Thursday, August 4, 2016

Update 4th August


I• I am getting junk mail from my own address and if anyone gets mail from tconboy1, be wary. There are so many scams out there that it is becoming a jungle. Most of them are recognisable from odd telephone numbers to the usual ‘bank with details’ requests and bank card skimming but the occasional one takes some studying before deletion.)
• • If you are insured by Enterprise Insurance, which is/was regulated(!) in Gibraltar, it is being wound up with 14,000 at risk. It is just two years after Setanta insurance regulated(!) in Malta was wound up which affected around 70,000 people and whose losses are now being paid for by way of a levy on all our car insurances today and I presume for some time to come.

“Three top bank execs. jailed for ‘dishonest, corrupt’ Anglo Fraud”

This was the headline on page 5 of last Saturday’s Irish Independent reporting on the sentencing of Denis Casey, John Bowe and Willie McAteer for their part in the infamous €7.2 billion circular transaction scheme in September 2008 to bolster Anglo’s balance sheet .

Importantly the sub-heading was auditors “Ernst & Young ‘should have known’ about massive scam.

Also in the background was the name of David Drumm described by the judge as a “ ‘driving force’ behind the huge banking conspiracy…… it is grossly reprehensible what he did and a great shame on him’ “.

The jury took a total of 65 hours deliberating on the case following an 89 day trial, the longest in the history of the state.    

The trial judge Martin Nolan pulled no punches in his language describing the affair and he was obviously aghast at the scale of it all. The scheme was “dishonest, deceitful and corrupt, they knew what they were doing was wrong and their behaviour was reprehensible.’ ‘In law following orders is not a defence’ he said. “ ‘ He should have known and did know that this was a sham transaction’ the judge said of the actions of Denis Casey. 
While the critical language of the judge is broad and regularly repeated he seemed to be almost struggling to find language strong enough to describe the corrupt transactions and behaviour of the defendants in the case.

He also fired a broadside at the auditors Ernst & Young (now E Y) with “ ‘ it beggars belief that Ernst & Young signed off on the accounts…….how they signed off on the accounts as true and fair is a mystery to me….they should have known the true situation at least by the end of October 2008 if they had been doing their job properly…..he didn’t know if it was blindness or wilful blindness on the accountant’s part…….(the signing off of the accounts) “ ‘seems incomprehensible’ “. 

While they did not feature too much, the blindness, inaction and ineptitude of the chief executive of the office of Financial Regulator Patrick Neary and the long-time governor of the Central Bank, John Hurley bubbled under the surface.
It all led to the ‘collapse’ of Anglo Irish Bank  and the bill being passed to the Irish tax payer for the coming decades. The Saturday Editorial was headed “Destroyed lives are the real legacy of Anglo”.  

Remembering Ronnie Delaney’s gold in the 1500 metres from the Melbourne Olympics of 1956.

Down the decades the Olympics was a huge carnival of sporting excellence and drama to which I looked forward.  The sheen seems to have slipped from it now though and even before it begins in Rio on Friday next there are considerable issues such as drug taking and monitoring with the primary example being the Russian team and also the threat from the Seiko virus and one might suggest the social and economic capacity of Brazil to accommodate the games.
I don’t know if this memory is actual or invented after the fact, of listening to the radio to hear Ronnie Delaney winning the blue riband event, the 1500 metres, at the 1956 Olympics at Melbourne. It would have to have been in the early morning considering the time considerations. I attended a football game in that stadium now known as the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) in 2001 but my consciousness was of one my first sport’s heroes, Delaney, winning gold there in ’56. (As an aside –as I am won’t to do- early last week I visited the GAA Museum in Croke Park which now embraces small exhibits from other sports along with its main emphasis on Gaelic games and there is one dedicated to Delaney’s Melbourne victory). Delaney went to Villanova University in the U.S. where his coach was the legendry Jumbo Elliot. He took part in a famous mile race in the Billy Morton track at Santry in Dublin some time after Melbourne when perhaps four to five athletes broke the famous four minute barrier led by Herb Elliot. He was most famous in the U.S. as an indoor runner setting numerous records and had a winning sequence of 40 races. Of course a number of other Irish athletes were to follow as great indoor runners including Eamon Coghlan. Delaney was the first Irish sub four minute miler and first gold medal winner since Bob Tisdale in ’32 at Los Angeles and no Irish participant won gold again until Michael Carruth in Barcelona in ‘92.  Delaney was born in March 1935 and is still revered as an icon of the sport from when it was entering its prime. In that race he defeated the Australian favourite John Landy and England’s Brian Hewson. There are U tube films of the race and Delaney comes from a near impossible position over the last three/four hundred metres to win and fall to his knees as he says a prayer of thanks after his great Olympic victory.

