Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I was saddened today to hear the Senator Kennedy passed away last night. Although I shook hands with the man I didn't know him - although like others I am aware of his interest in and work on behalf of Irish immigrants in the US and indeed his tireless support for Ireland and all things Irish.
His was a long and distinguished career, sometimes in the shadow of unbelievable tragedy as when both his brothers fell to assassins bullets.
May he rest in peace.
This issue hadn't caused me much concern over the ordinary until my eldest woke me the other night with a sore throat and a temperature and in a panic worrying "has anyone who has gotten swineflu lived?"!!! Turns out is wasn't swineflu and even if it was we had the paracetemol, the sponging down and the plenty liquids remedy plus lots of reassurance about how almost every one of the hundreds of thousands who had swineflu did indeed live! (Then why is there all this talk about swineflu deaths on the radio she wanted to know...)
So, with two of mine heading back to school in the next few days I have been listening and looking for the advice which amounts to: schools will open as normal with special precautions being taken. This amounts to children being asked to sneeze into tissues, then dispose of them and wash their hands in warm, soapy water. Now I wonder how feasible this is for a start.
Secondly, we have been told that children are amongst the most vulnerable of groups due to their lack of immunity which seemingly builds up over the course of your life. Thirdly, we hear that the swineflu vaccine has not been tested on children (how could it have been validly tested on anyone in such a short time I'd like to know?) And finally we are being told that this is no worse than ordinary flu. And I'll give you that - except that 1 in three of us are expected to get it.
And I am asking myself if I should really be sending my children into what is a veritable smelting pot of all known illnesses, where we already acknowledge that once they go to school, they 'pick up everything'.
I am telling myself that if I were the HSE population health experts I would be saying the same things as they are now: continue as normal; no need to panic. But then if I were a HSE population expert I would have a slightly different imperative than I have as a concerned mother. That probably being the greater good. But as a mother, my concern is very narrow: for my children, individually. And I have to say that I am not convinced that what is for 'the greater good' is actually the best thing for my children.
In truth I will probably send them to school - but at the first sign of or report of a sniffle....well, my resolve might start to wane pretty rapidly. I will be interested to see how the 'advice to schools' is implemented. Meanwhile I will be packing tissues into their schoolbags in the (vain I suspect) hope that they will use them. We shall see how this all pans out. Something tells me that the merdre (as the French say) is about to hit the fan on this one as soon as the schools re-open.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Hence I have been in many pubs of late ordering non-alcoholic drinks and I am really getting browned off with the lack of choice. Yes there is coffee - but it only lasts so long hot and you couldn't drink it all night! Yes there is/are non-alcoholic beers but I don't like beer. After that you're down to your cokes/orange juices/ginger ale etc. etc. all of which I certainly get fed up drinking and which I don't consider to be adult drinks as they're simply too sweet.
From my shopping forays I know that supermarkets offer a wide variety of much more pleasing (to me anyway) non-alcoholic drinks from Amé to Schloer and loads of others with Elderflower or spices or whatever you're having youself. And my question is: why can't they be on offer in pubs? I am sick of coffee and coke and I don't see - especially with the growth of non-drinkers as a result of the drink driving limits - why the pubs cannot expand the range they have available.
I often go to the cinema with my girlfriends and afterwards we generally head somewhere for a drink and a chat. We are all driving off in different directions and as a result none of us are drinking alcohol. But the range of drinks available to us is therefore very narrow.
Please please pubs. Can you expand the range of non-alcoholic drinks that you serve? I love the ambience of pubs but am getting so tired of the lack of choice that I'll probably start heading home straight after the cinema!!! Surely it would even make economic sense?
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
We are Irelands Oldest City - and all that that entails i.e. Viking heritage, historical importance, City Walls, Strongbow & Aoife etc. etc. This can and should be a very strong selling point. We have plans for the Viking Triangle and we should push ahead with this in so far as possible (in the absence of the Gateway Innovation Fund which was 'deffered' (read abandoned) by the Government).
