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A Different View

Are we ever to blame for our misfortune?

Dave O'Connell

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Fiona Slevin and Carol Galvin of Supermac’s with toys from the Supermac’s Annual Toy Appeal. All toys were safely delivered to St Bernadette's Paediatric Ward in UHG.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

If someone burgles your house because you left the window or back door unlocked, do you at least have to share a portion of the blame?

The thought occurs on the back of a recent analysis of burglaries across the country showed that in almost a third of burglaries intruders gained entry via the front door.

To be precise, front doors were used in 29 per cent of cases with most burglars using the force of their own body to break in. In almost one in five cases the burglar gained access via an unopened door or window.

Equally, can you be said to have played a part in the theft of your own car if you leave the keys on the hall-stand within sight of the letter box?

And yet Gardaí reported 163 cases of “fishing” — where keys are taken through a letterbox — in the past year. Three quarters of fishing cases were reported in Dublin.

Legally of course no one is entitled to enter your home without permission, irrespective of whether or not you have triple padlocks or a wide-open swinging gate – but surely you have to take some responsibility for your own fate?

It’s the degree or culpability that’s at stake – in the moral more than the legal sense – in that there has to be some measure of the part you may have played in your own misfortune.

If, for example, you contract cirrhosis because you’ve been drinking a bottle of whiskey a day for as long as anyone can remember, should you still be entitled to a liver transplant?

Is there a difference between someone who is predisposed to diabetes because of family history and someone who is susceptible because they are chronically overweight?

In other words – and this might not seem terrible humane – are there circumstances when tragedy befalls us that we must also accept it is at least partially our own fault?

If you leave your wallet or handbag on the passenger seat of the car, you shouldn’t be all that surprised to find it gone – and the window broken – when you come back. Equally you wouldn’t leave your bike up against the railings without putting on a lock.

So if you go away on holidays and leave the bedroom window ajar to let the air circulate in your absence, shouldn’t you accept that this just too much of a temptation for the observant burglar to walk away from?

What if you’re involved in a car accident which, for the most part, wasn’t your fault, but you still played a part in because you were distracted – by the children, by the phone, by changing the radio station, by a wasp – when you should have just been driving?

After all, you wouldn’t be comfortable to find a surgeon was distracted by domestic strife while he or she was operating on you – so how could you then tolerate someone who isn’t concentrating on something as straightforward as driving their car?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Saw Doctors – 30 years turning the ordinary into extraordinary

Dave O'Connell

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You know you’re getting older when you doze off during the evening news and you wake up during Reeling in the Years – and you can no longer see the joins between one and the other.

It was the same sort of feeling last week when the Saw Doctors marked the 30th anniversary of the day I Useta Lover topped the Irish charts. Could it really be that long ago? Were our glory days now consigned to history?

Times flies, whether you’re having fun or not – and yet, when you see it as 1990, it doesn’t seem so long ago at all.

The Saw Doctors were the soundtrack to our younger days; pure Galway voices singing songs about Red Cortinas and Presentation Boarders, Clare Island and the N17; finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Their detractors dismissed their music as agri-pop, but they just missed the point. Bruce Springsteen built a career singing about Asbury Park – so why not a Galway band singing about Galway?

Of course they’re not to everyone’s taste and that’s fine, but to dismiss them as irrelevant is a different thing; they never played a gig that didn’t send the crowd home happy.

Even now, ten seconds into I Useta Lover and you’re smiling because they caught the symbolism of simple things in a way that few have before or since.

They weren’t just a Galway band – not least because about half of them weren’t from Galway – and they weren’t just an Irish band. I’ve seen them play in parts of the UK where the Irish haven’t a foothold and yet the crowd got them.

Because they knew how to entertain and have the craic – but they were also deadly serious about their art.

Read the full column in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Ironing out those creases for one last and final time

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

I was ironing our eldest son’s tee-shirts for the last time on Sunday night, and watching the telly as a young Sinead O’Connor, resplendent with those big eyes and a buzz cut, was singing Nothing Compares 2 U on The Late Late Show, back in 1990.

This was the last time, because, at the age of 22, he’s finally moving out – not emigrating or even leaving Galway, but living away from home for the first time nonetheless.

There was no great symmetry to the fact that the soundtrack to the ironing was LLS highlights from back in Gaybo’s day, because Cian wasn’t even born for another nine years after Sinéad was number one.

But I do remember the first time I ironed anything belonging to him. It was half-a-dozen tiny vests and baby-grows that were too small to turn an iron in. All of them dried on one radiator.

He wasn’t even home from Holles Street then, but he was going through these tiny outfits like Imelda Marcos used to go through shoes.

Then, as now, there wasn’t really any point in ironing his clothes – only, for some inexplicable reason, I kind of liked doing it.

Coming from a generation who pressed their jeans – on the seams, in my defence; not with a frontal cease – I think this ironing obsession caused more embarrassment than appreciation over the years.

Over the years, we graduated from the tiny vests and baby-grows to the trousers will frontal fasteners and – as training advanced – to those big-boy dungarees that only opened by unfastening the straps.

You can signpost some of the big occasions through ironing; the shirt for the First Communion, Confirmation, Debs; the suit-trousers for similar days.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

New rules may only add to the strain when you take the train

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s an old notion about adversity being the mother of opportunity – providing a chance to force through regulations that, in any other circumstances, might quickly bite the dust.

And that might go some way to explaining the diktat from the Welsh Government to its country’s bus and train users last week.

On foot of that, from now on, there is to be no more running for the bus or train; no more singing on them either if you make it on; no more eating, drinking, talking on the mobile or reading newspapers – unless you do it in complete monastic silence.

Some of it makes sense of course in the current climate, but more of it just tackles age-old irritations.

It’s true that nobody likes a loudmouth three rows up who is giving a running commentary down the phone – either about their journey (“we’re passing through some ghost town in Hicksville now”) or on their adventures last weekend.

We’ve all sat there, forced to endure the backstory to an event that didn’t last half as long as the analysis, when we’re just trying to mind our own business or read a book or the paper.

When you were still allowed to read the paper.

Equally, we’ve all been stuck beside someone with a particular penchant for Pringles or for extra-strong cheese and onion, where the smell is only surpassed by the cracking of the crisps themselves – invariably through a wide-open gob.

We’ve all tried to move to another carriage when a hen party jumps on board and attempts to regale one and all with off-key version of Sweet Caroline and the tribulations of Living Next Door to Alice.

So, thumbs up to our Celtic cousins for using Covid to tackle some of the great problems of our time.

But the reality is that most people on a bus or train immediately slap on the headphones or earbuds, and listen to music or watch a movie – bothering nobody until they reach their destination.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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