Paul Healy’s Week


There’s a fancy ad on television. ‘Are you ready for the return of the Late Late Show?’ it blares, along with swirling images of Mr. Tubridy and some of his guests from last season.

‘Are you ready for the return of the Late Late Show?’ Unfortunately the ad was so quick I didn’t pick up where you’re supposed to send your reply to.

Saturday & Sunday

Paddy Joe the Barber says the best aspects of a Roscommon game are often the parade and the national anthem.

It’s when the ball is thrown in that the problems can start.

It feels a bit like that here in the West this Sunday evening, as we reflect on the promised land that turned out to be a mirage.

The flags were flying all over Connacht over the past week and there was a real buzz of anticipation. We headed into the weekend gripped by – to borrow a phrase – the terrible beauty of Mayo’s relentless quest to win Sam Maguire back; and by the Galway hurlers, in the past so often the purists without the prize, seeking with notably steely determination this year the embrace of Liam McCarthy for the first time since 1988.

In Roscommon, old rivalries with our esteemed neighbours were cast aside and replaced by the hope that the West would be best.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for Mayo and Galway seniors this time. But we’ll keep the faith in the West. We’ll be back!

Sunday morning

Dreams. They can be crazy, can’t they?

Over the weekend I think I dreamt that I was flicking through the television channels, only to see Mr. Tubridy introduce a section on his newly-returned Late Late Show. In the footage that followed, Marty Morrissey is seen dancing at some country wedding. Bizarre.

Something similar happened again last night: I think I dreamt that Daniel O’Donnell broke into the plush BBC studios and invaded the set of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, taking his place with the usual cast of sports people, broadcasters, cooks and soap stars.

It almost looked like he’s going to be a contestant! If these images are from ‘real life,’ it means that Marty Morrissey having the craic at a country wedding was central to the first Late Late Show of the season and that Daniel O’Donnell is going to take part in the massive BBC hit Strictly Come Dancing.

Like I say, I must have been dreaming.


A great win for the Republic of Ireland tonight against Georgia, followed by a great first programme in a new series from the Apres Match guys. It was funny, nostalgic and poignant (Apres Match that is).

Apres Match of the Day will be well worth watching on the evidence of this very entertaining first edition.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Euro hopes are still very much alive and kicking.


The pages of history are turning in front of our eyes.

But we need to stop on the pages of history and pause and digest what is happening – and act. If we’re honest with one another, most of us watched with more than a touch of apathy and perhaps even ignorance, as this tragedy of historic proportions unfolded in grim instalments, over several months.

While we complained about the rainy summer, over two thousand migrants and asylum seekers were drowning during desperate, often doomed attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

We knew it was happening; the mass deaths left us uncomfortable as they took up regular residency in the daily news bulletins of the first half of 2015.

But, perhaps because it was ‘there’ and not ‘here,’ perhaps for a variety of reasons – some, undoubtedly, to do with attitudes to immigration – we generally looked away.

We’re not looking away any more, thankfully. The popular wisdom is that it took the image of the body of a three-year-old boy washed up on a Turkish beach to finally make the world sit up and take notice of what was happening in the Mediterranean.

We need to remember that many more babies and small children had lost their lives in this catastrophic humanitarian disaster; but it was the shocking, sad simplicity of the image of Aylan Kurdi that made the world stop looking away.

Although ‘ordinary people’ would be well justified in feeling uncomfortable – at the very least – with how long it has taken us to wake up to this crisis, we shouldn’t allow guilt to overcome us.

We should not let European and world leaders off the hook either. We elect them to lead, after all. In fact, even to this day, the ‘ordinary people’ seem to be ahead of their political leaders.

I really don’t wish to Government-bash when what really matters now is the need for an urgent, humane response to an unfolding tragedy, but I will say that our political leaders have been badly wrong-footed over recent weeks.

From the increasingly tetchy Simon Coveney to the ‘Two-eyes-on-the-election’ Joan to the ‘I’ll see which way the wind is blowing’ Enda, they’ve been decidedly uninspiring.

Little more than a week or so ago there was much proud talk amongst our leaders of Ireland taking in 500 migrants.

Then, when the direction and firmness of public opinion became known, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald quickly scrambled to increase that figure up to around 1,800.

Next Joan Burton gets in on the act, anxious to increase the figure (without much apparent consultation with Fine Gael); she rows in with 5,000.

Enda has remained vague. We see it far too often; politicians out of touch, then forced to play an unseemly ‘catch up’ when they have been left under no illusions about the mood of the public.

In fairness, the Irish public would seem to be making their views known now; and our traditional generosity is to the fore. We need to act now. In our own communities, our parishes, our towns and villages, we need to be open and welcoming.

There are too many dead children and adults in the sea. There are hundreds of thousand more people, perhaps millions, whose futures are in the hands of the world leaders and the ordinary people.

There has to be long-term, logistical solutions, of course, but there also has to be an emergency response to a monumental crisis. No more looking away. It’s time to pause on this page in history.