Two Roscommon Olympians

There have been a couple of Roscommon Olympic participants including Bill Jackson from Ballinlough who was a stalwart corner back on the Roscommon All-Ireland winning teams of ’43 and ’44. He was on the all-army Irish basketball at the London Olympics of ’48. They played out of Athlone.
Boyle man Jim McGee was also a member of that team. He was the uncle of Brendan McGee and joined the army at a very young age and was perhaps one of the longest serving army members ever on his retirement in ’88 aged 70. He became associated with the army bands and conducted and arranged their music. At first he conducted the Band of the Western Command and later the Army Number One Band. These bands were regular visitors to Boyle, usually in November, in the seventies, because of Jim being from the town. Jim conducted the band for several presidential inaugurations and state occasions. Has anyone ever seen a picture of that Olympic Basketball team of ’48? 

The list of Olympic Venues since 1956 for your convenience.
1956 - Melbourne, Australia. Delaney and Dawn Fraser.
1960 - Rome, Italy. Abebi Bikila the barefoot marathon wonder. Cassius Clay wins light-heavy gold medal.
1964 - Tokyo, Japan. Snell of New Zealand wins 800 and 1500 and Joe Frazier wins in boxing
1968 - Mexico City, Mexico. Black power and gloves of Smith and Carlos, the high jump of Fosbury and the long jump of Beamon. 
1972 - Munich, West Germany (now Germany). The killing of members of the Israeli team. Mark Spitz.
1976 - Montreal, Canada. 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci and her perfect tens.
1980 - Moscow, U.S.S.R. the U.S. boycott because of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Ovett and Coe.
(now Russia)
1984 - Los Angeles, United States. The Russian boycott because of the U.S. 1980 Boycott! 84 white pianos. Lionel Richie. Coe again Steve Redgrave the first of five.  Zola Budd decks the favourite Mary D. 
1988 - Seoul, South Korea. Ben Johnson drugs v golden boy Carl Lewis.
1992 - Barcelona, Spain. The diving board in the sky. The U.S. dream team in basketball arrive with the Boston Celtic’s Bird and Magic Johnson.
1996 - Atlanta, United States. Muhammad Ali shakes as he lights the flame. Michelle Smith ecstasy and Sonia agony.
2000 - Sydney, Australia. Aboriginal athlete Cathy Freeman’s win. Magic ending ceremony….like many great opening and closing ceremonies.
2004 - Athens, Greece. Was that where the Kerry priest interrupted the Brazilian marathon leader?
2008 - Beijing, China. The Birds Nest Stadium and swimmer Ml. Phelps.
2012 - London, United Kingdom. James bond and the Queen of England take the jump. Lightning Bolt.
2016 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Samba time with the possibility of a bit of bite.
2020 - Tokyo, Japan

So in the two weeks or so of the Rio Olympics what stories and heroes are to emerge? Will Ireland, especially in boxing, achieve and will the spirit of the Olympics be enhanced or besmirched.
Television coverage of the opening begins on Friday night on R.T.E. at 11.30 with earlier Olympic preview coverage on B.B.C.

Back to School Costs

We were supposed to get ‘Free Education’ through the initiative of the then Minister for Education, Donagh O’Malley in the late sixties. This was true to an extent and saw the considerable rise in the numbers of students attending secondary schools especially and a more limited but increasing number going on to third level. I have heard on radio of the costs of preparing students for a return to school for the new year coming in September.  According to a report from Barnardo’s it takes €800 for a first year secondary student including uniforms, 3/4 hundred for a primary student and €3,000 to register at a University. So the idea of ‘Free Education’ has eroded hugely since its inception. One of the real issues at schools is the regular changing of books. Once, and many older readers will remember, there were books which could be transferred to younger family members or traded as second –hand books. In our English ‘faculty’ there were the standards Exploring English One, Two and Three and of course for years at leaving Cert. the great poetry standard ‘Soundings’. Today the syllabus seems to change every two or three years but the genre of books that create real issues are ‘work books’ which of course are non-transferable.
I will have to do it but I will see the waste when I get around to disposing of boxes of school books, from all levels, which clutter the attic.  


