Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod this week
A look at news from around Ireland
Doherty, who’s been on the housing list for more than three years, says she is currently sleeping on the sofa in a relative’s house, where one of her children has to share a bedroom with his grandmother.
She claims she’s been told that the only way to secure the points she needs to get a house is to become unemployed.
Kathleen Bradley, of the Dove House Community Assist Project, said many people are considering giving up their jobs to land a Housing Executive property.
She explained that Doherty has 160 points on the housing list but requires 180 to stand any chance of getting a house.
“This is the dilemma that Erin is now faced with -- work on or be housed,” said Bradley.
At present, Doherty and her two kids, aged one and three, live in a three bedroom Bogside property with their paternal grandmother, two uncles and aunt.
“I sleep on the sofa, Xavier in a cot beside me and Caidin shares a bedroom with his granny,” she said.
“It is no way to live.”
Not So Happy Memories
FOURTEEN survivors from the 1949 sixth class of St Patrick’s National School in Castlebar came together last week for the first time since leaving it 63 years ago. Reminiscences were exchanged and lifetime experiences recounted as the motley bunch gathered outside the old school at Chapel Street to bridge the chasm.
The world was recovering from World War II in 1949. The inter-party government led by John A. Costello was in power. Mayo were about to win the Connacht senior football title for the second year running, and the pupils of sixth class had just sat the primary cert.
There were 40 in the class from all social strata. Some had stayed on for a second year not so much to repeat the exam as to reach their 14th birthday when they would be released at last from the horrors of a harsh regime.
There was no central heating in those days. Blazing turf fires in the winter, for which pupils were expected to contribute a couple of hard-found shillings annually, provided the heat that never reached those sitting in the middle or in the back seats.
Punishment was merciless, especially for those unable to keep pace with the brighter students. Two of last week’s gathering spoke of the nightmares they still suffer from the beatings dished out in those days.
Fear overshadowed all but the brightest. Later, some would find comfort in the words of the famous Irish orator Edmund Burke, “No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”
Fear paralyzed many bright minds in that class. And yet most of that class would have passed the primary, many with honors, despite a public outcry that the Irish paper that year was too difficult.
The furor resulted in the Department of Education reducing the marks for pass and honors papers to 30 and 60 respectively.
The primary was the limit of most pupils’ formal schooling. Proficiency in the three Rs was regarded as a solid foundation for the future.
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