25th October, 2001

Well folks, Digsy is back again this week with another excellent piece (page 7). The man behind the name is Darragh McManus, originally from Tipperary, now writing from Limerick. Darragh worked for me in the early days of the black and white 'Weekly. Like every budding writer he would send his articles to pop magazines, such as Hot Press, and do occasional reviews of gigs in Cork. His great loves are hurling (Tipperary) and soccer (Liverpool), and his weekly premiership articles were always very truthful and funny. Then he moved on, as I knew he would. He went to Dublin, got a job with the GAA magazine 'Highball' and shortly afterwards became editor. A few months ago he rang me to tell me he had gone freelance, and that he was writing for most of the national newspapers (and now also for the Douglas Weekly). I'm proud of the fact that Darragh started his career with us, so Digsy, keep on following your dream.

Speaking of writers, the writer of our pop column is none other than another young, brilliant, gifted writer, Aoife Barry, from Shamrock Lawn. Voted student of the year, this young lady (she's only 18 years old) writes with a natural gift. I thought her piece of the 'sex to sell pop videos' was truthful and accurate. I foresee a bright future in journalism for Aoife, and like Darragh, I know that she will make use of the special gift which she has been blessed with. Gene and Mags, she's a rising star!

I met a reader last week who was pretty upset. The reason? She nearly hit two paedestrains crossing the zebra crossing just past Daily's off licence. This happened at night and it is not the first time I have mentioned this dangerous crossing. It's even worse if it's raining!! One cannot see people on the crossing at night. I drove up to Grange to check the zebra crossing there and there is a light shining on the crossing. I mentioned it to a local councillor, and I trust that a light will be provided before the clocks go back. A lot of elderly people use that crossing and when evenings grow darker, they are at risk from drivers who cannot see them. I know an electrician who will put it up, and the 'Weekly will pay for the bulb!! If it's not in the estimates for the year!!

Now we come to the subject of Donnybrook Hill. This hill brings more anger, frustration and letters to our office than any other subject. Traffic delays, speeding don the hill, approaching a blind bend, which has two very buy commercial businesses at the bottom of the hill, Donnybrook Commercial Centre, and across the road is Breens shop and service station. Most of us drivers strive to exit from a stop position in first gear, such as from Breens, however, if some lunatic roars down the hill at 40-50 mph, they're on top of us before we have a chance to drive away. And not forgetting the paedestrains trying to cross the road. Perhaps ramps might be the answer, or a couple of speed traps. I know somebody who was caught speeding down Maryborough Hill and fined. You cannot use the excuse that the car picked up speed going down the hill. There's a pedal between the accelerator and the clutch, it's called a brake!! Use it!!

By now most of you will know that the Douglas Weekly has moved to the heart and soul of Douglas, St. Patrick's Mills. It's surprising how we take things for granted, for example, our limbs. Everyday I park my van and walk through the main door and into the 'Weekly office. Yesterday, I returned to the office and saw a member of my staff with his head out of the window talking to one of my advertising customers. She couldn't get into the office. Why? Because she was confined to a wheelchair. So she sat in the cold, discussing an advert, whilst I looked at a 5 inch hurdle that kept her there. I never even noticed that there was a step there, and I've gone in and out of the entrance hundreds of times. This incident has stayed with me all week, so Mary, the next time you hear from me, you're coming in for a cup of coffee, and that's a promise. And yes, I will take a walk around Douglas with you to view the obstacles which mean nothing to us, but everything to you! A brave lady, Mary, keep your sense of humour!

Finally, enjoy the long weekend, there's some great music to be heard in our area. Check the Douglas Weekly for the live gigs. Drive carefully, belt up, and if you're drinking, walk or hire a cab or taxi. I'll be doing the rounds of the music venues armed with my camera. No rest for the wicked!!

Bye for now,
Michael O'Hanlon.

P.S. My deepest sympathy to Tony McDonald and his sons John, Brian and Alan, of the loss of a loving wife and mother, Sheila. Douglas will be a poorer place without the gentle smile of my good friend Sheila. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her. R.I.P.

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