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Passing on global warming and Brexit, embracing great sport!

 

 

 

There are many occasions when I have a little chat with myself, and tell myself that for a man of my age I have a very limited knowledge of the important things in life, like politics and economics and global warming and Brexit and stuff like that. Meanwhile, I am totally immersed in all kinds of sporting matters. As someone who gets a load of newspapers every week, I unashamedly admit that my first visit every time is to the sports pages.

  In fact, many is the time that when I discard whatever paper I happen to have, the important news pages will not have even got a passing glance. And so today, Monday (as I write), I am happily reflecting on an action-packed sporting weekend, but mostly on the rugby action, both internationally and locally, which (sadly for me) saw my two most favoured teams taste agonising defeats.

  On Saturday we had the big Six Nations clash between Ireland and England. Having escaped early from work, I was seated in front of the telly with a nice warm fire burning in the hearth, and all set for an epic encounter…now, if you read my column last week, you will know that I had great concern about the ability of Joe Schmidt’s men to beat the Auld Enemy – as it turned out, my misgivings were well founded. 

  The more physically powerful English came out with all guns blazing and were worthy winners, although it must be said that of the four tries they scored, we handed them three, and the ref had a big part in their fourth. However, yet again, the monstrous belts that lads took had to be seen to be believed, and as I write this on Monday evening, there are injury doubts over at least four or five of the Irish players. One thing worth noting is the fact that CJ Stander, who comes in for a lot of criticism because he wasn’t born in Ireland – and, therefore (according to his critics) hasn’t his heart in the green jersey – played for a large part of the game with both a fractured cheekbone and eye socket.

  The post-match inquests centred on the obvious lack of experience Robbie Henshaw has as an international full-back, a fact that was ruthlessly exposed by the English kickers, and on the school of thought (to which I subscribe) that suggests this reverse may not be a bad thing. Sometimes expectation can be an overwhelming burden. After all, if we had continued on our victorious way through the Six Nations tournament, we would be the team to beat when the World Cup comes in November. Now the English will carry that burden, and it may well be the best thing that ever happened to us.

  Anyway, the great thing about sport is there is always a next time, and in this instance the Irish team have a chance to get back on track when they travel to Edinburgh to take on the Scots on Saturday. I expect we will see a positive reaction, and this time, although the Scots are flying, I think we may just about get a welcome and much-needed victory. It’s a test of Schmidt as well as the team, and I believe he will mastermind a winning response.

 

Turning the clock back in Creggs

 

 

Staying with rugby, but on to local matters: on Sunday afternoon our own Creggs team took on the Connemara All Blacks in a vitally important Connacht League match, and even though we narrowly lost, it was in my opinion one of the greatest days in the 45-year history of the club.

 

  Back in the 1970s, and more particularly the ‘80s, the Creggs-Connemara rivalry was legendary, and  as someone who had the pleasure (sometimes not so much pleasure) of playing in several of the games of that era, I can say that there was always something completely different about playing the All Blacks. Their team was always tough and hard but fair, and their supporters were the sort of supporters any club would like to have…totally committed to their team, but never abusive to the opposition, and always respectful of their opponents – and hail, rain or snow, they were there in support of their local heroes.

  And so it was on Sunday when three busloads from Connemara, along with several cars carrying the team and supporters, arrived into our little village – and it was as if the clock was turned back thirty years or so. The game itself was one of the best I have seen at any level in many a year, the atmosphere was amazing, and if I spoke earlier about the huge hits that the international players took on Saturday, the ones that went in on Sunday were every bit as hard. I just don’t understand how lads would be able to get up on Monday morning and head off to their day jobs.

  I know there will be a full report elsewhere in this week’s People, so all I will say is that it was a match that could have gone either way, and the delighted All Blacks were honest enough to admit that they were very lucky. As a sign of the unbelievable physicality of the exchanges, both teams lost a number of players through injury, and the toll on our lads was particularly severe. With a big cup match against Monivea next Sunday, our strength in depth will be severely tested.

  At the end of a wonderful encounter both teams were applauded off by their respective supporters and it was just so uplifting to see the appreciation of both sides by the huge attendance. Anyway, typical Connemara, they didn’t just up their sticks and leave our village – they piled into Mikeen’s, where they stayed for quite a while. It was great to meet up with Henry O’Toole, one of the best rugby players of our, or any other era, and a man who had three sons playing against us on Sunday. Earlier, I had run into Aidan O’Halloran, who had the unusual distinction of playing for both clubs in his time, and before the last of the buses left Creggs, I met up with Corkman John O’Brien, husband of Anne Hannigan, with whom I worked for many a year in the good old Bank of Ireland days. Indeed our chat was responsible for holding up the bus’s departure for a good few minutes.

  By then, the news that the Rossies had done the business had come through, and so a few of us hit for Roscommon to join their celebrations in the Hatch, and I have to say we had great craic. Jack the Higher and Jack the Lower and myself had been due to meet up for a Christmas get-together, but now that none of us are working full-time, it’s very hard to find any spare time, so it didn’t happen. However, we decided to have our Christmas Party on Sunday night, and were joined by Adrian Leddy, Anthony Duignan, my son Mark, and young Brian Coady, along with several Rossies, and it was so successful that we are going to have another Christmas party in the Hatch in April. We were a little disappointed that between the three of them – Larry, Seamus and Mick – they couldn’t come up with a Christmas cake, but I suppose we didn’t give them much notice. No excuse in April.

