Michael Martin Resigns

It’s not my place to comment on the politics of our neighbouring country, except to say this: I admire them.  I admire the British politicians.

I admire the fact that they’re prepared to resign, in contrast to the gobshites who populate our body politic.

I admire the fact that, for the most part, they don’t expect to hand down their seats to their sons and daughters.

I admire the fact that their politicians can actually speak instead of mumbling prepared platitudes from a a crib-sheet.

What I don’t admire is their horrible class distinction.

I don’t admire the fact that they looked down on Michael Martin because of his accent, or his social origins, or his religion.

I don’t admire their insufferable self-righteousness, but I do admire their integrity, which is greater than ours.

On the other hand, unlike Douglas Hogg, I can’t imagine an Irish politician claiming expenses for cleaning his moat, but that’s because we’re not posh enough to have moats.

If  Irish politicians actually lived in castles, I can assure you they’d be far worse than any of their British counterparts.

I never thought I’d hear myself saying this, but it’s true: we need to become a lot more like the British.

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The Friends of Bertie Ahern

I thought it would be good to give the political ranting a break, just for tonight, and I was actually going to tell you a joke instead of venting and cursing and posturing and projectile vomiting.

But no.

Bertenstein just won’t go away, will he?

What sort of bollocks is he talking now? What sort of shit is this about the latest bundle of money? Does he think we’re all completely stupid?

Well, come to think of it, maybe we are all completely stupid, having re-elected this crowd of corrupt, inept gobshites over and over again, despite all the revelations about their crookedness and their incompetence. We deserve them.

The latest horse-shit has me in a knot though. No – seriously, I mean my brain is knotted up trying to figure it all out. In fact, I got so knotted up that I had to do one of my simplified chronologies to fit it into my rather inflexible brain.

This is more a stream of consciousness than a posting tonight, so feel free to drift away any time it starts to get on your nerves.

Here’s what I have so far, but maybe some of the People will help to fill in the gaps or correct whatever I got wrong. A sort of Bocollaboration. I’ve converted all the amounts from Britpounds and old Irish punts to Euros for simplicity).

1993 Bertie, Minister for Finance, gets £28,000 from his friends, who are:

Paddy Reilly, Des Richardson, Padraic O’Connor, Jim Nugent, David McKenna, Fintan Gunne, Mick Collins and Charlie Chawke

For clarification, I bought a house around the same time. I took out a mortgage for 20 years. It was for about £28,000. It was very expensive. This was not small money. Just to keep things in context, this was the kind of cash that most people were borrowing to buy their entire house.

Yet, Bertie knew people who could just hand it over to him.

Me: 20 years working to pay for it.

Bertie: There ya go. No problem.

What the fuck???

1993 Bertie, Minister for Finance had saved €50,000 in cash, despite ruinous marital separation. As his bank account was in joint names, he kept all the money in cash. It isn’t clear why he couldn’t just open an account in his own name.

1994 Bertie, Minister for Finance gets €20,000 from his friends, who are:

Joe Burke, Dermot Carew, Barry English and Paddy Reilly

Of these gifts, €25,000 went to his daughters’ education according to Bertie, leaving a balance of €23,000.

1994 Bertie, Minister for Finance, attends a function in Manchester attended by businessmen and engages in a spontaneous question and answer session. The businessmen spontaneously collect €8,000 for him because they know he’s having a messy separation from his wife. Mick Wall, a millionaire businessman, is present but doesn’t attend the function. He’s only a bus-driver (a millionaire bus-driver) and he waits outside.

1994 According to his police driver, Bertie, Minister for Finance, travels to Manchester with a suitcase full of cash.

1994 Bertie rents house from Mick Wall, millionaire bus-driver. House value is €190,000. Monthly rent €600. Cost of house to Mick Wall at prevailing interest rates, about €2,000 per month.

Dec 1994 Mick Wall, millionaire bus-driver, gives €40,000 in cash to Celia Ahern, Bertie’s partner at the time. (Obviously, this has nothing to do with the money Bertie is alleged to have taken to Manchester earlier in the year.)

Bertie explains this week: Any money that Ms Larkin received was a stamp duty issue and it was towards refurbishing the house

Tenants are not liable for stamp duty and €40,000 seems like a lot of money to refurbish a brand new house.

1995 Mick Wall changes his will, leaving the house to Bertie, Minister for Finance.

1994 – 1997 Bertie and Celia live in the house, paying about a third of what it would cost for a mortgage. The rent they pay in the three years is about half of the €40,000 Mick Wall is said to have spent on the refurbishment. Obviously, Mick didn’t get a great return on his investment.

