Launched on 18 Dec 2013, this blog is about current affairs of both past and present, and about sharing your stories, photos, videos, and healthy outrage with opinions in the pursuit of positive change. To encourage it, I have posted parts of my journal of hope called Twenty-One Years that inspired this blog, along with articles, photos, and those of others. Bad news laced with poisonous and misleading stories is easily got somewhere else.
Your views are important and welcome here. Thank you.
This map of Galway City from 1651 shows the walled city (North is to the left). The River Corrib is in the foreground, crossed by what is now "O' Briens Bridge" leading to Salthill
One of the first activities of the newly-formed Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, founded in 1900, was to oversee the creation of a copy of the Pictorial Map of Galway. This is an indication of the significance of the map to those interested in the archaeological and historical heritage of the city over 100 years ago.
Two known copies of the original map exist, one in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, on which the early twentieth century copy is based, and the second in the archives of the Hardiman Library at NUI, Galway. This new digitised version of the map is based on the Hardiman Library copy. The map is a bird's eye view of a town surrounded on three sides by water, the River Corrib in the foreground, its tributaries, and the sea. The further distance is foreshortened and here powerful bastioned ramparts block the eastern or landward approaches via the Bóthar Mór [Bohermore] or Bóthar Beag [College Road] and overlook a tilting green [Eyre Square].Streets and hd houses within the walls are depicted with painstaking accuracy which has been confirmed, for instance, by archaeological investigation of Blake's Castle on Quay St. in 1978-88.
The map is often assumed to have been drawn in connection with last-ditch negotiations to secure military assistance from Charles, Duke of Lorraine in 1651. The Irish royalists quarrelled amongst themselves trading accusations of disloyalty and bad faith and negotiations broke down but it seems that Galway was offered as a security against Lorraine's expenditure. This is the version which James Hardiman offers in his History of Galway published in 1820. However, modern scholars suggest that the Pictorial Map's history may be a little more complicated than Hardiman's version suggests. John Towler points out in a recent Ph.D dissertation that the map may have been drawn after Charles II's restoration in 1660 and sponsored by the town's pre-war municipal elite (the family crests of the 'tribes' are on the margins) as part of a campaign to regain their property.
Archaeologist Paul Walsh, in his detailed study of the topography of medieval and early modern Galway, notes that the map depicts features which had already disappeared by 1651 and contends that it is intended as a historical perspective of the city. It is also possible that the final published version of the map was based on an earlier version drawn at the time of the negotiations in the early 1650s. Dr. Padraig Lenihan, lecturer in History at NUI, Galway, notes that 'it is the most accurate and, indeed, most beautiful map of an Irish urban space before John Roque.s 1756 map of Georgian Dublin.'.
St Nicholas Church from the 14th century
14 STREETS OF GALWAY
The early town of Galway was laid out inside the city walls, which were erected by the de Burgo family in order to protect the town. Although almost all of the original city wall is now gone (only a small portion remains in the present Eyre Square Centre), the original streets, dating from the 1270s, can still be found, and many retain their original names. It is interesting to note that along with the 14 Tribes of Galway, there were 14 streets in the original town. These first Galway streets are clearly depicted in the famous 1651 map of Galway, and if you were to compare this map with a modern day one, you will see that the layout of the original streets has changed very little. So when people complain that the streets of Galway’s city centre are very narrow, you can tell them that this is because they date from medieval times, when there were no cars or trucks trying to drive through the town centre!
The 14 streets shown on the 1651 map were:
1. Kea Street (now Quay Street.)
2. Crosse Street (now Cross Street),
3. Gaol Street (now High Street/Mainguard Street).
4. High Middle Street is (now Shop Street,
5. Great Gate Street (now Williams Street)
6. Little Gate Street (now Upper Abbeygate Street)
7. Skinner’s Street (now Lower Abbeygate Street)
8. Bridge Gate Street (now Bridge Street)
9. North Street (now Market Street)
10. Street Between Two Lanes (now Middle Street)
11. New Tower Street, later Back Street (now St. Augustine Street)
12. Lombard Street
13. Pludd Street (now Whitehall)
14. Earl Street
We are very fortunate in having practically all of the medieval lay-out of the original town of Galway still intact, as it gives us some idea of what early Galway would have looked like, with its narrow streets and tall, cut-stone buildings. It is this medieval atmosphere which makes Galway unique, and which is why so many visitors like to visit our city. Our historic streetscapes are what make our city so special, so it is in all our interests to value and protect them for future generations.
