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From the kitchen table

From the kitchen table

Hands off our IRISH Talent!

Saoirse Ronan is one of our own, and a talented one at that…so back off Britain!

The wonderful Ms. Brenda Fricker, a talented and much-respected Irish actress, a lovely lady and an animal lover who helped me out when I worked in animal welfare in Dublin, giving generously of her time at a major awareness and fund-raising event I organised, once famously remarked during an interview…in a jocular manner I have to say, “When you’re lying drunk at the airport, the papers say you’re Irish. When you win an Oscar, they claim you’re British.”

  And so, when your columnist, a proud Irish woman, heard those scandalous and treacherous words…“We can take her as one of our own,” declared by Sky journo Richard Suchet earlier this week as he name-checked IRISH actress Saoirse Ronan (who already has a Golden Globe nomination under her belt), during an announcement where the BAFTA candidates were nominated for ‘Leading Actress’ in a film, of whom this fair and talented cailín is one; I angrily spun in circles round the sitting room like a very confused one-legged river dancer.

  Er, no I think you’ll find that you absolutely won’t, because Saoirse is NOT British, she is IRISH!

  This claim has become an all too frequent ‘mistake’ by some factions of the British media who continue to claim our Irish talent to be ‘one of their own.’ However, missing the enormous opportunity to apologise and then shut the hell up and go away, even when our national broadcaster RTE rowed in on the debacle by saying ‘@SkyNews you can’t be claiming our #SaoirseRonan as a British actress #Brooklyn #BAFTAS;’ Sky’s Suchet, who was now about to fall off Mount Ego and drop into a massive puddle of his own smugness, while the conversation continued and he agreed that yes, Ms. Ronan is indeed Irish, then disgracefully came back like a petulant two year old with ‘@RTE_TEN of course she is. But many Brits will see her as one of their own. It’s a consequence of geography. A compliment I’d say.’ A compliment???  Cheeky fecker!

  Do some British hacks and journos feel their country lacks a local, home grown, pool of raw talent they need to claim ours as their ‘own’ or is it just a case of there are two types of people in this world…those who are Irish and those who really, really, really, wanna be Irish and does Suchet fall into the latter category?

  Look, to be perfectly technical here, Saoirse (meaning Freedom, and, depending on what region of Ireland you come from is pronounced either Sir-shuh, Sear-sha, or as the lady herself helpfully displayed on a sandwich board sign she wore whilst appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show Sur-Sha) is a beautiful name whose pronunciation has been massacred across the world, was in fact born in New York to Dublin parents (for the purpose of educating Mr. Suchet, Dublin is in Ireland), and, as mammy and daddy Ronan returned to Ireland (again not Britain), when Saoirse was but a toddler, she was raised in Dublin and Carlow, (again, Ireland, not Britain).  

  Ah yes readers, it seems everyone wants a piece of the Irish action, sure wasn’t it only last month that the London Critics’ Circle was forced to make a hasty change to their film nominations following their claims that Saoirse, Michael Fassbender and Colin Farrell were all ‘British.’ Now ok, technically folks, Fassbender is half-German; he was also born there and his mammy is from Antrim but he’s grown up in Killarney, which is in Kerry and his accent is distinctively Irish so he’s ours Mr. Suchet…ya hear me, OURS!!!

  In addition, it was only a mere short while ago the BBC outrageously jumped on Dubliner Conor McGregor’s bandwagon when a report stated that ‘McGregor, 26, won in Las Vegas to become the first UFC champion from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland,” And there’s more evidence, when, back during the 2012 Olympics, the Daily Telegraph asked the question: “Can anyone beat Britain’s Katie Taylor, the most technically proficient attacking boxer in the world?” Now I have to say the Daily Telegraph, upon being taken to task by annoyed Irish fans, did graciously apologise for their faux pas but still, I have to ask doesn’t anybody school the Brits in the clear difference that is the geographical border between Ireland and the UK? Seriously lads, where can I send the map?

  Look, at the risk of repeating myself this week, but for the benefit of Mr. Suchet, this year we, the proud and patriotic Irish, celebrate the centenary of our Rising; yes, you remember that tedious little Rebellion that took place back in 1916 when you chappies were bogged down fighting in Europe? You promised us Home Rule but had to put it on hold due to the outbreak of WW1. Ah yes, now the penny drops. Well Richard…or may I call you Dick? After all, according to you we’re all cosily, warmly, er, related; despite the fact we both love Sir Terry Wogan, (who is an Irish TV and radio broadcaster, but who has, I’ll give you, worked and lived most of his life in the UK), we divorced you a long, long time ago yet you’re still making out that we’re an item! We’re not; get over it!

  Now don’t get me wrong here, not all British people like to lay claim to Irish talent and success stories as their own, it’s just the odd few…Mr Suchet (Dick), being one of them; and I really do like our UK neighbours and have huge respect for them, they’re genuinely good and nice people. In fact I’m very much in love with one particular Brit, I also have many wonderful British friends, some of whom I have made right here in Roscommon; so please don’t think I’m being critical of all UK citizens living in our fair and green land or living across the globe or indeed in the their own country, because I’m not. You’re fabulous people. A great nation.

  I just hate it when Irish citizens appear to be summoned (by a few), to the Union Jack when indeed it’s the sole right of Ireland alone, our nation, our country, to summon her men and women to the Tricolour, which, by the way, (and here’s a little history lesson for ya Dick), was first publicly flown in Waterford City in March of 1848 by the then leader of The Young Irelanders, Thomas Francis Meagher.

  So please, for the love of God and St. Patrick and all the generations of proud Irish men and Irish women; celebrity, military, civilian or otherwise, while we know the British media likes to be all inclusive, I would request that they stop showing their ignorance, do their research and kindly desist from stapling their Union Jack to our people!

  I’m sure Mr. Suchet thinks it’s quite flattering and we thank him most sincerely for his kind interest in us, go raibh maith agat Dick, but, how can I say this with a stiff upper lip…back off will ya!

Rising heroes would have done more about rising floods

Our 1916 heroes fought and died to protect us from foreign influences… They must be spinning in their graves!

Well folks we are well and truly into the New Year and I sincerely wish for a happy and healthy 2016 for every single one of us. That said, if just one more person asks me the unimaginative question that is “So, what’s your New Year’s Resolution going to be?” my answer will have to be “to cull you from my Facebook friend list.”                  

  What the hell is this fascination with proclaiming to make a resolution that you know you are never, ever going to keep? And, speaking of proclamations, it brings me nicely onto our 2016 celebrations where we will proudly and passionately (well I will anyway) remember our heroes and heroines of the 1916 Rising where fearless, strong, dedicated and patriotic Irish men and Irish women willingly laid down their lives for this little country of ours.

  In particular I look at the images of those brave men, the signatories of Poblacht Na hÉireann, whose handsome faces decorate my dining room wall. Padraig H Pearse, executed May 3rd 1916, Eamonn Ceannt, executed May 8th 1916, Thomas J Clarke, executed May 3rd 1916, Joseph Plunkett, executed May 4th 1916, James Connolly, executed May 12th 1916, Thomas MacDonagh executed May 3rd 1916, and Sean Mac Diarmada, executed May 12th 1916 and wonder what was going through their minds when they woke up on 1st January 1916. 