1997 Bertie buys the house for €220,000. Not a bad deal for a Dublin house in that location. Not bad at all.

Bertie sees nothing wrong with a Minister for Finance receiving such gifts and favours, even when the people giving money have extensive property interests, and might benefit significantly from certain tweaking of various Finance Acts. Something a Minister for Finance might be in a position to do, in the National Interest.

Take, for instance, Des Richardson, one of Bertie’s generous friends in 1993. Richardson’s company, Berraway, had what was termed a “strategic consultancy” with Rohan Holdings, who paid the company €1.08 million in fees between 1996 and 2000. Now, it just so happens, purely by coincidence, that Bertie introduced a tax break in 1994 which, astonishingly, had only one beneficiary: Rohan Holdings. As a result of the tax break, Rohan immediately saved €2 million in tax, and a further €200,000 every year from then on. But of course, this is purely coincidence.

Am I just plain stupid here?

What do you think?


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Irish General Election

I see our government has decided to go to the country.

Great. Time to start torturing those political reptiles that call to your door once every four years. After all, even if you didn’t disagree with their policies, it’s very hard to like a heavily-sweating man in a bad suit with a gigantic belly and highly-suspect hair.

I hate these people, but I don’t – obviously – expect you to be so vehement. Obviously. Did I mention that I hate these fuckers? Yes. However, you don’t need to be anywhere near as vehement. Just ask them a few questions when they come to your door, and while I think of it, may I just enter a small caveat? Thanks.

Caveat: This is a completely non-party site. This site hates all political parties equally, naturally, because they are all equally power-grabbing scum-sucking cynical parochial arse-licking morality-free fuckheads. All of them. Including the Greens, the Browns, the Greys, the Socialists, the Socialites, the Luddites, the Lignites, the Meteorites, the Bentonites and of course, the Gelignites. Not to mention Hurricane Johnny and the Jets. The whole dishonest, shit-eating lot of them.

That is Bock’s view on politicians, both established and incipient. A crowd of wankers. Tosspots.

However, as only one party has been in power in this benighted little country for a generation, unfortunately it’s going to look as if I have adopted some kind of party-political stance, when in fact it’s simply that there isn’t anyone else to attack. I mean, the only people who have fucked up in recent memory are the government parties. OK? That makes sense.

Here’s my suggestion. I’ll make a list of hard questions. You can paste them on the inside of your front door and then, instead of listening to the nauseating shite you know they’re going to throw at you, simply say

Hold on a minute. I have a couple of questions.

What do you think? Is this revolutionary or what? People with real questions challenging real stupid politicians.

Now here’s a problem. Because this is Ireland, a small tiny little country on the periphery of just about everything, there are certain things I can’t recommend to you. For example, I can’t suggest you say

Why did you invade Iraq, you murdering fucker?

Of course not. We didn’t invade Iraq.

You could, however, ask something along the lines of

Why did you give Shannon Airport for the use of the US military to invade Iraq, you murdering- by-proxy fucker?

Or you could try something more parochial. For example, you could ask

Why did you give €1,200,000,000 of my money to bail out the religious orders who raped and abused Irish children? For clarity, that would be one thousand two hundred million euros. Could you explain that please? Thanks.

And if you draw a blank on that, maybe you could ask them the following:

How much of the profits from the Corrib gas field go to the Irish citizen?

[Hint 1: The answer is not a penny]

[Hint 2. This is where the Government has sent 200 police to beat the local protesters off the roads while real criminals walk around unhindered everywhere else.]

[Hint 3 This was the deal signed by the convicted fraudster and crook Ray Burke when he was Minister for Energy.]

You might add another supplementary question if you feel sufficently splenetic:

When he gave away this valuable national asset to Shell, how much did Ray Burke make out of the deal?

[Hint: No problem, Ray. Sue me.]

And as this is a Limerick-based site here’s a local one.

Limerick is a much smaller town than Dublin. It only has a population of about 120,000 people in the greater area, compared to the 1.2 million of Dublin. Therefore the most we could expect is a tenth of whatever Dublin gets, per head of population. For instance, as the Luas tram system in Dublin cost €800 million, wouldn’t it seem reasonable that we could have €80 million spent on a tram system for Limerick? A tenth, in other words.

That way, it would be less annoying to see all our tax money spent on a city we don’t live in.

Fine. Here’s the question:

When will the government spend as much per head of population on Limerick’s public transport as they did in Dublin?

[Note: Substitute Cork, Galway, Waterford, Sligo or wherever else you prefer.]

Isn’t it great? And we’re only starting on these bastards.


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Bertie’s Parallel Universe


And they laughed at me for being such a big fan of Stargate! Ha! I bet they’re sniggering on the other side of their faces now that scientists have discovered an earth-like planet only 50 million light-years away, orbiting the Sol-like star, Mu Arae.

See? See??


I suspect this discovery is more significant than the scientists realise. I suspect, in fact, that they have discovered the home-world of our esteemed and beloved Prime Citizen, Bertie Ahern.

Jaysus, dat was some ride.


Why do I think this? Well, it seems to be our nearest Earth-like neighbour, its gravity is such that its inhabitants are likely to be short, thick-boned and squat. Furthermore, to judge by what our Prime Citizen said yesterday, he can’t possibly be from Planet Earth, but must come from a parallel reality just slightly skaw-ways of our own. The Bertieverse.

Did you hear the shit he was talking about the electronic voting machines? I’m sure everybody remembers the e-voting debacle presided over by Bertie’s moronic minister for some-crap-or-other Martin Cullen. No? Oh, really?

Well, it was like this. They bought a big pile of computers from this Dutch company called NEDAP. They were special computers you see, and all you had to do was push buttons to select whoever you wanted to see elected. This was great for Bertie, cos, see, it meant Ireland was all modern, see, not like in the dark old days when we made a mark on an old-fashioned piece of paper with an old-fashioned pencil. Oh, and an old-fashioned pile of votes in a box that you could count again if you thought somebody was attempting electoral fraud, but that would never happen in our modern democracy, would it? Not according to Bertie, anyway.

OK. So here we had these special computers which were really just PCs with no keyboards, and they were programmed with this special Dutch software, but the special Dutch programmers wouldn’t let our people see the special Dutch source code, even though we were paying for it, and our civil servants said No bother, Boss. That’s fine!!

The fucking fools.

What? You call that a voting machine???

So they used it in a couple of elections. Oh, did I mention PR? No? Silly me. Unlike, say, in Britain, we don’t have a first-past-the-post electoral system. No. We have the single transferable vote: proportional representation. Which means that the NEDAP software has to do all sorts of things it isn’t used to, like tranferring surpluses, and lots more besides, and it’s very important to be sure it’s doing it right. But of course, as we couldn’t look at the code, we couldn’t really tell.

Now, people started to object to this. They started to say, well how the fuck do I know my vote was counted at all? Where’s the paper trail? they started to say. And where’s the verification of the software, they asked.

That was when Bertie called us Luddites.


Bertie Ahern: Soldier, Statesman, Poet and now Software Expert, found himself confident in dismissing all the IT professionals who spoke out and questioned the new Dutch voting system. All the people who were concerned to protect our democracy, Bertie found himself able to dismiss as Luddites. Not to mention people like myself, who aren’t IT professionals but aren’t stupid either.

Minister Martin Cullen explains his plans for the system

What do you think happened? There was such a public clamour, the government had to set up a commission of investigation. And what do you think the commission found? Yup. The whole thing is a crock of shit – that’s what it found.

So the special Dutch machines went into storage, where they remain, and so far the whole ridiculous saga has cost €62 million. How about that? But I’m not finished. After the commission reported, a Dutch team used the data it produced to hack the very same machines in Holland, proving that the system was far from secure and could easily be subverted by any unscrupulous person with sufficient access to it.

NEDAP’s chief software engineer arrives from Holland

Now. Fast forward to yesterday, when Bertie told the world that Ireland was the laughing stock of Europe for using paper and pencil to hold elections. He was embarrassed because the French had used e-voting in their presidential elections, and we were still stuck in the distant past.

What Bertie either neglected to say, or didn’t know, was this.

The French used mostly paper and pencil, except for a pilot test on 1.5 million voters.

They used three different suppliers of machines on trial, including NEDAP.

They weren’t operating a proportional representation system like ours, but a straight first-past-the-post system.

There’s great concern in France about electronic voting due to the same worries as we have here in Ireland.

I dunno. Push a button, see what happens!

Now. Did Bertie acknowledge any of this? No.

When asked by the Opposition politicians about the waste of money on a useless system, did he hold his hands up and say Sorry, lads. We made a shit of it?


Well then, did he blame his idiot minister, Cullen the fool, for wasting €62 million of taxpayers’ money?

