Gown has yielded to town, or the plain people of Ireland, in the twenty-one years since Dr. Patrick Hillery departed from office as our last male President. At Mary Robinson's inauguration in 1990, at Mary McAleese's in 1997, official Ireland was not as austere in its habits as imperatives both fiscal and moral have now compelled it to be.
It’s a crisis if you want it to be a crisis. I say it’s an opportunity.
The way things have gone over the past decade or two have really challenged my optimistic outlook. I was whining about the woes of the world to a good friend a few months back when he replied that “There’s a theory that everything is alright and it’s all the way it’s supposed to be.”
What an optimist. “How positive,” I thought.
My daughter was nearly born to the sound of Seán Gallagher. No, seriously. It was a few months back and there was nothing on TV in the hospital apart from Dragon’s Den, and Seán Gallagher was talking, and my wife all of a sudden went into labour and our daughter was born roughly two minutes later, safely out of earshot of the TV.
Let’s face it. The defeated referendum on Oireachtas inquiries has indeed been passed - despite its failure first time around. It has been passed because “confusion had been put into the minds of voters,” they say; and it has been passed because our politicians want it passed. So, alas, a second referendum - an ‘informed’ one this time - will inevitably be launched in a re-run similar to that of the Lisbon Treaty.
The march arrives on Dame Street
#OccupyDameStreet, Dublin, Saturday 15th October
Today, 15 October, was a momentous day on Occupied Dame Street, and I apologise in advance for the photos that really do no justice to the subject. I was running round like a mad thing, shepherding and marshaling and all the great shots came out blurry and generally looking ungood.
As I stood yesterday on Occupied Dame Street for the seventh in a series of remarkable days, a grandmotherly woman approached me as she passed by and said, "Aren't you very good, now, for camping out here all night, but why are you down here?" or words to that effect. At first I was taken aback, "Madam," I thought, but of course never said, "I slept in my bed last night, I had a shower this morning, I ironed my shirt before coming here today. Do I look like I've been camping?" My dislike of camping is rivaled only by my love of ironing.
Seven days, seven nights, that's how long Dame Street has been occupied. I never expected it to last this long, I never expected that I would have lasted this long, and yet here we all are. I'm off to bed now after a long day of heavy lifting, cups of tea (requiring light-to-medium lifting) and an awful lot of standing around in and out of high-vis vests.
Thousands of people will take to the streets all over the world today in a demand for global democracy. In Dublin, protesters will march from the Garden of Remembrance to the occupied Central Bank plaza on Dame Street, starting at 2pm.
Ana Sofia Suarez and Shimri Zameret write in the Guardian: