Day After Tomorrow by Tom Waits

Those of you who watch The Daily Show will have seen Tom Waits speak/perform on Tuesday’s show (which was broadcast in Ireland and the UK a day later).

On the show he sang Day After Tomorrow from the 2004 album Real Gone, which is probably one of his most beautiful songs in recent years (if not ever).
Ignoring that it’s the best anti-war song of this generation that I’ve come across, and just like all great music around it’s completely timeless and universal – take out the scant references to American towns/cities (and perhaps the airplane) and it could apply to almost any war in history.

I hope with all my energy that this man will come to Ireland soon, or at least Europe.

I got your letter today
And I miss you all so much here
I can’t wait to see you all
And I’m counting the days dear
I still believe that there’s gold
At the end of the world
And I’ll come home
To Illinois
On the day after tomorrow It is so hard
And it’s cold here
And I’m tired of taking orders
And I miss old Rockford town
Up by the Wisconsin border
What I miss you won’t believe
Shoveling snow and raking leaves
And my plane will touch down
On the day after tomorrow

I close my eyes
Every night
And I dream that I can hold you
They fill us full of lies
Everyone buys
About what it means to be a soldier
I still don’t know how I’m supposed to feel
‘Bout all the blood that’s been spilled
Will God on this throne
Get me back home
On the day after tomorrow

You can’t deny
The other side
Don’t want to die
Any more than we do
What I’m trying to say,
Is don’t they pray
To the same God that we do?
Tell me how does God choose?
Whose prayers does he refuse?
Who turns the wheel
Who throws the dice
On the day after tomorrow


I’m not fighting for justice
I am not fighting for freedom
I am fighting for my life
And another day
In the world here
I just do what I’ve been told
We’re just the gravel on the road
And only the lucky one’s come home
On the day after tomorrow And the summer
It too will fade
And with it comes the winter’s frost, dear
And I know we too are made
Of all the things that we have lost here
I’ll be twenty-one today
I’ve been saving all my pay
And my plane will touch down
On the day after tomorrow.

There’s no logic in laptops (simulpost from

Fine Gael recently announced their “radical” proposals for the education system, putting forward a 7-part plan which they claim will future-proof our place as leaders of knowledge. Without dissecting the plan completely, one idea of their’s (and, I think, Labour’s) caught my eye – the provision of laptops to every secondary school pupil. As part of this policy, Fine Gael hope to “radically redesign course material around new technology” in order to make the laptop “the schoolbag of the future”.

Continue reading →

We need a woman (to demand her rights as a housewife)

You may not have spotted the discussion taking place across various blogs on what role women have in the Irish blog community* and this topic isn’t exactly out of place in the frame of that.

As you may be aware, our constitution is a sexist pig. I refer, of course, to Article 41.2.1 and .2, which states:

1° In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

2° The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.
Of course, every political party is aware of the offending article. And every politician would publicly say that they believe it to be antiquated (although privately they may feel otherwise). However no political party has made any serious moves to change this text, nor has any chastised the government for failing to do the same.
Even more than the children’s referendum, this would be a home-run for any political party (in the sense that it would pass without question, besides the odd moron) but they’re unwilling to make a move on it because they don’t have to; they’re happy to just ignore it as long as the rest of the country does too.

So as for the title; I’m not trying to wind anyone up with it, I’m being deadly serious. Successive governments have shown that they have no will or need to deal with the issues at hand unless they can be certain of overwhelming public support (the children’s referendum) or unless they are forced into a corner by the courts (12th-14th Amendments).
So what we need is an Irish woman to take the government to court and demand that they pay her a full wage so she can stay at home and mind the kids. The fact is that in this day and age both sides of most couples are forced to work full time to keep a roof over their heads and so the government obviously isn’t doing enough to relieve the fairer sex of this economic necessity.

It strikes me that the only way this antiquated article will be removed is if the government is forced to make good on their pledge; once the money starts pouring out to support women who want to raise their kids, they’ll make a change quick enough.

*The answer is: There are no roles.

Profits double at Celtic Media Group (SBP – 19th November 2006)

My article on accounts filed by Celtic Media Group, which owns the Anglo-Celt and Meath Chronicle newspapers, from the Sunday Business Post this week (link here):

Celtic Media Group, which owns the Meath Chronicle and Anglo-Celt newspapers, almost doubled its pre-tax profits last year to €5.1 million, according to accounts just filed.

