THE EASTER BUNNY – Taking a well deserved break. My ass would need soothing after shooting out all those eggs too.
Anti-Eviction Taskforce- The Wall of Shame
A cause worth supporting. Contributions welcome
The Wall of Shame
Let’s take it as a given that most banks would be featured prominently on any page with this title. So we feel there is no sense in going over old ground. Instead you will find the actions and/or attitudes of individuals highlighted here. Don’t be surprised if this becomes the fastest growing page on the site over the coming weeks and months.
Michael Noonan, in his reaction to the Keane Report, expressed his belief that some people would have to lose their homes. This kind of statement coming from an elected representative shows that he cares not one jot. Some people should just consider themselves expendable.
Threatened a struggling single mother of 3 with immediate eviction if she didn’t somehow come up with €400. Nice chap!
Immediately removed a link to this website that was posted on his Facebook page and then blocked the local man who had posted it there. Mr. Kelly is also engaged in a high court battle against a 70-year old woman and using a private security firm for maximum effect.
Likes to turn up unannounced at people’s homes after normal business hours and try to intimidate them over mortgage arrears. This kind of tactic is becoming more frequent and is designed to try to catch people off guard. NO ONE has a right to threaten you on your own doorstep. If they turn up, stand your ground and send them packing.
Please contact us with any additions you would like posted.
Best Irish Carlsburg advert ever seen. Drink up lads
I knew instantly that I had to go.
Some people claimed a turnout of 200; others said it was more like 40 or 50 people, what I can tell you is that, being in the crowd looking out, it felt like thousands.
Whilst perhaps tiny in comparison to international 420 celebrations like Colorado, Toronto or Amsterdam, the people certainly made up for it with the atmosphere. It was like a crowd of long lost friends reuniting. Everyone was buzzing, chatting, sharing stories, advice and everything else…
April 20th 2013 is just under two months away so I thought now was as good a time as any to ignite interest with this year’s flyer.
If you’re reading this, COME ALONG, and please take a few moments to share the poster with friends and family, via Facebook, Twitter or other social media.
Lets celebrate cannabis with like minded people.
With a tweet thanking God and declaring onwards to victory, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez arrived home from Cuba yesterday, to the delighted of his supporters.
“It’s fabulous news, the best thing possible,” said Chávez ’s cousin, Guillermo Frias. “Venezuela was waiting for him . . . Welcome home! Thank God he’s back!”
Fireworks were set off in some Caracas neighbourhoods as news spread and celebrations began among Chávistas, as his most fervent supporters are known. Government ministers were jubilant with one singing “He’s back, he’s back!” live on state TV.
They asked Chávez ’s euphoric supporters to respect the peace of patients at the military hospital, near a hillside shanty-town. Soldiers guarded the installation, while supporters chanted, “We are Chávez !” and “He’s back, he’s back!” At one point, medical staff asked them to quieten down.
The 58-year-old socialist leader’s homecoming in the middle of the night two months after cancer surgery in Cuba implies some medical improvement – at least enough to handle a flight of several hours.
Chávez could simply be hoping to quieten political tensions and smooth a transition to vice-president Nicolas Maduro, whom he has urged voters to back should he have to stand down and a new presidential election is held.
“We have arrived back in the Venezuelan fatherland. Thanks, my God! Thanks, my beloved people! Here we will continue the treatment,” Chávez tweeted after flying in.
Late last year, US President Barack Obama tweeted ‘four more years’ on his active Twitter page in what has to be the most retweeted post of all time. By comparison, Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s Twitter profile hasn’t been updated since July 2011. In general, Ireland’s political system just isn’t geared up for social media, warned independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.
Yesterday, an international and non-partisan ‘think tank’ on 21st-century governance, the Digital Policy Council (DPC), revealed that three out of four heads of state worldwide now have a presence on microblogging site Twitter.
Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, Flanagan pointed out that the next general election in Ireland, he believes, will be fought, won and lost on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
n fact, you could argue this has already happened. You could say the recent Irish presidential elections were, in fact, decided on Twitter when a tweet read out aloud on RTÉ made an allegation against then-leading candidate Sean Gallagher cost Gallagher the elections in the infamous Twittergate debacle.
Other notable incidents, such as Simon Coveney’s ‘hangover’ tweet following the previous taoiseach Brian Cowen’s interview on Morning Ireland the morning after a Fianna Fail annual conference in 2010 have no doubt led the political establishment to look on social media as toxic and to be avoided if possible.
There is no doubt that such views will be galvanised in the aftermath of the tragic death of Fine Gael Minister of State Shane McEntee, TD, just before Christmas, which many attribute to negative comments and anonymous cyberbullying on social media sites.
McEntee’s death, as well as the suicides of a number of teenagers in Ireland, have prompted debates on whether social media needs to be regulated. An Oireachtas committee on Transport and Communications will hold a special meeting to discuss the issue in the coming weeks.
The next Irish general election will be fought, won and lost via social media
But can Ireland’s existing and future politicians afford to ignore social media when you consider there are more than 2m Irish people using Facebook and of these some 1.5m return to the social network every day?
Obama’s Twitter and Facebook pages are updated just as zealously now as at the height of the US elections in November. Every day they are used to explain the impact of decisions and issues, such as the fiscal cliff.
By way of contrast, Kenny’s Twitter profile hasn’t been updated since July 2011, four months after his election victory, precisely at a time when the leader of a nation should be communicating and explaining difficult decisions to its people. His Facebook profile is regularly updated, however, with his weekly message.
The reality is that politics – and the overall political process – has become a real-time affair that now extends beyond newspapers, TV and radio into Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The question is this: are the politicians and the apparatus designed to support them also geared up for this real-time age?
In an interview with Flanagan, he said he believes social media has become an important communications mechanism that could decide the next elections. He said politicians need to embrace social media rather than fear it.
Flanagan’s own election in the March 2011 general elections with almost 20pc first preference votes was considered a landslide victory. Flanagan attributed the victory to old-fashioned electioneering with a personal touch but also astute use of social media, Facebook in particular.
The outspoken TD, who has struggled to be taken seriously by the mainstream media, said we now live in the age of real-time politics, but he doubts the political establishment in Ireland has grasped it yet. If they have, they are choosing to ignore it and hope it goes away.
He believes social media offers benefits as well as pitfalls, and that education and training is crucial.
His comments were inspired by his own frustration at existing Oireachtas facilities, whereby he was unable to share out Dáil footage of his Budget 2013 speech where he had outlined how Ireland could reap €3.5bn in savings until three or four days later when it was made available online.
At that stage not only had the moment passed but the footage was nigh impossible to edit – the videos that result three days later are MPEG 4 files that capture specific chunks of meetings – in order to edit the videos, audio and video have to be separated and as a result the precise footage couldn’t be embedded on YouTube, for example.
Flanagan, who has almost 11,000 followers on Twitter and 11,650 on Facebook, said the outdated video and transcripts system will remain in place until members of the Dáil and Senate clamour for it themselves.
But considering the prevailing views on social media following recent events, that may be some time coming.
“When you try to edit it you are met with the problem that the sound and images appear to need to be edited independently of each other. Even a child out there with a smartphone can produce a file that they can put on the internet in seconds and you can work with easier than what they’ve done in the Dáil.
“That’s why technology works so well these days, because it is simple – and that’s why the Dáil system doesn’t work so well, because it is complicated.”
Winning elections digitally
Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, who believes the next elections in Ireland will be fought, won and lost on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. He urges more and more people out there to strive to get elected to office
Already the newspapers are filling with stories about how various parties are mining their councillors for potential candidates for local elections in 2014, but Flanagan’s belief is that any citizen should feel entitled to run for office and that social media will be a decider in the next elections.
