Citizen Journalism Ireland: Published articles on different topics 2010 year. Revised 2020. 10 headings 4,700 words Tranche (B)

No. 1

March 3rd, 2010

NAMA: EU Driectives Public Tenders Article
NAMA sanctioned by EU to Bacon and the surplus of hotel beds to the people?

High Rents to vacant units.


What can ordinary people do to halt the Recession train speeding out of control and into a tunnel?

Look and see and listen and hear and think is a good start.

An example: Young architects are focusing on the design of Green Property but I ask why the design and not the redesign of the much negelected Georgian and Victorian houses that form part of the wealth of this country. Yes wealth. The doorways promote tourism but the registered owners have significant asset value as many of these properties are owned for decades and excessive rents based on Celtic Tiger going back years as well as expenses that is if they declare their property income in their tax returns each year.

How do we promote community in these hardened times.? We could start by asking people to communicate at a local level and utilising the internet to share ideas and knowledge.

The Italian restaurant in Dawson Street called Carlucci’s took the ‘bull by the horns’ and one day just announced they had closed because the rent was too high and they precipitated reaction. I asked the girl behind the counter when it re-opened and she said yes the landlord responded and reduced the rent.
This is common sense.

Tourists focus on Grafton Street so it is really important that shops remain open and doing business. All must be complicit in this. They may buy cheaper products and sell less but if this is the case then the landlord must charge less rent. Well done to the media coverage on the shopowners – the Grafton Street Tenants Association. They are making a stand. It seems incredible now that the Celtic Tiger boom is over that old legislation prevents landlords’ contracts reducing the rent. The only way forward is to promote rent reduction and effective management at community level. This avoids going out of business and strikes because it means people are thinking about the reality and while on their feet!

We don’t need urban abandonment. We need prosperity, growth, community enhancement, thinking and knowledge.

In the days of the last major recession in the early 1980’s, builders as they were known then and mainly in the local authority market, went to the wall monthly. Local Authority contracts became less and less and if awarded a contract the builders had to provide an insurance Bond and at that time there was only one provider – the Insurance Corporation of Ireland. If you could not get the Bond then you did not win the public tender. Competition was vicious at that time. and so many big builders at that time went bankrupt or just left the market.

Have times changed? This last boom has related not so much to public tenders but to NRA EU related contracts and private development. The boom has halted and we are left with many half completed buildings.

The EU is the new dimension here from the 1980’s. We are now part of the Euro and the ECB has an impact in the whole governance of this country. We are all talking about NAMA and the fact that it has rescued the Greedy Developers but there is a significant change (learned perhaps) from the 1980’s.

Today’s Independent has an interesting heading:

NAMA Builders can still apply for State Contracts. Now here is a change. This is what we are not hearing from the Economists. Unlike in the 1980’s when builders went to the wall, there is a proviso incorporated via NAMA and the EU directives that protect the vehicle structure in what can be called a practical way. The EU directive has provided a kind of canary in a mine symbolism. If the bird ain’t singing then there is no oxygen. So yes the developers have been given some oxygen re. public service contracts and the assumption is that there may be plenty of these since they were not the main focus of the last recession.

The interesting point here is that if the civil service are the facilitators of these contracts ….. could they be responsible for cutting of the supply of oxygen …. by not understanding market forces?

Look out where you work. If you know a landlord owns a number of properties along a street it might just be worth approaching him as a group. If he has held the properties since the 1950’s then he ought to feel ashamed not to reduce the rent.

The urban abandonment links are really interesting. They highlight what we need to prevent. Who wants to always follow the herd of sheep?

Reply:

Urban abandonments giving rise to moral abandonments

 by Aine Collins – Our Heritage Wed March 03, 2010 15:58

yes an interesting perspective but the reality is a lot harsher than you portray. What about the grave yard hotels that are to be found in every county of Ireland? What about the supposed risk takers and the planners who failed to realistically look at the development plans for the too numerous hotels presently in Ireland? Who are the losers? Do we actually know?

Our commercial courts are full.

Yet our people who have the cash in the banks that have the guarantee clause until next September are afraid to spend!!!! Our elderly have the time and yet these are the people afraid to spend. What can we do to change their minds and activate spending in our economy.

