In America, Enda Kenny delivered a bit of cringe but a certain amount of class too; you’d have to say his visit was a success.
To recap: There’s a noisy, brash new neighbour in the big house up the road – and he’s causing mayhem.
So it fell to Enda to pluck up the courage to call over and try and restore some order in the neighbourhood.
Enda put on his best suit, assured the neighbours that he’d have a word with the new arrivals, and off he went, armed with a mixture of charm and courage.
I thought Enda represented us well, not that Donald is likely to pay much heed, now that Enda has gone home again.
Enda did so well in fact that he (and I have no doubt it was a calculated move) was confident enough to send a message to the folks back home.
His message was a variation on the old Fianna Fáil classic, ‘A lot done, more to do.’
It turns out that the wily Enda has no intention of rolling over and allowing his backbenchers to tickle his belly; instead, he’s fighting back.
He wants to stay on to resolve the crisis in The North, and to agree on a strategy on Brexit with his EU counterparts.
That latter task could take a while, but I’m sure a rejuvenated Enda is flexible!
So Enda delivered his message back to his people, from some street in America, while marching bands marched by and beaming Irish-Americans stood and watched.
Back in Ireland, Leo and Simon rolled their eyes and shook their heads in frustration.
They were like two cocky young barmen whose plans for an early finish to the night have been thwarted yet again by that troublesome regular.
‘He’s been staring into that pint for an hour, he hasn’t a notion of going anywhere. In fact he’s going to insist on one for the road! And, we know him so well, we can hardly throw him out, can we?’
‘Shouldn’t have gone to Specsavers’, you might say. ‘Can you bring me to Specsavers in Athlone for 4.15 on Saturday?’ my daughter asked.
‘4.15 on Saturday, but what about the rugby match?’ is what I thought.
‘Yes of course’ is what I actually said.
Not much of a contest, you will agree – Specsavers versus a rugby showdown between Ireland and the old enemy.
Obviously I made the sensible decision.
And so at 4.15 pm, we joined the masses…in Specsavers.
It wasn’t a problem – I recorded the match and looked forward to being home for the second half.
5 pm (kick-off time) came, and if anyone in Specsavers knew how the rugby was going, they weren’t saying. Across the way, in Burger King, there were no rugby bulletins either, just throngs of kids and chicken nuggets, with a party about to begin. All human life was on display. Fast food, fast lane of life. It seemed that nobody cared much about the epic in The Aviva.
On the way home, I had to give in and check in with Michael Corcoran, the RTE Radio commentator. I can see why some people consider him to be ‘a legend’ (that awfully overused word), and while I sometimes enjoy the passion he brings to his work, I often find his commentary annoying and, to be honest, just a bit too biased towards Ireland!
We got home for the second half to see Ireland deservedly hold out for a famous win.
Later, I followed Kerry v Dublin on radio/twitter, and was sure The Kingdom were going to end the Dubs’ great run. To their credit, Jim Gavin’s fabulous team finished strongly to secure a draw, stretching their unbeaten run (in league and championship) to 34 games.
They will set a new all-time record if they win their next match, this Saturday.
Step up the Rossies!
Just as passionate (and much more biased) as Michael Corcoran was the co-commentator on the Mayo/Cavan match on Shannonside today. I didn’t catch his name, but I can assure you he’s from Cavan. It must have been some job to stop him leaping from the press box and adding his skills and passion to the Cavan cause on the field!
At least there was excitement in Castlebar, where Cavan defeated Mayo after a great tussle. In contrast, the Monaghan/Roscommon game petered out midway through the second half. Division 2 beckons, but so does the championship, and hopefully Roscommon’s honest league toiling will pay dividends when the All-Ireland series starts.
I was sorry to hear of the passing of Martin McGuinness. Some people will revere him now and forever; others will never forgive him for his part in the ‘armed struggle.’ Many more of us surely see the nuances, the complexities of a remarkable life.
I have no doubt that history will be kind to him and I think that’s as it should be. The contribution made by McGuinness to the peace process over the past couple of decades or so has been monumental. McGuinness, sucked into the conflict as a young man, ultimately chose democracy over violence, and while tactics undoubtedly played a part in the Adams/McGuinness strategy, huge credit must go to the duo for the manner in which they changed the course of Irish history.
McGuinness was a major IRA figure at the height of ‘The Troubles’ and therefore his key role in the Republicans’ terror campaign – which caused so much suffering – cannot be denied. But neither can the phenomenal leadership that he subsequently showed be denied; McGuinness was a key architect of the peace process, and ultimately became a peacemaker and statesman.
It was an extraordinary, complex journey. Whatever one’s view of the early part of his life, there is no doubt but that he made a very significant and historic contribution to the bringing of peace to our island.
His place in history is assured, and it will be largely positive.