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Ministerial colleagues beside themselves with excitement

July 20th, 2020 11:40 AM

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Earth-shattering, full-scale communiqué issued to the world about a cricket match in Southampton!

CRIPES! We nearly put our foot in it!  Just as were about to crack an inane joke regarding the game of cricket, we suddenly remembered that ‘Inane’ is a townland not too far from this neck of the woods where the inhabitants certainly are not silly, foolish, or idiotic (inane) –  and that includes those who play cricket!

Because, you see, there was something ‘inane’ (in the literal sense) in a recent statement from minister and mini-minister, respectively, the Rt Hons Catherine Martin TD and Dara Calleary TD, who carry heavy responsibilities for Sport and the Gaeltacht.

In their lofty governmental positions and, no doubt trembling with excitement, delight and unimaginable satisfaction, they issued an earth-shattering, full-scale communiqué to the world.

It was this: Ireland would hold a three-match men’s One Day International series against England in Southampton later this month!

Oh, the joy! And how fortunate is the Irish Nation to have ministers ready to promote a game that consists of two teams trying to score ‘runs’ (points) by hitting a small ball with a bat, and then running like snots off a slate between two sets of sticks.

Shaking, no doubt, with the weight of their great responsibilities, the mini-ministers informed us that the match would be broadcast live to an audience of millions and millions of people;  in other words Irish cricket would be wonderfully revealed to a global audience.

Gentleman’s game

What’s more, it was fa-a-a-n-tastic to think that these two government mini-ministers, overworked and worn to a thread at the onerous tasks they do on our behalf, still found time to let the country know that a cricket match was on the agenda. Brill!

The announcement ensured they are worth every cent we pay them: a basic €96,189 a year plus allowances!

And why was their announcement so important? Well, said Mini-Minister Calleary ‘after the last few months without any major sports fixtures it’s great to see the return of international sport.’  Yes, indeed, it certainly is!

So three cheers again for the hard-working ministers even if some people think cricket is a gentleman’s game played by beasts; which reminds us of the very old chestnut about not waking the Auld Fella when he was listening to a cricket match on the radio.

Curiously, Oscar Wilde disliked cricket because it required him’“to assume such indecent positions!’

As for the many people who have zilch knowledge of the sport, here’s a suggestion: why not a special government programme, managed by our two -ministers, to encourage and advance cricket – a sport that promotes good, clean fun, hand-eye co-ordination, bowling, throwing, and sudden and unexpected sprints?

Aura of eternity

Such an activity would improve the physical wellbeing of the nation and, indeed, so impressed was your humble scribe with the game that he must confess to spending some of his wasted youth down the Mardyke, watching top class players like the Cantwell brothers, Pat Dineen, Billy Bradley, to name but a few.

A cricket match had an aura of eternity in the sense that it never seemed to end until it eventually drifted off into a sense of timelessness. But not everyone agreed that cricket was a harmless activity. Indeed, in Cork there were some who claimed it was nothing more than organised loafing and a sport designed for toffs who wouldn’t play hurling; which was unfair.

But, for Ministers Martin and Calleary, not everything in their ministerial garden is rosy and soon they had to transmit very glum news to the sporting enthusiasts of Ireland: we won’t be hosting the Ryder Cup in Adare in 2026!  Nevertheless our two political heroes rose to the occasion and, displaying great fortitude and wisdom, issued another collective statement to the effect that the reasons for rejecting Ireland as a location for the golf fest were complex, but had something to do with the ongoing pandemic.

Sad to relate, neither Mini-minister Calleary nor Minister Martin had the full details but we presume golfing enthusiasts will be able to locate the info in the sporting columns of a top category newspapers, such as this one.

Happily – and this is important – the two ministers were able to inform the punters that their  Department would continue to work with the European Tour and, what’s more, build on the plan to host the best Ryder Cup ever … that is, of course, should the possibility again arise of the golfing event returning to Ireland.

To which we say: Wow! What an important job it is to be Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht and to have the authority to issue earth-shattering announcements every now and then, planning this and planning that; apologising for this and apologising for that!

So well done, Messrs Martin and Calleary! But here’s a good one: could you do the same as Gaeilge, considering that you’re both responsible for the Gaeltacht?

Eye on Islington

As befits a great newspaper such as this one, the span of its journalistic gaze stretches far and wide: from the Czar of Russia to the Irish community in Islington.

And, indeed, we were disappointed to learn from a letter to the ‘Islington Tribune’ of what seems like a bizarre example of heartlessness towards a grieving Irish family, the mother of which recently died.

According to the writer, Róisín Ní Corráin, the family of Margaret Keane wanted to inscribe in Irish on her gravestone ‘In our hearts forever.’

But the Diocese of Coventry refused permission, ruling that the phrase could be interpreted as a political statement or a slogan, and it could not be allowed untranslated in an English-speaking Coventry.

Róisín Ní Corráin says that translations are not required on the gravestones of other religious communities and she considered the rejection to be discriminatory.

What’s in a name?

Speaking of which, a county councillor from the Green Party wanted Dún Laoghaire to change its name from the Irish version to make it more ‘inclusive.’ Originally Dunleary, it was renamed Kingstown in honour of King George IV’s visit in 1821.

A poll was held and as many as 11,000 people, or 92% of the local population, voted to keep the Irish version. Most people felt the poll amounted to typical nonsense from the Greenies.

In Cork, some traders want to create a ‘Victoria’ quarter in the MacCurtain Street area and to return the street name to that of the old days, King’s Street.

Cobh might even revert to Queenstown!  Nothing like reviving the relics of auld decency;  for ‘inclusive’ reasons, of course!

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