We are more than happy to import ash to make the hurleys in Ireland. Imagine if other countries banned the export of timber for hurley manufacturing.
During the boom years many citizens from eastern Europe came to work in Ireland. Some worked at making hurleys with imported timber. I remember reading newspaper stories about how some were returning home to eastern Europe make hurleys with timber from their own countries. The idea was that they would then export them to Ireland. Is Phil Prendergast proposing we ban such imports?
What about consumer protection? If banning cheaper imports means kids and their parents have to pay higher prices then is this promoting hurling? Is it promoting consumer protection?
I’m probably being too harsh on our European representative. I can understand why she might seek to ensure that current and future generations of Irish kids have the opportunity to experience the magic of interacting with a local hurley manufacturer. It is magic. For those who have not had the experience, the best way I can describe it is to compare it to the moment when Harry Potter got his first wand (see it here). If you think I’m stretching the point then compare the Harry Potter clip with what you find in superb documentary From Ash to Clash (go to about 4:30 here).
The next best experience is to buy a stick made by prominent inter-county hurler (usually a family business). In my time there was a year or two where some of us bought hurlies made by the Galway hurling family the Connollys. If it came with the approval of John Connolly then it must have had something. In recent years kids have flocked to buy hurlies made by Ben & Jerry (the O’Connors of Newtownshandrum rather than the ice-cream makers). In the last few weeks my son purchased a Canning hurley (another Galway hurling family). This stick is brought indoors to protect it from the elements. I’m sure he believes he will light up the summer with the aid of a Canning hurley. It was the exploits of Joe Canning on the hurling fields that prompted that purchase. He could care less if Joe was from Portumna or Poland. No legislation is needed to protect the Cannings when it comes to making and marketing hurlies.
I guess Phil Prendergast hopes future generations of kids experience the magic of searching for the stick that is made for them. I think likewise. Unlike Phil Prendergast I do not believe that legislation should be enacted to ensure that kids can only play hurling with sticks made and marketed in Ireland.