Sex, Lies & Sellotape
Pure In Heart and the Iona Institute
Youth Defence. Remember them? At last weekend’s poorly attended ‘Convention for Life’ Niamh Ui Bhriain & Bernadette Smyth outlined future plans. Oireachtas Retort sits through some crappy speeches.
Well done Ireland
For Operational Reasons**
Update 2: The Ian Bailey pre-trial discovery in his case against the state appears to have some connection to the phone surveillance system in Garda stations. In the course of that discovery process, counsel for the state Paul O’Higgins revealed (in November 2013) that the delay in delivering documents requested by Bailey’s legal team related to their ‘electronic’ format which required ‘unscrambling’ due to its age (suggestive of the first generation of recording equipment which was upgraded at some point in the 1990s.) (1)
Update 1: As of an hour after this was published, RTÉ news claimed to have possession of a letter from Commissioner Martin Callinan to Alan Shatter from two weeks ago, informing him of the Garda practice of surveillance in Garda stations. Finance minister Michael Noonan’s best explanation thus far (21:55pm) is that ‘The minister was in Mexico.’ (2)
Bets now being taken on the first* to whitewash the widespread recording of incoming and outgoing telephone calls to Garda stations, apparently endemic from the 1980s to November 2013 last, as being justifiable on the above grounds.
That curious turn of phrase though should be a jump-off point for what we knew by November 2013 (rather than just today) about ‘operational procedure’ in An Garda Siochana. Remember, particularly, that Chief Commissioner Martin Callinan swatted away The Garda Ombudsman’s request for direct access to the PULSE crime database as being likely to jeopardise operational procedures, and the investigation of crime.(3)
Remember too, if sentimentality takes hold of you, that Noirín O’Sullivan, Callinan’s interim replacement, was Deputy Operations Commissioner since 2011. She may not be the best choice for a permanent replacement even though she would be the first woman in the history of the state to hold the position.(4)
Hearing news from home of a women found dead in her house this morning. Her son was found in similar circumstances towards the end of last year. Early twenties. There is obviously nothing approaching a hierarchy of events like this but it must be particularly incomprehensible for all involved.
As of last year Ireland has the second highest rate of suicide & self-harm among young people in the 34 countries that make up the OECD. Twice the EU average among young men in particular. We would probably be highest but for Finland being beyond belief.
One in five Irish children are now growing up in jobless households. Thousands of parents in employment are likely to remain under enormous pressure. For everyone below the age of twenty-five the risk of poverty & social exclusion has doubled since 2007 (approaching 50% in both cases and highest OECD). Chances of young people re-entering employment are the very worst anywhere in the OECD, a massive drop from EU/OECD average just four years ago.
The statistics go on like that for days and I wouldn’t imply what they reflect is the sole cause of anything. What is above doesn’t begin to scratch the surface but I think for a lot of us, it is very easy to feel alone in such a sick and alienating country.
You’re friends and family probably feel it too. Most mightn’t even know it till someone starts talking. Mind yourselves.
'Ireland as distinct from her people, is nothing to me: and the man who is bubbling over with love and enthusiasm for Ireland, and can yet pass unmoved through our streets and witness all the wrong and the suffering, the shame and the degradation brought upon the people of Ireland – aye, brought by Irishmen upon Irishmen and women, without burning to end it, is in my opinion, a fraud and a liar in his heart, no matter how he loves that combination of chemical elements he is pleased to call Ireland.’
- James Connolly, Workers’ Republic, 1900.
Direct Provision: An Open Prison