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From the kitchen table

From the kitchen table

I’m no lazy, listless vegan, Danny!




I’d imagine the Dunkirk evacuation was easier to organise than Danny Healy-Rae, pictured right, collecting his thoughts together and getting himself into the Dáil of a morning! Look readers, I’m sorry to have to say this, but, while I’m sure the aforementioned Danny is really a lovely man, it does seem to me that every time he opens his mouth to air his convoluted ideas regarding, well, almost everything, the sound of his voice not only cleaves through my cranium like an axe, rather his view of life in general appears to be so skewed I’m now wondering why David Attenborough hasn’t made a documentary about him…half-man, half-eejit! Only jokin’, Danny!

  Last week, straight from scaling the cliff-face of denouncing climate change, the man who never misses a perfectly good opportunity to keep his gob shut accused us non-meat eaters of being lazy! Can you believe it? Standing tall on his soapbox, head up, chin stuck into, well another chin, and, with all the depth of a car park puddle, the Kerry TD declared in what appeared to be every ounce of sincerity he could muster, that those of us who don’t eat meat have ‘never worked hard,’ before helpfully providing us with some much-needed dietary advice, by adding that a hearty helping of ‘bacon and cabbage,’ or a ‘beef or mutton stew,’ is likely all us weak vegans need to help us face the rigors of daily life.

  Now, while some dairy-deprived, non-bikini-waxing, non-parmesan shaving religious vegan zealots out there may have got their sensible hemp knickers into a twist over Healy Rae’s comments, I have to say, as someone who has refused to eat meat, fish or poultry since I was a small child, then choosing to convert to veganism, (no eggs or dairy either), 12 years ago, I think the man, (who is, by the way, a democratically elected TD) has a right to his views. Mind you, I would like to question the IQ of those who elected him, but sin scéal eile.

  Look, as someone who adores all animals and who believes, with all of my heart, that they are sentient beings who feel fear, feel pain, feel love and are self-aware, etc., and, as someone who rescues animals, I cannot, and I will not consume them…end of. I’m also someone who works very hard. In fact, I’ve been grafting since I was 15 years old, earning my professional degrees while working by day, raising a family and attending college by night. So there, Danny; we’re not all listless, work-shy sloths!

  Now, to be honest, as a vegan, I’m sick of being apologetic to people, mainly some restaurant staff who seem to panic when they realise my food choices are beyond their capacity to offer a meat free/dairy free option on their menu. But I get round that by, well,  smiling sweetly and mollycoddling them a little by offering simple tips around how they could quickly adapt their set menu to accommodate me without going to too much trouble. I do this because I do not, and never will, buy into those insufferable whack job archetypes adopted by many uncompromising, butt-clenching vegans who, quite frankly are joyless cranks whose only purpose in life is to serve as a warning sign to others. Look folks, I believe that as humans, we all have a right to decide what life choices we make and that means I will never judge anyone for eating meat; in fact my family consumes meat and I cook it for them.   

  You see, I view veganism as my personal dietary/life choice, and, even though I would question how our country treats our animals, and, in particular the livestock raised for human consumption – because, let’s face it, we all have a moral as well as a legal obligation to provide the highest standards of humane and compassionate care and conditions for our animals – but while veganism is growing, and I support that, I do acknowledge that meat/fish/poultry/dairy are a fundamental part of the majority of people’s diets, and that’s that! At this point I want to say, that, in general, (and going only on what I’ve personally experienced), Roscommon farmers do, to their credit, go that extra mile in taking care of their animals, with welfare being their priority, and well done to them.


Celtic Cru…bringing ballads back to life


Last Saturday, following what has been an extremely upsetting start to our New Year, myself and himself decided we needed a bit of a distraction and took ourselves off to The Forge in Castlerea to see Roscommon sensations Celtic Cru.

  The lads, who’re all so friendly and great craic, expertly performed an impressive ensemble of the best of Irish ballads and other hits, and, punctuated by their good old-fashioned Roscommon charm, charisma and electrifying stage presence, they not only dedicated a song to me, they also thought it’d be a good idea to invite me up on stage to sing with them. Of course I obliged, much to poor hubby’s mortification. Well done lads, we had a great night.


Make up your mind Josepha


Some politicians are so boring they can’t even entertain a thought, never mind a tweet, so perhaps that’s why our Culture Minister Josepha Madigan has reportedly decided to hire a social media expert to manage her online image. Now, as we – taxpayers – are apparently paying this ‘expert’s’ salary, I’d like to request they advise their boss that she’s being a little naïve if she thinks that one week she can lecture us women, telling us that if we wish to get ahead we must first “get a good husband,” and then the following week, while speaking at the Fem Fest, declare she’s really a “dedicated feminist”. So, which is it Josepha? Honestly love, before you open your mouth again, do some soul-searching…you never know, you may find one!


Are we facing a health crisis Armageddon?





Up until last week, I’d have considered meningitis to be one of those rare infections you come across. However, the HSE has revealed that 11 cases of this condition, which affects the delicate membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, were reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), since the last week of December, resulting in three patients losing their lives. Now, while I hate to catastrophise, these stats clearly indicate a major and worrying spike, leading me to be concerned that, along with a possible Brexit ruination, we’re also set to become victims of some kind of health crisis Armageddon.

  And so readers, as this is a family-run newspaper with community very much at its heart, (and, as several parents and some senior readers have told me they are somewhat confused regarding the signs and symptoms of meningitis, especially as some can resemble the flu), even though I’m no medical expert, I thought I’d touch upon this emotive subject. But before I go any further, do bear in mind that the best person to address all medical concerns is your local family doctor; and, if you feel that something is not right with either yourself, your child or any family member, seek his/her advice without delay because the HSE’s data is indicating that different strains of the disease are circulating with all age groups being affected.

