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In political terms, these last few weeks have been depressing. First, we were subjected to the electoral version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (aka the Irish presidency), while thousands of Irish families remain homeless, with no sign of a publicly financed house building programme.
On August 28, the St Vincent de Paul reported a 20 per cent increase in calls for “back to school help”. The same day, the man presiding over the housing crisis, Minister Eoghan Murphy, announced the election date for the most lucrative Irish political post - the presidency - with a salary of €325,507 plus untold expenses.
This has been a tremendously interesting week. Before we begin on our usual chat and conversation, there is one item which is outstanding and which we simply should reflect upon, and that is the rescue of the 12-member boys soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.
Irish Special Forces (the Army Ranger Wing) operated in Western-occupied Afghanistan under NATO command, it was revealed last month, thanks to TD Clare Daly’s parliamentary question. The story received no media coverage. The operational purpose of these troops was not revealed. However, like Special Forces the world over, it was not pencils they were sharpening.
Yesterday morning, we got a reminder of just how close we always are to turning on one another.
Brigadier General Peter O’Halloran, a resident of Athlone, has been appointed Assistant Chief of Staff of Óglaigh na hÉireann.
The Government’s White Paper on defence has attracted scant media comment, but if implemented, will see Ireland increase military spending, “deepen” its relationship with the EU, OSCE, and NATO, and be required to work closely with the European Defence Agency.
The Government's White Paper on defence has attracted scant media comment, but if implemented, will see Ireland increase military spending, "deepen" its relationship with the EU, OSCE, and NATO, and be required to work closely with the European Defence Agency.