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From the kitchen table

From the kitchen table

Why I’ve got issues with this ‘verified fan’ software!

 

As someone who writes for a living, I depend heavily upon my laptop and the World Wide Web, so you’d be forgiven for thinking I like to shop online…wrong! I hate it and avoid it whenever possible. Oh I’ve no problem going online for exploration and fact-finding to see what’s on offer and compare and contrast services and prices etc., but when it comes to actually purchasing an item, controlling nut job that I am, I like to conduct the transaction face to face. I like the human touch. It’s so much better, and private…that said, shopping online does have its advantages.

  However, when I read Ticketmaster, (which sells tickets for approximately eight thousand events annually in Ireland), is ‘considering using software to look at people’s social media to identify if they’re a genuine fan before allowing them to buy a ticket,’ my first reaction was…unprintable…my second one was “invasion of privacy or wha’?”

  Ticketmaster’s so-called proposed ‘Verified Fan’ software, will allegedly trawl through your personal social media pages to decide if they feel whether or not you, the buyer, an adult, has a right to spend your hard-earned money on their product! The utter cheek!

  This proposed activity raises all sorts of issues for me…none of which make me feel comfortable, especially if it involves what I would call spying (Ticketmaster would likely call it screening) on your online social activity, something which elevates this organisation into some sort of Demi God, and judge and jury status, telling you what you can and can’t do with your own money!

  Look, in my view this is not on, and while I’m not suggesting Ticketmaster are proposing to do anything untoward, I feel that consumers who agree to this procedure are either very silly or are clearly living on the corner of Delusional and Desperation Street because nobody should have ‘access all areas’ to your social media sites and private information and no ticket is worth this invasion. 

  Sure what if I wanted to purchase a ticket for someone who likes Fleetwood Mac (they’re regrouping with Stevie Nicks for a 2018 tour), but I can’t stand Fleetwood Mac…never got their mass appeal, but people close to me would appreciate a present of a ticket. Now as a non ‘verified fan,’ it’s clear, given this ‘sophisticated software,’ or as I call it, ‘uninvited intrusion’ into my private social media status, Ticketmaster would know I don’t like this group, so…does this mean they’ll intercept and block my purchase?

  And another thing…this possible infraction…what are they proposing to do with the information they find? Are they harvesting it and if so, where will it end up and what assurances are they giving consumers they’ll handle it in a responsible and legal manner? Privacy is a basic human right in this country; as citizens of this State, our Government has obligations relating specifically to the protection of our personal data. Now before I fall off my high horse, I’ll point out that even though the right to privacy is not specifically stated in Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Constitution), these rights are clearly implied by it and the Courts recognise those personal rights and the implications as set out by said Constitution. (I know, I’m a pedantic wagon).

  However, I will mention that while so-called ‘fundamental’ rights are not absolute, (certain restrictions can apply when it comes to the common good of citizens), I don’t think the likes of Ticketmaster or any other online seller can argue that the ‘common good’ of the Irish people is at risk if their ‘sophisticated software,’ is prevented from snooping, spying, encroaching and invading our personal social media posts for the sake of selectively selling a few tickets. What’s more important here folks…our Constitutional rights or some ticket vendor’s profit margins?

Catfight on a hot tin roof!

Cronyism? Surely not! Transparency and fairness?…well, it’s deffo a head scratcher, ‘cos the selection of former Attorney General, the very honourable and eminent Máire Whelan for a position she allegedly ‘never formally applied for,’ is, according to Labour’s Brendan Howlin, “absolutely wrong” and he wants Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to “explain in very great detail,” how this whole debacle came about!

  Oooh, it’s like a Cat Fight on a Hot Tin Roof folks, what with the Minister responsible for Pens, Pencils and Rubbers…sorry Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor’s obvious displeasure at being demoted, I predict the Leo Roadshow is gonna make for some compulsive commenting…watch this space!

She works hard for the money!

My heart bleeds for former Xposé presenter Ruth O’Neill. You see, in what is one of the saddest stories I’ve ever read, poor little orphan Annie Ruthie was actually expected to work “five days a week, sometimes six,” with those slave drivers at TV3 forcing her to do her “own hair and make-up and clothes” and (we were told) “when it comes to the ‘glam’ side, there isn’t really any support.”

  Never mind diddums, you’ll be snapped up in London, sure aren’t ya a great girl altogether; and it’s obvious you can multi-task, what with wasting our time, being unproductive and slagging off your ex-employer, the offers will flood in! 

 

Is ISPCC ad campaign sending some kids into a tizzy?

 

Who’d have thought an advertisement designed to help kids deal with stress could actually result in sending some of them into a tizzy?

  Let me explain. Apparently that wonderful charity, who do amazing work, the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has, according to a statement released last week, responded to negative feedback regarding their latest awareness commercial’s content, taking it ‘seriously, and amended some elements of this important campaign as a result.’ Well done to them for not ignoring this reaction.   

  Now for readers who’ve yet to view this controversial commercial, it’s called ‘Headbombz’ and it displays cartoon character children whose heads actually explode due to harbouring worries and anxieties and not talking about what’s on their minds. The exploding cartoon head is then scattered around the classroom, or playground, and I don’t know about you but as a grandmother whose granddaughter is in the charity’s 8-10 year old target group, I feel the message could actually result in scaring some kids.

  Perhaps I’m wrong; I mean, this is a charity founded in 1956, and is a successor to the original NSPCC, founded in 1889, so they’ve clearly got a credible amount of experience, knowledge, research and time invested in this campaign. However, if I were an ‘on edge’ 8-10 year old kid who desperately needed a non-judgemental support system and saw this ad when I turned on the telly or went to the movies, I’d imagine my anxiety levels would go through the roof and I’d probably have a panic attack whilst waiting on my bits and pieces to erupt all over the poor kid sitting next to me. But maybe I’m just a drama queen!

  Now while the charity has amended some elements of their campaign (adding advisory notes to school packs) they’re not removing it altogether. Mind you they are withdrawing the ad from cinemas, saying ‘This decision was taken given that the cinema viewing experience is completely different to the in-home experience,’ and I have to agree. A big, booming screen experience could prove to be much more impactful (and not in a positive way) for some children, especially ones who’re hyper-sensitive to loud noises or who may experience a sensory overload due to the explosive bright lights contained in the ads.

  Look, we all know that introducing an artistic graphic element into an ad campaign forms one of the most basic components of raising awareness and getting the core message across. In this instance the message is to encourage kids to share their anxieties, and God love them, they’ve a lot to contend with these days. But I believe on this occasion, there could have been a more inventive (and psychological) approach displayed by the creative team in order to make their content less vivid and more appealing. 