  Did they, their families, loved ones and comrades realise that this was the year they would fight a fierce, single minded, self-sacrificing and brave battle for our independence only to culminate in their murders and indeed martyrdom? Did they realise, as they gathered in Liberty Hall, (on the night before), and whilst under severe threat as well as being in what I would imagine had to be unbearable pain due to their appalling injuries, they would swiftly and hastily compose those now well-known and much quoted words, ‘We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people,’ that one hundred years later, and, despite the fact that election fever is set to grip our weather battered citizens, our leaders appear to be doing scant to protect its people from the devastation caused by the recent and ongoing floods?

  Then again folks, perhaps Enda and Co. are simply taking advice from that lovely lady in the know, the fragrant Ms. Teresa Mannion, and he wasn’t ignoring the good citizens of Ireland, rather he was just merely not making “unnecessary journeys.” Who knows, sure we have to give the man the benefit of the doubt. 

  However, this is the same man whom, during our last general election,  stood in front of the good folk of Roscommon and vowed to…now what was it he said, ah yes, ‘protect and defend,’ the emergency department of our county hospital. Tragically it proved to be an empty declaration because as we all know, that particular department closed its doors in July 2011 and yet the Taoiseach wonders why most of us can still manage to harbour a deep resentment towards his party to this very day.  

  Well, let me put it to you plainly sir, it has something to do with  broken promises; remembering this in the future may stand you in good stead as you play Mr. Bountiful and hand out free flags to our nation’s schools and expect our impressionable young citizens to revel in your patriotism.

  As I sit here writing on this bitterly cold, wet and windy morning, I have to wonder what our courageous innovative, trailblazing heroes of 1916 would think of today’s, ahem, Irish leaders. Would they, like Enda, Joanie, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Co. have rolled over like cowering, namby, pampy, submissive weaklings when the rest of Europe threatened to pull the pin and unleash the financial grenade that consequently plunged every Irish man, woman and child into a life of despair and poverty, barely existing on the breadline; with many, tragically and disgracefully enduring a miserable subsistence on the streets?

  The economic crisis has hit almost every household in every county, and Roscommon, with a steady loss of enterprise and employment and stories of emigration, possibly suffering more than most. I know only too well the negative impact the downturn has personally had both emotionally and financially on my household. So I have to ask, with that in mind, would James Connolly (a 48-year-old revolutionary hero when he died), a soldier who was actually incapable of standing due to the injuries he received while trying to defend this land of ours meaning he was executed sitting down, making him the last of our leaders to be sacrificed, have signed a proclamation that effectively handed over control of our sovereignty to foreign interests? No way! He’d have torched it and rightly so! 

  Unlike our leaders of 1916 who fought and died in a bid to protect us from foreign influences, whose ultimate aim and promise was to make sure the welfare of the Irish people were at all times respected and protected, men who were willing to lay down their lives so that we could enjoy economic freedom, our present day ‘heroes’ the same ones who puffed up their chests and preened their feathers like demented budgies, who got suited, booted, locked and loaded and sent the, ahem, party heavies over to Europe returned home with their tails between their legs having had their fence sitting arses whipped by Frau Angela (Merkel) and Tricky Nicky (Sarkozy).

  Yep, instead of arriving home triumphant, they  rendered defeat, having been unable to secure that promised pre-election renegotiated interest rate, effectively putting an end to their ‘burn the bondholders’ pledge. But hey, you have to give it to the lads folks, our white knights in shining Armani who sat astride their high horses fought long and hard to pit their wits against a grey haired, middle aged aul biddy and an, er, vertically challenged little French geezer.    

  Regardless of how you view the 1916 Rising, regardless of how you view the recession, regardless of how you view the 2016 celebrations and the upcoming General Election, and we all have a right to our own personal opinions on the subjects, I would say to both Enda and Joanie, that, given the obvious failure to enforce the famous 2011 election ‘five point plan,’ promises they should forgive us if their latest war cries fall on our deaf (and very wet) ears and empty pockets! Happy New Year to you all.

 

 

 

 

Stop smoking…that life you save could be your child’s

As I chatted to my granddaughter’s very young and very enthusiastic and patient teacher…I was infuriated to witness a mother and father standing outside of the school carpark gates blowing their toxic cigarette smoke directly into their buggy-bound toddler’s face…

Well folks it’s been a mad week in our house, what with having to get up in the middle of the night and drive for hours the other day (well hubby did the driving, I just nodded off and dribbled and drooled in the passenger seat until we stopped for coffee) just to get out of Roscommon due to flood waters causing multiple road closures. We finally made it to Dublin to dote on our granddaughter as she performed the part of ‘narrator’ in her school’s annual nativity play. I have to say her performance brought a tear to this very proud Nana’s eye – hubby, who is not normally prone to emotional outbursts – he’s a man Goddammit, was also moved to tears, but I think that was due to him being forced to balance his 6’2” frame on one of those miniscule kids’ school chairs; but I could be wrong.

  However, my festive mood was short-lived as, après play, the lovely parents’ association treated us to tea and coffee and some delicious homemade mince pies and cookies, and, as I had a chat with my granddaughter’s very young and very enthusiastic and patient teacher, congratulating her on a job well done, I was infuriated to witness a mother and father standing outside of the school carpark gates blowing their toxic cigarette smoke directly into their buggy-bound toddler’s face, yapping and chatting away and appearing to be totally oblivious to the child’s wheezing, streaming eyes and obvious discomfort.

  So readers, this is why I’m absolutely thrilled to hear that those long-overdue regulations to put into effect the piece of legislation that bans smoking in cars that contain children has finally been revealed…sure it only took one year (after this law was passed) for our government to get its act together but at least now that it’s set to be in place as we enter 2016, I for one, a non-smoker, am dancing a little jig.

  Now while there’s always been plenty of information available regarding the risk of inhaling second hand smoke, it has continued to baffle me that some (I’m not saying all) of those people who do puff away, and especially parents and grandparents, and those in charge of caring for children, appear to be oblivious to the dangers – or perhaps they just don’t care – still continue to light up in front of kids. I mean, choosing to smoke and causing damage to your own health is one thing; you’re an adult, you’ve got a choice, you do what you like, and if someone smokes around me I just get up and walk away; I don’t apologise, I don’t even say excuse me, I just remove myself; but smoking around your vulnerable kids and destroying their health is just plain selfish in my opinion.

  You see kids have no choice as to whether or not they’re exposed to the harmful effects of second hand smoke and are therefore depending on us, their parents and caregivers to look out for their general health and wellbeing; however it appears that as some people, i.e. the ones who puff into their kids’ faces are incapable of such basic and decent behaviour, our government has been forced to step in and effectively protect your munchkins from what is, I have to say,  tantamount to child abuse on the part of you, the smoker.

  Yes, let’s tell it like it is folks, if you’re smoking in the vicinity of your kids you are intentionally and continuously exposing them to a number of health problems including asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and cancer, now, (and far be it from Mama to preach) but isn’t this information that should make every responsible parent who is also a smoker, sit up, take note and give up their dangerous habit? However, I am now relieved to know that the irresponsible and selfish sods who continue to emit fumes into their kids’ faces will no longer get away with it and, as the new ‘no smoking in cars while children are present,’ legislation will be policed by an Garda Síochána, any offender who is in breach of this law can be issued with a fine of €100 and rightly so.

