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Showing posts from 2008

Dell Cutbacks and the Sheer Stupidity of Brian Lenihan

I sat here almost galzing over with incredulity. How can somebody be so stupid, I ask myself. Yet, here it is, a headline in the Times, starting out at me, Government puts RD plan to Dell in bid to save plant. I quite simply sit in astonishment.

How can a plant that is largely manufacturing simply shift gear and turn into an R&D operation, overnight? Spectacular political pussy footing to me doesn't hide the fact that quite simply, this is a coverup for a government bereft of ideas, a government that simply has no idea of basic business management or development, save of course, protecting their cronies in the building industry through zero tax policies.

You don't simply take a factory and turn it into an R&D facility, the skills levels and indeed, the resources required, are very different. I am left reeling every time I hear of this "high value" option, as clearly, Ireland was never regarded as a good place for R&D by this company and others, who'…

Road to hell comes to an end - but at a price

Nice to see that the Cashel to Culahill bypass will open today ahead of schedule, therby putting a large proportion of the hell that is driving between Portlaois and the Cash bypass to past history. Unfortunately we still need to get from Culahill to Portlaois, but at least a good 50% of this hellish dog track, with its miserable one horse towns, total overload of heavy goods vehicles and grannies driving home from mass at 25kmph to the past.

However, there is a catch.

The remainder of the bypass, which will join up this road with the motorway at Portlaois is still in progress, but it won't be free. This means that somebody travelling from Cork city to Dublin city will be tolled twice, and somebody like me who travels from Cork city to Dublin airport will then be tolled 3 times. The worst hit of all will be those brave souls who dare to use a public road to travel from Cork to the border via the M1 - they will be tolled no less than 4 times for a single journey, even at present p…

Finaly, justice for Thailand

Finally that smellty, filthy little brothel to the west has come up with a quality court tuling that will serve its people well. A court has not only found the ruling PPP party guilty of vote fraud (not to mention the vast corruption its already well established for), its banned its leaders and junior coalition parties from politics for 5 years.

Thailand for too long has accepted a level of ruling corruption that festers and ruins the country. While neighbours like Malaysia and Singapore have reinvented themselves as modern democracies with proper industry and well educated people, Thailand has been mired in the 1960s R&R psuedo-prostitution industry in pretty landscape and sunshine. They need to move on, and hopefully now there will be a chance.

The country needs serious anticorruption measures to ensure no repeat of Thaksins abuses and investment in proper business, not simply ip service. If Thailand is to survive as a modern nation, it needs to put aside the old corrupt ways …

Networking for Gay Women in Ireland

I was at a community meeting a month or two ago and heard a lady there who was interested in there being a professional networking group in my city area. So well, now I am trying to start one.

One thing that came out of that particular meeting was that to me it was clear that there was a level of "anything and everything" that had crawled into the resource centre involved because of an obsessive committment to everything being on a "drop in" basis. As a result not only was every group reduced to the lowest common denominator and creative groups effectively neutered by the impossibility of committment and overemphasis on the "social" nature of events, but I also got an impression that some people had been uneasy at some of the characters who had "dropped in". I felt that in order to build an effective and strategic group, it would be necessary to be discriminating in the groups membership.

Let me explain why I feel this way. It is not out of ex…

SERIOUS CAT

SERIOUS CAT

The Bullshit factor takes over

Quite amused by the outstanding level of bullshitting by Minster "Retard" Lenihan speaking on RTE regarding two very serious issues facing the Republic - the issue of mass migration across the border to avail of considerably cheaper shopping, and the complete mess that Revenue face in the light of a proposed tax on employee parking spaces in "urban areas."

Firstly, Lenihan responded to the high cost of shopping south of the border, which aside of being already unfairly treated by predatory pricing caused by a slowness in passing on the fall of sterling against the Euro some time ago by many retailers (who now in all honesty make up probably 2/3s of the retailers on many retail centres), are also forced to charge higher prices since the rate of VAT here is also higher, thus establishing higher prices, even if the retailer does charge the latest conversion rate.  Lenihan's response?  To punish consumers even further by hiking up VAT even further, and thus driving …

Applauding on landing aircraft

I was just thinking today about the 19th century gorillas who still applaud when charter aircraft land (generally it is people whose life experience doesn't go far beyond what Falcon or Sunway have to offer). I was just thinking that they should be labelled and restricted from having a full part in normal life, since apes like that clearly haven't noticed that clearly, unless there is an emergency, we generally do land.