Let us not be eaten up by moral abanndonment. We can make our Island of Ireland become a driver and a motivator again.

moral ebandonment

nama householder

reprieve

==========================

No. 2
March 9th, 2010
October to March and the numbers who are unemployed are growing rapidly

Media Ethics Vision and Ideas (free)


We need jobs and yet our public services feel they have been unjustly targetted for extra taxes. Will strikes provide the answer? What about the unemployed and in particular our young people who are leaving school, college and universities with little or no option but to emigrate?

There are options that did not exist in the 1980’s recession. We have the internet, we have even won an Oscar for Avatar. Well done to this young team.

But for those who are out there trying to find a job – are there any options?

To gain experience to enhance your CV.  You can engage in Pro Bono work (for the good of or for the altruistic temperament of person). People often associate pro bono work with lawyers but its scope is now far wider. It involves advertising agencies and professional service firms. The aim is for the firm to donate a member of staff with a particular expertise for free. Now this is a good idea. It is similar to what transition year is supposed to be about. Likewise a person can target a market and negotiate a period of pro bono time based on experience gathering model.

Pro bono work can accentuate social networking, introducing people to ideas, suggestions, novelties, advice without the need for an upfront monetary payment. It helps people establish business/social relationships. It helps people to exchange ideas and target incubator units that may explore ideas to potential stage.

Negative thinking is the real enemy of the present downturn in the economy. Media coverage tends to be totally focused on the disruption but each invidivual has the power to make some change, maybe not a significant change but a change.

Pat Kenny spoke about Critical Analysis last night and no matter what Degree you attain, what you learn to do is analyse the data, look to the positives and the negatives and then make a judgement.

Take for example The Mahon Tribunal. Why have we not reached a conclusion? Why are Barristers earning so much money researching corruption for so many years? This is an example of where people have become passive resistent. People need to take a stand to such abuses of Power by members of the legal profession, government, the judiciary. The Rule of Law surely is being bastardised.

When is this going to sto? 18 barristers have shared euros 3.7 million in fees since the last sitting i.e. December 2008.

I wish they could learn about real pro bono work instead of wasting our valuable time trying to discover if ex. Taoisigh accepted corrupt payments….When does it stop?

If our services going on strike – what about our unemployed lending a hand saying in public psychiatric hospitals, after all the patients in these hospitals deserve a little extra and don’t deserve to be penalised by staff being on strike. Add to this HSE and care for foster children. The scandals are too many and people are responsible.

Michelle Clarke

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No. 3
16th March 2010
Lack of media coverage:  Brain Awareness Week 2010

NAI is the umbrella for people with neurological conditions.  I note you have sponsored this foundation. 

Perhaps this explains why the ordinary person with ABI is discounted while Business/Professions prevail in the marketing of neurological conditions.

Shame on you for removing the human being impact and potential contribution.

I have written for years now trying to promote advocacy and support for people with brain injury.  By chance I noticed that this was Brain Awareness Week and have been trying most of the week to see why it is not gaining the necessary media coverage i.e except for the elites!  

Research in Ireland must change and allow for those of us with ABI to participate in our so often neglected diagnosis.  I have developed chronic fatigue from ABI yet where is the acknowledgement other than using the computer to access worldwide links re. the condition.  But then there is little money to be made from long term conditions like chronic fatigue and the possible links it has to traumatic brain injury outcomes.

Again I am very disappointed at the lack of media coverage.  My partners nephew sustained TBI in an RTA in Italy; while I sustained it from a horse riding accident in Zimbabwe – why exclude us?

Reading science magazines (hope builders) I came across a piece about a Harvard researcher (medical).  It was about stroke victims…and singing.  I had asphasia and it clicked with me when my partner told me his nephew pre accident had a superb voice…I sent the article to his sister or my partner did, to be more correct.  This is where the ‘affected’ can participate.

Michelle Clarke

===========================

No. 4

25th March, 2010

 

 

A grand plan for a Grand Theatre (History related with a scientific approach)

Electric canal barge Grand Canal Theatre


Boomtime Ireland of the 1960’s gave way the recession in the late 1970’s when too many builders ‘went to the wall’ and many were heard of no more. Joe Duffy’s show today indicated one major change – those thinking of suicide as the route out of desperation have charities like Console to contact now. Perhaps I am a little cynical but back in the 1970’s the Samaritans were there, there was the secrecy code of doctors, priests and disaster just had to be faced. Realistically, things were a lot worse then.

We need Hope. We need to encourage those people who are for their own personal reasons ‘hiding’ little snatches of money be it Euro, Stg, US$ or even the old IR£ to start spending. Buy Irish, spend local and while you are doing it, think of those who have taken the risk to start up a business and support them, their community, their family and then maybe we can start the climb back to prosperity.

