From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Mayo News 28 July 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
1, Aug 2004 - 19:57

Reek rescue numbers climb

Rescue workers on Croagh Patrick endured one of the busiest Sundays in living memory as weather conditions and a lack of preparedness combined to produce a number of casualties. Speaking to the Mayo News, PRO of Mayo Mountain Rescue and Westport Order of Malta, Shane McGuire, said that he could not recall a busier Reek Sunday. "We were on from 4a.m. on Sunday morning until 10p.m. that night, but our last call-out was actually at 2a.m. on Monday morning. I was at home when I received a text message saying that there were two people stranded on the mountain, and I honestly thought someone was playing a joke. They were up near the top of the mountain, but apart from being confused, cold and frightened, they weren’t injured". 29 people in all were assisted by the Mayo Mountain Rescue, with fourteen of these stretchered off the mountain. A lack of proper preparation was a major factor in the number of incidents requiring the assistance of Mountain Rescue and the Order of Malta. "The amount of people going up the mountain ill-prepared, in summer clothing for what was essentially a December climate, was amazing. People think Reek Sunday and they automatically assume summer, but the mountain is 730 metres high. For every 100 metres you go up, you lose1?C, and then you have to allow for wind chill and the fact that it is 10?C colder at the top than at the bottom. Along with all of this on Sunday was the fact that visibility was just 30 metres".

I can see an end to the current, apparently very disorganised, free for all – that mad dash up the Reek at the end of July each year. The safety issue, which is clearly pointed by this year’s toll, is further aggravated by the erosion that the heavy traffic is obviously causing. You can see the scar on the mountain from afar. The path gets wider and wider each year. On some Scottish and English mountains they have had to carefully restrict the paths on which walkers can walk in order to protect the mountain’s vegetation and wildlife. It’s only a matter of time I reckon before something similar has to happen on Croagh Patrick. It’s like going back to the Acropolis and discovering that you can no longer place your foot on the marble steps like you could in the 70s and early 80s – now it’s all boardwalks to protect the ancient stone. The Reek is in need of protection from those who love it most.

‘I didn’t know’ - P. Flynn

FORMER Government Minister and EU Commissioner, Padraig Flynn, has formally acknowledged to the Mahon Tribunal that he received a £50,000 donation from developer Tom Gilmartin in June, 1989. It was the biggest political donation he had ever received, equal to his Ministerial salary at the time. Mr. Flynn told the Tribunal he gave the money to his wife Dorothy, but he did not know in what account the money had been lodged. He never asked her what she did with the money and was unaware until years later that the money had been lodged in a non-resident account. Mr. Flynn told the Mahon Tribunal that he did not open the non-resident account into which the money was lodged. He stated that he did not know the account existed until the 1990s, that he was not aware it had been opened by his wife, that he did not provide the London address for the account, that he never lived at the London address given and could not assist the tribunal as to why the account was opened with a London address.

All the papers give blow by blow accounts of the tribunal hearings some five years after the June 1989 cheque was accepted and banked in that NIB account. It is fascinating, brazen, brass-necked stuff. It really is a shame that Vincent Brown is on holidays and we didn’t get the nightly re-enactments on RTE radio. Then  the NIB Report published at the weekend damning all the top brass at NIB, including Beverley who had up to this bitterly complained that no one else at the bank was sharing the blame with her in the media. Well now she is joined by 19 or so other fellow-travellers. It is to be hoped that just as someone is jailed for stealing a handbag with a few pounds in it that the kind of blatant corporate thievery that is outlined so clearly in the Inspectors’ report will be tried and punished too.

No room for Beverley

THE battle of Mayo Independents is begun. With Dr. Jerry Cowley’s announcement that he intends to form an alliance of Independents to fight the next general election in the expectation that they could hold the balance of power in the Dail, the next question is, will the newly Independent Deputy Beverly Flynn be invited to join the Independent alliance? Speaking to The Mayo News this week, Dr. Cowley firmly ruled out this possibility, pointing out that there would be "entry requirements" to the group. " Credible people without baggage will be invited to join," he said, "those who are a credit to the body politic." He pointed out there would be no room for those who had been found by the courts to have encouraged tax evasion, also naming Tipperary TD, Michael Lowry, as another non-contender.

God help us if the good Dr Cowley holds the balance of power! But it’s great to see such righteousness breaking out this far in advance of the next election. Perhaps we will have some more finger-pointing around the local political arena too as we size up the amount of baggage being carried by and the credibility of the various potential candidates for the next Dáil. I am looking forward to reading the declaration of interests and the job descriptions for the new Mayo County Councillors. Will the Council website continue its disclaimer stating that the occupations listed are those that the councillors submit themselves?

© Copyright 2004 by Castlebar - County Mayo -