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From the kitchen table

From the kitchen table

New York, New York: Leo does it again!

 

Leo Varadkar tried hard to back-peddle in order to diffuse the furore around his highly wounding remarks which were aimed at journalists and which he allegedly made while he was attending a lunch in New York, during his visit to launch our bid for a seat at the United Nations Security Council.

  Yes folks, apparently, as the song says ‘in a New York minute, everything can change,’ and our Leo got ‘pretty strange,’ telling invited guests that ‘the media,’ of which I am a member, was ‘not interested in the facts; only in getting a story,’ and that political journos only focused on what he described as “tittle-tattle,” and “rumour,” rather than “important issues”. Er, but it was all great craic when we reported on the less substantive issue of your maple leaf novelty socks during the love-in with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Oh yeah, no complaints there I see. Was that because nobody asked you a difficult question Leo?

  An Taoiseach allegedly made this latest controversial blunder while ‘expressing sympathy with Donald Trump’s attacks on the media,’ but, despite the fact he now “profoundly regrets” the comments, in order to make sure us horrid and unfair peddlers of “tittle-tattle” got the message, Leo dispatched chuckle brothers Eoghan Murphy and Paschal Donohoe to assuage us, nay, to stage-manage us into believing the great one’s remarks were all “taken out of context”.

  Will ya give me a break lads; sure the hubby has garden tools rusting in the shed that possess more charisma and cop-op than the pair of ya put together.

  And by the way, what is it with your boss, (perhaps it’s jet lag) but every time he visits the US he appears to feel an urge to impress Donald Trump…I mean, back in March we had his off-the-wall remarks regarding the Doonbeg wind farm negatively impacting on Trump’s golf course business, where Leo, assuming he was being hilarious, recounted how he had “endeavoured to do” what he could to help the then businessman. 

            Having crossed the line, Leo, (last spotted hiking up Mount Ego), now says he ‘believes that a free, fair and balanced press is a cornerstone of our democracy’. Damn right it is sunshine. And let me tell you this Leo, (in case the teachers in your old boys’ private school didn’t enlighten you sufficiently), as journalists, myself and my colleagues hold ourselves to a very important code of ethics and often have to make crucial decisions when reporting news to our readers. All of these decisions centre around finding and communicating the truth; something which facilitates the democracy in which we all live! As journalists, we try to bring transparency to our readers; and we strive hard to remain objective; even when we are reporting on issues we may not agree with. We try to relay information in an understandable and accessible way; and we try to evoke emotion regarding matters that will impact on all of our daily lives. D’ya get it Leo? An dtuigeann tú? Buachaill maith!

  Oh, and, since you’re so chummy with the Prima Donald, I have to ask, when it comes to securing our post Brexit border with the UK, will you be bringing his batty build-a-wall idea to the table?

 

Why Will & Jada need to stop sharing!

 

He may be one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, he may be handsome, talented and charismatic; oh and stinking rich; but, given the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s latest podcast comments regarding his marriage to Jada Pinkett-Smith, I think Will Smith’s trying way too hard to be cool.

  His comment, “We don’t even say we’re married any more,” and, “There’s no deal breakers. There’s nothing she could do — ever. Nothing that would break our relationship. She has my support ‘till death and it feels so good to get to that space,” makes me suspect the highly secretive Agent K from Men in Black may have visited the Smith household and fried Will’s brain with a Neuralyzer, because the bloke is living in a fantasy world and needs to wake up and understand that no marriage is bomb-proof!

  You see, in my humble opinion, while this couple are entitled to create their own version of a relationship/marriage/union…as indeed, we all are, maybe it’s just me, but the Pinkett-Smith’s slant on family situations has always been kinda unorthodox. They’re always over-sharing intimate stuff and trying way too hard to prove to the world they’re shiny, happy people.

  However, it’s not just Will; mother-earth Jada is also known to take the whole ‘we are family’ theme to what I’d opine as pretty disturbing levels. For example, does anyone remember a segment of her Facebook series where she imparted to followers that her grandmother – yeah her Nana – (and for the sake of this being a family publication and me not wishing to give our shocked editor a heart attack, I’ll be delicate) – taught her to, ahem, discover how to fine-tune her own personal entertainment system, (ya get my meaning?) – where Nana allegedly passed on some pretty specific instruction! Yeuch! Excuse me while I burn that distracting image from my mind’s eye!

  Dear God readers, I don’t know about you but (thankfully) the only thing my Nana felt the need to impart on me was her Victoria sponge recipe!

 

Let’s hear it for the reliable Rossie builders

 

 

The very notion of having a load of strangers, i.e. builders, working in my home is set to cause every single vein in my forehead to expand, threaten to exceed the limits of their proliferation and wildly, uncontrollably explode!

  Let me explain. Here, at this beautiful house we call home, a bathroom needed to be renovated, or re-modelled as the Americans say; and sure doesn’t it sound so much more exotic and expensive? Hence the need for calling in the builders.

  Last week, while someone in Roscommon forgot to take the waxy statue that is the Child of Prague back indoors after the young wan’s First Communion, the entire county was losing the run of itself in the unprecedented, historical and absolutely fantastic tropical weather! While there was a run on lady-shaves as those women across the county who’d been preserving their leg and armpit hair (and any other stubbly body bits that hadn’t seen sun nor shaving foam) since last October were now desperate to be smooth and hairless as dreams of beach bodies and evening barbeques took hold, we…had the builders in!

  Now you see, historically, myself and builders have never got on. It all started when I lived in Dublin and my former hubby engaged the services of a reckless, feckless moron who built two gate pillars at the end of our garden walls, which promptly fell down. The job he estimated would take three days, took seven, and cost twice as much. Long story short…former hubby, loath to confront the goon, advised me to “leave it be, we’ll get someone else to finish the job”.

