They are celebrating in Kilkenny again following the success of their team against Tipperary on Sunday. The Cats have now added the All Ireland Under-21 crown to those already won in the minor, intermediate and senior finals and the news is that manager Brian Cody is to be given the City’s highest honour.

When it happens, Brian will become the only living person to hold the title of Freeman of Kilkenny. His elevation will be proposed at a soon to be convened meeting of the Council where all twelve members will give him their unanimous backing. Congratulations and good luck to him because, without doubt, his achievement is without precedent.

Our row is in the halfpenny place!

If we thought there was rivalry between Waterford and Kilkenny, it is in the halfpenny place compared to the bitter exchanges that are currently floating back and forth between politicians in Clare and Limerick.

At the heart of this row is the fact that Limerick City Council has purchased a number of houses across the border in Clare and there is a strongly held belief by Clare councillors that Limerick City Council intends to disperse trouble-making families out of city housing estates into the Banner County. This has been vehemently denied by Limerick officials but the controversy rumbles on.

Last week, a meeting of Clare County Council was addressed by Brendan Kenny of the Limerick Regeneration Agencies and a letter from Limerick City Council was made available to the meeting confirming that the City Council had purchased 16 houses in the Clare estates of Westbury, Carraig Midhe and Clonlara.

However, an angry Councillor Cathal Crowe said he had earlier been refused that information by Limerick officials and they were still declining to give specific details. He said he had been given the impression that the Limerick officials were afraid vigilante groups would be formed in Clare and, as far as he was concerned, that was deeply offensive as the people he represented would never do such a thing.

Councillor Crowe said Limerick City Council was treating the Clare councillors like mushrooms. They were being kept in the dark and fed you-know-what! Councillor Tony Mulcahy referred to the members of Limerick City Council as ‘muppets’ and predicted that Clare would get the dregs of Limerick society. He said the Limerick regeneration strategy was doomed to failure if officials remained on the same path.

Mr. Kenny told the meeting he was aware that Limerick had purchased houses in Clare but he didn’t think it was sustainable. He said the Limerick Regeneration Agencies had no plans or policy to relocate people anywhere outside of Limerick. Apart from anything else, the people in Limerick did not want to go north to Clare. Councillor Patricia McCarthy said the Clare councilors were not fools pointing out that John Fitzgerald, who had compiled the report on which the Regeneration Project is based, had recommended that no social housing be allowed in Limerick in the future.

It’s a cliché, but I think it’s true to say that this is a story that will run and run.

Local elections are well and truly ‘on’

Local elections will be held next year and, already, Waterford city and county are awash with rumours over who might or might not be putting their names forward. Whatever the truth of the matter, it does seem certain that the existing councilors will have a battle on their hands to retain their seats.

Meanwhile, nationwide, some younger members of famous political families have already thrown their hats into the ring. Aengus O’Rourke, son of Mary O’Rourke and cousin of the Lenihan brothers is seeking a nomination to contest a seat on Athlone Town Council. He has a difficult job ahead of him but he appears to be a determined young man who may well have his eyes on broader horizons.

Meanwhile, down the road in Wexford, James Browne is set to follow in the footsteps of his TD father John Browne. A barrister by profession, he is seeking a nomination to contest the County Council election in the Enniscorthy District.

Stephanie Byrne, wife of the current Wexford County Council Chairman, Peter Byrne, will also seek a nomination to contest the election as her husband is stepping down to comply with new regulations that prohibit local authority employees from holding a position on the council.

Portuguese Man-of-War

The first ever live Portuguese Man-of-War to be landed in this country was captured recently last by a west Kerry fisherman. The stings from such creatures cause excruciating pain and can sometimes cause cardiac arrest and death in humans.

Like jellyfish in appearance, Portuguese Man-of-Wars are actually siphonophores which are predatory animals that use their tentacles to kill small fish and other creatures. They are usually found in tropical and sub-tropical waters and, in the past, have been washed up dead on Irish beaches but this is the first reporting of a live catch. The animal has no independent means of propulsion but moves in the oceans through a combination of winds, currents and tides.

Fisherman Richard Sheedy was working near The Blasket Islands when he spotted the unusual visitor on the surface of the water and he managed to scoop it up with a bucket. The find was later identified and verified by marine expert, Kevin Flannery of Dingle, and it is now being held in a small seawater tank at Dingle Oceanworld.

Incidentally, should anybody happen upon a beached Portuguese Man of War they should be very careful because even dead specimens can sting for days and weeks after they have perished.


Dirty old town?

Still in Kerry, The Kingdom reports that Killarney Town Council has finally declared war on local jarveys whose horses litter the streets with dung.

People in this area have long bemoaned the fact that our footpaths and roadways are littered with dog dirt but spare a thought for the residents of Killarney whose streets are full of horse dung.

However, a new, get-tough policy is being spearheaded by the Town Manager, Joe Breen, who has declared he is no longer prepared to put up with the mess and stench caused by the horses.

It is a problem that has been discussed for generations but Mr. Breen has decreed that enough is enough and the jarveys have been given an ultimatum. He said such deposits being dropped on the streets amounted to ‘abnormal behaviour’ and was damaging the image and reputation of Killarney.

“It is totally unacceptable that people visiting hotels and restaurants employing the highest standards of hygiene should step outside those establishments to find one of the largest carriers of e-coli being deposited on the streets”, said Mr. Breen.

According to the report, jarveys have been reluctant to change their ways and have refused point-blank to entertain suggestions that they should fit their horses with nappy-like, equine sanitary devices as operate in other countries where horses are used in urban areas.

However, the Town Council will have the last word because it is the licensing authority for the jarveys and officials are being supported strongly by various public health bodies.


Unlikely prodigy!

On Saturday morning last, in the bus queue opposite the Clock Tower (outside Mackey’s Café if you are old Waterford), a young man with a splendid, multi-coloured Mohawk hairstyle attracted quite a bit of attention. Mind you, for somebody who had deliberately chosen to sport a showpiece hairdo, he didn’t take kindly at all to some of the good-humoured comments being passed.

The young man’s patience finally snapped when he caught an elderly man staring in awe at his ‘gruaige’. “What’s the matter, stupid old man, haven’t you ever done anything wild and different”, he sneered. The man, looking furtively around him, replied in a hissed stage whisper. “Actually, I have”, he said, “I’m sorry for staring but I once had sex with a giant parrot and I can’t help wondering if you might be my son.” The laughter went on for a long time much to the poor young man’s discomfort.