Now that the disappointment of losing the All Ireland senior hurling final to Kilkenny is beginning to diminish (only very slightly), we can highlight a scandalous incident that occurred on the morning of the match.

All the trains out of Waterford were completely full so many Deise fans decided to drive to Kilkenny and take the train from there as they had been assured that there were plenty of seats available. However, when they got to Kilkenny, Iarnrod Eireann officials (obviously dyed in the wool Black and Amber fans) decided that it wouldn’t be fair on the local supporters if they had to sit beside hoardes of white and blue decked supporters.

Obviously, the Waterford fans objected vigorously and, in the end, a compromise was reached whereby the railway officials agreed that the Waterford fans could travel on the train to Dublin as long as they didn’t sit inside the carriages. It was an insulting attitude to adopt but, faced with the choice of not seeing the game or riding outside, the fans reluctantly agreed. Our photograph shows the Kilkenny train with the Waterford fans aboard arriving at Heuston Station in Dublin.


Stray horses are dangerous
but expensive items

People who permit horses to wander on public roads and parks are in for a tough time in the near future as local authorities all over the country are implementing tough policies. Unfortunately for the horses, it will almost result in many of them being destroyed which is a pity but, unsupervised and loose, they are a lethal danger on our roads and action had to be taken.

All the local authorities, including Waterford, Kilkenny, South Tipperary and Wexford, are ready to act and, just weeks before the annual Ballinasloe Horse Fair takes place, the lads in Galway have really put the wind up some owners.

They intend to routinely round-up all stray horses and, if a horse is seized, it will only be released under strict conditions.

The owner will have to produce valid identification, proof of ownership of the animal, production of a licence from the Horse Board and proof that there is suitable accommodation and sustenance available for the animal. On top of that, the owner will have to pay a fee of €800 plus €38 per day for each day the horse was impounded and, if the animal required veterinary attention, those fees will also have to be paid. Ouch!


Green Minister makes councillors see red

The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, came in for a lot of stick from some Waterford councillors last week. Basically, several members of the County Council reacted angrily to a recent direction by Mr. Gormley that ordered the local authority to delete a controversial rezoning of lands outside the town.

Earlier this year, the Council voted in favour of rezoning 65 acres of land at Ballygagin and a further 10 acres on the N72 for industrial purposes. But Minister Gormley declared that the rezoning by the Council was ‘unsatisfactory’. The Council’s Director of Services, Brian White, told the meeting the local authority had no choice but to abide by the Minister’s ruling.

Well, it would appear that Mr. Gormley is unpopular with some councillors on practically every local authority in the land. Members of Mayo County Council were so upset by the Minister’s decision to reverse changes they had made to their County Plan that they hit on the unusual and novel idea of seeking to air their grievances at the Oireachtas Committee for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

A letter, signed by the Fine Gael and Fianna leaders on the Council, was sent to all 166 TDs and 60 Senators seeking a hearing and they were successful.

According to the Leinster House grapevine, the decision by the Oireachtas Committee to grant the Mayo councillors a hearing is regarded within political circles as an affront to the Minister.

But the biggest protest against Mr Gormley concerns the new ethics laws introduced by him which, the councillors claim, are causing havoc with meetings. In particular, councillors want Mr. Gormley to tell them where they stand when it comes to holding positions on more than one public body where they might be perceived as having conflicts of interests.

For instance, every city council and county council nominates members to sit on various boards and committees and when matters concerning those bodies arise at council meetings the nominated members are able to provide their colleagues with up to date, first hand information. However, many councillors are now facing the farcical scenario of having to leave the council meetings when the various bodies are discussed in case they are deemed to be in conflict of interest.

Some of the councillors might well be playing to the gallery but, all the same, they do seem to have a valid point.


Nobody at the door!

A man was on trial for murder. There was very strong evidence indicating that the he was guilty but no body had been found. In the defence’s closing statement, the barrister, knowing that his client could well be convicted, decided to try an old courtroom trick.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all”, he boomed, as he looked carefully at his watch. “Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom.” He looked then looked towards the courtroom door, an expectant look on his face.

The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked at the door eagerly but several minutes came and went and nobody appeared and nothing happened. The barrister then addressed the members of the jury.

“Actually”, he said, “I made up the previous statement but you all looked on with anticipation and, so, I put it to you that there was reasonable doubt in your minds as to whether anyone was killed and I invite you to return a ‘Not guilty’ verdict.

The jury retired to deliberate but returned after only a few minutes to deliver a verdict of ‘Guilty’.

“But how”, asked the barrister, “you must have had some doubt because I saw all of you stare at the door.”

“That is correct”, replied the foreman of the jury, “everybody in the room looked at the door with the exception of your client because, it was clear to see, he wasn’t expecting anybody.”