  I was having none of it. Following several unanswered calls, I drove to the feckless moron’s house and told him to “Get it sorted,” otherwise he’d be getting no final payment. The man with the pitifully low IQ exploded, and, punctuated by a set of expletives, ordered me to “Shut up and go away you silly cow or I’ll shut you up. I’ll dump you in the Liffey”. My response… “If you do, you’ll be the massive splash that follows me ‘cos I’ll grab hold of your big fat useless ass and drag you down with me”.  Pillars were re-built the next morning; original (not inflated) balance was paid; builder never darkened my door again.

  However, this time round, the builders were plumbers John and Séan and the tilers were Mick and Paul. The team was headed up and organised by Derek, who locked in a start date with me and stuck to it. G’wan ya boy ya. Derek also answered my calls and texts straight away; which was so reassuring, because it showed he was client-focused and it told me he was organised. Well done Derek.

  Every one of these men were good, hard-working, decent Roscommon gents who came to our home and took control of the job! Outstanding lads…amazing. In fact, so remarkable, I could not believe my luck! I’d been dreading this home invasion for so long my stomach was going into spasm; especially as I had to deal with a very sick and incapacitated hubby on the same week. These men however, arrived when they said they would…to the minute. What a breath of fresh air!

  These men were professionals and went through the process with me of how I wanted the work done and how they were going to tackle it. I don’t speak builder, so luckily, (being my OCD self) I had photographs saved on my ‘phone to illustrate what I wanted. Struggling to understand my unintelligible banter of “Can ya put the thingies with the decorations here, and make a pattern out of them and then stick the other yokes around there”, tiler Mick laughed, but he was delighted to see I’d taken the initiative. These men were also courteous, spotless in so much as they cleaned up after themselves as they worked in subtropical heat, and they didn’t stop until they got the job done. I have to say readers, for once, due to the professionalism of Derek, Séan, John, Mick and Paul,…Miriam has absolutely nothing to complain about this week! And my bathroom is fabulous!

Showing solidarity with Emma

Mother-of-five Emma Mhic Mhathúna settled her case against the HSE and a US laboratory for €7.5 million last week. Emma, readers will remember, is one of 209 women affected by the cervical cancer scandal and, instead of arriving in court in a no-nonsense suit, this extraordinarily brave lady rocked up in a fabulous floor-length, off the shoulder Bardot-style evening gown bedecked in sparkly jewellery saying “red is a symbol for standing with women”.

  We should all stand with this woman of strength, this woman of purpose, this woman who must struggle every day to smile through what is no doubt the mighty storm that is cancer. We should get behind this fearless fighter, whom, despite what must be her obvious concern for her kids’ future without her, has decided to keep going, to keep positive and to keep bringing light and sunshine into her family’s life. My respect and my heartfelt good wishes go out to Emma, to Vicky Phelan and to all the other women stricken by this disreputable smear test shambles.

Stop wasting water!

I can assure readers that I’m doing my bit to conserve the aul H20 by swapping water for vodka! But seriously, Ireland experiences a few days of sunshine and it plunges us into a drought, meaning when it comes to housing, health and now water, this country is fecked.

  However, bear in mind, following the horrendous winter, farmers in Roscommon need to make hay while the sun shines and they must look after their animals who desperately need lifesaving water. Soooo, stop wasting water on your lawns; stop washing your cars; stop hosing down your cobble drive and stop filling paddling pools. In short, don’t be a dope and leave a bit of water for those who critically need it.

 

At last, society has said ‘we’re sorry’

 

While the government’s long overdue apology doesn’t go anywhere near diluting –never mind erasing – the hurt, the stigma and the wrong that was inflicted upon literally thousands of gay men who were tormented by society and criminalised by the State for being gay, it was phenomenal to see it happen. In addition, although he stopped short of singling anyone out, An Taoiseach, himself a proud and openly gay man, fleetingly referred to the “gay patriots,” of our 1916 Rising; those magnificent men (and women), our heroes, who valiantly fought and died so that you and I could be free.

  Now I’m convinced that I’m someone who was born with a rebel heart! I was happiest sitting on my darling grandfather’s knee,  listening in awe as he told me tales of heroism and bravery while we shared a packet of Toffo, and then strolled hand in hand through the Garden of Remembrance on Dublin’s Parnell Square. This was something we did on a daily basis. You see, I was born within a stone’s throw of the historical memorial and lived in the inner city for the first part of my childhood. Whenever the Rising is mentioned, I’m one of those people who bursts with admiration for our 1916 warriors, especially Michael Collins; (insert swoon emoji here). However, given my extensive research on the subject, it did occur to me, even as a young girl, that perhaps, just maybe, there was the aul hint or two, (circumstantial though it may have been), that a few of these marvellous men may have been gay! But who cares? Not me, that’s for sure!

  Last week’s historical apology, delivered by our government on behalf of the State to our citizens, our fellow human beings, our family members and our friends, for having the temerity to engage in consensual same-sex acts, made me proud to be Irish. Indeed I remember when this oppressive anti-gay law was repealed back in 1993, because it was the same year my second daughter was born. In fact, the announcement brought me right back to 1982, the year my first daughter was born, because that was the year a gang of four scumbags robbed, attacked and murdered in cold blood a 31-year-old Aer Rianta worker (Declan Flynn) in Fairview Park in Dublin. Declan’s ‘crime’? He was gay!

The vermin, two of whom were members of the Air Corps, who beat this poor helpless man to death were aged between 14 and 19 years old, and, during their trial had no problem admitting they were on a “queer-bashing” mission that day. The Judge, who allegedly commented the murderers were simply “cleaning up the area”, handed down diabolically lenient suspended sentences, all scandalously ranging between one and five years. 

  Now it may interest readers to know that while these abominations were being tried for this gentleman’s savage murder, in a separate courtroom, at the same time, another Judge handed down a 12-month sentence to a thief who stole a purse containing IR£24 punts.   The resulting outrage at the leniency of the murderers’ sentencing sparked a protest by Ireland’s gay community, and their supporters. I was one of those supporters, and my baby girl was with me, strapped into her buggy as, alongside them, I marched from Dublin city centre to Fairview Park. The former in-laws were outraged!

