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Benjy’s ‘coming out’ was a masterstroke in survival

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Benjy: the only gay in the village but he may face the big snip.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

First and foremost a declaration of interest, like any honourable Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael rural TD would do if they had money in a foreign bank. I do have a share in two local establishments in the business of dispatching alcohol, having contributed on a weekly basis to their coffers for a long number of years, although I’m told that my shareholding has no legal standing.

Anyway the other night, I was rounded upon from a crowd who tend to inhabit the more raucous part of one those establishments, for my ‘grievous error’ in not writing about the gay bull story from Mayo, that of course has done the rounds of social media across the world.

This cohort of rural imbibers had no interest whatsoever in the current cattle prices, the Single Farm Payment or the price of turkeys for the coming Christmas. There was only one issue on their minds and that was to see, read and find out more about Benjy, the now forever famous Mayo bull, who apparently showed more of an amorous interest in his male colleagues, than the herd of delectable heifers that he should be mating with.

It was a real pressure situation for me, especially with the first pint not fully consumed – leading to a consequent lack of courage – to be confronted by this frenzied group of customers who had been at the watering hole, at least two hours ahead of me. “What are you going to do about the gay bull? What farm is he on? How did he turn out like this?” and of course the final damning line of, “Why haven’t you something about Benjy in the paper this week.” There was no instant reply: quite simply I had no magic cure for the gay bull.

This cabal had little interest in appeasement and were not at all impressed with a reply that the only Benjy I ever heard of publicly before this, was the character from ‘The Riordans’ TV series of the 1960s and 1970s. Come to think of it, that Benjy also got into a sexual complication too back the years, when trying to get his evil way with Maggie behind the bushes, an adventure that drew the ire of some members of the Tuam Town Commissioners of the time. The very thought of sex on the TV, even on black and white television, with the bushes blocking out any part of the action, was seen as a prompter of fornication and all things immoral in good old Catholic Ireland.

So the moral of that little diversion is to be wary of anyone with the Benjy tag attached, whether it be human, bovine or canine, as they have to be treated with a certain amount of respect, in relation to any extra-curricular activities that they might be engaged in. Over the coming weekend, I hope though to reassure my noisy neighbours in the far corner of the bar, that now all is well and happy as regards Benjy, with moves afoot to transfer him to an animal sanctuary in the UK, where he never again will be insulted with the presence of heifers in his field, and where he will avoid forever more, the prospect of being carved into chunks of fillet and sirloin steak. It’s not all plain sailing though for Benjy as he may be facing the ‘big snip’ at his new home, but that’s another day’s work.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

There is no vaccine for Hitler hyperbole!

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway County Councillor Noel Thomas lashed out at journalist Sinéad Ryan, when he claimed on Twitter that “Hitler would have loved you, Sinéad”.

The Fianna Fáil elected representative then deleted the tweet, which was “written in anger” and apologised “to anyone who may have been offended” by it.

But not before Ryan had taken a screenshot and re-tweeted it to her 22,000+ followers. She also reported the offending tweet to the social media giant and complained to FF HQ.

Noel Thomas didn’t back down, though. In another tweet, he said: “Just to let you know Sinéad I have also reported your tweet to Twitter. It is dangerous and very unhelpful to society to be making comments like you did.”

What was it that made the usually mild-mannered Moycullener see red, and spout Hitler hyperbole during a fit of rage? An opinion about Covid-19 vaccinations, of course!

Ryan said that after October 22, unvaccinated people, “shouldn’t be permitted into restaurants, pubs or indoor venues. If they won’t protect themselves, the rest of us must do it by dissociation”.

Whether the leader of the Third Reich would have approved of this sentiment is unclear. But Thomas’s party leader, Micheál Martin, clearly does – it’s now Government policy to continue with vaccination certificates for indoor hospitality for the foreseeable future.

(Photo: Cllr Noel Thomas took to Twitter to tell journalist Sinéad Ryan that Hitler would have loved her. It was after her comments that unvaccinated people shouldn’t be allowed into public spaces indoors).

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

Mini pause proves there are no easy routes to recovery

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Melbourne...continuous lockdown for most of the past two years.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

You think we have it bad this week – what with the delay in a full reopening?  You could be living in Melbourne. The city with a population of five million has been under almost continuous lockdown for most of the past two years.

Since March 2020, there have been 262 days of lockdown in Melbourne, across six periods where people’s movements were incredibly restricted. That included curfews between 9pm and 5am.

Australia and New Zealand were two of only a handful of countries in the world which pursued elimination, rather than containment, strategies with the virus, or Zero Covid as it was called.

For a long time, it seemed like the correct strategy, the one setting the standard. Both countries clamped down hard with very restrictive lockdowns and effectively closed their borders.

They threw all their resources into testing, contact tracing and even testing the wastewater. Those who were identified as cases and close contacts were isolated. The countries also introduced mandatory hotel quarantine.

And it was very effective; when the Alpha (Essex) strain hit Ireland and other countries in December and January, both countries were fully open and enjoying unrestricted access to stadiums, hotels, restaurants, schools. Anytime, there was the hint of an outbreak strict local and regional lockdowns were imposed, some for several weeks, some for longer.

Sure, there were long and severe lockdowns. But there was also a lot of freedom, over 450 days without restrictions.

The strategy only worked if you cut off the country completely from all other countries in the world. New Zealand, for example, did that because it did not have sufficient capacity to deal with the kind of crisis China and Italy had faced, when people died because they could not be intubated, or there were not enough ventilators to go around.

There were downsides. The cost, for one, was exceptionally high. It meant a huge diminution in people’s personal rights. Limited availability in mandatory quarantine hotels meant a lot of New Zealanders and Australians living abroad were prevented from returning home.

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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Connacht Tribune

Sporting rivalry doesn’t have to mean segregated supporters

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Three sporting teams whose boundaries come up to the back door of each other’s patch were all in action at the one venue – two of them against each other – at the weekend.

If it was the Premiership, it wouldn’t – and couldn’t – have happened because there would be carnage either inside or outside the ground . . .or both.

But this was Pearse Stadium and the county senior football championship, an afternoon’s entertainment that might not have been on Sky Sports’ radar, but which was no less crucial for those with a vested interest all the same.

First up, Oughterard were up against their nearest neighbours Killannin for a semi-final place, while the other leg of this local stool saw reigning champions Moycullen successfully put their crown on the line against Tuam Stars.

It goes without saying that the crowd was in the high hundreds or low thousands; this wasn’t Old Trafford or Anfield with 60,000 or 70,000 fans congregating from all corners of the globe, never mind the country.

So it wasn’t Celtic and Rangers or City against United; it was neighbours and families and friends intermingled all in one place, albeit wearing different colours.

And even allowing for the intensity of local rivalries, the ties that bind are infinitely stronger than the boundaries that divide.

Half the Killannin team went to school in Oughterard. The Monaghans, who line out for Oughterard, are sons of Terence who was steeped in Moycullen football before moving parish.

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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