1848 Tricolour Celebration

Thomas Francis Meagher is a name well known in Waterford City. A celebrated revolutionary who made his mark on Ireland and also across the waters in America. Most people pass by his statue, on horseback, at the Tower Hotel every day, probably without being aware of what may be his most significant legacy to Ireland.

In 1848, at 33 The Mall, Waterford City, Thomas Francis Meagher flew a flag from the building. A flag that represented his views of Ireland’s political state and his desire to see peace prevail upon the land. That flag bore the colours green, white, and orange – colours to which Meagher aligned the Irish catholics (the green), protestants (the orange), and everlasting peace between the two (the white). This vision went without official recognition until eventually in 1937, the tricolour was formally adopted as Ireland’s national standard.

Today, a symbol of the Irish people, all over the world, the tricolour is proudly flown at sporting events, international festivals and anywhere that Irish people go. To many internationals, it symbolises neutrality, friendliness and the “craic” of the Irish. It is fitting that Meagher’s vision for peace, symbolised in the flag, should prevail across the globe as a welcomed and friendly nation.

In honour of the events of 1848, when the now official tricolour of Ireland was first flown in Waterford City, a celebration is planned for March 5th and 6th. On March 5th, following a Mayoral reception of guests, a Leviathan political theatre event will take place at the Theatre Royal – tickets available from the website. The first Leviathan event in the area, this promises to be a great evening of good-humoured and topical discussion on the subject matter of “the impact of flags and emblems on politics and nationhood”. On March 6th, from 12:45pm, The Mall will play host to a reenactment of the tricolour’s first unveiling. Thomas Francis Meagher (portrayed by an actor) will march up The Mall carrying the tricolour which will then be flown from the centre pole outside the Waterford Crystal showrooms. In attendance will be the Irish navy who will observe protocol while the flag is hoisted and also high profile guests of honour from the U.S., France and Canada. The Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Loyola Hearne will address the public and accompanying speeches from the Mayor of Waterford City, Mary Roche, and also Mayor of St. Herblain M. Charles Gautier will set the stage.

A presentation of a replica of Meagher’s famous Club ’82 jacket to representatives of the New York 69th Infantry Regiment will take place against the backdrop of music from The Barrack St Brass Band and local soprano, Donna Roche whom will give a recital in Christ Church Cathedral from 12pm and whom will also sing our national anthem during the flag raising ceremony. Craic agus ceol is expected to follow in the nearby pubs and a great family day out is to be had.

This promises to be a very special event that will attract many people to the city and raise Waterford’s profile on the international stage.

Full details of the event can be obtained from the official website http://www.1848tricolour.com/

iTunes gifting scam

Surfers who link their debit or credit card to iTunes have reason to be cautious after a Reg reader found his bank account plunged into the red overnight following £1,000 in fraudulent iTunes gift purchases.

Reg reader Peter woke up one morning last week to discover an email informing him of a “£10 Monthly Gift for wqfaqapk445@hotmail.com”, an account he’d never heard of.

Apple describes iTunes Monthly Gifts as a “great way to give a gift that keeps on giving”. The vouchers, sent to a recipient’s email address, can be used to purchase music and audio books from the iTunes Music Store.

Peter checked his iTunes purchase history, where to his horror he discovered scores of these “Monthly Gift” purchases – all of which had been generated within a short space of time on 19 January, but only one of which generated an email.

As a result of the fraudulent purchases, Peter’s bank account plunged from its £700 positive balance to £300 into the red, forcing him to borrow from friends in order to pay household bills until the mess was sorted out.

Peter promptly contacted both Apple and his bank (HSBC) over the scam. Apple responded with an automated message before suspending his iTunes account, a day after the damage was done. HSBC reacted better, restoring funds to his account so that Peter was able to make his mortgage payment, and sending him a form so that he could confirm in writing that he had had nothing to do with the disputed transactions.

Peter – who has had an iTunes account for years, spending an average of around £5 a month and never using it to make a gift purchase – is highly critical of Apple’s handling of the matter.

“After years of buying Apple products and using iTunes to buy some music and apps now and again, they’d taken the whole day to get back to me and basically claimed no responsibility or offered any help,” Peter, who works in IT and is aware of the security issues around online accounts, told El Reg.

“How is it even possible for iTunes to be used as some type of glorified bank account? Why the hell would I want to use iTunes to transfer money to people?

“It it completely unacceptable that Apple has turned iTunes into some type of pseudo-PayPal without the security measures, monitoring and care being taken to run something so important,” he concluded.

Peter is unclear on how his iTunes account might have been compromised. Phishing attacks (or worse) aimed at iTunes users are far from uncommon – though Peter reckons it’s more likely the hacker guessed his password rather than he mistakenly handed it over. In general, malware infection or the use of the same password on another site that falls victim to a hacking attack are routes towards becoming a victim of this type of attack.

It’s unclear how Peter’s account was compromised (we’ll probably never know) or how many other people might also have been affected by the same scam. The fraudulent gift purchase most closely resembles the mass compromise of iTunes accounts linked to PayPal, widely reported in August 2010.

A quick search of “iTunes + fraud” reveals that Peter’s case is far from unique, with other victims who link their iTunes account to a debit card account also waking up to discover hundreds of dollars in fraudulent purchases. Unlike the iTunes / PayPal scam, the many victims of iTunes-related bank fraud were not all hit around the same time, so the minor variant of essentially the same scam has escaped media attention, at least until now.

Peter’s tale of woe raises questions about whether iTunes ought to allow monthly gifts, given that it is a secondary facility that appears to be easily abused. “iTunes isn’t just a system for buying a bit of music; it’s turned into a banking system that can wipe out your finances and put whole families into financial limbo,” Peter warns. ®

This has made me think twice about my iTunes a/c. I had a problem some years back were I was accidentally charged by Apple for something and it took months to resolve. I’d hate to go down that road again.

Posted via email from jbwan’s posterous

It’s Green, White and Orange you know?

The Irish flag, our tricolour, our greatest national symbol, used to identify us across the globe and who knows, maybe beyond. We can all identify it at a glance. To strangers it’s a symbol of friendliness, the Irish humour, St Patrick’s Day and neutrality. Yet, so many of us still don’t actually know that much about our nation’s standard. The words “green, white and gold” have pervaded the country as being our national colours – it couldn’t be further from the truth. Our flag is actually green, white and orange but once upon a time it was orange, white and green!

The first time the Irish tricolour was ever flown was in 1848, long before the war of independence, long before the Irish constitution and not many people know that. Further more, even fewer know that the flag was conceived by Thomas Francis Meagher and first unveiled in Waterford on March 7th 1848, at 33 The Mall – his lasting vision for the true colours of the flag was peace (white) between the unionists (orange) and republicans (green) who all wanted to share the one land of Ireland. At some point in history the flag was reversed to position green as the primary colour but the symbolism and meaning remains the same.

Now, how many Irish people could tell you that? How often have you ever seen people express pride in the flag outside of a sporting event? This March (5th-6th) an event to commemorate the message, and first raising, of our nation’s greatest symbol, will take place in Waterford. An international event with guests from France and the United States will take place, to acknowledge the history of our flag and create a little bit of pride and goodwill in these difficult and gloomy times. For more information check out http://www.1848tricolour.com and join in the festivities.

Disclosure: I am a member of the organising committee for the 1848 Tricolour Celebration.