Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category
Jesus, what does it take to get this guy to shut up? Resoundingly rejected by the electorate during the European elections, still under a cloud about the mysterious funding for that campaign and the first Lisbon vote, the guy lives and works in America, so what the fuck does he want coming to Ireland and spouting off about democracy?
His first interview on the second Lisbon vote, the very very first interview, before anyone else, before he even announced coming back, was to the Wall Street Journal. What does that tell us, people?
That Ganley’s only concern is business in the United States! And what’s good for US business? A weak and divided Europe, of course.
The Treaty in plain English
Just today, Ganley is again spouting any ould rubbish to scare people, banging on about a consolidated tax base.
That RUBBISH, people. The French and Germans have been trying that for years and years, and the Brits and Irish are always shooting it down. The EU does not, and will never have, any say in how the Irish goverment taxes it’s people and industries. Never.
Because the Irish corporate rate of 12% is hugely lower than the big EU countries, and that’s why all those American firms came here to set up – Intel, Google, EBay, Yahoo, etc. etc. etc.
If you ask someone who’s voting “No”, why, they’ll say “Oh, abortion..” or “Tax!” or “Defense”. But the Lisbon treaty doesn’t affect any of those issues at all. 100% BS. Rubbish. Lies. Misleading. Crap. The Lisbon treaty says that on the issues that concern the EU
- we’re changing how we vote
- in the future, we can change again without having to pass new treaties
It doesn’t give the EU new powers over ANYTHING that the EU doesn’t already have power in.
- Tax policy – no change
- Health policy – no change
- Defense policy – no change.
So what does he want?
Ganley wants a No vote because America doesn’t want a unified EU foreign policy. Doesn’t want a unified EU trade position. Doesn’t want a unified EU anything! Furthermore, Ireland outside the core EU will be more reliant on the US. We’ll need their investment more than ever. Good trade deals. Even less tax. More incentives.
Of course the US-based Ganley (with $7m contracts to the Pentagon) wants a No vote. It’ll be good for HIM.
But an absolute fucking disaster for the rest of us.
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The Minister of Finance, Brian Lenihan, has been spouting for ages that NAMA will pursue developers to the full extent of the law and their personal guarentees. People would be losing houses left, right and centre.
Of course, it’s not going to be anything like that at all. While you or me, if we owe money and can’t pay it back, will lose our homes, cars, posessions and anything else the bank can sell, people with good solicitors and money to pay for barristers won’t lose a fucking penny.
First of all, Lenihan has already provided an out for developers – the government can’t take a developers family home, even if it has been offered as security, if the wife didn’t “consent” to it. Note the verb. Not “Didn’t KNOW about it”. Didn’t “consent” to it. And as well all know, consent is a funny thing. You can do something without having ‘consented’ to it. Take statutory rape as a good example. A young person cannot consent to sex.
So now the door is open to good barristers;
“Your Honour, Mrs. X did sign that document, but she did so under pressure from her husband…”
“Your Honour, Mrs. X did not have independent legal advice and could not have consented…”
“Your Honour, Mrs. X will testify that she did not read the document and was assured by her husband…”
So on and so forth.
And really clever people will already have transferred all the assets they can to other parties. The Irish Indo have just published that Liam Carroll has transferred both his houses to his wife’s name way back in March. A transparent attempt to avoid personal responsability for his crazy deals, yes. Dodgy as fuck, yes. Legal? You bet your ass.
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Just back from an interview in Dublin, so I had some time to think on the bus. I came up with some pretty good ideas for the No Campaign against the Lisbon treaty. I reckon that, seeing as how they’re all such awe-inspiring arguments, they need a common slogan to tie them all together. I’m going for;
Then there’d be “I’m with Stupid” above said yokel, and the obligatory “Vote NO for Lisbon” underneath.
I think it’s a bloody great idea.
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Wow, the blogosphere is up in arms. Twitter is swamped with the traffic of the #picturegate hashtag. Blogs ranging from Irish Election to the Irish Times are up in arms. Not about the caricture – hey, the guys a politician, he should have learnt to take these things on the chin. No, about the embarrassingly spineless climbdown by RTE and the craven apology for covering the news.
I actually read the story the other day, and didn’t think twice about it. Ho ho, good one that, move on. It took Cowen, the big idiot, to unlease the Streisand effect on the whole thing.
So here’s me jumping on the bandwagon and maybe getting a few new readers for my blog. Or, in fact, a reader for my blog.