  My own personal encounter with meningitis occurred when, while at work, I got a call from my then 10-month-old granddaughter’s crèche to say her mammy, (my eldest) uncharacteristically hadn’t turned up to collect her and was uncontactable by phone. I dropped everything, and, while myself and hubby rushed across the city to get our granddaughter, my ex-hubby and our youngest went searching for her mother. Long story short; unbeknownst to us, two hours earlier, my eldest had collapsed at work and had been rushed to Beaumont Hospital suffering from what was eventually diagnosed as being viral meningitis. None of her colleagues had thought to ring us when she’d collapsed, (they got a right earful from me, and my daughter later said she was mortified returning to work following her recovery). Understandably, as she was unconscious, hospital personnel, quite rightly, were more concerned with saving my child’s life than they were of going through her handbag/phone to find her ‘in case of emergency’ contact, or ICE, which were myself and her dad.

  Now, while my daughter’s diagnosis struck fear into the very heart of me as we stood outside of her isolation unit speaking with her medical team, I also breathed a huge sigh of relief because I knew that the viral strain of this disease, although very serious, and requiring swift intervention, is, thank God, rarely ever life-threatening, and we are forever grateful she pulled through without suffering any after-affects. We were lucky. I remember praying to every saint I could think of; at one stage going so far as promising my soul to Satan if only he’d allow her to survive.

  Now, as there is, (and it seems always has been), a health crisis when it comes to our A&E departments, it’s understandable that if a child, an adult or a senior relative is feeling unwell with what appears to be flu-like symptoms, that bed rest with a hot water bottle and an over-the-counter remedy would likely be the sensible thing to do in order to avoid making things worse by presenting at overcrowded A&Es. However, while it has been reported that the HSE has ‘declined to say what counties are affected on the grounds of patient confidentiality,’ and, as we don’t have an A&E facility in Roscommon, a call to your doctor, even though he/she God love them, are probably inundated at this stage, is absolutely vital. In addition, readers could also contact the charity ACT for Meningitis and speak with a family support officer. Their number is Ph: 091 380058. Or ring the Meningitis Research Foundation whose helpline is Ph: 1800 41 33 44.

  In the meantime parents, I’d urge you to check your kids’ schedule of vaccinations and make sure they’re up to date. Remember readers, while viral meningitis is rarely life threatening, urgent medical attention is essential. As for bacterial meningitis, well, if untreated, this is almost always fatal, so, if you’re concerned, don’t delay and consult your doctor for professional, medical advice.


Love a woman over 50? Quelle horreur!


Well ladies, it seems we’ve been sexually gazumped by a younger, firmer, thinner and more interesting new model, i.e. the under 50 year old nymphet!

  It’s true. Last week,  as if dissecting us mature girlies with a scalpel and holding us aloft like some medical experiment gone horribly wrong; French author and TV presenter Yann Moix publicly declared that women ‘over 50 are too old to love’. And, what has prompted the misogynist monsieur to make this statement? Well, presumably the creepy lothario perceives our age-related lack of pliability has resulted in our bodies becoming ‘not extraordinary at all’. His words, not mine!

  Now while I’m no Kendall Jenner, and, at no time in my life have any of my body-parts been as taut as Angelina Jolie’s inner thigh, however, as a woman who falls into the smart-assed chauvinist’s too-old-to-love category, I’d say that, along with every other fabulous mature Roscommon woman,  I’m defo not ready to sit in a corner covered in a shawl crocheting doilies just because some homme horrible who doesn’t even possess the IQ to become a contestant on Big Brother thinks I’m past it!

  Then again, let’s not be too harsh on Moix, who is, by the way ladies, himself a 51 year old; and assume that, despite the fact he’s balding and his visage resembles an unmade bed, (I mean, he’s hardly a knight in shining Armani now is he mes chers?), that he is, like some egotistical men, experiencing a mid-life crisis. Mind you, I could be wrong, but personally, I don’t think this imbécile has even left puberty yet!



Are you successful and single? Wow…what’s your secret?



You’ve got a spectacular CV, a good job that affords you a decent standard of living, you drive a nice car, have a wide circle of friends, a pretty hectic social life and you go on foreign holidays, etc., but wait…something’s clearly missing here ladies…I wonder what it is? Oh yeah, a good husband!

  Now, before you get your control top tights in a tangle girls, this whole ya-gotta’-get-a-man-to-get-ahead idea is not mine…no waaaay; rather it’s (allegedly) culture minister Josepha Madigan’s opinion. Yep, according to reports, the multi-talented Minister Madigan, (aka mother of two, Mrs. Hayes), who is not only capable of saying Mass, and whose impressive rapid rise through the ranks made her the 19th woman to be appointed to a senior ministerial role since the foundation of the State, (for the record readers, that’s a bit of trivia I discovered without the help of my good husband),  has, it appears, now become somewhat of a relationship/career guidance counsellor, encouraging aspiring female politicians to “get a good husband”. In fact, as a bonus bit of advice for those slackers among us who believe the secret to a successful marriage/parenting/working outside of the home combo means keeping our kids alive, Ms. Madigan enthuses that we should make sure to “get good childcare,” as well.

  Honestly Josepha, you’re amazing, I mean, do daffodils  curtsy before you when you float across Merrion Square?

  Look ladies, while I’m not taking a swipe at Josepha, and while I’m sure her advice was well meant, I’m also sure that there is not one successful single lady out there sitting on a designer handbag full of (her own) money, crying bitter tears into her G&T because, due to the scarcity of ‘a few good men’ her only consolation is she has a big brood of rescue cats to console her. 

  Full disclosure girls; I am no relationship expert, but I’ve always told my daughters that no woman needs a man to be a success, and, may I add, neither does any man need a woman or a ‘good wife’ to be a success, because being single is not a drawback, and I for one am sick of those cloying and annoying perfect cake-baking goddesses who appear to be more judgemental than the High Court, dishing out lifestyle advice.

