Monday, May 28, 2007

Martin Cullen sold to the PDs?

Rumours are circulating that Bertie Ahern has sold Martin Cullen to the PDs. The Skanger's source in Drumcondra tells us that the erstwhile Minister for Transport is on the move to the Progressive Democrats after Bertie sold him earlier today.

Martin Cullen sold to the PDs: Skangerland hears he's really excited about it

"The PDs were down to just two in the Dáil," our source related, "So the gaffer let them have Cullen to bulk them up a bit, although Mary Harney already does a fair job of making it look like there's more of them than there really is. Cullen's a bit of an eejit so we won't miss him too much."

A lodgement of €11,825.53 was made to Bertie's safe in his constituency office this afternoon. The sum, equating to 45,000 Polish Zloty, sealed the deal on Cullen's move and will be spent on new wallpaper for the Taoiseach's offices.

"It was either Cullen or the wallpaper," the Skanger's Drumcondra contact said, "No argument, really."

Monday, May 21, 2007

How do you say "Down with this sort of thing" in Irish?

Ní bhfuil aon gay in this village

A challenge? You can say that again. How's about dragging yourself into the twenty-first century for a challenge?

Just when you think that the gael-go-ers might not all be crypto-Catholic Opus Dei headcases, tweed-wearing bodhrán botherers, IRA activists in their laethanta saoire, or pervs who'd whack off to pictures of De Valera if whacking off was allowed but who content themselves with a bit of mortifying the flesh over a snapshot of Padre Pio instead; just when you think that Hector might not be a twat because he witters on in Irish but actually just because he's from bloody Naaavan; just when you're thinking that, yes, the weather forecast on TG4 is fun to watch with the sound off, along comes the latest report from Paisean Faisean.

We'll have no trousers on the ladies - Deuteronomy 22:5

That's right, Jehovah's Witness Aoife Ní Thuairisg had concerns about doing a gay edition of the Paisean Faisean programme. Apparently, she believes homosexuality is wrong, so there'll be none of that on her telly programme, thank you very much. What's the Irish for "homophobe," anyway?

What's really sad about this is not just that such antiquated prejudices persist, but that TG4, or rather the production company, Magma Films Ltd., has let them. They should have had a bit more backbone. I hope that the next time she washes up on The Panel Ní Thuairisg gets a good going over for this one. She's entitled to her opinions, however stupid and spiteful they might be, but I'd like to see Ó Briain (a gael-go-er who seems to live in the modern world), Maxwell and company put the boot in: she'd deserve it.

Global warming TG4-style

The excuses that this was just one of many ideas discussed, and that Aoife's objections weren't the only reason for it being dropped, don't really wash.

One thing: is it fair to suggest that her being an Irish speaker and her being a homophobe are related? No, not really. But if, like TG4, you're trying to present Irish as a vibrant, living language with a role in a modern and progressive society then this sort of shite really doesn't help. I hope they push for the gay show to go ahead, if they actually do a fourth series at all.

I'm looking forward to her appearance on Graham Norton's show. Now, that I would watch.

What sort of gobshites are we?

Today's Irish Indo cites a poll finding "that 48pc of voters are in favour of Sinn Fein being part of a coalition government here".

What kind of fuckwits are allowed vote for this sort of shit?

Let's remind ourselves of who we're talking about here, and precisely what sort of evil it is that people actually want in government.

Again, the Irish Indo, this time less that a year ago. (Last June, to be exact, so we're not back in the dim and distant times of the "Troubles" or the "Struggle" or the "War" or whatever other mealy-mouthed euphemism you might want to use to try and excuse thuggery, organized crime and terrorism.)

June 2006 and Martin Ferris is defending the scumbags who pumped Jerry McCabe full of bullets.

"Mr Ferris admitted during his radio interview [on Radio Kerry] that he was a personal friend of Kevin Walsh, the gang leader and the man alleged to have opened fire on the garda car manned by Jerry McCabe and his colleague Ben O'Sullivan, who was seriously wounded.

"Mr Ferris and other Sinn Fein TDs were subsequently photographed with the McCabe killers in The Grove bungalow complex within Castlerea prison."

"It should not have happened but he could not condemn it, or the IRA. He refused to describe the garda's killers as criminals. He viewed them as 'IRA activists'."

"'I have been an IRA volunteer in my lifetime. […] I would never betray that loyalty to an organisation to which I once belonged.'"

That's where Ferris's first loyalty lies: not with the state, not with the rule of law, not with justice, not with the right of citizens to live unharrassed by private armies and armed gangs of thugs wrapped in green-tinged propaganda and toting guns that the likes of Ferris illegally imported into this country so that they could be used to kill and rob and terrorize.

No. Martin Ferris's first loyalty is to the IRA: so, for me, that means he's still a terrorist.

And people want him and his comrades-in-arms in government: Minister for Justice, maybe?

It's shameful. Whatever party goes into government with Sinn Fein will have blood on its hands, as will those who voted for the cunts. I suspect that many Irish politicians lack moral principle and backbone just as much as they lack vision: we may be about to find out.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Encore, encore." - "Quiet, they might hear you."

They remind me a lot of puppets

When ya gotta go...

I'll say nothing...

When ya gotta go...

(...except thanks to

Proceed with extreme caution

Fianna Failure have launched their election manifesto today, so we thought it might be good to have a look at their 2002 promises, just to see how things have come along.

You can get the 2002 election manifesto here.

We decided to take a look at the section on transport, something we all feel strongly about, what with not wanting to have to hang around in the Olympic Village too much.

In fairness, they have managed a few things - all-island free travel for the twirlies, for example - but the main upshot of looking back is that you should take with a large dose of strong salt whatever shite they come out with in this election.

