People Platform – July 21st

 

‘What a day to be a Rossie’

 

Ray Gannon from Carrick-on-Shannon was inspired to write the following after Roscommon’s great Connacht Final win…

Dear Editor,

What a day to be a Rossie! A great day was had by all in Pearse Stadium, Salthill. There were scenes that a younger generation have never witnessed before. Many of us had a sour taste since last year with a drenching from the wild Atlantic and traffic jams infused our memories of same with negativity, but hats off to the Gardai and Connacht Council for a job well done this year. There was comfort in exiting Salthill with all traffic lights turned off and all junctions manned by Gardai waving match traffic on. It looked a better decision this year to send us out the western side of the city via the Quincentenary Bridge and not down dockside as was the case last year.

  I was in the company of my brother-in-law, with our youngest family member Katlyn and her two cousins. Fair play to Willie on Shannonside for mentioning our two exiles, Karina and Laureen, one in San Francisco and the other in Tanzania (both tuned in online).

  What a performance from a team, hunger is a great sauce. Compliments must go to management after all the debate and controversy over the last while. Kevin McStay & Co., all is forgiven – you have delivered on the big stage and fair play to all concerned.

  Sitting beside one of the finest true Rossies, Mr. George Bannon, was a pleasure. What a man to read a game. He had an English gentleman in his company and was going into great detail to explain the teams and positions –and no better man to entertain any visitor. There were handshakes and hugs all round come the final whistle; ah well, sure everyone knows George.   

  Our Katlynn was down pitch-side, ready for the invasion – and what a sight. We haven’t witnessed the likes since the glory days of the 1980s. I had seen grown men cry with delight. Croke Park here we come and we can take Mayo (if it is Mayo).

  I spotted Pat Lindsay and Gerry Fitzmaurice in deep conversation at half-time – great to see them looking as fit as ever. Lindsay could easily do a few laps of the pitch. Tony McManus was there, as was Paul Earley. We were back in the big time. Seamus Killoran was in the company of Haulie O’Rourke with their beautiful wives. Teresa McCormack was with her sister and friends a few seats down lower from us. We were in truly great company.

  It’s great to be able to pass on to another generation what Roscommon blood means. We are unique followers through good days and the not so good. My late father brought me as a raw 10-year-old in short trousers to my first match in 1974 to a league final against the might of Kerry and John Egan (RIP) robbed us with a late goal which forced a replay. I’ve covered many miles since, in search of the Holy Grail. This victory was sweet and well overdue.

  ‘Twas a pity we couldn’t delay for a while in Salthill and have a beach party with a few choc ices, but duty called back home, with a stop in Gleeson’s to sample their fine cuisine. All home safe at 7.30 pm. The best is yet to come!  As we get older, it gets sweeter.

 

When a Bill seeking to legalise medicinal cannabis was shelved last week, furious People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny labelled the Dáil a ‘kip’, and was quickly denounced by Ceann Comhairle Declan Breathnach. Long-time legalisation of cannabis campaigner Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan MEP responds to the controversy in this article for the Roscommon People…

Yes, our Dáil IS a kip…(because TDs abdicate responsibility)

Vera Twomey and family have been forced to leave Ireland and Gino Kenny’s Medicinal Cannabis Bill has been thrown out of the Dáil.

  There’s something amiss! The system is failing to even look after itself.

  Political parties like Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein have a great reputation for surviving. 

  Their first instinct has always been to ensure that they do not introduce something that will jeopardise their power base. But now they have taken their eye off the ball.

  While the FG/FF/SF brigade are a conservative lot at the best of times, it seems that they are allowing the machinations of the Dublin bureaucracy to run the show now – much to their own detriment.

  The support for medicinal cannabis is overwhelming. When Vera Twomey walked to the Minister’s office in Dublin from Aghabullogue in Co. Cork, she had tremendous support. School children came out and marched with her. School brass bands marched with her. Parents shook her hand. Everyone could see that she was fighting for the good of her child Ava; an honest battle, a humane request. But now Vera, her husband Paul and their four children have left Aghabullogue and are living in The Hague in the Netherlands.

  I spoke with Vera last week. She was extremely sad. Not because she has had to move away from Ireland, from her mother and her family. Not because she has been forced to set herself and her family up in a new country and a new culture –they are managing very well, thankfully -– none of these reasons.

  Vera, like most Irish people, had faith in the ‘system’. She always reckoned that eventually common sense would prevail and that the political parties who run our country would see the light. Unfortunately she has been betrayed by the same system.

  What has brought sadness to Vera was the news that Deputy Gino Kenny’s Medicinal Cannabis Bill was brought to a halt in the Dáil. Despite all the evidence presented to the Health Committee on medicinal cannabis, in face of the fact that country after country are making provision for medicinal cannabis, our TDs and Senators have let Ava and thousands of other Irish citizens down. Those who suffer chronic pain, glaucoma, MS, arthritis, epilepsy and other ailments have been let down. 

  What amazes me about this is that the political parties have nothing to lose on this issue. This is not a contentious issue. Children in national schools have asked me about medicinal cannabis. They can see that it’s a humanitarian issue. How then has this come to such a sorry state?

  The Minister and the other public representatives have not done their job. They have abdicated their duty to a faceless institution called the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). We need politicians to represent the people of Ireland. For as long as the Oireachtas is peopled with abdicators, it will be a ‘kip’.

* Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is an MEP for Midlands-North West constituency