Irish Times: Living on planet Irish Water

Here are some quotes from an editorial in today’s Irish Times entitled ‘Salvaging Irish Water’.

There is no question of abolishing charges.

Irish Water will remain.

The notion of returning to a discredited, fragmented local authority system is risible.

It would seem that the editor of the Irish Times lives on the same planet as Irish Water and government ministers.

Gender quotas: One form of discrimination to counteract another?

Letter in today’s Irish Times.

I agree with the writer’s opinion that gender quota legislation is nothing more than using one form of discrimination to counteract another.

Sir,

Emer O’Toole (“So gender quotas are sexist? What nonsense”, August 10th) bemoans gender quota legislation “which ensures that (a mere) 30 per cent of party candidates are women”. What would she suggest? A clean 50 per cent perhaps? Not only would such electoral engineering be hypocritical (the introduction of formal gender quotas to address a system of alleged informal gender quotas), but things are not as simple as that.

Emer O’Toole might consider, for example, a scenario where one of her local Dáil candidates is male, who is “pro-choice” and his rival is female, who is “pro-life”. I presume O’Toole would be inclined to vote for the latter? Perhaps we should introduce gender quotas for “pro-choice” female candidates only?

Despite Emer O’Toole’s arguments in favour of gender quotas, electoral engineering is not as discreet a science as she makes out and one must always consider the law of unintended consequence. Moreover, one cannot ride roughshod over what should (and I emphasise should) be an open, meritocratic competition in the name of what is in reality one form of discrimination to counteract another.

Candidates should be chosen on the basis of ability and merit, irrespective of gender. Gender quotas, by their very nature, facilitate and encourage sexual discrimination. Is this not precisely what advocates of gender quotas are seeking to address? They are a short-sighted and misguided solution to discrimination faced by women in running for the Dáil.

Engineering a change in the gender profile of the Dáil will, of itself, do little to remedy its well-documented deficiencies, for example the lack of ability to hold the executive to account, the whip system, the dearth of relevant expertise, groupthink and guillotining.

Yours, etc,
Rob Sadlier
Dublin 16

Irish citizens – going radical

Feck, it’s amazing the amout of people returning to Ireland from all over the world to vote. I’m assuming, hopefully correctly, that most of these people are ‘Yes’ voters.

In any case, it seems to be part of the continuing political radicalisation of Irish citizens, long may it last.

The agony of Prince Charles

After a meeting between Prince Charles and Sinn Fein representatives Gerry Adams said it was a big thing for him, (Prince Charles) but also a big thing for Sinn Fein.

I think it was a much bigger thing for Prince Charles given the heartbreaking event that occurred at Mullaghmore in 1979.

Listening to the Prince speak about the death of his ‘honorary Grandfather’ Lord Mountbatten, it was clear he had travelled a long road of personal agony and regret at the loss to a place of forgiveness and reconciliation.

He and his mother the Queen are, I believe, playing a major but very subtle political role in the Peace Process and in improving relations between the UK and Ireland.

Long may both of them succeed in their venture.

Sean O’Rourke: Missing the climax

Sean O’Rourke was interviewing a gay Catholic man who will be voting No in Friday’s referendum. The man was explaining how he revealed his sexuality to his mother.

He sat in front of her for half an hour before getting up the courage to say the words. Don’t tell dad, I don’t think he’s ready for it yet, he pleaded. Just then his father unexpectedly entered the room.

I was pinned to the radio to hear what happened next but alas, Sean O’Rourke, was not as interested.

Now, let’s talk about the vote on Friday…

Gleeson’s mealy mouthed apology

Former AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson, predictably, is the latest guilty individual to pass on the blame for the catastrophe visited on Ireland and its people.

The great recession of 2008, the worst the world has seen for eighty years didn’t start in Ireland or in the Irish banks. But there’s no doubt that there were decisions made in AIB which made things worse than they needed to be for citizens, for employees and for shareholders. I wish to express my sincere regret for my part in those events.

So, AIB made some bad decision but it was the global crisis that’s really to blame. Nothing to do with the rampant greed and criminality in the financial and political sectors, criminality that is continuing unchecked as I write.

I include below a full outline of the financial impact Gleeson had to endure for his mealy mouthed apology.

Alan Dukes: Tax evasion and corruption at root of Greek problem

Former Fine Gael politician Alan Dukes on Greek debt and recent election of the far-left Syriza party (RTE).

There is in Greece a huge problem of tax evasion and corruption part of which is at the root of the difficulty they have.

If someone were to say to Dukes that the root problem in Greece is exactly the same as the root problem in Ireland they would be met with a blank stare of total incomprehension.

Charlie Hebdo magazine in school: Why apologise?

The board of a multi-denominational school has apologised for allowing a Muslim child to be ‘forced’ to see a copy of the magazine Charlie Hebdo which depicts the prophet Muhammad in an unflattering pose.

The chairman of the school, Richard Allen, said the school would never set out to offend anyone and continued:

We live in a society where information flows freely, and we can’t be like we were in this country in generations past where we hid things. Children have a right to discuss these things, understand them and have a view, but also understand there’s an inherent responsibility that comes with free speech.

So, why the apology?