Paul Healy’s Week

“Shame on those fathers and others within families who facilitated or promoted Ireland’s treatment of pregnant women, shame too on those who looked the other way”

 

Friday

In the Healy household, we’re getting into Netflix, with its great range of viewing options. Still, old habits die hard, and I keep an eye on the Late Late Show, which you may recall was once a world renowned light entertainment/current affairs programme.

As I have consistently warned, Ryan and his team have been busy repackaging it – mostly as Misery TV, with a bit of fawning over C-list celebrities thrown in.

Tonight, the studio is taken over for a Covid vaccine demonstration. Later, when Tubridy interviews HSE chief Paul Reid, he asks his guest to talk about how serious things are, adding a condescending “don’t sugarcoat it”.

Meanwhile, Tubridy produces yet another patronising state of the nation address, firstly on Covid, then directly addresses Leaving Cert students, none of whom are watching.

As I’ve written here before, I think the Late Late team are getting this all wrong. By Friday night, viewers do not want more Covid ‘news’, or any misery for that matter. Some entertainment/distraction from the real world would be appreciated.

I expect Claire Byrne, who routinely (and tediously) turns her show into a Demonstration Centre, was watching the Late Late’s latest Misery Special with envy. She probably switched over to Netflix.

 

Sunday

In the Sunday Independent, a letter to the editor argues for “this country” to be referred to as Ireland, rather than “the Republic”.

The writer makes the point that most of the media now reference “the Republic”, as opposed to Ireland, while “always giving Northern Ireland its full title”.

No doubt the trend is partly down to the relentless commentary on Brexit issues and Covid figures.

Anyways, I was amused to note that the letter writer was a Mr. Michael Collins (to give him his full title) of Dublin 12.

 

Sunday

Quote/headline of the week contender appeared above an interview with Derry Girls’ actress Siobhan McSweeney in the Sunday Independent, as she mused on life in London: ‘A talking sock or a saucepan would do a better job than Boris’.

It’s an amusing enough quote. Mind you, if an English actress living in Ireland (the Republic) said it about Micheál Martin, the ‘Sensitive-to-UK-view-of-us’ brigade would probably be on to Liveline!

 

Still on Sunday

Leeds were dumped out of the FA Cup by Crawley Town, a club I had never heard of. Meanwhile, Marine, whom Crawley Town have possibly never heard of, saw their great cup run end with defeat to Spurs.

Crawley were full value for their win against Leeds – for whom the defeat was a not unfamiliar FA Cup humiliation.

Disappointed over the Leeds’ exit, I considered never watching football again, but changed my mind within 20 minutes and tuned in for Marine v Spurs.

It was a quintessential ‘magic of the FA Cup’ occasion as a club which plays in the eighth tier of English football welcomed the Spurs superstars to their modest ground.

Instead of modern and expensive stands, the pitch is surrounded by houses, meaning locals were able to watch the game in (restricted) party mode, complete with drinks…one guy even enjoying the game in the company of a life-size cardboard cut-out of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

When Marine’s Neil Kengni – a trainee plumber – rattled the crossbar with a terrific shot, even the cardboard Jurgen Klopp probably applauded.

Spurs, after some huffing and puffing, went 5-0 ahead, but everyone was a winner – Marine raised over £300,000 in sales of virtual tickets. It was a lovely occasion, a good news story.

Best moment of the game for me was when the knackered part-time Marine players – the proverbial plumbers, painters and bakers – looked to the Spurs bench midway through the second half…and saw Gareth Bale (most recently of Real Madrid) coming on!

 

This week

The week takes the darkest of turns. For years, we’ve known about the horrors of our shared past, but that didn’t make this week’s painful revisiting of the grotesque institutional abuse of mothers and children over many decades any less chilling.

The very people a society ought to be able to look to for leadership, support and empathy – that is the institutions of the State, and, one might have thought, Church leaders – instead mistreated vulnerable and innocent people. No doubt there were a great many good and caring people involved with the various institutions, but there were also cruel and callous individuals. Collectively, the Church and political establishment in Ireland let down thousands of people during a revolting era.

This week’s Commission Report contains deeply disturbing details of the horrific treatment of so many women and their babies.

Callous and cold. Controlling and cruel. Shame on the Church and State authorities. Shame on those fathers and others within families who facilitated or promoted Ireland’s treatment of pregnant women, shame too on those who looked the other way.

Shame, shame, shame.