Astute election watchers and politicians will be watching how Obama did it again in the US in 2012 through clever social media campaigning and old-fashioned legwork, but the example of Flanagan should be also be noted.
“Each election that comes along, if they hadn’t recognised it in the last election they are going to be even more out of touch in the next election and then they will rue the day.
“In my own case, I recruited 75pc of my canvassers through Facebook (I wasn’t active on Twitter at that stage). I did a tour of my constituency and would spend two to three nights in every town and before I’d arrive I would message friends telling them I’d be in the area and would they come out to help me.
“The most successful one was Carrick-on-Shannon, when I had 28 people turn up at the Landmark Hotel who I’d never met before just waiting and very keen to go out and canvass for me.”
Flanagan also said he would name check local businesses to help them drum up business as he went through each area.
“People kept coming out to canvass for me and in the end they were dubbed the Mingsters and this following would grow the more I put out messages. It was really viral and exciting for me given that as an independent candidate it just wouldn’t have been feasible to do what I did 15 years ago.”
Because of the shape of the Irish economy these have become highly politicised times and Flanagan urges anyone who feels they can do the job to get out there and run for election.
“They elected someone like me. I mean, look at me and listen to my policies! Yet I got elected in a place where they voted against divorce.
“With €1,000 to print leaflets, a computer and a Facebook page you could run a very professional campaign provided you get out there and be prepared to use up a lot of shoe leather,” Flanagan said.
* Irish Fin Min toasts bumper year for U.S. investment
* Dublin faces growing European hostility to low tax
* Crisis brings down costs, but talent is limited
By Lorraine Turner
DUBLIN, Nov 22 (Reuters) – U.S. business chiefs gathered in the Irish capital on Thursday to give thanks for low taxes, a cool climate and the financial crisis – three factors that have helped produce a bumper year in their favourite corner of Europe.
But there was a hint of foreboding at the American Chamber of Commerce’s annual Thanksgiving lunch in Dublin that Ireland’s promise to maintain its low corporate tax rate, its crisis wage cuts and its perfect weather for high-tech data farms may not be enough to keep the relationship sweet.
A limited pool of skilled workers, the loss of lucrative pharmaceutical patents and the threat of a fresh European attack on its low company taxes mean Ireland will need to fight to keep the investment flowing.
For its part, the government is thankful that multinationals, many of them based in the United States, are still backing Ireland as it struggles to recover from economic crisis and an international bailout in 2010.
“I’d like to give thanks for the U.S. investment and the enormous job creation,” Finance Minister Michael Noonan told the executives gathered for a traditional Thanksgiving feast of turkey and pumpkin pie, saying he expected another record year for investment this year.
“It’s important that what is being offered in Ireland is as attractive as it ever was,” he said, promising to maintain a package of incentives for companies and executives to face down growing competition from Britain, Israel and Singapore.
U.S. firms invested $30 billion into Ireland last year, more than in China and the rest of emerging Asia combined, according to the American Chamber of Commerce.
Ireland has long cultivated its ties with the huge Irish-American community, and the country is sometimes tongue-in-cheek called the 51st state of the union.
But sentimentality does not attract U.S. business projects. Thanks to the 12.5 percent company tax rate and transfer pricing – in which multinationals route profits from high tax to low tax countries – foreign firms can repatriate most of the money they pour into Ireland, bolstering their profits.
Ireland, lying on the western edge of Europe and relatively isolated from many of its major markets, jealously guards the competitive advantage brought by the low tax regime.
But European hostility over this has re-emerged, with German opposition leader Peer Steinbrueck, who hopes to oust Chancellor Angela Merkel in elections next year, criticising it last month.
A storm over how multinationals cap their tax bills, brewing since a Reuters investigation into the issue, is likely to put Ireland in the spotlight, an editorial in The Irish Times noted on Thursday. “For the government, such developments are a major concern,” the newspaper said.
At Thursday’s lunch, Noonan reiterated that the corporate tax rate was “not negotiable”.
