Tuesday, 31 August 2010

O’Leary attempts at blackmail will only hurt workers

Sinn Féin representative for east Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile has slammed the move by Ryanair to pull their services from Belfast City Airport.
Speaking this afternoon he said;
“This is nothing more than the typical type of behaviour most people will have come to expect from Michael O’Leary of Ryanair.It appears that the decision to pull their services from the City Airport is down to the public inquiry due to take place into the proposed runway extension; it would seem that because Ryanair haven’t gotten their own way, they are punishing workers, the Belfast economy as well as current customers.
Sinn Féin’s position on the proposed runway extension has been clear for some time, an inquiry is needed so that all arguments for and against the extension could be articulated, not least the very real health and environmental concerns of the many thousands of residents across Belfast and north Down who are affected by traffic in and out of the airport.
While I’m sure many residents will not be mourning the apparent loss of Ryanair, I think this move by Michael O’Leary is an extremely retrograde step and will only punish Ryanair workers as well as the local economy and air travel commuters.” CRÍOCH

An Dún ABÚ!

Exciting times ahead for Contae an Dún!!

What can I say about Sunday’s game other than the last few minutes almost brought on heart failure for half of Croke Park!

Excitement is building ahead of Down’s All-Ireland Final clash with Cork on the 19th of September. Over these past three years a group of supporters from the Short Strand in County Down have travelled near and far in support of the Mournemen – on occasion we have had reasons to be downhearted others to be upbeat and excited, but none moreso than in Croke Park last Sunday!

A Down flag now resides on every lamppost along the Mountpottinger Road, more and more homes are flying the county colours with pride, cars heading in and out of the district are adorned with a miniature Down Flag. It’s a good time to be a supporter and a good time to follow An Dún!

I’m looking forward to the 19th and hopefully a personal return to GAA HQ

I believe we can do it, I believe the skill, the passion, the commitment and determination in is this current senior squad to see Sam brought back to County Down after too long a period away!

Go n-eirí an t-ádh leis na buachaillí ó chontae an Dún!

PS – I hope to get some photos of the flags in the Strand up soon

Beir Bua!!!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

An Poc ar an Chnoc 2010

"I sat for awhile by the gap in the wall
Found a rusty tin can and an old hurling ball..."

Saturday was just one of those days; a day you are enjoying so much you fail to recognise the importance of it until afterwards.

I said to Richard McAuley early on Saturday morning,

“RG, did you ever think you’d see the day when our flags would be flying at Stormont?”

His answer was simple but significant,

“Yes”, he said. And he is right!

Fair play to Gerry A and the organisers of the event, it was for a good cause and was enjoyed by the hundreds of people, idir óg agus aosta, who came to take part.

Teams from across Belfast took part in the under-10 hurling blitz on the front lawns of Stormont, there was an open Poc competition held adjacent to Carson’s statue which saw serious hurlers, amateurs, tourists, kids and even a peeler take part in it!

Mothers and fathers came to watch their children take part, many had brought along their younger brothers and sisters to see their siblings play in the first ever Poc ar an Chnoc.

And of course there were those who had read about the event in the media and were curious to see this historic first. Some just came to avail of the atmosphere, families gathering with sandwiches and bunógaí, juice and sweets, kicking a ball about the place; together on a Saturday in summer.

Isn’t that what the whole day was about?

Later in the afternoon the celebrity Poc drew the attention of those assembled, eager to see who would win. MPs, MLAs, Ministers, a TD, an MEP, Boxing Champions, TV Presenters, Handball Champions, all gathered in the hope that they would beat Gerry Adams; which of course most of them did!

Finally the senior men and women’s Poc Fada took place throughout the estate with competitors from across Ireland taking part. Hurling and Camogie greats, wearing their specially designed ‘Poc ar an Chnoc’ kits from O’Neills, were accompanied by two of the young gaels from teams who had taken part in the under-10 blitz that morning, set about trying to win this inaugural competition. My money was on Down man Graham Clarke who had won Poc Fada na hÉireann the previous week in the Cooley mountains. I was proved correct when he came first in the men’s competition, and Gráinne Connolly won the women’s.

The participants and winners were presented with their trophies on the front steps of Stormont, under the shadow of the Trinity hurler himself.

It was a good day, a groundbreaking day, a day when Gaels from across Ireland showed that there is nowhere we can’t go, there are no places now where an expression of our rich culture cannot be displayed and more importantly where we can’t come together for a fun day and a bit of craic.

Bhí lá den scoth again uilig agus tá neart moladh tuilte acu suid uilig a d’eagraigh na himeachtaí, maith sibh féin!

The organisers deserve a big go raibh maith agat for the hard work and effort they put in to making the event such a success; I have no doubt that over the coming years Poc ar an Chnoc will only get bigger and better!