Above: A photo sent in by rabble reader Ciaran Boylan.
The baddest fucker on the Irish internet returns with his caustic look into the darker sewers of the island’s cesspools. Make sure your waders aren’t leaking when you read this. Oireachtas Retort, over to you.
Campaigners for sex worker safety over at UglyMugs.ie recently revealed that there have been 70 complaints of offenses committed by gardaí since 2010. The FOI release from GSOC includes a range of allegations including assault of minors. To date only a single case has made it past the DPP and given the circumstances we can assume this figure captures fraction.
While most will be aware of instances surrounding the church or care industry, even now we are unlikely to see any meaningful attention devoted to what is identical if not greater scope for abuse of authority by the police. Factors like the above are scarcely considered in polite society and certainly not in 2011 amid obfuscation and denial when recording emerged of gardaí threatening to assault two women arrested protesting Shell in Mayo.
All this is crucial when considering the latest chapter in what has been years of continuous scandals in An Garda Síochána. Cops and state agencies working in tandem to smear troublemakers is hardly a once off.
On the policing side, latest figures from RCNI indicate an increase in satisfaction with garda handling of sexual assault cases however behind the scenes, a comprehensive Garda Inspectorate Report in 2014 revealed systemic mistreatment and neglect in police duty to these and other crimes.
FAI wideboy John Delaney was back in the news after appearing at the Oireachtas in January. Terrace dwellers among you no doubt have a long list of questions however parliamentary committee proved unequipped to tease out the myriad of issues facing Irish football.
More curiously though it emerged that there was prior understanding that the matter of Delaney’s €5m ‘arrangement’ with FIFA following the infamous 2009 World Cup qualifier would not be discussed. Revelation of what was essentially a bribe to drop legal challenge made global headlines last year but was apparently off limits for the Oireachtas.
Speaking of bribery, Thierry Henry’s is not the only sly hand is this story. For his 2009 meeting with slimy kingpin Blatter, the FAI boss flew on the private jet of Maltese billionaire Denis O’Brien. News of this and other matters never made it to print however as several journalists had their stories spiked by editors. Make of that what you will.
Having lost six elections and failed to secure nomination for the Seanad Lorraine Higgins has finally found a home working for lobby group Retail Excellence Ireland. Higgins says her role is to “work with Government to ensure their policies are shaped with retail interests in mind”.
This organisation attacked workers in the press during Dublin Bus and Luas strikes, blamed water protests for the closure of Cleary’s and vehemently oppose any improvement in working conditions.
Their submission to the Low Pay Commission claims that “the concept of a ‘Living Wage’ (€11.45ph) and the wide commentary it has generated has resulted in unfair expectations being generated among employees”.
Highlights from her first press releases in the job include suggestion that the Bus Éireann strike is a “national embarrassment” and that “continued threats of industrial unrest could very well lead to many of our international retailers rethinking their investment strategy for Ireland”. Legislation to curb zero hour contracts is apparently, “a move that is out of sync with employment trends in the industry” because we’re told “addressing employment issues should not mean changing the complete fundamentals of the relationship between employees and employer”. Ahem.
This person was a Labour Party senator twelve months ago, hand picked by Eamon Gilmore no less, but is is no longer a member so that she may “concentrate impartially on this new role”. Indeed.
Amid news that both District 8 and Hangar are to be bulldozed into hotels, our weekend remain precarious.
Publication of the Dáil Programme for Spring/Summer brought now routine news that legislation surrounding modernisation of licensing laws remains on the long finger. Our only indication of the Bill’s status is the tantalising claim that “work is underway”.
Without proper organising on the issue, we shouldn’t expect much in lifetime of this government and even less if Fianna Fáil return in their place.
The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) recently announced recipients of the Clancy Quay Residency for 2017. Now in its third year, four students are awarded nine months studio space as one part of an access programme that “offers support for entry and progression into third level for those who due to social and economic disadvantage may not have the opportunity to go to college”.
The award is in ‘partnership’ with vulture fund Kennedy Wilson who hold €673 million worth of Irish property – which thanks to Michael Noonan is exempt from tax. Regrettably Joan Burton was unable officiate proceedings this year as she did at the launch in 2015.
If pop-up cafés staffed by asylum seekers weren’t already enough to put you off your latte, it is worth considering how this trend dovetails with government policy.
Armed with similar language of “self-empowerment” during an Irish Times interview last August, Minister Frances Fitzgerald remarked that “there is a kind of a response to the phrase ‘direct provision’. If we start allowing and making it easy for people to cook and have as much control as they like themselves, then direct provision won’t be there anymore”.
In January it was announced that a “food hall” has opened at Mosney “which allows residents to acquire their own food through a points system. Variants of this system will be rolled out to other centres such as Athlone”.
You can imagine what a “points system” for asylum seekers will entail and from the beginning we’ve seen basic produce is on sale with heavy mark up compared to retailers outside the system. We just hope those lining up for selfies and instagram-ready coffee remain as vocal on the issue.
Trump’s decision to drop an unprecedented bomb in Afghanistan is an appalling and deeply performative crime but as with any big American event it cant be long before someone breathlessly finds an Irish angle. Development, construction and deployment of these weapons easily runs to billions and we can expect several Irish firms falling over themselves to get in on the action.
While government is usually first out the door with announcements of jobs and growth, they have repeatedly failed to publish annual figures on military exports. Instead, we must work backwards from US Federal Procurement and Irish departmental licences for a glimpse of contractors.
There we find Irish business plays a major role in industrialised slaughter around the world. Cheques have been cut with the US Army, Navy and CIA. Irish engineering can be found everywhere from drones over Yemen to Abu Ghraib torture prison in Bahgdad. Away from glossy Web Summits and Silicon Docks, Irish software powers death machines and ‘cyber warfare’. And of course the sleveens in finance and law are on hand with the usual services ensuring tax amounts to the same concern as human life.
Another question arises then as to what state support these businesses have received along the way. DCU research for example has pocketed $2.7 million from one military contract alone.
In the tradition of Irish neutrality however, customers also include the armies of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Singapore and Turkey. The breath and apparent success of high level Irish expertise would be enough to wrap the tricolour around you – if only it could be applied to social housing or rural broadband.
Ireland’s peacekeeping record has long provided a convenient soundbite but as TV news turns into a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, the bombs are sure to get bigger as there is always business to be done among death and dollars.