Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Ireland's Éamon de Valera and the taboo of illegitimacy

De Valera with his mother in USA 1919/20

Éamon de Valera (1882-1975) was Ireland's leading politician of the 20th century and he was in office as head of government and president for 35 years in the period 1932-1973. The politician who was instrumental in triggering a shameful civil war in 1922 had a miserable childhood and according to some experts exhibited Asperger Syndrome traits, where genius is coupled with poor social skills.

De Valera had many people helping him over the decades to find documentation to prove that his mother had been married when he was born in New York City in October 1882. None were found.

It was ironic that in the year of his retirement in 1973 de Valera's political party Fianna Fáil which he had founded in 1926, was replaced by a Fine Gael-Labour coalition and Richie Ryan, the minister of finance, gave the first official recognition to "illegitimate" children and their mothers by introducing an Unmarried Mothers' Allowance.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

44% of US workers in low-paid jobs with median hourly pay of $10

Pre-Covid, 44% of private-sector US workers (122m excluding government, agriculture and self-employed) were in low-paid jobs with a median hourly pay of just over $10. Meanwhile, this September a measure of the quality of life showed that the United States, Brazil and Hungary were the only countries in the Social Progress Index where people are worse off than when the index began in 2011.

“The data paint an alarming picture of the state of our nation, and we hope it will be a call to action,” Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor and the chair of the advisory panel for the Social Progress Index, told The New York Times. “It’s like we’re a developing country.”

The United States has a ranking of 28 of 163 countries and it follows Cyprus and Greece. The top 4 countries based on 50 dimensions have female leaders and Ireland has the 12th ranking.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Irish Conflict: An American tourist's view of the "so-called" Civil War

Ireland's Via Dolorosa in the Freeman's Journal: It depicts a woman [Hibernia, a representation of Ireland], prostrate with grief following the death of Michael Collins, the leader of the Provisional Government, in August 1922. She is hugging a broken column (a traditional symbol for a life cut short) with the name "Michael Collins" on it; in the background, other broken columns are featured with the names of Arthur Griffith, Robert Emmett, [Thomas] Davis, [Charles Stewart] Parnell, Daniel O'Connell and Owen Roe O'Neill on them. Courtesy National Library of Ireland.

The December 13, 1922 issue of The New York Times has a story titled "The Irish Conflict: An American Tourist's View of the So-called Civil War." It was exactly one week since the formal start of Saorstát Éireann / The Irish Free State.