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A Different View

Is it where you’re born that makes you Irish?

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The Arsenal midfielder Jack Wiltshire may not be internationally recognised as one of life’s great philosophers, but his recent insistence that only English-born footballers should be entitled to play for England did prompt a slightly different question closer to home – do you have to be Irish to be Irish?

In simple terms, are Irish people only those born in Ireland or are they also the 50 million or more worldwide who make up what we know as the Irish Diaspora – or are they also those who choose to make their home and their lives here?

We’re happy to claim the sons and daughters of emigrants when it comes to events like the Gathering or the Global Irish Economic Forum, and rightly so; they consider themselves Irish and they were brought up with their Irish heritage, so who are we to take that away from them?

We’re not quite as unanimous when it comes to conferring Irishness on those who come to live here. Our own forefathers may have been the prototype of the economic migrant, but we’re slow to return the favour.

So what makes you Irish then? Birth, for sure – if you’re born here, you’re Irish by birth. And that includes the children born to refugees or asylum seekers or migrants from any part of the planet.

The simple truth is that, if you go back far enough, very few of us were Irish. For a start, you can forget those with Viking or Norman heritage – and the planters may have been bequeathed the land, but they cannot claim the roots.

St Patrick was a Welsh man, Dev was either Spanish or American and half our international soccer team wouldn’t have been able to find the place on a map prior to their call-up.

And yet these Plastic Paddies played key, if different, roles in our history. One rid the country of snakes – although the party founded by Dev produced a few of them over the subsequent decades – and the Anglo lads, led by Big Jack the Geordie, became the quintessential Boys in Green, after a Scotsman in an Irish shirt but the ball in the back of the English net.

If we were to take a narrow definition of the Irish, wouldn’t half of Galway and Connemara lose out with that colouring that owes everything to the Spanish Armada?

Are those who descended from the hundreds of thousands who left on coffin ships during Famine times any less Irish that those who stayed?

Haven’t we just spent a year selling this notion of Irishness to the world, inviting them all home for a Gathering so that they could find their roots?

Would we deny the right to Irishness to those yet to be born – in Sydney or Boston or Toronto – whose parents still haven’t met each other but who have all been forced out of their homeland by the greed of some and the criminal indifference of those we elected to watch them?

Albert Reynolds had his own take on what it took to be Irish during his time in office – it took around one million old Irish pounds stuck into an Irish bank account and then you could get yourself a legitimate Irish passport.

So Tony Cascarino wasn’t the first non-Irishman to get an Irish passport – only he at least lifted our spirits the odd time on the pitch we should still call Lansdowne Road.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

You can’t force the craic at the Christmas Party

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s nothing like the Christmas Party to bring out the little devils who’ve spent their working lives blending in with the filing cabinet; one craft beer too many and they’re up on top of the photocopier scanning images of their tail end to send to the world.

The party animal is often the quiet one who spends the rest of the year in the corner, timidly stepping aside if you pass them in the corridor – but with a few bevvies on board, they’re Lemmy from Motorhead in the middle of a world tour.

Of course there are also some people who dread the Christmas party – or even after-work drinks, if that’s still a thing – and as their worst nightmare comes looming over the horizon, they might take some comfort from a recent court case in France.

Because an unnamed worker has just won the right to be utterly boring after a court ruled that he could not be dismissed, just because he didn’t want to join the rest of the staff in the pub.

Known simply as Mr T – an unfortunate choice of initial if you were a fan of the larger-than-life big guy in the A-Team back in the day – our friend was a senior advisor for a Parisian training firm called Cubik Partners.

One of those typically trendy modern operations, they work on a ‘fun and pro’ basis – which is presumably a variation on playing hard and working hard sometimes too – and part of that outlook involved regular social events ‘to bolster team spirit’.

But Mr T had no truck with the spirits – internal or alcoholic – and didn’t want to hang out with his colleagues for a minute longer than work demanded.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

How to win elections with the promises you can keep

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The man who was already the world’s oldest prime minister stood for election again last weekend at the tender age of 97 – arguing quite legitimately that he was fully fit for high office on the basis that he was ‘still standing and talking’.

Mahathir Mohamad was already a Guinness World Record holder for being the world’s oldest current prime minister since he became premier of Malaysia for a second time in 2018.

Proving that age is no impediment to ambition, he put himself forward again last weekend – only this time he fulfilled that age-old observation of Enoch Powell, that most unctuous of Tories from times past, who once said that all political lives end in failure…even if it’s a relative thing and you could hardly be said to have been cut down early, at the age of 97.

Adding insult to injury, not alone did he finish fourth of five candidates in Langkawi, a resort island in Malaysia’s northwest, which he had won with a large majority in the previous poll in 2018 – he also lost his deposit.

It wasn’t even an ageist thing; his entire party failed to win a single seat.

And for comfort in his hour of need, he can still look to Laos where the Prime Minister Khamtai Siphandone is still going strong at just short of 99 – although the fact that he is the chairman of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party means you don’t have to actually come up with an election manifesto because, more specifically, you don’t have to stand for election.

But if you do – and accepting Mahathir Mohamad’s weekend disappointment – going before the electorate on a platform of boasting the ability to walk and talk is at least an honest one.

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

Getting locked away from all the rest can be no bad thing

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We all got used to a level of confinement during Covid, and if we were honest, occasionally, it was as much of a blessing than a curse; nobody calling unexpectedly to bother you, no journeys you’d prefer to avoid – even if ultimately we were happy to emerge from our pandemic hibernation.

But imagine if you were trapped for days in a pub during a storm – or in Disneyland during a snap lockdown.

Because for the very lucky few, that happened too.

Visitors to Shanghai’s Disney Resort recently found themselves barred from leaving until they produced a negative Covid test after a snap lockdown.

And we can all remember last November with envy, when customers who went to see an Oasis tribute band called Noasis found themselves trapped for days in a pub in the Yorkshire Dales as a result of heavy snowfall during Storm Arwen.

In both cases, quite honestly, it must have been like a dream come true.

The Disney Resort shut its doors all of a sudden after ten cases of coronavirus were discovered in Shanghai itself, with all visitors locked in the theme park until they were given the all-clear.

And while you’d think the reaction would be to kick back and literally enjoy the ride, online videos showed many of the visitors rushing to the gate trying to avoid being stuck in the park.

Perhaps the Chinese have had enough of snap lockdowns and feared they’d literally be on the swings and roundabouts for days on end – because a day earlier, workers at Foxconn, the biggest iPhone maker in Zhengzhou city, were videoed climbing over fences to avoid a similar snap lockdown.

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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