George Hook's blog

If a man can afford to turn down a job paying €13 an hour, says George Hook, something is rotten in our society

30/08/13 at 08:15 AM | 0 Comments

If the government wants to get unemployed people back to work, it must remove the incentive for them to stay at home. There is very little point putting time and resources into expanding job creation if the very people targeted refuse to sign up.  How do we do this? By cutting social welfare.

The first time I encountered the law of diminishing returns was in the gym. I was a young rugby player bursting with enthusiasm and I had figured out that the best way of claiming my starting place as a second row in the St Mary's team was to build more muscle. I knew nothing about lifting weights so I threw myself into it as best I could.

After about three weeks of furious bench pressing, one of the trainers in the gym came over to me and quietly whispered that I was wasting my time. "Why"? I had asked, slightly taken aback. As far as I was concerned, I was getting stronger by the day.

"The most sexist, chauvinistic piece of clap trap since the dark ages." George Hook is not a fan of The Rose of Tralee

23/08/13 at 08:30 AM | 0 Comments

The Rose of Tralee (insert year here)

Act one, scene one.

(Insert host name here)

"Would you look at all of those lovely girls. There they all are, dressed up in their pretty little gúna's with a smile that would melt butter. Aren't they just wonderful? Oh wait, here comes a song and a dance. Better take off the high heels first! We wouldn't want you falling on your pretty little faces now would we? Hahaha. Off you go, dance away while we all clap. Wonderful! You were super!

Now, on to the serious business. What's your favourite colour? Pink? Isn't that gas altogether! And what's your favourite thing to do on a Saturday? Shopping? Oh aren't you the right little spender! Hahaha!

Have you got a boyfriend? What does Daddy think of him? There he is, hello Daddy!  And Mammy? Sure she doesn't count, eh? Hahaha...

George Hook on Chris Froome's bittersweet Tour de France victory

26/07/13 at 09:02 AM | 0 Comments

The Tour de France finished up at the wonderful Champs Élysées in the middle of Paris on Sunday afternoon. The winner, Chris Froome, battled through three crippling, hard weeks of pain and suffering to claim the most coveted of professional cycling prizes; the yellow jersey or maillot jaune.

His victory was almost guaranteed by the start of the third week. Incredible performances over the first fourteen days set him apart from his fellow competitors.  Froome dominated his rivals from start to finish and together with last years winner, Bradley Wiggins, he gave team Sky back to back victories on the Tour. It was a magnificent achievement for all involved. Thousands lined out on the streets of Paris to welcome the riders in and when Froome made his way to the winners podium he looked happy and relieved that cycling's most punishing race was finally over. The race is now finished, but many questions remain unanswered.

George Hook on the religious orders turning their back on Magdalene Laundry survivors

19/07/13 at 09:13 AM | 0 Comments

The government redress scheme for the survivors of the Magdalene laundries will stand alone in its composition. There will be no financial assistance from the guilty parties and government ministers remain powerless to compel cooperation from the few responsible for the neglect and suffering of many.  Instead, the religious orders involved have offered to "help in other ways".

You really don't seem to get it, Sisters. Nothing speaks louder than a muted, selfish response and judging from your latest token effort, the silence is deafening. As Sisters of Mercy, you had an opportunity to do the right thing, yet you chose to turn the other cheek in order to protect your financial comforts. Mercy, it seems, does not extend to financial sacrifice.

George Hook is having problems coping with the summer heatwave

12/07/13 at 09:11 AM | 0 Comments

Am I the only one who cannot stick this ridiculous heat? This is Ireland. We are not made to live in temperatures beyond a comfortable 17 degrees.

Don't get me wrong, I adore the sunshine as much as the next man and I find the bright weather has a wonderful effect on the Irish psyche, but 30 degrees in this country and we might as well be living in a microwave.

Tuesday morning, 27 degrees in the middle of Dublin. I haven't felt so uncomfortable sitting into my car since the time I overstayed my welcome in a Las Vegas steam room.

