Archive for June, 2007

End of the line

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

IT will take the benefit of hindsight to fully appreciate the role played by IrelandOffline in its six-year existence.

But today as the organisation winds up, those who have been involved shouldn't wait for history.

With scant resources, other than dedication, IrelandOffline dragged this country screaming and kicking into the 21st century.

Broadband is now widely accepted as a crucial component of future economic and social well-being.

The days of trying to convince people of that reality are well and truly over. Digital and network communication technologies are no longer viewed as transient toys.

Broadband roll-out joins a sorry list of previous technologies which suffered at the hands of incompetent governments.

"The provision of broadband services is a matter for the private sector", was the parrot-like refrain from the outgoing minister, as if repetition would make it so.snail logo

Educating on the necessity of broadband was one of the big successes for IrelandOffline (there were others). Sometimes it was like rolling water up a hill. When I first started to write about the lack of broadband, the response varied on the 'so what?' theme.

Thankfully, there are enough well-informed people around now to keep the issue front and center.

The unwinding of IrelandOffline definitely marks the end of something alright. The end of buck-passing, finger-pointing and hand-washing.

IrelandOffline's lasting achievement though, was to poke a sharp stick into cosy corners, where those with power and responsibility were hiding, occasionally emerging to offer excuses when their comfort was disturbed.

There are no more hiding places. There can be no more excuses.

For this, all those involved in IrelandOffline over the years deserve our enduring gratitude.

Gene pool

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

IT seems Mr Darwin's theory is applicable to political parties.

In 1963, Sean Lemass, Taoiseach (and Fianna Fail leader), sought contributions from his TDs on the party's electoral strategy.

Charles Haughey was one of those who responded, proposing a strategy which would "promote Fianna Fail as the centre party with no sectional ties, able to pursue a course across the board".

Included in Lemass' reply to Haughey was this:

 "Our political propaganda must, however, always strive to sound the positive note. It may be true that people find it easier to be 'against' rather than 'for', and we must use this attitude as much as possible, but this should not be inconsistent with the maintenance of the image of Fianna Fail as the Party which is planning for the future, which has definite aims and a known policy, the displacement of which from office would be the prelude to a period of economic recession."

FF formed the core of the government after the 1961 election. It had 70 seats, Fine Gael 47, Labour 16, Clann na Talmhann 2, Clann na Poblachta 1, National Progressive Democrats (!!) 2 and Independents 6.

The FF slogan for that election was "Ireland's progress is well begun. Keep it going!"

FF's 70 was three short of a majority (144 seats in Dail) but Lemass was voted Taoiseach with support from some of the Independents.

Good at something

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Loved this from today's Irish Times (unlinkable).

"I've interviewed presidential candidates, company presidents, mob killers and Hollywood stars. None has proved as elusive as the customer-support team at Eircom"

– author Robbyn Swan on trying to get a broadband connection in rural Waterford.