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The Mother of all Sundays


It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, Mother’s Day for all the mammies, and I’m awake early. However, while the day that’s in it is a very important and well deserved recognition for all the mothers of the world, I have to admit that when I made my way out of the scratcher, my mind was also focused on the wonderful world of rugby.

  A good few hours earlier, the entire country, or most of it at least, had watched as our Irish heroes saw off the Scots in a doughty battle in the Aviva Stadium, and then our great Gallic friends, the French, did us a big favour by beating the English in another game that was not for the faint-hearted.

  And so, almost by default, there we were, Six Nations champions for the third time in five years, and all set to go to Twickenham and win the Grand Slam for only the third time in our history. And it was as I thought about the significance of this weekend’s match that I began to wonder if the French win was such a great thing after all. Sure there is nothing more enjoyable than watching the English being beaten (!) – even though it probably shouldn’t be so, that’s the way it is. We all get a great kick out of seeing them lose, but in a perverse way, it will also give them a massive incentive to stop us from getting the ‘Slam’. Last year the situation was the exact same, except in reverse, and history will show that we absolutely stuffed the English and their Grand Slam bid. I guarantee you nothing would give them greater pleasure than to get a very sweet revenge. I have to admit that I think it’s a 50-50 game, and I won’t be terribly surprised if there is very little in it, hopefully in our favour. 

  However, after all of that, the rugby game that was on my mind was not the Irish one at all, but rather the afternoon’s Connacht Junior Cup semi-final when our local lads were due to take on Sligo on their home patch in what we were well aware was going to be a difficult, if not downright impossible, task.

  So, after the traditional Sunday morning fry, we headed off to the capital of the North-West and made it to Strandhill – where the rugby club is located – all in time to grab a lovely cup of coffee and a sandwich, and in my case a couple of lovely currant-y buns – all kindly supplied with the compliments of the home club.

  On then to the match itself, and after handing over a fiver entrance fee (despite my pleas of being an old-age pensioner), I thanked God for giving us such a nice day, because if ever any place needs good weather it’s the lovely Sligo venue, which pretty much overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

  Many years ago, in the course of our match with them, our No. 8, Jack the Higher, suffered from hypothermia, and had to be wrapped in tinfoil in an effort to get some life back into his frozen limbs. Thankfully he survived, and yesterday his son, Pat, was the coach of our team, which while losing by a two-point margin, more than did us proud, and were a credit to their club and coach.

  It was also great to see so many sons of past players involved forty years after the club took its first faltering steps. I won’t name all the second-generation players, as I would surely leave someone out, but a large number were out there representing us.

  At the final whistle, despite a wonderful performance, we still suffered the huge disappointment of losing a cup semi-final, a pain that everyone says is worse than actually losing a final itself.

  Anyway, I headed home fairly sharply after the game was over, and when we reached the town of Castlerea, we decided to head into Hester’s Golden Eagle restaurant for a bit of Mother’s Day grub. Now I have to admit that we were fully prepared to be turned away as we had no booking, but even though the place was absolutely thronged, they managed to fit us in, and I can only say the fare was simply fantastic. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and met loads of old friends and acquaintances. There was a great atmosphere, good craic and banter, and all I can say is if you are ever hungry going through Castlerea, call in and you will not be disappointed.

  It’s funny how sport can sometimes echo life, with its ups and downs, and Saturday was a perfect example, because as we struggled to come to terms with the heartbreaking nature of our very unlucky loss to Sligo, we got the word that we had been crowned league champions by virtue of Tuam beating a Castlebar team that were the only ones left who could have pipped us to the title.

  And so, for the first time in nearly thirty years, Creggs are league champions! Back to the fathers and sons thing, and Liam Callaghan, a good Castlerea man, was and is one of the great stalwarts of Creggs RFC, and how fitting it is that his son (Tom) is the current captain of the club, while another son (Andrew) was lining out in my old position of scrum-half. On the other side of the coin, one of our all-time great players, James Gavin, now living in Sligo, had a son (Enda) playing against us, and when I rang Jimmy late last night after a few celebratory pints (for me, not Jimmy), he freely admitted he had found it to be a highly emotional experience. He was obviously delighted for his son, but sad for the Creggs club that he represented so well and so long. My own son Mark, Tom Fleming, and Kevin Brandon are three lads who have been involved with Creggs for a long time now, and it was great to see them finally get some tangible award for many years of service.

  Anyway, it was a great Mother’s Day, and I hope all you mothers out there were treated well and given the type of day you deserve. As for me, although I am not a mother, I will never forget Mother’s Day 2018.

Fleadh fun: Big launch on Friday night

I am advised by the one and only Terry Leyden, who once again came to my assistance in a little (not so little) matter this week, that the launch of Fleadh Cheoil Roscomain is taking place in Castlecoote Lodge Bar & Lounge this Friday night, 16th of March at 8 pm.

  The renowned Labhrás Ó Murchú is doing the launch, there will be young musicians performing from 7 o’clock, and a trad session will follow the big event. Terry tells me that all, even me, are welcome.



There’s something about Mary...



They tried to shut her up, but thankfully they failed! And so, last week, while giving a speech during International Women’s Day at the Voice of Faith in Rome, former President of Ireland Mary McAleese (a woman I greatly admire), told it like it is when she described the Catholic Church as an “empire of misogyny”.  

  Now understandably, Mrs. McAleese’s  perspective, and indeed her attitude, has raised the ire of many. One of those she infuriated is a so-called educated gentleman whom, upon approaching me to ask my own opinion on Dr. McAleese’s address, ranted like a stroppy spoiled brat, using some highly scurrilous and offensive terms to describe our esteemed former President. When I told him I agreed with her, the cantankerous curmudgeon then struggled to contain his demeanour as he spewed forth with bilious insults relating to women and their role in the Catholic Church! Wow, proof indeed, if it were needed, that education clearly doesn’t (necessarily) equal good manners.

  Mind you, said, ahem, ‘gentleman’ (I’d love to call him a more colourful term but this is a respectable family publication), wasn’t best pleased when I gave him short shrift; my parting shot being to direct him to climb down out of a certain part of his anatomy because he clearly wasn’t as eminently qualified as Mrs. McAleese to address the role of women in the Church.

  You see, readers – I applaud any woman who has withstood a two-term presidency of this country. Indeed, one of the proudest moments of my own career while working at RTE, (and I’ve had many proud moments as a journalist/producer; for example it was very satisfying when I investigated and exposed a paedophile ring), was the day an invitation to afternoon tea with our then President McAleese arrived on my desk.

