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Showing posts from August, 2019

An All-Ireland Final for the Ages

An All-Ireland Final for the AgesGerry O'Shea
The All-Ireland finals in 1955 and 1975 are remembered with great pride by aficionados of Kerry football. In both years Dublin - better known now as the Dubs - were strongly fancied to win, but the men in green and gold emerged victorious and thus were assured of a special place in the Kerry pantheon of football heroes.
There is a great story told about the 55 final. The Kerry team travelled up by train and settled in at Barry's Hotel, owned by cousins of the young IRA hero who was executed by the British during the War of Independence. A big steak dinner was consumed, the rosary was recited and on the stroke of 9.00pm the manager, the legendary Dr. Eamonn O'Sullivan, ordered his team to bed, stressing the importance of a good night's sleep before performing in the momentous event in Croke Park the following day.
Early to bed was not the custom of a few of the team, and four players, full-back Ned Roche, corner-back Micksie Pa…

The Candidacy of Joe Biden

The Candidacy of Joe BidenGerry O'Shea
Electability is the core driving force of democratic politics. In the final analysis winning at the ballot box is all that matters. Losers tell election stories; winners wield political power.
Ask George McGovern or Al Gore or John McCain - three fine candidates but none of them was successful on their big day at the polls. The principled McGovern was pigeonholed as supporting a far-left agenda and he only carried one state, Massachusetts, against the hawkish Nixon in 1972. Twenty eight years later the talented but straitlaced then vice-president Al Gore was leading in a close race with Bush 43, but he made the mistake of distancing himself from his boss, the lascivious but well-liked Bill Clinton, and he lost by a few hundred votes. In 2008 John McCain, a war hero with the common touch, was favored against a first-term black senator from Illinois until he chose a political airhead from Alaska as a running mate and he lost.
How electable is Joe …

The Irish Industrial Schools and the Carrigan Report

The Irish Industrial SchoolsGerry O'Shea
One of the most disturbing stories during the first 100 years of Irish independence centers on the maltreatment of children in industrial schools.
It is ten years this summer since the Ryan Commission reported in detail on the disturbing catalogue of abuse inflicted on poor children in industrial schools who had nobody to speak for them, nobody on their side. These schools existed up and down the country until the 1970's. Among the better-known locations were Letterfrack in Galway, Artane in Dublin and Upton in Cork.
Almost 30,000children, nearly all orphans or truants or offsprings of unmarried mothers, were convicted as criminals and confined in these institutions by courts that just wanted them out of their sight.
The Ryan Report relates that in all these places, which were paid for by the state, children were humiliated and told they were worthless, somehow deserving of their pitiful plight. In a haunting sentence Ryan writes "chil…