Sunday, February 12, 2017

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

On Monday, 13 July 2015, at approximately 10:20pm I witnessed a vicious assault on my street.

 A 15-year-old boy was cornered and beaten around the head and chest by two other youths; one brandishing a hurley and the other what looked like an iron bar.

They struck the boy at least 4-times each about the head and chest, as he fell to the ground unconscious they fled into Ballinacurra Weston via the right-of-way at the top of my street.

I was upstairs when it happened; I was first alerted that something was going on by the sound of girls shouting “leave him alone”.

I looked out the window and saw a youth wearing a hoodie standing at the top of my street and brandishing a hurley.

The youth started to run down my street and that’s when I saw the other two youths standing in the middle of the road outside my neighbour’s house. Both of them had their back to me and one youth had a hold of the other by his arm.

When the youth with the hurley reached the other two he stood still looking at them for a few seconds. Then his pal released his grip on the other youth and they began to beat him to the ground; the girls watching from the top of my street starting screaming in terror.

The assault lasted less than 30 seconds and by the time I reached the victim his attackers had run off. The girls were making their way towards the unconscious youth, one of them sobbing “oh my God, oh my God” repeatedly with another asking “is he dead?”, but when they saw me coming out my front gate they panicked and ran off.

The youth was laying still, his blood pouring from his head onto the road.

He was barefoot.

I could see that he was breathing. Mindful of his head, I put him into the recovery position and he opened his eyes.

He tried to stand, but fell to his knees and crawled to the footpath and sat there with his head in his hands, blood streaming down his face.

I asked him his name, I asked him if he knew where he was, but he wouldn’t answer. I got my phone out and told him I was calling an ambulance, at that he got up and began to stagger in a slow zig-zag up my street. I followed him and called the Gardaí.

The Gardaí told me that my wife had already been on to them and that a car had been dispatched, I said that I was heading up our Boreen to the main road and I would get back to them with directions if we didn’t meet the car on the way.

At the top of our Boreen he paused, holding himself up against a garden wall before throwing himself left and nearly getting hit by a car only I caught a hold of him in time, I kept a hold of his shoulder keeping him in off the road as we walked.

 As I was getting back on to the Gardaí we passed a group of girls; they stopped in shock and called him by name

“Oh my God what have they done to you” says one of them, with her hands over her face in horror.

“Where does he live?” I ask. She tells me and I ask “who did this?”, she doesn’t answer.

I let the Gardaí know where we are headed.

We passed two small boys sitting at the entrance to his street; one of them was holding the victims leather slip-on shoes; they followed after us. 

A few minutes later and we’re at his front door. His mother lets him in, he brushes passed her and collapses on to the couch. His father comes out to me and I tell him what has happened and that the Gardaí are on the way; he asks me to wait for them while he tends to his son.

The Gardaí arrive and an ambulance is called; the boy is unconscious and they are concerned that there might be a bleed on his brain as his head is starting to swell.

The commotion causes a neighbour to come out. I told him what was going on and he told me that for the past 6-months a gang of youths had been coming into his area and causing trouble; several residents had had their windows broken, himself included.

He told me that the victim and his family were from Afghanistan, they had only moved in the week before and that within days they had become the focus of attention for the gang.  He told me that 3-days earlier the victim’s younger brothers (aged 6 and 8) were outside their home playing ball when the gang started throwing stones at them.

He said that he went out and confronted them saying that the Gardaí had been called and told the boys to go in home; the gang numbered up to 20, ranging in age from 6 to 16 and the older boys were encouraging the younger ones to throw the stones. He got dogs abuse and a few stones, but they did eventually clear off.

I told him that I was familiar with this gang and agreed that “yes”, they are a problem.

I was asked to wait for the Gardaí to take me home so that I could show them the crime scene; the area was taped off from my neighbours gate to the boundary fence (he got some land when he arrived home later that night) and a squad car with two Gardaí stayed guard until forensics were carried out the next day.

The Gardaí said that because it was a head injury involving blunt force trauma that there was the possibility that it could turn into a murder investigation by the morning.

