The Volvo Ocean Race, the largest sporting event to hit Irish shores since the Ryder Cup, arrived in Galway Bay yesterday. Should be some party!
Over the past few months, we have discovered just how corrupt to the core this country is. Of course, through all the tribunals and the barking of the dogs on the street, we should have had some inkling for a long time. But as long as we could afford that second home or that shiny new Merc, Middle Ireland didn’t care. We stood amidst the clear chaos of a divided society like a child transfixed by the shiny lollipop in his hand while the house burns down around him.
What has this State accomplished since we officially became a state, gaining our independence in the 1920s?
Do not get me wrong. I am so proud to be Irish. Individuals from this country have accomplished stunning things. If you are Irish you have a higher chance of winning a Nobel Prize for Literature than if you were from any other nation. It is astonishing that the world stops and celebrates with us every time St Patrick’s day comes around. Irish artists are renowned globally; we have a rich culture and unique sporting tradition and, among other accomplishments, our hands helped build America.
But, what have we, as a society on this small island – rather than a collection of scattered and sometimes exceptional individuals – achieved?
We are one of the most corrupt Western nations, now bankrupt because politicians, bankers, and yes, most of us everyday men and women, were 100 per cent in hoc to a financial philosophy which prided personal greed and the garnering and hoarding of personal wealth above all else. For decades we struggled to get out of the starting blocks as a modern economy and society, and when we did, we ran so far so fast our limbs burned up and we fell flat in the dirt. Our lack of judgement as a people is shockingly despicable.
And what did we do during those decades before the Tiger arrived, when we were struggling to find our feet? We rounded up our children, young boys and girls, and systematically raped, beat and degraded them:
A fiercely debated, nine-year investigation into Ireland’s Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades – and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.
High Court Justice Sean Ryan on Wednesday unveiled the 2,600-page final report of Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, which is based on testimony from thousands of former students and officials from more than 250 church-run institutions.
More than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families – a category that often included unmarried mothers – were sent to Ireland’s austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last church-run facilities shut in the 1990s.
The report found that molestation and rape were “endemic” in boys’ facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.
Wednesday’s five-volume report sides almost completely with the former students’ accounts. It concludes that church officials always shielded their orders’ pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy.
“A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from,” the report concluded.
The commission said overwhelming, consistent testimony from still-traumatized men and women, now in their 50s to 80s, had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential.
For a long time, and still substantially today, this country has been two things: the Church and the State. These twin demons have already destroyed the lives of generations of young people. Now, the State and its new church – the Church of Bank of Ireland, AIB, Anglo Irish, et al – have ruined the futures of a new generation.
A country that harbours such moral bankruptcy: and indeed, glorifies those who epitomise it – as we glorified the clergy and the bankers – doesn’t deserve to exist. It is a destructive force.
Let Ireland die so the Irish can live on.
Apparently, being Irish could kill you.
Which begs the question: surely simply being alive at all *will* kill you at some point?
According to a genetics expert speaking at the Royal College of Surgeons today, men may be not exist in another six million years – feminists of the world delight!
From yesterday’s Irish Times:
THE MALE sex-determining chromosome is on the way out, according to a genetics expert who will talk on the issue in Dublin tomorrow.
But there’s a while yet to say goodbye because it is unlikely to disappear completely for another six million years or so.
The Y chromosome has evolved to be strange, says Prof Jenny Graves from the Australian National University in Canberra, who explains that females have two copies of the X chromosome while males instead have one X and a Y, which carries the SRY gene for testis function.
“The Y chromosome is quite a large chunk of DNA but it is full of junk and there are only 45 genes on it. That’s hardly any compared to the X chromosome, which has about 1,345 genes on it,” she said.
By looking at the genomes of Australian fauna, including kangaroos and platypuses, Graves’s lab has worked out that the Y chromosome has been losing about 7.8 genes every million years. “We know the Y chromosome had about 1,345 genes on it 166 million years ago – it would have been identical to the X – and we know that all but 45 of those have gone,” she explained.
“At that rate, the last 45 genes are going to disappear in about 5.8 million years.”
Bank of Ireland chairman to step down
North’s Education Minister takes child out of school to go to Cyprus
Cowen tells ‘faint-hearted’ FF troops to be proud
FG shifts strategies in bid to maximise seats
Lee under fire from own party over call to axe senators
Eamon pedals election fever lin in bid to win vital votes
Greens discover power has its price
‘Organiser’ of botched armed raid says he was only trying to sell a car
Irish general in Chad honoured
Defrocked Irish priest fools Simon Cowell TV show
Golf here agonises over pro ranks
A particularly revealing and disturbing aspect of all this is that Wikipedia, that which journalists and students are told to avoid using as a source at all costs, had a faster and better editorial response than any newspaper:
Wikipedia editors were more sceptical about the unsourced quote. They deleted it twice on 30 March and when Fitzgerald added it the second time it lasted only six minutes on the page. His third attempt was more successful – the quote stayed on the site for around 25 hours before it was spotted and removed again.