  Look readers, as I said I’ve no right to judge anyone but come on, it’s a matter of common sense and decency and when The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) who conducted a survey regarding the effects of third hand smoke, (smoke that lingers in places where smokers have previously been puffing away, and which hangs around on car and bus seats, at sporting events, in the chairs and curtains of a house or  building, or even disgustingly, in the hair and clothing of those of us who do not smoke but who happen to be unfortunate enough to stand close to those who do), has found this is also damaging to our health, I have to say that upon reading their report, I will now refuse to allow my granddaughter anywhere near, not just smokers as I have in the past, but places that allow smoking  because, having researched this subject further, and finding that the frightening effects of second and third hand smoke can also result in the occurrence of poor lung development, heart disease, cataracts and lung cancer later in life it would only be a right selfish eejit who would put others in their care at risk.

  And for those two dopes who were smoking into their toddler’s face the other day, and for anyone parenting a baby or a toddler, I think it’s worth mentioning that infants who are exposed to second hand smoke have a higher risk of getting ear infections, tooth decay and according to the website www.healthychildren.org ‘Infants have a higher risk of SIDS if they are exposed to second hand smoke.’ 

  So, this Christmas, when visiting those rellies who like to light up after the Christmas feast, make them aware that there are over 4,000 chemicals found in their cigarette smoke, forty of which are carcinogens and, while I do not encourage a family row…in fact I advise you avoid this at all costs folks, but for the sake of your vulnerable kiddies, wouldn’t it be wise for you to remove them from the smoker’s vicinity. And yes, I know it’s a thorny subject and tempers can become frayed, especially at festive family gatherings, (and if the outlaws are involved, well then all I can say is good luck to ya), but, at the end of the day, aren’t your children worth it.

  Also, if, like me, you’re animal lovers, I also want to alert you to the damage that smoke does to your pets. There’s evidence to believe that toxins in second hand smoke can cause allergies and nasal and lung cancers in dogs; malignant lymphoma in cats and respiratory, eye and skin problems in birds.

  Researchers also believe that cats living in households where there’s a smoker usually get carcinogens in their fur and daily grooming exposes the skin in their mouth to dangerous amounts of this toxin. If that’s not enough, even the smell of smoke can affect your pet, causing him to cough and possibly burn his eyes so if you’re a smoker who loves your kids and your pets, my advice to you this Christmas is to give them the lifesaving gift of quitting!

  And on that note I want to thank you all so much for reading my musings and ramblings, and for your wonderfully positive comments during the past year; I wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year. 

I’m sick of ‘Thigh Gap’ Thinspiration

We all have different body shapes; just as we all have different hair colours, and, when we use certain social media apps to post selfies, some of us tend to alter our images in order to mask our imperfections…

OMG this bloody obsession with ‘thinspiration’ and the ‘must have’ thigh gap has got to stop right now. I’m sooooo over it and model turned wife of Brian (McFadden), then turned estranged wife of Brian, turned, ahem, TV presenter, now turned body-obsessed publicity junkie Vogue Williams needs to stop flooding social media with images of herself half-naked and sporting a gap between her thighs that is so impossibly large you could drive the ‘Holidays Are Coming,’ Christmas advert’s artic through it and then deny she has airbrushed herself purring “I don’t even know how to use Photoshop.” 

  Seriously? Come on Vogue, I’m not saying I disbelieve you lovey but my 73-year-old technophobe dad and my 8-year-old granddaughter both know how to use Photoshop…in fact my granddaughter can re-programme our Sky box; so how come a socially-savvy self-publicist like yourself doesn’t know how to use it?

  Vogue, who was showing off the fruits of her ‘six days a week’ gym workouts posted an extremely, let’s just say, slim looking, photo of herself and then, I would assume, sat back, sipped delicately on a bottle of water, binged on a lettuce leaf and waited for her 89,000 followers to make their comments – and make them they did by accusing her of altering the gap between her permanently tanned thighs. Bingo!  

  Now, for a woman who says she visits the gym as a form of therapy in order to help her battle her anxiety and the stresses of, what we mere mortals call, ‘everyday life’ insisting “It’s the only place where you are totally stuck in your own head for an hour,” I have to say Vogue dear, it’s a sad, sad day when someone as talented and as beautiful as you feels the need to enhance their career through flooding the internet with half naked selfies…and by the way, it is my opinion that people who do this are not so much totally stuck in their heads darling, rather they are more stuck up their own arxxs! Besides, what’s the point in posing half naked if you’re not getting admired; I mean you didn’t trim that bikini line so that you couldn’t have an audience now did you diddums?

  Now personally, and pardon me readers while I unhinge my jaw before I capture my prey, but I am sick of seeing thousands of selfie postings showcasing strategically placed skinny legs artfully displaying the sun shining through them with the #thighgap heading underneath…I mean who’d have thought a massive ‘must have’ space between your legs would generate such controversy among those wannabe Z listers who really should be more concerned about the massive gap that’s widening between their ears; a gap that is often so large their earrings must surely clang together.

  I will add here that I like Vogue; in fact many years ago when I was editor of B wedding magazine and Vogue was but a fledgling young model, I chose her to front my featured fashion spread photoshoot and she was a delight to work with; friendly, fun and fabulous and it was obvious back then that she would go far; and I’m thrilled for her.  

  However, continuously posting what looks like unachievable body images that could negatively influence young girls is, I would say, going just that step too far; perhaps I’m wrong. But you see folks, I would imagine that these altered, or as Vogue insists, unaltered images of oneself  – especially when one is in the spotlight – could potentially lead impressionable young adolescent girls and even older women into developing destructive eating disorders because the only way to achieve a much-desired ‘thigh gap’ that large is to be severely underweight. I mean why not just go the whole hog and bind your massive clown feet while you’re at it ladies.

  Now please do not think that I am ‘body shaming’ ultra-thin women, I’m not. To be honest I’ve been slagged and accused on many occasions of not eating because, according to some people, I’m apparently “too thin.” For the record I’m not too thin, I’m just naturally petite, many people are; many people are not, just in the same way as many people (I’m formerly one of them) come from a place called Peroxide…blonde on mammy’s side, blonde on daddy’s side; again, something that was also fake (as far as I was concerned) and impossible to maintain; a la the thigh gap!

  What I’m trying to say is, we all have different body shapes; just as we all have different hair colours, and, when we use certain social media apps to post selfies, some of us tend to alter our images in order to mask our imperfections in the same way we alter our hair colour to mask our greying roots.   

  At the end of the day, we all have a personal beauty that is unique to our individual selves, and we should try to be proud. However, what we do not have is this warped, disturbing and distorting ‘naturally’ ultra-thin cavity nestling between our thighs; okay, some of us have a space where our thighs don’t meet, but what is important to remember is that most of us have thighs that do touch and because we live in a climate of rampant cynicism and worry ourselves sick that we won’t live up to the so called idyll, (as displayed by some celebrity bloggers) we begin to trick ourselves into believing that we are pursuing perfection and become intoxicated with achieving the impossible; instead what we are doing is making ourselves not just emotionally ill but damaging our physical health into the bargain.

  When these celebs portray themselves as perfection personified using distorted and obscured images accompanied by what I call antiseptic language to frame their postings with words that neutralise the stark truth, which is NONE of us, not one single, solitary person… super models included, are that buff without the aid of cosmetic surgery, filters, Photoshop or all three. There is no such thing as the perfect human body!

