Archive for February, 2008

Ireland U-18 Champs – Where Are They Now?

Following yesterday’s post about the Ireland U-18 team that conquered Europe a decade ago, On the Ditch was wondering where they are now. Well, a few broke into the senior Ireland international team, and most are still playing football for clubs ranging from the English Premiership down to non-league level, and from League of Ireland to North America. One of them nearly became Time magazine’s Person of the Century, and another has played for Harchester in Dream Team.

Here’s what they all did next: >>> (more…)

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February 29, 2008 at 1:12 am 4 comments

The Irish U-18 European Champions of 1998

Ireland Euro Champs 1998

Ten years ago, in 1998, Brian Kerr led two Ireland youth teams to win the U-16 and U-18 European Championship titles, and Ireland became the first ever country to hold both titles in the same year. The above picture shows Kerr celebrating with Liam George, who scored the winning goal in the final, and assistant manager Noel O’Reilly.

In the U-18 tournament in Cyprus, we were in a group with Croatia, England and Cyprus. Going in to the last games of the group, England manager Howard Wilkinson was so confident that he complained that his players were expected to attend a three-hour reception before playing in the final.

As it happened, Ireland beat Cyprus 3-0 to top the group on goal difference, so Wilkinson’s players were spared the trouble of attending the reception. Instead it was Ireland who proceeded to the final, to face the might of Germany. Here’s a review of that final against Germany, and a look at the members of the U-18 Irish squad who conquered Europe a decade ago. >>> (more…)

February 28, 2008 at 1:19 am 5 comments

The Wacky World of Property, Politics and Law

So today we have news of:

  • A property developer telling a court that his brother sprayed him in the face with a water hose during an argument about painting a fence, while the brother counters that he was laughing at his hose.
  • A community activist telling a tribunal that a property developer kicked another property developer in the shins at a meeting, causing him to respond ‘Jesus, Owen, what are you kicking me for?’
  • Our Finance Minister telling the Dail that he has confidence in our Prime Minister, who has used political donations to their political party to help buy a house for himself, as has his girlfriend.

Seriously, it’s like living inside a bad sit-com.

February 27, 2008 at 4:22 am 1 comment

Bertie Ahern is Unfit for Public Office

Bertie Haughey Morph

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days, because of unavoidable interruptions from real life, so I don’t know if anybody has been wrong on the Internet while I’ve been away (great cartoon found by Damien Mulley). However, after a few days reflection, I’m now thinking much more clearly about Bertie Ahern and the Tribunal.

At this stage, it doesn’t really matter what findings the Tribunal eventually makes about Bertie Ahern taking bribes from Owen O’Callaghan. Because, even on the basis of Ahern’s own evidence, which is the best spin that he and his supporters can put on things, Bertie Ahern is unfit for public office.

Imagine if Owen O’Callaghan never existed, and the Tribunal had never been established, and yet we somehow became aware of the following behaviour by our Prime Minister. Here’s the situation if Ahern is telling the truth:

  • Our Prime Minister took money from businessmen, and put it towards buying a house for himself. He did not pay tax on at least some of this money, which he has described as ‘a political donation for personal use.’
  • Our Prime Minister lodged several times his salary into various bank accounts, in his own name, his girlfriend’s name, and his friend Tim Collins name, and he has given varying and unbelievable explanations for these lodgements.
  • Our Prime Minister accepted money from friends and businessmen who he appointed to state boards. He said that he appointed them not because they gave him money, but because they were his friends.
  • Our Prime Minister was aware for over a decade that political party funds in his constituency had been given to his girlfriend for her to buy a house. This money was not repaid until the Tribunal found out about it.
  • Our Prime Minister told our national parliament that he had consulted the tax authorities about certain personal financial transactions of his, when this was not true. He later claimed that ‘the tax authorities’ means his personal tax advisers.

I could go on, but there is more than enough there. Even if he had never met Owen O’Callaghan, Bertie Ahern is unfit for public office. And that is on the basis of Ahern’s own evidence about his personal finances. Bertie Ahern has corrupted the offices of Finance Minister and Taoiseach, and Fianna Fail, the Green Party and the PDs are corrupting Irish politics by allowing Ahern to stay in office.

February 26, 2008 at 12:44 am 10 comments

Monday Quiz 36 – Gaybo Pics and Rugby Pranks

On this week last year (February 25 to Mar 2, 2007):

  • Why did former broadcaster Gay Byrne cause a stir when he posed for a photograph beside a TD who was launching his re-election campaign?
  • Why did former rugby star Peter Clohessy apologise to English and Irish rugby fans about an incident in his bar?
  • What imaginary group of people did Bertie Ahern accuse of betraying the best traditions of Irish republicanism?
  • What was unusual about Junior Health Minister Tim O’Malley’s announcement that he was going to close down a mental health facility in Cork?
  • Who did Bertie Ahern say would have to ‘wait his turn’ for extra staff?

Click here for answers: >>> (more…)

February 25, 2008 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

Fianna Fail and Tammany Hall

Tammany Tiger

As Bertie Ahern prepares for his political lap of dishonour by addressing the US Houses of Congress, he is probably wondering what to include in his speech. Maybe he could discuss the similarities between Tammany Hall, which was a strong political machine dominated by Irish immigrants in New York in the 1800s, and Fianna Fail, which is a strong political machine founded by a New York immigrant in Ireland in the 1900s.

The above cartoon by Thomas Nast portrays Tammany hall as a tiger killing democracy, an icon that came to symbolise its influence. Here are six more comparisons between Tammany Hall and Fianna Fail: >>> (more…)

February 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm 1 comment

The Drunken Noah Song

As a follow-up to the Legal Case of the Serpent versus God at the Garden of Eden, here is my take on another fun Biblical tale – Noah getting drunk and naked after his cruise on the magic Ark.

Noah is sitting by a table, drinking wine. His clothes are falling off him, and he is partly naked. Mrs Noah, and their sons Shem, Ham and Japeth arrive with a birthday cake.

ALL
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, dear Noah, happy birthday to you!

MRS NOAH
Congratulations, dear! Six hundred and one years old today! And we’re back on dry land.

>>> (more…)

February 19, 2008 at 1:26 am 1 comment

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.

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Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.