WHY DOESN’T DONEGAL APPOINT A BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS?
I went along to a couple of the talks given during Donegal Business Week and the positivity was infectious.
If you could have bottled it, stuck a label on it then we could have had our biggest export since Daniel O’Donnell.
Don’t get me wrong, I know as much about business as I do about ???????
But I do know that after listening to the likes of Aer Arainn’s Padraig O Ceidigh and Google’s Claire Walsh, there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel.
The enthusiasm show too by all those who attended the talks and workshops was palpable.
And the reason I think Donegal will come out quicker and stronger from the present large pile of doo doo is that we have always been left behind and forced to fend for ourselves.
But for that reason I think we will emerge as a much stronger community and I think it’s going to happen sooner than we think.
But I think we still need a little push in the right direction and a big arm thrown aorund all those little businesses about to explode into life.
Which is where I think a super board of directors for Donegal Ltd should be appointed.
By Donegal Ltd I mean every business, shop, hospital, club, pub, sick child, old person, farmer – everything that makes our county tick.
But why not take a radical approach to appointing that board and say pick the richest Donegal people we can find.
People like Hugh Green, Moya Doherty, the McHugh Family, Sir Gerry Robinson, Paddy McNally, Sean Ewing and Enya – the seven people whose combined wealth is €764 million.
Last time I checked none of them won the lotto so it’s hard work that got them where they are today.
Yes hard work, a bit of talent and some luck but isn’t that what we all need?
What’s to stop these seven people taking a look at their ocunty and seeing how they can improve it – get people back to work and get us up and running again?
Sir Gerry could sort out the health service, Moya Doherty and Enya could establish the biggest arts school in Europe, the McHugh family could restructure and enlarge our fishing fleet, Hugh Green could get the construction industry locally back up and running and financier Sean Ewing could keep an eye on all the cash.
They could meet three times a year and have a structured plan in place as they go along.
And it’s hardly like they’ll be looking for travel expenses to travel to Donegal for the meetings?
Right it sounds like pie in the sky but what’s stopping us?
As Padraig O Ceidigh said in his talk about getting back up after falling flat on his face – “there’s only six inches between a pat on the back and a kick in the arse.”
There’s no such thing as failure – only not trying.
WHEN A PINT PUTS OUR COUNTY COUNCILLORS OVER THE LIMIT
“l’d like to order a pint with Lord Mayor Cora Harvey. Errr sorry I mean I’d like to make a point of order with Lord Mayor….
“Oh yes, the jokes were flowing in the county council chamber in Lifford when certain councillors ALLEGEDLY took a couple of pints during their lunchtime.
“I put ALLEGEDLY in big letters just to make the whole episode as stupid as it is.
“I mean, does it really matter if someone had a pint at lunchtime before they headed back to the council chambers for the afternoon.
“It’s not like they were about to perform open-heart surgery or even oeprate a till at ALDI.
“It’s Donegal County Council where the wheels of local Government grind slowly and never before another two meetings come along to sign off on something.
“Imagine – drinking on the job? What ever will happen in our little county next?
“Before we knew it Cllr Frank McBrearty was calling for the breathalyser and several other councillors were calling for the Gardai.
“Personally I was waiting for Mike Murphy to appear from beneath the Mayor’s desk and declare he was doing a remake of his hit RTE show from the 70s.
“Mayor Harvey got all PC on Highland Radio and declared she has never taken a drink during lunchtime which is fair enough.
“But spending valuable time, energy and taxpayers money on deciding if someone should have had an orange juice instead of a pint is hardly shaking the roots of local government.
“It’s a sobering thought when the most-talked about PINT from the council meeting is if someone had a pint or not.
VOTE IF ONLY FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S SAKE
“Yes it’s a cliche but we all need to get out and vote today.
“In my lifetime at least I cannot think of a time when we need our voices to be heard more loudly than ever before.
“The country is well and truly on its knees and we need some sort of major reform to get us kick-started again.
“We might not see much of the benefits of this election but we can only hope our children will and their children will.
“So is the much-hyped combination of Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore the answer? It’s hard to know.
“But the one certainty is that we could not continue under the Fianna Fail regime anymore – a regime that had lost its way and was sinking fast in the quicksand of the economic downturn.
