Sunday 17 December 2017

My Christmas gifts for the people of Wexford

Christmas is coming and joy at the prospect of giving is welling up inside. Time has arrived to make that little list and check it twice, with a view to rewarding those who have been naughty or nice in the past 12 months.

Ivan Yates – the big man from Blackstoops seems to feature on this roll of honour every year but it is hard to ignore someone who has had more careers than any jack of all trades. Frankly, there is no point wrapping up a book for the farmer/politician/bookie/columnist/broadcaster/bankrupt, as he has made no secret of the fact that he is intent on making a book of his own, thereby adding the word author to that already long list. A specially engraved pint glass could be just the thing for Ivan, acknowledging the long hours passed in the public houses of Swansea. Anyone who has sampled Welsh beer must realise the extent of the sacrifice.

Eileen Gray – yes, I realise that she is dead and has been since 1976 but the world famous designer was ignored for long enough in her native county, so let's make some retrospective amends. Lady Gray, creator of chairs now worth millions of euro at auction, has actually had quite a good year.

Her works continue to attract mouth-watering prices. She has been feted at major exhibitions in Paris and Dublin. A movie is being made about her complicated love life, starring Orla Brady as the woman from Brownswood. The one blot on the Gray horizon is the state of her E1027 villa on the Mediterranean coast of France which languishes in sorry disrepair. Surely, Wexford has enough carpenters, plasterers, electricians and so on, idle since the crash, that we could give her a crew to renovate this unique home.

Kate Kelly – she seems to have been lighting up the playing fields of Wexford and beyond for more years than anyone cares to remember. Quite simply, Kate Kelly is a genius, one of those rare sporting characters who rises above the graft and grunt of mere fitness and practice and effort in her chosen disciplines. Her every move on football or camogie pitch is laced with purpose, powered by a keen sporting intellect. Seven times a camogie All Star, the 33-year-old's statue may in future adorn Castlebridge. In the meantime, let's present her with a biography of Brian O'Driscoll, as we echo the rugby star's fans with a plea for 'one more year'. One more decade, if possible!

Gordon Darcy – a razor. He requires a razor. It is all very well wishing to make the point to fellow players and to the fans that he is now one of the elder statesmen of rugby. However, a beard which looks as though it has been nurtured during years of solitary kangaroo hunting in the far outback is taking the maturity thing a little too far. The razor would be a friendly hint and it could maybe be shared with Mick Wallace. If Gordon fails to take heed, then a word in the ears of the French back row, with a few suggestions as to how they might remove the hairy excrescence manually and without anaesthetic at the bottom of a ruck, might be in order.

Wexford dairy farmers – a scientific discovery suggesting that milk is the elixir of eternal life is what these folk need, and need soonest. While the rest of the property market in the county is bumping along the bottom with no sign of a pick-up, land fit for cows to graze is being snapped up with wilful abandon by farmers intent on increasing herd size. For this to be a good investment, they will presumably need someone to drink the extra milk, or eat the extra yogurt, or put an extra slice of cheese in their toasted sandwich. Good luck to them.

Bishop Brendan Comiskey – just a note to say that I, for one, have not forgotten him. The problem is that I have no address, so this Christmas greeting is delivered through the very public medium of a newspaper.

Older readers will remember Brendan and how he was obliged to resign from his post in 2002 after his handling of sex abuse scandals in the diocese of Ferns became too much for his flock to bear. His stepping down was right and proper. He had to go. The grief, hurt and damage caused by his failings made his remaining in office untenable. Nevertheless, 11 years on, I still recall the intelligence, humour and mischievousness which made Brendan Comiskey a very likeable, often admirable, man. Happy Christmas, Brendan.

Paul Codd – one of those invisibility cloaks from Harry Potter, though the elusive former Wexford hurler appears to be managing okay without one.

Cllr. Michael Sheehan – a map of Leinster House. The ambitious Fianna Fáil rep from New Ross, a man of infinite ambition, clearly thinks he will be needing one some time soon.

Clodagh Hunt Cecil – as newly appointed director of 'Grease' for Enniscorthy Musical Society, Clodagh does not require much by way of a present, just two dozen all-singing, all-dancing performers to volunteer and deliver her version of Rydell High. Form an orderly queue, please.

Oulart/The Ballagh hurling team – a bottle. People keep telling me they have lost one. Surely it can't be too difficult to put that right.

The urban councillors of Wexford, New Ross, Gorey and Enniscorthy town councils – a Ray Charles album. As Phil Hogan's axe of local government reform is poised to fall, try listening to 'Take These Chains (of office) From My Heart' and 'Hit the Road, Jackser'.

Wexford People

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