Latest from the Blog:
GOD AWFUL: God, seen here with (L-R) Methuselah and the Baby Jesus, has said he will deal with the issue of his departure in a timely fashion
By Our Religious Affairs Correspondent May A. Culpa
MEDIA personality and part-time politician Leo Varadkar has been accused of blasphemy.
The allegation relates to an interview he gave to The Angel Gabriel on RTÉ’s late night show Who Do You Think You Are?
During the show Mr Varadkar was asked if he believed that God is Endless. Mr Varadkar replied that he did not accept that God is Endless – or indeed that Endless is God, but he accepted that sometimes it was presented that way – and people were getting tired of it.
He said he thought it was time for God to go. Or at least to give a date on which he would be departing, or retiring, or going to Mayo – whatever.
“How dare he preside over a country in which there is such misery. We have to spend our lives on our knees thanking him. What kind of Taois…er, God is that?” he asked. After the show it is alleged that a member of the public (The Angel Michael Ringer) phoned in a complaint to Westport Garda Station.
If convicted of blasphemy, Mr Varadkar could be sentenced to eternity in purgatory (Seanad Éireann). Mr Varadkar has since denied ever uttering what was reported and blamed Simon Coveney, “That Merchant Prince of Darkness”, for spreading the rumour to discredit him. “I mean, who does he think he is ? God?
WING AND A PRAYER: Barnier prayed for the soul of Theresa May, a key bargaining chip in her successful Tory leadership bid
CHIEF BREXIT negotiator Michel Barnier was forced to do a decade of the rosary before addressing the Dáil, it has been revealed. The EU man spoke to TDs on Ireland’s special position regarding Britain’s divorce from the Union.
According to Dáil etiquette, the Frenchman had to rattle off the Apostles’ Creed, a heap of Our Fathers and a load of Hail Marys before he could address the repercussions of a possible hard border and customs posts on the island.
“It’s in the rules,” said the ceann comhairle. “As a visiting dignitary he had to respect the chamber and its laws. In fairness to him, he mowed through it, took him five minutes tops.”
RTÉ director-general Dee Forbes today announced her shock plan for reforming the schedules over the next decade and asked the government for another €15m to fund it.
Forbes said: “While our coverage of sport and currents affairs will continue, we will be placing a much greater emphasis on cultural output,” she pledged. “Otherwise, everything will remain exactly the same.”
Among the highlights of the new 10-year plan are:
- Cuts, a new 48-part series set in the accountancy department of a busy Dublin hospital, starring Amy Huberman
- The Great Irish Bake-Off (presented by Agnes Brown and Amy Huberman)
- Mrs Browne’s Barrel
- The usual cheap imports
“We’ve had a fantastic initial reaction to the plan,” said Ms Forbes, “and I am confident that people will take to the streets in their millions to avoid watching these programmes.”
Invincibleonious the Great
Conor Jnr. 3
Redwater – 9pm, RTÉ One:
Brit soap opera couple Charles and Camilla travel to a sleepy Irish village to find out how the Éire are doing. Rings are kissed and arses licked in this thoroughly embarrassing outing from the grovelling natives.
The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne – 10pm, RTÉ 2:
Controversial religious programme. God is in the hot seat this week as he explains to Gaybo why he lost his belief in Stephen Fry. He tells Gay: “Blasphemy doesn’t bother me at all. No, Fry is just a wanker.”
|JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME||JEAN CLAUDE JUNCKER|
|Played a robotic tough guy||Is a robotic tough guy|
|Is a notorious middleweight||Is a notorious lightweight|
|Is world famous for splits||Is world famous for splits|
|Speaks English as a second language||Doesn’t want to speak the English language|
|Enjoys alcohol sensibly||Enjoys alcohol|
|Known as the Muscles From Brussels||Calls himself the Muscles From Brussels|
|Thinks eggs have souls||Thinks British are assholes|
By Indo Group Political Editor Craven Doyle
SINN Féin leader-in-waiting Mary Lou McDonald is no doubt keen to avoid jumping the gun by talking openly about her succession to the scruffy-bearded former IRA cannibal and traffic lights crasher “Grizzly” Gerry Adams (Good start – Ed).
