Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Tag: Ireland

How can you tell that an Irish person’s successful? The media starts calling them British

“‘Britishness’ is, essentially, a slightly less nationalistic way for English people to declare how great England is, while deploying a meagre fig-leaf of imperial distance which, for some reason, they find more palatable. This allows the English to combine a heartfelt conviction of their own popularity, with a reflexive, toddler-like joy in grabbing things that don’t quite belong to them; and also enables their pesky habit of cheerily rendering ‘British’ anything else that isn’t nailed down, like countries, museum treasures and, latterly, Irish celebs.” Plenty more choice quotes where this came from. (Though we should probably like cricket more, especially considering how well we’re playing at Lord's right now.) #link


What do Irish people consider their date of independence?

1916 is when independence was declared. When was it achieved? Arguably, as a society, we’re not quite there yet. I think back to history class in school, reading about how Irish unionists dismissed Parnell with the slogan ‘Home rule is Rome rule’; sectarianism aside, they were right. #link


Why wouldn’t you vote Yes?

This article really bothers me, and I think it’s mostly to do with couching the movement to repeal the 8th Amendment in terms of ‘debate’ as suits the No side, which in the case of this campaign should be taken in the competitive sense: an art of persuasion, irrespective of facts.

The author, Colleen Brady, writes: “At the minute I feel as though there is no unbiased information readily available for the public. From where I am looking, the information available to people is either swayed one way or another.”

The thing is, this isn’t the Lisbon Treaty. It’s a healthcare issue, it’s a social issue, an awkward negotiation of complex needs. Looking for some kind of elusive, singular ‘objectivity’ is a fool’s errand. There are facts about particular aspects, and there are lies and untruths about same, and that’s all we can deal with. More…


A note on impartiality in reporting on the 8th Amendment

And a fair point, too. The 8th doesn't recognise a natural 'right'; it creates and enshrines recognition of a social construct, flying in the face of best medical practice. But in a country where only arseholes tend to be litigious (or can afford to be), RTÉ may not be particularly worried about offending people who can't or won't sue them. #link


I’m not one for conspiracy theories…

…I believe the wrongs of this world are much more banal than we often allow ourselves to accept.

At the same time, I can’t help but see a connection between Fianna Fáil’s no-confidence motion against the Tánaiste, in the midst of an important Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment, and the notion that their TDs represent this country’s most staunchly anti-choice political movement.

(Not that Fine Gael are any better, mind, as they’re two sides of the same coin, but how and ever.)
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Fintan O’Toole: Ireland is still defined by the church’s mindset

O’Toole writes in The Irish Times about the persistence of Ireland’s “moral-industrial complex”. He doesn’t specify it (he brings up housing the homeless in hotels) but what is direct provision if not a direct descendent of the 20th-century institutionalisation of Catholic Ireland’s ‘undesirables’? We still have such a long way to go in this country. See also: Emer O’Toole in the Guardian on the church (and their apologists) feigning shock over the Tuam Babies scandal. #link


How a murdered woman became invisible in the coverage of her death

It’s something we’re still getting to grips with here, interpreting tragedy through an outmoded prism of what it means to be Irish, and particularly an Irish man: parishioner, sportsman, ‘pillar of the community’. We don’t much like self-reflection here; it’s reveals the lie of our theme-park culture. #link


I’m Tired Of Shouting For Help

When I worked at a certain major music and video retailer that no longer exists (the French would call it Ashemvay) I was more than happy to help people with disabilities who were shopping for items we stocked on the first floor, which was only accessible by stairs (not because it was a listed building, which is was and is, but because Irish disability legislation doesn’t mandate the provision of a lift). That’s not the point, of course; I’m sure they’d much rather have shopped for themselves. But we rarely think of that. #link


The Decline Of The Irish Metal Civilisation, Yet Again

"With all the clubs, gigs and activity happening in Dublin, you’d be under the illusion that there’s actually a real, thriving scene here. There’s not. There’s a disparate number of different groups all struggling to do something for their respective audiences. The only thing that really sells is nostalgia." #link


Now that Ireland’s SOPA is law, what next?

So the proposed legislation dubbed ‘Ireland’s SOPA’ has been enacted into law by Statutory Instrument, despite vociferous opposition from that section of the public clued in to such things. And now the junior minister responsible, Seán Sherlock, has launched a public consultation that, he says, could lead to new laws which would supersede the current one.

Leaving aside the notion of holding a public consultation after the proposals in question were already made law through the back door, we see that Minister Sherlock has made a gesture of sorts to his critics, calling on “those people who were exercised by the statutory instrument” to “engage in the very nature of copyright [and] engage on the issues within the consultation paper”.

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Stop Ireland’s SOPA

When it rains, it pours.

In the wake of the SOPA/PIPA furore, up bubbles ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which, as Forbes reports, contains provisions “just as pernicious as anything we saw in SOPA” and has already been signed or ratified by most of the developed world.

What are the consequences? Well, aside from enforcing food and drug patents that are crippling to the developing world, which is bad enough, the agreement also “bypasses the sovereign laws of participating nations, forcing ISPs across the globe to adopt [its] draconian measures.” Oy vey.

If you thought SOPA would break the internet, ACTA is much worse. And it could become law across the global economy without so much as a murmur of opposition.

That’s just super.

Meanwhile, and closer to home, people are kicking up a fuss about a sneaky little piece of legislation that’s been dubbed ‘Ireland’s SOPA’.

TJ McIntyre’s IT Law in Ireland blog has a concise overview of the Government’s plans to legislate for Irish courts to block access to websites accused of copyright infringement (and possibly other things) at their own discretion.

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A referendum conundrum

It’s a big polling day next Thursday. Not only do we get to elect a new president (you can follow all the #aras11 shenanigans on Twitter), there’s also a by-election here in Dublin West (most notable for the sad fact that Barry Caesar Hunt — that tosser from The Apprentice — is in the running) as well as two constitutional referenda, on the pay of judges and inquiries by the Oireachtas, that have received virtually no significant media coverage in recent weeks. I mean, I read the news online every day and I only found out about them a week ago!

About that second referendum… I’m broadly in favour of the Oireachtas being allowed to conduct its own inquiries into matters of public interest, but this bit about ‘findings which affect a person’s good name’ has me concerned.

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