Sunday, June 21, 2009

Great Expectations!

I couldn’t believe me eyes or ears. There he was for all to see on the Late Late Show (24th April) telling us the realities of being in government, and what government is about in this little country of ours. He wasn’t telling us anything that we didn’t know already, but to have it confirmed in public by someone on the inside has got to be a first. Just in case my eyes and ears were deceiving me I bought a newspaper next day to read if it was for real; the newspaper confirmed all. I’m speaking of the dismissed Minister of State John McGuinness, and wish him well in whatever new career he may now pursue, for his political one is surely at an end unless he wants to start up in opposition, which mightn’t be a bad thing. The newspapers say that some backbenchers in Fianna Fáile have expressed support for Mr McGuiness’s stance; well all they’ve got to do is speak out like him and he’s on his way to forming his party, but I won’t be holding my breath. He could call it the Transparency Party! Basically, he was saying that government should be for the country and not for the party in power at any given time. While he was at it he had a go at the Tánaiste Mary Coughlan telling her to get a grip, for apparently they had frequent clashes over policies in the Department for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment. He did say that she was successful as Minister for Agriculture. Now that all depends on where you’re coming from. Nowadays, major decisions in agriculture are made in Brussels, so all she had to do was pass on the information and that she did with style, mouthful after mouthful!
So how is the present crowd shaping up to recession times? To early to predict I’d say but time is not on their side and whatever ‘great plan’ they come up with had better be good. It’s time for strategic decisions and not aspirational ones. Just cast your minds back and think of all the decisions taken that might have been good if politics had been put to one side to the betterment of the country at large. A classic example was decentralisation; the plan to spread the wealth and population around the country. The idea was good but the implementation poor, for decentralisation where it did take place ended up in the bailiwick of some politician, and not necessary where it was most needed. I don’t have to spell it for you, do I? Do you mind the time when the e-voting machines were introduced? The greatest invention since sliced pan we were informed at the time by the Minister in charge and cheap at half the price. They ended up in storage costing the public millions in rent. The voting machines aren’t the only ones that should be in storage! Recently, three government jets were sold for a paltry few thousands; the purchaser on resale turned them into millions. As I write the social partnership is having a wobble. Some months ago I wrote that it was another good idea so long as we were on the up and up, but when times get tough the going gets rough! Plan A was great, but did nobody think of a Plan B to fall back on should things take a turn for the worst. People in business for themselves, know that it is prudent to make provision for the rainy day, they also know the perils of having all the eggs in one basket. This government has had only one basket, which is a basket case at the moment. Tax breaks and incentives and ‘development finance’, a fancy name for irresponsible lending, was heaped upon the development and building industry which has now come to a halt and no Plan B in sight.
Down through the years we the voting public have had it up to the back teeth with aspirational politics. The draining of the Shannon used to be dragged up at every election years ago; now it never gets a mention, and the younger generation have probably never heard of it. A united Ireland was another one. The shops in Newry and Enniskillen are not complaining about the monetary union we have established there, but that’s as far as it goes! The restoration of the Irish language is another aspiration that has cost us millions and continuing to do so, but it hasn’t added much to our well been. Languages were my favourite subjects at school and Irish was top of the list. The only class prize I ever got was for my knowledge of Irish but now if I want to communicate with my fellow man or woman in my native tongue I may up stakes and go live in a gaeltacht area, and the only way one can earn a living by its use is to become a teacher. Economics will always beat aspiration.
What the electorate want is a government with strategic policies. Its time to get rid of cronyism; the wink an’ nod, stroke pulling, parish pump policies, whose sole purpose is to get re-elected come election time. But how do we go about changing the ‘mind set’ of our politicians? It’s a sixty four thousand dollar question and I for one don’t have a ready answer. How do we go about changing the ‘mind set’ of the electorate? We’re a small country and all have a forty first cousin or some connection within the political system and are not backward about coming forward when wanting a favour done. Somehow or other we have to leave 20th century way of thinking behind us and get into the 21st This won’t be achieved by ol’codgers of my vintage, so its up to the younger crowd who we hope will have the vision and courage to make the necessary changes, without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
We need more politicians with the calibre and forthrightness of John McGuinness; then and then only will our expectations come to fruition. Yrs Jeffers.
The Late Bill Lawlor RIP

Ballymore Eustace and Hollywood Chronicle - 1953

The death occurred of Bill (William) Lawlor of Ballymore Eustace on April 17, 2009 R.I.P. Bill was 87 years of age. His sister Maureen (Burke), brother Myles, good friend Harry (Deegan), sister-in-law Kathleen, nephew, grandnephews, grandnieces and relatives survive Bill. Bill is interred in St John’s Cemetery (The Old Cemetery).

By winning two All-Ireland junior titles in 1953, Bill became our first player to win two junior titles under IAHA Rules. He teamed up with Paddy Monaghan to win the All-Ireland junior hard doubles title. At that time, Bill was about 32 years of age while Paddy was 24.

In 1978, when Mickey Dowling (Senior) died Bill succeeded him as the doyen of our handball scene. This honour now rests with Bobbie Grattan who lives near Athy.

