As the song goes…‘People Help The People’

Posted on: 5th October, 2015

Category: Music

Contributor: Mark Holland

I wonder, was ‘Live Aid’, 30 years ago, a musical event or a political one, or is it just “not that simple” as Mrs Thatcher said to Bob Geldof?

I have to put my hand up and say that I know nothing, but when it comes to a crisis, and consequent effective action, I’m in good company because neither does anyone else, that is the one thing I do know. I spent time in Iraq after the first Gulf war and I think its consequences are now beginning to bite.

It would of course be unwise not to listen to the counsel of the academics, anthropologists, and the economists of the national and European social services, but that amounts to sitting on our hands and discussing the matter, considering the best plan of action, until the cows wander off, dehydrate and expire. The UN is very good, expert, at doing this. Doing nothing is not just doing nothing – it is a negative response that is contributing to making the situation worse. Time is essential here; refugees become increasingly vulnerable, exponentially, as days and weeks of indecision and inaction move on, ultimately making the required course of action more radical and less effective.

We are already negligent in our duties to people that we can help from their awful fate.

The Lebanon is a country about one-eighth the size of the island of Ireland, with a population similar to our own. There is currently estimated to be 1.3 million Syrian refugees in that country, and Lebanon desperately needs the solidarity and support of the international community to continue to do its best to accommodate these people. These people have not fled their homes and homeland easily; the situation has been going on in Syria too long and they have hit breaking point.  Most of them actually believed that the international community would not allow their situation to become this far out of control, breaking so many international laws, without action. No doubt we will absolve ourselves with bringing the culprits to justice through the international courts long after the damage is done and these monsters have lost their teeth.

According to the Irish Independent, 40,000 new overseas workers arrived in Ireland last year (2014), more than 85 per cent working, all of them with a roof over their heads, and I personally haven’t seen any negative impact.

According to Failte Ireland we had 7.6 million visits last year (again 2014), visits as opposed to visitors, as some of these may have come and gone more than once, and again I personally wasn’t overwhelmed by such numbers.

Yes homelessness is a problem in this country, but it is a different problem and one that is used pathetically to excuse a vacuum of political will.

A single class Boeing 747 carries 660 people, and these things land and offload their passengers here without any particular impact, daily.

It initially takes courage, which in itself is a good thing, for us to show leadership in the international community, to show the way forward in the fabled land of welcomes. If we committed, now, to one plane load per week from Beiruit to Dublin (Cork or Shannon) for the next year, that would add up to a commitment to take in just less than 35,000 people that need our help and whose lives may be saved by our generosity. It would set down a marker to our European Union partners who could follow our lead with an enormous positive impact on a human crisis. It would be like sending out a huge big national Christmas card to the people of Syria saying “You need our help, what can we do?  You’re always welcome here.”

Now that would be music to my ears.

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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