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A Different View

Politicians will drive you to drink faster than advertising ever could

Dave O'Connell

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We’re a great nation to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut – an approach clearly illustrated in the latest effort by some politicians to take drink sponsorship out of sport.

Apparently, we cannot be trusted to behave ourselves because the mere mention of drink sends us into orbit like Pavlov’s dog or Father Jack to the point where we can no longer remember our own names.
No, we are so overwhelmingly influenced by advertising that the most tenuous link between a sport we love and a drink of the alcoholic kind will have us pouring it down our necks until our liver gives out.

Our holier-than-thou politicians want to ban the drinks industry from paying out a slice of its fortune to support sport because it’s only a cynical exercise to force fit young sports people to turn to the drink.
According to that great champion of due process, Ming Flanagan alcohol sponsorship of sport is ‘twisted’ – as opposed to having penalty points quietly quashed, which presumably merely qualifies as great oul’ craic altogether.

Ming – the self-confessed cannabis smoker – thinks there should be a ‘total and utter’ ban on alcohol sponsorship ‘whether that be in sport or other walks of life’.

“It is twisted, the idea that you would have alcohol and sport connected,” he told a recent gathering of the Oireachtas Transport and Communications Committee.

Actually, the chances are this sort of political posturing is infinitely more likely to drive the nation to drink than advertising ever would.

This was a meeting to which the Federation of Irish Sport, Horse Racing Ireland and the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland had been summoned to discuss the implications of possible legislation to ban the sponsorship of major sporting events by drinks companies.

Eamon Coghlan was the man to put it into some perspective – a world champion and Olympian who grew up using the Guinness pool for training….and who has only ever drank one pint of Guinness in his life.

In other words, he probably swallowed more of the chlorine in Guinness pool than the barley in the Guinness pint – so clearly the influence of drink isn’t as all-prevailing as Ming might like to think.

Anyway, by the same yardstick, shouldn’t we be protesting at Cadbury’s sponsorship of U21 football championship – because too much chocolate can make you fat and clearly we haven’t the whit to know when to stop.

The value of drink sponsorship was €35 million last year, while, by comparison, the total budget of the Irish Sports Council this year is €43 million. That illustrates the hole that would be left if the ‘sackcloth and ashes’ brigade get their way.

But more to the point, when did advertising become so supremely powerful that mere word association was enough to send us scurrying like mice after free cheese?

Of course it works – or we in the media had better hope it does before we’re out of work – but people are discerning enough to see it with some sense of perspective.

Yes, teenagers buy boots because they’re endorsed by Gareth Bale or Steven Gerrard; they buy clothes that their musical or sporting heroes wear – but it’s not so powerful that it triumphs over free will.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Selfies mean autographs are now just a relic of the past

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When you look back through old photo albums, you realise what an occasion that family portrait used to be – best clothes, hair combed, standing to attention like soldiers off to war.

These days, we probably take more photographs in one week that our parents took in their entire lifetime, and so the sense of occasion or formality are no longer.

Now the trick is to capture those unguarded moments, where no one is posing for the picture but rather is caught unawares.

When we used to go to weddings in larger numbers, you’d find it was no longer enough to have an official photographer and videographer on hand to capture the unfolding now – now each table had a disposable camera to capture those accidental moments as well.

At least the wedding album is still a thing – even if, as ever before, its primary duty is as a door-stopper with the express purpose of gathering dust.

And the wedding video remains a great way of clearing the house of interminable guests; just stick it on and watch them reach for their coats as they suddenly ring for taxis.

Less so the days of everyone getting dressed up in best clothes again a few days after the Communion or Confirmation and going to a photography studio to pose beside the potted plant in front of the drop screen of big castle doors.

The upsurge in photography on foot of easy access has also seen another evolution – the celebrity autograph being usurped by the selfie.

There’s still a huge market for autographs of course, but it’s just no longer what young fans wait around stage doors or stadiums for – now it’s a pic on your phone with your favourite star.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

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.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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