Sunday, April 22, 2018

Upcoming referendum

Many of the posters on the upcoming referendum are distatesful. Most likely negative and arrogant political advertising/electioneering alienates voters.

Reading some of the No posters one can't understand why they did not come up with a poster with "Protecting life from womb to tomb is the best bet'.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

There's nothing clear and sure

Two quotes from Pope Francis' 'Gaudete et Exsultate' 'Rejoice and be Glad'

God's life is communicated to some in one way and to others in another way.

God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises. We are not the ones to determine when and how we will encounter him; the exact times and places of that encounter are not up to us. 

Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence.’

Friday, April 20, 2018

Enoch Powell's infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech

Today is the 50th anniversary of British politician Enoch Powell's controversial Rivers of Blood speech. Subsequently Ted Heath sacked him from the shadow cabinet.

An extract from the speech.

"As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood.

"That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. 

"In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the century. Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. 

"Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Irish-German relations

Below is an editorial, which appeared in The Irish Times Yesterday.      

The question has to be asked is Ireland serious about German language teaching.

Look at the statistics and compare the number of schools that offer French compared to those that offer German. Why not teach German in primary schools?

Surely Ireland should have more consulate-representation in the strong farming states in Germany.

And have we any representation in any of the eastern federal states?          

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Trump's words 'degrade'

The piece below is an extract from an article The New Yorker yesterday by Adam Gopnik.

It's an interesting read.

"Trump’s words don’t debate or even discredit. They degrade and delegitimize.

"They’re insults so crude that it’s difficult to believe that anyone could find them persuasive, but that are clearly intended to appeal to a part of what is called the “base”—an unintentional, if somewhat Shakespearean, pun. 

"One miserable truth of humanity is that cruel impulses are easy to awaken in large numbers of people, if they’re told by those in power that those impulses are now acceptable, and the form that such permission takes is invariably a reawakening of the language of demonology."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Urgent need for improved cycling infrastructure

This week's Independent News & Media Irish regional newspapers' column.

Michael Commane
On Easter Sunday morning I bumped into 12-year-old Anne. She was cycling from Mass on her brand new bicycle to visit her grandmother, who was in hospital.

She was so proud of her new bicycle, which her parents had bought her for a gift a few days earlier. The smile on her face was striking.

She brought me back to when I was her age and I was cycling to and from school on safe roads.

Three days later I was in Galway on my way with a friend to West Kerry. We planned to leave shortly after breakfast. The conversation centred around how to drive from Galway city centre to the motorway. 

We were assured, with the school holidays, traffic would be much lighter and indeed we would get out of the city with relative ease in light traffic.

The week before the school holidays I noticed a two-kilometre traffic jam on the south side of Dublin at 08.00. During the first week of the Easter school holidays on that same road there was not a hint of a traffic build up, indeed there were three cars at the traffic lights.

It is always a topic of conversation in the workplace on the first day of school holidays how light the traffic is coming to work.

In the early 1960s there was a bus strike in Dublin and my mother allowed me, a 12-year-old, cycle to school. She was of a nervous disposition but back then it was safe for children to cycle on our roads.

Fast forward to today. Under no circumstance would my mother allow me cycle to school.

That a young person aged 12 or 13 cannot cycle on our roads because of the potential dangers is nothing less than a scandal. And that we have created such a mess and now take it for granted says a lot about how we think and behave.

Our roads and footpaths should be safe places for all who use them.

Currently there is a road safety ad running telling us that in 50km/h zones and under, vehicles should give cyclists a metre space and in zones over 50km/h that space is increased to 1.5 metres.

Of course cyclists misbehave on our roads and there should be zero tolerance towards those who break the law. The numbers of idiotic racing-style cyclists on our roads is annoying. But in my 63 years of cycling it has always been the car and truck that have caused me most grief.

It is insane that our roads are so dangerous that parents are afraid to let their children walk or cycle to school. 

Consequently, all during school terms we have traffic jams right across the country.

We have just spent €368 million plus building a transport system to ferry people in and out of Dublin city centre and we refuse to build an infrastructure so that people can cycle in and out of the city and around the country.

The schools are back in business after the Easter break and the morning traffic jams are snarling up our roads.

It means we are spending more on imported fuel and our children are huddled up in cars being ferried to school when they should be out on their bicycles or walking to school.

We are bombarded with information on the dangers of obesity, that children need to slim down.

It’s staring us in the face. Parents and children should feel safe cycling to and from school.
Let’s change things.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Bishop Carlton Pearson

Come Sunday was released on Netflix yesterday.

It tells the true story of Bishop Carlton Pearson, who is an evangelical preacher.

His preaching draws large attendances. But he has a change of mind and changes his views on damnation.

As a reult he is forced out of his church.

An  interesting man, an interesting film.

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Upcoming referendum

Many of the posters on the upcoming referendum are distatesful. Most likely negative and arrogant political advertising/electioneering alien...