  However folks, this apology is monumental and a slap in the face for our once pathetically conservative State which believed homosexual acts were immoral, posed a threat to marriage (and public health if you don’t mind), and were flying in the face of God herself. Oh unclench, God might be a woman, nobody has proved otherwise, have they?

  Not only do we have a glorious gay man leading our country, we have access to contraception, divorce and now abortion!

Sooooo, while I don’t wish to be irreverent to his Holiness, (or His lovely followers), I’m  wondering how He’s gonna like it when He arrives for His ‘Pope in the Park’ gig and has to shake the hand of our Leo, a man whom, 25 years ago, would have been deemed to be nothing more than a common criminal. Oh how the holy stones have been turned!

Why I’m morto for Paschal

I’ll bet the government is re-thinking their decision to extend Robert Watt’s contract, (holder of the well-paid Department of Public Expenditure and Reform gig), by 36 months, given his supercilious comments last week, and are now probably wishing they’d let him step down following the end of his seven-year tenure.

  I couldn’t believe it when I heard the cheeky fecker actually suggested that those who built this country, (our pensioners), should be banned from travelling free on our public transport systems during peak rush hour, while the rest of us, (not Bobby boy; he’s on €192,233 a year; he’ll never need a free travel pass), were paying full whack.

  Firstly, Watt is not a Minister, he’s a civil servant, and civil servants don’t run this country; civil servants are not elected by the people and they should not hold any control over the government’s decisions. Secondly, pensioners have a right to free travel passes!

  However, having so publicly and arrogantly taken it upon himself to propose changes to the Free Travel Scheme, Watt has shown a self-important, pretentious haughtiness that should never be tolerated, but instead should immediately be nipped in the bud by Paschal Donohoe. But, instead of slapping Watt down, apparently our Finance Minister sheepishly defended the insolent so and so, paying  tribute to ’the service he has given to the State’. 

  Seriously Paschal? Well, I suppose we should all be grateful for the starch in your shirt love, otherwise there’d be nothing holding you upright! Morto for ya!

Ireland – land of scandals and scoping exercises

 

 

Some things never get old…the joy of opening up a birthday pressie and finding it’s a pair of elasticated waist jammies; perfect for that Saturday night veg out with a takeaway, bottle of wine and a comedy. Other things that never get old are tail wags and face licks from my beautiful fur babies and visits from my adorable granddaughter…oh and Nicole Kidman’s forehead…there’s another thing that never gets old. Too much Botox?

  Something that does get old however, and continues to turn my stomach is this country’s deplorable reputation for its love of tribunals and commissions for investigations. Yes, forget about Ireland, land of saints and scholars, we’re Ireland, land of scandals and scoping exercises. I say this readers because Simon Harris has confirmed that a full commission of investigation will be launched around the CervicalCheck shambles.

  Look, when I initially heard independent investigator Dr. Gabriel Scally was across the preliminary inquiry into this cock-up, I thought great, we’ll get some answers here, and we’ll get them soon. The women affected, as well as all Irish women, deserve and are entitled to information regarding our own health.

  However, it has been alleged that the eminent Dr. Scally hasn’t received all of the vital documentation he requested in ‘a searchable format’, which means some dipstick sitting on a fat pension provided him with ‘scanned versions of documents that had originally existed in electronic form’ – this set off alarm bells inside my head.

  This latest development means it’s business as usual for our State bodies and strongly suggests it’ll be years before we know the truth; years that these seriously ill women do not have the luxury of enjoying, and years before we will discover why lives were put at risk (and probably still are being put at risk). Now, while of course the ladies who are affected by this Cervical scandal, and the ones who have commenced legal action, deserve to have their say, to have their side of the story out in the open, I fear that by the end of it all, the investigation will most likely deliver no results whatsoever, and it sure as hell will not hold anyone accountable. What it will do however is waste precious time, possibly cost some women their lives and cost us, the taxpayers, millions of euro!

  When I worked in live TV, before we went on air, we used to ask ourselves this simple question…”Have you CYA?” Yep, the old cover your a**e examination. And, as a suspicious aul bint, this extra delay tactic regarding the provision of documents poses a lot of questions for me, some of them being…Is someone trying to cover their a**e by  delaying this investigation’s outcome? Is that someone hoping for a cover-up? If so…who? And…why?

  There appears to be a culture of defensive administration within our HSE, and while there are wonderful people working there – people who value the importance of the jobs they do, people who genuinely care about their clients – there seems, at some level, to be a collective mindset of ‘just couldn’t give a s**t,’ and ‘we assumed; we didn’t think to crosscheck; we believed it was a reasonable outcome,’ and, ‘sure let’s plough on regardless’.

  Oooh I don’t know about you readers, but I can see the clumsy, dysfunctional, underperforming, inefficient and incompetent failures behind this shameful shenanigans all lawyering up in time for the big exposure.

Why I’m jealous of J-Lo!

 

While the majority of us want to age gracefully, and that’s great, on a personal level I never want to wear clothes or sport a caramel helmet hairdo that screams I’ve reached an age where I’m entitled to a senior citizen’s discount at the movies. And, while I’m a long way away from reaching that milestone…shut up, I am…I was interested to read that the stunning Jennifer Lopez, (J-Lo for those who’re down with da kids), was recently talking about the perils of turning old.

 

  She said: “Listen, at some point, I’m going to age. They’ll say, ‘She looks old!’ But, right now, I’m holding it together”.

  And she certainly is, and I hope that I am too; yeah I’m delusional as well as jealous of J-Lo’s Benjamin Button(esque) existence.

  But mind you readers, J-Lo does have a new make-up line to launch, one that’s more than likely aimed at us regular, more mature ladies who can’t afford her list of stylists and clever make-up artists. Nor, (like Ms. Bootilicious), do we have a partner who is so bedazzled by how we look first thing in the morning they tell us how ‘youthful and timeless’ we are.