  My advice to all readers this Christmas is to enjoy yourselves and enjoy your families and to bear in mind that those of you who may go to great lengths to alter your images when you post the party photos will probably never, ever be happy with your appearance or with your bodies and I hate to sound harsh but you see, here’s the thing; it’s about bloody time that you, me, the girl next door, the girl up the road, super models and Vogue all realised that life is sometimes harsh and it is never anything like they said it would be in the brochure.

 

 

Parents need to evaluate both the safety and effectiveness of the HPV Vaccine

When it comes to our health and that of the health of our children, we need to be armed with the entire set of facts before we can make any informed decisions and my advice would be that the best place to start is your family doctor…

There have been numerous concerns voiced around possible side-effects relating to the HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine, and making sure the subject remains firmly in the spotlight is worried Westmeath mam Fiona Kirby who passionately claims her teenage daughter has become ill following her dosage.

  In fact, so convinced is this mother of the negative reactions, (The Irish Times has quoted her as saying her child suffered “horrendous” adverse consequences), she sought to bring legal proceedings asking the High Court to withdraw the license given for the Gardasil HPV vaccine, which, in case you don’t know, is an inoculation (now there’s a word my darling Nana used to say…inoculation) and which has been chosen as the one the HSE use for their HPV vaccination programme as a possible preventative against cervical cancer for young girls, in fact, according to www.hse.ie ‘Gardasil® is licensed for use from 9 years onwards.’ Ms Kirby’s injunction has been refused by the High Court.

  Now look, as I always say I’m no medical expert but I’m a mother and, some years ago, it was my gut mothering instinct that made me strenuously refuse to allow my then teenage daughter to avail of this vaccine when it was being rolled out as possibly being offered at her secondary school. It wasn’t around when my eldest girl was a teen so permission wasn’t an issue.

  And, following a parent-teacher meeting where the school guidance counsellor told me how wonderful my child was and the subject of the possibility of the vaccine being offered raised its head, she linked my arm and took me aside in her ‘mightier than thou’ condescending way, her voice lowered, and, spectacles dangling form a chain around her neck, tut-tutted and chided “but sure why would you not allow Megan to get it, all the other girls’ mothers I’ve spoken with think it’s a great idea; if it’s offered, they’re going to  get it;” to which my response was, “Look, what do we know about this vaccine?  Can you, or can any medical expert assure me right now, in writing, that there is any evidence to substantiate that the benefits of this quite new development will far outweigh the possible risks/side effects that may be involved to my child’s health down the line?” 

  The blank look on the condescending biddy’s face told me all that I needed to know…She didn’t have a clue, she couldn’t offer an answer to my very simple question, and I was irritating the hell out of her. When condescending biddy followed up her request later that week with a ‘phone call, giving me the ‘opportunity to change your mind before I submit all the forms,’ my patience got the better of me, forcing me to issue a threat that if she, or anyone else at the school ever sticks a needle in my daughter without my consent then I would have them charged with assault…she didn’t bother me again.

  Now let me say at this point that this vaccine is possibly 100 per cent safe, there could be absolutely no side-effects whatsoever associated with it, it could be the greatest invention since penicillin and while my girls received all of their baby vaccines, I personally felt that as the HPV one was only first introduced into the EU in 2006, with a national immunisation programme being rolled out later in 2011; as someone who researches, analyses and asks so many questions I often drive people to visit the verge of insanity; the fact is, when it came to my children’s health, and nobody could offer me empirical evidence relating to the results of this then new advancement in healthcare, then, well, my kids were off limits…because it’s my reasoning that once a vaccine is in, I can’t just suck it back out; right?

  Now at this point let me mention that cervical cancer is a health risk, and each year approximately 300 women in Ireland are diagnosed with it. Scarily, as opposed to other forms of cancer, cervical cancer mainly affects younger women with 60 per cent of incidences being diagnosed in those who are aged 50 or younger. So, as you can see, this is a highly important vaccine to consider. 

  However, when it comes to our health and that of the health of our children, we need to be armed with the entire set of facts before we can make any informed decisions and my advice would be that the best place to start is your family doctor.

  I also want to say folks that cervical cancer, which is a cancer of the cells that line the cervix or the neck of the womb is a preventable disease…yep, it’s PREVENTABLE – great news; and here’s more great news, screening is available FREE to women resident in the ROI who are aged between 25 and 60 through Cervical Check, the national screening programme; a wonderful programme that saved my life.

  Yes, an annual smear detected my abnormal cells leading me to have a procedure called a Colposcopy which is an examination of the cervix where the doctor determined I needed “further investigation.” Ah sure nothing is ever straightforward with me.

  A referral saw me having Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone…try saying that after a few vodkas or (LLETZ). Now this is a minor surgical procedure, just to assure any woman who may be facing it, and it’s carried out under local anaesthetic; abnormal cells are highlighted and a sample is taken and sent to the lab for testing. However, as I had a strong history of other ‘woman related’ problems, when the results came back, my doctor immediately advised a total abdominal hysterectomy to rid me of what he called “a ticking time bomb,” threatening my life. 

  Now please don’t get panicked here, I was the exception, and it’s important to point out that just because a woman may require a Colposcopy and/or LLETZ she should not worry; it does NOT mean she has cancer. What it means is her smear has shown changes in the cells on her cervix giving doctors an early warning sign that cancer MAY develop if these cells are left untreated and her doctor will make a decision as to whether or not she will need surgery.  

  For some, these cell changes may return to normal on their own, however for others; me for instance, following two Colposcopies and two LLETZ surgeries, it was clear that along with other complications, I had a strong potential of developing Ovarian Cancer so a decision that ranks up there with one of the best of my life was taken to remove the plumbing and I feel well and wonderful. The aul pelvic floors are doing great thanks very much!

  So, as there is no proven link between the vaccine and the symptoms that are being reported, again, let me state…no proven link; and despite my own health scare, I am still glad that neither of my girls received their inoculation and I will be strongly advising my daughter against having my 8-year-old granddaughter vaccinated when it’s offered at her school. So while there are different risk factors, such as the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, being passed through sexual contact; using a condom will reduce the risk, not smoking reduces the risk, developing a stronger immune system reduces the risk and importantly, having regular smears reduces the risk; and, if faced with the same decision today, I would still refuse to sign those forms. 

  As I said, have a chat with your family doctor; he/she can best advise; however, ultimately, the decision has got to be a parental one, and, oh, don’t forget to discuss it with your child.

 

Is publicity-hungry ‘Kimye’ turning pregnancy into a circus?

…So egotistical is this woman, if her reality show doesn’t secure the highest ratings at the end of this year, I fear that in order to assuage the bitter fallout of her failure, and appease hubby, she’s highly likely to go into labour on December 25th and upstage the baby Jesus!

I’m thinking of launching my annual Christmas ‘Help the Kardashian-West’s Fund’ this week folks; you see it has come to my attention that poor aul Kim and Kanye clearly need a few bob because the ‘exclusives’ they keep hawking on their reality show obviously aren’t covering their expenses adequately.

