Thursday 20 October 2016

What gives useless UN the right to lecture us?

Published 15/05/2016 | 02:30

Not good enough: Ireland was hauled over the coals this week for being a terrible country. Some neck...
Not good enough: Ireland was hauled over the coals this week for being a terrible country. Some neck...

With the year that's in it, there has been an awful lot of nonsense spouted about the fight for Irish freedom.

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According to the Official Ireland narrative, we're a people who were prepared to lay down their lives for liberty, but history has shown that we simply fought for the right to pick our own masters - not so much self-inflicted slavery, more a voluntary intellectual servitude.

If Perfidious Albion was our original unwelcome oppressor, the Church was handed that role with a ribbon wrapped around it. Now that we have managed to break that clerical stranglehold, we have simply gone and found another global organisation to tell us what to do - the UN.

There was something thoroughly depressing about the sight of this country being hauled over the coals in Geneva by the United Nations Human Rights Council this week.

We haven't been doing enough to recognise Traveller ethnicity, we were told. We need to do more about improving educational inclusivity for kids of from non-religious families.

And, later in the week, there was a stern talking to from the UN about our attitude towards abortion, with our inspirational Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald spending much of Thursday being admonished by members of the HRC about what a terrible country we are.

In my more fevered dreams, I imagine Fitzgerald staring down her UN inquisitors, informing them that the largest and most corrupt bureaucracy in history has no moral authority over her country and snarling "Fitzy out" before dropping her mic and flouncing out of the star chamber.

Sadly, she is far too well bred for such behaviour, no matter how justified it would be. Instead, like countless Irish politicians before her, her job was to simper and try to reassure our new foreign overlords that we're doing our best, really, but we're only a small country and...yadda, yadda, yadda. You've heard it all before, we all know the drill.

The four countries who were most concerned about our abortion laws were Germany, the Czech Republic, Netherlands and Norway.

That's a shame, because we could have faced questions from other delightful nations on the council, such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria, The United Arab Emirates and Nigeria. Oh, what fun. The laws we have on abortion, the laws we have on any issue, are our business and none of the concern of a country like Germany which, for the third time in a century, is doing its level best to destroy this continent.

Frankly, the Germans should be grovelling to their neighbours, not the other way around.

Moral authority aside, there is a more pressing issue and one which says more about us than it does about them.

Why do we even bother paying attention to this organisation when we should actually be arguing for its abolition?

The UN has long ceased to be anything other than a force for evil in this world. Inefficient, cynical and corrupt, even the most grotesque regimes are given a voice.

Why should any civilised country pay any attention to such a vile, self-serving and incompetent body?

It doesn't mater whether you agree with the positions taken by the UN panel or not, because either we are a sovereign nation or we're not. Fitzgerald met this bunch of useless worthies to plead her case, but the only people she has to answer to is us, the voters.

Irish quangos like the UN because it is itself one vast quango, spouting nonsense and sound-bites.

The next time that we're summoned before them, the relevant politician should tell them to get stuffed.

Ah, we can but dream.

I love dogs but some breeds do need to be muzzled

As regular readers may know, I'm a dog-lover. That's hardly a brave assertion - after all, people who don't like dogs are obviously suffering from some serious personality defect and shouldn't be trusted on any issue.

But I've found myself rather conflicted by the latest canine conundrum.

Meath councillor Alan Tobin issued a list of 10 'dangerous' breeds, such as Staffies and Rottweilers, which he believes should not be family pets, and also called for them to be muzzled when out in public.

He's dead wrong on the first point, but his second may have some merit. Before outraged dog owners start to get their pitchforks ready, let me stress again - I'm a dog-lover and I've met far too many of these so-called 'dangerous' dogs who are kind, loving and affectionate to their human pack to swallow the scare stories.

In fact, the bigger the dog, the better they often are with children. The author and child-protection advocate Andrew Vachss, for instance, often uses large, supposedly 'dangerous' dogs as therapy animals for abused kids who no longer trust humans.

But that doesn't change the reality that some of these dogs, even those from the most loving human families, have the potential to do serious damage, even if they don't mean to.

I'm happy to pat a Rottweiler if I'm on my own, but if I'm walking my own small dog, I always relax a little more when I see dogs of that size wearing a muzzle.

If anything, this is a matter of dog protection as much as providing safety for people. Any dog, no matter how placid, can snap, and who wants their beloved family pooch put down because it nipped someone?


I used to have a semi-serious theory that,  actually, Andy Warhol was a visionary, rather than a sublimely gifted chancer.

His line about everyone being famous for 15 minutes was uttered in jest but is rapidly becoming a reality (show).

We’ve now artificially constructed a culture where fame is a commodity to be chased, rather than a by-product of some proper achievement that might, you know, actually mean something.

Even worse, we may reached the stage where everyone already thinks they’re famous.

Stars of their own Twitter and Instagram feeds, I’m convinced some people walk around with a special theme tune playing in their head while they provide their own voice over.

So I feel doubly sorry for the First Dates contestant who has had their life ruined by the show. Well, I say ruined. I mean mildly irked. But such is the lack of perspective these day, there’s no difference.

A misleading caption appeared at the end of this week’s show and one of the daters was horrified that people may have thought she liked her date.

That’s TV, baby. Or is it? Because barely had the credits rolled before she was furiously demanding “a public apology, asap”.

With an attitude like that, I know the show she should be on: Who Do You Think You Are?

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