Irish Blog Whacked

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Biddy Early was a fake, like many things in Clare, which copy the original in Galway. The original Biddy was from Meelick across the River Shannon in Galway, whose material was plagiarised by Biddy Early. Clare like Offaly, on the wrong side the River Shannon in Banagher, also plagiarised their hurling, from the original Biddy village of Meelick, on the beautiful side of the River Shannon in Galway. Saint Brendan "The Navigator" whose followere found America, when he first saw Meelick (Míleac, Irish) part of a townland on the River Shannon in Ireland called Eyrecourt once said, he was convinced that the more he saw Galway, that the wise men came from the West, which prompted him to set up his ancient ecclesiastical centre, west of the Shannon in Clonfert, in the beautiful parish of Dun An Uchta.

Meelick which has also the oldest Catholic church in Ireland used since 1414 AD while Clonfert has the grave of Saint Brendan,  
"The Navigator," the ancient Cathedral with the famous Celtic doorway and the 14th century Penal statue of Our Lady of Clonfert.  Clonfert Cathedral is the oldest continually operating church in Ireland.

Mileac, Galway Played the All-Ireland

 Senior Hurling Championship Final 1887

In 1887 Meelick were one of the two first teams to compete in the first All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final, the first national championship of the game of hurling ever held in Ireland. They \represented County Galway in the final. Meelick were defeated by Thurles, representing County Tipperary. The game was held in Birr in County Offaly in front of a crowd of 5,000 who mostly all walked. Patrick Madden my ancestor, captain of the Meelick side, is commemorated with a plaque on the gable end of his birthplace and lifetime home in the village. Meelick-Eyrecourt is the name of the local Gaelic Athletic Association club today.

While the people of Galway were very happy yesterday, to see Clare win their all Ireland yesterday in such a great match, that will be remembered forever and break the fake taboo curse of Biddy Early once and for all, a woman with an ouija board in East Galway, declared she was in touch with the original Biddy from Meelick. Apparently Biddy from Meelick was going at it all day yesterday, with Biddy Early from Feakle as they were ripping shreds off each others backs and cursing to bate any ceili band from east Galway. Apparently Biddy from Meelick won and put a new curse on Clare, that they will not win another All Ireland, until Galway win another three in a row first unless they change the name of the fake Meelick in Clare. People of Clare, you now have fair warning from Galway!

Biddy Early

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Biddy Early (c. 1798 – 1874) was a traditional Irish healer who helped peasants. She acted against the wishes of the local tenant farmer landlords and Catholic priests and was accused of witchcraft.

Childhood[edit source]

Biddy Early was born on Faha Ridge (na Póirt in Irish) to John Thomas Connors, a poor farmer, and his wife Ellen Connors, née Early, who often used her maiden name even after she was married. Biddy was baptized Bridget Ellen Connors but later adopted the Early name.
As a child, Biddy wore clothes that her mother made by weaving fibers from the flax that was grown nearby. She spent most of her time alone and was said to "talk to the fairies". She was good humored and showed a keen intellect but, like most people of her time, she did not learn to read or write. With her family and friends she spoke Irish, but she also had some knowledge of English. She may also have spoken Shelta, the language of Irish Travellers, but it is unknown where or how she would have learned it.
Ellen Early was well known for her exceptional herbal cures and taught her daughter many of her recipes. These recipes were regarded as family secrets, as was common for the time. When Biddy was 16 years old, her mother died of malnutrition, leaving Biddy in charge of the household. Just six months after her mother's death, Biddy's father died of typhus. Unable to pay the rent, Biddy had no choice but to leave her childhood home. Little is known about this period of her life, but for the next two years she probably wandered the county roads, working where she could along the way and experimenting with herbal cures.

Adult life[edit source]

