Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I have built myself from the wasted scraps of my once upon a times,
we are fools when we believe in old magics and mages
and hide from the monsters underneath the bed,
praying to stories while we bleed and beg.

It is dangerous and stupid to wrap ourselves in wishes,
when the alarms sound we play with limited time
and lift our hems away from the filth
blinded to everything through choice.

We parade wilful ignorance as blessed virtue
but the children are still crying between the pages
of some great liars book of shadows
and blood stained words of gospel.

If I was another type of person I would arm myself with them
these shameful hurts and horrors,
but still, for all of our never again promises
we cheerfully hand over our children.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Poem for a Child

It is time for bedtime stories, with loving lies
we weave for you these fantasies bred from old myths,
softened to Disney happiness, far from reality.
If we could we would make your life a happy ever after
You would be the princess who never needed to be saved
Cradled in worlds of wonder and magic, safe.
I will not be the one to speak to you of truth and tell you
that there are no princes or fairy godmothers,
you will learn that the world is full of monsters.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


We like to write poems about loss, being the universal experience.

I have written lines of prose, or romantic rumblings

about loss marked out in decay and gravestones.

These quantifiable losses that break our hearts

but briefly, until the wounds scab over and we continue.


Only occasionally, rocked by drink or loneliness,

picking at the scabs and taking perverse pleasure in briefly revisiting our grief.


This losing unites us; we sing with it and embrace each other

with understanding, there are many people we would like to hold again.

But our lost dreams are silent, witnesses to weakness,

these I wish moments, these growing up forgets

disguised as responsibility and circumstance.


Once upon a once upon a time, when we believed in magic

we could be anything but what we became.




Friday, October 23, 2009

Political Correctness gone mad? Or taking responsibility for what you say?

When I was a little we used to say a rhyme ‘ineey, meeny, miney, mo, catch a ni***r by the toe’, you will notice in typing it I couldn’t bring myself to type the actual N-Word, because now I know better. At that time I had no understanding of the word, it was a meaningless as the Ineey Meenies and so I can perhaps be excused for using it then, where I never would now. (for those interested, it has been replaced in the rhyme now with the word Tiger)

Jan Moir wrote an article today trying to explain and excuse the words she recently wrote regarding Stephen Gately, but she failed miserably. She attempted to convince us that the intent behind her words was not what we believed it to be – well I’m sorry Jan but that excuse might work for a child saying a word they don’t understand but when you put something into print surely you have a responsibility to ensure that you carefully check your words so such a ‘misunderstanding’ cannot occur?

Moir states ‘Certainly, something terrible went wrong as my column ricocheted through cyberspace, unread by many who complained, yet somehow generally and gleefully accepted into folklore as a homophobic rant’, well I read it and I complained – the article linked Stephen Gately’s death inextricably with his sexuality, and made gross assumptions about his life and death. Moir now claims that she would have written the same article had Gately been heterosexual, I find this unlikely- but if she had it would still have been an appalling article. Statements like, ‘Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again’ are undeniably ill-informed – so at the very least Moir is guilty of bad journalism.

Moir’s article today http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1222246/The-truth-views-tragic-death-Stephen-Gately.html , lacks understanding and integrity. A few half hearted apologies for offence caused are followed by a litany of excuses and the reiteration of her misinformed belief that ‘clearly much of it was an orchestrated campaign by pressure groups and those with agendas of their own’. She seems to be trying to convince us that she did nothing wrong, and has been misunderstood, and that she attempted only to question and seek the truth (which would have been an admirable pursuit had this been the case).

It seems to me that a little contrition and an admission that, whatever her intent may have been, she made a mistake in writing what she did, would go further then apportioning blame for the reaction her words caused.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Perhaps she is the blue eyed girl still
Under years and yards of something else the heart still beats.
She sometimes wonders if the moments of manic possibility
Are worth the absolute lows that follow
Where the entire world is dark and the walls close in around her.

The pills she takes leave her dulled and sluggish
Unable to create, like her mind is wrapped in cotton wool,
But without them she tracks bloody marks in her arms
And covers her mirrors so she does not see her face,
So perhaps this numbed lethargy is the trade off for some kind of life.

Perhaps she is the blue eyed girl still
The child she was sleeping somewhere beneath the dark.
They have caught her fast, bound her in ribbons and bows
And expectations that choke the hope from her,
And numb her heart, so she can no longer weep.

Monday, October 19, 2009


We were all born once, under the light of a lucky star,
these rays are only shadows now, memories
from a light whose source has long since died.
A moments sparkle lost in time.

We are brought up on fairy tales, dreams and nightmares
and cheerfully write ourselves into magic and stories
steadfastly ignoring sticky reality, so that we can be comfortable
And live in sensible fantasy.

This has connected us all with cobweb threads of deceit, silences
and uncertainties that we share and hide beneath our hurts and hopes,
successfully, we remain complicit in the stories,
Playing peek-a-boo with reality and memory.

We ignore and forget just enough to be called too much, apathetic
this whitewashed search for reason through soul leaves us tangled,
trapped, we would rather pretend that we cannot see the spiders,
Misimagining the dangers, we are also guilty.

I have so many stories of abuse and neglect and hurt stacked
in my chest and mind that I can hardly breath or think, outside of whispers,
these compartmentalised real world moments we smother,
Is everyone ready for the happy ever after?

We could end this, in theory, cut one thread and collapse the web.
If we would sweep the monsters from under the bed they would be burned
in the sun, and we would be free of them, we could begin again
write ourselves a different beginning, change to story’s end.

These heroes and victims are the shadowy parts of ourselves given names
so that we can understand, we are hiding from half remembered horrors and hurts
that History and the world has branded on our bodies,
bandaged by nonsense, magic and our myths.

We can reach back beyond the lies into the darks of time
and write the world as it should have been written
but together we gratefully drank from the Lethe,
And so we forget that we are imprisoned.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stephen Gately's Funeral

This morning in Dublin Stephen Gately's funeral was held, there is a palpable saddness in the city because we are laying to rest one of our own.

Stephen Gately grew up around Sheriff street, an area not know for its affluence, and we like to see other Dubliners succeed from the areas that are largely forgotten and ignored by Celtic tigers and increasing wealth.

