By Pat Brosnan

Plain Language Required

Away back in the dim and distant past before the general election of 1948 when the newly-formed Clann na Poblacta Party were beginning to emerge as a political force, having previously won two by-elections, their members were often very critical of the outgoing Fianna Fáil Government who at the time had been in power for sixteen years. One of the Clann na Poblacta posters that was displayed contained a series of topical political questions aimed at the then Taoiseach Eamon De Valera and headed “Question Time for Dev”. This was followed by what almost amounted to a warning at the end of the questions. “We do not want your answers in mathematics or higher physics, we want plain talk for the plain people”.

The Clann na Poblacta Party put up a whole lot of candidates for the election which included the leader Sean McBride, who, a short time previously, had been a high ranking officer in the IRA, Dr. Noel Browne who, after he became Health Minister, brought in some radical improvements in the Health Service particularly for TB patients which was rampant at the time and a major killer. Some other prominent Clann na Poblacta election candidates at the time were Noel Hartnett, Con Lehane, veteran Kerry Republican Johnny O’Connor of Farmersbridge, who died years later in a car accident near Headley’s Bridge, when he was a Dáil Deputy and prominent Kerry footballer Johnny Walsh of Ballylongford.

The Clann na Poblacta party did not do next or near as well as expected in that election, but nevertheless they secured ten Dáil seats which gave them the balance of power, status and a number of Ministers in the first ever coalition Government since the foundation of the state. Clann na Poblacta had accomplished some of its primary aims, it had tackled the scourge of TB, it had ensured that the twenty-six county state was declared an independent Republic with no further ties or links to the British Empire and the party also initiated other important reforms such as support from the Government for the Anti-Partition League. But to get back to where we started about plain talk for the plain people the two parties comprising the new coalition Government made a big issue about the outgoing Government not talking the truth about the financial state of the country prior to the general election. Perhaps the Ministers and their associates in the new Government are telling the truth about the nation’s finances, but they are expressing it in terms which the average person finds it very difficult to understand. This means that we are hearing fiscal terms now being used about the public revenue which to a great extent is nothing more than mumbo jumbo to the ordinary people of the country. They talk in billions about sovereign debt, national debt, bank debts, owed to the IMF the IMS the European banks, they talked about the bondholders and about this ridiculous new term which they call “haircuts” which even the most highly qualified barber or hairdresser would have difficulty in understanding when it concerns financial affairs.

So is it not about time that Government spokespersons gave us such information in understandable terms particularly to the plain people like ourselves. It often appears doubtful if some politicians are well versed enough themselves in order to be able to put across to the people in simple terms their views on the country’s current financial difficulties. This applies equally to television and radio interviews, but allowing for the fact that their responsibility in such matters is somewhat less than that of Government spokespersons.

So instead of all these confusing mathematics, which the Clann na Poblacta party warned the then Taoiseach about all these years ago, let us now repeat the request to our new Government, plain talk for the plain people please.

Whether this information is given in English or Irish with perhaps sub titles does not really matter provided it is simple, true and realistic.

Jackie For President

When listeners to Radio Kerry heard on Friday morning April 1st that Jackie Healy Rae might be contesting the election for President some dismissed it as being just another April joke. But no, when Jackie came on air shortly afterwards and told presenter Jerry O’Sullivan that he was about to consider it then it was seen as a serious proposition.

At the time of writing however it has not yet been confirmed if Jackie will become a candidate. But stranger things could happen and there is no doubt that since his time in the Dáil Jackie has become a national figure with a very high profile. His son Michael of course has now taken his place as a Dáil Deputy, his other son Danny and more recently his grandson are both members of Kerry County Council, so there is no doubt that the family has now well established itself as yet another political dynasty.

In the radio interview Jackie declared that he had never lost an election, so it will surely be interesting to see if he can retain and add to this record as a candidate in the forthcoming election for President.

If he does decide to go and secures the nomination it would be a very foolish punter who would write him off as a non-starter. We will however have to wait and see how the situation develops.


West Limerick Set Dancing Club will hold a céilí at the Convent Hall Abbeyfeale on this Sunday at 4pm.

Music by Mountain Road and everybody will be welcome.

Census Night

A final reminder to ask all house-holders to fill up their Census of population forms on this Sunday night April 10th. It is very important that everybody who stays in each household, guesthouse, mobile home, or any other premises of any kind on that night be recorded with as much personal details as possible for each person included.

All this information is required so that State Departments can plan for the future provision of various services during the coming years. The Census enumerators will be calling for the completed forms from Monday onwards, so everybody is requested to give them every co-operation.

Get Well Wishes

Get well wishes are extended to former curate of Athea parish Fr. Tim O’Leary who recently, by all accounts, underwent some major surgery. We hope he will soon be well again and back on duty in his parish. Good wishes too to our own Paddy Faley, Glenbawn, who is now recovering after his recent illness.