  On the subject of young children and their positive viewing experiences, I discovered our own C&L Movie Plex runs what’s called a ‘Sensory Kids Movie Club,’ catering for ‘parents/carers, babies and toddlers.’ Members meet on the second Monday of every month and I think it’s a great initiative and fair play to the lovely ladies I spoke with who told me that while the club is especially suited to those who have “kiddies with specific needs and who may not like loud noises, or who might like to chat during the screenings,” all are welcome.   

  Ah sure when it comes to innovation, it takes Roscommon People readers to lead the way.

  Maybe the ISPCC’s ad team should drop down here for a bit of inspiration. Just throwin’ it out there.

Reality pills needed in Dáil?

I see some senior Government ministers are still waiting on those spine donors to arrive, given they don’t have the gumption to face up to the reality that, when it comes to the possibility of a terror attack in this country, we’re vulnerable and totally ill-equipped!

  You see, according to a report in the Irish Times, our leaders insist “Gardaí have been given every resource available to assist them in the fight against terrorism.’ Now perhaps if I was delusional or, indeed, a 12-year-old who’d blindly believe anything an authoritative adult would tell them, I’d swallow that. But I’m no eejit and I know when I’m being stage-managed.

  Look, what are those resources: stab vest and pepper spray? I mean c’mon, this is all the poor first responders have on their person and following top Security Analyst Michael Murphy’s appearance on RTE’s Prime Time, whose expert opinion is ‘We still have the same intelligence structures that were set up after the Dublin/Monaghan bombing in 1974 and nothing really has changed since then,’ I think I’m justified in being worried. For God’s sake folks, given we could barely deal with last month’s cyber hack, I think it’s safe to assume that Dáil Éireann is experiencing a severe shortage of reality pills because it’s clear to everyone, especially the terrorists, that our security systems are c**p; and that’s not the fault of the Gardaí!  

 

 

Focus on Leo’s policies and actions – not his origins and identity!

 

 

As Leo Varadkar continues to make world headlines following his elevation as the new leader of Fine Gael, I personally find it offensive that many international media organisations are still focusing on the fact he is openly gay, the son of an Indian immigrant – and effectively tagging him as a ‘minority leader.’

Now I’ve said it many times; I’m not a fan of Fine Gael, however, if I may just mention that if I did support this party, given the two candidates, Simon Coveney would have been my preferred choice. The simple reason being, when he was Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, I would have worked closely with his Department when, as an interested party, Ireland’s largest and oldest animal welfare charity, the Dublin SPCA, (I was head of their  Education and Communications Department) tasked me with putting together a consultative blueprint regarding what I felt were the core elements required when it came to animal welfare in this country when drafting legislation for  the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

I found Mr. Coveney to be quiet, reflective, willing to listen and someone who considered all angles before jumping head first into decision-making. In short, I quite liked him as an individual. And, during the leadership contest hustings, while many had written him off as ‘boring’ or ‘unapproachable,’ ‘aloof’ or even ‘too cautious,’ I have to say I would personally be more drawn to electing someone who engages in the process of careful consideration and synthesis before arriving at a decision. This means, when it comes to our country’s future, I favour emotional maturity over Hollywood heroics; stability over excitability and agreeability and dependability over combativeness and impulsiveness any day.

Look, we only need to look across the globe at the US to witness the results of appointing an ostentatious, self-promoting, narcissistic goon who dominates social media and the front pages of newspapers to understand how electing a skilled orator whose only talent is his ability to attract and inspire followers, can result in a nation getting lumbered with a lousy leader! Now while I do not suggest there are, nor would I ever draw comparisons between the honourable Mr. Varadkar and Donald Chump, I will mention that the former clearly has, er, let’s say, a combative streak…otherwise how could he have risen to the top so quickly?

However, as it seems Fine Gael has fallen under Leo’s spell and his revolutionary promises, perhaps I’m wrong to worry. Perhaps this little country of ours is now ready for a charismatic, controversial leader who is effectively painting us a picture of a very different Ireland; I sincerely hope so, and wish Leo (and us) the best of luck. I believe we’re all going to need it, especially given the rest of the world now appears to believe that the trivial details and technicalities of Ireland’s politics aren’t hinged on how Leo is going to protect us in the event of a terror attack, nor is it the resolution surrounding the scandal that is our housing crisis; nay, it’s all hinged on the sexual orientation and race of our cutesy progressiveness in appointing a gay gentleman as our country’s leader!

Now while I would hail Leo’s appointment as a wonderfully diverse decision, and I’m sure he’ll do his very best for our country…(I like that one of his priorities is to set up a Cobra-style agency to prepare for us for the possibility of terror attacks), insinuating we granted him a hall pass for being gay, or for the sake of being seen as a diverse nation, is an absolute disgrace and an insult to both Mr. Varadkar and to us, the people he’s leading. This conviction diminishes Leo as a man, and as a politician; skimming over his career and his success to date, and neither he, nor indeed any of us, should ever be defined by our so-called ‘differences.’ I congratulate Leo, and I’ll judge him by his actions.

State protects children’s rights? What a joke!

 

The Children’s Referendum of 2012 promised our kiddies a range of safeguards guaranteed to protect their innocence, yet, five years later, we’re still failing them!

Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, an honest man, a thorough man, as Special Rapporteur on Child Protection carried out a huge body of work evidently showing us that while Gardaí are removing kids from certain ‘barbaric’ situations, Tusla, the agency tasked with protecting them, are alarmingly often returning them!

This allegation poses a litany of questions regarding Tusla’s practices, and it’s clear this State agency isn’t just having an occasional bad day, rather it’s spectacularly under-performing, and we, as human beings should be downright ashamed of ourselves for sitting back and accepting this shoddy treatment of vulnerable children!

Tusla does do some great work but I’m sick of this recurring theme where children’s rights are being ignored and, in some cases, their abuse is being exacerbated. It’s time for major reforms in order to stop endangered children falling through this agency’s cracks and alleged episodic  substandard service; it’s time for this agency (whose funding for 2017 is €713 million) to get a bloody clue, put a national policy in place and do its job!

 

I salute the British people’s incredible spirit!

 

I became aware of the nasal-toned, baby-voiced Ariana Grande through her ‘Cat Valentine’ character in Nickelodeon’s ‘Victorious’…my granddaughter, who was a huge fan, forced me to sit through episode after episode with her. I didn’t like Grande then and my opinion didn’t improve following her famous donut-licking “I hate Americans. I hate America,” incident resulting in her petty apology, blaming her disgusting actions on her ‘frustration with childhood obesity.’  