  And so it came to an end, a day that saw hundreds of people visit our little village. The Roscommon Hunt were also there! As a Creggs man, I was so proud of our rugby team, our rugby club, and our local community – and if everyone says rural Ireland is dead, call to Creggs next Sunday afternoon and you will see a community that is flying the flag as high as it can go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine you want to build a house. You sit down with a builder and agree a price. Say it’s €200,000. He goes off with his instructions and starts his work. A month into the job he calls and tells you that he made a mistake and that the house will now cost you €800,000 – and it may even go to €1 million. It’s just crazy beyond any explanation. That would be the end of that.

  That’s more or less what has happened with the National Children’s Hospital project that has caused so much controversy in the past month. The price has gone up to four or five times the original estimate in the space of six months or so. Why does this always seem to happen in this country when public money is being spent?

  I had to laugh out loud when I heard Taoiseach Leo Varadkar say at the weekend (and with a straight face too) that there would be people held accountable for the mistakes that have been made in connection with this project. What planet is he living on? When did anyone ever take responsibility for wasting taxpayers’ money in this country? I have the answer to that one. Never.

  The people who are responsible for this scandal will be treated the same way as everyone else who has squandered taxpayers’ money over the years has been. At best they will be moved sideways, but most will be promoted – and all will retire with big fat pensions.

  We will have a ‘review’ to find out what happened, and that will cost an arm and a leg too. The review will seek to find out what mistakes were made so that we never make them again. What a laugh that is. Sure we never learn from our mistakes in this country.

  The infuriating thing about this scandal is that this hospital is badly needed and this project must go ahead. But that the costs were let spiral out of control to the extent that they have is quite unbelievable.

  The figures in connection with this scandal are staggering. It will be the most expensive medical facility ever built anywhere in the world. A hospital which is under construction in Adelaide in Australia is expected to cost €1.5 million per bed, which is considered very expensive. Not when our National Children’s Hospital comes into the reckoning though. At the moment the price is €3 million per bed – and rising.

  I am not a construction, medical or financial expert, but like every other ordinary person I am struggling to get my head around the scale of this scandal. In the Sunday Independent at the weekend there was a list of the estimated costs (so far). It was 80 million for this, 90 million for that, 55 million for the other…in a list of about 30 different headings. It was mind-boggling to look at in black and white. Remember, this is your money and my money.

  I am not naïve enough to believe that a top class Children’s Hospital could be built on the cheap. These projects are very expensive and this one has to be done, but we have cocked this one up big time. Work has already started and it’s too late to put the brakes on now. But people being held accountable? You must be joking. On to the next scandal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine you want to build a house. You sit down with a builder and agree a price. Say it’s €200,000. He goes off with his instructions and starts his work. A month into the job he calls and tells you that he made a mistake and that the house will now cost you €800,000 – and it may even go to €1 million. It’s just crazy beyond any explanation. That would be the end of that.

  That’s more or less what has happened with the National Children’s Hospital project that has caused so much controversy in the past month. The price has gone up to four or five times the original estimate in the space of six months or so. Why does this always seem to happen in this country when public money is being spent?

  I had to laugh out loud when I heard Taoiseach Leo Varadkar say at the weekend (and with a straight face too) that there would be people held accountable for the mistakes that have been made in connection with this project. What planet is he living on? When did anyone ever take responsibility for wasting taxpayers’ money in this country? I have the answer to that one. Never.

  The people who are responsible for this scandal will be treated the same way as everyone else who has squandered taxpayers’ money over the years has been. At best they will be moved sideways, but most will be promoted – and all will retire with big fat pensions.

  We will have a ‘review’ to find out what happened, and that will cost an arm and a leg too. The review will seek to find out what mistakes were made so that we never make them again. What a laugh that is. Sure we never learn from our mistakes in this country.

  The infuriating thing about this scandal is that this hospital is badly needed and this project must go ahead. But that the costs were let spiral out of control to the extent that they have is quite unbelievable.

  The figures in connection with this scandal are staggering. It will be the most expensive medical facility ever built anywhere in the world. A hospital which is under construction in Adelaide in Australia is expected to cost €1.5 million per bed, which is considered very expensive. Not when our National Children’s Hospital comes into the reckoning though. At the moment the price is €3 million per bed – and rising.

  I am not a construction, medical or financial expert, but like every other ordinary person I am struggling to get my head around the scale of this scandal. In the Sunday Independent at the weekend there was a list of the estimated costs (so far). It was 80 million for this, 90 million for that, 55 million for the other…in a list of about 30 different headings. It was mind-boggling to look at in black and white. Remember, this is your money and my money.

  I am not naïve enough to believe that a top class Children’s Hospital could be built on the cheap. These projects are very expensive and this one has to be done, but we have cocked this one up big time. Work has already started and it’s too late to put the brakes on now. But people being held accountable? You must be joking. On to the next scandal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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