of the spheres.

Somebody who knew him said of Heydrich that two souls lived in his breast and I can almost believe that. I can almost believe in the religious notion of possession when I contemplate somebody like Reinhardt Heydrich, but of course that’s nonsense. He was simply a cold, vicious, calculating swine who happened to love music.

They killed him and they were right to kill him, even though everyone knew there would be reprisals.

In return, the Germans murdered hundreds. They wiped out two villages that had nothing to do with the killing. I won’t call it an assassination, since that word would imply some sort of decency on Heydrich’s part. They killed him like a  rat and they were right to do it, even if the killing had elements of farce about it.

Actually, in a second or two, I will call it an assassination because that suits what I want to say. Forgive me

They trained in England and they parachuted into Czechoslovakia. They knew there was almost no chance of surviving, but they did it anyway. They picked the best place on the route where the arrogant Pro-Consul travelled every day from Prague Castle in his open-top Mercedes-Benz driven by a giant SS bodyguard. Called Klein!

They waited at a bend where the car had to slow down. One of them stepped out in front of the vehicle, aimed his British-made Sten gun and


and the fucking thing jammed.

And the assassin stared at Klein, the giant SS driver.

And Klein, the giant SS driver stared back.

And Heydrich stared at the assassin. And Heydrich stared at Klein.

And then the other assassin crept up behind the car and threw his bomb but he missed and it exploded beside the wheel and didn’t blow Heydrich to bits as it was supposed to. But it did enough to hurt him. Far more than he suspected at the time and far more than the assassins thought. For those were the days before effective antibiotics, and therefore the Butcher of Prague, the architect of the Holocaust was a dead man walking or at least a dead man staggering.

Eventually, Heydrich just died of an infection. Horribly.

Of course the SS tracked the killers down, but it took 800 of them after a tip-off from a traitor, and the shoot-out in the cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius cost the Germans dozens of casualties before the commandos (that’s a better word than assassin) in a final act of defiance, took their own lives.

That’s where I want to go. Though I have been in Prague many times I never visited the Orthodox cathedral where Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabcík fought the SS to the death, killing and injuring many of them.

I want to honour the memories of the men who ensured that all we had to deal with was Hitler.


Oh. I nearly forgot to tell you what HHhH means.

Himmlers Hirm heisst Heydrich.  Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich.

It was German humour, but at least some of them were poking fun at the monsters, so let’s not judge their jokes too harshly.



Also on this site.

Heinz Heydrich, brother of Reinhardt

Goering’s embarrassing relatives

Happy Holocaust holidays




Longford family reject €42-a-week 4-bed house and take over another

Longford house

Isn’t it well for them? as ladies of my mother’s generation might have said.

Isn’t it well for the Doyle family that they were able to reject a 4-bedroom bungalow at a weekly rent of €42 and instead squat in a house another family was intended to have?

Isn’t it well for them?

Initially their objection was that the house was too close to the road, and their children might have been in danger from traffic but Longford Council solved that problem by building a fence for them, and still the Doyle family decided that they wouldn’t move into the house.

Instead they squatted in a house intended for another family.

John Paul Doyle, the paterfamilias, now runs the risk of imprisonment unless he moves his six children out of that house.

Of course I can’t help thinking that John Paul must be 37 years old, as all John Pauls are. Thirty-seven years old, with six kids and no means of housing them apart from a demand to the local council to provide his progeny with a place of his choosing.

Shouldn’t we all be so lucky?

Wouldn’t we all love to be able to reject a four-bedroom bungalow?

Wouldn’t we all love to produce a large family knowing that somebody else will look after us?

Recently on radio we heard a mother describe the humiliation of living in a hotel with no means of cooking for her children and here’s John Paul feeling entitled to place his six children in the best accommodation money can buy. He’s probably a very nice guy, but why is John Paul entitled to a better house than anyone else? And why is he entitled to get it for €42 a week when people are sleeping on park benches?

There was a time when I would have been sympathetic to men like John Paul, men who felt entitled to bring as many children as they wish into the world even though they aren’t able to house them, but I don’t feel that way any more.

If you want to have a large family, that’s your business, but don’t expect everyone else to take responsibility for your decision, or lack of it.

