Thursday, June 4, 2015

Update 4th June

Student UCD Accommodation
I was talking to the parents of a U.C.D. student earlier this year regarding their experience of seeking accommodation for their family member, last summer, who was starting in the college in the autumn. In essence it was a tough story because accommodation is so difficult to access and also perhaps they had not begun looking for it early enough. Students are at the mercy of the providers, for the most part private landlords. As is well known accommodation is very difficult and very expensive in the college cities with Dublin being at the point of the pyramid.  The student in question has forwarded me the link for the UCD Residence accommodation which states that they will have over 1100 bed places for new students this coming autumn. It also seems that they have abandoned the ‘first come’ basis which is enlightening. Anyone interested re. UCD accommodation may study all this by going on the link

Two fine BBC 2 programmes on the immediate post World War Two consequences ‘1945: The Savage Peace’
The CBS in Roscommon, where I went to secondary school, had the advantage of having immediately opposite its gates the County Library. I ‘used’ it pretty regularly then. Oddly, I suppose, I developed a big interest in books on World War Two. Perhaps this was because I shared my interest in this with my dad. Later, in the early 1970s, ITV transmitted a magnificent classic series on the war titled ‘The World at War’ made by Jeremy Isaacs with mesmerising narration by the actor Laurence Olivier and appropriately haunting theme music by Carl Davis.
Last week I happened on two very different programmes which dealt with a kind of epilogue to the war. They were also very insightful. While of course Germany lost the war there is very little written from their perspective about it. Perhaps there is but I am not aware of it. There are a small number of excellent films such as Peckinpah’s ‘Cross of Iron’, ‘Das Boot’ directed by Wolfgang Petersen and the film depicting the last days of Hitler titled ‘Downfall’. (Of course one of the great First World War films was ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’.)
One of two pieces I saw last week was titled ‘1945: The Savage Peace’. The programme apparently takes its title from a joke that circulated among German soldiers towards the end of the war which went: ‘Enjoy the war because the peace will be savage’. This is the way it turned out for millions of Germans with the expulsion of some 12 million ethnic Germans from Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries in the post war days. There were also the huge reprisals on German civilians who of course had no real protection and were easy prey for those seeking revenge for the terrible atrocities meted out by the Fascist German state before and during the war. It was a disturbing insight into the role and attitude of some of the victors. It is a story that gets little attention as Germans are probably reluctant to visit that period seeking disclosure or recompense because of their country’s own record.

 ‘Churchill: When Britain Said No’
It is a common theme that history is written by the victors. One of its comprehensive writers on the Second World War was Winston Churchill; Britain’s much lauded war leader. The television programme last week however dealt with Churchill’s rapid disposal by the British public even before the war had ended. The programme was titled ‘Churchill: When Britain Said No’. This dealt with the British election of 1945. Labour's landslide in the 1945 general election remains one of the greatest shocks in British political history. How did Winston Churchill, a hugely popular national hero, fail to win?

Politics in peacetime
Between 1940 and 1945 Winston Churchill was probably the most popular British prime minister of all time. With few exceptions, politicians and commentators confidently predicted that he would lead the Conservatives to victory in the ’45 general election. In the event, he led them to one of their greatest ever defeats. It was also one for which he was partly responsible, because the very qualities that had made him a great leader in war were not what the electorate were looking for in a peacetime leader. From the campaign trail there is film footage of Churchill being heckled at a political rally and looking very confused by it all. Churchill’s past mistakes had not been forgotten, the Gallipoli disaster, his attitude to the miners in the late twenties and as his wife Clementine (Clemie to Winston) is heard to say ‘Winston knows nothing about the lives of ordinary people’.  In his own constituency the opposing parties, out of respect, did not oppose him. But late in the day an unknown independent candidate did so and got around a third of the votes which was a considerable embarrassment and a barometer of the general public’s attitude. While the election took place in early July the result did not materialise until the end of the month because of the collections of service men’s votes from abroad. 
Labour under Clement Attlee swept into power with a resounding victory. While Churchill had included Attlee in his coalition government from 1940 he did not seem to hold him in high regard answering someone who suggested that ‘Clement Attlee is a humble man’ with one of his famous quips ‘Attlee has a lot to be humble about’. Still Attlee had accompanied Churchill to the July Potsdam conference with Stalin and Truman the new President of the United States. The Labour government set out to introduce a policy of ‘social equality’, much referred to today. This included nationalisation of utilities, housing provision and most famously the introduction of the Welfare State of universal health as envisioned by the 'Beveridge Report'. I dipped into that a little in the sixties.
Churchill occupied the following years writing his account of the war in six volumes as one commentator observed “breaking the Official Secrets Act wholesale in the process”. This helped him become an unlikely Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1953. He had returned as Prime Minister in 1951 until 1955 and died in 1965.    
The result of the ’45 British election showed how a people could change course and the programme ‘Churchill: When Britain Said No’ gave a short but illuminating insight into their reasoning for doing so.  

