30th March, 2000

Last week a piece on the national T.V News made my wife say “Nell McCafferty, where are you now?” It seems a supermarket in Dublin is to provide a creche for husbands whilst their wives do the shopping!! Picture the scene, the wife laden down with shopping in a trolley, minding one or two children “Mammy I want this I want that etc” Meanwhile hubby sits in a playpen, sucking a dummy and watching Rugrats, the mind boggles. Something else I cannot understand is why actresses insist on being called actors, or at meetings women insist on being addressed as chairman. Although there is an actress called Sean Young and another actress's name is Michael Learned (the woman in the Walton's) so I suppose its true when people ask “What's in a name?”
By now most of you will have seen the plans and recommendations for traffic improvements in the Douglas area. The County Council had an information bus in both shopping centres last week from 11.00am until 9.00pm and we in Douglas Weekly printed the plans each week over a three week period. I would suggest to our readers that they study them carefully, because if they are passed it will be too late to do anything about them then.
It's no good making an individual objection, you need to approach your residents association or form one as soon as possible. I being a resident of Shamrock Lawn was surprised at the number of people who don't know, that one of the recommendations is a slip road from Shamrock Lawn onto the Link Road (Eventually bringing drivers to the Kinsale Road roundabout). Perhaps not many residents know that there is an overgrown path called Inchvale Lane, which is situated behind the hedgerow at the top of the green in St. Columba's Primary School.
We all want to see an improvement in the traffic flow in Douglas. It's a shame the powers that be didn't think about infrastructure when they gave “Carte Blanche” planning down through the years, but that's another story. The worst build up of traffic is into Douglas West from Donnybrook, Grange and Frankfield areas, why you may ask? I believe it's because to get to almost all the schools, St Columba's, Eglantine, the Community School, Christ The King, Regina Mundi, St Anthony's, Ballinlough etc, drivers have to drive through Douglas West. Motorists dropping their children to school have no other choice. Have you noticed during school holidays how the traffic flows smoothly.
A few more schools in different areas such as Grange/Frankfield, Rochestown, would alleviate the problem. A slip road through Shamrock might take a few cars, but it's the other schools that the motorists are driving their children to, so study those recommendations carefully. Don't moan after they’re implemented.
I was watching a Documentary on Channel Four last night called 'Hate Crime'. Did you know that in the UK 6 out of every 10 coloured people have been victims of physical and verbal abuse. In the state of California there is a hate crime Law and people convicted of a hate crime get a longer sentence than shall we say, an ordinary assault.
I remember, like a lot of older readers would, we as children were asked to save our silver paper for the black babies, then for the famine in Biafra, we gave millions. For Live Aid, we topped the world in donations per capita. Bosnia was the same, the list goes on. We felt good we had done the Christian thing. But now the situation has changed. The people we helped from far away are arriving at our doorstep. Can we imagine how the Irish felt landing in Ellis Island, New York in 1848? No money, tired, hungry, cold and met by signs which said “No Dogs”, “No Blacks” “No Irish”.
I know from speaking to business people that there is an acute labour shortage in our area and it's the same all over Ireland. Whether we like it or not we are becoming a part of a huge European melting pot and the sooner we accept it and get on with life and recognise the fact that we are only on this earth for a short time and agree to share our wealth with others less fortunate. My Granddaughter who is only five years old says “Sharing is Caring”. Finally the ultimate refugees were an old man and his young pregnant wife who were refused a room over 2,000 years ago, their names were Joseph and Mary. I wonder if they arrived in Ireland today on a container lorry would they be welcomed or would they end up in a flotel.
The entries are rolling in for the Douglas Rose Competition, which takes place in Rochestown Park Hotel on May 5th. We still have a few application forms left. You don't need to have a huge company or business to enter. I know of one local shopkeeper who has a rose to represent his shop. It will be a great night, and above all a great community night, and sure isn't that what life is all about?

Bye for now,
Michael O'Hanlon.

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