When Biddy was 18, she began working for a landlord in Carheen near Limerick, but she was often taunted for her aloof behavior. She left after a short time and went to live in the local poorhouse, where she was treated even more poorly. During this period, she would often walk into Gurteenreagh on market days, and it was there that she met her first husband, Pat Malley of Feakle. The couple faced a number of obstacles: Pat was twice Biddy's age and already had a son named John, and Biddy had no dowry to offer. However, there were advantages to the relationship as well, such as the security that Pat could offer, so they married. After their marriage, Biddy gave birth to a son and they named him Paddy. This would be Biddy’s only child.
The family lived in a three room cottage in Feakle, and this is where Biddy began to earn a reputation for her cures. Biddy never requested money for her services, but allowed her clients to decide how to compensate her. Whiskey and poitín were common trade items in those days, so her house was frequently stocked with an abundance of alcohol and eventually became known as a place where people could go to drink and play cards. This ready availability of poorly distilled alcohol may have contributed to the death of Pat Malley five years into the marriage. Biddy became a widow for the first time at age 25.
Biddie married her stepson, John Malley, shortly after Pat’s death. John was closer to her age than Pat had been, and the two of them got along well. During this marriage, Biddy's fame was increasing but her family life was frequently disrupted by large numbers of people coming and going at various times of the day and night. Her son, Paddy, left home some years after her marriage to John and never returned. John died in 1840 due to a liver ailment that developed from excessive consumption of alcohol, and Biddy was a widow again at 42.
Biddy's third marriage was to a man named Tom Flannery, who was younger than she was. Tom was a laborer and native of Finley, Quin, County Clare. The couple moved into a two room cottage on Dromore Hill in Kilbarron. It was situated over a lake, which came to be known as Biddy Early’s Lake. Biddy's fame peaked during this period and her house became even busier and more crowded.

Work and fame[edit source]

When people didn't get the help they wanted from the priests or doctors, or if they couldn't afford to see a doctor, they would turn to Biddy. Her cures did not only consist of applying herbs to a wound or feeding a recipe to the sick. She was insightful and intuitive, which helped her to recognize and understand people's needs and choose appropriate yet creative measures to address them. People even thought that she could tell if someone had visited a doctor before consulting her. They believed that seeing a doctor showed a lack of faith in Biddy's abilities, so she would not treat them.
Biddy was also called upon occasionally to treat animals. During her time, the death of an animal could lead to an inability to complete required tasks and cause a farm to fail. This was important because it could, in turn, lead to eviction and poverty and, in extreme cases, loss of human life. For the same reasons, farmers also asked Biddy to help with other problems related to daily life, such as restoring a spring well or fixing a problem with the farm's butter production.
At some point Biddy acquired a bottle that became as famous as she was. She would frequently look into the bottle, which contained some sort of dark liquid, when considering possible cures for her visitors. She took the bottle everywhere, and it was even with her when she died.
Biddy’s cures are the main reason she became well-known, but her strong personality was also an important factor. According to one biographer, "In many ways, what Biddy is purported to have done is what an oppressed peasantry would themselves wish to have done if they had dared",[1] because she was independent and refused to be "browbeaten by [the priests’ and landlord’s] authoritarian ways".[1]
<< Is it permissible to add a family lore story here? Biddy was my 1st cousin 5x removed. The story is she met a cousin ("The Dasher", an O'Shaughnessy of local fame as well) on the road and told them to run home as their father was sick. She had no way to know this in the communications of the day. She was in fact, right, and "The Dashers" father passed away but only after he was able to see him. There seems to be truth about her clairvoyance. >>

Conflicts[edit source]

Although the Catholic Church, which had a strong influence in the lives of many peasants, did not approve of Biddy’s activities, she encouraged people to listen to the priests. The priests openly disapproved of Biddy and discouraged people from visiting her, yet some of them secretly visited her. In one story, a priest disguised himself and called on Biddy in hope of learning some of her secret cures. She, however, knew what he wanted and dismissed him immediately.
The peasantry believed that Biddy was good, and some believed that the real reason the priests didn’t like her was that they "thought if Biddy wasn’t [practicing medicine] the people’d be going with five shillings an’ ten shillings to themselves".[1] This notion is repeated frequently in interviews with those who had personal knowledge of Biddy. Another contributing factor must have been the peasant-classfolklore and mysticism that surrounded her. While Biddy was from a class of small tenant farmers, the priests were usually from more comfortable backgrounds and placed emphasis on education, so they were "only too anxious to leave behind them the half-lit world of peasant lore and herbal medicine".[1]
In 1865 Biddy was accused of witchcraft under a 1586 statute and was brought before a court in Ennis. This would have been unusual in the 1860s.[citation needed] The few who agreed to testify against her later backed out, and she was released due to lack of sufficient evidence. Most of the peasant population supported her.

