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A Different View

Modest missionaries must be remembered by all

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Fish on a bicycle...Save Galway Bay campaign at Ballyvaughan. Photo: Stan Shields.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We have exported our brightest and our best for as long as we’ve recorded our history – but you could argue that none have left a greater positive footprint on the planet than our missionaries through the ages.

And at a time when those numbers are in massive decline, it is perhaps opportune to reflect on their dedication and generosity to people and places they could otherwise never have known, over the decades and indeed centuries.

Our missionary priests and nuns were pioneers, bringing relief, education, health and a better way of life to some of the most Godforsaken places on earth. They were professionals – doctors, nurses, teachers – who overcame incredible odds and naivety to make an impact so positive that it defies description.

And most of all, they lived their adult lives among the poorest of the poor, sharing their measly portions of food, almost devoid of worldly comforts or at times even basic requirements like water or shelter.

We knew little of their work because as well as being utterly dedicated to their mission, they were modest – all we knew was that they came home every so often and were rightly treated with reverence before they were sent back on their way with a donation from their native parish that would go towards a school or an agri project in a place that we only knew from a map.

Now, reflecting the drop in vocations closer to home, missionary numbers from Ireland are down to a trickle. And homes established by our priests and nuns decades ago are now being handed over to the native people themselves.

In many ways, this is a very good thing – people should be the authors of their own destiny – but there are repercussions too.

No longer will the missionaries be coming here to provide a visible face of their work; no longer will the collections be going to the priest or nun from the parish to help with their work in Africa or Central America.

Of course not all missionaries are religious to start with, but most are. Ours are predominantly Catholic, while the Evangelical movement provides so many from the United States.

And equally not all who work in Third World aid or relief are missionaries at all – the incredible work done by Trocaire and Goal, Bothar and Gorta has made a difference to the lives of the world’s poorest that we could never appreciate.

Others like Niall Mellon have intervened in a very direct way into a specific area, providing houses with the help of so many Irish tradesmen and women. And even more, like Adi Roche or Debbie Deegan, have given succour to the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune

 

Connacht Tribune

Homework only goes to prove parents haven’t all the answers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Anyone fortunate enough to be a parent will always remember the moment when their child transitioned from unqualified hero worship to thinking that ma and da, if not quite clowns, at least possessed feet of clay.

And that moment often coincided with the time you could no longer make head nor tail of their homework.

You were grand with addition and subtraction, even multiplication and basic division – but when theorems or algebra or physics or foreign languages came into the equation, suddenly your infallible status took a nosedive straight into the nearest bin.

The consolation is that we are not alone – because most parents admit they’ve forgotten even the basics from their schooldays, leaving them cruelly exposed when the teenagers come looking for help.

A recent UK survey asked 1,500 parents aged over 30 what they had forgotten from their schooldays.

Top of the list was algebra – forgotten by half of them – followed by trigonometry and Pythagoras’s Theorem. About a third of respondents could no longer remember how to do long division – or name ten or more elements from the periodic table.

A quarter didn’t know the difference between an isosceles and a scalene triangle, and almost a fifth had forgotten how to use a protractor. Most of those probably thought a compass was for pricking the back of the student sitting in front of you.

Other classroom classics now lost in the sands of time included a failure to recognise cloud formations, identifying an oxbow lake, remembering quotes from Shakespeare, or explaining the difference between volts and amps.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Everybody knows a Dave – but it still don’t make a storm

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s been a tough week for Ireland’s Daves and Davids – ever since we found out just how close we were to having our own storm, only to have it snatched away from us by a public vote that inexplicably went for Dudley instead.

It doesn’t matter than Dudley hardly even sounds like a gust of wind, let alone a gale force storm; it just conjures up an image of a drunken Dudley Moore in Arthur, meandering all over the place – more of a danger to himself than the roof of your house is.

The only consolation is that, if it wasn’t Dudley, it still wouldn’t have been Dave – because in compiling the shortlist, our own Queen of the Weather Forecast, Evelyn Cusack, made a stronger case for Storm Diarmuid, ahead of Dave, David and even Dafydd.

The Brits were keen on Storm Dave, but part of the reason that there is an annual debate among the Met Offices is to ensure a disparate selection, with something for each of the participating nationalities.

That’s why we got Barra, Pól, Seán and Méabh, and the Welsh got Arwen and possibly Gladys, and the Dutch got Vergil and Willemien, with a couple of crossover names like Jack and Kim and Ruby in there for good measure.

But when it came to Storm D, our Met Éireann boss wouldn’t even entertain Dermot as a compromise over Diarmuid, according to the correspondence on this year’s storm-naming process, as revealed under Freedom of Information this week.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter in the end because the people decided anyway. They were given a choice of Duncan, Dudley and Dafydd. . .and Dudley was the winner, perhaps – the commentators think – because of Dudley Dursley, erstwhile star of Harry Potter. As opposed to Dudley Moore.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Science proves kids were spot-on about the sprouts

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Turns out the kids were right all along – there’s an actual scientific reason why most of them can’t stand broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

And these researchers from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, have further agreed that you can throw cauliflower, kale and cabbage into the equation for good measure – because enzymes from what are collectively known as brassica vegetables and from bacteria in saliva can produce unpleasant odours in the mouth.

“Interactions between brassica vegetables and human saliva can affect in-mouth odour development, which in turn may be linked to individual perception and liking,” revealed the researchers.

Adults on the other hand, educate their palate to tolerate the bad taste; after all they’ve already managed it with Guinness, because if you remember how your first pint of stout tasted, it was nothing to whet the appetite like it does now.

The study involved 98 pairs of parents and children aged between six and eight, to rate the key odour compounds – and very different response.

Their scientific explanation is that these veg contain a compound called S-methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide that produces potent, sulphurous odours when acted upon by an enzyme in the plant.

This is also the case for the same enzyme produced by bacteria in some people’s oral bacteria.

You can mask this of course with plenty of cheese sauce or whatever takes your fancy, but that’s a little like those people who tell you they love oysters when what they actually enjoy is the taste of lemon and tabasco sauce.

We all remember the days of our childhood when you were either force-fed veg or else had the guilt trip laid on you about children who were starving in Africa who’d give anything for a plate of broccoli.

Turns out now they probably wouldn’t, despite numerous surreptitious efforts to find an envelope to post the veg to a poor country in the hope that it would solve two problems – world hunger and an aversion to Brussels sprouts.

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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