Still live and kicking

Slow posting around here of late because we’ve just been gunged with data from two or three sources. We’re processing it at the minute and will post as soon as we can. Sit tight. We’re a duck. All the effort going on where you can’t see it. A journalistic duck.

In the meantime, I’m outsourcing comment to Ireland After Nama.

Firstly, Delphine Ancien

The comment came as a reply to Richard Crowley asking about future government’s borrowing and the high level of (over 7% at the moment, compared to average levels of 2 to 4% across Europe). Brian Lenihan attempted to dismiss the question as he said something like “we have enough in the government’s coffers to keep the country going until the middle of next year, so no need to borrow”. Until the middle of next year? Wow, phew, I feel much better now, I thought we were about to run out of money, but we have until the middle of next year.

The presenter insisted with his question though, and mentioned that sure the government was going to need to borrow again around February-March, because we will need money (you know, to keep the country running after the middle of next year), and asked something along the lines of “what will you do if the interest rates remained as high?”, insisting on the fact that they may be as high as 8% (and, as admitted by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, they are not foreseen to be lower than 6.4% in 2011).

That’s when Brian Lenihan replied: “I’m not going to be tied down with numbers”. (I know, I’ve written down that quote several times already, but I just can’t get over it…. A Minister for Finance in charge of the budget who says that he is not going to be tied down with numbers?!? Americans would add something like ‘WTF?!?’ here – not meaning to be rude, but I feel that expletive sounds about right here, I reckon that’s how many people would feel hearing that).

Secondly, Mary Gilmartin on the cost of education.

And lastly, Cian O’Callaghan on budgetary madness.

FOOTNOTE: Cathal Furey, a friend of mine, shot the excellent footage below of the student march during the week. Gardai clearly over-reacted, possibly in an illegal manner. They behaved as if their job was to exact revenge for protesters’ behaviour and damage instead remaining above and upholding the law while regaining order. They acted like the biggest bullies in the playground when they should’ve been the school principal.

Anyway, it’s strange how none of the media coverage mentioned the presence of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement. They’re clearly some of the ring leaders. Watch for the black nylon hooded jackets with the small green emblems on the chest and shoulders (see image).

You can see USI members attempting to stop clashes at certain points, but those in 32CSM jackets ignore them. They’ve been the ones hijacking protests of late. Some of their members can be seen ‘bustling’ with Gardai in the student march videos and they were – from those I could identify, and you get to know the faces from covering these – the main (only?) group to clash with Gardai at the second ‘storming of the Dáil’ during the summer.

I wondered what their policy was on funding third level education. I found this presser from Thursday…

The march on Wednesday was to show not only the anger that exists amongst students, already struggling in many cases to make ends meet, but also the frustration amongst activists with their representatives in the USI.

Our members joined the independent left wing bloc at the invite of Free Education for Everyone and Students in Solidarity. These students felt like us that a march without action would achieve little and that self serving speeches made by USI representatives with close links to Fianna Fail were not the true voice of the student movement. It was because of this discontent that students bravely broke away in large numbers from the main march to march to the gates of Leinster House to express their anger. The 32csm, eirigi, and the SWP amongst others joined the Students in Solidarity rather than in any attempt to hijack the protest. The reality is that the independent student bloc was organised by and for students who wished to have their voices heard.

They go on to blame the Gardai and… err… USI for the violence that occurred. The USI, 32CSM claim, by their lack of support for “the action” ensured that students “would not have sufficient numbers to withstand the attacks [from Gardai].”

I’ve no idea who’s behind Free Education for Everyone or Students in Solidarity. Any guesses? Most USI officials I recognise I know have close links to Labour… I’d struggle to point out one with an FF membership card. Anyone, names?

Anyway, just thought it strange that there was mention of SWP and Eirigi in the media while I saw nothing on this group.

Back to the data and all that jazz soon.

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