But her succession is all part of a well-planned long-term (You forgot “sinister” – Ed) manoeuvre that has been in the works for decades. Hence her Trinity College enrolment back in the day; her sham membership of Fianna Fáil as a student; the cultivation of a “cultured” south Dublin accent and the softly toned dress wear for public occasions. (Now that you mention it! – Ed)
Even the smile has been has crafted – no doubt by lengthy hours before a mirror in some backwoods cabin in the midst of the Dublin mountains – to suggest conviviality and reassurance.
But look closely. There is much there to be feared by everyone on this island.
As St Conor of Cruise said in his message to the Sindonians: “Beware the grizzly bear that comes dressed as lamb.” (Outstanding stuff! Take Thursday off – Ed)
HAVEN SENT: Top boffins say the disappearance of the warm front might force locals to take shelter in ramshackle operations like this one
METEOROLOGISTS say a massive heavy weather front that has lingered across Haiti for over seven years is at last showing signs of evaporating.
Storm Haven followed in the wake of Tycoon Denis – or El Dino as it is known among climate watchers – which blew in from Ireland in 2010.
The front is known across the globe for putting the wind up people day and night, with papers flying back and forth all over the place.
Storm Haven has huffed and puffed for years but is reportedly now running out of energy, with some experts predicting it will have blown itself out by next Tuesday.
“The Haitian people may need more tents and blankets if the huge swells of hot air that came with El Dino disappear and leave them out in the cold,” sighed one aid worker.
TODAY your Soaraway Sun gladly doffs its chapeau to French prez-in-waiting Emmanuel “Manny” Macron for showing tout le monde that grans are grey-t!
She may have more lines than a Shakespearean play but Madame Macron (98) is still quite an “Eiffel!” to the young politician whose French resistance quickly folded as soon as she marched into his life. (Typical! – Ed)
Yes we Cannes!
The glamorous gran, whose three grandsons fought in WW1, first met her hubby when she helped to deliver him at birth (Are you sure this is factual? – Ed). She was immediately smitten by his wailing and three weeks later followed him to Paris where he vowed to marry her as soon as he learned to walk.
Once again our French comrades are a-Brest of the pack in showing the world that when it comes to love, it’s never t-ooh la la-te to “see voo play”! (Woeful stuff –well done! _Ed)
What the world thinks:
- Phwoooar! Wouldn’t mind a bit of ball juggling there mate! –Wayne Rooney
- Living proof that the longer you stand by someone the better the rewards for all concerned. Food for thought. –Enda Kenny.
Goldhawk takes a look back at some of the most memorable acts from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
United Kingdom – Theresa and the Tories
While this act is wildly popular in Britain, Theresa and her entourage have struggled to attract fans in Europe. Her strident tone coupled with hysterical backing singers have resulted in the UK getting virtually nothing out of their trips to the continent.
Ukraine – Don Bass and the Rebels
This old crooner is best known for his hit song Crimea River. However, a bust up with bosses in Moscow resulted in two-fifths of his band stating they would prefer to perform with the Russians this year instead. He will be keen to avoid further splits in the future.
Russia – The Trumps
Having been born and raised in the United States it came as a major surprise that front man Donald was chosen to represent Russia. Aided by an army of online fanatics, The Donald rose to the top with his signature hits Crooked Hillary and Lyin’ Ted.
– Debty Harry
– Dire Straits
– EL Owe
– Aiken Stevens
– Stone Broke Roses
– The Crash
– Johnny Cashflow
– Muddy Waters
by our Good News Staff – Hayley Feelgood
FOLLOWING the amazing revelation that last week’s upbeat edition sold a lot of copies, the incredible surge in optimism now seems set to continue until at least 2025.
In our latest specially commissioned poll carried out in a leading newspaper office yesterday, 98% of respondents say the nation’s mood is currently soaring towards a 48-year high.
The research confirms that consumer spending is going through the roof and that higher earners now have more money than poor people, which is driving happiness levels through the roof. Evidence suggests Ireland’s richest people have:
- Bigger luxury homes
- More expensive cars
- Wider 85-inch TV screens
Meanwhile, a significant majority (100 %) now spend much more every weekend on non-essential items including cheap booze, cigarettes and the soaraway Sindo.