“I can never micture myself going for a couple of pints with Enda Kenny because he does not have that likeability factor.
“His shirt collars are too straight and his body language too stiff to ever suggest he could let his hair down and have the craic.
“Strangely enough I do think I could have a couple of pints with Micheal Martin but he’s a man with very little time on his plate reorganising FIanna Fail that to be supping pints.
“Locally the political landscape is about to be hit with a rather large landslide.
“However I find it hard to swallow that Fianna Fail are going to disappear off the entire political map in Co Donegal altogether.
“Sinn Fein should get two seats and in Pearse Doherty and Padraig MacLochlainn we have two fine young politicians. What they can bring from the opposition benches for Donegal will be interesting.
“The most pressure to deliver is probably on Joe McHugh when he returns to power with Fine Gael. Donegal is a broken county and it will take many years to fix it.
“The battles for the third seat in both constituencies is very interesting but I simply cannot see Taniste Mary Coughlan getting her marching orders.
“But the closest battle will be between Charlie McConalogue and Jimmy Harte for the final seat in the North East.
“It could be a late night or early morning at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny on Saturday and Sunday if we believe all we hear.
“But then again we wouldn’t want it any other way!
FISHING FOR ANSWERS TO EASE THEIR HEARTACHE
“Maybe I’m missing something here.
“But is there something wrong with telling the families of 11 fishermen how their loved ones died?
“Some 35 years after they perished in two fishings boats off the coast of Donegal, surely the relatives of the men who perished on the Evelyn Marie and the Carrig Una have a human right.
“A human right to know what a report into the tragedy at the time uncovered about the last moments of their lives.
“What has Transport Minister Pat Carey and his predecessors got to hide all these years later?
“What could be the worst case scenario – that they were accidentally pulled under by a British submarine.
“It seems an unlikley scenario as both boats appeared to hit the same reef a year between eachother.
“Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty has now taken on the case and appealed to whomever forms the next Government to take pity on the families of the lost eleven.
“It doesn’t seem much to ask – that these people be put out of their misery once and for all.
“People like Helena Gallagher, a film-maker whose father Hughie went to sea and never returned again on what was her first day at school.
His loss has haunted her and her family since that fateful day when he went out to work never to return.
She and others have searched for answers and the right to dust down the cobwebs from the files into the investigation.
It might be worth mentioning to whichever would-be TD calls to your doors in the coming days and weeks.
Because amidst all the looking to the future, there are some families in Donegal who cannot stop looking to the past.
IT’S TIME TO WRITE A NEW CHAPTER
right, so we have a date for the start of our new beginning.
Or at least I think we have despite the confusion over resignations, pull-outs, bail-outs and balls-ups.
Come the end of February or the begnning of March we should all be marking an x on the ballot paper and starting afresh.
The bottom line now is that we have nobody to blame as we move forward and seize control of our own destiny.
Okay so we’re the boil on the arse of Europe, but do we really care?
We can’t get any deeper into the brown stuff so we might as well begin at least trying to crawl our way out of it.
That process begins with electing a new Government in a few short weeks time.
I’m not going to tell you what way to vote or what way I’m voting.
But I do know that I AM going to vote. If I have to crawl down to the polling booth with three kids hanging out of me, then so be it.
It doesn’t matter if you vote for Dinny McGinley, Padraig MacLochlainn, Jimmy Harte, Joe McHugh, Niall Blaney, Pearse Doherty or whoever.
The most important thing is that you do vote.
I don’t buy the argument that “it doesn’t matter who we vote for, they’re all the same’.
Somebody has to run the country and it’s up to us to decide who WE want to do that.
If we don’t bother to vote, then we can’t complain if the next lot mess it up for us again.
WHY MUST LIFE BE SO FRAGILE?
I can’t even begin to imagine the hurt and the pain the Harte family are going through right now.
Mickey, Marian and their three lads wandering around and asking themselves if this is really all a bad dream.
Unfortunately we all now know that Michaela Harte will never be seen by her father’s side as he speaks modestly about another win for Tyrone.