  The official envelope from the Áras was received with great excitement in my Montrose office, and I immediately headed into town to treat myself to a Roland Mouret dress for the big occasion. Couldn’t afford that now! 

  I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, which was spent drinking tea and eating petit fours and scones with Mary…that’s what she told me to call her, as we exchanged the highs and lows of being working mothers, etc. That’s all I’m going to say about our ‘off the record’ chat because I wasn’t there as a journalist, I was there as a guest of this woman, who obviously feels genuinely let down by a religion and a Church she loves deeply.

  But I can see why, given his alleged description of female theologians as “strawberries on the cake,” that Pope Francis may not be a fan of our Mary! But to be honest ladies, the Catholic Church has tortured this specific metaphor regarding our  gender for so long it should really be sent before a tribunal at The Hague! Just my little joke, but I do hope you can see how ludicrous, outdated, institutionalised and unbending the Catholic Church can be, and how accurate and appropriate Mary McAleese’s speech was.  

  I mean, all this woman did was reasonably and passionately call for equality and change, in order  that women would be included in the decision-making process of our doctrine! I don’t think that’s too much to ask…do you?


More explosive allegations, but we must stand by our local Gardaí!


We’re familiar with Garda ‘whistleblower’ Maurice McCabe and the excruciating difficulties he’s experienced due to an alleged rancorous  smear campaign levelled against him because he tried to do the right thing, the honest thing, and expose certain issues around penalty points, etc. So, last week, when I heard how two Garda civilian staff members, analysts Lois West and Laura Galligan, had claimed they’d endured ‘15 months of torment’ regarding pressure placed on them to approve ‘incorrect homicide data’ they knew was iffy – and which, they quite rightly, had a problem with doing – I wasn’t really surprised.  In fact, I’m incensed that apparently certain violent individuals’ capabilities to inflict serious harm, even death, on their innocent victims, (including some women who were killed in their homes), is being allegedly inadequately investigated and misclassified as non-crimes.

  Under what must have been intolerable pressure to keep schtum, these women, having found no joy when they raised issues with senior Gardaí, (who allegedly dismissed and disparaged them), then allegedly, (there’s that word again), took their concerns to the Policing Authority, ‘in confidence’, which bizarrely ‘leaked back to senior Garda management.’ So, who snitched them out and were Lois and Laura bitten by the watchdog?

  Look, if these explosive allegations are found to have substance, then the authority whose aim it is to identify mechanisms that encourage ethical and professional practice and prevent wrongdoing in this organisation needs to take responsibility; and, as a matter of urgency introduce innovations to improve the public’s trust, confidence and perceptions of what I genuinely believe, is, overall, a fine police force.

  We must get behind our local Gardaí, folks. We must show them our support and respect, especially during this very difficult time. Remember, these are honourable men and women doing a difficult and dangerous job protecting us and our communities for a pitiful salary, and these scandals shouldn’t negatively affect their personal integrity. Next time you see a local Garda in the street, smile, say “Hi” and let them know they’re valued.



The passing of my favourite comedian



Taking a break from Leo, Donald, the weather and the other odds and ends that catch his attention, PAUL HEALY casts a nostalgic eye on a great entertainment era and pays tribute to a comedy icon…

“My dad knew I was going to be a comedian. When I was a baby, he said, ‘Is this a joke?’”

“I went outside the house and there was this man with his head sticking out the pavement. I said: ‘Are you from the gas board?’ He said: ‘No, my parachute didn’t open’”

“This lady stopped me the other day. She said, ‘Hello handsome, can you tell me the way to the optician’s?’”

He was easily my favourite British comedian of all time.

  I watched him for a half an hour or so on Monday night, not knowing he was dead.

  Then, the dreaded image and caption at the closing credits: ‘In memory of the late Ken Dodd (1927-2018)’.

  My heart sank.

  It had been a normal Monday night’s viewing. Switching from Claire to Matt and Ivan, I got bored with the latter, Mr. Yates being prone to bombastic outbursts (I still quite like him as a broadcaster).

  I channel-hopped and ‘landed’ on BBC 1. I was surprised to see Ken Dodd in full flow, but thought it must be a documentary on the great comedian.

  It was only when the programme ended and the credits rolled that the realisation dawned: another laugh-shaped part of our youth had died some hours earlier.

  Straight to Google…for the news that I had missed: ‘Comedy legend Sir Ken Dodd dies, aged 90’. 

  The greatest of them all, gone.

  Of course we judge these important matters, to some extent at least, through the lens of our youth, through memories that may be faded or ‘rose-tinted.’ So be it. And I am conscious that some of the showbiz stars of the 1970s and ‘80s may not have dated that well, their material, that is. Watch a clip from a comedian of that era now and it can sometimes seem dated and unsophisticated and less than hilarious. We won’t even get into the rampant sexism and racism that underpinned much of the comedy of the time.

  But, but…but…some of the comedy we grew up on really does stand up well after all these years. I would go further: some of the comedy of the 1970s and ‘80s was much better (and often much less offensive) than today’s.

  Morecambe & Wise, The Two Ronnies, the great Tommy Cooper, the unique Spike Milligan, our own Dave Allen, Billy Connolly, Kenny Everett, Bob Monkhouse and countless sit-coms more than make up for the mediocre stuff or for the material which we hailed then but which we would now admit was racist/just unfunny. There was some rubbish, but there was a lot of gold.

  In Ireland, we were enormously influenced by  British television. Up to 1978, we only had one channel here (RTE). In my book, ‘Nothing About Sheep Stealing’, I reminisced about a typical evening’s schedule on RTE.


From a Tuesday in August 1970:

7.50 pm: Mart and Market; 7.55: An Nuacht; 8 pm: Cineclub (Part 1); 10 o’clock: The News; 10.25: Cineclub (Part 2); 11.05: News headlines; 11.07: Outlook (followed by end of transmission).

The RTE schedule was a bit better at the weekends (Andy Williams/Get Smart/Skippy!) but it’s little wonder that those of us who could access British channels embraced them with such joy and excitement.

  I was beside myself with excitement when I got to see ‘The Big Match’ (with Brian Moore) on a Sunday, and of course Match of the Day (with Jimmy Hill) on a Saturday night, and the light entertainment/comedy content was simply a world away from what we had been used to on RTE.

  Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game was unmissable on a Saturday evening, Morecambe & Wise and The Two Ronnies eagerly awaited too, particularly the former’s Christmas Special.

