Plans for the Mayor of Roscommon to attend a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Arizona were abandoned after Cllr. Eugene Murphy missed a connecting flight at Heathrow Airport.
To complete a chaotic weekend for Roscommon’s first citizen, Cllr. Murphy’s home was burgled while he was at the airport.
This week Cllr. Murphy was remaining philosophical about his eventful weekend – even joking that it was a great example of ‘Murphy’s Law’ taking its course!
Cllr. Murphy was due to fly to Tuscon, Arizona in the USA to attend a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and a number of other functions. Last week he had defended the cost of the trip (approximately €2,000-3,000) saying it was an opportunity to promote cultural and economic links between Roscommon and Tuscon. There are close links between Tuscon and Roscommon and the Mayor’s would-be hosts in Tuscon were, along with Roscommon County Council, contributing towards the cost of the trip.
Cllr. Murphy, accompanied by County Librarian Richie Farrell, who was also representing Roscommon County Council, flew from Dublin Airport to Heathrow Airport on Thursday morning. Cllr. Murphy told the Roscommon People this week that due to “serious fog” in London the flight from Dublin was delayed by about 35 minutes.
“There was absolute chaos on our arrival in Heathrow with very bad fog and long delays. Unfortunately we missed our connecting flight to Phoenix Airport as a result.”
Murphy’s Law then really kicked in as the two-strong Roscommon deputation queued for six hours with British Airways in an attempt to book a new flight to Phoenix.
Cllr. Murphy: “However after six hours of queuing we were told by British Airways that they had sent us to the wrong queue! There were some cross words exchanged. We then considered taking a flight to Arizona on Friday, but when we weighed everything up we realised that by the time we’d have reached Arizona we would have missed three out of the four functions that we were due to attend. We did not want to waste money and decided it was best to return home.”
More drama followed when Cllr. Murphy ‘rang home’ from Heathrow Airport on Thursday night. When he spoke to his wife Linda she had to impart the unfortunate news that the Murphy homestead had been broken into that evening and a number of items of jewellery had been stolen.
Cllr. Murphy told the Roscommon People: “Linda and our two children were away from the house for a couple of hours and Gardai think the break-in occurred shortly after 7.30 pm. A window was forced in, they ransacked a bedroom and a number of items of jewellery, rings and so on, were stolen. As you can imagine that news had a terrible effect on me and I felt quite helpless being away from home….”
Cllr. Murphy said that Aer Lingus staff could not have been more helpful, arranging hotel accommodation and a meal for the stranded duo. The Mayor and the County Librarian returned to Dublin on an Aer Lingus flight. A “completely exhausted” Mayor Murphy got back to his home in Scramogue, near Strokestown, on Friday afternoon.
His wife and children were fine but the break-in was “a terrible experience”. “Thankfully all my family were fine but it’s only when it hits your own house that you realise whan an invasion of privacy it is. The Gardai and our neighbours were all great and I want to thank everyone for their messages of support. It strikes me that the criminals knew I was going to Arizona and they took their chance. Criminals are targetting houses that they realise are going to be empty for a while….the Gardai are so stretched that it’s strengthening the hand of the criminal.”
Cllr. Murphy could see the funny side of the saga this week.
“Look, missing a trip is not the end of the world, and one bonus is that I was able to attend parades in Elphin, Ballyleague/Lanesboro, Ballintubber, Boyle and Loughglynn!
“As you can imagine a lot of people were amazed to see me, as they thought I was in Arizona!” Cllr. Murphy said on Wednesday.
The Mayor wasn’t in Arizona – this particular example of Murphy’s Law had seen to that!
Issue dated: 23 March 2012