I have to say that generally I am not a man who watches television programmes that expose different types of abuses and wrongdoings, although I am aware that over the years RTE’s investigative reporters have exposed all types of corruption…involving everything from dishonest politicians to unregulated ESB environmental damage, to health care standards, to the misuse of steroids, to the over-prescription of tablets and so on.
However, the other night I had the misfortune to tune into a programme investigating the treatment of underperforming greyhounds, and I can honestly tell you I have seldom been as disturbed as I was by what that hour of television revealed. Up to 6,000 greyhounds are killed each year in Ireland, just because they are of no further use, racing-wise.
Footage of a knackery in Co. Wexford where a poor dog was shot in the head, and could be seen writhing on the ground for a few seconds after the barbaric act, chilled me to the bone.
That was bad enough, but later we saw a greyhound thrown into a barrel of boiling water in China and being boiled alive. Whether or not that particular poor creature came from Ireland I don’t know, but the programme alleged that Irish greyhounds are ending up in China, a country we are not allowed to send our animals to, and where there is apparently absolutely no consideration shown to the animals, and where unspeakable cruelty seems to be the norm.
Now I am well aware that we have loads of perfectly genuine greyhound trainers and owners out there who care properly for the animals’ welfare, but there are also unscrupulous people involved in the industry (as in everything) who just couldn’t care less.
For me, as I’m sure for lots of viewers, this programme was highly disturbing. It was one that I didn’t really want to watch, yet I just couldn’t stop doing so. It truly proved that when it comes to barbaric and inhuman acts, the human population is hard to beat.
There’s almost a sting in this tale…
It’s summertime and in my opinion one of the nicest things about this time of year is the great stretch in the evenings. For huge numbers of people, it’s an opportunity to spend some quality time in the garden, and at least for a while we become experts on flowers, plants, greenfly, slugs, moss, and compost, and all kinds of things that make up a gardener’s life.
Everything is vibrant. The roses and shrubs are in full bloom, and the hedge needs to be trimmed to keep it (sort of) tidy. The birds are singing, and, as they say, everything in the garden is rosy, and life couldn’t be better.
And so it was on Wednesday of last week, when I was slaving (a definite lie) away at work, that my good wife Carol decided to trim the aforementioned hedge, got to work on it, and inadvertently disturbed a wasps’ nest. She was immediately surrounded by (according to her) hundreds of angry hornets, but thankfully she took off like a scalded cat and managed to make the safety of the house without receiving any stings. She also got our little miniature Jack Russell safely inside.
Now there can scarcely be anything more terrifying than being attacked by a swarm of angry wasps, so when things settled down, we decided to have a look, and lo and behold, we discovered another nest just a bit further down the hedge. By now alarm bells were ringing, and we decided it was time to call in the experts, so I rang former St. Joseph’s footballer (don’t hold that against him) Alan O’Keeffe, proprietor of AOK Pest Control, and asked him to sort out the wasps for us.
It is now Friday morning, I am once again slaving at work (another lie), and the good news is that Alan came, saw, and conquered, and we are now a wasp-free zone again. I can’t thank him enough for getting rid of those dangerous visitors, and Carol can now finish trimming the hedge.
Now it’s easy to trivialise these things, but even though these nests were the size of an average bird’s one, we hadn’t noticed either of them. Alan told us one of them was there for quite some time, and had a huge amount of eggs, and he reckoned by September we would have been completely overrun – not a nice thought.
All I can say is, keep your eyes open – obviously hedges are places of interest to these little pests. Above all, remember they are extremely dangerous and will attack in numbers, so take no chances, call in the experts and get rid of them once and for all –and enjoy your garden for the rest of what will hopefully be a long, hot (not too hot) summer.
Centenary celebrations as legend Eddie
Kehir to guest
It’s hard to believe it now – when teams like Clann na nGael, St. Brigid’s and others dominate the club football scene in County Roscommon – but give or take a century ago, down the road in Donamon we had a team that won the County Senior Championship in 1918/19/20 and ’25.
Oran’s Mikey Monaghan tells me they are having a Centenary Celebration this weekend for the team that achieved all those wonderful victories.
In 1925, Donamon defeated Boyle Army Barracks – which was called the 3rd Infantry Battalion. A Battalion that still exists, it’s based in Kilkenny City, and accordingly Oran are playing the 3rd Infantry Battalion football team in Rockfield on Sunday next, 7th July at 1.30 pm.
Now Mikey sent me loads of stuff about Donamon and Oran, material which would nearly take up a full book (now there’s a thought for you, Mikey). There were loads of names involved with those Donamon teams that kept cropping up with Oran teams through the years. Among the players that played back then were Stephen Keher, father of the legendary Kilkenny hurler, Eddie, and Stephen’s brother Bertie. Stephen was subsequently transferred to Kilkenny, where his son made such a name for himself, and is still regarded as one of the all-time greats of hurling. The good news is that Eddie Keher will be the Guest of Honour at Sunday’s proceedings. I wonder if Stephen had stayed in this area would Eddie have had the hurling career that he had? I suppose we’ll never know.
Admission on Sunday is free, but a commemorative match programme will be on sale for only €5. After the game everyone is invited for a cup of tea and a chat, and from there on to Kenny’s in Rockfield, where a relation of my own, DJ Cush, will be providing the entertainment. Knowing some of the older Oran lads like I do, I can guarantee the craic will be ninety, so don’t forget, 1.30 pm on Sunday in Rockfield – and I hope to see you all there.
Till next week, Bye for now!