Articles about the Feelgood Factor have also increased 150% since last week. Said one of the country’s top editors, Cormac Berk: “At last we can feel really good about filling some space.”
- Do girls look good in skimpy bikinis? – P3
- Irishmen are sexist pigs… and that’s a good thing! Niamh Pwhorran – P5
- Liffey lovelies’ heatwave frolic – P7
- Bad Journalism – Why are desperate newspapers filling up their pages with any old rubbish? P10
Mission Statement – ‘See No Evil’
Headquartered in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, we are represented in every county in Ireland, working up to 24-hours per day on essential surveillance, breathalyser testing and combating gorse fires. The current Garda Commissioner is Nóirín O’Sullivan (though that could change any day now).
Core functions include prevention of violent crime, ensuring personal security, reducing the incidence of serious injury and working to prevent outbreaks of anti-social behaviour in local communities (but mainly within the organisation itself).
An Garda Síochána includes 14,500 garda and civilian employees – including several women (who do a very important job in the station kitchens, all things considered). The senior management team supervises day-to-day operations, attends meetings and organises special search missions in the hope of recovering our lost reputation, which has been missing for years.
Generous selection of breakfast rolls, Sweet & Spicy Pot Noodles. Extended tea-breaks allow members to review time-consuming criminal cases, complete overtime sheets and discuss all these false allegations against us from a killjoy shower of rat bastard whistleblowers.
Well-stocked warehouse filled with tarpaulin, canvas sheeting, wool and other heavy-duty covering materials. Plus range of high-vis vests, ear plugs, handcuffs, video games, whitewash, smoke, mirrors, etc. Full access to specially designed dark rooms (usually set aside for full-time auditors).
Freedom of Information
Ah now, lads, would yiz come on out of that!
Other career you might have chosen?
Hedge fund manager
Benson & Hedges
The combative League of Ireland veteran specialises in saving sinking ships so this may be right up his street. Showdowns with Vincent Browne would be compelling. Odds: 10/1
Has spent past 12 months overseeing a bunch of overpaid, under-achieving primadonnas. A good fit. Odds: 5/1
Considered a bit of a dinosaur of the game, Wenger is used to angry people asking when he’s going to leave the job. A continuity candidate perhaps? Odds: 4/1
By our rugby correspondent Tony ‘Emergency’ Ward
IT’s THE move they are all talking about. That awful pass by right-winger Varadkar to youth team call-up Harris in that top-of-the-operating-table clash played at Bedsyde Manor last week. The hospital pass, as it is known, put Harris in the unenviable position of being instantly double tackled and grounded by Boylan and Fitzpatrick of the opposition.
It is expected that Harris, who suffered a bruised ego, will now be out for a month. Varadkar is merely suffering “an inflated opinion of his appeal”, according to the team’s Assistant Medical Officer, Dr Coveney. “I can live with that,” retorted Vadadkar after the game. Some private practice will now be prescribed for Varadkar, “away from all the publicity” according to Coveney.
ONE IS not a betting man, but were one to be so, then one could do a lot worse than place a few florins on Kilkenny for this year’s hockey hurling championship!
One was struck by the confidence of King Brian when visiting the Cats’ camp! By Jove they will take some beating this year!
Galway showed in the league that Tipp can get flustered when the half forward chaps are starved of the sliotar thingy. That’s why one expects Cork to come out of troublesome Munster.
The spirit of Mick Collins was certainly alive and ready for battle when one visited the Rebel County last week! They could prove as big a handful as the Fitzgeralds, whose descendant Davy could do with some Walter Raleigh type comeuppance!
By golly, one looks forward to returning to the Emerald Isle for Croker in September!
A message from the principal
Yet another extraordinary week here at St Enda’s, where we had not one but two very important international visitors proving yet again how well connected the school (by which I mean the principal) is on the world stage.
First we had Prince Charles, who demonstrated his hurling skills on our GAA pitch and, in the process, heroically resisted the urge to mistake the scene-stealing Mr Adams’s head for a sliotar, which I would have been very tempted to do.