The pictures of Mickey and two of his sons standing outside the family home in Ballygawley paying tribute to their daughter and sister was simply heartbreaking.
How the two boys stood there silently as they supported their loving father both physically and emotionally was a fitting tribute to Michaela’s memory.
I don’t pretend to know the Harte family other than the Harte family that I see on television during football games and the odd chatshow appearance.
But I spoke to John Haran from Letterkenny who knew both Michaela and Mark from tecaher training college in Belfast.
Big John had nothing but wonderful things to say about the family and about their decency, their spirit and their good nature.
The fact that something awful like this has visited such a peaceful and caring family who have never harmed anyone, makes the question ‘why?’ even greater.
As well as the Hartes, our thoughts and prayers must also go to her husband John who only shared her life for a very short time.
There are no lessons to be learned from this terrible chapter which has struck a chord with the entire Irish nation.
Perhaps no other lesson other than life is precious and we should cherish it as best we can.
What Has The HSE To Hide About Swine Flu In Donegal?
Think of any number. Multiply it by five. Divide it by four.
Now add the number of cars in the overflow carpark at Letterkenny General and you have the number of people with swine flu in Donegal.
That’s the kind of lengths the HSE is going to in a bid to keep us in the dark on our health.
Why? Because they want to avoid any mass hysteria surrounding a condition that has already killed 14 people in the North.
Well, I’ve got news for the HSE – you’ve already caused mass hysteria by refusing to let people know if they have a common cold, an allergy to your budgie or the H1N1 strain of influenza.
Now if somebody has so much as a sniffle beside you, you treat them like they have the plague.
Maybe I’m paying tax not to mention thousands in private health care every year for the craic.
But surely we’re entitled to know if Donegal is coming down with swine flu or if we all just have a cold.
People have a right to know if swine flu is rampagnt in our hospitals because then we can bloody well stay away from them.
But no, the HSE has taken the decision just to give the figures of infection on a national basis.
The usual HSE line is that they don’t comment on individual case which is understandable in many cases.
But when we are delaing with matters of public health, the public has a right to know.
WHY WE SHOULDN’T BE SHOCKED AT CHILDREN KICKING DOGS TO DEATH IN DONEGAL
was a little surprised when I heard the initial reports about three children kicking a dog to death in Letterkenny.
Surprised? yes – but not totally shocked to be honest.
Maybe I’m getting too old and cynical but kids these days have that vicious streak about them.
Donegal Pet Rescue man Sean McClafferty said as much when he revealed that the incidents of children attacking animals was increasing.
He sees it first-hand in his line of work and could probably tell stories that would make our skin crawl.
It’s not just cruelty to animals that youngsters in oour own county can inflict pain upon.
Only a couple of months ago a young St.Eunan’s player was left in hospital after another lad kicked him in the face as he bent down to fix his boots during an Under 14 game.
A dog or a football opponent – it doesn’t seem to matter to kids these days.
I’m trying to think back to when I was a young fella growing up 30 years ago and if there was such everyday violence.
I honestly don’t think there was but I can’t find any reason why young kids between the ages of 5 and 11 would kick a dog to death.
Or why a 14 year old would kick another player in the face as he bent down to fix his boot during a GAA game.
It sounds like something straight from an Irish Countrywoman’s Meeting but I think there has to be a link between violence and the surge in computer games and wall-to-wall television.
Every morning time cartoon or even the mildest DS game has someone trying to blow or beat someone else’s head off.
I’m not saying all kids want to go out and kill or attack when they play a game or watch a TV show.
But it’s got to the stage that violence has become the norm in our society today – be that at 10am or 10pm.
And like it or lump it, the only people who can ever be blamed are parents.
We’re all responsible from the time a baby starts to walk to when they start school, to teach them right from wrong.
Some children do stray and turn into career criminals no matter what good guidance they are shown.
But the vast majority will follow by example, be that good example or bad example.
Yes Long Lane in Letterkenny, where the dog was kicked to death, does have a social problem because there are certain families there who don’t give a damn about their children or what they get up to.
But the same families live on the same estates in Bundoran, Buncrana, Falcarragh, Donegal Town, Lifford and every other town in Donegal.
Let’s not blme the children because they are only pieces of play dough which are being shaped by all of us.
