From The Papers

There was a winner, but …

Ivana Bacik won the by-election in Dublin Bay South. There were some particularly significant elements to that victory. The first was that she was representing the Labour Party, very much a minor player in Irish politics. Then there was the fact that the seat was formerly held by a Fine Gael Minister Eoghan Murphy. But perhaps the most important detail was that in the by-election, Fianna Fail polled less than 5 per cent and left murmurs that there needed to be a change at the top of that party, replacing Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

Climate Change

The EU has set ambitious targets for all its member states. Two that will have a particular impact on Ireland are the requirement that all motor vehicles will be electric by 2035 and the need for each country to create what they call ‘carbon sinks’. This will involve wetting large areas, most likely of peatland, and the stopping of turf cutting or its more technical term in modern times. There will also be the requirement to plant lots of trees.

Des O’Malley RIP

He was the politician who dared to take on Charlie Haughey and was expelled from Fianna Fail for his efforts. He then went on to set up his own party, the Progressive Democrats, with Mary Harney and Michael McDowell in 1985. In the general election of 1987, the PDs won 14 seats and two years later were part of a coalition government with FF. Basically conservative in policies, they were extremely popular, not least to disenchanted supporters of FF.

Des O’Malley will possibly best be remembered for his determined and constant anti-terrorist efforts. He was aged 82.


The Omagh bombings 23 years ago this month resulted in the death of 29 people, the biggest single terrorism act of the NI Troubles. A Belfast High Court judge has found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the atrocity could have been prevented if information which had been passed to the the security forces and the RIC had been acted upon. The ruling means that the British and Irish governments may be required separately to hold enquiries. The case was taken by Michael Gallagher, chair of the Omagh Victims Support Group, father of one of the victims of the carnage.

In the week the report was released, Michael McKevitt, regarded as one of those responsible for the attack in Omagh, died of cancer at the age of 71.

Sean Farrell RIP

Tinteán is sad to learn of the death of Sean Farrell who was a regular contributor to our monthly magazine. Sean was a retired diplomat who wrote extensively on many aspects of Irish and world politics. He was aged 75, and died of cancer. Tinteán offers sympathy to his wife and family. We recommend this obituary notice from The Irish Independent.

The Olympics

Two men from Skibbereen, Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy. Gold medals in the lightweight double sculls. What did they think of it? Here is O’Donovan, quoted in the Irish Times:

They will knock me back down to earth quick enough if I do get carried away. You just have got to put it into perspective, like, you know. … Life goes on all the same and you still have the same friends and do the same things in life. It is not the be all and end all of the world. For sure winning is better than not winning, don’t get me wrong. But there is not a huge difference.

Aidan Walsh from Belfast won a bronze medal in boxing – for Ireland! Traditionally, boxers from the Six Counties declare for Ireland. Worth noting also that Rory McIlroy represented Ireland.

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And as we go to press, we learn that Kellie Harrington has won a gold medal in lightweight (57-60 kg) boxing, on a 5-0 decision by the judges. Aged 31, Kellie comes from Portland Row in central Dublin.

Lockdown is an excuse to revisit the masters and learn what they have to say about sport.

There was always one thing, said Shanahan wisely, that the Irish race was always noted for, one place where the world had to give us best. With all his faults, and by God he has plenty, the Irishman can jump. By God he can jump. That’s one thing the Irish race is honoured for no matter where it goes or where you find it – jumping. The world looks up to us there. … It’s a thing, said Furriskey, that will always stand to us – jumping.

At Swim-Two-Birds, Flann O’Brien.
After chance to crow 'bout the Skibbereen show
And the Belfast ones who for Ireland ran
And three cheers for Kellie from Portland Row,