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A world where most things are not just black and white

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

DO you ever get the feeling that the closer you look at something the more unclear it gets, or the more that someone tells you an issue is black and white, the more you realise that there are myriad shades of grey in-between?

Like a lot of what I’ll describe as ‘ordinary people’, I find myself tending to switch channels on the car radio when a debate swirls into full wind on abortion and the Eighth Amendment and the rights and wrongs of our laws and Constitution in this country.

One thing though, I am pretty convinced about, is that the extreme views on both sides of the arguments are the ones that tend to fill the letter spages of our papers, week-in and week-out.

Somewhere in-between there lies a middle ground, where I suspect the vast bulk of the population lies, who do not want an Ireland where abortion is available on demand but who equally do not want to see a scenario whereby a woman’s life could be endangered if she was to carry through with a normal pregnancy.

There are also the very disturbing cases where a woman gets pregnant after being raped or has been the victim of incest, or where a fatal foetal abnormalities give a 99% guidance that a pregnancy cannot be viable, but there’s the other side of the story too.

The thought of killing babies, is, by any yardstick of human society, quite a disturbing one  and the prospect of an innocent child in the womb having his or her life terminated on the operating table, is not one that can be easily reconciled with a civilised society.

Yes, it might be happening in other countries and yes thousands of Irish women might be taking the plane and boat to the UK every year for abortions, but is that an argument for saying it’s right. Somehow, I don’t think so.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

Trying to tap into world of the reluctant optimist

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Sometimes, during grouchier moments, it can be a bit annoying reading articles about reasons to be optimistic about the year ahead or the future in general.

We’re all entitled to have the heads down here and there but when it turns into a habit, the brakes have to be put on. Is there really anything worse than the habitual moaner, whether it be in the workplace or your place of socialisation?

Once we accept with some placidity that in the final analysis, we are all doomed, then it can be a lot easier to enjoy those little bits that make up the time bites of each day that we live.

So, with the acceptance that reasons for optimism as February dawns are likely to annoy some people, I’ve tried to come up with Five Commandments – 10 would really be stretching it – for giving us just little chinks of hope as the first scents of Spring are poised to blow in.

  1. Our good old reliable weather and I’m not for a second allowing any climate change interference to take the good out of the glorious (well nearly) spell that we’ve enjoyed through a large chunk of January. We’ve had a mild Winter with only a couple of storms along the way and there have been no big freeze-ups like we had back in 2009-2010. Yes, we do love moaning about our rain and wind in Ireland, but for the most part, we’re blessed with a moderate climate which nurtures growth for a large chunk of any year. Okay, I do worry about the possibility of having to take out the lawnmower during the month of February, but as whines and moans go, that has to be a pretty small one. And for no other reason but optimism, I’ll predict a good Summer to come too.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

Maybe the time has come just to ‘say a word for the farmer’

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I have never had any chit-chat with Roderick O’Sullivan, and to be honest about it, I don’t have any great desire to meet the man, but it’s been a while since I read such a vitriolic piece against the farming community as I did in last week’s Connacht Tribune.  Bile is probably a kind word to use in terms of his regard for farmers and I couldn’t but conclude after reading his tirade against the farming community, that as a young lad he must have received a kick from a cantankerous cow, and never quite recovered psychologically from it.

I’m a farmer of sorts myself and I know many more involved in the business of agriculture. Hand on heart, I would have to say that 99.9% of those people I know are careful, conscientious and considerate about how they go about their business.

His reference to cattle-rearing complexes is in reality the investment that farmers have made over the years to house cattle during the sodden winter months, when feeding them outdoors would turn the fields into muck and make life hell for every person of the land, who would have to try and bring feed to stock in the fields.

The slurry produced by cattle, referred to by the writer in the most revolting terms he could use, including the word vomit, is of course the waste produced by the animals that’s stored in underground tanks (‘not supposedly stored’), and which is rich in the nutrients that land can use to maintain its fertility – primarily potash and phosphorous and some nitrogen too.

Farmers across Ireland and indeed across the UK and EU block of countries face the most exacting standards in terms of when they can spread slurry on the ground with a ban on mid-winter output, while it would make no sense at all for anyone to spread slurry if there is heavy rain on the way.

The maths on this is quite simple: with chemical fertiliser costs now running up to €1,000 a tonne, every farmer will want to get the maximum return from the slurry that he or she will spread during the spring-summer period. Spreading slurry that would run into rivers or streams would be like . . . well, just pouring your money down the drain.

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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Country Living

Yesterday . . . when all our troubles seemed so far away

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Paul McCartney's Yesterday . . . now a forlorn wish for us all!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s part two of the alphabet for what passed last year and for what’s to come in 2022, with an emphasis on trying not to take this whole business of living too seriously. To borrow from the philosophy of Oliver Burkeman in ‘Four Thousand Weeks’, once we learn to expect our own finitude (really a nice word for ‘the end’), then it can bring a certain peace of mind.

N is one close to my heart namely the world of newspapers and whether they will survive over the coming years as the world of technology and instant access to information grows more powerful. I’m probably in the ‘old-fogey’ category – and there’s also the issue of having a vested interest in the business – but I’d find a world without newspapers quite a strange one. They are important sources of record, and hopefully here and there, just a little bit entertaining too.

O is for . . . well I cannot stay in denial about it . . . the dreaded omicron word that most of us here in Ireland had never even heard of up until a few weeks back. Now it dominates nearly all our headlines and news bulletins but it’s not all bad. While it is highly transmissible, it seems to be very mild in terms of symptoms. Let’s just hope it’s the last big storm before some calm returns to our normal lives as human beings.

P is for the pursuit of all those things in life that we think will make us happy such as loads of money, new tractors, lashings of money and fancy cars. Well, they won’t! P is for the practicality in accepting our lot in this life for better or worse and maybe, even just here and there, doing a little bit for those worse off than us.

Q is a query for National Lotto and the limbo that we’re all left in as jackpot after jackpot passes by without any winner and they [Lotto] keep reassuring us that we’re helping good causes and that some day the €19 million will be won. I’m inclined to agree with the simple assertion by Kildare TD Bernard Durkan that there’s just too many balls in the drum, for the jackpots to be won regularly. We could sum it up a bit more crudely . . . just a load of balls!

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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