Trump, the coup, and the lessons for Ireland

Thu, Jan 14, 2021

As I write this, it is not quite a week since the incumbent (and outgoing) president of the United States, Donald J Trump, attempted a coup, seeking to prevent the formal announcement of the election results, to overturn the results of that election, and somehow to cling to power.

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Irish politics, 2020, and tales of the unexpected

Thu, Dec 10, 2020

Insider heard it said recently that anyone who was in the predictions business at the outset of 2020 would have found themselves out of work before too long.

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Galway - a city in transition?

Thu, Dec 03, 2020

So here it is, the news that Galway city and county are lodged “within a province that from a spatial planning point of view, is full of low density housing, is totally reliant on private transport (the car) and which is in need of transforming to using rail and public transport” to become a “high density city and to support cycling and walking?”

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Where next America?

Thu, Nov 26, 2020

“I feel like I can breath again”. It was a term often heard after it became clear Joe Biden had won the 2020 US Presidential Election. Yet if Irish people felt they could ‘breath’ as the votes pointed to a Trump defeat, what was going through the minds of Americans living in Galway?

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No certainties in politics as thoughts turn to the next General Election

Thu, Nov 19, 2020

The next General Election is an eternity away, or is it? As things stand today, Insider believes it is at least a couple of years away, maybe more.

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Who will really benefit from the city council's 2021 budget?

Thu, Nov 12, 2020

The Galway City Council made two housekeeping decisions of note at its November meeting earlier this week. One was to permit the participation of members meeting in a socially distant manner; members can now Zoom into the proceedings. The second was to defer the annual budget meeting; originally intended to take place next week but now put back to November 30.

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Why a political revolt by Ireland’s under twenty fives is now a certainty

Thu, Nov 05, 2020

One recent evening Insider watched the 1967 Jean-Luc Godard film La Chinoise in which a small group of French students sit around their apartment, located in what is described as a “workers’ district”, and engage in theatrical discussions about how they must overthrow the bourgeoise and, in particular, the hierarchal French university system which saw students as passive receivers of knowledge handed down by their god-like professors, rather than participants in a dialectical exchange in which both students and teachers learn from each other and grow as a result. No one, with the exception of chairman Mao, is radical enough for most of these students. The French Communist Party which, to draw an Irish parallel, would have been more or less the political equivalent of present day Sinn Féin, is condemned as hopelessly “revisionist”. The Soviet Union, in particular its then president, the now largely forgotten Mr Kosygin, is convicted by the students at their kitchen table discussions of failing to do enough to support the Vietnamese in their war against Lyndon Johnson. And the French working class, with whom said kitchen table debaters absolutely sympathise, are seen as hopelessly passive. In a mix of desperation, madness, and idealism, the students decide to mount a campaign of terrorism, which will involve them doing something they have singularly failed to do for most of the film; getting up from that kitchen table and going outside. They plan to kill the visiting Soviet minister for culture who has been invited by President de Gaulle’s own culture minister, the novelist and decayed Stalinist intellectual Andre Malraux, to open a new wing of the university. After that, they hope to bomb the Sorbonne in the belief that this will spark a revolution. Insider is against blowing up universities. Partly because he knows such actions more often provoke backlash than revolution. But also because Insider happens to teach at a university and coming out in favour of blowing up universities might lead to an awkward email from one’s department head.

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Trump, Johnson and Sinn Fein: Singing from the same hymn sheet?

Thu, Oct 29, 2020

Political developments in recent times have reminded Insider of the quote from G.K. Chesterton, (also sometimes credited to Emile Cammaerts, the Belgian playright) 'When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.’

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A Trump re-election puts democracy at risk, not just in the US, but across the world

Thu, Oct 22, 2020

As you read this, there are just 12 days left until the US presidential election. It seems every election is described as "the most important of our lifetimes" - in this case of the 2020 election, I suspect it may be true.

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Is Galway’s Extinction Rebellion extinct?

Thu, Oct 15, 2020

Is Galway’s Extinction Rebellion extinct? Has it fallen victim to Covid-19 or is its silence political due to the Greens going into Government?

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Light rail, not more roads, is the only real solution to Galway's gridlock

Thu, Oct 01, 2020

Hands up those who can remember getting their first home phone installed? Insider had to wait six months after application before Albert Reynolds, Minister for Communications, waved his hand in 1980, and as if by magic, I got a wired in house phone, then being manufactured by our own Northern Telecom in Mervue.

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Conspiracies and the Far-Right

Thu, Sep 24, 2020

Rather like Covid-19, another virus has emerged recently which seeks to infect the population, not with a deadly disease but with a warped ideology and vacuous arguments that defy all logic and rationality.

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Bad beginnings to the autumn, with even worse to come

Thu, Sep 17, 2020

Ordinarily, at this time of year, there is a sense of renewal as politicians, with their batteries recharged, return to work and a new Dáil term begins.

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Does Galway need a second waste water treatment plant?

Thu, Sep 10, 2020

Hands up all of you who remember the 1980s Save Galway Bay Group and what they were set up to do? If you thought it was the name for the latest pop sensation you are possibly a young Gossoon who would not be much interested in reading any further.

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‘The desire of Democrats to deny Trump a second term animates them above all’

Thu, Sep 03, 2020

He may be rank alongside James Buchanan and Herbert Hoover as the worst ever president of the United States; his country has the highest levels of Covid-19 cases (+6 million) and deaths (+183,000 - higher than the number of US soldiers killed in Vietnam), which has led to a severe spike in unemployment levels.

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Dep Grealish should not emerge unscathed from 'Golfgate' scandal

Thu, Sep 03, 2020

The best and the brightest, apparently, were at the golf get together. ‘Astute’, ‘shrewd’, ‘clever’ are words recipients of college degrees might use to describe the persons in attendance. ‘Wide’ and ‘slick’ are words you might hear in more working-class areas to describe the same people.

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We must work 'against reason, against all discouragement that could be'

Thu, Jul 30, 2020

Like everyone else, Insider needs occasional harmless distraction on social media, so a recent challenge to 'write the first sentence of your 2020 memoir' was tempting - until I realised most of us had the same depressing pun: It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.

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