Turnover at the company increased by 22 per cent to €22.2 million. Other newspapers in the group include the Offaly Independent and the Westmeath Examiner.

The company paid almost €30 million for The Meath Chronicle in 2002 and €15 million in 2004 for The Anglo-Celt, which is based in Cavan.

Five directors were paid a total of almost €391,000 last year – an increase of €100,000 on the previous year.

At the end of 2005 the directors planned to pay a divided of €8 per ordinary share up to the amount of €800,000. The shares are held by four of the five directors as well as the Scottish media company, Dunfermline Press.

Deirdre Romanes, who also controls Dunfermline Press, is the company’s largest shareholder with 51,000 shares. Romanes is due to net over €400,000 from the dividend with a further €80,000 being paid to her Scottish business.

There are 182 staff employed across the group’s businesses.

Wages and salaries at the company totalled €5.7 million, which is an €800,000 rise on 2004, despite a slight drop in the number of staff in the company.

At the end of last year the Westmeath Examiner had signed a contract to sell property valued at €5.7 million, according to the accounts.

Caterpillar brand-owner’s profits up 80% (SBP – 19th November 2006)

My article on McCormick Macnaughton, which owns the Caterpillar franchise in Ireland, from this week’s Sunday Business Post (link here):

Pre-tax profits at Ballymana Holdings, the company behind McCormick Macnaughton, owner of the Caterpillar machinery brand in Ireland, rose by almost 80 per cent to €5.2 million last year.

Turnover at the company increased by 19 per cent to €125.4 million, while the operating profit rose by 72 per cent to €7.1million. McCormick Macnaughton, which has its head office on the Naas Road, has branches in Dublin, Lisburn and Cork. The firm also has sales and services centres in Donegal, Kerry and Limerick.

A fleet of support units operates nationwide. The company’s two directors, Malcolm and Rosemary Macnaughton, received remuneration of €576,000, a rise of €100,000 on the previous year.

Staff levels increased to 424 with the salary bill rising to €17.6 million.

The average salary at the company in 2005 was €41,600.

‘‘Results for the year ended December 2005 represent a very satisfactory outcome for the group.

‘‘Our businesses continue to gain share in the markets in which we operate, bolstered by the buoyancy in the construction industry,” said company chairman Malcolm Macnaughton.

‘‘This dynamic, coupled with ongoing health and safety regulation change in the plant and tool rental market, underpins demand for our products and gives us confidence as we look to the future.’’ Macnaughton said there had been a growing trend with in the construction industry to rent equipment rather than buy, as this proved to be more efficient and practical for many companies.

According to the accounts, Ballymana halved its bank loans, taking €6.5 million off the amount owed.

It also increased its stake in North-based McCormick Macnaughton, bringing its stake in the business from 75 per cent to 84 per cent.

During the year, the company entered into a sale and leaseback arrangement with a director of the company for its premises at Turnpike Industrial Estate, which was sold for €1.8 million.

Glen Dimplex owner: Sales will hit €2bn (SBP – 19th November 2006)

I managed to have a few words with Martin Naughton, owner of the Glen Dimplex Group, on Friday; he had plenty to say and it’s a shame that the column inches stopped me from covering more of his quotes (I’ll probably post them up here during the week).
Here’s the resulting article from the Sunday Business Post (link here):

Martin Naughton, the owner of electrical appliance giant Glen Dimplex, says the company’s annual turnover will reach €2 billion for the first time in the coming months as it continues to dominate the global electrical heating appliance industry.

Glen Dimplex, which was set up in 1973, employs 2,500 people in Ireland; it has factories in Louth, Kerry, Armagh and Down.

‘‘We’ve grown 20 per cent per year since inception, and we’ve been profitable every year since we started, which means that every five years we double our size,” Naughton, one of the country’s richest businessmen, told The Sunday Business Post.

‘‘But to keep growing we’ve got to work hard every single day, we can’t lie back. We’ve got to keep doing it better, doing it smarter and changing as the wind changes,” said Naughton, who was at Griffith College in Dublin on Friday where he received an honorary fellowship.

The company employs another 6,000 people worldwide and has operations in Britain, Germany, France, Holland, Hungary, Canada and Scandinavia.

Dimplex moved into the Chinese market in 2002, setting up a joint venture company to manufacturer storage heaters.

