This is what bankruptcy looks like…

This is what bankruptcy looks like…               Yesterday I handed over €650 to The Insolvency Service of Ireland in order to go bankrupt. This is what the fee looks like: €650 in coins and some fivers and tens.   It could be worse. In recent weeks another client of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) handed over a cheque from Saint Vincent de Paul for the same purpose. Going bankrupt is not a pleasant action. It is not an easy action. For most people it is the end of the road. The bankrupt may claim it is a new beginning, but it is hard to form a new beginning when you don’t have anything or a job or an income to start over.   Bankruptcy is the end of the road. It is the elimination of debt. That is to be welcomed. But it should also be remembered that unlike the high rollers who take this route, who have pensions and salaries and multiple homes, there are many people like myself who have to scrape together the fee, who no longer own a home and who have no means of income except social welfare. […]

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First Lines 2014

First Lines New lines Bare branches scratched a grey sky Love is not enough I was the evil twin They would throw a party if they changed their knickers She’s had so much plastic surgery she’d melt if she stood near a candle I used to be an asshole but I’m alright now The lady who fell as she walked Cracking wings of pheasants, gun loud in the November air The ginger prince All roads lead south I grew up with the smell of pine in my nostrils Just as I reach Rose Cottage my coverage falls, every time, it’s the Bermuda spot in the village I am an amoeba Sorry I stole your life We are seduced by the oily mendacity of the City Sup smelly. Whas a crackakackin? Even though people are the author of the own lives, they don’t always get dealt a fair hand at the start You are never far from the ground Where to begin? Happy New Year!

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Hoping to be Bankrupt for Christmas …

first printed in IrishCentral on December 14, 2013 The New York Times has thrown cold water onto the success story that is Ireland. It has challenged the public perception peddled by Irish politicians that we are the ‘good boy’ of Europe and that ‘austerity politics are serving us well’. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth and what is emerging today in Ireland is a two tier society with the those in control enjoying large pensions, fat salaries and ‘top-ups’ to their income, while the middle classes have largely been eradicated and along with the poor are faced with stealth taxes; taxes applied universally so that proportionately the less well-off are hit harder.   Emigration numbers are at famine levels, suicides now number two a day and some 40percent of all households have no disposal income at the beginning of each month.   I can personally attest to the direct impact of austerity on Ireland and I can see no light at the end of the tunnel.  Six years ago a perfect storm of divorce and recession left me with a mortgage of €1million on a house worth half that. I accumulated huge legal fees (my divorce lawyer […]

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HOPE

I sat with a wise woman once. She spoke about people who lose hope.  It might only be transitory but can prove fatal. It might be continuous and unrelenting and pernicious and prove fatal. It can be intermittent but still fatal. For the loss of hope to become permanent only requires that the person cannot see beyond that loss. But the wise woman also told me of an expression oft used in such hopeless situations. This too will pass. This too will pass. That could be said of many things. Things that pass include seasons without fail, people who curtail, wishes that just derail, dreams that set sail and desires that never unveil.  Other things to pass are met with more welcome goodbyes, enmities that interrupt, wars that erupt, hate that volupts, cruelty that fillups and vile noxious views that corrupt. All things can pass and while some we may mourn, yet for others we may bless ourselves and walk on quickly, pleased that the gods have spared us for another day, another fight. Knowing that things are transitory is our biggest defence against the loss of hope, ironically. It makes the beautiful more wonderful, special and wanted. It makes […]

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Poems to Pass the Day By: Repatriating the Donkeys

Repatriating the Donkeys There wasn’t even the sound of their hooves, Unshod of course, On the gravel path down to the stables. The only warning was the dog yelping indoors To be let out – To welcome the visitors, or inspect them at least. Soon as I opened the front door he scarpered down But stopped some feet away. They were unconcerned, little donkeys, on a visit.   Bringing them back to their home was harder: They would not be caught, head shy. They followed a bucket of meal, softly, as if unsure Turning this way and that to explore green grass instead.   My youngest lead the way with the bucket, The donkeys, three of them, behind. All went well until we met the dogs down the road: The barking terriers that ran a race inside their fence For all passerbys and especially donkeys.   Donkeys would not pass by with such runners racing the fence And barking as if the Lord himself was coming. They always do that, although donkeys might be closer. And it was nearly Christmas, so they had a point.   I brought up with rear with four feet of wavin pipe Shaking it in […]

