29th March, 2001

I got a very positive response to my piece last week on the lack of youth facilities in the Douglas area. Some local business people I spoke to complained that the young people congregate outside their premises, and that some customers feel intimidated by their presence. We have a huge young population and the sooner we recognise that they need some type of meeting place the better it will be. Douglas is a good place to live in, and 99% of our young people are good and decent and don’t cause any trouble. Some people complain about ‘gangs’ of teenagers hanging around, but basically they don’t hassle people, they just sit and talk.
We, as parents, have a duty to ensure that we know where our children are at nights and to educate them in respecting peoples property. We also have a duty as elders in Douglas to provide some type of community centre to which they can go to and meet their friends. Two years ago I wrote almost the same piece on the total lack of youth facilities in Douglas. Back then I got no response, this time I did!! Will anybody else join me in trying to do something for the youngsters of Douglas? Politicians, the Douglas Weekly office will be telephoning you this week. Let’s get the ball rolling!!
Last week I wrote about Sister Bridie, who is home on leave from her missionery work with the poor in Brazil. I think she’s returning there sometime around Easter. This week she is in Douglas Court Shopping Centre. She’s a quiet, unassuming friendly lady who is probably doing more good in a week that most of us will do in a lifetime, so if you see her sitting there in the Centre with a box, give her a smile, and a few bob, wish her well and send her back to Brazil with help for people less fortunate than we are, and I guarantee, you’ll feel good!
Douglas was in a pretty bad way again last Sunday. Litter everywhere, the contents of the litter bin outside the TSB were all over the place, and once again it was household rubbish, potato skins, etc... Spring is here and summer is on the way, have we any pride in our village? What do we have to do to have it swept on the weekend? I was ashamed on Sunday to see the condition of our village. What are our public representatives doing? The County hall collects almost 2 million a year in Douglas. What do they put back into it? What would it cost to sweep Douglas East and West on the weekend? The bottom line is, does anybody care? I almost forgot, Douglas West footpaths are covered in dogs dirt, sometimes I despair.
Leaving my home on Sunday evening to drive down to Rochestown Park Hotel to check things out for the Rose night I met two women entering my driveway. “Good evening ladies,” I said. My greeting was returned with a smile and an American accent. “Mormon’s?”, I asked, “Come to think of it, I’ve never met female mormon missionaries.” “We’re not mormon’s,” the Amercian lady replied. “Then you must be Jehovah Witnesses,” I asked. Her reply was in the affirmative. She told me that she was from Colorado. “John Denver country”, I quipped, “Rocky Mountain High, Aspen, etc..” She told me that John Denver didn’t like Jehovah Witnesses. She wore John Lennon type glasses and had long hair parted in the middle. I hope I didn’t offend her when I told her she looked like a 60’s hippie, a flower child. She smiled and told me that she had been one. I said, “I suppose you listened to the Mammas and the Pappas, the Byrds and sang the flower power movement song, Scott Mackenzies, San Francisco, with flowers in your hair.” “No,” she replied, “I was into Led Zepplin”. We agreed that the world had changed a lot since that era of peace and love. Now everything from cartoons, to advertising, to music is filled with aggression. I wished them well as they went on their way and I went on mine, remebering the founder of the Mammas and the Pappas and writer of “San Francisco, with flowers in your hair.” John Phillips, who died a few days before, aged 61.
Then it was down to the Rochestown Park Hotel to organise all the last minute details for the biggest night of the year in Douglas, “The Douglas Rose selection night” Eighteen lovely girls made the night the biggest and the best yet. Over 600 people attended the function, and before I write anything else I want to compliment the audience. They were fantastic. They gave the roses great order on the stage, not a cross word heard all night, not a glass was dropped. Well done to you all. I know the judges had an almost impossible job trying to choose a winner, but they eventually picked Carol McSweeney, who represented St. Columba’s Hall.
I called down to the ‘Hall the night before, because organsier Brendan Heffernan had told me that they had organised a big night for their contestant. When I called in at about 11pm the place was filled with family, friends and supporters. Live music, complimentary food, a raffle with about 30 prizes sponsored by local businesses. The ‘Hall was decorated with balloons and flowers. St. Columba’s Hall, I Compliment you on your hard work and community spirit.
On Sunday night at the final, when the judges decision was announced, the ‘Hall supporters went wild, and even Brendan Heffernan was seen to shed a tear. Anyway, St. Columba’s Hall, well done to you all and we wish Carol the best of luck in the Cork final in Jurys. I must also thank and compliment the Kieran Kramer band (good luck with your new CD Kieran!), Dickie Rock and his band (Dickie, you have a whole new generation of young fans in Cork), the staff of the Rochestown Park Hotel, who, to use a quote from a friend, “were just above excellent”, the security lads, who had a trouble free night. Thanks to all the supporters and finally thanks again to Rochestown Park Hotel general manager Liam Lally, who continued to support all local events and without whose support this community night could not have taken place. I almost forgot one of the most important people of the night, Noel Welch, who has been our Rose interviewer and MC for the past three years. Well done Noel, and the judges, with the wisdom of Solomon, who had a hard night choosing from so many lovely girls. Thanks to the companies who put forward Roses, I know I pestered you for months, but I hope it was worth it on the night.
With the excitement, the music, the glamour and the agony and ecstasy of awaiting the judges decision, the night was well worth it.
Thanks finally to my right hand man, Ronnie, who keeps his head when all around him were losing theirs. Thanks Ronnie.
Finally, well done to the Evening Echo for publishing the article and so many photographs of our Douglas Weekly Rose night.
Bye for now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

PS. Thanks to Ger and Ria Bonus for being there when I ran out of film.
PPS. Congratulations to Jerry Russell on reaching the final of the over 60’s talent competition.

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