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Our beautiful teenagers…suffering from the Kardashian Syndrome

To your horror, your beautiful teenage daughter, whom you love beyond all reasoning, has suddenly, inexplicably begun to forensically and compulsively examine her body shape and complain about her appearance.

  She’s becoming obsessed, comparing herself to Kylie Jenner and Khloé Kardashian, and while the hard work and the financial success of these two reality stars/models who constantly bombard impressionable young teens with social media images of their flat stomachs and pert derrieres can prove inspirational, the fact is, it’s unnatural and I worry that it’s creating a situation where many young girls will resort to unhealthy and harmful behaviours in order to try and control their weight.

  I mean, you only have to look at a report in this week’s Daily Mail where a young girl, Rebecca Smith, now a 23-year-old personal trainer, is described as a ‘former anorexic,’ whom back in 2012 when she was only 19, was so desperate to emulate the waif and wasted look of a supermodel, she weighed just six stone and was running ten miles a day. I can only imagine what her worried parents were going through.

  So, this week, as we are on the cusp of Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which is being held from 22nd to 28th February, I have to ask, how does a parent know if their teen is simply experiencing a typical, faddy food stage in puberty or is indeed, suffering a more serious and sinister problem?

  Well, according to www.bodywhys.ie, there is currently an estimated ‘200,000 people in Ireland’ who may be affected by eating disorders, with ‘an estimated 400 new cases’ emerging each year, ‘representing 80 deaths annually.’ Now, for me, this means there are too many young lives at risk and some of them are right here in Roscommon with youngsters eating a restricted diet that is based on their desperation to stay thin and emulate some silly high profile personality that looks more like a mutant than a human being.

  These poor impressionable kids are in grave danger of doing permanent damage to their health by denying their still-developing bodies’ important fat, the type that is essential for the beneficial and vital development of their young brains and nervous systems.

  These kids, whose desire to have the perfect bodies and pouty bad girl attitudes of what I would call The Kardashian Syndrome, are now resorting to begging parents for cosmetic surgery procedures with some even employing extreme DIY behaviours such as self-imposed disfigurement…remember last year’s bee stung lip craze debacle – meaning the word ‘perfect’ has sunk so deep into their susceptible consciousness, tragically, it has almost become the adjective-du-jour.    

  This leads me to fear that we are now about to morph into a nation of emaciated female sticks, crowned with copper-blonde lowlights – with a hint of ombre-hair extensions; a sort of caramel, candy-apple lollipop on legs and, as a parent, I find this blood-curdlingly chilling.

  Now while people deal with poor body image in various ways, and while I do admit I’m also one of those ‘Perfect Body Syndrome Wannabes’ too, I mean what women doesn’t yearn to sparkle and look her best? And, even now, as I’m at an age where I should know better, I still watch what I eat, preferring to cook everything fresh and from scratch and refusing to eat junk food. I have my hair cut and dyed regularly, I marinate in fake tan and crave a higher derriere, firmer boobs and, I’ll let you into a little secret, if my Lotto numbers ever come up nobody will recognise me ‘cos I’ll get nipped, tucked, sucked and buffed to the extent that not even my dental records will be capable of identifying me.

  What I will not do however, is starve myself in order to look like some over exposed, gobby tart who permanently stalks the glossies and tries to break the internet with photoshopped images of her hideous, oiled-up bare arse and ghoulishly small waist because you know what girls, in my opinion, ‘celebrities’ who promote such images shouldn’t be on TV, nor should they be on your teens’ ‘friend’ list; rather what they should be on is a psychiatrist’s couch!

  If you’re worried about your teen’s eating behaviour, please contact www.bodywhys.ie for advice.

A little public service announcement for dog owners

Do you own a dog? Yes? Well listen up, ‘cos this concerns you. If, like us, you’re responsible dog parents, you may already have your fur babies microchipped. However, if not, bear in mind that as and from next month (March), ALL dogs must be microchipped…it’s the law.

  It actually became a legal requirement for all puppies to be microchipped from last September, but, as of 31st March, this extends to all doggies. Therefore in order to comply with this new legislation, take your pooch to your vet now, have a microchip implanted, register your details on a government approved database and make sure you have a valid certificate as evidence of your compliance. A government approved database is one that meets the requirements of SI 63/2015 and they are currently Animark, Fido and the Irish kennel Club but do log onto www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/dogmicrochipping/Databases for the most up to date information/list. 

  On a personal note, we deal with www.fido.ie and find them very helpful but as I said, you do your own research, consult your vet and do right by your pet. It’s not just the responsible and humane thing to do, it’s now your legal obligation; and about time in my opinion.

  And for those so called pet lovers who don’t chip their dogs, well, they’ll be facing fines ranging from €5,000, and/or imprisonment for up to six months and those convicted on indictment could actually end up paying a fine of up to €250,000 and/or five years in the slammer. You’ve been advised folks.

The Spy who came in from the Kitchen

As speculation mounts regarding who will be the odds-on favourite to be the next James Bond when Daniel Craig’s license to bore me is revoked – I have to say, in my opinion the only Bond who had a license to thrill was Irishman Pierce Brosnan – I would like to throw my hat into the ring as a possible female Bond.

  Yep, I wanna be Jane O’Bond…license to shrill!

It’s about time we had a harpie super-spy and I think I’d be perfect for the role. You see I have all of the attributes; for a start I am free from prejudice – I will promise to hate the enemies of our state equally; I already dress to kill and, if required, I can cook in the same way. In addition, I’m fast, furious, intuitive and resourceful.

  I could learn to shoot a Walther PPK, write off an Aston Martin and still get home in time to prepare dinner, do the hoovering, walk the dogs and help my Facebook friends sort their various (often insignificant and petty) little problems before flopping into bed to entertain the hubby.

  Come to think of it, most Roscommon women are hard-working, multi-tasking Jane O’Bonds 24/7 but without the recognition, and, of course, the Walther PPK!

 

 

Paul Healy's Week - 19th February

Paul Healy on being drowned out by Ming and TR Dallas; if Carlsberg did Premiership title races; the unkindest (power) cut of all…and Joan & Enda hold a family meeting…
Friday

Today I get to talk ‘all things Roscommon’ for half an hour with Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk, but first there’s a seat for me on the Joe Finnegan panel on Shannonside. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is over from Brussels. The other guest is Cavan/Monaghan TD Joe O’Reilly. Joe’s wife, Mary (nee Tully), is a native of Fourmilehouse/Kilbride area of Co. Roscommon. I digress.

