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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.

Why So Many Don’t Know

Sometimes, the vision thing is important. In the first European referendum in 1973, the benefits were clear. Europe meant access to new markets, and an incredible deal for farmers. The Single European Act sold itself in the title alone. One Europe, no borders, no customs, free movement for people as well as companies and their […]

Who Pays The Piper

I was educated by the State. The State paid for to build the schools I was taught in, designed the curriculum, paid my teachers’ salaries. But the first school I went to wasn’t a State school. It was owned and operated by the Catholic church. We’re so used to ‘national schools’ which aren’t owned by […]

24

One more day to go. I’m looking forward to it already. No more news programmes filled with ‘I didn’t interrupt you’ and ‘Who is funding your campaign?’ No more claims that the Lisbon treaty will sanction euthanasia, legalise abortion, and make homosexuality compulsory on Tuesdays. No more ministers pleading for a Yes vote because they […]

Flash In The Pan

It’s a sure sign that an idea has passed its sell-by date when a political party decides it would make a good gimmick. So it is that we must mark the demise of the Flash Mob – at least in Ireland – as Young Fine Gaelers decide it would be a neat idea to assemble […]

Faduda 2.0

Once upon a time, I had a website. It was created using notepad, without any bells and whistles, back when the web was shiny and new. Those were the days, when a 33K modem was state of the art and Netscape was the browser of choice. Because there wasn’t any other choice. My website evolved […]

Gas

Just before 1pm today, Newstalk‘s Lunchtime News announced that there were reports of an explosion in Belfast. Later, RTE’s news website carried reports headlined ‘Chemical explosion in Belfast’, later downgraded to ‘Chemical incident in Belfast‘. An early AP report said workers accidentally added nitric acid to a contaminated storage container, producing clouds of nitrous oxide, […]

Countdown

Political opinion polls are notoriously unreliable in this country. Small margins make the difference between victory and defeat. National polls simply don’t have the high resolution needed to predict the outcome. Put simply, elections are won and lost in the margin of error. And when it comes to a referendum on something few understand and […]

Horse Feathers

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t forget if I lodged £13,000 in cash sterling to my personal bank account, including the result of a successful bet on the gee-gees. It’s the kind of thing that would stick in my mind. And it would particularly stick if I’d been in dire financial straits at […]

Blink

The new taoiseach isn’t off to a good start. First he threatened to shout down Fine Gael every time they spoke in the Dáil, now he’s been forced to back down before the farmers. Ever since the IFA made it clear their support couldn’t be taken for granted in the run-up to the Lisbon referendum, […]

The Ban That Bombed

Today, an international agreement reached in Croke Park to ban cluster bombs will take effect. Over 100 countries agreed not to use these horrific weapons, and destroy stockpiles within eight years. Notable exceptions include the USA, China, and Russia. American and British troops used over twelve thousand cluster bombs during the invasion of Iraq. Five […]