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From the kitchen table

From the kitchen table

Lust, land and murder-most-foul in rural Ireland




It had everything…obsession, revenge, greed, grief, emotion, lust, land and money, all culminating in the brutal, cold and calculated slaying of what we now know was a much-loved gentleman, Bobby Ryan. However, in what has been described as the longest running murder trial in the history of the State, we found out that, during this multi-layered case, killer Patrick Quirke’s appalling act was not, as we first thought, committed as an out of character crime of passion, (or, in keeping with the drama, a crime passionnel), rather it was all about one man’s voracious appetite for craving and control.

  Throughout the compelling circumstantial evidence, we also learned that, unlike those notorious gangland murders occurring across the country that we read about here in our lovely Roscommon idyll, as the jury of six men and six women found the respected award winning farmer, financial investor and all-round-good egg Quirke guilty, the man now facing life behind bars was far removed from the hoodie-wearin’ gun-totin’ macho thug; rather he was a well-dressed,  middle-aged gent embroiled in what now appears to have been a seedy sex situation who harboured murderous thoughts, believing he could get away with committing the so-called perfect crime. Without being disrespectful to the memory of murder victim Bobby Ryan, this case bore all of the hallmarks of a Hollywood movie plot.

  Now, while I’m glad Mary Lowry is reportedly ‘in a new relationship,’ following what must have been her extremely distressing and mortifying ordeal, we must not fixate on the woman, whom, due to her illicit affair with murderer Quirke, was unfortunate enough to be the crucial witness on whom the whole case rested. She will, with a lot of soul-searching, and hopefully the support she needs, be able to move on.

  However, for wronged wife Imelda Quirke and murder victim Bobby Ryan’s family, whose unbearable loss may never leave them, I fear rebuilding their shattered lives will prove to be much more strenuous. During the trial, I admit, on a personal level, I felt a lot of sympathy for Imelda and I admired her for faithfully and loyally accompanying Quirke to court each day; for stoically standing by him, and for clearly loving him. (It wouldn’t have been me). It was evident that, as the thirteen weeks ticked by, and with each sordid revelation, the trial took its toll on this slightly built woman whose killer husband once described in a letter he sent to agony aunt Patricia Redlich, (which formed part of the evidence), as having been ‘a tremendous support and (who) loves me deeply’. Now while I don’t get it, I do understand that some women, (and some men too) can become infatuated with a ‘bad boy/girl,’ winding up in a match made in misery; and I hope Imelda can rebuild her life independent of her ruthless husband.

  We must also never forget Bobby Ryan or his grieving family; most especially his adult children Robert and Michelle  who are now left to try and pick up the remnants of their shattered lives following their dad’s horrific death at the hands an evil manipulator and his poisonous trail of ruination.  Quirke’s devious, cold-blooded and heinous crime will not only leave a stain on their lives, it’ll also leave a smear on the decent folk of Tipperary who do not deserve it, as well as on the landscape as a whole. I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Bobby Ryan who, despite being visibly tormented by the evidence, showed enormous dignity throughout the trial. I’ve no doubt their precious dad would have been proud of his children’s distinguished composure.

It must be said that at this time, lawyers for Quirke are allegedly considering grounds on which to launch an appeal.


What’s in your hea-ad Leo?


Well folks, it seems it wasn’t enough for An Taoiseach to leave us ‘spinning around’ with embarrassment following his now famous fawning letter to singer Kylie Minogue, where he enthused about how he’d love to welcome the pop icon to our Emerald Isle – because he’s only gone and done it again, and this time on the streets of Limerick where he dueted with young County Offaly busker James McKelvey during his rendition of The Cranberries’ classic Zombie!

  Out canvassing for votes, cool-dude head-boy Leo was joined on the streets of the Treaty City (and on vocals, doo-wop, doo-wop) by MEP Sean Kelly and Senators Maria Byrne and Kieran O’Donnell, and, looking painfully awkward, (in my opinion), in the course of only one chorus, our country’s leader managed to quash every single quality that might have made him even moderately desirable to voters – as well as being majorly distinguishable to other nations’ heads of state – as a hard-nosed skilled Taoiseach, capable of running our country.

  Now I don’t know about you folks, but from where I’m sitting, it appears that Leo’s team of spin doctors totally missed the mark, and I have to ask what was ‘in their hea-ads, in their hea-ads,’ because if last week’s busking shambles was evidence of their pathetic attempts to mould him into some affable bloke-next-door who gets up early in da morning so he can be down with da kids, they need to realise that this time, their plan has totally backfired.

  You see, by encouraging him to stop for an off-the-cuff, out-of-tune-croon, Leo’s out-of-touch handlers have turned our designer suit wearing man-boy/fan-boy from being a leader whom now, more than ever, (given Brexit), urgently needs to embody a confident, skilled and experienced negotiator, into a bungling self-conscious juvenile who looked (and acted) more like a reject dumped from some cheesy manufactured boyband!

  And so, in response to Mr. Varadkar’s comment where he praised busker James – telling him “You’re really good, and I don’t do bullshit” – I have to say, neither do I Leo love, and, bless you, you were woeful and are defo not my ‘golden buzzer’ act!


Rossies showcasing their very best


Congratulations to everyone involved in making last weekend’s annual Lamb Festival a huge success. Myself, himself and herself, (darling granddaughter) headed to our county town on the sunny Sunday for what was a great day’s entertainment, and marvelled at the delights and creativity of the local craft stalls housed in the town centre’s marquees, before heading along to the family fun day in Loughnaneane Park where we met lots of lovely locals manning (and womaning) the many information stands.

  One such delightful lady was Roscommon Town Tourist Information Group volunteer Cáitlin Browne (I hope I’ve got the spelling correct), with whom I had the pleasure of chatting as hubby wandered round the castle and granddaughter queued to take part in the soccer skills comp. (The queue was too long and she gave up in favour of going for lunch). Well done to the Tidy Towns’ committee who did an exemplary, and very difficult job of keeping the park litter-free, especially as I witnessed some adults, (not the kiddies), shamefully discarding rubbish on the grass.

  Now, as I’m a vegan, I did not partake of any of the food on offer, but I can appreciate the enormous efforts put in by the hard-working committee, the volunteers, the restaurants, the sponsors and the exhibitors, who all lovingly showcased our county town at its very best.


Today’s leaders aren’t a patch on McGuinness and Paisley


To see the coffin of a young woman who has died at the hands of terrorists lying in a church, is, for me, a cold and chilling reminder of the horrors of our past. By now, all right-thinking people will have welcomed Fr. Martin Magill’s stirring speech where he asked the congregation attending the funeral mass of journalist, Lyra McKee, “Why in God’s name does it take the death of a 29-year-old woman with her whole life in front of her to get us to this point?” as he acknowledged politicians from both sides of the divide for finally standing together, side by side.

