Monday 26 January 2015

Act of Kindness

A news item which appeared in last week's issue of The Nationalist newspaper, Clonmel, attracted my attention. It was written by staff reporter, Eamon Lacey, and it shows that there are people — and a young person in this case — who are capable of fine acts of kindness. At a time when all around us a low based agenda is being pushed — supported by the national organs of the media — noble acts like this give us hope.

I will quote the article hereunder:
John Delaney's Mum in Motorway Blizzard
Eamon Lacey
A Clonmel man who rescued a mother and daughter from a blizzard while on a journey home from hospital has been hailed as a hero. 
Joan Delaney, wife of former FAI treasurer Joe Delaney and mother of FAI chief executive officer John Delaney, and her daughter were saved by a young Clonmel man who came to their aid when he saw their car stopped up on the Cork/Dublin motorway near Watergrasshill in atrocious weather conditions on Tuesday night of last week. 
The car in which Joan and her daughter Jean were travelling seized up and came to an abrupt stop. 
"We were terrified. The blizzard was unbelievable. It was very frightening for us both", said Joan who had been collected from the Bons Securs hospital by her daughter Jean. 
"When we left Cork at 9.30 pm everything was okay but we then came into this awful blizzard a short distance after coming out of the Jack Lynch tunnel. Our car just stopped in the middle of the road, it seized up", said Joan. 
"We were there a while when we noticed this figure approaching the car. He asked us did we need help and he was just brilliant and looked after us and made sure we got home safely on the night", she said. 
The Good Samaritan, Jamie Fenton from Clonmel, who was doing a night course in Cork, managed to pull the car into the hard shoulder before driving it to Watergrasshill where they left it overnight. Jamie then drove Joan and her daughter Jean to their home in Tipperary town. 
"We got stuck in those awful conditions, we did not know what to do. Only for him we were in real trouble", said Joan. 
She said it was heartening to see such kindness. 
"Not only did he stop to help us in those awful conditions but he drove out of his way to bring us to our front door in Tipperary town. We were very grateful to him for saving us and looking after us so well", said Joan.

Sunday 25 January 2015

The Lake Isle of Inisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Inisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake waters lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

— W. B. Yeats

Sunday 18 January 2015

Pardon for Harry Gleeson

I was very pleased to hear on the radio during the past week that the Minister for Justice, Francis Fitzgerald, was about to give a posthumous pardon to Harry Gleeson.

I first became aware of  "the Harry Gleeson Case" on the publication of the book Murder at Marlhill in 1993. This was written by Dublin barrister Marcus Bourke who had a number of books prior to this — mainly about historical figures — and was also editor of the Tipperary Historical Society. Having read the book and spoken to people who remembered the period — including some from the New Inn area — I became convinced that Harry Gleeson was an innocent man.

For the benefit of people not familiar with the case, I will quote hereon the opening paragraph of the book:
At eight o'clock on the morning of Wednesday 23 April, 1941, Harry Gleeson was hanged in Mountjoy Jail in Dublin for the murder of his neighbour Mary McCarthy. Her body had been found in a remote spot on Gleeson's uncle's farm near New Inn in Co. Tipperary early on Thursday 21 November, 1940. Nine days later, on 30 November, Gleeson was arrested and charged with the murder. A six-day preliminary hearing in Clonmel District Court in January 1941 was followed by a ten-day jury trial in Green Street courthouse in Dublin in February. A four-day hearing in the Court of Criminal Appeal a month later and a reprieve campaign both failed, and the posting outside the jail gates of the customary notice by a prison official at 8.05 on the morning of 23 April recorded the execution of Gleeson.
Leading for the defence in the case was Sean McBride who was a young barrister at the time and was to become a senior council a few years afterwards. McBride had been a political activist from a young age and was Minister for External Affairs in the first Inter Party Government. He was convinced from the time he took on the case until his death of the innocence of Harry Gleeson. He, with Mr J.J.Timoney from Tipperary Town, visited the scene of the murder on two occasions, meticulously going over over ever detail. McBride had friends in the Cahir area — a town about 3 miles from the scene of the crime — whom he visited often. He obtained a lot of background information on the case from this source.