  I mean, credit where credit is due, J-Lo looks practically the same as she did 20 years ago, and she’s certainly got it all goin’ on gurl! However ladies, I wonder would Jenny from the block still be killin’ it and basking in the glory of her very own hotness if she lived on our little salaries and couldn’t afford those expensive reverse-aging products? No, she would not!

  I think if J-Lo had to do it all on our budgets, her next hit would be Jenny from the Retirement Home! Oh yeah, her love may not cost a thing, but I’ll bet her beauty products cost the equivalent of our country’s annual deficit! Meow!

Now is not the time for a general election

I see Sinn Féin dropped their threat of a ‘no confidence’ motion in Minister Eoghan Murphy following the housing crisis figures blunder,  leading me to ask if their hostilities were just a bit of a political stunt?

  You see, if Eoghan fell, the government would fall, plunging us into a general election. That means the timeframe for the commission of enquiry is fecked, the Brexit negotiations’ deadlines are fecked, the timeframe for passing the abortion legislation is extended and budget negotiations will be put on hold…in short, it’d be Armageddon, folks.

Guilty…of fraud in the first degree!

 

 

‘Last night he was dreaming, he was locked in a prison cell’…

  Yes readers, his legal team may have put up a good fight, but, following a lengthy 16-week trial, held at Dublin’s Circuit Criminal Court, last week, a jury consisting of nine men and three women, wouldn’t go for his story; they wouldn’t hear his plea, and they convicted former Anglo Irish Bank CEO David Drumm, pictured right, of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting charges.

  It took 10 hours and 32 minutes of deliberations to find Drumm had conspired with ex-bankers Denis Casey, Willie McAteer and John Bowe to defraud depositors and investors with their dishonest dealings. 

  As we know, the State’s case was that Drumm had artificially inflated figures by circulating €7.2 billion between Irish Life and Permanent and Anglo Irish in an attempt to create the illusion the bank’s customer deposits base was much stronger than it actually was.

  Drumm, who presents as being so arrogant he’s in danger of drowning in a puddle of his own smugness, and who the court heard, had referred to the financial regulator as “Freddie f**king Fly”, saying that he intended to go to “that f**king shower of clowns down in Dame Street” in order to seek emergency funding for the bank, clearly thought he didn’t need to face the music. Nor did he need to take responsibility for his illegal actions, in his view. And so, in the wake of the bank’s implosion, this criminal legged it like a coward to set up shop and live in the lucrative, upmarket suburb of Wellesley in Boston Massachusetts!

  Meanwhile, the country struggled with job losses, with many of us being forced to  eke out a meagre existence following massive wage cuts, (yet still having to pay the same bills/loans/mortgages and living expenses, etc.), due to this privileged prat’s actions, (because, according to the prosecution, Drumm was “the man who called the shots”). Anglo was then nationalised in a move that cost you, me and every other tax-paying sucker a whopping €29 billion.

  So readers, you’ll forgive me when I say I did a happy dance around my kitchen when I heard the verdict.

  However folks, I have to ask, 10 years on from this financial holocaust, are we about to make the same mistakes all over again?

  Each week we’re getting repeated warnings that our systems are not robust enough. Sure wasn’t it only last week, (as Drumm was being found guilty), we heard the OECD warning that “some signs of overheating are emerging” in our economy; expressing a concern around the pace of lending growth, alerting that it was “increasing sharply” and there was a distinct risk of “another property bubble associated with a strong surge in credit growth”. 

  Now I don’t know about you, but I cannot go through another recession, because the one we’ve just struggled through has left me with deep emotional as well as financial scars, as I’m certain it has left many others, and, even though Maths was never my strong point, it’s clear to me that Paschal Donohoe, as  Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure, needs to take heed of where our finances are going and start budgeting instead of carelessly passing out our cash like snuff at a wake and using it for political spending, i.e. buying votes.

  Seriously Paschal, this country cannot make the same mistakes over and over again and expect a different outcome…it’s not possible. Cop on! Yourself, Leo, Simon C, and back-up Simon H, and the rest of the Muppet Show must stop focusing on your Coalition options (sure you’re romancing so many ‘possibilities,’ it’s like an embarrassing episode of First Dates Ireland), and instead prioritise prudent fiscal planning and budgeting because what this country needs right now is to show a surplus, and not how photo fabulous Leo looks when meeting Olly Murs!

 

What Katie needs to do next…

 

Anyone else think Katie Taylor’s press release regarding the horrendous shooting at Bray Boxing Club was a tad disingenuous?

            Her heartfelt condolences to the grieving family of innocent bystander Bobby Messett were spot on. My thoughts are with them. May Mr. Messett rest in peace.

  However, Katie’s line saying she has had ‘no contact or association whatsoever with Bray Boxing Club since 2015,’ kinda annoyed me. As did her dig at the media, where she says, “I have been appalled by the misuse of my name and image during the reporting of this incident in the media coverage, it has been reckless and irresponsible, and a deliberate attempt to inappropriately leverage my name to sell a story’. 

  First of all Katie, let me tell ya love, YOU are the story, and you had no problem being the story, and indeed were very happy to be the story and be fully associated with that gym/boxing club when it was built especially for you by the tax-paying public, in order that you could pursue your boxing career.

            However, if I were someone who reads between the lines (and I am), I’d assume that distancing yourself from the gym is pretty specific and raises more questions than it actually answers…interesting!

  Anyhow brand Katie, (‘cos that’s what you are isn’t it…a brand), while you’re a great role model for young people, my advice to you is to work on your memory as well as your boxing skills and never forget where you came from or the tax-paying public who helped you get to where you are now.

Are new name and shame laws a good idea?

 

Big gold star goes to Communications Minister Denis Naughten, who has, for the past six years, been calling for the introduction of electronically tagging sex offenders when they leave prison.