I remember being an over excited teenager and meeting Stephen Gately by chance on O'Connell street, and his taking the time to talk to a group of us with great humour and patience - his being funny and kind. It is sad to think that such a young man has died.

It is a shame that tragic death of a young man has been ued by some to air their own ignorance and predjudice - and it should not be forgotten that whatever claim we feel we have on celebrity at the present time Stephen belongs primarily to his friends and family, to the people who knew him as a person and not as a popstar. They should not have been intruded upon in the grief to have to respond in any form to the stupidity of a journalist whose words should not have been printed.

Above all else today we have buried a young man, whos life should be celebrated and passing mourned. Today the people of Dublin reclaimed one of their own, we should not forget, in the midst of the intrusive commentary that always surrounds celebrity, that Stephen Gately was a Dublin Lad, that he was far too young to die and that today is a very sad day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Writers Block

How has it happened that I do not have the right words
all that I have ever had,
silver tongued and sad.

I want to write you a happy ending,
or a fitting epitaph.

I want to find the scripted beats to make sense of this senselessness,
wiping away this hurt with couplets and carefully crafted pose.

I would mend broken dreams with a poem.

Perhaps now is the time, after so long.

Can this be our beginning then?
Shall we create a Limerick, or a sonnet,
Like greater poets before make timelessness
From your decay?

I still have dreams where I wrap my arms around you
And I can hear you breathing through the silence
Of these endless nights in my bed.

This is not enough,
I need to write away the loss and hurt.
Maybe now is the time for the words we dread,
But I must find another rhyme instead.

I cannot write you lost with the dead.

Forget the rules and rhymes of poetry,
comma here, emphasis.
There are no rules for all encompassing grief
No matter what the rulebook said.

You used to ask for bedtime stories, that I was too tired to read.
You used to talk in your sleep.

To make this feeling go through the motions
cannot ever be achieved, everything should crumble and fall apart
there can be no beauty buried in this need,
there should never be cause for poems like these.

You were here once, a promise, a hope

But nothing matters.

I have carried you for longer than you should be carried
You have been, as you are, you remain unchanging,

a trick or treat, like a fairytale.

To fit you to form and prescribe you to tone,
To contain you in painfully scripted verse,

Will not be done.

It is enough that you are dead.

No rhyme, no rhythm, no lyrical beat,
For a poem, once begun, must then be complete.

I do not want to say goodbye.

Perhaps now is the time, after so long.
Some hurts do not fit a poem.

I cannot believe that you are gone.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A poem that took far too long to write, for what it is.

I wanted to write something beautiful about love
From some misguided notion that this is what a poem should be
But words escape me, trite and terrible.

I do not believe in this all consuming passion,
We like to tell ourselves lies to make purpose from nothing
And these old stories are stacked up in our heads are hearts
Making fantasists of the best of us, and lovers of the weak.

My heart does not shrivel and break from loneliness
And I am hungry for touch but briefly, fleetingly wanting
Until fortitude and that perfected control of mind and body reclaims me.

I would like very much to abandon need permanently
And retreat in safety from the promise of hurt
To my own numbed contentment
And to the safety of my words.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fish Joke (abridged version)

Far away in the tropical waters of the Caribbean, two prawns were swimming around in the sea — one called Justin and the other called Christian.

The poor prawns were constantly being threatened by vicious sharks.

Finally one day Justin said to Christian, “I’m fed up with being a prawn; I wish I was a shark, and then I wouldn’t have any worries about being eaten.”

A large mysterious cod appeared and said, “Your wish is granted”, and lo and behold, Justin turned into a shark. Horrified, Christian immediately swam away, afraid of being eaten by his old mate.

Time passed and Justin found life as a shark boring and lonely. All his old mates simply swam away whenever he came close to them.

While swimming alone one day he saw the cod again and he thought that perhaps the fish could change him back into a prawn. He approached the cod and begged to be changed back, and, lo and behold, he found himself turned back into a prawn.

With tears of joy in his tiny little eyes Justin swam back to his friends and bought them all a cocktail. Looking around the gathering at the reef he realised he couldn’t see his old pal.

“Where’s Christian?” he asked.

“He’s at home, still distraught that his best friend changed sides to the enemy and became a shark”, came the reply.

Eager to put things right again and end the mutual pain and torture, he set off to Christian’s abode. As he opened the coral gate memories came flooding back. He banged on the door and
shouted, “It’s me, Justin, your old friend, come out and see me again.”

Christian replied, “No way man, you’ll eat me. you’re now a shark, the enemy and I’ll not be tricked into being your dinner.”

Justin cried back, “No, I’m not. That was the old me. I’ve changed.”

“I’ve found Cod. I’m a prawn again Christian”.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another Ending

This has ended, as it must
White Lilly’s wither, all is dust.
Seashells crumble to fine sand
That runs through fingers when clasped in hand.

Such is love, dies and ends
My heart, as all, grieves
then mends.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Unweaving the Rainbow

Unweaving the Rainbow.
(Richard Dawkins 1998)

I have seen a million rainbows, unmoved
By colour meeting colour on a rainy day.
Richard of York gave battle in vain,
But isn’t that always the way?

I known nothing of Science, to be fair
But then I am a poet, student of art
And should wax a rainbow beautiful
Not broken into its parts.

But the delicacy of such chance
A million raindrops fracturing light
And showing a fan of spectral colour
Where there had only been white.

I saw a rainbow yesterday
And by the understanding of why
It almost brought me to my knees
And its beauty made me cry.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

West of Here

An abandoned house brings to mind a ruin
Some gothic romance held together by ivy and ghosts
(and fairytales)
This house was different, looking to be an innocent.

I remember watching, horrified and awed
Black bags lined upon its lawn,
(some of them seemed small)
While a silent crowd, surprised, gazed on.

This house crumbled quietly
Beneath the weight of unspeakable deeds,
(and blood soaked endings)
But this house lived, it breathed.

It could not be allowed, this house
To stand to one mans hate and lust
(October 1996)
This house was reduced to dust.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Therein Lies The Difference

I would write the story of forever,
beginning when all things begin
but I would change enough
that we would all be standing in the sun.