We need to get to the heart of the bigger picture and ask why these kids are being allowed to run about while their parents probably don’t know, or care, where they are.
SCHOOL’S OUT FOR WINTER
Here’s a mad thought for parents with children who are about to take another valium as the children put the dog into the dishwasher – again.
If you think you’ve had enough of your little darlings now, wait until next week.
Because there is the very likely chance that with yet another friendly Siberian wind blowing our way, schools will be closed again.
Personally I can’t see why the schools weren’t back already.
At the risk of alienating several friends who are teachers, I think it’s farcical that most schools aren’t opening until January 10th.
I suppose you can argue that teachers are stressed out and that they need the rest.
Afterall, most only closed for seven days during the last snowfall and sure it’s still a good seven weeks before they get another week off.
And sure it will be the end of June before most primary and secondary teachers get TWO MONTHS off!
I happened to mention that I thought schools across Donegal should have reopened early to a couple of these teacher friends over Christmas.
You’d swear I had suggested that teachers had amongst the cushiest jobs in Ireland – as if I would?
One of the funniest excuses why my masterplan to reopen schools as doomed, according to one of my learned friends, was that many schoolteachers were actually skiing over Christmas.
Which begs the question – why the hell couldn’t they strap a couple of skis onto their ankles and get to work a couple of weeks ago?
I do appreciate that most teachers did try their best to make classes during the cold snap.
But I do think that if that postman in Glenfin is correct and we’re heaidng for another clatter of the white stuff, we need a plan B for the kids.
‘BROWNED’ OFF AT BARGAINS!
“Having eaten half my body-weight in turkey and watched more dodgy movies than the film censor, it was time to hit the sales last Monday.
“I needed a couple of new shirts and the idea of getting them at half-price foced me to go out into the freezing cold.
“We spent Christmas in Dublin so I thought the choice of shops and the quality of the sales would have been hard to beat.
“How wrong was I.
“A woman who specialises in shopping (yes, my wife), once told me never to buy something in the sales because it’s all just discarded off-cuts.
“It’s not often I can say this but I couldn’t have agreed with her more.
“The amount of junk that I saw in the shops on Grafton Street and Henry Street would have brought a tear to the eye of the hardest bargain-hunter.
“As I pondered throwing in the towel and heading for a couple of pints in McDaid’s off Grafton Street, I remembered someone told me Brown Thomas had a half price sale.
“Now I think I’ve been in the posh people’s store twice and one was when I was looking for a toilet when I was caught short.
“But the signs looked good when I saw the huge queues of people at the cashier tills.
“So you can imagine my surrpise when I spotted a couple of nice shirts – the very thing I had been looking for.
“I checked the price and then checked my pulse to see if I was actually still dreaming at home in my bed.
“The shirts were reduced to half price alright – but they were still €125! What kind of an idiot pays €250 for a shirt?
“I don’t care how much money he has. Anyone who pays that kind of cash deserves to find themselves bankrupt pretty soon.
“I looked around the store and looked pitifully at these people who had more money than sense and counted myself out.
“I thought to myself how lucky I was that I was living in Donegal where a shirt is a shirt and not statement of wealth.
“And I thought to myself how lucky we are that we have shops like Michael Gallagher Menswear, Evolve and Classic Casuals – real shops with real prices for real people.
IT’S BEGINNING TO FEEL A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS!!
“After four snow blizzards, three falling icicles, two salted roads and a partridge in a pear tree, it’s here.
“For a while there I thought we weren’t actually going to celebrate Christmas for the first time in a couple of thousand years.
“Dreaming of a white Christams is one thing but having to tip-toe on six inches of ice to do a bit of shopping became a real pain.
“But now it’s time to sit back and relax and do what we do best on Christmas Day – absolutely nothing!
“The Santa letters were written and put up the chimney in our house six months ago and I am so looking forward to seeing the kids’ faces on Christmas morning.
“I’m conscious of the fact that many Donegal people from around the world will not get home for Christmas because of the weather.
“The fact that we are going through such a tough time in general makes spending it with family even more special this year.
“Hopefully those whose plans haven’t quite worked out as they would have hoped will find peace and harmony wherever they wake up on Christmas morning.
