Ger Walsh Column 12/09/15 : the chronicle.ie

Ger Walsh Column 12/09/15

| September 12, 2015

Gorey benefits as the recovery moves down the country

There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the recession is over with all the statistics indicating that the recovery is well and truly under way and the government pointing time and again to the fact that things are getting better.

On the other side of the fence there are those who insist that the recovery is only benefiting the select few and the argument goes that it has not spread throughout the country at all. Indeed it seems that there are some people in public life and at the head of various organisations who would prefer to see an endless depression because it is depression and despair which provides a fertile environment for their activities and advancement.

In the same way some others see corruption and wrongdoing around every corner and will not be convinced otherwise because that’s what provides the platform for the advancement of their cause.

That is not to suggest that there is not corruption or that the harsh effects of the recession are still not being felt by many individuals and communities.

But the reality is that things are beginning to get better and the uplift is not just happening in Dublin, it is slowly beginning to roll out across the country and into county Wexford.

It is easy to point to difficulties that still exist in the health services, the homeless crisis and other issues, but many of these problems existed when the country was awash with money during the Celtic Tiger years.

The recovery is patchy, there is no doubt about that, and the types of jobs which are coming on stream are not of the full time permanent pensionable variety that we were all once used to. But there are more jobs, more businesses are opening up and the Main Streets in all our towns are busier.

Gorey is probably the best example in the county of where the recovery really has taken hold. I was in the town over a couple of weekends recently and I was really struck by the large number of people around and the level of business being enjoyed by town centre traders.

There were queues to get into several restaurants and cafes and everywhere appeared to be busy. Perhaps it is the town’s proximity to Dublin, and with the new road through Wicklow it is now closer to Dublin than ever, but it certainly seems to be leaving the woes of the recession well and truly behind.

This increase in business and generally improved economic climate in the town will undoubtedly trickle down to lift all boats in the months ahead. However, at the moment there are those who probably do not feel that their particular boat is being lifted because Gorey does have a severe shortage of housing and many people are struggling to find accommodation.

This is the next area which needs tackling and a more comprehensive housing plan than we have seen to date will be necessary if the problem is to be eased within a reasonable time frame.

No doubt the various parties will have much to say about the issue over the next few months but a sceptical public will be slow to buy any of their promises given the recent history surrounding political promises in this country.

But whatever the promises, the reality is that things are getting better and towns like Gorey are beginning to march forward again. That is a big improvement on where we were six years ago when for a few awful months it appeared as if there wouldn’t be a shop, restaurant or pub left in the county.

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Rural Garda Stations will never reopen

The tragic death of John O’Donoghue from a heart attack when he discovered that his home had been burgled in Limerick has once again brought the question of rural policing to the top of the agenda. One national newspaper even screamed from its front page that Mr O’Donoghue’s death was the tragic price being paid for the closure of a rural garda station in his area.

This screaming sensationalist headline of course had more to do with trying to sell copies of that particular newspaper than making any sensible contribution to the debate about rural policing.

My own views on rural garda stations are well known and they have not changed in recent years. Having a building with a sign on it saying ‘Garda’ is really little use to rural dwellers who are concerned about crime.

Sure it might make them feel more relaxed in the mistaken belief that the station actually provides security but in reality having a station without fully equipping it with technology, transport and an adequate number of Gardai is a sort of a con job.

There are those who argue for more rural Garda Stations and no doubt some politicians and political parties will make promises on the reopening of rural garda stations during the course of the election campaign. Those promises will in fact be an insult to the people of rural Ireland who are living in fear as a result of the type of hysteria which is being generated at the moment on rural crime.

There is no doubt that rural crime is a problem but it is not out of control to the extent that it is being protrayed in some sections of the media or by some politicians and you probably have as much chance of finding gold at the end of a rainbow as seeing a rural garda station reopened any time some.

Unless we are going to get back to having five or six Gardai attached to a rural village Garda Station living in that community, playing sports with the local teams, and cycling around the parish getting to know everyone you are not going to provide the type of certainly and comfort that people believe they can achieve by having a Garda Station in their area.

Typically now Gardai do not live in the area in which they are stationed so the notion that they would get to know everyone in the local area and be found playing cards on a Tuesday night in the local pub is simply nonsense.

So these calls for reopening of rural stations are simply fairytale stuff. That is not to say or suggest that rural policing is adequate. It is not. But then many would feel that urban policing is not adequate either

We need more Gardai and we need them sensibly deployed with the proper resources and the latest technology. We should have dedicated rural patrols that are not pulled from their duties to support and replace town units on a busy Saturday night. More Gardai and more resources to ensure that they can be effective in their fight against the criminals will cost money and that money has to come from taxation.

As more people go back to work and the tax take increases some resources will be available to employ more Gardai and to equip them better and that should certainly be part of the programme for the next government.