I have watched you and you may not remember
that I held your hand and called for help
when I found you vomiting
after filling your veins with so much poison.

Today you asked me for a cigarette
and, I hope understandably,
I recoiled from you
in fright of the anger in your face.

You called me a snob and responded to my reticence
by throwing coins at me,
and it made me laugh
but this was mostly from discomfort.

I am no more then you
an old Irish ‘there but for the grace of God’.
I know what it is too be used up
and worn to nothing by the harshness of life.

It would be nice if everything was easy
but plenty of us cannot sleep at night
it is just a matter of perspective
measuring one hurt against another.

I would write the story of forever
where these smaller hurts were everything
and we could all weep about mostly nothing
and pretend that our nothings were what mattered.

Monday, August 31, 2009

We promised not to forget

It was a week worth of newspaper stories and a march and then we forgot what we had promised never to forget and we moved on, but they cannot.

What is it that they have suffered, can we even begin to imagine?

Wake up smiling or wake up crying.

What about the day when they do not awake at all? If you are right then they will stand at the golden gates and be offered their chance to talk with your Almighty. What could they possibly say to him? He’ll be another scared little man who cannot bear to listen to them. Will he dare to condemn them then, for their sins, or will what they have suffered outweigh the worst that they may have done? Will he track through the script of their lives, circling all of their faults in red ink like some angry school teacher, will he try to smite them then?

What then from this booming voice of your male God, let him try to send them to hell, we will all be at home there. Your devil is more of a friend, he, at least, admits that it is his desire is to hurt us. Will you, who shake your shiny new testament at me, please explain why He, your God, has never intervened? Surely apathy is a sin, the eighth deadly sin. His ultimate crime against man he claims to love so much.

I want you, the believer, to stand before me and look into my eyes and explain it to me, why when they were so small, why when they trusted in him so completely did he let them down so much, why were his tests so harsh?

If he can send any one of them to hell let him, your great almighty Lord, accompany them, for he has sinned as much as any man.

What will become of your world then? When all apparent goodness is held up as corrupted and evil is seen to be the driving force of the earthbound and celestial alike, how then, and why, can you possibly continue in this faith?

Set fire to your home’s, steal your neighbours food, home and wife because, in truth, there is no salvation. There is only now. What can your bible do to help you when the heavens are falling and the golden gates come crashing to the ground?

How did so much implausible fiction become the entire world to so many, the power of your fancy stories that they became a way of life.

"I believe in God the Father, of all that is seen and unseen." How did the lies of the past become the structure of our world today and how will you cope when it all falls apart in your hands?

My faith doth magnify the Lord, but he caught alight under the suns strong beam and all I have left is a pile of ashes. What will you use now to fill this void with which you are left when belief and faith collapse and your entire world has lost all meaning?

Was it a child God who created our world and has he abandoned us now that he has tired of his play? There is as much possibility, as much truth, in this as anything you believe, nothing here means what you think it means.

For the moment

If I could I would wrap you in cotton wool, safe,
and you would never need to know about when the world
is black, black, black and the rain clouds cover everything.

It would not help you, or anyone, if I gave in to this anger
and broke every finger on the hand that dared
to touch you in hurt.

Now it seems to you that things will never get better
and you think that I am being cruel
when I remind you that you are not the first.

You are better then this moment of broken
and sometime far into the future
you will call this an old memory,

For the moment it is okay that you are crying.

Reading at the moment.

So at the moment I am reading The Stone Gods, (Jeanette Winterson), which is a very strange and totally engrossing read:


I am also looking at Portraits (Derren Brown), which you need to have on your coffee table, (at the very least for the picture of the Queen)


Finally, just finished The Life of Pi, (Yann Martel ), which was one of those joyous books that you can't put down until you reach the end,


That is all!

Friday, August 28, 2009


He hates her so much, but she is his and he needs her,
She cries all of the time,
wrapping her sorrow around her like a blanket
and he cannot reach her.

At night he lies in bed with his fingers pressing into his ears
so that he cannot hear her crying,
making that sound that is more
a wounded animal then a real person.

She is an animal more and more often now,
baring her teeth
and lashing out at everyone around her.
He is frightened of her.

She says terrible things to him, forcing him to stop loving her
and to barricade his heart against her.
She has all of the power that he wants for himself
And he has no idea how to reclaim it.

She flies at others in temper, hitting and shaking them
until they cry out for her to stop and then she holds them close
in the tightest of embraces and sobs with them,
but she never touches him.

She never looks at him and he has begun to feel
like he is a ghost in that house, that he is some kind of a monster.
He hates her and he loves her and he wishes
that she would let him be her lover again.

Her sadness is a constant reminder of what he allowed the world to do her.

Religion News Blog

Check out: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baile Átha Cliath

It was the marching
Heavy boots thumping through
What was once my city,
But a lot has changed here
Since the last march.

Sing ‘rare ole times’
And lighters five for fifty
‘till your throat is raw
It still won’t come back
And be our town again.

They thought hatred was orange
But it was only a way to mourn
What the tiger consumed
To bring us here
Where we should not be.

It reminded us of what we lost.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

If I were a painter

If I had the skill to make a canvas speak
I would paint you the night sky, scarlet with expectation,
with storm clouds darkening a fairy tale of
silvers and greens.

I would draw you a promise of tomorrow in a ramshackle bridge
spanning golden waters, flecked with rivulets of red yesterday
thick with forget, slick eels fighting flying fish
swimming towards the valleys.

There would be clawed shadows crawling the edges,
but in the centre I would paint us in light,
wrapped in each other, eternally oblivious
and happy, and you would not have to hear
words that I am not able to say.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Men will become soldiers,
we will fill them up them up with rage
and send them out to fill our papers
with news of their victories and losses.

We will adore them, hate them
twist them away from the boys they were
and fashion from shell that is left
a killer, with a better name.

They will bleed for us and we
will bear their bodies home
to tearstained mothers and lovers
wrapped in the flag that broke them.

Men will become soldiers
until broken, crying in the night
they find they cannot bear to fight.
we will not dare to ask it of them

Then our soldiers can again be men.

