Did you know it’s Christmas?

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And here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun…Well, maybe not everybody. On TV yesterday there was a large crowd of people from Dungiven, out protesting at their supercouncil’s decision to block  a sports development project from going to that town.  If you know anything about Dungiven you’ll know that sport is a central part of community life; the people there believe their rejection was politically motivated and they’re determined to fight the decision. I wish them well but I’d suggest they get a bit more specific when they say they’ll ‘fight’ or ‘resist’ the decision. Too often we hear that call: ‘Support us in our struggle’.  What concrete steps are you going to take? What steps could others take that would support you?  Enough with the vague talk.

Another group not having much fun will be the homeless. In the south of Ireland, for instance, there are reckoned to be over 5,000 homeless people, with well over 1,000 of these children. This, mark you, in a state where a homeless man died on 1 December 2014, a few hundred metres from Leinster House. The government at the time vowed to take steps to see that it never happened again. That was a year ago. Clearly the government, like the mills of God, grind slowly.  The numbers of homeless have now doubled.

Another group that are fun-free are the Syrian people. That’s because over 200,000 of them have been killed over the last four years, with the West’s bombing campaign playing a major role. When you were drawing up your Christmas list, the British government was drawing up a list of targets.

And then there’s the 800 million people in the world who go to bed not just hungry but suffering from malnutrition. Us? The Irish people are on their way to becoming Europe’s most obese. It’s a terrible problem, and it’s why Western governments are trying to solve the problem – it’s costing them too much in hospital patients and public health generally. Concerned about ourselves, you see. There’s no thought given to the obscenity of one half of the world suffering from excessive food intake and the other from insufficient food intake.

So if you want to get a last-minute present, do yourself a favour: get  a Trocaire gift-aid card and pass it to your friends or family – Trocaire or a similar charity. It’ll help in a tiny way to tilt the world’s balance towards justice and equality, and you’ll feel at least momentarily liberated from the consumerist fever.

Right –  that’s it. Nollaig shona daoibh to everybody. Thank you all sincerely for making this blogsite a lively and illuminating source of information and opinion. I’d stress that I’m including in my thanks  those people with whom I disagree. If I’ve been rude or unfair to you in the course of the year, I’m genuinely sorry. The site needs all perspectives, held with courage and expressed with respect.

OK Santa – you can harness up anytime.

56 Responses to Did you know it’s Christmas?

  1. Jim Neeson December 24, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    Look forward to 2016 and more enlightening comments from yourself.
    Great job well done Jude

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      Go raibh cead maith agat, Jim. Nollaig shona duit – to you and all your loved ones…

      • daniel moran December 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

        Hi, Jude. Have taken a sabbatical from posting and following politics but still read your site. Have a happy Christmas and new year from a Dungiven resident.

        • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

          Go raibh maith agat, Daniel. I feel honoured to receive greetings from a lovely town. Nollaig shona duit.

  2. TheHist December 24, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    Happy Christmas – have a great one Jude! Enjoyed following your blog in 2015 and what it’s to bring in 2016!

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 11:49 am #

      Thank you, TheHist. I hope you have a Christmas brimming with good things and a 2016 that comes in bandy-legged from the weight of joys it brings you and yours…

  3. Patrick December 24, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Yeah I’ll second what Jim has said. This blogsite really is fantastic and a great credit to you Jude. Happy Christmas to you all.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 11:48 am #

      Go raibh maith agat, Patrick – and the same to you and your loved ones…

  4. Joe Cannibg December 24, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    Have a great Christmas Jude and your family as well of course. Looking forward to you keeping the antagonists at bay in 2016. God bless.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

      Beannachtaí Dé leatsa, Joe – thank you for your good wishes and may 2016 be fault-free for you and tomorrow a day of undiluted joy…

  5. myles December 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    jude – the first look every day. Many thanks for your great efforts and a Merry Christmas to you and yours..

