Angry fairies blamed for road damage

An Irish MP is blaming fairies after a mysterious dip in a road surface recurred after repairs.

Danny Healy-Rae claimed the issues with the N22 were caused by "numerous fairy forts in the area" in an interview with the Irish Times.

He said "there was something in these places you shouldn't touch" and that the road passed by a place that was full of fairy magic and folklore.

Here's one of the forts, for reference:

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Irish police open blasphemy investigation into Stephen Fry for calling God an "utter maniac"

Living treasure and outspoken atheist Stephen Fry has a classic bit from a two-year-old episode of RTE's "The Meaning of Life" in which he answers the question, "What would you say to God if you died and found yourself at the gates of heaven?" Read the rest

Bake brown soda bread in a cast iron skillet

If you have breakfast while traveling in Ireland you are bound to come across brown soda bread. Soda bread is super easy to make and a fantastic comfort food.

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Irish women call for a nationwide strike if they don't get a referendum on the country's brutal abortion ban

Ireland's abortion laws are among the most barbaric in the world -- among its many deficits, it forces women to carry unviable fetuses to term, making them labor to deliver babies who live short hours in extreme pain before dying before them. Read the rest

Tim Cook confirms: tech met with Trump to ask for billions in tax breaks

A leaked memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook to his staff explaining why he met with Donald Trump -- a guy who called Apple traitors for refusing to defeat their own security -- explains the rationale: "tax reform." Read the rest

Apple's tax-dodging offshore billions are sunk into Treasury Bills that pay out using Americans' taxes

Apple -- which is one of the multinational poster children for tax dodging, along with Google, Amazon, Ikea and others -- has billions of dollars "offshore" and in theory they can't bring that money into the USA without paying tax on it; but thanks to some fancy accounting, much of that money is sunk into US Treasury Bills (floated by the government Apple is starving through tax evasion), and the US taxpayers pay Apple, about $600M so far. Read the rest

Trump called climate change a Chinese hoax but he wants a massive seawall around his resort

Trump is a climate denier and he's packing his administration with climate deniers; as Peter Watts pointed out, Trump "seems to think that the laws of politics and of physics somehow carry equal weight, that he can negotiate with the heat capacity of the world’s oceans ('Okay, we’ll cut our bitumen production by 15%, but then you have to increase your joules/kelvin by at least 5…')." Read the rest

Ireland (finally) jails three bankers for role in 2008 crisis

The three senior bankers who were sentenced on Friday are among the first to go to jail for illegal actions that contributed to the global economic crisis of 2008, which triggered waves of global instability, which contributed to the ongoing refugee crises and wars, mass unemployment, crippling austerity, the near-collapse of the Eurozone, Brexit, and soaring inequality. Read the rest

Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz calls Apple's tax strategy a "fraud"

2001 Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz has a long history of being on the right side of history. For example: pricing the Iraq war at $3T; raising the alarm about sovereign wealth funds acquiring US debt; nailing the double-standard on bailouts for debt crises (and the way that this destabilizes poor countries); sounding the alarm about austerity in times of recesssion; coming out early and strong over wealth concentration; calling for the imprisonment of the top executives at Barclays bank; and damning the TPP as "the worst trade deal ever." Read the rest

MEP tours the farcical viewing conditions for the TTIP text

On Monday, Greenpeace leaked the highly confidential negotiating drafts of the TTIP, a top-secret, big-business-friendly trade agreement between the USA and the EU. Read the rest

Shamrock shake: Pfizer's Irish "unpatriotic loophole" ducks US taxes

Pfizer's used a tax-dodge called a "reverse-inversion" to sell itself to a much smaller, Irish pharma company, moving its corporate nationality to Ireland at the stroke of a pen. Read the rest

Ireland legalizes same-sex marriage

Eire we go, at last! The BBC reports that the Republic of Ireland will now permit same-sex couples to wed.

It is not yet known when and where the first same-sex wedding will be held.

But the first people to be affected are same-sex couples who have already wed legally abroad. Their marriages are now automatically recognised by the state.

They include Orla Howard and her wife Dr Grainne Courtney, who were married in the United States in May 2013.

The new rules follow a referendum in May in which Irish voters overwhelmingly supported the change.

Ireland was late to the gay rights party, only decriminalizing homosexual acts in 1993. But now it is the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

This leaves Northern Ireland as the last holdout in the Atlantic Archipelagos1; though about 70% of locals support same-sex marriage, conservative protestants in government have apparently used procedural measures to prevent the law being voted upon.

1. Various wee UK tax shelters have yet to permit same-sex weddings, but all have signaled their legislative commitment to marriage equality. Read the rest

Irish government to decriminalise personal quantities of many drugs

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin the Irish Minister of State for New Communities, Culture and Equality, announced that his government is opening safe injection sites, will introduce a new Misuse of Drugs Bill bill in early 2016 that will decrminalise possession of "small amounts" of drugs including heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, and "as far as possible drug addiction should be removed from the criminal justice system." Read the rest

Helen & Graham Linehan's Amnesty video damns Ireland's barbaric abortion laws

In 2004, Helen Linehan terminated a pregnancy she had conceived with her husband, IT Crowd/Father Ted creator Graham Linehan, after discovering that the fetus had acrania and could not survive for more than an hour after the birth. As sad as the occasion was, the pair were more traumatised when the moved to Ireland shortly after and discovered that if Helen had had her abortion there, she'd have faced 16 years in prison. Read the rest

Gorgeous drone footage of Fall farm harvest in County Tipperary, Ireland

Right now, in Ireland, it's silage time.

Airport security confiscates three year old's fart gun

The eagle-eyed aviation security humans at Dublin Airport prevented a desperate toddler from boarding a flight while in possession of a Despicable Me Fart Blaster: "We don’t make the rules but we apply the rules consistently." (via Lowering the Bar) Read the rest

Ireland votes on same-sex marriage

In conservative Ireland, homosexuality remained illegal until 1993. Even divorce only became an option in 1997. But times have changed. The first major international plebiscite on gay marriage is poised to deliver an overwhelming vote in favor of extending the institution to same-sex couples.

"If the Irish can vote “Yes,” the thought goes, anyone can," writes Amy Davidson in The New Yorker. "If they can see how a conservative belief in the institution of marriage and in the unity of families, and an atavistic desire to be present at the wedding of one’s own children, translate into support for same-sex marriage so can, say, Mississippians."

The campaigns, for and against, served to illustrate the broader divisions in Irish society. The No campaign, in particular, made sharp use of fear as a motif, identifying wholesome Catholics as the real victims of intolerance. But the church has paid a high price for its longtime abuses: polls have support for gay marriage at about 70%, though there is some question about the accuracy of polling.

Even if it's close, the pace of change in Ireland has been remarkable. A 2013 International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association map of local support for same-sex relationships put Ireland at only 36%, though it took into account factors other than public opinion.

Here's a "Yes campaign" video:

At least 17 counties, and several U.S. states, have institutionalized same-sex marriage. In the U.S., the Supreme Court recently heart arguments in a case that may effectively settle the matter there. Read the rest

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