Posts Tagged ‘Eire’
Deidre Anglin and Patch
Irish Rail sent a “Lost dog!” tweet with a photo attachment after the Jack Russell terrier arrived with Wednesday morning commuters on a train from rural Kilcock, County Kildare, an hour’s ride away.
After more than 500 retweets in just 32 minutes, the photo found Patch’s owner, Deirdre Anglin, who tweeted the state railway: “That’s my dog!”
The episode underscored the ubiquitous use of mobile-friendly social media sites in Ireland, a tech-savvy corner of Europe where cell phones were the norm long before they were in the United States.
…After Patch waltzed on to the 6:49 a.m. commuter train in Kilcock the alarm was sounded…Rail workers on board dubbed the dog Checker, joking he might be trained to inspect people’s tickets, as commuters took turns petting the friendly dog. They turned him over to Pearse Street station staff on the train’s final stop in the heart of the capital, when it became clear the dog had no owner on board…
Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny described Twitter as offering the ideal platform for launching a nationwide appeal for the lost dog. And he said some staff at Pearse Station wished it hadn’t worked so well…”It was good she showed up so quickly, because the staff in the office were getting quite attached to him,” Kenny said.
Anglin said she was particularly pleased that Irish Rail posted Patch’s photo on Twitter and noted that the rapid retweets by other users to their own followers ensured that, soon, the alert reached her.
A happy ending to the sort of human/dog story that might have taken weeks and months to resolve before the Web.
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II shook hands Wednesday with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking a giant step forward in the peace process relating to British rule of Northern Ireland…The handshake came 14 years after the end of a conflict that claimed about 3,500 lives, including that of the queen’s cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten in an IRA bombing.
McGuinness spoke to the queen in Irish as they clasped hands and made eye contact for several seconds in the ground-breaking public part of the event.
“Goodbye and godspeed,” McGuinness said, translating his comment for the queen. She smiled throughout the encounter but did not speak. The handshake followed a brief private meeting at which McGuinness told the queen their meeting was a powerful signal that peace-building requires leadership, his party…
He emphasized the need to acknowledge the pain of all victims of the conflict and their families, Sinn Fein said…
“It went good, it went really well,” McGuinness said afterwards, adding he is “still a republican” who opposes British rule of Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams welcomed what he called a “historic meeting,” saying that “all in all, it’s a good day for Ireland and a good day for the people of these islands.”
Speaking outside the Irish parliament, he said: “It brings our journey of relationship building within this island and between these islands onto a new plane. I would to think we will build upon that.”
Sith gun robh so.
Ireland has ratified the EU fiscal pact, providing some cheer for European leaders amid the eurozone crisis.
A clear 60-40 vote by the only electorate in Europe allowed to have its say on the treaty backed the EU reform programme aimed at imposing budget discipline on all 27 states of the union.
The Irish Republic’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, last night described the outcome of the referendum as a “stepping stone on the road to Ireland’s recovery” and called on fellow Europeans to help his country deal with the billions of euros of debt that was still crippling the Irish economy.
Despite four years of recession, anger over austerity budgets and fears over low turnout, Kenny’s Fine Gael and his Irish Labour party coalition partners won a yes vote with 60.3% of the electorate supporting the treaty and 39.7% voting against…
He said he had spoken to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and other EU leaders including the European council president Herman Van Rompuyabout the pain the Irish people were enduring as the government tried to restore the nation’s finances. “Europe’s banking sector needs a comprehensive solution and Ireland’s banking debt must form part of that solution. Europe badly needs a success story and Ireland can provide that success story if the right and proper framework is put in place,” Kenny said.
The vote was carried for the yes side mainly by the urban middle class and the country’s farmers, the latter being traditionally pro-Europe thanks to the largesse of the common agricultural policy. Rural constituencies with large farming communities voted strongly in favour of the treaty…
Fianna Fáil, the opposition party which backed the government’s call for a yes vote, accepted that the Irish people had reluctantly backed the treaty, fearing isolation and exclusion from emergency funds should the republic need a second bailout. Darragh O’Brien, leader of Fianna Fáil in Ireland’s second chamber, the senate, described it as a “grudging, pragmatic vote“.
Not a lot wrong with making pragmatic decisions whilst trudging out of the bowels of the worst economic disaster since World war 2. When people are back on their feet, jobs are easier to find, national treasuries are fit and up to standard – there will be plenty of time for sectarian confrontation. That the nation of Ireland is capable of coming together in times of need is in stark contrast to the conservative bombast inhibiting for-real unity in London and Washington, DC.
Ireland plans to sell a bond with a different kind of coupon: a resident’s visa.
