One of the biggest problems facing every type of business in Ireland at the moment is the cost of insurance, most particularly the cost of public liability, with many businesses finding their renewal premiums are spiralling out of control, and, all over the country closures are taking place, with people out of work as a result.
A couple of months ago, Martin Mulligan, whose family run a shop on the Roscommon side of Athlone, revealed that he was flabbergasted to find his annual insurance bill had more than quadrupled - it had risen from €7,000 a year to a financially crippling €30,000, a sum that made the proprietor actually consider closing up.
At the time, local Senator, Terry Leyden, raised the matter in the Seanad, claiming the Government needed to tackle the rising premium costs as well as tackling the ever increasing number of fraudulent claims.
Only a few weeks ago, I saw where a long established event promotion business in Dundalk had closed after 29 claim-free years, and in this case the problem was not the price, but rather the fact that no company would quote for his business at all. This was primarily a bouncy castle type events company, and the proprietor said that while he had managed to pass all his bookings on to other presently insured businesses, he predicted that a lot of them would also have to close when their insurance would come up for renewal.
And so, as the pressure grows on small local businesses and even community festivals, and especially those catering for large crowds, I have to applaud the efforts of two publicans (at least) who have erected marquees beside their premises, and are having their own summer music festivals.
On Friday night last, as I dropped into Mikeen’s for a few quiet weekend pints, I met a group of local revellers who were about to board a bus and head for Jimmy Screene’s pub in Guilka, near Menlough, where Mundy was performing in the marquee, and where Patrick Feeney and Paddy Casey have already played over the last week or two. I’m told that our gang had a great night at Mundy, and thoroughly enjoyed their outing.
Not too far up the road in Aughrim in Co. Galway, at Valerie’s, there was also a marquee erected and it has a couple of fantastic shows lined up. On Thursday night, Foster and Allen, Chloe Agnew, daughter of our good friend, Twink, Matt Leavy and an unknown guest superstar are appearing, and, please God, I’m hoping to head down there myself. There is also a big American country band there on the Saturday, and a local party night on Sunday, and all I can say is well done to both of those pubs, for having the courage to promote such big music weekends, and I really hope the crowds flock in huge numbers to both places, and hopefully they will continue to do so for many years in the future.
Jimmy Screene was a top rugby player with Buccaneers who got a number of Ireland ‘A’ caps, and I am told that when it comes to food, his Guilka venue is among the best around - maybe sometime in the near future I will check it out, but, in the meantime, despite the huge insurance costs, these two venues are fighting back, and fair play to them.
As I said, loads of community carnivals and festivals are falling by the wayside due to the outrageous insurance costs, so Terry Leyden is right and it’s time fraudulent claims were investigated and the claimants were punished accordingly, and it’s also time that legitimate claims got reasonable awards, not the crazy sums that are being awarded presently.
Tipp are tops as Cats are licked
On to sporting matters, and the All-Ireland hurling final, which we had all anticipated so eagerly, turned out to be a disappointing affair with the Richie Hogan sending off dominating the post-match discussions. As with all controversial decisions, there are people coming down on both sides. In my humble opinion, the sending off, while regrettable, was correct, but I don’t think it affected the result that much as Tipp were a much better side, and would have won anyway.
However, once again, even though it was a one-sided final, the unbelievable bravery, commitment and total fearlessness that our hurlers show is amazing, and as someone who suffers greatly watching the antics of soccer superstars like Paul Pogba and other overpaid Man United underperformers, wouldn’t it be great to give some of them a helmet, a hurl and a sliothar, and let them experience the intensity of even a junior hurling match.
Pogba must be one of the most irritating sportsmen alive, and as he and Alexis Sanchez, among others, pocket their obscene weekly wages, I wonder has he ever seen T.J. Reid or Joe Canning or any of the Mahers, and if he has, what he makes of the punishment they take all for the love of their native counties.
Anyway, my late mother was a Tipp woman, and, as I told you before, my uncle Mikey brought me all over Munster back in the late fifties and early sixties to watch the Tipp hurlers and so I cannot deny that I have always had a soft spot for them, and I was delighted to see them beat the Cats. Let’s hope Galway can get back into the frame next year, and maybe bring the MacCarthy Cup back to the west.
Big Tom tribute night in Glenamaddy
On Friday, September 27th in the Oaklands Hotel, Glenamaddy, Julie Healy is having a Big Tom tribute night, with very special guest John Rex Reeves, a singer-songwriter nephew of the late superstar, Jim Reeves, who is a top country star in his own right, and who was inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012. He has toured England, Scotland, Norway, and Australia, has had eight records in the American national charts and has had a very successful musical career. This is his first time in Ireland, and he is looking forward to getting here, and I know he will get a great Irish welcome here in September.
The supporting line-up, which includes Michael Lyster, Michael Commins, The Conquerors Showband, Johnny Carroll, PJ Murrihy and loads more, is just extraordinary, and this promises to be one of the best nights ever in the locality. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are selling fast, so if you want to be there call Julie on 087-9049388.
Dance the night away for Cancer Care West!
Finally for this week, for the sixteenth year in a row, we are having our own fundraising dance for Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund in Dowd’s of Glinsk, on Saturday, October 12th with music by Jimmy Kearney and the Lancers. We will be calling door-to-door very soon with our tickets. Admission is optional, but we are very glad to get any contribution for two very worthy causes. Over the years are supporters have contributed the amazing total of €70,000 and, as always, we look forward to calling, meeting you for the chat, and thank you, in advance for your great support.
Till next week, Bye for now!