This week Cassandra Voices editor Frank Armstrong sat down for a chat with veteran Italian journalist Concetto La Malfa, who has been living in Ireland for almost sixty years.
He initially arrived for a two month work placement with Aer Lingus, before embarking on a chequered career that includes founding a magazine for the Italian community, which he edited for almost thirty years, acting as the Irish correspondent for the Corriere dello Sport, and teaching Italian in UCD.
He continues to work as a journalist, principally throught the site he runs: http://italvideonewstv.net/, where he mainly broadcasts short videos discussing important international events.
Concetto explains how he came to Ireland at a time when the country was still relatively poor, and he says, a little depressing, compared to his native Sicily at least. At that time, Dublin was he says: “a poor capital in a poor country”.
Indeed, he was slightly disturbed to find that there were only five Italian restaurants – four run by the same brothers – and he struggled to adapt to the Irish lifestyle, missing his native cuisine in particular.
Since then, Ireland has developed considerably, economically at least, although Concetto likens the country to a dwarf with a giant heart, given the disproportionate size of Dublin’s c. 1.5 million population compared to the c. 3.5 million in the rest of the country.
Dublin he argues, ‘is a capital city that has grown in a hurry’ and that many things should work better, pointing to the state of the streets and, in particular, the prevalence of street crime.
In terms of Sicily, he asserts that the mafia is as visible as the IRA was to the ordinary Joe Soap in Ireland. Although he acknowledges that organised crime has has hindered development on the island.
He keeps away from the intricacies of Italian politics, preferring to concentrate on the big picture, but cites a telling statistic that there have been 67 governments in just 74 years. He wonders whether this is a sign of a democracy that goes too far.
During his period as correspondent for Corriera dello Sport he became acquainted with Giovanni Trappatoni and Liam Brady, who spent seven seasons in Italy playing for Juventus and Inter Milan.
Finally, Concetto has formed the view that the West is conducting a war by proxy in Ukraine, with the blood of the Ukrainian people, and that every single weapon sent from the West makes the possibility of a diplomatic resolution more distant.
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