  This was good, really good; this wasn’t Quicksilver. (To be fair, RTE produced ‘The Live Mike’ from somewhere, and it was very special).

  When it comes to the great British comedians of that era, one man whose name I would mention in the same breath as Ken Dodd is Les Dawson. Dawson was brilliant, absolutely lovable, a master of timing and delivery.

  But Ken Dodd was the king.

  Don’t mind the social media skewered polls – honestly, some of those people haven’t a clue – Dodd was a gift from the comedy Gods. You cannot take this poll-a-day era seriously. (A few years ago, The Vicar of Dibley ‘beat’ Fawlty Towers in some stupid poll, at which point I lost faith in them!).

  Back to Mr. Dodd. Maybe some of his material doesn’t date too well, but he was exceptional for several reasons. He was famous for the incredible duration of his live performances; often, gigs would last for five hours. He told one-liners at great speed; he even made the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s longest ever joke-telling session.  

  And he was funny!

  Dodd adored his work; indeed he was a comedy connoisseur who studied the history of comedy and researched just what ingredients were needed to successfully create laughter. In recent weeks, in his 91st year, he was still touring, still entertaining.   

  It was innocent humour from a different time, and while there is sadness at the great man’s passing this week, the tributes are also no doubt tinged with nostalgia for a golden era, for the

music hall/vaudeville tradition that is fading further into history.

  I like and admire many of today’s comedians, but sometimes when I see Jimmy Carr and others resort to extreme vulgarity and unnecessary offensiveness, I wonder if they’re just taking an easy way out. Some of today’s unfunny – indeed tiresome – ‘comics’ would not hold a candle to the comedians (and brilliant writers) who actually worked on creating clever punchlines, as opposed to relying on shock tactics and meandering ‘stream of consciousness’ observations on their fascinating lives!

  Ken Dodd belonged to a different craft, a different world. Pass little heed on the spontaneous and largely pointless polls of the social media era – for millions of people, for generations of families, for over sixty years, Ken was the greatest.

  He was a comedy genius, who spread happiness at every turn.

Who’s that man?

As Tiger Woods deftly and brilliantly chipped to within a foot of the hole from a difficult lie off the green, I thought I’d inform Matthew, our seven-year-old son, of just who that man on the screen was.

  As the ball settled those few inches from the hole and the fans applauded, I said my piece. 

  “That” I said, with a combination of nostalgia and admiration for Tiger’s amazing return to form in recent weeks, “is the greatest

golfer ever”.

  Matthew looked interested, then confused.

 “That guy that just missed?”

Resilient Rossies rallied together and weathered the storm



It was the best of times…it was the worst of times…but I’ll begin with the best! Last week, as deliveries of food, letters, parcels and newspapers were interrupted (totally understandable due to hazardous conditions) during Sneachta-geddon and Storm Emma, I have to commend this particular family-run publication for managing, (in the face of extreme adversity), to go to print and reach our wonderfully loyal readers. Indeed the knock-on effects of our bitterly cold snap was such that bosses at the highly reputable Irish Examiner took the unusual step not to print. The last-known missed edition, (I’m certain someone will correct me if I’m wrong), was in November 1972 where journos engaged in a 24-hour stoppage in protest at the jailing of reporter Kevin O’Kelly who was found to be in contempt of court. O’Kelly spent two nights in prison for refusing to answer questions about a tape relating to his RTÉ radio interview with a then IRA member. He stood by his principals, and rightly so. Any journalist who compromises their professional integrity would be effectively committing career suicide. But I digress. 

  Back to Sneachta-geddon and a shout out to all local businesses who prioritised staff safety above profit, taking the humane decision to shut up shop; these include Paul and Fiona Healy, proprietors of this free, community newspaper; they got it printed, wonderful distributors got it out, and at the same time placed emphasis on staff safety! I have to mention hubby’s lovely boss Ken O’Shea who texted all employees regarding closures during the alert. Well done to all.

  Of course there were many stories of ordinary everyday folk stepping up to the mark to help each other. To name but a few, my good and generous friend Mike Power invited anyone who needed company and a bit of warmth to drop in for a bowl of soup by the fire; my gorgeous friend Lyn Hagan allowed drivers who got stuck to park their cars safely inside her driveway. Credit also to my fabulous neighbour Julie Kennedy, who, along with catering and medical colleagues at Roscommon Hospital, stayed in a local hotel to ensure they were on hand to provide patients and staff with food, sustenance and critical medical care! Heroes!

  I have to mention my darling number one daughter who arrived six weeks prematurely during the great storm of 1982 when my own beloved dad, along with his colleague, the legendary Paddy Reel, got marooned at Dublin Airport as they tried valiantly to get flights airborne and weren’t heard from in three days. I was so concerned, despite being heavily pregnant, I walked the 12 kilometres in the snow to try to find my dad. No transport, no mobile ‘phones, no internet and no info back in 1982! Turns out himself and Paddy slept on pool tables, along with other crew members in the ALSAA sport’s club ‘till they could dig their way out.

  Anyhoo, No. 1 child, (now 36), rang me from Dublin to say, “Dad’s car’s stuck in the snow Mam.” Me: “Oh no, what gear was he in?”  Daughter: “OMG Mam, what’re ya like, he’s wearin’ his Penny’s padded jacket and the gloves and beanie he bought in New York…what does it matter what gear he’s in?” Me: “I meant was he driving the car in a low gear!!!” Number one falling about laughing: “Ooops, sorry”.

  Well done to Shannonside Radio’s regular news bulletins who kept us all updated regarding the unfolding situation…didn’t hear a  mention of us on the national stations. And our wonderful council staff who gritted and cleared main roads; you’re all only massive! I must mention our Herculean fire and ambulance service, the Gardaí, the army and the Civil Defence who went above and beyond. Heroes the lot of ya!

  Then we had society’s most nauseating,  heinous delinquents; the thugs who broke into their community supermarkets in certain parts of Dublin, and of course the loathsome cretins who smashed their way into a jewellers at Golden Island…scumbags, the lot of ya!


Farewell Emma, we will miss you


I cannot, will not, allow this week to go by without paying my respects and admiration to one of the bravest, most resilient women I’ve ever had the pleasure to interview, and whom, since 2015 I kept in touch with via email/text…the talented author, loving wife, devoted mother and self-professed ‘cancer vixen’ Ms. Emma Hannigan. Emma, whom I’d never met face to face, lost her long and inexplicably brave battle with cancer last week; and, always placing others first, emailed that I was ‘so kind and thoughtful to get in touch,’ with her when I’d read she was fighting cancer for the 10th time.