  The Government has approved the legislation which will allow the monitoring of registered sex offenders’ movements which could see schools and neighbours being told the name, address and identity of ‘high risk’ perverted ex-cons who’re living in their area, and who will pose a  threat.

  Now while this move is controversial, I have to say well done to Minister Naughten for pushing the initiative.

  However, if these draft amendments to the Sex Offenders Act 2001 are passed by the Oireachtas, I imagine the move will receive criticism from the do-gooders in the bleeding-heart-brigade, and the members of the save-the-sex-offender club!

  Then again, (playing devil’s advocate here), there’s a danger this naming and shaming of offenders could lead to them going underground for fear of potential vigilantism, so I’d imagine there are issues regarding the practicalities of this proposed plan…but hey, it’s a start.

 

No disclosure, no truth and no transparency leads to treachery

Carlsberg don’t do conniving, deceiving, scheming, murky scandals…but if they did, Ireland might be their biggest seller! Neither, BTW, does Carlsberg do nicely, nicely, softly, softly ‘revelations’.…but if they did, Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone would win the prize for her use of sanitised, flattening and understated language when describing the historical adoption impropriety relating to 126 babies (most likely only the tip of the iceberg) in Ireland as being “incorrect registrations”. 

  I was personally impressed by the look of utter shock displayed on Ms. Zappone’s face during her press communiqué, appearing as if this disclosure was all a shocking and surprising piece of news to her. Perhaps Carlsberg should do best actress gongs and award her one!

  Now readers, I’ve got great respect for Minister Zappone, but at the centre of this scandal are 126 (at least) human beings and their families, and, as my mouth is not a bakery, so I don’t ever sugar-coat, nor do I put jam on anything, unlike the Minister, I’m gonna tell it like it is! The State hawked, trafficked, stole and sold babies; babies who are human beings and Irish citizens and collaborated in illegal adoptions; something which is a criminal act.

  In addition, does anyone else feel this ‘revelation’, coming hot on the heels of the massive Yes vote, has a kind of cruel irony to it? Of course this is not a ‘revelation’ at all; not to me, and not to countless others. You see, a close family member was illegally adopted, something which I discovered accidentally when I was just 17 and I was carrying out painstaking research (in the days before the World Wide Web), and I began exploring my family’s origins.

  You see, I was sure I was adopted myself. I’m not, but due to feeling totally out of sync with my family, okay, with my own mother, during my analysis, I made a disturbing discovery. Anyhow, this is not entirely my story to tell, but it does involve me, and I will be pushing and pursuing this outrageous, immoral and unethical act until I receive full disclosure because, due to my family member’s illegal adoption all those years ago, news of which I had to break to them, (bear in mind I was only 17), like everyone, I have a right to know who I am and where I come from.

  Of course there was a father involved in all of these tragic cases. These unfortunate women whose babies were stolen were not all bestowed the virtues of a miraculous immaculate conception. There are men, cowardly deserters handed get-out-of-jail-free cards who abandoned, shunned and neglected these pregnant women; who washed their hands of them, forsaking them to the fate of criminal baby snatchers, who sold their infants to the highest bidder through a thriving network across a black market adoption ring, i.e. the Catholic Church and the State!

 

We are never, ever,

ever…getting back together!

 

She may be a 10-time Grammy award winning performer but Taylor Swift certainly won’t win any prizes for her geographical skills, or should I say, lack thereof! In advance of the warbler’s June 15th Croke Park gig, Katy Perry’s nemesis, @taylowswift13: posted via Instagram, ‘I missed you UK! We’ll be back to see you SO soon on the Reputation Stadium Tour at Etihad Stadium in Manchester (June 8 and 9), Croke Park in Dublin (June 15 and 16), and Wembley Stadium in London (June 22 and 23)!’ 

  Ooookaaayy…deep breath…we are NOT British!

  Now, here’s a brief history lesson for you Taylor. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Let me clarify that I mean no disrespect to my lovely British pals, my British readers or my darling hubby; but, for centuries, the British threw their weight around trying to build an empire. One of the countries they targeted was Ireland. Why? Well, probably because everyone loves the Irish and maybe those fierce, fighting chaps just wanted a little piece of that luurrrvee action; maybe they just needed a big hug. However, they soon realised that oppressing us, starving us and murdering us, was not the way forward; especially as we fought back with everything we had. 

  However, despite the fact there once was ‘bad blood’ (see wha’ I did there Taylor?), we’re all friends now, and we love our neighbours, those jolly, terribly polite bad-ass Brits. 

  But, just in case my little lesson has gone completely over that cute blonde mane of yours Tay-Tay, let me put it in the words of your own songs…We, (the Irish), ‘got smarter’. We ‘got harder in the nick of time,’ and we kicked ass and rebelled. So, while ‘the world moves on, another day, another drama, drama,’ when it comes to our relationship with the UK…how can I put it? Oh yeah…‘We, are never, ever, ever…getting back together!’

  Yes, we forgave the British, we’re good like that; and we love them. Sure it’s all water under the bridge now isn’t it. But, for future reference Tay-Tay, if you, or anyone else ever decides to make that massive cock-up again, and think it’s okay to lump us, (a different country, a different nation, with our own unique language and identity), in with being part of the UK, let me assure you that ‘I’ve got a list of names and your’s is in red… underlined! Geddit love? Enjoy your visit to our Emerald Isle; I’m sure your Reputation Stadium Tour will be amazing.

 

 

Ladies, let’s stop being victims and let’s empower ourselves

 

 

We need to talk about violence towards women. We need to make sure every woman living in this country (and in this county) is safe. We need to examine the way in which (some) men act towards women and we need to do it as a matter of urgency.

  I only say this readers because, as you are aware, over the past few weeks two young women have lost their lives in the most violent situations imaginable. Jastine Valdez, a 24-year-old woman, was snatched off the street in broad daylight in the picture postcard town of Enniskerry, County Wicklow in a scene reminiscent of the movie Taken, and tragically murdered. This horrific act occurred in the same week a 14-year-old child, Ana Kriegel, was allegedly sexually assaulted and savagely murdered in Dublin. A 13-year-old boy, (himself a child) has been charged with this most heinous of crimes.

