by Pat Brosnan


Minister’s Resignation


It is beyond doubt that the resignation of Housing Minister Willie Penrose, Dáil Deputy for the Labour Party in Longford/Westmeath, must have been a major disappointment not alone for the Labour Party but for the Government as well. Labour had been on top of the world these past few weeks after their candidate was elected President and their victory in the Dublin by-election.  But the resignation of Willie Penrose from his Ministry and from the Party will surely bring them back to earth. All the dispute arose of course over the closure of Mullingar Army Barracks which is now common knowledge. At National level this closure might nor have been regarded as a big deal because Army Barracks in Clonmel and Cavan also recently came under the axe, but in Mullingar the closure was obviously taken very seriously, no doubt with good reason for the soldiers and their families, but also for the local economy of the town. It all goes to show the fragile nature of a Coalition Government with two Parties often with conflicting views on decision making. That this has happened so early in the life of the new Government does not inspire confidence for the future and while their majority is still very large and in present circumstances looks unassailable the question that arises is; can two Parties with many opposing policies hold together through the present financial and economic recession? Will the Labour Dáil Deputies, particularly the back benchers, all quietly accept the Fine Gael sponsored austerity measures that are already being foreshadowed in the forthcoming budget? we just have to wait and see. But already Labour spokespersons appear to be finding it difficult to justify some of the austerity measures that have already been taken. While it certainly would be in nobody’s interest to see any cracks in the Government at this time there are however some basic lines which Fine Gael in particular would be very foolish to try and cross if they are to bring the Labour Party with them. Not to mention the main opposition parties such as Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.  If we are ever going to get over or even cope with the financial crisis the Government need the assistance of all Parties and the co-operation of the entire population, particularly in view of the massive protests that are happening in the European Union countries which we see every day on our television screens and which have the potential to upset any plans for a recovery. Thankfully we have no violent protests happening here yet unlike other EU states but the Government ought not to remain complacent about it.  Added to this, of course, is the ongoing Euro crisis blowing hot and cold every second day and nobody here or in Europe able to give any firm undertaking as to whether the currency is likely to survive or not. When Shane Ross asked the Taoiseach in the Dáil last week if the Government had any contingency  plans in case the Euro collapsed his  reply was that he could not see this event happening so surely we now can take it that there is no Plan B in  operation yet in this country in case the Euro falls apart.  The citizens need much more assurance from the Government in this matter than mere hopes or platitudes, as much of their hard earned savings might be at stake. In fact, nobody really knows what could happen in case the Euro falls apart and it all goes to show the folly that this country ever went into the Euro Zone but unfortunately we are stuck with it now. The significance of one Labour Party member resigning his ministry and the Party Whip may not have been an earth shaking event that would unduly rock the Government, it is only the potential that it might possibly generate among other Labour Party Deputies that could cause concern. Whatever happens, or does not happen, both Coalition Parties in Government need to be very careful that they do not ignore or try to fob off the voters who believed their promises last Spring and elected them to power.


A Story and Song

Pat O’Donovan’s special guest on last Saturday’s “Story and a Song” programme on West Limerick Radio 102fm was our own Paddy Moore, Hillside Drive, Athea. Paddy’s account of his life and the varied places he had been and worked, in all, made very fine listening. He described how he worked for various farmers particularly in the Castlemahon area, some of whom were good employers who treated  him well enough others not so good. Then he told of how he joined the Irish Army together with the late John Geoghegan who was killed in the Congo in the early sixties.  Then in later times he worked in English Beet factories operating machinery and he also told of how nice it was each time he came back to his native Athea the place he always liked the best.  Paddy also paid a glowing tribute to his wife Kitty for the kindly way she still looks after him and gave the impression that they are a very happy couple. Paddy also sang a few songs including that well-known Army song “Lay Down Your Arms” of many years ago. He also sang “Patsy McCann will you marry my daughter” and as well a lovely ballad in Irish.  Thank you Paddy for a great performance on the radio which was worth hearing and also Pat O’Donovan who, as usual, presented the programme.


Break With The Vatican

Why is all this scarce publicity about the break up of diplomatic relations with the Vatican by our Irish Government, or so it has been alleged. Why all this hush, hush about an event of such unusual significance not alone by politicians but the low profile by the national airwaves. One would imagine that this would be a matter for widespread debate but not a squeak so far as we are aware unless we missed it.  Now there is every likelihood that these same  politicians who took the decision to sever the diplomatic ties with the Vatican will be seen as well jumping on the bandwagon next summer when the International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Dublin. But to break with the long established relations between this country and Rome was a very short sighted and stupid step to take which would surely not have been approved by the vast majority of the population. Following on this but perhaps in another context there was a debate on Kerry Radio one morning last week between Tom Lawlor of the Ballyheigue Grotto and Holy Well committee and a Michael Nugent of an organisation which calls itself Atheist Ireland which as far as we are aware are a tiny minority in this country. One of the silly suggestions put forward by Michael Nugent was that Grottos and religious Statues should be relocated onto Church grounds or to private lands as he made the extraordinary statement that on the side of a public road they are a distraction and a danger to traffic. Whoever heard of an accident or car crash caused by a driver focusing on a grotto.  This was just another example of members of insignificant groups and their spokespersons attempting to dictate and peddle their petty little ideas with a view to causing embarrassment and guilt feelings to the majority of the population of this country and undermining their beliefs and traditions.  Unfortunately rantings of such people are taken seriously by some in high places but certainly not by Tom Lawlor who was well able to  put his point across without having to make any excuses or apologies for his views.


A Mighty Game

The Intermediate Hurling Munster game which was played in Newcastle West on Sunday between Limerick Intermediate Champions Effin and Kerry Senior Hurling Champions Ballyduff was a mighty game. Listening to the match on radio it appeared to be a tense and exciting game with very little between the sides in the first half and only a couple of points separating the sides after the resumption right up to the end when Effin finally managed to put three points between the teams and qualify for the Munster Final.

There is little doubt that Ballyduff blew their chances in the second half when it was after twenty minutes before they managed to score. The Quaid boys playing for Effin surely made the difference between the sides and even though the result could have gone either way the general consensus appears to have been that the better team won.