Sunday 8 December 2019

Irony not lost on the use of planning laws to block Brooks

Garth Brooks: all... or nothing at all
Garth Brooks: all... or nothing at all

* Roy Orbison sang 'It's Over' and Elvis Presley sang 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'. Well it's now official – it is over, and there are many who will be 'Lonesome Tonight', tomorrow night and many many other nights thereafter.

I'm sorry for the 400,000 who waited in hope that it might all be ironed out, and I am sorry to think that their few hours of enjoyment was whisked away due to planning laws.

It seems ironic that the planning laws of today were enforced and that they were the reason that the five concerts were cancelled.

It is a sad irony when you think back to what was allowed in the past when criminal builders, bankers and speculators were able to get what they wanted regardless of the planning laws, or any other laws. A sad irony to think that we the people, who never borrowed a penny of the bond holders debt, were in turn by law forced to repay every cent because Europe told us to.

There are many who will today raise a fist in victory for this outcome, but be warned, the winner of a battle does not always win the war.

I've only spoken to a few people who live near Croke Park, they all said as one that the GAA were decent when it came to concerts or to football or hurling finals. I hope they continue to be generous.

I'm not a fan of Garth Brooks, I did not have any tickets for the concerts but all the same I am sad for the man. Sure he's a multi-millionaire and he has what a lot of us wish we had, but in the end he is as human as the rest, he also dreams and I'm sure he was thinking back to how it was going to be, to walk out onto a stage specially built and to feel the applause that only an Irish audience can give.

Well It's Over and many are Lonesome Tonight

Perhaps on the cancelled concert nights if you happen to pass Croke Park you might well hear the Simon and Garfunkel song The Sound Of Silence.



Kicking the gift horse

* Nothing surprises me any more regarding our leaders.

After all we've seen: The Celtic Tiger, the bank guarantee... thank God that's all gone now. But then we see the brutal mishandling of a few concerts by Garth Brooks that would have injected a much needed boost to the greater Dublin economy, along with the feel-good factor in every line dancing lover's heart and down every hokey pokey laneway.

Those who purport to run the country appear to do nothing right. The shuffle, shuffle in the Fine Gael and Labour dark rooms has left us with little trace of women on the ministerial benches.

Enda Kenny and the Fine Gael handlers deserve the idiot of the year award for what must be frankly one of the wackiest decisions ever made – appointing Joe McHugh as Aire Na Gaeltachta? A career politician whose words in the native language would not go much beyond Pog mo Thoin. What ever happened to the 20-year plan for Irish?

Poor Dinny McGinley. The most proficient user of Gaelic in the Dail, and he gets the size 12 in the seat of his pants for his efforts. It's no wonder that Garth gave the two fingers to them and their austerity bally-go-backwards attitudes to what was in essence kicking a gift horse in the mouth.



Back to you in the studio

* "Unanswered prayers, Bill."

"We'll leave it there so, Garth."

All together: "Okey Doke!"



Fingers crossed for a washout

* Years ago I was set to go on a great sun holiday to Spain.

At the last minute I had to cancel. I was a bit upset on missing the opportunity to get a tan and relax. Lo and behold the weather in Spain was miserable that week and here, in Mayo, the sun was shining and the air was warm. I never thought about Spain for that whole week.

The point I'm getting to is that I hope it rains as hard as it has ever rained over Croke Park and just Croke Park for the dates that Garth Brooks was supposed to perform.

It will make people a little bit less angry at everyone and everything involved in this fiasco and maybe they will think about something else for those five days.



Hope can set you free

* There is much talk on suicide prevention. Suicide as we know is at epidemic levels in this country today. It is also an area I am passionate about because of my personal experience.

Not because of an attempted suicide on my part, but because I have overcame severe depression and I believe that everyone can recover if they are committed and determined and, importantly, given the correct psychotherapeutic help.

Since I began speaking out three years ago of my own recovery I am regularly contacted by either relatives of people with mental health difficulties or sufferers themselves. They are looking for some pearls of wisdom.

The reality is that unless a person wants to help themselves and takes responsibility for their own recovery, the most caring relatives and most professional help will amount to nothing.

A person must be prepared to face their own pain in order to be able to move on from it.

A person who suffers from a diagnosed "mental illness" often has a great feeling of powerlessness with regard to their life. This sense of powerlessness pervades their entire life from personal and working relationships to even the type of career they follow.

There is hope however, and people like me have a huge amount to offer.

In 'The Shawshank Redemption', Red, played by Morgan Freeman, said "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane." This may be true of a prison setting, but on the outside, sometimes hope is all we can cling on to.

In my late teens I never thought I would make it into my 20s.

Today I celebrate half a century on the planet, the last 21 years medication free.

If I can do it, anyone can do it.



A struggle for human rights

* It is unfortunate that Israel's apologists are trying to portray Palestinians as backward people bent on the destruction of Israel.

Terrorism is inexcusable. It is true that no people can tolerate the unrelenting barrage of rockets raining down on their homes, and no government can sit idly by while their people live in constant fear.

But what about Palestinians living under the yoke of Israel's military occupation for decades. The West should place the Palestinian struggle within the global struggle for human rights, social justice, equity and peace. Israel's defenders should travel to the Gaza strip and see first hand the humiliation endured by Palestinians; something reminiscent of the unmitigated anguish endured by European Jewry in the Holocaust.

Today, Palestinians are collectively punished, bombed from the air where the bomber cannot be reached by the defenceless people he just inflicted horror on. Instead of exonerating Israel, Western commentators should have a taste of what is meant by carrying out day to day activities in a tiny swathe of land, Gaza, which is the largest Robben Island prison on Earth, where the poverty rate is almost 70pc, and where unemployment has been aggravated by the continuous destruction of civilian infrastructure and the strangulation of economy.



Irish Independent

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