Thankfully it didn’t.

I made a full statement to the Gardaí. Unfortunately I couldn’t properly identify the assailants because I didn’t actually see their faces, so they weren’t named in my statement. I did name the girls we passed, as they were known to me and I thought they might know who the culprits were.

In the end two youths were arrested, CCTV from the ESB and our Boreen placed them at the scene and showed them running into their homes immediately after the attack. They admitted their guilt to the Gardaí when questioned; they were charged and pleaded guilty in separate trials.

One youth (iron-bar boy) was sentenced to 2-years in jail on 30th October 2016 for the assault and 34 other charges (yes, it took nearly a year-and-a-half) and the other (hurley boy) got off with Community service and the Probation Act on 28th December 2016.

Now, this brings me to one of the reasons for posting about this publically.

DADDY’S LITTLE ANGEL

For some reason the judge saw fit to name me and my wife in court during the October trial. Even though our statements didn’t identify anybody and we weren’t called or needed as witnesses (because they both pleaded guilty) the judge decided that we needed to be named and commended for merely doing our civic duty.

The judge also saw fit to remind the guilty party that it was just as well he had pleaded guilty because the evidence was damning and would have resulted in a longer sentence if he had contested the charges.

The judge also asked the media not to name the guilty party as he was underage and still legally a child. Apparently, his mammy hardly looked up from her phone while all this was going on.

Unlike his Mammy, his Daddy didn’t attend any of his son’s trial, but ever since I was named in court Daddy has been telling anyone that cares to listen to him that I got his son jailed and this is something that really needs to be addressed, especially now that his little angel is free to roam the streets again (yes, he barely served 2-months).

This is how one news report described Daddy’s little angel:

“The youth was refused bail at Limerick Children’s Court after being charged with the assault on the boy, as well as 34 other offences, including 17 counts of criminal damage; nine counts of theft; six counts of burglary; and two counts of stealing cars. Despite Garda objections, the defendant was granted High Court bail on 7 December 2015. Three days later while on bail, he attacked and seriously injured a 24-year old man in Debenhams, in the centre of Limerick. The man had to undergo surgery for a fractured cheekbone.”

It was also reported that the man he assaulted while out on bail “had to undergo reconstructive surgery and have a metal plate inserted in his cheek”.

My statement only accounts for one of those 35 charges and it didn’t even identify him. I think it’s safe to say that he was jailed because his actions showed him to be a danger to the public. More importantly, and this is the crux of the matter, I did not raise this boy and he is not my responsibility.

I have my own son’s to raise I and I can tell you this without any doubt in my mind that  if any one of them did what I witnessed those youths doing to another human being , I would be thoroughly ashamed of myself as a father.

No, I am not responsible for this boy getting jail, nor I am responsible for any of his sibling’s getting incarcerated when they were caught for various crimes.  I think Daddy needs to look a little closer to home if he wants to apportion blame.

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO - IRON-BAR BOY RETURNS

Now, the other reason I decided to post this.  The little angel is free and for the past two Saturdays he has organised drinking sessions at the top of our street, but worse than that he has been giving my wife menacing looks as she drives past.
  

Last Saturday I called the Gardaí, they arrived promptly and the gang (pictured above) ran off into Weston as they drove down our Boreen.

I made a point of going out and talking loudly to the Gardaí as iron-bar boy and pals looked on, hoping that the message would sink in – we are not going to put up with this shit starting again.

Then last night my wife comes home and tells me he’s up there again with two girls drinking and making menacing faces as she drove past. 

As she called the Gardaí I said I’d stroll up and have a look to confirm his identity, by the time I got there their number had increased by 4 (3 of them aged 10 or under).

Words were exchanged, I informed them that they were loitering at a right-of-way, drinking in public and that the Gardaí were on the way.

Iron-bar boy told me that he was doing nothing and could hang around wherever he wanted to.

It was his ‘dindu nuffin’ attitude that prompted me to ask him how he managed to get released after what he had done.