  By now, readers will know that Lyra was a beautiful and talented young woman who was callously gunned down by the so-called New IRA as she observed rioting in Derry’s Creggan estate on April 18th. And, as Fr. Magill’s words sparked a spontaneous round of applause and standing ovation from mourners, we witnessed Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill as well as the DUP’s Arlene Foster looking distinctly uncomfortable, with the trio’s body language appearing to be downright awkward as they glanced sideways at each other to see who else was standing to applaud, with Arlene Foster not even attempting to bring her palms together, rather her response being to feebly tap one hand off the other in what can only be described as an apathetic effort at acknowledgement.

  However, even though it’s horrendously tragic that it took the murder of a much-loved young woman, it appears Lyra’s death has kick-started a process as, during a joint press conference with British Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has pledged “to make sure that no other ceasefire babies are murdered,” with fresh talks involving both governments, including the main parties in the North, set to begin on 7th May.

  I don’t know about you folks, but I’m praying to anyone who’ll listen that the peace we’ve all enjoyed and deserved on this island will be re-established, along with the restoration of power-sharing, before the onset of the annual scourge we call ‘the marching season’ takes hold. Moreover, I’m also praying that those who’re involved in these talks will stop malingering and show some of the leadership displayed by the late Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley.

  Even though many may not have agreed with this duo’s personal style of politics, it’s fair to say they got the job done. From where I’m sitting, the party leaders today haven’t got a patch on these two one-time sworn enemies, who finally realised that, in order to bed down the peace process, they’d each need to take major career risks. For me, (apart from Michael Collins), heroes don’t come much bigger than McGuinness and Paisley, whose unexpected friendship earned them the title ‘The chuckle brothers,’ and I worry if today’s lot have the will, the wisdom and the liathróidí to walk in their shoes. Why? Because, in the minds of the DUP and Sinn Féin leaderships, I’d imagine their reputations are of paramount importance. (But I could be wrong). Thank God, the one-time IRA commander/unrepentant republican, and his best buddy, the unionist preacher-man who swore he’d “never, never, never” sit down with republicans, were change-makers who placed peace first.

  It’s no secret that the most influential and powerful politicians on both sides have outwardly indicated their intentions and their eagerness to restore power-sharing, but their spin doctors should make them realise they need to go into these talks knowing that someone will have to compromise; and, while it may appear to them that compromise means losing, it doesn’t. For us, the people they represent, compromise means winning, because those who can find it in their thick skulls to strike a middle ground, who cooperate and who concede, even just a smidgen, are not just heroes, they’re clear winners! All it requires is a bit of give and take, and we’ve got mission accomplished!


Give our frontline Gardaí  24-hour armed support


As a new report from the Policing Authority has revealed that ‘only half of Garda reform targets have been met,’ my reaction is this…if I were only performing at a rate of fifty per cent in my job, I’d be sacked! 

  Look, I’m a huge supporter of our brave police force, especially the local rank and file Gardaí, whom, with the rise of gang violence, are extremely under-resourced and yet still manage to work very hard for our communities, and I’d imagine since these findings have been made public, morale must surely have hit rock bottom, specifically among those who’re now requesting 24-hour armed support units in all divisions across the country; and rightly so. Give it to them, Minister Flanagan. They deserve it. Remember, these are the Gardaí who’re on the frontline. These are the Gardaí who know where the pressure points are. These are the Gardaí who’re being placed in perilous positions.

  So, as a taxpaying Irish citizen, and as an interfering aul wan, I’m requesting Garda Commissioner Drew Harris do two things. One, manage your budget a bit better, and two, look at your reform targets again and ask yourself the following…Were the initiatives realistic? Were they even achievable? If so, were they properly implemented? Or, was the entire exercise a shed-load of, get-it-out-there-and-make-us-look-good PR spin?


Restaurants are not adventure playgrounds

I’ve no problem with mini diners having an occasional little episode in restaurants. It happens. However, even if their appalling editing skills annoy me, I agree with the Mediterranean restaurant in Llandudno, North Wales whose dining room ‘rules’ for parents state that “If a child cannot be stopped from disturbing other dinners (sic) we will unfortunately have to ask you to leave the restaurant”.

  Look, whether it’s a child throwing a hissy fit or an adult acting like a feral hooligan, I believe all establishments should be able to politely ask noisy, rowdy, troublesome patrons to leave their premises; after all, a restaurant/hotel is not an adventure playground! Now I’ve never come across a badly-behaved child in any Roscommon establishment I’ve visited, (it’s the truth, they’re all little angels), but I’ve got a major issue with those parents who have a blind spot when it comes to their offspring and whom, instead of making sure the little rugrats sit nicely at the table and not run around causing not only a nuisance but possibly a serious accident, choose instead to ignore them in favour of texting and taking selfies!


Is there a code of omertà around Mother and Baby homes?




Last week we celebrated 70 years since our  country officially became a republic, (it happened at midnight Easter Monday on 18th of April 1949), yet I for one, a normally proud Irishwoman, feel sick to my stomach and thoroughly ashamed. You see, (in the same week), according to a new report, the burial locations of hundreds of babies and children who died in the State’s notorious mother and baby hell-holes remains unknown. Now, with regard to our highly respected neighbours in Tuam, the institution, (run by the Sisters of Bons Secours), was situated on a site allegedly operated and owned by Galway County Council, whom, in the face of deep criticism relating to them not being able to produce a legally required Register of Burials, is, let me state, insisting it is ‘fully co-operating with the investigation’.

  Now, during the course of my work, I’ve visited Tuam many times, and let me declare that it is populated by wonderfully decent human beings, people who deserve respect. However, as the town is sadly notorious as being the location of the disreputable Mother and Baby home, which harbours a mass burial site containing the remains of hundreds of babies who perished while in the care of the Order who ran it, I’d have to agree with the investigation and say that yes, it’s entirely possible that some local workers would’ve passed through its grounds on a regular basis. And, given this theory, I’d imagine that this week, the stench of humiliation, remorse, guilt, hypocrisy, and possibly fear is permeating that normally glorious Tuam air. 

  In relation to Bessborough, which was run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, I’d also agree with the report when it asserts, that, it is “very difficult to comprehend” how those who managed it have no information to offer concerning the locations of the burial places of the hundreds of infants and children who died in their care. Are we expected to believe that not a single, solitary, chaste, God-fearing Catholic among this lot has any credible info whatsoever, and can’t (or refuse) to provide even a smidgen of a clue that’d point families in the right direction?  

  Look Sisters, maths isn’t my strong point, but if, between the decades of 1920 and 1980 nine hundred little souls perished at Bessborough, I make that fifteen deaths a year, so it’s absolutely staggering that not one single nun among you can come forward and break their silence; leading me to ask if there’s some sort of omertà in place here? If this shameful practice had happened anywhere else in the EU, the entire scandal would be referred to The Hague…and rightly so!