Eh, that would be a No.

Who do you think Bertie blamed for wasting all that money?

That’s right. In spite of the fact that an independent government-appointed commission reported that it’s a big pile of crap, he blamed the Opposition politicians for objecting to the system. He didn’t blame the people who bought it without knowing what the hell they were doing. Oh no. By speaking out against a flawed, anti-democratic system that was riddled with weaknesses and open to electoral fraud, the Opposition were somehow responsible for wasting all that money. They were supposed to let Bertie implement this big pile of wombat-droppings so he could strut around in front of his urbane European colleagues and feel a little less like the thick lumpenprole he is. And the rest of us were supposed to lie down and shut the fuck up. Bertie knew best.

Were the cretin Cullen or his civil servants responsible at all? Ah God no.

This my friends, is a terminal case of hubris. This is a man who has forgotten that he is only a man and not the Sun King. Now, unfortunately, we have as an Opposition a crowd of complete muppets, so I don’t know what to advise you. I suggest you vote everybody out.

Eh, let’s see. Just hit B for Bertie, right?

This ludicrous outburst by the Prime Citizen reminds me of something else. Did you know that you can walk into a bookie’s office now and you can watch a computer-generated horse race, with little cartoon horses and jockeys running around a make-believe track, all coming out of a computer chip? I swear to you, it’s true. Maybe that’s how Bertie would like to see our elections.

Our new President: Vlad the Impaler.

This is the planet Bertie inhabits.

This is Bertual Reality.


See also

The Power of Belief




I was listening to an item on the news about a new report from the Comptroller and Auditor General. This report is about hospital [tag]consultants[/tag], or more particularly about whether we’re getting value for money from them. A very topical matter indeed in this country.

I googled it and and found the report, entitled Medical Consultants Contract.

Here’s an extract:

General Finding

The failure to evolve and implement a model that integrates responsibility for resources, activities and outcomes was a factor that contributed to the failure to activate the key terms of the 1997 contract in regard to monitoring commitments and clinical audit.

Overall, any new contractual arrangements need to specify the administrative and governance changes that are required to achieve effective implementation and be underpinned by a change management drive. Moreover, it would be desirable that the arrangements provide for a verification process to ensure that the agreed change envisaged is delivered in accordance with action plans tailored to the circumstances of individual hospitals.



The really depressing thing is that the report probably contains a lot of valuable information, and I’ll have to wade through this kind of lazy shit writing to find out what it says.



New Cork maternity hospital

Irish readers will know about the dispute in Cork about opening the new maternity hospital. The nurses’ organisation says the proposed staff levels are too low for safety and they won’t operate the hospital unless numbers are increased. Well and good. I don’t know. (Not being a nurse, or a doctor – or even a hospital manager, which in this country means a pen-pusher with a middling Leaving Cert and a fancy new job description, who knows fuck-all about patient care.)

Professor Brendan Drumm, on the other hand, knows quite a lot about medicine. He’s a professor which means he’s really incredibly smart and probably knows five languages as well as being a doctor, and he can also probably play the saxophone and ride a unicycle.

Brendan made a statement today about the Cork thing. He said this whole action by the nurses isn’t about patient care at all. According to Brendan, it’s all about money.

Now. Wasn’t this the same Professor Brendan Drumm who rejected the government’s job offer because they wouldn’t give him enough money?

Hmm. Not that it has anything to do with it. I was just wondering, y’know?

Irish medical consultants

Nurses’ Pay Claim

Favourites Politics

Stock Market Collapse

What about all this talk of the stock market? There’s no escaping it, is there?

Turn on your radio, and there will be somebody explaining that the trend in share values is downwards. There’s a surge in the Japanese Yen. Interest rates are going up. America is heading for a recession.

Listen to the way they talk about it. You’d swear they were meteorologists studying the weather. You’d suppose they might be cosmologists gaping at the nameless abyss of the galaxies. You’d imagine they were discussing some immutable natural force, bound by the laws of physics and chemistry, united by the eternal subtle and beautiful language of mathematics. That’s what you’d imagine, isn’t it, if you listened to these economists. The natural order. The power of the Universe. Truth.

But it’s not. It isn’t the weather. It isn’t gravitation. It’s not spiral nebulae swirling their relativistic ever-expanding dance across the void.

What drives these rates up and down, what makes the Yen surge or the dollar recede, what brings poverty to Africa and smaller houses to Europe is not some profound, primeval and pristine law of nature. Newton wrote no Principia in its honour and conceived no calculus to describe it. Nor did Leibnitz. Einstein wrote no coda to the music of either.