“What I done?” he says “he had a knife and was going to rape a girl”

Wow!

Turns out I was wrong; iron-bar boy was actually a hero defending a damsel in distress.  Not really, this is just the tale he tells to justify his savagery to others.  Funny how he didn’t try and mount a defence of his actions based on his heroic motivations, or do his utmost to ensure that his victim, (a sexual predator according to him) was charged and taken out of circulation.

Oh what a hero. I can only wonder what his true motivations were for breaking my elderly neighbour’s windows in March 2015; perhaps she is really an evil witch that eats children like Hansel and Gretel.  What were his motivations for assaulting an breaking the jaw of a 24-year old man in the city centre (3 days after been released on bail for the assault he committed on my street), maybe his victim was a terrorist about to explode a bomb and but for our hero we’d all be dead.

I’m not saying that there have been no incidences of sexual assault committed by immigrants in Limerick, only last week it was reported by the Limerick Leader that a 19-year old Afghani was charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old schoolgirl, such stories help our hero to add a grain of truth to his big lie.

TRUE MOTIVATIONS

Some commentators have claimed that the motivations for the attack on my street were “racial” or “islamophobic” and that the attackers were “fascists” – this is just utter nonsense spouted by identity politics ideologues.  Let me assure that these youths are completely devoid of any ideological beliefs.

There is a commonality shared by all the victims of such gangs roaming around Limerick city. Whether it’s the youth that was beaten on my street, my elderly neighbour getting her windows smashed or a first time visitor to Limerick waking up in Hospital after a savage beating last week. They all have one thing in common, they were vulnerable.

Vulnerability is something that these cowards look for and nothing screams it more than a foreign family or elderly person with absolutely no extended family in the area.  Their only motivation is their own entertainment.

They have absolutely no sense of personal responsibility because their parents never gave it to them. How could they when most of the parents don’t have it themselves?

MAKING A STATEMENT

As usual, I will be making a complaint to the Council Tenants’ Enforcement Office and to the Gardaí, but I am sick of having to make statements all the time.

The Gardaí,  our public representatives (TD’s and Councillors) and Council Officials are more than aware of these youths engaging in anti-social and criminal behaviour; they are privy to the highly detailed anti-social and criminal behaviour logs kept by the Weston Gardens Residents’ Association (WGRA) and have watched the numerous unlisted You Tube videos highlighting the problems.

The WGRA is excluded from participating on the local regeneration committee and attempts to have us included met with a brick wall; seemingly the rules governing the committee are set in stone and cannot be changed to include us at the table. Nevertheless our Councillors were instrumental in arranging for a series of scheduled meetings in 2015 involving the Gardaí and the Council’s Office of Regeneration.

These resulted in the installation of extra street lighting for our Boreen, an extra CCTV camera and the Boreen was painted – all positive developments aimed at improving public safety and security.

The Gardaí have been very supportive, however they have limited resources and their response time ranges from prompt to no-show. We never got the dedicated Garda service promised in the 2007 Fitzgerald Report and today Garda numbers are lower than ever.

The WGRA has no control over Garda numbers, but we did propose to the Council physical works that would greatly enhance the safety and security of our area. Our common sense proposal, “Less Prison….More Park” proposed that the Council could carry out works on public land on a smaller scale than the works they had carried out elsewhere in the Southside Regeneration Area on private land in 2015 - the Council replaced fencing on private property with a more appropriate wall and railings.

The proposal seemed to send every one running for cover, especially our Councillors.

The Gardaí and the Council’s Tenants Enforcement Office continued to work with us and by August 2016 it looked like we might be seeing an end to our troubles – the gangs had been moved on and residents could use the right-of-way and our Boreen without fear of harassment and intimidation.

Now iron-bar boy is back on the streets and it looks like it’s all going to kick off again. During his trial Gardaí had described him as the “ringleader” of the group, and said that he showed “little remorse for any of his victims”.

Are residents going to have to go back to checking our Boreen to make that the coast is clear whenever we are expecting guests or a loved one returning home from school or work? I don’t have to tell the Council officials and our public representatives how bad it was for us, they are well informed. The question is what are they going to do about?

