Peter McNiff's Stories from a Small Town
The place where I think aloud It's a bear Fishermen -Willie Redmond Democracy wherefore art thou? Remembrance - Derek Paine
Notes for my next book...

 

 ‘At the northern part of this coast, near Bray Head, a rivulet runs through a beautiful vale, from Mount Temple, emptying itself into the sea at Greystones where I found a rock of compact argillite stretching out into the sea and forming a fine natural harbour.—Robert Fraser, 1801 Remembrance In the summers of our youth all our energies were devoted to the harbour area messing around in boats, fishing, sailing, and swimming. If the tide was out the boat owners, George Archer and Peter Byrne, Naily and Paddy Salmon and one or two others who hired boats would ask us to ‘keep the boats afloat’. This meant rowing around as we pleased because the boatmen had no wish to heave their craft up and down the shoreline when their customers arrived. People who came looking for a boat to hire would be called ‘tack’. They would say, “I’ve got ‘tack’. Tell that feller to bring in the boat.” It might be myself out keeping a boat afloat. Derek Paine 2001 Fishermen AMONG the fishermen was old Andy Martin, they called him “Bigfie”. There was “Nickerah”, another name for a man named Kinsella. There was old pat Quinn, his sons are alive yet. They dried their nets all around the town. Everywhere there was a wall they would put them on it. Not just at the harbour, up around the church and everywhere. Nobody said a word to them they were doing really no harm. Willie Dann had a bar and grocery store where the Beach House is today and he gave credit until the fishing season came around. Then they would pay their bills. Willie Redmond 1980 It's a Bear It's human nature to want to bolt the door once you’re in and keep all newcomers out. People who bought into this town expecting nothing would change were disappointed when the greenery disappeared under asphalt and concrete. A new harbour disappeared the view of the sea we all loved disappeared. Nobody likes to see radical change. Gone was the sleepy little fishing village. The harbour was a place for romantics like me, a concrete wreck, pretty in photographs, a relic of the past, a mistake from the day it was built. So, in came the warfare of modern times, bringing work for the workless, putting cranes on the skyline, building frenzies, crazy cycle paths, bumps on the road to slow us down, bank crashes. Now it’s back to the bear market again. Rent and house prices rise like pies in the sky. Democracy, wherefore art thou? Our town has always had local government. The Greystones Improvement was the first, in the 1890s, to come to grips with cleaning up the town. In the Fifties came Greystones Civics Association, the Town Commissioners followed, and eventually, we were raised to the state of Town Council. It became the place to play political football and was in need of reform. One outcome of the Wall Street Crash was the fear of God the Europeans gave our government after bankers committed one of the biggest bank robberies in history. We the people will go on bailing them out for the next five thousand years, or until they do it again, whichever comes first. In its panic to pander to the EMF, the government scrapped one of the oldest machines in our democracy they rubbished our town councils. (The U.S.A. are killing people in the name of democracy while politicians take it away.) They did it with the Local Government Reform Act 2014, a savage piece of legislation that was supposed to prop up 'the structures, powers, functions and duties of local government in Ireland'. It was an act that seriously weakened our democracy. It was swept away to make life easier for the lawmakers, and the planners who are not elected and the international corporations that fund political elections.

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