Necrology Wall beset by controversy from very beginning!

Following what has been described as ‘repeated acts of vandalism’, Dublin Cemeteries Trust has made a decision to ‘discontinue’ a memorial wall (also called the Necrology Wall) at Glasnevin Cemetery, which was erected as part of our nation’s history, marking the years 1916-1923.

  Proud Irish men and women will understand the significance of this timeline as it encompasses our Easter Rising and marks the end of our brief, but never-to-be-forgotten, divisive Civil War, which tragically included the assassination of (in my opinion) the greatest Irish man that ever lived, Michael Collins.

  While I don’t agree, nor do I condone vandalism of any description, I have to say it was kind of obvious that someone somewhere was going to get ticked off the second it was announced this memorial would include the names of those who died wearing a British uniform. I bear absolutely no disrespect to the dead, even the thuggish members of the Black and Tans, and it is definitely not my intention to (as the saying goes) trample on their graves. These people still have families and loved ones who remember them, and who feel their loss.

  However, I have to wonder why, given all we’ve been through (800 years of oppression), our Government thought it’d be good PR to commemorate those who intimidated, tortured and murdered Irish citizens, side by side on a wall with the courageous men and women who laid down their lives for our freedom. Besides, isn’t it highly disrespectful to the cherished memories of those forty innocent little children – who despite being a threat to nobody, lost their precious lives because they were caught up in the crossfire – to be listed on a wall that also bears the names of those who killed them?

  I will stress it again – I do not condone violence. However, so seismic were the years between 1916-1923, it’s entirely understandable that Irish people – passionate about our history – would still harbour bitterness regarding another country’s brutal legacy of colonialism over us.

  Full disclosure here, but the idea of our oppressors’ names being given top billing alongside our dead heroes, innocent children and civilians made me feel so nauseous, I vowed never to visit that wall! Why? Because I consider it to be deeply hurtful and, let’s be honest, a betrayal by our Government.

  This is not the first time the Necrology Wall has been surrounded by controversy. Who could forget that wreath-laying ceremony of 2016, which stated for all the world to see (making a mockery of our national language in my opinion) ‘Eírí Amach Na Cásca’, placing the fada over the wrong letter. Our fada is a diacritic mark, which when placed above a letter (or a vowel in our case) indicates a specific pronunciation. But hey, we were only very publicly celebrating the centenary of our Rising and our Irishness, so why would the likes of Heather Humphreys (who was laughably the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht at the time) care about such trivialities as our national tongue and our culture? Sorry Heather, but wasn’t that your job? For the record, the correct spelling, which has since been rectified, is Éirí Amach Na Cásca.

  I find it a disgrace, although a contentious issue from the start, that this memorial wall has been vandalised in this manner, and I believe the culprits, when caught, should be prosecuted. I hope the Dublin Cemeteries Trust will rethink their total discontinuation of the wall and, instead, re-design it so that it solely commemorates, preserves, reflects, and honours the memories of those Irish men, women, and children who died so you and me could live! Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha.

It seems we’re the filling in the have-and-the-have-nots sandwich!

The cost of living for taxpayers in this country has soared to such an extent it has overtaken Covid as the number one concern for most families – mine included! However, despite their gaggle of contradictory assurances regarding the provision of grants, bonuses, and schemes, it seems that feeding our families and paying our bills is not really a top priority for our Government. I mean, if it were, why would they be lining the already deep pockets of the Secretary General of the Department of Health Robert Watt with a disgraceful pay hike to the tune of €81,000 of our money?

  Yes, once again you and me are the filling in the have-and-the-have-nots sandwich, while the minted Mr. Watt and his handiwork, triumphs, achievements and performances within the Department of Health remain a total mystery to us! Why? Because we’re too busy putting our energies into ekeing out a living on minimum wage! But hey, the fact that he can comfortably afford to pay his ESB bill and put an abundance of food on his table using his eye-watering nearly €300,000 a year salary is definitely public knowledge!

  Mind you, as Watt is a civil servant and not a politician, it’s unlikely he gives a flying fig what we, the general public, think of his good fortune. In fact, annoyed though we are over his pay rise, I believe our ire should really be directed at his boss, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, whose decision (and the Government’s decision) to approve this will not bode well.

  The menthol coldness of a February frost is upon us, Minister Donnelly! It has not gone unnoticed by taxpayers struggling to heat their homes, those same families grappling with the shocking findings regarding a HSE-run CAMHS in Kerry, and you and Mr. Watt were recently swanning around sunny Dubai attending a wellness expo junket? How thoughtless! How inappropriate! I’d hate to be the poor spin doctor tasked with ‘reframing’ this shambles, because the optics don’t look good!

  As someone who’s feeling the cost-of-living-pinch, I’m betting the frostbite from the mountain of mistrust now building up against you and your colleagues Minister Donnelly may, come the next general election, make for very treacherous conditions indeed!

Let’s put an end to the ‘mean girls’ attitude!

Galway-born actress Nicola Coughlan, AKA ‘the wee lesbian’ from my favourite sitcom Derry Girls, and known for her role as Penelope Featherington/Lady Whistledown in Bridgerton, has taken to Twitter to ask people to ‘stop commenting’ on her appearance.

  This talented, stunning actress was so courteous in her request to the Twitterati, saying: “If you have an opinion about my body, please, please don’t share it with me”. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Not only does it show that given by her response, Nicola was clearly raised by parents who taught her manners (and well done to them, they did an amazing job with their stunning girl), it also showed that Nicola is distressed by these constant body-shaming jibes.

  As a grandmother to a beautiful teenage girl, the core of Nicola’s polite request really upset me. We all have body-sensitive and self-esteem issues, I get that. None of us are ‘picture-perfect’, and that includes many an air-brushed, heavily-filtered model who graces the pages of glossy magazines. Believe me, I’ve edited (at their request) plenty of cover-shot photos in my day!

  What I don’t get is the way some women feel it’s okay to cruelly body-shame other women, adopting this whole ‘mean girls’ persona to bring them down. Remember ladies – body-shaming and breaking each other makes us weak, but if we stand together and empower each other, it’ll not only make us confident, it’ll make us strong. That for me is the single most important lesson I can teach my granddaughter!