Posted on 20th November 2022

On Thursday I made a mental note I must visit the GPO in Dublin, which really can be seen as the birthplace of our independent nation. It featured in an essay I wrote in my teenage years when attending a British public school. It is years since I’ve been inside the building. It was shocking to hear it described by a contributor to Joe Duffy’s LIVELINE as “ the centre of drug-dealing in Dublin”.

Distant view of Slane Castle

Somehow it rammed home to me the social problems and law and order issues which are having such a corrosive impact on the heart of the city. It is not the first time recently that anti-social behaviour in O’Connell Street area has been brought to public attention. It really is critical that all the relevant arms of government get to grips with this problem and I would include the Department of the Taoiseach. It is a national disgrace to see this happening in a building outside of which Padraic Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916.
So as we begin to feel the bite of winter, give some thought to the predicament of Ukraine. Vlad the Bad continues to try to dismantle their power grid as they face into a winter where temperatures regularly hit minus 20 centigrade. He has now cast aside the pretence of trying to attain military objectives and instead decided to attempt to grind the Ukrainian civilian population into submission by depriving them of light, heat and water. Food may also present a problem. Frankly, it’s a war crime on a massive scale. Earlier in the week we had a missile striking Poland and killing 2 farm workers. Whether it was actually Russian or not, the fault lies with Putin. This event sent shudders through the NATO allies, creating severe discomfiture if not downright anger in Poland, which has faced a huge influx of refugees as a result of the war. In the light of all of this, it is utterly ludicrous for us to find the delusional Vlad the Bad banning up to 52 Irish people, including the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, from entering Russia. In the Dail Leo said “ I know the reason why it is, and that’s because I’m a member of a government and a citizen of a country that is standing four square behind Ukraine”. Amen to that. While I’m on the subject, I want to state that I do not think that having our Defence Forces training Ukrainians in demining infringes our neutrality. Nor does it, as Richard Boyd Barrett suggested in the Dail, make the Taoiseach a protagonist in this war. That is a crazy assertion.
Finally to Trump. On Tuesday he announces he is going to run for the Presidency. This may have excited his base but it probably fills main stream Republicans with dread. Trump has nothing to lose and for a while this will keep him out of jail. The danger for the Republican Party is that too many challengers emerge and they split the vote, allowing crazy Donald to come charging through. It could happen.

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