  Now, while I have a lot of respect for those women who believe their marital status and the love and help of a good man has made them what they are today, I have to say that when someone as intelligent and as influential as Ms. Madigan makes such a statement, I would worry that those of us applying for jobs may feel that, in the ‘any distinguishing characteristics’ section of our application forms, we are compelled to disclose we’re tragically bereft of a ‘good husband,’ and have instead, in some cases, been lumbered with a specimen who is only barely capable of keeping up with the relentless pace of our professional lives!  So, before Roscommon county becomes a generation of barren, husband-less single career women, my (tongue in cheek) suggestion is to let the hand-wringing and the race to dive into that pool of available and, let’s not forget, suitable mates, begin this weekend ladies, because, if the lovely Josepha is right, it’s probably our only option to security and stability while climbing that career (and that political) ladder. May the best ‘good husband’ hunting woman win!


Nobody is entitled to fat-shame us ladies


I was shocked, and, I have to say, annoyed when I read that curvaceous and absolutely stunning British model Kelly Brook revealed she had ‘dropped two dress sizes’ after her boyfriend called her ‘a balloon’.  

  Look ladies, if you’re in a relationship with a man, and he fails to shower you with love and treat you with the respect you so richly deserve, then I’m afraid he no longer fits the category of being labelled a ‘man’ anymore! So, if any of my  breathtakingly gorgeous readers…(in which case, that describes every woman in Roscommon), have sadly been faced with the grim reality of their husband/partner inappropriately and cruelly body-shaming them, then I suggest you start thinking of him as an arrogant, cold-blooded pot plant, and, at warp five speed, head straight for the fridge and your emergency stash of luxurious Green &  Black’s dark chocolate bars, and, instead of dropping a single dress size, (never mind two like Kelly), drop the callous arrogant creep instead!

  It’s really hard to get my head round the idea of someone who is meant to love you feeling they are entitled to fat-shame you; however, it’s clear these individuals exist and, if we are unlucky enough to have one of them in our lives, we must remember that our bodies are our own.

            We were not created for anyone else’s pleasure, meaning nobody has a right to touch us, criticise us or to judge how we look. If we gain or indeed lose weight, or if we develop wrinkles or scars, etc., our bodies will still be beautiful and the only one who genuinely needs to love us is ourselves.




Privileged Spencer needs a lesson in parenting, 2019-style…





Apparently the Edmund Hillary of social climbing, (he’s related to royalty don’t ya know), and smitten-kitten new dad, (he’s been parenting for all of five minutes), Spencer Matthews is such a dab hand at raising his baby son, he’s been sharing his new-found skills with us mere mortals via Hello! Magazine, saying: “So far, it hasn’t been a particularly stressful experience. If your child is screaming his head off, he’s either too hot, too cold, tired or hungry. People make it sound like rocket science and it’s not”. Wow, thanks Spence love…and, while I really do hate the shrewish tone in my voice right now, as you gaze down upon us less stinkin’ rich parents from your cloud nine throne to impart this well-meant insightful little nugget pet, I’m going to tell you that your guidance is probably about as puerile as privileged Leo Varadkar pledging that he’s going to do something to prevent Irish people being forcibly thrown out of their homes in 2019!

  Look, call me cynical readers, but if you’re a new parent, or indeed, are about to welcome that glorious little bundle into your life in 2019, as an experienced, (imperfect) mother myself, I’m going to tell you that anyone who thinks parenting is a breeze, (a la Spencer), is not only faking it…they’re failing it; or rather, they’re totally out of touch with the highs, lows, joyous wonders and, sometimes the overwhelming woes and anxieties that welcoming a precious new life can bring.

  You see, here’s the reality folks…until you’ve spent hours gnawing at the inside of your cheek as you try to soothe your adored newborn infant as her  gut-wrenching colicky screams penetrate your very heart, while at the same time make a nutritious dinner from scratch and prepare a PowerPoint presentation for your husband explaining why empty milk cartons belong in the bin instead of the fridge, and scream that just once, you’d like to go into the bathroom and sit on a dry toilet seat, (all of which I’ve done), then I’m afraid you should not be taking advice from some rich molly-coddled, socialite/reality star.

  It stands to reason that only those parents who’re mega-minted enough to have the spondulicks to hire a housekeeper and a nanny who can be on hand to tackle the night feeds and the dirty nappy changes, will, a week following their child’s birth, be capable of stepping out looking like a male model to attend a luxury car launch, a la ‘childcare expert’ daddy Spencer. And didn’t he look buff!

  Yes, rich parents with means, royal connections and personal trainers/stylists, don’t suffer from sleep deprivation; nor are they (like me), forced to hyperventilate to the point of collapse while trying to suck my post baby-belly out through my ass while I struggled to drag on a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans, which were pinned together beneath a baggy jam-stained jumper just so I could feel ‘normal’ again! 

  However, I will give Spencer some credit for the way he praises wifey Vogue Williams, saying she’s an “exceptional mother,” adding how he’s “always been in awe of my wife, in many aspects, and being a mother is certainly her finest achievement”. Ah, now fair play to him. And, while, following my children’s births, I wasn’t exactly rushing to take out a membership of martyredmothers.ie, I was a bit (okay a lot) annoyed that nobody (okay their dad), didn’t declare how gloriously wonderful I was following my very difficult labours. Now while I know that I, and every other exceptional Roscommon mammy out there realises that, deep in our hearts, (and rooted in our stretch-marks), we’re all just as flawlessly fabulous as the superhuman, Instagram-posting model Goddess that is Spencer’s wife Vogue Williams, an aul declaration of appreciation emblazoned on a light aircraft sky-writing message would suffice and earn all you daddies a few brownie points in 2019! I wish the Williams-Matthews’, and all new parents, a glorious new year.


From obscurity to household names…let’s get ready to rumba!


I don’t know about you, but I haven’t quite reached my quota of formulaic-celebrity-based-reality-shows just yet, (must be my age), so I’ll likely tune into this season’s Dancing with the Staff, sorry Stars. However, I’m disappointed with what the meeja is calling ‘the full celebrity line-up,’ because, well, I don’t wish to be impolite, but I’d hardly label any of them as ‘stars’. 