 

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No appreciation for the magic of Billy Walsh

There is a great old saying that when one door shuts another opens and often the one that opens provides the path to something much better than the one that was closed in your face.

I think that is certainly true of Billy Walsh who is in a position to put the hassle of dealing with the Irish Boxing authorities behind him if they don’t start treating him fairly and giving him proper recognitiion for his achievements as a result of being offered a post in the United States.. For some inexplicable reason Billy has not been given the recognition he absolutely deserves as a result of his achievements with the Irish Boxing squad,

Indeed there are those who would suggest that he has been shamefully treated by those in charge. The thing is that in terms of the Olympics Walsh’s charges were by far the most successful in the Irish Squad so it is difficult to understand why the officials were not falling at his feet.

In any event not only were they not falling at his feet but they were essentially insulting him and the only surprise is that the Wexford man took it for so long.

Now if he is off to the United States I am sure he will make a great success of his efforts over there and if he does the Americans will not be slow to recognise his achievement. The only thing that concerns me is how the Yanks will take to Billy’s sharp Wexford accent. Good luck Billy.

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Is this Wexford’s best roundabout

The importance of presenting a good image of your local place for visitors is now recognised as being vital in attracting tourists and investment. That’s why in so many places work on improving entrances to towns and villages is being undertaken by local groups.

In recent years the roundabouts close to towns have been recognised as being a type of advertisement for the sort of town you are entering. A well presented roundaabout provides a really good impression of a town. Throughout Co. Wexford a huge amount of work has been carried out to ensure that roundaabouts close to towns look well and by and large they do.

However, I think the one at Newtown Road on the Wexford town by-pass is really a cut above the rest. It presents a tremendous display of colour and is really well maintained. Great credit is due to those involved in looking after it. If you know of a better maintained or more attractive roundabout let me know.

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The Patron Day has been ruined for some communities

The annual Patron Day is a really significant occasion for communities all over the county. Right through the summer months people travel from all parts of the country and beyond to attend their local patrons and in rural parishes in particular they are a great occasion for family gatherings and for people to have an annual meeting.

It is a great tradition and one which has much to recommend it. However, in some parts of the county, particularly in some urban areas, the Patron Day is not what it once was.

In the larger urban areas, for example, only a small fraction of people now attend the graves of their loved ones on Patron Day. Instead they visit the previous day or the day after and that whole sense of community is lost.

They have not changed their habits by choice, but sadly by necessity. In some places the patron days have literally been taken over by groups of people who have no regard for anyone but themselves. They refuse to obey parking regulations, abuse other patron goers and use parts of the cemetery as public toilets.

I am not going to label these people for fear of having some do-gooder taxpayer funded organisation seek to have me muzzled, but it is a real pity that the activities of these people have ruined a traditional family day for so many Wexford people.

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Don’t have a heart attack at weekends

I see where research over a thirteen year period in the UK has shown that if you have a heart attack at the weekend you are much more likely to die than if it happens during the week. In fact Saturday is the worst day of the week to have a heart attack in the UK with a 19% greater chance that you will die from the attack than if it was suffered Monday to Friday.

The situation on Sundays is not much better and the problem is that more people suffer heart attack out of hours, that is outside 9 to 5 and at weekends, than face the problem during the normal working week.

The research was carried out exclusively in the UK but I assume the results would not be much different in Ireland which is why I believe people should avoid any strenuous activity at weekends, particularly anything which might bring on an attack like doing jobs around the house or in the garden. It’s the perfect excuse.

Incidentally, a person suffers a heart attack in the UK every three minutes. Just another piece of useless information for you.

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A new way to get that Disability Benefit

For anyone trying to find a way of getting on to Disability Benefit a lady in France may just have come up with the perfect solution. Marie Richard said she was entitled to Benefit because she was allergic to Wi Fi.

The Benefits Department did not believe her so she went to court and won her case. She claims that to avoid Wi Fi she has to live in an isolated barn. The court believed her and awarded her payments of about €700 per month.

The World Health Organisation says the symptoms associated with the allergy are non specific but can include dermatological systems including redness of the skin, tingling and a burning sensation.

A lawyer in the case said it had created a precedent. No doubt it has.

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Oh Enda

Enda Kenny says he was surprised when the Garda Commissioner resigned after he sent a senior civil servant to his house close to mid-night to tell in he might not be able to express confidence in him the following morning. That’s a bit like a child kicking a ball straight at window and then expressing surprise to his mother that the glass smashed. But you could make an excuse for an innocent child, they’d say anything to avoid the wrath of an angry parent. But Enda, oh Enda who are you trying to fool. To me it appears the only one he is actually fooling is himself. Of course he wanted the Garda Commissioner gone, and you know what, in that regard he was almost certainly right.

by Ger Walsh

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