  I mean, this weekend we had a heavily pregnant Kim’s latest revelation that she’s “ready to go under the knife” and have a total cosmetic surgery makeover following the birth of her second  baby. Well, methinks by the time she puts enough plastic surgeons on the payroll to lift that hefty, unnatural National Geographic ass of hers, and add to that the billable hours it will take experts to sufficiently suck out her hubby’s hidden shallows, I’d say a charitable fund will be the only way to go for the poor put-upon couple. Maybe we could even get Sir Bob Geldof to resurrect Band Aid?

  Seriously, is anyone else sick of the Kardashian-Wests or is it just me? I mean ok, look folks, this past year has seen an influx of celebrity pregnancies and while I am delighted for all the new parents-to-be and genuinely wish them the very best, I have had it up to my tonsils reading about Kim’s every little twinge, every little stretch mark and every exotic craving and sure what better way to exploit the good old martyred mother syndrome than to publicly document every pound she’s managed to pile on…what’s the count this week, 52lbs, or was that just the weight of control freak Kanye’s ego? 

  I only ask because the delusional daddy of the December due baby boy has only scarily gone and tweeted “I am more influential than GOD #Yeezus” (sic) leading me to ask if perhaps the new baby will now be held up as the second coming?

  Having done the whole baby thingy twice myself I do know that pregnant women are likely to do things that are slightly ahem, off the wall, as in experience the odd memory lapse and make a few cognitive slip-ups; I know because I’ve had my fair share…one was walking to the shops for a bit of exercise then frantically ringing the police to report that my car had been stolen from the car park, forgetting that I’d actually left it at home…morto!

  However, continuously posting half-naked public pictures of your heavily pregnant self – something that can take hours and hours to get just right, because hey, your body is your business – while a baby plays footsie with your bladder is bordering on the ridiculous. I know that if it was me, at that advanced stage, I’d be in and out of the loo more times than a rabbit runs up and down a hole.

  However, Queen Kim and King Kanye’s legendary prima donna antics during their wedding and during her first pregnancy have been grist to the mill for gossip columnists and reality TV junkies for years now, so why should this latest money-spinning event be any different and I have no doubt that, during the month of December fans will be treated to news that a doctor and nurse team will probably take up residence either side of the mother-earth 24/7 with a private ambulance on standby, sirens at the ready just in case the royal waters break during one of her many selfie postings.

  It’s no secret that some of us ladies use pregnancy as a psychological tool as if we are the only female in the world ever to give birth. That’s understandable on a first pregnancy, sure, you go and you milk that bump for all it’s worth girl, but it’s just sad and laughable on your second.

  Every pregnancy should be an emotional journey of sweet anticipation for both parents but this entire event provides us with some insight into the very nature of life in the Kardashian-West household.

  Kanye – if he can help it without taking his attention from the mirror – will publicly fawn over his delicate lickle wifey as she wallows in the old Trojan tradition of ‘the show must go on’ and continue to tweet updates while in the throes of painful labour. Indeed, so egotistical is this woman, if her reality show doesn’t secure the highest ratings at the end of this year, I fear that in order to assuage the bitter fallout of her failure, and appease hubby, she’s highly likely to go into labour on December 25th and upstage the baby Jesus!

  In my opinion Kim tries way too hard to portray the stately Hollywood beauty with the appealing ‘working class’ bluntness and this just tends to pixx off the rest of us who are forced to hold down a full-time ‘real’ job and run a home and who don’t have the benefit of a nanny to take over or a husband with gazillions languishing in the bank.

  Both of my kids were born with the usual amount of typical no-nonsense, Irish mammy attitude. When I went into labour with my second child I didn’t even bother to tell her father that I had pains. You see, as I’d gone six weeks early on my first baby, my then-hubby tended to panic every time I had a twinge, (especially if it interfered with footie practice), so it was only when I was ironing clothes one day did he suspect that something was wrong…back then I didn’t iron; still don’t, so that unexpected, abnormal activity will usually strike panic in our household.

  Anyway, when I eventually revealed that my pains were three minutes apart, all hell broke loose as I was bundled like a sack of spuds into the car while it was driven over every pothole the length and breadth of Dublin city until we reached the hospital.

  Once there, hubby, as is usual of the Irish daddy, retired to the TV room and partook of some tea, biscuits and light banter with the other fathers-to-be. Sure it was almost a shame to disturb him, bless, when his daughter was ready to make her presence felt. And did I have the benefit of an epidural and was I too posh to push like Kimmy K? Neither! Don’t get me wrong girls, I’m no martyr; I just don’t do needles and I’m afraid it was the bear down and gnaw on something hard (hubby’s head) birthing experience for me; as it is for most stoic Roscommon mammies.

  And did they play classical music a la Kimmy the Great? No. It was Glen Campbell’s ‘Like a Rhinestone Cowboy’ that my poor, but quite large, 10lb beautiful infant heard as she emerged into the world. ‘A touch of the green-eyed monster’ I hear you snigger. You bet ladies, but at least my kids’ heavily pregnant mother wasn’t styled by daddy and photographed while spread seductively across a dirt pile, half-naked and looking like a distressed and embarrassed beached whale yearning for Greenpeace to mercifully intervene and return her to her natural habitat.

  West did this to his poor wife to promote his foray into the world of fashion and while I can’t say I’m coveting this couple’s publicity or their merger, sorry marriage; I can certainly say in all honesty, I wouldn’t turn down just a tiny slice of their confidence. I wish Kim a safe and happy delivery.

 

 

 

Our senior citizens have a right to live with dignity and pride – don’t isolate them!

Shocked by two very different deaths of elderly people in our country – and angered by the deficiencies within our society which they highlight – our columnist appeals to readers to look out for vulnerable family, friends and neighbours…

Few things shock me; maybe I’m becoming accustomed to bad news, I really hope that I’m not. However, last week’s sad news that a  lady in her 80s was found dead in her Wexford home, having lain undiscovered for a staggering two months, really took the wind out of my sails.

  To those neighbours, sorry ‘shocked neighbours,’ who clambered like rats off a sinking ship, and who fell over themselves to speak with the Irish Independent in an effort to garner some precious column inches with their pathetic, whiney and contemptible, “We didn’t really know too much about her. She is from Wexford County I believe. All I really know is that she had been living in the town for some time,” and “I know she doesn’t have any family in the area;” I have to say, shame on you; you’re a disgrace; you’ve got the collective compassion of a boiled beetroot.

  In fact readers, call me cruel and nasty if you like, but in my opinion, if humanity were a crime, these heartless neighbours’ faces would be top of our country’s ‘most wanted’ list; along with those of this poor lady’s family; if indeed she does have any still living – because you all left her desolate; depriving her of human contact and that fact alone had to have seriously psychologically and catastrophically affected her, especially in her final moments. Now look, we know that evolution has programmed us to mind our own business and let people get on with their lives and that’s grand; an individual is entitled to live alone and independently if they so choose; we are all entitled to privacy, but for God’s sake folks, couldn’t one neighbour/family member have exercised a shred of decency and kept even a discreet eye on this vulnerable lady?

            Couldn’t one of you have taken her for a little drive to the park to smell the flowers or called around and brought a drop of hot soup and a bunch of flowers? Would that have been such a bitter pill for even just one person in the community to have swallowed?