Is the recession over yet????

It is seriously depressing that, despite the fact that I seem to work almost all of the time, I cannot afford (despite dropping rents) a nice place to live... two bedroom apartments are getting much cheaper, but still too expensive for one person... and the one bedroom apartments are not much different in price, all coming with the tagline 'suitable for couple sharing'... yeah, that's great but what if you haven't bowed to social convention and paired off into a happy double... then its off to the hell of grubby bedsits for you, you insufferable single social freak...

Hmmm, this is almost a rant!! I wish a was just a little bit richer.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The World

She moves so slowly, impossibly bent and twisted into herself; leaning heavily on the metal frame that is supporting her faltering steps. Her dirty old coat is open and the clothes underneath are washed out, well worn and slightly grubby. There is a hole in her sleeve and the hem of the slip she is wearing is showing, frayed and yellowed, from under her skirt. The hands gripping the frame are veined and tinted blue with the cold. She should not be outside alone, somebody should take care of her.

She is wearing slippers and they cannot be safe, flapping uselessly from her heels with every hard won step. One of her stockings has curled around her ankle and I can see the skin of her leg, almost translucent. I can see the crisscross of veins under the parchment of her skin. She is so delicate, this woman. She is a portrait of age and fragility and in all of this there is beauty. She is life, the curve of her spine and the awkward angle at which she holds her hips advertising the kind of life that she has led. She is a wealth of memory and stories, of experience. There is nothing more alive then this, and yet she is fleeting. She is decay and death as much as she is life.
She is too easily lost and with her goes her story, never to be captured, unimportant. But she is beautiful for all her connections with endings and loss. She is frightening and awe inspiring and completely real. I would write her, I would create drunken husbands and too many children all scrambling to be fed while she works and suffers to fill their bellies and hearts and heads. I would make her a hero if she will let me, standing tall and proud and surrounded by love and family; not limping, lost, from house to shop for a paltry bag with bread and milk for one and a frayed handbag in her shaking hands. I would turn her into a fiction where she is strong, I would straighten her twisted spine and have her stand with her head held high as a survivor.

I watch her body, small and fragile, tense at his footsteps behind her. Everything about her is watchful as heavy male boots rap closer to her side. She is frightened, as she must always be frightened, so much of this world is strange and dangerous to her now. He seems oblivious to her presence on the street. His I-pod is firmly connected to his ears, tobacco yellowed fingers drumming an uneven beat on his thighs as he lumbers closer to this creature from another age. He is greasy and foul, cigarette hanging limply from one lip, eyes fixed firmly on his feet. Everything about him screams bad news, dirty and roughened mean eyed boy pretending that he is a man.

Then, for a moment, her entire frame seizes even further into itself as he passes her too closely, trapping her for one heart stopping moment between himself and the wall. Then he has passed and she seems to relax, seems to almost swoon and I think that he has seen her near collapse because he is turning back. In one swift movement he reaches out to her. He could be a lover, putting his arms around her. There is beauty in this too; they are crushed together and everything in their embrace screams passion and connection and want; age and filth forgotten and they could be in a moments pleasure. His arm wrapping her waist with the other on her neck; her hands grasping blindly at his shoulders and chest; but the hold is unnatural, he is too close and she is frightened, it is the wrong kind of passion, the worst kind of want. They could be lovers but for age and fear and the way in which she struggles against him, pushing him weakly, uselessly away.

She flutters against him while he divests her of the bag gripped in her clawed hand. There is beauty in this too, the tightness of the muscle in his neck and cheek and the hopeless fear in her face, a different kind of beauty but it is there, real world beautiful and horrible at the same time.
He has her clasped to him, pressed against his chest and I can imagine her heart fluttering against his. He releases her, their embrace is finished and as he steps away she staggers slightly, he reaches out for the briefest moment, hand on her elbow to steady her and they are lovers again before he runs.

She is left alone, curling back into herself, her breathing laboured, her emaciated body trembling with fear. A car speeds past and she flinches, frightened by the noise; silent tears making tracks on her cheeks and hovering at the edge of her lip before falling, and this is beautiful too, perhaps I will write her like this.

She is crying. Her hand reaches to her face and neck as if checking for something, before fluttering briefly to her heart and settling to grab onto the wall. She is still, confused by what has happened, by the speed of her attacker and the feel of his hands upon her. She is not ready to move yet, standing still as if waiting for something else to happen. Then, with a movement so tiny it is almost indiscernible, she nods once to herself, resigned and I watch her go, more slowly now, defeated.

She is a lost soul, made of too much time, too much life. I cannot make her a hero. Her tears make her beautiful but then they are gone and she begins again her slow limping way home and it is terrible and it is ugly and it is the world.


Mother and child in a winter doorway
Wrapped in a blanket of Irish apathy
While Phil O’Byrne texted into the Late Late show last week
During a segment about refugees
Saying, “We should look after our own first”.

I wait for a while to see if Phil will arrive
With money, hot soup and a bed for the night
No such luck.

The child sneezes green snot onto his face
Which his mother lovingly wipes away
With the palm of her hand.
Somebody passing by mutters ‘bloody junkies’
I’m not sure if he means mother or child
Or both.

‘But at least their Irish’, I say, ‘At least their our bloody junkies’
He nods sagely, ‘Bloody refugees’, he agrees

Bloody Junkies
Bloody Refugees
It makes you bloody proud to be Irish really.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A better Ireland?

"A fascinating new poll conducted by the Irish radio station Newstalk has found that attitudes to Catholicism have shifted significantly since the publication of the Ryan report into child abuse in Catholic-run institutions.

"Of the 1,108 people questioned, 51% said they would not welcome a visit to Ireland by the Pope. This stands in stark contrast to the euphoric response the previous Pope received on his visit there in 1979 when practically no opposition was expressed to the visit.
Just 4% of those who responded to the poll said they had actually changed their Mass-going habits since the publication of the Ryan Report, but changing attitudes towards the Catholic Church’s involvement in the day-to-day life of the country are evident in the 70% who said all primary schools should be run by the State.

