The Return of Vigilantism
Sean Quinn was once the wealthiest man in Ireland. After the famed Celtic Tiger choked on its own excessive consumption, he was left with nothing and was eventually declared bankrupt. His companies had once provided employment in rural parts of Cavan and Fermanagh, where he was a hero. Post Anglo Irish Bank, when debts were accounted for, his original company was purchased and began work as Quinn Industrial Holdings, QIH. Sean Quinn himself worked for them as a consultant, reputedly for half a million euro a year, but left (asked to leave?) after some time. Now a vigilante group in the Cavan-Fermanagh area have taken the law into their own hands, damaging property of QIH and its executives. Most recently, they kidnapped Kevin Lunney, the chief operating officer of the company and beat him to within an inch of his life. That action and others by the vigilantes was roundly condemned by Sean Quinn, but no one, on either side of the Border, has yet been charged for the offences.
Lord Mountbatten in Ireland
A current biography of Lord Louis Mountbatten says that he was popular in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo where he was landlord of a number of properties. Some years before his death, he visited locals, asking how long they had been his tenants. ‘Would fifty pounds be okay?’ he asked one woman. His solicitor interrupted, ‘But Lord Mountbatten …’ That was as far as he got, before being reminded that his job was to do as he was asked. ‘Now please draw up the sale of this property and have it ready by the end of the week.’
One Provisional IRA member served 19 years prison for his role in the assassination before being released under the Good Friday Agreement; another suspect was acquitted but died shortly afterwards in a mysterious tractor accident. The book says that the explosion that killed Mountbatten and six others was ordered by Martin McGuinness.
Ireland appears prominently in another part of the biography. The Kincora Boys Home in Belfast and the upmarket Portora Royal school in Enniskillen, Oscar Wilde’s alma mater, were each said to provide companions for Mountbatten’s entertainment.
Men Fighting Back
We used to say that something could only happen in Ireland and the following may be a good example. A marriage breaks up and the parents are given joint guardianship of their daughter. Mum enrols the child in a secondary school without consulting Dad. When he finds out, he writes to the school to tell them that he has not given his consent to the enrolment. The school principal writes to him some months later suggesting that for the good of the child, the parents should sort the matter out between themselves.
The father in this case took a discrimination case to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and was awarded €3500 because the WRC determined that the school board treated him less favourably than his wife when she decided where their daughter would attend school.
Only in Ireland.
The Four-Day Week
In Britain, the Labour Party are looking for a 32-hour working week. So Ireland was not far behind, in their case they call it a four-day week. Apparently, there are some companies who already have it, mostly in the area we used to call office skills, what is not called IT. But although the Irish Labour Party spokesman has supported the move, his endorsement could be called, at best, timid.
As a retired teacher, I would have been most annoyed to have my students taught one day a week by a part- timer. Don’t know how it would work in your job.