Posts Tagged ‘Galway

23
Aug
09

Bus Eireann’s recession

I find myself contemplating Bus Eireann and their recent financial woes. This was brought on by a trip to Galway on Thursday, a quite a painful experience as it entails no less than three bus routes from where I live. To make things worse, every leg of the journey was filled to capacity. Literally every seat had an arse on it (in fact at one stage we were a little over-capacity, with a wailing infant making things ever more comfortable), which belies somewhat the drop in passenger numbers that is the causing Bus Eireann such grief.

Of course one can’t judge the entire operation based on one journey, and to be fair the buses were only about half full on the return leg. I don’t doubt that the company is in trouble. However, it seems to me that addressing a drop in passengers by raising their prices (among other things) is incredibly stupid. I want to believe that this company is not run by idiots, but they’re not making it easy. Every bus I encountered on my trip had a sign stating “Save €€€’s” stuck on it, pushing on us some sort of commuter ticket. Now, I’m not in a position to criticise other people’s grammar mistakes, but surely in company that at least two brain cells to rub together somebody would have said, “isn’t that a possessive apostrophe?”

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24
May
09

Green shoots are not jobs

It has always amused me how certain words and phrases can become part of a general vocabulary, simply because they’re part of some event that’s a major news story at the time. For instance, I lived in Galway when the water supply was contaminated with Cryptosporidium. Do you think anybody in the city, apart from the scientific types, had even heard the word “Cryptosporidium” before this? Yet suddenly we were all experts on it. It even earned its own nickname: Crypto. It sounds like a type of chocolate bar.

At the moment it’s the recession. It seems to me that it permeates every conversation uttered by any person in the land. Even discussions the rugby last night placed the match within the context of a recession. Apparently the win is just the boost to the national spirits we need. This is, of course, bullshit. If there is anything to cheer up people losing their homes and life-savings it’s not a bunch of Blackrock cityboys winning a rugby match.

Prior to this recession, few even considered such a concept. I’m not convinced the majority of people even knew what the word meant. Back then, it was carbon footprints and such that bothered us all. Now the subject gets barely a mention, which leads me to conclude that global warming was fixed and this event has somehow slipped me by.

The next phrase to land of everyone’s lips seems to be “green shoots”. We’re all on the lookout for these green shoots. A somewhat sustained rise in house-sales in Britain: green shoots. American banks paying back some of the bailout money: green shoots. A couple of green shoots appearing in Dad’s vegetable patch: green shoots (ok, those are actual green shoots. It’s gardening season in the Foley household).

I had to laugh during the week when Cowen had the nerve to mention the green shoots in a wildly optimistic speech to the party-fold in Slane. There’s a detailed critique of the speech here. The problem with green shoots of course is that they’re not likely to survive an administration preoccupied with tax-increases and spending cuts. In year’s time when we’re still in the same hole, this speech will be another marker of a government that doesn’t know what it’s doing. But then, this was not a speech for next year’s benefit. It was a desperate attempt to generate some good news to dilute the humiliation FF is going to face next month.

By the way, what happened with Swine Flu? Is that over now?

18
May
09

Vote for me, I’m not Fahey

I got a tremendous shock upon a trip to Galway on the weekend. As I stared out the rain-soaked bus window I noticed a campaign poster that seemed to be for Frank Fahey. “What the hey!” I though. “He’s a TD. Why is he campaigning now?” This shock was made much worse when I saw the same poster a few yards later and noticed it had the Fina Gael logo on it. I’ve had a few dealings with Fahey in the past, and I’m sure anyone who knows him will agree he’s possibly the purest example of a Fianna Fáil true believer. Even when he lost his job as Junior Minister in the Justice Department, he could be found repeating the party lines and pontificating on the brilliance of Bertie.

As it turns out, the Frank in question was not the Frank. Rather, he’s Frank Fahy, a true-blue Fine Gael man who’s running in the Galway local elections. He just happens to have a similar name and comes from the same area as the FF scourge of Irish fishermen. Of course the physical similarities between the two men are marginal, and I can only explain my confusion as the product of impaired vision caused by the shitty weather over the weekend.

The incident got me wondering about the condition of our current government. Are they that unpopular that it’s at least plausible that the likes of Fahey might have jumped ship? It could hardly be surprising. I mean, as well as refusing to admit that their laissez-faire policies and over-reliance on doomed markets have exacerbated this recession, we lately have Conor Lenihan et al suggesting that the dramatic drop in support for the government is a result of the tough decisions they’re having to face. They’re effectively saying their unpopularity is our problem because we can’t stomach their bravery. In my opinion, it’s this siege mentality that’s infuriating people, and the reason they’re likely going to be slaughtered in the upcoming elections.