"Just over half (52%) believe religion has no place in schools, as they say religious instruction should only take place outside the classroom, but the majority don’t believe children in school should be exposed to the details of the Ryan Report, with 68% opposing religious teaching incorporating lessons on clerical abuse. The poll was conducted last week, illustrating that feelings about the report are not abating, even a month after publication.

"Those in favour of the State taking control of all primary schools made comments such as: “It’s about time that Ireland became a secular state. Theocracy has had its day here” and “The Church can run schools if they want, but they should receive zero funding from the State.”
Meanwhile, the Church is bracing itself for the release of another report within the next few weeks. This one is about the handling of sex-abuse allegations against priests of the Dublin archdiocese.It is thought the independent report will approach 1,000 pages in length, and will include the names of priests who have faced abuse charges. The report will assess the handling of abuse charges under four past archbishops of Dublin. It may also report on the involvement of more than a dozen bishops who have served as auxiliaries in the Dublin archdiocese. "

From: http://www.secularism.org.uk/irish-people-want-catholicisms-i.html

Monday, June 29, 2009

Alpha Courses

I make no secret of the fact that I am an atheist, I don't believe in God
(not even a little bit), however there have been times in my own life when
things have seemed inexplicably bleak and I have wished that there was
something outside of day to day life from which I could garner some support.
I have often found myself, during these times, looking at people who have
some religious affiliation or system of faith and feeling a little jealous
of their ability to believe. For me not believing in God is not something I
choose, I think about the idea and it makes no sense, I could no more try to
be a believer then I could try to fly - there is an inherent contradiction
between the way my mind works and the dictates of blind faith and this is
okay, because if I was to turn to God or religion when life seemed a little
too difficult then it would be no better a solution then turning to alcohol
or drugs or any other crutch.

What struck me last night while watching a programme about the Alpha courses
in the UK was the people who were attending these and what they seemed to be
looking for, there was a sort of sadness in them and they, understandably,
were seeking something to create meaning. What the organisers of the courses
seemed to do was to prey on this in the most horrifically manipulative
manner. I am sometimes accused of being to harsh in the expression of my
views of religiosity, but it is things like the Alpha course that inspire
this, every individual is entitled to believe in whatever they want, and I
can even understand the impetus to attempt to convert others, but the Alpha
course crossed a line between conversion and coercion, just watching their
methods made me feel uncomfortable and worried for the attendees. Perhaps
there needs to be some sort of a regulation, or at least a system to monitor
these types of programmes?

Instead of working I wrote this poem... well it amused me!!


This may not be the most subtle approach
For the things I have it to say
I swear I love you with all my heart
But darling, you’re an awful lay.

To be fair I must acknowledge
That you put everything in the right place
But must you really pant so hard
And drool all over my face?

You do realise my breasts are attached
They are an actual part of me
They are not meant to be juggled and pulled about
What do you think that will achieve?

My nipples have nerve endings in great supply,
They are sensitive to a touch
So no biting or pinching or twisting required
If you don’t mind too much.

As for your kisses, (if they can be so called)
Must you really use so much spit
And force your tongue to the back of my throat
I don’t enjoy it one bit.

If you have been smoking, could you please brush your teeth
Before you latch onto my face,
It’s not a bit pleasant or sexy or nice
When your breaths a disgrace.

I won’t go into details, but when you’re thrusting about
Could you please try to improve your aim
And hit the right spot one thrust out of two
To insure our mutual gain.

For my final word on the subject
Could you please get it in to your head
That the only gentlemanly and kind thing to do
Is to give me the dry side of the bed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Irish Civil Partnership Bill

Today the Government published it's (sorry excuse for a) Civil Partnership Bill, it's available here http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR09000098

And the reaction from http://www.marriagequality.ie/ is below, or available here: http://www.marriagequality.ie/news/2009/06/26/government-short-change-lesbians-and-gay-men-with-civil-partnership-bill/

Introduction of same-sex civil marriage ignored despite public support

Following the publication of the civil partnership bill today, MarriagEquality is calling on the Government to acknowledge that the bill is forcing lesbians and gay men to accept a second rate set of rights, and ensures that lesbian and gay relationships will be regarded as inferior to married couples. MarriagEquality advocate that the Government instead move to provide lesbians and gay men with equality by providing access to civil marriage.

Research conducted by Lansdowne Market Research shows that 81% of the public agree that everyone should receive equal treatment from the state regardless of their sexuality. 61% further believe that denying lesbians and gay men civil marriage is a form of discrimination.

Grainne Healy, Co-Chair, MarriagEquality, commented, "MarriagEquality want equal marriage rights for lesbians and gay men. Civil partnership is not marriage like, and does not confer marriage like rights on lesbians and gay men who choose to legally register their relationship through it. The civil partnership legislation is deficient on so many levels and discriminates against lesbians, gay men and their children to such an extent that MarriagEquality are calling on to Government to legislate for civil marriage now."

A deeply upsetting aspect of the civil partnership legislation is that the Government has totally ignored lesbian and gay parents and their children. In reality all children should have equal access to their parents and vice-versa, and should have the same rights as all children in Ireland. 75% of the public believe that all children should be treated equally by the state. Furthermore, a same-sex couple will not be eligible to apply to be considered to adopt a child under civil partnership: not even the child of their registered civil partner.

Moninne Griffith, Director, MarriagEquality said, "Discrimination against lesbians and gay men continues through the announcement of the civil partnership bill. It simply isn't enough and reinforces that belief that we are outsiders on the margins of society. The fact that through this bill the Government has given us 'some' rights but not equal rights is fundamentally flawed. Lesbians and gay men should be entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as their straight counterparts. The time for change is now."

Ms Griffith continued, "Ireland is in the midst of uncertain times, and whether gay, lesbian or straight we must unite to overcome adversity. The same is true for the matter of equal access to civil marriage. It is not just an issue for lesbians and gay men, but for every human being on this island. Until Ireland is a society of equals, we must unite and fight for what is right."

Further information on MarriagEquality can be found on http://www.marriagequality.ie/ or by calling 01 6599 459.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

But I'm being good!!!

