It’s a Saturday night in Dublin, it’s Summer, and it’s not raining. Bright and sunny all day. Gorgeous weather for a ride in the park.

Time to pop a can of Guinness in the freezer and see what’s in the Irish news.

Cross-posted from … nowhere .. honest.

There’s a surprising new Irish Times(subscription needed) opinion poll, which indicates that support for the current government is lower than support for the alternative “Rainbow” coalition. The current government is a coalition of the large Fianna Fáil and the small “liberal” Progressive Democrats (PDs). Fianna Fáil are centrist, while the PDs are right-wing, and the government has had a distinctly free-market flavour to it. The Rainbow would consist of the centrist Fine Gael and the much smaller fairly-left-of-centre Labour Party. It would be expected to have a fairly left-wing bent. I’m surprised by the opinion poll because I really don’t expect the Rainbow to have much chance at the next elections, which will probably take place next year. One of the problems is that Enda Kenny, the leader of Fine Gael, never seems to say anything I remember. In fact, I have great difficulty remembering his name. This is not a good attribute for a would-be Taoiseach (Prime Minister).

In a story that could very well turn out to be related, the long-time leader of Fianna Fáil, Charle Haughey, might be in trouble. It is being alleged that he gave political favours for cash. Haughey was notorious for living far beyond the means of an Irish Taosieach, and had a penchant for handmade French shirts and champagne. Oh, and lady journalists if I recall properly.

More punishment beatings up North. Unusual in that it’s a woman, not for any other reason.

On the economics front, home-grown (as opposed to multinational) industry isn’t having a good couple of years. It’s not surprising – we’re an expensive country to make things in, and we generally need to import all the raw materials.

The scandal of Gardaí corruption in Donegal is finally grinding to a finish. There has been a judicial investigation the Morris Tribunal looking into this for years.

All elective surgeries were cancelled last week due to a shortage of blood supplies. The shortages are due to new restrictions designed to guard against the transmission of CJD – “mad cow disease” – through blood transfusions.

Yet another scandal, this time low standards of care in nursing homes. There has been a massive expansion in this sector recently without improvement in the inspection or regulation of nursing homes. The inevitable abuses have taken place, highlighted by an RTÉ documentary – who says state-owned media is a bad thing?

The European Parliament has rejected a proposal made by Ireland and three other member states to force telecoms firms to retain the phone records of customers for three years

What on Earth were we doing making this proposal? Thanks be for the European Parliament. I’m going to have to figure out what was going on here, because I’d missed this until now.

The High Court has found that a major golf club can continue to deny women full membership.

Remember that big ambush in Iraq where the insurgents destroyed a mercenary convoy? Turns out that one of the survivors was from Co. Cork.

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