  Well done to Minister Katherine Zappone, who appears to be genuinely doing her best to get to the bottom of this horror, and who has passionately appealed to anyone with answers relating to these places of persecution to “let us know where they (the children) are buried”.

  I mean no disrespect to our wonderful neighbours in Tuam, and I fully understand we are living in very different times. I empathise with those of you who may have information but whom, up to now, for whatever reason, have (disgracefully) remained silent.

  However, whether these tight-lipped individuals are possible members of the local clergy, are close family, or indeed, are possibly former members of an Garda Síochána, or are a part of the local community and council, etc., I’d implore you, given the revelations, and given the unspeakable horrors that befell these innocent little angels, it’s reasonable to assume your continued silence may be construed as not only being your acceptance, but possibly your collusion in the unauthorised and unrecorded disposal of innocent babies and young children’s bodies; babies who were Irish citizens with both legal and human rights.

  So today, examine that part of your conscience making you stand idly by, and come out and tell us what you know. The families, and indeed Ireland as a whole, needs a forensic investigation to bring about clarification and justice for these children and their mothers.

  For more information, please contact the HSE on 1850-241850.


I’m keeping the dogs!


You’re probably already aware, but a pre-nuptial agreement has absolutely no basis in Irish law, and is, therefore not binding. However, while there may be many reasons why a couple would sign a pre-nup prior to tying the knot, (money being the main one), as far as I’m concerned, retaining custody of the beloved fur babies would definitely be top of my list!

  I only mention this because the fight to retain custody of the family pet following a divorce is on the rise here in Ireland. And, as I love my doggies as much as I love my kids, (more, according to my eldest), I can fully understand this scenario and it’s for this very reason, as well as the fact that, according to the UK’s Blue Cross, ‘30,000 divorce cases in the past year involved a dispute over a pet,’ that, on an occasion where I’m asked to carry out a voluntary home-check for an animal rescue charity, I’ve been known to ask the surprised applicants the one question everyone else avoids, and that is, have they made plans for the pet in the unlikely event they go their separate ways? When the answer’s ‘er, no,’ I ask, well, are they planning to return the poor dog/cat back to the rescue? When the reply is, ‘well yes probably,’ I follow up with, does the same apply to the kiddies? As in, will they pack up the cherubs and return them to the maternity hospital? No…of course they won’t!  So isn’t it reasonable for me to ask them to consider making arrangements for their pets prior to their commitment to adopt.

  Therefore, (and not that I’m contemplating it whatsoever because I adore him), but, if he-who-can-assemble-an-entire-car-engine-with-his-eyes-shut-yet-can’t-tidy-away-his-spanners and myself ever decide we no longer deserve our Lifetime Achievement Award for putting up with each other, let me state here and now that I’m keeping our dogs!


Well done on an ‘egg-cellent’ Easter Parade!


There was a great buzz in the county town last Sunday as locals donned their glad rags and flocked to the town’s annual Easter Parade. Well done to everyone who took part. The sun shone on what was definitely a healthy dose of community spirit at its very best with everyone in attendance looking happy and content…and why shouldn’t they be? Roscommon is a thriving county, full of fantastic people who not only believe in promoting and cultivating sense of belonging, they showcase it. Other counties would do well to take note! Just sayin’!


A week in politics that broke my cringe-o-meter




To quote former British PM Harold Wilson, ‘a week is a long time in politics!’ Firstly, (and unsurprisingly), little was achieved regarding Brexit, other than the six-month ‘flextension’ farce. This means we now have a scenario whereby the UK will continue to be a full EU member state, retaining all of the associated rights until, of all dates, Hallow E’en. Are yez ‘avin’ a larf? I hope readers will forgive me for saying it, but the phrase too many freaks and not enough circuses springs to mind here.

  Now, okay, I suppose the longer the whole mess goes on, and the further down the road the can is kicked, the better it is for us because hey…they may not even leave at all, as, (in my opinion), the move for a second referendum appears to be gathering pace.

  However folks, and I do hate to rake up old wounds, (no, really, I do), especially as we’re all so palsy walsy now, but, given our lovely neighbours over-stayed their ‘visit’ to us by eight hundred years, I’m going to assume that, come Hallow E’en, the rest of the EU will still be pulling all-nighter-crisis-talks with auntie Theresa, (if she hasn’t been deposed beforehand) – simply because the UK just don’t seem to be able to grasp that the whole Brexit thingy is not really all that difficult to achieve.

  I mean, if you want to be Euro-free lads, all you have to do is agree a withdrawal deal that puts an arrangement in place regarding the whole ‘Irish issue,’ and then leave, and we can all live happily ever after…simples!

  Meanwhile, talking of kicking the can…when someone brazenly hides behind their lawyers as an excuse to refuse to answer questions, my paranoia shoots straight through the roof. Then, as the seeds of doubt begin to take root, my suspicious mind suddenly switches from wondering if that someone is simply just trying to titillate and tantalise us, or worse…if they’ve actively gone to this much trouble to avoid responding to what were reasonable questions, then how harrowing are their answers going to be?

  You see folks, as the unravelling commenced and the buffoonery progressed, I was half-expecting someone sitting at last week’s Oireachtas Sport Committee proceedings to swiftly whip out a ukulele and compose a melancholy Country ‘n’ Western ditty called, ahem, The Dirge of John Delaney…or something like that, because, quite frankly, I was amazed by the man’s total refusal to ‘walk the line,’ and not only decline to answer TDs’ questions regarding the €100,000 loan he gave the association, but, worryingly, at that sitting, he didn’t even go so far as to clarify issues relating to FAI governance. Look John love, if there had been nothing to see, you should have just explained that, and then politely pushed off. I mean, why the need for a so-called gagging order? Sure the whole drama was akin to trying to unravel the plot of an Agatha Christie whodunit!

  Now folks, dubious as Delaney’s behaviour was, I have to comment that Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae’s incredible defence of him was equally puzzling. I mean, talk about ‘standing by your man’. Healy-Rae’s geeky fan-boy reaction, pledging that Delaney would be afforded “the mother of all welcomes” the next time he came to Kerry, was so farcical, I swear to God readers, it actually broke my cringe-o-meter! Will yez ever get a room lads, ‘cos this is possibly the biggest bro-mance since Batman met Robin! Holy heap of boot-lickin’ Batman…I mean Michael!

  Look, I’m not a footie fan at all but, for me, it seems the entire episode has raised more questions than it has managed to answer. However, as a bystander, I’m now wondering if perhaps John Delaney, (and the beleaguered association) really believed he was untouchable, and, given that he has run the organisation for fifteen years, I would imagine his backers and dedicated soccer fans alike, must have viewed him as being the ultimate, the faultless, Mr. FAI!

Oh how the mighty have fallen.


