Saturday 27 February 2016

Sad Day For Ireland

As the results of the General Election emerge, it appears that this country is going to be plunged into a chaotic situation in which neither of the two main parties have sufficient numbers to form a government.

The outgoing government came to power when the country was in a disastrous economic state. The way they have turned the economy around is the envy of other countries all over the world. They have, of course, had to take harsh decisions. Over the past two years, "pay-back" has started; admittedly at a low rate, but the economy was on target to be fully restored within a few years when further easing would follow. Public services, such as health and justice, would benefit from the increased cash flow that only a healthy economy could deliver.

Yet the people have sacrificed the recovery for "pie in the sky".

When Fianna Fáil was established ninety years ago, they built up a base of support from cottiers and council house dwellers, many of them with an illusory notion of "republicanism" and a mental antipathy towards anyone they perceived to have an advantage over them. This base remained loyal to Fianna Fáil down the decades. However, when things got very bad there would be a slight shift, leaving Fine Gael and The Labour Party with the unenviable task of forming a government on a slim majority while having no option but to introduce harsh measures to restore the economy. At the next election, the electoral backlash would return Fianna Fáil to power just in time to reap the benefits of an improved economy. In this way, they have been able to dominate things, governing for almost twenty uninterrupted years on a number of occasions.

In this election, the electorate have not returned to Fianna Fail except in a small measure, but have spread their votes to disparate Independents who would never be in a position to form a government.

I feel sorry for the decent voters who were willing to give the outgoing Fine Gael/Labour government a chance to finish the job.

Monday 22 February 2016

Disappointing Defeat for Tipperary

National Hurling League Div 1A Round 2:

Kilkenny 2-17; Tipperary 0-18

Tipperary suffered a disappointing 5 points defeat in yesterday's game against Kilkenny, played at Nowlan Park, when the latter struck for two late goals. This defeat, following a good win over Dublin the previous weekend plus the fact that Kilkenny have had little intensive training so far, is a setback for Tipperary.

The losers missed at least three good goal-scoring chances due to a lack of cuteness in the art of striking and placing the ball. The backs were at fault for the two goals due to poor positioning. Some players made some wild challenges resulting in frees and a raising of morale for the opposition rather than tight contact without fouling.

The obvious lack of thought in the poor structuring of Tipperary club competitions down the years, coupled with what seems to be a poor level of coaching from under-age up, has been the prime cause of the stop-start nature of Tipperary hurling, especially at senior level, since the great days of the 50's and 60's. The sad demise of the art of ground and air-striking, which was always Tipperary's forte, is another contributing factor.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Another Great Win for High School

Corn Ui Mhuiri Munster Schools Senior A Football Semi-Final:

Clonmel High School 1-10; St. Francis College, Rochestown 0-7

Clonmel High School's great campaign in this year's Munster Colleges Senior A Football competition advanced further yesterday at Fermoy GAA ground where they defeated Rochestown College, Cork in the semi-final. The adverse weather made conditions difficult for both sides but Clonmel set about their task from the start and built a half-time lead of 1-8 to 0-3 having had the assistance of the breeze. With the wind strengthening in the second half the Cork side were expected to eat into this lead, but the Clonmel side's backs stood firm and scores were hard-earned spurring High School on to fine victory. They now have the mammoth task, at the end of the month, of taking on the form team of the competition, mighty St. Brendan's college, Killarney in the final.

Clonmel High School should draw inspiration from the deeds of the Tipperary minor footballers in 2011 and the victories of Tipperary's Under-21 footballers over Cork and Dublin last year. They can carve their own piece of history by being the second Tipperary team to win the competition following the lone success of their predecessors from the school in 1928.

Thursday 4 February 2016

History Repeating

With an election looming, this is an appropriate time to revisit a Sunday Independent article from December 23, 2001 by John A. Murphy, Emeritus Professor of Irish History at University College Cork. Professor Murphy wrote the article following a visit to Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, by Gerry Adams and his party's attempts to gain maximum publicity in this country and across the Irish Sea.

The following is a brief extract:
...With the imminent prospect here of a general election in which Sinn Fein is expected to do well, nobody should be under any illusions about that party. Its members are still ambivalent about their commitment to parliamentary democracy. For the foreseeable future, they are likely to have a military wing, with all that implies for exercising extra-parliamentary clout and muscle. 
The President of Sinn Fein has referred to the illegal and anti-constitutional IRA as "a people's army...responsive to their needs and enjoying their genuine allegiance". Sinn Fein is in government in the North, but nevertheless orchestrated violent protest in South Armagh against the new police service a fortnight ago. In North Kerry, vigilante activity has once again reared its ugly head. 
The lesson is clear. In a tight parliamentary situation after the general election, any prospective government must rule out Sinn Fein not only as a component of coalition, but also as a supporting extra-coalition "independent" group. 
I want to avail of the opportunity to add my own rider: when voters go to the polls in the forthcoming General Election, not alone should they take the sentiments expressed in the above article on board but they should also refrain from having the country held to ransom by Bolshevik-loving and other anarchic-type candidates who are offering themselves for election.