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People Platform - March 23rd



Response on ‘disabled parking’

Dear Editor,

Disabled parking. In Roscommon?

  It would appear to be a specific policy of reluctant afterthought by our myopic County Council. For starters, quite simply there is not enough of them! They are scattered with total indifference and without any practical nor strategic thought? Just take a look at where they are sited in the ‘new’ car park, a lengthy walk indeed...

   For example, there is not ONE such space in Main Street, Goff Street, Church Street, Castle Street nor Lanesboro Street. Okay, there is ONE in Main Street opposite the Bank of Ireland, but that is situated in a very dangerous spot, especially if one has difficulty in turning one’s aged/disabled neck through some 120 degrees to see oncoming and usually speedy traffic; I know I do. 

  Then there is the cavalier disregard for such spots by many motorists, who probably are unaware that we of the disabled drivers do NOT have free parking in Roscommon, or for that matter, anywhere.

  Recently I have renewed my membership of the DDAI, at a cost of €35; however, in so doing also I was required to submit a new passport photo, and as such, there was another eight euro. To this add postage, envelopes, the cost of the round trip into town to have taken the photos, and one is looking at about €50 for my ‘free’ parking. And I won’t begin to open that can of beans concerning the so-called ‘provision’ by local supermarkets of ‘Disabled Spaces’, especially that of one British-owned company...   

   When it comes to parking spaces (bearing in mind there is no adequate provision of public transport in this area and thus the car is the sole option?), just look at the Council’s latest wondrous idea. I refer to the ‘green’ parking spaces; one-hour. Who monitors the time-limit? Roscommon hasn’t any parking meters, no traffic wardens, no cardboard clocks to place in the windscreen and, no spare police? And then on a Friday, the number of available spaces is reduced further by vendors and their stalls.  

And councillors get paid for this inspired thinking... 

Yours faithfully,

Michael Dryhurst,  

Roscommon F42 RR04


From Tully, Ballygar, Michael Nolan writes…

Fox hunting ‘a legacy of colonialism’


Dear Editor,

Some sons and daughters of fox hunting parents have ceased fox hunting because

of the cruelty to the fox and livestock upset as described by Philomena Collins

in her letter to The Roscommon People of 2nd of March. 

  Fox hunting is a legacy of colonialism. Landlords, some of their exploitative

agents and a handful of servile, gentry-like natives chased the fox during the 

short, winter days.

  Laughter would ensue as a lone, frightened cow fled and got stuck in a drain. Our ancestors were positioned as ‘diggers’ in strategic positions along the route. To refuse to fulfil this task resulted in rent being raised and a second refusal meant an eviction.

  Most natives of colonised countries had little and very little choice and became servile. But servility often lasted after independence. Gandhi foresaw this and forewarned his people to be conscious of it.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Nolan


Friends in fond farewell to Tom, another town character…


Paul Healy


Not everyone knew him, but those who did won’t forget him.

  He shook hands with Joe Frazier, greeted Robert Kennedy, and met many Hollywood stars. When his days of rubbing shoulders with celebrities were over, he endeared himself to the people of Roscommon town, where he became a familiar face, a much-liked ‘character’.

  It can be said without fear of contradiction that the passing of Tom Sharkey means Roscommon has lost another of its unique characters.

  A native of the Frenchpark area, he emigrated to New York in 1958. He gained employment as a bellboy in a leading hotel – the Sheraton Motor Inn at 42nd Street, off 12th Avenue.

  With his Irish charm and charisma, Tom blossomed as a bellboy. This week, friends in Roscommon recalled tales of his exploits. Amongst the hotel guests he had the pleasure of meeting were American Presidential candidate Robert (Bobby) Kennedy and heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier. There were many others too. 

  One friend said: “He also used to talk about receiving a 100 dollar tip – a lot of money back in the 1970s”. Apparently that tip was handed over by either Kirk Douglas or Frank Sinatra. The memories have faded a little!  

  When Tom Sharkey returned to Ireland in 1980, he brought with him a nickname that was to remain for the rest of his life.

  Tom became known to one and all as ‘10-4’ –  because, on returning to Roscommon, he brought news of the CB Radio craze which had struck America. ‘10-4 – over and out’ was the CB Radio lingo. Now Roscommon had its own ‘10-4’.

  For a period, he worked in the Royal Hotel, and also in the then Burlington factory in Clondra. Resident in Roscommon town, his siblings were mostly based back in America. According to friends, he had four sisters in America, three of whom predeceased him. Tom’s brother, PJ, still lives in Co. Roscommon.  

  A number of friends from Roscommon town travelled to his recent funeral. He was laid to rest in Fairymount. One said: “We gave him a great send-off. His nephew, Peter, hosted us and was very generous. We will all remember him fondly”.

  Tom Sharkey was 79 when he passed away. Up to very recently he was still popping into the odd local bar for a drink, always with a friendly word or a nod.

  He was affectionately known as ‘10-4’ and he had no issue with that. He was Tom Sharkey. He’s gone to his reward, another Roscommon character, the bellboy who charmed the stars. May he rest in peace.







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