Broadband? What Broadband?



‘Most astonishing claim of the week’ award could well go to Minister Denis Naughten, who – with respect – has rather bizarrely suggested that investors may be looking to move into Roscommon because of the “high quality of our broadband.” 

  Sitting in a hotel in Ballina on Saturday evening, I turned on my laptop and got the shock of my life. Instant access to the Internet! Incredible (normal?) broadband speed! Startled by this instant access, I had a look at one of Donald Trump’s press conferences on YouTube, and the big guy was uploading in front of me quicker than I’ve ever encountered before! (Watched Trump without the slightest delay/interruption/freeze, and realised he’s even more bombastic than I thought).

  That was Ballina last Saturday (admittedly not a very scientifically-based example of fast broadband)…

  Back in Co. Roscommon, which Minister Naughten says is attracting the interest of would-be investors due to our “high quality” broadband, the experience tends to be much more frustrating.

  While I have no doubt that there are pockets of Roscommon which have Ballina-esque broadband, generally speaking we are a broadband blackspot – and that’s despite the best efforts of all stakeholders/interested parties.

  At our own house in Newtown, just outside Roscommon town, we have long accepted our fate; slow Internet access, chronic delays the norm, an uncertain service at best.

  Fast-forward to Tuesday of this week and Minister Denis Naughten announces that a number of companies have been visiting County Roscommon with a view to possibly investing here. That’s good news on the face of it, though we might well ask Minister Naughten – and all other politicians who hailed the announcement at the time – if there is any sign of the 50 ‘Moss Vision’ jobs announced for Roscommon Town in 2015?

  In any event, Minister Naughten says of the recent visits by potential investors: “While many of these projects are at an early stage, the fact that they are considering locating in our county is significant. In one instance, namely a technology start-up, we are in the running with cities like London, purely because of the high quality of our broadband.”

  High quality broadband in Roscommon? Hardly!

  This may all work out. Some of these investors may set up in Roscommon, in which case, great. And yes, we are aware of the recent positive moves with regard to investment in fibre broadband in Roscommon Town, Ballinasloe and other areas. But just now, and over years, poor broadband service in some parts of County Roscommon has been a huge issue for small businesses and householders generally.

  We welcome news of the visits by would-be investors, but with no sign of the much-heralded Moss Vision jobs – two years on – we’re not popping any champagne corks just yet.


Thoughts, briefly, on a great comedy double act (not Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, definitely not Bridget & Eamon)…

  Throughout its remarkable 57 years (and counting) as a much-loved presence in the lives of millions of people, Coronation Street has had many great characters; Jack & Vera were probably the duo who most represented the heart and soul of the legendary series.

  For decades, Bill Tarmey and Liz Dawn played husband and wife Jack and Vera Duckworth, and what gentle joy they gave to generations of fans.

  Liz joined in 1974, Bill joined in 1979, and I ‘joined’ for a few years from around the late 1990s. I haven’t watched it in years, but when it comes to soaps like Coronation Street, I’m no snob!

  Anyone who tells you they don’t watch that stuff is of course usually being ‘economical with the truth’– some people don’t think it’s fashionable to admit being a viewer, but, in truth, just about everyone has some level of familiarity with programmes like Coronation Street and Eastenders. The latter, with its relentless misery, I have some misgivings about; Coronation Street’s greatest charm has always been its humour.

  Jack and Vera had their moments of drama and sadness, but humour was at the heart of what they brought to the screen. Liz Dawn passed away this week (aged 77) and will be fondly remembered as a queen of Coronation Street. 

  And…pass no heed on those self-styled soap snobs: they always have at least one eye on the telly!


On TV3, and in Cyprus, Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in its purest form: left foot, right foot, header.

  I only saw the highlights of other games, shown long after the panel’s postmortem on that evening’s featured live Champions League match. Back in studio after the Spurs highlights, it looked like it had been a long evening. Graeme Souness, Kevin Kilbane and Brian Kerr resembled the weather outside; fairly miserable.

  Nice guys, but they don’t quite have the chemistry of the ‘other side.’ Those expressions! They were like old school pals summoned to a reunion in the knowledge that they aren’t likely to have much to talk about; worse still, the bar has just closed early.

  Kilbane is everywhere these days, and he’s a pleasant media presence. Kerr is a character, who sort of gives the impression of being a dodgy used car salesman (he isn’t). Souness, who might even make Roy Keane quake a bit, looks like he’s wandered in off the set of a gangster movie. The presenter is earnest, but he’s not Bill. And while the coverage is entirely acceptable, this reality is inescapable; it’s not Bill, it’s not the lads, it’s not the ‘other side.’

  TV3’s soccer coverage is the party you’d call into for a while on your way to the proper party, the slightly mad one out in RTE-land…

Every week

How much more of this incessant talk radio and talk telly can we take?

  Anyways, VB is gone (but not forgotten), and so what are we to make of Matt and Ivan?

  Well, there have been a few lively moments on TV3’s ‘new’ three-times-a-week show, but overall it’s been less than thrilling. Still, we’ll certainly dip in from time to time.

  Just now, in these early days, the guys are struggling a little to find their feet. It’s too forced; Ivan turning to Matt and saying ‘I want to ask you a question’ as if it’s spontaneous, when it’s obviously rehearsed.

  The ‘standing and staring at camera’ pieces are awkward. They look like two boys who have been marched into the Principal’s office after some goodies went missing from the school canteen.

  Ivan, wearing a terrible jacket on  Tuesday night, is too fidgety, not at ease yet. Matt can’t shake off the proverbial ‘choir boy’ look, and maybe he doesn’t want to. If there’s to be a VB in disguise, the role will fall to Ivan.

  We’ll certainly give the boys every chance to impress us/replace the legend, but it all seems a little forced just now. The guests? The usual suspects dipping into the familiar current affairs menu.

  Still, the signature tune is catchy enough…