The Council seem intent on ignoring any suggestions or proposals that would improve the safety and security of residents. Their poor interpretation of the phrase “passive security” has led to a ridiculous “open spaces” policy that actually encourages and facilitates anti-social behaviour. The Clarina Park site for example:


Of course there may be a conflict of interest for the Council when it comes to making the areas safer. Their 2014 Limerick Framework Implementation Plan has red-lined many occupied homes for demolition and there is little incentive for homeowners to part with their property for a pittance if they feel safe and secure in their homes.

I don’t know what can be done about these youths and their carry on. Maybe an outreach programme aimed at teaching them personal responsibility rather than blaming others for their situation and after a few years they might be transformed into something resembling a decent human being. I really don’t care about that to be honest because what’s really needed is some law and order; intensive policing in the immediate to challenge and prevent their behaviour.

Finally, just a note about making an actual statement to the Gardaí; It is not enough to simply give the names and address of your tormentors to the Garda and have it written down in a Garda note book. The Garda has to take a formal statement from you, which both of you sign. This obliges the Garda to take appropriate action based on your statement, whereas the contents of the notebook may never be pursued. And remember, you have no more than 6-months from the time an incident occurs to make a statement.


RELATED ARTICLES:

Note: some of the articles below report that the victim of the attack on my street “was initially hit with a stone, which knocked him to the ground…” this not what I saw and I don’t know why it was reported. Some of the article try to imply that the family were refugees; they are not, they immigrated here legally, they have their own means and are not dependent on the state

Teenage immigrant beaten with hurleys in Limerick city (Limerick Leader - 8 Oct 2016): http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/home/218914/teenage-refugee-beaten-with-hurleys-in-limerick-city.html

Teenager beaten unconscious with hurleys two weeks after coming to Ireland (thejournal.ie – 7 Oct 2016): http://www.thejournal.ie/limerick-attack-2-3016007-Oct2016/

Savage hurley attack on young son made immigrant family want to return to war-torn home (Irish Examiner – 7 Oct 2016): http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/savage-hurley-attack-on-young-son-made-immigrant-family-want-to-return-to-war-torn-home-758296.html

Teen who attacked Middle Eastern boy with hurley sentenced to 18 months detention (thejournal.ie – 30 Oct 2016): http://www.thejournal.ie/limerick-judgement-3054789-Oct2016/

Student, 19, in 'unprovoked' attack on first visit to Limerick (Limerick Leader - 10 Feb 2017): http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/home/234653/student-19-in-unprovoked-attack-in-first-visit-to-limerick.html

Afghan national charged with a sexual assault on a teenage girl in Limerick (Live 95fm - 06 Feb 2017): https://www.live95fm.ie/news/afghan-national-charged-with-a-sexual-assault-on-t/




Sunday, July 17, 2016

SHORTT MEMORY


I read with interest and some bemusement Mr. Tom Shortt’s  self-aggrandising letter (Limerick Post, July 16, pg.30) attacking the Moyross Residents’ Alliance (MRA) and accusing the MRA Chairperson, Tommy Daly, of making a “personalised attack on the Labour Party” and Mr Shortt. 

Aside from the fact that one cannot make a personalised attack on a political party, the criticism made by Tommy of Mr. Shortt’s lack of knowledge regarding the role of Councillors is valid. 

Far from being a “daft notion”, Article 28a of the Constitution of Ireland makes it clear that Councillors are elected to represent communities, not political parties as Mr. Shortt had publically contended; Cllr. Frankie Daly does not represent the Labour Party on the Council and he never did, he represents the Northside communities that elected him.



Our Constitution is the highest law in the land and Articles can only be changed by holding a referendum, not at a Labour Party convention.

Mr. Shortt also accuses Tommy of telling “downright lies”, claiming that he never attended any meetings organised by the MRA. 