Back in the Shannonside studio, Ming ‘goes from 0 to 60’ once we go on air. The mild-mannered Joe gets into his stride and begins to rebuke Ming. It’s lively and I’m enjoying it, but one listener gets in touch to say we’re as bad as the party leaders who were involved in a ‘shout-fest’ during the previous night’s TV3 Debate. Ouch!

No such concerns later that day when I am a guest – all on my own – of Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk. I get to the Golden Island Shopping Centre in Athlone – as directed – and board the Newstalk Election Battle Bus. It’s 1.10 and I’m due to go on air at 1.30 pm. I find a quiet seat so I can mull over what I am going to say.

Then TR Dallas bursts in and starts singing ‘It’s Hard To Be Humble.’ I haven’t imagined it; it actually is him. He has another musician with him. With the Moncrieff crew also on board, it’s getting crowded. Next I meet a very nice Donegal man (he owns the bus) and we get chatting about holidaying in France (not together).

Two more people from ‘Team Newstalk’ suddenly hop on the bus. Very crowded now. I am introduced to TR Dallas, who has stopped singing. Before you could say ‘Who Shot JR Ewing?’ TR gets off the bus and says he’ll be back at 2.30. TR was very nice, ironically very humble.

My interview seems to go well. We talk about the ‘Save Roscommon’ campaign, the election issues in Roscommon and the previous night’s Leaders’ Debate. When it’s all over, we pop into the Golden Island Shopping Centre, which, as ever, is busy.

Soon it’s time to head back to Roscommon. I turn on the radio. It just happens to be 2.30. ‘Oh Lord It’s Hard To Be Humble’, the great man is singing, live from a crowded Election Battle Bus.

Saturday & Sunday

Even allowing for the spoilt and humourless players, the offensive fans, the disingenuous managers, the eccentric club owners, the manipulative agents, the hype-obsessed media – and I am sure there are a few horrible groundstaff/tea ladies out there too – the ould Premiership is good craic this year.

Of course all of the players/fans/managers/agents/media do not fit the above sweeping categorisation – my apologies to the exceptions. And I suppose it may not be politically correct (I haven’t a clue what is) to use the term ‘tea ladies’ these days. Maybe it should be tea persons.

Then again, maybe it should be tea/coffee persons or ‘beverage individuals of any gender.’ As for the title race, it’s all the better this year for the audacious presence of Leicester and Spurs. I still have a very soft spot for Arsenal: the Manchester clubs and Chelsea may have won the bulk of the titles in recent years, but Arsenal, in full flow, have arguably produced the most sumptuous football.

Of course they haven’t deserved to win the league in any recent season; they’ve been flawed purists. This year, they’ve managed to control their self-destruct tendencies so far. In any other season, many non-Arsenal supporters would be willing Arsene Wenger’s team to a first Premiership title in over a decade.

But it’s not a normal season, and poor Arsenal have competition when it comes to winning over the neutrals. It’s great to see Spurs launching a title charge. But even they can’t lay claim to be the season’s sweethearts. After all, the story of the year has been penned in Leicester. Leicester?

Last season they spent most of the campaign at the bottom of the league. The club is traditionally as unfashionable as they come. The team was assembled for the price of a packet of fags (well, I exaggerate a bit).

They have been sensational. If they win the Premiership, it will be an epic sporting achievement, one to merit a re-writing of the history books. It will be nerve-wracking finale.

Arsenal might just prevail. Leicester may have to settle for the merely stupendous achievement of qualifying for the Champions League. Ah, if Carlsberg did Premiership title races…

Monday

11 o’clock: You know those scenes in the movies, when the people all emerge on to the street together, perhaps drawn to something mysterious in the sky, or maybe to the arrival of a supreme being type…(Enda on the canvass trail?).

It was a bit like that in Roscommon town this morning: first there was a bang from outside, and then the lights went out. Everything crashed; phones, lights, computers…basically a power cut.

So we went to investigate, and one by one, the householders and business people on the street began to emerge into the morning sun, all of us curious and questioning. ‘Who…what…how?’

Rendered powerless by our powerlessness, we were staring into the abyss. What to do without electricity? Bereft of emails, google, landlines – more importantly, coffee – our lives were on hold! 

Just when we thought we might actually have to start relaxing and talking to our fellow human beings on the street, the power was restored and we were able to go back inside and …er…reconnect with the world.

Joan & Enda call ‘Family Meeting’
Monday night

The more I watched the seven of them, with their dour, unhappy faces, the more it all resembled some big family meeting. Chaired by a neighbour, the excellent, unflappable Claire Byrne. Enda and Joan, who stood in the centre, were the parents.

They looked serious, mature, slightly old, world-weary but kind of wise. Micheál was in the eldest son role. The guy who has a senior role in the family, who has traditionally been involved in the decision-making, or at least party to the big decisions.

Micheál lives at home and is expecting to get the farm. Stephen (Donnelly) is the bright, brainy son who is away in some fancy college; he’s been abroad, now he’s home with lots of clever ideas. He’s seen the world. He knows it all.

Richard (Boyd Barrett) is the smart alec/ rebellious son who has too much to say. He drives Daddy Enda and Mammy Joan mad, but they grudgingly accept that his rants are sometimes spot-on. He’s jealous of Stephen, that’s why they’re standing so far apart at this family meeting.

Lucinda is the prim and proper daughter, the best in the world really, but a right nightmare at times. Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. She had a spat with Daddy Enda a while back and she has no fear. She’ll say what she thinks, like it or not.

Gerry is the wild one, home from abroad and thinking he knows it all. He got in with a quare crowd when he was away, but, in his favour, he’s learnt a fair bit on his travels. Since he came home, nothing will do him only to overshadow ‘altar boy’ Micheál, and eventually take over the running of the house.

But Enda and Joan are still in charge. For now anyway. So they stand there, in the middle, barely able to disguise their disapproval of the outspoken outbursts from the young ones. Everyone is sullen, there’s only the occasional half-smile. Their bonds run deep, but when it comes to the family meeting, they’ll all get their speak in.

It isn’t clear what direction the family is going to go in. There are factions within the family, little groups that could ‘work with one another’, but for now, when everyone is present, they’re too proud and too stubborn to admit that.

They won’t admit how close they really are. They prefer the energy they get from bickering, they prefer the denial. On and on the family meeting goes.

Just as someone is about to say ‘How about if we sell the cattle?’, the family meeting breaks up – for now. Sighing at their offspring, Joan and Enda go to bed (separate rooms).