Despite allegations of dishonesty, Tipperary TD, Michael Lowry, will likely achieve one of the highest votes in the general election.
TIS the time to be laying into politicians. ‘Tis the time to be calling them to account. Over the coming weeks, they will sidle up to your door and politely ask you to put your faith in their ability to govern on your behalf.
For some voters, this is payback time. There will be tongue-lashings, and anger, frustration and general discontent. This is right and proper. Politicians must be held to account.
But what of the voters? Democracy is a two-sided coin. Politicians have responsibilities and they often don’t live up to them. But what responsibilities have voters to maintain a liberal democracy? Do voters have any responsibility towards standards?
This question will not be to the fore in County Tipperary in the forthcoming election. According to Paddy Power’s odds, Michael Lowry is the third favourite to get the highest vote in the election.
Only Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams are regarded as better-placed to be the most popular politician in the country.
On Wednesday, a High Court judge pointed out that in the Moriarty Report Lowry had been found to have engaged in “a litany of falsification and deception”. Judge John Hedigan referred to “findings of perjury and bribery of a potential witness to support Mr Lowry’s false evidence”. The description is a damning indictment of Lowry’s character from the judiciary, whose members speak carefully, particularly in delivering a ruling.
There is little doubt but that some politicians from Government parties will get a verbal walloping on some doorsteps in Tipperary. They will be excoriated for breaking promises; for not paying attention to certain sections of society; for losing the run of themselves. Some of these encounters may end with a slammed door. Others will be concluded with a firm refusal to countenance any vote for the candidate.
By contrast, the forecasts suggest that the reception for Mr Lowry, in many quarters, will be of a kind usually reserved for folk heroes. There will be none of that old guff about bribery, perjury or corruption. All that matters is Mick’s the man in delivering for the constituency. And when he can’t deliver, he gives the impression that he moved mountains, but unseen forces were railed against him and, sure, isn’t he only human.
There’s nothing in the water in Tipperary that softens moral backbones. It’s the same throughout the State. Independent councillor, Michael Clarke, topped the poll in his area, in Sligo, in the last two local elections. In 2002, he was convicted of fraud, involving a scam in which public money was siphoned out of the Department of Agriculture. He was sent to prison for two years.
Often, prisoners who serve their time find it difficult to get back into the workforce. Clarke, despite stealing public money, had no problem getting elected back onto the council. By all accounts, he’s a great man for delivering.
Look at the three councillors exposed in the recent Prime Time Investigates programme into petty corruption. None resigned, mainly because they are all relatively confident of re-election.
This has nothing to do with rural Ireland. Dublin councillor, Tony Fox, lost his seat at the 2014 local elections. He was 72, and maybe a little past the hurly-burly of politics. The previous year, he had been charged with bribery offences relating to rezoning land in Dublin, but the charges were dropped when the chief witness, Frank Dunlop, was deemed too unhealthy to give evidence.
Fox first came to prominence when he was named by Dunlop at the Mahon Tribunal, in 2004, as a councillor who had received inducements for his vote. Yet, despite that, Fox got re-elected twice, before losing his seat.
All politics is local and some would suggest that voters’ inclination to ignore low standards is rooted in this truism. Not so. At a national level, there remains an ambivalent attitude towards standards. In 2007, Bertie Ahern called the election a few days ahead of the date that was forecast, on the basis that a Sunday newspaper was about to run a story about his personal finances. Ahern’s finances had been the focus of the Mahon Tribunal, by that time, for more than two years.
The first week of the campaign was dominated by the issue. The matter involved the character of the man who wanted to be re-elected Taoiseach. Stories suggested that he had not been forthcoming with a tribunal that was set up by the Oireachtas.