Under proposals to be laid out next month, the government will offer the visas to investors who spend at least 2 million euros on a new “low-interest” security, 1 million euros on property or invest in an Irish company. The sale is aimed at people from outside the European Union who need permits to live and work in the 27-member bloc.
“You might have businesspeople in China or in Brazil or in various non-EU countries who would like to be entitled to come and reside here,” Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter said in an interview in Dublin. “The scheme has great potential.”
The proposal is among the more unusual in a wave of initiatives to win investment as Ireland seeks to rebuild its economy and markets after one of the biggest banking collapses in history. The government is also offering finders’ fees for people bringing in jobs and tax breaks for executives moving to the country, one of three euro members that sought an international bailout during the European debt crisis…
Shatter has said using the inducement of residency has worked in other countries. The U.S. offers visas for investors with “substantial amounts of capital,” according to documentation of the US immigration service, while Latvia and Cyprus offer residency in exchange for real estate.
In Ireland, the program is set to encompass property ultimately controlled by the National Asset Management Agency, according to the Justice Ministry. The so-called bad bank, set up to purge Ireland’s lenders of risky loans, had more than 1,000 assets listed for sale. Visas are also available for an investment in an Irish company, a charity endowment, as well as the specially created bond.
The bond, which isn’t tradable, must be held by the visa holder for a minimum of five years.
The government hasn’t yet set the coupon, the rate of interest payable to bondholders. Buyers will be able to bring family members with them, the Justice Ministry said…
Elitist? You betcha.
Worthwhile? Probably. As long as the priorities at the core stay pinned to returning honest value to the economic heart of Eire.
Xi Jinping kicking a Gaelic football at Croke Park in Dublin
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
Ireland’s reputation as a technology hub is a big draw for China, the Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping said at the end of a three-day visit, his only European Union stop on a world tour. Speaking at an investment forum Monday with some 350 companies, Xi said Ireland’s history, scenery and culture had impressed the Chinese people.
But he made clear the country’s clout in hi-tech and emerging industries, largely due to a low corporation tax rate that has lured Silicon Valley heavyweights, was a key factor.
“Ireland is strong in software development, ICT and biotech medicines and other hi-tech industries…We give top priority to the new generation of IT and bio-tech,” Xi told delegates via a translator Monday, adding it would be the priority for future trade between the two countries.
“Ireland is a country that is strong in trade and services and this bodes well for our co-operation,” he added…
“They are hungry for technologies, things are changing so fast. Ireland is such a small country but we have lot of small and medium businesses with great technologies,” said Jo Cheng, head of analytics at Dublin-based Idiro Technologies, which she noted, had been approached by two Chinese companies in recent months for the first time.
“Ireland is the (European) headquarters of so many massive technology companies like Google, Facebook, eBay. There is a reason why they’re here,” said Cheng, a Chinese national living in Ireland…
His fascination with Ireland dates back to his first trip to Dublin in 2003 when he was a provincial party secretary…”I recall my first visit to this country in 2003. At that time one Irish person I met said to me an Irish saying that is good things often come in small packages and that person said that is us, that is Ireland. We believe Ireland has so many good things to offer,” said Xi Sunday evening.
Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who will visit China next month with a trade delegation, added that the countries had a lot to offer each other, despite the differences in size…
Xi, who visited the United States last week and moves on to Turkey Tuesday, began his Irish stay at a high tech zone near Shannon airport that inspired the building of a similar zone in Shenzhen, the pilot project of former leader Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms…
Beijing has followed with interest Ireland’s transformation from a developing farming economy to one that attracted international technology and drug companies, and is now showing first signs of rebounding from an economic crash…
Eire closed the loophole style of taxation years ago and has committed to a good education through college level free for its citizens. Two things that don’t stand a chance of getting through our ideologue-governed Congress.
Though specifics didn’t come up, I imagine the likelihood of real investment of Chinese companies in Irish firms won’t have to pass through the sort of Cold war vetting that is inevtiable in the US or the UK.
Will they continue to send the weekly checks?
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Catholic Ireland’s stunning decision to close its embassy to the Vatican is a huge blow to the Holy See’s prestige and may be followed by other countries which feel the missions are too expensive – and useless, unproductive.
The closure brought relations between Ireland and the Vatican, once ironclad allies, to an all-time low following the row earlier this year over the Irish Church’s handling of sex abuse cases and accusations that the Vatican had encouraged secrecy…
“This is really bad for the Vatican because Ireland is the first big Catholic country to do this and because of what Catholicism means in Irish history,” said a Vatican diplomatic source who spoke on the condition of anonymity…
Over time, this will be seen as only the first of many departing a seat at the foot of the papal throne.
