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September 11th 2002

| Front Page | And Another Thing | Cross Bencher | Sport | Other Stories |

And Another Thing... by J.R.


Every year at this time I do feel a little sorry for those youngsters who have to go back to school. Even though it’s a long time ago I can remember my own feelings as I made my way to school and now, as I look back, I believe we were taught a lot of stuff that was completely useless to us. Take for example, algebra. A hoor’s ghost of a thing for sure. To this very day I can’t make head or tail of x+y=z. Nor have I had any opportunity, as far as I’m aware, to make any use of it. Then the thought strikes me - maybe I’m using it every day and I don’t know it.

Then there was the Irish. When I was in primary school I had a very good grasp of the Irish language. It was no bother to read and write little stories and even to have the makings of a conversation. All that changed dramatically when I went to the Tech. It was there I discovered the Irish language being spoken in a different way and, sadly for me, the bit that I had learned soon faded away. It was a totally wasted exercise and no one but myself noticed the loss.

If all this carry-on was not enough we could always fall back on the scriptures. Long passages from the bible and assorted prayer books had to be learned off by heart. We were told wild stories that even at that time beggared belief. For example, a story that was often told with the utmost severity was the one concerning the widow’s mite. A mite, we were given to understand, was about the smallest unit of currency that you could imagine. The widow, the poor thing, had one of these and she gave it to her church. There was supposed to be a lesson here for us and, indeed as far as I was concerned there was a very great lesson. If the story was true, weren’t they the right shower of gangsters that took her mite in the first place. Mind you, I don’t believe that that was supposed to be the correct lesson but rather an inducement to part with the last bob you had. As someone once quoted ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are Gods’ - when you had all that done, you had not much for yourself - which was exactly where you were supposed to be.


No doubt about it, it’s a great wee country we’re living in. We hear where seventy-eight people have died as a result of blood contamination and no one is to blame. The judge, in her wisdom, didn’t even bother to send the report to the DPP - not maybe that it would have made a blind bit of difference anyhow. And then, to a lesser degree, I read where the son of the Finance Minister, who was arrested in the middle of Dublin for being drunk and disorderly and using threatening behaviour walks away from court without the slightest blemish on his character. To make matters worse, other people who were before the same judge on the same day, and in the same court, end up being convicted and fined for similar charges. If this is not giving the two fingers to the rest of us, I don’t know what is. Maybe strangest of all will be the fact that the two headed monster who call themselves the Wolfe Tones will not see fit to write and sing some songs of protest over this. No, no, apparently oppression from within the State doesn’t court with these boys. Strange!


And so to Listowel for the All Ireland Fleadh. Do you know it is very noticeable the lack of people from this area who profess to be Irish music enthusiasts. I have come to the conclusion that either they don’t have a note in their head or that they are not as interested as they might want others to think. Anyway, once again it was a splendid occasion with plenty of music all over the place and we did enjoy it. Mind you, we were not dry either and if there was one complaint, it was the price of whiskey and other beverages. These prices would make your eyes water. At one stage, I thought I might have to send word back home to sell the ponies to pay my way. Luckily, we escaped, but only just, and so hopefully I will see my wee foal grow up before next year’s All Ireland Fleadh. We have made the necessary plans already.


As I made my way back up the country from Listowel I was listening to the evening news on Radio 1. An elderly lady was telling of how our Irish Freedom fighters almost killed her too in the Omagh bomb. If that episode was not enough, she was recently subjected to justice, British style. She had to go to Belfast for to be assessed by lay people for her injuries. She told how she was made to strip down to her underwear and one man, the bastard, had the cheek to pull down the strap of her bra in order to get a better look. This was all done despite all medical records being readily available. The great British justice system seems hell-bent on letting all those murderers back out on the street again, while at the same time visiting shame and humiliation on their victims. What a sad, sorry shower!


Friday the 6th September was another big day in the success story of North West Radio. We were invited to witness the official opening of the new studios at Mill Row by Minister of Social and Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan. The place was packed to capacity and beyond with the great and the good. There was even a scattering of politicians in our midst as well. No one went dry either and there were lots of savouries on hand for the hungry. The catering was very well looked after by our next door neighbours, Doolittles. As usual duty bade me say farewell earlier than anyone else, as I had an engagement in Co. Louth - but I must say I did enjoy the while I spent there. The next evening, as I reported for duty at the studio, the place was strangely silent and peaceful - just the way it should be!


After a very hectic Summer season (in spite of the poor weather) the dust is beginning to settle on the dancing scene and once again we are in a position to announce a forthcoming season of mature adult dancing in the Central Hotel in Donegal Town. This will take place by public demand on the last Wednesday of each month. Dancing will be from 10.30pm. sharp until 12.30 and music will be provided by the Cannon and Ramsey Band. A slightly different feature this time will be the presence of some nice little prizes included in the admission price. Don’t forget - now - the first of these will be on 25th September just exactly three months before Christmas Day. I thought you might need to know that. Hope to see you there!

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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