Teachers are not substitute parents


A report that a primary school in Walsall in the UK has been forced to hire a ‘dedicated nappy changer,’ because some of the students attending have not been properly toilet trained is, in my opinion, very worrying.

  Now okay, I do understand that these kids are in the four and five year age group, meaning they’re very young, and of course some little ones may have an issue or two when it comes to doing their business in a strange place; I do get it. I’m an adult who carries a pack of antibacterial wipes and a hand sanitiser 24/7 in the unlikely event I may need to use a loo other than my own!

  I find this very interesting. We live in an age where toddlers as young as two years’ old are able to master a smartphone or a tablet, which I believe is fantastic when it comes to their future digital/technology preparation, their hand-eye coordination development, and in enhancing  their problem solving skills. In addition, (and I’ll bet child development experts are rolling their eyes right now), I also believe it’s great for a parent/grandparent to be able to hand the ankle-biters these devices when they’re sitting in their car seat whinging with boredom, or climbing out of the supermarket trolley throwing a tantrum! Sure isn’t the aul mobile a Godsend. However, I would assume that when it comes to a child’s personal development, not to mention their individual hygiene practices, teaching them to be independently capable of using the loo is also vitally important.

  Look, I’m always supportive of time-poor, over-stretched parents, (I was one), but school teachers are not employed to be substitute mammies and daddies; they’re educators! And while of course any decent school will work with families regarding addressing certain needs their child may have, as far as I would imagine, changing nappies just because someone has neglected to potty-train their little darling in preparation for big school should not be one of them.
































































































































































































































































































Stop demonising farmers – they are not ruining the planet!




Last week, a teacher resource pack, which apparently is part of the An Taisce Green Schools’ programme, was rolled out in an effort to call for teachers in Irish classrooms to encourage students to eat less meat. Great! I’m all for saving animals’ lives. This latest move, which is allegedly endorsed by Minister for Communications Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton TD, should, for someone like me (a vegan and dedicated animal welfare supporter), be music to my ears. But instead, I find it all a bit very holier-than-thou(ish), for the simple reason I’ve always believed in the old adage that there’s no such thing as the one-size-fits-all scenario, and people should be allowed to consume whatever foods they wish; with hopefully a healthy, happy lifestyle being the overall objective. 

  You see, as a former animal welfare officer/humane education lecturer, when I spoke in schools and colleges, (including the UCD School of Veterinary), and, when Eurogroup for Animals invited me to give a presentation to a delegation of leaders from 27 EU member states in Brussels, my lesson plans always focused on the humane and compassionate treatment of all animals as well as enlightening participants regarding how the meat and dairy industry can have an impact on both human and animal health in the wider environment. So, okay, you get it folks…Mir kinda knows her stuff!

   But here’s the thing readers…never once did I, and never once will I, ever tell anyone to stop consuming meat and dairy. Why? Because it is none of my business what people eat!

  Besides, (and while I mean no disrespect to the minister), I’d have to ask Mr. Bruton if he’s fully thought this whole initiative through. I mean, what’s his cunning plan if the following were to happen? That’s if the whole country stops eating meat and dairy and instead everyone becomes like me, (a vegan), and farmers are forced to industrially grow grains, fruit, soya and maize, etc.? That would mean using massive amounts of pesticides, fungicides and fertilisers, etc., all of which can contaminate soil, seriously degrading it due to their chemical input. This, in turn, can blight our water supply and negatively affect other vegetation, as well as killing insects and proving toxic to our birds and our fish.

  While I applaud this wonderful Green School initiative, my advice to those who’re involved in rolling it out would be to concentrate their efforts on educating parents and children regarding the practice of shopping and supporting our local farmers and suppliers. Show them how the use of sustainable forms of farming methods, which are based on traditional structures, can help our planet, and for God’s sake, stop demonising farmers and trying to force them to turn away from meat and dairy production!

  I mean, ask yourselves two questions…how are farmers going to earn their living? And – do we really want to pressure them into growing crops that require massive amounts of toxins? 

  The bottom line here is that perhaps our educators, and our government, need to understand that they have not just got a major responsibility, but indeed an obligation and a duty, when it comes to enlightening students and their parents regarding the whole ‘stop-eating-meat’ issue because, unless everyone in Ireland sources their vegetarian/vegan produce and products specifically via a one hundred per cent organic source, (impossible…I’ve tried it), then we are in danger of, (and will be guilty of), engaging in the destruction of our soil. If this happens, we will deprive our beautiful wildlife and our insects of their lives…thus remarkably, and sinfully contributing to the serious threat we face from climate change, which will then increase the carbon footprint dilemma the minister is trying to reduce!

  What we need is an end to unethical, high-carbon polluting practices, however, (and it may seem mad coming from a vegan), persecuting farmers and telling everyone that giving up meat/dairy will save our planet is not only ludicrous, it’s also a clear indication to me that somebody hasn’t done their homework!


Who do you think you are, Mel B?


Mel B, aka Scary Spice, once told the world, (according to a piece carried in The Guardian), that she was ‘ecstatically in love with her husband, Stephen Belafonte’. That the pair ‘were soulmates,’ sharing ‘an extraordinary intimacy,’ and they were ‘so compatible, she’d basically married herself’. Bless her. So, you get the picture; they were mad for each other.

  However, given more recent allegations surrounding drug binges and horrific abuse within the marriage, (and her memoir Brutally Honest), it’s now clear that the leopard-skin clad, tongue-pierced one was telling big porkies. So, having read that the raucous attention-seeker had publicly dropped the aul me-and Ginger- had-a-fling bombshell on the eve of a Spice Girls’ tour, which is allegedly only happening to help Scary crawl out of debt following her costly divorce, I think Ginger, who denies anything happened, is right to feel ‘upset,’ and ‘hurt’. However, I’d not only question Mel B’s motives, I’d also question her credibility and ask if she’s ahem, distorting the truth?

  Look, I don’t care if the two (of them) became one, I don’t even like the Spice Girls, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s no worse an unladylike position in which a gal can find herself than publicly kissing and telling on a former lover. For me, due to her big mouth, Mel B has become a walking punchline, with a reputation for milking the last drop of publicity out of a supposed historical liaison. You see, by dishing up dirt concerning her alleged dalliance with her now happily married/mother bandmate all those years ago, Scary has committed one of the cardinal sins against being classed as both a lady and as a ‘girl power’ role model, leading me to wonder if she’s just another desperate ‘wannabe’ bore, banging on about notches on her bedpost in an attempt to generate ticket sales, and er, ‘spice up her life’.

  So, for any future partners out there, I’d suggest that ‘if you wannabe her lover,’ be prepared for Scary to blab, because it appears the woman simply cannot resist washing both hers, and your, dirty laundry in public.