  As someone considered ‘at risk,’ with breast cancer on my father’s side of the family and ovarian cancer on my mother’s, I was constantly monitored prior to my own radical hysterectomy and now through BreastCheck, and I fully understood Emma’s decision to undergo major surgery to reduce her risk. However in spite of this amazingly fearless woman’s valour, she was devastatingly diagnosed for the first time back in 2007, setting in motion her 11-year confrontation with a disease she managed to kick in the nuts until it finally got the better of her last Saturday.

  Rest in peace you beautiful, fearless angel. My heart is broken for your husband Cian and children Sacha and Kim. An exquisite and vibrant light, one which we will never see the like of again, has been extinguished in this world.



The Beast of times (well, for children anyway!) 



It’s Sunday evening, at the end of a very unusual week, and as I’m sitting at the kitchen table trying to write this column, it’s hard to accurately describe how I feel about the heavy falls of snow that more or less brought the majority of the country to a full stop for the last three or four days.

  Back to Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday morning…and obviously, while most of us were in slumberland, snow was falling all around us. When I opened the front door, some time after 7 am, it was to a completely white, snow-covered garden. It didn’t take long to figure out that driving to work to Athlone was totally out of the question.

  For those of you who don’t know it (which would be most of you), I live at the bottom of a pretty steep hill…which leads to Kilbegnet Church. Many times over the last 30-odd years, it’s been a fairly accurate barometer as to the state of the roads. If you can’t make it up the hill, you probably won’t make it anywhere. Very early on Thursday morning I realised that the hill was almost impassable.

  In the space of about half an hour, I saw many cars have a go, and fail to get to the top, including one car which attempted to drive up towards the Church, only to reappear totally sideways, heading back the way it had come. At one stage it was uncomfortably close to my front wall, but eventually, after much huffing and puffing, the car got itself straightened out and took the slightly easier route to Creggs, via Milford Cross.

  And so I settled into a day of a total doss, but after a couple of hours I decided I should try to get to Creggs. Myself and the Volvo hit off the Milford Cross way, and despite a large covering of snow on the road, I made it safely to Mikeen’s shop, where I was amazed to find that there were many other like-minded souls, who were already suffering from cabin fever.

  Talking of cabin fever, and all the inconveniences that all of us adults had to put up with, a little part of me, maybe even a big part of me, was like a child – excited with all the snow around us. I could only envy all the children who had so much fun making snowmen, and snowdogs, and igloos, and all kinds of wonderful creations. 

  As a person who has great memories of snow-covered days from many years ago, I am well aware that many years from now, all of those children will always fondly remember the snows of 2018.

  And so we got through Friday…by  Saturday I had had enough, and went off to work in Athlone, which wasn’t exactly my most brilliant move of all time, as I only saw two people the whole day. However, mentally, it was great for me, as I realised the worst was over and normality was returning and the big thaw was almost here.

  Saturday night saw another big improvement, and myself and a very large crowd made it to Mikeen’s (this time the pub), where three of my neighbours –Jacinta Hanley, Bobby Jennings and Gerry Keegan – were co-hosting a table quiz.

  All the proceeds were going towards the development of Mulhern Park in Fuerty. It was very successful and a good bit of fun. I was the quizmaster, with the questions kindly compiled by Bert Curley, and despite a moment or two of controversy I luckily managed to escape without any serious injuries.

  The trio – that is Jacinta, Bobby and Gerry – were delighted with the response. Between the quiz and a well-supported raffle, they managed to reach their financial target.

  All that remains for them now is to carry off the OsKaRs, which I’m sure they are well capable of doing, and I look forward to their post-OsKaRs party.


Oscars: Saoirse’s day will come


Talking of Oscars, and as it’s now Monday morning, the world – and particularly the Irish side of it – is coming to terms with the fact that our Saoirse, which is of course Saoirse Ronan, didn’t manage to get her hands on one of the golden gongs.

  Unless I am living in cuckooland, it was no surprise, as it was widely flagged that Frances McDormand was nailed on to win it for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film that I thought London-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh would pick up an award for as well.

  As for the Wicklow woman, of whom I am a big fan – particularly the way she seems to have stayed so grounded, despite the huge glamour and pressure of her Hollywood lifestyle – I doubt if she will lose much sleep over missing out. Having already had three Academy Award nominations by the tender age of 23, her day will surely come and she will continue to be one of the biggest attractions on the silver screen.

  Anyway, back to the effects of the big snow, and one of the most likely unfortunate consequences could be that our trip to Twickenham falls by the wayside, as a result of our rugby match against Corrib being postponed on Sunday last.

  This almost certainly means it will be re-fixed for St. Patrick’s weekend, despite the obvious appeal of a possible Irish Grand Slam (although Scotland may have something to say about that this Saturday).

  For all of us, the chance of winning a league title for Creggs after very many years would far outweigh the joy of an Irish Grand Slam, and while we will know for sure in a few days, at the moment we look likely to lose out on the Twickenham trip.

  Let’s hope we win our own game and clinch that long-awaited league title.


And Finally…


Finally for this week, it’s amazing how emergency situations bring out the best  and the worst of people. The snow certainly showed us both sides of human nature.

  On the one hand we had great acts of kindness, where people helped each other out by clearing roads and looking out for the welfare of their own friends and neighbours, while on the other hand, we had the disgusting acts of arson in Tallaght, where at least six stranded snowbound cars were burned out by the worst kind of scumbags.

  Throw in the numerous acts of looting, along with the smash and grab destruction of the Lidl supermarket (also in Tallaght), and it shows that no matter what happens, there are always lowlifes out there who will try to take advantage of others’ misfortunes.


‘Til next week, Bye for now

The Beast arrived and Late Late audience disappeared




We waited, patiently, but the Beast (from the East) didn’t dwell that much in Roscommon. The snowfall was significant enough, but there was no major dance-off between the Beast and Storm Emma on Thursday evening, and therefore no big blizzard. Still, there were substantial snow drifts in South Roscommon, and some resulting inconvenience for householders/farmers.

  Other parts of the country were hit a lot harder. But while it wasn’t as bad as we might have expected, the weather did briefly stop us in our tracks in Roscommon. Between the actual bad weather and the fear of what might be coming, two surreal enough days saw families almost entirely house-bound, normal life suspended.

  Wednesday night was pretty bad – with heavy snowfall – and by late that night, businesses and schools were beginning to make plans to close up. Road conditions were very poor on Thursday morning, and in Roscommon town, the majority of businesses didn’t open.