Two Irelands: Rugby day out in shadow of gangland culture

It’s a long time since I sent my first report on our annual rugby tour, as I made my way to Falkirk in Scotland, where my nephew, Eamon Bracken, along with our own Creggs player, Michael Diffley, were playing for the Irish U-20s against the host nation. Of course at that time, it was to the now no more Roscommon Champion. This weekend we kept up the touring tradition by heading off to the Aviva Stadium to watch our Irish rugby team do battle with their Welsh counterparts in the opening series of the Six Nations.

  This time however was very different to the first one, as I only featured in the first part of the tour because, courtesy of the early direct bus from Dublin, I was back in Creggs in time to see our local lads lose out to Ballina in a keenly-contested quarter-final of the Connacht Junior Rugby Cup on Sunday afternoon.

  On a day when fingers were more like icicles – than fingers – and on which you would need a home heating system in your jacket to stay warm, the standard of play was amazingly high, and if our team lost, they certainly finished the game with their pride and reputation intact. The final score of 10 points to 3 was harsh enough on the home team and no one could have complained if the game had ended, as the international did, in a draw. However, it wasn’t to be and Ballina are now looking forward to a home semi-final next Sunday. 

  As for us, it was great to see our young team play so well and attractively, as they have done all year, and if they can keep this team together, it won’t be long ‘till Connacht success is achieved again.

  Anyway, back to the tour to Dublin, and while the rugby game was in my opinion a really good and intense battle, it was overshadowed for me by the extraordinary activities that took place in the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra on Friday afternoon.

  The world and its mother now knows about the Love/Hate-style murder and shootings that took place there at the weigh-in of a major boxing tournament, but I suppose it’s because I was staying right beside the Regency that it had such an impact on me.

  When I arrived out to my weekend place of rest the area was absolutely crawling with Gardai, plain-clothes detectives and members of the armed Gardai unit. The entrance to our place was closed off, as it seemed the gang made their getaway through our apartment complex, and as they must have been carrying out forensics (I know that from N.C.I.S.), we had to do a major detour to get to our place. Even at that, we were quizzed every time we appeared, and by the time I left on Sunday morning, I was nearly on first-name terms with some of the Gardai!

  This latest episode in the gangland war that is going on in our Capital city is arguably one of the worst and most frightening of all the terrible events that have taken place and once again showed that these gangsters have no regard for human life. There were children and women, as well as several other innocent bystanders, including news reporters and cameramen, at the boxing weigh-in and it was probably pure luck that no one else was injured or killed.

  Today I see questions being asked as to why if reporters were there expecting some type of a confrontation, which apparently those who run these boxing tournaments seem to attract, the guards weren’t forewarned and ready for trouble. Maybe it’s just as well as if they were there, we might have had an old-style western shootout and it could have resulted in wholesale carnage. Anyway, it seems all hell is about to break loose in Dublin and there will be many more lives lost before the dust settles. Let’s hope it’s all over sooner rather than later.

Early to bed…

On the social side of our tour to the rugby international last weekend, being in Dublin is like being in a different world – pubs so packed at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon that we could hardly get in – and everywhere we went, the buzz was just electric!

  The big difference in our present-day tours is that where one time we would be out ‘till the early hours, nowadays we are all safely tucked into bed long before midnight.

  Despite the big game in Creggs, the village was well represented in the city and the Roarke clan were there in force to honour my old mate Jim, who was celebrating a major birthday – I’m not going to give it away, but it’s somewhere between fifty and seventy! Answers on a postcard please!

Well done, Rossies!

Finally for this week, even out here in Galway land, we have to applaud the Rossies on their great win in Killarney on Sunday over Kerry and, like it or not, the primrose and blue are looking good for at least a Connacht title!

  On the local front, the new season starts this weekend with the first round of the Tansey Cup and we wish our team and their new management the best of luck!

  Will this be the year that our long wait for a Junior Championship win comes to an end (1983 was the last)? Here’s hoping!

Till next week, bye for now

Seriously, I think we need to talk about the Election!

Now I’m not betraying any confidences by saying this, because it’s printed right here at www.independent.ie,  but it appears our Taoiseach, right, seems to be of the opinion that we, the very important voters, are all a right bunch of eejits who probably couldn’t find our way out of a thick fog.

  Well what else am I supposed to think when, last week, on T minus Day 1 of Operation Election 2016 and counting, Enda, looking dapper as ever (fair play, he’s always scrupulously turned out), and, displaying an enviable confidence, in the calm monotone of a man who has never woken in the darkest part of the night and wondered how he’ll pay his ESB bill, feed his family, make his car loan repayments or scrape enough together to meet his ever-increasing rent, insulted us all by responding to a simple question regarding his party’s funding of their election promises when he piped up with the astounding reply that he refused to get into the “economic jargon which the vast majority of people don’t understand.”

  Oh noooo, oh please, please oh Mighty One, we beg of you to enlighten us cretinous minions with your incredible insights concerning your plans for our country’s fiscal policies, should you be re-elected. You see, some of your subjects have major problems trying to balance their social welfare payments not knowing which child should get new shoes this week and which should get that painful tooth filled; and sure now with that extra 50 cent an hour you so generously bestowed upon us during the Budget, allowing us ‘experienced adult’ workers to earn a whopping, wallet-bulging €9.15 an hour (before tax), well what can I say, sure it’s practically  party central most weekends in Roscommon with the average ‘experienced’ adult worker able to fritter away, oh, all of what…an extra €15 a week.

  Still, looking on the bright side, it is €15 coming in rather than going out isn’t it; and let me add, us eejits are really very grateful for the extra few crumbs you and Labour have thrown us…no, really, we are. And, in fairness, why would we expect a man who thought our country’s workers’ annual minimum wage was €35,000 to know anything about future funding?

  Enda did tell Eileen Dunne on the RTE News that “the average worker, a single worker on the minimum wage of €35,000 is going to get back €400 in the income tax returns starting in January,” when discussing water charges, didn’t he?

 Now I wonder, did our lovely Taoiseach pluck that mythical figure out of the air all by himself because, as we know, €35,000 is double the amount the ‘average worker’ is earning so, the other day when a reporter asked Enda another ‘fiscally’ related question, a vitally important one on a vitally important day, i.e. the day the election campaign was launched, you’d imagine he’d have been a bit more prepared…wouldn’t you?

  Next it was Alan Kelly’s turn to overshadow Maggie’s, sorry Queen Joanie’s, campaign when Labour was plunged into the spotlight regarding Minister Kelly’s alleged verbal attack on a radio presenter. Now while Mr Kelly is entitled to criticise, he should understand that as a member of a political party he needs to be a team player and that means deflecting rather than attracting negative publicity. And, er, sorry for being a pain, but wasn’t it only recently that Environment Minister Kelly was unable to provide figures regarding the amount of individuals who became homeless last year? 

