Rory McElroy Gael or Brit

What an awful uproar erupted throughout the land in recent weeks when famous golfing champion Rory McElroy stated that he considered himself a citizen of Britain rather than of Ireland. One wonders what all the full was about anyway and why it is that Rory, who comes from County Down, should not be given the opportunity to make up his own mind as to which country his allegiances lie. Perhaps it is in the nature of things that somebody who is prominent internationally would be claimed by a certain country as belonging to it and for those living in the Six Counties this is certainly a dilemma.  It is however, or at least it ought to be, the choice of the person concerned as to which country they would opt for without any interference from the outside or from the trend of public opinion on one side or the other. As we all know many residents of some or all of the six Northern Counties have declared for Ireland, not alone in Rugby which is an All-Ireland Organisation anyway, but in many another context as well including at times the Olympics.  On the other hand also there have been prominent people in the North who have helped Britain to achieve success in various International competitions. Take for instance Dana who was from Derry and who won the first European Song Contest for this country with her famous “All Kinds of Everything”. Very few people in the Six Counties, even though they were Protestants and Unionists, questioned her right to represent Ireland in the competition.  Then why should any begrudging persons in this State refer to Rory McElroy in such disparaging terms such as a traitor or turncoat because he made a public statement that he would prefer to represent the British in golf tournaments  Surely that is a matter for himself to decide and is no other person’s business.  It would be nothing unusual at all if the golden boy of golf from County Down would decide to play for Britain because as we all know several icons of Irish sport and intertainment fame have done so previously.  By all accounts did not boxer Barry McGuigan represent Britain in that particular sport at one stage and he a native of Monaghan on this side of the border and we have never heard of anybody batting an eyelid about it, and to further complicate matters did not his father Pat represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest and was there anything contradictory about that either? Also did not singing idol Daniel O’Donnell from Donegal receive a title from the Queen “Knighthood”, “Sir” or whatever it was? The same, of course, is true of Bob Geldoff who came to fame originally through his singing and musical group “The Boomtown Rats” and later as an organiser and fund raiser for third world charities.  And then of course there is that wealthy magnate who controls much of the Irish media Tony O’Reilly who has also a British Title “Sir” Anthony O’Reilly to give him his official title.

There is no doubt that many more Irish won many honours in various fields competing for Britain before this part of the country became an Independent State.  On the other side of the coin however how many golden boys and girls who were born and grew up in England, Scotland and Wales with full British Citizenship distinguished themselves playing Gaelic Football, Hurling and Camogie and even Rugby and Soccer playing for Ireland. The fact is of course that there has been always a mix of loyalties between the four main countries that was formerly known as the British Isles.  Before this country, or at least the most of it, seceded from Britain and became more or less an Independent State with control of its own affairs, that is of course until we became involved with the so-called European Union and compromised on our sovereignty and democracy and where our successive Governments gambled away our hard won freedom for a mirage that has now turned into a din of uncertainty and confusion and grows worse by the day leaving our country debt ridden with little hope for the future unless and until our politicians undergo a radical change.  But to get back to Rory McElroy and the choice he has to make in his golfing career that is up to him and we should all wish him well whoever he decides to play for.

And is it not a fact that all those of us who were born before 1949 when the then Fine Gael Taoiseach John A Costello declared that the 26 County State was a republic, can claim British Citizenship if we wish and be entitled to get a British Passport. Likewise children of Irish Parents born in England, such as the two eldest of our own family Sean and Sheila can if they want to claim their British Citizenship which in certain circumstances could be very useful to them and to some of our other neighbours in Athea parish and elsewhere whose children were born in Britain or the Six County State.  All of these people can hold a dual citizenship which as previously stated can work to their advantage. Rory McElroy naturally belongs to this category so what is all the big deal about which Nationality he chooses to play his golf for.  In the long run what does it matter to any of us? He is a Champion and that is all that counts.  If we look into our own hearts would those of us who consider ourselves to be Irish Republicans refuse to accept our English Pensions in a foolish display of Nationalism, not indeed likely? Did we not earn these when we worked hard there and paid our Social Welfare contributions? In the meantime, we should hope that Rory McElroy will do the right thing by what in his own judgement he thinks is the best.

West Limerick Set Dancing

West Limerick Set Dancing Club will hold a Céilí at the Devon Inn Hotel on next Sunday afternoon October 7th at 4 pm. Music by The Glenside Céilí Band and everybody welcome.

Late Joseph O’Connor

The death of Joseph O’Connor of Castle View, Newcastle West and formerly of South Keale, Athea was widely regretted by all those who knew him or other members of the family who are all highly regarded throughout Athea Parish, other areas of West Limerick and further afield.  Joe was a cheerful, pleasant outgoing person who liked to meet friends at social gatherings and have a conversation with them.  He was, in his younger years, a member of Athea Civil Defence Unit and regularly attended training sessions in the local hall, as well as the annual weekend camps in Lahinch and elsewhere. Joe and his wife Kathleen, who comes from Carrigkerry, used regularly attend the Ceol Luimnigh Irish nights at Creedon’s Bar, Newcastle West when these were held there. Joe had been in failing health during the past number of years, but accepted it all with much courage through his illness.  Many people called to his home over last weekend to offer their sympathy to the bereaved family. The removal took place from his home in Castle View on Saturday morning September 29th to Newcastle West Parish Church where a large number of people attended Requiem Mass. Afterwards the funeral to Calvary cemetery; Newcastle West was also well attended.  Sympathy is extended to his wife Kathleen and their family and grandchildren, his brothers, sisters, his in-laws and other relatives. ‘May his soul rest in peace’.

Well Done Feale Rangers

Congratulations to the Feale Rangers Football team Athea/Mountcollins on their great win in the County Championship final during the weekend. By all accounts the team that has been selected from the two West Limerick Parishes make a great combination and have proved their worth with many victories over the past couple of years.

No Stopping the Cats

There can be no doubt whatsoever that the Kilkenny hurlers who devastated Galway in the All-Ireland Hurling Final replay on Sunday in Croke Park will go down in the history of the game as surely one of the greatest, if not the greatest, hurling sides ever to win an All-Ireland Title. While the two early goals by Galway would have rocked a lesser team Kilkenny’s super hurlers stood their ground and from that on took over in an unstoppable fashion that left Galway reeling for the rest of the game when apart from a short period in the second half when they scored a disallowed goal and had a player sent off.  Galway probably missed their opportunity in the drawn game, but with a team like the present Kilkenny hurlers there is never a second chance. Galway is however a young team who will regroup and again challenge the best in the country but at the present time anyway the Cats are on top of the hurling scene and this could continue for a few more years.