Old age and death[edit source]

In 1868, Tom Flannery died, leaving Biddy widowed for the third time at 70. In 1869, she was married for the fourth and final time to Thomas Meaney, a man in his 30s, in exchange for a cure. They lived together in her cottage in Kilbarron until he died, within a year of their marriage, from over-consumption of alcohol.
Biddy died in poverty in April 1874.[2] A priest was present at her death, and her friend and neighbor, Pat Loughnane, arranged for her burial in Feakle Graveyard in County Clare. At her funeral a local priest remarked, "We thought we had a demon amongst us in poor Biddy Early, but we had a saint, and we did not know it". Her funeral was poorly attended because most people at this time were still afraid that their presence at her funeral would be misunderstood. Even many years after her death, people in County Clare rarely spoke of her. There is no marker on her grave so the exact location is not known, although some local people claim to know where it is.

Legacy[edit source]

The last generation of people who had personal contact with Biddy ended in the 1950s. The stories that persist today originated in the strong oral tradition on the west coast of Ireland. Later, Lady Gregory compiled a valuable collection of stories 20 years after Biddy’s death, and Meda Ryan and Edmund Lenihan wrote books that they based on interviews with many people whose parents or grandparents had personal contact with Biddy.
Biddy accomplished a great deal of success in the face of oppression and hardship, during a time when her religion and heritage were the subject of discrimination by the rulers of Ireland. The best evidence of her success is the fact that she is the only individual Irish healer from previous centuries who is remembered today despite Ireland's long history of folk medicine. The cottage where she lived has been restored and is now a minor tourist attraction in the area.

See also[edit source]

References[edit source]

  1. a b c d Lenihan, Edmund. In Search Of Biddy Early. The Mercier Press. Cork. 1987.
  2. ^ Biddy Early's death is reported in the newspaper "Irish American Weekly" as having occurred on 1 June 1872. Ref: "Irish American Weekly" Published NYC, NY on June 29, 1872, page 3
  • Augusta, Lady Gregory. Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland. Putnam’s Sons, New York; 1920.
  • Ryan, Meda. Biddy Early: The Wise Woman of Clare. Mercier Press, Dublin; 1978.
  • Yeats, William Butler. Witches and Wizards and Irish Folk-Lore. Printed in Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, collected and arranged by Lady Gregory (1920; rpt. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1970).

External links[edit source]

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Saturday, September 28, 2013


Expediency and the will of the leader are being elevated above individual conscience

Opinion: The political dynamic is arcing inexorably towards autocracy

The whip is a brutal instrument, designed to draw forced obedience from slaves. It has no place in a democracy as an instrument of terror. It is an obscenity that a TD should be intimidated, bullied and silenced for refusing the whip. The party masters will argue discipline is necessary if a programme of government is to be achieved and carried through but is the use of force, the threat of censure and banishment from privilege their only option?
Yes, of course, a dissenting member may be expelled from the party – that, after all, is the party’s prerogative; but it is not acceptable that they be silenced in the Dáil chamber, that they be prevented, as TDs, from serving on committees or be removed from committees.
To permit this is to consolidate the absolute power of Cabinet and party managers on the one hand, and on the other hand to elevate expediency, the will of the leaders, above the conscience of the individual elected representative and above the interests of those people who, however notionally, have chosen that person to speak for them in parliament.
The political dynamic at work here is one that arcs inexorably towards autocracy. Consider the point we have reached in Dáil Éireann: the Government TDs have been silenced and are no more than voting fodder for the diktats of Cabinet; the Cabinet is subordinated to the will of the Economic Management Council (EMC), the Gang of Four; and it is inconceivable that the council will seriously challenge the will of the Taoiseach – certainly not at the risk of precipitating an election.
Meanwhile, to the extent that legislation is debated in the Dáil, no opposition amendment, no matter how intelligent, thoughtful or nonpartisan, will be for even a moment entertained. Those TDs who are not in Government and those Government TDs who have been cast into exterior darkness have been silenced – and all those who voted for these TDs have also been silenced, deprived of any and all influence they might try to exercise through their elected representatives.
Over the years, power in this State has been quietly, inexorably consolidated into fewer and fewer hands. If four people, bent to the will of a single dominant individual, had seized power in the land, would they be in any way less omnipotent than the EMC and the Taoiseach? Would the Dáil, as it operates at present, be any less impotent?

Seductive concentration of power
A thinking citizen might well pose the following question: what if, after the next election, the Gang of Four was composed of the four individuals we would least trust with unfettered, unanswerable power? The present administration is merely the latest in a long line of governments that have inherited this creeping, infinitely seductive concentration of power. At what point can we realistically expect this power to be ceded?
The party managers will tell us that government has to answer to the people at elections – but who do we get to vote for? Those whom the party has decided to offer us, inevitably men and women who can be trusted in large part to bow to the whip.

Comments (60)
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william great

Lets break the mould and elect 150 independents......we can do it and declare our independence.

Damian Collins

Where would that leave your pal, Enda Kenny, William ? Are you out of love with Enda these days. Is the " great liberator" no more ?

Why would we want 150 politicians ?


brilliant idea...all this nonsense abolished in one fell swoop...
& now for the real job market...


The island of Ireland is politically dysfuncrional with two neo-colonial states. No amount of tinkering with it will heal the island. A totally new blueprint without outside interference with a charter of citizen rights and forums of political debate and local empowerment is needed. I have yet to find any other document or blueprint which surpasses Eire Nua and allows all traditions a voice and reaal saay in how the island is governed. For those sincere about peace and progress this bleprint at aminimum needs to be explored. I am not currently a member of any political party in Ireland:


Reform all around needed..who will reform who? they all sup from the same cup.


"Towards a Constitution for a 21st Century Republic..." Lovely idea. But it must pass the Taoiseach and his supporters. Theo says it himself: "If our rulers will not countenance the simpler task of reforming the Seanad, who in their right mind believes they will in any meaningful way reform the Dáil"

Whatever way the Seanad vote goes, the problems remain. Will the "no" voters tell us that real reform is now on the way? Why might they think so? Will the "yes" voters tell us that now they can tackle the Dáil? Does abolition of the Seanad make that easier--or does it make it harder?

Among all the pro and con posts below, I don't see one says the status quo is acceptable.

Can Theo, or someone else, convene a group of thinkers and doers to tackle the problem of the status quo? Surely, somewhere in the dole queues, in the universities, and Aosdána there must be the makings of a quiet, bloodless revolution? Unfortunately, experience tells me that the likely people are already up to their ears in commitments. Is the army of retired too tired? 


Someone speaking some sense on the abolition of the Seanad.
However, Theo, you are way too late talking about the brute force of Party Managers. It is now twenty years since one Party Manager - to whit Fergus Finlay - forced the resignation of Albert Reynolds both as Taoiseach and Fianna Fail party leader and ensured that John Bruton - who incidentally regularly writes for this newspaper - would become Taoiseach. Enda Kenny may have been elected by a couple of thousand Mayo voters - Finlay was elected by no one - yet to many, this unelected "Party Manager" is heroic - Undemocratic but heroic.
Who said we live in a democracy?


Twice in a generation the Irish economy was brought to the brink of ruin.

The Seanad as an institution was comatose but while the majority of private sector workers have no occupational pension, members of local councils as electors lobbied senators during the bubble to successfully get pensions and severance payments.

An Irish solution to an Irish problem, no doubt!

It would be good if Irish power was decentralised but the land rezoning record of local councils hardly inspires confidence.

It appears New Zealand is a better governed democracy than Ireland. 

Between 1854 and 1950 NZ had the Legislative Council (the Upper House).

An account of NZ history says the members of the Legislative Council were appointed rather than elected. Its major role was to amend or revise the legislation passed in the House of Representatives.

The Council was meant to be New Zealand’s equivalent of the British House of Lords and play an independent and influential role. But in practice the Council never had too much to do..

Now and again Council members bucked against the government. The big showdown came in 1891 when the Council obstructed the policies of the Liberal government. An attempt to stack the Council backfired initially when the governor refused to approve the nominees; Britain finally ordered him to co-operate. From then on there was no chance of an independent Council. It continued to exist mainly as a means of rewarding loyal members of the House.

The last Legislative Council, appointed in 1950, was known as the ‘suicide squad’. Its 25 new members were appointed by the new National government to make sure that the Legislative Council Abolition Bill was passed. The Council sat for the last time on 1 December 1950 (the Act came into effect on 1 January 1951). No one was too upset at its demise and few people turned up to watch its last moments.

That was 1950.

In the 2011 NZ general election there were eight political parties represented.

Government gross direct debt amounted to 38.9% of GDP in the year ended June 2012, up from 36.6% the previous year.

In August in Ireland there were 486,000 on the Irish Live Register and in publicly funded activation programs. How bad would things have to get for Michael McDowell, Feargal Quinn and Theo Dorgan to protest about the failure of power and the resultant lack of a credible jobs strategy??

Michael Hennigan




In New Zealand they abolished their second house because it had long been corrupted by a central government using force of main to corrupt it, and then dispose of it, first in 1891 and then in 1950.