On the day before he was hanged Sean McBride visited Harry Gleeson in his condemned cell at the latter's request. When he returned to his car he wrote down what Harry Gleeson had said to him. He sent details to solicitor Timoney which makes for heart-rending reading:
He asked me to let his uncle and aunt and his friends know that he did not mind at all dying, as he was well prepared, and that he would pray for them as soon as he reached Heaven. He was quite calm and happy. He assured several times that he would not like to change places with anyone else, as he felt sure he had undergone his purgatory in this world and that he might never have the opportunity again to be so well prepared to meet his death. He was quite cheerful and chatted freely about his execution. He asked me to specially thank you all for the work you had done on his behalf, and said he would pray for you. At the end of the interview he stood up and said: "The last thing I want to say is that I will pray tomorrow that whoever did it will be discovered, and that the whole thing will be like an open book. I rely on you then to clear my name. I have no confession to make, only that I didn't do it. That is all. I will pray for you and be with you if I can, whenever you, Mr.Nolan-Whelan and Mr.Timoney are fighting and battling for justice".

Sunday 11 January 2015


What shall we do for timber?
The last of the woods is down.
Kilcash and the house of its glory
And the bell of the house are gone,
The spot where that lady waited
Who shamed all women for grace
When earls came sailing to greet her
And Mass was said in the place. 

My grief and my affliction
Your gates are taken away,
Your avenue needs attention,
Goats in the garden stray.
The courtyard's filled with water
And the great earls where are they?
The earls, the lady, the people
Beaten into the clay. 

No sound of duck or geese there,
Hawk's cry or eagle's call,
No humming of the bees there
That brought honey and wax for all,
Nor even the song of the birds there
When the sun goes down in the west,
No cuckoo on top of the boughs there,
Singing the world to rest. 

There's mist there tumbling from branches,
Unstirred by night and by day,
And darkness falling from heaven,
For our fortune has ebbed away,
There's no holly nor hazel nor ash there,
The pasture's rock and stone,
The crown of the forest has withered,
And the last of the game is gone. 

I beseech of Mary and Jesus
That the great come home again
With long dances danced in the garden,
Fiddle music and mirth among men,
That Kilcash the home of our fathers
Be lifted on high again,
And from that to the deluge of waters
In bounty and peace remain. 

— Translation by Frank O'Connor

Friday 2 January 2015

A New Political Party

For some time past there has been much chatter about the need for a new political party in this country. The notion that it will solve all our financial woes is so infantile. I will not insult children, who are very clever, by describing it as childish.

The basic rules of simple arithmetic will always apply. We must use all reasonable means to obtain maximum value from our resources in as efficient and cost-effective a manner as possible. All aspects of our educational structures should be utilized to enable more and more people to avail of the fruits of a productive economy. Thankfully, for some years past, many schools have been promoting a culture of enterprise.

At the present time individuals and groups that have unfortunately been elected to Dail Eireann are spouting simplistic populist cant in order to fool the gullible into thinking that they will cure our financial ills. This is nothing short of criminal.

Lucinda Creighton
Today Lucinda Creighton signalled her intention that she, along with others, will announce the formation of a new political party in this country within the next eight weeks. I wish her well — she has courage. The new party will attract people for a while who still believe that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The one thing that one can be fairly sure of about this grouping is that its leaders will be honest and honourable.

At the present time Dail Eireann is infested with dangerous levels of terrorists and communists. They are expecting to greatly increase their numbers following the next General Election and control the Government. If this ever happened it would be a greater tragedy for this country than a combination of Oliver Cromwell, the famine and the Black and Tans all rolled into one.