With the day that’s in it, it’s an auspicious time to say a few words about political manoeuvring. Bertie is out, Bev is in. Now wasn’t that manoeuvre a real smoke and mirrors stroke. All the talk in political circles and nationwide was about Bertie’s departure, then hey presto, a small announcement buried somewhere in the political pages of the daily papers broke the news of Bev’s comeback. Was it a last stroke of Berties, or was it a first for Biffo? Can’t say for certain, but you must admit it was a ‘class act’!
So what about the man headin’ off into the political sunset? That depends on which side of the fence you live on. Accolades and unctuous platitudes have been floating round since he announced his retirement and have come from all directions; why even the opposition got in on the act. Some of these accolades were deserving some doubtful. While addressing the American Congress he held in rapt attention all those of the Kennedy and Clinton clans, but got scant attention from the American press; Bertie Who? Seemed to be the attitude taken. Standing ovations were the order if the day especially the mention of ‘peace in Ireland’. Fair dues, but peace comes to us all in various format. Collectively speaking we are all glad to put murder and bombing behind us, but while Bertie was holding them spellbound in Congress we at home were treated to a broken hearted woman on the Late Late Show who will never know peace for herself and her two small children. Passed from Paddy to Jack in the health service her late husband suffering from depression took matters into his own hands and committed suicide. I don’t think this got a mention in his speech to Congress; neither did the woman who died of cancer due to delay in treatment. One brave woman wrote about her plight, the other one came on the Late Show to highlight the inadequacies of the Health Service, while Bertie highlighted Ireland’s achievements to the American Congress with smug satisfaction. No one nation or person are perfect and its hard to cover all corners, but before I’d go public to tell how clean the kitchen was I’d make sure there was no odd smell come from the fridge!
In the daily papers he once more wants to highlight just how wonderful he and his Party are. Record levels of funding have been pumped into education and the health services we are told. No one doubts that, but are we getting value for monies spent? Does anyone check on how or where these monies disappear to? Most important question of all; why is there such dissatisfaction in education and health if money is the cure all? Minister Hannifin got short shift at the teachers’ agm recently in spite of her blathering; the parents and children in Passage West at waiting ten years for a promised new school, and that heart broken widow on the Late Late didn’t make an appearance just to entertain us. “Over a million jobs created in a generation” sez he. And me thinking all along that that was the function of the I. D. A. He got one statement very right; “the European Union has played a central role in the development of Ireland” Picture if you can where we’d be if outside the E U. Perish the thought. Major inroads have been made into poverty and the disadvantaged we’re led to believe, and in the same daily paper St Vincent de Paul tells us of a 70% increase in those same disadvantaged seeking assistance! Wasn’t it Alice, in Alice in Wonderland, who believed just what she wanted to believe, and wasn’t it CJH who told us about “the most cunning the most devious of them all”. With money matters to be cleared up with Mahon, and a bubble burst in the building game, what a great time to jump ship!
Movin’ on to the new incumbent what’s to be said? Well the ‘love ins’ will say ‘a safe pair of hands’ and those against will say he bumbled from one high office to the next. Health and Finance are two of the most important portfolios in any government so what legacy is he leaving behind him? Well taking Finance first, he has been awash with money since he took office partially due to circumstances outside his control, so it wasn’t too difficult to spread the largesse about. Reducing taxes is always a vote getter! In Health he granted monies to hospitals that were doing refurbishments or extensions and just before he left Health he granted a few quid to a hospital down Tullamore way! ‘All politics are local’, was how Tip O’Neil that consummate politician of American politics described it.
From time to time we all like to have a go at politicians and politics in general, but do we the voters every stop to examine our motives for voting regardless of what party we favour, that is if we do vote. The turn out at election time is falling in all democratic countries and we are no exception in spite of us being a political people. The old diehards are still there but the younger generation seem disinterested. Could our Celtic Tiger be partly responsible? The high earners are not all in the upper bracket any longer. Middle class Ireland has a comparatively new large house, two cars at the front door, one of them probable an SUV, the kids getting the very best attention, not alone in education but other activates also, not forgetting the short breaks to foreign parts apart altogether from the annual holidays. The lure of cheap flights is a great attraction, “sure we’ll be there an back before we know it”, and its probably cheaper than a weekend anywhere in Ireland. With a busy busy life style there’s no time to think about politics, and anyroads it’s a foreign company who has invested in Ireland, who produces the paycheck every week or month and not some politician. If they think about politicians at all there the ones who cause the tailbacks on the M 50, due to poor planning and sure it’ll straighten out sometime, in the meantime pass me that holiday brochure an’ I’ll have a squint at it. And didn’t I send a cheque to Concern, not forgetting St Vincent de Paul; it’s up to them to look after the disadvantaged.
Churchill said that democracy was a damn bad form of government until you tried something else! Maybe so, but people living under dictatorship would love to have the privilege of casting their vote; we who have that privilege shouldn’t make light of it. In the meantime we’ll give the new man space to settle in, and hope that ‘nudge nod, and wink’ politics will be binned! Jeffers.
We are pleased to share in the good news of an appointment of a new Rector for the Blessington Union of Parishes which includes St John’s Ballymore Eustace. The institution of Reverend Leonard William Ruddock will take place in Blessington on Weds. August 6th. The ceremony will be conducted by the Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough, Dr. John Neill.
Leonard is married to Hazel, daughter of Alan Gillis, and they have two children Gary & Amanda. He comes to Blessington from Stillorgan/Blackrock Parish. A native of Kildare he spent his teenage years in Co. Carlow. He had his own bsiness in Roscrea before being ordained a Deacon in 19994 and a priest the following year. He has been a full time curate in Sillorgan
It is hoped that Leonard will conduct his first service in Ballymore on Sunday August 10th. Paddy Cooke issues an invitation to all the people of the village to join with them in celebration. Further details will be published in the Bugle and the Bell nearer to the time.
Cead Mile Failte Leonard.Village Green Gardening Club
With Punchestown coming up and the days a little longer, spring is finally here. The members of the Gardening Club got a kick start to the season when they welcomed back an old friend and regular contributor, Jimi Blake of Huntingbrook Gardens in Tinode. Jimi delivered a most excellent talk on "The Contemporary Border". The stunningly beautiful photos and slides he presented were matched only by Jimi's passion and expertise for the subject. Many of the wonderful examples of planted borders and exotic individual specimen plants discussed were personally collected by Jimi and are on display in his own garden. Some simple ideas for use of readily available plants such as Sedum's, Verbena and Dahlias were suggested for brightening up dull borders while also serving as a valuable food source for native bees and butterflies. The trick is to plant in drifts and repeat to increase interest and draw the eye down or across a boarder. Huntingbrook is a 4 year old garden under constant development off the N81 to be featured in the September edition of "Garden's Illustrated" and on Ireland AM on May 1st.
Club members are reminded the final meeting of the year and the AGM will take place on May 29th.
Details of the Club Tour which will take place on Saturday June 14th will also be available at the meeting. As always new members are most welcome.