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Category Archives: 200 Words

Gerard Cunningham writes 200 Words at a time. Sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, whatever is going on around the place.


What happened to Dublin airport? Flights were disrupted for days, but information about exactly what went wrong is puzzlingly vague. AP explained that ‘the radar system failed to display the call signs that normally identify each incoming aircraft’. Bloomberg simply mentioned a ‘loss of functionality’, explaining that there were two separate incidents, one on Wednesday […]

Holy Law

A group of Dáil backbenchers have quietly declared war on God. The joint committee on the Constitution yesterday published a report on freedom of expression and blasphemy. Bunreacht na hÉireann allows the Oireachtas to punish the publishers of ‘blasphemous, seditious or indecent matters’. However, a Defamation bill making its way into law abolishes the offence […]

Life Imitates Faduda

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote jokingly about the Polish Passenger Initiative – the PPI. The notional scheme involved workers laid off by the construction industry carving out new careers as passengers in cars driven by Ireland’s estimated 100,000 drivers who carry provisional licenses, once new regulations were introduced at the start of July. […]

Full House

I’ve just spent the last half hour or so watching a Dáil debate, live on the internet. The lower House is debating a Labour party motion on housing policy and public-private partnerships. The motion notes the ‘collapse’ of five public private partnerships agreements in Dublin, and the fact that ‘a single developer, Michael McNamara & […]

Ich bin ein Hamburger

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has outlined a package of measures aimed at saving €440m in public spending this year. In an unexpected move, the Cabinet announced it would set an example for other state agencies by curbing its own excesses. Taoiseach Brian Cowen will lead the way, restricting himself to traditional ballads during late night […]

Access All Areas

I use a sturdy pre-camera mobile phone, but it has limits. For example, if you send me a photo, I get a text message to the website where I can view it. Doing just that today, I ended up checking out the latest mobile broadband offer from O2. And something else too. I checked the […]

To Every Cow Its Calf

Several news outlets are quite excited over the court order entertainment giant Viacom secured against Google. The eponymous search engine must hand over details of the videos watched by users of YouTube. Viacom claims Google has infringed it’s copyright, while Google says it is not responsible for YouTube content, and removes any material if there’s […]

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 […]