From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Mayo News 11 Aug 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
14, Aug 2004 - 16:27

Seeing is believing - MAYO 0-16 TYRONE 1-9

NOTHING sates the hunger of long-suffering fans like victory against the odds. On Saturday, the Mayo crowd came to Croke Park ravenous and left entirely satisfied. They had come to Dublin tentatively, hoping for a result, but mindful of the many burnings they had received in the past. By the end they had greater hope, real hope of better days to come. In the space of those 74 electrifying minutes, the pain of years of disappointment, the doubt supplied by so many near misses and heroic failures was all forgotten. After the Galway and Roscommon games, it looked like a new day was dawning for Mayo football. But it was spoken about in whispers. On Saturday, it was sung from the rooftops. And rightly so.

I think a lot of Mayo supporters were quietly confident before the match. It was a great day and soon we will know which county Mayo faces next in this year’s great GAA adventure. Mayo has a great chance. When you see old jalopies painted up bright green and red and parked prominently on the roadside you know that it’s time to savour that rare experience - Mayo heading for the final in Croke Park!

Heart of the Matter - An unexpected bonus

Belmullet has waited a long time for a cinema but it could yet be one of the most advanced in the country. And bringing the gas ashore from the Corrib gas field could have a role to play. Elisha Commins reports. WHILE it had been planned to link up with a 22-strong group of community cinemas around the country, who have a scheme in place to share the cost of purchasing films between them, the Belmullet Arts Centre Committee are now looking at the viability of purchasing e-cinema technology, which is due to come into global usage in the cinema industry in the next few years. The Committee are looking at balancing the cost of this new technology against the cost of transporting film from other community cinemas around the country, bearing in mind that traditional projection equipment, which is in currently in use in most cinemas, could become obsolete in a number of years.

They say that 35mm film will become a thing of the past and films will arrive at the cinema by satellite or broadband link. Just as we can receive satellite TV rural cinemas may make a comeback. By using the new technology the logistic problems of being too peripheral can be overcome. Being far from the distribution source means that it’s expensive to transport large cans of film on a weekly basis, especially when you only have a small potential audience to start with. Hopefully the costs will be low enough to make this type of operation viable in places like Belmullet. The digital projection system and screen used by the Linenhall for their film club shows what can be done with digital media. It’s excellent.

Back in society

EX-OFFENDERS face a more difficult road to redemption in Mayo than in urban centres like Dublin and Galway. That’s the view of a Linkage Probation Officer who has spotlighted the problems faced by past offenders endeavouring to put their lives in order and go straight. Castlebar-based Barry Owens was speaking in the wake of last week’s announcement that 36 ex-offenders were placed in employment, training or further education throughout Mayo between February 2000 and December 2003. Twenty-two of these ex-offenders were placed in the calendar year, 2003, according to figures revealed in the third annual report of the Linkage Programme, launched by Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell. The Linkage Programme is funded under the National Development Plan and works to establish links between employers and ex-offenders referred by Probation Officers.

Judging from the comments on the online forum last week this item in the Mayo News about rehabilitating offenders won’t go down well in some quarters. There is a very strongly held "lock them up and throw the key away" mentality out there. They were quite vociferous on the Castlebar bulletin board last week regarding inter alia a smashed window at Staball and that horrific Clare case. Rehabilitation of offenders didn’t figure very highly with some contributors. This was coupled with another line of thinking that was very fatalistic about petty crime – keep your head down don’t report it that’s the job of the Gardai – that’s why we pay taxes? It makes an interesting contrast. On the one hand we shouldn’t bother reporting crime in case we might have to give evidence in court and be targeted by window-breakers ourselves and then on the other hand no quarter should be given to offenders once locked up if locked up at all of course. I’m thankful that there was another set of views – less vociferous and more reasoned – making the points that the penal system is intended to rehabilitate offenders not just exact revenge and that punishment is ramped up to suit the crime. The point was also made that the glue of society requires ordinary citizens to actively participate in the justice system by reporting offences to the Gardai and being prepared to stand up and be counted. If we fail to do this society simply unravels and we hand it over to the mobs.

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