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Connacht Tribune

Urban/rural divide makes referendum harder to call

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Fidelma Healy-Eames, Dr. Anthony O'Reilly and Eamonn O Cuív TD, speakers at the recent 'Protect the 8th' conference at the Menlo Park Hotel, Galway. EIREFOTO

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

I have spent most of the last fortnight traipsing around the country – Roscommon, Cork, Louth, Offaly and Dublin so far – on the trail of various groups canvassing on the Referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

I have been trying to combine rural and urban, and mixes of age and income in order to build up a picture of what the mood is on the ground.

At this moment it’s clear a significant chunk of the population have yet to make their minds up.

Can I say anything with certainty at this stage? No, other than the sense it’s going to be closer than people predicted several months ago.

There is no science in this. Unless the sentiment is overwhelming like it was in the same-sex marriage referendum, it’s really hard to know how the wind is blowing. Opinion polls are notoriously unreliable when it comes to accurately reflecting public mood. Even more so just now because, in reality,

What makes it doubly difficult to predict is that turnout for referendums has been low in the past (go ‘getting out the vote’ becomes crucial) and don’t knows have tended to side with the no change scenario.

In Dublin, middle class areas in general will strongly vote Yes. That became quickly clear to me during two canvasses of Castleknock last week, where people at the doorsteps were very adamant in their views.

That said, it’s not quite the same in working class areas, where the feedback seems to be that the No side is doing much better than Yes. This is more obvious in well-established estates in Finglas, Donnycarney, Cabra, Ballyfermot and Clondalkin – the kind of places where Fianna Fail would have had huge support from blue collar workers.

By contrast, the picture is more murky in urban areas outside Dublin. The Nos and ‘Don’t knows’ are far more prevalent. In bigger centres like Cork, Galway and Drogheda, it also looks like it is breaking down along class lines.

And there definitely is an urban-rural divide. The two most rural constituencies I have visited – Roscommon and Offaly – have been very strongly No, from my encounter with canvassers there.

Another general observation that can be safely made is more of the older generation tend to be veering No, and Yes is far more popular among the young.

But neither of those divisions are as certain as they once were. For one, you hear of the phenomenon of ‘Silent Nos’ in the cities – younger people who might vote No but don’t want to say so because it might be considered uncool. Simi, there may be Silent Yeses in rural Ireland

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Clifden break new ground with a five-star final show

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Clifden's Gearoid King, who has Michael O'Toole in support, breaking out of defence against St Ronan's of Roscommon during Saturday's Connacht Club Junior Football Final at Hyde Park. Photos: Bernie O'Farrell.

Clifden 1-16

St Ronan’s 0-10

John McIntyre at Hyde Park

A lot can change in one year. Just ask the mould-breaking Clifden junior Gaelic footballers for confirmation.

In the space of 12 months, Galway’s most westerly Gaelic football bastion has gone from fighting relegation to being crowned Connacht champions.

It’s some turnaround in fortunes by any standards, and Clifden are not finished yet with an All-Ireland Club semi-final to look forward to in early January.

Having taken out highly-rated Islandeady of Mayo in the semi-final, suddenly the burden of favouritism for provincial glory fell on Clifden’s shoulders, but they made light of this new-found status at Hyde Park on Saturday.

Coming up against St Ronan’s of Roscommon – a club which was fighting for survival itself just five years ago – in the Connacht final, a progressive Clifden outfit carried too much firepower and quality for opponents who are based close to the Sligo border.

Having suffered defeat in the club’s two previous provincial final appearances – in 2006 and 2015 – Clifden were determined to make it third-time lucky and the fact their supporters rarely had cause for concern underlines how much they were in control.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

An Spidéal raise their game after being hit by black card

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Kinvara full forward Joshua O’Connor is challenged by Liam Ó Fatharta and Eoin Ó Conghaile of An Spidéal during Saturday's County U19 B Football Final at Tuam Stadium. Photos: Iain McDonald.

An Spidéal 1-10

Kinvara 1-6

Eanna O’Reilly at Tuam Stadium

AN Spidéal claimed the county under 19 B football title on Saturday following an entertaining contest with North board winners Kinvara at Tuam Stadium.

The Connemara side were deserving winners on the day as they played the superior football for long spells. Nevertheless, they were well tested by a hard working Kinvara side, who produced a strong third quarter performance and took the lead in the 43rd minute.

An Spidéal weathered the storm however, to take control of the contest in the final quarter, scoring the final five points of the game to deservedly take the title.They displayed a greater ability to generate scores from play, which made all the difference in the end. An Spidéal’s tallied 1-6 from open play, while Kinvara were held to 0-3 by comparison.

Both sides deserve credit for serving up an entertaining spectacle in tricky conditions at Tuam Stadium. Kinvara played against the wind in the opening half but made a bright start when Oisín Ivers pointed from the right corner.

An Spidéal replied with their first score, which proved to be a major one. A strong run from Liam Ó Conghaile saw him break through Kinvara’s defence before firing a shot to the bottom corner past Shaun Philips.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A glimpse back to darker days when we turned on each other

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A photo taken in happier pre-civil war times on October 27, 1921, at the wedding of Kevin O’Higgins (centre) to Birdie Cole (centre front). O’Higgins is flanked to his right by Eamon de Valera and on his left by Rory O’Connor, the latter to be executed just over a year later on the orders of O’Higgins. Photo: Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of my regrets in childhood and younger life was that I never really got to know my ageing father. There was a rural way of life back through the 20th century where older farmers tended to marry younger women, one of the consequences being that by the time the youngest of the children had reached teenage years, their father would have slipped into old age.

It wasn’t all bad though and as a child, I’d hear first-hand stories of what times were like during The Troubles from the War of Independence through to the Civil War. My father wouldn’t always talk about it that often, but here and there, he’d mention tales of hiding behind walls when they’d hear the sound of Crossley Tenders – lightweight lorries which carried parties of Black-and-Tans across the country to ‘put manners’ on the restless natives.

Tales of guns and ambushes were quite frightening but also somewhat alluring yarns for a young lad of 11 or 12 summers as here and there, my father would mention that what followed on after the hated Black-and-Tans was even worse. He would recount tales from the Civil War and how even the closest of families were torn apart, depending on whether they were pro-Treaty or not.

He would point to a spot on a field where IRA members fired shots at the Free State-controlled railway station in Ballyglunin, or maybe a house where two brothers fought on opposite sides during the Civil War. As years passed, and elderly parents moved on, talks of the Tans and the Treaty faded, but of late with the 100th anniversary of so many awful events in 1922 now being recalled, curiosity again took hold.

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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