14th March, 2002

I was sorry to hear that Barry Roche had died. Way back in 1998 I called Barry and asked him if he would talk about his life and times. He consented. I called to a little house on College Road. Barry answered and invited me in. And told me that the house had once been his mothers shop and that he was in the process of converting it into an apartment. He showed me the back garden where a little pond was being built, and inside the house was filled with African Art. Barry had loved to travel. So we eventually sat down. Barry made a pot of coffee. I switched on the dictaphone and I got one of the frankest and best interviews I’ve ever got. As a tribute to Barry the interview appears in this edition
I must do some more interviews. The biggest part of my job I enjoy most is talking to people. The interviews with different people were fascinating. How many times have I said: “Everybody has a story to tell”. I must do some more interviews, I miss them.
Last week I called to St. Finbarrs hospital to take some snaps. The occasion was the presentation of a brand new Bus to the patients of the hospital. The organisers ‘The Friends of St Finbarrs hospital’ do trojan work. We sometimes tend to overlook the great work done by local charities. But when we see the end product such as a fully fitted bus with wheelchair ramps we really get the full picture. One of the members asked me to thank the people of Cork whose contributions had made it possible, and A.I.B. 66 South Mall who were also a great help. Now the patients can go on trips to the seaside, shopping etc. well done to all concerned. Sharing is caring.
Last week I read that in France over 50% of crèches are state run while here in Ireland, the land of the Celtic Tiger it’s a bit of a joke. Now that the abortion referendum is over (you must be joking Michael) and things will settle down again for another a few years. Some people tell me that the support for single mothers in this land of ours is a farce. When mothers go back to work the only option is to put the child into a crèche which can cost up to € 35 a day. So the mother goes back to work. Pays her tax, pay over half her wages to a crèche. I have no problem with crèches we are lucky in Douglas to have the best around. The problem is that the state does not give tax relief when mothers pay over half their wages to childminders. I’m disappointed in the female politicians in the country. They all seem to toe the party line. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t rock the boat. Get Johnny Mac a medical card; get Mary a council house etc.
Yesterday I spoke to somebody who works in a chemist shop she told me that every Monday morning they have a box of morning-after pills ready when they open for business. We read last week that there is a huge increase in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases. A few years ago, I spoke to a social worker and mentioned that things seemed to be getting worse in the world of Sex Drugs and Rock’n’Roll. When I was a teenager there were no condoms, no pill, no nothing! Nowadays every type of protection is available. Yet people are totally uneducated regarding the threat to their health, and now with AIDS, a threat to their lives. We do need more education in our schools and not just 2+2=4. Because sometimes 1+1=3.
I called down to the Rochestown park Hotel on Tuesday night for the Fashion Show. This is now becoming one of the biggest annual events in Douglas. As usual it was held in aid of St. Columba’s Girls School with facilities for the Deaf. As usual a full house. A lot of planning and organisation goes into the night and I think a word of praise to the shopping Centre staff, the Models, The Hotel Staff and everybody who made the night such a great success. I took some great photos, which will be in next week’s edition. What’s that word again? Ah yes community!
As we approach the feast day of our national saint I want to mention that a beautiful painting of St. Patrick which hangs on the wall of St Patrick’s Mills Office has kindly been loaned by Denis Murphy of St Patrick’s Mills to Fr. Dan Crowley of Frankfield Church. It will be on display at the altar in the church from Saturday evening until Monday: catch it!
Happy 25th wedding anniversary to Douglas Village shopping centre / Douglas Court Shopping Centre. Marketing manager Bronwyn Cross and her husband George. If you see or meet Bronwyn in your travels wish them happy Anniversary.
Finally happy St Patrick’s day to you all. Drive safely, don’t drink and drive, and please belt up.

Bye for now,

Michael O'Hanlon.

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