However, following her organisation of the ‘One Love Manchester’ concert last week, which I sat through from start to finish, and thoroughly enjoyed, I have to say while I haven’t changed my mind about this ‘singer’, because it’s far too warm for hell to have frozen over – I do like to give credit where it’s due…so, n-n-n-nice one, Ariana. 

Mind you, for me, the stand-out performance of the event was the moment I spotted the uniformed policeman grasping hands with kiddies, dancing and singing, showcasing the very best of British Bobbies, and I was soon sobbing my heart out, the enormity of what’s going on in the world hitting me – we had earlier made contact with my husband’s family in London to clarify they were all safe and sound – and, through that cop’s actions, I felt the incredible spirit, guts, determination and resolve of the British people; and I knew, in that instant, terror and hate will never prevail. Why? Because we will not tolerate it!

Strangers in the night – why I think online dating is a risky business

 

Once thought of as a strange way of meeting someone, online dating has now lost its stigma, with attitudes around it growing more positive by the day – and I’d say there’s many a Roscommon People reader who has met the love of their lives, or at least set up a romantic liaison, following interaction on some online dating site or on social media. However, is this a constructive and encouraging trend or is it something we need to be concerned about?

  Last week, we all heard the horrific details surrounding 31-year-old Dublin mother Sonia Blount’s tragic and brutal murder at the hands of her devious, sadistic ex-boyfriend, Eric Locke; a narcissistic thug, whose grandiose sense of self-importance and savage nature wouldn’t allow him accept that this poor woman had dumped him. Using a fake Facebook profile, (easily done), depraved Locke lured this beautiful single mother who’d previously broken off their relationship due to her being ‘in fear of him’ (forcing her to cut off all contact between them), to a hotel room where he subjected her to a level of such abominable torture I cannot go into detail because it upsets me too much – and this is a family newspaper – before finally strangling and suffocating her to death. I have to tell you folks, as a mother of a daughter who uses online dating sites, Sonia Blount’s murder has sent shockwaves through my system and I don’t know how her grief-stricken family and her orphaned little boy will ever come to terms with what happened to this beautiful young woman, but I pray they somehow manage to cope.

  And so, if anyone reading this hasn’t quite found what they’re looking for in a partner/friend/future spouse down in the local pub or nightclub, and is instead planning a romantic liaison this week with a stranger they’ve met online, in order to make sure it doesn’t turn into a dangerous liaison, I’d like to offer readers the same tips I’ve offered my own daughter…I hope you don’t mind.

  Read the profile carefully: Is the information a bit sketchy? Is the profile pic a bit vague and grainy? Is there a mobile number? If so, check it out, ring it, see who answers.

  Do you have any social media friends in common? If so, do a recce, get their honest opinions regarding his/her personality – now I don’t mean do they snore in bed or pick food out of their teeth; what you want to ascertain before your date is…will I be safe?

  If you don’t like what you see/hear, delete and block! Hubby jokes that my own ‘blocked’ list is longer than my friend list, and believe me, I have good reason for doing this.

  When meeting up for the first, second or third date, always choose a neutral, public place and please folks, never do it in a hotel room or at yours or their house. No randomer needs to know your personal address that soon into the relationship.

  Plan your exit: Meet during your work lunch break, that way you’ve got a great excuse to make a hasty exit, should you need to, and colleagues will surely miss you if you’re late. When I was working on a potentially dangerous investigative piece for a TV documentary some years ago I had to meet an – oh what’s the polite euphemism here…yes, a skin-crawling sycophant. He suggested a South Dublin restaurant and I had a female colleague sit discreetly at a nearby table keeping watch. That was how risky the situation was likely to get. So always have back-up whereby you can go to the loo and text your mate.

  Look, we can all accept that dating poses a risk, but cyber-dating poses a higher probability that something may go wrong, so treat dating like driving your car…buckle up and keep an eye out for that twisted headbanger doing 100km in a 50km zone. Please take care. 

I want to cruise on a Kwaka

Well, well, well, folks, if any of you’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ since the 1986 release of Top Gun, buckle up, ‘cos we’re once again gonna go through the Danger Zone as Lover Boy Tom Cruise confirms there’s a sequel in the pipeline! Oh yeah, La La Land’s favourite pocket-rocket will once again star as Lt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchel and Take My Breath Away…swoon! Well Tom won’t; I really don’t lust after men who’re the size of a Smurf, but his Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R will…OMG…I want, I want…it’s perfect for short a**e riders like myself and I’ve no problem sitting through a movie, even one where the star looks like Mr. Potato Head with Ken Doll hair, if I can see ‘Maverick’ tear around on that machine…engine on full throttle…oh, me nerves!

Pot luck – it’s never a reliable defence strategy

As we still try to come to terms with the horrific aftermath of a suicide bomber’s legacy of carnage and death, unleashed on the wonderful city of Manchester, maiming and murdering innocent people, including young children and their parents out enjoying what was probably the kids’ first pop concert, I have some questions for our Government.

  When and how are we going to action a national security plan to prevent a similar atrocity happening here? When are we going to take our kid gloves off? Look, our Gardaí and our Defence Forces do an incredible job but, given that so far this year, the terror death toll is rising, i.e.  London, four dead, St Petersburg, 14 dead, Stockholm four dead, Paris one dead (a cop), and Manchester, as I write, 22 dead… I have to ask what’s the story lads, are you going to wait until one of our cities’ citizens are added to this roll call of slaughter, or are you going to act now to protect us?

  I mean folks, nothing should ever take precedent over protecting our families’ lives and, given we’ve got a Government who goes into panic mode the second a snowflake falls – and, as we can’t deal with the overcrowding in A&Es – how would we deal with a serious incident requiring a major emergency response? How would we get the casualties through to A&E? Have we even got enough ambulances? Could our Ministers stop acting like pouting adolescents and could one of them take the lead on this today, for feck’s sake?

Vision for Mental Health Change is blurred when it comes to Roscommon

 

Another week, another story of a desperately ill person in crisis and clearly in dire need of help, understanding and compassion, being callously ignored and cast aside due to our Government not giving a rat’s ass about the lack of mental health services available in the Galway/Roscommon area. 

  Yes folks, it seems we have reached the point in our county where the Government just doesn’t care whether or not we survive or die, further widening the divide between us and the rest of Ireland with our leaders’ laughable ‘Vision for Change’ being essentially blurred when it comes to you, me and our families’ mental health and wellbeing.  

