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January 8th 2003

| Front Page | Review of The Year | The Jaundiced Eye | Sport |

The Jaundiced Eye Looks at...

all good things for 2003

Happy New Year to all of you and I hope your digestive system, your heart, and your minds, are recovering well from the excesses of food, emotion and alcohol over the Christmas break. Isn’t it a shame that all good things must come to an end? But we have a lot to be thankful for as we enter the good year of 2003 – mostly that the year 2002 is well and truly over…..

And it was an interesting Christmas period, wasn’t it? There were signs of restlessness amongst us in many parts of the country. While we had not been very gracious to our wonderful politicians when they had patiently explained to us why they weren’t able to keep the promises made in the first part of the year (that was before the election) – and wasn’t it our own fault to believe them? – it seems that some of us still doubt their word. Or could it be that some people learn from the past? Like the unfortunate family in Limerick who insisted on the Minister for Health signing a compensation agreement during the holiday period…..the family of a young mother close to death because of infected blood was determined not to be another McCole case. And when we think of the victims and their families of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Hepatitis C scandal let us become determined that it cannot happen again in 2003. And perhaps we should also seek to take steps to ensure that mismanagement and wrong doing in Government circles is not rewarded with golden handshakes – like Alfie Kane receiving around 4million, and the Blood Transfusion Service executives receiving hundreds of thousands of Euro ‘packages’ as they depart. Perhaps we should also have a look at Ray Burke and Liam Lawlor’s pension payments as well? I know we are a very forgiving people, and highly Christian, but perhaps giving financial rewards for wrong doing is not the best way to display Christian charity – or making sure there are no repeat performances.

There was something in the air over the holiday period with several of our leaders offering more promises – Cardinal Connell finally promised to give the files to the appropriate Enquiry into abuse after a five hour meeting with two victims. The promise is certainly very welcome and we will overlook the fact that it took many years to be made and we will not be cynical enough to doubt that full cooperation from the Dublin Diocese and the Catholic Church will now be forthcoming. Miracles do happen!

Christmas also saw our Marvellous Michael McDowell making more promises – and we are confident that he will keep this promise ‘to crack down on illegal immigrants’. By this, of course, he means the asylum seekers presently here in Ireland will be given no quarter. In his Christmas interview with the Sunday Business Post the wonderfully kind and Christian Minister who represents his party, the PDs, so well, told us all about his plans for the immigrants. Sure God love him, the question of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants is giving him a lot of headaches as well as heartache – poor man. What would we do here without Marvellous Michael to look after our national interests? And all our Irish emigrants/immigrants scattered throughout the world must be very proud of him as well. He tells us he is going to save us a lot of money in 2003 – no more Hyphenated Men going out on dawn raids throughout the country. No, he will ensure that none of that will be necessary – nor the chartered flights to take people back to where they came from. And we know he is only joking when he tells us he might have a referendum to make sure that parents of babies born here don’t have the right to live here to look after the baby……great sense of humour, our Michael!

I wonder what Marvellous Michael will do about the new security threat to Leinster House? Quite a serious situation. Apparently the new mobile phones that take photographs pose a threat to ‘the decorum of Leinster House’ according to newspapers reports in the Paper of Record. The 1998 rule banning mobile phones from Leinster House has been breached frequently by our elected TDs and Senators who are sometimes interrupted in full flight of speech by the ringing of their phones. This 1998 ban came after a tabloid newspaper managed to take photographs in the bar of Leinster House to the consternation of those democratically elected representatives who were democratically bending their elbows at the time. Just think what breaches of privacy could take place with the mobiles taking photographs in the bars or even, God help us, in the Chambers of Leinster House? And think of all the hanky panky and brown envelopes that could be exposed in the Dublin 4 restaurants and Clubs with this new technology? What a weapon it would be for the divorce and Tribunal lawyers!

I was sorry to see that two of our illustrious representatives at the Future of Europe Convention, Mr. John Bruton, and Proinsias de Rossa, were in the soup with the Department of Finance last year. The two men were honoured to be appointed to represent us at the Future of Europe Convention which is preparing a fundamental reform of the European Union under a new EU treaty to be voted on after 2004. (It is to be hoped we Irish will behave ourselves next time out – we here in Donegal were extremely good to take the advice of the fishermen and vote ‘yes’ to preserve our fishing industry – and, no, do not remind us now of the loss of the Irish Box or our stocks..that is an entirely different matter). Poor John and Proinsias felt the need of consultants to help them with this work and went ahead and employed them. Now nowhere did I see the Government appointed Consultants to represent us – just Frankie and Johnny. But the bold pair were singing loud protests when their consultants were not paid any salary or expenses for the first few months. Why? Because Frankie and Johnny never asked for, nor got, approval to employ them! How about that? It wasn’t really that they were wet behind the ears as our famous pair have been around a long time and performing some harmonious duets. It just seems they did not know or as one Civil Servant put it ‘Mr. Bruton seemed oblivious of the fact that Leinster House could not hire staff without the sanction of the Department of Finance’. Well, Frankie and Johnny, you learn something new every day. However, this dispute after many months had a happy ending when they were told late in the year that the Government would cover the costs of the consultants/advisers until the convention’s work was concluded! The other two delegates to the Convention, John Gormley, Green Party and Pat Cary, Fianna Fail, are using their own brains and taking their own advice and so far have not employed Consultants. I wonder are they, John and Pat, just being a wee bit foolish?

My New Year Resolution is to contact all the politicians and offer my services to them as a Consultant and Advisor – I have been told they would be lucky to have me and I might as well make a bit of money out of all the free advice I give them in this paper and elsewhere!

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-73-22860 Fax: +353-73-22937