As a European directive seeks to introduce a standardised system of measurement broadcaster Michael O'Hehir considers the potential demise of the furlong.
From November 1983, fines of £800 could be imposed on those who do not conform to the European Economic Community EEC standardised system of measurement.
The harmonisation measures by the EEC could see the demise of many measurements including the furlong, a unit for measuring distance, commonly used in the world of horse racing.
Race commentator Michael O'Hehir ponders the prospect of paying a hefty fine every time he steps into a commentary box.
I’ve a habit of saying you know, they’ve half a mile to go they’ve three furlongs to go, they’ve two furlongs to go, they’ve one furlong to go, well right away there’s £3,200 gone down the drain.
Michael OHehir does not know what term he will be expected to use in place of the furlong.
That’s a bit of a mystery.
Gaelic football has been metricised to some extent as the 70 and 50 yard lines are now 65 metre or 45 metre lines. While this is official Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) terminology, many people still refer to seventies and fifties.
I hope these people don’t get a hold of the goals and points and start revamping those in some way.
Bemused that his commentary could end up running up quite a bill for his employer RTÉ, Michael O'Hehir considers standardisation a big fuss over nothing.
I suppose we’re all going to be jolly little Europeans, well you know there's a little bit of a giggle I think attached to trying to change the terminology that has been used for years and years in sports and indeed in other things as well.
A ‘Morning Ireland’ report broadcast on 8 August 1983. The reporter is David Davin-Power.