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A Different View

We’re all far too tolerant of the nanny state

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There is a terrific business opportunity out there for someone who’d like to make easy money and allow smokers to enjoy their addiction without having to gaze at the throat tumour that now graces their box of twenty fags.

How about a wrap-around box that just says 20 Major or a replica John Player Blue box, so that the smoker – who needs no reminding that they are wiped five minutes off their life every time they light up – can slip the new state-sponsored horror box into more familiar and friendly surrounds?

It’s not that I have any love for smoking, but I hate the notion of a nanny state even more.

Banning smoking in pubs was a terrific idea because it allowed us non-smokers to enjoy a pint or a meal without the fog of nicotine – and perhaps it caused a few smokers to pack in the habit as well.

But mainly it brought out the best in smokers who abided by a rule that would have been impossible to enforce without their acquiescence – and they stood in the rain or sheltered under lean-tos and then came back in from the cold.

Eventually pubs erected more permanent structures and some even put in heaters and wide-screen TVs, which suddenly meant that the smokers were outside ‘smirting’ – smoking and flirting – while us non-smokers sat inside minding the pints.

The point is that smokers knew they didn’t have the right to inflict their habit on others, so they took it outside – but it wasn’t enough for us to be spared the secondary inhalation, we now want to drive them into submission altogether.

So we’ve put a gaping tumour on the front of cigarette boxes as though the mere sight of this horror would make them realise the error of their ways after thirty years on the fags.

It’s the same nonsense that suggests we’re all driven to drink because we watch the Heineken Cup or that Liverpool fans only drink Carlsberg and Celtic fans only drink John Smith’s.

The most recent epistle – this time from the EU – bans pictures of babies on baby food, because apparently this could idealise the use of such foods, to the detriment of breast-feeding.

Because obviously parents are so shallow that, if they saw a jar with a beautiful baby on it, they’d assume that pouring gallons of that formula down their little mite’s neck until they were a shoo-in for top prize at the Bonny Baby competition.

There’s always some do-gooder who isn’t just content being miserable themselves – they also want to tell everyone else how to live their lives so we can all be miserable together.

Of course the Government has a duty to look after our health, and some of that is through education and some of it seems to be through legislation – the classic carrot and stick approach – but much of this is just an optical illusion.

They might look after our health better if they increased accessibility to hospital beds, if they tackled the spiralling cost of health insurance that is forcing so many to take a chance on giving it up, or if they slashed the layers of bureaucracy that epitomises the HSE.

The long and the short of it is that we won’t start lashing back the Heineken just because we’re watching the Heineken Cup, no more than smokers will stop smoking because there’s a stomach-churning picture on the front of the fag box.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

No great rush to mend the error of your ways!

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was St Augustine who famously petitioned in prayer: ‘God, make me good – but just not yet’. It’s a sentiment that one Sister Mary Joseph took to whole new levels, because after spending her first 61 years as a high-living heiress, she spent the last three decades as a cloistered nun.

And she closed one chapter to open another one back in 1989 with a party for 800 of her closest friends at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco – so many guests that the hostess carried a helium balloon all night, with the words “Here I Am” so that people could find her amid the throng.

The next day the former Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a novitiate, spending the rest of her life as Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Or as one of her 28 grandchildren put it: “It was like The Great Gatsby turned into The Sound of Music.”

Her recent obituary in the Times painted quite the colourful picture of a lover of the high life turned Holy Roller.

“She smoked, drank champagne, played cards, spent five hours a day on the telephone and, as an expert scuba diver and enthusiastic skier, travelled around the world.

“She had a season ticket to the opera, was a high-society patron of many charitable causes and drove her sports car at such reckless speeds that, according to her son Mark, ‘people got out of her car with a sore foot from slamming on an imaginary brake’.”

Because if ever a life could be described as a tale of two-thirds of high living and one-third of contemplation, this was it; the mother of ten who enjoyed the casual company of celebrity friends like Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope opted for an order which allowed her one visitor a month – and even then no touching given the two rows of iron bars between them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Online games will always give way to world of pure imagination

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When we were young and Wimbledon came on the telly for two weeks, we’d all rush out to hit a tennis ball off the wall and imagine for an hour that we were Jimmy Connors or Bjorn Borg.

On the odd occasion when we saw live football on TV – the World Cup, the FA Cup Final, or Jimmy Magee covering another false dawn for Ireland at Dalymount Park – we took to the footpath and pretended we were Johnny Giles or Georgie Best.

Jumpers for goalposts, games that went on for hours, fly-goalkeepers, next goal wins – a world of entertainment for the price of a plastic football.

Now when it’s half-time in Sky Sports’ fifth live match of the weekend, the kids still want to play their own version when it’s over. Except they do it on the PlayStation so they never have to leave the comfort of the couch.

Even if we re-enacted the World Cup indoors back in the day, we did it with Subbuteo – so we still got more action and exercise than today’s kids, even if it was just a flick of the fingers.

But in the absence of video games, we did all this with nothing more than our vivid imaginations on a field of dreams that was otherwise a concrete car park or a patch of grass.

We pretended we were Mick O’Connell or maybe Mikey Sheehy (but never Brian Mullins or Jimmy Keaveney) as we fielded balls majestically out of the clouds – even if reality would suggest we hardly left the ground.

It was a world of our imagination where we supplied our own running commentary; these days, FIFA 21 does it for you.

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

We’re at our most sure-footed when we find common ground

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When two Irish people meet, they have thirty seconds to find someone they have in common or both of them will die.

It was a Tweet that made me smile recently – but then, thinking a little more, it’s actually so, so true.

We seem lost if we can’t make a common connection, as if six degrees of separation is about three steps too far.

Of course, we’re spoilt in Galway because you’ll never ever meet someone who doesn’t know Michael D; they were either lectured by him, they canvassed for him, they sat beside him in Terryland Park, they chatted with him at the Arts Festival before it had a tent, or they’ve been to a garden party at the Áras.

And once the pressure is off because you’ve made one connection, the rest will flow like soup off Alan Dukes’ fork, as Johneen Donnellan once observed.

It’s a small county in the scheme of things so it shouldn’t be any wonder that we’re well connected – from school or college or work or extended family or geography, we’re a stone’s throw from everyone else.

Half of Mayo, of course, knows Joe Biden – and never has a man had so many fourth cousins once removed (if it gets much worse, he might have to have them forcibly removed) since he got the keys to the big White House.

We can’t claim to know Barack Obama, but half of Galway knows Billy Lawless, who hosted the former Chicago senator in his acclaimed restaurant – we knew Billy as a politician or a publican, in Trigger Martyn’s or the old Twelve in Barna. So that’s close enough.

We’re also familiar with Pat McDonagh, who doesn’t just own Supermac’s; he also owns the Barack Obama Plaza in Offaly. So that’s a second Presidential connection to someone we’ve never actually met.

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.

 

Continue Reading

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