12th April, 2001

One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time has to be “Billy Elliot”. It’s available on video now. It’s a story about an 11 year old boy who lives in an English mining town during the Thatcher era. The miners are on strike and times are very hard. The youngsters play football and join the local boxing club. The girls are learning ballet in the Hall which they share with the boxing club. But Billy is different and he becomes attracted to ballet. This causes huge problems for his father and brother who are striking miners. Rent this video now, it’s a masterpiece! I’ve said it before, the British are masters at this type of movie. Its available from M&M Video Club. Tel: (021) 4363562.

Good luck to Leonard and Bill Lynch on the opening of their fifth O’Brien Irish Sandwich Bar. The latest outlet is situated in Douglas Village Shopping Centre. Things are really beginning to happen now in the second oldest shopping centre in Ireland. So many people have mentioned to me that they love the sense of community within the centre. I feel that’s because almost all the outlets there are operated by the owners, which gives the centre a ‘family feeling’.

Over in the new shopping area in Douglas East thing are also beginning to happen in a big way. Last week I called down to the lovely new wine shop and coffee bar opened by Terry and Maeve Brugha. I met Terry on Saturday morning and I remarked on his surname and asked him if he was related to the man “who rattled as he walked”? Terry told me that his grand-uncle was Irish freedom fighter Cathal Brugha. The story goes that Cathal, during the War of Independence, was shot a total of 22 times in his fight against the British forces. None of the bullet wounds were fatal and not all the bullets were removed, thus the title, “the man who rattled when he walked”. Sadly, Cathal Brigha, like many other great Irishmen, died in the worst type of war that can befall any country, the civil war.

Anyway, getting back to the coffee bar. It’s one of the nicest coffee bars I was ever in. As I sat there on Saturday the morning sun was shining through the window. Edith Piaf was singing French songs on the music system. The wines on offer have to be seen to be appreciated. Cuban cigars, which I told Terry are made by the female workers in Havana, the women roll the tobacco leaves on their thighs, an art which they have perfected down through the years. Terry and Maeve have brought a touch of class to Douglas. I wish them well with Olgrin Wine Shop and Coffee Bar.

I usually write this article when the whole family goes to bed. It’s now 12.30am on Wednesday morning and just when you think Jerry Springer can’t get any worse he comes up with a show entitles, “I’m sleeping with my momma!” Where do the researchers find these misfits? The chances of finding a normal person on the show is about the same as winning the lotto!! Now some TV company wants to show the execution of the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, on a pay-per-view channel. Did America really send a man to the moon? I wonder.

By now we all know how the GAA vote went last weekend. Personally, I don’t give a damn who plays there - rock bands, rugby, soccer, hurling, miss world, Jerry Springer live, etc... However, I thought the voting system was a bit of a fiasco. Some voters went to the toilet, or for a cup of tea, when the vote was being taken. Surely it could have been done by ballot, a secret ballot where voters are free from intimidation and looks of betrayal. The motion was defeated by two votes when 25 delegates got the urge to go to the loo or have a cuppa tea. Was this democracy? That’s the 60,000,000 question.

Speaking of 60,000,000, that’s a lot of money in anybody’s language, but then there’s plenty of it in the state coffers. Is that why the state does not want to pay the family of an autistic child who was awarded damages in an action against the state?

There are a lot of new hairstyles in the Dail at present. On ‘Questions and Answer’ Dick Roche, TD, had a semi-Beatles hairstyle and a Rolling Stones tie. Talk about covering all your option!! What about Bev Cooper-Flynn? A 2,000,000 legal bill and still had the price of a holiday in the sun. Bev, like your daddy, you’ve got some neck!!

Finally, enjoy the holiday weekend, drive carefully, belt up, don’t eat too much chocolate and have a Happy Easter.

Bye for now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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