Paul Healy’s Week

Paul Healy on two celebrity Bryans; an emotional eviction; Minister Murphy’s broken-down car; rugby thrills; the appeal of the playground; the Coalition’s spending spree and when Kevin met Fergal…

At a book launch in Longford Library, there are at least two very well-known personalities present. The book, written by my sister Audrey, is launched by the actor Bryan Murray.

Bryan is accompanied by his wife, the actress Una Crawford O’Brien. Both of them appear in the very popular RTE ‘soap’ Fair City.

I don’t follow Fair City, but I am aware that it is a huge success, a real RTE winner. Bryan is of course familiar to the public through countless other roles too, including The Irish RM, Bread and Emmerdale.

He’s friendly and chats easily with members of the audience; Longford’s County Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds, as ever an excellent and friendly host and MC, is in no doubt that Bryan’s presence has added significantly to the turnout.

Meanwhile, a modest presence in the crowd is RTE Six-One News anchor Bryan Dobson, who is very down to earth, affable and sociable. Once the book has been formally launched and before you could say ‘Is that a tear in Bertie’s eye?’, Mr. Dobson is posing for photographs and chatting to locals. ‘Watching Me, Watching You’ is a collection of poems by Audrey Healy, native of Rooskey, resident of Longford and now a veteran of nine books.

Priced at €10, ‘Watching Me, Watching You’ is available in O’Connor’s (formerly Easons) in Longford and Tighe’s Supermarket in Rooskey. (You can order copies by emailing .


In the Rugby World Cup, England v Wales evolved into a thriller in the second half. England looked in control, but paid a price for the concession of too many penalties and for not putting Wales away.

Wales stayed in touch and a late try and penalty edged them ahead. England are being pilloried for not trying for a draw with a late penalty, but had they crossed the line in the closing moments people would have said they had made the right call.

I hope England rescue their tournament against Australia because this party ideally needs the hosts to stay around.

On Sunday Ireland were comfortable winners against Romania, with Tommy Bowe, Simon Zebo and Keith Earls rampant.

The Irish support at Wembley was incredible. Roll on the rest of this enjoyable tournament.


In today’s Sunday Independent, and all over social media, there’s coverage of the turn an ordinary Co. Meath family’s life has taken.

Above the story is the evidence that a picture really can be worth a thousand words. At the door of the house, clearly ready to enter it, are bailiffs and the Gardai. Retired civil servant John Lloyd, who is blind, stands powerless a few feet away, outside the family home.

At the front of the house, under a hanging basket, stand John’s wife Fiona and their ten-year-old son. They are cold, distraught, humiliated, fearful. The boy is wearing shorts. His mother is in a dressing gown. She is on her mobile phone, a look of anguish on her face. She cradles her son. It came to this. It’s a pitiful scene.

Even allowing for the assumption that all appropriate procedures were followed in the particular repossession/eviction case in question, it ought to make ruthless bankers pause in plush boardrooms.

The photograph is a stark reminder of life for some in this great little country of ours. I don’t know the ins and outs of the eviction in Kells, but this can’t be right, can it?


It’s a beautiful morning, a classic September day, almost taunting the anti-climatic summer days just gone.

Even the parking challenges in the vicinity of the schools in Roscommon town lose their tedious side today as we enjoy gentle sunshine.

On most mornings we have up to fifteen minutes to spare between dropping off our older children and getting our five-year-old son into school.

What to do in those 12-15 minutes? The temptation is to pop into the office and check emails, to make calls on the mobile, to form a ‘to do’ list in your head.

Instead, this morning, we pop into the playground in Loughnaneane Park, in the shadow of the castle. Many more parents and children have done the same. It’s ten minutes of magic for the kids, and precious moments – moments in time – for all concerned.

Yes, it’s a good choice made for this ten-minute package of life – time in the playground, chosen over being a prisoner to the hurly-burly of 21st century life.