A few years ago, some protester set up a placard outside the offices of Limerick City Council. His problem was that he had too many children for his four-bedroom council house and he wanted something bigger. I was going into the office to pay my car tax and I couldn’t help stopping to talk to him.

Why are you protesting?

I want a bigger house.


I have too many children. We have no room for them.

Where did all these children come from?

We just had them.

Did somebody force you to have them?

We just had them.

Could you not have kept your dick in your pants?

Luckily for me, he didn’t quite seem to grasp what I was asking him.





Drinking water out of lead pipes

I heard an item on the radio today about old pipes. The journalist was grilling somebody from Irish Water about their plans to put orthophosphates in the water in order to combat the effects of lead.

To be truthful with you, I wasn’t paying much attention till I heard mention of my home town, Limerick, where it seems there have been protests against introducing this chemical and that’s when my ears perked up.

Why? What? Who could possibly be for keeping lead in the drinking water? Who could be against a harmless substance coating the inside  of the pipes of prevent people being poisoned?

I don’t know, but apparently some people are opposed to putting orthophosphates in the water, presumably on the basis that they contain too many syllables. On the basis presumably, that chemical names sound too sinister and you couldn’t have that, now could you?

In other words, on the basis of nothing more than a medieval suspicion of science.

On the basis of being an unlettered idiot.

Never mind that you’d get a hundred times as much orthophosphate in a single fizzy drink as you would in a glass of water. Ignore that sort of fact and instead aim for the factoids that motivate such protests. After all, what fun are facts when we can have chemtrails and vaccination conspiracies?

Naturally, Irish Water is the problem, and not the reality that 180,000 houses have lead piping inside their four walls. The same people  complaining about chemicals like orthophosphates (but who have no problem drinking dihydrogen monoxide or for that matter, psychoactive substances like C2H5OH) seem to think that the public purse is responsible for fixing bad plumbing inside a private house.

It isn’t.

If you have lead pipes inside your house, that’s a problem you have to fix yourself instead of expecting the rest of us to pay for it. It makes no difference who delivers the dihydrogen monoxide to your tap. Irish Water can do it or the local council can do it, but the fact remains that your lead pipes are your problem.

That’s a reality that the anti-paying-for-your-own-problems alliance doesn’t seem to grasp. If you have lead pipes in your house, I’m not paying to fix it, either through Irish Water or through the Council.

How about explaining to those protesting about orthophosphates that they have three choices: continue to be poisoned, pay now to replace your pipes, or in the meantime let this substance coat your pipes with a layer that will protect you from the poisonous heavy metal?

Yes, I know that’s the logical answer, but never underestimate the stupidity of rabble-rousers or the people they stir up. We’ve seen what they can do in far worse circumstances and to be truthful, I think our fools are only practising for darker times when their skills are needed to drum up irrational anger against who knows what?





RTE announces €2.8 million deficit

RTE, apparently, is in hock to the tune of €2.8 million, on the face of it, a huge amount of money but not in the broader scheme. This sum might not, for instance, come anywhere close to the budget of the average county council roads area of which there might be four of five to a council.

But more to the point, it comes nowhere close to the earnings of the top ten RTE earners who are as follows:

Ryan Tubridy. €495 k

Joe Duffy, €417 k

Marian Finucane, €295 k

Sean O Rourke, €290 k

Miriam O Callaghan €280 k

Brian Dobson, €196 k

George Lee, €179 k

Richard Crowley, €174 k

Colm Hayes, €170 k

Derek Mooney, €169 k.

This comes to a total of €2,665k.

Now, I’m sure all of these are fine people who do a fine job, and of course nobody is going to work for nothing but at the same time, is Ryan Tubridy worth half a million a year to talk nonsense on the radio for an hour in the morning and more nonsense on the television once a week?

I’d take that gig and I wouldn’t be looking for €500 thousand.

Is Joe Duffy worth four hundred thousand euros a year to shout people down? Could RTE find nobody to work for let’s say a hundred grand, who might be able to present an afternoon show for an hour and a quarter a day? Is that beyond the wit of man? Is there nobody out there with the talent of Joe bleedin’ Duffy?

