Katie triumphs as Catalan independence appears lost

Well, we had great news earlier this week with our very own Katie Taylor being crowned World Boxing Champion.

I was so delighted for her. She is a very modest young woman who just wants to get on at her own career in boxing, and I remember well when I met her some time ago. I was on the book trail, selling in a bookshop in Cork, and she was three doors up in another bookshop doing the same thing. We met as we left our respective events, and I was so pleased to meet such an unassuming young woman. Well done Katie!

Now, I do not at all know what are we going to do about Catalonia or what will be the end up of it all. The huge pro Spanish unity rally last weekend in Barcelona gave heart to the Spanish Prime Minister who, the next morning, sacked the Catalan Prime Minister and his government, and many other departments connected with independence.

I feel many people are in favour of Catalonia and its independence but, of course, it is not like that at all. The rule of law in Spain is from central government in Madrid and it is just so wrong of Catalonia to bring it to the brink and then just jump in. The Catalonian Prime Minister (as he was ) is in Brussels. The EU do not want anything to do with making a case for him. Yet, I think the only way it can be eventually solved will be by dialogue, and I hope some internationally recognised figure comes forward to bring about dialogue between the two sides.

I have a friend who lives in Barcelona and she has assured me, on the telephone, that they want nothing to do with this independence movement. They are part of Spain and they want to remain so. We will have to wait and see how this one plays out.

As all of the readers will know, we are in a very perilous situation between the DUP and Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland. Tommie Gorman, every night, appears on the TV giving his up to date opinion on what he feels is the situation in the talks between the two parties. However, it has now reached, I feel, an impasse, and I cannot see any way out of it. The devolved parliament has not met for 10 months and all the other parties, who have been elected as well to the assembly, cannot find their place either.

Like all of you, I am extremely worried about the deadlock, and hope and pray that good sense will prevail before the deadline.

We had a great let down on Tuesday morning when we heard Dick Spring on the Sean O’Rourke Show saying that the first part of the bid for Ireland to be picked as the host of the Rugby World Cup has failed, and that both South Africa and France are ahead of us in the running order.

Now, I know full well, as Dick valiantly explained, that is only half the process. There are many more votes to come and we can expect a decision towards the end of November. I was truly disappointed as I had led myself to believe that there would be favourable reaction to Ireland’s bid, but not so.

During last weekend, we had better news from the rugby matches. Leinster had a great win over Ulster and got bonus points as well. Connacht were victorious over Munster. I saw the Leinster versus Ulster match on BBC2 on Saturday night and it was a great, lively game. I did not see the Connacht versus Munster match, but I have read about it, and it appears that Connacht are in fine form.

The long weekend was just lovely. It is so good to have the Monday free and to gather yourself together, so to speak, for the week ahead. I heard people on the radio giving out that it is called a Bank Holiday. It appears the real name should be Public Service Holiday, so now you know! But still, I think, we will continue to call it the Bank Holiday weekend!

We are experiencing some beautiful weather here in Ireland, both last week and this week. A lady told me it was called St Martin’s Summer. I do not know about that, all I know is that it is bliss to be able to go out of the house and go somewhere, knowing it is going to be dry.

The flood watchers in Athlone are so relieved to get the couple of weeks of dry weather, which will help to lower the level to which the Shannon has risen. Before this fine weather, it was above the levels of 2015, which led to dreadful floods at various places in the town of Athlone and around the rural areas as well. Boxer Moran, the Minister in charge of the Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for flooding, is keeping his fingers crossed, as are the local authority in the town, that this winter will be flood free.

I see that County Cavan is bidding welcome to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in a week’s time. As we noted here in this column some few weeks ago, the Ireland versus Denmark match will be on that night and, of course, no matter how attractive and pleasant Leo Varadkar’s speech will be, it wont hold a candle to the excitement of the soccer match.

Anyway, Fine Gael have wisely decided not to even enter into that kind of a contest, and instead we will have the speech of An Taoiseach on the Friday night before. That will make interesting viewing and listening.

Three cheers for the beautiful autumnal colours we see on the trees these last few days. Of course, it marks the passage of time, from summer to autumn and from autumn into winter, but the beauty of the colours never ceases to delight. It surely is a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, so enjoy them while you can.

That is my lot for now.

Hope to talk with you all next week.

In the meantime, go safely.

Slán go Fóill,

Mary O’Rourke

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