  And so, I have to ask you this readers: what is the psychology behind those people who keep voting for individuals and political parties whose ability to fulfil their pre-election promises suddenly falls short of their persuasive personalities and their enormous capacity to lie, utilising the murky bog of ‘spin’ as their post-election defence? Seriously, can someone enlighten me? Because I’d love to know.

  Of course I’m referring to a tragic incident that was reported across most media outlets last week whereby an off-duty garda (an angel I’d say) bravely plucked an 18-year-old who had reportedly ‘tried to take her own life,’ from the River Corrib in Galway only to see this young person being allegedly refused admission to University College Hospital Galway (UCHG). According to The Connacht Tribune ‘she was assessed in the back of an ambulance by a triage nurse and was deemed unfit to be admitted to the hospital.’

  Now this situation is deeply worrying. At the time of writing there had been no comment by the hospital’s administration, so in order to remain balanced, I would really love to hear their side of the story because I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation…well I would hope there is anyway. You see, while the Irish Independent reports the young woman was allegedly refused admission by a nurse who decided she was ‘intoxicated and wouldn’t co-operate,’ I am sure no caring health professional would be so hardened he/she would ruthlessly turn away a potentially suicidal patient. And, while I am also sure that the health professionals at the hospital have wisdom and sound judgement that comes from years of experience, I’m reliably informed that this was no isolated incident, meaning come election time folks, we really do need to make sure we do not once again fall into the trap of electing a group of eejits who could not care less about us and who refuse to stand up and take responsibility for their cull of essential mental health services in our county!

  While I’m at it…to Independent TD Mr. Kevin (Boxer) Moran…I’ve never met you, I don’t know you, but you’re a legend. Well done on publicly baring your soul and opening up regarding your battle with depression and literacy. I wish you and yours health and happiness. 

When the going gets tough, the tough make a comeback!

I see that has-been teenybopper hard man rocker Shane Lynch, the er strong, silent Grizzly Adams look-a-like one from Boyzone, is intent on trying on his much-faded fame and notoriety for size and threatening – sorry – informing us that d’lads are makin’ a major comeback!

  Oh come on, who wants to revisit the former glory days of Boyzone…not me! You see, when the self-professed “dude from Donaghmede,” (Dublin), is quoted in last week’s Irish Independent as saying: “We can own the American charts, the global charts, if we had half a bleeding idea” I personally would have to agree with him…but only on the latter part of his statement.

  You see, if Boyzone had half an idea, the first time around, they could have actually been big in the US, but not now Shane, ah no pal, you’ve had your innings, the group has clearly reached a dead end and no matter what (you) tell us, no matter what (you) do’ you’re no longer catnip to teenage girls who’re now approaching middle-age…so run along love, I think feel a fur ball coming up!

Slán Leat Chairman Mayo

I suppose I should say Slán Leat to our country’s well-known ‘high fiver,’ ‘photo bomber,’ ‘dad dancer’ and ‘air guitarist,’ Enda Kenny and wish him well in his retirement. While regular readers know I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the man who spent a record 15 years at the helm of Fine Gael, I think I’ve been fair and balanced enough in my comments when it came to giving him his due, congratulating him when I felt he’d done well and showing my displeasure when I felt he’d fecked up.

  For my part, while I was never a fan of his party’s politics, Enda did take over Fine Gael when it was on its knees and he took over the running of our country when it had gone to pot and we’d all but lost our sovereignty, bringing us back from the brink…kinda! You see, aul Enda did do some bad things in his time and while I hate to nag on and on about it, I simply cannot let go of the whole Roscommon A&E travesty and betrayal and see this as a major black mark against him, especially when I watch those dedicated locals who valiantly and with great dignity, protest each weekend outside of our County Hospital’s gate.

  However, on the positive side (I’m trying hard to remain balanced here folks), unemployment was at 15 per cent – Enda now leaves it at an impressive six per cent, meaning he’s bequeathing a half-decent legacy on that front. I suppose I also have to acknowledge that in the end our former Taoiseach controlled his own exit and he managed to do it with his head held high and fair play to him for that. While he’s officially retired he won’t be stepping down ‘till 2nd of June when his successor, (i.e. Puppet Meister Merkel’s next lackey) takes the reins; God help us!

  Mind you, I have to say I wouldn’t want to be the one who leads our country into Brexit, so good luck to the new Chieftain and good luck to us. We’re gonna need it if we’re to survive what will be a rough and uncomfortable ride. As for Enda, I’m sure the alleged €2 million pension pot he’s getting will cushion his little tushie as he transitions from political life into pampered retirement. No Brexit woes for him!

It’s parents who should make decisions for their children – not the Government!

 

 

It would appear that former primary school principal Jim Daly TD is clearly still in ‘hall monitor’ mode, only this time he’s trying to give parents’ detention.

  Mr. Daly, who is chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, last week displayed his caring nature –demonstrating to us bould, neglectful parents, and how when it comes to our kids, he’s more doting, more nurturing and more responsible than any run-o-the-mill Irish mammy and daddy!

  You see, Supernanny Daly, under his proposed Internet Access for Minors Bill 2017, could actually slap a fine on those parents who allow children under 14 to own devices with unrestricted internet access! Now, while I’ve made my feelings crystal clear regarding those  individuals who place their kids at serious risk by letting them sit totally unsupervised on the internet, leaving them exposed to ‘sextortion,’ intimidation, harm, bullying, blackmail and grooming, etc., it’s just my opinion and not, I stress, any of my business whatsoever how people choose to raise their kids.

  Personally I feel Mr. Daly has recklessly breached the rules of parental engagement on this one. I mean c’mon, the Government policing parents…the audacity of it! Oh wait, maybe the TD was just giving the Do-Nothing-Dáil a pre-summer break laugh, leading me to ask what delightful little jibe do you have in store for us this week Jim?

  Look, parents, not the Government, have a right to make decisions for their children. Parents should not be forced by law to blindly follow know-it-all Government officials when it comes to raising their families; to do so simply undermines their ability to provide their children with the quality and type of life they desire for them. Besides wouldn’t it be better for Mr. Daly to enforce a law that ensures the children and youth who come under his remit have a safe roof over their heads and food in their bellies, instead of persecuting their parents? 

  Look, anyone with half a techie brain cell in their heads doesn’t need Jim Daly’s interference when it comes to providing boundaries around their kids’ technology use; they can simply install a block/limit on their  mobile phones, alternatively they can buy them one that only allows calls and text messages!