When the going gets tough the tough get going and when better than now to urge people to move forward. Well done to the like of Michael O’Leary, Ryanair and to his “Horse” that won in Cheltenham, he pays his taxes in Ireland and he promotes tourism with motivation, drive, innovation and that can only be admired. We need his humour and get up and go to deal with this crisis.

P.C. Worlde Michelle Clarke Doc Martin Phoenix (contributors to citizen journalism site) you have created an appealing invitation to explore our city in Dublin. I want to add this new exploration: Yes, somebody inspite of the recesssion is willing to take a risk:-

The Grand Canal Theatre is open and there will be an electric canal barge which will have a kitchen and seating for as many as 48 people. It is called the MV Cadhla and its focus is tourists and theatre goers. Just imagine it will provide tours from Charlemont Luas station, near Ranelagh village, to the new Grand Canal Theater using the Grand Canal which was built by the Guinness Brewery.

What is interesting about this barge which cost euros 1 m to build – it is powered by batteries that cost euros 100,000 but they are charged over night and the carbon emissions are recorded. This is thinking ahead and we need more of this and it is people at ground level who can inspire. This is not a time to bring the country to its knees with strikes, we did this in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the Wage Agreements.

We need people to spend; to spoil themselves and go to the theater, go to the pub, interact, support those who are genuinely in need. Did anybody out there know that you can be sentenced to prison for begging. Yes you can. A man who sleeps outside told me he had been imprisoned for 3 months for begging. Yet what a paradox. People like this man who receives money keeps it in circulation whereas others still don’t know what to do with their deposits in Anglo, B of Ire, AIB, when the Guarantee ends in September 2010. How bizarre – you would think one would have learnt the lesson from the shares price reductions (E 30 to 1 odd)

2020:  COVID-19 like a thief in the night has stolen so much of our culture and small to medium businesses.  What will be the new normal?  We urgently need Visionaries to make the necessary changes so that we can once more build back our wounded economy destroyed by a Virus – coronavirus COVID-19 which started in Wujan, China, in December 2019.  It is pandemic so each country suffers.  The environment could be a benefactor because already the lack of emissions following the closure of the airports and quarantines preventing transport have shown massive reductions.  We can learn from this.  Nobody would ever have thought that the world over planes would be just parked up on runways and nobody would be travelling.

Michelle Clarke
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No. 5
31st March, 2010
Where to now?

Swan Lake

The Grand Canal Theatre sure needed its first performance to be Swan Lake – we need imagination, vision and inspiration.

Ireland Inc as distinct from the Island of Ireland appears to have ‘hit rock bottom’. We read the headlines today and all of us are harkening to the words Embattled Bank makes history with euros 12.7 bn loss. Personally, I wonder what this equates to in Ir£ or Stg given that control of currency rates was a core power to the Regulator pre Ireland being embraced by the Euro currency.

Anglo Irish Bank appears to be the real demonic child and Irish Nationwide whereas the AIB and Bank of Ireland appear to have been bound by a glimmer of the moral and ethical compass.

The big question is: Will we take the bold decision re. Anglo Irish Bank and prior to September (guarantee option) and let it just go to the wall or will we nurture it back to health under the brinkmanship of Alan Dukes and a new management team. This time, the pledge by Government is that a emboldened Regulatory team will be watchful, as will be the case, with the ECB and no doubt the IMF. The Regulators are being challenged also in the UK and for the first time people are being imprisoned for engaging in insider dealing. It is wait and watch for all bankers, developers, solicitors who have breached the ethical/moral code in search of wealth, power, pension, position/status.

We are a Nation in a state of Shock but soon we will have to release the anger at how a contingent of so called educated, professional people, gambled away our gains from a boom period of nearly 15 years.

We the people will not forget the names of Sean FitzPatrick, David Drumm and William McAteer – they will go down in history and their obituaries will not be under their control. Their replacements in Anglo Irish Bank are Maarten van Eden as Anglo Chief Financial Officer and Mike Aynsley, Anglo Chief Executive so we must take note of these names and follow their progress for Hope in the midst of a financial abyss.

Quoted in Independent today – some words of experience perhaps or maybe wisdom.