As an adviser and co-opted member of the MRA’s committee I can confirm that Mr. Shortt did in fact attend three meetings; one with the MRA committee and two others that were held in St. Munchin's Community Centre in Kileely as the Moyross Community Centre wasn’t made available to us at the time. 

St. Munchins Community Centre where the meetings were held

I attended these meetings where Mr. Shortt met with Moyross residents of Delmege Park, Dalglish Park, Cosgrove Park, Cliona Park and Castle Park, we all had to sign-in as we entered the Community Centre so this fact, unlike Mr. Shortts claims, can be independently verified.

During our first meeting with Mr. Shortt he even raised his own issues with those in attendance, asking what could be done to stop the rise of Sinn Féin; he was reminded that he was not at a Labour Party meeting and that we were there to discuss our issues and what he as an elected representative could do to help us on the Council.

The issues raised included: depopulation, the boarding-up of perfectly good houses, the demolition of burnt-out and unsafe houses, ensuring Health & Safety regulations,  anti-social behaviour,  Council buy-outs of homeowners for a pittance, the lack of real community participation in the decision making process, and the right-of-way between Dalglish Park and Ballananty.

While some tenants did ask Mr. Shortt to make individual representations on their behalf, Tommy and his sons did not; as home-owners they are responsible for their own property and didn’t seek Mr. Shortt’s assistance. 

The issues raised at the meetings by “members of the Daly family” were ones that impacted on the wider community, not just themselves.

All the residents wanted was for their Councillor to formally raise their issues and concerns in Council meetings and to ask Council officials to publically account for their decisions, which had helped to make the “regeneration” areas worse instead of better, closed down schools, increased anti-social behaviour  and turned home-owners into tenants.  

At our meetings Mr. Short talked the talk; he even volunteered to do some work with residents in Delmege Park on the community garden that the MRA had established there in 2009. 

However, Mr. Shortt did not walk the walk; he never raised any issues on our behalf (if he had done so then it would be a matter of public record in City Hall and it is not) and he turned up in Delmege Park 2-weeks after the work was done looking to have his picture taken in the garden. 

As I understand it, that photo-opportunity in 2011 was the last formal contact that the MRA had with Mr. Shortt; he stopped answering phonecalls and replying to emails after that.

Jamie Daly, MRA Events Manager with Tom Shortt Feb 2011

Tom Shortt with MRA Chairperson Tommy Daly, Feb 2011

I really do not understand how the former Councillor cannot recall any these meetings; I can only conclude that his memory must be just like him…..short! 

Now, that last sentence might be construed as a “personalised attack”, but it is just a pun that couldn’t be helped given Mr. Shortt’s denial of the facts and the very real personalised and libelous attack he made on Tommy Daly’s character. 

Mr. Shortt owes Tommy Daly and the MRA a public apology.

TWIST AND SPIN

Of course I don’t really believe that Mr. Shortt can’t recall those meetings and I do understand why he has denied that they ever took place; he wants to deflect from his own shortcomings (sorry, couldn’t help it) as a Councillor and under no circumstance can the facts be allowed to get in the way of his egotistical narrative.

Having dispensed some downright lies, Mr. Shortt in his letter then seeks to misrepresent the statement made by Tommy and the MRA. 

Mr. Shortt praises himself for toeing his party’s line by voting against his fellow Northside Councillors and the wishes of Northside communities that he was elected to represent, claiming that his support for the provision of a site for a Youth Centre on the Kileely Road is an example of him representing Northside Communities. He also accuses his fellow Northside Councillors of “opposing services for Northside communities”, when they were merely opposed to its location.



The new Youth Centre on the Kileely Road

Helping to force developments on communities that didn’t want them is not good representation, other sites could have been looked at and the MRA would have been delighted it the Youth Centre had ended up being built in Moyross  and if the vote had gone the other way it is most likely that it would have.