  While I’m on the subject of politicians enforcing legislation, our Communications Minister Denis Naughten informs us that new laws will be imposed by a Digital Safety Commissioner which will also encourage international tech firms to sift out anonymous individuals who spread hate online; imposing ‘financial penalties’ on companies who don’t comply with requests to remove offensive content. Bravo Denis, perhaps you could use your remit as Communications Minister to, er, communicate the cultural practices regarding proposing and implementing realistic and common sense restrictions to your colleague, Mr. Daly.

  You see, Minister Naughten’s legislation will be useful because someone needs to tackle the scourge of nasty trolls who inflict psychological abuse into their every online interaction and those organisations who make money from their social network sites have a moral obligation to their users to remove hateful, obscene comments/images/videos.  

  You see some cowardly keyboard warriors tend to think just because they’re using the internet to post faceless abuse that their behaviour is acceptable – it’s not! I’m glad Minister Naughten has decided to mark out boundaries regarding what’s tolerable in the virtual world, a domain where these online obsessive whackjobs gain oxygen. I believe that social media sites who provide a live streaming service, etc., should not need to be forced to increase their protocols and vetting procedures, they should already have sufficient established strategies in place, but it’s clear that’s what is required given the recent broadcasting of two utterly horrific  murders on certain sites.

  I believe Minister Naughten’s proposal will not, as some have declared, curb free speech, rather it will curb harassment, defamation, abuse and those sicko sadists who take pleasure in spreading their vitriolic rantings and hatred online.

And we all lived snoozily ever after

I don’t want to know how the Late Late Show is going to end. I just need to know when it’s going to end. I mean, RTÉ’s flagship offering with guests who’re about as exciting as a traffic cone just gets worse with each passing week.

  And, God help me, with lack of funds forcing me to sit in and watch the box last weekend, myself and a bottle of Malbec tuned in to witness what our national broadcaster believes passes for ‘entertainment’, i.e. the Late Late Show’s ‘Karaoke Special’ featuring ‘singers’ who didn’t just hit the snooze-ometre, they broke the bloody thing!

  Poor hubby snored so loudly he rattled the windows, bless his noisy nasal tissues.

  Seriously folks, I’m sick of RTÉ’s carousel of Z list guests and in-house plugs for other wishy-washy TV shows. Thank heavens for Sky +!

Life is like a box of chocolates… just ask Dr Kevin Kelleher!

It appears there are a number of reasons for  the lack of uptake of the flu vaccine by healthcare professionals in Ireland, the chief one being that tried and tested carrot dangling piece of yummy, scrummy, gooey, delicious chocolate.

  Yes folks, according to Assistant National Director for Health Protection, Dr. Kevin Kelleher, providing the disobedient, noncompliant little nursies with a kickback –sorry an incentive of a bar of choccie wockie would encourage them to get the flu vaccination. Oh grow up Dr. Kelleher!

  I’m sure you’re a very lovely gentlemen but you’re riding on the bus to hell following that gargantuan insulting gaffe! And I don’t care if you’ve been gallantly defended by HSE Director General Tony O’Brien, who claims your foot-in-mouth operation was simply ‘relating examples of initiatives that have worked in reality.’ 

  Here’s a thought – why doesn’t Dr. Kelleher shrug off his silly ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ Forrest Gump perspective, and instead wear his professional hat, which is to ensure ‘the public are protected from infectious diseases and from harm as a result of environmental hazards,’ and seek out a more meaningful solution to his flu jab dilemma.

  Oh I don’t know, I’m not a clever recipient of the University of Limerick’s  President’s Medal like the esteemed Doc, but my modest opinion would be to put the Dairy Milk away and set up open and honest discussions with our country’s nurses.

 

I’m angry Dáil ‘Prayergate’ has overridden country’s more serious issues ...

 

There are 20,000 households chasing a chronically low supply of 10,000 homes.  Now I hate to catastrophise, but this is going to spark massive competition, drive property prices skywards and end in another ruinous financial meltdown…unless…our Government builds more homes and provides more social housing.

  On the other hand, forget that, those brainiacs who run our country can always down tools, whip out the aul rosary beads…and pray! Ah sure there’s no problem too large that a few decades of the Rosary can’t solve, so don’t worry homeless people, you’ll be grand!

  As a country, Ireland was always destined to be governed by a specific religion, i.e. Catholicism; the objective of which, I assume, was to create and then foster an environment in which our people (mainly us women), could be kept firmly under the Church’s supremacy and restraint; curbing the faithful in one belief. However, using precious Dáil time to debate whether or not to pray, when we’re facing much more pressing issues is, in my opinion, an act of sheer folly!

  Now I’m not against the sentiment, per se; just angry that ‘Prayergate’ has overridden more serious issues. You see, as someone who was born into a staunchly religious Roman Catholic family, I still believe that saying an aul prayer (when ya feel like doing so) is comforting. However, when it comes to running a country, I believe there’s no benefit whatsoever to us as citizens to have a Government run by, or even slightly influenced by, religion…any religion!

  Having said that, and in the interest of being an all-inclusive individual who respects the rights of my fellow country men and women, whatever their race, colour or creed, and who expects others to reciprocate, part of me likes the idea of a little Dáil prayer being recited as gaeilge agus as bearla, because it’s part of our cultural tradition as Irish people. And, at a time when many groups/organisations would try hard to have us ditch certain traditions/customs, essentially seeing us stripped of our identity and of our unique Irishness in a kind of marketing ploy to rebrand and fix us – our traditions are one of the few practices that truly belong to us as Irish people – in the same way other countries cherish their own specific ideologies.

  However, as I’ve inherited my Catholicism, as opposed to adopting it, I don’t go to Mass, but I do talk to God on my own terms. I don’t drop to my knees and recite a Hail Mary sing-song style, nor stand to attention for the bong, bong, bong of the Angelus bells; but I do chat with Herself as I go about my day…yes, God could be a woman! Mind you, I find it draconian that ‘it will now be compulsory to remain standing’ for the Dáil prayer, because it smacks of our enslaved and tyrannical past; and that to me is outrageous, especially if, according to reports ‘Deputies face being named, thrown out of the chamber, and losing a day’s pay if they refuse to observe the new rule.’

  According to the Census, there are ‘132,200 fewer Catholics in Ireland over the past five years,’ so this practice, though traditional, isn’t voluntary; it’s a dictum, and that’s a slap in the face for those of a different religious persuasion, or indeed of no religious persuasion at all. However, as if to take the oppression out of the despotic ‘dictum,’ 30 seconds of silent reflection will be added to the daily Dáil prayer; how open-minded and modern of those idle authoritarians whose public-funded wages would be better earned debating how they’ll solve our homeless crisis and reassuring us regarding Brexit.