A photo I like

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Munster vs Cardiff 090
Originally uploaded by lff12 I took this photo of these guys who were sitting on the onpitch seats at the West Terrace in Musgrave Park a couple of weeks ago. I hope somebody passes it on to them because its actually a really nice group photo that somebody might look back on fondly in a few years time.

Gmail Spam Mania

I've had a Gmail account for a couple of years now, one which I rarely use. I had a couple of odd things happen to me with it. Firstly, some idiot in Asia accidentally put it down instead of her own email account for Friendster, and to be honest, I think this twit is the cause of my spam problems.

The point is, anyway, I am now receiving more spam to this address that has existed for less than 2 years than I am to my main email account which I have had since 1999.

I decided to experiment, after some time of enthusiastically clicking the "report as spam" button every time an unwanted advertising mail arrived.

Instead of deleting the spam cache every week or so, I will leave it for the full 30 days and see how bad it gets.

I was shocked to notice after just 24 hours that already more than 200 mails were in the filter. After 48 hours, this had increased to 577. In this time I had just received 1 genuine email to my inbox. Tempted to delete, I didn't. I decided to cont…

Planet Brian is not planet Earth

Irish Examiner | Finance Minister calls ERSI predictions 'pessimistic'

What a thick.  Of course ESRI have also been notorious in getting things wrong in the opposite direction and being over-optimistic about various things such as employment levels, tax takes, house prices. In fact ESRI willingly backed up Lenihan until only very recently, wiling lap-dogging to FF's propoganda machine. Trouble is, their credibility is now on the line, and I suspect that this latest prediction is an attempt to restore faith in a shattered system.

Dubes and other deck shoes

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Landlords still not being checked for tax compliance?

Committee advises sharing of landlord PPS numbers amongst govt. agencies - Politics, National News - Independent.ie

Its quite incredible in this day and age that no cross checks are applied to verify tax compliance by landlords, despite the fact that lots of them are now letting out properties at a rate of the minimum wage - which is a considerable sum.

It seems to me that much of this is due to the fact that earners on the level of most TDs are quite likely to own several houses, and highly likely to be landlords themselves. Of course they will not want the landlord checking up on their landlording chums!!

It seems it is high time that vested interests such as the interests of the landlords of the rented sector are called to account and made to pay their way, including for the damage that they have done to the housing market and those who are trapped in the sector.

Where I've been

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visited 11 states (4.88%)
Create your own visited map of The World or determine the next president

From social networking to social drama

I have a slight addition, like many people, to Facebook. Especially mob wars, but I am terminally addicted to making the short pithy comments on Twitter, post hundeds of photos every month to Flickr, use livejournal as a tool to study as well as links, and also add to del.i.cio.us and Google Reader, amongst others. Plus zoomr and don't forget pownce. And of course, bebo. Though with all of this going on I mostly spend my time on the first 3.

I like blogging too, as you may have gathered and as a user of one major online dating site I am painfully aware of how seemingly intimate conversation can lead to the illusion of friendship or a relationship and how tenuous this really is. Likewise in the socially unstable world of the scene: the drinking friend appears to be a great friend, but the reality is, count the number of times they didn't show up, let you down, or moved in on somebody you were interested in/involved with/had been involved with. The reality is that many fai…

Social networking or social drama?

After a few weeks of Stalinesque purging of online (and offline) links to folks who quite frankly, I no longer feel it is in my best interest to associate with or be associated with.

It really all started a few months ago when I expanded my Facebook presence from family, to a few select colleagues, to ex college friends, drinking assoicates, others. The latter two exposed a problem. I didn't realise that the settings for my photo albums online were so glaringly open that despite the assumption that only friends linked to me online could see them, so could anybody with a computer and an internet connection.

