Thursday, April 14, 2016

Update 14th April

Still no Government
 As I write these notes, on Thursday morning, Sean O’Rourke on RTE 1 Radio is discussing the present state of play regarding the formation of Government with Fionnan Sheahan of the Irish Independent and Katie Hannon of RTE’s political staff. These two people would be in pretty key positions to tell what was going on in the political workshop of Dail Eireann. But they are as confused as anyone really. They discuss the permutations and the tell of the comings and goings of the past weeks and the ebb and flow of possibilities. The net result, as we approach a third time for the nomination of a Taoiseach, is that things have advanced little in the treaty debates. And whatever the immediate outcome the seeds of distrust have been so well germinated that if a political compromise emerges now, of whatever construction, it will be carry in its genetics the destructive elements that will probably lead to its short term implosion. This will mean another election in the not too distant future and the cementing of old divisions which had subsided to a degree that they were hardly recognisable of late. It is all sad and a reflection of the pettiness of those involved. It was said after the French Revolution and the era of Napoleon that the old aristocracy had returned having ‘Learned nothing and forgotten nothing’ reinstating their old systems, prejudices and entitlements.    

The Irish Senate and Dr. Martin Daly
 The election for the Irish Senate takes place on Tuesday April the 26th next. Last night I tuned into a Vincent Browne programme which was supposed to be a ‘debate’ but was really only an introduction to a particular group of candidates. The group last night were contesting the three seats allocated to the National University of Ireland constituency i.e. UCD/UCC/UCG/Maynooth.
Voting for the Senate is restricted to various groups who are deemed to be entitled to do so for various reasons. I have a vote for a member on the NUI panel. I am asking people who read this and have a vote for a candidate on this panel to consider voting for Dr. Martin Daly from Ballygar. Martin Daly has been a great servant of Roscommon GAA senior teams, hurling and football, for years now and any of you going to Roscommon senior inter-county games will have seen him attend to injured players. He was also President of the Irish Medical Council and has been involved in a number of other community initiatives.
Now I know that many people see the Senate as being of little relevance but when its abolition was voted on in October 2013 the vote was to retain it. I know that what most people wanted was a more ‘relevant reformed Senate’. This has not happened to date. The theory is that the Senate acts as a check on the power of the Dail. A member can in extreme circumstances formulate legislation. Once I heard a definition of a particular sports team as being ‘the has beens, the might have beens and they thought they should have beens’. While I am loathe to use this epithet in relation to the Senate it is a common perception.
There are 60 Senators and they are ‘elected’ as follows;  11 nominated by the Taoiseach; 6 elected by graduates, 3 from the NUI and 3 from Trinity; 43 from special panels as follows, 7 from the Administrative, 11 from Agricultural, 5 Cultural and Educational; 9 Industrial and 11 Labour. As one can see the 11 in the gift of the Taoiseach gives him a nice lever over TDs who have lost their seats or who want to get on the political ladder. Senators have a basic salary of €65,000! There are currently 16 Fine Gael; 11 Labour; 9 Fianna Fail; 2 Sinn Fein; 1 Renua and I Independent, Senators. Current Roscommon Senators are John Kelly, Labour and Terry Leyden, Fianna Fail. I suppose the most colourful current Senator is David Norris though he has his trials and tribulations in recent years.
Some famous former Senators have been W.B. Yeats, Douglas Hyde, Dr. Noel Browne, Jack McQuillan, Brian Friel, Ml. D. Higgins, Mary Robinson, Seamus Mallon and Gordon Wilson.
While the role of the Senate is questionable, for members it acts as public forum with a certain degree of status and keeps a number of its members in the political game without the stress of constituency work.

         Sports Review

Roscommon in Croke Park
It was a cold day in Croke Park on Sunday last. It remained cold. The Roscommon support had travelled in numbers as they always do but they got little to warm the spirits. By half time as we went walkabout to warm the body in the bowl of the great stadium there was little debate of consequence. Our fate seemed sealed. Kerry, the aristocrats of the game, had dealt clinically with the upstarts from west of the Shannon. In the thirteenth minute the present Kerry prince of Gaelic football, Colm ‘the Gooch’ Cooper, had applied the killer strike with a sublime goal of which Ronaldo or Messi could be pleased. To this were added two goals first from Donnchadh Walsh and then Darren O’Sullivan. The star performers were all Kerry with the roaming colossus Kieran Donaghy back to his best if not better, the ever threatening Darren O’Sullivan, Cooper and Moran.
While Roscommon did put up a creditable performance in the second half there was a surreal inevitability to it all. Roscommon as a team seemed to have found it difficult to deal with the occasion and being in Croke Park. It is isn’t the first Roscommon team to be thus effected. The pace and threat of previous games was stifled by an opposition who looked to have few weaknesses and were so fresh and so at home in the environment. Still the hope is that Roscommon GAA Project will get back on tracks with the championship starting in New York with possible games afterwards against Leitrim and Sligo. If that is what emerges we will have parked the Croke Park result in the backlot of our memories. 