Here goes:

"Fianna Fáil supports the idea of lower pricing for public transport around the peak travel times. We will examine the possibility of introducing discount for travel within an hour either side of the peak times to help spread the load. This will be further facilitated by integrated ticketing and smart card technologies which will allow a differential pricing system to be introduced."

Supporting ideas and examining possibilities? Could they be a bit more vague, I wonder? I haven't seen differential pricing, and the whole smart card ticketing situation is a joke, or it would be if it were funny. Morton's Coaches have had it since April 2004, but it hasn't shown up on Dublin Bus: maybe the unions said "Boo" to Bertie.

"An independent Railway Safety Authority will be established to regulate safety, to assess safety plans submitted by operators, to investigate accidents, and to set standards."

Could someone send me the address of this "independent Railway Safety Authority", cos I can't find it anywhere.

"consideration will be given in consultation with local interests to the provision of new regional and commuter routes, including a Dublin-Navan new rail-line."

Consideration, consultation, yadda-yadda-yadda: can I get a train from Dublin to Navan? No. But then that whole area west of Blanch (out Clonee way, Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin) is pretty much empty so it's not as if there's people who need transport links or anything.

"Fianna Fáil will ensure the advantages of rail freight will be actively encouraged and marketed."

Which is why Irish Rail announced that it was closing its container rail freight business in July 2005. The Irish Exporters Association, repeating what it had said in a submission to the Department of Finance of November 2004, pointed out that this would add 20,000 fully laden forty-foot truck loads onto Irish roads each year, increase road maintenance costs by €29,000,000 per annum, add to CO2 emissions, and have an adverse impact on exporters in the BMW area. So next time you're stumping up your road tax, or you're stuck in a traffic jam or behind a truck remember this government success.

"Dublin Light Rail will be introduced between Tallaght and Connolly station and between Sandyford and St. Stephen's Green on schedule by October 2003."

Try June 2004 for the Green Line and September 2004 for the Red Line.

"In July 2000, the Government approved the development of a metro system for Dublin. Particular priority will be given to the development of an early link to Dublin Airport."

We're still waiting. Jaysus, imagine how long it would take if they weren't giving particular priority to developing an early link to the Airport. The current plan says the Metro North line might be in operation by 2012.

"Further progress will be made on upgrading the bus fleet."

But they'll have to get Mary Harney out of the way first, and that can take a while.

"Given that one of the most common complaints made about our road system is the lack of proper signage on non-national roads, we will put in place a new 5-year plan to ensure that non-national roads are properly signposted."

With 100kph notices on back roads and large trees planted in front of signs, even on the M50. I'd go and complain but I'd probably get lost on the way there. Anyone remember Dublin City Council's colour-coded directional signage with junction numbers? DCC's Director of Traffic, Owen Keegan, was trying to get people to use the orbital routes. Dublin Bus liked the idea, and expected it to shave 10 minutes off peak-time journeys, and the Lord Mayor supported the Council even when Seamus Brennan and the Department of Transport said the signs were too confusing and didn't match the government's vision of traffic for Dublin. So they all had to come down and be replaced. That wasted time and money - and makes you wonder exactly what sort of vision Brennan had in mind.

"Work on the penalty points system will be completed to ensure its implementation at an early date on an all-island basis."

They even got around to thinking about considering giving the Gardaí a few computers to help with it all. Seen any nordy cars misbehaving recently? I have. Will they get points for it any time soon? No.

"A new 3 year Road Safety strategy will be introduced on the expiry of the present one, building on progress made, and to provide a framework for securing further progress in the years ahead."

As regular visitors to Skangerland will know, this has been working a treat.

"We will continue the process of making taxis wheelchair accessible."

Your seatbelt is beeping, Bertie… I think I was in a wheelchair accessible taxi once. I think it was in 1998. Actually, that might have been in London.

"The agreed Aer Lingus survival plan has the full support of Fianna Fáil in government."

Oh dear, can you actually crack your own ribs laughing…???

"Low cost travel is the fastest growing sector in the aviation industry. Fianna Fáil will ensure that all our State airports will cater for the requirements of this sector."

State airports and state airlines, too.

"Fianna Fáil will on return to government ensure that a low cost facility is built at Pier D in Dublin Airport in time for the 2003 season."

I think I walked past that building site last week, or do they mean the prefabs? Sure, It's only four years overdue, which is about what Irish commuters are used to.

"Fianna Fáil will support the development of new air passenger services and the maintenance of existing services at Cork and Shannon, recognising in particular the vital importance of daily transatlantic flights from Shannon for employment in the entire region."

Open Skies, anyone?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Taxi for Mr Gorman

Since 1995 Tommy Gorman has been President of the National Taxi Drivers' Union here in Ireland. You'd think he'd have a good understanding of road safety and the law.

He got stung by the Naked Camera lot on RTÉ television recently (you can see the whole thing here), but what caught our eye was his use of the seatbelt.

When he first sits in Tommy doesn't bother with the seatbelt at all. That's maybe what 36 years of being a taxi driver does to you. They are now required to wear seatbelts, unless they have an exemption. The same is true of their passengers, which is what Tommy is here.
Admittedly, PJ's gormless taxi driver is distracting: maybe Tommy just forgot the belt. The beeping and PJ's "Your seatbelt is beeping" remind him. The time on the video suggests Tommy's been in the car for at least two minutes at this stage.
Now, that's much better.
But what's this?
That's right, pop the belt under your oxter, it'll be a lot of use there.
And on we roll with the belt tucked away.

So the belt goes on eventually, but only after the beeping and the driver's insistence, and even then it gets shoved out of the way. Anyone would think Tommy wasn't in the habit of wearing seatbelt, or didn't want to wear his at all, and that's hardly likely, surely. It would be a very bad example, after all, wouldn't it, at a time when everyone is pushing a road safety agenda?