Leo in the White House and Trump in Ballintubber



I thought the days of cringing when an Irish leader acted the eejit in the White House were over. Sadly, not so.

  Leo may prove to be a great man to run a country (or he may not), but we can already safely conclude that he’s not the right person to call on if you want a funny joke or anecdote told.

  The Taoiseach did fine overall on his visit to the White House – but he should have done a lot better. Acting a bit like a wide-eyed child in a sweet shop, he absolutely let himself down with embarrassing attempts to ingratiate himself with President Trump. And Leo really does need to show more gravitas when he arrives in places like 10 Downing Street and the White House! These anecdotes (Downing Street: “It’s a little thrill to be in the location for (the film) Love Actually”) and more silly stuff last week about not gaining access to the White House years ago are not funny, they’re embarrassing.

  Likewise, his silly comments on planning in Co. Clare; this is a very intelligent man with a naïve streak who is clearly still chuffed at becoming a national leader, still star-struck when he meets other leaders. He needs to get over all of that!


There were really positive reports about all the St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the region. They are a credit to each respective community; to the organisers, the businesses and community groups that support them, all the volunteers too.

  We went to the Ballintubber Parade and it was absolutely excellent. It was incredibly cold but heartwarmingly indicative of great community spirit. Not for the first time in Ballintubber, I was extremely impressed by the variety and quality of the floats.

  There was a great emphasis on humour, which I think is really important in such parades. I’m not sure that I saw Trump, but I definitely saw Michael D. Higgins, St. Patrick, Mrs. Brown and Michael Fitzmaurice. Oh, actually, that was the real Michael Fitzmaurice. And Deputy ‘Fitz’, guesting on the reviewing stand, was in great form, thoroughly enjoying the various floats. I am sure it was much the same story in other towns and villages in the county.

  From our experience of Ballintubber on Saturday, further evidence that rural Ireland is one defiant, proud entity. This was a great parade: a community energetically, creatively and proudly showcasing itself, a reminder too of all the great voluntary groups, sporting organisations and businesses that sustain such communities.

Later on Saturday

You may have heard…Ireland won the Grand Slam, not quite in a Cheltenham-like canter, but certainly more comfortably than expected. Ireland were superb. In Roscommon town, it appears to have been a welcome boost for the pubs; the atmosphere generated by this great win, this flawless campaign, was very special. A word of praise as well for TV3’s coverage; it was excellent. Dare I say, George who?


One of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had while attending a sporting event ‘in the flesh’ was watching the virtuoso performance of David Clifford in the All-Ireland Minor Football Final last year.

  He really was amazing (scoring 4-4), the hallowed turf his stage, Clifford a peerless young prince.

  It was obvious that this was the birth of something special. Hype, or mere common sense, to suggest that this could be the early blossoming of one of the greatest ever GAA careers? Time will tell.

  The indications from his opening outings in the Kerry senior team are all positive. On Sunday, against Kildare, a couple of moments of great individual brilliance were thrown in. This kid’s only warming up. Greatness surely awaits.

  In Hyde Park meanwhile (see ‘View from the Stand’ in sports section) I only got to see the second half of Roscommon v Cavan. By all accounts Roscommon played some superb football in the second quarter of the first half (producing eight points in a row). The second half was a great, honest battle, a serious power struggle. Cavan meant business, Roscommon did the business. It was a great win for the home side, the strength of our bench a significant factor. It’s turned into a really good solid campaign which will hopefully culminate in an immediate return to Division One.


Tonight’s Tonight Show on TV3 was little more than ‘talk for talk’s sake’. In political terms, James Reilly is yesterday’s man; he flirted with Champions League, but has gone down the divisions. James is as entitled as anyone to guest on this or any other show, but he offers little enough, except a generally unconvincing, tame, standard defence of the Government he remains aligned to.

  It’s a rare enough appearance from The Man of Promise. I remember when he used to call, he used to write, now he never writes or calls. His last letter (in 2011) turned out to be a stinker; grandiously addressed to ‘Dear people of Roscommon’ and going on and on about…what was it? (Oh yes, the hospital).

  Anyways, I digress, and I suppose Enda was pulling his strings.

  Sitting across from James on Tuesday night, Mary O’Rourke offered little enough too in what was a far from vintage performance.

  The journalist Colette Browne almost always gets on my nerves; prone to smugness and self-righteousness, as so many in the media can be.

  Sinn Fein’s Eoin Ó Broin must have wondered at times how he could elevate the debate beyond silliness. He’s a ‘serious issues’ TD and has lots of ‘talent’, but Sinn Fein’s bright new kids on the block are struggling to shake off the ghosts of the past. Ó Broin was by far the most articulate contributor but he ended up having to apologise over and over again for more offensive Twitter conduct by a colleague.

  Most annoying of all was Michael Healy-Rae, whom I’m finding increasingly tiresome. Too often he allows parochial cute hoorism to dominate his contributions, when he could be making more sensible points. Frankly, he’s becoming boring; far from cap-tivating.

  Steering this swaying ship were Matt and Ivan, the latter prone to bombast, the former smiling just a little smugly. At the end, Cooper at least livened proceedings up by challenging a rattled Healy-Rae about comments on abortion which his brother (Michael) had just made in the Dáil. It was probably a touch unfair, but it led to a lively enough exchange, though not enough to wake up all viewers.

  Enjoyed it apart from all that…