  People had been warned to stay indoors from 4 pm on Thursday until 3 pm on Friday. We took the warning seriously, but not everyone did. There were still quite a few vehicles passing our house (on the Athlone Road) through Thursday evening. It seemed unnecessarily reckless. As it turns out, the swirling snow and winds that were a ‘wannabe gale’ never quite lived up to the dire expectations.

  The country of course went a bit mad, emptying shops of bread and other ‘essentials’, before (almost) everybody went home and watched/listened to wall to wall weather coverage on television/radio/social media.

  On one level the media coverage was absolutely excellent, on another it was over the top and tediously repetitive.

  Keelan Shanley played a blinder in the RTE engine room, excelling at asking the same questions in slightly different ways to different people. She was superb, but at least she was warm.

  It was the reporters on the front-line who had to bear the brunt of the cold and the snow, not to mention being forced to say the same thing over and over again/pursue new ‘angles’.

   ‘Our man’ Ciaran Mullooly was flying it (from Tullamore) the few times I dipped into the coverage, unearthing a wedding party in one report and an amusing tale about writer Michael Harding’s circuitous snow-challenged journey home to Leitrim from the UK.

  I couldn’t keep watching however, as the relentless coverage (which really was over the top) became tiresome. The last thing we needed after Keelan had spoken to all reporters, a minister, the man from Irish Water, Evelyn, Sean from the National Emergency Coordination Group and two stranded tourists, was for her to cut to George Lee for a summary of everything we’d just heard.

  Still, plaudits to the media, the Government, the various agencies, and most of all to front-line and emergency services and volunteers, all of whom played a great part in standing up to the Beast and Storm Emma.

  Now (hopefully) for something completely different…



On tonight’s Late Late Show, there are just thirty audience members, and most or all of them will be the night’s actual guests. It’s odd, almost eerie, and while Ryan is understandably anxious to push the ‘show must go on’ philosophy, you wonder was it really the right call to proceed with a Late Late Show once it became apparent that the general public wouldn’t be able to attend on account of the weather ‘crisis’.

  The upshot is that we just can’t take our eyes off that tiny audience, and the visual impact is all the more stark because the camera is content to show off all the empty seats surrounding the motley group.

  They’re like a group of forlorn, worried-looking prisoners who have been rounded up by grim-faced guards, their fate unknown. It turns out that their ‘punishment’ is to sit through over two hours in ‘captivity’ in the LLS studio and be subjected to yet more talk about the bad weather.

  Joe Duffy’s smile looks just a little forced; indeed everything looks and feels a little forced. This is an odd mix of celebrity and ‘ordinary folk’, at least some of whom were probably thinking they could have had a more enjoyable night elsewhere. They resemble strangers with little or nothing in common who have been thrust together at a dull party.

  Fair play, I know how well intended the decision to proceed was, but RTE might have been better off cancelling the Late Late Show and sticking on a Bond movie.

  Instead, it’s ever-cheerful Ryan as Bond, taking on The Beast from The East, Storm Emma, selected villains and Graham Norton.



No national newspapers on Friday and Saturday was bad enough, now there’s the prospect of little or no sport this weekend. There was no Six Nations action scheduled, the GAA fixtures are all off, and the Winter Olympics have been cancelled due to snow (well, actually they’re over).

  Thankfully, most of the English soccer schedule has survived.

  All we can do is watch another sad episode in the Arsene Wenger drama. The Arsenal manager’s decline is sad and it really looks now as if it might be irreversible. I can understand why young Arsenal fans (in particular) must be very frustrated by the club’s (relative) struggles in recent seasons. But Wenger’s great achievements at his peak should never be forgotten and this ought to end with dignity rather than in a toxic atmosphere. Part of the problem is that Wenger has stubbornly hung on too long. But he’s a good man, he was ahead of his time, and his best Arsenal teams played some of the most sublime football the English game has seen. It’s looking unlikely, but I hope there’s one more hurrah in Arsene and then a dignified goodbye.



I couldn’t get to the Oscars, with the snow and all that…plus Roscommon’s allocation of two tickets had been snapped up by Chris O’Dowd and Paul Young, from the Boyle wing of Hollywood.

  The highlights, on RTE 2 tonight, were a little underwhelming. Meryl Streep looked regal and a touch smug (I suppose you might too if you were on Oscar nomination number 31); Jane Fonda looked amazing; Saoirse Ronan was radiant and unfazed by not winning (her Oscar(s) will surely come in the future). Frances McDormand is quite a character, and was predictably animated and quirky when she made her acceptance speech. Host Jimmy Kimmel did fine – hosting the Awards is a tougher job now in this #MeToo era.

  Indeed, in light of the sexual assault and harassment controversies that have emerged from Hollywood and elsewhere, watching the Oscars just isn’t quite the same as it used to be.

  Besides, I got bored with all the faux niceness emanating from the gushing speeches. I switched over to Matt and Ivan, where The Man Who Will Never Change – Deputy Bernard Durkan – was well on his way to winning Best Supporting Actor for his defence of Leo & Co.


The right to ‘bare’ arms – and anything we want!


Last week, during what has been described as ‘a promotional event,’ A list actor Jennifer Lawrence was scandalously criticised by what I can only describe as a pack of joyless Femi-nazis for wearing a barely-there dress. Now you know the sort of mirthless Minnies…they’re the ones who cough and splutter into their G&Ts claiming how much they hate men and all they stand for! 

  “She looked frozen and out of place” screamed one hack. “Why is she wearing a skin-baring gown surrounded by men in coats?” asked another. “Inequality!” lamented a scandalised Irish radio contributor. Then we had Helen Lewis, (deputy editor of New Statesman, a British political and cultural magazine), getting her armpit-hugging-reinforced-gusset-granny-knows-best knickers in a twist, saying “This is such a quietly depressing (and revealing) image.” Er, to be honest Ms. Lewis, what I find ‘depressing’ is the surging storm in a D cup spurned on by green-eyed, resentful, bitterly spiteful harpies with nothing better to do than slag off a beautifully talented Oscar winner…and all because she chose to wear an eye-catching, albeit revealing Versace gown at a photocall to promote her movie, Red Sparrow.   

  Personally, I’d have stood in the nip in sub-zero temperatures if someone agreed to pay me just a fraction of Jen’s salary…soooo, what do you have to say about me?