Naughton is the sole shareholder of Glen Dimplex, having paid more than €200 million several years ago for the 26 per cent stake held by his former business partner, Dublin businessman Lochlann Quinn.

Naughton believes expansion into the Asian market is a vital part of the company’s future success.

‘‘This is the Asian century; Asia is a major growth area for us,” he said. ‘‘One of our fastest growing markets is Japan. We’re shipping a lot of consumer products made in Ireland to Japan, which would have seemed impossible before.

‘‘In Britain we have 90 per cent market share. We’re brand leader in France, and have 65 per cent of the market in Germany, so we have to look beyond Europe now. Eastern Europe is an opportunity and Russia is growing very fast for us.

‘‘To survive in all kinds of businesses dealing in consumer products you have to be a global player or else you’re not in the business.”

Naughton said that, in the last month, Glen Dimplex had shipped 10,000 heaters from Irish factories to Shanghai alone.

In the Irish market he sees energy efficiency as becoming increasingly important.

‘‘The biggest growth area that we have in Ireland is renewables such as energy saving devices and energy efficient devices – that trend is global too,” he said.

‘‘Everyone is concerned about the environment and it is not government down, it is people up. There is a genuine concern that something is not right and we have to do something about it. A lot of people just want to do their bit and feel good about it.”

Accounts filed earlier this year showed turnover at Glen Electric, a subsidiary of Glen Dimplex based in the North, at almost €1billion in the year to the end of March 2005. Glen Electric accounts for about two-thirds of the group’s sales.

The Northern company made a pre-tax profit of €47.7 million. Glen Dimplex, the group’s overall parent which is incorporated in the Republic, is an unlimited company and is not required to file public accounts.

Machinery company makes €3.2m profit (SBP – 19th November 2006)

My article on Irish company Modern Plant, from today’s Sunday Business Post (link here):

Modern Plant, the engineering-machinery company that has its head office on the Naas Road in Dublin, made a pre-tax profit of €3.2 million in the year ending March 2006, according to accounts just filed.

The business reported operating profits of €3.1 million.

The company employed 63 people during the year. Some €2.7 million was paid in salaries; the average salary at the company during the year was just over €42,000.

The company is owned by Henry Thomas Bolger, who has an address in Sandyford.

The company’s five directors shared €596,000 last year.

In the directors’ report, the risk of unrealistic wage and infrastructure increases as well as increases in inflation are listed as potential problems for the company in the future.

Ireland a world leader in online legislation (SBP – 19th November 2006)

My article on Bebo from today’s Sunday Business Post (link here):

Ireland is one of the best countries in Europe for legislation on online security, according to the chief safety officer of social-networking website Bebo.

Dr Rachel O’Connell – who is based in Dublin and has a PhD from UCC in online crime – said the government has been pro-active in tackling the new issues the internet has created.

There are up to 800,000 Irish users registered with Bebo, which allows people to post photos, videos and diaries as well as keep in contact with friends and family online.

There are about 25 million site members in total, with around four million members using the site on a daily basis.
‘‘Ireland has been a trailblazer in terms of changing the legislation. Sometimes there can be the perception that we’re following behind everyone else but in fact if you look at policy and regulation, this country has been leading the way in terms of changes,” she said.

‘‘The country has been very pro-active in what it does, which is very important at a national and European level.”

O’Connell said this approach by government is shown through groups such as the Internet Advisory Board (IAB), which was set up years before its British equivalent was established.

O’Connell was joined by the founders of Bebo, British businessman Michael Birch and his American wife Xochi, last week as she gave a presentation to the IAB on the work being done by social networking sites to deal with online security issues.

In recent months Bebo has been involved in the Social Networking Stakeholders Group, which brings companies, teachers, politicians and parents together to discuss concerns and initiatives.

‘‘It’s really exciting because even though there’s a lot of competition between each company, they all know that security is something the whole industry needs to get right, so they’re all eager to exchange ideas and see what works,” said O’Connell.

‘‘Security is never something you’re finished with,” said Michael Birch. ‘‘It’s not like you can say, ‘well, that’s Bebo secure and safe’ and move on.”

Birch said security has always been an important aspect of the site, with changes to the service being made on a regular basis. Xochi Birch said that as much as one fifth of the country’s population were members of social networking phenomenon Bebo, according to the company’s owners.