Hibernia Course Material:
If anyone reading this is doing the national school teacher online training per. Hibernia - or if you know anyone in our locality- I have a good deal of material, to pass on, which they might find helpful.
‘Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink’: Coleridge
I am aware that I have referred to this issue before but it seems to morph into differing avenues in an ongoing way. I may of course be wrong (!) but I see it as a significant issue in all its hues, into the future as they say. Water bills will be the major issue for most people of course. An element that I am not very comfortable with is the requirement for P.P.S numbers on the current water registration forms. I have little confidence in the reassurances being given by Irish Water regarding their use of P.P.S. numbers. I suppose these numbers are used for so many things now that their security is already compromised. I seem to remember a move towards National Identity Cards. Was that in England or here or in both countries?
I checked my water meter yesterday and it is going to be a bit of a challenge for an elderly (more so than I am myself) person to do so. While I felt that the readers of such meters would have a really challenging job further research told me that they would be read electronically or scanned.
In terms of payment it is suggested that water will not be turned off completely, for basic health reasons, if a person is in default. I imagine this will be well tested by differing strands of consumers. Perhaps the Water Board will go the way of the Property Tax and ask the Revenue Commissioners to do the collecting! It could be regarded as another tax anyway.
I feel that the whole landscape of water provision, regulation and payment will also give a lease of life to the Joe Duffy Show. The initial threads are already audible. The Water Provision and payment issue could lead to a coalition of social disaffection.
By the way what will happen to all the water which people are obviously going to save? It will probably go underground.
Monday Night’s Prime Time Debate
There was no outstanding performance on Monday night’s significant R.T.E. Prime Time debate featuring ten of the eleven candidates in the upcoming Roscommon/Leitrim by election. I fully realise that it was a very intimidating atmosphere for all. Of the main party candidates there was not a lot between them. Maura Hopkins was in a particularly difficult position being the sole female candidate and that of the Government party which is being criticised on various fronts. I met Miss Hopkins at the Keenan Cup Final last week and she is a very affable person and has achieved a considerable profile in a very short space of time. She adopted a very anxious demeanour in the cauldron of Monday night. I am a bit surprised that she is down at number four in the bookies odds but I presume this is explicable by those who can explain those things. The North-West of the constituency is a very crowded arena with a large area north of Athlone without a contender. The odds suggest that the Fianna Fail candidate Ivan Connaughton is a clear favourite and the election is his to lose. This is something he may not like being highlighted. Someone Mister Connaughton will be particularly wary of is Michael Fitzmaurice. Fitzmaurice is from Glinsk on the edge of the current constituency but much better positioned for the revised constituency of Roscommon/Galway East which will obtain in the general election. It appears as if Mr. Fitmaurice, after a good display in the Prime Time Debate, will be in the leading group, a view endorsed by the odds. Though he is endorsed, as in posters etc., by Luke Ming Flanagan he is a different more traditional independent candidate. While many voters do not see stand-out options in this by-election –as Ming was the last time like him or not-there may come a time when the move towards independent candidates will dissipate. In current circumstances what a disparate group of Independents can achieve is very problematic. Anyway this is a short term election the and just a positioning for the general election in the next eighteen months. For most of the candidates it is highlighting their issues.
Returning to the debate, while Senator John Kelly did reasonably well this constituency and Labour are not a good fit due to the employment, or lack of it, profile. For The Roscommon Hospital Action candidate, John McDermott, the A.& E. issue has run the course before and the prospect of a reversal of policy regarding the County Hospital is not seen as very credible apart from a core action group and its supporters in the Roscommon town region. The days of the Tom Foxe enthusiasm and effect have passed. Still they are in a better position to judge than I am. Sinn Fein’s Martin Kenny is an able and experienced performer and while he will get a large section of the Leitrim vote and pockets of support in Roscommon the numbers do not seem to be there. It is fairly widely suggested that Sinn Fein have to emerge from the leadership of Gerry Adams to achieve its full potential. Des Guckian from Leitrim highlighted the serious issue of the introduction of Fracking in the region. He also had one interesting suggestion that of treating a major area of the West of Ireland as a Region drawing on a Scottish model of Islands and Highlands. There is a move towards regionalization in a number of services such as hospitals, colleges, tourism and perhaps in the future in local government. Emmet Corcoran too suggested an idea for a National Park type status for Sliabh Ban area. I once suggested that the Tulsk /Rathcroghan area had such a wealth of ancient t heritage that in many countries it would be designated a national heritage area. It was interesting to see a twenty two year old in the ring though he dressed older than his age. Gerry O’Boyle spoke with passion on the issue of home re-possessions while Dennis O’Brien was an absentee from the debate so he was opinion neutral. Tom Crosby came with a late surge of his ideas to the debate and in full flow outlined many past initiatives which were obviously forgotten by an ungrateful County Council electorate.
Some voters who are not fundamentally aligned might feel that there is an element of Tweedledum and Tweedledee about their options.
I must admit that I am not very enthused by it all and while I will of course vote I am looking forward to seeing how.
The Cats Prevail
While I mentioned the prospect of a game to watch last week the comeback of the summer was that of Cork ladies in the All-Ireland Football Final. With fifteen minutes or so remaining on the countdown clock the score stood at Dublin 2.10 Cork 0.6. The final score was Cork 2.13 Dublin 2.12. It was a thrilling finish for Cork, a huge disappointment for Dublin, but great viewing for those who tuned in.