Tag: Democracy

The Crisis of Irish Democracy

(Originally Published at Irishleftreview.org in November 2014)

The current crisis of Irish democracy is not the one currently being given space in the nation’s mainstream media outlets. Ungovernability is supposedly just around the corner according to some. A “sinister fringe” is engaging in acts of violence. “Marxist-Leninists” are standing in the way of the government and its wishes. Michael Noonan is on record as saying that he and his government “govern for the reasonable people,” and not the sinister fringe of ungovernable Marxist-Leninists in our midst. Reading this, one would imagine that the Red Army of old is engaging in ideological, and very physical, warfare on Ireland. Of course this is sheer nonsense, but the ghost of the “Dreaded Red” is well risen from its grave, courtesy of the necromancers currently inhabiting Dáil Éireann. Such propaganda is a reaction to the citizens of Ireland having had enough of years of austerity measures.

Tunisia, One Year On

(Originally Published in the UCC Express in February 2012)

Just over one year ago, on January 14th 2011, Tunisia finally managed to oust presidential despot, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, after a relatively short but explosive struggle. His regime came crashing down around him as the Tunisians revolted in a way not seen in 30 or so years. His fifth term as president came to an inglorious end, after he rose to the position in the aftermath of “the medical coup d’état” or the “Jasmine Revolution”, with Ben Ali of course preferring the latter term, in 1987. The incident which provided the metaphorical and literal spark for the uprising was the self-immolation of 26 year old street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi. He had been harassed by the local police and bureaucrats for years with the climax of this abuse being reached on December 17th 2010 when his cart and produce, his only source of income, were confiscated by the local authorities. Bouazizi’s family have also claimed that he was verbally abused by a local female municipal official who spat in his face and tossed aside his cart before it was confiscated. The latter incident has been disputed and we will probably never know exactly what happened, but what happened next is something which will be recorded for decades to come. He ran to the Governor’s office seeking the restitution of his goods where upon the Governor ignored him. Bouazizi then went to a local gas station, filled up a gas canister and then returned to the Governor’s building. He stood in the middle of traffic, doused himself in petrol, shouted out “How do you expect me to make a living?” and set himself alight.

Blasphemy Law a Massive Step Backwards

(Originally Published on Corkstudentnews.com in February 2010)

On the 1st of January Ireland took a remarkable step backwards when the so called Blasphemy Law came into effect. As a result many people now feel that their freedom of speech could be curtailed by potential legal action and a substantial fine if something they express is deemed as blasphemous towards a particular religion. To say that this is opening a can worms is an understatement and it once again shows the complete lack of common sense that the current government seems to pride itself on. In a recently released statement, the UCC Atheists Society have rightly referred to the new law as “regressive and an attack on the freedom to question religious dogma.”