Friday, July 1, 2016

Update 1st July

The U.K. Vote
In last week’s notes I ended by being optimistic about the vote in the U.K. but…. I was wrong. Like millions of people I tuned in early on Friday morning and was truly shocked that the people of England had voted to leave the EU. The ramifications of that kneejerk vote are only beginning to roll out. It is a seismic event in European geo-political history. In all honesty I couldn’t say that I should have seen it coming. That is despite the disparity of economic and social returns throughout large swathes of the UK. In the U.S. there is the a wellknown bible belt but there is also an economic decline zone referred to as the ‘rust belt’ where once there was great industrial activity. That obtains around the car manufacturing areas of the north east in Mowtown Detroit and its satellite Flint. In England there are areas which were also once great manufacturing zones which could now be referred to as waste lands though in truth I have not travelled enough in England to validate that.

Reaction and consequences are everywhere. The Houses of the British Parliament -Westminster- are akin to a television promotion for a series based on Rome in the times of Julius Caesar with the Senate in uproar. David Cameron announced his resignation having being responsible for calling an unnecessary referendum possibly to subdue his recalcitrant Tory Euro-sceptic M.P.s’ Now he has paid his price and imposed a heavy price on millions of others. Jeremy Corbyn’s time as leader of the Labour Party seems to be running out unless he gets a huge backing from the general labour membership which is at odds with the Parliamentary Party. How does someone be elected/selected to lead a party and then be seen as so inept by those who elected him, in such a short time? I may have said this before but the prospect of a Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in England and a President Donald Trump in the United States makes one shudder with incredulity. What a vista.
In fairness Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain with Europe. This was a pretty reasoned approach by Northern Ireland, considering their history, and the attitude of the First Minister there Arlene Foster, though she supported the out position it was with a light brush and that tenor continues. Scottish nationalists see this as another possible opportunity to advance their independence cause.
While large numbers of people in England feel deprived of social and economic parity with the wealthy regions of the South East including London the ‘out’ campaign had the telling hook line of the danger, to them, of a mass influx of migrants. This was crucial. I have met some English friends and in discussing the matter I felt that in voting for ‘out’ they did not really think too deeply about what the ramifications of  being ‘out’ might mean. So those who did realise its consequences did a very poor job in getting their side of the argument heard and understood. The ‘out’ side had the easier- to -understand hooks, migration, unequal society on many levels, big bad wolf domineering Europe, let’s return to jolly old England of cricket and ginger beer and a not very subtle voter. Still it was a huge vote of 72%. The breakdown suggest that a very large majority of young voters voted to stay with Europe while the older voters voted for ‘out’. They are being castigated for damaging the future for the younger generations. Perhaps there is a case, since there is a minimum age for voters, that perhaps there should be a maximum age also! It came as a surprise to me that people in Gibraltar also had a vote.
I have a vague memory of some notable suggesting that one of the failings of democracy was that ‘the minority are often right’. 
What of the future? Is there is any possibility that there could be another referendum in the U.K. on the matter as has been the practise here? A Liberal Democrat source suggested that in the next election they would campaign for returning to the EU!
All this happens just when we thought things were improving somewhat. It’s demoralising. 
(P.S. As I about to post these paragraphs the news has emerged that Boris Johnson has withdrawn from the British Prime Minister’s race. So having contributed to the wreckage he decides to jump ship. I presume he has realised that he would not be up to repairing the damage or whatever. Maybe he can now go on the television reality show circuit like Strictly Come Dancing!)

Console Charity Governance Turmoil
The RTE Prime Time Investigates programme uncorked another case of depressing corruption in a charitable organisation in its expose on Thursday of last week. Here we had a person with a track record of deception who reinvents himself, establishes a credible and creditable organisation and then apparently abuses it for his own benefit. It would seem that one of the main funders to the organisation, the Health Service, which had reservations about issues with the governance of Console at various times was still comfortable with advancing funding to it. Console has received €2.5 million from the HSE in recent years to help it provide counselling services. Fianna Fáil’s Seán Fleming said almost half of its funding comes directly from taxpayers through State organisations, while the balance is raised through fundraising and donations from the general public.
In addition, he said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade allocated €130,000 to Console to enable it to support Irish emigrants in the UK. While the counsellors do a great and necessary task, the governance needs major scrutiny. There has been the pretty recent scandal of the Central Remedial Clinic paid its top executive extraordinary salaries with funding from charitable donations. The other issue with these controversies is that it casts a cloud over all such charitable organisations and make a certain number of people sceptical of donating to them. 
(While it probably somewhat inappropriate to throw in what happened recently with the IFA it was similar in the untouchable top tier being unaccountable to the general membership in the way they rewarded each other). 
Of course it takes courage to confront this in all organisations against formidable people who are high on entitlement and self- justification. One of the real ironies of the Console founder and CEO happened some years ago with his recognition at the prestigious ‘People of the Year Awards.’

