I have had absolutely no free time to post in a while, but I just wanted to drop in quickly to wish the best of luck to Derry City tonight! Come on the Candystripes!
I don't agree with the PDs often, but Liz O'Donnell's speech today on the Ferns Report should be shouted from the rooftops. Liz stated that the Church's catastrophic failure to protect the children in its care should - must - mean the end of its special relationship with the State. No more consultation with the Church on issues such as stem cell research, abortion, gay rights, etc. And no more control by the Church over education.

I agree on all of these, but particularly on the last. In an increasingly diverse society the lack of options for non-Catholics, or non-practicising Catholics (such as myself) is simply not acceptable. Schools along the lines of the Educate Together system should be the norm. If people really feel the need to have their child educated under a particular religious ethos, let them set up their own private (and privately funded!) schools. Neither the Catholic Church, nor any other religious institution, should receive public money toward this end.

It's not simply on a philosophical level that I object to state-funded religious education. I also think it's a bad idea as a practical matter. Because you can't discriminate against religions, so if you fund Catholic public schools you have to fund schools of other religions, and this simply encourages segregation. We've seen all too clearly in the northeastern part of this country what that does to intercommunity relations. It's a mistake we should not be repeating.
On the radio this morning, I heard the author of a book on who people respect most and least speak at length on Nelson Mandela (falling into the first category, of course) and then go on to say that most in the latter category were 'terrorist types'. Funny how times change, isn't it? I'm old enough to remember when Nelson Mandela was widely considered to be one of those 'terrorist types'.

Eoghan Harris has lost the plot completely!

You see all this criticism of the Sindo for their coverage of Liam Lawlor's death? It's all part of a Shinner plot to shut the paper down! And if it succeeds - which it just might do, since Sinn Féin virtually control the country now - there will be nobody left to tell the truth about the organisation!

I'm not making this up, it's all in today's Sindo. See for yourself.


Guess who said the following last night?

"The Unionist community can be sure that this part of the island holds no constitutional threat to the position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom."

Kevin Myers? Ruth Dudley Edwards? Conor Cruise O'Brien?

No, it was Noel Treacy, Minister of State from Fianna Fáil, the self-styled Republican Party.

How they can still call themselves that with a straight face is absolutely beyond me.
While I have serious doubts about the Government's ability to deliver on its transport plan, in theory, at least, it's a great idea. Public transport in this State is absolutely shocking and needs precisely this kind of initiative. Those who dismiss the need for a northside Metro obviously don't spend the amount of time I do sitting on buses that aren't going anywhere. Of course, it will probably be 2020 rather than 2012 by the time it's finally delivered, and at three times the cost, but it needs to be gone ahead with and sooner rather than (any) later.

I must add, though, that I was greatly amused when I went to the Department of Transport's web site looking for further details of this plan - and discovered that the site hasn't been updated since July. We may be getting a "21st century transport plan for 21st century Ireland", as their press release announces, but we're still very much stuck with 20th century communications.
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