Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category


In August 2013, a then 20-year-old Michaella McCollum Connelly and her Scottish accomplice, Melissa Reid, attempted to smuggle eleven kilos of cocaine through Lima International airport. Having being arrested, the pair initially lied about having been kidnapped and coerced, before eventually admitting their guilt and serving more than two years in Peruvian prisons notorious for their hellish conditions.

Had McCollum been caught by Irish customs and not Peruvian, the amount of time she would have spent in a decidedly nicer prison closer to her family would have been roughly the same, with a distinct possibility of not doing any jail time at all. With it being the Tyrone native’s first offence and Irish law making clear distinctions of hierarchy between couriers at the bottom and dealers at the top of the drug offenders list, it would not have been a surprise to see McCollum receive an entirely suspended sentence had she been apprehended at Dublin airport and not Lima. (more…)

A typical DART, ie stationary

A typical DART, ie stationary


Whilst there is no doubt the leaves of Autumn lend a simple rustic beauty to our pre-Winter landscape, for many they represent little more than an annual three month headache, coming as they do with all their inherent nuisance qualities. From farmers to gardeners, from road-sweepers to home owners, the half-ounce menace that is the leaf wreaks its havoc far and wide. However, there can be no group more acutely or adversely affected from leaf fall as the Irish public transport user.

For the hundreds of thousands who rely on public transport to get to and from their place of work every day in this country, the sight of early Autumn leaf fall is met with the same sense of dread as the dark mornings and the drop in temperatures. (more…)

Between a rock and a hard place

Between a rock and a hard place

There can be no doubt that as a society we are obsessed with crime, from our favourite TV cop shows to the sensationalist glorification of any two-bit hood adorning the front pages of the Sunday red tops. Nothing sets the collective pulse racing like a daring heist or a whodunit murder. Yep, crime sells and the more gory the better.

However, last week’s media coverage shifted the spotlight onto murder’s considerably less-loved cousin, burglary. From Rté’s fascinating interview with Padraig Nally to the rolling coverage of the Oscar Pistorius saga in South Africa, burglary at last seemed to receive a share of media coverage commensurate with its meteoric rise in the latest crime statistics. (more…)

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“This way please, like a good little Paddy…”

Considering the key role Tony Blair played in the decision to wage an unjust war on Iraq in 2003 that would lead to a death toll of over 650,000 it probably seems somewhat insensitive to argue that the former UK Premier’s greatest sin was to invite then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to address a joint sitting of Westminster’s Houses of Parliament in 2007.

But for those of us of a more Irish-centric nature, Blair’s invitation was his cruelest act of all. On the eve of a close, fiercely contested general election, Ahern was gifted the greatest Public Relations coup in the history of Irish politics and duly took full advantage, delivering a widely acclaimed speech. In fact, so voluminous and effusive was the resultant media coverage that the story was only finally supplanted on the front pages some nine days later with news of Ahern’s comfortable re-election. (more…)

Poor old Michael Fish. When the sad day eventually arrives and the erstwhile BBC weatherman is whisked away to the great big spirit in the sky, passing through all those clouds, whose formations he spent so many long hours analysing, our Mick will be instantly recalled as ‘the weatherman who couldn’t even see a hurricane coming’. Fish’s failure, in 1987, to foresee what would be the worst storm to hit Britain for nearly 300 years will forever taint the thousands upon thousands of reasonably accurate predictions he made before and after his infamous faux pas.

A Meteorologist failing to spot the onset of a storm that would kill 18 and cause millions of pounds worth of damage is, to be generous, a little careless. Fish, however, can take solace from the events of 2007 when not one, but thousands of highly qualified so-called experts failed to spot a storm so destructive, it would affect the entire planet, leaving hundreds of millions of citizens in varying degrees of peril and wiping out entire countries as we knew them. I refer, of course, to the global financial crash. (more…)

Great fanfare was made of the recent visit to these shores of Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping. China has undoubtedly been the economic star of the twenty first century thus far, and Mr Jinping’s visit was no doubt arranged in the hope that he would sprinkle some much needed economic fairy dust over little ol’ Ireland, and in doing so resuscitate a comatose economy. However, with Ireland is in the throes of economic conflagration, what the country needs is not so much a sprinkling of fairy dust as a fleet of fire engines.

Whilst any efforts to enhance ties with a world superpower should always be encouraged, surely the lines of communication with Beijing should have been opened much earlier – in November 2010 to be specific. That was the month Ireland effectively waved goodbye to its future by accepting the punitive and ruinous terms of the Troika bailout. (more…)