But the Prince is a very patient man, clearly. On which subject: what a wonderful role model he provides for others as he waits calmly, year after year, for the throne to become vacant and never ever complains that the incumbent monarch is dragging things out on him, even though he’s now nearly 70.
And how inspired was it that when he planted those two sapling trees in the school gardens, he should have named them “Simon” and “Leo”, by chance.
Oh alright: I admit that was my suggestion. In any case, I now look forward to seeing the young saps – er saplings – grow and develop. Who knows, maybe in about 20 years, they’ll be big enough to dominate their surroundings.
Then, of course, we had our VIP guest from Brussels, Mr Barnier, who was here to address the school assembly on the challenges we face when our giant neighbouring campus Teresian College leaves the European scheme to go private.
True, his speech was about as exciting as one of Mr Donohoe’s school budget statements.
But I suppose not everyone can be blessed with my combination of intellectual rigour and rhetorical brilliance. And, as he said, he was here mainly to listen and learn about Ireland.
To this end, Mr Flanagan and our art teacher Miss Humphreys then took him on a “field” trip up to Monaghan where the concept of a “soft Border” was dramatically illustrated when their car had to be dug out of a boghole near Crossmaglen.
But they made it back to St Enda’s in one piece eventually, and Mr Barnier said the experience had given him some useful ideas on how he and Teresian representatives can reconcile the mutual desire from free movement between the schools with Mrs May’s plans for an electrified boundary fence, razor wire, and machine-gun posts.
Mixed Bag for St Enda’s in annual Teachers Awards
Congratulations to Mr Ross on being voted Most Improved Teacher at this year’s school awards, which were presented as usual by our good friends at Harry Magee Butchers.
Our PE teacher and bus driver was awarded a modest 2 out 10 by the adjudicators, but this was a huge increase on the zero he scored last year. So huge that not even our super-smart maths teacher, Mr Donohoe (who himself top-scored on 8 out of 10), could express it in percentage terms.
Mr Ross declined to comment on his improved performance, for which he wins a year’s supply of rashers from Magee’s and a specially commissioned sculpture of a prize sausage.
Miss Foster apologises
The former principal of Stormont Academy, Miss Foster, has apologised for a newspaper interview in which she called her former deputy, Miss O’Neill, a “blonde”.
She had been accused of sexism after making the reference during a word-association game with a reporter from the Sunday Undependable. But in a statement regretting her choice of terms, Miss Foster insisted she did not have a “sexist bone in my body” and said she had simply used the “wrong b-word” under pressure.
“I had intended to be mildly sectarian as usual – not sexist,” she added. “And of course, whenever I think of Shinners, the first thing that comes into my head is bombs. So in Michelle’s case I was thinking ‘bombshell’, but for some reason ‘blonde’ was the word that came out.”
Ms Foster’s statement added: “I can only apologise to members of the Fenian community and I assure everyone that this failure to insult them on racial and religious, rather than sexist, grounds will not happen again.”
Seducing Teachers Still Forbidden
Students are reminded that attempts to seduce teachers more than twice their age are still strongly discouraged at St Enda’s, regardless of the result of the recent French presidential elections.
This follows a number of complaints from middle-aged female teachers who say they have since been subject to an upsurge in amorous overtures from pushy 15-year-old boys planning careers in politics.
In one potentially serious incident, a teenager fell from the balcony of the staff-room, while clutching a rose between his teeth and a copy of his economic reform programme.
In a separate development, meanwhile, third years are advised that the planned class trip to Paris has been postponed until further notice.
Say hello to Mr Moran
The school welcomes a new staff member this week in Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who will be assistant geography teacher, specialising in the subject of why his native Athlone floods every bloody winter.
Mr Moran replaces Mr Canney, who in keeping with their gentleman’s job-share agreement, was dragged kicking and screaming from the classroom last week after his year ended. The new man assures us that his unusual nickname is not a reflection on his attitude to corporal punishment, but he advises a students “not to push their luck”.
Martyn Turner recalls his brave stand against Ireland’s blasphemy laws
IT WAS 1995. The phone rang. It happens. It was The Irish Times.
