Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Paddy Harte R.I.P.

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Paddy Harte at the age of 86.

His was a life well spent. As a Fine Gael T.D. for Donegal North East for 36 years, between 1961 and 1997, he was a "Bridge Builder" in respect of the communities of Northern Ireland. He was, in fact, a true United Ireland man — a republican in the Wolfe Tone mould. He was fundamentally opposed to the brainwashed mindset which bizarrely thought that you could unify different groups of people by bomb and bullet. His views on Northern Ireland were similar to those of John Hume, his neighbour from across the border in Derry. Both suffered the wrath of the terrorists for their views; in John Hume's case, having his house burned on 32 occasions.

Paddy Harte will also be remembered for his work to mark the sacrifices made by soldiers from all parts of Ireland in the World War I. His death, following closely that of Peter Sutherland, removes two people who have contributed to society in very positive ways.

May they rest in peace.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Protection of Householders

Independent Roscommon-South Leitrim TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, has issued the following statement:
In light of the spate of robberies and elderly people being fearful in their own homes, I've asked the Minister would he consent that people over 60 years of age, in liaison with their local Gardai, be given the opportunity to have pepper spray, or laser guns in their own bed rooms, which may alleviate their worries and may help to prevent them being injured or hurt.
I fully support Mr. Fitzmaurice's proposal.

Very many vulnerable citizens presently have shot-guns at the ready for their protection. Anyone who enters a person's home by force, or otherwise, for the purpose of carrying out a criminal act should be met with all the force necessary to protect life and property. The application of the niceties of criminal law procedures is ineffective when dealing with drug-fuelled, or otherwise depraved, thugs.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Important Win for St. Mary's

At Golden GAA grounds yesterday St. Mary's Hurling Club, Clonmel, had a surprisingly easy 2-19 to 0-11 win over Mid-Tipperary champions, Gortnahoe-Glengoole — and, by coming out on top in this Tipperary Intermediate County championship final, they now assume senior status. While a win such as this might not represent a 'big deal' to many people in Tipperary, it is something to celebrate for those of us who want to see hurling and Gaelic football flourishing in every club in the county.

Clonmel is a big town, but it has never had a senior hurling team capable of challenging at county level. St. Mary's has flown the hurling flag in Clonmel ever since its foundation in 1928 — although I am not ignoring the progress of Clonmel Óg which was formed over 30 years ago to promote both hurling and football.

St. Mary's sister club is Clonmel Commercials which has had no shortage of success in Gaelic football. Having won county minor hurling titles in 2015 and 2016, St. Mary's has both the material and the management to be successful in the senior ranks — and I very much hope that they will claim a County Senior Championship title in the not too distant future. Successful clubs, more especially those who perform well in both codes, are greatly hampered by the manner in which competitions are arranged and played in the county. A cluster of games are scheduled at this time of the year to bring the various competitions to a close — and the fact that such an important competition as Under-21 hurling only starts in the month of October is a disgrace. As things stand, St. Mary's will be involved in Munster club championship when many of their players are still eligible for the Under-21 grade. They will also be involved in a County senior football final with Commercials, and possibly in the Munster club competition.

No further comment is necessary.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Liam Cosgrave R.I.P.

Today, I learned with sadness of the passing of former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave at the ripe old age of ninety-seven.

The Cosgrave Dynasty has deep roots in Irish public life. One famous ancestor was killed at The Battle of Vinegar Hill during the 1798 uprising by The United Irishmen. Liam's father, W.T. Cosgrave, took part in the 1916 Rising as 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion of the Irish Volunteers. W.T.'s step-brother, Goban Burke,was killed early in the rising. This caused W.T. great anguish as it was he who encouraged his step-brother to join the Volunteers. W.T. Cosgrave became President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State following the death of Arthur Griffith, and the assassination of Michael Collins. He led the country ably during it's formative years after a brutal and senseless Civil war and severe economic deprivation.

Liam Cosgrave was Minister for External Affairs in the Inter-Party government of 1954-57. He became Taoiseach in the coalition government of Fine Gael and Labour between 1973-77. Like his father before him, Liam always put the interests of the country ahead of himself and his party — a practice that is seldom, if ever, rewarded in this country. The Cosgrave legacy of sacrifice, honesty, integrity, truth and great service to this country will live on.

May they all rest in peace.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Reports from September 1945

The following reports are taken from the Irish Independent between September 20th and 25th, 1945:

William Joyce — Lord Haw-Haw of German Radio — was found guilty of treason at the Old Bailey, London, and sentenced to death. Joyce showed no signs of emotion, bowed to the judge, smiled to his brother Quentin, and raised his right hand in what appeared to be a fascist salute.

Two Irish children, Michael Shannon, six, and Oliver Shannon, eight, brothers, who were recently released from a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines, were on the liner Queen Mary when she docked at Southampton from New York. Their parents were also captured by the Japanese, but no trace has yet been found of them. The boys are coming to Dublin to stay with their grandmother who lives in Blackrock.

A crowd of 67,329 thronged Croke Park to watch Cork win the All-Ireland Football Final from Cavan in a thrilling and hard-fought game. When the Last whistle sounded, Cork had 2 goals and 5 points against Cavan's 7 points. Cork supporters surged across the pitch and carried the winning team shoulder-high around the field.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Heartbreak Again for Mayo

All-Ireland Senior Football Final:

Dublin 1-17; Mayo 1-16

Once again Mayo have to swallow the bitter pill of defeat in an All-Ireland Senior Football final. On this occasion they were beaten by a 76th minute pointed free from Dublin's Dean Rock. They lost by a similar margin to the same opposition in their last encounter in an All-Ireland senior final.

I have a special fondness for Mayo football having had an obsessive interest in Gaelic Games since my early youth. In that part of South Tipperary where I come from, we had a particular affinity for Gaelic football; although our interest in hurling was also intense as was the case throughout the county and beyond. In those relatively stress-free times, Mayo were one of the footballing giants. I can recall the names of practically all of their All-Ireland winning team of 1951.

This present Mayo team is very close to the Holy Grail. They recall the indomitable spirit of another great son of the county, Michael Davitt who co-founded the Land League which refused to be crushed by the cruel Land Lord system in the latter part of the nineteenth century. I am also reminded of that sad day on July 7th, 1980 when Mayo lost one of it's greatest-ever footballers, John Morley, who was brutally shot down by bank-robbing terrorists.

Let next year be your year.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Deadly Atomic Explosion

With the current war-mongering rhetoric between U.S. President, Donald Trump, and the leader of the North Korean regime, Kim Jon Um, it is well to reflect on a report that appeared in the Irish Independent on August 9th, 1945. This followed the dropping of an atomic bomb by the U.S. Air Force on the Japanese city of Hiroshima at 8 am on August 6th, 1945.
"All living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death...the dead are simply uncountable". In these graphic words Tokyo reports told for the first time of the cataclysmic damage caused by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The major part of Hiroshima was destroyed. "The destructive force of the new weapon is indescribable, as is the terrible devastation it has caused" said the report.
The bomb was described as more powerful than 20,000 tons of TNT and with more than 2,000 times the blast force of the British ten-ton bomb, hitherto the largest bomb used in warfare. Bombs many times more powerful are available in the arsenal of the U.S. at the present time.

Another atomic bomb was dropped by U.S. on the Japanese seaport of Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945.