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

      Go raibh cead maith agat, Myles – thank you for your contributions and may Christmas be a full delight for you and all your loved ones…

  6. Joe Nolan December 24, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    Happy Christmas Jude to you and all your family and all your regular contributors from Dublin.
    I first read your articles in a work colleague’s copy of the Irish News and have followed you ever since.
    Thanks for your refreshing perspective, It serves well as a counterpoint to the sterile, agenda-driven groupthink that passes as media coverage on this side of the border.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

      Joe – you are indeed too kind. Go raibh cead maith agat and I couldn’t agree with you more. Be sure to tell people ‘south of the Black Sow’s Dyke’ that there are more ways of looking at the world, especially the political world, than represented on the pages of the Sindo…

  7. Belfastdan December 24, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Have a very Happy Christmas Jude and all the best for 2016.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

      Agus tú fein, Belfastdan

  8. paddykool December 24, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Well Jude…It’s been quite ayear a lright. Hopefully I’ll return refreshed to pen another barrelful of squibs for yourself and the gang .In the meantime I’ll be closing down operations for a day or two of indulgence and will wish yourself and yours and all the readers and scribblers who’ve kept the braincells popping …a very merry Christmas..

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

      The same to you, PK. Much thanks for all your Trojan work (no, no, not Trojan horse…) over the year. Give every minute of the big day your full mindfulness – they get fewer every year, y’know…

      • paddykool December 24, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

        Will do Jude..but I intend to live forever!

        • neill December 28, 2015 at 9:40 am #

          Or die trying…

  9. Perkin Warbeck December 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    One takes it that this Dun/Given, Esteemed Blogmeister, is the same London/Derry town which has provoked a few bahs, no amount of humbugs and a female-like frenzy of brolly-bashing over the head from the lofty moral heights of The Unionist Times.

    On account of its local hurling team being named after/ for Kevin Lynch. Just as Jude Collins is no relation of Stephen Collins one assumes that Kevin Lynch was in no way, shape, form or silhouette related to his namesake.

    That would be Dec ‘The Neck’ Lynch of the Shin-skinning Sindo whose Game for a Scaff sporty column every Sunday is never, erm, dun given out hard yards about the fallacious claims of Bogball and Stick Fighting to be the Premier National Games of West BrItannia.

    Without knowing the ins and outs or indeed, the overs and unders of the current Dungiven controversy, one suspects, perhaps even strongly, it might be in line to be twinned with Spawell, South Dublin which recently got dumped upon for similar reasons.

    But, fie upon this despondency ! (which market has already been cornered by the SDLP aka the Slough of Despond Labour Party). Chrismtas is the most wunnerful time of the calendar year and one has but to gawk around one here in the Free Southern Stateen.

    Did one drop the c-word? One did indeed, for it is the Calendar Colleen herself who has done more in the immediate run up to An La Mor, aka Christmas Day, to strike a match and give to the poured brandy a local habitation and a flame on all our figgy puddings.

    That would be the aptly named Averil Power, aka Senator Averil Power who in a mixture of extreme modesty and stringent austerity had (gulp) no more than Seachto Tri Mile feiliri / 73,000 calendars run off on the promiscuous printing presses of Bleak House aka Leinster House.

    All at – and let’s get down to brass tacks here, for the Calendar Colleen has one of those cultivated flatline Duballin accents which is manufactured from the brassiest of b.t’s – at tax payer’s expense.

    This serial deposit loser party (sdlp, lower case) aka the Calendar Colleen has plans, big plans to run in the Dublin Bay North Constituency for a seat in Bleak House. And as she has always been ‘Interested in Development Issues’ it is envisaged this delivery of a mere 73,000 calendars though the letter boxes of the said constituency will contribute to the, erm, development of her Dail-aspriing profile.

    This raising of the consciousness of her putative voters, some astute observers have noted, will be her way of commemorating the centenary of The Rising of 1916 aka This Scandalous Stab in the Back, as the Irish Independent called it at the time.

    Senator Averil Power aka the Calendar Colleen, it will be recalled, has long been the go-to gal for the monopoly sound media, the finger-wagging hand-bagger when it comes to dissing the Ess Effers, aka SF on matters of probity, high standards in high places, that sorta thingy. And hurting them where it hurts most –in lumpen proletariat Liffeyside with her l.p. elocution. (see under brass tacks above).