  Next it was Mary Lou’s turn to make a big bazooka with her election leaflet literature quoting ‘Booby Sands,’ rather than ‘Bobby Sands.’ Seriously, does anyone sitting in the Oireachtas possess even foundation level Maths and English?

 Ah yes, welcome to The Starship Election Campaign 2016 folks; boldly going where no political parties, desperate to win power, have ever gone before; scornfully abusing the voters’ intelligence.

  Now I’m not trying to sway opinion at all and I’m not trying to promote one party over another, nor am I trying to denigrate one party in favour of another, this is NOT my intention. It’s up to everyone to vote for whomever they feel is best placed to lead this country –  (I’m thinking anyone with basic Maths/English) – and I can only imagine what kind of tripe and utter nonsense will be spewed forth over the next few weeks by other candidates.

   But, as I said, the response to questions regarding our so-called ‘rainy day fund’ is right there in the national meeja much in the same way as the minimum wage faux pas, the big Booby and the bizarre alleged verbal confrontation debacles are – and, on a personal level, I would expect the individual who has his/her sights set on becoming our next Chief to at least demonstrate the ability to answer vitally  important and pertinent questions when asked; and have the ability to proofread. 

  However, despite the fact the boys, and the girl can’t help it, I’m glad I’m not the one doing PR for any of them ‘cos I’d be editing that little gig out of my CV right now.

I hate to say it but I agree with Piers Morgan…this time!

Bless me Father for I have sinned; you see, I agree with Piers Morgan regarding the inappropriateness of actress Susan Sarandon’s risqué wardrobe choice for her presentation of the In Memoriam Tribute at the recent Screen Actors Guild (SAG) ceremony.

  Now it’s not her choice of the fabulous Max Mara cream suit that annoys me, ‘cos I’m lovin’ the suit, it’s what Susan wore, or rather didn’t wear underneath, i.e. a top, that I feel was slightly unbecoming.

  No, it’s the fact that this gorgeous woman, whom by the way at aged 69 looks eye-poppingly sexy, (and age has nothing to do with it BTW, because ladies, we can be sexy at any age) delivered a tribute to SAG members who had died during the past year whilst thrusting her boobs, clad only in a black bra, at the audience, which I think is perhaps a tad disrespectful. I mean, it’s kinda the funeral section of the show and maybe arriving in your lacy undies is not the way to show veneration, now is it?

  And while I feel utter shame at agreeing with a man who looks like he takes fashion advice from Crusty the Clown, I have to say Piers Morgan is right in this instance. While it’s fine to show a bit of cleavage, and I’m all for it – get those baps out and be proud – but, as the saying goes –  time and place Susan, time and place love.

A local tragedy

While I know no words of sympathy will go anywhere near towards consoling the grieving parents and family whose entire world has just been shattered forever by the death of their darling 5-year-old little boy last week, reportedly from contracting Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) and who lived in our neighbouring county of Leitrim, I would still like to say how utterly sorry I am, especially to his mam and dad, whose grief can never be measured; whose treasure chest of memories will forever be filled with the healthy, talented, cherished angel that he was.

  May this precious little man rest in peace and may your beautiful memories of your baby boy sustain you and keep you going to face another day.

 

New sporting heroes bringing us back to the future!

To this very day, if anyone asks me, although no one ever does, I would always say that my first (sporting) love is gaelic football, because as a young lad growing up in the rural village of Creggs, there was at that time little else to do in the way of entertainment and if you had any inclination towards being a sportsman of any kind you simply had to play football with your local parish team.

  In truth, for very many years, I had great fun playing with Creggs footballers, and while we didn’t have too many medals to show for our efforts, at the end of our careers we had a lot of good times and happy memories to look back on.

  However, somewhere along the line, probably during my term in school in Cistercian College, Roscrea, I discovered the game of rugby, and after wearing the jerseys of Ennis, Westport, Dundalk and Corinthians rugby clubs, my whole life was transformed for the better when Creggs Rugby Club was formed in 1974.

  The fledgling club took a few years to make an impact, but when it did it made a huge one – and for the next 15 or so years there is no doubt that our little village club punched numerous times above our weight and at both cup and league competitions, success followed success.

  One of the big differences between rugby and GAA is that every local parish has its own Gaelic club, while rugby is still apart, from a few exceptions, mainly to be found in the bigger towns. And so, in a way we had a siege mentality, which stood to us in good stead and I can still hear the Mick Hernon rallying cry “come on the village” ring around our original pitch, the Church field in Kilbegnet.

  Mick would be standing on his perch up on the ditch and I firmly believe his war cry put the fear of God in visiting city teams.

  Success wasn’t confined solely to the first team, the seconds also won several cups and leagues, there was a lot of underage victories too – and when the women came along in the early ‘90’s they surpassed everything the men had achieved by becoming the All-Ireland champions.

  Along the way as a club we developed great rivalries with, first Ballina, who when we arrived were the undisputed kingpins in Connacht junior rugby, and later with Connemara All Blacks, who were a bit like ourselves in that they came from the rural community of Clifden.  

  One of my first memories was going on a tour to Clifden, a tour on which the whole club, including wives and girlfriends (nearly all our own) were brought. We were to play the All Blacks in a Saturday evening friendly and afterwards we were booked into a local hotel, for a bit of fun and craic.

  Sadly, it seemed that the locals were totally unaware of our presence – mainly because we forgot to tell them –and when we arrived at the All Blacks pitch, we found it deserted, and that was the way it stayed. No opposition appeared, but being a resilient crew, we didn’t let it affect our enjoyment of what turned out to be a fantastic weekend.

  However that was a long time ago and in the meantime the fortunes of both clubs have taken very different paths. After a two-year flirtation with the All-Ireland League, we have dropped out of the top tier in Connacht rugby and for a few years now we have been plying our trade in the Second Division, while for all of those years Connemara were doing very well in the All-Ireland league.

  However two years ago they lost their place at the top table and on their return to junior rugby in Connacht one could be forgiven to think that they might now struggle in the local competition. That’s where you would have been wrong, because last year, in their first year back, they took up where they had left off and won the Division One League. We at the same time were finishing 3rd in Division Two.

