Miriam’s Musings

Following a year of loss, RTÉ’s apology is an insult!

We all make mistakes – it’s part of being human. I myself have made quite a few whoppers in my time.

With that in mind, I can definitely understand how some RTÉ personnel could’ve experienced a momentary lapse of judgement, and posed for a photograph with a colleague at her ‘leaving do’, totally forgetting to observe social distancing guidelines. However, when those who engaged in this silly behaviour are the very ones doling out public health and safety advice to the nation on a daily basis, I have to ask: how could they be so foolish?

We, the nation, place a lot of trust in those who work at our national broadcaster’s news and current affairs department. In fact, it’s RTÉ that brings us daily stories, interviews and debates regarding the worry around people mixing from different households over Christmas and how this could pose a substantial risk to public health. It’s RTÉ who’s delivering the government’s propaganda – sorry, message – that we should be preparing for anything other than a near-normal festive season.

It’s RTÉ’s news and current affairs department that have been sowing the seeds and laying the foundation to prepare ourselves for a seriously scaled-down and, in my opinion, c***py (sorry, unhappy) family Christmas. And, it’s RTÉ that gets our licence fee!

To that end, it’s RTÉ and the presenters who broke the rules that should now be suffering the serious consequences of their error of judgement. RTÉ must understand that right now, as viewers struggle with the challenges of this unprecedented pandemic, their excessively over-paid, and according to many of the red tops, ‘stars’ (I prefer the term autocue readers… too harsh?), must lead by example and stop flouting the laws – even if it was momentarily.

Personally, I don’t care about RTÉ or its presenters. I make up my own mind to follow the social distancing and health guidelines, and I view it as my responsibility alone to keep me and mine safe. However, the ‘autocue readers’ and anyone else who should know better (Justice Woulfe springs to mind), should realise that their actions are not just unacceptable, they’re inexcusable.

By ignoring the guidelines around social distancing and restrictions, you’ve let people down, made a mockery of those of us faithfully adhering to the regulations, and insulted those grieving for lost loved ones. You’ve failed the families going through that first Christmas without buying a card and a gift for a beloved mam, dad or grandparent. You’ve double-crossed every family facing that empty chair as they sit down to Christmas Dinner.

And yes, I get it – I even understand it – you all acted unintentionally, you all made a mistake. But quite frankly, when you’re issuing those grovelling apologies, explaining yourselves and your irresponsible actions, you must know, as we all do, that it’s already too late for you to fix it and regain our trust. Shame on you.


This pandemic has cleaved us in two – stay strong!

I’m used to living in a different county to my family. However, as I reason that I’m only a two-hour car journey from Dublin, this lockdown has made me realise that I’ve missed an entire year of important milestones in their lives, and sadly, in my beautiful granddaughter’s life. It was the sudden epiphany that I may not see them for Christmas, coupled with a certain DIY store’s pull-at-the-heartstrings Dublin-based advert where Mrs Higgins and her little dog Kevin struggle with that dodgy gate, which led to my undoing, rendering me to break into huge gulping sobs.

Don’t get me wrong: this national health crisis has given me a lot of free time. Working from home has enabled me to learn to bake banana bread (my daughter gave me a great vegan recipe). I’ve got time to take a daily five-kilometre walk and spend more quality time with my adored fur-babies. I’ve marvelled at the glorious little birds and other wildlife that grace our garden daily. I’ve spent ages watching the majestic robin as he feasts on the grated cheddar I place out for him.

However, even as this situation has offered me plenty of positives, it has also cleaved me in two! Indeed, given some of the letters I’ve received from readers, I think I’m right in saying that this county’s citizens (like the rest of Ireland) have seen their mental health greatly impacted as a result of this virus. Now, while this lockdown is grief-inducing for many, especially those who can’t travel to be with families, I’d imagine it has proved even more difficult for those readers who were already experiencing mental health concerns. Even though we’re in Roscommon, removed from the major outbreaks of other counties, daily tasks can often become overwhelming, and as the anxiety grows, sometimes the traumas of living with this pandemic can stack up.

Therefore, if you’re reading this and feeling drained, anxious, lost or lonely, whether for the first time due to the pandemic or if you’ve been experiencing these intense feelings all your life, my advice would be to please, please try to find the armour to protect yourself.

This pandemic is present in every aspect of all of our lives – in the plastic shield at the shop counter, in the uncertainty as you hold the door for an elderly lady, and the hesitation when you buy a takeaway coffee. Even though we’re desperate to return to ‘normal’, there is an unease we feel as the country prepares to reopen. Yes folks, we’ve all experienced anxiety at some time in our lives, but never before have we felt it blanket our entire country. So today, as you find yourself zig-zagging from optimism to despair, remember, you’re not alone – every single one of us is feeling exactly the same.



The Crown: I’d rather read Trump’s Twitter updates!

I’ve neither time nor love for the British Royal family. So, the fact that I watched the first three seasons of The Crown and thoroughly enjoyed it was a revelation even to me.

However, watching season four, (and if this appears offensive to the chattering classes and royalists – tough), I have to admit I’m so bored and so unimpressed that I’d rather be reading Donald Trump’s Twitter updates. Why? Well, the closer the story gets to the present day, covering events and characters I can personally remember, the more it highlights the royals as a crop of suffocating, rude, arrogant, out-of-touch snobby freeloaders who’ve probably never done a day’s work in their entire lives. Then again, knowing them, they’d probably construe stalking innocent and vulnerable deer as hard labour. That particular episode disturbed me deeply.

However, on the off-chance I haven’t offended everyone who’s enjoying season four, let me add this little nugget for you to digest. Last week as I watched the finale, there was one thought running through my mind – and it wasn’t poor Diana. Nay, it was this: I know Diana failed her O-Levels twice, but I’d have thought that somewhere, in that astrodome she called a hairstyle, the woman would have at least had more cop-on than to marry a mind-numbingly dreary dullard like Charles.