Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod


Seeking marriage help

A Roscommon farmer having trouble with his wife took a unique approach back in 1980 and wrote to the then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Charles Haughey for help.

According to the recently published state papers for 1980, the farmer was having problems with his wife of four years.

He told Haughey she hadn’t a penny when he married her, but she “has refused to have a child, cook, wash or clean the house. All she does is walk the roads and lie in bed all day. When I ask her what she intends doing, she tells me mind my own business, that she will do as she likes.”
He claimed that she left the house for four months the previous year “dossing around with old bachelor men.”

He explained that he had tried to prevent her return home, but she got into the house “in spite of me.”

“Could you please tell me is she entitled to equal share in my property, as I think she is entitled to none of it,” he asked Haughey. Haughey’s secretary said that only the man’s legal adviser could clarify his position in law.

Meanwhile, on November 1, 1980, contraceptives became legally available in Ireland for the first time in 45 years, but only on prescription from a doctor. These regulations enacted the Family Planning Act 1979, described by Haughey as an “Irish solution to an Irish problem.”

A group of women from Ballaghaderreen wrote to Haughey warning him of the “abhorrent inevitable consequences” of the bill, including that Ireland would “cease to be one of the last outposts of moral society.” 

Mary T. Geever, recalled former Fine Gael Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave as a “man of moral conscience.”

“Would you want the people of Ireland to remember you as the taoiseach who introduced contraception, facilitating sin among weak-willed teenagers?” she wrote, adding that the move would impose a financial burden on taxpayers who would have to finance the treatment of “veneral
(sic) disease.”
- Roscommon Herald

Over the counter morning after

The Irish College of General Practitioners says it has concerns about a move by pharmacy chain Boots to offer emergency contraception over the counter without a prescription for the first time.
Until now, women who wished to take the morning after pill had to visit their doctor first.

Dr. Mel Bates, chair of the Irish College of General Practitioners, said dispensing emergency contraception in this way raised issues about the quality and continuity of care given to patients.
He said that in a doctor setting, women could be offered advice about contraception and sexually transmitted infections.

Boots says it will offer the morning after pill in all its Irish pharmacies from Wednesday of this week.

It says it is able to do legally under a patient group direction. This allows its medical director to instruct non-doctors on following certain protocols.
- RTE News

Recession pressure

THE crippling collapse of the economy is putting huge additional pressures on Kerry families, and the recession is leading to a sharp increase in marriage breakups and difficulties meeting maintenance payments.

There has been a huge surge in demand for services offered by the Legal Aid Board center in Tralee, where an 11% rise in demand in 2010 was confirmed with a total of 88 applicants still awaiting an appointment at the end of the year.

Eileen Bowden, the board’s director of corporate services, confirmed that the Tralee center dealt with a total of 530 applicants in 2009, and up to November 2010 it had already dealt with a total of 550 applications.

"We are finding that there is more pressure. Because of the recession more people are qualifying for the service, and people are losing their jobs in the current economic climate," she stated.

"We would also see in Tralee that there has been an increase in people looking for advice in relation to debt cases. With debt we look at each case on an individual basis. We can give advice but we cannot always take on a case," she added.

Over the last 12 months the Legal Aid Board solicitors in Tralee have also observed a major increase in the number of people seeking help in relating to child care and child abduction cases.
- The Kingdom

Construction collapse

THE collapse in the construction sector has been starkly revealed in figures published by Mayo county manager Peter Hynes in his annual report.

Planning applications in the county fell last year to levels not seen since 1994, and are now less than a third of what they were during the heady days of the Celtic Tiger.

Mayo County Council had received a total of 1,172 applications up to the end of November 2010, a decline of 7.5% on the same period in 2009.

It now appears almost certain that 2010 will have been the worst year for construction in Mayo since 1994 when a total of 1,376 planning applications were lodged.