A Day In The Life of an Industrial School Boy

Industrial schools were places where every aspect of life was designed to punish. Most of the kids there had done little wrong except be born poorBut really everything about those places was a PUNISHMENT.

From the isolation from society, to the regimentation of little children – being forced to march from one place to another, children being forced to stand to attention in the yard semi-naked while the “nurse” inspected us OR, if the notion took her, have a good few of us scrubbed down with purple or brown iodine. Being forced to say rosaries was a PUNISHMENT, being forced violently to run around the yard with a lighted candle at night in the rain was a PUNISHMENT. Being forced violently to scrub toilets with your own toothbrush was a PUNISHMENT.

The Ragged Wagon

When I was recently asked about punishments in those places by someone who was never in those places I think she expected an answer like: “well they used they’re hands or fists to box us or clatter us, their feet to boot us and they used blackthorn sticks or big leather belts for more formal punishments.” Sounds like an answer that couldn’t be denied, even she could relate to those types of punishments. She was around 40 years old and she was from the era of corporal punishment. But that wasn’t the answer I gave her.

In those places EVERYTHING was part of your punishment. Mealtimes were a PUNISHMENT. Our food was vile, it really would have been illegal AND cruel to feed pigs on what we “survived” on. Our main food really was bread and dripping. And the dripping wasn’t the nice white strained stuff you’d see on the…

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GE2016 results in weeks of stalemate

Stephen Donnelly did best in the RTE leaders debate, which despite flooding, and massive water protests did not cover envirnemental issues or removal of the 8th Amendment. His high tax position doesn’t stand close scrutiny either.

Greg Canty Fuzion Blog

Stephen Donnelly - Social Democrats

Stephen Donnelly of the Social Democrats did really well during the General Election Leaders Debate on RTE this week. He comes across as an articulate, intelligent and impressive individual and his performance was one of the things that many people were talking about after.

He won over some of the audience!

While he is very impressive it is very hard to buy into a manifesto that wants to keep taxation high and let the state use those funds. If I thought the public service was capable of spending this money wisely and efficiently there might be some merit in his arguments but this just isn’t the case.

Also this high personal taxation philosophy is a huge deterrent for human talent to work and live in Ireland. Sorry Stephen – people want to be able to enjoy the spoils of their labour and will move to more favourable regimes such as…

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The BBC won’t talk about religion

Journalism is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, says the BBC, when asked to explain why secularist thinkers, atheists and pagans are excluded from its religious broadcasting


THE UK is becoming increasingly secular and culturally diverse, but the BBC continues to pursue a mostly Christian agendum.  Every morning, BBC Radio 4 starts with a prayer for the day, and during the Today programme, there’s a religious slot at about 12 minutes to eight called Thought for the Day.  The speakers are usually Christian clergy, although every so often, a Sikh, a Muslim or a Hindu or a Jew gets the slot.  There’s never an atheist, an agnostic and we haven’t heard a pagan yet.

Sundays are particularly tedious with a programme on religion between 7:10AM and a religious service kicking in on Radio 4 at 8:10 AM, forcing me to switch to the BBC World Service.

I decided to make use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to see if BBC management could shed any light on the matter.  My request was declined because the BBC…

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The Importance of Political Education – knowing left from right

In the Irish party system, scholars have been trying to pick apart the policy stances of parties for some years now – with varying degrees of success and insight. Most analyses have concluded that the parties in Ireland offer a far less coherent, integrated ideological choice to voters than parties elsewhere in Europe – and many conclude that FF and FG are practically impossible to seperate in terms of political ideology.

A sentiment analysis I performed with Dr Laura Sudulich of Irish party candidates in the 2007 election looked at how they felt about the terms ‘ Right’ and ‘ Left’. It revealed that FF and FG have no sentiment either way (overall) while Labour and SF members tend to have significantly positive sentiments towards the ‘ Left’ and negative sentiments towards the ‘ Right’ .

Labour’s focus on its leader during the campaign, and FF and FG’s ‘party of government’ approach to political ideology meant that only a few independents and PBP members were focusing on matters of political ideology. Thus the election took place in an ideological vacuum, just as ideological decisions to do with taxation and public spending had to be made. The result was a rather opaque fudge – the implementation of existing policy with cosmetic changes, by new management personnel.

Irish Politics Forum

A very interesting article in today’s Irish Times discusses whether Europe should focus on education in its engagement with Africa. The article argues that political education is vitally important for all sorts of social and political outputs:

‘Individual Africans need to become more politically sophisticated. It is hard to think of a political party in Africa which genuinely professes, let alone practises, a coherent political philosophy. Whereas parties in Europe espouse socialist, liberal or Christian democratic values, there is no indigenous African ideology beyond tribalism. Political parties are more often than not built around a commanding personality who offers tribal leadership and is rewarded with uncritical tribal loyalty’ .

The description of African politics rings some surprising bells for students of Irish politics.

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The Politics of Remembrance: Commemorating 1916

Sinn Fein the party that Griffith founded was most explicitly organized to achieve independence even if it had no direct connection to the Rising of 1916. Labour is linked to the rebellion thru Connolly, but FG and FF connections are much more diluted

Irish Politics Forum

By Timothy J. White and Denis Marnane


Assessing a significant anniversary of an important historical event such as commemorating 1916 is like a juggler keeping three balls in the air. There is the event itself, very likely not something about which there is consensus in terms of interpretation; there is the period of time between then and now in which the event is remembered, in this instance a century; and finally there is the present with its competing agendas for commemoration. These three: history, memory, and commemoration

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art + science colliding, collectives forming

creative collaborative work is at the heart of cultural entrepreneurship. In the Pacific north west, technology plays a really pivotal role


WP_20150325_015There is great momentum gathering in our creative community around the role of artists and designers in scientific inquiry. Access is being created for artists and others to explore, interpret and respond to the revolutionary advances and innovations in genetics, molecular and biomedical science. Facilitating synergies between these realms has been my focus.

This Spring and Summer, Ginny Ruffner, Lisa Goodman, Josef Vascovitz and Gaylene Vaden and I have started to host dinners to further inspire conversations. Ginny Ruffner is an internationally acclaimed glass artist most known for her constantly evolving visual experiments. For over a decade, her work has been strongly influenced by genetics. Her recent exhibition, “Aesthetic Engineering,” at the Huntsville Museum of Art was inspired by recent breakthroughs in genetics and bioengineering and the possibilities of future gene sharing between animal and plant kingdoms. She recently was hosted by The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology as an artist in residence and continues her creative pursuits…

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Ireland’s Parties look set to resume their Civil War positions in 2016

 It's back to 1921 for Ireland, If the latest poll figures are replicated in the 2016 General election, according to electoral strategist Adrian Kavanagh. This  shows  how seats could look across the country.   It will be a crying Shame if the Greens, Independents and other smaller parties cannot  improve their branding, policies and strategic communication of them … Continue reading Ireland’s Parties look set to resume their Civil War positions in 2016