Multinationals have benefited from Ireland’s economic crash as business costs have fallen back to 2003 levels, according to the IDA, the agency tasked with attracting foreign investment.
U.S. multinationals currently employ over 100,000 of Ireland’s 1.8 million strong workforce and a host of companies, including PayPal and Apple, are expanding.
Dublin commercial property prices, once on a par with Manhattan and Moscow, have more than halved. Capitalising on this, Google spent 100 million euros last year on the tallest commercial office building in Dublin. The U.S. technology giant plans to kit it out with a swimming pool in the basement for its 2,000 plus staff.
But high-tech companies are struggling to find enough talent in Ireland, where graduates preferred to become architects or real estate agents during the property-fuelled boom years rather than software engineers or scientists.
Multinationals are fighting over recruits from overseas who have brought plethora of foreign accents to the coffee shops and sandwich bars of Dublin’s trendy south docklands area, where Google and Facebook have large offices.
In September, a senior Facebook executive said the firm would continue investing in Ireland, where it already has over 400 staff, as long as it could find the right sort of employees.
Conscious of the problem, the government has introduced tax breaks for overseas workers who move to Ireland.
Peter O’Neill, head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, said Ireland can not rest on its laurels if it wants to attract the right worker and the right companies to Ireland.
“The bar is getting higher all the time,” said O’Neill, who is chief of IBM Ireland. “Investment is mobile, people are mobile, you’ve got to have the right environment at all times.”
A strategy to lure drugs companies, started in the 1960s, has made Ireland the largest net exporter of pharmaceuticals in the world, according to Dublin-based industry group PharmaChemicalIreland. Products such as Viagra and Botox are manufactured in the country.
But this reliance on the life sciences sector, which employs over 47,000 people, has become a weakness as patents lapse on a host of drugs, allowing competitors to make cheap copies elsewhere. These include Pfizer’s Lipitor and Enbrel, although Enbrel will go off patent later than originally scheduled.
Officials in Ireland say the “patent cliff” will be offset by new patented drugs and products coming into production but there will be a time lag, according to experts.
“The new products coming on-patent in the short-term will not be able to offset the fall in exports of these blockbuster drugs coming off-patent,” said Chris Van Egeraat, lecturer at Maynooth University. “We are going to talk about billions in a reduction of exports”.
The impact is already being felt; Irish exports fell sharply in September from record highs the previous month.
“You’ve two risks for Irish exports: you’ve the specific risk related to the patent cliff, and you have the risk related to the global environment,” said KBC Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes, predicting a gentle slowdown. “But luckily a lot of the companies that are in Ireland are doing well.”
Irish officials can at least be thankful that the weather at least is here to stay.
Ireland’s temperate climate, often the bane of wind-swept tourists, is an asset for data centre operators. Natural air can be used to cool the rows of giant servers that act as the world’s online library without costly heavy air-conditioning.
Google recently opened a 75 million euro data centre, housing computers that run cloud computing services, where users store data on secure external servers rather than their own network or computer. Microsoft also unveiled a $130 million expansion to its Dublin-based “mega” data centre earlier this year.
Cheaper and better options exist in Europe, but Ireland is fast becoming a cloud hub for the region because the tech giants already installed in Ireland are opting to build out in a country which they know and like.
“Ireland will become an increasingly important attraction for the cloud market,” said Rakesh Kumar, an analyst with Gartner, which advises companies such as Microsoft and Cisco.
“These companies… have got facilities, they’re happy with them, they’ve got good skills and good languages… so when they have a choice to either expand and build out new sites in different regions, it makes a lot of sense to stick to what they have,” he said.
A Donegal electrician who lost 140 pounds (10 stone) is to appear on the US TV show ‘The Doctors’ to tell his story of how he went from 26 stone to 16 stone in order to help other people lose weight also.
‘Catherine lost three stone and looks amazing. I said what she can do then I could do as well. So I did,” said Paddy.