  I mean, who cares how former Today FM radio DJ, sorry broadcaster, Mairead Ronan fares with the foxtrot? Not me! And, while you’re probably booing and hissing at me panto-style, as a licence payer, I want to ask if the show’s guest bookers/producers have all sunk to a previously unexplored ‘scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel’ level, and, instead of securing the likes of such gems as Anne Doyle or Bryan Dobson, or to even look past the RTE canteen and see if my former TV3 colleague Mark Cagney is up for the challenge, they seem to be excelling in promoting the mundane! Mind you, I congratulate them on their remarkable ability to advertise Clelia Murphy, Peter Stringer, Darren Kennedy, Johnny Ward, Fred Cooke, Demi Isaac Oviawe, Eilish O’Carroll, Denis Bastick, Cliona Hagan and Holly Carpenter as household names; (that’s a marketing merit that can never be undersold). Let’s hope these, er, top-dog supremoes can keep us dazzled, (cue healthy dose of scepticism), with their fancy footwork.

  It’s safe to say readers, despite the fact I’ll likely tune into this year’s series, my expectations for the entertainment value of the entire offering is probably now as low as the status of the ‘celebrities’ taking part in it.


Happy New Year…

Happy New Year to you all.
I’ve no doubt 2019 will not only bring you thousands of reasons to pick up the Roscommon People, but also good health and lots of happiness.





















































































































































































































































































Stay safe during the season of joy



As we’re breaking up for the festivities and there’ll be parties galore to attend, if I may, I’d like to give you some advice. It’s the same advice I’ve given to my grown-up daughters, although they’ve called it a lecture, and it’s this…when you’re out and about enjoying the ceoil, craic, bia agus deoch (responsibly), please stay alert and please stay safe!

  Now, while I’m not trying to wreck anyone’s buzz, I’m sure you’ll agree the news that three young women reported alleged sexual assaults/rapes while innocently out enjoying the festive season last week is enough to make anyone worry. These alleged assaults occurred in Dublin, but that’s not the point. One allegation was made against a ‘taxi’ driver, another allegation was made against ‘a high-profile sports star’, and the third alleged attack happened to a German lady. So, despite the festive joy that’s in the air, despite it being the season of goodwill to all, there are clearly some scumbags who’ll take advantage of the dark nights and the fact that party-goers tend to relax a bit more, which affords the attacker the perfect opportunity to strike.  

  In fact, on Sunday last, having thoroughly enjoyed seeing Les Miserables, my daughters and I stood for ages in the biting cold trying to get a taxi. Now we know Christmas is a busy time for taxi drivers, and, such is the demand, it’s possible that, among the decent, hard-working, legitimate ones who’re on the road, there may be some, let’s say, rogue ‘taxi’ drivers out there, (giving honest ones a bad name)…and I suspect the vehicle we got into may have contained an iffy driver. I may be wrong, but I’m basing my suspicions, (and that’s all they are), on the fact that a few minutes into the journey, ‘taxi’ man became brash, to the point of aggressiveness, and, while he resembled, (kinda) the pic on his ID, he had absolutely no knowledge of Dublin city and, as my eldest directed him to a well-known landmark, he ignored her and instead scrolled through Sky Sports on his phone, while, in his earpiece, he shouted to someone in a language we couldn’t understand. This relentless footie-results scrolling – and what I perceived to be quarrelsome conversation, (remember I didn’t understand this person’s native tongue) – continued throughout our journey. 

   I also noticed, without ever once indicating, ‘taxi’ driver zig-zagged through traffic at speed in a car that rattled – and he smelled absolutely vile. I whispered my concerns to my daughter who felt that as we were in a rough part of the city, getting out may prove even more precarious. It was at this point I raised my phone, took a picture of ‘taxi’ driver’s ID, and, sending them to my husband, who was, admittedly back in Roscommon but hey, ‘taxi’ man didn’t know that, I smiled sweetly and informed the now strangely attentive individual, (who suddenly shut up, ceased scrolling and focused his eyes on me), that hubby’s over-protective and likes me to check in with him. Now, while myself and my daughters are strong women, all capable of delivering a swift kick to the family jewels in the event of a physical attack – as I’m sure are most feisty Roscommon lovelies – had I been alone, I’d have been terrified and I’d have exited that particular vehicle at my first opportunity because I did genuinely feel we were in a vulnerable situation.

  At this point, let me state that our ‘experience’ occurred in Dublin, and not here in Roscommon, and I believe the majority of taxi drivers across Ireland are polite, decent human beings who take enormous pride in their work and who only want to get their passengers home safe and sound. In fact members of my family are taxi drivers. However readers, taking a few precautions like pre-booking your taxi from a local licensed operator or even hopping into one at any of the many designated ranks across the county is the key to enjoying a fab night out and a safe journey home. In addition, before entering any vehicle, please check it has a permit displayed in the front windscreen, and tell someone where you’re going and what time to expect you home. Remember, a decent taxi driver will not mind you checking his/her credentials; in fact, they may welcome it.



Charlie Flanagan must examine the licensing laws around evictions


The shocking events that occurred in Falsk last week had me questioning whether I was living in 2018 or indeed, had been transported back to 1740 – a time of famine, mass starvation and mass evictions!

  I could hardly believe my eyes and ears, yet, in an operation filmed and shown widely across social media, a family of two brothers and their sister, who have farmed the land for generations, were aggressively evicted from their home. 

  In fact, the shocking footage shows local people being wrestled into submission in what can only be described as being both forcible as well as heart-breaking scenes, as this family were left helpless and homeless a week before Christmas. This horrendous turn of events resulted in a group of individuals taking retaliatory measures – and may I stress, I will never, ever condone violence in any form, either against another human being or indeed against any animal, because nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands – it has to be said that, understandably, tensions were clearly high, as were the depth and strength of the emotions, which run strong in this proud and beautiful county of ours; a county I am proud to call home. But again, violence is not the way forward!

  Now, while I don’t know the details of this situation, I do know people get into financial difficulties for all sorts of reasons, (and it’s nobody’s business but their own, and there for the grace of God go I); however, it’s alleged the property was taken into possession after KBC bank won a court order against the family. But I have to ask if surely some sort of arrangement could have been amicably reached in order to avoid such a forced eviction…something which would have allowed this family, and other families in dire situations, remain in their homes while discharging their debt?

