Saturday, March 21, 2009

I like Christian Pauls because…

as well as being the current German ambassador to Ireland, he’s ChristianPauls willing to throw out some undiplomatic truths now and again.  He famously described Irish society as “coarse”,  “chaotic” and “greedy” in 2007. On that occasion the public reaction was just enough horror at these insulting terms in order to avoid thinking about whether there may be a grain of truth there somewhere.

Most recently he had some thoughts about the Lisbon Treaty:

German ambassador defends Lisbon Treaty remarks

In this speech Herr Pauls touched on the delicate subject having your cake and eating it. Particularly those who  “complain about other nations fishing in their waters. . . and forget who pays their milk subsidies” were singled out for criticism.

Of course the anti-Lisbon group Libertas were quick to label these comments as “unacceptable” and “insulting” to Irish voters. But aren’t they just obvious? Isn’t it clear that if Ireland rejects the Lisbon Treaty again, that there can’t be a continued stream of subsidies?

As an Irish citizen paying taxes in Germany, I am happy that a portion of my taxes are subsidising my native country. I’ll be even happier when the Irish electorate face up to their European responsibilities.

Skiing in Selva Val Gardena

We spent last week skiing in the Dolomites, together with my parents. The weather was for the most part excellent, and the skiing fantastic.

From 2009-03 - Selva Val Gardena

This was the first time we’ve gone with self-catering accommodation for skiing, and we were very impressed with the Apartment Renata. The location could hardly be better, about 50 metres from the Costabella lift and not much further to the town centre. The apartment itself is brand new and very tastefully decorated. And as an optional extra, Frau Lanzinger will deliver fresh breadrolls from her bakery in the mornings. Highly recommended.

Liam went to ski school, and learned to snowplough, which was handy as his initial attempts didn’t include any braking manoeuvres.

From 2009-03 - Selva Val Gardena

The kids enjoyed their sledging in the afternoon as well, as the photo below illustrates.

From 2009-03 - Selva Val Gardena

On the down side I managed to pick up a concussion by unknown means on the last day, and spent three hours wandering about the slopes not knowing where I was until my father found me. This has resulted in me spending this week visiting a doctor per day, and undergoing the following tests: CT, X-Ray, EEG, ECG, MRT. After all this effort, the net effect seems to be that I’m ok.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My cousin Caoimhe Muldoon is running the women’s mini-marathon in Dublin on June 1st in aid of ISIDA

Caoimhe lost her son Oscar in 2007. In today’s Irish Times she talks about the grieving process which goes on to this day. The link is here:

Living with the grief of sudden infant death

It’s a very moving article,  which concludes with the message that anybody wishing to join or sponsor her for the mini-marathon can contact the Irish Sudden Infant Death Association (ISIDA).