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Debt, Survival and Hope – please view and share

My friends at SETV asked me if I would talk to camera about my journey so far in debt. I know I am only in the middle. I have not finished my journey. I am still in hock to the banks for more than €1million, my home is repossessed, my business gone, my possessions sold save for a ten year old American Fridge Freeze from my old house, and while that is very good at keeping food cold, it is less reliable as a place to live lol 🙂 I have learnt one thing on this journey, which is far from over, that while worries may assail us on all sides, it is also vital to live even as we struggle. We will not get back the years that debt may steal from us, so the only alternative is to live like crazy, seize the day and love, and breathe, and hope, and be. Always be. This is for anyone dealing with debt. God bless! xx View VIDEO here and please let me know what you think 🙂

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My week on @Ireland – my parting message

What an amazing week. I will write about my lovely time as the curator of the @Ireland account tomorrow but I am running out the door now and so I just want to ask people who follow the account to look at this presentation I did on debt, survival and hope. http://bcove.me/i68kpnpg  or click on the icon on www.SouthEastTelevision.ie This is a talk I did with SouthEast Television called I wonder – about debt,survival and hope I really put my heart and soul into this. I think it is important. I am passionate about not being ashamed at failing financially. Neither should you be – if you have the misfortune to be down on your luck. God bless!   Remember – This too will pass…  

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A Twitter Tale…@Ireland for a week – let’s write

We all know the Irish can talk for Ireland. We all know that every single Irish person has at least one book in them. Well, let’s get collectively writing on Twitter. Here are the first two lines – send me your line and the number where you think it might run. Replica lines may be juggled somewhat. this is fun! Send your lines to @ireland   1. The man at the corner shop did not look up when the gun went off @jilliangodsil 2. it was as if he was expecting it @paudimac 3. He was used to gunfire. The army taught him that. @islandgooner 4. He had powers to illude gunfire. @cybercalci 5. He’d learnt the noise of bullets tearing flesh too, the gasp of shock. She collapsed, eyes blank. He folded his paper, walked away. @GuyleJeune 6. As he walked, something glinted in the corner of his eye @islandgooner 7. and still he walked on neatly tucking the receipt into his wallet. @beanmimo 8. Not in his wildest dreams did he ever expect a hardback copy of Larouss’se reference for wine lovers, to be of any use to him @fleurman

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Jim Bolger – interview by Jillian Godsil on SETV

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Bolger, racing trainer, recently. It was a big honour and I have to say I was really worried in advance. Jim’s international reputation precedes him: he is a very straight man, at the top of his game and would not suffer fools gladly. The night before the interview I suddenly got very worried. I wondered if I had done enough research. I woke at 2am in a blind panic and got up and started watching video after video of him. Of course, the more I watched, the less I knew. I finally collapsed in bed about 6am, exhausted and all the more confused with his wins, the horses and the different race courses. This is me with the cameraman man Ronan from South East Television before the interview. I may look calm, but ….             Anyway, it all went fine on the day, thank goodness. Jim was a most friendly interview subject and very generous with his time.  The final result is on the SETV pages (click here) and look for the icon on the right. All I say afterwards is Winner All Right, Winner All Right!

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Cat on a Holly Tree Top

  The first we had any indication that there might be trouble was on the Thursday night. Tigger, our cat of some three years, once rescued off the main Carnew to Aughrim road, when not much bigger than computer mouse, but with an enormous capacity to survive a main road, and lungs like a fisherwoman, and a cry as piteous as the orphan that she then was, presented with her back leg paw as swollen as a hockey ball (the football analogy would have been excessive in this feline example).   It required attention although Tigger did not seem in pain. We kept her in the house just in case and much to her disgust, intending to bring her to the evening surgery at our local veterinary clinic.  She puked for good measure just before we left displaying her annoyance at such treatment. Our cat travelling box, while purchased as such, leaves a lot to be desired. It is a wire cage with no bottom, necessitating a towel or similar to cover the base. We tried the canary trick of draping the cage with a cover but she mewled horribly all the way to the neighbouring village, sticking out the […]

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