   If the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has any mettle in him, my advice would be that he’d use it wisely and act now to examine the licensing laws around evictions because we simply cannot have a repeat of the horrific scenes that unfolded last week…not here…not in this Republic, and not in our peaceful and proud county of Roscommon.


When the right to privacy clashes with the right to investigate crime



It was the trial that gripped the nation, when, back in 2015, architect Graham Dwyer was sentenced to life imprisonment after a jury found him guilty of the murder of Elaine O’Hara.

  Last week Dwyer made headlines again when the convicted murderer won his legal action against the State and the Garda Commissioner over the use of his mobile phone data, something which formed a vital part of the case against him.

  Now, as several readers approached me over the weekend, asking if I’d explain exactly what this latest turn of events means, I said I’d touch on it this week, so here goes…

  For the sake of balance, let me say that Dwyer denies murdering Elaine O’Hara back in 2012 and claims that data gathered from his phone should not have been used in his trial and was a breach of his privacy. Let me also say that Dwyer wasn’t actually appealing his conviction last week; in fact what he was doing was looking at a particular law as it relates to data retention and access to it. Ya with me so far?

  The judgement reached is a complex legal one which is highly important and significant – not just due to the implications it could have around Dwyer’s murder case, but also in relation to other cases where this type of data may have been used. It’s also a lengthy one, (running to 101 pages), and I’d imagine legal experts are wondering if this strengthens Dwyer’s appeal regarding his murder conviction.

  In addition, (as I understand) one of the issues challenged focused around the general and indiscriminate retention of data, and it appears (and I could be wrong here), that the issue the Judge had was that there were no safeguards in place for the general public, i.e. ordinary, law-abiding people like you and me as to how our data is being used, retained and harvested. So, while this has now been addressed and rectified – and remember, it does not mean that Dwyer has got away with murder, (he’s still in prison) – he could potentially use this important ruling in the event he does appeal his conviction, and it could work in his favour.

  So, after all that I suppose we’re now left in a situation where the right to privacy is ‘clashing’ with the right of the Gardaí to investigate crime. And while we cannot have the indiscriminate use of citizens’ data, and I’m personally glad this situation was rectified, I have to say, it will certainly make things very difficult for detectives when they’re looking at data in relation to criminal activity in the future.


RIP Superwoman: It seems Gwyneth Paltrow’s mortal after all


I don’t know about you, but I’m still gobsmacked following holier-than-thou, know-it-all, kale-juice obsessive Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation that…wait for it, women should, (and I apologise for being blunt, but it can’t be helped), ‘steam out their vaginas in order to deliver an energy boost and powerful internal cleanse’. 

  OMG, how gut-churning is that image? I mean girls, imagine, somewhere in the world, there are probably thousands of neurotic eejits squatting over basins enduring the Paltrow-endorsed vag-steam…and that, for me, is both sinister and hilarious!

  However, just when I thought the so-called health guru was an over-privileged, insufferable alien sent from Mars to test our upper detestation levels, it’s emerged she’s actually quite human, probably very nice, and, it appears, full of self-doubt! All together now…aaaww!

  Let me explain! The woman whom, bless her bravery, often degrades herself by flying commercial, (imagine), admitting to finding “a sauna to sit in for 20 minutes to help me sweat out all the germs from the plane” when she lands – no doubt to cleanse her sacred feminine self of all the parasites we peasants emit – has this week revealed she doesn’t know it all!

  Yes folks, in order to grab a few column inches, therefore no longer languishing in the washed-up-hack archives of actors who’ve ruined their credibility by droning on and on about c**p, well GOOP in Gwynne’s case, rendering them to become box-office kryptonite, the recently married, (or consciously coupled) Paltrow has admitted her nurturing skills are questionable, divulging “I’ve never been a stepmother before. I don’t know how to do it”. Wow! RIP Superwoman!

  But hey, let’s give the poor little fearmonger, who does sterling work in lowering the world’s healthcare IQ, a bit of credit and say that yes dearest, it can of course be difficult to be a step-parent. You see, I know, because myself and he-who-refuses-to-panic-over-Christmas shopping, both have adult kids with former spouses. He has four. I have two. And while we’re definitely not a blended family, as in we all don’t live together (buíochas le Dia) – sure we’re not all even in the same country –  you’d need the diplomatic skills of Mahatma Gandhi to steer the egos of our combined adult diva daughters…and don’t get me started on hubby’s adult sons…I said don’t…I can tell you that step-parenting is not for the meek and mild, nor indeed, for the week-willed. So I empathise with you Gwynnie.

  You see readers, it may seem obvious, (it may not), but a parent will always have a higher tolerance level as well as a greater love for their own children. I’m holding my hand up here and admitting that I certainly do. Don’t get me wrong, my step-adults are wonderful but they have a fantastic mother, and don’t need me butting in…nosey aul bint that I am. And, as smart-aleck Gwyneth, who’s mum to 14-year-old daughter (Apple…I know), and 12-year-old son Moses…I hear ya), with ex Christ Martin, has now become a stepmother to new hubby Brad Falchuk’s two kids, she’s feeling the pinch. Serves her right! Sorry, I meant poor thing.

  Therefore, despite being ‘coupled’ in September, it transpires the Paltrow-Falchucks don’t live together because, according to step-mommy dearest, “It’s pretty intense, the teenage thing”. Wow, so I’m guessing Gwynnie now no longer believes that, “to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set,” and is now acknowledging that us ‘regular’ mortal mothers who aren’t pampered, stinkin’ rich movie stars like her snippy, snootiness actually do a pretty fantastic job raising our kids, and, for those saints who’re doing it…their step-kids. If that’s what she’s saying, then there’s hope for us planks, and I for one wish the fearless champion of women’s vaginal imbalance healthcare issues a bundle of happiness in her new blended, modern-family style adventure.



Why it’s a joy to shop local





When a customer buys from a local business it’s a no-brainer that the majority of the money they spend remains within the community; yet each year around Christmas time, we hear about the increase in online sales sounding the deathknell for the small local business man/woman who is, against the odds, battling for survival in their bricks-and-mortar store.