  Look, I’m sick of these judgemental hessian sack-wearing shrews who continuously try to pit women against each other when what we all really should be doing is empowering and helping each other. I mean, OMG, why is it that some members of my gender are such massive buzz kills they have to stand firmly on the twin pillars of venom and hostility while battering the sisterhood? So what if a woman, any woman, whether an actor, office worker, child-minder, columnist, beautician, hairstylist, etc., etc., etc., wishes to bare her bits in a slinky little slashed to the waist, cut to the thigh number? So what if she wants to wear six-inch heels in the depths of winter! It’s her perogative! Troll off and mind your own bloody business and allow those of us who are happy to rejoice and embrace equality to dress without duress.

  You see readers, as a feminist myself, I believe in the equality and the empowerment (without limitations) of all women; however, this resurgent and sinister profile of the so-called ‘Femi-nazi’ with their misguided notions that all men are the enemy who must be defeated at all costs worries me. Our gender doesn’t need to emasculate men to feel empowered, nor do we need to engage in fringe extremism by publicly tweeting, squawking and bellowing like she-devils regarding such immaterial social issues like ‘slut-shaming’ a sister for looking fabulous in a designer frock!

  Being a feminist is being a champion of women’s rights. Being a feminist is endorsing, supporting and lobbying for the equality of all women; in all walks of life. Being a feminist is helping each other. This is what I believe in. And…if a man wants to hold open a door for me or rise when I enter a room…great. I love it. It’s called manners, and I say thank you!

  However, sadly there are those who insist on promoting this misdirected notion that all men are insensitive, misogynist a**eholes…these are the ones who’re doing the most harm to our gender. Why? Because they are creating a generation of men who feel castrated, feeble and useless…and that’s just mean and unjust!


Is this the demise of diesel cars?


Last week, Minister Denis Naughten launched his Anti-Illegal Dumping Initiative and well done to him; I hope local community groups, (who do amazing work), manage to get their hands on  much-needed funding to gear up and stay on top of those selfish, dirty, under-handed, ignoramuses who jettison their waste willy-nilly around our beautiful Roscommon countryside.

  However…while I’m handing out much-deserved plaudits to our lovely Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I need to ask him these questions…why is his Department penalising us diesel car drivers with higher levies on fuel, having previously actively encouraged us to ditch the petrol and buy diesel because ‘it’s greener’? And, can Mr. Naughten kindly give us a heads-up as to how many more ways his Government is deciding  to screw us before we don’t even have enough money for a litre of milk and a loaf of bread?

  I mean, seriously folks, when I saved and saved and shelled out for a second-hand diesel car last year, I honestly didn’t think I’d be treated like an environmental terrorist by the very people who encouraged it and whom, by the way, now rob me of €1,100 a year tax for the privilege of driving (and wrecking) it on what’s left of our pothole-filled, substandard dirt tracks masquerading as roads!

The ‘Black Widow’ preferred Bible to my classes

She thought she’d pulled off the perfect crime but Catherine Nevin, the individual who orchestrated the assassination of her hard-working gent of a husband Tom back in 1996 – believing she’d live life as a much-minted merry widow – is now deceased. Good riddance. I’ve said before that I delivered education/training courses in prisons, including the Dochas Women’s Centre, but the high profile manipulative so-called ‘black widow’ was never an attendee at any of my classes, apparently preferring instead to read the bible and study her books relating to the law. Maybe my little lessons were too twee for madam.  

  However, I’m going to divulge that, like many of us, (come on, admit it), the dark deceiver did somehow capture my morbid fascination and curiosity for the simple reason that, as a narcissistic femme fatale, Nevin was media gold! I hope Tom Nevin is resting in peace and I hope his lovely, dignified family have at last found closure.



Cups of joy in Creggs


A good few years ago, a young girl came to the village of Creggs, all the way from Powers Cross (between Woodford and Portumna), to help out in her aunt’s pub. History will show that the young Sarah Hanbury met and married Mick O’Roarke, whose parents owned the business next door. 

  Fast-forward to 2017, and lining out for the Galway hurlers in their unforgettable All-Ireland hurling final victory over Waterford was one John Hanbury, the grand-nephew of the aforementioned Sarah, and he was to play an absolutely major part in bringing the MacCarthy Cup back to the very receptive arms of the Galway team and supporters.

  In the years since Sarah’s first arrival to Creggs, her aunt’s pub had changed hands a couple of times, before closing its doors some years ago. However, O’Rourke’s pub and grocery is still in the family’s hands, and on Friday night we had a great occasion in Mikeen’s (the present O’Rourke proprietor) when a good number of the Hanbury family brought four national hurling trophies to the village.

  The iconic MacCarthy Cup was there (and it is amazingly heavy), the Leinster Championship trophy, the National League cup and the All-Ireland minor cups were all on display, and they were joined by the Nestor Cup – the Connacht senior football trophy – which Kevin McStay and Ger Dowd brought out as well.

  It’s doubtful if those five cups will ever be together again, and I have to say the huge crowd – from either side of the border – really enjoyed the night. Everyone had their pictures taken with all the silverware, and I’m sure if the late Sarah could look down on the whole proceedings, she would have been justifiably proud of her family legacy. Tommy Donlon and his son Calvin provided some wonderful musical entertainment, and, all told, it was one of those very special nights. 

  Anyway, it won’t be long until this year’s championships are up and running, and I’m sure the Galway hurlers and the Roscommon footballers are flat out getting ready for the challenges that are surely coming their way. All I can do is wish them all well.


A great sporting weekend

Sometimes I wonder what I would do without sport. The weekend just gone by had to be one of the most compelling weekends ever. We had the fantastic rugby match in the Aviva Stadium between Ireland and Wales, which we of course won, followed by the brilliant action from Scotland, where Eddie Jones’ England were put to the sword.

  All is set now for a very interesting finish to the Championship. I am not going to mention the Grand Slam, because, at that level anything can happen, but for the moment we are the only ones who can dare to dream of one – here’s hoping.

  On top of all that, out here in Creggs we had a very tough rugby league match on Sunday against an N.U.I.G. team who came with every intention of derailing our run to the league title. While we eventually won, the 17 points to 3 scoreline in no way reflects the intensity or closeness of the play.

  At half-time the students led by 3 points to nil, and to be honest, the game was in the balance until the last few moments – our nerves were sorely tested, but we came through, and, providing the beast from the east doesn’t put paid to next week’s fixtures, we can win a long-awaited league title with a victory away to Corrib in Headford next Sunday. Please God we will do it, as I’d love to see the bonfires lit in the village yet again on a Sunday evening – it’s one of the greatest sights of all.


