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Author Archives: Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and tweeter, yet still finds himself underemployed. Go figure.

Jaw Jaw

Two days ago, echoing a recurring theme from the West Wing, I joked about how I’d been avoiding the R Word. It seems the Taoiseach has picked up the same theme, and is equally determined to avoid using the word recession. Unfortunately, the word he chose to use to use instead is not reassuring. Somehow, […]

Ne’er The Twain

It’s said you can prove anything with statistics. Perhaps. But you can certainly make any argument by carefully selecting which statistics to cite. On Monday for instance, an EU survey showed Ireland still lags in internet access, with one in three still using low-speed dial-up modems. The survey confirms computer ownership and internet access are […]

The Golden Years

For a week now, I’ve been avoiding the R word. In case you missed it, the ESRI announced that the Celtic Tiger was no more, and we were in a recession. The Irish news media responded with something that looked suspiciously like nostalgia for the eighties, when we were a nation of emigrants instead of […]

Biting The Hand

I took the weekend off, as you might have noticed, so 200 Words hasn’t been updated since Friday. Instead, I enjoyed the fine weather in Donegal. (Stop laughing at the back, it hardly rained at all…) This is one of the most anti-European of counties, if one is to judge by one interpretation of the […]


‘The undetermined and unindicated status of authors and publishers of weblogs causes uncertainties regarding impartiality, reliability, source protection, applicability of ethical codes and the assignment of liability in the event of lawsuits,’ according to a draft report by MEP Marianne Mikko. The MEP wants ‘clarification of the legal status of different categories of weblog authors […]

Focal Nua

Words are interesting. New words in particular have always fascinated me. Not just new words for new things (someone had to come up with the word telephone) but the way words themselves acquire new meanings. I can remember when spam was pink meat, and a virus was something you took ill with. Both words have […]

Arbitrium Est Judicium

Several Garda officers of various ranks have been refused full costs by the Morris tribunal, which last month published its report into the mistreatment of suspects arrested during the investigation into the death of cattle dealer Richie Barron. Barron died in a hit and run, but Gardai wrongly treated the case as murder. Those officers […]

O Tempora O Mores

Times change. On Sunday, the Pope announced that the next Eucharistic Congress, planned for 2012, would take place in Ireland. The last time the congress came to Dublin, in 1932, the event was a showcase for the newly independent Catholic state. A reputed one in four of the population travelled to the capital on pilgrimage […]

The Pursuit of Happiness

Imagine a country with no taxes, no crime, and no army. It sounds like a paradise, but there are a few drawbacks. First of all, most of the population consists of sheep, in keeping with its name, which translates as the Island of the Bay of Sheep. On top of that, you’d have to put […]

Identity Politics

One in eight who voted No to the Lisbon treaty say they did so to protect Irish identity. What does that mean? Is it simply a polite way of saying no to immigration, the reason given by one percent of those asked? Perhaps. But I think there’s another meaning. After asking voters why they voted, […]