  Now, while you may be reading this thinking, but sure if some in the bricks-and-mortar fraternity adapted and kept up with the times and trends, surely they’d have no trouble competing in the strong e-commerce market. And yes, while that’s a perfectly logical analysis, the fact is dear readers, without the Holy Grail that is super-fast and super-efficient broadband, our local businesses cannot even get their foot on the online sales ladder, gain traction and compete in this lucrative market.

  So what’s got Mir on her soapbox; I hear you ask! Well, I’m sure you’re all familiar with last week’s findings by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland report which warned us that ‘small-town Ireland is facing a ‘perfect storm’ which has torn the heart out of life on main street,’ something which I think you’ll probably all agree is very worrying, making it sound like living and shopping in rural Ireland is stark, joyless, oppressive and, well, downright bloody miserable.

  However, as someone who has come from the big smoke to live here among you lovely people, I can tell you that yes, while I understand business owners are facing a major struggle for survival in Roscommon, it’s been my experience that shopping and socialising in our little towns, in particular our wonderful county town, is anything but cheerless and uninviting; nay, for me, it’s a real pleasure! And, if I may appear a little bit disloyal to my native Dublin, I find that Roscommon is probably one of the cosiest places to spend one’s hard-earned Christmas present-buying cash, because of the variety of independently owned shops, boutiques, hair and beauty salons, restaurants and hotels, and I would hate to think this report, (thorough, informative, and highly sympathetic though it is), would give consumers the impression that folks here in Roscommon are living in a Dickensian state of grinding poverty and baa humbug(esque) misery, when we are not!

  We’re full of the joys of the season and, with our trademark friendliness oozing out of every pore…I say ‘our’ and yes, I know I’m a blow-in, but you’re stuck with me, so deal with it…it means our local towns and villages are the perfect place in which even the most stressed out shopper/diner/visitor can immerse themselves when seeking the ultimate traditional Christmas experience…so there.

  And, as if proof were needed, sure only last Friday, having experienced a c**p week, my face, which, following many sleepless nights, looked like a bag of melted toffees, (even after I’d trowelled on a shed-load of make-up), lit up the second I parked my car…for free, I may add. Hearing the joyous strains of seasonal ditties chiming from the main street’s speakers, I bounced along like a born-again geriatric teenager drunk on tonic wine, such was the wonderful festive atmosphere wafting through the streets. Despite the fact I was short on time, I felt encouraged to take an hour to myself and pop into one of the family owned, independent restaurants in the town for a cup of original coffee, a homemade artisan scone and buy a loaf of their heaven-sent treacle and walnut loaf; which I’m stock-piling in the freezer for the fussy rellies when they arrive.

  So what I’m trying to say folks is that yes, while rural towns and businesses are struggling, and missing out on the power of online sales, they have the potential to win the war by offering us, the loyal customer, in-store exclusives, invitations to events that provide discounts, and other little perks that not only make it convenient for us to shop with them, but make us feel confident that by spending our money locally we are getting the best ever deal, thus creating and generating local brand loyalty.

  And yes, while buying local means convenience and better service, remember Minister Bruton, our one-of-a-kind, little businesses still need high speed broadband in order to be able to diversify and compete with the impersonal big-box retailers whom, if you call with a query, put you on hold before transferring you 50 times to a customer service individual who’s so far removed from your particular query, they couldn’t give a toss if the company loses you as a customer! Something which won’t happen with a face-to-face, bricks-and-mortar business owner!


Time to get the girls out for mammo number 5!


The window envelope marked ‘strictly private and confidential’ appeared last week containing the dreaded BreastCheck reminder that the girls are due their now routine mammogram.

  Now, while there’s been a lack of candour around some national screening programmes, (the CervicalCheck scandal still rages on), readers may know that BreastCheck, (the longest running free screening programme in the country), did finally reveal last May that reviews and re-checks of mammograms were being carried out. This could be worrying; especially if a review reveals errors were made in analysing mammograms, etc. However, like most women, I’m aware there are limitations to screening, and a certain failure rate is inevitable; so with that in mind, I’d urge you all not to fall prey to the scaremongering and to please attend your appointments – even if it’s only to see how incredibly flat your boobs can go!

  Seriously… stop the eye-rolling; I’m only tryin’ to inject some humour and normalise the process for ladies who, like me, may be unenthusiastic about having the twins handled, and then squashed between two metal plates by a complete stranger with freezing hands!

  Furthermore, even though a system of open disclosure ensuring women whose tests are reviewed will not be in place until 2019, I will definitely not be missing my mammo because, to their credit, BreastCheck is a great service, and has identified thousands of cancers through this screening process…meaning it does work! I will add that, like all screening programmes, BreastCheck are morally obliged to let individual women know if errors have been made.



Why stranger validation is damaging to our kids’ mental wellbeing



Parents, I’ve got a question for you…do you suffer from stranger validation? Do you even know what this condition is? No? Don’t worry; Dr. Mir is in da house, and I’m happy to explain the symptoms of what I believe to be a highly disturbing disorder.

  Stranger validation, (in my opinion), is an obsessive and compelling condition affecting some parents who seem to believe their children’s mental health and wellbeing is not rooted in who they are, or in the support they receive from family members and friends, rather it’s measured by how popular they are on social media.

  You see, while Roscommon parents will never suffer from this sickness, (because they’re responsible loving mams and dads), it’s a sad fact that some – well, one victim anyway – has reached such  a critical stage of this malaise, she should probably be temporarily  removed from Instagram and placed on emergency parenting skills’ support.

  I’m talking about US-based parenting blogger and mother-of-five Katie Bower, whose different, and I’d say skewed, approach to raising kids caused me some concern last week, when, sharing a picture of her son on his 6th birthday on Instagram, where she has over 52,000 followers, this mother brutally revealed to complete strangers, that her little boy, ‘receives the least likes’ out of all her children, and then begged complete strangers to click ‘like’ on his photo.

