When will a League of Ireland football club win the European Champions League?

How many hundreds of millions of €€€ would need to be invested (or what % of Ireland GDP) for a League of Ireland football team to win the European Champions League and how many decades would we have to wait?

Amateur versus professional arguments aside, and given the joint Irish, Scottish and Welsh big to host UEFA Euro 2020 wouldn’t an All-Ireland football league featuring teams from both the Republic and Northern Ireland raise competitiveness and Ireland’s footballing profile so we can attract the likes of Messi and Ronaldo to play for Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers…. assuming hundreds of millions of €€€ are thrown at this obvious win-win use of public / private funds?

Perhaps Roy Keane could do for football in Ireland what David Beckham is doing across the pond in Miami… buy the League…. He’s loaded right? The TV pundit stuff is more for satisfying his ego, surely he doesn’t need what amounts to loose change.

All Ireland football league Euopean Champions league

Not even Saint Anthony, known as the performer of miracles, could create an ‘Irish Real Madrid’, no matter how much money was invested. With close to 300 million fans base, the world’s richest professional football club, having just won its 10th European Champions title, is in a high-performance footballing stratosphere of its own.

A circuitous route to an Irish polling station

A circuitous route to an Irish polling station - local and european elections- 23 may 2014 - China Dubai Hong Kong Thailand dublin votingFrom China (where the masses only get to vote for one party) to Hong Kong (where despite promises of universal suffrage to be introduced in 2017, Hong Kong citizens’ hopes of electing their own Chief Executive by one man one vote is diametrically contrary to the principles of China’s one party authoritarian system. In other words the Chief Executive will always be a hand-picked puppet of Beijing) to Bangkok (at 2.00 am on the 22nd of May, as I was sitting on the airplane in Bangkok Airport during transit Thailand’s military was setting in motion the usurpation of an elected Government, its nineteenth Coup d’Etat) in Dubai (which like China has embraced unbridled capitalism without political freedom), before finally arriving on Tuesday 19th May in an Ireland on the home stretch in the local and European elections campaigns, with the majority of people due to vote three days later.

The last time I voted was in the February 2011 General Election. Following the abysmal mess created by the Fianna Fail / Green Party coalition, I had made a decision to join the Fine Gael Party (I still have the official welcome letter signed by local TD Sean Barrett the Ceann Comhairle, or the speaker of Dáil Éireann). I even met Enda Kenny on his whirlwind visit to Stradbrook Rugby Club to drum up the party faithful Over a cocktail sausage he took my business card, put it inside his breast pocket and said he would be in touch in a few weeks to talk about China (It didn’t register at the time that, although he was to become the next Taoiseach, he was merely just another politician focused on the corridors of power, taking the populist line on anything and everything to get into office).

Anyway, never heard from anyone in Fine Gael again.  So be it.

And so to 23rd May.

Should I vote?

Yes. All people have a right to have a say in what is happening in Ireland. The alternative is a China, Hong Kong, Thailand or Dubai. What would happen if everyone decided not to vote? Where would Ireland’s democracy go? Who would run the country? What type of political system would Ireland have?

Does it matter?

Take the France versus Ireland rugby match setting last 15th March in Paris where Ireland, up against a ferocious French onslaught, held on to win 22:20 and be crowned RBS Six Nations Champions.  One Irish voice cheering alone wouldn’t have been heard, but when all those Irish fans who travelled to Paris collectively stood and shouted “Come on Ireland!”, then it mattered!

Perhaps my vote on its own isn’t going to matter, but I choose to cast my vote because I support Ireland’s democracy, our ability to elect the people who govern us, our right to be free, and our right to show the Government what we think of them.  People power.

Almost 100 years ago, in 1916 a group of Irishmen, including my grandfather, Dr. Michael William O’Reilly, and women stood up to British rule in Ireland and declared an Irish Republic. They were opposed by many of their peers. Seven years later Ireland had a free state. Change can happen.

Around the world on a daily basis people risk their lives by fighting and struggling to earn the right a vote, something which many Irish people take for granted, while past generations of Irishmen and women suffered to get us such a right.

Indifference changes nothing.

A circuitous route to an Irish polling station - local and european elections- 23 may 2014 - China Dubai Hong Kong Thailand ireland

Who will I vote for?

It has been a fairly brutal three years since the 2011 general election. Sure after the shambolic financial mess created by the previous Fianna Fail / Green Party Coalition Government, austerity cuts needed to be made.

However, I don’t like the way the country is being fixed. Inflicting crippling austerity, property tax, and water charges, flawed cuts and knee-jerk decisions, instigated by an increasingly aloof Government / political elite, have had a huge negative bearing on the lives of so many ordinary citizens, particularly the middle classes.