Dublin’s foreign ministry said the embassy was being closed because “it yields no economic return” and that relations would be continued with an ambassador in Dublin.
The source said the Vatican was “extremely irritated” by the wording equating diplomatic missions with economic return, particularly as the Vatican sees its diplomatic role as promoting human values…
Promoting human values? Only if your values are stuck into the 14th Century, your concern for your flock is cemented in 19th Century politics.
Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
The poet, peace campaigner and president of Galway United football club Michael D Higgins is poised to become Ireland’s next president after rivals conceded defeat in the most fractious campaign in the country’s history.
The Irish Labour party candidate was on course to win at least 40% of the first preference vote. Of the first eight constituencies to declare, Higgins was leading in seven of them.
The 70-year-old enjoyed a late surge of support, putting him well ahead of the former frontrunner Seán Gallagher. Martin McGuinness, whose candidacy turned the spotlight on his past as the IRA’s chief of staff and his role in many prominent atrocities during the Troubles, was almost certain to come third.
Leaders of other parties and rival candidates conceded on Friday afternoon that Higgins was on course to win the presidential contest. Micheál Martin, the leader of the main opposition party, Fianna Fáil, congratulated Higgins on his performance “which will see him elected the ninth president of Ireland”…
Sinn Féin appeared to acknowledge the damage that his IRA legacy had inflicted on McGuinness’s bid. He had hoped to achieve about 20% but may only get around 15% – the same as the party polled in February’s general election…
The main party in the current government, Fine Gael, had a disastrous election. In Roscommon, the early morning tallies reported that in some ballot boxes there were only four votes for its candidate, the Euro MEP Gay Mitchell. The party also appeared likely to suffer another loss in the Dublin West byelection, caused by the death of Ireland’s former finance minister Brian Lenihan. The Irish Labour party appeared poised to win the seat.
Bravo. In a land with many political currents represented in a democratic election, Higgins’ victory is significant in size and breadth.
Ireland stepped up its battle with the Roman Catholic Church over child abuse Sunday, with Justice Minister Alan Shatter vowing to pass a law requiring priests to report suspicions of child abuse, even if they learn about them in confession.
The Catholic Church regards information learned in confession as completely confidential. But under the law proposed by Shatter, priests could be prosecuted for failing to tell the police about crimes disclosed in the confession box.
Shatter said in a statement through a spokesman last week that priests’ failure to report what they learn in confession “has led sexual predators into believing that they have impunity and facilitated pedophiles preying on children and destroying their lives.”
The minister’s comment to a local radio station Sunday comes after the Vatican rejected Irish accusations that church leaders sought to cover up extensive abuse of young people by priests in Ireland…
“In a spirit of humility, the Holy See, while rejecting unfounded accusations, welcomes all objective and helpful observations and suggestions to combat with determination the appalling crime of sexual abuse of minors,” the statement says…
Released July 13, the 421-page report into the handling of abuses in the diocese of Cloyne demolished claims by the Catholic Church in Ireland that policies it put in place in 1996 had enabled it to get a handle on the problem.
It also accused Bishop John Magee, who was responsible for policing abuse in his diocese, of not backing the policies himself and failing to take action against abusers.
Time is long past for churches to be removed as a law unto themselves, superseding the law of sovereign nations. And, yes, that includes the question of paying taxes like any other corporate body.
Thousands of people marched for peace in Omagh one week after the murder of constable Ronan Kerr in the Co Tyrone town.
The mass rally was a powerful demonstration against violence in a community which suffered the infamous 1998 bombing by dissident republicans that killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins…
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams warned against sheltering those responsible arguing that the political landscape had changed since the days of the Troubles.
Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process were blamed for the booby trap device that exploded under the policeman’s car on April 2. The same extremists are believed to be behind a 500lb van bomb police discovered near the border town of Newry on Thursday.
The Omagh rally attracted support from across the community and was attended by friends and relatives of the murdered officer. And while the march was not party political, organisers said it was intended to send a message of support in the peace process.
Gareth McElduff used Facebook to co-ordinate the rally and said it demonstrated the widespread support for the Kerr family.
He added: ”Although these are major, major setbacks in the peace process, hopefully the amount of people that is going to come out today is going to show everybody that we want peace in Ireland again and we don’t want to go back to the Troubles.”
Many in the crowd held posters carrying a picture of Pc Kerr’s face, with the words: ”Not In My Name.”
All power to the people. Stick the terrorist fools back into the cesspool from whence they came. The young copper who was murdered was a nationalist and a republican – willing to fight for change through political action. Unlike the cowards who killed him.