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A Different View

TG4 is to Irish broadcasting what BBC Radio 4 is to the UK

Dave O'Connell

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Past pupils of Gort Community School who were recognised by their Universities for their outstanding results in last year's Leaving Certificate exams (from left) Ronja Pfeiffer from Kilcolgan, who was awarded a €1,500 Excellence Scholarship from NUI Galway for her achievement of 615 points; Sean Walsh from Beagh, was awarded and Entrance Scholar Award by UCD for his achievement of 605 points, and Katie Keenan from Beagh, who was awarded a €1,500 Excellence Scholarship from NUI Galway.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Perhaps it was down in part to the dearth of real quality content elsewhere, but the Christmas season showed just why TG4 is far and away the best television station in Ireland.

There are still those who think it’s a station for Gaelgoirs alone – and therefore of no interest to anyone else – but the truth is that their indifference is really only depriving themselves of the best of originality on the box.

The new UTV Ireland may well herald the dawn of a new era in Irish terrestrial television – but to do so with an hour-long episode of Emmerdale is almost as ridiculous as launching a new channel with the news service limping into view nearly a week later.

That said, the news coverage was impressive when it did arrive – none moreso than the station’s fast-rising political correspondent, Mary Regan from Moycullen, who almost crowned her admirably assured opening broadcast by being creamed by a passing van across from Leinster House.

And as for the grand opening, Pat Kenny is a fine broadcaster but traipsing around Ireland is search of the pulse of the nation – and fortunately finding it every time he meets one of the new station’s staff – is trying to dress up a promo video as a programme….even if it was great to see Mary Regan at home in her family pub in all of its glory.

TV3, now under greater pressure than ever before, finally shouting from the rooftops that it is creating its own content – 17 years after coming on air – only highlights the fact that it didn’t bother for two decades because it relied so heavily on ITV programmes to justify its existence.

And it is only doing it now because it has had the rug pulled from under it.

There’s no reason for RTE to feel overly smug either because it relies on a formula that’s been there almost as long as Gay Byrne – a couple of chat shows, soaps (original and bought in) and a diet of movies that only prove the station has deeper pockets than its competitors.

There’s a heavy investment in news and current affairs – although how they can continue to justify cutting the main evening bulletin in half every time there’s a public holiday beggars belief – and occasionally something like Barry O’Kelly’s expose of conditions at Aras Attracta justify a slice of the tax take it benefits from.

But the only station that consistently produces original programming is based on our own doorstep.

Yes, TG4 imports a fair degree of programming too but it has fulfilled its original purpose – to produce programmes for Irish language speakers that don’t alienate the rest of us – right from the night it went on air closing in on 19 years ago.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

How will we acclimatise as we ease out of Covid?

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back in the world before Covid, a mention of Corona either brought to mind a beer or a rock band – but, as we ease our way out of dire straits (another rock band, as luck would have it), we might require a different kind of acclimatisation.

Because what will the evening be like when no more deaths are flashed up as a statistic on the Six-One News?

Who will the world turn to if we have no more Fergal or George or Zara giving out the daily update in a funereal tone?

What will happen to all the people who used to go to the Department of Health press conference at tea-time in the same way the rest of us once headed for the pub?

Like Pavlov’s Dog, we’ve come to expect an evening illness update, taking consolation in it being two less than yesterday or taking fright if it’s two more.

Nobody told us who these poor people were, unless the local paper carried a tribute a week later – for the number crunchers and bean counters and prophets of doom, they were today’s statistics, to be flashed up for a few seconds every night.

And we took these figures as we got them, never questioning if a person died from Covid or with Covid; if they were described as having ‘underlying conditions’, we seemed to accept that as a very broad church.

We listened intently as Fergal or George or Zara told us what the mean age was, breathing a small sigh of relief if it remained a good distance into the future from our own age now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Home ownership should be a prerogative – not a pipedream

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Half of our 18 to 34-year-olds fear they won’t be able to buy a home in next ten years, according to a new survey. That’s not the shock – it’s the fact that half of them think they actually will.

Because the truth is that owning your own home hasn’t been as much of a pipedream since the days of feudal landlords; indeed many of them will find it a job and a half to even come up with the rent.

And that’s a sign of just how critical our housing crisis has become in the space of a single generation.

We thought that things were bad in the eighties when unemployment levels were way ahead of our pre-Covid figures; when the boat and the plane were the best 0or maybe only – chance for many to secure a job far from home.

But for those who were working, owning a home wasn’t a farfetched concept at all, because there were plenty of starter homes being built and the cost of them still bore some relation to your income.

There was a time before that, when the bank had a simple equation to decide the size of the mortgage they’d give you. It was two and a half times the combined salary for those buying the house – in other words, yours alone if you were a sole purchaser, or double that if it was yourself and your partner.

On top of that, there was no point turning up in the first place unless you had a ten per cent deposit – so it was a straight-forward calculation to find out what you could afford. And house prices, for the most part, kept within that equation.

Of course there were always homes you coveted and couldn’t afford, but you could still buy a roof over your head for a price that only took 20 years to pay back.

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

Giving it all away can bring you the greatest wealth of all

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It must be the nicest thing that anyone could say about a friend on their passing, and the novelist Jilly Cooper wrote it about the former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans on his death last year.

“Harry died on Thursday at 5am (UK time), his heart perhaps only failing because he gave so much of it away.”

Because when all is said and done, your list of achievements – academic, sporting or stellar career – should pale into insignificance beside the way you treated your family, friends and colleagues.

We too often judge a person’s success or failure by the jobs they’ve held, the money they’ve made, the titles they hold – when the truth is none of that should determine your achievements as a person.

Even billionaires can grow to realise that eventually; just look at Bill and Melinda Gates – although recent events might make this a different picture in the future.

The former Apple golden couple have given close to $50 billion to charitable causes, including the eponymously named Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, since 1994.

In 2019 alone, the couple donated $589 million to charity, making them the seventh most philanthropic people that year. Whether they now give separately or collectively might be the question – but it seems most unlikely that they won’t give at all.

They’re alone in this world of billionaire philanthropists either; Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and one of the richest people in the world, has pledged $100m in prize money for technology that would best capture planet-heating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

And Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who tops the global rich list, has vowed to give out $10bn to worthy climate initiatives.

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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