  Fast-forward to last Sunday in The Green in Creggs where our local team once again crossed swords with the All Blacks, this time in the Connacht Junior Cup, a game which resulted in a fantastic win for Creggs. The final score was 13 to 7 in our favour, but you would want to be there to appreciate the great effort and performance put in by the Creggs lads. It was a win built on great heart and commitment, topped by no little skill, even in terrible weather conditions, and for us old folk, it was wonderful to be there to see it.

  I’m told by a curious twist of fate that it’s a quarter-final next Sunday at two o’clock in the Green, against our other old foes (and friends), Ballina and even if it clashes with Ireland’s match with Wales, give that one a miss and come to Creggs and help push the lads over the line.

  Nothing would give me greater pleasure (except maybe to win the Junior Football Championship) than to have the Junior Cup back in the village and who knows, this could be the year.

  We danced and sang on the counter in Seamus Keane’s ‘till the early hours the first time it came and I have no doubt it would be similarly celebrated this time. Here’s hoping!

Terry – ‘loveable Limerick rogue’

That’s almost it for this week, as Martina tells me I’ve gone a bit mad and put in too many words and only that it’s by email she wouldn’t pass it on at all, (what a shame says you), but I suppose for all of us who grew up with the BBC back in the 1980s and who watched Terry Wogan – the lovable Limerick rogue – as he ruled the British airwaves, it was very sad to hear this week of his unexpected death after a short battle with cancer.

            The newspapers on both sides of the Irish sea are full of tributes to the late broadcaster, which in itself is a mark of the huge respect and affection he commanded during his long career.

  All I can say is that, for many years, Val Doonican and Terry made Saturday night viewing a must for me and many, many more. May he rest in peace.

Till next week, bye for now

Paul Healy's Week - 5th February

Paul Healy on Alan kissing Joan; the peerless Terry Wogan; Willie and the Pope; the French locksmith who got stuck in Kiltoom; Jamie Vardy’s awesome goal…and ‘Storm Cliché’…
Saturday

Everyone is somewhere else, I have the television to myself, so I decide to opt for maximum possible entertainment and dip into Joan Burton’s keynote address at the Labour Party Ard Fheis.

I spare the dog and banish it to another room, at least until the ads come on. I don’t know if she’s a socialist or not – our dog, that is. Then again, I don’t know if Joan is a socialist or not.

Joan makes a good speech, as these things go, but when she referenced the same-sex marriage referendum at some length, I thought it a little mean-spirited of the Tanaiste not to credit Eamon Gilmore for his role in making it happen. She didn’t mention Pat Rabbitte either (she praised Brendan Howlin).

Little wonder that Rabbitte clapped in slow motion, or like a clapping toy in need of new batteries. I was keeping an eye out for the body language between Joan and her all-action Deputy Leader, Alan Kelly, a sort of Charlie Haughey Lite who promises to daub much colour on the Irish political canvass in the coming years (provided he keeps his seat).

In an amusing interview with the Sunday Independent at the weekend, Kelly boasted in a kind of endearing way about being a fast mover who gets things done, while bristling at the very notion that anyone would consider Joan to be his boss! Anyways, when Joan was finished standing up for Ireland, up popped the bould Alan and, not content with shaking her hand, he planted a kiss on the side of Joan’s head.

This was too much for Senator Lorraine Higgins, who burst out laughing, presumably because she was thinking what I was thinking: ‘Yeah Alan, you have some nerve!’ Anyways, enough of the serious stuff.

On the trivial side, Joan claimed credit for lots of things and promised to do much more. I let the dog back in at 9 o’clock when Celebrity Big Brother was starting.

Sunday

For many of us, the death of Terry Wogan represents the quiet, sudden theft of a little more of our youth. I absolutely adored him! We were on holiday in Birmingham for a few days, caravan in tow, back in the late 1970s. That was the very first time I heard him on the radio.

So I woke that morning in the caravan and I turned on a radio. Wogan played a song by Bryan Ferry, then, in that lovely laconic style of his, he mused… “Ah Bryan Ferry…can you think of a better way to start the morning? Answers on a postcard please…” I was hooked from that moment.

For many years, we in Ireland didn’t hear much of Wogan’s acclaimed radio show, but he became a television favourite through Blankety Blank, his chat show, the Eurovision Song Contest and Children In Need.

At his all-conquering peak, he won the ‘Most Popular TV Personality’ award for ten years in succession…he was undisputed king of British television then, and even more popular on his phenomenally successful radio show. We felt that we knew him personally.

He was such a huge presence in our lives for so long. For me, what set him apart from others, was the great sense of humour, the marvellous soft voice, the feeling that this was a wonderfully, warm, kind, self-deprecating man. He was a master of what he did and he brought joy to millions of people over more than half a century.

This week, the world really does seem a little greyer without the one-off that was the great Terry Wogan.

Also on Sunday…

In Kiltoom, Roscommon returned to Division One action, threw everything at Monaghan but lost out to a late scoring spree by opponents who timed their swoop on the points with the assurance of veteran top-tier campaigners.

On Shannonside, Willie Hegarty dragged the Pope into it. “The Pope said this was the year of mercy,” said Willie, “well it hasn’t started in Kiltoom.”

Tuesday

A ‘Match of the Day’ edition midweek is always a bonus. I’m watching, with no knowledge of how this evening’s games have gone. And now I’ve just seen Jamie Vardy score a goal for Leicester (against Liverpool) that is almost beyond belief.

It must be one of the greatest goals ever! In terms of technique, it reminded me (a little) of a goal I scored for Dynamo Rooskey in the early 1980s. In fairness to Vardy, mine was from much closer range.

Oh yeah, and the goalkeeper wasn’t expecting my shot, because he was our goalie and it was an own goal. (True story; I was trying to ‘clear the danger’– and concede a corner).

Wednesday

The election has been called. Forget Gertrude and Frank and those other imposters… get ready for ‘Storm Cliché!’

Sunday - ‘It started with a push…’

The scene was the training pitch at Kiltoom last Sunday, where, notwithstanding superb organisation by the hosts, some motorists found the going tough, in what were terrible conditions. First, a car and its driver, a woman from Monaghan, got stuck.

It was moments after the final whistle. A few Rossies came to her rescue. …even though Monaghan were making off with two valuable league points. Andrew Fox (the photographer covering Sunday’s match for the Roscommon People) took a quick snap, then realised that maybe he should help out.

So he put his camera into the boot of his car, and went over to help push the Monaghan car out of the muck. But Andrew locked his keys in his car…

Next phase of the drama saw Andrew and some Rossies speculate about breaking a window. Of his car. To rescue the keys. Meanwhile, the Monaghan woman got stuck again. The Rossies came to the rescue again.