They have eight political parties in New Zealand. One assumes they're all serious contenders. Here we have Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, each encapuslating the worst aspects that the other has failed to descend to, each bound to essentially the same authoritarian / violent / terrorist / civil war root, and a couple of satellite makeweight parties that have sold all their principles to power, like Labour and well Labour (I was going to say the Greens but they're pretty brown and shrivelled these days like the leaves blowing in the road outside) while in the long grass there bulks a shadowy party, close and dark as archetypal sin, that may well form the next government.

In New Zealand they abolished the whip when they abolished the second house.

Here there is no proposal. A neutered Dail, an abolished upper house, and a power-crazed executive with a cabinet within a cabinet all paying absolute homage and fealty to one individual.

An ocean of tears I tell yiz. Oceans.


Here there is no proposal to abolish the whip I should have typed.


we will survive, there are good swimmers around.


"Autocracy?" Maybe, but the autocrats are not in Leinster House. Try Brussels, and if you must, Rome.
Organise and agitate, agitate, agitate.!


It's not surprising that the dominant conservative mindset would not support any departure from the status quo. Why change unless the crisis is dire; 65% of the population, the current one is not.

We didn't need Vodafone to tell us that we love to talk. However, governance and building credible structures for changing times as the Swedes and Finns did after their economic troubles in the early 1990s, well that can be left to later.

Theo Dorgan's proposal of a more enhanced talking-shop of people who want to appear on television, is going to be a solution to endemic failures including a reliance on foreign companies to provide a first world standard of living? Think about it.

As for those folk who see the Economic Management Coucil as a sinister development, they seem to hark back to the times of Calvin Coolidge.

There shoud be all-day debates in Cabinet to give all1 5 a chance, to debate every economic decision??

The NO folk are being led by people who were either directly involved in the economic crash that has ruined the lives of tens of thousands of fellow citizens or cheerleaders of it.

So how many members of this august institution warned of the inevitable calamity (yes I was among the bubble dissenters and it wasn't a popular stance) or since 2007 have inspired the people with credible solutions in the intervening period?

There were a few distinguished people over the decades who were lone voices in this bastion of orthodoxy.

In 1943 Senator Sir John Keane told the Seanad that 1,600 books had been banned since independence in 1922 as he argued there against the banning of 'The Tailor and Ansty.' Leading the debate for the status quo was William Magennis, UCD professor and member of the Censorship Board. When he had been proposed as a director of the Abbey Theatre, William Butler Yeats is reported to have said that he would prefer to close the theatre rather than have him on the board.

Frank O'Connor said in respect of the Seanad debate: "Reading it is like a long swim, through a sewage bed."

Owen Sheehy-Skeffington in later years had in earlier years was one of the few public torch-bearers for liberal values and the writer Seán Ó Faoláin said on his death that he was “a man undefeated by all the weaklings and the cowards who yapped at him while he laughed and fought them, a man who, in a country and a time not rich in moral courage, never swerved or changed and who kept his youthful spirit to the very end.”

Michael Hennigan


An analysis of your comment by the naysayers, may influence their decision making at the ballot box...may..


What a lovely recitation of the names of heroes, the Cuchulains who stood against the hordes of gombeens. Maybe someone will do an exposition on Ken Whitaker. His role in making the new Ireland was real, and didn't involve much debate at cabinet or Seanad. But how might he be seen now in hindsight, with the rubble of an economy and of a public polity all around?

Whatever. Life is like a bluebag. Give it another squeeze.


Glad you like the Tailor and Ansty be glad you can read it not so long ago you wouldn't have been let.


In all unicameral countries the whip was abolished along with the second house. I can't but imagine they must have felt there was a very good reason for that. Perhaps Lord Acton's advice to Bishop Melville?

No government relinquishes power willingly once it has it. That is why it is not a good idea to let governments become all-powerful. Cometh the hour cometh the wo/man and we're all just the wrong mediocre little house painter away from an ocean of tears.


"we're all just the wrong mediocre little house painter away from an ocean of tears" - whatever your smoking Con will you give me the name of it - sounds divine!


I think it sounds ugly. Every misanthrope quotes Hitler.


John Player Silver. And I'm NOT supposed to be!! Ssssh. Giving up again this weekend.


he's not quoting or mi- quoting Hitler - he's just saying that the momentum of politics in Ireland have developed in such a way as to provide an opportunity for a person and or persons of a mindset - either right or left wing - to behave in a similar manner as a certain house painter - and that mindset doesn't have to be anti-Semitic - not - just dictatorial - and who would stand up to them??? - well based on the track record of the pathetic Irish voters and the equally pathetic Irish political and civil servant class - no one!! - of course this 'dictator' wouldn't be so obvious as the appear like Hitler - go no - they would appear ever so reasonable and practical - just the kind of person needed to get us out of the situation we are in - and anyone against them would be portrayed as non team players - not pulling on the green jersey - after all look how reasonable this person is - they are only concerned with whats best for Ireland - how could any right thinking person be against that!