Anyway everyone seems to be posting this caricture of Cowen just to piss him off so here it is;
Pretty bloody ugly, but not as ugly as the huge fucking mess this idiot and his crew have gotten us into. If they’re not saving their developer buddies at Anglo, they’re propping up house prices by being a sub-prime lender. Or they’re taking medical cards off old people. Instead of taking on the unions in the public-service sector, this new budget is probably going to screw big-time people like me.
Fuck ‘em. Squirm, Cowen, squirm!
For the record, I have written an email to email@example.com;
I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about your apology
to the Taoiseach for a report which was entirely accurate and
newsworthy. While there are countries that have laws governing
disrespect to the state and its offices, their laws are not mirrored
here. I have lived in Italy, for example, and have seen firsthand how
corruption, cronyism and nepotism can thrive when the news outlets are
prevented by law from disrepecting or discrediting state institutions.
Our constitution guarantees freedom of speech and includes in this
freedom the right to satire the government
That this apology came in response to political pressure is all the
Sean M. O’Casaidhe
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So the Indo today has an article saying that the government has capped banking salaries at €500k, leading to cries of outrage from the banks, who are used to paying their (largely useless) managment salaries with 6 zeroes after them, instead of only 5.
“However, one senior banker warned the fact that the report calls for “adequate headroom” between the salaries of chief executives and subordinates “will likely lead to a mass exodus of senior management over the coming months”.”
And I say – bloody fantastic! As someone who has had experience dealing with banks and senior banking figures, I can admit that I was never impressed by Irish bankers on the whole, who are too old and too conservative and muddle along from bad decision to bad decision, making up the outragous losses they incur by screwing the Irish consumer, and thus turning in huge profits.
I mean, let’s be clear here – the issues facing Irish banks today aren’t the same one that have crippled American banks, by and large. It wasn’t the Irish coming up with fancy new ways of making money, of repackaging debt, finding new markets. No no no no no.
The Irish banks are screwed because they lent far too much money to Irish developer friends. You think that these big developers make detailed business plans and put up security and all that stuff, like a normal house-buyer? Do they fck!
What they actually do is meet their banking buddy on the 18-hole golf course in Portmarnock, the K-Club or Druids Glen, and come to a nice agreement and then the banking guy goes back and tells his managers what the deal is.
And then picks up millions of euro in a salary.
“Mass exodus” of senior management? I say – good riddance! Give the young guys a chance.
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So anyone who hasn’t realised, Sonia and I are getting married.
That’s the good news. The bad news is now I have to deal with Italian bureaucracy. After two years of successfully (largely) avoiding the organs of State, this is anything but a pleasant experience. For the most part. Yes, there are exceptions, generally speaking the actual clerks and officials are quite nice, but it’s the process that’s long, painful, tedious, and stressful. Especially for Sonia, as she’s having to take care of most of it. Oh the pleasures of being a non-citizen!
Firstly there’s the issue with the Nulla Osta. Italy requires this for non-citizens. Just to make sure I’m not already married in 18 different places. I’m not sure why they care, but they do.
Getting the Nulla Osta isn’t particularly hard, one just downloads the form, sends it off with €20, and the lovely people at the Department of Foreign Affairs take care of everything. Thanks Peggy!
I’ve already written about how extremely lucky we were to find a notaio who actually knew what the law was and what he was doing, and didn’t even charge us for it. It’s Sicilians like him who rescue the reputation of the island, when I’ve had a day full of people blocking paths and behaving badly. So again, thanks to Notaio Vigneri.
So off went the Nulla Osta application, and off went Sonia to talk to her parish priest, Padre Longitano, who promptly informed her that we were already late and he needed the Nulla Osta immediately. Bit of a communication lapse there, because the Irish embassy in Rome issue Nulla Osta one month in advance of the wedding, but usually the Italian guys need it 3 months in advance. I guess most Irish people get married in the Irish collegiate in Rome and thus have an expedited process or something.
Anyway a call to the Embassy soon sorted it out – I sent off the required email, asking them to hurry the process along and send it directly to me (instead of the priest). We even got a call-back confirming all the details before they printed it out and sent it. Great stuff – Sonia remains very impressed with the speed and professionalism of Irish bureaucrats! I said “I told you so!” and left it at that.
Anyway next stop, Padre Longitano again, who took all the forms (my long-form birth certificate, the Nulla Osta, the certificate from the Pre-Marriage course, an inspection of my passport and €10) and gave us two notices to hand out, one for the local priest where I live, and the other for the Commune.