The MRA’s criticisms of Mr. Shortts failure to represent were specific to Moyross and the “regeneration” process, but he has denied that those issues were ever raised with him so he can justify his silence on the matter in Council meetings.  Instead he spins what was said and he now expects that his fellow Northside Councillors should “incur a greater wrath” from Tommy Daly and the MRA. The fact is, they already have

THE WRATH OF CATHAL


On 24th February 2014, Mr. Shortt voted (along with the rest of the noddies - it was a unanimous vote) to approve the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan (LRFIP). This plan green-lined much of the land for private development in the long-term and red-lined many occupied homes for demolition without the agreement of the residents.


Regeneration Plan for Moyross - approved by Council in 2014

In Moyross a substantial amount of occupied homes are targeted for demolition without the residents prior agreement, including the MRA’s Community Garden in Delmege Park, the very garden that Mr. Shortt was so anxious to be photographed in!



Plan to demolosh homes and the MRA community garden

Weeks before the vote I had emailed Mr. Shortt and all of the other City Councillors with a submission from residents groups in Ballinacurra Weston and Rosbrien that highlighted the many problems with the LRFIP - like the lack of proper consultation and real participation of residents in developing the plans, and pointed out issues that were not addressed, such as the CCTV cameras being unmonitored on the Southside.

And in case they had forgotten, a letter of support for the submission from a Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council was physically left on their desks before the vote took place.

I don’t believe that any of them actually read the information that I had provided, or indeed the LRFIP for that matter. If they had they would and should have asked questions and voted against it. 

Mr. Shortt goes on to further twist what was said by the MRA and boasts how the Labour Party’s Jan O’Sullivan TD secured €3 million for the refurbishment of the Moyross Community centre, claiming that “...this contradicts Tommy Daly’s daft notion that politicians serve communities best by staying somehow outside or above party politics

Tommy never made such a statement and Mr. Shortt knows it. Tommy was referring specifically to the role of Councillors as defined by the Constitution, but that fact would have upset Mr. Shortt’s deluded narrative. 

(The full MRA statement can be read on the MRA's Facebook page).

As for being above party politics, well it was fairly clear to all but the most imbecilic that Tommy was referring directly to Cllr. Frankie Daly opening the MRA’s 1916 Remembrance Garden in June with Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea TD.



Tommy Daly addresses those assembled at the launch  

The MRA's Community Garden was established in 2009.

Furthermore, there is a big difference between a Councillor, a TD and a government Minister and this seems to be lost on Mr. Shortt as he showcases his ignorance of our Constitution and our political system.

Jan O’Sullivan was Minister for Housing when the €3 million was awarded to the Moyross Community Centre and that money was actually secured by the Community Centre and the plan they submitted through the Council to Central government.

O’Sullivan was also Minister for Housing when she launched the LRFIP in Thomond Park in 2013, a plan that seeks to trample on the property rights of residents to the benefit of private developers.  Frankly, I had expected a lot more from her as a Limerick TD, her tenure a housing Minister was one big fat disappointment.

Neither I nor Tommy Daly has ever been a Councillor, a TD or a Minister, yet in 2009 we managed to secure €0.5 million for the Council to clean up the “regeneration” areas. I had petitioned the EU and Tommy accompanied me to Brussels for the hearing. I would argue that we achieved more for Moyross and the other “regeneration” areas in those 2-days than Mr. Shortt did during his 5-year stint as a Councillor.



And now we are off the the EU again with a collective complaint to the European Committee of Social Rights. we just can't sit still!

SILENCE IS GOLDEN

Mr. Shortt ends his mendacious letter by saying “The silence from Cllr. Frankie Daly is deafening and nobody knows when he will speak up to explain himself, rather than having others, such as Tommy Daly, speaking for him.

Tommy Daly isn’t speaking for Cllr. Frankie Daly, who has already explained that he had promised to vote for the Northside’s Cllr. Michael Hourigan (Fine Gael) as Limerick’s Metropolitan Mayor months ago, long before the Labour Party decided that it was going to field a candidate that didn’t have a chance of winning.  

Cllr. Frankie Daly faced a dilemma; ether take the unconstitutional party whip from Labour and go back on his word, or stay true to his word and vote for Cllr. Hourigan. 

