#kenringwatch results for April

Your friendly local #kenringwatch correspondent has finally cracked it.  Ken Ring? He’s Ned bloody Stark!  It’s the only logical explanation.

Ken Ring is coming!

“February? Snowy! March: snow! April? It’ll snow. May’s gonna have snow!”

Ken, like Ned Stark, is all about the “Winter is coming!” this year, and has predicted snow for the first five months of the year. Like the doubting Southerners of Westeros, I’ve gone “Pshaw!” and mostly been right.  Maybe Ken will be proven right next month.  Because unfortunately he didn’t manage it this month, either.

Our predictions for April were:

14. Subzero(!) temperatures finish around April 19th
15. Snow 22nd April

On April 19th, we got invaded by Wildlings from north of the wall!  Well, north of the Bull Wall.  And they weren’t Wildlings, they were Vikings!  The 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf was on Wednesday 23rd, and there was a re-enactment of the battle in St. Anne’s Park in Raheny on April 19th (subzero temperatures).

There are some rather awesome photos of the event here and here and especially here!

As you can tell from those photos – there was no snow.

I got sunburnt.

April 22nd?  The week as a whole, including yesterday was sunny, mild, with the odd shower. Or extremely wet and windy, if you were in Cork yesterday.  But no snow. Winter is still coming.

April: Zero for two.
Total:Three out of twelve.



A modest proposal

Almost three hundred years ago, in Dublin, Jonathan Swift published ‘A Modest Proposal‘ one of the most famous satirical works in the world – the proposal in question being that the poor should kill and eat their young.

Almost three hundred years later, The Irish Times is doing its best to kill satire itself.

Here is a cartoon by Martyn Turner, published in the The Irish Times during the week:

Martyn Turner Singing Priests cartoon, censored in the Irish Times

Martyn Turner’s cartoon – censored in the Irish Times. Oh – Streisand effect – please pass it on!

It refers to the Bill that would make the reporting of child abuse and rape mandatory. Even if one priest confesses to the rape of a child to another priest within the bounds of the religious sacrament.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin expressed his dismay at the cartoon, and The Irish TImes yesterday apologised for causing offence, and withdrew the cartoon from its online article.

The apology is here.  It reads in part:

“In making a legitimate argument about the debate over priestly responsibility for reporting child abuse and the concerns for the seal of the confessional, Turner also took an unfortunate and unjustified sideswipe at all priests, suggesting that none of them can be trusted with children.” 

Breda O’Brien, of the Iona pressure group, writes about the issue here. She says in part:

You might even wince a bit at the satire of “singing priests”, given the best-known singing priests are humble men who raise phenomenal amounts of money for charity.”

As pointed out by Michael Nugent, Turner often takes sideswipes at whole sectors of society. Guards. Bankers. Politicians. Lawyers. And you know what?  When individual priests and the Association of Catholic Priests are actually saying that the seal of confession and canon law take precedence over the law of the state, even where the issue is child protection – there really is a need to highlight this, with satire, with boycotts, with outrage!

O’Brien… it’s very, very difficult to resist a plain ad hominem attack on this… person.

The most famous Irish singing priest: Tony Walsh. Sentenced to 123 years in jail for child abuse – abuse covered up by the Roman Catholic Church.  Good job, Breda.

There was indeed an editorial lapse within The Irish Times this week. It was in allowing Martyn Turner to be censored.

Kevin O’Sullivan now only has two options. Apologise to Martyn Turner and reinstate the cartoon to the IT digital archives. Or sack Martyn Turner, because there’s no point employing a satirist if he’s not allowed to publish his satire.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics?

Are you on a hospital waiting list?

No?  Lucky you!

Yes? Well, are you sure you are? You might not be.

I’m on a list.  Around a year at this stage, and I was told I’d be seen by a consultant sometime after in the second half of this year. Just as well it’s nothing serious.

Then last week I got a letter from the hospital. They’ve been ordered (by the HSE) to check their waiting lists, apparently.

So they’ve set up an office, dedicated to doing just that. They write (yes, snail-mail, with a franked envelope and everything) to everyone who is on a waiting list that lasts more than nine months.  That’s a euro per person, just for the stationary and postage.

If the person doesn’t respond within 10 days (by letter or phone) – they get taken off the list.

And hospital waiting lists get shorter?  And hang the expense of employing at least one person to send these hard-copy letters out to people.  Who knows how many people don’t get the letter, or forget about replying, or their return letter gets mislaid, and they inadvertently get taken off the list.

Seems like a crazy way to run a health service, and the only thing to change after all the expense is a seemingly shorter waiting list statistic…