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Showing posts from September, 2017

Deported - for trying to bear witness to degradation

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Have a look at this picture of four Irish people arriving back to Dublin after being deported from an international airport. Do they look like terrorists, subversives, or a threat to the State?

Their “crime” was to attempt to pay a visit to one of the most troubled regions on the planet, in order to bear witness to the terrible reality of daily life for ordinary people on the ground.

They didn’t travel with hatred in their hearts or violent intentions, but to listen to ordinary people and the charities who work among them, show solidarity, and learn from those living and working in a conflict zone.

There was a time when Northern Ireland was a “no-go area” for tourists. If you went to Belfast, according to the prevailing wisdom of the time, you probably needed your head examined.

Nobody ever went there unless they had family or business reasons.

In the early 1990s, I was among a small group of journalists who spent a few days exploring the delights of the beautiful Co Antrim coastline …

At least Leo remembers where he was ... !

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If you want to see how modern Ireland works, take a look at the media coverage of the devastating floods across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal last week and contrast them with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida.                                                    

It may have escaped your attention that more than 1,200 people died in South Asia last week, with more than 40 million affected by the severe flooding, but you would never know that if you received all your news from mainstream Irish media.

In Florida, two people had died as of late Monday night, but you heard a lot more about the hurricane in the US than the 18,000 schools which were destroyed or damaged in South Asia, leaving 1.8 million children unable to attend their classes.

It’s quite clear that some lives are far more important – and worthy of reportage – than others.

And that’s just the way President Donald Trump wants you to think, as he and elements of the media divide the world into “us” and “them” while pla…

To win with class ... !

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After 29 years of waiting, many a tear was shed. As the final whistle blew I hugged the big, burly Rahoon man in front of me, before dancing up and down with my brother, and running about five seats down to embrace the boys from Turloughmore. Similar scenes were erupting all around us in the 82,000 capacity stadium.                                                      

After 29 years of heartbreak, Galway were champions. We nearly had to pinch ourselves, we were so overjoyed.

I was a young student, squatting in London, the last time Galway won the Liam McCarthy Cup and I consoled myself that there would be plenty more September victories when I declined my father’s offer of a ticket and a fare home.

Our team was the best in Ireland and I figured there were plenty more glory days ahead, so I delayed my return home for a winter of studies at NUI Galway.

I thought of the old man, aged over 90 now, presumably shedding a few tears at home in Galway City. He brought me to Croke Park when I…