Questions were being raised as to the veracity of a highly emotional interview he had given the previous September, as an explanation for receiving huge wads of money in the 1990s.
And, then, a strange thing happened. An opinion poll illustrated that voters were not interested in the story, and, if anything, saw Mr Ahern as some form of victim. The feedback to the media was to ‘concentrate on the issues’, which suggested that the character of the next Taoiseach was not an issue. All that mattered was that he had delivered, and could be trusted to continue delivering. With that sort of sentiment abroad, opposition politicians — and Ahern’s coalition partner in government, the Progressive Democrats — ran for cover. If the voters didn’t give a fig about possible impropriety in high office, then they sure as hell weren’t going to, either.
One explanation that is often forwarded for this absence of a moral barometer is that corruption, including white collar crime, is rarely subjected to sanction. If a culture of impunity exists, why would anybody bother about whether their representatives are honest, once any dishonesty doesn’t directly affect a constituency? (One example of voters turning on a dishonest politician was Liam Lawlor, who committed the cardinal sin of engaging in corruption in his own constituency through rezoning. Be corrupt if you must, but never in your own backyard).
There’s more to it than that, though. Voters have a responsibility, also. Voters impart the values they want to see among their representatives. If those values involve giving a franchise to dishonest politicians, why would any honest politician mount a high horse and declare himself above the rabble?
Enda Kenny quite obviously sees things that way, as per his refusal to rule Mr Lowry out of any government arrangement in the future. The only chink of light was that those in his party, and in Labour, who saw things differently were of a younger generation.
Still, the young vote for Mr Lowry, too, and for others like him. It’s no harm at this time, when democracy is at its keenest, that voters have some regard for their own responsibilities. You can’t excoriate some politicians for breaking unrealistic election promises, while retaining a sneaking regard for others who have no standards at all.
Growth in social media means this general election campaign will be fought in novel ways
Every election in Ireland over the past decade has been forecast as the first “digital election”. None has really lived up to the billing.
Back in 2007, there was a pioneering feel to it. Several candidates tried blogs and video blogs but the audience was tiny. In 2011, Fine Gael did an audacious stunt when it closed down its (bland) website and replaced it with a simple video of Enda Kenny drinking a cup of coffee and inviting people to have a “conversation” with him.
Fine Gael and Labour put a lot of resources into their social media campaigns. They certainly had more impact. But as soon as the election was over, most of it died down as TDs slithered away from Twitter.
There has been huge growth in social media since then. There are 2.5 million Facebook accounts in Ireland and a quarter of the population has also signed up to Twitter.
News on smartphones
A study commissioned by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland last year showed that more than 40 per cent of people now access news digitally, with the smartphone taking an ever-increasing share. It also showed more people do not access news directly through media sites but laterally through “feeds” or shares on social media sites.
The same-sex marriage referendum and water protests showed how grassroot campaigns could simply bypass traditional media channels and still achieve extraordinary reach and impact. Clever use of short compelling videos and attention- grabbing graphics were also major propellants.
Combined Facebook posts from the Yes Equality Facebook page reached 1.6 million in the last week of the campaign. Short embedded videos reached audiences of hundreds of thousands: one featured Mary McAleese, another Daniel O’Donnell, yet another Madeleine Connolly, a 90-year-old who called for a Yes vote.
A good example of a grassroot campaign was #hometovote, which encouraged many thousands of emigrants to do just that.
The metrics for leading parties and politicians also tell a tale. Fine Gael has more than quadrupled its reach on Facebook since 2011 to 12,200, with Enda Kenny (with 41,400 followers) and Leo Varadkar (30,000), its major Twitter stars. Fianna Fail (20,000) and Labour (28,000) have experienced similar exponential growth on Twitter.
But they have all been eclipsed by Sinn Féin, which has gone from near zero in 2011 to almost 80,000 likes on Facebook. Leader Gerry Adams has a phenomenal 100,000 followers on Twitter (spurred by some bizarre posts including a reference to trampolining naked), while Mary Lou McDonald (over 60,000 likes) is its most popular TD on Facebook.
