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A time for purgatory and penance – well maybe not

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November . . . A time for bell, book and candle.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

So the clock has changed and we’re back into the long nights and the start of Winter, even if all the meteorologists steadfastly refuse to acknowledge this time of year as the beginning of our least forgiving season.

The change of the clocks always seemed to bring clear definition to the start of Winter, although our very mild conditions of recent weeks have meant that the growing season looks set to meander on for another few weeks at least.

November is always a month that carried a sack of morbidity on its back as years back we were marched off to Mass on the first day of the month – All Saints Day – although it did bring with it the bonus of a day off school, thanks to the ‘old reliable’ of the Holy Day of Obligation.

In the local village of Abbeyknockmoy it was the big Fair Day for the second half of the year when all classes of sheep were offered for sale from scoury lambs to old ewes without a tooth in their mouths, and in fairness some decent ones in between as well.

There was excitement though with the Fair Day in that there was a wickedly early start to the morning with the sheep safely penned at least an hour before dawn broke.

The young lads were generally given the job of ‘policing’ the boundary walls along the roadside, a task that involved being able to ‘clear’ maring stone walls with all the jumping skills of an Arkle. Thankfully in those days, barbed wire was a rarity.

Somewhere along the way, Mass would be taken in to meet our obligations and we’d often say a prayer for a good price to be had for the lambs, as this transaction could often determine the ‘level of luxury’ – or lack of it – to be experienced that Christmas.

A return to school on the following morn – All Souls Day – saw little let-up in the religious fervour with the Franciscans reminding us, among other things, to pray with greater intensity in order to free our deceased family members from purgatory.

Indeed purgatory and November always seemed to go hand-in-hand, although it always baffled me how my favourite granny, with not a bad bone in her body who had passed away a few years previously, might have had to endure a five year sentence in a temporary ‘hot spot’ filling the middle ground between heaven and hell.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Father Ted feel to the latest ‘hybrid’ Galway City Council meeting

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Councillor Colette Connolly: The new Mayor attended the Council meeting remotely via Zoom. Those who were present in person at Leisureland found it hard to hear her. But she was made none the wiser.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway City councillors could be forgiven for feeling they were being treated like imbeciles at the start of the June ordinary meeting.

Meetings administrator, Gary McMahon, was explaining the rules of the meeting, which held as a hybrid – in-person at Leisureland and remotely, using online technology.

It would last no longer than one hour and 55 minutes, to comply with Covid-19 regulations, he said. Then he explained to them – slowly – how to use the microphones.

“Not too close to your mouth and not too far away,” said Gary, with the air of a boarding school principal addressing morning assembly.

Patronising? Yes. Necessary? Also, yes, probably.

In fairness, the acoustics in Leisureland are cat melodeon.

Grand for Comedy Festival gigs where there’s one person on stage communicating with a receptive audience. It’s just not suited to local authority meetings where half of the participants are attending remotely, via Zoom. Unless used correctly, the mics are useless.

The meeting started at 3pm but they hadn’t even finished the first item – minutes of the previous meeting – when technological problems emerged.

“It’s impossible to hear,” shouted Colette Connolly (Ind) into her laptop screen, when one of the officials, Brian Barrett, was replying to her question. He’d possibly missed Gary’s introduction.

Colette was attending remotely. She, too, was difficult to hear, for anyone based in Leisureland; her voice dipping and fading at various junctures during her contributions. Not that anyone alerted her. Maybe they didn’t notice. Or maybe nobody needed to hear more Colette. She can have that effect on colleagues.

At 3.48pm, with Colette in full flow about something or other, the Shantalla-based councillor was cut off suddenly.

If you didn’t know any better, you’d claim it was deliberate.

Alas, while councillors – and City Hall management – may have wished Colette would stop talking, there was no evidence to suggest they had successfully willed it to happen.

No, apparently it was a technical glitch, breaking the connection between the real and virtual attendees.

“They’re all still online, it’s just that my thing is gone,” assured the poor unfortunate man at Leisureland who was responsible for ensuring the ‘thing’ wasn’t ‘gone’.

King of Knocknacarra, Donal Lyons (Ind), proposed an adjournment until the technical fault was resolved.

Those in Leisureland had an idea what happened – the screen showing online participants went dead. Collectively, they just sat and waited until it was fixed.

But what about those attending remotely; were they sat at home alone, frantically trying to find what button they’d hit that made them lose connection, or did they even notice?

After about five minutes, the meeting resumed. It continued without technical glitches, bar some spontaneous outbursts of ear-piercing screeches from microphone feedback and muffled sound and annoying echoes of online contributors.

Because of Covid-19 time limits, the meeting was adjourned ’til next Monday. Maybe they’ll have the hang of hybrid by then.

(Photo: Councillor Colette Connolly).
This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. To read more, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Football’s a funny old game – and you can quote me on that

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

If someone actually made it a requirement of your commitment to your job that you run through a brick wall for them, surely the people from health and safety would have to intervene?

And yet this the ultimate tribute a manager pays to their star player, as a way of suggesting he or she would always go the extra yard.

Never mind that the world now measures in metres, but whatever the currency, what would be the point of going a yard or metre further than was required?

Because going the extra yard would mean you’ve gone too far, which sort of defeats the whole plan in the first place.

And yet you hear it all the time, because sports stars have a way of giving an interview which revolves around half a dozen stock answers – all of which leave you none the wiser when it’s over.

Managers learn how to expand on these stock replies to incorporate a whole new range of clichés that fill airtime but answer nothing.

More to the point, they often mean nothing too.

Because where else in life would 100 per cent commitment to the particular cause never be quite enough – given that everyone else was giving 110 per cent?

And yet that too is among those most common clichés expressed in post-match set-piece interviews; packed to the wall with observations that actually mean precisely nothing.

Those post-game interviews were in the news for more serious reasons in recent weeks, after one of the biggest stars of the world of tennis, Naomi Osaka, declined to do them during the French Open because she said that negative questions on her performance were impacting on her mental health.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Sporting organisations letting us down by rolling over to NPHET

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Galway players Niamh McGrath and Siobhan Gardiner show their disappointment after falling to Kilkenny in Sunday's National Camogie League final at Croke Park. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IRELAND’S various big sporting organisations continue to embarrass themselves in relation to how they are handling the Covid pandemic. Being slaves to public health guidelines is one thing, but these bodies have introduced some rules of their own which are only further alienating their support base.

The GAA, IRFU, the FAI and Horse Racing Ireland may be currently dependent on public finances to keep their respective shows on the road, but that can’t excuse their lack of independent thinking or the fact they are making a deeply frustrating situation worse by adding in their own Covid-19 regulations

In effect, these sporting bodies are trying too hard to please NPHET and it doesn’t seem to matter how much they inconvenience or antagonise their grassroots in the process. Take the GAA, for instance. At club level dressing rooms remain closed and that causes significant irritation, especially on wet days.

Horse Racing Ireland is no better. Two owners per runner have been allowed back at race meetings and while that number is about to increase to four, there has been little enthusiasm among the cohort of people who pay the bills to return. And why would they? – no catering, no bookies and no atmosphere. And the most absurd thing of all is that the racing authorities are still enforcing the mask-wearing regulation.

Imagine still having to use a face covering in what amounts to big open fields. Is Horse Racing Ireland clueless as to how foolish jockeys, trainers, the few owners and media people present are being made to look, especially when the risk of contracting Covid is negligible in such an environment? All the while, beaches, public parks and walkways are milling with people.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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