   I have to say, when writing this column, I did a bit of research and what I found has alarmed me. You see readers, according to statistics compiled (and based on our last Census), there are remarkably high levels of elderly people living in isolation in rural Ireland with County Roscommon, yes, us, recording some of the highest rates (in fact our county lists the second highest rate across Ireland), of people over the age of 65 living alone. Now folks, as you lift your third cup of skinny, non-fat, non-dairy (that’s me), decaf Latte to your freshly-glossed lips with your newly-manicured paws and excitedly compare Christmas shopping lists with your mates, know that somewhere nearby there’s an elderly gentleman or an elderly lady who has nobody to engage or share a joke or a hug with; let alone a cuppa…now isn’t that alarming?

  But nasty things don’t just happen to our senior citizens living in rural Ireland; oh no. Last week, you probably read about 37-year-old Dubliner Sabrina Cummins; described as “a murderer and brazen, hard-nosed liar,” by Mr Justice Tony Hunt, (I think you’re too polite, Your Honour) as he handed down a sentence that would see this vile individual caged for life for the murder of vulnerable pensioner Thomas Horan.  

            I won’t go into detail regarding the vicious torture that was visited upon this poor man, but his grisly, violent death once again drove home for me, the sheer neglect and disregard that we, as a nation, appear to have for our senior citizens who have, I think you will agree, just as much right to live with dignity and pride as the rest of us human beings!

  So, this week, I want to ask readers to reflect on the deaths of those two vulnerable, elderly people and spare a though for your own family, friends and neighbours who, although possibly in good physical health and appearing to be capable of taking care of themselves (for now), may, on the inside, yearn for some companionship, to just pick up the ‘phone and ask “Hi, how are you?” You never know, you too could also benefit from making that call.  

  After all, our senior citizens have contributed to their families, their communities and their country, meaning they’ll be well equipped with a vast repository of buried memories and interesting, tantalising tales that could entertain, enlighten and educate you; possibly even resulting in a valued mutual friendship for you both.

  So today, as the biting, cold weather and dark, lonely nights draw in, I want to say:

  Kids…yes, mine included, ring your mother and not just when you need me to write you a witty slogan or a promotional business blurb!

  Teenagers…stop fiddling with your body piercings and ring your Nana and Grandad, they would love to hear from you and I can guarantee, as a Nana myself, they’ll derive enormous pleasure from listening to your energetic stories. Also, remember teens, grandparents are non-judgemental, meaning they’ll offer you a soothing, caring ear and useful advice based on a lifetime of experience.  If readers are passing an elderly neighbour on the street, stop and say hello. Now I have to tell you a couple of weeks ago, while driving on the motorway, I noticed an elderly lady walking along the hard shoulder; carrying a shopping bag. I immediately slowed down, indicated, stopped my car, got out and walked after her to ask if she was okay and if I could offer her assistance or a lift somewhere…well she snapped the head clean off me, snarling (that) she walks that road every day and advised me to mind my own business. 

  I’d no choice but to leave her be, however, I was concerned for her safety and contacted the local police, telling them of my encounter and was surprised to hear, “ah yeah, that’s Mrs X, she walks that road every day into town and does her shopping, did she take the head off ya, she gets annoyed when people offer her help?” Well, while this feisty and independent senior lady is entitled to do her own thing, I’m still glad I stopped and checked up on her.

  So you see it’s not always straightforward but if you can, offer to help, offer to walk a dog or clean a gutter, secure a lock to a door or provide a drive to the doctor or company on a hospital visit; post a letter or contact a family member or just sit and chat and enjoy a cup of tea together.  When it comes to our elderly and vulnerable, if we fail to maintain the garden of friendship and humanity their dignity will simply wither and so, sadly will they; dying tragically, alone and scared, like that poor lady in Wexford or violently like that poor man in Dublin.

  As we enter the season of goodwill folks, if you do nothing else this winter and before another vulnerable senior citizen crumbles and dies alone, please try to recognise the signs and show them friendship and empathy. Cheers.

Purging the putrid infection of domestic violence in Irish families

Breaking the cycle and exposing abusers is the only way to purge the putrid infection that is the brutal, cowardly, sick, perverted thug who somehow gets off on terrorising his/her entire family…

This country is failing victims of domestic violence; that’s according to UCC academic Dr Louise Crowley. Now why am I not surprised? I mean, with a lack of an early intervention system being put in place where abusers could at least address and tackle their appalling and vile behaviour towards vulnerable family members, and with a staggering revelation that, during research carried out with Cork group Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) which aims to support the safety of those experiencing domestic violence, Dr Crowley shockingly discovered that around fifty of the participants involved in the Cork programme had never even made a court appearance, meaning they escaped any form of punishment rendering them freely available and capable of reoffending, again and again and again, if they so choose. This leads me to ask – has domestic abuse reached epidemic proportions in Ireland?

  The sad facts relating to domestic violence in this country were driven home to everyone last Friday during University College Cork’s School of Law’s international conference where it was also revealed by Safe Ireland that, on average, their services receive a crisis call every twelve minutes. Now please just stop and think about that readers…every twelve minutes a woman in this country is in fear for her own life and for that of the lives of her children.  Shocking! Unacceptable! Terrifying!

  Now I don’t know about you folks, but I can do a lot in twelve minutes. In twelve minutes I can re-touch my roots, make myself a coffee and scan the news headlines, I can have a smear test or a mammogram – I mean, it’s probably the length of an episode of ‘Modern Family,’ without the commercials; and yet, for some women; our mothers, our sisters, our neighbours, our work colleagues and our friends, an intolerable existence spent cowering in their own homes means surviving through unmitigated misery.

  Women who, behind closed doors, are regularly left staggering, bloodied and breathless; scared for their lives. Women who are just about able to manage to register the sound of their broken hearts beating as it ferociously pumps fresh blood past their ringing ears; women who organise their thoughts long enough to engage their uncomprehending brains to render them emotionally capable to become brave enough to dial for the help that they so desperately and richly deserve, but help that will sadly, tragically, shamefully, fail to arrive.

  Now I don’t mean help from the likes of those brilliant agencies like Safe Ireland, agencies who provide valuable counselling, information, advice, advocacy, hand holding and support because that’s available. Thank God for these angels of mercy. What I mean is the type of help they need from our State agencies; our Government.

  Recently our entire nation mourned the cowardly shooting of unarmed hero Garda Tony Golden who was murdered as he went to the aid of a young woman who was the victim of domestic violence.

  Four months ago North Dublin woman Emma Murphy, complete with black eye and tears of terror, sat at the foot of her stairs and revealed to the world in a 38-second video which went viral, her family’s dark secret; she was the victim of domestic violence. In those 38 seconds, Emma became a survivor and a beacon of hope for the courageous 46,100 women who, in 2014, had daringly picked up the ‘phone and begged for help.

  At the time, Emma’s partner, now former partner, admitted to pushing her, pathetically explaining, “I lost the head and basically pushed her straight in the face. I shoved her in the face. It was a real forceful shove in the face. It was pretty violent and there’s no excuse at all and I’m extremely sorry for that.” He’s got no excuse but hey, he’s sorry; well that makes it all honky dory then doesn’t it mate!

  Let me say for those abusers with a short fuse who think it’s acceptable to violently push a woman in the face…the situation is now shifting lads; women like Emma – brave, strong, exceptional women – will not and should not be content to sit and suffer in silence. 