That and 'free entertainment'! Entertainment - Spraoi can and should be the driving force for 'Waterford - City Of Summer' or the 'Funny South East' or some such. Can we not have free activity every weekend of the summer in Waterford and make us a city thats always buzzing?
And I'm not talking about landing the whole resonsibility onto Spraoi - we have a professional theatre company in Red Kettle; we have a vibrant youth arts & bands scene; we have a myriad of World Class choirs & bands. We have dance companies, artists, the market traders. We need a co-ordinated, vibrant, summer long city of activity and life and energy and music. We have the tools to make it happen. All we need is the buy-in of all the major (and minor) players in the city.
Perhaps the retail community would support such an initiative? Perhaps the Chamber would throw their weight behind it.
Yes it would take money and will and effort. But what else can we compete with? On shopping? Every dog and duck town is competing on shopping thse days.
On weather? After our lovely monsoon summer? We need to look at making our city an all-weather city. If wetter is the way of the future we need to meet that challenge head on. Couldn't we come up with a design for a light, transparent system for John Roberts Square and other central areas that would rain-proof us? Why not? It's not rocket science. We need to start thinking about what we can do - not what we can not.
We need to start pulling and working together, putting our cards - and yes, our money - on the table and get out there and start competing.
Come to Waterford (or H2O4D - as someone put it to me in a recent email), Irelands' Oldest City - a city full of life and entertainment where there is always something free for visitors going on. Where the rain won't soak you and the fun never stops!
How bad? One thing is for sure... We have to underpin Waterfords' future ourselves because there is no queue forming to do it for us.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
But every day he is denied the opportunity that is available in every other sport in the world that I can think of - to become a professional full time sportsman. Now don't get me wrong - I know nothing about John Mullane on a personal level and perhaps he would not want to be a professional sportsman but I am merely using John to ask a question: what have the GAA got against job creation?
The States has the 'World Series' in baseball - where they are the only Country taking part. Australia has Aussie Rules which no other Country plays. They have all successfully created professional leagues in these disciplines.
What would be so wrong about the GAA creating a professional league for Gaelic Football and Hurling? Why wouldn't it work? It's not like the GAA couldn't afford it. I'm sure there would be difficulties and things to consider as to how it would be structured - and indeed no County could be FORCED to have a professional set-up but I just can't understand why there is no room for the GAA to support professional athletes.
Lets face it, the guys who play for the top teams train and perform as professionals. In fact they deliver on a higher level than many other already professional sports and sportsmen and women. And yet they have to get up Monday to Friday and go to their 'day jobs'.
What have the GAA got against professionalism? They have all the pieces that would go into making a truly professional league but some unfathomable (to me) committment to 'amateurism' - like that's some holy grail - is stopping them creating it. Like creating a professional league would somehow destroy the parish and county committment to the great GAA sports? Why would it? It would only enhance it in my opinion - as young people would have a life to actually aim for. It is unfair to expect guys (mostly) to train to the highest professional levels - while they are still amateurs.
This country can and does support their GAA teams at a level which would support a professional league. Why can that step not be taken? What would be so bad about a guy making his living from being a professional GAA sportsman? I think it would be fantastic. And it is the logical next step.
Do I think it will ever happen? Probably not. But I still have to ask the question why not? Do the players not merit it? Is there not the money there to fund it? It seems to me that the reason is a principalled one. But is it the right ethos?
At the very least in these troubled times it would create an admirable amount of jobs in an economy that very badly needs them. We are desperately seeking entrepeneurism in every sphere of life. Why not in the GAA?
It's just a question to put out there..... Why are we so stuck on amateurism? And amateurism in name only - because other than not being paid - our GAA players ARE professionals in every other way. Is it really fair to deny them a living? Why?
(Yes, I am writing this from a perspective of knowing little to nothing about the internal workings of the GAA so you needn't slag me off! What's so different between Gaelic, hurling, and any other sport in the world??? I honestly think our sportsmen are being denied a fantatsic opportunity - but maybe I'm wrong. What do you think?)