Saturday 16 December 2017

O'Mahony misses the point in fare game

WE are frequently amused, sometimes bewildered and often angered by the statements from politicians which are emailed to this office. But one from John O'Mahony which arrived on Thursday managed to elicit all three reactions.

So what do you think was exercising the Mayo TD's mind in this time of national, European and global crisis? At a time when our hospitals still can't cope, mostly through a lack of proper organisation, with the number of people needing treatment. At a time when our schools are failing to provide a decent standard of education and even sanitation to a large number of young people. And at a time when the older members of our society are forced to surrender their dignity if they need long-term care.

The increase in Ryanair fares to Tallinn for Ireland's play-off first leg against Estonia, that's what.

O'Mahony fumed that "a return trip to Tallinn on Tuesday night was around €70. Following our draw with Estonia this afternoon fares more than quadrupled to €278." Leaving aside the fact that "more than quadrupled" would have resulted in a fare in excess of €280, what did O'Mahony expect? Nobody wanted to go to Tallinn on Tuesday night, they did on Wednesday afternoon. This is the application of the free market. Commercialism. The laws of supply and demand. It is the real world, the world in which most of us live.

"This is the biggest game for Ireland since we played France two years ago," continued O'Mahony, as if that mattered, before concluding that "Ryanair has engaged in ripping off its customers."

Now maybe we need some education in these matters, but surely our public representatives would be better off concentrating on their own performance rather than picking holes in the policies of a hugely successful company which provides employment, directly and indirectly, for a sizeable chunk of the tax-paying public? Would O'Mahony prefer if Ryanair was run as a social service, eventually being forced to close through lack of profitability?

If the government provided value for money for the citizens of this country in the same way that Ryanair do for their shareholders, perhaps this would be a much better place to live.

And the bottom line is that if you don't want to fly with Ryanair, you have a choice; if you don't want to go to school or hospital or into a care home, you don't.

* * * * *

The Cork ladies footballers drew the short straw when it came to All-Star nominations last week.

Only eight Rebelletes got the nod despite the fact that this year Cork won their sixth All-Ireland title in seven years and their fourth successive Division One league title. Instead, Monaghan and Dublin dominated list of nominations with 10 and nine respectively. Although Monaghan did reach the All-Ireland final, Dublin were knocked out in the quarter-final stage by Cork.

Certainly, it is noble to think that taking part is more important than winning, but when it comes to handing out awards for excellence, surely it's the winning that counts.

* * * * *

With CIT having contested the Cork senior hurling final and UCC in today's Cork football final, much debate has arisen as to whether or not third-level colleges should be allowed to compete in county championships.

In his newly published book, Can You Manage -- a blueprint for managers looking for a step-by-step approach to successfully running a team -- author Tim Healy says a lot of players prefer playing for their college because the family element isn't there. Now while most people associate playing with family as a good thing, that's not always the case.

In the book Healy asks one player from a rural club who was having problems with his manager what kind of person he was. The player's reply spoke volumes. "He has three sons on the team -- and I don't think any of them talk to him."

These type of stories are common place in GAA clubs around the country so it's hard to blame players for taking the opportunity to play for a team where politics are almost non-existent.

Fergus McDonnell & Marie Crowe

Sunday Indo Sport

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