Bill helped with the raising of the walls of the 60 by 30 alley in 1953. Their opponents in the final were from Limerick and sadly all four players are now gone to their eternal reward. At the height of his powers, Bill suffered a broken leg that put an end to his playing days.

Bill has also had success as a trainer and owner of greyhounds. Two names that come to mind are Brave Edna and Tantalus. In 1974, Bill kindly donated "The Brave Edna Cup" for a league competition to be run by the Athletic Club. Bill was responsible for my first visit to see greyhounds in action. This was a visit to Harold’s Cross and subsequently I went to Shelbourne Park – again thanks to Bill having a runner there.

My brother James kindly gave me a lift to Bill’s Funeral Mass. Others I saw present were Bobbie Grattan, Eddie and Mai Whelan, Tommy and Eamonn Deegan, Anne Tipper (nee Deegan), Kevin Burke, Kevin Keenan, Peter McGuire, The Headon sisters, Noel and Bridget Headon, Pat Quinn, Mary Campbell and Kathleen Lawlor (nee Doyle).
Handballers Billy Doran and Martin Deegan helped carry Bill’s coffin. Fr Jimmy Kelly was the celebrant at the Funeral Mass. I did not know the singer or her accompanying guitarist but that said, they were a credit to the late Bill.
Outside the Church I met Maria Wolfe, John Murphy and Madge Tyrrell (nee Nugent). I had not seen Madge in a long, long time. Madge is the last surviving member of the late Joe Nugent’s family and now lives in Blessington.
Bill lived at Ivy House just below the New Band Hall. I gather Ivy House was acquired by Bill’s late father in 1907, his father also lived to a great age (early ‘90s) and was cared for by his daughter-in-law Kathleen and friend, Harry Deegan over a long period of time. Myles (Junior) lives in a house on the Poulaphouca Road previously owned by Miss Wills while Maureen lives at Lacken.
The late Bill Lawlor, John Joe O’Keeffe, Harry Deegan and Mary Murphy with Witch’s Son, Brave Edna
and Mary Murphy’s ’Last Pick’ (Ballymore Eustace and Hollywood Chronicle – 1972)

© Matt Purcell (April 20, 2009).
There was a great turnout for the local Community Games Finals field and track events which were held at the football pitch on Friday, 8 May. Even a torrential hail downpour at one stage couldn’t dampen the spirits of the eager young competitors who ranged in age from 5 to 13. There was something to suit every individual - from hurdles to shot put to ball throw and long jump, with everyone gung-ho to try their hand at as many events as possible. A huge round of applause to all who competed – well done to each and everyone of you and many thanks to Jarlath Gilroy, Steve Deegan, Janet Deegan, Eithne Carter and any committee members and members of the public who helped ensure the evening ran smoothly .

Results were as follows:-
U-8 60m Zoe Fanning, Eabha Gilroy, Roisin Murphy
U-8 80m Ava O'Connor, Isabel Keenahan, Molly McNally
U-10 60m Hurdles Orla Murphy,Caoimhe Winder, Katie Gilroy
U-10 100m Orla Murphy, Niamh Winder, Caoimhe Winder
U-10 200m Niamh Winder, Katie Gilroy, Orla Murphy
U-12 100m Amy Horan, Oonagh Deegan, Ciara Fennin
U-12 600m Oonagh Deegan, Ellen Carter, Evie Carter
U-14 100m Amy Mahon, Coady Bean, Shannon Doyle
U-14 800m Amy Mahon, Coady Bean, Shannon Browne
U-16 100m Marie Clarke

U-12 Ball Throw Amy Horan, Ciara Fennin, Rachel Fanning
U-14 Shot Putt Margaret Headon, Shannon Browne, Amy Mahon
U-14 Long Jump Amy Mahon, Shannon Browne, Coady Behan

Results Boys123
U-8 60mTadhg Barrett, Daragh Gilroy, Johathan Browne
U-8 80m Brian Crowe, Jack Sammon, Eoin Clarke
U-10 60m Hurdles Luke Maguire, Kevin Kelleher, Daragh Clarke
U-10 100m Stephen Davis, Thomas Byrne, Jack Keenehan
U-10 200m Mark Barrett, Aaron Deegan, Conor Gilroy
U-12 100m Kevin Pat Clarke, Tom Carter, Sean Murphy
U-14 100m Tom Murphy, Daragh Kelleher, Shane Barrett
U-14 800m Tom Murphy, Shane Barrett, Daragh Kelleher

U-12 Ball Throw Sean Murphy, Kevin Pat Clarke, Tom Carter
U-14 Shot Putt Tom Murphy, Darragh Kelleher, Declan Davis
U-14 Long Jump Darragh Kelleher, Tom Murphy, Patrick Murphy

The County Finals will be held in Newbridge on Friday evening and Saturday, 5th and 6th June and in the meantime, athletics training continues at the football pitch on Tuesday and Thursdays from 6.30-7.30pm. It’s a joy to see so many children running their hearts out at these sessions, not to mention the health benefits!
Swimming Finals will be held in Athy on Saturday, 13th June from 3-7pm. Can anyone interested in competing please contact either Jarlath Gilroy (087-6786127), Eithne Carter (087 9170403) or Ann Murphy (087 1388568) to register. Transport can be organised for anyone who may need it.

Best of luck to everyone competing in the County Finals!

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