  Now, while I’m no Mary Poppins when it comes to raising kids, I’d like to be fair and cut Katie some slack here and assume that perhaps her earning power generated from brands that sponsor her is based entirely on what she, and her followers, perceive to be her picture-perfect family. However, I do believe that teaching our kids to measure their value in the amount of likes they generate on social media is just cruel, and, if I may add…a touch sad. In addition, I really have to ask if this mother is sitting her five kiddies down on a regular basis and showing them how many likes they each receive? Is she generating competition between the siblings and encouraging them to pit their individual attractiveness against each other by suggesting that, as one of them typically receives less likes than the rest, he’s ‘statistically’ the ugly duckling of the family?

  Like all kids, and indeed like Katie’s other kids, this little boy is a beautiful, innocent child who is worryingly being parented by a woman who seems to believe affirmation and acceptance doesn’t come through nurturing your kids and showing them love, instead, her perception of validation clearly comes from the positive reaction of  randomers sitting at a keyboard. Pathetic or wha’?

Are push presents now a thing?

Staying on the subject of parenting, (and again, I’m not perfect but the view is pretty great up here on my high horse), but I want to ask how many of you gorgeous Roscommon mammies have received a ‘push present’ when you gave birth?


  I only enquire because practically-perfect-in-every-way, model/reality star Vogue Williams, upon giving birth to son Theodore, received a (que gag moment), ‘push present’ of a rare tanzanite necklace from rolling-in-the-moolah hubby Spencer. That’s nice!

  Look, I don’t know about you ladies, but when I gave birth it was because I wanted to have a family; I never once thought I should be compensated for my excruciatingly painful efforts; because, for me, a healthy baby was the ultimate gift.

  However, come to think of it, given I received two stale custard creams, a cuppa, and twenty stitches in my lady bits immediately post-birth, (I delivered a 10lb human for God’s sake, give me some credit) a simple thoughtful gesture like a Tiffany bracelet, a diamond eternity ring or even a feckin’ cheap bottle of plonk from her dad would have made me feel just that bit less sore, and that bit more special.

Look picture-perfect for Santa at RosFM’s fundraising event

Community radio is alive and doing pretty well in Roscommon town, however RosFM does need our help in order to keep informing, entertaining and educating listeners. It’s for this reason volunteers have asked me to remind readers about RosFM’s Christmas beauty and masterclass fundraiser which will be hosted by blogger ‘Faces by Grace’. 


  The evening of beauty, which should prove to be the perfect platform for all stylish fashionistas to gain valuable make-up tips this Christmas, is sure to be a big success.

  Run by dedicated volunteers, RosFM depends heavily on fundraising events like this to help them improve and expand their broadcasting schedule so that it better serves the needs of local listeners. Remember, community radio cannot legally depend on advertising revenue, and seasonal fundraising campaigns are important to their future sustainability.

  So, save the date, it’s this Friday, 30th of November, from 7 pm to 10 pm in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon town.

  I’m told tickets are €25 and are available from www.eventbrite.ie, the Abbey Hotel, and at the door on the night. Attendees will be entered into a free raffle to win a ticket for Club Rossie’s ‘Win a House,’ competition.


Are we accepting violence against women as part of our culture?



Watching Virgin Media’s 5.30 pm News on Monday night, through no fault of the excellent broadcaster who was simply reporting the day’s stories, the three leading items focused on violence perpetrated against women. Stopping in my tracks, I suddenly realised that, due to the prevalence of these savage assaults, I am not only living in a country that appears to tolerate this repulsive violation, it accepts it as if it were almost part of our culture. And that’s not something we, as a right-thinking society, should ever be sanctioning.

  Something else we should not be sanctioning is victim blaming and shaming; and yet, only recently in a rape trial, a barrister representing a 27-year-old individual who was accused of raping a 17-year-old teen, directed, (with unbelievable callousness in my opinion), that the jury should reflect on the type of underwear worn by the child. And yes, that’s what she was at the time of the alleged incident, a child, whom, at 17, was below the age of majority. The accused was found to be not guilty.

  But I digress…back to Monday’s News, where the  first segment dealt with an 85-year-old defenceless, wheelchair-bound Dublin grandmother called Jenny Powell; a gentle woman who has dedicated her life to helping animals. Ms. Powell was brutally beaten with a hammer by a gang of wimpy scumbags who got away with €20. The other items dealt with the grooming and the heinous rape of a young woman by a polluted pervert when she was a child of just 12; and the rape of a woman by a depraved degenerate she met on a dating site.

  Now it may, (it may not), have escaped your notice folks, but this very Friday marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Action, an annual campaign initiated by Women’s Aid, opposing violence against women. And,  while some of you reading this may tut-tut, wring your hands, and express how shocking these crimes are before moving on with your lives – and there’s nothing wrong with that reaction, it’s perfectly reasonable – I have to say that despite the empathy we show towards these harmed women, despite the high profile public awareness campaigns and the training initiatives being rolled out, as well as the support of the fantastic charitable services who do their best with limited funding, the latest statistics – which were registered by Women’s Aid in 2017 – that a staggering ‘15,833 disclosures of domestic violence’ levelled at women was noted during ‘21,451 contacts’ with the service, makes for distressing reading.

  These figures must clearly indicate to any right-thinking individual that, instead of getting better, the situation is escalating to a much more disturbing level. So, instead of the outpouring of upset and shock displayed by the public, the Government, and by legislators in response to the rising incidents of persecution, oppression and the torture of women, I’d suggest that what we need is an entire shift in public perspective.

  Now I know that Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has great plans to bring proposals to Cabinet regarding the commission of a second Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (SAVI) report into looking at incidents of sexual violence by the end of the month, (and well done to him). Against the backdrop of his impressive rhetoric, (and the fact Christmas is on the horizon, and we know this is typically a time when, for various reasons, violence against women spikes), as someone who has identified in this publication as a survivor of a violent rape, (and while I don’t presume other survivors share my curiosity…they may), I’d like to ask the Minister what strategies he plans to put in place to protect Irish women while the steering group is putting this report together? It’s my opinion that the only way we’ll stop the women of this country facing and suffering any future intolerable atrocities levelled at them, is to focus all of our efforts, services and resources around implementing prevention, as opposed to constantly reverting to the tenacious tendency of blaming the victim for causing her own misfortune.


