Sunday 21 January 2018

Women laid groundwork for Michael D's visit

Women, including past presidents Mary Robinson (L) and Mary McAleese (R), laid the foundations for the historic state visit of Michael D Higgins (C) to Britain. Photo: Simona Granati Photos: David Conachy
Women, including past presidents Mary Robinson (L) and Mary McAleese (R), laid the foundations for the historic state visit of Michael D Higgins (C) to Britain. Photo: Simona Granati Photos: David Conachy

Many moons ago, when I worked in the ESB, we had planned a power switch-out in a rural area of West Limerick. These switch-outs, for maintenance and repairs, were always arranged for weekdays between the hours of 10am and 4pm and the customers would be notified two to three days in advance. This was done to confine disruption to a minimum for the mainly farming community and, as a result, was met with little or no resistance.

However, this particular switch-out, which was arranged for Wednesday, July 29, 1981, was different. When the notification commenced on the Monday, all hell broke loose. The official on the doorstep was met with stern resistance and, a short time later, the phones in the office were hopping. We menfolk scratched our heads and wondered what major event we had missed.

Phonecall after phonecall conveyed the same message and asked the same question – mainly from the womenfolk: "Are you aware that the royal wedding is taking place on Wednesday?" Mna na hEireann would not be excluded from the 750 million viewers who tuned in around the world for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

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