VOTING FOR A MANAGED DECLINE.
On Friday, 29th November 2019, four by-elections for seats in Leinster House will be held in four constituencies in the Free State – Dublin Fingal, Dublin Mid-West, Wexford and Cork North Central. The vacancies exist because the previous holders of those seats – Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, Frances Fitzgerald (FG) and Billy Kelleher (FF) – have gone to greener pastures in Brussels.
There are, as expected, a myriad of candidates looking for votes, all promising to ‘improve your situation’ if you give them your ‘Number One’ (..this ‘Number One’, maybe..), all of whom will agree with you, on the doorstep, that the housing and health situations etc require urgent attention ; but, if/when elected to Leinster House, will vote along party lines and, unfortunately, ‘party lines’ in this gombeen Free State is to do away with State house-building programmes (ie Council and Corporation houses) in favour of private contractors (ie their business pals) and to place public hospitals in a situation where they become unfit for purpose, thus allowing their college-classmates and golf-course buddies in private practice to flourish, financially.
A Leinster House-implemented managed decline of public services.
The very least you can do is not to vote for that managed decline – claim your ballot paper, on Friday 29th November 2019, and register your objection to those politicians by writing ‘None Of The Above’ on it, and place it in the ballot box –
‘Letter to The Editor,
The Irish Times.
NONE OF THE ABOVE.
Thu, Nov 21, 2002.
Madam, – One of the leading theorists arguing for a concept of democracy that affords a limited role for citizens in political life claims “democracy means only that the people have the opportunity of accepting or refusing the men who are to rule them” (Schumpeter, 1943, pages 284-285). Leaving aside the deficiencies (and sexism) of this definition, the point is that even the most minimalist interpretation of democracy affords the citizen an important, basic choice of accepting or refusing electoral candidates. Crucially, this choice is not the same as “having a vote”.
The Government (sic) has decided to introduce electronic voting in all constituencies in Ireland (sic) for the next election. Under the system of electronic voting used in a limited number of constituencies in the last election, the only options available to the citizen are (1) to vote to accept one or more candidates, or (2) not to vote at all. People eligible to vote in Irish elections do not have the democratic right to reject candidates.
The options available on the electronic ballot must, therefore, be expanded to include “none of the above” so that Irish elections can be granted the most basic requirement of a democracy. It also means voters would not be forced to select “the best of a bad lot”. Instead,voters could reject inadequate candidates, and, in the unlikely event that no candidates achieve the minimum level of support for election, voters could be afforded a second ballot. Ideally, better quality candidates would put themselves forward in the second ballot. At the very least, the exercise of this option could act as a catalyst for change. -Yours, etc.,
Department of Political Science,
Elections are a business opportunity – not a community service – for career politicians and/or wannabe career politicians, at the expense of those who vote for them : this blog is published from one of the constituencies where a by-election vote will be held this Friday (29th November 2019) and this Dublin Mid-West candidate is typical of the type that want you to elect or re-elect them to a place on the State gravy train, from where they will maintain their lifestyle by dipping even further into your pocket. They gain a huge, unjustified wage and outrageous ‘expenses’ and pensions, plus a ‘retirement position’ in Brussels or on the Board of some other business that they done ‘favours’ for during their time in office. Don’t humiliate yourself by gifting them the opportunity to do that, at your expense –
‘Letters to The Editor,
The Irish Times.
Voting for none of the above.
Mon, Jun 1, 2009.
Madam, – As an utterly dismayed, disgusted and disgruntled voter I wish to have the legitimate opportunity to use my vote as a form of protest against all running candidates in my local elections on June 5th by having the option to vote “none of the above”.
Currently, I have no choice to do so, as a spoilt vote is not currently counted.
“None of the above” or “against all” is a ballot choice in some jurisdictions and organisations, allowing the voter to indicate his or her disapproval with all of the candidates in any voting system.
It is based on the principle that all legitimate consent requires the ability to withhold consent, allowing voters to withhold their consent in an election, just as they can by voting ‘No’ on ballot questions.
Why not give the Irish voter such a voice? – Yours, etc,
Don’t give them a stick to beat you with – write ‘None Of The Above’ on your ballot paper and place it in the ballot box on Friday, 29th November 2019. A plague on ALL their houses!
ON THIS DATE (27TH NOVEMBER) 99 YEARS AGO : ‘THE LOCALS HEARD SHOTS IN THE WOODS..’
“HAND GRENADES WERE PUT IN THEIR MOUTHS AND THESE EXPLODED..” – part of the comments made by the doctor who examined the remains of the Loughnane brothers.
