From the Papers

Ireland’s European Elections

Although the candidates are not household names, there were some interesting results. In Northern Ireland, for example, where the turnout was a paltry 45%, the three successful candidates were women: one from the DUP, one from Sinn Fein and Naomi Long from the Alliance Party who took votes from Orange and Green sides.


In the South, Fine Gael were the most successful Party. The first three seats in the southern five-seat constituency were filled by FG(2) and FF(1). Wexford Independent Mick Wallace won the fourth seat; a recount is taking place for the final seat, with a Greens candidate 327 votes ahead of Sinn Fein’s Liadh Ni Riada.

In Midland North-West, the winners were Mairead McGuiness (FG), Ming Flanagan (Ind), Maria Walsh (FG) and Matt Carty (Sinn Fein). Ms Walsh is a former Rose of Tralee and a member of the LGBT community.

In the Dublin constituency, the first two seats went to the Greens and Fine Gael. The third seat was won by Independents 4 Change and the fourth by Fianna Fail. That last seat can only be taken up, however, if Britain leaves the EC; if that does not happen, there will be only one FF representative in the EU parliament.

Wild West, Dublin Style

Those of us who lived in Dublin knew it as a friendly place, once you knew the areas to avoid on a Saturday night. But those days seem to have been replaced by gang wars featuring well-armed criminals keen to take advantage of a booming drug culture.

Here is how The Independent reported a recent event,download-1.jpg

A 41-year-old criminal became the third man to be shot dead in Dublin in less than one week after he was blasted five times in the head outside the home of a 22-year-old drug dealer who was murdered last week.

The victim of the capital’s latest gun murder is Hamid Sanambar – an Iranian asylum seeker who was closely connected to Sean Little who was shot dead in Balbriggan on Tuesday night of last week.

So the country’s leading newspaper is able to name a dead man as a criminal and state that he was shot outside the door of a drug dealer, also named. There are times when we complain about crime in Australia’s two big cities, but Dublin with a population about one-fifth of Melbourne or Sydney is more dangerous.

Compensation Culture

Social trends need to reach a point of serious concern when a government minister is prepared to stand up in the Dail to condemn those trends. Business Minister Heather Humphreys referred scathingly to the ‘compensation culture’ that has gripped Ireland in recent years. The background to her complaint was a case involving Dun Laoire TDMaria Bailey, a backbench colleague in her own party, who had taken action against a hotel where she fell off a swing. The 


Independent newspaper revealed that three weeks after the fall, Ms Bailey ran a 10km race. The case is obviously more complex than a summary like this can indicate, but it seems to have tapped into a disquiet about the way that the courts are being called upon for what Ms Humphreys called ‘fraudulent or exaggerated claims.’ 

A good example of such a claim was one for 75 000 euro by a man who claimed that he had been defamed when he and two of his friends were called back from a shopping centre, where a shop assistant had forgotten to remove an electronic tag from an Armani jacket bought and paid for by his friend. A circuit court judge dismissed the claim, describing it as ‘an appalling waste of time.’

A Hero Passes

Anton O’Toole was a member of the champion team of the ‘70s that brought Gaelic football back to Dublin. The county had won the All Ireland in 1963, but for the next ten years were easy beats, not even reaching a Leinster final again until 1974. That year, Kevin Heffernan put together a team that would bring noise, colour, humour adownload-1nd triumph back to Hill 16. One of the heroes of that team was Anton O’Toole. The Hill christened him Blue Panther, a big man, left-footed, playing at half-forward or in the corner, a nuisance to opposing defenders. He won four All Irelands ’74, ’76, ’77 and ’83 and was an All Star on three occasions. Anton died on May 17th after what was described as a short illness; he was 68. There is a lovely piece at showing Glenn Hansard singing Raglan Road for O’Toole on Grafton Street on Christmas Eve.

John Sheehan at 80

He was one of the original Dubliners, and he is now the only survivor – Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna and Ciaran Burke were the others. They download-2.jpgbrought their brand of irreverent, raucous, sometimes bawdy songs to world acclaim. Originally an electrician and draftsman with the ESB, Sheehan left his permanent pensionable job for the uncertain life of a travelling music group of which he was seen as the least boisterous one. The Late Late Show gathered a group of musicians to celebrate Sheehan’s 80th birthday on May 18th. The gathering included Damien Dempsey, Declan O’Rourke and Ralph McTell who said that he first met Sheehan in Australia. Another guest was Phelim Drew who sang Three Lovely Lassies in a voice that was uncannily close to that which made his father famous. The entire Late Late segment can be found at