MAKE THE DONEGALDAILY.COM YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION!!
Our little website is less than a month old but already we have built up a loyal band of followers.
We want to make donegaldaily.com YOUR website – an online newspaper that brings you the news but also reflects what’s happening across Donegal.
County Donegal is well served by a number of local newspapers with a fine tradition in journalism.
But at donegaldaily.com we want to bring you the news ‘as it happens’ across the county.
Things are more difficult in Donegal than they are in any other part of Ireland – and a lot of that is simply because of our geographical location.
The fact that Donegal was left without a decent supply of salt was yet another example of us being the forgotten county.
But we have a proud tradition of community, business and support and of looking after eachother.
We here at donegaldaily.com see the current challenges as the perfect time to set up a new venture – one that we know is going to succeed.
If you want to be part of that success then we are only the click of a button away.
We are already working on a number of stories which will raise a few eyebrows in the New Year.
In the meantime, sit back, eat some more Christmas pudding and lok after eachother. Shona Nollaig.
WATER CHARGES, FROZEN PIPES AND CLEANING YOUR OWN FOOTPATHS!
“County Manager Seamus Neely plans to put a freeze on water charges in the council budget for the year.
“It’s a brave step for his first year in the hotseat.
“That said, considering the current conditions, he’ll be lucky if there’s any water left to charge for.
“The one thing everyone agrees on and that’s Donegal and its people have been hung out to dry during the Big Chill.
“But let’s face it – are we really surprised? If there was a heatwave across the country next June – the first place that will be hit with water and suncream rations will be Donegal.
“Just ask our TDs and Senators. You remember them? The people who were shouting from the rooftops about who should get the seat in Donegal South-West.
“Brian O’Domhnaill, Frank McBrearty and Pearse Doherty. The only person I’ve heard from is Killybegs councillor Thomas Pringle.
“Mary Coughlan, our Tanaiste, should hang her head in shame at how quiet she has been as her opcunty shivers in the Arctic-like conditions.
“But then it’s hard to see the snow from the window of her plush office in Dail Eireann.
“If Mary was worth he salt, she’d pull out the stops and get a consignment of the stuff for the roads of HER county.
“I know the council say they are doing their best but I’m finding it hard to completely believe.
“Yes, there’s a lack of salt but any of the Primary or Secondary roads I’ve travelled in the past couple of days are a downright disgrace.
“Either the wrong roads are being treated or we’re using toothpaste instead of salt on these roads.
“And yes, I appreciate that council staff are working around the clock trying to clear the roads.
“But considering it hasn’t snowed since Friday, our roads are STILL in a terrible state.
“But we should also look closer at our own homes. It’s a cliche but if everyone cleared their own driveway and footpath, the streets would be a lot safer.
“I passed a business in Letterkenny yesterday who was offering Snow Specials in its window. They were very attractive indeed.
“I almost went in to have a look but there was one problem – I couldn’t make it across the footpath.
“The owner hadn’t bothered his backside clearing the thick ice, a job that would have taken a couple of his staff an hour at most.
“So yes, we are entitled to give out that we have been left out in the cold.
“But let’s not freeze to death thinking about it – let’s get on with it and get ready for Christmas.
Why Rusty really was a cross terrier!
“I appeared on a radio show a couple of days ago to tell the story of a dog – Lusty Rusty.
“Rusty was a mongrel terrier from Termon who went one step too far in his pursuit of the opposite sex.
“If he was a human, he would have had half the fathers, boyfriends, husbands and brothers of Donegal hunting him down.
“In the end all it took was a rubber band to put a stop to Rusty’s randy ways.
“You see Rusty annoyed his neighbour so much that the man decided he would take a lambing ring to Rusty’s crown jewels.
“After a couple of days Rusty didn’t know if he was cock of the walk or just walking a bit funny.
“It sounds funny now but it was an act of particular cruelty, carried out on a defenceless animal who was only following his natural instincts.
“Thanks to a sharp-eyed vet and some good detective work by ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley, Rusty’s executioner was brought to justice and made to pay more than €700 in fines at Letterkenny District Court.