  There is no shame to being a victim of domestic abuse; there is no shame to publicly expose broken promises and tattered lives that have lain buried deep inside your family’s flesh like a rotting splinter…no shame whatsoever. Breaking the cycle and exposing abusers is the only way to purge the putrid infection that is the brutal, cowardly, sick, perverted thug who somehow gets off on terrorising his/her entire family, thinking a piteous apology afterwards will suffice.

  And yes, I did write his/her because I do know that men can be victims of domestic violence, although the incidences of this are far fewer than they are for women, however, they should never be overlooked and help needs to be widely and freely available for all sufferers.

  Those who prey on their partners and children must be outed and disgraced, charged and convicted in a court of law and I want to say to them that in my opinion, as a wife, mother, grandmother and human being that those who abuse are nothing short of cowardly predators who hold family members, (again mainly women and children), captive through their warped physical, sexual, financial and emotional violation. In fact, as hunters and destroyers, abusers couldn’t be more predatory if they had a set of claws and razor-sharp teeth. 

  Those of you who exploit your families and loved ones leave not just the physical scars of abuse; the black eyes, the bite marks, the bruises and the deep, bloody cuts but also the psychological scars; the scars not so easily recognisable but that are still discernable to those who are in tune and who empathise with your prey. Never forget there are those who can sense and feel your victims’ pain emanating from them like heat from a red-hot furnace; who can, following a short conversation during a fleeting meeting at the supermarket, quickly cop on to their nervous twitch, their ever scanning eyes and their pitiful lowered voices that your victim thinks she’s kept well hidden; but that, to the experienced eye and ear, has only served to form a network of trauma, dotted in deep crevices across their psyche. Trauma that is so normal to them, trauma they’ve lived with for so long, they didn’t even realise they’d become a casualty of the war being fought in their own sitting rooms.

  As Dr Crowley and her team, and those at Safe Ireland and agencies like them continue to carry out their excellent research and work and as the conference comes to a close, discussions about domestic violence in this country should not cease. This type of thuggery and abuse is a deeply rooted insidious problem in good Catholic Ireland; in fact, when looking at the stats, it could be said domestic abuse has catastrophically become part of our culture. Tragic, isn’t it?

  What’s really tragic however is that these courageous women have essentially had their personalities stolen from them and don’t even realise they’re actually broken until they break.

  Isn’t it about time our Government protected them when they emerge on their long journey out of the shadows?

Maybe he’s just not that into you, Tinderella!

Not everyone engaging with Tinder and related ‘dating sites’ is in the line of our columnist’s fire this week, but she is strongly of the view that people should ‘put on their glad rags’ and go out and meet men and women the old-fashioned way…face to face!

Tinder has been in the news quite a bit lately, what with a disappointed 36-year-old separated mum ringing in to  Ryan Tubridy’s radio show last week to tell the world how her first experience of using the online dating app has left her feeling ‘naive and gullible,’ going on to further explain how she was ‘shocked after meeting a man on the app who abandoned contact with her after they slept together three weeks into their relationship,’ apparently saying how she was unaware of the so-called ‘sharks,’ that are currently circulating in dating waters and had, very helpfully, rung Tubs to let people know that she was peed off. You see, apparently her hero has dropped off her radar but is still on the prowl for women on Tinder. Oh he’s a right brat now, isn’t he!

  Now first of all let me say this to that irate caller, I feel for you Tinderella, I really do love, but the fact of the matter is…You’ve been Catfished, get a clue and move on…Romeo certainly has! Also, you’re right, you are definitely ‘naïve and gullible’ if you went out with a man you found on a dating app and then genuinely thought he wasn’t going to be interested in just having casual sex. 

  I mean, anyone who thinks that Tinder and other dating apps are going to be exclusively full of Prince and Princess Charmings looking for their happily ever after really need to have a good old reality check. In my understanding, (I could be wrong), dating apps are mainly useful for those who are looking for an always available, regret free, no strings attached booty call. Mind you, there could be a thousand reasons why this bloke heartlessly dumped this woman…so my advice to her is just pick one, any one, then move on and stop ringing radio shows to air your dirty laundry so publicly because it’s hardly good PR for attracting the next guy now is it? If you don’t I’m afraid I am getting a clear image of you ten years from now wallowing alone as a sad modern day Miss Havisham decaying in your raggy dress and pearls until the end of time.

  Personally I’ve never been on Tinder and have never had the need to use dating apps because, luckily, I’m married to my soul-mate and we met when he approached me in a garage forecourt…now if that doesn’t sound sleazy I don’t know what does but it was all above board I can assure you; he thought I looked like I needed assistance with my car and, being a gentleman, approached me. For the record; I didn’t…need assistance, that is.  

  However, I do know quite a few friends and one family member who uses the Tinder app and who have gone out on a few dates, some good; some leading to second dates and one or two disasters that brought us out in hysterics, however they tell me they all feel the same as Tubridy’s caller did, i.e. duped! So, my question is, why use these apps you lazy, crazy lot?  Why look for men and women on dating apps that appear to list the Who’s Who of Creepy Ville? Why depend on a site that pulls your personal information from your social media page to create your profile and then effectively tells you who ‘matches’ your particulars encouraging you to ‘swipe right’ if you find their selection pleasing and ‘swipe left’ if you think they’re Quasimodo?  Who does that? People who do not know and trust their own mind and their own judgement…that’s who!

  I mean, if a guy is sitting on his fat ass on the sofa all day long, or even sitting emotionless on the loo, because this is how impersonal some dating apps are, trying to sell himself like some cheap pimp patrolling the docks then there shouldn’t be enough bullsxxt, dinner dates, polite conversation or even copious amounts of lovey-dovey text messages in the whole world to make you his hoe dear. I’m sorry but someone needs to tell it to you like it is. If a person is making up a load of codswallop about themselves in order to make sure it fits with what you want to hear, then folks, it’s clear to me they don’t want a lasting relationship they just want to sit back and count their conquests; end of.

  So, get up off your asses folks, put on your glad rags and go out and meet people the old-fashioned way…face to face; and while you’re doing that, let me enlighten you about some (not all) of those loser trolls, stalkers and creepers who may hide behind dating sites.

  There is a massive difference between a person in real life and a person on Tinder. He/she has taken about a gazillion selfies before he/she’s Instagrammed or Photoshopped and finally posted the one that makes him look like Brad Pitt and her look like a Bond girl.

  So what if he/she ‘swiped right’ on your profile photo, get a grip and understand he/she’s ‘swiped right’ on fifty other profiles…he/she’s a shallow git who likes you ‘cos you’re arm candy material and I’ll bet he/she hasn’t read even one single line of your chat because, guess what, it’s not your brain or your dazzling personality that interests them!

  Some people only use Tinder or dating apps for validation or to relieve boredom. These are the ones whose insatiable egos constantly require massaging, meaning they engage with others and tot up their positive ‘swipes,’ as a way of measuring their personal ‘market value.’ It makes them feel popular to have such a range of potential eejits they can choose at will and of course when the mood takes them they’ll dial for a booty call and they’ll keep dialing until they snare some silly sap who is willing to drop over and become their ‘fun buddy’ to ease their boredom of a winter’s night… and nobody is any the wiser.