  Now, while both of these grisly and harrowing incidents occurred far from our beautiful, and, let me state, safe county, and while occurrences such as these are highly rare and isolated, we need to address the issue without delay.

  It’s not my intention to alarm any woman, and while at the time of writing, no link between Jastine’s alleged kidnapper/murderer Mark Hennessy has been established, just take a look at these statistics and you’ll see that, since Women’s Aid began collating data around femicide back in 1996, nearly 90 per cent of the 216 women who have been murdered knew their killers. Now while this is very unsettling, (and regular readers will know I was violently attacked by an individual I’d known since I was 15 years old), we, as women, cannot have our lives governed by these facts, and we shouldn’t fear men, the majority of whom do not pose any threat to us whatsoever; but we can be more aware and more security conscious.

  As a direct response to both of these tragic murders, and to give us a ‘fighting chance,’ MMA fighter Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh has offered free self-defence classes to women. So maybe that’s all we need ladies, a fighting chance, some sort of tactic that allows us to think fast, react differently and hopefully give us a window of escape. You see, the would-be attacker/kidnapper will always have the upperhand because he’ll depend heavily on the element of surprise. However, if we are always aware of our surroundings and learn useful techniques by attending local self-defence classes or indeed by chatting with our local Garda Síochána’s crime prevention officer (they’re all extremely helpful), we can perhaps feel a little bit more psychologically prepared in our own minds.

  Remember ladies; whether you live in a big bustling city, a local town or a rural idyll, being aware of your surroundings and knowing some basic self-defence moves will always stand to you. Now I’m not suggesting any woman tries to morph into ‘The Bride’ character from the Kill Bill movies…just learn some technique that’ll render your attacker disoriented long enough for you to escape and seek help.

  What do ya think ladies…worth a try?

 

Should we be worried about BreastCheck?

 

Is the clinical director of BreastCheck a bit of an  alarmist, or does she have a valid point when she says the future of our national breast screening programme is at risk? I mean, it’s a bit unusual  to have an eminent Professor like Ann O’Doherty openly disclosing, in such an alarming (and public) manner, that she’s concerned litigation costs will get so high, they’ll actively threaten the wonderful BreastCheck programme.

  Now while I do understand the threat of litigation is always hanging like a dark spectre, this type of scaremongering really concerns me, especially as I’m a woman whom, like others, depends heavily on this excellent programme; which by the way, is not a diagnostic tool, but by providing free screening, it’s saving lives through trying to locate early signs and changes that could potentially lead to cancer occurring in the breast, allowing women to undergo vital lifesaving treatment. 

  In light of Prof. O’Doherty’s concerns, does this mean we should be anxious regarding other health screening programmes being rolled out by the State? Perhaps the so-called ‘Scally Scoping’ inquiry should put every single cancer screening initiative under scrutiny, examining and dissecting  every miniscule, imperceptible threat possible because once again, women’s health and wellbeing could potentially be at risk.

Well done to d’lads

Forgive me readers for I have sinned…again! Last week, whilst diligently working away – well, okay, I was festering on the sofa in my distinctly average slippers, t-shirt and leggings, drinking strong coffee, and trying hard to rid my mind of the sarcastic innuendos it kept throwing up to describe the way Dáithí Ó Sé (mis)reads the autocue. Seriously, has this otherwise lovely chappie got a PhD in gibberish? But I digress, however, cue the Mean Girl head tilt, – cos I’m gonna be caustic.

  What I’m trying to say is I tuned in again momentarily, (while I had my coffee) to ‘Today with Maura and Dáithí’ who were both  grating away in voices more irritating than celebrity cook Rachel Allen slaughtering the word butter…or should I say ‘baaaattterrrr’. And, as I happened to catch the word ‘Roscommon’ being mentioned, my interest was instantly piqued. I paused d’telly and rewound long enough to catch three mucho handsome local lads modelling some very dapper Debs outfits. So, to Kealan and Michael from Ballaghaderreen and Adam from Boyle, well done to you lads, the three of yez were only massive! You’re all a credit to the mammies who reared yez!

Abortion: Is it the most burning moral issue of our generation?

 

 

 

At the time of writing, and as campaigning continues on behalf of both sides who were desperately hoping to target the undecided voter, the Sunday Business Post/Red C poll indicated that ‘56% are in favour of voting to repeal the Eighth Amendment’. This would suggest the ‘Yes’ camp is slightly ahead of the ‘No’ side.

  Now it is not my intention to preach to readers, nor indeed would I ever advocate here for either side, or even hint as to where I personally stand on this highly emotive and divisive issue. You see, even though this column is based on my ‘musings’, when it comes to this particular referendum, I do not wish to blur the lines between what is, and what always has been entrenched in my heart, and on my conscience, (directly in relation to this referendum’s subject matter), and what is considered to be fair and objective comment; meaning, before Ireland, and indeed our beautiful Roscommon goes to the polls, I’m not airing my viewpoint on this specific issue inside the pages of what I believe to be this unbiased and wholly fair, balanced and objective family publication.

  I will say though that those who’re close to me are in no doubt whatsoever regarding my thoughts on abortion and those friends who have changed their profile pictures on social media, (they are entitled to do so) and bombarded me with slogans, leaflets, and targeted efforts to try to force me to get on board with their campaign – (not entitled to do this, and foot soldiers for both sides are guilty of this manipulative behaviour), have all been told to pee off! Okay, I used less ladylike language.

  I have been sent numerous private messages with what you could deem as persuasive images and arguments from both sides by friends; many of whose notifications I have ‘rested’ until after this referendum; some have been ‘blocked,’ (ah the beauty of FB’s block button), because I will not be bullied or harassed into allowing anyone to attempt to reform, modify or reshape my mind, and my conscience. Campaigners knocking on my door (from either side) are shown the gate!