“The sad part is that speaking to Kevin later, he told me crimes against dogs were increasing of late.
“It doesn’t take a smart or a brave man to carry out such an act of cruelty and what it really shows is the pedigree of the animal dishing it out.
“Thankfully Rusty has found a new home and hopefully still has an eye for the female dogs even if he doesn’t have the equipment to back it up with.
“One of the funniest aspects of the Rusty story was the lady from the BBC who asked me what kind of dog he was. I told her he was a mongrel terrier – a half breed.
“Oh, so he was a cross terrier?,” she said ever so matter-of-factly.
“I told her she’d be cross too if someone had just ripped off her wedding tackle simply for doing what came naturally.
“Queue the ads and the cutting short of my future career at the Beeb!
The Christmas Miracle on Tullygay hill!
“There was a minor miracle on the hill where I live last week.
“Nobody cheated death or God forbid it would happen, found an answer to the mess we have found ourselves in.
“That said, what happened did restore my faith in humankind – something I haven’t seen much of lately.
“You see, as usual I had left it until the last minute to get the coal bunker filled up.
“I’m of the school of thinking that I can put off today what I can always do tomorrow. And that philosophy came right back to bite me in the arse last week.
“I actually did order coal but when it was due to arrive, the snow was so thick on the ground that not even a Snow Mobile guided by Glenfin postman Michael Gallagher could have got it up my hill.
“I knew as much as I got the dagger looks from Her Indoors as we chopped up the last piece of furniture and scraped the last pieces from the bottom of the coal bunker.
“There was enough in the bottom of the bucket to last another couple of hours when the doorbell went. It was about 8pm and we weren’t expecting visiters.
“I opened the back door to find two little white eyes looking at me and a man gasping for air.
“It was a man I know only as PJ from A and N Fuels in Buncrana and beside him sat three large bags of coal.
“I knew immediately that there was no way he had been able to get his lorry up the steep hill where I live and that he had actually carried them up the hill himself.
“Now having dragged a Christmas tree behind me the night before, I could only but imagine the super-human strength needed to carry three bags of coal.
“What he did when above and beyond anything a customer would expect from anyone who supplies any kind of service – be it a coalman or a heart surgeon for that matter.
“He could simply have used the snow as an excuse and it would have been a perfectly legitimate one.
“But what this humble coalman did that night last week was not only to ensure my house was kept warm, but it also restored my belief in human decency.
“It doesn’t happen that often especially in these dark days when most people are just concerned about looking after themselves.
“If you do happen to need coal over the winter, then look no further than PJ and a and N Fuels.
“I’m not getting a lifetime’s supply of coal for this plug but it’s the only way I can thank an ordinary man for a very extraordinary act of human kindness.
“Just don’t tell him if you happen to live at the top of a very steep hill!
Christmas is ….risking life and limb getting up to the attic for the two sets of fairy lights that never work!
“I’m coming under pressure to go out and splash a stupid amount of money for a Christmas tree that looks like Richard Bruton when he hasn’t shaved for a week.
“Really though, there should be a day when every father risks life and limb and climbs up to the attic for a biscuit-tin of half broken Christmas balls.
“I made the classic mistake of not blind-folding the three kids as we came up the hill to our house earlier this week.
“And there they were in all their glory – enough festive lights to land a 747 in a snowstorm.
“In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me in the current weather if I do wake up one morning to find the early flight from Carrickfin has actually landed in Conwal graveyard below our house.
“And all I’ve got since we saw the illuminations in the front rooms of the McCrossans and the O’Donnells is “when are we putting ours up?”
I both love and hate putting up the decorations.
On one hand it’s a real sign that my favourite time of the year is here and on the other hand it’s simply a pain in the holly bush.
Every year I promise myself that I’m going to splash out and buy a raft of tasteful Christmas decorations.
And every year I end up sticking up the same half-chipped china Santa on the mantlepiece surrounded by fake Christmas tree branches.
I’ve promised the kids I’m going to do the business by the end of the week.
It’ll be great when we finally put the angel on top of the tree and myself and the Mrs can sit back and think about seeing the expressions on the kid’s faces on Christmas morning.
And then argue about when exactly we should take the tree and all the decorations down again…..!