  However, if anyone is thinking of hoping a stint on a dating app will sort out their love life, it would be worth their while to note that, according to research firm GlobalWebIndex (GWI), it’s a worrying fact – well I’d find it worrying – that 30 per cent of Tinder users surveyed are actually married and 12 per cent surveyed are in a relationship. Now I am not for one second suggesting that those users who are ‘spoken for’ are looking for deep, unmeaningful sex, God no, they’re not big fat cheaters; I’d imagine they’re simply ‘browsing,’ doing research and, ahem, keeping abreast of their social skills through ‘interacting’ with other like-minded tech savvy individuals. How industrious of them.

  Look, I’m not saying that all those who participate on Tinder or other dating apps are merely only hooked on engaging in orgies; that is not the case, and I’m sure there are genuine users who want nothing more than to settle down to a life of bliss, creating the quintessential nuclear family; also I’m sure there are other users who just want to make friends and see dating apps as a bona fide social outlet to test the water when it comes to their dating skills. Nothing wrong with either of those reasons.

  Mind you, ya don’t have to go through the whole rigmarole of joining these sites and putting yourself through the emotional wringer to try and find out how to make a success of that first date! Not at all, I can sum it up for ya in one line…Just turn up naked; oh, and bring wine!

The WHO doesn’t want us to bite off more than we can chew!

In the wake of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) damning report on processed meats, such as bacon and sausages, our columnist defends meat-lovers – even though she is a vegan

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) when it comes to contracting cancer, there’s a list of hazards as long as my arm; i.e. smoking, indulging in the demon drink, some forms of oral contraceptives, outdoor pollution and going anywhere near asbestos being just a few of them.   

  However, last week, consuming processed meat, for example, chowing down on your traditional and ceremonial Irish rasher, sausage and pudding brekkie of a Sunday morning or heading out for your cheeky Friday night, after-the-pub-hot dog, batter burger, kebab or chicken nuggets have all now been added to what I would call their hysterical apocalyptic list of ‘carcinogenic’ items as being a ‘potential’ cancer risk, leading to lots of confusion and knee-jerk reactions from a lot of people. Not me! 

  You see,  I’d like to draw readers’ attention to the word ‘potential’ here, meaning ‘possible’ ‘probable,’ or ‘prospective,’ and say that despite this warning, I still went out and bought hubby’s favourite smoked bacon rashers, grilled them to a crisp,  just as he likes and popped them on his crusty bread rolls along with lettuce and tomato and generously slathered on his ‘must have’ cholesterol hiking butter and preservative-laden red sauce to make him his beloved BLT work lunch.  And yes, I do love this man, and no I am not trying to shorten his life. I just don’t buy into scare-mongering of any kind and firmly believe that a little bit of what you fancy in measurable proportions will do you no harm – and I do mean measurable proportions here. Hubby doesn’t eat this type of lunch every day!  It’s a once a week treat.

  Also,  I make this comment, not as a doctor and not as a nutritionist because I’m neither and I am sure health professionals will probably disagree with me, and that is their right – they are the experts here, not me.

  However, folks, I make this comment as someone who believes there are far, far worse things in the world that can potentially kill us – things like the stress that accompanies the release of such reports would be just one example or the panic due to the possible job losses suffered as a direct result of the financial fallout being another…you get my drift, so I believe, like most decent and sensible Roscommon people that I have more important things to do with my life than pay too much attention to the torrent of negativity these latest findings have raised.

  However, being vegan myself; I haven’t consumed any animal products, as in, no meat, fish, poultry or dairy etc., since my teens because I’m committed to animal welfare and want to save all animals, believing and understanding that they are sentient beings; meaning in my opinion, animals feel hurt, fear, pain, sadness, happiness, love and joy etc., just like we humans do. In short, I love animals and believe their lives matter… end of.

  But that’s just me and when the WHO issued its latest hazardous warning, I didn’t smugly smile to myself and wag my sickly, bony, calcium deficient finger in a gleeful ‘na, na, na, na, na’ cackle. Instead, like others, I shared the link on my Facebook page and advised people to read it and make up their own minds as I do with any other newsworthy item I happen across.

  I also asked myself if these boffins were the same nerds who appear totally confused as to how much red wine is good/bad for us to consume.

  However, when I cook for hubby or we have visitors round, or when my meat loving granddaughter comes to stay, I don’t turn into a weird, posturing, tree--hugging, boring brittle-boned dictator, insisting on a flesh free environment…not in the slightest. In fact I provide for everyone’s diet and tastes and make a meat-free…and no, not taste-free, but a yummy, alternative pour moi. And for the record I do not agree with how certain animal rights organisations/groups spread their message, which can often be quite aggressive, so I tend to march to the beat of my own drum, which is once again, for me, animals, and their welfare matter, and I feel an uncontrollable compassion towards them and believe in educating people in so much that if they ask me for information I give it to them…but only if asked.

  I believe that when someone has evidence and facts, it is only then, as adults, that they are fully equipped to make their own, unbiased, impartial and informed decisions.  That said, I will stress that choosing a vegan lifestyle is not easy – nooooo, not by any stretch of the imagination folks.  In fact, it can often prove stressful as some restaurateurs (not all) tend to hate people like me and panic when I walk into their establishment and enquire as to their vegan option…normally a plate of diced sweet potato (which I detest) or a plate of stir fried onions and peppers, which is not really a choice now, is it? It’s more of a punishment and evidence of their unimaginative fayre du jour. 

  When I enquire if the proffered, limp stirfry has been cooked separately or doused in the same fat as, say, the rare, blood-dripping burgers, the audible sigh of impatience from the waiting staff makes me worry if, when the monotonous offering does return, freshly fried in vegan friendly oil, it may well also contain the chef’s odd sneezer or three. Hence, due to this lack of choice and understanding,  we don’t eat out too often; nor are we usually asked round to worried friends’ houses due to the host/hostess’s panicked enquiries of “Jesus, what do you feed a woman who eats nothing?”

  Look, folks, you continue to eat and enjoy your food. Life is too short to stop looking forward to that plate of cabbage, mash and bacon smothered in thick gravy. Besides, despite my refusal to eat anything with a face or that once had a pulse, or consume dairy products, I do know fresh, unprocessed meat is full of important dietary requirements like iron, various vitamins and proteins, but I would just state the bleedin’ obvious here and say that modified, shrink-wrapped, salt, preservative and nitrate laden processed products of any kind, including meat, cannot be very healthy for anyone to consume or depend upon as their staple daily diet, now can they? But, again, check this out with your doctor and make your own choices.

  I would however advise that if you are going to cook and consume meat, do as I do when carnivores arrive at my door and visit your local organic butcher and shop local and support local Roscommon farmers.

  You see by doing this you’re helping to sustain local enterprise and keep funds in our county, and God knows we need it badly. Shopping local also means we get to make a connection and form a relationship with our local suppliers who’ve abstained from poisoning their produce with additives and preservatives because they don’t need to as the food comes fresh from their nearby farms and fields.

  So I suppose it’s up to you, the consumer, to decide. Do you want to sustain local enterprise, support local farmers/butchers/food suppliers/markets/jobs, i.e. humanbeings who are your neighbours and buy your meat and veg locally or do you want to support multinational conglomerates who peddle GMO laden pulp as suitable, sustainable and now, questionably healthy food?  Again, the choice is yours.

  For this happy cow however, it always has and always will be that as long as there is breath in my body, I’ll only consume  plant-based foods, including veggies, fruit, grains, beans, seeds and nuts…or is that just that I am nuts? Bon appetite.

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