The Sons of Iceland march On 
So the European soccer odyssey came to its inevitable conclusion. Still I really enjoyed the first couple of weeks of the Euros and there were many highlights. For drama and consequence none can match the Iceland victory over England. It was a tremendous effort from the Iceland team and it exposed so much that is wrong with the game in the England. When teaching modern European History -1870 to 1950- I used to refer to England’s contribution to world sport around the beginning of that period. They gave to the world, soccer, rugby, cricket, tennis, badminton, horse racing, golf (with Scotland) and probably more and then let other countries become better than them at their own games. Soccer was probably their primary sport and in the fifty years since they won the World Cup in England in 1966 they have stumbled from one tournament to another ineffectually often embarrassingly.  
The game in England will need a revolutionary makeover but it is very unlikely that it will get that. It is suffocated by inflated egos, money, entitlement, lack of genius and sparkle and a myriad of issues. They have allowed their clubs to be bought by billionaire speculators whose instinct is for instant self -gratification.
The 1966 World Cup Golden Jubilee has to be a pretty muted affair in the current atmosphere of recrimination.
Now Iceland is the antitheses of the England story. The tiny playing population, the money, the environment and so on. The Sons of Iceland march on to meet France on Sunday.

Refuse Charges anomalies
I was very surprised with the levels of charges. There is a  €17.00 a month fixed ‘service charge’ with general waste disposal at €0.22 per kg.  
Up to now I paid on a tag system for waste at €13 per tag. and used the fine local authority recycling facility for recycling at the minimal charges there.

***I did not need to use the refuse  service collection EVERY two weeks and there are many like me. So if I suggest 15 times-at most- per annum at a tag charge of €13 the annual cost to me was  €195 approx.

The new service standing charge at €17.00 X 12 months = €204. That is before any refuse weight is accounted for. This degree of service charge is the real issue. On the Leitrim site it stipulates a charge of €20 per quarter i.e. €80 per annum as opposed to the €204 proposed for here.

**I calculate my 2 family cost under the new system at approx. €100 for weight -say 15 lifts X 6.60- plus the service charge of 204 giving a total of €304 which for me will be an increase from my existing cost per annum of €195, of €109 for me. 

Perhaps I am not grasping the charges fully and things will be better but it is somewhat confusing at the moment.

GAA Feile
The Boyle team did very well in last week’s Feile competition in Cork/Kerry. They were based in Kilshannig outside Mallow. The team won two and drew one of their first round games thus qualifying for the knock-out stages where they won their initial game convincingly before going down to a very strong Lucan Sarsfield’s side in the semi-final of their division, Sarsfield’s were defeated by the South London team in the Division 3 final.
The facilities at the host club were outstanding and the hospitality was equally so. It was a great experience and effort for all involved.

John Joe Nerney Remembered
It is hard to believe that it is over a year now since our iconic football star John Joe Nerney passed away. His passing has left a big gap in our GAA community in Boyle. However he has left us a proud legacy and his constant encouragement and inspiration still echoes and will continue to do so.

Connacht Final 2016 Remembers 1966 winning teams.
The three teams which won Connacht football’s premier football championships will be saluted at the Connacht Final in Pearse stadium in Galway on Sunday July 10th. the representatives of the great Galway ‘three- in-a-row’ team will be there as will the Mayo minor team members. Also present will be the fine Roscommon team of 1966 which defeated Kildare in an epic final. Boyle was represented by three players, Pat and John Nicholson from Corrigeenroe and Pat Clarke. Also on the team was Boyle resident John Kelly who played his football with Elphin and Ray Sheerin from St. Michael’s Club and Aidan Ray’s shop in St. Patrick’s Street.

That team lined out as follows: Padraig Reynolds, Elphin/ Pat Clarke, Boyle/ Pat Nicholson, Boyle/Colm Shine, Clann na nGael, Capt./ Gerry Mannion, St. Brigid’s/ Paul Mockler, St. Croan’s/ Tom Heneghan, Castlerea/ Martin Joe Keane, Creggs/ John O’Connor, Roscommon Gaels/ Jimmy Finnegan, Castlerea/ Dermot Earley, Ml. Glavey’s/ James Cox, St. Barry’s/ Marty Cummins, Croghan/ Jim Keane, St. Brigid’s/ and John Kelly, Elphin with John Nicholson, Boyle/ Willie Feeley, Rahara/ Ray Sheerin, St. Michael’s/ Noel Daly, Castlerea/ Mark O’Gara, St. Croan’s.    

Those senior enough to know that period of Gaelic football will be familiar with many of the names on that Roscommon team as they went on to play for the senior team for quite some time. 
Pat Nicholson was a great full back and was a big loss to Roscommon football when his life’s journey took him in a different direction. 
I was at that great game and look forward to meeting the Roscommon team members in Galway.   

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