People Platform – September 29th


Frank and Creggs: Columnist replies to criticism


People columnist Frank Brandon (see his popular column on page 24 this week) defends himself against charges of negativity, made against him in last week’s issue by Creggs resident ‘J. Kerr’…

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to reply to the letter you printed last week in relation to my weekly column.

  Firstly, let me say that if this newspaper only circulated in Creggs and the local area, I would not reply at all, because as someone who was born, bred, reared, and has lived in Creggs practically all my life, I am confident that most of my fellow parishioners know that I am a proud Creggs man and totally committed to the future development of my village.

  However, for the benefit of people who know nothing about me or Creggs, I would like to clear up a few points.

  As regards the national school, of which I am a proud past-pupil, I have on several occasions praised everyone involved in making it one of the finest and most progressive schools in the province, with a Sunshine Room that has pupils coming to it from all over Galway and Roscommon.

  The rugby and GAA clubs, both of which I have served in different ways down through the years, have also featured umpteen times in my articles, and I could not be prouder to see both clubs performing so well, in every single aspect. There is an amazing development going on at the rugby club at the moment, while the exploits of the football lads over the last two years have given an enormous lift to those of us who actually support them and go to the games.

  As regards my support for the various businesses in the village and surrounding areas, I, on at least a couple of occasions, when asked to do so by the writer of the letter, have given a plug to their own business, and only a few months ago in a column in which I bemoaned the lack of a doctor and a chemist in the village, I praised the fact that we had two garages and a fast food outlet in Creggs.

  I make no secret of the fact that I make the odd visit to Mikeen’s – as I believe we should drink in our own village when possible – and, sadly it happens to be the only pub we now have, and, as a result, everything of a social nature happens in it. After-wedding dos, birthday parties, christenings, funerals, communions, confirmations, engagement parties and football postmortems all take place there, and I often find myself at some or other of these social gatherings.

  As my column is mainly a social one, I occasionally give a mention to the goings-on in Mikeen’s, but, when we had other pubs in Creggs, they too used to get their fair share of mention.

  The point I was trying to make in the recent  column, which the letter writer also makes, is that after many years of living in the village of my birth, I had finally realised that it’s the people that makes a place tick – but obviously I didn’t get my point across clearly enough.

  Finally, I wish every business, club and organisation in Creggs the best for the future, and I will continue to try and promote them all in a positive way in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Brandon


Farming and the future


Cllr Des Guckian from Dromod, Co. Leitrim writes…

Dear Editor,

The organisers of this year’s National Ploughing Championships, at Screggan near Tullamore, 19 to 21 September, deserve huge praise. They overcame Wednesday’s deluge and came up smiling on Thursday. It shows what can be achieved by ordinary people who work cooperatively.

  Farming is still our biggest native industry. Screggan showed it at its most bullish. Not only did rural folk travel long distances there, but many city slickers and a few of the jet set arrived there too. The media people were there in force and many of them spun and spun the yarns that this annual event shows a reviving Ireland at its best. The impression a visitor from Mars would get is that farmers are filthy rich.

  Oh yes, there was ‘space age’ machinery on show and as one farmer remarked: “We can soon set these machines to work, by themselves, in the fields and we can relax by the fireside.”

  Yes, such machines will lead the way, as more and more wealthy people invest in factory-farm type of activity. That is the drift – commercial investment and, as in Canada and the US, ‘suitcase farming’ by business executives. The ‘small farmer’ is on the way out.

  During Wednesday’s deluge, a small farmer from Co. Leitrim opined: “Well the rest of Ireland now sees the kind of conditions we have been ploughing through all summer.”

  President Michael D., a man of great intellect and integrity, formally launched the Ploughing on Tuesday. He certainly spoke for me. In a few words, he cut to the chase and exposed ‘The Hidden Ireland’. He regretted the social decline of rural Ireland, with shops, post offices, etc. closing and the withdrawal of vital rural services. Able young people are leaving in droves from their native rural areas. Goldsmith’s Deserted Village is, again, unfolding before our very eyes.

  I’m saying to our political-machine gurus ‘Spin and soundbites will not be enough to solve this. The machine must be made serve people rather than people serving the machine.’

Yours sincerely,

Des Guckian