In the second game the Dublin juggernaut rolled over a Donegal team relying too much on veterans who had done it once but were now were overtaken by time. This seems to be the era of a Dublin team with all the aces in terms of resources, personnel, support, belief, location and with perhaps only a single threat to their immediate dominance i.e. Kerry. In the League final we will get an indication as to the merit of that suggestion.

MMA –Mixed Martial Arts
I have not been a devotee in any way of this emerging ‘sport’. The tragic death this week of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho is a big reality check for the ‘sport’. I know that there are other ‘sports’ too, like boxing, that have the potential in which this could happen but MMA seems to have a primeval nature to it that is most disturbing. In history there have been ‘sports’ such as ‘bear baiting’, ‘cock fighting’, bare knuckled fighting and others which have been banned. Where MMA goes now is questionable but it is unlikely that it can be banned at this stage. I remember -very loosely- a teacher, who disliked football a lot, debating with me its merits and illustrating as his acid test for its legitimacy thus; “If a person came from another planet and saw 30 people kicking a ball of air around a field what would he think?”  Now if that same person from planet X saw MMA as demonstrated on Saturday night last what would he think of a so-called civilised society? Of course our visitor from Planet X would have a large palette of questionable behaviour to dissect in any study of our world and its natives.

Sports Fixtures

Boyle Celtic’s Challenge For League Title
Boyle Celtic are very much in the running to regain the Great Southern Hotel Sligo Leitrim Super League with four games to go. The only caveat is that they have to win at least three and draw one to edge out close rivals City Utd. from Sligo. The first two games are away beginning with Sunday next the 17th V Calry Bohs at 11am and on the following Wednesday the 20th with a last away game V Yeats Utd. at 6.45. Yeats are one of the top three teams in the current standing so this is a key game. The second last game sees Boyle Celtic on home ground for the return of Calry Bohs on Sunday the 24th at 11. The final game is V Manor Utd. on Wed. the 27th in Celtic Park. This is a game that was to have been played on Wed. of this week but was postponed due to an unplayable ground at Manor.
So the best of luck to all involved in this tense run- in in their quest for the title. As I said, I am told that the game to watch is V Yeats on Wed. the 20th.

GAA Senior League
After all the focus on the county senior team it is back to club football this week-end with the McGovern Directional Drilling Boyle Senior team taking on Strokestown in the Abbey Park on next Sunday the 17th at 2. It looks like Boyle will be missing a number of key players such as Evan McGrath, Enda Smith and Sean Purcell for this game We wish all three well as they fight to recover from their injuries. The Strokestown game will prove a big challenge for Boyle as Strokestown is an emerging senior team of consequence.

Hurley Ash
I heard one of those little ‘would you believe’ facts a few days ago. Apparently the Sandringham estate of the Queen of England-as opposed to Queen-is a source for the provision of ash for hurleys! So in the visit to Croke Park some time back a Philip did a bit of business on the side. As the boss of Reggie Perrin used say, ‘I didn’t get where I am today….’  

The Masters
While many people tuned away from the finale of the Masters to watch Christy Moore I stayed with it and what a turn-around there was as Jordan Spieth from pole position imploded and Danny Willett of England crept up to take the ‘Green Jacket’. It was tough on Spieth but Willett had put himself in position were something to go awry for the leader and so it transpired.
One of the favourites Rory McElroy had a mixed performance and might think, that with many of the top players down the field, that this was an opportunity missed to add the fourth major of his record and create history. His performance was too creaky however and he seemed giddy and not as competitively concentrated as I would have thought necessary. But what do I know?
It was nice to see Shane Lowry get some limelight with his ‘hole in one’ at the 16th’ and he looks Olympics bound to partner McIlroy this summer. Shane comes across as a real gem of a person and despite not being a contender on the last day of the Masters it has been a big week for him getting married to Wendy Honner in New York in the last day or so.      

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