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26 April 2007 Edition

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Letter to the Taoiseach

Barry McElduff

Barry McElduff

Grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre and unbelievable or what?  This talk about your father being interviewed about the killing of Garda Richard Fallon by the Saor Éire Group in 1970.  You might remember me loose-talking a bit at a Sinn Féin Ard Fhéis about your Da, Con being in the ‘Ra.  I don’t feel as bad now that you, yourself have told Ken Whelan and Eugene Masterson that your father was questioned “every time there was trouble.”  Hard to take the West Cork out of the man,  a good sign of a man.
From one generation of the Aherns to another. Comhghairdeas ón chroí to Georgina and Nicky on the birth of Rocco and Jay.  I believe that the nurses were great altogether, Bertie.  You might have a word in the ear of the best paid Minister for Health in the whole of Europe if you get a chance.
Further congratulations to Seán and Caoilfhionn on the occasion of their recent marriage.  I was unable to make the party and I know that you were unavailable, too.  Could we club together for a present?
What did you think, meanwhile, of Dublin City Council officials moving immediately to take down Pat the Cope’s posters on all approaches to Croke Park?  Jim McDaid took the shine off ‘the Cope’ completely with his billboard at the Ballygawley Roundabout wishing Donegal all the best in the National Football League Final.  A real outmanoeuvre if there ever was one.  Terry Leyden could teach these boys nothing.
I recall in 2003 a great white banner overhanging a bridge coming into Drumcondra.  “Canavan for Taoiseach”, it read simply, and all of our hearts were lifted.  Nothing personal, of course, Bertie but politics should never be mixed with sport.  Jack Lynch reckoned this.
I saw you at a distance in the Hogan Stand on Sunday.  A very unreasonable steward prevented me from accessing the Ard Comhairle section.  Thon was a great display of schoolboy hurling between the cream of Waterford and the best of Kilkenny.  A real joy to watch.  And, didn’t Donegal stand up to be counted in the big one?  
What about Omagh CBS?  What about Tyrone Vocationals?  Winning All Irelands is chicken soup for the soul in the land of O’Neill as you well know, Taoiseach.
You know, too, that Omagh CBS is the alma mater of yours truly.  We didn’t have the same success in my time but we did subsequently learn that Henry Downey and Collie McGurk were among those pulling on the shirts of our nemesis, St Pat’s Maghera.
I do not want to make a political football out of the fact that John O’Mahoney is lining out for Fine Gael but, you might not have been too disheartened by Mayo’s demise at the final hurdle.  I don’t view things in this way at all.  Gerry Murray is our man in Mayo and he joins in your delight at Willie Corduff from Rossport winning the Nobel Prize for Environment which is endorsed by more than 100 heads of state. I believe that Shell is studying the prize. Can I ask you, Taoiseach , to write to Willie and congratulate him for bringing prestige and honour to this country.
Finally, Bertie, did you see the Irish Times supplement detailing ‘How we are governed’.  A pity that we in the wee Six were left out at a time when new structures of governance are being put in place at Stormont.
Will I see you up there on Monday week?  If Ian can invite Tony, amn’t I fully entitled to leave a pass at the door for you?
Is Mise,
Barry McElduff

NB: Bertie Ahern can be contacted on (00 353) 1 619 4020 or e-mail [email protected]  Address: Office of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

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