“The weight started to come off and I was always into sport so I got back into it again’.
Paddy states that he began to pile on the pounds after losing a big race as a teenager and just never stopped himself.
‘I was just fed up and started to eat and eat. I couldn’t stop,’ he said.
‘The pounds piled on and before I knew it I was more than 26 stone. I was even finding it hard to walk which is incredible because I used to be this athlete who went swimming at 6am every morning’.
‘I had to do something and I’m now involved with the local rugby club which is good but I couldn’t really have done it without Catherine and the brilliant healthy eating regime at Slimming World.’
Paddy first touched on the idea of starring in ‘The Doctors’ after seeing a Facebook appeal for volunteers but never expected to get a call.
‘I Facebooked them and told them my story. I couldn’t believe it when they called two days later.
‘I can’t believe my story will be seen by 300 million people across America. I hope it can help and encourage some people,’ he concluded.
Mother’s little helper? Moms who use marijuana to take the edge off say they’re tired of being looked down upon by the Mommy Wine Brigade.
By Corey Binns
Every night, Margaret’s two boys fly into the house after sports practice and flip on the TV, while she races to the kitchen to get dinner cooking. “It’s that tedious witching hour when I feel incredibly frazzled,” says the Tennessee singer/songwriter mom of a 6- and an 8-year-old. But instead of pouring herself a glass or two of merlot, she heads to the standalone garage next to their house for a few puffs of Humboldt Kush, one of the four strains of pot she smokes seven days a week.
The drug helps her keep focus on the giant statue of popsicle sticks she’s building with her kids and relaxes her so she can get through the rest of the night without stressing. “It can make folding a pile of laundry fun,” says Margaret, 45, who asked that we not use her last name for fear of getting in trouble with the law. “If I didn’t smoke, that’d be three piles later in the week.”
Still, she doesn’t flaunt her marijuana use. Her sons aren’t allowed to go into the room where she keeps the drugs locked up, and she hides it from other moms who would keep their kids away if they knew she smoked pot.
“Being judged for doing something nontoxic and totally organic, enjoying a god-given plant, by moms who suck back two bottles of Chardonnay like sports drinks feels like s—,” complains Margaret. “Any hypocrisy is hard to swallow. A drunk mother is pathetic and I often leave parties when I experience other mothers tying one on.”
Margaret isn’t the only pot-smoking mom tired of being judged by moms who religiously drink glasses of wine or “mommy juice.” Recently, one mom stirred up some controversy when she admitted to parenting while stoned in an essay on Jezebel.com. Today, the group Moms for Marijuana International has more than 18,000 likes on Facebook.
“No matter what you use, you shouldn’t be judged if it works for you, you’re productive, and you do no harm,” says Diane Fornbacher, co-vice chair of the Women’s Alliance at NORML, the non-profit lobbying organization working to legalize marijuana. “Marijuana parents aren’t perfect, but they’re far less imperfect than parents who use alcohol irresponsibly. Cannabis can influence people to be nicer to one another. You rarely find a story that says two stoners beat each other up outside of a bar.”
Sharon Letts, a California mom who brewed Cannabis tea for her 16-year-old daughter when she was stricken with pain from fibromyalgia, agrees. “Cannabis takes the edge off your day, in the same way wine does. But it’s not addictive, it is habitual. It doesn’t ruin your body like alcohol. I would much rather see parents using cannabis than alcohol — hands down.”
Of course, pot is illegal and alcohol is legal. Letts and her daughter felt paranoid that the tea’s smell would alert their neighbors. The price for getting caught is high. In some states, moms risk getting arrested and incarcerated, as well as having their kids taken away from them.
“If I wanted to, I could sit with a glass of wine in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other, with a cigarette pressed between my lips, under the influence of prescription narcotics — all the while holding my child in my lap,” says Serra Frank, founding director of Moms for Marijuana and mother of two, ages 9 and 12.