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From the kitchen table

From the kitchen table

Is Leo backing himself into a corner with that letter?

 

There’s nothing like a big family row to let the neighbours know you’re back from your holliers! And, that confidence and supply request letter from Leo to Micheál, which, in what I’d consider to be a highly provocative move, was published on social media, told us two things; one, Leo’s back from his trip down Self-Satisfied Lane, and two, Micheál, with true Fianna Fáil melancholic acerbity, told him to sling his hook! 

  Soooo, what’s da story folks, will we be going to the polls in the next few weeks or was Leo just trying to yank Micheál’s panic chain and test the waters?

  You see, as Leo’s ahead in the polls, he may be thinking Fine Gael is election-ready, what with their strategy, a list of willing, photo-op eager candidates and a manifesto (refer to eleven-page tweeted letter), longer than Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of an early general election, and examine whether Leo’s backing himself into a corner, or indeed, if he’s just being very clever.

  Now, I’m no political reporter, and I’ve never pretended to be, but I believe if we have a general election early in the winter of 2019, (and January is always a bleak month), it’s likely Leo’s popularity points would plummet, given the annual hospital trolley waiting lists which are bound to soar, not to mention the homeless figures that are rising by the day, and sure throw March and Brexit into the mix and you’ve got Leo and the troops spiralling downwards into an acutely awkward situation – and you know what, I for one will have no sympathy for him; and this is why…

  Last week, proving you’re never too handsome to do something stupid, our leader, in typical ‘kick the can’ strategy, told us his carefully thought-out effort, nay cunning plan, to win over voters is to establish a new body called the Land Development Agency whose function it will be to build new homes, thus tackling the shameful housing crisis. So, on the basis of his previous performances, including this, more-plans-no-action manifesto, it’s clear our limelight-grabber and Taoiseach career-juggler leader, is, disappointingly, still dropping everything!

  Then again, some mistakes are just too much fun to make only the once, and, as we’ve had these failed quangos, oops, sorry agencies before, allowing past governments to hoodwink us by employing the typical Irish method of throwing money at a useless body in the hope it’ll deflect their stupidity, it’s up to us, the voters, not to fall into that trap again. We must insist our government issues a clear directive to local authorities to get out and build homes on the thousands of acres of vacant land, which we, the taxpayers already own. I mean, it’s probably the only solution to put an end to our chronic housing crisis!

  Oh and while you’re at it folks, when those TDs knock on your door, maybe you could ask them about their great rapid build blueprint of 2016? Or do you even remember that great housing hub solution? It was going to take two years to complete. Well apparently it’ll be 2020 before we see a completed house!  Look folks, hand on heart, I know sometimes I may seem as daft as a box of hair, but even I could knock up a quick build in less than four years!

 

Well done to all at Athleague National School…proud of you!

 

Last week’s edition featured the adorable pupils from Athleague National School who were showing their support for the campaign to keep Athleague Post Office open, and I’d like to say a massive well done to principal Avril Egan and her caring staff for taking the initiative to ask the children to compose individual letters to Communications Minister Denis Naughten in a bid to highlight why our rural post offices are so important to us all as a community. 

  One of those letters was written by the charming Mr. Patrick Ely, (10), and I have it on reliable terms, (lovely aunty Lucy), that young Patrick’s darling 91-year-old grandmother uses the threatened services of Athleague Post Office to collect her pension and pay her bills! Now, despite the fact that, due to their young age, Patrick and his peers are clearly emotionally unprepared to truly understand the hardships resulting from the closure of his local post office, nevertheless, his heartfelt letter is living proof that he’s a caring, articulate adult in the making; well done to his parents for doing such a great job!

  You see, refusing to allow a mandate from a powerful Minister to hold them back, Patrick and his pals from Athleague National School, asked our lovely Mr. Naughten to explain to them why this vital service must be axed, with this young man going so far as to try to invent solutions for a government who continuously insist there aren’t any. He does this by cleverly drawing attention to the other vital services in Athleague which he rightly believes will surely become negatively affected by the inevitable loss of footfall created by the post office’s closure.

  Well Patrick Ely, if you ever decide to run as a local independent candidate for public office, I’ll launch your campaign for you young man! And may I add, nicely done kids, you’re all a credit to your parents, your families and to your school.

 

Teach Aisling report shows we’re still failing on mental health provision

 

 

I want to raise a very important story, something which, in the hype surrounding Pope-mania, got conveniently buried last week.

