Last week the great ROG, Ronan O’Gara, announced his retirement and Munster rugby is bereft; last week also BOD, Brian O'Driscoll, announced that he had decided to give it one more year and the fans of Leinster and Irish rugby cheered. The cliché has already been trotted out for both ROG and BOD – neither ‘owes’ us anything, both have given magnificent service to their country.
Yesterday, with only a tiny fraction of the fanfare, came the news that NWL, Namawinelake, was retiring. I'm a rugby fan, Munster and Ireland (we’re kind of short of AIL clubs around Ballyhea), a huge admirer of both Ronan and Brian; in the greater scheme of things, however, the loss of Namawinelake is of far, far greater significance to Ireland and – though the vast majority of them don’t know it – to the Irish people.
For those on this side of the divide in the fight for justice for Ireland and for its people, for the many who are giving up their own time to expose the truth of what’s happening as opposed to the government spin, to those who are battling for transparency in big business, public and private, for accountability at every level but most especially at the top, Namawinelake was our hero, Namawinelake was our Brian O’Driscoll, our Ronan O’Gara AND our Paul O’Connell, all rolled into one.
There are many out there running independent blogs and the likes of economists Constantin Gurdgiev, Brian Lucey, David McWilliams and Seamus Coffey come to mind, all done in their own time. NWL though was the best, the special one, and like O’Driscoll and O’Gara in their chosen field, went way beyond what any of us could even dream of doing.
The wonder for those who were avid readers was that one of the mainstream newspapers didn’t pick up on the blog, give Namawinelake its own daily column – I'm certain it would have become an immediate sensation. Sadly however, so many of those on whom we rely on in that mainstream media to inform us don’t even bother to inform themselves, are content just to add to the official spin as this government leads us lemming-like to the abyss.
It was an anonymous blog, no-one knows who he/she/they is/are (and no, categorically, it’s not me), but with often several blogs a day, every blog chockful of statistics/research/tables/links, the belief was that no one person could possibly be running that site, that were it an organ of the state it would have taken a small army of top civil-servants to keep it going.
It seems now there was just one person behind it and all that work has taken a toll, exacted a price – Namawinelake has left the building. Rugby fan that I am, no apologies to anyone for again stating this; NWL leaves a bigger void than ROG, leaves a bigger void than will be left even by BOD. We mourn, of course, but we all also offer our eternal gratitude, those of us who knew. To go back to cliché – he/she/they owe us nothing. But by God do we owe NWL.
On the fact that in leaving @namawinelake then followed @ballyhea14, my Twitter account, it’s the most flattering and the most humbling thing that has ever happened to me.
The bond payments from the remaining Irish banks go on regardless, however, and so this blog. The next 12 bonds amount to around €3,500,000,000 – good to know, isn’t it, that we do in fact still have a functioning banking system? Functioning, that is, if you're a bondholder.