As John McCain and Barack Obama battled it out for the US Presidency, there is also a fierce argument underway about an Irish-written song that some pundits are suggesting could influence vital, undecided votes in key States.

The title of the song in question is ‘There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama’ and it was written and recorded by the Limerick band ‘Hardy Drew and The Nancy Boys’ which comprises three brothers from Castletroy, Ger, Brian and Donnacha Corrigan.

The song took off when it received exposure on a number of radio and television shows in the United States and it also got a lot of press interest plus 50,000 hits on YouTube.

However, Ger Corrigan is now alleging that Shay Black, brother of singer Mary Black, has hijacked the song without giving him and his brothers due credit. Shay Black’s recording, complete with extra verses added by him, has been seen by over 350,000 people on YouTube and is so popular it has been suggested the song could tip the scales in favour of Mr. Obama, especially with Irish-American voters.

Shay Black insists that he has given the Corrigan brothers due credit as being the authors of the original version and he has refused to remove his version from YouTube. However, an angry Ger Corrigan points out that if he added two verses to The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ it wouldn’t mean he wrote it. Apparently, both sides have now sought legal advice which is a great shame. No offence intended to the legal profession but more than a few wise people would counsel that it’s best to stay out of the courts if at all possible

Bonfire time-bombs?

No doubt there were many people who attended Halloween bonfires last weekend but I wonder would they have been so happy to be there if they had heard a warning from a respected Tipperary doctor.

Urging people to stay away from bonfires, Templemore based GP, Dr. Joe Hennessy, pointed out that dioxins released from the type of material that was often used for Halloween bonfires were highly carcinogenic.

An elected representative, Dr. Hennessy is Mayor of North Tipperary and team doctor to the County’s senior hurling squad. He said fumes from burning plastic, rubber and certain household furniture were extremely dangerous and anybody who inhaled a dose of that mixture could come to regret it in years to come.

Elvis still rolling in the cash

I don’t wish to be flippant but, talking about death, I read last week that Elvis Presley is the highest earning dead celebrity for the second year in a row. The King made over €42 last year which is more than several of the living superstars put together!

For the record, the Top Ten Dead Earners were as follows:

1 Elvis Presley;

2 Charles Schulz

(creator of the Peanuts cartoon);

3 Heath Ledger, actor;

4 Albert Einstein, scientist;

5 Aaron Spelling,

television producer;

6 Dr Seuss, childcare author;

7 John Lennon, former Beatle;

8 Andy Warhol, artist;

9 Marilyn Monroe, actor;

10 Steve McQueen, actor.

Muslim burials

Mayo County Council has adopted a very pragmatic and compassionate stance by granting a burial dispensation to the local Muslim community whose religious practices do not comply with the local authority’s current regulations.

Following representations, the County Council has made provision for a separate burial ground for people of Muslim faith adjacent to the existing cemetery in Ballyhaunis.

A spokesperson for the Council’s environmental section, Sean Smyth, said regulations stated that the remains of a deceased person must be enclosed in a coffin constructed of wood or an approved equivalent. However, followers of Islam bury their dead by wrapping the body in sheets of white cloth and lay the deceased person’s head at the south-west end of the grave, facing towards Mecca. A finished Muslim grave must also be raised four to twelve inches from the ground to prevent anybody from walking on it and that is also contrary to the rules in many cemeteries where graves must be level with no kerb-stones.

Mr. Smyth said the County Council was sympathetic to the needs of its Muslim community and provisions had been made to accommodate their requirements as it was important not to cause any unnecessary distress for families already suffering the trauma of bereavement.

‘Through The Year’ with Brian D’Arcy.

I’ve followed Fr Brian D’Arcy’s career for many years and I’ve always had great time for him as, during my showband days, I often observed at first-hand the great work he did with people, especially with lonely and vulnerable youngsters up from the country living in Dublin.

A Passionist priest now serving as Rector of St. Gabriel’s Retreat, The Graan, Enniskillen, Fr Brian has been writing a column for the Sunday World for the last 33 years. Never one to shy away from a difficult situation, his journalistic skills were first explored in the early 1970s under a pseudonym as, back then, even reading newspapers were banned by his Religious Order. He is probably best known as chaplain to the world of music and the arts and his love for popular culture and music has led him down the path where he is often surrounded by celebrities and musicians. A frank voice from within the church, he has long campaigned for the abolition of the celibacy rule.

‘Through the Year’ is Fr Brian’s new book and it comprises three hundred and sixty five thoughts and reflections to accompany the reader every day through the year. The beauty is in the variety. Each day throws up varied topics, everything from political to spiritual to humorous. It is written in the casual and accessible style that is synonymous with the author. As well as serious challenging issues in social, political, church and spiritual life, the reflections also contain a range of helpful hints, wise quotes from philosophers and thinkers of all ages and also occasional hilarious stories and anecdotes.

Published by The Columba Press (€14.99), all profits will be divided between The Saint Vincent de Paul Society and Goal.

‘What is politics, Daddy?’

After watching the news on television one night last week, a little boy went to his father and asked: “Daddy, what is politics?”

“Well”, said his father, delighted that little Sean had asked such a pertinent question, “let me try to explain it this way.”

“I’m the breadwinner of the family so let’s call me Capitalism. Your Mother is the administrator of our money so we’ll call her the Government. We’re here to take care of your needs so we’ll call you the Electorate. We’ll call the au-pair the Working Class and we’ll say that your baby brother is the Future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense.”

So, Sean went off to bed thinking about what his father had said. Later that night, he heard his baby brother crying and, as nobody else seemed to be stirring, he got up to check on him. He found the baby had a dirty nappy so he went to his parent’s room where he found his mother sound asleep on her own.

Not wanting to wake her, he trotted on down to the au-pair’s room only to find the door locked. He peeped in the keyhole and was surprised to find his father in bed with the au-pair. At that stage, perplexed, he went back to his room and tried to figure everything out.

The next morning, Sean approached his father and declared: “Daddy, I think I understand now the concept of politics.” “Really”, replied his father, smiling indulgently, “go ahead so and tell me so what you think politics is all about.”

The little boy closed his eyes in concentration and poured forth the situation as he saw it. “Well, while Capitalism is on top of the Working Class, the Government is sound asleep. The Electorate is being ignored and the Future stinks like hell.”