Helping an abuse survivor to heal can be hard – but it’s not impossible



A single ‘phone call alerting me to the death of a deeply-despised person changed the direction of this week’s column. Therefore, in my attempt to show solidarity with fellow abuse survivors, (both male and female) who’ve experienced a life-altering encounter, my content will be of an adult nature.

  The well-meant, yet hesitant, “I’m not sure if you’re aware, but X is dead,” was intended to bring me solace. Lift a weight off my shoulders. You see, X’s demise, I’ve since learned, was some months in the making, and occurred thanks to him drinking himself to death. Dipsomania was a behaviour X had engaged in prior to him savagely raping me, and of course, he continued to abuse alcohol long afterwards. It would appear, fellow survivors, that causing damage and destruction was a big part of this freak’s depraved nature. Indeed, his ‘alcoholism’ and ‘depression’ were ‘medical conditions’ and excuses used by his, (and by a certain member of my own) family, as the perfect justification to condone his disgusting act. And, because my grief surrounding what he did to me remains somewhat unresolved, news of his death brought me no solace and sadly, no closure. 

  Those who’ve experienced sexual abuse will likely tell you that the crematorium, (I’m told they cremated him), and the death of a much-despised one, is not, as I’ve come to discover, the place to bury the hurt hatchet. And, while it’s difficult for loved ones to offer consolation to survivors under these circumstances, I implore you, to please, do not place this monster’s death centre stage, and instead, ask how the news makes them feel…ask what trauma it has likely triggered; be present with them and do not fob them off with “look, he’s gone, forget about him,” because to do that only forces your loved one to try to heal in isolation and in shame. We deserve better from you! We deserve and we need your support to help us try to erase our pain, and hopefully, find our peace.

  You see, despite my certainty that X is now lifeless – and I knew, as I received the call, his shell of a drink-ravaged body was physically lying on a cold mortuary slab in a Dublin hospital – the fact is, in that moment, both mentally, and within every nerve of my body, the act he’d forced upon me over a decade ago was still very real. Still tremendously tangible. And yes, while I do feel enormous relief that the world is now one sick pervert short – and while I’m over the physical aspects of what he did to me – the bottom line is, in the innermost crevices of my heart, I, like many other abuse survivors, am quietly carrying the huge burden of coming to terms with a situation where some ugly whack-job’s single, selfish act has caused me to lose so, so much. In my case I lost what I’d thought was a happy, solid, mutually loving and respectful (former) marriage, (he didn’t defend my honour), a beautiful home I’d worked my butt off to buy, and the life I once had.

  But hey survivors, we cannot change our past. And, this week, while I’ve come to the realisation that rehashing heart-wrenching memories of X’s attack will only serve to keep me mired in a hurricane of pain and grief, at least I can take comfort in knowing that, due to his death, his name will (hopefully) no longer be uttered at social gatherings. However, while it feels abnormal to humanise the demon that caused me so much hurt, learning about his death at such an advanced stage means I was robbed of the opportunity to have confronted him face to face. Robbed of my moment to look him in his blurry, alcohol-damaged eyes, and, before he lapsed into his coma, inform him that while he will be gone from this earth forever, my future, in which he will no longer be able to insert himself, will be mine…to live on, and to claim as my own. 

* For readers who have been affected by physical/emotional/sexual abuse, here is the national 24-Hour Helpline on 1800 77 8888 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

TV licence fee payers deserve a refund, not an increase!

On a lighter note…apparently, according to Larry Bass, the (I’d imagine) highly-paid producer of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars, the show’s return is ‘in jeopardy unless the TV licence (fee) is increased’…from the current daylight robbery rate of €160. Now as far as I’m concerned, due to the inferior level of what in my opinion is third rate tripe currently being churned out by RTE, our national broadcaster should not only hang its head in shame, it should give us licence fee payers a refund, not an increase. 

  Look Larry love, while I enjoyed watching your series, (I do love an aul dance), the thing is, going to the RTE canteen and gathering Z listers, (sorry stars), some of whom have probably plummeted to rock-bottom on the entertainment value scale (in fact, a few had names that barely even registered with viewers) and then, with a neck bigger than a jockey’s privates, packaging them as ‘must see’ TV, before using the offering as a driftnet to lure us cash-strapped licence fee payers to generate and justify a bigger budget for yourself, is downright greedy.

  Okay, while I have a choice not to watch a broadcaster that appears to go the extra mile when showcasing a shed-load of inferior programmes, unfortunately, as it’s a legal requirement, I pay my licence fee with all of the enthusiasm of a woman with a gun aimed at her head! According to Mr. Bass, “If RTÉ isn’t correctly funded, it can’t run the schedules as it’s been running”. Really? Then great! No loss.

  I can do without paying for jolly holiday road trips for Daniel and his ‘dipstick,’ (no not Majella…his rod for measuring the level of oil in his camper van). Ya had to see the episode! And don’t get me started on the self-congratulatory bunch featured on Celebrity Globetrotters…whom, it must be said, under normal conditions, would barely register as Z listers, who were, bless them, taken ‘completely out of their comfort zones,’ (er, what was that now, tracksuits, hoodies and crocs?) in order to live it large on taxpayers’ money! Seriously RTE, I’ve been better entertained watching the in-flight safety video on a budget airline.



What’s the name of the game, Britain? Break up and move on – or reverse Brexit?



So, the, er May-hem that should have seen the mother of all  economic earthquakes paying us a visit this Friday has been temporarily postponed – until April 12th. Theresa May? She’s a  woman whom I’ll admit I did once feel a little sorry for, but who I now realise, along with her crack team of muppets, sorry skilled negotiators, possesses zero political acumen when it comes to dealing with Brexit. Her only strategy to deliver a result has been to repeat “I’m going to get my vote through” – parrot fashion – and she has been effectively told by the EU to ‘sling yer hook, we’re sick of the sight of you!’

  Yes folks, appearing to grate on everyone’s nerves during what was last week’s high-stakes summit, May, whose sashaying on stage to ABBA’s Dancing Queen clearly (at one time) appeared to be the perfect moment in her dreams, is now proving to be a nightmare in reality as she approaches her dreaded Waterloo.

  I’d imagine last week that May’s quintessential stiff upper lipped British pride took a serious dive, when, consigned to eating humble pie and being left to stew as EU bigwigs chowed down on duck à l’orange, she was dismissed like a bold child and was, (like the rest of us plebs) forced to rely on a few social media updates and leaks regarding the latest sit-rep. And, as the grandees squabbled and hammered out their solution to her country’s crisis, Theresa must, in all honesty, have realised that she didn’t possess the biggest quality necessary in a good leader; which is, to respond to the democratic wishes of the electorate. And so, given the amount of increasing support the anti-Brexit campaigners are now gaining, (with apparently the likes of Annie Lennox and Hugh Grant signing petitions to ‘Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU’), it’s my opinion that only the most arrogant of prime ministers would blatantly continue to ignore the demographic changes and slides that have occurred, and which are now glaringly visible across her entire country.