  Now I’m sure the failure to notice this news item wasn’t intentional, but you see, not too far away from Knock, in Castlebar to be precise, a report concerning Teach Aisling, a HSE-run mental health facility, revealed ‘the nurses’ station had closed blinds and there was no other way patients who were desperate for water could get their attention,’ with a ‘water ban being imposed as a “punishment” for challenging behaviour regarding one resident’.

  This tells me that some of those in key roles are still outrageously abusing and neglecting our most vulnerable.

  I find it highly alarming that there are citizens of this country who are living in such dire situations where they are not just at risk of being abused and neglected, but who are, due to their illnesses and their emotional fragility, easy prey.

  I also find it alarming that it’s happening on our very doorstep and that it occurred down the road, if you like, from where Pope Francis led the Angelus prayer at the Marian Shrine in Knock.

  In addition, I assume (but I’m not certain and have absolutely no proof), that some of this contemptible abuse possibly falls just short of what the law would deem to be criminal behaviour, meaning the perpetrators may never be prosecuted by a court of law because, quite simply, their appalling actions will be characterised as being cases of gross misconduct.

  Now while I would stress that such serious incidents would remain rare across these HSE-run facilities, (which are, by and large of a high standard), nevertheless this latest report regarding Teach Aisling should raise many questions and, at the very least, reinforce the reality that a serious overhaul of our mental health care provisions needs to be established as a matter of urgency.

 

The joyless doom-merchants are targeting our tipple!

 

Well ladies, apparently we’re a load of boozy lushes! Yep, last week, a global study carried out by researchers at the University of Washington was published in the Lancet Medical Journal and shows that, when it comes to alcohol consumption, Irish women can drink men under the table. And, while this is not really something to be proud of, personally speaking, (and I’m no expert at drinking alcohol, nor am I medically trained), I think it’s a whole load of hype!

  You see, there’ll always be a few doom-merchants desperate to spread pessimism among us and I’d be of the opinion, that, as someone who tries to follow a healthy eating plan, who tries to walk regularly and who has never had a cigarette or any other substance pass my lips, enjoying a bottle of wine while relaxing at home with the hubby and the fur babies at the weekend will do me more good than it’ll ever do me harm.

  Sure I nearly choked on my G&T when I read the study’s joyless and uncompromising recommendations that ‘the safest level of drinking is none’. Ah now here! Look, I don’t know about you ladies, but I’m choosing to ignore these prophets-of-no-fun and instead take note of associate professor at Shandong University School of Public Health in China, Doctor Bo Xi’s 2017 report which found that research shows ‘that light-to-moderate drinking might have some protective effects against cardiovascular disease, while heavy drinking can lead to death’.  

  There you have it.  While there may well be no safe level of drinking, I believe there’s no safe level of doing anything! Look, even over-exercising can be risky. Didn’t the European Heart Journal study once suggest that ‘overdoing the fat-burning workout can also contribute to poor cardio health’? Now, as that revelation means no matter how much walking I do, I’m never gonna get that Baywatch bikini body, then I’m gonna need to drown my sorrows in a glass of vino. Sure technically it’s one of my five-a-day….it’s fruit, for cryin’ out loud!

  On a serious note girls, please, always drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation, and never, ever drink and drive! Sláinte mhaith!

Trump in turmoil…what’s new?

If I was in the business of dishing out advice, I’d be telling Sarah Huckabee Sanders to start looking for another job because the one she has doesn’t appear to have any visible future promotional prospects. In addition, I’d imagine having to stand up and face the media on an almost daily basis and spin a load of creative bull – refuting allegations made against her boss – won’t serve to improve her mental wellbeing, nor will it garner her many friend requests on FB.

  Look Sarah, I know Michael Cohen’s  admission to two criminal violations of campaign finance law implicating the POTUS are still, as I write, allegations, however love, people don’t usually admit to crimes they didn’t commit, and people don’t usually tell lies under oath, especially when they know they’re facing jail time.

  So…here’s my advice; update your CV and distance yourself from a president who is clearly in turmoil and instead, let Mueller do his work and let him see his investigations through because if I were also in the business of placing bets, I’d bet, come the mid-term November elections your boss will realise the one key sentence contained in Cohen’s testimony regarding the alleged hush money payments, i.e. ‘For the principal purpose of influencing the elections’ is probably gonna be the one that seals his downfall…ya heard it here first folks!

 

Scapegoating and scaremongering pregnant Irish women is cruel

It’s well-known that Dr. Eva Orsmond, right, is a weight loss expert. Sure we all remember the no-nonsense Finnish native wagging her perfectly manicured finger, shaking her judgemental blonde mane disapprovingly, and, in a voice that’d peel the enamel from your teeth, scold, reprimand and fat-shame those unfortunate Lycra-clad  contestants on RTE’s Operation Transformation some years ago.

