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News Miscellany

Quays, pees, pleas

Years after they banned trucks from the riverside, Villager’s principal experience of Ormond Quay in front of the Village office is still really just somewhere to get run over. The gentlemen from Eircom have kindly removed the two drug dealers’ telephone boxes outside the door, so urine from the city’s drunkards can now flow undiverted into the gutters but it is still difficult to be enthusiastic.

It is very difficult to love the River Liffey. It’s not somewhere from which you hear the peals of joyous children at swim or at play.

This magazine has in the past promoted the idea of a jungle from O’Connell St to Heuston but the city fathers will never do anything until it has been tried and tested in Leicester and Wolverhampton and a decade or two passed.

So it is no surprise that plans for pedestrianisaton, less still greening, of the quays have been botched for want of civic imagination and civic bottle.

Nevertheless it is encouraging that Dublin City Council, is keeping its nerve on a quayside cycle route, for the moment.

In the teeth of residents’ pleas, it intends, we hear, to permanently ban private cars and lorries from Ellis and Arran quays, on the north side of the river, and to divert vehicular traffic for 1.5km through the residential streets of Stoneybatter, Dublin’s Greenwich Village, and Smithfield, Dublin’s Times Square.

While diverting traffic into residential areas is, as Councillor Mannix Flynn says, unethical, there is no option and the hope must be that all, especially the discommoded residents, will make life so difficult for blasted cars that they simply stay at home, or in the ground.


The case that Brexit was about the underclass, globalisation, and rising inequality has been inconveniently assailed by poll data presented by Professor Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at Oxford University in a report for BBC’s ‘Newsnight’. “The vote to leave Europe was largely a middle class, English vote”, he has concluded.



Meaningful surnames

As part of his ongoing quest to link surnames to appropriate occupations or behaviour, Villager notes:

May Theresa May is most interesting for whether she may Not.

Gunning Fatima Gunning, an anti-abortion zealot, recently posed in a Repeal jumper with a banner designed to discredit her opponents, appealing implausibly for “abortion for terminally ill babies”.


Handler, Jolie, Pitt

Jennifer Aniston’s interests are well mediated by her pal Chelsea Handler who, among other things, recently ripped into pretty Angelina Jolie on her Netflix comedy show, berating her husband for getting involved with her in the first place.

The outspoken TV host called Jolie a “f***ing lunatic” who had driven badly-behaved Brad Pitt to booze and pot as an escape. She went on: “Maybe because he could have been spending the last 12 years at Lake Como hanging out with George Clooney and Matt Damon, instead of being stuck in a house with 85 kids speaking 15 different languages”.


Someone noticed Village, it’s Trump…

Donald Trump quoted and linked to a profile of Denis O’Brien written by the editor and published in Village in the candidate’s press release indicting the media mogul’s links to the Clintons. The passage stated that O’Brien “is a mate of former President, Bill Clinton. Indeed he flew him to the recent Dublin Castle beano in his jet, and later paid the tab for a late-nighter in the Unicorn restaurant, with Clinton, the strangely ever-present Séamus Heaney, and 22 others”.

Thanks for noticing, handsome
Thanks for noticing, handsome

…but, maybe, not the Irish Times

A piece by investigative Titan, Peter Murtagh, in the Irish Times documenting Trump’s press release recorded the other six organs cited but strangely omitted Village, which is usually hysterical about the Irish Times and once said its nice editor, Kevin O’Sullivan, should resign when his failure to publish part of the Dáil transcript of Catherine Murphy’s allegations about Denis O’Brien’s banking arrangments was found, as it surely later was, by the High Court to be legally without any grounds.

Not O’Reilly

And we can add Trump to the list of people who may have commissioned the mysterious Red Flag dossier on O’Brien!

What are you doing, Caitriona Perry?

The media, led by RTÉ continually report that Denis O’Brien still “challenges” the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal that he channelled £867,000 to Michael Lowry after Lowry had granted the third mobile-phone licence to O’Brien’s Esat in 1995. Since there is no sign of a legal challenge to the Tribunal’s findings – indeed a challenge would be out of time – the word can only be being used in a sense so weak that it is scarcely worth bothering with.

They all partied

The IMF is urging governments to tackle record global debt of $152tr, 225% of global GDP and rising, with the private sector responsible for two-thirds of the total. The debt level is more than twice the size of the global economy and unprecedented as a proportion of GDP, the Fund says. So if the world wanted a mortgage, it wouldn’t get one.


The EU is sponsoring free Interrail passes for all 18-year-olds. Why not one for everyone in the UK?

Gap-year fantasy
Gap-year fantasy

Missed that meeting

Villager’s favourite soccer and Olympics administrator, John Delaney, issued a release saying he “had no knowledge or awareness of PRO 10 or its position as the Olympic Council of Ireland’s ticket reseller”. It is strange that he would have no knowledge of it as PRO 10 has donated over €50k in sponsorship to the OCI of which Delaney is eminent Vice-President.

