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State happy to bail out banks but to hell with our teeth



Date Published: {J}

I hate it when advertisers take a famous tune and change the words. It’s like they’re buying airtime in your mind. "Like that song? Well now every time you remember it, you’ll think of our product!"

Then there are the ones that spout scientific-sounding bullshit with a perfectly straight face. A certain hairspray claims it was preferred by "84 percent of 132 women". The problem here is that 84% of 132 is not a whole number. It’s 110.88, so it looks like they had to split one of those women up. That or they had two fat ladies left over.

But they really need to change the mouthwash advert. You know the one?

A beautiful woman stands naked in a cornfield. The camera slowly pans up her perfect body to her lovely face. She smiles and – shock, horror – she’s missing a tooth. OK, it had impact the first time. Trouble is, sexiness trumps everything. Now I’ve seen it a few times I’m beginning to find missing teeth erotic.

Normally when I’m annoyed at an advert I avoid naming the product. You don’t want to encourage them. But I will make an exception here – to explicitly recommend that you don’t buy it. It’s called Corsodyl, and it’s used to treat bleeding – a condition it can actually make worse.

I know this because it happened to me. When bleeding struck I should have gone to the dentist, there’s really no two ways about that. It’s caused by bacterial infection, and that’s usually the result of something – a decaying tooth for example – that only a dentist can fix. So while Corsodyl may slow the infection it doesn’t stop it

Effectively it helps you ignore the problem – while it continues to grow worse.

So when I did finally see a dentist, fixing the original cause was no longer enough. Infection had spread. Now I need periodontal treatment for the problem – that is, cleaning below the gum line. And I need to have it fast, or I will almost certainly lose teeth.


But here’s the catch . . .only ‘basic’ dental treatments are covered by the Medical Card system – things like extractions, fillings and cleaning. For periodontal work, however vital, I have to pay real cash money up front. How much? Fifteen fecking hundred.

That’s not the sort of money I have in the coin jar, so I go to my bank and ask for a small save-me-from-needing-bridging loan. No dice. Though they were eager to lend me money a few years ago, and despite the fact that I paid it all back, they won’t now because they have new, tighter criteria problem – thanks to all those people who didn’t pay them back. Go figure.

The banks made a lot of money out of speculation, but – thanks to NAMA – they’re not being allowed to lose. We are allowed to lose though. We can lose our jobs, our homes problem – even our teeth.


My best hope now is that the advert makes gappy smiles fashionable.


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Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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