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Connacht Tribune

Record budget spend but feelgood factor is missing

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Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe (left) and Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

Possibly not the best intro ever to a column but I’m going to start it this week with a moment of pure magic from the brilliant TV comedy series, The Royle Family.

It was when Jim’s daughter, Denise, and her husband David, decided to cook the Christmas dinner for the family. Needless to say, it was a disaster.

Anyway, Denise announced to all and sundry that the first course would be “‘Cup-a-Soup’ with a twist”.

“What’s the twist?” asked Jim.

“We are serving it in a bowl,” said Denise without missing a beat.

I’m sure by this stage you have guessed the segue.

Yep, what we got this week was a giveaway Budget, but one with a twist. And the twist was that even though Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath handed out more money than any other Budget in the history of the State, nobody felt like they were really getting anything. The feel-good factor was totally absent.

I’m long enough around the block to remember giveaway budgets in the old mode. Unsurprisingly, the most memorable ones occurred in election years. There was Charlie McCreevy’s in 2002 and Brian Cowen’s in 2007. They increased spending, reduced taxes and were designed to make everybody feel they were getting a few extra euro in their pocket.

And of course, both of them were election budgets. Bertie Ahern’s famous comment of the time summed up the outlook back then: “The Boom is getting Boomier.”

Now we seem to be on the other end of the cycle. Unemployment is worse than it was in the recession a decade ago, worse than it was in the dark and dismal days of the early to-mid- 1980s. But there is no talk now of us living beyond our means or having to tighten our belts. That conversation will take place sometime in the future. There was no talk either or taxes being lowered, or USC being changed, or Leo Varadkar rewarding those who get up early in the morning.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A day when Tuam Races put paid to the innocence of a young punter

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The date was Friday, July 31, 1970, and the race was the Carling Black Label Maiden Plate with Lucky in Love, ridden by P. Sullivan just edging it from None Better with M. Kennedy on the saddle. The Tuam Races drew large crowds for their one big day of the year before the reins were pulled in 1973. Photo researched by Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I couldn’t even remotely claim to have any knowledge of the gee-gees although here and there I’d have the odd little flutter on a horse, and of late, Pateen has been kind enough to me with a couple of good wins across the water. Pateen of course is called after Galway three-in-a-row start, Pat or ‘Pateen’ Donellan, with his original owner, the late Michael Corcoran of solid Dunmore stock.

My childhood memory of horses probably relates to that of many people of a certain generation where the horse – and indeed the donkey as well – were the mainstays of farming life and especially for ageing farmers who just had no interest whatsoever in the purchase of a second-hand or a rebuilt Massey Ferguson. (Ruanes of Athenry were the great specialists of the time in rebuilt Masseys).

We owned the most imperious of a black gelding, his only concession to colour contrast being a white face, and whose pulling power was lauded across the village. But he was never an animal to be taken for granted and especially during the later summer season when the quills or horse flies could provoke him into a sudden and sometimes violent enough tantrum. Only my father could handle him with a mixture of firmness and platitudes but our equine warrior still managed to overturn a load or two of oats or hay when negotiating dodgy gaps that bit too impatiently.

His ageing demise and subsequent sale coincided with my journey into teenage years and that loss of childhood innocence when the realisation strikes that life is transient, made all the more poignant by the fact that it coincided with the gradual decline of my father as he slipped into the 70s and the sunset years of life.

The Galway Races though were always special even if we didn’t venture into Ballybrit that much as a family, as invariably there was always hay to be saved, although a ‘concession’ would often be made in terms of calling into a neighbour’s house with a television to watch The Hurdle or The Plate.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Cool the jets – let’s give Galway sideline supremos a fair hearing

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Mayo's Aidan O'Shea feels the strain against Galway's Cathal Sweeney and Seán Mulkerrin during Sunday's Connacht Football Final at Croke Park. Photo: Ray McManus /Sportsfile.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IN all my years (more like decades) involved in hurling, I have never seen a team play the game at a faster pace than what Waterford did for 55 minutes in Thurles last Saturday. They were like Olympic sprinters and Galway simply couldn’t keep up with them in the open expanses of Semple Stadium.

Galway hurlers have often plumbed the depths when least expected, but trailing by 16 points after three quarters of Saturday’s knock-out clash was a total shock to the system. We know the Tribesmen have a terrible record against Waterford, but this was embarrassing and unacceptable for a team which had been touted as Limerick’s chief threat.

Though Galway are understandably getting some credit for their grandstand finish, it’s only papering over the cracks and, let’s be honest, there would probably have been no comeback at all only for Waterford being reduced to 14 players for the entire second-half. And then having whittled the deficit down from 16 points to three and all the momentum behind them with over six minutes still left to be played, they were found wanting again.

After substitute Jason Flynn’s first goal, there were five more scores and Waterford got four of them. That alone tells you that Liam Cahill’s men had more of what it takes to succeed at this level. Waterford were in disarray but somehow were able to find the inspiration to get over the line.

Meeting Galway supporters before the game, we shared the same concerns about the men in maroon jerseys. Eyebrows were raised by the team chosen and some of the positions players were picked in. Having failed to raise much of a gallop against Dublin, Galway should have been straining at the leash to achieve some redemption. Instead, they were worse; swept aside by a ravenous Waterford team which had everything their opponents didn’t

Though leaving Daithí Burke at centre-back didn’t cost Galway the game, it was still stubborn of the team management to stick to their guns when his zealous patrolling of the square continued to be so blatantly missed. Keeping faith with the unrelated Cooneys’, Joseph and Conor, also attracted criticism.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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.

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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

Evoke broaden their sound to fuse Motown with folk!

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Evoke...new single from Loughrea four-piece.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Almost a year on from the release of their debut EP, Loughrea four-piece Evoke are back, with their fourth studio single Sorry than Safe. And the track sees the group push themselves in its arrangement and production – experimenting with Motown-style rhythm and soul, while retaining the folk sensibilities that run through their extended catalogue.

It was August of last year when the Revelations EP came to life and progress has naturally stalled through multiple lockdowns.

Having found themselves in need of work to replace the income lost during the national pause on live music, the band has been busy in the intervening eleven months – but not quite in the circumstances they had hoped to be. Sorry than Safe has been in the pipeline since that EP’s conception so realising the song as a finished article now feels like a big moment.

“We’d just come off the release of the EP and we went down and recorded this song and another one off the cuff,” recalls lead singer Keagan Forde.

“It was a tough song to blend with everything we wanted. The banjo is at the root of our sound all the time and it’s something we really wanted to keep in but with this, it was really difficult to blend the banjo into such a dense mix. The drums are really thick, the bass is really thick, there are layers of organs and vocals and guitars… layers upon layers of everything and trying to arrange the banjo and get it to sit in nicely caused a few headaches.

“It was tough to navigate staying true to our own sound and what we’re able to replicate live but making the most of the production and throwing ourselves into that. It’s our most complicated song if that makes sense. For two and a half minutes, there’s a lot going on.”

Given the time the band spent toiling over the single, it is no surprise to hear Keagan emphasise the importance of the production on Sorry than Safe. The song feels like a marked studio upgrade, and it seems to have required plenty of planning. Having orchestrated the EP in the leadup to the recording of the song, the group benefitted heavily from its increasing recording experience.

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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