My Weekly Blog tackles TheBlacksmith of Ballinalee, Keeping History for Junior, Continuous Assessment, Kate O’Connell, T.D.in Cavan, Local Elections, Nancy Pelosi and Minister Michael Creed and our Beef Farmers

History Project
My wonderful good humoured son recently completed his history project for Leaving Certificate. I was proof reader and unpaid subeditor. I learned three things in the process.
I first of all from reading it discovered the extraordinary individual his subject was. General Sean Mc Eoin the Blacksmith Of Ballinallee was truly daring and a genius as a military tactician. He and his North Longford Flying Column won two historic battles in the War Of Independence at Ballinalee and Clonfin.
Spectaculars in the Midlands where military engagement had been relatively light they were decisive in bringing the Truce and Negotiations and Treaty about. He was uniquely chivalrous forbidding the execution of the injured facilitating the treatment of the wounded and having the dying spiritually ministered to. Subsequent to the treaty he entered politics and was a real force for reconciliation. He came a close second in two presidential elections and held multiple ministeries after a earlier six year spell setting up and structuring our army.
A very religious man he championed social justice and worked assiduously for his constituents.
I learned next the value of and need for mandatory history to Junior Certificate. You cannot appreciate or understand the present without knowing the past. To be truly tolerant and considered you need to know what shaped the people you meet. There are riches to be harvested from the past and lessons to learn.
To remove academic history as a core subject is to stunt the intellectual and personal development of our youth. Just this morning I was very happy to hear fellow Ulster man Minister Joe Mc Hugh on Morning Ireland passionately and eloquently extol the importance of a knowledge of what brought us to where we are as he stood at Bridgend on the Donegal Derry border.
The third thing I learned is that what’s left of normal youth should not be robbed by continuous assessment at Second Level. I would not want my son to live his life around deadlines and stress. The current system works well and is both objective and fair. Maybe we could marry a little more project work across other subjects to our current Leaving Certificate but I don’t think young people should live on adrenaline and stress. That’s time enough in third level.

Campaign Launches
Last weekend was taken up with Local Election Campaign Launches.
We started with the launch of our ten outstanding candidates by Kate O Connell TD on Friday Night. Kate brought her unique humour straight talking and incisiveness to proceedings. Organised by Des Crossan and Gene Murphy it gave a kick start to the election trail. The light refreshments laid on by the Sheills family from the Farnham were of the usual high quality.
It was on next to the Lakeside Manor for the launch of TP O Reilly by the inimitable Maireid Mc Guinness MEP. An overflow crowd showed real enthusiasm for this very able new candidate.
On Saturday I spoke at the launch of Peter Farrelly in the Carnaross. It was a night of humour music and good stories. Peter is energetic entrepreneurial and very witty.
On Monday Night the Clifferna AGM was a night of high spirits and fine spirits. Brian Maguire leads on despite his protestations as does Malachi O Brien reaffirmed earlier that night at Crubany Killygarry’s AGM.
Malachi is even more secure than a Chinese Leader.
There is a great spirit of volunteerism and patriotism among our membership.

Nancy Pelossi
It was a great privilege to join present and former colleagues in the Dáil Chamber to listen to Nancy Pelosi.

An inspirational speaker we were all blown away by how well she looked and sounded at her age. My firm view that age is a number was reinforced. I’ve known forty year olds more morbid negative and believing only in the half empty glass while I’ve similarly met many like Ms Pelosi who embrace life ignoring age and making a positive difference around them.

It was wonderful for me as a border person to hear her say that there would be no US UK trade deal if the sanctity terms and security of the Good Friday Agreement was put at risk.
A hard border would do just that.

Isn’t it quite extraordinary the good will and firm Loyalty we have got and can get from our EU Colleagues and the US. We can be so proud of it. The achievement of our Government and Diplomatic Corp is remarkable in this regard.
Never have we needed friends more than in the last few years.

Our Beef Farmers
Let’s hope and pray we get a solidarity package for our beef farmers from the EU Budget. Prices are below viability and many farmers are threatened financially in a very serious fashion.
Good Luck to Minister Creed with his very competent and trenchant effort to secure real support.
He will be supported by Commissioner Phil Hogan who knows how difficult the situation.

Enjoy Easter.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website