The websites of parties now are like magazine covers, with gorgeous photography, interactive features, and slick graphics. Labour is still ahead of the curve, especially with its videos.
Each party now has a specific digital team, including designers and videographers, looking after websites and social media. All of the parties have conducted workshops and courses for officials and for candidates. No one can ignore Twitter or Facebook if they want a career in politics. Posting PR bumph is not enough – they need to interact with those they reach and be able to use graphics and video.
Labour posted a fantastic graphic during the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis comparing the respective records of both parties on jobs. A total of 21,000 people viewed a Facebook video posted by Jackie Cahill, a Fianna Fáíl candidate in Tipperary. He was doing no more than introducing himself.
Fine Gael has had many graphic-led posts attacking Fianna Fáil, its main rival for votes. Labour has run a successful series of short “real-life” videos that purport to show small improvements in people’s lives. As builders come into a family home, the woman says: “It’s great to be able to finally do the kitchen.” A gay couple hold hands as they go for a walk with their kids, as they say it is good to be able to do so openly.
The far-left parties have used brash, direct slogans and videos on social media that have also been hugely effective in reaching potential supporters.
Many of the Facebook feeds are designed for phones. With the mantra that a visual post will get shared twice as much as one with pure text, there are lots of photos and graphics.
Sinn Féin is particularly adept at posting videos with written banners and subtitles. Many who access videos on phones do so when the device is in silent mode – hence the need for written graphics.
The parties are coy about their spend on digital advertising. Sinn Féin says it is virtually zero. Labour has paid to promote its videos on You Tube and Facebook. All of Fine Gael’s rivals agree it will be the big spender, with six-figure sums being mentioned.
You can see why. Social media retains so much personal information from accounts that it can accommodate a candidate who, say, wishes to send a specific message to every working woman aged 20-35 in her constituency. It allows them to tailor the message, but also the audience, for a relatively small outlay. From the perspective of civil liberties, it’s disconcerting. But the potential is obvious for a politician honing a message.
Sinn Féin’s director of communications Ciarán Quinn says social media particularly suits the party. “The traditional republican approach is using direct methods to talk directly to people. Don’t get me wrong, we have pointy elbows when it comes to traditional media. In the past we bypassed that with murals and our own newspaper. Now it’s social media.”
‘It’s about conversations’
For Majella Fitzpatrick, director of communications for Fine Gael: “It’s about conversations, linking our people with an audience that will resonate. If you do not engage you are not relevant; if you are not relevant you will not get elected.”
Labour’s head of digital strategy, Shauneen Armstrong, says the party is using all available platforms, including Instagram; Vine (video); Periscope (live video); and Audioboom (audio).
“Simply, we need to bring our message to where people are. It is clear in this campaign that they are on social media.”
All parties emphasise they try to be authentic, in so much as that is possible. That means personal details, “unstaged” moments, and being prepared to engage and interact.
Fianna Fáil’s director of communications Pat McParland emphasises this: “When it’s authentic it works. Facebook users are a savvy bunch and know what is real and what is not.”
This time for the first time, the “digital election” will be very real.
ENDA Kenny was up and at it bright and early for a late, late show. The general election is under way, after a few false starts and a few days later than predicted. The campaign is to last the bare 21 days, the shortest in a long time. The Taoiseach finally did the decent thing by announcing it in the Dáil at 9.30am, and promptly fleeing before he could be subjected to anybody in the House raining on his big day.
“St Brigid’s Day has passed and spring has arrived,” he told the Dáil as Gaeilge, as if seeking a universal franchise was a time-sensitive, ancient ritual rather than a relatively recent phenomenon.
For those inside the Leinster House bubble it was simply the end of a lot of flaffing about: At last, the starter’s gun had sounded.
Both Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams were denied the opportunity to make statements about the sun going down on the Dáil as Enda disappeared like a man already on a whirlwind canvass. “The Taoiseach has gone into hiding,” Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley shouted in his wake.
Not long afterwards, the outgoing Taoiseach made history by announcing on Twitter that polling day would be Friday, February 26. Is this a portent of things to come for the next three weeks? Will Enda only come out to canvass in cyberspace, many miles from mics and awkward questions?
