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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How to lose a Home in Ten Easy Steps …

How to lose a home in Ten Easy Steps On August 7, 2013, the sheriff will officially seize my house, my former home. Unlike some other high profile bankrupts, I don’t have secondary houses to fall back on. I haven’t relocated to America or I don’t swan around the world on yachts. I had one home and on August 7th I will be officially homeless. Now, don’t worry, I only mean homeless as in lacking a home that I once had. In fact, for the past four years I have been renting a cottage nearby with my two children and various animals. I rent a very beautiful cottage with panoramic views across the local little hills. My old home has panoramic views also, but across to Mount Leinster as befits the central house of a townland, for Raheengraney House is named for its region. I don’t think I will be there to witness the surrender of my once beautiful home. It has been a long time since I was there, maybe January of this year, and I don’t relish the thought of a sheriff changing locks or putting up yellow tape to stop trespassers. On August 7th, I will become […]

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Three things I learnt at Trailblazers

The first is that I am not afraid. I wanted to rise up from my seat in the upper Special Criminal Court house and call it out. Colm O’Gorman was speaking. It felt a bit like the eponymous Jeffers’ book: Feel the fear but do it anyway. My heart pounded and I wanted to stand up and call it out but it wasn’t my time and maybe I had confused my emotion with a film from Hollywood. But I felt it very strongly. The second is the level of propaganda promulgated by the status quo. When Ross Maguire spoke he talked of giving ordinary home owners a break, a time out. He wanted a dignified mechanism that could be implemented without the mortgage holder having to beg for help or worse not been listened to at all. Terms such as debt forgiveness and moral hazard are used by …bankers. How dare they? The purveyors of Usury should not be allowed to dictate the ethics of our society. For that is at the very nub of this problem. We are a society of individuals who have come together to create our world. Service providers, such as finance houses, are there to […]

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Haggling over the Price

Over the weekend an Australian film maker went stratospheric when the culmination of an online auction of two virgins raised almost a million euros. Actually, it was only the girl who attracted the large bidding, with more than $700,000 pledged by a Japanese business man. The male virgin had to settle for a mere $3000. The auction and the proposed documentary has excited a lot of people, not least of which are law makers and the director may yet end up with a visit to his local penitentiary. Justin Sisely, director of Thomas Williams Productions, appears to have been limited to filming weddings prior to his big break. In what he claims is a search for the change that happens when virginity is sold, he advertised across campuses in his native Australia for virgins to enter the experiment and his documentary. The creative urge was to explore human sexuality and our views on virginity, but the posters looking for participants said they would be paid $20,000 and win fame and fortune; a somewhat incongruous and conflicting message. Initially he was seeking local virgins but the campaign went viral and global. The female virgin, Catarini Migliorini from Brazil was set to […]

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Credit Cards have a way with Words

Credit cards have a way with words. Some of the best lines have centred round their use. From the ‘No charge’ slogan in the 80s, to the Not the Nine O’clock News sketch with Pamela Stephenson where she invited her credit card customer to stroke her boob (ok, it was a location joke, a vintage location joke playing on the fact that America Express took an exalted view of its own brand of commerce) to the most recent Mastercard line, There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s Mastercard. Of course, the ultimate irony with credit cards is that while they are selling you a way of life, in reality they are just helping you spend money more easily and costing everyone a percentage into the bargain. Credit cards take their cut, like Shylock’s pound of flesh, and usury is a dirty business after all. Being a credit card is a bit like being a parent. Or is that being a parent is just like being a credit card. It’s all spend, spend, spend on one’s progeny. Unlike credit cards, however, there is not a fixed expiry date. It just keeps bobbing along until the parent expires. […]

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The man next door is not your enemy – a rant on the side of the people

The man next door is not your enemy. He may well be in receipt of many hundreds of welfare money and reliefs each week, but he is not your enemy. The young girl who has a baby to ‘get ’a house is not your enemy. Would you wish that lifestyle choice on your sister, daughter, or friend? The chap doing the nixers and claiming the dole is not your enemy. People make choices but often choices are forced on them. It could be accident of birth, education or geographical location. It could be as result of job loss, divorce or bereavement. It could be the school you went to, the kids you hung out with, or what your parents did. It could a desire to follow a dream, or conversely inertia and laziness. It could be because you fell in love in final year, broke up in final year, or could not find love in final year. It could be the books you read, the books you hoped to read, or more importantly the books you never read. It could be the songs sung to you in the cradle, the songs you hummed as a child, or the songs you […]

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I’ve hit Rock Bottom and I’m Really Happy

It’s official. In November I hit rock bottom. The bailiffs came to my office to seize my goods. Only they gave me a stay of execution for a week. I have to say it was the toughest week of my life: the toughest week in a run of five years of very tough weeks. I am glad to say that on that Friday in November the stay was extended and the threat removed. I am glad to say my eldest daughter does not need to leave school and get a job as a groom to support her broken mother. I am so very glad to see the back of that week. And I’m even better than glad, I’m actually really happy because I have hit rock bottom and as everyone knows, once you hit the bottom, the only way is up. Over the past five years I have hit so many lows, you’d have thought I was limbo dancer trying desperately to get under that bar. And each time, it moved a little lower. I’m pretty flexible and springy but there is a limit, and even elastic can snap. So, when I went into meltdown during that terrible week, my […]

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Debt Becomes Her

At the end of last year, as the debate over our national indebtedness continues, there was a horrific story that hit the headlines:  A professional Irish man who had lost his job and was currently unemployed, was struggling to pay his mortgage. And in struggling to pay his mortgage, he was neglecting to feed his children. The story grew even more terrible as it transpired he found his daughter in her bedroom chewing on cardboard from a cereal packet to stave off the hunger. This story is frightening from so many perspectives that it is hard to know where to begin. One really scary point is that it is being told in modern Ireland. This was not, when I last looked, a Third World country with no infrastructure, no police force, and no welfare state. This is a country that recently entertained the Queen and the President of the United States of America. We spent millions on security, on entertainment, on promoting the visits but they went without hitch and even with a fair degree of pride. In terms of keeping up with the Joneses, we were right up there. Is feider linn we all repeated after the O’Bama from […]

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