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A Different View

Time to re-evaluate the benefit of bank holidays

Dave O'Connell

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s something hugely ironic about associating Mondays off work with the banks, given that the reason that thousands have no work any day of the week is because of the profligacy of those same lending institutions during the boom times.

But be that as it may, the existence of Bank Holidays means that those who live for the long weekend can at least find something to be grateful to our financial houses for.

We’ve just come through another one and there’s a third in quick succession coming up in less than four weeks – three wasted Mondays in the space of seven weeks.

They’re not wasted for everyone of course because there are some employees who are fortunate enough to be in jobs where the work starts and finishes on a given day, but for most people, what isn’t done today has to be done instead tomorrow.

So you might have Monday off, but you’ll still have to do a week’s work before Friday comes around. And for those people, a Monday off isn’t really a holiday at all.

Before I cause collective apoplexy and people think this is like Scrooge cancelling Christmas, this isn’t about being a killjoy on the holiday front – so here’s my suggestion.

We have nine Bank Holidays a year in Ireland and four of them aren’t open to argument – that’s New Year’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day.

But the other five should be abolished, and workers instead should get an extra week’s holidays a year.

That way, employees get the benefit of the time off because it’s a week that not everyone else is off for, and they don’t have to shoehorn five days work into four.

Employers also benefit because production isn’t affected five weeks of the year, or they don’t end up paying double time for people to come in just so the assembly line isn’t brought to a shuddering halt.

The tourism sector might object to the end of five Bank Holiday weekends and the publicans in particular might miss the busier Sunday nights, but the Gardaí wouldn’t miss the hassle and neither would the street cleaners.

And we cannot underestimate the economic impact of a Bank Holiday weekend; we can see anecdotally how it works here, but Cornwall for example calculated that moving from the May bank holiday to St Piran’s Day (the region’s patron saint) on March 5 would benefit the Cornish economy by between £20 and 35 million.

And given that the pubs and hotels have taken quite a hit in recent years, it might seem churlish to try and starve them of five nice little earners.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Obituaries; the story of a life – told at the death

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Younger people think newspaper obituaries are just for older readers – a kind of version of the line about the elderly reading the death notices to check if they’re alive for another day.

How short-sighted they are, if that’s their take – because obits can be among the liveliest, most entertaining parts of the paper.

They take different tones of course; we tend to be more respectful; more of an appreciation than a critique, and normally written with the permission and oversight of at least a family member.

Those writing for a national or international audience tend to be less circumspect in their analysis of a celebrity’s lifetime – in part for the very reason of their fame.

In other words, the person must be well-known or at least at the head of their field, in order to justify an obituary in the first place – and therefore it’s in effect an evaluation of their life and legacy; the story of a life, told at the death.

That doesn’t mean it has to be reverential or funereal in tone; an injection of humour or context is important if it’s to properly reflect the life and contribution of the subject.

Take a few recent opening paragraphs, marking the passing of these people who ranged from household names to half well-known – like this socialite who was largely famous for being famous and for knowing other famous people.

“Marguerite Littman was beside the pool at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice with Tennessee Williams when a cadaverous girl came shambling past wearing a bikini.

“‘Look, anorexia nervosa,’ Littman said to her companion. ‘Oh, Marguerite, you know everyone,’ came Williams’s reply.”

And it may be apocryphal but it’s still funny – but more critically, you’re suddenly hooked to learn more about a woman you’d probably never heard of.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Don’t turn up your nose at those smells making Covid comeback

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are few things in life that epitomise the joy of anticipation better than opening a brand-new book; the smell of the crisp pages, beautifully bound to reveal its story in your hands and your imagination.

Equally, when you think of a summer’s day, it’s the smell of fresh cut grass that most often springs to mind; the mere thought of it is enough to bring a smile to your face through your mind’s eye.

The association between summer and fresh cut grass is so strong that one band, the Hot House Flowers, built an entire career around it, releasing the same song over and over again.

There are other smells of nature that heighten the senses in summer of course – newly mown hay for a start – and at other times, you know you’re in farming country when the smell of freshly-spread silage wafts in through the car window.

Our eyes may be the most critical of our senses in that, without them, life is a whole lot more difficult to lead – but smell is the sense that can lift you to a higher place.

Think of the aroma that escapes from a bakery or a cake shop; it can have you salivating when you’re not even hungry.

And we all know why so many coffee shops have extractor units that diffuse the smell of roasting coffee beans out onto the street; the Pied Piper of Hamlin wouldn’t work any better in getting you to literally follow your nose.

There’s also the other side of smells – and it’s not just silage.

If you want to quit drinking, for example – or more precisely, to give up drinking nights out – just set yourself a mission of dropping into a pub first thing in the morning, before it’s spic and span and ready to open its doors to the public.

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

Steering clear of mirrors to deny the ageing process

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Only occasionally do you realise you’re actually getting older, because – unless you’re supremely vain – for the most part you’re looking out from yourself, not at yourself.

And then you walk past a mirror or a glass doorway and you think you’re being followed by a balder, fatter, older man – until the penny drops that you’re looking at yourself.

There’s another way to track the years as they fly by; just look at the writing on birthday cards, or more precisely the ones from your kids or young relations.

They start off with a stick man and graduate to a spidery scrawl before there’s a first stab at joined-up writing, evolving eventually to perfectly-formed adult sentences.

And yet you still think you’re not getting older.

I have nieces and nephews who send little video greetings for birthdays and Christmas – and that provides an ever starker reflection of the reality.

Again you go from shy little ones barely, mumbling a happy birthday, to teens with broken voices booming out a message to the big man!

As your age approaches your IQ, you often struggle to remember exactly how old you actually are – and the fall-back for many is to use their kids as a counter.

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.

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