  My own social media profile picture remains the same as it always has, and every so often I will place a ‘like’ on what I feel to be a fair or balanced post, or indeed I will share and make a comment on my own status regarding something that has resonated with me, but I will not engage in debate on social media regarding this referendum, nor will I change my profile picture to either reflect ‘Repeal,’ ‘Together for Yes,’ or to ‘Save the 8th,’ or ‘LoveBoth’.

  I’m a grown woman, an educated woman (I’d like to hope) and it appears that many individuals, both men and women, are displaying so much pent-up anger, (I’ve witnessed public arguments in the streets), and holding inside so much bile and bitterness, carrying so much overwhelming and heart-shredding emotion, that whatever way this vote goes, and whether you’re being labelled a so-called ‘baby killer’ or so-called ‘tyrannical religious despot,’ for your (entitled) views on this referendum, I fear, whichever side ‘wins,’ the resulting fall-out from this landmark, single political question, may prove catastrophic for us as a society overall. Good luck Ireland; I hope we get it right!

All aboard the ‘RMS Couldn’t Give a Damn!

I’ve got some questions readers….How do you tear down our health service and make it fit for purpose? How do you make major reforms to its governance structure and tailor them in such a way as to maintain a professional service? I only ask because Leo and Simon’s much-hyped ‘new era’ proposal to structurally reform the HSE as being the way forward sounds great on paper, but, ahem, isn’t it just a load of bulls**t?  You see, this is not a reform; it’s a restoration of a system that was abolished back in 2012!

  I’m personally sick of the matter of fact way this government is dealing with our ailing health service; I’m sick of the bureaucratic language contained in all of their statements, I’m sick of the patronising, ‘we know best’ attitude and the stage-managing of taxpayers’ intelligence, and I’m on to their let’s ride it out, see what happens and in the meantime, book ourselves first class tickets on the RMS Couldn’t Give a Damn!

  You fecked up folks, and telling us the board will be able to “act like a check between the executive and the Government” as if it’s a new and brilliant idea is fooling nobody. You’re backtracking to try and cover up a mistake you all made years ago!

It’s that time again…

The State exams are upon us and I want to wish every single student due to sit either their Junior or Leaving Cert the very best of luck.

  My advice would be to get some much-deserved rest; try to clear your mind of distractions and approach each exam with confidence. Once inside the exam hall, have a strategy that includes you thoroughly reading each question, then reading it again. Choose the questions you’re going to answer, and write those answers clearly and legibly, making sure they are all relevant to the questions being asked; and, where requested, make sure your notes are visible in the margins. Once the exam is over, forget the postmortem, it’s gone, it’s out of your hands. Move on and concentrate on the next paper.

  Ádh mór, bonne chance, best of luck. You’ll do great.

 

Is O’Brien ‘Sideshow Bob’ in cruel game of information suppression?

 

 

“I feel I’ve been murdered…through negligence, not just medically, but through them covering up; thinking that this is just going to be acceptable and it’s not”. Strong words, emotive words, Emma Mhic Mhathúna’s words.

  The words of a dying woman, an innocent woman, a single mother-of-five who lost her own mammy when she was just 23, and who is herself, desperately trying to stay alive. The words of a wronged Irish citizen; and words that, when I heard Emma whisper them last Friday morning during an interview with Ireland AM’s Ciara Doherty, had me running for the loo because, such was my overwhelming sadness and confounded sense of grief for this young mother and her babies, (all robbed of their futures in various ways), I thought I was going to throw up on the spot.

  You see readers, this remarkably brave and beautiful soul is just one year older than my eldest daughter, and while the fact is that Emma has found some solace in Tony O’Brien’s resignation, I personally would have nailed his ass to a desk and chair until he sang like a canary and named names. Yes, while O’Brien’s actions sicken me, I’m certain he didn’t act alone in this ‘cover-up’.

  In my opinion, O’Brien, while he’s played his part, is the ‘Sideshow Bob’ in this cruel game of information suppression. I mean, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was Minister for Health at the time of the March 2016 memo; Simon Harris was at the helm for the July 2016 one, so…did they know anything? And of course the State’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan allegedly received these damning deny, deny, deny, damage limitation documents which were executed with military precision by some heartless, inhumane muppet(s) who felt placing the legal strategy of ‘pause all letters,’ and ‘continue to prepare reaction communications response for a media headline that ‘screening did not diagnose my cancer,’ was the perfect PR master-plan to use when dealing with the potential loss of lives.

  As a former PR advisor, I can tell you Tony and back-up Tony, (or should I say Dumb and Dumber), the first rule of communications is to know your audience, the second rule is to be honest and open and full disclosure is always the best policy, because someone will invariably scope you out. I can’t wait to read Dr. Gabriel Scally’s much-anticipated end of June report. I’m also very interested to see how the Gardaí and the DPP will follow up on Emma’s formal complaint which was delivered via what she says was “a three-hour statement saying I wanted arrests made for attempted murder on my life”. 

  Now let me make it clear folks, from a legal point of view, the onus would be on this tragic young woman who is fighting for her life, to prove the individual(s) or subject(s) of her complaint knew that she (in particular) wasn’t told about her false negative test results and that they were fully aware that she (in particular) should have been informed about them.

  I’d like to add that despite everything that’s occurred, and that continues to occur, because by the time you read this, I’ve no doubt the scale of this unbearably sad human tragedy may further escalate, I’d still advise my daughters (and all women) to try and feel a sense of security that the CervicalCheck screening programme, which scans for asymptomatic cancerous abnormalities, is working in so much as it has saved an awful lot of lives. So once again, do not be afraid to have your smear test.

Why parenting is a tough job!

When it comes to raising kids, it’s an uphill battle. The little cherubs come into this world knowing how to conscientiously manipulate mammy and daddy, (and Nana), and it’s up to us, as the adults in charge, to keep them safe and raise them in such a way they don’t turn into sociopaths with poor posture and an ‘excuse me, can I speak with the manager’ haircut (I’m joking).

