Thursday 24 September 2015

Irish Company Law

My beloved niece, Gráinne Callanan, recently had the fourth edition of her book on Irish Company Law published; the previous editions were in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

Gráinne has been a lecturer in Company and Insolvency Law at Waterford Institute of Technology for the past 22 years. She has a number of publications in the field of Company Law and was previously employed in the corporate banking sector.

Gráinne has dedicated her latest book to the memory of her late uncle — our brother — James (Seamus) Callanan, who passed away on 26th October 2014.

I will hereon show the dedication that she wrote:
To the memory of my beloved uncle,
James Callanan (1933—2014). 
For the long, long road to Tipperary
Is the road that leads me home
O'er hills and plains, by lakes and lanes
My woodlands, my cornfields
My country, my home.

— John A. Carpenter, c. 1917

Friday 18 September 2015

The Late Eddie Connolly

It was with deep sadness that I learned of the death of Eddie Connolly, R.I.P.

Eddie was a true Tipperary Gael. As a native of the parish of Loughmore-Castleiney, he was a valued hurler and footballer with that great dual club in his native parish. He also played hurling and football for his county, captaining Tipperary's All-Ireland winning Intermediate hurling team in 2012.

Eddie had been afflicted by a malignant brain tumour for the past two years, which he fought with courage and determination. He may have lost the battle, but he has won the hearts of very many people by his courageous and spirited fight. He is now enjoying the rewards which he so richly deserves.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

A Donation Once Again

The following is extracted from a book on Irish political scandals since the foundation of the State, co-written and edited by journalists, Michael Clifford and Shane Coleman:
Neil Blaney stood on the podium, the perspiration glistening on his face. A senior government minister of Blaney's standing addressing his party's annual conference would normally be akin to a victorious general rousing his battle troops. But the January 1969 Fianna Fail Árd Fheis was different. Things were getting hot and heavy. The troops were not just restless, they were almost in revolt. 
Just a couple of months earlier Fianna Fail's second effort to abolish the proportional representation voting system had been resoundingly defeated in a referendum. It was the first time that Fianna Fail had failed to secure 40 per cent of the vote in any electoral contest since it took power in 1932. The result had led to much soul searching and prompted questions about Jack Lynch's leadership of the party. 
Party members laid the blame firmly at the door of Taca, the Fianna Fail fundraising organisation set up a couple of years earlier to tap the business community. Fianna Fail, traditionally the party of the small man, now looked like the representative of big business. Under pressure after the referendum fiasco, Lynch had moved to reform Taca, making it more accessible and transparent. But speaker after speaker at the Árd Fheis was adamant that this was not enough. They wanted Taca gone and they looked set to deliver a bloody nose to the leadership in the process. 
Until, that is, Blaney took the microphone. The Donegal man had little time for Lynch but Fianna Fail needed him. He paused briefly to mop each of the corners of his face with a handkerchief. He stuck his chin and then launched into a stirring defence of Taca, the 'sweat running in thin rivulets down his active jaws' — as the Irish Times reported at the time — as he belted home his point. 
It was almost the 1970s. You needed money to compete with the well-heeled gentlemen of the Labour Party and Fine Gael. The Taca men had been there for the party over many years in every election and by-election. Many of them hadn't a seat in their pants when Fianna Fail had started out. Now Fianna Fail had brought prosperity to the country, they were giving something back. 
Blaney sat down to a standing ovation and thunderous applause. The entire Árd Fheis was in the palm of his hand. In the ensuing vote, only a dozen hands were raised in opposition to the new Taca. It was, however, only a temporary respite for the fund-raising body. Within a year it would be gone. 
Despite the attempts to reform the organisation, Taca was effectively ended by the 1968 referendum result, which was somehow fitting because it had begun with another electoral embarrassment.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Barbara Frietchie

Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,

The clustered spires of Fredrick stand,
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach tree fruited deep,

Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

On that pleasant morn of the early fall,
When Lee marched over the mountain wall

Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Fredrick town.

Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,

Flapped in the morning wind; the sun
Of noon looked down and saw not one.

Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her four score years and ten,

Bravest of all in Fredrick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;

In her attic window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.

Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.

Under his slouched hat, left and right,
He glanced: the old flag met his sight.

'Halt! — the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
'Fire!' — out blazed the rifle-blast.

It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash,

Quick, as it fell from the broken staff,
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf.

She leaned far out on the window sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.

'Shoot, if you must, this old grey head,
But spare your country's flag' she said.

A shade of sadness,a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word.

 'Who touches a hair of yon grey head
Dies like a dog! March on!' he said.

All day long through Fredrick street
Sounded the tread of marching feet;

All day long the free flag tossed
Over the heads of the rebel host.
Ever it's torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;

And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with warm good-night.

Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
And the rebel rides on his raids no more.

Honour to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.

Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!

Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;

And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Fredrick Town.

— John Greenleaf Whittier