Little Jack Brady, 8. Son, brother and ordinary little boy. RIP.
“I went to Letterkenny Courthouse last Friday with what I thought was the weight of the world on my shoulders.
“I’d had my fill of snow, I haven’t a thing organised for Christmas and the mechanic had told me he can’t find the hole in my car where the water is getting in.
“But the following three hours was to provide the heartbreaking proof that there is always someone worse off than you.
Dorothy and John Brady and their four little boys were the perfect family from the outside looking in.
Both Dorothy and John had done well in their different careers and their four boys Jack, Kyle, Ethan and Mark were all happy and healthy.
They had a lovely house in Sololon’s Court in Letterkenny and, bar the usual everyday worries, they needed for little.
But all that changed forever on May 5th this year just a day after the family arrived in a French holiday camp for a deserved vacation.
Dorothy was miding the three younger boys while Jack, the eldest of the Bardy boys at just 8, was with his dad at the side of the indoor swimming pool.
John decided to check out the jacquizzi and returned just two minutes later.
When he did he could not find Jack and seconds later he heard his wife screaming their son’s name.
John jumped into the pool and rescued Jack and began to give him mouth-to-mouth.
The ambulance and medical personnel arrived minutes later and Jack was flown by air ambulance to Marseille.
Five days later, and after a series of tests, Dorothy and John were told there was nothing could be done to save their beautiful blue-eyed boy.
They were also told that because Jack’s lungs were not filled with water, doctors suspected he died from a heart condition which just happened to take place as he was at the side of the pool.
The heartbroken couple decided they wanted to take their loving son home to Ireland to die and two days later, on May 12th they did.
Jack died the following day after his family and friends had a chance to say goodbye to their son, brother, friend, newphew, grandson and team-mate.
The courage and dignity shown by John and Dorothy Brady at the Donegal Coroner’s Court last Friday is a testament to the human spirit.
I wanted to go over and hug Dorothy and John and tell her that I knew what she was going through – but of course I didn’t.
But having a seven year old boy myself who loves to swim and play football and get up to all sorts of mischief, I can only imagine how empty my life would be without him or any other of my family.
I have no wise or comforting words to finish this story because words mean nothing to the Brady family.
I can only wish that someday they find peace within their now aching hearts after the loss of their firstborn child.
Little Jack Brady, 8. Athlete, brother, pupil and ordinary little boy. Rest in peace.
It’s snow joke out there but we must help ourselves
“There was a time when the inner child in me prayed for snow every winter.
“Now that the child has given way to paying a mortgage and looking after three kids, snow is the last thing I need.
“So this week’s early arrival from the skies above is about as welcome to most of us as another budget.
“Whether you live in Dungloe, Donegal Town or Drumfad, you couldn’t escape it in the past couple of days.
Already I’m sick of people moaning about not being able to get out their driveway or the end of their roads.
Yes, the council probably could be doing more but the reality is that they are – forgive the pun – already snowed under with work.
I know not eevryone can do it, but what the hell is stopping a lot of us from getting a shovel and doing our bit?
A bit of snow and suddenly we all raise the white flag and flop around like jellyfish in a bath of mud.
The road to my own house in Tullygay on the outskirts of Letterkenny was covered in snow but a few shovels of salt later and it’s passable each day thanks to all the neighbours.
Like the s***storm the Government has blown our way, we need to keep digging until we find a way out!
The strange story of a robin
My wife’s aunt, Alice Temple from Stranorlar, died last weekend after a brave battle with cancer.
She was buried in Donnyloop Cemetary in what can only be described as bitter cold conditions.
The mass and funeral was a sad affair but a relief for the family in many ways who never wanted Alice to suffer any longer.
But there was a bizarre incident during Alice’s burial when a robin hovered above the mourners before resting on the opened-door of the hearse carrying Alice to her final resting place.
After Alice’s coffin was placed in the grave, the bird then flew to a light overlooking the grave as if to accompany Alice.
My condolences go to her husband Hugh and to all her family and friends. She will be sadlymissed.
The pride of the builders behind the Ballybofey apartment debacle
“I had a front row seat at the Ballybofey apartment debacle a few days ago.