  Well, now it seems as if the good doc has found herself in need of some much-hyped media exposure –and she got it. Last week, fine-tuning her calorie-counting diva persona, Dr. Eva turned her condescension towards pregnant Irish women, labelling those unfortunate enough to put on an extra few pounds as being delinquent offenders by saying, “It’s criminal for pregnant women to be overweight”. Ouch!

  Now while I watched the controversial, albeit professional Dr. Eva give her perspective to, (coincidentally), pregnant TV3 presenter Ciara Doherty live on the Ireland AM sofa, my first thought was, will this woman ever stop meddling in our lives? My second thought was unprintable!

  You see, it appears readers as though the trend to scaremonger and fat-shame Irish women is becoming more and more fashionable; I mean, it’s good for business after all, and experts like Dr. Eva have certainly made a lot of money over the years by telling us greedy gluttons how to drop some weight. Now while I do believe maintaining a healthy diet is important, whether you’re expecting a baby or not, picking on pregnant women is just cruel!

  Now I have absolutely no doubt Dr. Eva means well, and she has the nation’s health at heart, but her judgemental comments, where she effectively demonised mothers-to-be for having that extra piece of cake, has more than likely caused some to panic. And, while I’m no medical expert, I do know the risk of gestational diabetes is something that needs to be factored in if a pregnant woman does carry too much weight, so I’d advise anyone who is concerned not to be alarmed, but to speak with their family doctor for advice regarding their diet.

  Don’t listen to a diagnosis from a telly doc who makes it sound like any minute Greenpeace warriors will kick down your door, harpoon you with a tranquiliser dart and return you to your natural habitat because, (in her opinion), you look overweight. You’re not Moby Dick! You’re a beautiful pregnant Goddess who is about to give life, so don’t expose yourself and your unborn baby to the potentially damaging psychological effects of someone’s scaremongering; even if it is well intentioned.

  I do understand Dr. Eva’s perspective when she says “I have women coming to me with BMIs of over 30 who have been told to lose weight so they can fall pregnant”. And perhaps few will outshine her when it comes to telling us how to curtail what we place in our big, covetous gobs; and I’m certain many of her clients are grateful to the regimental disciplinarian for helping them achieve their personal goals. But I find it distasteful when she tells women desperate to conceive that, “there is no excuse for a young woman not to be a normal weight and have a BMI under 25!” And I personally don’t give a rat’s that she herself was “given a hard time by my gynaecologist in Finland, as I was 75kg giving birth. But in Ireland the attitude is softer, people are really worried and don’t want to upset the fragile pregnant woman”. Well you’re not in Finland now love and there’s a culture difference at play here…it’s called, we don’t scapegoat our pregnant women! Geddit? Whatever her credentials, impressive though they may be, one thing’s for sure, nobody will ever eclipse the lovely (albeit waspish) Dr. Eva in the egomania department!

 

Are my teeth brighter than the Church’s future in Ireland?

 

I know the Pope’s a good man, but, as leader of the Catholic Church, he should probably consider changing his PR representative because, (ahead of this weekend’s visit), I feel the Holy See’s use of empty words like ‘shame and sorrow’ to justify its feelings regarding the Pennsylvania child abuse scandal ain’t gonna cut it with Irish survivors of the perversions perpetrated by some so-called men of God.

  Now maybe the Vatican’s ‘shock-horror’ statement will assuage a few hard-core Catholics who probably feel it was okay for the Church to thwart investigations, deny and cover up sexual and physical persecution and harbour those pieces of slime responsible for the mistreatment and molestation of children and vulnerable women. And, in case anyone’s forgotten our own scandals readers, let me remind you of a few…The Tuam babies. The Magdalene laundries. The Ryan Report. The Cloyne Report, etc.

  So, while I’ve not lost my faith, (just my faith in the ‘institution’), I won’t be decking my home out in wacky Papal knick-knacks like bunting, flags, plates or cardboard Pope cut-outs, nor will I be making a pilgrimage to the Phoenix Park or to Knock. But best wishes to those readers who are. I sincerely hope you all enjoy a safe and fulfilling experience.

  However, if this weekend’s Papal visit is to be a success, I’d like to see His Holiness pledge a new and open Church, one that’ll investigate criminality, so that survivors can heal and move on. If not, I’m afraid it could be a case of my teeth being brighter than this Church’s future here in Ireland; and that’d be an utter shame for those of us who see the true value the Church holds in rural communities, and for those wonderful priests, right here in Roscommon, who are indeed genuine Christian men of God, totally committed to their vocation and who deserve our full support, appreciation and respect.