Top Performance by Boyle GAA Seniors.
Boyle, 1.11 Elphin, 2.7.
Though it was wet, windy and cold in the Abbey Park on Sunday afternoon both Boyle and Elphin contributed to a fine game of football in the second round of senior championship. At half time Boyle 1.6 led Elphin 1.2 and were good value for this lead. An early point in the second half extended this lead. However Elphin continued to battle and threaten and a Frankie Cregg goal mid-way in the half brought the lead back to just two points Boyle 1.9 Elphin 2. 4. A draw seemed a distinct possibility from there but a fine Mark O’Donohoe point gave Boyle a two point cushion which saw Boyle home in an eventful final couple of minutes.
I have said this before but there are rare times when it is hard to say who played well but on this occasion it would be hard to say who played poorly for Boyle, if one went down that road. In all consideration of the game one has to keep in mind the conditions which were very difficult. The type of football too was encouraging. While there was the usual possession stakes this was done crisply, with effect and the ball moved forward with pace. There were few of the inverted U style punts forward. While there were a certain number of times when possession was turned over that was more a credit to opposition pressure than mistakes. In it all I include both sides here. While the final minutes and what was regarded as questionable red cards took from the games result and were the main talking point at the end the real deal was the fact we were treated to a fine game of football played in an excellent spirit by all concerned.
As I have said the Boyle team overall did very well so I will restrict myself to mentioning a couple of performances of players as representative of the team. Newcomer to the senior ranks Dylan East was the star turn on this occasion. His early goal, after three minutes, showed Boyle the way and he was a busy and continuous threat. Well done to Dylan. Enda Smith was a powerhouse.  It is a treat to see him driving forward.
The Boyle team was as follows: T. Lowe (0.1, a ’45), C. Brennan, K. Cox, C. McGowan, M. Hanmore, M.O’Connor, T. McKenna, E. Smith (0.1), R. Hanmore, E. McGrath( 0.2, one free) , S. Purcell, J. Suffin, D. East, (1,2), D. Smith, (0.3) M.O’Donohoe (0.2) with K. Cox, B. Furey, S. Tonra.
*Coincidentally the same two teams meet in Boyle on Sunday in the Division One League at 2 so it a very immediate opportunity to see how the teams shape up without the Championship motivation. The league carries its own motivational requirements of course.
*I was talking to former Boyle player T.P.Toolan, now resident in Meath, who keeps a keen eye on Boyle and its GAA activities. He was hugely complimentary of the set up at Abbey Park, the game and the progress that is obvious in the Abbey Park since he played there regularly. Positive comment such as T.P.’s is always nice to hear and encouraging.
*On the negative side the Boyle team not playing as per the numbers on the programme was a mistake that confused people and has possible consequences. Perhaps it was just a mistake.

Kellogg’s Cul CampsProviding safe interesting things for young people who are on school holidays during the summer is a taxing issue for many parents especially in the town environment. Roscommon GAA runs fifteen Kellogg's Cul Camps throughout the county. Around 89,000 youngsters participated nationally in these camps in 2014. The Boyle camp involving Gaelic football and rounders takes place from July 6th to 10th and the man to contact is Willie Hegarty @ 086 8534709. The fee is 55 euro with concessions for further family members.


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