Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Guinness Symposium – Eustace Revival – The National Interest

A Guinness Symposium. It has been quite a busy social season lately. On Thursday September 24th for instance, there was an invitation to attend a symposium – yes, a symposium – to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Arthur Guinness at Paddy Murphys, and to this very minute it is still unclear whether the six o’clock cheer was in memory of the man, of his continuing presence among us (transmogrified as a pint of stout), or his presence among the nations of the Earth as a Mississippi Minstrel (ni feidir an dubh a cur in a bhan air – the black is not able to incur on the white (Guinness wizardry or a puzzling anachronism)), or the product itself, the unaccredited bacchanalian progenitor of the Irish race after the devastation of the Great Famine.

A Eustace Revival. That same night, a well attended international congress of the Eustace clan was held at St. Johns Church. The enthusiasm of Ronald (Ron) Eustice (sic) made it an exhilarating occasion, for he had a noble bearing about him and needed neither shield nor sword to emphasise the matter. The fifteen members of the Eustace clan who accompanied him were genealogically sound, with DNA in perfect sync., and Y-chromosomes linked like a chain of pure gold, mined in Ballymore Eustace. They came form England, Newfoundland, LosAngeles, New Jersey, Minnesota and as far away as Alaska - a wanderlust - returned to the warmth of the hearth, the only place in the whole wide world identified in their long history where they could ever truly call their real home.
Two knowledgeable and well-versed Irish historians provided a very interesting back-ground, and strange though it is – since the 368 year interlude of the rebellion of 1641 when Sir Walter Fitz-Eustace from Elverstown was outlawed and had his lands forfeited to the English parliament (like Nama, Goddess of lost crowns) – it seemed as though it was only last year that the Eustaces departed, such is the affinity we have for them; and would it not be a salutary gesture by the CDA to establish a throne-seat on Mount Cashel hill, regained by Mr. Burrowes (married to Alicia Eustace) in the early 1800’s (he started the woolen mill factory, now for sale), that they could meet here again and might rest their weary bones every once in a while?

During these dissertations, an annoying and disturbing thought persisted in my mind – which was the greater of the two families we were celebrating that night, Guinness (Arthur) of the dark pint, saviour of the race, or Eustace (Sir Maurice), late Chancellor of Ireland (c.1660), a favourable financial genius, he who in his great generosity gave the rent charge of one of his big houses in Dame Street, Dublin, as a bursary for the maintenance of a Hebrew school at Trinity College?
Consider this. It is said that the shadow of a well-known, long-deceased gentleman of some importance re-visited Ballymore Eustace not long ago, and seeing the state of its economy, he was much saddened. Few people were in the shops and fewer still in the streets. The village seemed dormant. Proceeding to the hotel, he walked in and depositing a 100 euro note on the counter said, “Mr. Hotel, I am going to inspect the upper rooms to see if the accommodation is suited to my person. Should it not be, I will retrieve my deposit and return from whence I came”.
Well, when Mr. Hotel caught sight of such a rare lump sum of money, he was determined to make speedy use of it, and going to the butcher he said, “Mr. Butcher, I wish to pay the 100 euro I owe you, and thank you for your credit”. When Mr. Butcher saw the same rarity, he too decided to pay his bill for meat. “Mr. Bacon”, he said, “I owe you for pigs supplied to me and wish to pay, and thank you for your patience”. It so happened that Mr. Bacon owed money to his pig-feed supplier, and he duly went and paid him the money owed. A smile came to the pig supplier’s face when he caught sight of the 100 euro note, meaning that he could go with some purpose to delight to his lady-friend, and giving her the 100 euro note, a just and ample reward he thought, thanking her for keeping him happy and sane during those troubling financial times. She was of course beside herself with joy having such wealth once more, and immediately went to Mr. Hotel, and handing him the 100 euro note, thanked him for allowing her the amenity of his rooms on credit while she entertained her friends. Just as Mr. Hotel was about to put the 100 euro note in the safe, the shadow which had been in the upper apartments bounded down the stairs, declared the place unsuited to his needs, took his deposit from the counter and disappeared into the evening mist.
The National Interest. It is well said that those financial transactions saved the troubled economy of the village at that time; numerous bills were paid, no person was out of pocket and the future of tourism was all but guaranteed.
It was, or seemed a duty to exhort our government, in the national interest, to carefully heed our experience and financial governance, and to apply those lessons across the land for the betterment of mankind. But lo!, shortly after, a second financial disaster befell the country as people became aware of a major bank scandal, so bad, that it was called the narcissian outrage, as banks borrowed funds from foreign banks and quietly loaned the same funds to other banks to buy other banks; and to their own senior staff who invested in both banks and were paid success fees by each side for engineering the sales, and that is how money goes backwards, the wages of sin……. Others blamed corrupt politicians over planning issues, though some blamed the sorry state on poor builders. But really, no one at all was to blame, it was just one of those Irish things…you know…and the wheels of justice…. seize up just in time…and they have Nama, Goddess of lost crowns to sort out the sordid affair. So be it.
And so, we should not worry, because when the Guinnesses and the Eustaces are of the same frame of mind in the same pub on the same night anything is achievable, especially late at night – and the circumstances just related were in all probability pre-cursors and mute lessons to our government, but they are unaware of them, so perhaps it would be better to…..keep it a secret. Michael Ward.
Dear Editor, As some of your readers will be aware the Supreme Court has recently cleared the way for the development of 140 houses in Jack Lawlor's field along with some shops, a creche and a medical centre. The original application for such was received by the council on the 3rd of December 2002. What your readers might not be aware of is that permission has been granted on the grounds that the council issued a request for further information one day outside of the statutory time limit. Therefore the pemission has been ganted by default. This will be good news for people of the view that some affordable houses are needed for the young people of Ballymore and most reasonable people would agree, provided that the necessary infrastructure is put in place. The alarming thing about all of this is that the planning department of KCC was repeatedly asked during the currency of the application as to its status and the response was that a reply to a request for further information was awaited. As late as the 15th of September 2003 the planning department stated that the developer was'outside of his time' for responding to a request for further information but that a notice of automatic refusal of the application had not been issued by the department because of a 'backlog of work' and that if the developer wanted permission 'he would have to reapply'. In the middle of June 2005 rumours abounded that the developer had won a court case and had got planning permission by default. Towards the end of June the front office of the planning department was stating that permission 'had not been granted but it had not been refused'. However, the reason why a formal notice of automatic refusal had not been issued would be investigated. Shortly after that the people in the planning department front office discovered that there was another planning file to the one that they had been working on [presumably in the back office!] and the issue of a notice of automatic refusal 'had been held back pending a judicial review'. Presumably this is how the Supreme Court eventually got involved and the rest is history. You can see from the above that in the seven years that this planning application has been in process the people of Ballymore have not been able to access accurate information as to what has been going on. The moral of this tale for the 'little people' is that if you are relying on KCC to operate efficiently [and possibly honestly] in looking after your interests in matters planning you should not take anything for granted. Yours faithfully, John A. White. PS: As of the 28th of July 2009 the front office of the planning department was not aware of anybody in the council being disciplined for sending out the original request for further information a day late. PPS: As of the 23sr of July the planning office website was still describing the application's status as 'deemed withdrawn'; not exactly transparent local government, what?


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