Paul’s win…you read it here first!

Regular readers may remember that it was this very publication (well it was me) who predicted the handsome and eligible Mr. Paul Clabby, a homegrown Roscommon man, would win the Escort of the Year 2018 title at this year’s Rose of Tralee festival! 

  Well call me Mystic Mir, dip me in honey and throw me to the tea-leaf readers,  but our man only went and did it! 

  Well done Paul, you’re a credit to d’mammy (and daddy) that reared ya. Absolutely delighted for you. You’ve certainly placed Roscommon on the international map. G’wan ya good thing!

 

 

 

Is homelessness the issue to challenge TDs on at ballot box?

Not that the government will lose any sleep over my opinion, but I’ll give it anyway. I believe the images of a Dublin mother, (she could just as easily have been from Roscommon), and her six children, (aged between one and 11 years) who were, due to their alleged homelessness, forced to sleep on plastic chairs at Tallaght Garda station showcases all the hallmarks of what I’d call the most egregious example of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s appallingly inefficient allocation of our financial resources. 

  Now, while I know this woman has received a backlash on social media for so-called lavish spending, and that her partner is reported by some publications as being ‘in prison awaiting trial since July,’ on an apparent ‘assault charge,’ my concern here, as a mother, is, quite honestly for the children’s plight.

It may seem harsh, but I don’t necessarily care about the welfare of the parents of these kids. You see, they’re adults – and they’re responsible for their own situations. I don’t even care about their status, i.e. whether they’re unemployed or in prison, whether they own an iPhone, whether they don’t look ‘homeless enough,’ or whatever the monopoly of stories currently doing the rounds allege; it’s all irrelevant to me because all I see are homeless kids; vulnerable kids and innocent, entirely faultless kids who don’t deserve to sleep rough, nor do they deserve to be the subjects of a story that has a major ‘clickable’ factor.

  This situation is wrong; especially in 2018 Ireland when our government is lavishing an estimated three million euro of taxpayers’ money providing security for the Pope’s visit later this month.

  Now I know thousands of readers will be making their way to see His Holiness, and I hope it proves to be a wonderfully enlightening ecumenical experience for them because the Holy Father and their faith plays a major part in their lives, and I would never, ever deny them this encounter. But, big picture here folks, while all children are the sole responsibility of their parents, and it’s not up to the State, i.e. you or me to provide for them, the notion that any child would be homeless due to lack of resources is sickening and it absolutely breaks my heart – as I know it also breaks many readers’ hearts.

  And, the sorry thing is, while this family’s plight sparked shock, horror, disgust and outrage across Ireland, I can tell you it will have absolutely no impact whatsoever in this government’s grand plan because this mother and her kids’ tragic situation is not unique; nor is it a big news story, rather it’s a nine-day wonder. You see, wasn’t it only last summer that 12 homeless families (including 30 kids, I believe) were forced to sleep in Garda stations across Ireland, causing us all to express repulsion before swiftly moving on.

  Due to that, I’m acutely aware this latest story will not prove a pivotal point, nor will it change our overall homeless picture. Now I don’t wish to embark on a misery safari, but the reason we’re in an atrocious shambles is squarely down to this (and former) governments making empty promises and ineffective decisions in order for them to achieve short-term political gain, as opposed to making sound long-term economic plans, rendering people like you and me to be constantly living close to the wire, day to day dangling precariously without the benefit of a safety net.

  Methinks it’s time this government was seriously challenged and the place to do that readers is on the doorsteps and at the ballot box!

 

Best of luck to our Eimear and our Paul

 

The frocky horror show, ooops, sorry, Rose of Tralee – an event in any social butterfly’s ‘must attend’ calendar – is upon us and I’d like to wish a huge ‘best of luck’ to our stunning representative, Roscommon Rose Eimear Reynolds. 

  Now I admit, as ‘the sun is declining’ over Roscommon, it’s unlikely I’ll be sitting in front of d’telly to binge-watch over the entire two nights of loveliness, Irish jigs and badly performed hip-hop routines as these ‘lovely and fair’ high-achieving cailiní deasa, without ever having a hint of cleavage on show, (well done), compete for the chance to be plucked from obscurity to become Mary, the Rose of Tralee!

  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not slagging the festival where non-Irish Roses are challenged to prove their oirishness, their regular attendance at Mass and their love of Barry’s tea. I really do think it’s a wonderful celebration of women, and that’s not just because the moorkishing gurus have brainwashed me.

