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Sunday 19 August 2018

Gerry O'Carroll: Shame on O'Toole for being all talk and no action

THE grand old Duke of York would have fitted nicely into the ranks of the Democracy Now movement.

These Obama wannabes appear to be intent on marching their army up and down the hills of south Dublin, to no avail.

One of the main movers in the group is procrastinator-in- chief, the Hamlet of Tara Street, Fintan O'Toole.

Having long written of the madness of developers and the greed of the Golden Circle, he was a frontrunner in the new movement that was going to shake up the Dail.

But now O'Toole has announced that "analysing the world is a lot easier than changing it", and that he "would be ashamed of having done it badly".

So much for the politics of change. The politics of change your mind, more like.

Anger

The ground was fertile, Fintan and his cohorts' moment had arrived. The stars were aligned -- Eamon Dunphy, Orla Tinsley, Donal Og Cusack. A well-respected band capable of making an impact and garnering independent votes.

Seats would follow, because the anger was there.

But anyone who goes into battle, in politics or life, and who is ashamed of doing badly, has already conceded.

If Fintan failed, it would have been an honourable defeat.

He would have gained a lot of people's respect, my own included.

And he could have slipped back into his comfy office and well-paid job on the ailing Irish Times too, I'd imagine.

The saddest thing about his decision is that O'Toole -- out to battle disillusionment about politics -- has now simply left more of it in his wake.

Forget bailout and Biffo for a moment and tell me why mum froze to death

Who can explain why tragic Rachel Peavoy died?

The heartbreaking case of this young mum who literally froze to death in her home, has been almost lost amidst the furore and national turmoil of recent times.

We have spent much time discussing the IMF bailout, our economy that is in ruins, and people's fears for their jobs.

Along with this we have the daily acres and acres of comment on the political situation in the country, and the forthcoming General Election.

But the tale of the death of young Rachel, a mother of two, shames us all.

The more I read of Rachel's death, the angrier I got. This was stomach-churning, almost unbelievable stuff, and a sad parable of the times we live in.

Richest

How could a healthy, fit mother of two young boys freeze to death in her own home, in a 21st century city?

Just a few short years ago we boasted that we were among the richest nations on Earth.

How that hubris contrasted with the pictures of the dreadful squalor of flats like the one in which this young mother died in Ballymun. Lifts were out of order, corridors infested with rats. And, if you're a mum trying to raise a family, no central heating.

The circumstances of the days leading up to her death in January last year are shocking. Rachel went to a GP shortly before her death to ask for a letter about the effects of the cold in her home.

She begged with the council to turn on the heat. She approached Housing Minister Noel Ahern and asked him to help her. He made an effort, but to no avail.

In short, this young mother did everything she could to beg the mandarins to provide heat in her home -- in the middle of one the biggest cold snaps in living memory.

But a deaf ear was turned to her pitiful pleas.

What can anyone say to Rachel's two small boys when they ask -- as they will -- why did Mammy die?

How can we tell them: "Your mother died because of the cold, and because no one would listen to her"?

It is an obscenity that someone could die of the cold in Dublin in 2010. 1810 maybe. But we like to think that, despite our present financial woes, we can provide for our citizens. Clearly we cannot. Such a provision is a mark of civilised, developed society. Can we call ourselves such?

Dr Ciaran Craven, representing the Peavoy family, has called for a public inquiry into how this young woman died. I echo that call.

There may be circumstances here that have not emerged. Is there a prima facie case of neglect, which is a criminal offence, here?

Investigated

As such the matter needs to be investigated, if only to ensure that it does not happen again.

How can people involved in this case, sitting in their warm offices, look at themselves in the mirror?

By being refused heat in her home Rachel Peavoy was effectively condemned to death.

There were no drugs or drink involved here. Rachel Peavoy was a person of impeccable character, doing her best to raise two young children.

And rest assured there were many people in Dublin on the cold nights of last week who were in a similar situation to Rachel.

An inquiry is required so that we can answer the question that will be asked by little Leon and Warren -- why did their mum die?

Claudine's got it all -- brains, beauty and a rich hubbie

IT might surprise some readers but -- occasionally -- I'll watch Xpose.

And what strikes me is the sore lack of decent A-lister Irish celebrities -- bar usual suspect Colin Farrell.

There is one Dublin girl who can hold her own on any red carpet though, and that's my favourite Footballer's Wife, Claudine Palmer.

Mum of one and university graduate, Claudine, pictured left, was snapped frolicking in the surf in Dubai this week.

With the brains, the beauty and the millionaire husband -- West Ham's new star Robbie Keane -- she's got it all.

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