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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pssssst....Did you hear about the........

Pssssst....Did you hear about the fabulous and most expensive restaurant in the word in Ibiza

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Barry Clifford: "It was part of the system and culture of the times."

One of Ireland’s wealthiest religious orders recently said this about the Magdalene laundries/prisons that they ran for profit: “It was part of the system and the culture of the time.” This explained everything away in the past and of that yet to come to the light for this sadistic bunch of nuns, and by extension the Catholic Church as a whole.

The fact is it was the Irish Catholic version of that religion that was the system and culture of the time for you could not separate one  without the other wrapped within a constitution similar to an Islamic state. It had pervaded every crevice of Irish society: the arts, education, sport, and health, that in turn fostered a twisted prejudice and interpretation of what was morality was. Quickly a two-tier system of castes sprang from it. The joy of flesh against the sin of it, the child classed to being illegitimate to give a moral legitimacy, the whore mother to the bastard child. There were places you could put these lower castes and like the prostitutes of today, they or their children would not be missed, and for the most part it was true.

The fever from fear of the untouchables spread: Mother and father turned against daughter and their very own grandchildren whether boy or girl. Hope only lay in moral servitude and to give up your child. Those children that did not make it any further than that childhood were consigned to the mass graveyards of anonymity; for the still living the drudgery and indentured slavery went on amid the sounds of the Industrial farm Institutions and Magdalene laundries that boosted upward the coffers of the Irish Catholic Church both here and abroad. A whole legal system protected it and the rights of the child was less than that of an animal.

This was the system and culture of the times that lasted until 1997 in Ireland when the last Industrial/reformatory for children closed its oak and metal barred prison doors for the last time. Their secrets are only now coming to light with each one darker than the last and subject to great resistance from the faithful for the promise of everlasting life can make you deny anything that threatens it.

Yet the Church is still largely in charge of Ireland today; still running the schools, the universities, the colleges, and the main charities. They have re-invented themselves too. Fr Trendy’s with communication and marketing degree’s fronting companies that have more to do with dodgy banking than presiding at Mass. Apologies for their past sins are couched in removing themselves from the scene of the crime by still blaming the system and the culture of times past yet that hold only them alone in the frame of it. 

Scant compensation has been paid relevant to what they have gained from that past and indeed present and the beat goes on. Their tentacles are wrapped too tight now to be made accountable for they are in many ways bigger than most Governments, Catholic ones anyway. The Church even claimed that it was them that did the most to combat child abuse though they stand among a select group who engaged in it and hid so well.

It is not a hopeful note but one that I carry for once, for many more gravesites will be found, more hand wringing will be done, more apologizes and trembling lips will banner atonement without the sincerity behind the eyes, before change itself comes. That change will only be the beginning of the end for this religion as we know it for it cannot stand on its own lies and currency of superstition any longer. Take away the oxygen of money and it will die sooner.

Barry Clifford   

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Still nothing to see here, Shatter?

THE story broke in The Sunday Times on February 9. In a security sweep the previous autumn, it had been discovered that there were three potential security breaches of communication systems in the office of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, located on Dublin’s Capel St.
The sweep was carried out by a UK firm Verrimus, which had extensive experience in the area.
By the following day, the Government was focused on damping down the story. Taoiseach Enda Kenny misquoted the law and suggested GSOC should have informed the justice minister about the issue. The story, the line went, was the failure to keep Alan Shatter informed of what was going on, not whether somebody was bugging GSOC.
That evening, GSOC chair Simon O’Brien was carpeted by Shatter. O’Brien issued a statement after the meeting saying there was “no evidence of garda misconduct”. This was in reaction to speculation that the only body of people who may be interested in bugging GSOC was the gardaí.
Cue outrage from Garda commissioner Martin Callinan. “It is a cause of grave concern that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission’s statement contains a clear indication that An Garda Síochána was in some way suspected of complicity in this matter despite GSOC’s overall finding that the existence of technical and electronic anomalies could not be conclusively explained.”
The following day, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors was calling for O’Brien’s head. What had started out as a story about communication breaches of the GSOC office was quickly turning into one about GSOC incompetence, as if the watchdog was itself responsible for being bugged. Thereafter, through a series of media and Oireachtas appearances, all the parties set out their respective stalls.
On Tuesday evening, Shatter told the Dáil there was nothing to see here. There was no “definitive evidence” of a bugging, but the failure of GSOC to tell him about it “is a matter of substantial concern to me”.
The next evening, O’Brien told an Oireachtas committee he had ordered the security sweep as he had been highly suspicious that there was an attempt to breach security. This was at odds with Shatter’s “nothing to see here, folks” line.
Meanwhile, elements of the media lost the run of themselves. The Irish Independent concentrated on whether O’Brien should go, while for RTÉ News, the main issue was who was leaking the story to The Sunday Times. A recently arrived alien might conclude that most of the power centres were concerned with diverting attention from the possibility that somebody had been at least trying to bug GSOC’s offices.
By Thursday, Shatter was telling Prime Time that O’Brien and his fellow commissioners were a touch confused at the Oireachtas hearing. “Indeed, some of what was said during the course of that seemed to me to be a little confused or contradictory,” he said.
Callinan was out to bat again the following day. “I want to unequivocally state that at no stage was any member of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission or any of its members under surveillance by An Garda Síochána.”
He didn’t state how he knew for a fact that none of the 13,000 members could have engaged in any such activity.
The following week, Shatter revealed he had commissioned his own report on the bugging. As was his wont, he was unable to do anything but proceed in a bullheaded fashion. A “peer review” of Verrimus’s work by an Irish firm, Rits, had concluded that “no bugging” had taken place. This paper-based exercise, undertaken over three days, heightened confusion. In delivering the news, Shatter appeared unable to keep from his tone a triumphant note. Bugging, what bugging?
Now everything was clear as mud. Had the people in the UK firm been watching too much James Bond? Was it all, as the minister appeared to want us to believe, a ball of smoke? In the end, the only hope of restoring leaking confidence in both the gardaí and GSOC was to have an inquiry. Retired judge John Cooke was appointed to head it, with a report expected by Easter.