And then its too late - hence the ocean of tears!


Bang on.




I can't believe that this "whip" exists. It is obviously a blue shirt conspiracy invented since the last election and I am grateful that this author has brought it to our attention. I ask why the Irish Times never brought this undemocratic FG abomination to our attention prior to now. From this failure (by others), it is clear that the IT has obviously been almost completely taken over by blue shirt dictators. I just hope that he is now in some kind of Seanad- sponsored witness protection programme that can protect him from the terrible FG totalitarian edifice.

Damian Collins

What does the Seanad actually do these days ? Can anyone name three substantial achievements of the Seanad in recent years ? I can't appear to find any.

Why did these politicians, who are talking about reform now, do nothing to Reform the Seanad when they were in office ? Kenny could well be making a power grab here as his critics claim but those like Michael McDowell and Micheal Martin are only in favour of Reform now that the upper Chamber faces extinction.

10 reports on Seanad reform have been published since it was established in 1938, and not a single reform has happened.

Fianna Fáil, which did absolutely nothing to reform the Seanad while in power. In fact, just three short years ago, Fianna Fáil favoured abolishing the Seanad.

Abolition of the Seanad was official Progressive Democrat Policy.

The abolition of the Seanad would, if passed, bring Ireland into line with other small European countries.

Within Europe, six countries have a population of between four and six million, including Ireland. Our country is the only one with a second chamber.

It has little or no power and as such, cannot act as either a check on the government or a balance to the Dáil. In addition, many other countries have shown that rigorous checks and balances can be created in a single-chamber parliament.

Ireland’s second house owes more to the legacy of the British empire than it does to modern constitutional theory.


Yesterday I commented that the abolition of the Seanad would be the first step towards totalitarianism. Small wonder that Enda Kenny, who has already demonstrated despotic tendencies, should be the one to introduce this idea. Some have commented that the Seanad has done little in 30 years. Perhaps if proper reforms came in- such as making it a true legislative body on par with the Dail-- it could act to prevent the Taoiseach from becoming an autocrat. The right course is to reform, not abolish, the Seanad.


we cannot afford is not worth the financial outlay.


In today's letters page I wrote that "...........realisable annual saving amounts to less than 10 per cent of the cost of running Leinster House and to an almost invisible 0.02 per cent of total annual State expenditure. Holding a referendum to secure these minor savings is hardly significant in the current scheme of things, so I assume that there are other more pressing reasons which may not have been fully disclosed to the electorate."

Theo's piece explores these reasons when he talks about "this creeping, infinitely seductive concentration of power." 

Malleus Maleficarum

Indeed, today's details of pensions paid to politicians who presided and continue to preside over the ruination of this country gave me a couple of ideas of how we could save, for ex. E20 million.




All I would say is what did the Seanad do to protect the Irish Public from the excesses of Fianna Fail, Bertie, Haughey,Burke,Lawlor etc, etc,etc. Absolutely nothing! Why? It is supposed to be a watch dog, well the dog has been asleep for 30 years and any criminal worth his salt has been able to take what he liked.


It was a muzzled watchdog. Now is the time to take off the muzzle and give it real teeth.


Of 60 members, 11 are appointed by the Taoiseach and 43 by members of the Dail. How can anyone expect them to challenge legislation which comes before them? Ireland will benefit from an independent upper house which can be chosen directly by the voters, with veto power. This is the reform which is needed.
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I still lean to "no," but Arthur's "veto" is eye-opening. I seem to remember that the clipping of the wings of the UK House of Lords began in 1912. Should we go back that way?


That may well require REFORM - not abolition.

Consider - the Banking industry, aided and abetted by the Building Industry, the Accountancy Profession and the Central Bank flushed this country down the toilet for their own profit and bonuses. Consider how much abolition of these saboteurs would save us! "Fewer Bankers"! An end to financial Elitism!


"The political dynamic is arcing inexorably towards autocracy"

Paranoid rubbish. People have such short political memories. Would-be dictators have long been part of Irish politics - Cowan and Haughey being classic examples.


At least Cowan and Haughey were elected. Who elects the Party Managers who now call the shots?