Maarten van Eden

‘If you get lucky for a long period you start to think the rules don’t apply to you. These guys thought they could walk on water’

‘the facts are that Ireland had a 15 year (property) bull run and very basic facts of life were forgotten’

‘They weren’t even SMART THEY WERE LUCKY’

Mike Aynsley Anglo Chief Executive

‘We have never seen anything like this’

‘There were severe, absolutely unacceptable shortcomings in the corporate governance standards in this organisation’

Michelle Clarke

================================

No. 6

22nd April, 2010

To:  Dermot Lacey

Broad Umbrella Social Democrat


Dermot:  I agree with your comments and I am glad to see you interacting with the citizen journalism site again.

Activists inspire others and in Ireland there is no shortage of activists from one decade to another and to another.

Today, the news is really bad for Ireland. The figures are running fast towards a debt of over 100 BILLION EUROS. The time has come to embrace ideas, vision, change, experience and arrive at alternative to being linked to the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) and Iceland; the reality is we are linked in the worst way possible. We have hit polarities in a decade and that is success in the context of the EU to absolute failure as being in the worst financial straits in the EU.

Will Mr. Matthew Elderfield appointed to the Central Bank tackle our problems; he has 5 years to make the next notch up in his career ambition league. He is a Cambridge graduate with experience in Bermuda no less. So let’s see how he approaches the Banks and deals with them. This man has the experience and it is worth entering his name on Google and getting his CV.

Trade Unions are soft. They were made soft by the Govt of the Celtic Tiger. People and young people particularly need to review just how much they are paid – it is well over the euros 100,000. Let us all have a turn at being activists but like Kathleen from Kilbarrack on Vincent Browne last night – give support to the community groups that cost little and do lots for the people on the ground.

 

Michelle Clarke

===================

No.7
23rd May, 2010
Reply to article published in Science News re Brocas

Tina.  I just read your most interesting article.  As a person with ABI following a horse riding accident in 1993 in Zimbabwe, I have spent years trying to grasp the complications that ensued following the accident.  I live in the Now – Groundhog day and if you have seen the film Memento I live within the context of the limitations imposed upon my physical, mental, social and emotional being the day I had the accident.

I am delighted that the medical profession are opening up to include ‘the patient’ and their view.  My experience with hindsight suggests that the neurosurgeon who saved my life in Zimbabwe (the only one in the country – a man in his 60’s) was to encourage you to just adapt and not to dwell on your situation.  I had left hospital and weeks on I realised that my balance was catastrophic, I was deaf in one ear (subsequently a ENT consultant in Zimbabwe confirmed it), I had no smell, vision problems and aphasia.  Now back to the point about aphasia.

Medicine is shy in discussing the real impact of brain injury and the perservance required by the patient and the inherent frustration when you can’t carry out tasks, speak words or sentences.  The complications are simple.  Two wise nuns in Zimbabwe tried to advise me ‘Rest Restores’ but I kept trying and failing.  I attended a speech therapist, strangely she was Irish and doing voluntary work in Zimbabwe.  We tried hard to develop techniques but time is the healer here.  Broca’s takes me back a year of which I have scant memory.  ABI is often a friend of the old Black Dog and yes I have the bipolar aspect.  This involves lots of medications and periods in hospital with ECT.  For me this confirms my view that doctors 20 years ago appeared abrupt and non committal in their diagnosis.  What has changed in Ireland, I ask?.  Please allow our Irish medical profession access to the views of the sufferer and don’t make the scientific ethical morals so rigid that you exclude the potential of the patient to contribute to their own recovery.

Back to broca.  Last year my health took a nose dive inspite of the contant care of my partner and minder.  I became lithium poisoned and ended up in Tallaght Hospital Accident and Emergency.  I can vaguely recall the horrors of the paranoia but of equal significance was the impact of aphasia re-occurring almost 20 years later and the pent up frustration and abject fear that I could not influence the myriad of doctors, consultants, Irish or Foreign whose task it was to assess my diagnosis.  ABI must be equally frustrating for them because processing is one issue, while sequencing events is another.  What I recall is that one young man had the same name as my partner and for some reason, he probed further.  He was enthusiastic and reminded me of my dad who also was a doctor.  In the trauma I managed as I thought to write it out so I would remember it (alas when I sought my notes they were illegible, a scrawl).  This doctor reported to his consultant and a team of young doctors sat around my bed as the Consultant asked questions.  I came across this article ‘Broca’ the other day and enough of a sequence to tell me this was the diagnosis given at that time.