He was asked to examine the sequence of events leading up to the bugging claim and to assess whether there had been a breach of security. Since it was set up, much has changed. Two of the chief protagonists in the hoopla surrounding the story, Shatter and Callinan, are no longer in office; they left on foot of other elements of scandal to dog the force and the Department of Justice.

By Michael Clifford

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Jim "Pee Wee" Martin

Seventy years ago, Jim “Pee Wee” Martin parachuted into France, behind German enemy lines, in the dark of night ahead of the D-Day invasion.
Today at the age of 93, the World War ll veteran jumped into Normandy again, in a full military kit, to mark the anniversary of the June 6th landings by Allied troops.
Before jumping he said, “They are worried about me getting hurt. I said, ‘Don’t worry about it. If I get hurt or I get killed, what is the difference? I’ve lived 93 years. I’ve had a good life.’

Rocky Quotes; from the movie Rocky

Mickey: You're a bum, Rock. You're a bum.

Rocky: I ain't no bum, Mick. I ain't no bum.

Mickey: You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!

Mickey: Your nose is broken.
Rocky: How does it look?
Mickey: Ah, it's an improvement.

Rocky: I can't do it.
Adrian: What?
Rocky: I can't beat him.
Adrian: Apollo?
Rocky: Yeah. I been out there walkin' around, thinkin'. I mean, who am I kiddin'? I ain't even in the guy's league.
Adrian: What are we gonna do?
Rocky: I don't know.
Adrian: You worked so hard.
Rocky: Yeah, that don't matter. 'Cause I was nobody before.
Adrian: Don't say that.
Rocky: Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood.

Mickey: Women weaken legs!

Reporter: Where did you get the name, "The Italian Stallion"?
Rocky: Oh I made that up one night while I was eating dinner.

Bodyguard: Did ya get the license number?
Rocky: Of what?
Bodyguard: The truck that run over your face.

Rocky: I been comin' here for six years, and for six years ya been stickin' it to me, an' I wanna know how come!
Mickey: Ya don't wanna know!
Rocky: I wanna know how come!
Mickey: Ya wanna know?
Mickey: OK, I'm gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good fighter, but instead of that, you become a legbreaker to some cheap, second rate loanshark!
Rocky: It's a living.

Rocky: Hey... you know how I said that stuff on TV didn't bother me none?
Adrian: Yeah?
Rocky: It did.

Apollo Creed: This is who I'm looking for. The Italian Stallion.
Jergens: Rocky Balboa? Never heard of him.
Apollo Creed: Look it's the name man. The I-talian Stallion. The media will eat it up. Now who discovered America? An Italian right? What better way to get it on than with one of its descendants?
Apollo's Trainer: He's a southpaw. I don't want you messing with southpaws. They do everything backwards
Apollo Creed: Southpaw nothing. I'll drop him in three. Apollo Creed meets the Italian Stallion. Now that sounds like a damn monster movie.