  Look, while many may feel the festival is outdated, I believe anything that promotes, highlights, honours and commemorates our Irish culture on an international stage should always be showcased and I have no doubt whatsoever Eimear will do us proud. 

Well done also to handsome and eligible Roscommon escort Paul Clabby who I’m sure will be well able to cope with such demands as carrying the handbag – great training for when you marry, Paul – as well as being a chivalrous chaperone for his Rose. I think we’ve got the Rose of Tralee and the Escort of the Year 2018 nailed folks. Ádh mór to ya both!

 

 

Why I’ve lost my confidence in Leo!

 

It’s a well-known fact I tend to lose things. Car keys, single socks, my patience, and my skin’s collagen density…need I go on? However, just as my faith had been slightly restored in An Taoiseach…following his brilliant couldn’t-be-ar**d attitude regarding the Brexit Bugle’s (UK Sun) childish and personal put-downs, I’m sorry to say I’ve now lost my confidence in him!

  And, what’s worse, despite the fact I’ve searched very hard to retrieve that missing confidence – harder than I’ve searched for Donald Trump’s scruples, and even harder than when I tried to find the square root of the hypotenuse while at school – try as I might, I just cannot locate a morsel of credence or trust in our Leo. It’s gone. Tá sé imithe! Why? Well let me explain folks!

  Back in May, An Taoiseach stood in front of this country and decreed that no woman caught up in the cervical smear scandal would have to go to court to fight for compensation. However, on foot of terminally ill Ruth Morrissey being forced to take the stand to detail (under what must have been extreme duress for herself and her family) the impact of her suffering, our hero Leo, responding to criticism, did his typical should have been “more clear” about face; making me wonder if the man to whom we’ve entrusted our country’s future ever analyses the enormity of his statements?

  Firstly, any citizen feeling aggrieved is constitutionally entitled to their day in court, both the plaintiff and the defendant; and I’d imagine if anyone affected by the scandal does go the legal route, the US labs at the centre of this exposé will strenuously argue their case, because it’s likely they don’t give a rat’s ass about these harmed women or their families. However, if it’s a case that errors were made and it’s crystal clear and proven beyond doubt who was at fault, proceedings should hopefully be straightforward for these ladies. 

  However, as there are 221 women (that we know of) affected, I’d imagine there may be some cases balancing precariously on the fringe of negligence, and, in that instance labs will lawyer up to the hilt and go at these extremely ill and vulnerable women, (some of whom are running out of time), with both barrels in order to strongly contest their cases.

  While currently, An Taoiseach’s latest stand is that he wants “all cases settled by mediation,” and has committed to a Commission of Inquiry into this horrendous controversy, I’d imagine the courageous women at the centre of this tragedy are placing their trust in Mr Justice Charles Meenan, and hope he’ll be the man to identify mechanisms to avoid traumatic court proceedings for them. I personally hope His Honour can come up with a more compassionate channel for these wronged women; one which allows them to gain their much-deserved resolution and redress as a matter of urgency.

Are policy-makers plotting the death of rural Roscommon?

 

 

161 postmasters/mistresses across the country are taking redundancy – leading to closures – and, sadly, by October, Athleague post office’s wonderful facility, which, I’d imagine, like all rural post offices, is the beating heart of this lovely community, will shut its doors.

  Now, for a government who insists they believe in diversity, fairness, equality and inclusion, it’s my belief that once again, when it comes to Roscommon and the fantastically resilient people living in this county, all of those non-discriminatory sentiments are just a big pile of hot steaming cow dung! Instead, like a group of over-fed predators, too greedy to rise, open their walk-in wallets and save us, I imagine the policy-makers conspire, plot and plan the death of our rural communities.

  Look, maybe I’m being a drama queen, but I’m beginning to worry our government is trying to airbrush us Rossies out of Ireland’s overall landscape, while they concentrate on making everyone gravitate towards big cities! I mean, when you look at it, there’s a fair bit of circumstantial evidence here…let’s examine it. They did away with our banks, they closed down our Garda stations, and they don’t deem us worthy of having high-speed broadband.  

  One by one, service by vital service and closure by closure, our government is alienating us; trying to break us, and, by terminating another of our post offices they’re simply pounding another nail into Roscommon’s coffin. It’s about time we reminded our Ministers that, come election time, if they expect Roscommon to be there for them, then they’d better be there for us!

I’m sick of attention-seeking earth mothers!