Pat and Harry Loughnane were well-known and equally well-liked and respected in their neighbourhood of South Galway. Pat (the eldest), was an IRA man and Secretary of Sinn Féin in the area ; he was also active in GAA circles. His younger brother, Harry, played in goal for the local Beagh Hurling Club, was an IRA Volunteer and was also a member of the local cumann of Sinn Féin ; both brothers worked on the family farm in Shanaglish, County Galway, and were working in the corn fields on Friday, 26th November 1920, when the Black and Tans surrounded them. The two brothers were thumped around a bit in the corn fields by the Black and Tans and then thrown into the back of the lorry belonging to the Tans – they were pushed off the lorry outside the Bridewell Barracks in Gort and put in a cell. People in near-by cells later reported hearing the brothers being battered by the Tans, who were well aware that the Loughnane brothers were active in the struggle for Irish Freedom.
After three or four hours of beating, the brothers were dragged out to the courtyard of Gort Bridewell and tied to each other ; the other end of the rope was then tied to the back of the truck, which drove off, heading for Drumharsna Castle, which was then the headquarters of the Black and Tans in that area of Galway. Both Pat and Harry Loughnane were at that stage too weak to run behind the truck, and ended up being dragged on the ground behind it and, on arrival at Drumharsna Castle, the rope was untied from the truck and the two men were dragged into another cell and beaten again. At around 10.30 or 11pm that same night (Friday 26th November 1920) the Loughnane brothers were removed from the cell and put in the back of the truck ; they were pushed out of the back of same after travelling a few miles – the brothers would have been too dazed to realise it, but they were now in Moy O’Hynes Wood, and were being taken deep into the thicket of it by the Black and Tans.
Locals later reported hearing four shots and, the following day – Saturday, 27th November 1920, 99 years ago on this date – rumour was rife in the neighbourhood that Pat and Harry Loughnane had been dragged into the Moy O’Hynes Wood and shot dead by the Black and Tans but that rumour also insisted that Harry Loughnane somehow survived the ordeal – and the Tans heard that same rumour. It was early on Sunday morning (28th November 1920) that the Black and Tans again entered the Wood – they were observed loading something into the back of their lorry and driving off at speed towards the small town of Umbriste (near Ardrahan, on the Gort to Clarinbridge road) ; it later transpired that the Black and Tans burned the bodies of the Loughnane brothers when they arrived at Umbriste but even then they were not satisfied – so they dug a hole and threw the bodies into it.
However, because of the rocky terrain, the Tans were unable to fully cover their tracks and were convinced that the charred remains would be found. They dug them up and carried them to a near-by pond, weighted them down, and threw them in… (..more here.)
It was on this date – 27th November – 99 years ago, that the truth about the fate of Pat and Harry Loughnane began to circulate in the local community.
‘ISSUED BY THE ARMY COUNCIL, ÓGLAIGH NA hÉIREANN, NOVEMBER 1954…’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, December 1954.
“With charity towards all, with malice towards none, the Irish Republican Army looks forward with quiet confidence to the struggle that lies ahead. The trained, armed, disciplined and resolute soldiers of freedom pledge themselves once more to the task and, asking God’s blessing on their arms, appeal to the people of Ireland to stand by them and to achieve with them the ideal which has shone so brightly and so steadily in the dreams and hopes of our people.
In the name of God and of the dead generations Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for freedom.”
(END of ‘Issued By The Army Council’ : NEXT – ‘Who Honours Pearse?’, from the same source.)
ON THIS DATE (27TH NOVEMBER) 113 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF AN INADVERTENT STAGE-SETTER.
A teacher by profession, from Carron, County Clare, Michael Cusack (pictured), who was born on the 20th September, 1847, had founded his own academy in Dublin and moved in the prolific literary circles of his day, being an acquaintance of both Douglas Hyde and James Joyce. He was fond of the popular practice of letter writing to the national press, using their columns as a springboard for debate on national and cultural issues .
When he was 37 years of age, he played a major part in establishing a new Irish sporting organisation (the GAA) but, less than two years after becoming the figurehead of that organisation, he found himself in open conflict with other members of the Executive and was subsequently voted from office : the issue which enveloped the GAA (and was to do so again and again and, indeed, which still reverberates to this day) was the conflict between the nationalist lobby within it who favoured constitutional agitation against the British military and political presence in Ireland, and those separatists/dissidents who favoured, and refused to rule out, physical force.
Two of the original seven founding members of the GAA – Joseph Kevin Bracken and John Wyse Power – were also members of the revolutionary Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), and it was obvious before long that the IRB had worked diligently at ground level in many parts of the country , to further their aim of using the GAA as a training ground :
‘Although not formally involved in the 1916 Rising, the Gaelic Athletic Association contributed significantly by producing a generation of young men with a sense of national identity, an extreme nationalist ethos, and a hostility towards the government, state institutions, and the forces of law and order…like many other nationalists of the time, he regarded athletics and the games of hurling, football and handball as intrinsic features of traditional Irish culture (and) believed that they should be used to promote a distinctive national identity. He was supported by two national newspapers, ‘United Ireland’ and ‘The Irishman’, which published a number of his anonymous articles on the subject of traditional games and pastimes.