Fuerty goes to the OsKaRs


On to local matters, and over the road, our neighbouring GAA Club, Fuerty, are involved in a big fundraising drive to raise funds to develop their grounds and the clubhouse. They have a major five-year plan, which includes several big improvements, including building a stand and providing a fully floodlit playing pitch.

  Fuerty have organised a night at the OsKaRs in the Radisson Hotel on Good Friday night, and three of our best-known local talents – in every way – Jacinta Hanley, Gerry Keegan and Bobby Jennings, have kindly agreed to do their bit to help raise the necessary funds.

  Each one has to raise a minimum of €500 and to help them achieve their target, there is a big table quiz in Mikeen’s at 9.30 pm on next Saturday night, 3rd of March, with tables of four €40. Yours truly, which is me, is the quizmaster, and I really hope you turn out in large numbers to support the Mulhern Park development, but also to support our own three neighbours and friends.

  The fundraiser itself takes place in the Radisson Athlone on Good Friday night, and I think the Creggs trio will win the OsKaR, but as Creggs rugby lads are playing that evening in the final of the Curley Cup, I will be otherwise engaged and won’t be able to be there to see their performance. But I wish them well of course.

  In the meantime, get to Mikeen’s next Saturday night, and we’ll have our own bit of drama and craic, and help to get the necessary funds to send them off to the OsKaRs in good heart.


Donncha takes over!


A big question that’s been on my mind: Where has Donncha O’Callaghan suddenly come from?

  Now we all know he has been a top class international rugby player, who played umpteen times for Ireland, did seventeen very successful years with the all-conquering Munster team, and is presently (at 38 years of age) still playing at the highest level with Worcester in the English Premiership.

  However, all of a sudden he is omnipresent on all our television screens, and no matter where you look there he is smiling and winking back at you.

  He was always regarded as good craic and a little bit mad, but whatever it is, it is now paying off, and it looks as if our Donncha is headed for a very lucrative TV career.

  It must be a Cork thing, as Anna Geary, a Cork ladies camogie superstar, is also very much on the media horizon, and she too is very visible and high profile on our television screens. She is presently to be found on Dancing with the Stars, and she looks set for a successful media career.

  I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this these days, but she’s a good deal easier on the eye than the bould Donncha.


And Finally...


Staying with fundraising efforts…and Jimmy Kearney of The Lancers fame tells me that on next Monday night, 5th of March, the Roscommon Deanery are holding their annual dance in aid of the Lourdes Invalid Fund in the Abbey Hotel, with music by Frank Nelson, Top Level, The Lancers, and Patsy McCaul, all of whom represent the very best of local musical talent.

  I’ve told you many times of the great work the Lourdes Invalid Fund does, in sending so many of our sick and infirm to the Marian Shrine every year, so leave Monday night free, keep a tenner handy, and get yourself down to the Abbey for a great night of music and dance. It all kicks off at nine o’clock. Please God I will see you all there.


Till next week, Bye for now!


Bracing for the 'Beast from the East'

Monday/Tuesday (all week)

There was a ‘run’ on milk in Roscommon town on Tuesday. And the sun was splitting the stones.

  By Tuesday evening, word was that the crisis was over, for then at least, in that milk had become available.

  Mind you, later that night on TV3, Matt Cooper/Ivan Yates showed er…dramatic footage of bare-shelved supermarkets, people seemingly buying up essentials as if there was no tomorrow.

  Or rather ‘as if there was snow tomorrow,’ which I gather there will be. At this stage, after all we’ve been through, there had better be.

  What a few days it’s been! Some of the ‘old people’ must think we’re losing the run of ourselves.  

  These are heady, heady days. For well over a week, the nation has been living in a state of dread, dread of what’s coming, dread of the apocalyptic event that we knew we could not prevent.

  And, sure enough, poor ould Marty got booted out of Dancing with the Stars. Apocalyptic indeed, but it’s not as if we hadn’t been warned – he’s been rubbish for weeks. 

   More than that, there’s been the never-ending fear of the ‘weather event’ that’s on its way.  

  Some of the old people – the initial guardians of our young state – must indeed think we are losing the run of ourselves. 

  Even when I was a young fella, back in the early 1970s, there was no talk of ‘weather events’, no mass media coverage of what might happen, no fancy naming of storms and gales and fleeting winds.

  These days, ‘weather events’ have become big business, an almost permanent crisis on our doorstep, even a potential political timebomb.

  For the past week or so the nation has been gripped by what it might be gripped by from midweek. 

   I can hardly remember what life was like in Ireland BC – before Cusack. Evelyn is everywhere. Years ago, the weather just happened, and the odd television or radio station we had just updated us every now and again through a po-faced grimly-dressed weather forecaster.

  Now, we live in an era of glamorous weather forecasters (although winking Gerald is gone), while the aforementioned Evelyn seems to live in a Star Trek type engine room, the Met Éireann hub in which our fate and faith rests.

  And I still haven’t worked out whether or not the omnipresent Evelyn wants to be on television or not, because while she pops up all over the media, she sometimes comes across as ever so slightly abrupt, even eccentric. She can be as scattered as some of her showers.

  I first noticed this side of her with her very haughty dismissal of an amateur (you know, the ‘postman from Donegal’ type) weather forecaster during a Liveline debate a few years ago. Evelyn has a major hump with ‘unconventional’ forecasters, as she’s entitled to – after all, she’s in the scientific end of the business. She’s quirky in her interviews; on balance, I think she likes being the centre of our universe at times like this.

  Indeed, at the pre-mentioned times like this, all sorts of experts are wheeled out and suddenly almost every television and radio show has one on, explaining the difference between orange and yellow warnings, half of them falling just short of having a legal advisor beside them for fear of the dreaded post-event charge of having got it all wrong.

  This fear of ‘getting it all wrong’ or even of a public perception of having over-reacted or under-reacted is particularly concentrating the minds of senior politicians.

  A Government is unlikely to fall over a misdiagnosed ‘weather event’ but it could slip in the polls if it makes a mess of things, and this Government, high on its Storm Ophelia success, is taking no chances this week!

  Minister Eoghan Murphy is being careful not to say a word out of place, fearful of any hostage to fortune – but in fairness, he’s doing a diligent ‘weather watch/warning’ job so far. Leo, who had enough Orange Alerts thanks to Arlene last week, has been low profile enough as of yet, but no doubt he’ll brave the elements for some photo opportunities later this week, and who could blame him!

