If the world wants to believe Conor McGregor is as British as Paddington Bear, they can!

In the wake of Bono’s daughter, actress Eve Hewson, being noted by the New York Times at an end-of-year listing as having starred in one of the best TV shows of 2022, and being noted recently as ‘British’, we also saw American ESPN presenter Laura Sanko claiming that Dublin’s Conor McGregor came from the UK.

In what seemed like a clear case of nationality-theft, mixed martial artist McGregor (I’ve got several other names for him – all unprintable in a family publication) was given British citizenship by Sanko during a weigh-in.

It has always been my understanding that Americans normally have a positive view of Ireland and the Irish… with the only negative being that some of them are so geographically-challenged, they seem to believe that as we’re ‘next door’ to the UK, we’re British! We’re not, we never have been, and, to be clear, we never will be!

When something like this happens – as in, high profile or successful Irish people are wrongly claimed by the Brits, or are mistakenly assigned British nationality by another country, in this case the US – I normally go ballistic, screaming so loud only dogs can hear me!

Call me cranky if you like, but when talented Irish actress Saoirse Ronan was wrongly claimed by a Sky News reporter (who couldn’t even pronounce her name correctly) as British, I got so annoyed I wanted to beat him over the head with my shillelagh. On another occasion, it was left to veteran US actor Samuel L Jackson to set over-enthusiastic TV presenter Kate Thornton straight when she had the temerity to begin a discussion with him about his SWAT movie co-star Colin Farrell, referring to the Dubliner as British! Then we saw how Kildare actor and Normal People star Paul Mescal was forced to defend his nationality when some UK media outlets who were reporting on his Emmy nomination described him as being British. Mr Mescal’s two-word ‘I’m Irish’ response was pure class.

All of the above leads me to ask when will it stop? When will those stiff-upper-lipped Brits and those geographically-ignorant Americans who insist on committing nationality-theft educate themselves? When will they realise we not just have our own nationality, we also have our own language? Though, granted it has way too many vowel classifications – as in we have slender vowels I and E, and broader vowels A, O and U; and we have the modh coinníollach and the modh ordaitheach; all phenomena that only true Irish people will ever understand!

Having said all of the above however, even though I’m ticked off at our well-known Irish ‘personalities’ being sneakily claimed by the Brits as their own, or being dubbed by US presenters lacking in geographical knowledge as hailing from the UK, in McGregor’s case I’ll make an exception. When all is said and done, if that ESPN presenter wants the world to believe Conor McGregor is as British as Paddington Bear, that’s okay, she can.

In fact, as far as I’m concerned, if the Brits want to lay claim to an arrogant individual who admitted punching an elderly drinker in a pub for allegedly turning down a shot of his whiskey back in 2019, they can have him.

Christmas grant boost for local TNR cat charity

I know I’m always ‘going on’ about animal welfare issues. To be honest, I’ve found the people of this county are, on the whole, wonderfully kind, humane and compassionate when it comes to their animals. Thank you.

It’s for this reason I’d like to let readers know that our local TNR South Roscommon is experiencing tidings of joy this Christmas due to receiving news about their much-needed grant from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

I know what’s involved in filling in those application forms begging the Department for funding. To be blunt, the questions, though necessary, can drive you to the brink of insanity. I also know that getting a grant is never guaranteed. However, this year, with funding in excess of €5.8 million being available, and with larger charities normally getting the lion’s share (pardon the pun), I was delighted that TNR South Roscommon had been, in the words of Orla Hanley “bumped from €4,000 last year to €12,600 this year”, rendering my friend speechless.

These are two scenarios which have never happened before. One, a small local charity has never received such a financial boost. And two, Orla Hanley has never before been lost for words!

She did recover long enough to thank Roscommon People readers and her community for their support throughout the year, saying:  “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This money is a Godsend for us. However, with it comes a responsibility to make sure it’s used as wisely as possible in order to benefit as many cats as we can”.

Go raibh maith agaibh, agus nollaig shona daoibh go léir!

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish every one of my loyal readers a very happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas. I’d also like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me through the years.

To those who wrote to me, whether it was to agree or disagree – it doesn’t matter which – I’m grateful for the response. What does matter is the fact I wrote something which stirred you enough to react and put pen to paper, or to open the laptop and send an email regarding one of my many ‘musings’. Again, thank you.

To the advertisers, the supporters, the readers, the communities, the editor, the Healy family, the office staff; and to my fellow contributors and writers at the Roscommon People, may I say the reason this newspaper is such a success is down to you! You’re what kept us going during the pandemic; and you’re what still keeps us going now we’re facing our first ‘normal’ Christmas in two years.

As we approach the end of 2022, a time when Roscommon and other rural counties will resemble ghost towns for a few days as friends and families grab the opportunity to catch up, I’d like to wish you all a prosperous and healthy New Year. Stay safe, stay warm, and please God I’ll see you on the other side for more words of wit and wisdom.


Go raibh maith agaibh, agus nollaig shona daoibh go léir. Miriam x