To understand, communication is imperative.  I knew because of the ABI that I was aphasic but I could not get the message across.  It took the chance coincidence of the doctor having the same name as my partner and out of that the patience to give rise to understanding and a few extra tests i.e. the ones that neuro psychologists carry out.

All I can say is tap talent at all costs and the brain is facinating even to the person who is living with ABI.

Addendum:  ABI and complications from Epilepsy, MS, Depression, and the impact of an onset of Chronic Fatigue provides a real challenge to the medical profession to make provision for a centre of excellence on the Island of Ireland.

Michelle Clarke
=================================
No. 9
28th June, 2010
Emigrant of the 1980’s takes a stroll up the Quays in Dublin

 

Yes there is change but with it there is a new seediness about this area of Dublin. I heard Brian Lucey from Trinity speak of a kind of moral bankruptcy that forms part of the new post Celtic Tiger Ireland and if it applies to our health system in such a barbaric way, it also applies to our city and by that I mean O’Connell Street. Yes the Spire is there but what happened to that “Floosy in the Jacuzzi” and the Dublin wit that went with it.

Yes there is the Luas but why do the Quays still look as if the were bombed in World War II. I suppose there are those tax beneficial apartments to replace the older buildings but there is no heart in the city now.

The splendid Four Courts looks cold and abandoned now that the new Courts are open at the Phoenix Park location.

Where is Tourism? There are many famous trials that were held in these courts and would it not be appropriate to have mock trials and encourage young people in the area (who may be destined to a path of crime) to explore another angle…the angle of learning.

On this subject yes learning and knowledge. I have entered one of the only computer shops on the Quays and notice that broadband is so terribly slow in this country. Why? Eircom etc. where is the efficiency? This is a company that has had almost ten take overs in management in as many years and yet the service is pathetic.

Emigrant thinking of returning

 

Michelle Clarke

==========================

No. 10

August 17th, 2010

 

Published Infowars Ireland:  Irish Dental Association:  Appointment of chief dental health officer (a post vacant for 7 years) as published Irish Times 17th August 2010

Meanwhile, president of the Irish Dental Association (IDA), Dr Billy Davis, said the appointment of a chief dental health officer (a post now vacant for seven years) “to review and update government dental health policies would have avoided the current confusion on the provision of services to children”.

The post of Chief Dental Health Officer (a post now vacant for 7 years).  This is a disgrace.  Why such discrimination?  Why is this post not filled?  Is there something particularly unappealing i.e. as distinct from the salary and perks that makes this post a no go area for dentists?  Where is the motivation?

The medical profession and the dental profession in Ireland have too much control over the Supply and Demand economic equation.  Cecil Rhodes was the forerunner with the 1 carat diamond who recognised the power of economics and supply and demand.  The outcome of course is vast sums of wealth for a few and a promotion of a two tier society.

We are paying too much and these professionals are demanding too much.  We only need listen to people discuss their trips to Europe and to the North of Ireland  to get their teeth in order for a considerably lesser ‘price’.  The reaction we get from the dentists here to this competition is nothing other than bleeting.

Where is the sense of morality?  What happened to medicine and the promotion of health, compassion and empowerment.  Living in England 20 years ago, I found the NHS service worked.

The vulnerable are the people who are suffering.  If you look to your local health clinic and watch the people who attend, people attending the psychaitric units, getting bloods for long term neurological conditions etc, people and particularly young people with addiction problems, and children – why are we so complacent in what ought to be a socially democratic republic that we allow these professions to visibly alter the two tiers of such a fast becoming unequal society?

Vincent Browne has recommended a book called The Spirit Level.  It talks about societies that focus on equalities and how this lessens inequalities.  People need to speak up not just for themselves but for those who cannot i.e. those with psychiatric problems, those with drug addictions, those affected by poverty, children, those with conditions like cystic fibrosis.  We do not need to be shelved for some future alternative…..

We need to put in place some form of Universal Health cover.  We can piggy back on the research of our EU cohorts.  The “mouth” is about what appears to others, it is also one of the main indicators of the state of health of a person.  There was a time when a visit to a surgery always involved a blood pressure check, a brown stick to hold down the tongue for the doctor to review the mouth…..have we become lazy and in particular relating to primary health care’?

Quotation Peter Singer (1946……) Australian philosopher and ethicist

An ethical approach to life does not forbid having fun and enjoying food and wine (i.e. priorities of our medical professions by virtue of high salaries, pensions, private medicine and perks), but it changes our sense of priorities’

Michelle Clarke

==============================

About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for Irishhealth.com 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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