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A Different View

Passing of a gentle soul whose light will never go out

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It seems strange even now to be writing about Canon Sean Manning’s death – hard to believe most of all because he’s no longer with us, but also strange to describe him as a Canon. Because to all who knew him, he was never anything other than Father Sean.

Whether it was in his native Glann on the shores on Lough Corrib; through his years as a teacher and President of St Mary’s College; in basketball or table tennis circles….or among his fellow anglers on his beloved lake.

But never has a more gentle soul walked on God’s green earth; a kind, self-effacing, modest man who somehow managed to quietly touch the heart of everyone who ever met him.

I’ve known Fr Sean all of my life, because we’re from the one place. He did his best to teach me in St Mary’s College and we’ve been firm friends ever since. We’ve enjoyed long journeys together where the talk never waned, where the joy of his mere presence lifted your spirits.

But there were, literally, thousands who knew him just as well, if not better – and they packed Galway Cathedral to overflowing on Sunday. Former colleagues, former students, old friends, retired soldiers who loved the fact that he was their chaplain too and who accorded him a Guard of Honour as he left the Cathedral for the last time.

Those friends from all over also packed into Glann Church on Saturday – and the crowds who paid their respects at St Mary’s on Friday evening caused traffic jams as they queued in their multitudes to say goodbye.

His old school, where he’d been an integral part of its fabric – student, teacher, President, chaplin – for an incredible 52 years, did him proud on Friday with a Mass that captured him perfectly.

There was reverence, of course, but also humour. And this ceremony was punctuated with memories from so many people – former colleagues, fellow priests, distinguished past pupils and the current students who made you proud to have passed through the same classrooms and study halls.

They brought gifts to the altar that represented his values and life – from a basketball to a fishing rod to the red and black scarf in the College colours that he wore with such pride.

His fellow teachers may never make it on to X-Factor, but their version of the old seaman’s anthem, Fiddler’s Green – with the Corrib replacing the sea and the docks – has never been sung with more raw emotion in tribute to their old pal.

His great friend, the current President of St Mary’s, Fr Barry Hogg, and the school principal Ciaran Murphy, can be rightly proud of the part that they, the students and staff – past and present – played in ensuring an unforgettable send-off.

His fellow teacher – and closest colleague in the sense that his classroom was next door – Gerry Dempsey read a wonderfully evocative piece he’d written, entitled simply Neighbours.

“Between your room and mine,” he wrote, “there is a four inch block….three short steps. There we often spoke, sometimes of Science, Economics or Scripture, but mostly of matches, metaphysics, poets and people of character. Things that, to you, matters.

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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