  But hey, if they feel that a statutory three Hail Marys and a quick Glory Be have a much more powerful effect if one is legally forced to stand prostate when one is reciting them, who am I to disagree? Just  a voter, that’s who!

We’re walkin’ on sunshine!

The entire county of Roscommon is convinced summer has at last arrived. Wasn’t last week amazing, folks? And, as I write, this week has started great, too! Let’s take a minute to reflect and acknowledge the great and mighty power that created our wonderful tropical weather…altogether now; on three…one, two, three…thank you Global Warming!

  Mind you, it was probably all down to good ol’ Danny Healy-Rae leaving his Child of Prague out in the field again. Oh wait…I hope I’m not breaching any blasphemy laws here! Never mind, I’m sure some silly anonymous jobsworth will set me straight!

It’s not the Government’s job to police our food intake!

Health campaigners are losing the plot over Michael Noonan’s refusal to ring-fence revenue from the sugar tax levy to tackle obesity, and, er, I’m kinda with the Finance Minister here. Look, I know obesity is a major problem in this country, however, to ring-fence public taxes would simply serve to disable the effective management of our country’s finances…even I know that and I’m c**p at maths!

  I don’t consume sugary drinks, but I do buy them for visitors and I know people who drink five cans of Coke a day; which, to me, is not a healthy dietary choice; but hey, I’m not the Food Police! However, I believe it’s up to all adults to make informed decisions regarding a healthy diet and feel there’s a limit to the Government’s control regarding what we pour down our gobs, so it’s a bit naïve for anyone to expect their grub to be constantly monitored! Now, while I find the latest HSE ‘weight study’ of primary school kids showing ‘at least one in five in fourth and sixth classes are overweight or obese,’ extremely worrying, I do know we all fall down every now and again because we all love (and deserve) a treat. However, when it comes to the rugrats, it’s down to parents/carers to control the junk food supply lines. Mind you, I’m sure, like me, many readers remember the feckin’ ‘clean plate’ rule and maybe some still impose this on their own kids. Perhaps it’s time to rewrite those rules and if our kids don’t want to finish what’s on their plate, we shouldn’t force the issue.

  Body-shaming anyone is an absolutely despicable pastime, but it happens – which is why we need to empower our kids, not just on a physical level, but on an emotional and sociological level to make healthy food choices. That empowerment begins at home, folks – it’s not the Government’s job!

 

 

HSE apology to ‘Grace’reminds me of Lady MacBeth…but without the sincerity!

 

You’d imagine with a landmark settlement worth a cool €6.3 million the young lady we all know simply as ‘Grace,’ would have it made. It’s the type of money one can only dream of having languishing in the bank. However, for a gentle, highly vulnerable soul, born with overwhelming difficulties to a mother who could clearly provide love, but who obviously felt, through no fault of her own, that she couldn’t provide the adequate care and supports her beloved little girl so desperately needed and deserved, it’s an award that’s essentially come too late.

  Grace’s mother’s inability to cope, (we would imagine), was why the life-altering and ultimately disastrous decision was taken to hand her over to so-called professionals whose remit it was to source and provide her child with specialist care, but who we now know failed spectacularly, both in their moral and in their legal obligations to her.

  It’s highly likely that, but for the intervention of two social workers, one of which was reportedly described by Mr. Justice Peter Kelly as displaying ‘particular advocacy and dedication,’ we would never have known about the horrors that befell this young lady in our country, and in our name. I say ‘our name,’ because the foster home in which Grace was placed, nay discarded like a contaminated, worthless piece of trash, was State-funded. Yep, you and me paid for Grace’s care; we contributed the finances that went to the scheming, evil, devious people who harmed her. We will also foot the bill for her rehabilitation.

  Now I don’t know about you readers, but this case leaves me with such a repulsive taste in my mouth, I’m worried it’ll produce enough acid to burn a hole in a ship’s hull! In fact, as a mother, I’m angry and baying for blood because a vulnerable fellow human being was forced to endure such abhorrent torture for over 20 years and yet nobody appears to be culpable; nobody is being punished and nobody is shouldering the blame…but we, the taxpayers, are bearing the financial brunt – and this is wrong.

  So, if we’re contributing to the settlement, we need to know why those lazy, useless, empty HSE husks entrusted with Grace’s care didn’t do their jobs. We need to know why their vetting and monitoring networks were so undeniably flawed, and why their so-called ‘system’ appeared to have shamefully abdicated all responsibility of her to a family whose idea of nurturing was to leave her with what has been described as a psychosis.

  While there are decent people working within the HSE – and we must acknowledge this fact – it’s clear, in Grace’s case, that there was the minimum amount of communication and interaction between those tasked with her placement; otherwise someone, anyone, (unless they had the IQ of the faceless cockroaches who abused her), would have picked up signs that Grace’s days were spent being physically, emotionally and possibly sexually exploited and defiled and that her only source of solace and comfort came from a little toy, which, according to reports, she still clings to today for dear life.

  In its apology, the HSE, whom, I have to admit, now puts me in mind of Lady Macbeth, but without the sincerity, said the care Grace was meted out “fell short of the compassionate, caring and personalised support that she was entitled to.” No s**t Sherlock! And the tragedy is, Grace’s unbearable abuse led to her childhood and her innocence being stolen. 

  And, while some may feel her settlement was large, believe me when I tell you that no amount of money will ever compensate this young woman for the life she has lost, and, despite it coming from the taxpayers’ purse, she deserves every euro of it.

  I wish Grace an abundance of happiness and healing, but above all I wish her peace. As a mother, I extend my sincere empathy and compassion to Grace’s mammy who must be absolutely inconsolable but who needs to know that she too is a victim of a failed and toxic ‘system.’

Forget Coronation Street, we have Holles Street!

Wow folks, does anyone else think the whole National Maternity Hospital drama has reached a kind of soap opera status with a seedy tabloid appeal complete with a family feud starring the dashing Dr. Peter Boylan and his beautiful sister-in-law, Dr. Rhona Mahony, in the lead roles?

  Last week it was a case of me trying to contain my annoyance when news broke that the Sisters of (no) Charity were to be given sole ownership of the new NMH; but this week I’m struggling to contain my amusement given the petty text message exchanges generated by the board…or was that the bored?

