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A Different View

Ireland’s mixed messages when it comes to Old Britannia

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There could be no clearer illustration of our ambivalence towards our nearest neighbours than the General Election of 1997 and the contrasting attitudes of the good people of Donegal.

Back in a time when Sky was something we all could see for free – because it was behind the clouds immediately over our heads – Thomas Gildea was a campaigner for the legalisation of ‘deflectors’, large masts which retransmitted English TV channels into rural areas.
Back at the end of the nineties, these deflectors were being dismantled because the now-legalised cable and MMDS operators wanted to stamp out cheap or free alternatives.
So Thomas took a stand and went up for election on a single issue – free English TV for the masses – and the 58 year old farmer swept into the Dail as a new Deputy for Donegal South West.

Up the road in Donegal North-East however – where the quite conceivably enjoyed an half-hour of Coronation Street the same as the next man – the latest member of the Blaney dynasty, Harry Blaney, was following in the footsteps of his late father Neil and bidding for Dail success all of his own.

Blaney senior had come up with the Independent Fianna Fail title, because the more familiar model wasn’t going far enough when it came to the issue of getting the British troops out of the six counties.

Harry Blaney – who himself passed away this week – shared his father’s nationalist believes and he too made it into the 28th Dail.
Which brings us to the point of the story – the voters of Donegal saw nothing ironic about one half of the county voting for a ‘Brits out’ candidate while the other voted for one who wanted – admittedly through the medium of television only – Brits in.

It’s an ambivalence that many others on this island also share – when it comes to football teams, three-quarters of the country pledge their allegiance to an English team; we follow their soaps, their music, their celebrities and most of all their television.

We proclaim, for the most part, to have no time for their Royal family and yet, for example, the sale of newspapers shot up when Princess Diana died; indeed she sold many papers before her death as well.

Now you wouldn’t have found many perched on high stools discussing the merits of Diana’s fashion sense over a pint, but there was a touch of the guilty pleasure about keeping an eye on her from a distance.

And all of this came back to mind when they cremated Maggie Thatcher recently – thankfully we didn’t have live RTE coverage even if there was a touch of the tugged forelock about the coverage on the news – because while there was little divide on our attitude to her, we still all knew more about her than we did about our own.

Nobody does pageantry better than the British, mainly because – in the upper echelons of their society – they are still deluded enough to see themselves as a world power.

And they rolled out the red carpet for Maggie, as though she was their first directly elected queen, instead of someone who was reviled by half of her own country and all of ours.

They cleared the streets of objectors and other traffic, and turned central London into a no-go zone, a safe place for doddering Prime Ministers from across the globe to get together for one last hurrah.

Enda Kenny played this one cleverly by not ignoring the event, but by doing the next best thing – sending Ruairi Quinn who might as easily have been mistaken for one of the Chinese mourners instead of our token gesture to the woman who still has Charlie Haughey’s tea-pot.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Betting on the thrill of the chase can come at a cost

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

I’ve never understood betting but, just as I’ve never understood astrophysics either, I’ve plenty of time for those who do. Just because I don’t or can’t do it doesn’t make it an unusual pursuit.

But betting to me was always just a few quid on a fancied horse or backing your county to win the All-Ireland or your favourite football team to win the Premiership.

You might be a proud new parent who believes that the new arrival will one day go on to play for Ireland or Galway – and unless you’re perhaps Joe Canning, you will easily find a bookie who will lay you odds of 500/1 that it will never happen.

Nearly two decades ago now, Rory McIlroy’s dad Gerry placed a £200 bet on his 15-year-old son winning a Major – and ten years later, he walked away with a £100,000 windfall when Rory won the British Open at Hoylake in 2014.

In 2006, the family of Chris Kirkland won close to £10,000 when the then-Liverpool goalkeeper played for England in a friendly against Greece. Twelve years earlier, Kirkland’s father Eddie had placed a bet, as part of a syndicate, that his son would win an England cap before turning 30.

Perhaps even more optimistically, the grandfather of Fulham winger and former Liverpool star Harry Wilson pocketed £125,000 after placing a bet that his then-infant grandson would go on to play for Wales – which he duly did well before he’d left his teens.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Caught by online fraudsters – and rescued by the bank

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Somewhere in a supermarket in Australia last week, a person or persons spent €57.88 of my money on food or drink and charged it to my Visa card. Hours later they then repeated the exercise at another branch of Coles, the Melbourne-based multiple – but then their mini-spree came to a shuddering halt.

In truth perhaps, they probably didn’t leave home at all; they may not even have been anywhere near Australia, instead carrying out their shopping online around midday local time – and again for around the same amount an hour or two later.

But then the fraud department of Allied Irish Banks put a halt to their gallop and during the wee small hours inquired if I had somehow made it from conducting an evening online transaction in Galway to buying things from a supermarket in Melbourne, in the process inadvertently breaking the sound barrier while I slept.

And when I replied that indeed I had not, my Visa card was shut down and the prospects of the intrepid Australians buying some serious kit from my pocket disappeared quicker than snow on the outback.

Not alone that but AIB refunded the money these people had spent without my knowledge, allowed me to take a few bob out of the bank without a card – but with ID – and then sent on a brand new card this week.

The embarrassing part was having to confirm that online purchases in the run-up to the Aussie shopping spree were legit; it’s like having a list of misdemeanours read out in court.

There was nothing accusatory in the tone of the nice woman from the bank, who merely inquired if indeed it was me who had gone twice to Mace the previous day; if I’d also bought an album online and paid a monthly subscription for a digital newspaper.

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

What your taste in music says about your own state of mind

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

As Elton John once said, sad songs say so much. But now it turns out so do Adele songs or classics by the Beatles – because surprise, surprise, the music you listen to reflects your state of mind.

That’s what a group of psychologists in Toronto spent their time discovering recently – a reality most of us could have told them for free.

The psychologists divided people into four groups with different approaches to relationships – the rejection-feeling ‘anxious’’ group; the negative and cold ‘avoidant group; the confident ‘secure’ group, and a mixed group.

The boffins then assessed the lyrics to 7,000 different songs based on their variously secure, anxious, or avoidant content, then asked a test group to pick out their favourite tracks.

And they came up with the bleedin’ obvious – song lyrics are a window into your state of mind; they discovered that people who are insecure in their relationship listen to a lot of Adele. Perhaps because you may remember she had her biggest hit, Someone Like You, about a break-up.

Other songs that inspire strong feelings, often sadness, include Joni Mitchell’s Blue; Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine; Neil Young’s Philadelphia, and Ray Charles’ Georgia on My Mind – just in case you’re looking to take it down a notch this New Year.

On the other hand, those who prefer the Beatles’ upbeat Love Me Do are more than likely to be very secure in their relationships, according to the University of Toronto study.

And just for the record, here are some of the songs for happy people, who are secure in themselves and in their loved ones around them.

At Last by Etta James – which sounds more like entrapment than true love, as does I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher – and Wouldn’t it be Nice by the Beach Boys, not to mention Whitney Houston’s 1999 hit I Will Always Love You, which is actually a Dolly Parton song from the early 1970’s. It’s just that Dolly doesn’t give off that same sense of security.

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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