The local priest was a doddle (the church is in fact a donated villa and very plush too, thank you…) and the Commune wasn’t much harder, despite this bitch who asked Sonia questions and them promptly jumped the queue. Anyway once I’d satisfied the clerks that I understood Italian, and that Co. Roscommon and Co. Galway were proper places of residence (here they use the city or commune) they where happy to proceed. And they promptly found that Galway was already registered on their system as a place of residence, as apparently there’s another Irish bloke here in Catania that married a Sicilian girl. Wow, I’m not all that unique so??
So now we have to go back to both the local church and the Commune on March 10th, get receipts to say that they’ve published the notices for the required two Sundays, and we can go to Padre Longitano and he’ll give us something to take to the Curia. And then on April 26th we can attend the Commune with witnesses to do the civil ceremony, and that’s that.
Except for the big white wedding of course.
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Dad’s last visit was a while ago, and this time he’s hoping to get himself a motorbike and tour around.
Unfortunately it’s not nearly the offer it’s made out to be, but one has to dig into the terms and conditions to see that, because apart from an asterisk on the offer, there’s no information actually on the website giving you the limits.
Which are these;
- A one-way flight every three months, or a return flight every six months. You personally have to be the passenger. So no free flight for my mum.
- You can’t fly on Fridays or Sundays! So no WEEKEND breaks for you!
- The flights you want might not be ‘available’ (to you, anyway).
- You’ll have to wait at least 1 month before applying for any free flights at all.
- You’ll have to book at least 14 days in advance.
- You’ll have to call up a special phone line at €0.33 a minute.
- You’ll have to book using the Ryanair Prepaid Card (and thus incur a fee of 75 cents, or 2.75% if you’re booking a flight from the UK)
- You won’t be able to book in any blackout periods (as determined by M-Cube themselves mind you, and there’s no list published on the website saying what those periods are, so they can make ‘em up as they go along!)
- If you get stuffed with this and go to court, you’ll be going to court in England!
So it’s normal Ryanair then. Like the lady who won ‘unlimited flights for life‘ which weren’t unlimited. After pleading that the case had no valid basis because Ryanair had in fact broken the Lotteries law (and you can’t sue someone for taking away an illegal benefit!), they had to fork out €67,500, plus and estimated €200,000 in costs.
Or the “free flight vouchers” that cost more to redeem than the flight did.
So no free flights for me. Or indeed, no Ryanair pre-paid card.
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I just lost a huge post on the Irish banking crisis by closing the ScribeFire tab without saving. And I can’t be bothered writing it again.
I’ll just re-itereate the major points. In the first half of 2008, AIB reported €1.28 in profit. BoI reported that profits fell to only €635 million.
And they want bailouts? How about starting to fire all the useless buggers who gave out crappy loans to dodgy developers, for a start?
Of course the goverment will pitch in with taxpayers money, no conditions attached. How can they say no to their golfing buddies, their doners, their future employers?
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Initially I was excited to read about Ryanair’s prepaid card. 4 free flights! As I’m looking at getting my family to Sicily for my upcoming wedding, that looked like a great idea. But of course one should always read the small print if one doesn’t want to end up being an ass.
And despite Sinead Finn boasting about how clear and simple the fees are, they still NOT ON THE WEBSITE. Oh no, that’d be too easy, instead you have to find your way to the terms and conditions page and download the PDFs, which I’ll list here;
- €85 per year membership fee
- Which automatically renews unless you tell Ryanair to cancel.
So God forbid that you should throw this card away and forget about, because in 12 months time, Ryanair are going to hit you for another €85.
- They need FOUR weeks notice to cancel the card…
…which is bullshit because all they have to do to disable a card is flip a flag on the user account. Active, or Inactive.
One of the things that jumped out at me in these is the phrase “A Load/Reload Fee shall apply for each load/reload that
you make”. This is because in the “Fees” section, it clearly states that there are no Top-Up fees, but it’s clear that they are slipping under the radar the fact that there ARE fees, they’re just not being applied RIGHT NOW. And in fact, the fees section clearly states “The Information contained in this table summarises key product features and is not intended to replace any terms and conditions” (my emphasis).
Other points include;
- €7.50 cancellation fee. So if you have any money on the card, and decide that it’s crap, they’ll charge you €7.50 for getting rid of it. If you don’t cancel it, of course they’ll charge you €85 for the next annual renewal. What a scam they’ve got you coming and going!
- €0.75 for every transaction in the Euro zone. So you have to PAY to use your OWN card (after you’re already paid to join, and then paid to put money on the card).
- 2.75% if you’re outside the Euro zone, like the UK. So that’s 27 cents for every tenner you spend.
- €3 for every ATM withdrawal! WTF is that all about? I didn’t think they were allowed to charge for Euro-Euro ATM transactions – ah, maybe because this isn’t a normal ATM card they can get away with ripping people off like that.