  So, enough with your spin Britain, I’m gonna put this question into words your ABBA lovin’ leader will understand…What’s the Name of the Game? We know you ‘don’t wanna talk about things we’ve gone through’ and, while we’ve ‘played all (our) cards’, and you tell us ‘that’s what you’ve done too,’ quite frankly, we’re soooo over you, and, when we’re ‘the winner (who) takes it all,’ and you’re ‘the loser standing small,’ don’t bother whingin’ at our door for any ‘money, money, money,’ ‘cos there won’t be a ‘single penny left for (you)! Geddit?


Shout out to the mannerly men attending Transition Year at CBS Roscommon


Good manners, politeness and conducting oneself in a respectable fashion costs absolutely nothing; and yet, (in my experience anyway), it seems some parents (not all), fail to teach their children how to behave and how to say those simple words, please and thank you. 

  However, last week, when meeting a friend in Gleeson’s Townhouse in Roscommon town, I happened to be sitting at a table next to a group of teenage lads who not only impressed me with their impeccable manners and respectful attitude to the staff – the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ were being generously bandied about like snuff at a wake – but these lads were also immaculately turned out,  from their perfectly styled hair to their buffed and polished shoes, to their impressively laundered school uniforms; which, I immediately noticed displayed a crest confirming they were all students of CBS Roscommon. When I asked one of them why they were all sitting in Gleeson’s ordering breakfast from the menu like a group of gentlemen engaged in a business meeting, he told me they were promoting their school’s magazine.

  As it transpired, I was chatting with the entire TY year at CBS Roscommon, and I’d like to say a big an-mhaith agus comhghairdeas to their school principal, their year head and to their parents who should all not only be proud of these lads, but should be proud of themselves for raising and shaping a bunch of what I perceived to be genuinely well rounded, well-mannered individuals who were a pleasure to sit next to. If these lads, and their behaviour is indicative of what constitutes the youth of today, Roscommon’s future is in good hands. And er, sorry for being a nosey aul wagon and rocking up to wreck yer buzz lads…couldn’t help myself!

Danny’s got a solution to Deer-mageddon!

I’m one hundred per cent certain, (well, maybe just eighty per cent), that the lovely Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae is not an over-excitable gentleman. Nor, despite his previous inaccurate statements regarding climate change, as in ‘God above controls the weather,’ and his highly questionable hypothesis that consuming a big meal and getting behind the wheel of a car is as dangerous as drink-driving, etc. do I believe him to be, ahem, intellectually challenged in any way. In fact folks, I’d go so far as to say that Mr. Healy-Rae is likely a highly astute, sharp-minded individual; so I am at odds to know why it is that every time this man opens his mouth he appears to press Ctrl, Alt, Delete on his brain, leading to his sense of rationalisation slowly seeping from his mind like a tyre with a slow puncture?

  Let me explain. Last week, I read, with (what was once again) bewildered amusement, that Danny has allegedly, ‘called for the army to be deployed to make roads in Kerry safe again,’ and that the Kingdom was being reduced to a state of “turmoil and tears” because a few innocent, and, may I add what I’d imagine to be beautiful and majestic, wild deer, who are roaming around.

  Mind you, if one is to believe Healy-Rae’s claims, it would seem that poor little Bambi & Co. “have taken the place over”. Now, as an animal welfare supporter I’d only love the chance to get into a debate with Danny regarding his various views and opinions; (all of which he is entitled to) with my first question being to ask him why it is he feels it’s perfectly okay for God above to control certain aspects of nature, but when it suits him, or indeed interferes with him, he’d like to utilise and deploy the services of the Irish army to deal with such nuisances as, ahem, Deer-mageddon?


Alleged college scam makes my fake fairy cake hoax appear harmless



Last week it was reported that high profile US celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, right,  as well as other filthy-rich parents, were charged with committing fraud following an investigation into a so-called college admissions ‘scam’.  Apparently the ‘scam’ in this case was a highly successful and lucrative one, netting the ‘fixer’ – or, as the US media are calling him, the ‘mastermind’ – a staggering $24m between 2011 and 2018.

  These parents allegeded to have paid tens of thousands of dollars to a guy who arranged ‘for someone to take the SATs/ACTs’ for their children or to ‘set up fake profiles to have them recruited to college athletics teams’. Now, for those who’re scratching their heads, the SATs/ACTs are entrance exams used by almost all colleges/universities in the US to make their admissions decisions, and, the higher a student scores, the more options are open to them.

  While this train wreck is the type of scandal deserving of an entire episode of Desperate Housewives, (the show that catapulted Huffman to fame), it’s also an egregious example of the inequalities present between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in today’s society, and I for one am glad these shady practices have been laid bare. Now don’t get me wrong folks, we all have a desire, (and a duty) to give our children as much of a leg up and as much help as we possibly can; however, unlike as it alleged in this scenario, the majority of us are aware of the ethical line that must never be crossed, and we would never, for example, consider offering examiners a bribe, or scandalously have others pose as our own kids and take their tests for them.

  Now readers, I’ll be the first to hold my hand up and say that I have, (on several occasions), been guilty of buying a few fairy cakes in the local supermarket, unpacked and, er, roughed them up a bit, before popping them onto a plate and wrapping them in tinfoil to be presented at the school’s annual fundraising bake-sale, passing them off as being ‘wholesome and home-made’ in order to impress the principal (and not embarrass my poor child). But that could hardly be construed as bribery or indeed as taking advantage of some corruptible middleman’s greed in order to engage in a dubious admissions strategy…could it?

  I mean, while I’m not a bad cook, (he-who-licks-the-pattern-off-his-plate will vouch for that), I do know my limits, and my baking skills, which don’t stretch to elaborate fairy cakes, cupcakes, sponge cakes, scones (you get my drift) would most certainly constitute a breach of any school’s health and safety regulations...meaning my motto is, if at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence you’ve ever tried in the first place and head to the shops! You see, despite the fact darling daughters’ notes home would clearly state that any simple offering would be gratefully received, the thing is readers, there was always some judgy, domestic goddess, Mary Berry wannabe type who was capable of concocting not one, but numerous batches of delectable masterpieces, all beautifully presented in packaging she’d crocheted from old crisp bags and bits of baby grows she’d recycled during the hours she hadn’t been out organising marches and designing banners for Greenpeace! Make ya sick! And, it’s not like I was jealous or anything, nooooo way; it’s just I hated show-offs who believed the way to the head nun’s heart was to turn up with a raspberry butter-layered creation displaying the image of the shroud of Turin when I can’t even follow a simple recipe!

  Look, I can fully understand the desperation felt by some parents when trying to secure a future for their kids. I can fully relate to that; sure it’s normal…but to allegedly bribe your child’s way into a college is wrong on so many levels. In my opinion readers, while it’s one thing to joke about your inadequacies as a parent and screwing up your kid’s future, it’s quite another to actually do it…allegedly! Kinda makes my ‘home-baked’ fairy cake hoax seem perfectly innocent!