“You are being sued for blasphemy.” “So what?” I responded, “That’s the price you pay for creating hard-hitting editorial cartoons that challenge the very foundations of Catholic oppression.”
As always, the editor appreciated the fearless risks I took in the interests of press freedom. My latest daring and wonderfully literate cartoon in support of divorce had sent shock waves through the Vatican.
The irony of it all was that the church-ridden Irish state was the blasphemous party, having openly questioned my special place in the hearts and minds of the nation.
Now I knew how history had treated other social commentators, such as the great William Hogarth, Oscar Wilde and Stephen Fry.
What did these ignorant philistine clerics and their political lackeys know about artistic skill, hyperbole and satire?
Have they any idea what it takes to come up with brilliant topical material every day, not to mention churning out occasional pompous filler pieces about being cruelly hauled into court for making sacrilegious comments over 20 years ago?
They have made my life a misery. Anyone less talented than me would have been crushed by such treatment.
A Message from the Principal
For many generations here at St Enda’s, we have dreamed of the glorious day when our “Fourth Green Field” – the site on which Stormont Academy now stands – would be returned to us. So it was a very proud moment this week when, thanks to yours truly, that day moved a little closer.
I’ll come back to how I achieved this shortly. First a brief history lesson. Until 1921, the field was indeed green. It was used mostly for playing pitches, but with a large preserved wilderness area in the middle, nicknamed “Tyrone”, where many wildlife species thrived.
Long after the controversial events that led to it being partitioned from our campus, we still exercised a territorial claim over the land under Articles 2 and 3 of the school constitution. Then came the peace process of the 1990s, when we downgraded the claim to an aspiration that the two jurisdictions might be reunited by consent some day.
That remains our position. But the significance of this week’s decision by An Bord Pleanála is that if and when reunification occurs, the Fourth Green Field will now be automatically rezoned for use by St Enda’s, without the need for any further formalities.
It was a particularly proud moment for me, having single-handedly masterminded the negotiations over many weeks and months, despite also needing to deal with such petty distractions as people demanding a timetable for my resignation as principal.
As this historic breakthrough surely demonstrates, it’s still much too early to talk about me depriving St Enda’s of my vast experience any time soon. Clearly, my legendary negotiating skills will be needed even more in the months ahead as we seek ways to further stitch up Mrs May of our neighbouring Teresian College and her fellow Trexiteers.
Then there will be the challenge of dealing with the co-called “border pole”. No I don’t mean the poll with two Ls that Mr Adams is calling for. I mean the 40ft pole that, until recently, the Stormont principal, Ms Foster, was using to keep between her and Fenians at all time.
Happily she seems to have dropped this pole lately as part of a new charm offensive. I now look forward to holding friendly talks with her on a way forward, just as soon as she gets back from her Irish language and dancing course in Gweedore.
Anti-Fraud Campaign Defended
Special needs teacher Mr Varadkar has defended his campaign to expose welfare fraud at St Enda’s, insisting that abuse of the free sandwich scheme alone is costing the school up to €15 a year.
Using the slogan Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All, he has been encouraging anyone with information about false claims to report it anonymously via an official graffiti wall, formerly the back of the bicycle shed. But some critics have suggested the free aerosol cans and paint brushes provided to informants, plus the campaign’s expensive PR launch, cost at least as much as any fraud does.
One concerned commentator, speaking anonymously in a posh Cork accent, suggested Mr Varadkar was using the issue to highlight his right-wing credentials to the school board, which may be selecting a new principal soon.
Mrs May Shocks Students with Snap Exam
Second-year pupils at Teresian College have been left reeling by the news that they must sit their A-Level exams in June, three years earlier than expected.
School principal Mrs May, who had repeatedly ruled out premature exams, defended her U-turn on the issue by saying it would introduce clarity to negotiations on “Trexit”: the school’s controversial decision to leave the European scheme and go private.
Second-year students have strongly criticised the move, however, characterising it as “personally-motivated revenge” against a class with known left-wing sympathies. They say it follows a recent debate in which the motion “That this house believes Mrs May is a stupid bitch” was passed unanimously.
