16th December, 1999

Two weeks ago I mentioned that a reader had telephoned us at the ‘Weekly seeking our help in making the local Roman Catholic graveyard accessible to buggies and wheelchairs seven days a week. The main gate is closed at weekends. Yesterday, a council spokesman told us that the graveyard will be open seven days a week as from next week, with access for everybody. Well done to the council for such a prompt response.
Speaking of the council, as you all know the Christmas lights were turned on at the green opposite the fingerpost last Friday ... but only just! Sean Fitzgerald of Daily’s, who sponsored the electricity, telephoned me on the day of the ‘switch-on’ to tell me he had a telephone call from the ESB informing him that they could not connect a supply until they had been paid. Sean, counting to ten, kept his cool and asked the girl, “How much do you require?” “I don’t know,” she answered, informing Sean that the ESB would send out a man to count the light bulbs on the tree and work out the cost !! “Sean,” I said, “Are you sure this is not a 96FM wind-up?” It wasn’t. To cut a long story short the ESB never came out to connect the lights to the supply and I waited at the tree with local County Council mason John O’Connor from Ballinhassig, we stood there for over two hours. The girls choir and orchestra from Regina Mundi was coming at 6.45 and local people with their children were also expected. John turned to me and said, “Michael, they’re not coming”. Three months of planning was melting before my eyes. Then John said, “I have an 80 yard heavy duty extension lead at home in Ballinhassig. I’ll be back in an hour. Just ask the Gardai can we use their plug socket”. Up I went to Dermot in the Garda station and what did he say? You’re right, “No problem, Michael”. “Dermot,” I asked, “If the lights don’t work, would you have an empty cell I can hide in?” We still didn’t know if the lights would work. Douglas Village Shopping Centre manager Aidan Crowne had brought three plastic bags of lights, but we could not test them. Anyway, John O’Connor returned at about 6.15 and we spent the next half an hour getting things ready. The choir and orchestra had arrived and people were gathering. At one minute past seven we hit the switch and joy, the lights came on, the choir started singing Christmas carols and I had aged about 15 years!!! The ironic thing is that it took a Tipperary man from Ballinhassig to turn on our Christmas lights in Douglas. Thanks to John O’Connor, Aidan Crowne, everybody from Regina Mundi, the Douglas Gardai, Sean Fitzgerald, Jim Hanley, Mick Quinn Electrical, the County Council, and to the people of Douglas who turned out on the night. And to the ESB? Michael don’t, its the festive season, a time of forgiveness and charity. Roll on next year and open competition in the electrical supply market.
Some councillors on Cork Corporation are not too happy with the huge billboards sponsored against Irish Business Against Litter. The posters read, “Welcome to Cork, excuse the litter”. The Cork Chamber of Commerce has also been criticised for supporting the campaign. What do you the ready think? My own thoughts on the matter ... 100% support for shock tactics. I’ve mentioned it before, over and over again, education at pre-school level. Everyday a hour of civic pride education in school, make it compulsary, brainwash the children as we were in the 50’s. Forget the present crop of litter louts, they’re too far gone, fine them, make them sweep up their mess, shame and humiliate them. Cork is a beautiful city and it’s our city, it’s time we took some positive action to make us proud of it. We could do with a litter warden in Douglas. We all know Joe Lynch who cleans Douglas Village, and does a good job of it too. Joe could visit the pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools and talk to the children and teenagers about the evils of litter. Joe is a local man who is aware of the litter problems in Douglas and if anybody could help to solve this problem, I believe Joe could. County Council take note, give it a try, I’m sure the people of Douglas would appreciate it.
On Sunday morning I got a phone call from an angry ready . She went to Dino’s chipper at ten to seven on Saturday night to buy some food. She parked her car in the ‘Mills in a car space. When she returned to her car it was being clamped. Expensive chips!! If you are clamped it will cost you 65 to have the clamps removed. We rang St. Patrick’s Mills on Monday morning for a response to the callers dilema. Firstly, Dino’s chipper is not part of St. Patrick’s Mills, and secondly, and more importantly, clamping is in force 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may only park there if you are working there or doing business there. It is private property and the owners are totally within the law to enforce clamping at their discretion. You have been warned.
My sympathy goes out to the Dilloughery family on the death of Tom. My son told me that everything he learnt about good business accumen, he learnt from Tom Dilloughery. Also my condolences to John Farr from Passage West on the death of his brother Bill. Always a smile from Bill when I met him shopping. Get well soon to Con Foley, our local historian, who’s suffering from a bout of flu. Finally, don’t forget our refuse collectors at Christmas. They do a good job, show your appreciation.

Bye for now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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