No photo this time (obviously ­– camera in the boot). Deciding against breaking a window, Andrew instead rang his insurers. Inpressively, they said ‘We’ll have a locksmith with you in an hour.’

Ninety minutes later, the locksmith arrived, fair play. All the way from Dublin, and on a wild Sunday too. He was French, apparently. (Who’d have thought it?) So the French locksmith, a nice man, went about his business. Within ten minutes, he had opened Andrew Fox’s car and retrieved the keys. Great. End of saga.

But not quite… Because then the Frenchman got stuck in the mud. He was driving (or, at this precise moment, not driving) a fine big van. It was only when Andrew looked in his rear view mirror that he noticed the French man was stuck.

The Irish man had been rescued by the French man; now the French man had to be rescued by the Irish man. (The Monaghan woman was probably at home by now, but that’s beside the point).

Andrew drove back to the stricken French man, then called for help from the St. Brigid’s Clubhouse. Two men who had been stewards at the game came out and rolled up their sleeves. But there was no budging the French man’s van.

Next, further help was sought from the bar. Four more men and a Jack Russell dog emerged. All seven (the dog merely observed) pushed heroically. “Would this count as winter training?” asked one man, panting, as their first epic effort failed. They tried again. They pushed and they pushed again.

Suddenly, the French locksmith’s big van advanced in triumph. The French locksmith heaved a sigh of relief. The group running behind his van shouted ‘Up the Rossies’ – and then went back to the bar. There was no comment from the French man – or the Jack Russell.

The strife of Brian – it’s time foul-mouthed McFadden grew up

Tsk, tsk Mr McFadden, a decade ago you were a chart-topping icon, last year you were a respectable married man, this week you’re a ridiculed public spectacle. Yes folks, as an ahem, ‘singer,’ I’m sure Brian McFadden shows flair…look, I’m trying my hardest to be nice to a fellow Dubliner here; but his latest infantile yobbo-esque tantrum towards a follower who responded to his Twitter tweet leads me to ask once again if Brian is about to unravel.

  Apparently, the former No Lifer, sorry Westlifer, reacted with an outrageous foul-mouthed tirade of abuse when someone made, what was in fact, in my humble opinion, quite a humorous and harmless remark regarding McFadden’s career.         

  When reading the papers online, the www.independent.ie headline ‘Brian McFadden launches foul-mouthed attack on Twitter user,’ caught my attention because, well, Brian and his first wife Kerry Katona were once neighbours of mine and, er, well, I remember a previous Twitter outburst whereby Brian, ever the keyboard warrior, allowed his kneejerk emotions get the better of him regarding negative comments (concerning his parenting skills) allegedly made by his ex-wife and mother of his kids. Brian’s creative response was to call Kerry ‘a pig-faced mole.’ Very imaginative.

  That was back in 2010, and, six years later it appears poor Brian, perhaps in an attempt to garner a few much-needed column inches and possibly a viewer or two to watch him perform in Channel 4’s sports-themed TV show, The Jump, tweeted ‘This year @TheJumpC4 has gone to new heights!” to which a response, “Unlike your career hey?!” was illicited by a troll. However, conveniently with Twitter, it appears now the serial husband and wannabe TV star has stumbled on a style that suits his limited vocabulary – well what other conclusion could one come to when one reads Brian’s quite aggressive reply which was, disgustingly, “Shut your face cxxx!” Then threatening, “Or I’ll find IP address find out where you live and strangle you with your f***ing mouse.” Later, when another user jumped on the bandwagon with, “I’d be angry to, if I had to resort to dreadful reality TV to make a living! (sic) taking the bait once again,  McFadden retorted, “As angry as you working in Tesco and shopping at lidl?” (sic). Now what’s wrong with working in Tesco – and I shop at Lidl!

  I have to say Brian I remember a time when, one night, performing in a show in Dublin, (when Westlife were called Westside) and my eldest daughter, who was one of your backing dancers, had to remove her own white jacket from her back and give it to you to wear onstage because you couldn’t afford to buy yourself one…bet you’d have appreciated a wage from Tesco back then!!! Huh?

  Now I don’t care how many times poor old Brian might proclaim that he’s a decent bloke; just one of our own; and for the record, I’m sure he’s a perfectly lovely lad who is just, er, misunderstood; but this image and these tweets, are now hopelessly intertwined and tainted by belligerent rants towards those he sees as his enemies…i.e. fans who just want to interact with him and have a bit of craic. I think it’s time the expletive-spewing McFadden, whom, let’s face it has had a somewhat chequered and unsteady career, needs to realise that he cannot court and cruelly try to enslave the media and his twitter followers when he feels like it, then threaten to strangle them when they fail to massage his fragile ego.

  Oh well, and colour me bitchy here readers, because, as you know, I don’t usually take a swipe at stupid people, they have nothing to lose, but in this case I’ll make an exception and give my advice to those reality TV junkies who watch this mind-numbing show and  who wish to communicate with the audacious little McFadden boy on Twitter or any other social media forum and it’s this… ignore him, in fact, de-throne him and the rogue gene that apparently seems to course through his arrogant veins making him the insufferable, offensive individual he appears to be.

  Yes folks, I think we’ve endured the strife, and the life of Brian and the several sub-plots to his less than dynamic career for long enough. Don’t you? 

Keep goin’ John, you’ll get there in the end

Some food and diet experts think they’re a notch above the rest of us, and, in my book I fear Operation Transformation’s dietician Aoife Hearne may be in danger of falling into that category. Hearne, who is probably trying to launch a high profile TV career, appeared to be close to tears in what I can only describe as an ignominious display of guilt-tripping targeted at one of the contestants, Mayo man John Conmy.

  Poor aul John, who failed to reach his target weight loss, appeared to be genuinely mortified as he stood, publicly humiliated and judged as if he were a recalcitrant teenager, face puce with shame as his squishy belly hung low over a pair of ill-fitting Speedos, while every morsel he dared to  pop into his mouth came under scrutiny.

  Seriously, does anyone think for one minute that picking on this unfortunate man by using such sanctimonious and humiliating drivel as the well-worn line “It is heart breaking to see that you got this opportunity and you are not grasping it,” whilst welling up is going to cause controversy, increase ratings and possibly garner a contract for a spin-off show?

Golf… is it a load of balls?

Ladies, does your hubby spend more time playing with his (golf) balls than he does playing with you?  Thought so. You see, I’m a former ‘golf widow’.  I curbed that little obsession by threatening to take up the most mind-numbing, tedious, lacklustre, humdrum, mundane and any other adjective you can throw at it – sport as a hobby – and tag along on outings!

