Good news from Ireland
Focus on the positive!
When the late, gentle Erskine Childers was our president I was covering some event in Clarinbridge over which he was presiding.
It was a low key occasion with no huge crowds in the village, and it was for that reason the president was able to sit up to the bar in Paddy Burke's before the function started and quietly enjoy a gin and tonic.
I was sitting down the bar but, like everybody else bar one little boy, I left him alone with his peace. I assume his security man was not far away, but he was not in view.
Anyway, the little boy who approached the President was so young and flaxen-curled and Lord Fauntelroyish he represented no threat. He had an autograph book, and the two of them had a nice little chat before the child went away.
Minutes later the president went away. Being of my trade, I asked the little boy to show me what Erskine Childers had written in his autograph book. That is it above.
There in a neat nutshell was a viewpoint that Childers promoted all along the twists and turns of his long public life. He was strongly in favor of an optimistic approach to all the hardships of living.
When he was a government minister he was often critical of the way in which the national media handled the stories of the day. Erskine was of the view they should more strongly feature the half of the glass that was full rather than its empty areas.
My former distinguished editor and current colleague here, Tim Pat Coogan, would be well briefed on the Childers viewpoint on too much bad news being harmful for the mindset of the nation.
It was before my time in the state, but I guess Childers had an input into an official news agency whose brief was to pump out good news about Ireland. I was always a believer in what one might call the Childers' Protocol for hard times.
In this harsh week both nationally and internationally I propose to devote the rest of this space to nothing but good news.
IRELAND has been bathed and laved by the most warmly enchanting April weather for 20 years. It was especially
heavenly during the day of the budget announcements.
For this reason most folk stayed outdoors, even traveling to the beaches, and did not hear the details of cuts and increases until much later in the evening. The price of drinks remained untouched, and the price of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco was only slightly increased.
In the end of the day, as we head into the unending cycle of the summer festivals, these are the prices that really matter.
IRELAND will be providing nearly a third of the traveling rugby Lions who will be touring South Africa in the summer taking on the Springboks. The captain of the party is the powerful Paul O'Connell of Munster, and his only rival for the post was current Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll, the first to wish him well when the announcement came.