No hope for Lucinda and the Secret Seven!

Its sort of looking like an Enid Blyton book today with Lucinda and the Famous Five or is it the Secret Seven heading to the RDS to hold a conversation with their “Monster Rally” participants.

The intrepid Lucinda will be busy as they talk about REFORM, economic, political and health reform.

Its been a fairly easy ride so far, with acres and acres of free advertising in the print media and broadcasts to the nation on TV and radio.

Its cheap for the media as well as they dont have to go looking for the news , they dont have to critically analyse politics or they have to do is dial Lucinda and her followers and let them talk.

This is a strange and a not so strange phenomenon, we all love a good row and this split in Fine Gael could be fun.

With an enormous majority in the Dail its kind of pointless talking to the backbenchers who support the government so stick a mike in front of the Secret Seven and hey presto we have a story!!!

But its only a filler as the REFORM ALLIANCE really has no substance longterm.

Lucinda Creighton was a very impressive Minister of State for European Affairs whose stand on the Abortion issue in 2013 was clear cogent and in all probability will be proven correct.

But its an enormous leap to move from this position into leading or fronting another Political Party based on Reform.

Reform is in itself an intangible and can mean what ever you want it to be!

The Irish Political landscape is littered by failed new parties. None have stood the test of time, none have had a long life span none have managed to replace FF FG and Labour.

Those three parties in themselves have changed and reshaped both themselves and their support base.

FG went into a decline after Berties last General Election win but bounced back after Enda promised to electrify them. Admittedly the country had to be bankrupted before the Irish people turned back to him.

FF is suffering the backlash now of that economic disaster with the people who partied with the Celtic Tiger now taking its revenge on them.

They still have support and while it might take two or three General Elections they will return.

Labour of course has its own story, there have been to many Labour parties in the past to mention here but this Democratic Left version could well be in power for a few more years yet.

There is no REFORM in Ireland and no appetite from the general public for it.

All they want is money in their pockets and to be able to duck and dive to see what more they can get and believe they are entitled to!

Thats why they elected Bertie three times, and thats why they wont move to far from the Parish Pump.

There is no hope for Lucinda , the Secret Seven and their Reform Alliance, its all a piece of fiction good to fill the media pages , the public wont support them but they are in the news till they fade away!

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Is it not time that we know just where all our charitable donations go?

So just how much has changed since the CRC board and their CEO have resigned? The need to reform the entire charity sector is still the ultimate goal but the frenzy and hysteria that surrounded the CRC issue seems to have created nothing else.

While our charity sector is an important player in a multiplicity of arenas stretching from health, famine, third world development, homelessness, soup kitchens etc. etc. delivering much needed services at home and abroad the funding of it is unclear and its regulation elusive.

The CRC was a headline act with the focus on top up payments a very clear single issue. The idea that these top ranking management were not asked to endure a salary reduction as most near everyone else has been over the past five years is a scandal but hides or masks the bigger issues in the charity sector.

The Irish state has a sad and bad history of allowing “charities” to deliver services which the state does not want to deliver nor take the responsibility for itself.  The industrial schools and magdalene laundries are two such examples where “services” were provided by these charities and payments made by the state.  A blind eye was consistently turned to finances, conditions, treatment and justice for individuals within these services once the state payment was handed over.  Other income streams were ignored within them and how this money was spent and on whom conveniently forgotten.

That same mentality exists today, this country is awash with charities, awash with money sloshing around and no control evident.

A mantra is chanted at us not to give cash, not to support people begging on our streets, we are asked to give to recognised charities, with a sub text that they will use it better!!

But do we know where this money actually goes, how is it spent, what percentage of our donations are used in the services that we want to support.????

Look at the bucket collectors, who shake those buckets under our noses, how much of that money gets into the Charities funds? How many payments are made to the “volunteers”, is it expenses only or a percentage of the collection? Flag sellers, lines sold for prizes, who gets the line money? Who wins the prizes? Look at the recycling units dotted around the country, with a charities name on its side. My belief is that many of these see private companies creaming off the revenue with a small proportion of the funds actually getting into the charities funds. Think of the standing order or Direct Debit that goes out of your account to charities every month, who does this pay? Who is employed in these charities? How are they appointed? Who controls the bank accounts? Who answers to the tax man? How many charities do we have operating? Does anybody control them? I suspect that millions and millions of euro are floating around in this industry, these are the questions that need to be answered.

The legacy of the CRC story should be that every charity should come under scrutiny, that we should have a transparent money flow, that the services provided should take priority but I fear that all of this will be lost as the soundbite and the headline takes precedent.

So please Shane Ross, John McGuinness et al you have the ability to do some lasting good here, please don’t misuse the power that you have.

We need to follow the money trail, we need to stop misusing the publics good nature and the state has to step up and take responsibility for the service itself and those charities delivering these services.

Days like this!

In the week that is in it, with the world looking at the life of Nelson Mandela and the glitterati climbing over themselves attending all the funeral events surrounding it, the mind drifts back into thoughtfulness with Van Morrisson’s song refusing to leave my head.

Mandela’s life was truly extraordinary from his birth to education, career, imprisonment and onto his election and later life. I am no expert on him, I don’t know the man at all, I have only looked at him from the distance, only ever heard of him through the media  but I feel that I have been privileged to have shared the same world as he has over the past years.

His strength of character in standing up for what he believed in his, his willingness to forgive even his strongest adversaries, the clarity of his views and thoughts have been an inspiration.

I have looked at his images, listened to his voice, seen those around him that have shared his life. Their grief and loss should not be forgotten, it is a personal loss known only to them. My loss is a public one.

My mind keeps going back to Winnie Mandela, a woman who was his voice when he was in prison, who kept the struggle for freedom on the world stage, who made his life her life’s work. Now a sometimes peripheral figure in his story and in the story of South Africa it is on days like this that her image and name returns, at least to me.

So the great and the good of the world can attend these services, but in truth I will be there as well, not in person but in my mind, he will be mourned by his people, my thoughts will be with them and for them.

Mandela was a movement and a spirit , this world is a lesser place without him but we can at least say we shared the same world as he did for a time, no matter how brief.

Days like this, indeed!

I wish it was all over!

Its only the 30th of November and Im already fed up of Christmas 2013! Stupid music, silly hats, tatty tinsel and that fat Santa guy!!!! I had to walk out of Tescos this week with them blasting out Fairytale of New York…….Get me out oh here. I wish it was all over!

Who will shout STOP?

Well who will shout STOP.

This Late Late Toy Show mania is just out of control. What looks like a crazed drug pusher RTE is pushing an idealized view of life, based on money, commercialisation and untruths all wrapped up as something which we all must have.

It started with Risin Time with Shay Byrne this morning to Morning Ireland and I am sure it continued on all day, peddling a Christmas Hysteria.

Somebody needs to shout STOP?

Can it be you?