It seems very, very unfair that, because I have actually given up smoking (5 days and counting) I get sick…


Since I’ve stopped I’ve developed a horrible cough (my poor lungs are trying to expel the tar built up from ten years at twenty a day) and I’ve an ear infection to boot (which is viciously painful and has rendered me slightly deaf in my left ear).


It’s enough to make me want to start again, just to get back to normal, but we will persevere against all the odds…


I’m developing a disturbingly close relationship with the Nicorette patches… they are my new best friends.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A moment that changed your life.

I was asked recently to pinpoint a moment that changed my life, on first consideration I said that it was taking part in a University Access Programme which late led to my going to University and getting a degree in English Studies. On reflection that’s a little to simplified.


I found out about the Programme from a friend in a drama group when I was sixteen, he was close to completing it and was telling me about how much he enjoyed it, making me decide to apply. So the moment that changed my life was sitting with him in a bowling alley while he told me about the course.




If I had never joined the drama group in question we would never have had that conversation so the moment that changed my life was sitting on a bus with my sister (on the way to a school friend’s birthday party) and seeing an advertisement for the drama group and deciding to join.




I was held back in school when I was seven, if I hadn’t been held back then I wouldn’t have been going to the same party that day and might never have seen the advertisement for the drama group, so the moment that changed my life was being held back when I was seven.




The reason that I was held back in school is that I was three weeks too young to be accepted into the next year, so the moment that changed my life was actually being born on the day that I was born, rather than three weeks earlier.




I was born exactly on schedule so, really, the moment that changed my life was being conceived.




If my parents had never met than I wouldn’t have been conceived at all, they met when a friend of my Mother’s was too drunk to get a lift home on a motorcycle and instead my Dad gave them a lift in his car.


So, the moment that changed my life was some nameless girl drinking far too much at a wedding and then making a drunken show of her self.


Seems appropriate.



Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...

If Pride and Prejudice is one of your favorite books but, like me, you often find yourself thinking 'If only there were more Zombies' then fret no more!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This post is to let you know that the petition of solidarity for Survivors of Institutional Child Abuse in Ireland can be signed online at the following website.


All support for those who were victims is appreciated,

For those of you who live in Ireland the March of Solidarity will start from the Garden of Remembrance today at 12noon.


Garden of Remembrance to the Dáil. Please gather at the Garden of Remembrance at noon and please proceed in total silence throughout the march past GPO to the Dáil.


The survivors hope you can attend and encourage as many people and public organisations as possible to participate in the march. It is suggested that all participants wear a white ribbon for the silent march and bring a child’s shoe to represent the lives lost in the institutions. Those who cannot attend can sign and post the Petition of Solidarity to PO Box 11618, Swords, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and the people of Ireland are also encouraged to wear a white ribbon on June 10 in solidarity with the survivors. SOIAI is led by Christine Buckley, John Kelly, Noel Barry, Michael O’Brien.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Elections (don't forget to vote)

8 days to the local elections... and then the politicians will stop knocking on the door every evening,

I'll have to go back to arguing with the Jehovah's witnesses.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Make your way in silence to the edge of our cities

and hide yourself there,

behind the newest addition

of multi million showcasing we call art.

Keep your eyes downcast,

do not cry out or we will find you

and bundle you off to anonymous elsewhere

to muffle your voice, fearing the human story.

You are 22 per cent that falls

through the cracks of policy.

The other 78 do not want

to bear witness,

as you peer through the double glazing,

flattening the flowerbeds and rosebushes

and mucking suburban content

with the detritus of a broken life.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Commission to inquire into child abuse

While it doesn't make for easy reading it is important that every Irish citizen make themselves aware of what the report of the Commission to inquire into child abuse found.

The systematic and vile abuse of the most vulnerable in Irish society, those who should have been protected, by those who were in a position of absolute power is horrifying.

I could start now on a rant about church and state but this is not about my agenda, those who were hurt should be compensated and every Irish person should be aware of what was allowed to happen, this was not abuse shrouded in secrecy but abuse deliberately ignored.

It will break your heart.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Empire Attacks

Having a fun bout of Insomnia for the past couple of weeks... but this game is great for passing time when I can't sleep... www.empireattack.com

Very addictive, you have been warned.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Reason Project

The Reason Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. Drawing on the talents of the most prominent and creative thinkers across a wide range of disciplines, The Reason Project seeks to encourage critical thinking and wise public policy through a variety of interrelated projects. The foundation will convene conferences, produce films, sponsor scientific studies and opinion polls, publish original research, award grants to other charitable organizations, and offer material support to religious dissidents and public intellectuals — all with the purpose of eroding the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Blasphemy law in Ireland - what Atheist Ireland have to say

The Irish Government’s new proposed blasphemy crime combines the oppressive religious thinking of 1950s Catholic Ireland and modern Islamic fundamentalism. This proposal should be opposed for three reasons.

One, it does not protect religious belief. Instead, it encourages outrage and it criminalises free speech. Two, it treats religious beliefs as more valuable than secular beliefs and scientific thinking. Three, we should be removing 1930s religious references from the Irish Constitution, not legislating to enforce them.

The bill’s first test of blasphemy is that religious adherents express outrage. Instead of encouraging outrage, we should be educating people to respond in a more healthy manner than outrage when somebody expresses a belief that they find insulting. More worryingly, this law would encourage the type of orchestrated outrage that Islamic fundamentalists directed against Danish cartoonists.

Many atheists find it insulting that the Christian Bible suggests that women must not teach and must learn in silence, or that effeminate people are unrighteous, or that people should worship a God who threatens to make you eat your own children. But we do not believe that the Bible should be banned, and neither should discussion of the Bible in terms that cause Christians to be outraged.

Blasphemy is not the only anomaly of running a 21st century state with a 1937 Constitution. You cannot become President or be appointed as a Judge unless you take a religious oath under God asking god to direct and sustain you in your work. We should be amending our Constitution to remove these theistic references, not creating new crimes to enforce provisions that were written in the 1930s.

If you live in Ireland, please lobby your local TD, the Justice Minister, and the members of the Oireachtas Justice Committee that is considering this proposal. Contact details here: http://tr.im/k4Mq

Pop over to Atheist Ireland here: http://blog.atheist.ie/

Friday, May 1, 2009

Swine Flu

100 people get swine flu and masks sold out. Millions get HIV yet nobody buys condoms... just sayin...