Leo did fair to middlin’ on St Patrick’s Day junket


Our Leo, right, (whom, it must be said, historically tends to get a tad giddy when he goes foreign and represents Ireland on the world stage), seemed to be doin’ fair to middlin’ during the annual diddly-eye St. Patrick’s Day junket to the US. 

  Between the tin whistles, the shamrock, the bodhrans and the hornpipes, An Taoiseach not only became firm friends with The Donald, (God help us), he cleverly went on the charm offensive and totally won over so-called Christian conservative, vice-president Mike Pence, a macho man who (allegedly) has some very un-Christian like views on LGBT issues. 

  However, it was Leo’s dissing of MMA fighter Conor McGregor – who was invited to march alongside our country’s leader in the Chicago parade – that impressed me the most. I mean, why would organisers invite someone with so many anger management issues and legal troubles, (isn’t this latest incident McGregor’s second felony charge in under a year?), to walk alongside and effectively upstage our Taoiseach?! Now okay, I know McGregor, like a lot of us Dubliners, never had the advantages Leo had, nor did he receive an education at a posh prat college; and while I will always stand up for my fellow ‘how’er’ya’ Dubs, an arrogant individual, prone to, let’s say, thuggish behaviour, is not and never will be a suitable ambassador for our country, or indeed, a role model for her youth!

We must never allow embryonic hatred to win

Hate breeds hate, and this callous and brutal massacre of innocent people, no matter what their creed, colour or ethnicity, has got to stop. My heart is broken for the families, friends and loved ones of those murdered and injured in last week’s shocking Christchurch mosque terror attacks. However, having a broken heart and sending good thoughts is never going to be enough to soothe the unbearable horror that befell those Muslim families who innocently and peacefully went to meet, worship and pray together as a community.

  As a nation, sadly, we have first-hand experience of this type of embryonic hatred; we know what it’s like when some bitter and twisted terrorist goes on a homicidal rampage, hell-bent on carrying out acts of butchery and carnage. For this, and many more reasons, I know the good people of Roscommon will not only join nations around the world in sending our heartfelt condolences to all those who have been affected as they try to deal with what will be the traumatic aftermath – we will also stand side by side in solidarity with them.




We had 48 hours to bite the Big Apple…






From mild to wild, from food experiences that range from hot dog stands, artisan epicurean markets, and pizza and burger joints to fine dining that’s so outrageously expensive, I warn you readers, it will break the bank…New York has it all. From large department stores like Saks on Fifth Avenue, and of course that premier shopping emporium that is Macy’s – located right in the middle of a hyperactive Herald Square – to little pop-up stands; and, I have to be honest, a few seedy gift shops, peddling items more bedraggled than the rubbish I threw out during our house move, it’s fair to say the city that never sleeps is, quite possibly the most culturally diverse metropolis I’ve ever visited in my entire life.

  And, even though I only spent a short time there last week, during what was a surprise whirlwind trip with my beautiful youngest daughter, without doubt, I loved every single minute of it – and I will return. However, due to the minus four temperatures, next time I grace the Big Apple with my presence it’ll be during their summer months.

  Yes folks, a wonderful Mother’s Day trip to the city that never sleeps with my baby girl, (okay she’s 26, but she’s still my baby), was always on the cards. We’d chatted about it for years. However, noticing that mammy was in serious need of a pick-up, (due to a tough house move), taking matters into her own hands, Megan booked our flights, our hotel, acquired Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval for me, and, in her no-nonsense way, told me she was bringing my Mother’s Day surprise forward and advised me regarding what items of clothing to pack (warm, comfy clobber and runners). Yes, my take-charge, youngest deffo takes after d’mammy! I wasn’t able to come up with a valid excuse like, “I can’t leave hubby on his own with the dogs”…to which he-who-thought-he’d-never-get-rid-of-me insisted that oh yes I could! In fact, in order to make sure I left, not only the county, but also the country, he-who-yearned-for-bit-of-peace, drove me to my daughter’s city centre apartment the day before our trip…and legged it back to Roscommon!

  Flying with Aer Lingus was extremely pleasant, and with a choice of in-flight movies, (including new releases and old classics), delicious food, refreshments and alcoholic beverages on tap, as well as sweet treats, all served by what has got to be the nicest, most professional crew I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking care of me, my seven-hour trip passed in no time at all. 

  My super-savvy daughter had booked us into a beautiful over-sized double room at one of New York’s finest hotels; spoiling me with what is arguably the most breathtaking views of Manhattan’s iconic skyline. And, even though we had a full day’s travel under our belts, we checked in, did a rapid make-up top-up, followed by a quick change of shoes, but wearing the same travel outfit, (my jeans were now more wrinkled than my face), off we went, into the cutting cold, to catch the 158 bus to downtown Manhattan for pre-show cocktails and to indulge in some of the most diverse gourmet vegan food either of us have ever experienced. Yes, No. 2 is also vegan, and sure with New York being home to some of the best vegan-friendly restaurants showcasing vegan menus galore, and, given the amount and the sheer quality of choice available, the pair of us could barely contain our unbridled enthusiasm. (Note to self: Have jaws wired shut for a month). If I was pushed on my favourite eatery, it’d have to be Le Pain Quotidien whose menu is packed with simple, yet elegant organic fare; I’ll tell you readers,  their breakfast avocado toast followed by granola with bananas and coconut yogurt is, quite literally, to die for!

  Having tried to get tickets for Jersey Boys, which, by strange coincidence had departed Broadway for Dublin that very day, we opted for Phantom of the Opera at The Majestic in Times Square; an area that is as insane as it looks on d’telly! This, anything-goes ‘crossroads of the world’ with its commuters, tourists, construction workers, street performers, (no Naked Cowboy, apparently it was too cold for him that day), and scammers, attracts over 50 million tourists annually; every one of whom seemed to be visiting on the same day as me.

  But I digress. Now in its 30th year, Phantom, which officially opened at The Majestic on Broadway where it remains to this day, is a timeless story of obsession, winning both Olivier and Tony awards, and was, for both of us, an exquisitely crafted piece of musical theatre rendering us perched on the edge of our fifth row seats. Ben Crawford and Eryn LeCroy were mesmerising as the Phantom and Christine. This show was definitely the highlight of a trip which took in the Empire State Building, the heartbreaking Ground Zero where, visitors were so respectful, (and rightly so), you could have heard a pin drop; the New York Public Library, Grand Central Station, the art deco skyscraper that is the Chrysler Building and one of the city’s oldest and most historic buildings, the Flatiron. Sadly, due to time constraints we didn’t get to see the Brooklyn Bridge or take a bike ride through Central Park, meaning we’ve got a perfect excuse to return to the ever-changing fabulous fairytale that is New York City. Thank you baby girl; I had an amazing time.