What’s a bit rich is that the Guardian article on the hoax seems to suggest Fitzgerald is more to blame for the false quote appearing in newspapers than the newspapers themselves. This gets it backwards – the whole point of newspapers and something they continue to harp on about is how their ability to fact-check and sift good information from bad far surpasses that of ‘online journalists’. Fitzgerald has only revealed how reliant on the internet newspapers are today, and repeated a valuable lesson, something I was told in my first week of college (and should be self-evident anyway): Wikipedia can be very useful for general information, but NEVER use anything from Wiki unless you can get the original source.
UCD student Shane Fitzgerald has been showing up the world’s media after placing a fake quote on a Wikipedia page:
The sociology major’s obituary-friendly quote — which he added to the Wikipedia page of Maurice Jarre hours after the French composer’s death March 28 — flew straight on to dozens of U.S. blogs and newspaper Web sites in Britain, Australia and India. They used the fabricated material, Fitzgerald said, even though administrators at the free online encyclopedia twice caught the quote’s lack of attribution and removed it.
A full month went by and nobody noticed the editorial fraud. So Fitzgerald told several media outlets they’d swallowed his baloney whole.
So far, The Guardian is the only publication to make a public mea culpa, while others have eliminated or amended their online obituaries without any reference to the original version — or in a few cases, still are citing Fitzgerald’s florid prose weeks after he pointed out its true origin.
Fitzgerald said one of his University College Dublin classes was exploring how quickly information was transmitted around the globe. His private concern was that, under pressure to produce news instantly, media outlets were increasingly relying on Internet sources — none more ubiquitous than the publicly edited Wikipedia.
When he saw British 24-hour news channels reporting the death of the triple Oscar-winning composer, Fitzgerald sensed what he called “a golden opportunity” for an experiment on media use of Wikipedia.
If anything, Fitzgerald said, he expected newspapers to avoid his quote because it had no link to a source — and even might trigger alarms as “too good to be true.” But many blogs and several newspapers used the quotes at the start or finish of their obituaries.
He said the Guardian was the only publication to respond to him in detail and with remorse at its own editorial failing. Others, he said, treated him as a vandal who was solely to blame for their cut-and-paste content.
And he warned that a truly malicious hoaxer could have evaded Wikipedia’s own informal policing by getting a newspaper to pick up a false piece of information — as happened when his quote made its first of three appearances — and then use those newspaper reports as a credible footnote for the bogus quote.
So – a lie appears on Wikipedia, a newspaper prints the lie as truth, and then the Wikipedia page cites the newspaper article as a credible source for its original lie: a nightmare scenario for future truth in journalism.
To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, trust none of what you hear, and less of what you read.
Some interesting statistics released today by the HSE, as part of a new campaign to get people to quit smoking:
– 67% of smokers began smoking before 18 years of age with 19% having started before 14 years of age
– 55% of current or past smokers say their mum strongly disapproved of their smoking compared with 43% of their dads
– Approximately 1 in 10 claim their parents approved of their smoking
– Of current and past smokers, only 57% of their mothers and 46% of their fathers talked to them about the impact smoking can have on their health
– However, 28% say they are not likely to give up smoking even though this may encourage their children to smoke.
Here’s to the one in ten parents who approve of their children smoking!
Children running at pigeons.
I don’t know why but it makes me happy.
Because these things naturally follow.
From The Irish Times last Friday:
A “BILLIONAIRE” businessman linked with a string of high-profile potential investments has been identified as a sweet-shop owner based in rural Co Kilkenny.
Over the past year, there have been claims in national and regional media that [Stuart Pearson] was the head of a major investment company which sought to acquire a 30 per cent stake in Aer Lingus; was approached by SR Technics to invest “€25 million” in the troubled avionics company; and had offered “€450 million” to acquire failed Northern Ireland property company Taggart Holdings.
At a take-away restaurant on Barrack Street, Chrissie Travers said Mr Pearson was a “fierce nice chap” but “if someone told me he was a billionaire, I’d drop dead or give him an extra bag of chips”.
She said he often called in “on the way home from work” and ordered the “quarter-pounder meal deal” – which at €6.70 includes “a can” – but sometimes “he goes for the chicken curry” (at €5.80).
Ms Travers said she had “never heard a helicopter taking off”.