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A Different View

Time to re-evaluate the benefit of bank holidays

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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

Betting on the thrill of the chase can come at a cost

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

I’ve never understood betting but, just as I’ve never understood astrophysics either, I’ve plenty of time for those who do. Just because I don’t or can’t do it doesn’t make it an unusual pursuit.

But betting to me was always just a few quid on a fancied horse or backing your county to win the All-Ireland or your favourite football team to win the Premiership.

You might be a proud new parent who believes that the new arrival will one day go on to play for Ireland or Galway – and unless you’re perhaps Joe Canning, you will easily find a bookie who will lay you odds of 500/1 that it will never happen.

Nearly two decades ago now, Rory McIlroy’s dad Gerry placed a £200 bet on his 15-year-old son winning a Major – and ten years later, he walked away with a £100,000 windfall when Rory won the British Open at Hoylake in 2014.

In 2006, the family of Chris Kirkland won close to £10,000 when the then-Liverpool goalkeeper played for England in a friendly against Greece. Twelve years earlier, Kirkland’s father Eddie had placed a bet, as part of a syndicate, that his son would win an England cap before turning 30.

Perhaps even more optimistically, the grandfather of Fulham winger and former Liverpool star Harry Wilson pocketed £125,000 after placing a bet that his then-infant grandson would go on to play for Wales – which he duly did well before he’d left his teens.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Caught by online fraudsters – and rescued by the bank

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Somewhere in a supermarket in Australia last week, a person or persons spent €57.88 of my money on food or drink and charged it to my Visa card. Hours later they then repeated the exercise at another branch of Coles, the Melbourne-based multiple – but then their mini-spree came to a shuddering halt.

In truth perhaps, they probably didn’t leave home at all; they may not even have been anywhere near Australia, instead carrying out their shopping online around midday local time – and again for around the same amount an hour or two later.

But then the fraud department of Allied Irish Banks put a halt to their gallop and during the wee small hours inquired if I had somehow made it from conducting an evening online transaction in Galway to buying things from a supermarket in Melbourne, in the process inadvertently breaking the sound barrier while I slept.

And when I replied that indeed I had not, my Visa card was shut down and the prospects of the intrepid Australians buying some serious kit from my pocket disappeared quicker than snow on the outback.

Not alone that but AIB refunded the money these people had spent without my knowledge, allowed me to take a few bob out of the bank without a card – but with ID – and then sent on a brand new card this week.

The embarrassing part was having to confirm that online purchases in the run-up to the Aussie shopping spree were legit; it’s like having a list of misdemeanours read out in court.

There was nothing accusatory in the tone of the nice woman from the bank, who merely inquired if indeed it was me who had gone twice to Mace the previous day; if I’d also bought an album online and paid a monthly subscription for a digital newspaper.

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

What your taste in music says about your own state of mind

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

As Elton John once said, sad songs say so much. But now it turns out so do Adele songs or classics by the Beatles – because surprise, surprise, the music you listen to reflects your state of mind.

That’s what a group of psychologists in Toronto spent their time discovering recently – a reality most of us could have told them for free.

The psychologists divided people into four groups with different approaches to relationships – the rejection-feeling ‘anxious’’ group; the negative and cold ‘avoidant group; the confident ‘secure’ group, and a mixed group.

The boffins then assessed the lyrics to 7,000 different songs based on their variously secure, anxious, or avoidant content, then asked a test group to pick out their favourite tracks.

And they came up with the bleedin’ obvious – song lyrics are a window into your state of mind; they discovered that people who are insecure in their relationship listen to a lot of Adele. Perhaps because you may remember she had her biggest hit, Someone Like You, about a break-up.

Other songs that inspire strong feelings, often sadness, include Joni Mitchell’s Blue; Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine; Neil Young’s Philadelphia, and Ray Charles’ Georgia on My Mind – just in case you’re looking to take it down a notch this New Year.

On the other hand, those who prefer the Beatles’ upbeat Love Me Do are more than likely to be very secure in their relationships, according to the University of Toronto study.

And just for the record, here are some of the songs for happy people, who are secure in themselves and in their loved ones around them.

At Last by Etta James – which sounds more like entrapment than true love, as does I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher – and Wouldn’t it be Nice by the Beach Boys, not to mention Whitney Houston’s 1999 hit I Will Always Love You, which is actually a Dolly Parton song from the early 1970’s. It’s just that Dolly doesn’t give off that same sense of security.

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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