French-based mother Sarah Schmid, the woman who filmed herself giving birth to her sixth child alone and naked in her back garden without any medical aid or pain relief, and then released the footage on the internet where over 1.4 million viewers, (including her five other kids), watched it, proclaimed last week she’d found the experience  “empowering” for women!

  I’m sorry love, but while you may be hoping for a call from the Vatican for your halo-fitting, I believe any woman who finds giving birth without medical assistance or pain relief ‘empowering’ has inhaled too much gripe water! Now I admit I refused pain relief during my two births because I was concerned the drugs would hurt my unborn babies. In hindsight, I was a dope.

  Childbirth is a personal experience for all women. I’m sick of these earth mother types trying to force the au natural is best, just run to the cabbage patch, bear down, push hard and out pops a kid c**p on us! If you’re really desperate for attention Sarah, why not really ‘empower’ women by enlightening them to the post-partum haemorrhoids, the lactation leaks and the lifelong kid-career juggling that lasts ‘till they leave home!

 

Marriage: For bitter or for worse?

 

Losing a husband can be hard. In UK woman Tini Ownes’ case, it’s proving to be impossible! You see, Tini is the poor, embittered, wannabe ex-wife whom, at 68 years of age, has had her right to divorce denied by the Supreme Court who are judicially enforcing her, against her will, to endure remaining in a state of holy matrimony to hubby Hugh, (to whom she has been manacled, sorry married, for 40 years), because he doesn’t want to split up!

  Now I understand that Hugh, (who is probably a lovely gentleman), has a right not to be divorced; but doesn’t his miserable wife have a right to move on? You see, while I know marriage is meant to be for life, it’s a sad fact that some marriages can actually feel like you’re doing life, and I believe it’s wholly unfair to shackle a human being to a marriage against their will, especially when there are no minor children involved.

  As for Mr. Owens, I’d wonder why he’d want to remain attached to someone who clearly doesn’t love him or want to be with him; someone who’ll go to what appears to be extreme lengths to disassociate herself from him? Old school romantic or controlling despot? You decide!

  You see, it’s very easy to get married. You give three months’ notice, fill in the appropriate forms and produce the relevant documents, choose your date and turn up; but it’s bloody hard to sling yer hook when something goes drastically wrong; because the State, the third party in your marriage, raises its ugly head!

  Currently, under the UK’s antiquated laws, a person seeking a divorce has to satisfy the court that their marriage has broken down under the following headings…adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion, or that they’ve lived separately from their spouse for five years. In Ireland, the Divorce Act requires that you have lived apart for a minimum of four out of the five years before divorce proceedings are issued. Personally, I think that’s a good thing, but only in situations where there are minor children involved, simply because couples may be able to come to terms with their differences, resolve them and perhaps reunite. But in situations where the children are no longer minors, then I feel it’s cruel to shackle a couple together ‘till one becomes a resentful, aggrieved wannabe ex, unable to move on because the State decrees otherwise.

  There’ll always be valid reasons to stay within a marriage and try your hardest to make it work. I know, I was desperate to save my first marriage; but sadly, and, inevitably, divorce was my only option; and, even though my ex said he didn’t want me to leave him, (understandable, since he wasn’t just losing his wife, he was losing the sucker with the excellent credit rating), we both realised the chemistry we once shared had regrettably turned to toxic waste. On the positive side, we’ve remained good friends.

 

Is broadband dream in tatters?

 

Our much-hyped ‘next generation broadband to every home and business in the State,’ dream is in tatters; leaving the future of rural Ireland in disarray. This follows the exit of high-profile Scottish energy utility giant SSE, which is, let’s be honest, a major industry player possessing the capabilities, the technology and the logistical know-how around developing and delivering the crucial communications infrastructure needed to save this project.

  However, if SSE are saying ‘no way’, there’s clearly something very, very wrong with the whole viability of what now looks like a giant pie-in-the-sky undertaking…and I don’t just mean the fact I have to regularly hang out of an upstairs window in order to send an email!

  At the time of writing, I hadn’t heard any fresh utterings from our lovely Minister for Communications Denis Naughten, but according to the Minister of State at the Department, Sean Kyne, apparently –while he admits bringing broadband to rural areas has been “a difficult journey” –  he assures, ‘we are committed’. Yep, we’re ‘committed’ alright; the plug may have been pulled but we, (as in rural Roscommon taxpayers), are ‘committed’ to having our heads held below the waterline, and that’s something that’ll prove highly damaging, not just to us as citizens, but to politicians when they’re begging for our votes! Ministers, get your acts together, listen to Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice when he requests that the Dáil ‘be recalled to discuss the development,’ and fix this now!

 

Has Project Fear been launched?