Labour Party ideology

A policy introduced in 2012 by former minister for social protection Joan Burton, of compelling lone parents to look for work could make families poorer, according to a Government-commissioned report from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. It was part of the move since the late 1980s from passive to active labour market policies within the Irish welfare state.

‘Lone Parents and Activation, What Works and Why’ includes a review of international experience of activating lone parents. Joan Burton’s instincts were too harsh.

Since 2012, thousands of lone parents have been moved off the One Parent Family Payment – on which they do not have to seek work – when their youngest child reaches seven. Those whose youngest is between seven and 14 move onto Jobseeker’s Transitional payment and engage in training, while those whose youngest is 14 or over must move onto Jobseeker’s Allowance and seek work.

The research suggests that a package of supports is the most effective way to assist lone parents into sustainable employment and ensure income levels are sufficient to lift them and their children out of poverty.

This includes employment supports, financial supports, education and training, and support towards the cost of childcare.

Róisín Ingle or used fivers? Fifty construction cranes were visible over the centre of Dublin on 1 October from the seventh floor of the Irish Times building on Tara Street over which apparently they were dropping crates of used fivers addressed to the Property Supplement. Bertie Ahern used to gauge the city’s success from the cranes on the skyline. As minister for finance in the early 1990s, he used to count them from the top floor of the Central Bank in Dame Street (one…two), when he was not counting his dig-out cash.

War on War on Everyone

The Irish Times’ Tara Brady is normally much more demure than her partner in film review and elsewhere, contumelious Donald Clarke.

However, she has just knifed John Michael McDonagh, the writer-director behind ‘The [brilliant] Guard’ and ‘Calvary’, for his latest movie, ‘War on Everyone’. She let loose: describing it as “wavering between a hard-boiled detective milieu and a half-baked 1980s CHIPs spoof… a jamboree of bad ideas and trunk shots”. Noting that McDonagh has previously faced criticism for his depiction of women as enfeebled victims, Brady notes that “the two female love interests are thoroughly objectified. Later, both homosexuality and transsexualism are used as punchlines”.

Planning regulator: an Irish oxymoron

The Mahon Tribunal recommended the creation of an ‘Independent Planning Regulator’ to… regulate planning, independently. The government has just published a Planning and Development Bill: “to establish an office, to be known as the Office of the Planning Regulator”.

Planning Person
Planning Person

So far, so good.

Villager deployed the convenient ‘search’ device to see how many times he could find the word “regulate” in the Bill but alas this will be the sort of Regulator who does not regulate. The Minister will do all that tedious stuff. Actually the Minister will not do all that tedious stuff. No one will. The Regulator will “evaluate and carry out assessments relating to planning matters and provide observations and recommendations in relation to those matters, conduct reviews and examinations and training programmes and research”.

With all that on its plate regulation would have been a step too far. For the regulator.

Offensive defenceiveness

The recent joint proposal from the French and German governments calling for the establishment of a permanent EU military Headquarters as well as a common EU defence budget is a significant step in increasing the militarisation of the EU. The Italian government has called for a “powerful and usable EU force” while Commission President Juncker has stated that “Europe needs to toughen up. Nowhere is this truer than in our defence policy”. These calls come at a time of increased EU/NATO cooperation and announcements of big increases in EU military spending and supports for the arms industry by the Commission and Council Presidents. This is on top of the €200bn a year already spent in EU states in researching and developing weapons and military technology. Paul Murphy of the AAA extracted a strangulated admission from An Taoiseach in the Dáil that the new headquarters was not a worry for the government.

Sejm as here

A simple strike by Polish women is the measured response to efforts by Poland’s Parliament, the Sejm, to legislate for a new, absolute ban on abortion. The Parliament is 73% male, despite some useful gender quotas, still less than Ireland’s 77.8%, mind you.

The 27% down tools
The 27% down tools


Anyone literary who uses the word ‘wonderfully’ should be barred from public discourse, Villager has concluded. John Banville, who claims to be a wordsmith but who wrestles on occasion with smugness, is to be found on the cover of ‘Space to Think; Ten years of the Dublin Review’, designating the, certainly worthy, collection: “wonderfully rich, intelligent and informative”.

Riailing into the wind

A complaint has been lodged with the Charities Commission by Brian Montaut of the ‘Architects’ Alliance of Ireland’ against the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI). He claims that the RIAI’s founding purpose, as a private organisation for the protection and promotion of its club members, precludes it from claiming it acts as a charity when it promotes good or great architecture.

RIP Michael McCoy, environmental martyr

Media coverage of the killing of Michael McCoy, has emphasised the number of objections and judicial reviews he launched in protection of the Dublin Mountains, where he lived, though by all accounts his submissions were measured and mostly successful. Seán O’Rourke said he had died in a “land dispute”. But Michael McCoy died for the environment not for land, and should be celebrated as a martyr for, perhaps, the cause of our time.