[Rocky and Gazzo step out of the car for a talk]
Gazzo: [upset] How come you didn't break this guy's thumb like I told you?
Rocky: Well, how did you know I didn't...
Gazzo: You don't think I hear things? Did I give you a job this morning or didn't I, huh?
Rocky: Yeah.
Gazzo: So why didn't you break his thumb like I told you? When you don't do what I tell you to do, you make me look bad, Rock.
Rocky: [trying to come up with an excuse] I figured... look, I figured if I break the guy's thumb, he gets laid off, right? Then he can't make...
Gazzo: [cuts Rocky off] Yeah, well don't figure! Let me do the figurin', okay, Rock? From here on in, just let me do the figuring, you know? These guys think we're running some kind of charity or something. That they can get off light. From here on in, do what I tell you to do, because it's bad for my reputation! You understand? You got...
[shoves Rocky]
Gazzo: You got it, Rock?
Rocky: [beat] I got it.
Gazzo: Good. Now, tomorrow you collect 400 from Del Rio. And if I tell you to break a guy's nose or thumb as a "late payment notice", you do it!
Rocky: [to Gazzo as he walks back towards the car] Hey, how do you spell "Del Rio"?
Gazzo: [angrly] Look it up in a dictionary, Rock!
Rocky: What's a dictionary? Hey, come on! I won't let it happen no more about the thumb. You know?

Mickey: Get out of here! Don't ya ever interrupt me while I'm conductin' business. Move your little chicken asses out.

Michael Clifford: We’ve become indifferent to dead babies

The Tuam babies story this week says much about the past, but about the present also.
The graveyard in the grounds of the former so-called mother-and-baby home was first discovered by two 12-year-old boys, in 1975. One of them opened the concrete cover and was met with the horror below. Pretty quickly, the cover was drawn across again. In the 1970s, the past had not yet been acknowledged. Indeed, the past wasn’t even past.
The next major juncture in the story was last October, by which time local historian, Catherine Corless, had painstakingly compiled and matched records from the home. Corless concluded that the concrete tank must contain most, if not all, of the nearly 800 infants who had died in the home during its existence, between 1925 and 1961.
The story was first published in the Connaught Tribune on October 10 last, which reported that the number of babies allegedly involved was 788. Continuing research has brought this number up to 796.
Declan Tierney’s report in the Tribune began: “Research has shown that there are 788 children, from newborns to eight-year-olds, buried in a graveyard that was attached to an old orphanage in Tuam.
“And a group of interested individuals have now established the names of each of the children, what age they were when they died, and the causes of their deaths. It is now their intention to erect a memorial in their honour and this will contain the names of each of the 788 children.”
Tierney’s report stated that Tuam Town Council had been approached about funds.
That’s eight months ago. There was precious little reaction to the story. It made no waves.
The mainstream media did not pick up on it. In the dark past, such an oversight might have been attributed to a reluctance to upset the powers that were, such as the Church.
Does anybody really believe that the mainstream media today would ignore such a story on the basis of subservience? But the mainstream media is not the gatekeeper it once was. Social media often drives the agenda these days, but there was little take-up in cyberspace. And what about the tribunes of the people — politicians? Some of the most passionate comment about the story has emanated from Galway politicians, such as Colm Keaveney, Ciaran Cannon and Lorraine Higgins.
Politicians in this country pay far more attention to local than to national media.
Is it plausible that none of them, nor their staff nor close supporters, read the local paper back in October?
Then there’s the Bishop of Tuam, Michael Neary. Last week, he issued a statement on the matter. “I was greatly shocked, as we all were, to learn of the extent of the numbers of children buried in the graveyard in Tuam. I was made aware of the magnitude of this situation by media reporting and historical research.”
When did the bishop’s shock take hold?
Did nobody point out to him the news that was published in the local paper last October?
We move on to May 25, just a fortnight ago. The Mail On Sunday gave the story the full shock treatment. The paper had the added detail that the burial ground was actually a septic tank. That detail strikes a primal chord. The notion of throwing the bodies of society’s most vulnerable into a pit designed for waste spoke volumes for the times that were. Yet, the substantive issue was the same as it had been the previous October.
There was still little take-up. The news, over the following days, was dominated by the results of the local and European elections, not to mention the presence, among us, of Kim and Kanye.
The story only began to gain traction when the world outside looked in.
By last Wednesday, the mass grave, with its resonances of massacres and war zones, was making headlines in CNN, the major American newspapers, Al Jazeera, and as far away as Australia.
On Wednesday, on RTÉ’s News at One, Aine Lawlor introduced it as a story that was getting attention abroad. By that afternoon, the focus had shifted. It was as if the world outside had awoken the media here, and all other organs of state and society, to the horror that had been uncovered: ‘Wake up, Ireland! You have another scandal on your hands’. In the media, there is a condition known as ‘being too close to the story’. Reporters suffering from this tend to lose focus, and even objectivity, on the big picture, because of an extended period working in close contact with the parties involved.
Perhaps wider society has also got too close to the story of the brutality of the past. For the last two decades, the dark past has been tumbling out in all its horror.
Industrial schools, Magdalene laundries, symphysiotomy, clerical sex abuse, the wronged, the discarded, the punished, all the marginalised victims of a totalitarian society whose public morality was subcontracted out to the Catholic Church which, in turn, was obsessed with sex.
Is it possible that the drip, drip of these scandals has left the national psyche jaded, or even exhausted, by the emotional toll of acknowledging the long procession of the wronged?
Either that, or maybe many among us had believed that all of the scandals had already been aired, if not properly dealt with.
Then, along comes another. It says a lot that it took the glare of the outside world, and the primal detail of infants discarded in a septic tank, to awaken national outrage.
Now, establishing the facts should be the primary focus. The remains in the tank may account for some, all, or none of the infants who died at such a frightening rate during the 36-year existence of that home. A proper inquiry must establish how life was lived and how it died, not just in Tuam, but in the other so-called mother-and-baby homes in the State.
More high walls must be knocked down. How, for example, could a home run by religious, rather than dedicated medical personnel, have ever been regarded as a suitable place for the birth and nurturing of new life?
Is it any wonder that the mortality rate was so much higher in these institutions? After all, the State was asking the nuns not to nurture and care, but to hide from public view the results of what society at large regarded as the wages of sin.
Any inquiry must resist an impulse to focus primarily on blame.
The nuns’ regime may have been harsh, or even brutal, but it was tacitly approved by wider society. Those infants, whose lives were regarded as second-class, and their mothers, deserve no less than to have history properly recorded, even at this late stage of the excavation of the past.
Michael Clifford

