Don’t Shatter Alan’s fragile ego!



Following Claire Byrne’s moving interview with the humble Alan Shatter on Monday night, we would like to clear up any misconceptions that may have arisen in the past…

  Alan Shatter did not put the curse on Mayo; Alan Shatter did not slay the Celtic Tiger; Alan Shatter isn’t the reason we no longer do well in the Eurovision Song Contest; Alan Shatter isn’t responsible for the bad weather or indeed for climate change; Alan Shatter isn’t to blame for poverty or homelessness; Alan Shatter didn’t encourage Jedward to audition for The X Factor.    

  Actually, being serious for a moment, Mr. Shatter’s “I must be the most vindicated politician in the history of the State” performance was a bit hard to take. The former Minister was being interviewed after publishing his autobiography, ‘Life is a Funny Business.’

  It is absolutely the case that Mr. Shatter’s reputation has been largely restored following a series of investigations which took account of his period as Minister for Justice. It’s complicated stuff but it does appear fairly clear that Shatter was badly treated, essentially dumped, by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

  Shatter is a man of considerable intellect and ability but his interview with Byrne was another reminder of the enormous egos that most politicians possess. If you feel you’ve been vindicated, Alan, get on with it and spare us the part self-pitying, part boasting.

  And by the way Alan, you aren’t the most wronged person in history, or the most angelic. In 2013, during a television debate with Deputy Mick Wallace, Mr. Shatter – then the Minister for Justice –sought to denigrate his political opponent by revealing to the nation that the Independent TD had been cautioned by Gardai for using his mobile phone while driving. That pathetic and shocking abuse by Shatter of his ministerial position (by using confidential information clearly received, no doubt with relish, from Gardai) unmasked an arrogant man who seemed to think he was untouchable. 

  Guess what? This smug demeaning of Wallace was the one thing that Mr. Shatter felt he was legally constrained from speaking about during his Monday night homage to himself!

Next Sunday

We didn’t really have hurleys in Rooskey; more so fishing rods (and footballs). 

  It was only when I moved to Roscommon town in 1988 that I discovered the county’s modest but proud hurling heritage. 

  Pockets of prowess existed. Soon, the words ‘Four Roads’ and ‘Oran’ infiltrated my vocabulary. They were great, honest hurlers, those warriors of more than a quarter of a century ago, on whom I reported. I loved reporting on their exploits from the quaint press box in Athleague. Some sections of the county were barely aware of the epic rivalries fought out between four or five clubs; in hurling heartland they spoke of little else.   

  From the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, I frequently occupied that modest press box in Athleague; later, when I sort of left the ‘sports beat’, I lost touch with Athleague and the sliothar. 

  This Sunday, it’s Pearses versus Four Roads in the County Final. Four Roads are the traditional royalty; Pearses are hungry for glory. A new chapter to be cherished.

  It’s not small stuff; it’s the GAA, the parish, the detailed writing of history before our eyes, in real time. A fascinating sporting story will be told on Sunday. Athleague’s field of dream awaits new heroes, new feats.

The PR man’s spinning (not Madeline)

“I don’t think Madeline Carthy spun the wheel” I said to the PR man in the National Lottery, after rudely interrupting his lunch break. 

  “Oh she did, she spun the wheel” he replied in response to this odd phone call from ‘The West.’

  Now I don’t usually watch ‘Winning Streak’ – but I watched it last Saturday night and was sure that Madeline (from Strokestown) hadn’t spun the wheel!

  Aware that there was a Rossie on the show, I had tuned in. I couldn’t watch it in real time: I paused the programme for about ten minutes in order to avoid the usually cringeworthy chats with the contestants.

  I like Marty, but he probably should tone his act down a little!

  And the shots of family members waving placards in the audience are almost too much for the viewer; not to mention a flashback to those horrendous days when people attending the Late Late Show used to wave at the camera, hold up signs/recite poems to loved ones at home.

  Anyways, when I ‘unpaused’ the television and watched/endured the show, I was delighted to see Madeline from Strokestown get off to a fantastic start, with thousands of euro rolling in. And, actually, it was a nice show with very nice contestants.

  When it came to the bit where one of those contestants gets to spin the wheel (for a possible half a million euro) I was pretty sure that it was one of the young men who made it through. Not Madeline.

  And that’s why I was beginning to doubt my sanity when the press release from the National Lottery arrived at the Roscommon People this week. It stated that Madeline from Strokestown had spun the wheel. It even said, with a flourish,  “Madeline had the chance of a lifetime to spin the Grand Prize wheel.” The press release even carried the following headline: ‘…Madeline spins wheel on Winning Streak…’ (It was reported thus elsewhere).

  But…but, I saw with my own eyes…she didn’t spin it…

  Confused, I rang the National Lottery PR man on Tuesday.

  “Your press release says Madeline Carthy from Strokestown spun the wheel on Saturday night…but I don’t think she did” I ventured. 

  “Oh she did, she spun the wheel, she won €25,000 on it, add that to her earlier winnings” he replied, confidently.

  I began to doubt myself.

  “Are you sure?”

 “Yes, that’s why she’s in the photo we sent you.”

  “But I honestly don’t think she spun the wheel…I think it was one of the young men…” I tried again.    

  “No, she spun it alright.”

  “Ok, if you’re sure…but…”  

  The PR man paused, then admitted…

  “Well, to be honest, I wasn’t watching Winning Streak on Saturday night. I’ll check it out and come back to you.”

  He didn’t come back to me, but he was a nice guy and anyone can make a mistake.

  Madeline won €61,000, I’m delighted to say. But she didn’t spin the wheel. (But she did great; see page 9).

  I won’t be watching next week – but the PR man probably will.