  And no, I wasn’t really prepared to spend my weekends shivering in a giant field searching for a pathetic little ball just so I could hit it into a miniscule hole; it was merely a threat…which only worked for a while. I discovered a more permanent solution. Divorce! 

  However, a poll carried out by Golf Monthly revealed that 32 per cent of golfers would forgo sex in favour of playing golf! Seriously lads, would ya ever get over yourselves. You see girls, this particular bit of info tells me a lot about the blokes who’re more obsessed with the sport than they are with their partners and, it’s this – golf is just a game men play when they’re too out of shape to stay the pace at sex and bless them, they think they can achieve the same rush on the golf course.

  Let’s face it, there are only two things in life these men ever boast about, golf and sex, and to be honest, they’re the ones who’re usually inadequate at both! In my opinion, the only time a male golfer hits two of his best balls is when he’s gardening and accidentally stands on the rake. And another thing ladies, how do you know when your sport-obsessed hubby has legged it for a round of golf? Well wretchedly, the sex is exactly the same, but the empty wine bottles begin to pile up!

 

 

 

Time for a pint on Good Friday …especially this year?

All across the media, there is a lot of controversy about the Centenary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising, and quite a lot of the problems seem to centre on the cost and the extent of the planned celebrations and where they will take place, with a number of commentators concerned that the overwhelming majority of events will be located in our Capital city, Dublin.

  Now I would have no great problem with that part of it as, after all, the GPO would be the place most associated with the Rising – at least in the minds of lukewarm historians, like myself, who wouldn’t know as much about the circumstances as I should. However, one undeniable fact is that the Centenary will bring huge numbers of people to Ireland and more specifically, Dublin, for the Easter weekend and one of the big questions now is whether or not they will be able to have a pint or two on Good Friday?

  Now I have no idea why the custom has been there, certainly all my life, that the pubs close on Good Friday, and in truth it has always been the accepted thing and in my time I have known publicans who were delighted to have the day off. The tradition was so well ingrained into our minds that only once in my life have I ever had a Good Friday pint, and just in case you might think otherwise, it was many, many miles away from Creggs and many, many years ago.

  However, for a few years now, the argument has been made that, particularly in the cities and big towns where tourists are visiting, it’s a bit ridiculous that they can’t get a drink in any of our world-renowned pubs – and I’m beginning to think that it’s maybe time for a change – and especially for 2016.

            Apparently legislation would have to be brought in to allow the pubs to open on that day – and it may already be too late – but, even if it is too late, surely they could open anyway and let the Gardai turn a blind eye? That way a publican could make up his or her own mind as to whether he or she opened or not, but I’m sure at least in the major tourist centres enough would open to ensure that the visitors and indeed our own could raise a glass and toast the heroes of 1916.

            I might even break the habit of a lifetime and have my second ever Good Friday pint. We’ll wait and see!

Hugh’s blackboard jungle

Once upon a time I was a sort of a rugby player, whose best performances were reserved for the safety of the clubhouse bar and whose long career owed much to making sure that I was never over-extended in training ­– in fact my first proper rugby club was when I played with Westport way back in the late 1960s and we actually trained in the bar of a local hotel.

  The coach at the time was Hugh O’Malley, a man who also owned the Ormond Hotel in Dublin. Hugh was the first man I ever saw making use of the blackboard to go through his moves.

  We would train on a Friday night and as there were no floodlit pitches back then we would tog out, go up to the function room bar and go through our paces on the dance floor. For the next hour or so, we would gaze intently at Hugh and his blackboard, vainly trying to figure out his complicated (to us) manoeuvres. When all was over, we would then go to the proper bar, drink a load of pints, discuss our new moves and hit for the TF (Traveller’s Friend) in Castlebar on our way home.

  Hugh could never figure out how we never implemented his wonderful moves! It may have had something to do with a loss of memory, after several of his best post-training pints of good Guinness.  

            I am reminded of all this on a Monday morning, when for the umpteenth time in the last few years, the health of Irish out-half Johnny Sexton is again called into question.

  As a fully paid-up member of the non-tackling union (another reason for my long career), it is frightening to see the belts that professional players are taking nowadays. 

  One of my readers contacted me before Christmas to make the point that there should be different tackling rules for amateur and professional players.  

  He made the point that other contact sports like boxing have more safety regulations to protect participants who have to go to work on Monday mornings – exactly what he had in mind I’m not sure, but this morning, as Johnny Sexton worries about the long-term effect another massive blow to his head may have, maybe it’s time to have a look at what he was saying and make rugby safer for everyone, professional and amateur.

  I’m off for a few laps of Mikeen’s – I have a few moves to work on!

Can we address this drugs anguish?

On the subject of having a few pints now and again, I make no secret of the fact that I am not averse to an odd pint of the black stuff, but for some unknown reason I never experimented with any kind of drugs – even back in the ‘60s as a young lad, I didn’t bother, although, at that time, drugs like L.S.D., cannabis and hash (maybe that’s cannabis by another name) were freely available.

  Today things seem to be different and a recent survey of 3rd Level students suggests that a high percentage of them will at one stage or other have a go at using some of the illegal substances that, admit it or not, can be got in every village, large town and city in our country.

  Because I never tried any of them, I suppose I really haven’t a clue what I’m writing about, (not a lot new in that, says you), but the tragic death of young Cork student, 18-years-old Alex Ryan, after he took a hallucinogenic drug known as N-bomb, exposes the enormous dangers that are out there for our susceptible children.

  I am well aware that it’s almost natural that young adults will give way to peer pressure, and experiment, but there has to be a way of keeping totally unsupervised street drugs (which basically means there’s no way of knowing what’s in them), away from innocent, first-time users.

  I don’t know what the answer is. Some countries legalise the sale of drugs, which brings the whole process out in the open and reduces the enormous financial earnings available to unscrupulous dealers, thereby reducing the risk of contaminated batches of drugs finding their way onto the streets – and, in my ignorance, I would see some benefit in such a move.

  However, before I get into trouble, I’m sure there may be a better way, but we must find the solution soon, or more youngsters like Alex Ryan will lose their lives and more families will have the unbearable pain of burying a loved one for no reason other than the fact that our legislators failed us.

  Anyway, it’s a tragic loss of a young very promising life and I express my sorrow and condolences to his family. May we never see it happen again.