On 11 October 1884, ‘United Ireland’ and ‘The Irishman’ featured an article by Cusack, entitled ‘A Word About Irish Athletics’. On 1st November 1884, Cusack..convened a meeting at Hayes’s Hotel in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, at which the ‘Gaelic Association for the Preservation and Cultivation of Gaelic Games’ (later the ‘Gaelic Athletic Association’) was established with Cusack as secretary. As the GAA was an organisation with potentially a membership of some hundreds of thousands of fit young men of military age and was represented throughout the country, the Fenians recognised its value as a recruitment pool.
As a result, Fenians infiltrated the organisation and managed to gain effective control within two years, ousting Cusack from the position of secretary. Clerical opposition to Fenian influence, however, resulted in a more discreet exploitation of the organisation by the Fenians : in the early decades of the twentieth century many of the leaders were members of the ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’ or in sympathy with its aims. While not overtly a revolutionary movement, the GAA was resolutely nationalistic, excluding members of the police or armed forces and people who played ‘imported games’.
Members of the GAA were prominent in the ‘Irish Volunteers’, hurleys commonly appearing in place of guns in drill and training exercises. Many members of the GAA took part in the 1916 Rising, but only in an individual capacity. As already said, the Association may be said to have indirectly made a significant contribution to the Rising – it produced a generation of physically fit and self-confident young men, many of whom it equipped with organisational skills of a high order. It fostered an awareness of Irish identity and pride in being Irish, resulting in a more critical attitude towards Britain, its government and its agencies…’ (from here.)
He was known to be a ‘colourful character’, in manner, dress and in his ‘general deportment’ ; more’s the pity that his politics were ‘bland’. He died on this date – 27th November – 113 years ago, in 1906, at 59 years of age.
‘MANUS IN A PICKLE(S)’.
‘Manus Nunan is a small, genial, cultivated Irish gentleman whose mother was an actress. He speaks fluent French. He was born in Dublin in 1926 and was educated there, graduating from Trinity College with third-class honours in law ; he is no high-flyer, intellectually, as he admits, but circuit judges and recorders do not need to be. His Irish catholic family was one of the few to continue to serve the crown after the partition of Ireland in 1922. His family has a history of service to the crown..’ – this is how the English judge, James Pickles, introduces a central character in his new book, ‘Straight From The Bench’. From ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987.
Judge James Pickles, who likes to insist on the fact of his being from Yorkshire and being – in his own terms – ‘a radical’, has previously taken up the strange case of Manus Nunan. He does so with force in a book which is causing ripples in Britain by the mere fact of being written by a sitting judge, as well as being scathing about many of the outdated practices of the English courts. His interest in Manus Nunan relates to his concern about the method of judicial appointments. Judge Pickles has had his own run-ins with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, who sanctions all such appointments.
Indeed, he takes pleasure in detailing them – with a certain degree of self-importance – in his book. Manus Nunan immediately had his interest when he told him of his own problems with the ‘Lord Chancellor’ ; that was in February 1986, after an article by Judge Pickles appeared in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper – Nunan told Pickles how he had failed to secure his expected re-appointment as a recorder (that is, as a ‘part-time judge’)… (MORE LATER.)
‘FROM THE EDITOR OF THE ‘RESURGENT ULSTER’ NEWSPAPER.’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, January 1955.
“As a result of the Stormont ban, ‘Resurgent Ulster’ has decided to suspend publication for a period, due mainly to the refusal of printers to print such a publication under the changed circumstances.
We might mention also that thousands of our copies have been seized by the censorship office at Belfast’s GPO which, of course, makes it impossible for us to use the Post Office for mailing supplies outside Belfast. Besides, all our agents’ and subscribers’ names and addresses are known to Belfast’s CID and maybe this is something for which we may be thankful to Hanna and Co. that they have cut off this vital supply of information in the future.
We take this opportunity of thanking all who co-operated in any way with us during the past three years – those who sent us articles, news items, poems etc, those who subscribed and distributed our paper, and we would appeal to those who have outstanding amounts with us to send on same, addressed to ‘RU, c/o The United Irishman, Seán Tracey House, 94 Seán Tracey Street, Dublin.’ Also to anyone to whom we might owe a balance of subscription etc, they can make their claim to the same address.
S. Ua Cruadlaoich,
Ulaidh ag Aiséirghe.”
(END of ‘From The Editor..’ ; NEXT – ‘British Barracks Attacked In Omagh’, from ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November, 1954.)
Thanks for reading, Sharon.