Kerry, for the sake of the kids, tone it down a tad!


Due to what I can only describe as severe jetlag, I tuned into the Ray D’Arcy show to watch Kerry Katona’s (a stunningly beautiful woman, it must be said), brash, distasteful, car-crash behaviour during what was, for me, a highly uncomfortable interview. Now, as someone who has, in the past, interviewed Kerry for both print and broadcast media, I had hoped, that, given, (in her words) she’s nearly 40 and the mother of five kiddies, she’d matured a bit over the years.  However, the queen of reality TV’s brash cringe-worthy technique of  “I just marry ‘em, get pregnant, sell it to ‘OK’ magazine, and then get divorced,” and the way she threw shade at her first husband’s exes left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Look Kerry, no matter how much you may dislike your ex-husband’s former partners, no matter how draining or demanding you feel they may have been on your relationship with him, (and believe me I know all about the stressful tsunami that is a divorce), when speaking publicly love, it’d be wise for you to set a good example and remember that children learn about relationships through studying the models in their lives. And as you say you’re a “single mother”, that model is you!

  Therefore, if you come across like a bitter, cold harpie, then it’s possible your beautiful kids may follow by example and use this type of conduct as a definition for their own adult behaviour; and that can’t be healthy hon, now can it?

































































































Have foolish Brexiteers unwittingly threatened to demolish this State?




Well folks, as the release date of Brexit…The Final Season is looming, the Brits still appear to think they’re both an empire and a force to be reckoned with. This element became clear to me when, last week, the British Government attempted to do what it believes it does best…issue idle threats to the Irish by playing dirty, announcing they’d favour Brazillian beef over ours. The nerve! Eh, let me know how that works out for yas! G’wan, flood your UK market with what is highly likely to be a food product riddled with not only traceability and sanitary issues, but that also raises questions around the way in which the animals were slaughtered.

  I mean, have the British Government become so obtuse they’ve totally forgotten the litany of concerns highlighted in a report documented by a delegation of MEPs who visited Brazil’s main beef-producing regions last year, where they declared ‘it became clear that Brazil does not have the same standards as EU producers’.  

  So, as each day is being ticked off the Brexit calendar, and the rhetoric surrounding the initial vote whereby our lovely neighbours declared they ‘never, never, never, shall be slaves,’ to either the EU or anyone else has now long since subsided, it seems the big dog that is the UK – i.e. the fifth biggest national economy in the world – has, I’d imagine now realised it may well have made a massive fizz-up of the whole untangling bit, and, as is usual in acrimonious divorces, resorted to playing hardball. However, I’d have to ask why they’d want to pull such a stunt on us? I mean, hasn’t history taught them that throwing intimidating ultimatums at the Irish, a nation that never has been, nor never will be, frightened of them proved fruitless? A nation which, even when our back is up against the wall – and the Brexiteers have become a massive thorn in our sides – will not, under any circumstances, bow to their pathetic threats.

  Irish farmers, (including Roscommon farmers) are synonymous with producing and providing top quality beef. Even as a vegan – I never have and never will consume it or any other animal product – I do fully understand that with prices reaching an all-time low, the industry here is not only under severe threat; it’s in crisis. And, even though Simon Coveney is doing his best ‘spin’ exercise in a bid to insist both the government and the EU will support our farmers following the Brits’ ‘we’ll buy Brazillian on a tariff-free quota basis’ bluff; the situation is indeed perilous and I hope his strategies will, as he pledges, protect both vulnerable citizens and vulnerable sectors. Time, which is running short, will tell.

  Something else which is under threat from a no-deal Brexit in our little country is our stability and our peace. You see, nobody, except of course for those who thrive on violence, will want to see the reestablishment of a hard border with the North. Therefore, while it gives me no pleasure to say this, (and I mean no insult to our wonderful UK residents living among us), it seems that the Brexiteers, through their unbelievable lack of judgement, and, dare I say, folly, have, once again, due to an ill-thought out referendum and their follow-up irrational behaviour of deciding to leave the EU without even a hint of a plan, may have unwittingly threatened to demolish this State. 

  Theresa May needs to stop pandering to those self-destructive extremists in her party, grow a set of liathróidí and strike a middle ground as a matter of extreme urgency. The diplomatic pressure is on, we’ve reached our limit of compromise, and our government cannot, and absolutely must not, take a risk with Ireland’s peace, its people, both north and south, its stability and its economy! Let’s hope common sense will prevail!

Do dial down on the whining Meghan love!

If Meghan Markle aka the Duchess of Sussex doesn’t want to be, according to her pal George Clooney ‘pursued and vilified,’ or indeed, get ‘a raw deal’ from the public,’ then I’d advise she refrains from jetting across the globe to attend high profile celebrity packed events, i.e. a lavish baby shower, held at a £57,600-a-night penthouse, (€66,294) that she knew was guaranteed to attract the interest of the paparazzi! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying she should toe the line drawn by her in-laws…no way. I didn’t toe the line for my former in-laws, nor do I do it for my current ones, (and hubby wouldn’t dream of expecting me to). However, if, like privileged Meghan, someone manages to nab a job where they earn oodles of money, (funded by the public), for doing very little other than keeping a tight grip on their baby bump…(eh, we know you’re pregnant love, and we wish you well); and while everyone understands that royal life is debilitating, it’d be prudent not to whine because, unlike Meghan’s  deceased mother-in-law Diana, she’s no innocent teenager; rather she lived in the spotlight and she  knew what she was getting into before she signed her employment contract with the Queen. Just sayin’.

The Church didn’t want to act…it had to act!

Well readers, it appears the ‘alleged’ cover-ups regarding the sexual abuse and exploitation of children within the Catholic Church are now no longer allegations. And, I’ll bet when Pope Francis opened a landmark Vatican summit to tackle child sex abuse he didn’t expect Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s candid confirmation that ‘Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created’.

  Now while locals commented to me last week they were delighted the Church had decided to “act to address the issue,” my answer was, “they didn’t choose to act, they didn’t want to act…they had to act!” I mean, when you look at this summit and see that level of high-ranking prelate gathered in the same room, you know the Church has realised the game’s up! They’ve been sussed and the sex abuse crisis, which will only escalate, now needs to be urgently addressed. It’s classic PR crisis management…take responsibility, be proactive, be transparent, be human, apologise and promise to take action! So, while Pope Francis has issued ‘guidelines’ suggesting ‘mandatory codes of conduct for priests, training people to spot abuse and informing police,’ etc., I for one am not buying it and I’d question if His Holiness has got what it takes to see his ‘guidelines’ and his ‘concrete measures,’ are put in place. I remain sceptical because for me, there’s a huge difference between what this Pope says and what this Pope does.


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