What Mr. Shortt actually wants is for Cllr. Frankie Daly to explain himself to the Labour Party, which he will have to do if he wants to apply to have the whip restored to him.  As far as I’m aware this hasn’t happened and I hope it never does. 

Cllr. Daly does not need the Labour Party and would be better placed to serve the communities that elected him without getting whipped into silence on issues that the Labour Party want ignored.

JEALOUS MUCH?

I have to wonder if this whole episode was orchestrated to push Cllr. Daly out of the Limerick Labour Party. 

Mr. Shortt was a sitting Councillor when Frankie Daly was selected as his ‘running mate’ in the 2014 local elections and Mr. Shortt not only lost his seat to him, but lost by  significant margin.

In 2009, when Labour was in opposition and on the rise, Mr. Shortt received 824 first preference votes and was elected to the Council  on the 13th count, his then ‘running mate’ was sitting Councillor John Ryan and he got 479, losing his seat.

In 2014, Mr. Shortt received 426 first preference votes and lost his seat, whereas Frankie Daly received 1,014 and was elected on the 10th count. This happened at a time when the Labour Party was extremely unpopular because of their support for imposing severe austerity measures on the Irish people. 

People voted for Frankie because of his reputation as a community worker in the Northside and I think there might be some jealousy there on the part of Mr. Shortt. Of course that is purely speculation on my part.

RATE MY COUNCILLOR


Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on Mr. Shortt; perhaps I am biased against him and the rest of the numpties because they didn’t speak up for “regeneration” residents at Council meetings. Maybe they didn’t know that they were supposed to, I mean, some of them have full-time jobs, is it reasonable of me to expect them to be reading plans and reports? 

Mr. Shortt had a very important full-time job; he was an art teacher in Scoil Carmel all-girls secondary school, which closed earlier this year. 

I wonder what his students thought of him? 

A cursory glance on Rate My Teachers shows that he was very popular “he is soundest teacher in the school. He is a legend” writes one reviewer, but a closer inspection tells a different tale (jc = Junior Certificate, lc = Leaving Certificate):

“He's only popular because he does no work. Ever since he became a councillor he's had too much on his plate to handle he should pick one job and stick to it. It's not fair on the people who love art” (March 2011)

“He didnt cover the LC history course, we were'nt able to answer half of the questions! he did next to no practical art classes with us even though its worth 63% of the final marks!!!” (August 2010)

“made our class fail jc art” (June 2009)

In fairness trying to juggle two jobs can be difficult; maybe he did have “too much on his plate”, as the first reviewer put it. So what about before he became a Councillor in 2009? Was his performance as a teacher any better then? Let’s have a look:

“doesn't do any art work with us! I'm surprised people pass there jc and lc!” (June 2008)

“only popular because he allows students to do whatever they want. especially with lower level classes... doesn't care about results. easy money” (June 2007)


“He's a dosser. never prepared ...always late. He's popular because he allows students to doss in class. And he doesn't care how well the students do. Popularity doesn't make a good teacher.” (November 2006)


“He is a great laugh and he is not like a teacher at all. He cares about students. His classes are like free classes. But sometimes he will go cranky but averagely a brill teacher!” (February 2006)

That last review, which is trying to be nice, actually hangs him. 

On the face of it, it would appear that Mr. Shortt was equally as shitty at being a teacher as he was at being a Councillor; he is a spoofer of the highest order and personifies everything that is wrong with Irish politics. The sooner people start waking up to these sort of chancers the sooner we will start to see some real change.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

100 Years Ago Today


So here we are, 24th April 2016, 100-years to the day that the Irish Republic was declared by Pearse outside the GPO in Dublin, 100-years since the spark that lit the flame of Irish freedom and independence was struck.

I should be brimming with pride. I had imagined that I would have attended one of the many commemorations or even a protest to mark the occasion, but I didn’t. Instead I stayed at home and the only thing I’ll be doing is filling out the census form later on. I just don’t feel that there is anything to celebrate, but I didn’t always feel this way.