Helping Roscommon’s needy kitties this Christmas


‘Tis the season of caring and sharing, and you may have noticed there are a lot of fundraising charity events happening around the county at the moment. Well, if I could be so bold as to point readers in the direction of a fantastic little local charity called TNR South Roscommon, who are holding a fundraiser on Sunday, 2nd of December in the Athleague Community Centre from 11 am to 3 pm. 

  TNR South Roscommon is a group of wonderfully dedicated volunteers who help homeless kitty cats in the Roscommon and Athleague areas. They do tremendous work by making their meagre funds and resources stretch towards humanely trapping and neutering, as well as providing vital veterinary health checks and vaccinations for these vulnerable feral cats, before returning them to their natural habitat where they can live their lives without further reproducing, thus stabilising the population.

  TNR South Roscommon also carry out the successful rehoming of the gorgeous kittens they have lovingly managed to socialise ensuring they live their lives in a caring family environment instead of trying to survive on the streets where they’re exposed to an existence of poor health, hunger, neglect and abuse.

  So, if you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift, or just want to grab a coffee, a piece of cake and a friendly chat with a fellow kitty cat lover, do drop by and show TNR South Roscommon your support this kitty-mas; it will be most welcome.



McCabe was wronged because they couldn’t handle the truth






The entire process of the Garda ‘whistleblower’ scandal has taken out two Ministers for Justice, two Garda Commissioners and two senior civil servants, although it must be noted that while the dispute had begun long before Nóirín O’Sullivan took the helm, her tenure as boss was constantly dogged by it. May I add that the publication of the resulting Disclosures Tribunal has exonerated her of mistreating Sgt. McCabe and of helping to orchestrate a smear campaign against him. I also stress that Frances Fitzgerald got a clean bill of health when she was vindicated and found to have ‘acted appropriately’. In addition, Alan Shatter was himself vindicated in the courts.

  However, perhaps the biggest loss resulting from this shocking controversy is the ‘whistleblower’ himself, Sgt. Maurice McCabe who has retired from An Garda Síochána following 30 years of service for the simple reason that the man who really should be hailed a hero, felt it was ‘the only decision’ open to him. Now while I believe the force has lost an incredibly brave and honourable member – a man who at all times had only the interests of the country he served at heart – Maurice’s decision to opt out is absolutely the right one to make; both for him and for his family. Why? Because, despite the fact the force has missed a wonderful opportunity to retain McCabe’s services where he could teach rookies how to relate to the public, how to earn their respect and admiration, and, in general, how to be a good copper, there’s no way back for him.

  And, while Minister Charlie Flanagan has said the nation owes Maurice “a debt of gratitude,” I’d go one further and say give this amazingly strong human being the Scott Medal in honour of his bravery.

  While we’re at it, let’s give a shout out to Lorraine McCabe, the incredible woman who stood strong and silent by her man; who held her head high, who never wavered, not for one second, even when the man whose babies she bore, was disgustingly and wrongly accused of child sexual abuse. I won’t use the vile words former Commissioner Martin Callinan is alleged to have uttered when he tried to taint an officer trying to do his job, because this is a family publication. But I’ll give you a possible reason for Callinan’s nauseating attempt to blacken a man’s good name…he couldn’t handle the truth.

  Now I can tell you, while an apology from An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and the current Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will go nowhere near soothing what must have been the unspeakable emotional turmoil this solid couple have endured for over a decade, I’m sure it’s welcomed and received with the same sense of human dignity, respect and integrity that has become indicative of their upstanding behaviour.

  We can expect that Mr. McCabe (it’s odd not to address him as Sergeant, but he’s now like the rest of us…livin’ on civvy street), is due a level of financial compensation, especially from Tusla; but I’d say no amount of money will ever be enough. And, while I’m not pre-empting anything regarding an amount of remuneration, it must be said that Tusla’s mishandling of a file and an incorrect allegation levelled at McCabe was beyond doubt a travesty. Okay, Tusla have very publicly apologised for their titanic feck-up; in fact, if Carlsberg did catastrophic cock-ups, this one would defo be an award winner. However, for the record, there are upstanding, blameless people working within Tusla who do a fantastic job, so let’s not sully their good names.

  Look, if anything good is to come of this debacle, and if citizen McCabe is to leave any legacy, it’ll surely be that Commissioner Harris will learn lessons going forward regarding the process by which the force he leads operates and delivers its service to us, the citizens it protects. He should also look at how the force treats its hard-working and admirable coppers, (many of whom are stationed here in Roscommon), and make sure they’re treated with the due regard and respect they deserve. I wish the McCabes every best wish and happiness.


It’s Movember lads…you’ve got 30 days to cultivate that luscious lip warmer


It’s Movember folks and that means raising awareness of men’s health issues like prostate and testicular cancer, etc.  Oh, and it also means all you sexy Roscommon Mo Bros who’ve been putting off growing and cultivating a bit of hair on your upper lip can now do it in the name of a good cause.

However, do bear in mind lads, despite the fact menopause has given your poor elderly maiden aunt a weak bladder and regular hot flushes, much to the woman’s mortification, the ‘change’ has now managed, (without auntie even trying) to allow her grow a substantial soup straining set of old lady whiskers that’d put Magnum PI, (or a ‘70s porn star) to shame; yet you, ya big hunk of masculinity, may only be able to manage a slash of peach fuzz on your chinny-chin-chin; but don’t get too disheartened.

  However, Movember is not all about the lads, women can get involved too by becoming Mo Sistas who encourage and sponsor their dads, their brothers, their partners and their friends to grow and cultivate a luscious winter lip warmer, raise awareness and funds, and have conversations about their own health concerns. In addition ladies, when the man in your life reaches his upper-lip limbo, (and he will), and his barely-there bush begins to itch like hell, remember, it’s gonna be your job to encourage that bad boy to stick it out. Good luck!








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