Category: Politics & Economics

  • In Praise of Pencils

    In Praise of Pencils

    There is a story going round the internet of a meeting of American and Russian scientists during a thaw in the Cold War sometime in the 1970s, during which the engineers from NASA compared notes with their counterparts from the Soviet space program. The Americans described how they had problems getting ballpoint pens to work […]

  • We The People

    We The People

    There are 9381 new people in Co Donegal since we last counted in 2002. In the State as a whole, there are an extra 317,000 people. The population, boosted by returning emigrants, new immigrants, and the natural growth due to all those who in earlier days would have left our shores but instead have stayed […]

  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Headlines

    Lies, Damned Lies, and Headlines

    A new opinion poll shows a big rise in support for Fianna Fáil, with the party gaining 5% since the last Sunday Business Post poll a month ago. Which is all well and good for Fianna Fáil, but here’s the thing – I don’t buy it. The poll results break down like this: Fianna Fáil […]

  • Colour Blindness

    Colour Blindness

    The census form continues to intrigue me. There’s a question on ‘ethnic or cultural background’, for instance, which asks whether the respondent is ‘White’, ‘Black or Black Irish’, ‘Asian or Asian Irish’ or ‘Other’. Strangely enough, the largest ethnic minority in Ireland goes without mention. There’s no box for ‘British’. Apart from anything else, what […]

  • None of the Above

    None of the Above

    What’s the largest religious category in the last Irish census? Roman Catholic, of course. But do you know who comes next? Odds are you’re thinking Church of Ireland, followed by Presbyterians, or maybe Methodists. Well, you’re not far off. In the last census in 2002 there were just short of 3.5 million Catholics, and 115,611 […]

  • Labels


    I’m fed up with Political Correctness. Not the idea, you understand, just the phrase. The idea, as far as I can tell, is a worthy one. In essence, people should speak and behave in ways that don’t offend others, To this end, insulting and hurtful words which denigrate and demean should be avoided. Mary O’Rourke’s […]

  • Emigrant’s Son To Run For US State Office

    Emigrant’s Son To Run For US State Office

    Donegal Democrat The son of a west Donegal man who emigrated to America at age nineteen has received the Democratic endorsement for a seat in the Pennsylvania state legislature and will be the Democratic Party’s candidate in November. Brendan Boyle is the son of Francis, who emigrated to America from Glencolmcille, and Eileen, a lifelong […]

  • War and peace

    War and peace

    Donegal Democrat I’ve been following the whole peace camp and war build-up saga for months now, and I still don’t know how I feel about it. The most interesting observation I heard was from one of the protestors as they were closing down: “When we started, no one believed there were war planes in Shannon. […]

  • Doctor Who?

    Doctor Who?

    Donegal Democrat The spire on O’Connell St, finally set in place this week, so naturally the pub quiz trivia question wasn’t far behind. Apart from the spire, what other monuments line Ireland’s premier street? Well, the first two are easy. There’s ‘the uncrowned king of Ireland’, Charles Stewart Parnell and ‘the Liberator’, Daniel O’Connell, bookending […]

  • Last of the Tallymen

    Last of the Tallymen

    Donegal Democrat Back last May, as the general election campaign was drawing to a close, I had an idea for a story. It was to be called Last Of The Tallymen, a soft focus look back at the unsung foot soldiers of Irish democracy, the men with the pencils and the clipboards. I’d hoped to […]