Senator Black
If I ever knew it I had forgotten that Frances Black is in fact a Senator. It is pretty rare to me that an entertainer becomes a politician but on reflection maybe not.

Rental Market
The rental market in Dublin is now obscene as young couples are being forced out to the distant commuter belts of Mullingar, Carlow and Portlaoise. I know of a group of tenants in a house in Dublin who pay collectively over €2,500 a month for a house which is set on a room basis with communal utility rooms. So that adds up to a rental income of €30,000 per annum. Is that possible or have I remembered it wrong?
Not only are young couples moving to commuter belts but they are abandoning Dublin altogether and trying to re-establish themselves in other cities or large towns. This isn’t easy as it often means dropping down a number of rungs of the job ladder and starting out again.

After Console
A term I heard for the first time last week was ‘chuggers’ a mix of street charity collectors and ?

Running Mates
For Hillary Clinton Tim Kaine and for Donald Trump the Indiana Governor Mike Pence. ‘Not a lot of people know that’…..yet.

Frenchpark Crossing
I see some moves afoot to make the hazardous Frenchpark crossing of the N 5 safer. Christine McHugh, Editor of the Roscommon Herald has been championing this for some time.   

Croke Park Museum and Tour
With a visitor friend I participated in the above on Monday of last week. the Museum is impressive and constantly evolving it seems. It now contains some small displays from other sports such as boxing and athletics. You need to allow a good deal of time to absorb the museum and its contents but this is true of any good museum. While the tour was regular maybe my familiarity with Croke Park meant that while I was, as always, impressed by the stadium I was underwhelmed by the actual tour, if that is not a contradiction. One of the great things about the grounds at Croke Park is the amount of game activity it is able to absorb.  On the day we were there it was a hive of activity with an under-age blitz or some such. Altogether a busy and interesting environment.    

Sports Review

Boyle V Padraig Pearse’s Senior Championships
Club fixtures within county Roscommon return with the championships this coming week-end. Boyle play Padraig Pearse’s on Sunday at Tulsk at 2pm. Boyle have beaten Castlerea in the first round but got well beaten by St. Brigid’s in round two. Boyle lost out very narrowly in last year’s championships to Pearse’s at the quarter final stages. I don’t know what the situation in Boyle is currently with injuries but both Donie Smith and Evan McGrath are key players who will be missed. Still it is all on the day and it a game that Boyle will be hoping to win.
The following week-end they play Roscommon Gaels. They played the Gaels some time ago in the league in Boyle and it was a very well contested game but the championship is a very different scene as we all know now.   

National  Games Gone and Coming
Perhaps it should not have been such a surprise that Galway went down to Tipperary but the nature of it certainly was. Galway looked as if they were putting together a decent side but that all fell apart on Sunday. The implications for us of course are also there on the T. v G. v R. equation. Tipp. looked really good with a commanding midfield which dominated what we thought was a capable Galway midfield and only Comer offered a threat up font while Tipp. had two excellent forwards in Quinlivan and Sweeney. How Tipp. deals with the winners of Mayo v Tyrone -who are the favourites for that tie- is to be seen but next year when they will probably have more players available they could be a real force if this year’s form is built on.
I left watching the Mayo v Westmeath game at half time as Mayo were really in command but old weaknesses emerged in the second half and they just got through. Kerry defeated Clare while cruising in third gear and now play the winners of Donegal v Dublin. Donegal is one team that can really give Dublin a game but the Dubs panel is too strong and they should emerge on Saturday. So the Semi-Finals are shaping up now as Dublin V Kerry and Tipperary v Tyrone….despite my hopes for Mayo. That looks like a Dublin v Tyrone final. Who knows?
On Sunday there is the first All-Ireland hurling Semi-final with Kilkenny v Waterford. While Waterford seem to be getting a young team together they have to be a mature outfit to take on the cats, so a win for Kilkenny here. On Sunday week it is Tipperary hurlers v Galway and this looks like a pretty even affair.

It is sad to see that Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are having a rocky time with their games but nice to see Padraig Harrington do well. Of course Harrington represents Ireland at the Rio games and good luck to him and all our participants.

Slán for now. 

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