Observers believe the decision to call the June 8 exam was also swayed by the perceived weakness of the second-years’ form teacher, Mr Corbyn. Latest polls suggest his students would score an average of only 7% if their A-levels were held right now.
According to one well-placed Teresian staff member, Mrs May’s idea is that by exposing the second-years as “mutton-headed mugwumps”, the rest of the school population can be scared into line.
‘Taking all the nuns out of Irish politics’ – Public lecture
Veteran politician Bertie Ahern will give a public talk in the school hall next week on the subject of how to take the nuns out of Irish politics for good. Mr Ahern was one of a number of politicians who, 15 years ago, oversaw a decommissioning process in Ireland by which all unlicensed nuns were supposed to have been “put beyond use”.
The haul, which included hundreds of AK47 Carmelites, was believed to have been buried at midnight somewhere, in the presence of two clergymen. But as we now know, the process was not as complete as hoped. Mr Ahern will discuss the mistakes made and the lessons to be learned.
Mr Harris Injured in Angolan Nun-fight Incident
As you may have heard by now, our school doctor is recovering in hospital after a charity trek in Angola went badly wrong.
Details remain sketchy, but it’s believed he was one of a group taking part in a fundraiser for the new National Maternity Hospital, when they either trod on one of the many landlines for which Angola is infamous, or were caught in the crossfire of a nun-fight – or both.
Mr Harris’s condition is said to be “not career-threatening”, at least yet. But a visitor from the Irish Red Cross reported that his hair was temporarily out of place, and that he was said to have “aged visibly” overnight. “He looks almost like a grown-up now,” a spokesman said.
We pride ourselves on being the ‘Paper of Record Losses’
Since 1859, The Irish Times has been an integral and important part of Irish life. Its distinctive journalism has been influential and interactive, involving our audiences and driving a public-interest news agenda. That’s why we prioritise empowerment, vision, diversity, pluralism, inclusivity and similar digital-led buzz words.
As a bastion of social liberalism for over 150 years, we offer flexible working arrangements (particularly for the editor) and hardly ever indulge in hush-hush late-night meetings where emergency editorial reshuffles are hastily arranged.
While other news outlets employ subservient columnists who pontificate on political and social matters on a daily basis, The Irish Times provides a Lifestyle Youth section and balanced comment on contemporary issues, such as the very latest Presbyterian Notices, Church of Ireland Notes, etc.
Employees are closely involved in the newspaper’s innovative content and format. The latest eye-catching broadsheet design incorporates an exciting new font, bora perpetua, that makes bold use of black and white newsprint. Plus a special throwaway section for your bin.
Copies of the paper’s editorial hymn sheet are widely circulated. Some car-parking facilities (complete with a hard shoulder to cry on) are available. State-of-the-art newsrooms are all fully equipped with dozens of easy-access fences. Medical aid is offered to all staff experiencing twisted arms, spinal injuries, poor circulation, etc.
WHAT A confusing series of leaks there has been about Maria Bailey and the Fine Gael general election ticket in DÃºn Laoghaire in the... Read more »
SF DEMOCRACY DEBATE
THE CHALLENGE to Sinn FÃ©inâs vice-president, Michelle OâNeill, from... Read more »
WHAT A confusing series of leaks there has been about Maria Bailey and the Fine ...
INCENDIARY OUTRAGE has been the reaction of some Irish Times male hacks to the document ...
THERE HAS been little media comment about reports, backed up by interviews with abused victims ...
IN AN effort to get ahead of the news, an Irish Times front-page splash on ...
RUPERT MURDOCH’S News Corp has probably done more for project Brexit than Boris Johnson, Nigel ...
DERMO DENIED RED HAT – AGAIN
AN unprecedented public insight into the arcane world of... Read more »
DIRECT RULE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
The British Labour partyâs shadow Brexit minister, Sir Keir... Read more »
COVETOUS COVENEY LURKS STILL
LAST WEEKEND Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris tipped Simon... Read more »
LEFT-RIGHT FIANNA FÁIL SPLIT
EVERY YEAR since the 2016 general election, Willie OâDea... Read more »
MOUNTBATTEN: CASE FOR THE DEFENCE
THERE HAS been little media comment about reports, backed... Read more »