I trailed off on the second holiday this year, with my Kodak Z612IS, and despite the disinterest of those who I went with in some of the events that were happening, I was there with my camera to snap them. I was a little put out that I was left to enjoy some of the best free entertainment of that festival on my own, but boy did I get some fab shots! Anyway I picked out the 50 …

The Short Sightedness of Social Housing police clearance

Its with some anger that I read this piece in the Times this morning, about delays in getting clearance from the Gardai is causing unnecessary delays in passing keys onto prospective tenants.

The question I have is: where is the sense in demanding police clearance for the most deprived and needy, knowing full well that the likelihood of them having a criminal record (in many cases potentially for quite minor offences) is far above the typical owner occupier.

What makes me angry, however, is what happens to those who don't qualify because of their criminal past?

Yes you guessed it - the cesspit that is the private rented sector - just dump them there sir, sure nobody will care and my second cousin twice removed needs the cash to pay his mortgage on his 10th investment property. Never mind the neighbours, especially those unfortunate enough to be living in apartment blocked or houses broken up into flats. Lets just ignore that little caveat.

The reality is, if we try to socially clean…

Maths crisis? There is no Maths crisis

As ever, I am bemused by the so-called "crisis" in Maths and Science education in 2nd level schools. Amused because nothing whatsoever is done to a) encourage more students to take more advanced level courses and b) to help weaker students to reach a better standard.

What is even more laughable are the "suggestions" to encourage and reward better Maths results. Offer more points? That provides an incentive that will last for all of one month after the Leaving Cert results come out.

What about offering Civil Service training roles for people with excellent results in Maths or Science? Or perhaps scholarships for people with A1 results? Even bursaries? Not a sign of this. In fact any suggestion that would provide lasting benefit beyond a few weeks after the leaving or only in certain careers or circumstances is strangely missing.

The reason I say all this is that I took higher level Maths back in the days when it was well-nigh impossible, and mangaged to come out…

Plant Closures

I was not totally surprised to hear that Pfizer have been unable to find a buyer for one of their two plants in Cork, and are quite possibly likely to be unable one for their other plant. Other pharma, chemical and medcal devices manufacturers are facing similar difficulties, not least from the astronomical wage bills and rent gouging that they will face on these sites.

Just last month a little note appeared on the window of the Spar shop in the Airport Business Park in Cork saying that it was no longer a viable concern. Now this was a shop that appeared on the face to be doing a good deal of business. Yet, there was no sign of a dramatic drop in business. The sign didn't indicate what the owners meant by viable: had there been a huge rent hike? Or was the franchisee looking for extortionate profits way out of kilter with realistic earnings in a more real world economy? We will never know.

One problem I do know from working on various industrial and business sites around Cork …

Amusing headline in context

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NOTWspanx
Originally uploaded by lff12 Given the context of the NOTW's defeat in court this week, it is amusing to see them advertising what appears to be cut-price spanking. Of course I'm sure they don't tell you about the hidden camera . . .

Max Mosley wins £60,000 in News of the World privacy case

Max Mosley wins £60,000 in News of the World privacy case | Media | guardian.co.uk

Delighted to see Mosley win his case against the self-appointed guardians of the moral order. I am glad Mosley got what was described as the biggest award in recent legal history. However I would have loved to have seen this paper close to the brink of shutdown by the scale of costs, though sadly, I can only imagine that some kind of insurance policy covers them against the cost of litigation. What a joke. People, and not just celebrities, should be protected against such gross violations of privact and clear judgement about their sexual proclivities by the prying eyes of busibodies. If it is in private, then let it stay in private.

Leinster Schools Final 2008

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Leinster Schools Final 2008
Originally uploaded by lff12 I couldn't resist a little blog about this peculiarly impossible score at the Leinster schools final earlier this year. Apparently there was a fault with the scoreboard, which made this otherwise impossible score possible. An amusing anomaly.
I can't help but notice how it is assumed that unmarried het couples are going to be allowed to benefit from the new registration for (mainly ) gay couples. These guys already have the option of the priveliged state of marriage open to them, so why ar we offering them something extra in addition to what they already have? If they've rejected marriage then why should we give them another option?

