22nd June, 2000

Firstly congratulations to Michael Burke who has been elected Chairman of Grange/Frankfield residents Association. Michael has been involved in community work in his area for as long as I know him. Do support your Community Association because it does have power and if you want things done in your area join the association because there is strength in numbers. Good luck Michael!
Local Councillor Peter Kelly is also in the news this week. On last Sunday, Peter, the only PD councillor in Cork County Council announced he was leaving the Progressive Democrats to join Fine Gael. That makes two major defections in the past fortnight, the other being Senator Helen Keogh. For such a small party to lose two prominent members in such a short space of time is a disaster. Mary Harney is taking the flak for the Hugh O'Flaherty nomination, not because she recommended O'Flaherty for the job, but because she supported it even though 75% of the people polled were against it. Did she say, "In a few months the people will have forgotten about it" A touch of arrogance in that statement. Don't underestimate the people. You do so at your own peril.
For a party which began 15 years ago with promises of truth and honesty being the main priority the voters supported them and they won 13 seats. This was an anti-Haughey vote, and today with all the scandals of the 80's exposed we know why they won 13 seats. Let us not forget the young mother who was killed by a drunken driver, who was then freed illegally. How could any decent politician support that move? To quote an old saying " Justice must be seen to be done". Finally, Mary, you should have walked weeks ago, it would have been the decent thing to do, and people would have remembered it at the next election. They will at the next election ,but for the wrong reason if you're a PD candidate.
Local plumbing contractor and good friend of mine, Tom Maher goes from strength to strength with his business. In my job I'm so often asked if I know good carpenter, electrician, plumber etc. But unless I know the individual tradesman personally I'd be slow to recommend him. I've known Tom for almost as long as I've lived in Douglas. Anyone like me who appreciates singers /songwriters such as Eric Bogle, Tom Russell, Iris DeMent, must be a professional. I know he likes to sing. He follows Q.P.R. in soccer, in hurling he follows the Clare team (he being from Clare). He tells me next year will definitely be Clare's year again! Would I recommend Tom Maher for all your plumbing needs? I'd stake the Douglas Weekly on it! Give Tom a call - 086 4032563. Tell him Michael recommended him. (Tom, if you read this don't tell anybody who's coming to the Lobby in October, we want the best seats for ourselves!).
Now we have a situation where there are talks of closing Douglas swimming pool. A reader rang the Weekly office last year to ask if it was true that Douglas Swimming Pool was to close and that Local Authority Housing was to be built on the site. We rang City Hall for a comment and eventually we got a reply to our questions. The answer was " No truth in the rumour" and we published it. I've spoken to several people who visit the swimming pool and they tell me that it needs a radical overhaul. In one of this week's essays written by a 4th Class student of Douglas Primary School he tells it as it is, i.e. how he sees the condition of the pool. Remember the old saying, "Out of the mouths of babes comes the truth". Not everybody can afford to become members of Health Clubs with swimming facilities. It's a social and educational amenity that needs to be upgraded and modernised. If the money is not spent on it will decay and close, perhaps that's what some people would like to see happen to the Douglas pool, would you?
Tonight Thursday, there's a huge gardening exhibition taking place at the Douglas Village Shopping Centre. Gardening expert Charlie Wilkens will give a talk and demonstration on all aspects of gardening and will also answer some of your questions. I hope to see you there between 6 and 8pm. Sadly I do not have green fingers, but my wife makes up for me. My green is confined to the baize on a snooker table! (For the uninitiated the cloth on the table is green).
Does it pay to shop around? I had to post some letters yesterday so I went to the Douglas Post Office. While I was waiting in line my mobile phone rang. The message from the Weekly office "get a jar of coffee". So down in the centre I went to Tesco's to buy a jar of Maxwell House Coffee. The price for the medium size was 2.15, which is good value. However, the sign on the shelf read "Buy a second jar and it for half price. So the second jar only cost me 1.07. It pays to shop around.
Finally, a big thank you to all the staff of both information desks at Douglas Village and Douglas Court Shopping Centres, always helpful, and cheerful, as are all the staff at both Centres. Keep up the good work! I almost forgot, Mums and Dads and Teachers please tell your children who write essays on "What I Like About Douglas" that there are two Churches in the Douglas parish, St. Columba's and St Lukes. Both beautiful buildings built to worship the same God.

Bye for now,
Michael O'Hanlon.

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