Are we such a talentless country that we can’t find two people to do the job of Joe Duffy and Ryan Tubridy for €200 thousand combined instead of just under a  million? Are we really that useless?

Coud we not find a replacement for Marian Finucane who might actually be able to keep the listener informed as to who she’s talking to? Does Sean O Rourke really need to be paid €300 thousand to present a morning news show? Is there nobody capable of doing the same job for a ton?

Perhaps instead of complaining about lack of funding, RTE might look instead at the cossetted inner circle it has supported since its foundation, but of course it won’t unless it’s forced to do so.

What RTE really needs is an external commission to examine it in the most intimate way imaginable, to tear it apart and to rid it of the comfortable cliques who have had control of it since its inception.

It’s high time we had a new RTE, free of the cosy circles that have fed off it since the start.





Reviewing the Limerick 2020 Bid Book

limerick 2020To my shame, I didn’t read the Limerick 2020 bid book before it was submitted.

I just assumed, to my shame, that it would be a professionally-prepared submission making the most of our town as any submission would in the circumstances. I assumed, and now I am ashamed of my stupidity, that the Limerick 2020 submission would be written in plain English, that it would be devoid of cliché and that it would be packed with hard, compelling facts. The sort of facts that a jury would be unable to resist.

I assumed these things because, despite everything, I retain an unbending confidence in our town, but my confidence continues to wilt under the hammer-blows inflicted on it by disasters like the Limerick 2020 bid book.

At the very least, it seemed reasonable to assume that the 2020 bid would be written by a grown adult, but in reality what we found was a document drawn up by somebody who might have have been kicked out of a course in bad business cliché writing.

I felt embarrassed reading the opening paragraph that emphasised everything negative about Limerick. I cringed at “Dat’s Limerick City“. I asked myself if the people behind this bid had either lost their minds or somehow been hypnotised by a demented illiterate fifteen-year-old.

Do yourself a favour and read this thing right here. Don’t  take my word for it.

Read this document. Telll me if you think the person who wrote it  had a functional grasp of the English language. Tell me if you think the author understood what the bid was seeking to achieve. Tell me if you think the best way to win a bid is to write the submission in meaningless business-speak bullshit.

The smugness is simply staggering. This submission is based solely on the arts in Limerick and has no regard to anything else in our culture. It’s written in a stultified, meaningless jargon filled with clichés.

Limerick 2020 submission

This submission represents nothing of the Limerick I grew up in. It represents nothing of the Limerick we have our culture and our being in. This submission was written by one or two people who have not the slightest grasp of Limerick culture, one or two people who have no grasp of what our culture is, and therefore, predictably enough, this submission failed.

Shame on them.

But all the more shame on us for allowing them to speak on our behalf. We deserve what we get.



Francois Hollande’s monthly €10,000 haircut

Conférence des Nations unies sur les changements climatiques – COP21 (Paris, Le Bourget)

Ah, the French Revolution, that magnificent upheaval that  cast off the aristocratic oppressors and sparked a new age of tolerance. Liberté, Egalité and of course Fraternité informed the whole endeavour, culminating in that magnificent Socialist icon Francois Hollande, a man who once claimed to hate the rich.

It now emerges that Francois has a barber on his staff, an artist paid €10,000 a month, to make sure the Presidential coiffure never goes limp.

Ten grand a month! Can you believe that? A barber is paid ten thousand euros a month to hang around looking enigmatic and unshaven, sulkily smoking a Gaulois, and occasionally snipping the stray wisps of a man who might shortly have no hair at all.

Did the original Sun King spend as much on his court coiffeur to shave his head once a week so that his wig would fit without too much sweat? One doubts it and yet the new Socialist Sun King deems such expenditure appropriate to keep his receding, greying thatch dyed and trimmed.

I have news for Francois le Grand, le Roi Nouveau Soleil: Your hair is shite. It’s complete shite. Why are you paying that hairdresser four times the average French wage to sit around all month for one haircut?

You have awful hair, Francois. It’s terrible.

Surely Ségolène told you how awful your thatch is, or perhaps that was what caused your dreadful rift?

Get a grip, Frank. Shave your head. For once in your life be cool.

And while you’re at it, sack that silly coiffeur.