15th July 1999

According to Ray Burke it’s tough being a politician, trying to make ends meet on a T.D.’s salary. Poor Ray has only 118,000 in a special political fund account, and only 95,000 in a Jersey bank account. It seems this 95,000 came from fund-raising in the U.K. Those table quizzes and chicken supper dances must be big business in the U.K.! I almost forgot the raffle tickets sold at these nights, you know all those 5 for 1 with super prizes like a meal for two at the local restaurant, two bags of coal and a bale of briquettes. “Money Spinners” 118,000, “No Problem,” in the words of the late Brian Leninhan. Now we know hoe politicians accumulate their wealth - tables quizzes and chicken suppers!!

I had a call from Donnybrook resident Pete Duffy last week concerning the eternal problem … litter. Pete told me that he has travelled the world and in the U.S.A. one would see old men collecting cans in shopping trolleys. When they bring them to collection points they are paid cash. The point Pete was making was give people an incentive to collect rubbish. I’d put a tax on cans here in Ireland, 5p a can, and when somebody brought 20 cans to a collection point, they received 1. Older readers would remember the refund on bottles during the sixties. Maybe it’s time we looked at that system again.

While on the subject of litter, our new Councillor Peter Kelly agreed with me that Douglas should have its own litter warden. One name springs to mind, our own Joe Lynch. Joe is presently working to keep Douglas clean and well done on the councils prompt response to the weeds on the footpath opposite the Credit Union (which I mentioned last week). Joe has been involved in local soccer clubs in the Douglas area for many years. He’s well known and respected and last year I saw him run after and reprimand two youngsters who threw a choc-ice wrapper on the ground. They picked up the rubbish. If we are really serious about the litter problem we need to tackle it at ground level (excuse the pun!), because all the advertisements and press releases in the world will not stop people littering.

Well done to Sean Brady of Greystones, company Wicklow. Why? you may ask. Well, it seems Sean was on holidays in Crosshaven, called into the local chipper for some fish and chips. The next day he called back to say he had been under-charged by 6.20, which he duly handed over. It’s nice to meet honest people in the Isle of tribunals.

Can anybody make sense of air-fares? I rang a travel agent for details on a return flight from Cork to Edinburgh. I’m sure you all know there are no flights from Cork to anywhere in Scotland. However, you may get a flight from Cork to Dublin and then Dublin to Glasgow, and then make your own way to Edinburgh (about 60 miles). The cost to travel by Aer-Lingus - 324!!! My friend Ronnie told me that one can get a return flight to the U.S.A. for 299!!! I then rang up Ryanair in Dublin (why don’t Ryanair sort out their differences with the travel agents?) The cost of a return flight from Dublin to Glasgow is about 90, travelling with Ryanair. Incidentally, the last time I visited Scotland was in 1997. On returning my rented car to “Dollar” Self Drive in Glasgow airport, the receptionist looked at my booking form and said, “you’re from Douglas, my sister lives in Rochestown and her husband is working on the tunnel under the river”. She also told me that the nicest meal that she ever had in Ireland was in Eco’s Restaurant in Douglas. Dave Halpin and staff take a bow.

Over the past thirty years I have been involved in the catering business. Mostly restaurants and take-a-ways. A chip shop is a profession and if you are selling cooked food, customers are trusting you with their health. Down through the years I have told my staff there are three important rules in this trade: 1. Rotate your food at all times, 2. Never sell what you wouldn’t eat yourself and finally, 3. “if in doubt, throw it out!”. I write this piece because a reader told me he got a touch of food poisoning last week in a late night take-a-way in the City centre.

This evening driving from Frankfield to Shamrock Lawn I passed people walking from the final bus-stop from the number 6 (it stops opposite Hanleys Sheds in Grange). Some of these people were carrying shopping and it’s a good long walk if one lives at the end of Frankfield Hill. For God’s sake would Bus Eireann sort out this long running dispute which has been going on for years. After all its these people who I saw walking who keep Bus Eireann going.

Driving to Carrigaline last Thursday via Donnybrook Hill (which now looks like the Somme Circa, 1916 on a good day) at the top of the hill before the entrance to Bracken Court. There were red and white road cones on the other side of the road. I was driving on my own side when a van came tearing towards me. He had to swerve to my side to avoid the cones and because I didn’t stop he blew the horn agressively, and just missed side swiping me. The time was 4.50 last Thursday and it was a Caher van. I always thought one was supposed to yield if there was an obstruction on one’s driving side. I guess the rules have changed, or maybe some drivers are “gas men” (terrible pun!!)

Bye for now.
Michael O’Hanlon

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