  It’s 12 noon on Tuesday as a write, and the weather is defiantly summer-y, well, it’s a bit cold, but still very pleasant. But, by all accounts, bad stuff is coming from Wednesday night/Thursday morning – the ‘Beast from the East’ to Leinster, with snow and storms in tow for the rest of the country. Expect most of the kids in the country to be very happy, and (though he won’t show it), RTE’s Paschal Sheehy, if he’s honest, will be in his element too.

  On a serious note…take care, get the bread and milk in, do drive carefully or not at all, and watch out for elderly family and neighbours. Most of all, do not take any chances on the roads. 

  Now, all we can do is wait. Now, it’s over to Evelyn. Evelyn, in whom we trust, Evelyn, our Everywoman. Evelyn for President if this madness continues.

* In other news (held over due to lack of space): Syria, vulture funds, gang crime and other stuff that has nothing to do with the weather.

An update (Wednesday)

Okay, fair enough, it looks like the warnings may indeed have been accurate enough; I wrote above over Monday and Tuesday…this morning (Wednesday) we awake to snow and a notable drop in temperature.

  Driving to school, and on Morning Ireland, Bryan Dobson is receiving reports from around the country. He goes to Cork. Direct quote from Paschal Sheehy at 8.42 am: “I am looking out at a spectacular winter wonderland”. I knew it! He’s secretly delighted! Paschal’s expression or tone will never reveal it, but, deep down, he loves the ould bit of drama. 

  The roads in town are grand just now, but certainly there was an early blast from the beast in rural Roscommon this morning. Now it’s becoming obvious that some rough conditions are indeed ahead. By the time you read this on Thursday or Friday, I imagine we may be in standstill mode.

  I’m off to chase up some milk and bread.







If you lend your car, be prepared to face possible consequences



I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I will allow anyone other than mise and he-who-worships-the-very-ground-I’m-going-under to drive my car…it’s my pride and joy and besides, it costs me an absolute fortune to run! Now it’s older than dirt at this stage, but it’s new to me and I love it, and if I’m honest, even though himself is fully licensed to drive every vehicle you can name, and he’s fully insured to drive my car, I still hate handing over the keys when I’m not sitting in the passenger seat beside him. Now don’t get me wrong; he’s a good driver, but as he’s much taller and bigger than me, he moves the seat back, he also lowers it considerably, messes with my side and rear mirrors, adjusts my dash cam, fiddles with my pre-set radio selection, leaves muddy-size 12 footprints on my mats, and Mother of Divine God…he snacks; often leaving crumbs as evidence!!! Aaagghhh!!!

  Okay, you get it; I don’t like to share my vehicle, even with a fully qualified, professional driver whose record is exemplary. Therefore, if an inexperienced learner wanted to sit behind the wheel of any vehicle owned and insured by me, (even my own flesh and blood), my answer would be ‘No!’ Why? Because, unlike the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, I actually have a brain!

  Look, let’s be honest here, there’s a major concern regarding the amount of deaths occurring on Irish roads, even though according to www.rsa.ie, in 2017 we saw ‘a decrease in road deaths with 159 fatalities compared with 186 in 2016.’ And, while I do recognise there is, thankfully, a slight drop in those statistics, given the poor standard of driving I witness each day, (like the fool who followed me all the way from Athlone to Roscommon town last Tuesday while continuously texting on his ‘phone, and the divvy who raced through the level crossing as the barriers came down, barely clearing it before they smashed his car’s roof), I believe we’ve probably reached a crisis point regarding accidents on our roads.

  In addition, when you look closer at the RSA’s figures and see that 12 of the recorded fatalities involved learner drivers – with 10 of them associated with unaccompanied L plate holders – you can see why I’m glad that at last, the Government has decided to grow a set and hopefully run with adding the ‘Clancy Amendment’ to the Road Traffic Bill, whereby any car owner who allows an unaccompanied learner/unlicensed driver to use their vehicle could face prosecution under new measures approved by the Cabinet. 

  Now I don’t care if you’re a parent giving your child the loan of the car for a quick run to the supermarket for emergency milk; the fact is, if you allow an immature learner driver, or an unlicensed driver behind the wheel of what is potentially a lethal weapon in inexperienced hands, then you’re an irresponsible buffoon and you deserve to be prosecuted and you deserve to have your car seized! End of! Of course I’m not heartless, folks, I do know it can be difficult to refuse your child/nephew/partner/friend, etc., when they beg you for your car, but when you hand them those keys you’re also handing them your personal reputation, your insurance, your excellent driving record, and now, given the proposed Clancy Amendment, your guilty conscience, and to be honest, you may, (I don’t know, I’m guessing here), be refused insurance in the future. Remember that and then ask yourself…is it worth the risk?


Guys…where’s this place they call Roscommon? (Love, Leo)


According to various media reports, as a result of Leo’s I’ve-got-big-plans-for-you-suckers-if-you-keep-voting-for-me spin last week, Athlone has been declared as the ‘capital of the midlands.’ Woo hoo, how exciting, but I wouldn’t go breaking out the bubbly just yet!

  You see, while it may be “a great day for the country” as a whole, as the suits decamped to Sligo, (I’m sure they’d have come to Roscommon if only they’d known where we are), to launch their €116 billion Project Ireland 2040 Plan, I realised that despite the fact the politicians have again overlooked our beautiful county and its wonderful people when planning their ‘vision’ (don’t believe me…ask the Rosalie Unit residents), there are many who’ll probably forgive them because hey, sure didn’t they rock those Hollywood-style smiles and designer suits. And didn’t they dazzle us with that impressive PowerPoint presentation – not to mention that big fat photo-op for Leo, whose boyish charm is the viscus grease with which his publicist uses to oil his expensive spin machine.

  Well Leo, you may be able to bewitch, beguile and enchant the faithful with your promises – which, when decoded, appear to say –I’ll-do-absolutely-nothing-nada-nought-zero to enhance Roscommon’s economic growth.

  As for Rosalie residents like Mr. Dan Connaughton, whose heartbreaking story which featured in last week’s issue upset me enormously (and I wish the family, indeed all of the families, the very best possible outcome to their extremely distressing plight), I have to say, that when push comes to shove, as far as Roscommon goes, I believe our leaders, (except local representatives who do a great job on our behalf) just cannot be ars*d. In fact, I’m going to ask if we possibly have a government (in Dublin) being run by some who possess a minimum level of intelligence, and who were voted in by a majority endowed with the exact same abilities and brainpower.


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