“The choice you face is as stark as it is clear,” he told the country, before promising to do all the things he didn’t do since he last promised to do them.
Thereafter he took himself up to the Áras to sort out the formalities with Michael D, who, if form is anything to go by, probably whispered in Enda’s ear that he should give up his ’oul tax cuts.
The rest of the day was taken up with endless gatherings, on-air debates, and the sight of telephone poles being desecrated by bright, shining faces. For most of those seeking election, this was the day the law permitted them to hang their mug from on high. Others who had their posters out ahead of the starting gun might — and should — face the prospect of a fine for littering.
The first hours of the campaign involved plenty of bickering on the airwaves.
The parties that formed the opposition of the outgoing Dáil made a point all day of saying: “Everywhere we look, there is chaos.”
The outgoing government parties spent the day warning: “You think this is chaos? Imagine what the others would do.”
One leader spoke for all parties. “Polling day is the citizens’ day, I hope they vote for fairness.” Who could be against that, but it was Gerry Adams who was first to put it out there.
Enda had an audience with party hopefuls in Dublin’s O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel in the afternoon. It was all about “keep the recovery going”. When in doubt in the coming weeks, Fine Gaelers will revert to “keep the recovery going”. The answer to all the country’s woes will be distilled into: “Keep the recovery going.”
Elsewhere, the ascending posters set out some stalls. Sinn Féin wants to build a better, fairer Ireland. Fianna Fáil is chasing an Ireland for all. Labour is standing up for Ireland’s future. Renua just wants a few floating votes. The Social Democrats are giving Ireland a skip, but they do want honest politics.
The rest of us would like to see a fair fight. This election is going to be transformative, but to what exactly remains to be seen. Never before have so many entities been in the shake-up. Never before have clear ideological chasms opened up between some of those vying for the vote. Never before have so many independent candidates come forth with a real chance of election to fill a void of disillusionment with politics as usual.
This will also be the first general election where social media will play a major role. Twitter and Facebook are platforms where politicians can get their message out, unchecked, unmoderated, and often unseen by those whose function is to shake promises down for porkies.
It’s going to be slogans and key words from here on in. Keep an ear out for: Deliver. Fairness. Protect the most vulnerable. Deliver. Make work pay. Jobs. Deliver. Fairness. Families. Deliver. Lower and middle blah blah. Families. Lots of families. Work. Pay. Deliver. Deliver. Deliver. Deliverance.
Deliverance, please. Deliverance from all waffle that will be spouted in the name of democracy. Keep the head down and try to enjoy showtime.
You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he’s not, he’s a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.
Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen. All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call “chicken shit drilling.” That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don’t give a fuck for a man who’s not always on his toes.
You men are veterans or you wouldn’t be here. You are ready for what’s to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you’re not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sock full of shit! There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.
An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking! We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we’re going up against. By God, I do. My men don’t surrender, and I don’t want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back. That’s not just bull shit either.
The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!
All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain. What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn’t like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, ‘Hell, they won’t miss me, just one man in thousands.’ But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like?
No, Goddamn it, Americans don’t think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn’t a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the ‘G.I. Shits’.
Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don’t want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men. One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, ‘Fixing the wire, Sir.’ I asked, ‘Isn’t that a little unhealthy right about now?’ He answered, ‘Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed.’ I asked, ‘Don’t those planes strafing the road bother you?’ And he answered, ‘No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!’
Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds. And you should have seen those trucks on the rode to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts.
Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren’t combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.
Don’t forget, you men don’t know that I’m here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I’m not supposed to be commanding this Army. I’m not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Someday I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, ‘Jesus Christ, it’s the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton.’ We want to get the hell over there.” The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.
Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!
When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don’t dig foxholes. I don’t want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don’t give the enemy time to dig one either. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun cock suckers by the bushel-fucking-basket.
War is a bloody, killing business. You’ve got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it’s the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you’ll know what to do! I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!
From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don’t give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.
There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON’T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, ‘Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, ‘Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!’
The Redress Board has to date paid out €198m to 985 legal firms
APOLOGY: Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern apologised on behalf of the State to the victims.