Barry Clifford: Fillius Nullius: The Child Of No Man

There is nothing more nauseating than having a priest in the winter of his years trying to vie for the title of a populist one, otherwise caricatured as Fr. Trendy, in trying to airbrush his past. In this case even his real name helps to permeate the myth that somehow he was different than the rest: Fr Good. He ran one of the quasi-adoption agencies for the Catholic Church in England in the 1950's for young mothers –to be, fleeing from Ireland and its regard for them and their unborn child from a fate that was a living death. The Catholic Clergy created that terror which ran like a plague through every town and hamlet in Ireland. It was the inquisition of the modern age in an Island apart that still embraced the dark ages.  

I believe that at the very least Fr. Good was indifferent and downright culpable in the illegal adoptions of Irish children in England. The byword by his fellow clergy for these ‘adoptions’ was ‘Pregnant From Ireland.’ The devil though is in the detail of his words as he remembered his past fondly in Ireland’s Sunday Independent today, seen of course through his rose tinted glasses. He has to, for under the norms and beliefs of his religion then hell is surely around the corner waiting for someone who looks remarkably like him.

“Get rid of the baby, that was the main idea.” He tells without remotely acknowledging his quilt in the apparatus of getting rid of the babies in his charge: 954 to be exact. He then tells us we have no concept of the shame of those days, a shame fostered by the Catholic Church Clergy, of which he is still a member, alone, which drove some of its financial engines using the fuel of a superstitious craven Government and its citizens.  

I became enlightened to know by him in the article that a child whose father was unknown was classed as Filius Nullius: The child of no man. 

“Things are only coming to light now” he says, yet Fr Good has known about it when in much younger clothes and in a position to have actually done something too. He probably started his coin and stamp collection at that time and taken too much with the importance of it all. We are also told in the article that Fr Trendy was some kind of radical in 1968 when he opposed the anti- contraception stance of his beloved Church. That makes him one of ours I suppose: a hero of the working classes or any class; and he might have had a drink or a smoke too. Radical stuff for sure.

Yet, he was the terrifying figure of the man in black waiting for the young mothers to-be at the Fishguard port in Wales. He was the only alternative to them being put into a Magdalene Laundry or an Industrial institution, or to be ostracized by the village of idiots who outnumbered the one on his own. At some point in his ramblings he tries to blame the Irish Government alone that they covered up the adoptions in the 1950’s, and that the real number was 9000 babies rather than the 1500 admitted by them.

You can bet safely that it was much higher than that again for the Catholic Church has proven to be quite adept at figures or missing files by earth, fire and water. The child/mothers who came to him underscored an even more bigger crime than the forced adoptions in Ireland and in England: the crime of rape and incest against children, for those that came to this man in black were children themselves ranging from 12 to 18 years old.

Only 9 babies of the 954 were returned to their mothers by Fr Trendy, which proved he was very good at this particular job: the task of separating mother from baby. As I suggest the devil is in the detail.

When asked about the notorious Bessborough mother and baby home in Cork Fr Trendy showed his true colours even more: “We knew nothing about it at all. We kept away away from Bessborough. We didn’t want to be linked up with them as they were local babies. And we were fairly sure the nuns weren’t obeying the adoption laws. Various things about the signing of consent. We kept our distance.” 

In the end of the interview when asked about the abortion problems of today, Fr. Trendy concluded: “I suppose it goes back to the age old question: ‘What is morality all about?’

I know for sure Fr Trendy/Good will never want to find that out because the truth will terrify him, for to find out that you were the bad guy all along believing that you were the good guy can be the most terrifying just before the bell tolls.

Barry Clifford