Frank Fahy (the FG one) clearly recognises this. Check out this piece from the Galway Advertiser, basically declaring: “I’m not Fahey. Don’t fuck me over by confusing me with FF.” These elections are going to be so disastrous for Fianna Fáil that there’s a fear they’ll also be bad for people who vaguely resemble Fianna Fáillers

02
Feb
09

Dublin, I hardly knew ye

It occurs to me that the world’s great cities need character. This might sound mighty pretentious, not least because I can’t define what I mean by ‘character’. Nonetheless, I’m certain all great cities have an atmosphere you can feel through your skin like the company of a good friend. New York, for instance, is the world’s great city as it’s the one with the most character. You feel the buzz of the place as soon as you leave the airport. Chicago, a place dear to my heart, also has a certain uniqueness about it. Even Galway, where I studied for four years, has a character guaranteed by its healthy population of students, musicians, hippies and sophisticated culchies.

I mention this as I’ve been living in Dublin for just over 7 months now and I still haven’t found anything that might be described as ‘character’. I’ve been searching for the Dublin that Joyce wrote about, or at least Damien Dempsey, but to no avail. This has ultimately lead me to leave the city.

Truth be told, the decision to leave was largely made for me, due to a change in circumstance (but I can’t really talk about that). But it would have been very possible to stay in Dublin. However, I thought to myself, “why bother?” There was nothing compelling me to stay, and so I got the train south.

For the moment I’m back at my folks’ place, but I know I’m going to get sick of this before too long as well. I’m not sure where I’ll go after that. I might move back to Galway, or I might leave the country altogether. Of course I could be convinced to return to Dublin if some position comes up, but I’ll be very slow to move back to the north side.

05
Dec
08

In this post, I try to get sued by Declan Ganley

It seems that the bauld Ganley is planning to sue RTE over last Thursday’s Prime Time show, in which his business actions were investigated. This is on top of threats to sue Labour’s Joe Costello and seemingly hollow talk of taking action against Colm Keena and The Irish Times.

I did manage to catch Prime Time on Thursday, and I don’t recall anything in it that was particularly damaging. All allegations were address by Ganley in the show itself, or were already well documented and in the public domain. Admittedly, I wasn’t really paying attention. The only part I took interest in was the John McGuirk interview where he was made to look like a fool (this made me happy, as McGuirk is an individual I’ve had the displeasure of meeting prior to his Libertas career).

Allow me to state my opinion on Declan Ganley; he really needs to piss the fuck off. He made a name for himself in amateur politics during the Lisbon Treaty campaign, and did very well for himself. Bully for him. But his 15 minutes are up and he needs to get back to whatever Galway bog-mansion he owns.

Libertas’ campaign during the treaty was one of mistruths and disinformation. For instance, I attended a Libertas public meeting in Ranelagh in which he claimed the treaty if in enacted would assume superiority over the Irish constitution. When I rudely interrupted to ask where in the treaty that was stated, he pointed to an article that perscribed highly qualified scenarios to which national constitutions may be unsuited. I don’t remember exactly what these were, but is certainly wasn’t the scary super-constitution stuff he made it out to be.

He also made much of the EU’s arrogance and cynicism in trying to trick us to accept the treaty. In fairness, he had a point here. There was something horribly high-minded and undemocratic about the way Europe tried to push the treaty on us. But this alone does not mean the treaty was a bad idea, and he was conspicuously silent when Coir (who managed to be even bigger pricks that Libertas) were knowingly telling lies about European super armies and microchipped babies.

But that was then, and he got his way. So why is he still on my telly. In his defence, there has undoubtedly been an effort by The Irish Times and RTE to highlight the ‘controversies’ over this finances. But he’s partly to blame for this for his superficial adherence to campaign funding regulations. It’s time for him fuck off home. He’s the most insignificant successful political activist this country has ever seen. He does not speak for anyone but himself. His objections to the treaty were self-serving. Mr Ganley, you know you’ve never acted in anyone’s interest but your own. Please go away.

In the meantime, here are some facts about Ganley you may not have heard. Declan Ganley has a bizarre leather fetish. He is directly to blame for my joblessness. Prior to the campaign, he spent only three weeks a year in Galway. As a child, he longed for Gargamel to kill the Smurfs. He is bald, which scientists have link to impotence. He has never satisfied a woman. He has attended donkey shows. And if he reads this post he isn’t going to sue me.