Paul Healy's Week - 29th January

Paul Healy on getting away from it all (sort of) in Clifden; missing Vincent Browne (sort of); the new Roscommon Proclamation…and the Save Roscommon campaign…

Friday-Sunday

In Clifden for the weekend, for a family occasion. The Station House Hotel is on the location of what was once Clifden Railway Station. It’s a family-friendly, inviting hotel in a beautiful part of the country.

  Most people from here probably go to Clifden via Galway; we opted for a Mayo route. The Maam Cross area is spectacular. The views are stunning. The sheep are oblivious to the fast-paced world of today; their idea of turmoil is two cars meeting on a corner, both drivers stopping to photograph them (the sheep).

  The Station House Hotel was pretty busy, which, given the supposedly quiet time of year, was encouraging to see. The staff could not have been nicer.

  Clifden itself is a very pleasant town, with a great atmosphere created by its shops, pubs and cafes.

  A day trip on Saturday brought us to Omey Island, which you can drive over to, provided you take due note of when the tide is due to go in and out. It’s remote, beautiful and popular with strangers.

  There are a few houses on it; all appear to be of the holiday home variety, although we were told later that a former Hollywood stuntman lives there. We didn’t see him on our visit, but then he could have been dangling from one of the trees above us.

  On Saturday evening, forgetting all about the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, I popped over to the bar for a quiet pint. I sat at the counter, twenty-five minutes to spare before dinner.

  Surely peace and quiet awaited?

  It would be a chance to relax, to avoid thoughts of work, of the upcoming election, and I all the better for not having a ring-side seat at an Ard Fheis. Any Ard Fheis.

  Suddenly the doors opened and about forty canvassers came in, all of them working with Independent candidate Fidelma Healy-Eames. Within minutes, there were pockets of them everywhere, seasoned campaigners sitting at the counter ordering pints or hot ones, others sitting back with a coffee. The candidate herself came in, all smiles. It was an impressive show of strength. It will be interesting to see how she does.

  As the pre-election chatter grew, I had to escape to the residents bar. Fifteen minutes to dinner, still chasing that quiet pint. Just as I arrived in the empty bar, a meeting of cyclists –they were taking part in a cycle over the weekend – broke up in the adjoining room. All the cyclists took the first right turn – into the previously empty residents’ bar. The barman looked up, expectant. One by one, the members of the club ordered pints of blackcurrant juice. The barman was speechless. I was glad to get to the crowded restaurant for a bit of peace.

  On Sunday, we called into flood-hit Cong on the way home. This is where one of my favourites films, ‘The Quiet Man’ was made. The film, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, was part-shot there in 1952. Cong is dotted with premises’ and attractions which link themselves to the movie, including one tiny cottage with a sign on it: ‘The dying man’s house.’

  So, if you’re planning a break, I think you’d enjoy this general area. It really is beautiful, and the Clifden Station House Hotel is recommended.

Monday

That Vincent Browne gets younger looking by the night, in fairness, and (a bit) less grumpy too.

   Oh, you mean it’s not him…it’s Michael Clifford?

  Actually, Clifford isn’t that bad; he’s warming to the stand-in role. He hasn’t got a plush broadcasting accent, but then many will feel that ‘new’ rural tones on national television are to be welcomed – and I agree.

  Vincent seems to be missing quite a lot lately. We assume that he is sharpening his teeth ahead of the hunting, I mean election, season.

  What I would really like to see is Vincent taking on Enda Kenny. This may happen in leaders’ debate format. It would reflect poorly on Kenny, who for a long time now has been avoiding Browne, were he to turn down a TV3 debate offer.

  Another option is for Browne to hijack a Taoiseach’s press conference. This is something he did memorably with both Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen. You can view both Browne roastings on Youtube.

  I actually have a feeling that Kenny is too cute to get caught in this way by Browne. Charlie Haughey may have said that Bertie was the most cunning and the most devious of them all, but Enda is no slouch when it comes to tactics, playing the media, outwitting enemies and staying ahead of the posse.

Tuesday

I missed Tuesday night’s AGM of Roscommon Chamber of Commerce (I had to work) but I hear that Council CEO Eugene Cummins made an impressive address to members.

  Outgoing President Declan Molloy is to be commended on his leadership in the past couple of years and I have no doubt that his successor, Sean Mahon, and his fellow officers will be equally as proactive and energetic going forward.

  I remember a time many years ago when, with respect to those involved, Roscommon Chamber of Commerce went through a ‘limbo period.’ Now in recent years the Chamber is thriving again and it is important that the momentum is maintained.

  There is an energy in the Chamber now which is encouraging. After a really gruelling seven or eight years for businesses in the county town – and for the general public – there are signs now that there is much to be energised about. The economy is improving and in the coming years there will be real opportunities for the continued growth and development of Roscommon town. It is surely in all our interests that a vibrant Chamber is proactively involved in this development. I have no doubt that this will prove to be the case.    

Wednesday

Today is D-Day for submissions relating to the ‘Save Roscommon’ campaign. There was a flurry of activity all day, with people travelling to Mullingar to hand over thousands of submissions before the 5 pm deadline.

  I don’t really understand why the submissions are being handled by Westmeath County Council, which has a vested interest in this whole affair. That having been said, the folks in Westmeath HQ in Mullingar were very courteous as the ‘Roscommon invasion’ was taking place in recent days.

  The response by the public in Roscommon has really gained momentum in the past ten days or so. Celebrities, public figures across the board, ordinary members of the public, all have come together to put their shoulder to the wheel.

  Schoolchildren have been very involved in the ‘Save Roscommon’ campaign too.

  I liked the letter I received from Sean McCormack, a 9-year-old boy from Kye in Elphin, who said he wants to help save Roscommon.  

  “Dear Paul,” Sean wrote, “I am nine, and I know that it’s not a good idea to let part of our county to be taken. This is why I wrote the Roscommon Proclamation, and I also asked my sister and brother to sign it. My mammy and daddy have voted online.”

   Thank you Sean for your letter and your interest, and here, for our 80,000 readers, is your excellent ‘Roscommon Proclamation,’ also signed by your sister Alicia and brother Hugh!

Roscommon Proclamation

Roscommon men and women. We summons our children to our blue and yellow flag. Roscommon should rule Roscommon. We will not let Alan Kelly or any of our Government take it from us. We never went interfering into Westmeath. Alan Kelly should stay in Tipperary. Do you think Alan Kelly would like if we joined South Tipperary on to Limerick? Ireland is a democracy. We will get enough votes to save South Roscommon from Westmeath and Alan Kelly. We will do everything we can to save our county. We assure you, Alan Kelly, don’t you worry. 

 

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