By Stephen McKinley
SECTARIANISM SKEWERED BY SOCCER
Children at Enniskillen Integrated School have been learning how to defeat sectarianism through soccer, and recently won a competition organized by the Irish Football Association in the “football for all” campaign.
They then went to Belfast’s Windsor Park stadium, where they read an anti-sectarianism pledge before a friendly match between Northern Ireland and Spain.
Katie McKetchnie and Carl Ellis, both 11, read the pledge together, saying, “we think football should be about Roman Catholics and Protestants learning to get along and not fight. And that every human is the same.”
The pupils also met the 1982 World Cup squad, which reached the quarterfinals in Spain. They included the then manager, Billy Bingham, goalkeeper Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong, present Celtic manager Martin O’Neill, and, most famous of all, George Best.
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Best, beset by health problems recently, was in fine form when he led the children on to the pitch, reported the Impartial Reporter.
AHERN IN A HURRY
Bertie Ahern is in a hurry to make the finishing line in this month’s Irish general election — so much so, it seems, that his fleet of election vehicles have been driving at speeds of up to 95 miles per hour.
Road safety campaigners attacked the taoiseach after reporters claimed his election motorcade regularly broke the speed limit as it toured the country.
The National Safety Council said it is unacceptable that political leaders break speed limits.
“Our speeding laws apply to everyone, including politicians and campaigners. We would appeal to everyone to slow down,” a NSC spokesperson told the Irish Examiner.
The Automobile Association’s Conor Faughnan said 95 miles per hour is an irresponsible speed, particularly for political leaders.
Ahern tried to laugh of the claims, saying that he’d only broken the speed limit while on foot.
Reporters in the motorcade said that they had covered 22 miles in 17 minutes at one point. The eight-car convoy had gone through a 40 mph zone at 80.
Irish eyes will be smiling in Dublin in July, when 20 successful candidates will compete to become the Irish face of MTV.
Six finalists will be selected by top DJ and TV presenter Trevor Nelson at a special MTV “Lick” party, in association with Ballygowan Spring Water.
The three will be flown to the MTV studios in London to present a live slot, which will be broadcast all over Ireland and the UK. MTV viewers will then vote for the Irish finalist who they would like to see as the Face of MTV.
The winner will be all over MTV for the month of September. The competition is open until June 21. Further information is available at www.ballygowan.ie.
DON’T MESS WITH CORK
Don’t mess with Texas, goes the famous Lone Star boast. Now, another wild and westerly part of the world has put its famously independent streak on the Internet: the People’s Republic of Cork. At www.peoplesrepublicofcork.com, Cork exiles will be able to keep in touch with Cork news, listen to Cork bands and contact other Cork natives around the world.
From Skerries, Co. Dublin, comes word that Garda Denis Forde has won the National Gardens Competition for the garden at the Skerries Garda Station — again. Sgt. Robert Shirley ably helped Forde.
“This makes three first prizes and two seconds in five years,” laughed Denis. “Last year was the first we broke the 80 points barrier.”
This year he received 22 out of 25 for design, 20 of 25 for plant content, 21 of 25 for general effect, 15 of 20 for cultivation and 3 of 5 for special features.
Second was Taughmaconnell Garda Station, tended by Tim and Mary Farrell, and third is Kinlough, Co. Leitrim, looked after by Sgt. Joe McCarron.
KILKEE RACE TRACK
In Kilkee, Co. Clare, Clr. Michael Martin complained at last week’s Town Council meeting that people speeding on motor scooters were turning the center of town into a racetrack.
He said that in addition to the dangers of speeding, it was impossible to sleep with the scooters racing around at 2 o’clock in the morning.
“They think that are in Brand’s Hatch or Silverstone” he said.
MORE BERTIE BANTER
Bertie Ahern’s hard to avoid in the news this week, as the taoiseach tears round the country on the election trail.
In Galway last week, he ran into Dana, the singer and Independent Galway West candidate. The two chatted and shared a few light-hearted remarks at each other’s expense. Ahern told her that Fianna Fail had looked after Galway West well, “while you were away for the last few years.”
Fine Gael Clr. John Muholland was next in line for the taoiseach treatment, although he told the Galway Advertiser that Ahern had not tried to solicit his vote. At one point Ahern had to make a run for it, as a crowd mobbed him trying to shake his hand.
With a “howya” here and a handshake there, Bertie’s only low point was when he introduced himself to a group of teenage girls eating pizza. Hardly was his back turned than they burst into gales of laughter.