by Pat Brosnan

Flight of the Earls

Back in the 1980’s when there was just a minor recession in the country compared to the major financial difficulties that we now find ourselves in during the first half of 2012, even during that time around 30 years ago there was a revival of emigration from our land because of increasing unemployment at the time which inspired the lines of that popular song “The Flight of the Earls”. However that particular phase of emigration did not last that long and it is obvious that many of the exiles again returned home as the country became more increasingly prosperous during the next couple of decades. We know now in hindsight that the good times that followed the recession of the ‘80’s was an artificial form of prosperity which was certain to end sooner or later. What followed the trail of emigration of some of our most talented and promising young people to other countries was soon followed by a major influx of foreign nationals into our own. This was no doubt encouraged by our Government at the time as there appeared to be a need for those foreign workers in the booming building industry and its offshoots as well as in tourism where many foreign nationals were employed and indeed where they still are.  We will remember Mary Harney stating in a television programme that Ireland needed 30,000 workers from abroad coming into the country each year to provide the required labour force at the time. Some of us who were emigrants ourselves in another land at one stage of our lives and who worked with people from all over the world of every class, creed and colour have nothing against foreign nationals being employed in this country provided of course that they are contributing their fair share to the economy of the State.  But what must be really frustrating for parents here is to see their sons and daughters who are well educated and qualified people unable to find suitable jobs for their abilities in their own land and having to emigrate.

That is not to state however that going to work abroad is a bad prospect for young people. It is no such thing. If the emigrants are sensible it can have a very positive and mind-broadening effect and if some of them decide to return and live here again they can be all the better for having had experience abroad in a different country with a different culture. We, ourselves, Mary R.I.P and myself, have both lived and worked in England and we have never regretted doing so. Our three girls have all worked abroad in England, Belgium, the United States and Canada. Our youngest girl has chosen to live in Canada on a permanent basis with her husband and young family.  While our son Seanie has not worked abroad he has nonetheless travelled to many different parts of the world compliments of the Toyota Car Company.  While it is sad to see some of Ireland’s brightest and best young people being forced to emigrate once again in their thousands, there is however for parents one consolation they can be proud of the fact that their young family members have chosen to emigrate and work abroad rather than settle for an indefinite life on the dole here with very little prospects of anything better.

Hopefully the time will come again when we will have a Government here that will be more interested in the needs and aspirations of the plain people of Ireland rather than the present austerity promoters whose only concern is our alignment with our European masters and the propping up of financial institutions both native and foreign to the detriment of our country and its people.

A Talented Musician

Last Wednesday there was a very interesting programme on TnaG television concerning the life and musical talents of a Church of Ireland Rector Gary Hastings. He was born and grew up in a Protestant area of East Belfast and later when he attended college he developed a great love for Irish Traditional music and became an accomplished concert flute player. Besides being a dedicated Christian and musician Gary Hastings is certainly a devout clergyman who believes firmly in peace and friendship among all sections of the Irish people. He also stated that music is one of the last means of bringing people together.  Together with some other traditional musicians he played many fine tunes on the concert flute and no doubt people like him who can cross the religious divide, particularly if they come from the Protestant Community in the North, can be a powerful influence for peace and recognition of all the good and positive qualities that exists on both sides of the political and religious divide. Gary Hastings is now the Rector in St Nicholas’ Church of Ireland in Galway.


Death of Barney McKenna

The unexpected death of famed musician Barney McKenna which occurred on Thursday of last week is widely regretted by his friends in the music business and thousands of admirers throughout the country as well as abroad. Barney was the last of the founder members of the widely acclaimed Dubliners group who entertained audiences all over Ireland and abroad for decades. Names like Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly and the others who made up the group have left behind them some wonderful memories of their unique style of entertainment and Barney McKenna with his super style of banjo playing was a major part of the attraction of the Dubliners group.  As well as the live shows which they performed the Dubliners also regularly appeared on television programmes and people were always on the lookout for these as well. With the other deceased members of the group Barney McKenna will be fondly remembered for the joy through his music and warm personality that he brought to so many people in his time.  Barney was 72 years old and had still a good deal of energy and talent left so it is sad that his great career as a mighty musician ended so suddenly. ‘Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam’.

Recent Deaths

Sympathy is extended to Mary Ann Herbert, her husband Jim and their family on the death of MaryAnn’s mother Hannah O’Donoghue, Knocknasna also to her other family members and relatives. Hannah was a well liked member of the local community and her passing is regretted by her family, relatives, friends and neighbours.  The removal took place on Saturday evening from Harnett’s Funeral Home to the Church of the Assumption, Abbeyfeale where many people gathered to pay their respects and sympathise with the family. The Requiem Mass and Funeral were also well attended. ‘May her soul rest in peace’.

Sympathy is also extended to Eileen Ahern and her family Gortnagross on the death of her brother during the week also to his sister Bridie Curtin, Tournafulla and other family members and relatives.  ‘May his soul rest in peace’.

A Great Tragedy

The news during the week of a pensioner in Athens taking his own life was a sad sequel to a Government reduction in his pension because of the austerity measures being imposed on that unfortunate country by the European Union. The tragedy generated a massive protest in the Greek Capital which already has witnessed widespread protests and rioting for even lesser reasons. Greece is but one of the countries that have been earmarked for further prolonged austerity measures which also applies to our own State. We might well ask is this fiscal rectitude being imposed by the European Union worth the loss of even one human life? The other  day the people of Athens gave their answer loud and clear.