I no longer trust the establishment parties and whips that have caused Ireland so much destruction, while Sinn Fein will never get my vote. This time I will have the pleasure of not putting a number beside the Fine Gael and Labour candidates. Instead, I intend to vote for those independent (and People Before Profit) candidates who can really irritate, by constantly nipping at the heels of, the establishment.

It’s time to overhaul what is a worn out political system, but nothing will change if people do not get off their backsides and vote.

A circuitous route to an Irish polling station - local and european elections- 23 may 2014 - China Dubai Hong Kong Thailand

2014: A “golden age” for Pisces creativity?

2014  A golden age for Pisces creativity
The pragmatist will tell us to live life on our own terms and not to be swayed by fanciful, imprecise, mumbo-jumbo magazine columns foretelling the life transforming effect of being born under a particular star-sign aligned with a particular planet. In other words don’t be swayed by the pseudo-science of horoscopes.

While horoscope predictions of daily life are indeed unbelievable in the extreme, I consider a lot of astrology based on signs and compatibility to be surprisingly real.

And so to my annual ‘just for the craic’ peek at what the coming year, 2014, portends for the intuitive Piscean.

The following articles are a jumble of New York Times, LA Weekly, Salt Lake City Weekly, Irish Independent (likely lifted from an American source), and Washington Post optimism on how the next twelve months will transpire for the fishy Pisces. Since I can’t recall a more positive forecast, and in the belief they can’t all be wrong (can they?), I am suddenly super bubbly about 2014:

  • “You are in for one heckuva year, Pisces, so get ready… Take this time to define your life and call your own shots, instead of letting others dictate your actions… The first half of the year will be exciting” (Source: 2014 Annual Horoscope Guide by the Astro Twins).
  • “The first half of 2014 will give you the right setting in which to show your creative talents to best advantage, especially while Jupiter remains in Cancer until July 16. These first six months will be preparation for what comes next. So stay focused on your top priority, work wise, and you can move your career into a new and exciting phase. You’ll shine. Yes, you’ll feel at times that there is more to do than time to do it in, but your diligence will bring security and material gains” (Source: Washington PostSusan Miller [AstrologyZone], Astrologer).
  • “You are highly developed in an analytical and intuitive way, and it is important to use both of these gifts when you evaluate people and situations” (Source: New York Daily News, Jennifer Angel, Astrologer).
  • “You will have strong VIP support, allowing you to take the creative risks you need to take to make a name for yourself. After Jupiter leaves Cancer, Jupiter in Leo will help you enjoy all kinds of projects that will encourage you to express yourself in new, compelling ways” (Source: Washington PostSusan Miller [AstrologyZone] , Astrologer).
  • “When it comes to your career, welcome to your lucky streak” (Source: New York Daily News, Jennifer Angel, Astrologer).
  • Pisces 2014 could potentially be a Golden Age for your creativity (Source: LA Weekly):
    • “Take a vow to propel yourself out of funky moods with your creative energy” (Source: Salt Lake City Weekly).
    • “Be aggressive about expanding your creative talent” (Source: Irish Independent).
    • “You may be starting a new business or undergoing a lifestyle change, because you appear to be focused intensely on cash flow from January through July, due to Mars in Libra. The planet Mars is triggering a sense of urgency about achieving financial security. You may be spending more than usual during this time, but it will be a temporary situation. Keep an eye on finances at the lunar eclipse of April 15″ (Source: New York Daily News, Jennifer Angel, Astrologer).
    • July is a business power month. After July, you will see an increasing demand for your goods or services. It seems everyone will be beating a path to your door. Watch for the full moon June 12 to bring a culmination to your career, with plenty of publicity resulting. Later, from September through December, you will see many more exciting developments surfacing. Watch, too, the new moon in your honours, awards, achievement, and fame sector, November 22, when, in the days to follow, your name will be on everyone’s lips” (Source: Washington Post – Susan Miller [AstrologyZone], Astrologer).
    • “Working as part of a team can be difficult for an introvert like you. You will find it a little easier than usual to collaborate with colleagues” (Source: Irish Independent).
  • Love is right when it feels right; align with your heart and not your head. Look for romance in August, when it’s possible for love to envelop you. An open heart can find love more easily than a closed one — and the stars will send the love vibration your way this year. But even though you may feel that everyone has something positive to offer, you must be selective of whom you invite to your inner circle “(Source: New York Daily News, Jennifer Angel, Astrologer).


While oddly all these upbeat predictions are coming from astrologers living on the curiously mystic side of The Pond, as in The US of A, even if a smidgen of the above were to be realised I’d say we Pisceans are in for a decent enough 2014. However, just in case they’ve all got it wrong, I’ll be sticking to my firm belief that hard work and staying dedicated to my goals is the only real way I will be compensated…. some sunny day!

