When Sports Illustrated published an account of Ronnie Delany's welcome home to Ireland after his Olympic victory (SI, Jan. 21), a reader named Bernard Patrick McDonough, a West Virginia businessman whose interests include the largest shovel factory in the world, got in touch with the author of this report. Their acquaintance prospered as they discovered a mutual interest in Ireland, and eventually Mr. McDonough invited the author to fly to Ireland for a weekend and see what might be done to improve economic conditions over there. Before leaving Idlewild, the author, for reasons he has not disclosed, arranged with TWA to fly one of Mr. McDonough's shovels to Ireland on short notice. The plot thickens and is finally and happily resolved in this concluding installment.
At shannon airport, where a driver was waiting with a Vauxhall sedan to drive us wherever we wanted to go, I decided to tell Mr. McDonough something I had been thinking about on the plane.
"Mr. McDonough," I said, "now that we are on Irish soil, I wonder if I might presume to think of myself not only as an American sportswriter but as a consultant on Irish affairs and, if you will, a sort of public-relations counselor. Have you any objections?"
Mr. McDonough held up a hand.
"Please," he said, "think of yourself in any way that gives you pleasure."
"Thank you," I said. "Now I feel free to bring up a public relations thing. Back home, during our first telephone conversation, you asked me, 'Will the Irish in Ireland work?' You said they were excellent workers in other lands, but you were not so sure of them over here. May I ask if the question still interests you, sir?"
Mr. McDonough nodded.
"It's an important question," he said, "because if you pay a man 50� an hour and he's not a worker, he may actually be costing you $2 or $3 an hour."
"I can understand that," I said. "But I don't think it would be wise to ask your question indiscriminately over here. It might put people's backs up. I would suggest that we start off by visiting some cousins of mine. I think we can get some frank answers from them."
Mr. McDonough said I was the doctor.