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Country Living

Grey Army still packs quite a powerful pension punch

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A lampooning cartoon image from 1924, highlighting the contrast between the salaries of Oireachtas members at the time and the Old Age Pension cut of one shilling that had just been introduced by then Minister for Finance, Ernest Blythe.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m not sure whether he ever really said it or not, but American comic and actor, W.C. Fields, who made a name for himself in the first half of the 20th century, is credited with the line of: “Never work with animals or children,” a remark normally associated with the world of film and show business.

Over the past couple of weeks as the political atmosphere started to heat up as we prepare for D-day on February 8, I was trying to conjure up a similar saying that might apply for all our friends who are seeking to serve us in high office over the coming few years.

The best I could come up with was: “Never mess with grey heads or water” as a previously hidden avalanche of fury descended on our political establishment when one of the parties with a good nose for scenting gaps in the market proposed the return of the pension age to 65.

Given that this is an apolitical column, no party can be mentioned by name but the one whose nickname rhymes with dinners, saw the niche in the market, and now all the rest of the them, have again realised that you don’t mess around with the grey brigade, or even those of us who are more follicly challenged.

If there’s one thing about the ‘Grey Army’, they are probably far more likely to vote than the younger cohort of the population whose contact with the outside world seems to be getting increasingly concentrated on their social media interchanges.

There are many of us who have been lucky enough to have worked all our lives but over recent years I’ve noticed a seething resentment at the notion of having to ‘sign on’ for so-called Jobseekers Benefit in that Limbo period between 65 and the current pension qualifying age of 66, which is set to be pushed out to 67 in 2021.

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.

 

Country Living

Trying to find the time to slow down that clock

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

AS one gets older the realisation dawns that time – and not material wealth – is our greatest asset but boy does that clock fairly freewheel around with each passing year.

Anytime a conversation switches around to the question of: “How long is such-and-such a person dead,” the guesstimate answers usually need to be doubled. Looking back on time makes us all realise how fast it is flying by.

I always contend that winning the lotto – as exciting and all as that would be – would not make any of us one second younger and in all probability would not add on one day to our eventual date with destiny.  In fact it might even know a few years off if we lost the rag and went mad with the lucre.

My late father used to have a favourite saying about wealth and money namely that while it wouldn’t necessarily bring you happiness in this world it would ‘help you to enjoy your misery’.

Even a couple of Sundays back while sitting in the Hogan Stand and witnessing Galway’s gallant attempt to win the All-Ireland title, it was kind of hard to credit that 21-years had passed since we were last in a senior final and 24-years since we ended a 32-year famine with the victory over Kildare in 1998.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

It nearly always comes down ‘to splitting the difference’

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Fruit of the land.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

THERE used to be a great habit at fair days one time of throwing a spit on the palm of your hand and saying: ‘We’ll split the difference’, when it came to the asking price and the offer for a pen of lambs. The asking price might be £10 each for a pen of lambs; the offer could be £8; and the difference would be split with an agree price of £9.

Over the past few weeks, I had a gut feeling that this great debate the country was having on reductions in agricultural emissions would always come down to splitting the difference or if it hadn’t the three Government parties would be heading into a General Election and could it have been a case of lambs to the slaughter with ‘The Shinners’ waiting in the wings to mop up all the dissenting votes.

It has though been quite an upsetting time for many country people brought up on the land and instilled with a sense of decency as to how they treated the landscape; the crops they grew on it; and the animals that they reared. There were times, I thought, we don’t really have a green isle at all with all the talk of reducing emissions and cattle numbers across the country.

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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Country Living

Not people you can bank on when push comes to shove

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m not sure whether it was a good sign or not but there was a time, when I’d know the local bank managers by their first names. In the great scheme of things, most of the ‘business deals’ struck would be about loans for cars or farm investment while of course the big one was the mortgage.

Whether we were naive or not at the time, there was a kind of trust between banks and ordinary customers that was always nurtured by that face-to-face contact element. It was reassuring to know a name or a face for a bit of advice or maybe to get a few bob to get you out of some financial hole that you had dug for yourself.

There was a time too back in the 1970s when the average Irish Mammy could envisage no better job for a son or a daughter than to ‘get the start’ in the bank. It was the ultimate position of respectability, even if most of the days might be spent – to borrow a phrase from WB Yeats – ‘fumbling in a greasy till’.

I remember thumbing a lift to Athlone to sit an exam for the Bank of Ireland but whether it was my dodgy maths or my even dodgier appearance, I never heard another word about it. My career in respectable banking never managed to leave the starting blocks.

On a Richter scale of life’s regrets, it doesn’t even get a zero rating, although here and there, I’d be reminded of some of the junkets that lads I went to school with got from their bank employers. And then there were the years when we’d never be poor again with loans – the bigger the better – being handed out for all kinds of property deals.

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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