  Now this can be difficult, given the passive-aggressive, exaggerated guff that often spews forth from some social media posts, leaving anxious parents worrying they don’t stimulate their kids enough. As in they’re petrified Mini Me is now a 40-year-old living in the attic, still trying to get her edible make-up business off the ground because they accidentally laughed out loud when she repeated a swear word at 18 months! 

  Or worse, they’ve over-stimulated and over-indulged her and she ended up like self-confessed 16-year-old ‘Beverly Hills brat’ Nicolette Grey, whose mother Nina hands her a monthly pay cheque of $5,000, (€4,180.00).  

  This mother/daughter duo appeared on TV3’s This Morning last week, with mammy revealing she gave the gobby, disrespectful teen a no limits credit card because it was “time she fended for herself”.  That’s not fending for herself you dope, that’s sponging and you’re encouraging it.

  I have to agree with your daughter when she accused “You caused this so you have to deal with it”. And my advice to mom would be to lock this s**t down now lady and teach that little wasp you’re raising the value of money, how to be accountable, and, most importantly, how to be a grateful, functioning human being. While I don’t like this 16-year-old’s attitude, I place the blame for her selfish behaviour and her need for a stylist, personal trainer and publicist firmly on the type of parenting she’s received.

  Dear God Mammy, when your child says “My bags are my friends,” demands a ‘$231,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen’ for her 16th birthday and is in the habit of calling other people “peasants”, it’s time to admit, when it comes to parenting, that you’re pretty gormless!

 

‘Sorry’ doesn’t absolve blame and heal all wounds

 

 

Another week, another grovelling HSE apology. This time the fawning, too little, too late “we’re very sorry” centred on the findings of a 2015 commissioned report concerning maternity services at Portiuncula University Hospital which examined the delivery and neonatal care of 18 babies between 2008 and 2014. Six of those little angels sadly died; another six have various medical issues, some of which are life-changing.

  I must stress that when no complications presented themselves at this hospital, everything appeared to go well, and everything ended well for patients; but when the going got tough, and things got complicated, the entire maternity care system appeared to come tumbling down, resulting in unspeakable tragedy and heartbreak for many parents.

  Now readers, as a nation, we’re an easygoing and forgiving race, and, if someone issues us with what is a sincere apology, we tend to regain our composure, accept it and politely move on. However, given the revelations around what are a series of grave and profound litany of medical screw-ups, I have to ask if perhaps the HSE might like to consider employing someone to sit in a back room and compile a future list of recipes for reliable apologies, because I for one am very concerned and wonder if any of us can ever again feel confident when receiving medical care.

  You see, medicine is a specialised field, and we, the patients, place ourselves in the hands of what we believe to be expert professionals, and depend on them to do what is best for us.  However, while the level of our dependency on those whizz-kids in white coats is acute, it appears, given the recent botch-ups, the level of their responsibility towards us is not commensurate; and if I were of a suspicious nature (and I am), I’d have to assume that there is a culture of medicine in this country that is, in itself, very, very unhealthy.

  At this point I must add that there are, of course, decent people working within the HSE and an awful lot of good work is being done, and we should acknowledge that fact.  However, a lot of rot is still simmering underneath. In order to get rid of the stench of that decay our country needs to see systemic change in both the government and the HSE senior management, because put simply, due to their lack of candour, clarity, accountability and disclosure to us, (patients and voters), it’s clear we cannot trust either and that dear readers, is a damning indictment against our society.

Pedal power and mischievous minions…

Don’t forget, this Sunday, RosFM will proudly present their Pedal Powered Cinema fundraiser in the Dr. Hyde Centre, Athlone Road, Roscommon. The feature movie extravaganza will be Despicable Me 3. I’m told doors open at 2 pm, and the big picture begins at 3 pm.

  Entry is free folks, and so is the raffle, but do drop in a donation or two. And by the way, hard-working volunteers are not your free babysitters, so keep those darling little cherubs supervised at all times. 

Why I believe our Gardaí should be armed

Last week, during what I can only describe as a moment of weakness, (call it decrepitude brought on by menopause), I tuned into Today with Maura and Daithí! And don’t you dare judge me, because I’ll bet one or two of you have also had the odd lapse of common sense and delved into the murky waters of mundane daytime telly; so park it and let’s move on.

  Anyhow, the debate du jour centred on whether or not our Gardaí should be armed. Now for me, this a no-brainer and I believe that yes, frontline Gardaí should be armed with some sort of protection. If ever proof were needed to back up my beliefs, it’d be last week’s incident involving a member of the force up in Dublin, whom, while going about his duty, found himself being seriously assaulted by a thug wielding a metal baseball bat. Thank God it wasn’t anything more destructive.

  You see, it’s a sad and worrying fact that citizens of this country appear to have lost all respect for An Garda Síochána, and not a week goes by where we don’t hear and read about attacks on members of the public and now, more recently, on our police force. Now as it appears, (in order to do the most damage), the weapon of choice for these pieces of scum is usually a firearm, we simply cannot send frontline Gardaí into potentially dangerous and highly incendiary situations, and expect them to have any chance of resolving them, without first arming them with a means of personal protection.

  Look, I’m not saying our Government should issue firearms willy-nilly, and I do know we have a professionally trained Emergency Response Unit, but I agree with the Garda Representative Association when they say ordinary rank and file officers should be given extra protection while on duty, and in my opinion perhaps a taser would be a dinky little accessory to hang on their protective vests alongside their extendable baton and pepper spray.

  For those who disagree, let me assure you that I’m not for one minute advocating for violence here, nor am I suggesting Gardaí should go round tasering everyone who steps out of line – I mean, those stun guns emit a serious dose of electricity, causing temporary paralysis – so proper training and procedures around skill, accuracy and most importantly attitude must be put in place. We want to make sure our Gardaí thoroughly assess each incident and that if the situation warrants it, they will always reach for the least lethal weapon in their arsenal.

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