Monday, April 27, 2009

And there is good in the world

I take back all of the ranting and raving of two posts back, someone in work just made me a cup of tea for no reason at all... you have to love the little things.

Why is it so bloody difficult to give up smoking!!!

We are now on the, I dunno, 7 millionth attempt to stop smoking, and this morning I went into the shop to get some juice and left with 20 cigarettes. I hadn’t even thought about buying them, I just walked up to the till, asked for 20 Marlboros and left (minus the juice). I was halfway through a smoke before I remembered that I was supposed to be giving up.


(At this point I should say a big thank you to my first boss in the petrol station where I worked when I was 14 for finding it amusing to teach me how to smoke… not that I was arguing, it seemed like a very grown up thing to be doing.)


But I’ve no excuse now, I know all of the dangers, I know how bad they are for me and how they damage my bank balance but still I smoke. The crux of it is that I am a smoker, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t smoke… 20 a day, everyday for the last 11 years and despite all of the warnings I keep smoking for one reason alone… I like them… or so my nicotine addicted system will have me believe.


So far willpower and patches have failed, my sister is suggesting hypnotism but the idea doesn’t appeal to me at all (oogly boogly scary stuff) … maybe some kind of clockwork orange type aversion therapy… or then again, maybe not.


I think I shall accept my weakness, indulge in my little addiction and hope they have found cures for anything I get by the time I am old enough to start suffering for the damage I’m doing now, definitely the sensible choice… I shall give up on giving up so.





People just ain't no good...



I’m not going to get annoyed; it’s not worth having a fight about this… mantra for today, repeat ad nauseam.


I had a bit, (just a little bit) of a moment this morning, actually two moments that have really got the blood boiling and now I’m in work quietly steaming…


On the Luas today a very strange little man decided to have a go at me, apparently I’m going to hell (which sounds fun). Thing is, he seemed like a normal enough kind of a guy.


I was chatting with my friend about how someone knocked on my door yesterday to give me a miraculous medal, which is a fairly common occurrence and I declined to accept it. I suppose I could have been agreeable and just taken the bloody thing but I’d already had the Jehovah’s at the door that morning and my tolerance for religious claptrap had waned.  When I said thanks but no thanks to the holy Joe they became insistent and irritating so I got a little but short with them and told them to ‘go peddle crazy somewhere else’. My friend and I were having a bit of a juvenile giggle at this fine example of my rapier wit when ‘Luas man’ decided to intervene.


He puffed himself up, stomped over to where I was sitting and eloquently argued the case for the religious by abusing the length of my skirt, granted this was a powerful argument. My skirt was very short; obviously I was in league with the devil and all his minions. I had no morals, clearly I was promiscuous and inherently evil… and had he mentioned I was wearing a very short skirt? (I’m paraphrasing here; his language was slightly bluer). There is very little that you can say to a person like this… but I will point out that if you are a large man and stand over a girl of 5 foot 3 and yell at her about the length of her skirt then this is probably not the best way to illustrate that your religious values are an example to us all, just saying.


On a slight less annoying note when I got off of the public transport and made me way to work someone bumped into me, I apologised (even though it wasn’t my fault, I’ve a tendency to do that) and they told me to ‘fucking watch where the fuck you are walking you stupid c**t’, which was nice and has helped to put me into a great mood on a Monday morning.


I need to see something nice happen today to restore my faith in humanity…



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ask the Minister for an assurance that no one will become homeless because of the budget

Focus Ireland - everyone has a right to a place called home

April's mini-budget included cuts in the Rent Supplement scheme which will increase the risk of people becoming homeless. You can help prevent this.

In the last week of May the Government will make an automated cut in all rent supplement payments of 8%; this will be on top of an increase of €11 since January in the contribution a tenant must make to their rent. This cut will be made with no reference to the circumstances, vulnerability or disability of the tenant. Most importantly, it will be made with no reference to whether the rent charged by the landlord has actually fallen.

The Government hopes that landlords will cut the rents they charge when they hear that their tenants have less money. But if landlords refuse, it is the tenant who must pay the price - or lose their home.

As someone who has supported Focus Ireland's campaigns on behalf of homeless people in the past, I hope you will be willing to lend your support to our call for Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin to issue an assurance that no-one will become homeless because of these measures.

This seems a small assurance to ask of her. But if she makes this commitment it will be important. We will be able to enter into detailed discussion with Community Welfare Officers about how vulnerable people can be protected.

The risks facing people in the private rented sector are not one of the issues which the media is interested in discussing at present. These cuts which may deprive some people of their homes seem likely to slip through with little debate. Don't let that happen. Click on http://takeaction.focusireland.ie/takeaction/mary-hanafin-must-give-assurance/%20and e-mail the Minister and your local TDs on this.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just another day at work... when everything goes wrong


Chaos, panic, and disorder.


My work here is done. 

Irish women challenge ban on abortion in European court

THE GOVERNMENT is to launch a robust defence of the State’s ban on abortion before the European Court of Human Rights in the face of a legal challenge by three women who claim the restrictions violate their human rights.
The Strasbourg-based court is considering the admissibility of a legal challenge by the women, who claim their rights were denied by being forced to terminate their pregnancies outside the State.
The women say the restrictive nature of Irish law on abortion jeopardised their health and wellbeing.
The identities of the three – known as A, B and C – will remain confidential as the case proceeds through the court.
While it has been known for some time that the case is pending, papers lodged with the court show in detail for the first time how the Government will contest the case.
The main plank of its defence rests on its contention that domestic legal remedies have not been exhausted by the women.
It also robustly challenges suggestions by the women that there is a lack of post-abortion care or counselling in Ireland.
It also insists the European Convention on Human Rights does not confer even a limited right to abortion and it would be “inconceivable” that member states would have agreed to this.
The women at the centre of the legal challenge include a woman who ran the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, where the foetus develops outside the womb; a woman who received chemotherapy for cancer; and a woman whose children were placed in care as she was unable to cope.
The court, which is separate from the EU, adjudicates on human rights issues among all 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
Any decision of the court is binding on the member states and must be complied with, except if it consists of an advisory opinion.
The women’s complaints centre on four alleged violations of articles in the European Convention on Human Rights, including protection from “inhuman or degrading treatment” and freedom from discrimination.
The women at the centre of the case – who are represented by the Irish Family Planning Association – say the lack of any effective remedy at home means they have satisfied the requirement to exhaust domestic legal remedies.
In addition, they say that taking a case would have been costly, futile and could have forced them to relinquish their anonymity.
While the case has passed the first stage of the hearing process, a formal hearing on the admissibility and merits of the case is expected shortly.
The case will be watched closely by observers given a ruling by the same court in recent years which resulted in Poland being instructed to guarantee access to legal abortions.