I felt like I was roasting in an oven as I made my way along the Stillorgan dual carriage way, sweating like a baboon in a duffel coat. I was desperate to cool down but nothing I tried was any use. The air conditioning simply blew hot, sticky air from outside back onto my face, leaving my cheeks looking like a pair of inflated whoopee cushions. Not even the shrieking shrill of the Beach Boys Good Vibrations could cheer me up.

Banning alcohol sponsorship at sporting events would cause more damage than good, says George Hook

05/07/13 at 09:02 AM | 0 Comments

On Tuesday afternoon the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications produced a report which said that a ban on the sponsorship of sporting events by the drinks industry should not be introduced.

The report recommended that an addiction fund be set up to help reduce the abuse of alcohol but highlighted that the sports industry would suffer significant financial pain if such a ban was introduced.  

The committee sat down with numerous sports bodies, including the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU and examined the impact that such a ban would have on their bottom line. The Representatives from the drinks and health organisations were also consulted. In conclusion, the committee suggested that any ban on sports sponsorship by alcohol companies would have to come from the European Union.

George Hook: 'Forcing kids to wear school uniforms is counterproductive and cruel'

28/06/13 at 08:56 AM | 0 Comments

Back to school check list: Grey slacks? Check. Woollen grey jumper? Check. Faded white shirt? Yes. Stringy tie? Check. Frown and disgust on the face of the child? You better believe it. What have the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and the majority of Irish school children got in common? They all wear uniforms.

I absolutely detest school uniforms. I hate the sight of them. They are ugly and repressive and I am convinced that forcing kids to wear them is counter productive and cruel. Uniforms serve little purpose and I am calling on the department of education to ban them immediately.

One can certainly see the logic in sending army platoons out on manoeuvres in the full cover of camouflage. There are also valid arguments to keep the members of the defence forces in full brigade. But school children? Really?

Compared to JFK, Obama is an opportunist who will use Ireland for his own best interests, says George Hook

21/06/13 at 08:45 AM | 0 Comments

This week has been a tale of two presidents; one alive, one dead. Barack Obama was in Ireland for the G8 conference and in a metaphysical sense John Fitzgerald Kennedy was returning home. It prompted me to compare the two men that entered office with the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.

Fifty years ago JFK came to Ireland and, before or since, no Pope or politician has had such an impact. Only old age pensioners have a clear memory of the visit and it is important to put it into context. 

Kennedy's decision to travel to the land of his forbears did not have universal support in the State Department. Many Americans were not happy that Ireland had stayed on the sidelines in World War Two and Irish Catholics were not in the positions of power they hold today. 

The Irish Sports Council does the best it can, says George Hook, but there must be other ways of compensating Ireland's incredible boxing talent

14/06/13 at 08:32 AM | 0 Comments

We have greatness walking among us and most of us wouldn't even recognise them if we passed them in the street. I'm talking supreme talent here, the very best in the world. Last week, Ireland coach Billy Walsh took a team of ten boxers to the European Championships in Minsk. (AbovePaddy Barnes, John Joe Nevin, Jason Quigley and Michael Conlan in Minsk, Belarus. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE) The lads fought like lions over a long and brutal seven days and the team returned home with two gold medals and two silver. It was a magnificent achievement.

'Beware the hand that gives.' George Hook offers some advice to Ireland's latest lotto millionaires

07/06/13 at 08:00 AM | 0 Comments

Imagine how Kevin Gheoghan and Carol Loran are feeling this week. Last Wednesday, Kevin and Carol were just another ordinary couple struggling to get by. This week, they are multi millionaires. The Mullingar pair scooped over €10m in the National Lottery when their €4 quick pick came up trumps. Wednesday's draw was one of the biggest roll-over jackpots in this country for some time. Now they plan on splitting the winnings.

Their story should give everyone a lift. Kevin, 46, and Carol, 39, only began seeing each other a few weeks ago. Both have children from previous relationships. From the information in the newspapers over the last few days; it seems like the money will be put to good use. From Wednesday, nothing will ever be the same for them again. This money will change their lives, for better or for worse.

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