- Balance Inquiries are free – right? Er, no. A whopping €0.33 a minute to call. It’s not even PER CALL, it’s PER MINUTE! So God help you if you’re left on hold for a while… and why wouldn’t they leave you on hold, for 33 cent a minute.
- €7.50 for a new card, if your old one gets nicked. At least they’ll refund any dodgy transactions after you’ve reported it stolen – but then, they HAVE to. The least they could do is throw in a free card.
Another interesting point is disputes with retailers – they’re refusing to take the cardholders’ side in disputes, instead “you should settle these with the person you bought the goods or services from”. So forget it if you’re hoping to use this card to buy stuff online, because when that Hi-Fi arrives broken, you’re screwed.
Finally, this card is authorised by the Financial Ombusdman in LONDON. So if you don’t get satisfaction from the company, you can always get a cheap Ryanair flight to London to take a case
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After two years in Sicily, I finally decided to use the opportunity afforded by moving to Catania to sort myself out document-wise with the Italian authorities. ‘Cos I don’t work here in Sicily, I don’t pay tax, don’t need a bank account, etc. etc. I don’t claim social security, I have my own (Irish) health insurance, so there’s nothing I need from the state, and thus there’s no reason to deal with it.
Except for driving. OK, it’s a pain not driving here, because Sonia or her sister have to do all the driving, and it’s about time I got behind the wheel, but for that I need a licence, and for that, obviously, I need to be resident.
So here we are in Catania, need to get sorted anyway for getting married, so let’s sort out this residency thing once and for all, how hard can it be, I’m Irish.
So I pop down to the commune this morning before work – except that the commune won’t be open until 10:00 because they did pest control the place on Friday, left it locked up all weekend, and now the stench of the pesticides has made the offices unbearable. So they’ve opened all the windows and put back opening-hour until 10am.
OK, we grab a coffee and wait. And wait. Around rolls 10am. The guy shows up promptly and we’re first in the queue.
The alarms bells start like this – “Oh, he’s Irish… is Ireland in the EU?”
Is Ireland in the EU??? WTF? Uh, yep.
“OK, he’ll need to show €5,000 to prove self-sufficiency and health insurance.”
No problem, I can get that together in no time. So just need a statement from my Irish bank?
“No no, needs to be in an Italian bank – we’re in Italy here you know!”
So I’ll just deposit the money in Sonia’s account.
“No no, needs to be YOUR bank account as you’re not related to her.”
So I need to open an Italian bank account? For which I need a codice fiscale?
“I don’t know.”
No of course not, he doesn’t work in a bank – however, he is presumably Italian and presumably does have a bank account and presumably could say, in general, if in general one needs a codice fiscale for a bank account. But that’s not his “competency” so he won’t offer any opinion on the matter. Lascia stare, as they say.
But I need a codice fiscale for an account. And I need residency to get a codice fiscale?
Again, no opinion.
So here’s the catch-22 – to get residency, I need to have €5k in an Italian bank account in my name, for which I need a codice-fiscale, for which I need residency…
OK, let’s go and talk to the people at the Questura, the police headquarters, who deal with immigration matters.
“He’s Irish? Is Ireland in the EU?”
After reassuring the sceptical cops that Ireland is in fact a fully-paid-up member of the EU, and not some African backwater, they assure me that if I’m in the EU I have the complete right to live wherever the hell I want and stop bothering them, can’t I see that there’s a huge queue of people who actually need to register?
I decide that no-one has a clue what the hell they’re talking about (a common theme in bureaucracies worldwide) and look up the info on the internet.
The EU directive on the right of residence for more than 3 months for “other EU citizins” dictates that one must have valid health insurance and be able to prove self sufficiency, stating expressly that no state is allowed to set a defined amount but much judge each application on it’s merits.
Which the Italians have intepreted as meaning €5,000, because obviously EU law only applies to Italy when it doesn’t let dirty unemployed furriners into the place.
So now that we’ve seen what the rules are, we’re gonna figure out who to circumvent them.
And for your information, when Sonia came to Ireland, the bureaucracy consisted of;
a) going to correct Social Services office
b) waiting 45 minutes
c) filling out a form
d) guy at counter says “Oh you’re Italian? (checks list taped to window) OK for Italy I need to see a carte identita and a codice-fiscale. OK… *photocopy whirr, stamp stamp scribble* all done you’ll get your PPS in about 3 days, max a week, if you don’t get it you can call this number and they’ll tell you what it is over the phone. NEXT!”
And I thought THAT was painful! :*
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