From Irish Times: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2009/0421/1224245071362.html

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So this is Ireland then.

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, I made a decision upon finishing my degree that I would immediately find work and not, as many of my contemporaries did, flap about for a year and travel or wait for the dream job to come along.


The original ‘dream’ had been to be a writer and to take the first job that came along and, in my free time, write a book. The first job that came along was in admin and gradually grew to the point that, when I came home in the evenings I didn’t write, I can make an excuse and say I was tired or similar but the truth is that, in the face of day to day monotony, the ideas and will to write dried up.


I once found myself in a situation where the funding that paid for my accommodation while in college dried up and I found myself sitting in a pub with no money and no place to live. Luckily a friend took me in but I swore I would never find myself in that situation again, hence the immediate entry into the work force.


Some people thrive on the excitement of uncertainty; I like things to be secure and as a result am always slow to take any chances, making the conscious decision to accept a more static existence, albeit an occasionally boring one. This is an approach that I accepted in myself, looking for the things I love in life outside of my career. However this is also an approach that relied heavily on the stability of the economy, something I foolishly took for granted until recently.


In recent months the idea of my holding onto the job I took nearly three years ago has become unlikely, and even within it increasing taxes and levy’s have reduced my salary to the point where it no longer provides security.


All of this pushes a person into a corner, I’m currently looking for work elsewhere and overseas, which is a frightening prospect considering that I have always lived in Dublin and, with the exception of a few package holidays, have never had a huge urge to travel or leave the country… or even the city if I can help it!


This is one small ‘economic crisis’ story, and one of the less traumatic ones. Being young, having no children and only myself to support means that things will be okay for me, and I will do what I have to do to carry on. Everyday people are losing their jobs and facing cuts in their salaries and they can ill afford the added financial pressures that this creates for them. When the Taoiseach talks about everybody taking a 10% cut in their standard of living he does not acknowledge that, for many, a 10% cut means total devastation.


This too, as they say, shall pass, but the fallout from the current situation, the impact that it will have on families already struggling will last for years to come.


Like many who grew up in 80’s Ireland I remember when things were difficult before and realise how, with an improved economy, came improved education, understanding and tolerance in society. We began to break the chains that poverty, religion and narrow-mindedness had wrapped around Irish society and became a people in our own right, outside of a stereotype.


In the 80’s the eldest of my family left Ireland and went to the UK, building a life for herself there that now only briefly collides with the lives of the 4 sisters and 1 brother who stayed at home. I often wondered why she didn’t come home, because I am Irish and couldn’t imagine the urge to be anywhere else, now I am disillusioned with this country and, while I accept the need for steps to be taken to boost the economy, I despair at where these cuts are being made.


It is those in our society who have no voice, no power and the most need that are victimised by those who should protect them, as it was before, as it will always be, for ever and ever. (Amen)


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When attention goes badly wrong it can play some nasty tricks on us.

“Imagine if every time you walked into a room with a neatly turned down bed, you automatically took off your clothes and got into it -- even though it wasn't bedtime, wasn't your bed, and wasn't even your home. This might sound fanciful but it's a documented behaviour of patients with attentional problems caused by brain damage (Lhermitte (1983).

Many everyday occurrences can also be explained by attentional errors, like when we miss obvious changes in the environment, fail at sports or simply forget to put the milk back in the fridge. More seriously psychologists have found that attentional processes can play a role in psychological problems like anxiety, panic, insomnia, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Here are 18 ways attention can go wrong, some very common, some extremely unusual, a few downright weird; each giving us an insight into how our minds work…”

More at: http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/04/18-ways-attention-goes-wrong.php


Ha, ha, ha....

A New Jersey man is suing a psychic claiming she defrauded him of almost $250,000 to buy gold to make a statue to “ward off negativity” that she said surrounded him.

The man says he originally met the psychic through her on-line psychic Web site. They later met in person, and she told him “he has a spiritual problem and that she will need to perform spiritual ‘work’ for him,” according to the lawsuit. She later told him “his case is so big” she had to abandon her Web site “to concentrate on his case, but that it is OK because it is what she is called to, or supposed to do,” the suit claims.

Later, the psychic asked the man for $15,850 for a trip to a “spiritually significant location” in Florida “to perform special work,” according to the suit. The location turned out to be Disney World.

The psychic claims the man became her boyfriend and bought the $700,000 home where she lives. The man kept the house in his name and declined comment on the alleged relationship.


From: http://www.heartland.org/publications/lawsuit%20abuse/article/24939/Lawsuit_Abuse_Fortnightly_86.html



Perhaps she is what she once was, still.

Beneath week days and horoscopes, the heart still beats.

This is not an epic poem; there are no heroes or heroines, but

perhaps these are the only stories left, here where we live

at the ends of everything.

Monday is a liar of a day, and the rest of the week

When sense tells you that there is nothing in a Sunday?

Like a cliché, full circled to Shakespearian beat, weeping

for what all of her weeping achieved, once upon

silly, empty fairytale dreams.

She is trapped, like Sybil, to the dusts of time.

Crying wolf once makes everything lies, especially to liars.

Perhaps, by trusting in Wednesday, embracing woe

there is something to be gained, static

and steady though surrounded by change.

Perhaps she is what she once was, still.

Past tomorrows becoming yesterdays, as they will.

Dreams built upon wishes are foundations in sand,

fleeting whispers of structure, crumbling

as their dreamers will.