Pat’s Patch - Do not disturb

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If you go walking, as I do, at the Wildlife path at Inch Level in Burt you’ll see what’s called a ‘temporary sign’ on the gates stating that because dogs have been allowed to soil - ahem, beautifully put - the path and seriously disturb wildlife they are thinking of banning our four legged friends from being walked there.

Funnily enough I would have thought allowing guys with guns to shoot at the birds might disturb them a lot more ....

What a headline!

I would suspect that like most men if I came home and said to the wife I had been to a brothel my funeral would be taking place about now. So the thought occurred to me that there must be a lot of guys around Donegal scared out of the wits about what is to emerge from the discovery of a brothel operating in Letterkenny where there was both a male and female prostitute doing a roaring trade.

I know I even bore myself to death about ‘then and now’ but when I got last Thursday’s Donegal Democrat and read the headline about the local prostitute being HIV active I thought that’s it - I’m out there with smoke signals, bows and arrows and the horse and cart. When I was growing up in the town there would never have been a story like that for starters, and a prostitute was someone I just might have heard about in a film at the Scala cinema, not someone who lived next door

Savile stuns

I can honestly say I never liked Jimmy Savile very much. And I am on record in my own home as saying so for years. In fact, I never knew what made him a celebrity. He talked gibberish - ‘How’s about that then’ - looked ridiculous with his shellsuit and dyed hair and never radiated any real warmth or personality. But then around that same time people also liked Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins and John McEnroe so there was no accounting for tastes.

What I never suspected was the absolute firestorm of revelations about Savile. At the time of writing British police say there have been up to 300 separate complaints of indecent assaults and other serious sexual acts committed against mainly young girls but also some young boys. And it’s unlikely to stop there. Even his grand niece, who was only 15 at the time, said he groped her at a family party.

And the really amazing one million dollar question is - how did he get away with it for so long?

Arrogant sod

Did you see Conrad Black’s interview with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight last week? What an arrogant sod that man is - I’m talking about Black here, rude, arrogant, pompous and self righteous. Black was jailed in America for fraud but clearly believes he’s a victim of injustice despite the evidence suggesting otherwise.

Years ago when he owned the Sunday Telegraph in Britain he tried to insist that the then editor of the paper used the side door of his palatial home in London because, he claimed, the editor was ‘hired help’ coming to report to his employer not being invited there as a guest..

Needless to say the editor of the Telegraph at the time was sufficiently pompous enough himself to tell Black to shove it.

Back to that again....

I spent about an hour on Saturday morning looking at photographs of old Letterkenny on the internet. I never thought 20/30 years was that long ago until I looked at the cars on the main street and the clothes people were wearing and it was like looking at pages of a history book.

What’s really worrying was I saw a photograph of a group of young fellas I definitely knew - at the time it was taken I reckon I could have named every one of them - but I could only identify two this time around before calling it quits.

By the way, when I was going to St Eunans between 1966 and 1971 there was a whole host of girls from the town going to the Loreto Convent. I was thinking the other day the vast majority of them must have emigrated.

Anyone ever think of doing a survey and finding where they all went?

The story of a father

A man called Danny McCay wrote a lovely article in the Derry Journal last week telling the story of his attempts to come to terms with his father’s death. Danny has no memories of his da in that he died when he was three, and despite the photos of them together there is nothing in his head to connect him with those times or places. As well as writing movingly about his dad Danny was very funny telling of the time he fell out with a friend and then realising ‘I’ll get my ma to you’ didn’t quite have the same impact as the usual version of that particular line. And he told too of one Christmas when another school friend, unaware of his dad being dead, asked him what he was getting his da for Christmas? ‘Flowers’ replied Danny, killing himself laughing.

But it was also deadly serious. He told of the pain of loss when he had his own son and realised that his dad would not be there with him to share the joy and the journey.

Dads are important. It’s often only when they are not there do people realise just how important.

And finally

I don’t know how many of you caught last Friday’s Late Late Show but I thought David McWilliams got it spot on when he said the government has got to stop acting like little cherubs and start playing hardball with Brussels, Berlin and the bankers. He made one serious central point that this government still hasn’t go - austerity has never worked as an economic policy any where in the world. All it does is drive the economy up against a wall.

Geoff Meagher, the national president of St Vincent dePaul has no doubt about this either in that he says ordinary working people can’t take any more.

Speaking at the weekend in regard to the forthcoming budget he said “What we’re saying is that the people we help and support have taken a substantial amount in terms of hits in various forms. They are not in a position to take more hits because effectively many of them are already under water at the moment and this will drive them further down.”