 

According to a Sky Data poll, ‘British public opinion has shifted sharply against Brexit’. Ya don’t say! So, is there a slight glimmer of hope that common sense will prevail, there’ll be another referendum and they’ll all vote to remain?  

  It certainly appears as if the penny has dropped, that Project Fear has been launched and the full implications of Brexit have finally dawned on our neighbours. You see, perhaps the whole food and meds shortage scare has opened their eyes to what could be disastrous consequences for all of our futures.

  Sure look what happened during Storm Emma. It took supermarkets weeks to replenish their shelves and that was just following a weather glitch; I mean what’s gonna happen if there’s a major trade deal complication?

  Methinks the worm has finally turned, however (and here’s the question), can they stop this juggernaut now it’s begun to roll? In the meantime, our Leo is (allegedly) considering stock-piling meds.

 

What happens in Helsinki stays in Helsinki...apparently!

 

 

In my opinion, if you have to explain yourself to the world…you’ve already lost!  If you have to correct the record…you’ve already lost.

  Given Donald Trump’s latest controversial remarks – labelled ‘treasonous’ (and they possibly were in so much as he seemed to denounce his own security agencies and appeared to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the so-called ‘election-meddling’ matter) – I have to ask if the world is now witnessing the unravelling of the man who once described himself as a ‘very stable genius,’ and “like, really smart”? But sure never mind, I’m certain Trump’s boss (Putin) will offer him another job at the Kremlin!

  Reviewing the wreckage, I found Trump’s pathetic, amateur-hour knee-jerk attempt to quieten the fire among his supporters quite absurd. He, er…explained: “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word would instead of wouldn’t. The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t or why it wouldn’t be Russia’”.

  I have to say I found the whole  thing  hilarious; and, for a split second actually thought to myself…perhaps it’s not Trump at all, perhaps it’s just Sacha Baron Cohen pranking Putin!

  When these two powerful leaders met each other last week I would have expected a scenario where they’d have circled each other, thrown a few shapes and then squared up in an equal show of strength. However, disappointingly, it was more of case of forceful spy-master Putin meeting lowly common-hustler Trump and working him like a lackey. And all done in the full glare of the world’s media!

  In fact, given the corrosive crisis POTUS has created for himself, the whole Helsinki Summit event now resembles a plot from The Manchurian Candidate. It’s got to be clear to everyone – especially those who voted for him, those who hoped he’d effect change (and he’s certainly doing that…but not in a positive way) – that things aren’t going as they’d planned. Americans must now be wondering how far Agent Orange plans to take this bromance with Putin. I mean, he probably already has the key to the White House front door at this stage…and that’s gotta be scary.

 

Who cares what the Brexit Bugle thinks?

 

So, the Brexit Bugle, sorry the UK Sun, has resorted to calling the leader of our country an ‘airhead,’ and an ‘EU toady’ bless their little hearts and their worrying  lack of creativity. I mean seriously readers, who in their right mind is going to be swayed by the opinion of a publication that’s best known for its page three nude-y pics and its constant obsession with the price of beer? I have to say the Irish version of the Sun had no hand, act or part in this insulting headline.

  Apparently An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s remarks regarding the UK’s Brexit – i.e.  “You cannot have your cake and eat it. You can’t take back your waters and then expect to use other people’s sky” – irked the red top. However, in my opinion, it was a fair comment for Leo to make. And sure isn’t it about time he woke up and worked on our contingency plans so that we’re prepared for a worst possible Brexit outcome. I mean, given the litany of ifs, buts, what ifs, highly unlikelies and probably maybes that’ve been bandied about by the Brexiteers, it’s really very difficult for us to believe any word that comes out of Theresa May and her jolly-hockey stick flunkies’ mouths, especially as they appear to change their minds from one hour to the next. 

  Sure May herself is hardly in a position to make any long-term promises when she’s probably only surviving in her job from one day to the next, and yet we as a nation are still pandering to her every whim. We’re bending over backwards for the UK, and of course we should help and align ourselves with our lovely neighbours, but I think the time has possibly now come to set the UK adrift, to let them go and to instead concentrate on saving our own a**es.

  Leo…here’s my advice. Wish the delightful UK well, tell them we’ll always remain pals, but they now need to feck off and get on with Brexit. It’s time for us to understand that our ship is not coming in, that we  need to swim out to it and start opening up serious dialogue with the likes of  Merkel (God help us) and Macron, and save our own skins. If you fail to do this Leo – if you fail to lead us – and let the UK get out of their own cock-up and continue instead to play footsie with them, Ireland will end up like a third world country on the periphery of the EU, scavenging for the scraps.

