The Future of Irish Soccer Looks Bright, Yellow & Green!

'Ronaldo O'Brien'!
Originally uploaded by Speedie1.
The presence of these Brazilians in our midst is sure to bring many long-term benefits to the country.
Imagine the beautiful children that will result from the mixing of our races!
There is also the dividends that will accrue to the successors of Brian Kerr (Ireland's soccer manager). For on Saturday I attended a local soccer match to watch as an indigenous Gort team was beaten 8 nil by itsBrazilian counterparts! A generation of 'Ronaldo O'Briens' are waiting in their prams!!
So are they being accepted? On the whole, I believe so.
Some people such as Frank Murray, a Portuguese-speaker community organiser, are coordinating some excellent integrationist programmes. I myself will be organising a series of evening IT classes for Brazilian adults designed to promote 'electronic' communities or eNeighbourhoods and closer social interaction.
Of course, some local young people feel that these relatively good-looking Brazilians are here to steal their boyfriends and girlfriends. There are also stories 'doing the rounds' that tell of lonely old farmers being seduced by sexy young Brazilian girls into marriage and signing over the deeds of their farms! Supposedly a few of their cousins are not too happy with on-folding events!!

Sleepy Rural Town Rocks to the Samba Beat!

Brazilian Senhoras in Galway!
Originally uploaded by Speedie1.
What a sight! Down-town on a Saturday night oozes excitement and emotionality. Brazilian men wolf whistle as the girls in tight figure-hugging clothes strut their stuff, provocatively smiling as they nonchalantly stroll pass their ogling admirers. Children saunter up and down on bikes as their parents gather in groups outside their front doors laughing and talking loudly as they share the latest scandals and news stories with their neighbours. Someone turns on a CD radio and two girls dance in rhythm to the samba beat.

Early Monday morning the town square is still populated with crowds of people. This time the scene is of dozens of men armed with lunch boxes waiting quietly in groups in anticipation of being collected by pick-up trucks for casual work in the fields and building sites of the surrounding area. Not everyone is successful though and, after a few hours of fruitless waiting, the unlucky ones slowly wander home. Yet they will return the following day to once again re-commence the process.

But these scenes are not from some backwater village in central Brazil. This is Gort in the rural heartland of Co. Galway in the west of Ireland.

Through personal contacts, I have developed good friendships with many of the Brazilians who now constitute 33% of the town's population and who have injected a real 'tropical buzz' into Gort.
The Brazilian invasion began over 5 years ago when Duffys, the owners of the local meat processing & animal slaughter factory were forced to travel to Brazil to recruit workers. They were finding it increasingly difficult to secure local staff for this physically demanding and dirty work.
The new arrivals came from poor communities in central and southern Brazil. As the months and years rolled by, the families of the male workers followed with the result that they have now transformed the social and cultural landscape of a Gaelic countryside. Signs in some of the local shops are now in Portuguese and the local Catholic Church hosts has a monthly mass in the language. I went to one religious service last Tuesday- it was so musical, expressive and interactive that I find myself spiritually uplifted.
This year the newcomers held their second annual 'Rio carnival' which was an outstanding success. The Brazilian women spend lots of time knitting and sewing up sparkling dress wear for the parade's participants.
Recently, the south Americans opened two shops (Real Brasil & Tabor Brasil) on the main street selling food and other domestic produce.

First Day Back at School- Joy & Trepidation!

First Day Back at School!
Originally uploaded by Speedie1.
Summer Holidays are over as School Reopens
Photo shows(L-R) Shane, Cepta & Daire just before we travel to school for the first day of the new school year.

One of the major red-letter days in the annual calendar of both parents and children, the first day back is always greeted with a mixture of trepidation and joy.

In the background, you can see construction work taking place at our house(we decided to add on an extension).

Renville - One Day After the Clean Up!!

This photo was taken a day after the Galway County Council undertook a clean up of Renville!

The roadside bags (upper left of photo) represented the rubbish gathered by the county council staff.
Somebody forgot the seashore!

Why is the owner of this ramshackle boat allowed to leave it in Renville public carpark?

This boat was dumped in the Renville Park public carpark by the local sailing club. This was over a year ago.
The county council found out who owned, But in spite of the threat of court action, the wealthy owner from nearby Oranmore has done nothing to remove this big piece of junk

Renville- Ireland's most litter-strewn bay?

This rubbish was collected by the local authority after 2 months of lobbying by yours truely.
But they gathered it on a Thursday and left it onsite until the following Tuesday!!
Notice where they dumped it - right up against one of their own signs stating "No Dumping"!! Can you believe it?
Furthermore, it was only a fraction of the rubbish strewn across the area (See next photo)
Yet they told a few week later that the job was done!!!

Ireland's most Litter-strewn Seashore?

Originally uploaded by Speedie1.

Ireland is famous for its scenery. It the country*s primary asset in promoting Tourism, our most important industry since the 1950s.
And there is no more pictureseque location in the country than Galway Bay, celebrated in song and verse for centuries.
But sadly, the massive built development that has been taking place in our country for the last decade is destroying our God-given natural beauty. We are ‘killing the goose that lays the golden egg’.
I would be the first to admit that the government-imposed plastic bag levy and Galway City Council’s introduction of a radical pro-recycling waste management domestic waste system have been positive eco-friendly initiatives. But the overall picture is depressing. Our lakes are being polluted with fertilsers; wetlands and bogs are being drained; hedgrows (Ireland’s tropical rain forests) are being ripped up; our fields are being covered over with tarmacaden and houses & our air is being filled with toxic pollutants.

Look at the attached pictures of Galway Bay. The location is Renville near the holiday village that I manage. It must be the most litter-strewn seashore in Ireland and it is permanently covered by appalling levels of rubbish. This is because the direction of the ocean’s currents leads to the depositing of all sorts of waste material from the city and environs at this particular shoreline.
Renville itself is now host to a cluster of quality leisure activities - golf club, sailing club, holiday homes, hotel , a fine public park and the location for the new Marine Institute.
But in spite of months of personally lobbying the county council, I have had little success in solving the ongoing waste crisis.

I regularly help in voluntary cleaning actions. But the task is too large for a small number of individuals to solve. It is the council’s responsibility to provide at least a weekly cleaning service in this popular leisure destination. However, due to a government embargo on local authorities staff recruitment, there are not the human resources available to implement such a policy. The local Community Warden tries his best but has a very wide geographical brief. It took me two months of persistent lobbying to get a council cleaning crew out last June. But the rubbish collected was only the tip of the iceberg and was left on site for four days beside a Council ‘No Dumping’ Sign before it was collected! Part of the shore wall had previously being broken down to allow equipment onto the seashore. But an unsightly mess left behind was never repaired.
Furthermore, a large derelict boat was removed from the sailing club area last year and dumped in front of the park. In spite of the best efforts of the Community Warden, the craft is still there despoiling this beautiful public amenity.
The person that owns it is a wealthy millonaire living locally! The personification of selfishness.
Over the last few months, I have being forced to cancel field trips by schools to the seashore because of this appalling waste vista. Something needs to be done soon to preserve this unique heritage and natural environmental area before it is too late.

This week, I wrote an article on the topic for a local newspaper. Hopefully this may embarass the council into action