“Most people were expecting a bidding frenzy for the 47-strong apartment block which had a reserve price of just €550,000.
“But neither I nor many people in Room 3 of Jackson’s Hotel could have foreseen what unravelled when auctioneer Dermot Rainey put questions to the floor before opening the floor to bids.
“To say the blood left the collective faces of the organisers wouldn’t be an understatement.
“What was to follow was a scene which perfectly captured the sorry state the entire country has found itslf in – all played out in a tiny corner of Donegal.
“Speaker after speaker spoke about how they had been left high and dry because of the collapse of the development at Trusk Road.
“These weren’t millionaire developers who had been caught high and dry after buying fields for ridiculous sums of money and were then caught by the property bubble bursting.
“These were ordinary men who had put weeks and months of hard labour into a project which now sits half empty because the bank refuses to give any more money to complete it.
“I spoke to one man, who couldn’t have been more than 40, whose family roofing company was owed €135,000.
“He told me the money was one thing but his company now faced collapse because they couldn’t get the money for the work they have completed in good faith.
“This was a company his father had started from scratch and now employed 12 men.
“I could see the tears welling up in his eyes as he told me his personal story.
“And you can bet his is not that an unusual story across Donegal.
“I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of the saga or who is right and who is wrong or how they can get out of the mess.
“All I will say is that people, ordinary people with muck on their boots, stood up for eachother in Jackson’s Hotel last week.
“I’m not sure if they will ever get their money because of the sorry mess we find ourselves in.
“But the one thing the Government and the banks can never take away from them is their pride – and the builders and subbies of Navenney Developments and Dunnion Construction have that in buckets.
The secrets behind the vertical arches of Main Street, Letterkenny
This week sees the completion of the refurbishment of the Main Street in Letterkenny.
I know people have various views but I think the development is a welcome one.
I know there’s the argument that it cuts down on parking spaces and narrows the Main Street.
But realistically Main Street, Letterkenny is a street which any clever motorist tries to avoid at all costs.
There are plenty of parking spaces around the town including the Cathedral car park as well as the underground car park at Scally House which means we shouldn’t have to park on the Main Street at all.
What I am looking forward to is the Christmas lights being put up and really setting off the refurbishment works.
I don’t think there’s a better feeling of coming out of The Cottage bar after a couple of Arthur Guinness’ finest offerings and walking down the Main Street at Christmas week with the threat of snow hanging in the air.
As for the Hanging Gales as they have been dubbed by some wags, I’m not exactly sure what to make of the vertical arches on either side of the street at various points.
Perhaps they are the tele-porters of the future – an outstretched hand on each side getting you home in seconds whether you’re traveling to New Mills or Newtown.
Johnny Diver from Swilly Cabs might not be a fan if it costs him fares in a few years time.
Daniel goes down under one last time
Our wee Daniel has announced that he no longer plans to tour the world and his next tour of Australia in 2011 will probably be his last.
Another reason why emigrating Don Under is being strongly considered by many.
Only joking Daniel – sure I have all your records – honest!
The law really is an ass!
It should be a law that all teenagers visit their local court.
It’s a real eye-opener and I’ve no doubt some percentage of young people would think twice about messing about if they saw that crime really doesn’t pay.
If anything it would show them the crap the Gardai have to listen to on a daily basis.
I regularly cover courts and Donegal District Court Judge Seamus Hughes is a no-nonsense operator who still enjoys a bit of banter.
But he was spot-on this week when he said he was sick of people “abusing the system” and wasting tax-payers money.
He spoke after a man chose to have his case for allegedly stealing a bin worth €80 heard before a judge and jury in the Circuit Court at an estimated cost of €6,000 instead of in the district court at a cost of just a couple of hundred euro.
Judge Hughes said he wanted urgent amendments to legislation for the alleged abuses of the system.
And having BIN there done that on the courts circuit, Judge Hughes has seen a lot of rubbish cases.
Here’s a local note for the An Grianan Theatre which you probably wouldn’t have read ten years ago.
“Breastfeeding Coffee Mornings would like to welcome mums, bumps and babies along.”
It’s a sign of the times.
I was just happy to get it off my chest.