  Now g’wan, make nice with Emmanuel and Angela and see if they have a few bob to pay for the one thousand extra customs officers and veterinary inspectors to police our ports because us taxpayers are bloody skint!

 

 

Why it’s okay for children to withhold hugs

 

 

As a small child, were you ever forced to hug a relative you detested? Did you ever feel the desperate urge to leg it upstairs and hide under a bed because your mother insisted she’d give you ‘a wallop’ if you didn’t give your uncle a kiss? I had that feeling – although it was only one particularly nasty-piece-of-work uncle who repulsed me, but we won’t go into the reasons why.

  However, it’s because of this repugnant individual (now deceased), that I decided I’d never insist that my kids hug a relative – even a much-adored one – unless they wanted to. Of course my kids always did want to give their hugs freely; we’re an affectionate bunch, and besides, the people we allowed into our home, and into our girls’ lives, were decent, loving ones. The horrible ones never received an invite from me.

  I’m sure readers can understand where I’m coming from, because I’d imagine that probably every family has one oddball relative (or three!) they’d rather not see ever again.

  The reason I’m raising this somewhat-controversial issue is because, while chatting with friends last week, one of them said she disagreed with a blogger who has given her kids permission to say no to hugs.  “She’s forcing her kids to withhold affection,” says my pal. “No she’s not, she’s teaching them it’s okay to say ‘no’ and she’s teaching them about giving consent –  something which is very important”, says I.

  You see readers, I believe that nobody should be emotionally manipulated into kissing or hugging another person just because they feel they’re obliged to do so, or just because that person says they’ll ‘cry,’ or will ‘be very sad,’, if they don’t receive that big hug/kiss. A child may have a perfectly valid reason for not wanting to hug a relative, male or female. The child could be shy, or feeling unwell, the child could be tired, the child may not like the smell of that person’s perfume/aftershave, or indeed the squashy embrace followed by the big smudgy lippy smooch marks that can often be left staining their little cheeks.

  Then again, the child may in some cases have (dare I suggest), a more alarming reason for not wanting this particular individual invading their personal space, and slobbering all over them. In my opinion, they should be allowed to decline that cuddle, because, just as we are entitled as adults to have bodily autonomy, so too are our children.

  Now I’m far from being perfect, in fact, I’m majorly flawed; but, as a parent, I was determined to be the mother I needed when I was young. My adult kids tell me I was. I’m so relieved. 

  With that in mind, may I add…if an insistent hugger/kisser becomes upset or decides to make your child feel responsible for their sensitive needs by turning on the fake waterworks, then the parent should grow a set and you should politely (and kindly) let the emotional blackmailer know that your responsibility is to your child, and maybe gently explain how you’ve chatted about it being okay for them not to hug…indeed not to do anything that makes them feel highly uncomfortable concerning their little bodies.

  Remember readers (those who are parents), your job is to make sure your child knows how to stand up for themselves – and in situations where they’re unable to do that, you’ll do it for them. It’s equally vital that, while teaching your kids to understand that people (including relatives) don’t have a license to embrace them whenever they want, you try your best to ensure that they’re polite and should always acknowledge that person’s presence and perhaps suggest they offer a casual high-five or even a friendly handshake as a mannerly alternative until they’re feeling more comfortable with embraces.

 

I agree with Tulsk farmer John Groarke!

 

What do rich people have that the rest of us poor sods don’t? I’ll tell ya – money, influence and a gang of brown-nosed ass kissers, that’s what! Oh, and according to Tulsk farmer John Groarke, an advantage to holding one of the most important roles and honours in our country – that of being Uachtarán na hÉireann!

  Now I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Groarke’s take on the possible presidential candidates’ financial status. He alludes to those people who are “running for these high offices” being “very well paid, most of them” adding that “the rural people of Ireland don’t get a look in at these jobs”. He adds that “the small person or poorer person is just as fit to be President of Ireland as these other people”. 

Well said, sir!

  You see readers, the ordinary ‘Joe/Josephine Soap’ should be considered for the Áras for the simple reason that having survived the recession (just about), us less well-off folks have proved we’re the true embodiment of hard work – nay, the embodiment of everyman/woman who can inspire others to make something of themselves through nothing more than sheer grit, determination and motivation (not to mention climbing to the highest office in the land whilst doing it!).

  Being president is no picnic and if anyone can do it, it’s the typical man or woman in the street, because, let’s face it, nobody could be more driven, and nobody could bring a broader and more popular mandate to this influential role!

 

 

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.

 

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