Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yes Minister

Dail (5 of 12)
Michael Healy-Rae is learning his first lesson as a TD, when a Government Minister asks you to do something in the national media you'd better say Yes Minister or be ready to go to the mattresses.

Joan Burton twice wrote to Michael asking him to step down from the Citizens Information Board now that he is a TD. Michael said no. Joan made a bit of an issue about it in the media and Michael responded by accusing her of cronyism and asking who she would replace him with on the board. In your face Minister, dont tred on Michael...

Then suddenly out of the 2007 comes the relevation that 3636 phone calls were made to a premium rate phone number from a phone in the Dail voting for Michael to win a reality TV show. This cost the taxpayer €2,639. Michael's response was he couldnt have done it since he was on TV and sure the money went to charity anyway. Leaving aside the obvious stupidity of an excuse that depends on the inability of everyone who was on Michael's fathers then Dail staff being able to use a phone, claiming it's ok anyway because the money went to charity is like saying it's ok to rob banks so long as it goes to a good cause. Now he's had to come out and pay back the money while insisting he still did nothing wrong in the hope that the story will go away. Meanwhile Joan is off on TV/radio announcing a national intern job scheme and just casually mentioning that Michael should resign from the board.

Whats next for Michael? Some rumours of voting irregularities in his constituency came up again yesterday. Elderly people in Kerry South reporting that people showed up on their door step asking to collect their postal ballot or help fill them out. Stuff like that happens all over the place during elections (or did when I was a kid) but suddenly it's news coming out of the same constituency as Healy-Rae?

Coincidence? Maybe but it's getting a message across as well. Dont mess with a Government Minister or it may just be your bad luck to find yourself in front of cameras explaining something from some years ago.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wedding Documents

Anyone know a good religion, quick to join, fast track for wedding paperwork/interviews and a free church building at the start of August? Preferably one that has a courier service on speed dial who will be able to get documents from Ireland to Canada in less time than infinity?

It would appear that 6 weeks later our paperwork which took weeks to complete has disappeared into the processes of the Catholic Church and hasn't reappeared at the other end yet. Aaaaahhhhhhhhh.

If this doesn't go through Lauren will marry me just to divorce me!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Driving Test

I passed my driving test today. At my age it was a bit ridiculous that I had never bothered to even sit a driving test until today. I live in Dublin in an area well served by buses and the luas so it is easier for me to take public transport into town than drive and worry about parking. However my current job is at the other side of the city so driving became an issue and I decided to bite the bullet and go for my full license.

I have two observations about the process. First my god but lessons are expensive. They were worth it, but at €55 an hour for the pre-test I felt sorry for anyone who needs to book more that a couple of pre-test lessons. Now the instructor was great and without doubt I would have failed if I had not been through the two pretest sessons, had him bring me through the dummy test scenario and been brought around the routes. The test itself did bring me into some different areas from the lessons but in general I was comfortable enough with most of the estates, roads and junctions.

Secondly the tester is hyper professional. It's his job to mark my driving and tell me where to go and that is it. No small talk, no observations about the day or the monsoon rain that hit during the test, just "left here", "right at the end of the road", "pull in" for 30 minutes. Even after the main test when he had me park (yes, parking was tested though I was told it wouldn't be) he didn't say anything just told me to follow him back to the office. Then he sat behind his desk and started getting out papers. By that stage I was sure I'd failed by nearly killing us somewhere along the route and he was bringing me back to the office to wait for the Gardai to impound my car. It was only when he started filling in the Certificate of Competence that he paused and said "oh yeah, you passed, congratulations". I'm sure he sees dozens of test candidates every day and it's his job to test us all fairly with no bias based on how he likes the person so he did the right thing but it was nerve wracking.

So I finally have a full drivers license. I'm now qualified to drive where I like and on my own. Though somehow the knowledge of how to drive on motorways has not magically popped into my brain after passing, I might stay away from them for a while.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bad Declan, Very Lax

I've been called to task by one old friend Col Ciaran Creedon who has reported me as MIA, or is that AWOL, from this blog for 90 days. It's been a hectic 3 months with wedding preparations and other projects so my ramblings were reduced to 140 character tweets and I never got around to posting here. Which is bad of me since the last 3 months have been pretty bloody interesting in Ireland, maybe not as interesting as prior to GE11 but still it's not like I couldnt have found some time to post an update or two. My apologies.

I'll get back to posting here from now on, I promise, and if I dont The Col. will track me down.