Date Published: 04-May-2011
It was back in 1997 that the good people of Donegal summed up Ireland’s contradictory – some might say schizophrenic – attitude to all things English.
Because it was in the General Election of that year that they voted in Harry Blaney as a TD for the constituency of Donegal North East on what might best be described as a ‘Brits Out’ ticket – while down the road in Donegal South West they voted for Tom Gildea whose wanted to legalise TV deflectors so that these solid Republicans could watch Eastenders at night.
It’s the same double standard deployed when we wear the shirts of our Liverpool or Manchester United heroes on the streets of our local towns – but when they pull on the three lions, we’ll support Azerbaijan or whoever else England happen to be playing.
Last week we saw it all over again when Wills and Kate walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey – even the fact that we refer to the future King of England and his commoner wife by their first names shows how bizarre this interest is.
It’s not that some of our forefathers fought and died for Ireland because that sort of old nonsense just held us back in the dark ages for a few extra generations – it’s that we’d be anything other than utterly ambivalent to the goings on of any Royal family anywhere in the world.
Perhaps it’s their dysfunctional lives that endear them to us as a sort of strange curiosity; the elderly Queen and her Germanic husband whose mouth has plenty of room for both of his feet; Charles, the son who would be King if he didn’t spend so much time talking to plants and dumping one of the world’s most stylish women for, well, a more equine model – and Andrew, the man paid a lot to do nothing and still managing to leave a trail of destruction and bar bills in his wake.
And these boys didn’t marry well because Diana, to use an analogy, was one tough dog to keep on the porch, while Fergie spent like she was married to Seanie Fitzpatrick as opposed to a layabout Prince, to a point where she was offering his services to the News of the World for fifty grand, twenty fags and what appeared – on secret video at least – to be several bottles of wine.
Granted, we stopped short of street parties but the English tabloids and the glossy magazines made sure that closet Royalists were bang up to date on Kate’s wedding dress, whether she would obey or not obey William, what that scamp Harry might say in his speech and whether Camilla would eat her nosh from a dish or a trough.
There cannot be a country on earth more heavily influenced by its nearest neighbours than Ireland.
We buy their papers, speak their language, watch their TV, follow their football teams, buy their music, follow their fashion – and yet when you travel abroad and a Spaniard mistakes you for a Brit, you lose your reason.
They in turn see us as a sort of land of harmless leprechauns drowning in a sea of Guinness and Paddy whiskey, Riverdancing our way through the night. They see Terry Wogan as the quintessential Irishman while we all think he’s a West Brit.
They love the oul’ blarney almost as much as the Yanks, and we can lay it on with a trowel if that’s what it takes to get our hands on the sterling.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.