From the Papers

The Monk

Spanish police have arrested Gerry Hutch, aka The Monk, on foot of an extradition warrant by the Irish Gardai. He has been living in Fuengirola for some years and will be held in jail pending his extradition, though it is expected that he will fight this attempt to get him back to Dublin. As noted in our books this month, there is no shortage of charges he may have to face.

Investigation Continues

The investigation into the 1996 murder of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Schull Co Cork is still going on. British author Nick Foster says he has spoken with a man now in a retirement home who claims that he has important information relevant to the investigation. Englishman Ian Bailey was convicted by a French court of the murder in 2019, but the Irish courts have refused an extradition request. If you have Netflix, you may want to catch up on the three-part series Sophie which gives a summary of the case.

All-Ireland numbers

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Up to 2018, Limerick had won seven All Ireland hurling titles. Since then, they have won three of the last four. There were more than 1,600 new Covid infections on August 22, but 40,000 came to Croke Park to watch Limerick beat Cork. Scores in hurling have been climbing over the years. Typical scores were like the 2004 final when Cork beat Kilkenny, 0-17 to 0-09 or the previous year where Kilkenny won 1-14 to 1-11. Those days are long past. In this year’s semi-final, the score was Cork 1-37 to Kilkenny 1-32 (admittedly in overtime). But the champion was the final, won by Limerick 3-32 to 1-22; by the 18th minute, every one of the Limerick forwards had scored.

Some More Numbers

In 1961, the population of Ireland was 2.8 million. This year, the official figure is 5.1 million, an increase of 78%. The last time the Irish population exceeded 5 million was in 1851 in the aftermath of the Famine of Black ’47. The increase in the 2021 figure owes much to inward migration from other countries, as well as the return of some who left in the bad times. ‘For we’re over here in Queensland and in parts of New South Wales / We’re on the seas and airways and the trains. / But if we see better days, those big air’planes go both ways / And we’ll all be coming home to you again.’

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