  Now I could be devilishly subtle and simply accept I believe a strong woman like Dr. Mahony really feels “the text (from her bro-in-law) was quite intimidating and quite unacceptable” but here’s the thing – I need to be blunt, ‘cos otherwise how will Rhona et al, ever get my point – which is this…turning over the medical and emotional care of women to a religious order that presided over abuse is akin to throwing a bottle of JD into the middle of an AA meeting…it ain’t gonna end well!

  Look, this entire farce looks so bad for these intelligent people and I for one find it quite disturbing that, when they’re not squabbling, their day job is to deliver babies! For God’s sake, grow up the lot of ya!

Depression is NOT a sign of weakness

I find it very worrying that sadly, according to a survey carried out by See Change, approximately four in 10 people living in Ireland would hide the fact they had a mental health problem from others. How heartbreaking is that, readers?

  And so, this Saturday, 6th of May, Pieta House’s Darkness into Light Walk, which aims to remove the stigma of mental illness by providing what has become a vital lifesaving help and support service to those who need it, takes place across four continents around the globe.

  But here, in our own little corner of the world, County Roscommon has four meeting points…at Ballaghaderreen, Boyle, Castlerea and Roscommon Town, at 4.15 am, and I’d like to urge anyone who can support this initiative to please do so. 

  You see folks, depression is not unique, nor is it a sign of weakness; we all have our sad days, we all feel vulnerable, and we all struggle at some stage of our lives. However, some of us may have that internal message bearer telling us if we speak out and reveal our soul-crushing feelings, we’ll be ridiculed. We won’t.

  Remember, depression is not you, depression is an illness; an illness that isn’t visual; I mean you don’t wear a bandage for it, so if you look ‘normal’ then people assume you are feeling ‘normal,’ however if this is not the case, please tell someone. They don’t need to understand why you’re feeling this way…just that you are, and that you need their support, and above all, their love.

* Samaritans Helpline – call 116 123 – free, any time from any ‘phone.

Our maternity hospitals must be run free of bias…religious or otherwise!

 

The planned relocation of the National Maternity Hospital to a site owned by the Sisters of Charity at St. Vincent’s Hospital is now – due to an outcry – under review. In The Sunday Times’ article the Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, was quoted as follows: “A healthcare organisation bearing the name Catholic, while offering care to all who need it, has a special responsibility…to Catholic teachings about the value of human life and the dignity and the ultimate destiny of the human person” – meaning if the nuns take charge of the NMH, then they’ll be doing the Roman Catholic Church’s bidding.

  Well, no disrespect to the good bishop but, er…’nuff said!

  However, in an attempt to copperfasten operational independence of said NMH, its Master, Rhona Mahony, last week contradicts this statement, insisting the facility will be “clinically and operationally entirely independent, in line with national maternity policy” – if its proposed gifting to a group of individuals who’ve historically been a major oppressor when it comes to women’s reproductive rights in this country goes through.

  Seriously readers, I have to ask this talented lady, who is one of our country’s most respected consultant obstetricians, what planet she was on when she thought Irish women would swallow this tripe?

  Look, in Dr. Mahony’s own words…“Can we get real about this?” Well, yes, c’mon, let’s get real. Let’s ask why a religious order who still owes €3 million in compensation and redress to mothers, babies and children viciously abused when they were at their most vulnerable in the very institutions it ran, should be ‘gifted’ a medical facility (where all aspects of maternity care will be its remit) at a staggering cost of €300 million to the taxpayer! This so-called ‘charitable’ order is sitting pretty on one of our nation’s most valuable assets, i.e. the Elm Park Campus in Dublin, and, if the nuns had any sense of decency at all, they’d donate the land as a gesture of goodwill.

  Now while we know this religious order has historically failed Irish women and children, if the deal goes through, it’s clear our State will also fail them! I say ‘them’ and not ‘us’ because my child-bearing days are over, and, due to a hysterectomy at this very hospital, so are my gynae days, and while the care I received there was good not excellent, if an order that was part of a list of 18 religious congregations who’ve been investigated by the Ryan Commission over allegations where children were abused in residential institutions gets its grubby, grabby and uncharitable hands on this facility, then I for one wouldn’t even drop in to take a pee, let alone opt to give birth there.

  Besides, if, as is likely, a Referendum on abortion is called and the electorate vote in favour of changing the law, then the State needs to take control and make sure regulations are implemented. Otherwise the principals of any Catholic-run maternity hospital and the State will be at odds and we have absolutely no way of knowing (given the Church’s past history) which will prevail. Look folks, everyone is entitled to their beliefs and to practice their religious ethos, but we, as a nation, are entitled to have our Maternity Hospitals run free of any bias, religious or otherwise, and while there are many decent and kind nuns out there, I’m hoping as a taxpayer, (but mainly as a mother and grandmother), that the necessary medical and legal safeguards and governance structures are put in place – ones that don’t present any risks as to how women and their babies will be treated by whomever runs this public funded facility.

Enda’s milestone leads us on road to nowhere

Well, it’s the story that just keeps giving…and this week I have to ask…what’s the one great thing about an Irish Government? It’s an Irish Government with a s**t load of flaws that I get to pick at every single week! However folks, last week, as he marked a major milestone in his career – that of being the longest serving Taoiseach in Fine Gael’s history – it sticks in my throat but I’d actually like to congratulate Enda Kenny and ask him, did a fortune-teller place a good luck spell on you when you were born Sir, ‘cos when you took over such a shambolic party with the emphasis being placed firmly on the ‘bolic,’ and managed to scrape together a government, I for one didn’t think for a second you’d manage to tick that particular box and reach that goal!

  I’m even more surprised given Enda’s party are all set to tick their own ballot boxes with Coveney, Varadkar and God knows who else being practically out on the hustings, pressing the flesh and kissing the babies in preparation for their leadership takeover and a General Election. To be honest folks, I’m not a fan, especially when it comes to Fine Gael’s policies which have resulted not in us being on the road to recovery, but rather travelling down the road to nowhere with families left homeless and people left jobless; the upshot being a despicable level of child poverty in this country that has sickened me to the very core. 

  But in our crazy and scarily mixed up world of terror attacks, talks and threats of war, Donald Chump, Brexit and Teresa May’s snap General Election announcement, our hapless Enda, whom, you must admit has given the young pretenders to his throne the right runaround –especially at one point where he threw it out there that he just might see in the Pope’s 2018 visit before standing down – is probably one of the most stable things in politics at the moment. Now how weird is dat?

Brendan’s quip was spot on!

As I’ve already said, I’m a big fan of foul-mouthed matriarch Mrs. Brown and her creator Brendan O’Carroll, but not of the Dubliner’s latest talk show ‘All Round to Mrs Brown’s’ because it looks, in my opinion, to be cobbled together. 

