14th February, 2002

Noel O’Flynn is correct!! We have to get rid of the spongers and freeloaders. They’re all over the country, as a matter of fact they are in every county in Ireland. Always bickering and fighting, and when we let them in they create a ghetto situation, and then the inevitable happens, they bring their families in. A lot of them are taking money from the state under false pretences, and quite a few of them are double jobbing. We all know a number of them have been involved in fraud, credit card irregularities, and I know one who is constantly in jail. Noel, you’re damn right, we have to clean up the DAIL!!!
On a serious note, could you live on €19.10 a week? Not allowed to work, spend most days walking the streets in the rain, people mumbling as you pass, “another freeloader”. It’s a depressing concept, isn’t it? Hotels and catering establishments are crying for workers. The summer season is only a few months away, but don’t let them work, they might go back to where they came from, and things will be ‘grand’ again. Our country’s history is littered with emigration, famine, racism, “No dogs, no blacks, no Irish”, but how quickly we forget. Recently I spoke to a man who had worked in London during the sixties and seventies. He told me that at least 6 or 7 out of every 10 Irishmen, who called into his local Irish owned pub, were on the social welfare and working on a building site at the same time. Fraudsters? Yes, but they were our fraudsters. Now people in Cork hear that the refugees are getting free nappies for their babies, buying cars with their health board cheques, watching our women, spreading Aids, “Soon it will be like Brixton, race riots”. The seeds of racism are being planted. How long before the white sheets and the burning crosses in the gardens? Here in Douglas I’ve met people from Lituania, Latvia, Russia, Romania, Poland, Cameroon, Egypt, China, Japan, India, Pakistan, America, Canada, and they all seem to be decent people, doing what the rest of us are doing, trying to earn a living for ourselves and our families. Do not listen to stories such as, “A friend of mine told me that he heard ...”, etc... These are the subtle planters of the racism seed. Judge a person on his deeds, not the colour of his skin, you might discover there is no difference. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Lets go back to what we were, a kind and caring race.
Going back to the piece I wrote about the Beach Boys concert in 1967. So far I have met two people who were on that flight from Cork to Dublin in May of 1967. This year will be the 35th anniversary. The two people I met were Terry Murphy, from Springmount, Glanmire, and Paul Gibbons, from Turners Cross. Last week Rockin’ Gerry called into the office to tell me that the Brian Wilson concert in Dublin was absolutely fantastic, with Brian and the band doing the whole classic album, “Pet Sounds” in the second half. And of course Gerry has a photograph of himself with Brian (how does he do it?). The next day Terry Murphy dropped in to tell me her story. Terry and her husband Austin were seated, and just before the show started the manager of the Point Depot asked them if they would mind moving as Brian Wilson’s wife pleaded for the seats. How could they say no? They obliged, and after the show they were invited backstage to meet Brian. Terry, God bless her, got Brian’s autograph for me, signed “To Michael, Brian Wilson”. Thanks Terry, it’s safely in a 1964 Beach Boys LP sleeve. I’m still trying to track down anybody else who was on that flight in 1967. Although a little bird told me that another one is to be found working at the Information Desk in Wilton Shopping Centre. If Douglas resident and Wilton Shopping Centre manager Ambrose Guilfoyle reads this, perhaps he can help me to track down one more passenger on the 1967 flight.
All of a sudden, street violence has become a big politician issue. Not just street violence, but crimes against the most vunerable, the elderly. Last week we read in all the national papers about the killing of the old man. By now most of you have forgotten his name, where he lived and died (violently). He was an eccentric recluse, who used to collect his weekly shopping in a wheelbarrow. He lived alone, then they came, beat him up, tied him to a chair and left him to die on his own. Last week one of the culprits was sentenced to 6 years for manslaughter. He’ll probably be out in 3 years. His mother said that he was always a good boy. The old man had nobody to speak for him, no family, no children, no votes for the politician to seek out. And now I, like many others (shame on me), have forgotten his name. A few years ago a nephew of Albert Reynolds has his car stereo stolen. The culprit got three years in jail. Lucky for him it wasn’t a CD player, he’d have probably have got life!!
Another two court cases I read about last week made me wonder about these learned men who sit on benches. One case involved a young man found in possession of a knife, about to enter a nightclub. In court he told the judge, “I was expected trouble”. The defendant was fined €50. On the same paper a man caught attempting to cash forged cheques was sentenced to 3 months in jail. Readers, one question? Going through town at 2am in the morning, which of the following would you prefer to meet, a man with a knife ‘expecting trouble’, or a man with a dud cheque? I thought so, I rest my case, m’lud!
Finally, was that a Garda Superintendent outside the Dail waiting to escort Liam Lawlor back to Mountjoy, or perhaps he just happened to be there when the photographer clicked his camera, or were Westlife on a Dail visit?

Bye for now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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