This banner was painted by me and my wife Cindy for the Irish National Congress (INC). It is based on an original print by former INC Cathaoirleach Robert Ballagh


The mid-section turns up everywhere on the web and elsewhere, it is often mistakenly described as the Ballagh print, However the Ballagh print does not have flames painted in to the 1916.


Here it is making its debut outside the British Embassy for an INC protest on Easter Monday, 24th April 2000, 84 years to the day that the Men and Women of 1916 declared "the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible", the INC protested outside the British Embassy in Dublin at the continued usurpation of that right by the British government. (My wife, Cindy, is holding the banner on the left, I'm out of picture on the right and Robert Ballagh is pictured front & right.) 

My father, Cathal McCarthy, reads the Proclamation to those assembled as the then INC Cathaoirleach, Mary Lou McDonald, (partially pictured on the far left holding a letter to the British ambassador) got cold feet on the day; she did however hand in a letter of protest to the Embassy protesting Britain's suspension of the institutions under the Good Friday Agreement on behalf of the INC.

So what’s changed? Why am I so disillusioned? Is it the fact that our country is still partitioned? No, that’s not it. Is the fact that we've just elected a bunch of squabbling ninnies that are unable to form a government? No, although I can’t imagine that our 1916 heroes would be too impressed with them, or the bank bail-outs, or the homelessness crisis, or Irish Water. In fact, if they travelled forward in time to today I think they would ask “where’s the Republic?” before travelling back to cancel the Rising.

What has me so disillusioned is our membership of the European Union (EU) and its goal of becoming a Federal State; 65% of our legislation is already imported from the EU.  

When we first looked to join in 1963 it was called the European Economic Community (EEC) and there were only 6 member states. Our application to join was blocked by then French President, General Charles de Gaulle, because he didn't want Britain to join and believed that Ireland’s membership would help facilitate Britain’s membership. He blocked our next application to join in 1967. Then in 1969 his successor, George Pompidou, said that France would not to stand in the way of Irish and British membership. 

We applied again and had a referendum in 1972 (the 3rd amendment to out Constitution), which approved membership. 70% of the electorate turned out to vote, with 83% (1,041,890) of the them voting “yes” and 17% (211,891) voting “No“.

Ireland’s economy benefited from membership of the EEC, of that there can be little doubt. A lot has changed since then and the EEC has become much bigger and is now the EU.

In 2004 the EU attempted to introduce an EU Constitution to become a federal state, it was signed by 25 of the member states but the Dutch and French peoples had referendums and rejected it in 2005. It was repackaged as the Lisbon Treaty and the governments of all the other member states signed up to it without consulting their people; Ireland was the only country to hold a referendum (because we have a robust Constitution that demanded we have one) and we rejected it in 2008. 

The EU elite was not one bit happy, so Ireland was given a legally non-binding exemption from aspects of the treaty and we were asked to vote again in 2009, this time we voted “yes” to approve the 28th Amendment to our Constitution (most of our referendums are held because of EU treaties) to allow our government to ratify the treaty – feckin ejits!



Today the EU is a shambles and some of the member states seem to be losing the plot completely, Germany in particular (what is it about Germans and electing lunatics); Mad Merkel and her mass-immigration policy has set her country (and the rest of the European continent) on course for self-destruction. 

The British are holding a referendum in June to decide if they should continue with their membership of the EU, I hope they vote to exit and I hope we follow suit; that would be a fitting way to honour our heroes’ of 1916 – voting to regain our independence.



I wasn't alive in 1966 when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Rising, but I get the impression that while we weren't as well off as we are today, as a people we had more freedom in the real sense of the word. In 1916 we fought to be free of British elites, today we are in thrall to EU elites; what are celebrating for?

Solemn commemoration is more appropriate, read, remember and reclaim our Proclamation of 1916:


POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT
OF THE
IRISH REPUBLIC
TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND

IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.


Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:


THOMAS J. CLARKE
SEAN Mac DIARMADA    THOMAS MacDONAGH
P. H. PEARSE              EAMONN CEANNT

JAMES CONNOLLY                JOSEPH PLUNKETT