The whole point of civil partnership and marriage for gay couples is to offer a level of support and privelige that at the moment does not exist and is not open to them. If heterosexuals choose to ignore or reject privelige for whatever reason, well that is their problem. I don't see why they should piggyback on the backs of the gay community who have worked very hard over the years to point out the very severe effects of having no options.

I know a lot of straight people don't use the option of marriage because quite frankly, its far easier to disentangle yourself from a brok…

The Demise of Community Groups

One of the most interesting features of the last couple of years in gay circles in Ireland is a massive increase in numbers attending large community based events such as pride. Dublin and Belfast now regularly extend well into the thousands and queues extend outside all the major bars as well as full houses at the extra official events off the main scene.

A curious thing which has happened is a disproportionate fall in demand for regular community support services - once very popular and well attended social groups in community centres are struggling to keep going. When I was involved with one particular group, who a faceless "steering committee" were trying to push aside to facilitate a "drop in" event, we asked how many were actually showing up to their previous events? Not one person, was the answer.

The shocking reality hit us immediately: the "steering committee" was trying to dislodge a group of 17 for an event that didn't have a single attend…

Mediama/thelinkup/Streamload is dead

As a subscriber I've been pretty pissed off with Streamload's service over the last 6 months, but particularly nonplussed to get an email like the one below:

MediaMax / The Linkup is closing

We regret to inform you that we will be closing The Linkup service on Friday, August 8 at 5:00 pm PDT.

Please login to your account and download any files that you wish to keep before Friday, August 8 at 5:00 pm PDT.

The Linkup is no longer accepting any uploads or new accounts, and no further charges will be made to your credit card. After August 8, your account will not be accessible, all your personal information will be deleted (username, billing information, history, etc), and your files will be deleted.

It was not possible to satisfactorily complete the move of files from MediaMax to The Linkup as we had expected, and as a result cannot offer a service that meets your expectations and our business requirements. This is a very disappointing outcome for us, and we know it has been a frustra…

Cork Harbour Pollution

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DSC00054
Originally uploaded by lff12 This may be of interest to some of you. Its an overhead view of the Haubowline site (bottom island) the day before the horrendous rain on 4th July. The photo was taken around 8pm. It might come in useful to some of you.

My main thoughts on this issue is that the pollution appears to go right back to the 1930s when there was little or no legislation to deal with industrial waste. So a large proportion of this waste has been there for as much as 70 years. The danger here is that if this is the case it may undermine arguments compelling the ISPAT purchasers to clean up pollution for which they were not responsible, but also an absence of accurate historical information regarding the impact of the site on the local community may make it difficult.
One thing is clear. This sludge didn't just suddenly appear out of the blue a couple of months ago, so we need to be really careful when judging the impact of it on stakeholders.

People who do this should be taken off the road for good

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I think this picture speaks for itself. I was behind the motorist in question, stuck behind a queue of traffic blocked because of roadworks on the road to Kinsale. Needless to say the idiot in question DID go on to exit the roundabout on the wrong side of the road via the entrance, having driven around the bollards to avoid getting stuck. He/she also had to force her way out onto the blocked roundabout due to coming out via the entrance rather than the exit, which left the other road users none too happy. Sadly, I was too far back to get a photo of this. I think people like this should be public named and shamed. And its incredible we are so desperate to take those who haven't had a chance to even sit a driving test off the road next week when there are dangerous drivers like this on the road with scant regard for other users, clearly in the belief that the rules do not apply to "moi"!

Brian Kennedy with pride flag

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Brian Kennedy with pride flag
Originally uploaded by lff12 It was really nice to see Brian Kennedy at Dublin Pride on Saturday, indeed it was very nice to see both himself and Maria McKee perform. Shame about the selfless self-promotional idiot who played before them who seemed to have little appreciation of the occasion and its strong politics, and more interested in promoting her new CD. Fortunately she was so forgettable I cannot even remember her name.