When I get to the office a few minutes later, the unopened emails are still there, and no one has been in touch to say the world ended because we stole a few minutes in lovely Loughnaneane Park.

All week

Brussels – the world in fact – heaved a huge collective sigh of relief with the news that Dara Murphy had, like John Cleese in Clockwise, burst into the lobby of the fancy hotel in which he was staying and would, after all, be available to attend that meeting.

All over Brussels and Ireland people stopped and paused like in that footage which accompanies ‘The Angelus’ on RTE as we, the people, digested the great news: Dara had made it to Brussels.

Spare a thought for Dara this week and hail his patriotism. Dara is a Junior Minister in our Government.

You all know the story by now. Dara had to get to Dublin Airport, from his home in Cork. His car broke down. There’s lots of talk now, now that the episode has become public knowledge, of Dara trying but failing to get a taxi; ultimately he called on the Gardai for assistance and a Garda drove the minister from Cork to Dublin Airport.

We are assured that it was a “quiet night” for the Gardai in the area. Which begs the question: Do criminals in Cork phone their schedules into Gardai in advance?

As for dashing Dara, his wriggling since this codology was highlighted has only made things worse. He has resorted to that obnoxious form of apology, the one where people say they are sorry if people feel offended. ‘I’m sorry if people think I’ve wasted Garda resources.’

So Dara, you’re not actually sorry for what at best was arrogant behaviour and at worst an abuse of office?

I have absolutely no doubt that Dara Murphy only did what many other ministers have done in the past.

Not all, but many of our otherwise decent Dail members become laughably arrogant, pompous and out of touch on securing a ministerial appointment. They suffer horrendously from ‘VIP-itis.’

Believe me, Dara is only continuing a long tradition. A few years ago it was revealed that then Minister John O’Donoghue (of Fianna Fail) had spent €472 (our money) on a limo to take him from Terminal Three to Terminal One at Heathrow Airport. (The same journey takes three minutes on the airport’s free shuttle service).

Far from such lavishness ‘The Bull’ was reared. Meanwhile, does anyone remember Bertie Ahern spending €441 a week on make-up?

Or the bould Enda, when he was only Leader of the Opposition, no less, staying in a €1,200 per night hotel room in Rome after travelling there for the Pope’s funeral in 2005?

In fairness, they always acknowledge that we, the people they serve, have made great sacrifices!

Anyways, Europe and the world can breathe easy. Dara made it to Brussels. And they’re getting his car fixed. No doubt we’ll be getting the bill!


I missed media coverage today of Enda and Joan announcing details of a €27bn Capital Plan, but I did see the marvellously deadpan Transport Minister Paschal Donoghue insist on Prime Time tonight that the euro-coated wish-list has absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming General Election.

Unfortunately presenter David McCullagh forgot to give out dates and venues for Paschal’s upcoming stand-up comedy gigs.


‘Why should it be anywhere else?’ With those wisely chosen words, Kevin McStay will have endeared himself further to the Roscommon GAA fraternity as he pledges loyalty to our cause and, with Fergal O’Donnell, takes on the challenging task of leading our senior football expedition.

McStay is a gentleman and I have no doubt that he also has the toughness required for the type of management role he is taking on this week.

Liam McHale –also part of the ‘dream team’ now taking over the Roscommon senior footballers – was very highly regarded when working with McStay at the helm of St. Brigid’s, who the Mayo duo famously led to All-Ireland Club glory.

Fergal O’Donnell, set to take on a joint manager role with McStay, is basically revered in Roscommon.

These men know better than most that there are no guarantees about how a project like this will go, and they know too how fickle the relationship can be between a GAA management team and their public.

But it is fair to say Roscommon’s new management team will enjoy huge support from fans. They are respected and tested GAA figures who have their fingers on the pulse of Roscommon GAA.

They will sign up to sleepless nights for the cause we all believe in. They will leave nothing on the pitch after each training session, each battle.

We wish them well and hope and trust, as Paddy Joe the Barber reminds us, that the best is yet to come.