    Perhaps though the Calendar Colleen might not be the most apt of sobriquets. Under the headline ‘More power to Mozambique’ a fetching snap of the cheap-publicity-shunning sunbound Senator appeared some years ago in her local Fingal (gulp) Independent.

    Seems like the selfless Senator aka The Lowprofile Lady was taking no rest from her onerous duties and was flying off during the Summer Recess (sic) to Mozambique. Bent and intent on doing a spot of ‘Development Work in which she is passionately Interested’.

    In the said photo the T-shirt clad Senator was pointing at a map of South East Africa. A dandy selfie, considering this was in pre selfie times. Only slight problem being, her nail-varnished index finger was pointing to Madagascar rather than to Mozambique. Well, at least Mad’s loss was Mo’s gain if the Colander Colleen flew on Air Headlines to the incorrect destination.

    To conclude: one cannot but notice aka spot an excess of aka’s in the above. Will Esteemed Blogmeister, in the spirt of the season that is in it, permit one to explain the possible reason for such an excess aka glust of aka’s?

    Cue entry of, erm, one Neil Sedaka aka Composer of the non-carol Carol into the blogoshere. One of this most brilliant of all Brill Building graduate’s earliest hits was released in the, erm, calendar year of 1960: Calendar Girl.

    – (March) I’m gonna walk you down the aisle
    (April) you’re the Easter Bunny when you smile.

    April aka Averil in the French. The Calendar Colleen aka the Colander Colleen aka Senator Power-hungry is googled as ….an Irish independent (lower case) politician.

    That would be Senator Averil Power aka Mrs Fionnan Sheehan, aka Missus Editor of the Irish Independent, aka Le Poisson Grand d’Averil.

    To conclude aka to desist, as one heads off to hibernate in the arms of Orpheus aka The Land of Nod aka The Boxed Set of Fr. Tedium, one would like to take this opportunity aka excuse to wish Esteemed Blogmeister aka Maistir Ionuin Blog:

    -Nollaig shona.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

      Agus tú fein, Perkin. Agus go raibh maith agat ar do posts thar barr. Is fear mór thú…

  10. PJ Lynch December 24, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    Happy Xmas and New Year to you and all yours Jude, brilliant Blogs and discussions. Respect.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      Go raibh maith agat, PJ – and the same to you and yours…

  11. BaldyBapTheBarber December 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Merry Christmas Jude, I love reading your blogs; keep up the great work!!! I’ll say a prayer you and your family, I hope you have a happy and Holy Christmas!! God bless.

    “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.”

    G.K. Chesterton

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

      Splendid quotation, BBTB. Thank you for your good wishes – I will do my best, both in terms of merriment and keeping this bugger of a blog going. Thank you for your contributions – always informed, always courteous – and I hope I haven’t let you down too much on other, um, fronts. Nollaig shona duit, to you and all your loved (and tolerated) ones…

  12. neill December 24, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Can I take this opportunity to wish everybody on this blog a Very Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

    A lot of credit has to go to Jude for creating an entertaining blog eventhough he is a grumpy old republican I still get great enjoyment from reading his blog (although he gets it wrong most of the time) keep up the good work!

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

      neill – if you were within arm’s reach I’d give you an almighty hug. Well said. As I think I’ve said before, it takes courage to swim against the tide – I tip my hat. And again my apologies if I’ve been overly neglectful/harsh. Nollaig shona duit – a happy Christmas to you and all your loved ones.

  13. fiosrach December 24, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    Athbhliain fa mhaise, jude, and a hearty two slugs of port for your efforts – along with others – during the year. I can only shudder when I think how much time this consumes out of your day and if you were a younger man it would have meant divorce. Go méadaí do Dhia do stór.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      Thaitin sé le mo bhean cheile, fiosrach – it keeps me out of the way. If I were a younger man I’d have been a bit more terse with some of the contributions. Mercifully, I’ve aged into not expecting too much all the time. But thank you for your contributions, fiosrach – alway sound. Have a wunnerful Xmas Day and may 2016 be as, um, interesting as 1916

      • Jim.hunter December 24, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

        Merry Christmas.Jude.keep up.the.good work.God.bless.

        • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm #


  14. Gearoid December 24, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    A Very Blessed Christmas to you and your family, Jude and a Very Peaceful and Prosperous New Year. Your Blog is the most impressive one that I have seen concerning discussion at events home here in Ireland and abroad. The standard of opinion pieces and the follow-on discussions are of a very high standard.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

      God bless you, Gearoid, for being kind to the aged…But being a writer and so a bottomless pity of insecurity and vanity, I’ll accept your compliment…Have an equally blessed and fun-filled day and may 2016 bring great things to you and yours. And all of us. (Did you say something, Tiny Tim?)…

  15. Mark December 24, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    Nollaig sona duit Jude, agus daimh, fiú Neill fosta.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

      Ha ha – go raibh maith agat, Mark – agus duitsa…

  16. Iolar December 24, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    “Why spend your leisure/bereft of pleasure/amassing treasure/why scrape and save/landlords and gentry with all their plenty must still go empty wherever they are bound/so to my thinking/let’s be drinking/our glasses clinking to another round.”

  17. Argenta December 24, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    Nollaig Shona duit,Jude.Well done to you for your continued practical support for Trocaire,whether by half-marathons or other means.Its generous of you to acknowledge that this blogspot needs to hear viewpoints contrary to the prevailing narrative.I sometimes feel that Gio and myself do not get quite as warm a welcome as the various congratulatory posts that speed your way!Surely life would be very boring if there was not an occasional challenging post.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

      Once again, Argie, I find myself in the distressing circumstance of agreeing with you totally…Well, 99%. Happy Christmas to you and all your loved ones, and even a few of those you can barely stomach…

  18. Eamon December 24, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    Long time reader jude, first time poster. Merry Christmas jude. Keep up the good work

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

      Welcome,poster virgin. And a Happy Christmas to you too, Eamon.

  19. Sherdy December 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    Was reading through all the posts which are full of the genuine joys and goodwill of the season, and wondering ‘Where the hell is Neill when you need him?’
    Saw his name and smiled and read, but then, he’s as full of the Christmas spirit as the rest.
    You can’t depend on anyone these days!

  20. ben madigan December 24, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    merry christmas to Jude, all his collaborators and commenters. may you all have a great time and a wonderful new year

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

      Grma, ben – agus tú fein…

  21. Ceannaire December 24, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

    Nollaig Shona, a chara – thanks for another year of great blogging.

    And a Merry Christmas also to all the readers and posters, particularly to those I may have had disagreements with on here.

    Take care of yourselves over the festive period – especially on the roads.

    • Jude Collins December 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

      Nollaig shona duitsa, Ceannaire…

  22. giordanobruno December 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    Happy Christmas all.
    Especially Argenta, the only sensible one here. (Ok I admit it we are the same person!)
    Enjoy your dead bird flesh, while I tuck into my yummy nutroast.

    • Argenta December 29, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

      I’m reminded of the Beatles lyric in “I am the walrus “——-I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together !Happy New Year to us!!

  23. Jim Lynch December 25, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    A Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Holy New Year Jude.
    The same for everyone on this blog.
    God BLess and take care.
    Jim Lynch.

    • Jude Collins December 25, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

      Grma, Jim – agus tú fein…

  24. Greertoronna December 25, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    A very Merry Christmas Jude! Your blog and your writing is a treasure; constantly informing and challenging us, we are better people and citizens for it. Thank you!

    • Jude Collins December 26, 2015 at 10:22 am #

      You are too kind, G -and a happy Stephen’s Day to you…

  25. An Sionnach Liath December 25, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Nollaig shona duit agus athbhliain faoi mhaise duit freisin (ó an saorstát!).

    Is meas le meas,

    Micheál (as Thiobraid Arann)

  26. BellcooBhoy December 26, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    Nollaig Shona duit Jude. Really enjoy your blog. First port of call every morning. A great antidote to the Free States Fourth Estate!

    • Jude Collins December 26, 2015 at 10:20 am #

      grma, BB. And happy St Stephen’s Day to you….