Religious orders have contributed less than a sixth of the €1.46bn cost of compensating the former residents of children's homes and residential institutions who suffered physical and sexual abuse, as the redress scheme winds down.
Eighteen orders of nuns and religious brothers who ran the schools on behalf of the State committed to paying a total of €480m to the cost of the scheme, but have so far contributed a package of property and cash worth €211m.
The State has paid close to €1bn in compensation
The contributions are far short of the €750m or 50:50 share that the Government promised in its programme for government to make the religious orders contribute.
The religious orders originally agreed to contribute €128m in cash and property towards the scheme in 2002 in an indemnity agreement with the State.
The contribution proved woefully inadequate, particularly after the Ryan Report, published in 2009, revealed abuse, cruelty and harsh conditions in residential institutions.
The former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who apologised on behalf of the State to the victims, said at the time there was no point in re-examining the compensation deal as the Church had no money. However, the congregations volunteered additional contributions of cash and property amounting to €352m, bringing their total contribution to €480m.
More than 15,000 former residents have been compensated under the scheme and the Redress Board, which manages the awards, is due to be dissolved later this year.
Latest figures show that 15,562 people received average awards of €62,240 bringing the total bill to just under €1bn. Legal fees of €198.3m were paid to 985 firms of solicitors.
The Department of Education released new figures last week to show what were the religious congregations' contributions to date.
These figures show that the €127m pledged by the orders in 2002 has been paid but 14 properties that remain to be transferred.
The Department also released the latest figures on what each of the religious congregations have paid to the State in terms of extra voluntary contributions.
They show that as of the end of last month, some of the 18 religious congregations transferred €83.5m in cash but properties pledged have yet to be transferred.
The biggest religious order, the Christian Brothers, has promised to transfer properties worth €127m and €30m in cash but has so far paid €10m.
The Sisters of Mercy have contributed €24.94m of the €127m in additional cash and property contributions that it pledged in 2009, including €20m in cash.
In a statement, the Sisters pointed out they had already paid €33m in 2002. It said some properties have been transferred, others were rejected by the State and others are in the process of being transferred and in the hands of legal advisers for both parties.
"Some properties rejected by the State have been sold and the monies from such sales have been transferred to the State. Despite the best efforts and full commitment of the Sisters of Mercy, the full property contribution has not been finalised," it said. It also contributed €5m to the counselling service, Towards Healing.
A number of smaller orders have paid their voluntary contributions in full.
They include the Brothers of Charity (€1.5m); Daughters of the Heart of Mary (€1.5m); the Dominicans (€6.5m); the Oblates (€20m); the De la Salle Brothers (€1.055m); Hospitaller Order of St John of Gods (€1m); the Sisters of St. Clare (€1m) and the Sisters of St Louis (€1m).
The Presentation Brothers have paid €3.6m of a promised €4.6m in extra cash contributions; the Presentation Sisters paid €4m out of €5m; the Religious Sisters of Charity have paid €2m of a promised €5m. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity have transferred €1.5m of €3m offered in cash and in other services. The Daughters of Charity paid €4m of a promised €10m.
Congregations continue to barter with State over their contributions. The Sisters of Nazareth offered a rent waiver on a property in Sligo that they valued at €2m but this was turned down.
The Sisters of Nazareth offered to waive the rent on a nursing home in Sligo to make up €2m for the State but this offer was also rejected.
The Good Shepard Sisters and the Rosminians did not make additional contributions.
Four orders of Catholic nuns - The Good Shepherd Sisters, The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, The Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity - also refused to contribute to the Magdalene Laundry fund, which is expected to cost between €34m and €58m.
The Department of Justice said this weekend "the congregations concerned have made it clear that they do not intend to do so and there is no legal avenue to require them to do so."
In a statement, the Department of Education suggested that it had not abandoned the 50:50 principle and that the Minister Jan O'Sullivan is focussing on "realising" the cash and property offers.
"The Government's position remains that the cost of the redress response should be shared on a 50:50 basis between the State and those who managed the institutions," the statement said.