  However, last week, while celebrating the show’s success and appearing on fellow talented Irishman Graham Norton’s show, Brendan’s quip of “Get a f**k*** life!” to a ‘superfan’ who’d had all of the Mrs. Brown cast’s characters’ faces tattooed on his back made me laugh out loud, but appeared to anger some viewers, presumably those devoid of a sense of humour!

  As someone who has three tattoos, I’m a fan and admirer of tasteful body art. However, having clichéd branding, people’s faces and random buzzwords inked into your body is not cool, nay, it’s marking yourself with industrial entertainment and while Brendan was having a laugh, his reaction was spot on…and, in my view, he stole the show!

 

Is being violently ‘bumped’ off an airline the ‘new normal’?

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is feeling “ashamed” – and so he should following the now infamous Gestapo-style removal of one of its paying passengers, (an elderly man), Dr. David Dao, who was forcibly ejected from a United Express flight last week – rendering the organisation to plummet into a PR chasm so deep it’ll probably never recover. And that is a shame for the decent, low-paid, hard-working staff employed by the organisation.  

  However, thanks to the power of social media, we all bore witness to the horrific video footage of the violent incident which occurred as the flight was preparing to leave O’Hare International in Chicago, resulting in worldwide outrage and calls for Munoz’s resignation… something which, at the time of writing, he was still refusing to offer.

  You see, in their own little minds, United had good reason to bully and beat an elderly man, and last week, as the geniuses working in their damage control department hastily huddled together to explain this horrendous treatment of a peaceful passenger, one who was not posing a threat to others, or to the airline, the explanation was that ’a seat was needed for a commuting crew member, and no one had volunteered to leave the plane. Dr. Dao was one of several chosen at random to leave the flight.’

  Now, as the Chicago Department of Aviation say the incident was “not in accordance with our standard operating procedure,” and that hauling an already seated client off a flight was “obviously not condoned by the department” it is however, apparently commonplace for airlines to overbook due to an expected ‘no show rate,’ which is industry terminology for passengers who book and then, for whatever reason, fail to arrive and board their flight. So far, so good; I can understand overbooking is a strategy which can apply to an airline’s commercial selling.  

  However, if a passenger is refused entry to an oversold flight for which the airline has already accepted payment, then there is a contract in place and it’s up to the airline to take responsibility and look after them, not beat the c**p out of them!

  However, strangely United Airlines is not the worst offender… when it comes to over-booking and bouncing passengers off a flight that is –  although their egregious ejection of Dr. Dao renders them as possibly the most violent – with approximately 67,000 people being ejected from their carriers last year due to over-booking, as opposed to, for example, the likes of Delta Air Lines ejecting 131,063, and Southwest Airlines ejecting 103,607.

  And so readers, if like me, you’re planning a little holiday this year; here’s something to bear in mind when booking your flight. According to Ryanair, ‘Unlike other airlines, Ryanair does not overbook flights,’ that’s good to know, although for personal reasons I no longer travel with this carrier. According to Aer Lingus, “As with all other airlines, our flights can be overbooked from time to time,’ however, they add, occurrences “are rare and in such an event we seek volunteers to travel on the next available flight and compensate the volunteers accordingly. Our procedure is to deal with these matters at the point of checking-in in order to minimise any disruption to our guests.”

  Well folks, Aer Lingus and Ryanair’s industry examples, which appear to be exemplary, are certainly a far cry from what we all witnessed occurring on United Airline’s Flight 3411 where heavy-handed goons bullied and beat an elderly gentleman, resulting in the ‘loss of two front teeth and a broken nose.’ 

  I can tell you, United Airlines are lucky that the roughed-up passenger wasn’t my father, ‘cos not only would a law suit be a certainty – mind you due to their shares plummeting by $1.4 billion there wouldn’t be much left to fight for –but I’d go ballistic on them too. As for Munoz, well, due to his insensitive, snivelling apology, I’d render him and his thugs’ credibility so low they’d all be lucky to get jobs cleaning bird poo from car windscreens!

Rescue 116 – dignified heroes

“We’re gone.”

  Two final, heartbreaking words, delivered with such calmness and such resigned dignity signalled the end for those brave but doomed heroes of Rescue 116.

  According to the interim report, data recovered from the black box paints a terrifying picture of one crewmember urging emergency evasive action as realisation suddenly dawned that Black Rock, a small island lying east of Blacksod on the Mullet Peninsula, lay ahead. To be honest, such was my upset, I didn’t want to read the transcript. You see, my granddaughter’s friend is related to one of the lost crewmen. However, sheer voyeurism meant I had to know what happened to those poor souls who had just 26 seconds to react, to try and raise their chopper in order to avoid an impact with an obstacle whose data was not being picked up on their early warning system. How could this have happened? How could these amazing individuals have been ‘flying blind’, why were they rendered powerless, relying on information that wasn’t available to them and why are they dead? I mean, how many more rescue choppers/vessels are out there trying to save lives but, at the same time, relying on information not yet mapped on their technology?

  The entire crew of 116 displayed a remarkable level of calmness; their courage and judgement in the face of grave danger, and then their precise and immediate perception of the fatal situation confronting them was absolutely outstanding. May their sacrifice never be forgotten and may they all rest in peace.

Disgusting attack on our Gardaí

As a force, an Garda Síochána has been dogged by scandal and controversy for many years, the latest being the bogus alcohol breath tests it claimed were carried out on motorists between 2012/2016, but I for one believe our boys and girls in blue on the ground deserve our full respect and support and as law-abiding citizens, I feel we should all stand together to aid and assist them in their role.

  That’s why I’m disgusted that two of our Gardaí, a male and a female, were savagely set upon by three thugs in Claremorris, County Mayo last week.

  Now while our Gardaí are trained to protect themselves, they simply don’t have what I would deem to be the necessary tools of the trade –  leaving them practically defenceless when faced with scumbags who are intent on causing as much damage as possible. Mind you, the offenders will surely have some bleeding heart story and a ‘softly, softly’ judge will probably strike out their charges ‘cos he/she doesn’t want the poor darlings to have a criminal conviction… bless. Ah, sure with that attitude, is it any wonder such scum are given carte blanche to roam our streets with impunity, beating the bejaysus out of our Gardaí and us?

  Look, I don’t care if daddy went AWOL, I don’t care if mammy didn’t love ya, I don’t care if you’re misunderstood…if you attack people trying to do their job defending our country’s citizens you’re an a***hole and all bets are off!

 

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