It isn’t Nature that changes share values. It isn’t physics, nor chemistry, nor even the strange underlying chaos that dances beneath everything.

It’s greed.

It’s fear.

It’s war.

And most of all, it’s stupidity. The stupidity of mankind, which no science can explain.

kick it on

Politics Technology

Bertie Ahern – Scientist, Accountant and Statesman

I see that Bertie is still adamant we won’t ever use nuclear power. Ever.

That’s because Bertie is a nuclear scientist and he knows all the ins and outs of nuclear power. The same as he used his deep knowledge of computer security to call us all Luddites when we questioned the e-voting machines.

Bertie went to the London School of Economics, as he reminded us on his CV, and he’s also an accountant, as he reminds us every chance he gets. Or was it ? – wait a minute, I remember now. Bertie once went to the LSE but it was to collect a secondhand bike from his mate, and he’s actually a book-keeper who once worked for the Mercy nuns at the Mater but never as an actual accountant anywhere, ever. At all. Ever. Because he’s not qualified to be an accountant and it would be illegal to practise as one. Anyway, what sort of accountant would sign dozens of blank cheques and hand them to the crookedest politician this country has ever known?

That would be pretty much the same level of qualifications he has to hold an opinion on the safety of the data in the electronic voting machines: none. It didn’t stop the arrogant git from lecturing and belittling and denouncing anyone with the temerity to question the decision by that fool Cullen to install the ridiculous things at enormous cost.

And now, here we have Bertie, Renaissance man, suddenly displaying an unsuspected knowledge of physics and nuclear engineering to declare from within his heart, like Dev, that we’ll never use nuclear power. It reminds me of old Todd Andrews who decided that our rail system should never be used again, by his own or any future generation and therefore destroyed the network for good, lest a politician fifty years hence might have the gall to question his infinite wisdom.

Bertie has said this before, and we were all stunned at his immovable certainty, but at least we thought someone would draw him aside and advise him.

Bertie, somebody would tell him, that’s not the way of science. Bertie, never say never. Only mad old priests are as absolute as that.

No. It seems not.

It won’t stop us importing electricity from those wicked old Brits though, and them with their rotten old nuclear power stations and everything. Now what does that remind you of?


Bertie Ahern 2
The Friends of Bertie

Politics popular culture Religion

What it means to be Irish

I don’t know.

I have no idea what it means to be Irish. In spite of the fact that – as far as I’m aware- my people have lived here forever, I feel very reluctant to call myself Irish, because I don’t know what the term Irish means. I feel even more uncomfortable when I hear this new expression: the New Irish. Hold on a fucking minute. New Irish? What exactly does that mean? Is that one of those condescending new terms we have to swallow or else be killed by the PC people? Apparently so.

Let me be blunt about this. I really couldn’t give a flying fuck about the colour of your skin, or where you came from, or what religion you have. Really – I couldn’t care less. You’re welcome in my country, and I’ll take you for what you are. But if you came from some other country, I hope you have the same tolerant view about me. I hope you couldn’t care less about my religion or my skin-colour, or my political views .

And if you think somebody’s religion, or skin colour, or political views are a problem, well then, that’s a problem. It’s a problem for you, because you’re in my country. So, what can you do if you if you think my religion, or my lack of religion, or my skin colour, or my political views are a problem? Very simple. You can fuck off back to where you came from.

Favourites Humour Politics

My gift to loyalism

Watch carefully now. This is what the loyalist politician of the future – or even the decent loyalist in the street – will be using for all his daily requirements. I’ve designed a handy electronic gadget that acts as an auto-prompter for heckling political opponents, and contains seven hundred different ways to say NO! At the push of a button, it will play the complete works of Wild Willie McCrae, say for example at a tea-party, or in a Shankill drinking club. It can also hold the entire body of speeches by the Rev Ian Paisley since the day he was born, which I think could be very useful for terrifying their opponents during a game of darts. It contains a complete Ulster-Scots dictionary and a simulated Lambeg Drum sound which can be very useful when parading through somebody’s housing estate when you don’t want anybody to know. The patterns for several thousand tattoos are stored inside it and a tiny laser can engrave any pattern on any part of your body in seconds. Additional patterns can be downloaded from the website.

For ease of use, it will be shaped like a bowler hat with the headphones discreetly hidden in the brim.

This I’m certain is the future of loyalism: welcome the iProd!