Twittering

I have become completely obsessed in recents weeks by the plethora of
social networking add-one that have become so popular on the net. For
quite a while now, I've had a bebo account for ages, wasn't all that
excited about it but then I found facebook, with its tormenting
applications. I've renewed my blog, as well as rehosting it and
upgrading it to take into account new features. And I've opened reddit
and livejournal accounts, as well as upgrading my flickr account to
pro and uploading close to a thousand photos.What is partly driving this is an increasingly holistic tendency
amongst websites. Flickr now integrates with blogger and facebook
which both work with each other and the advent of rss feeds make
almost any of these applications available to each other. The icing on
the cake has to be twitter, the SMS addicts facebook! Minute 140
character updates convey only one thing: what are you doing now?Suddenly we're alive on the web: statics pages hav…

Dubes

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I cannot help but wonder who'd actually want to purchase a pair of these.

Lisbon

While watching some of the video snippets on the RTE website from the No campaign while listening to my iPod, it was no coincidence that by sheer accident, the Kander & Ebb song from Cabaret came on randomly. As I watching Mary Lou (do not adjust you set, she is actually that colour), Declan Ganley of the so-called Libertas campaign, and those rather backward folks from YD, not to mention the Tory extreme right, I could almost see the young Nazi Youth member raising his arm slowly in the air and the bass drum banging harder and harder as the Euro-bigots voted for isolation, a stop on migration (for everyone but us of course), a reversal of the liberal agenda, etc. I am awaiting the banner that this group will eventually put up as its now only a matter of time before an extreme right populist party emerges In Ireland. Tomorrow belongs to them it seems. Europe is quite right to leave us behind.

1100 full moons over Blarney castle

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I had the great please on Tuesday morning of participating in the Spencer Tunick installation. I dragged myself out of bed at 2.30am, still bleary eyed, and really wondered "am I going to be able to do this?" I've followed Tunick for the last few years, especially his UK installations, so when I heard he was coming to Ireland, I immediately jumped up for it and filled out the form.

Getting out of bed at 2.30am is one thing, but getting up out of bed to head out into the great unknown of taking your clothes off for a photo is another. Cynics on boards.ie jeered that it would never happen, Cork is too small, it would be cancelled, down with that kinda thing. But as soon as I'd overcome having forgotten my driving licence and not bringing an umbrella I realised that a large crowd were arriving in Blarney. In the end 1100 people showed up.

Anyway I arrived into the holding area where all the participants were waiting and popped myself under what I thought would be a n…

Charlatans on the social care scene

I recently came across somebody who had just started to promote
herself as a consultant in an area of social care for a particularly
vulnerable and marginalized minority group. Good, you might say, but
in fact this person hasset herself up as a consultant largely on her
life experience and a very basic part time course.She is supposedly offering counselling and group workshops despite
having no professional experience and no verifiable qualifications
that are relevant. To top it all off, not only is she doing this
outside of an organizational framework, she is doing it having already
split away from two different support groups that offer help and
support to people in this situation.This I find quite alarming, particularly seeing as the normal course
of treatment for people in this situation requires psychiatric and
medical care. Such an individual is very very dangerous to vulnerable
people and people need to be made aware that if they are seeking help
and advice they ei…

MRSC rip-off?

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I see that the renewal process has started kicking off for Munster
rugby supporters club members. To be honest, particularly as one of
the 6000 AMs who were well and truly fucked over by the branch over
Heineken cup tickets, the packages on offer are a rip off.Last year I paid €165 for combined membership and a terrace ticket
for all Magners League home games. This year the cheapest equivalent
is about €200. This represents about a 22% increase for nothing
extra. Leinster branch, who have been actually looking after their
members, sell their cheapest package for €230 but this includes 3
Heineken Cup games worth about €80 and membership worth €50 on its
own, so Munster supporters are being overcharged significantly with
slim hopes of a Heineken cup ticket.A nice thank you to loyal supporters who've served the team well over
the last year.

Great Experiences Pt1

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What I've done so far this year:

1. Stood under Sydney Harbour Bridge by night
2. Stood on a soapbox at the Sydney Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras
3. Danced on a bar (ok not me, but its the same bar and I didn't fall off!!)
4. Partied with the best of them
5. Danced with the very best of them at the Sol Y Luna Harbour Party in Sydney's Botanic Gardens
6. Been up to the Skybridge of the ">Petronas twin towers KL
7. Pulled twice in one week
8. Been to the ">Heineken Cup Final to watch my team win the cup
9. Awarded a man of the match award to a great sporting hero
10. And finally, ">waved a giant flag on the pitch at Thomond Park (yes, I am in there, on the right)

Thoughts on Hollinghrst's Line of Beauty

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The adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst's brilliant "Line of Beauty" had only one small flaw: at the end of the first part of the book we are left with a blissfully happy Leo and Nick, its only well into the second chapter that we find out about their breakup, but in the TV adaptation its throw at us at the end of the first episode. For me the transition from the first to second part of the book was like being smacked with a brick as suddenly Nick goes from a relatively uncomplicated relationship with local authority worker Leo to multi-millionaire Wani Ouradi. But this is lost entirely on viewers - it makes the jump to Nick's later lifestyle far too simplistic.

On the other hand - the representation of the book's dramatic peak, Nick's dance with the Prime Minister, is a fantastic moment. Nick is not only cheeky, and in control, but swings the "iron lady" around the dance floor in a manner that underlines one of the book's basic premises - the ill…

Is Action on Children's Laws Misguided?

One thing that is rarely debated but rarely carefully discussed at length is the referendum on children's rights in the constitution. Those who have lobbied for such a law believe that in Ireland, the best interest of children is not always taken into account, the main example being the awful case in 2006 of a family who demanded their previous adopted child back, after the birth parents married subsequent to the birth.

Now the curious thing is that one of the main reasons why this decision was made was not because the child was considered to have no rights, but that the family as a unit was considered to be superior. In Ireland we have a statement in the constitution that promises to treat all children equally, yet instead of doing the correct thing, and diluting the laws regarding the family to take into account cases where the best interests of individuals (adults or children) are not served by giving prominence to the legal status of the family, and leaving the constitutional p…

Marvellous Munster

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Today's comments on migration in the UK press

The UK migration studies and associated commentaries are a sad day for the free movement of people around the globe. Its particularly sad also, to see purveyors of hate such as the Sun coming out with more reasonable statements than newspapers like the Telegraph and Mail. After a night spent digging through the application process for Australian skilled migration, I have to say that after looking at a points-based system, I can only see that such systems are explicitly designed with one thing in mind: to attract not the ordinary or low paid worker, but the brightest and best. And presumably into the brightest and best paid jobs too. Aside from the fact that the Australian system is focused on a desire to attract in talent, with a noticeable caveat that the social security system is ring fenced for a certain length of time, requiring the prospective migrant to bring along a large sum of a cash as a precondition, it contrasts strongly with the employer-focused system in Ireland, where i…

Perspectives

Another thing that struck me was my own situation. I've been 6 years in Cork, and most of the last 18 months have been spent thinking of getting out. I came to Cork in mid 2002, like a lot of non-natives, to escape. I'd been in an emotional draining and psychologically abusive relationship, I couldn't face Dublin and so I came here, where I'd good friends and happy memories. But it was never intended to be a long term thing. Interesting thing is, I have met many other people who came here to escape, dry out, chill out, get away. But the time comes when you have to realise that this isn't the place for you.

I originally was meant to leave Cork in October 2006 and stayed. Then I made a plan to return to Dublin in May 2008 and now that looks as if its not going to happen either. Finally, I've come to the conclusion: why stop at Dublin? My original intention in 2002 was to go back to London once the dust settled and my head had cleared, but meeting a woman …

Some thoughts

Having recently arrived back from Sydney, Australia, with a head blown out from over indulgence, I have to say a visit to Instinct was less than inspiring. I have never been a fan of the Cork scene: the commercial venues either suffer from a lack of support or poor management, the non-commercial venues suffer from a tendency to cater only for their existing clientele rather than make an effort to reach out into the wider gay community. But compared to Sydney, this really showed up. Interestingly enough though, I find the straight club scene in Cork as dreadful as the gay one, though again the pub scene is not that bad. I think this may spill over onto the expectations there are for the gay club scene.

With "the club" more or less gone (correct me if I'm wrong here), few once off events happening in really nice venues such as the Liquid Lounge and Opera House, and very limited competition coming from newcomers like Rubys, Instinct really has gone downhill. I expected …