Related blog: ‘Born of the Cusp of Rebirth’ – The Pisces Aries Cusp http://wp.me/p15Yzr-a

2014 - A golden age for Pisces creativity





New Year’s Eve: Ireland’s last sunset of 2013

The last sunset of 2013 in Ireland - Dun Laoghaire
“Shedding its final gold of the old year..” The last sunset of 2013 in Ireland – Dun Laoghaire

Shedding its final gold of the old year

Amid fading crepuscular glimpses

The setting sun sinks into obscurity uncharted.

In the hushed stillness below the starlight the closing stages slowly but surely tick down to the peals of Midnight.

A fresh breeze in anticipation of sunrise at what time the first bird impatiently sings the dreams of a new dawn.


Happy New Year!!

How state of the art is state-of-the-art?

Collins Dictionary states “If you describe something as state-of-the-art, you mean that it is the best available because it has been made using the most modern techniques and technology”
(Source: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-thesaurus/state-of-the-art), which should at least in theory place companies with such infrastructure on a par if not ahead of their competition.  So why did 104 workers at Dawn Fresh Foods, an affiliate of  Q.K. Meats Group, Ireland’s largest privately owned agri-business, lose their permanent jobs yesterday?

The closure of a “state of the art” food production plant at a time when the Irish Government and related State agencies are pushing the line that food exports are our future with strategies in place to increase our current export reach from 36 million people to a staggering 50 million by 2020 just does not cut it.

Yes, the Dawn Fresh Foods (see http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/agribusiness-and-food/over-100-jobs-to-go-as-tipperary-food-firm-closes-1.1483112) brand has likely been tarnished by the recent horse meat scandal, but if this is the real reason for the closure surely then a wholesale product re-branding would be more appropriate in light of the potential job losses.

A “state of the art” food processing facility doesn’t just close overnight without “The Minister” being made aware beforehand, and once again we have a Minister expressing shock at the news from his own constituency.

Not exactly a confidence booster for the future success of our food industry if our “state of the art” food production facilities are going out of business, unless of course this particular state-of-the-art has little in common with how things work in the real world.

Unlucky horseshoe
Unlucky horseshoe

Our Great Little Nation (sic): Ten things you can do in Ireland that almost certainly won’t land you in jail

In response to Tuesday’s (30th July) Irish Times article by Fintan O’Toole in which he notes:

A country that can’t protect its citizens from the effects of wrongdoing is not a Republic

Source: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/ten-things-you-can-do-in-ireland-that-almost-certainly-won-t-land-you-in-jail-1.1478549?page=1

Doubtless a political elite that has sapped the moral fibre of our nation and is so divorced from the reality of life under the economic hardship that has befallen so many of our citizens will angrily deny the following:

“Our “Great Little Nation” is increasingly being run in an authoritarian, secretive and anti-democratic style which has nothing to do with the sense of pride and moral virtue that propelled the vision of our founding fathers to build an independent Irish state established on sound democratic principles…

… The reality is what it is.. There are a lot of smart people in this country who feel completely alienated by the Establishment because they dare to think ‘out of the box’.. People like the writer of this Irish Times article. We read, we rant, we argue, and our elite chuckle away. The Establishment has never felt threatened and they don’t feel threatened now. Because the system they have created is so watertight there is little possibility of systemic change to the way our country operates.”

Ireland's political elite

“The stone’s in the midst of all “

‘Easter 1916’, by William Butler Yeats

A tribute to the beauty of words: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyám was an 11th and 12th Century Persian poet mathematician and astronomer. “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”, which is said to be one of the ten best known poems in the world, and probably the most popular piece of Oriental literature, was originally written in Persian. The selected extractions below were translated into English by Edward Fitzgerald in  the late 19th Century.


“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it” (M)


“Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night

Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight” (M)


“The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon

Turns Ashes — or it prospers; and anon,

Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face

Lighting a little Hour or two — is gone” (M)


“A book of verse, underneath the bough,

A jug of wine, a loaf of bread – and thou

Beside me singing in the wilderness –

Ah, wilderness were paradise now ” (N)

Bluebell Wood by Kathryn O'Reilly
Bluebell Wood (Kathryn O’Reilly, 2006)

‘The Tiger’, by William Blake

Tiger Tiger burning bright - william blake

The Tiger

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?


And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand and what dread feet?


What the hammer? what the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? What dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?


When the stars threw down their spears,

And water’d heaven with their tears,

Did He smile His work to see?

Did He who made the lamb make thee?


Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake