Paul Healy’s Week


‘Cracker’ – a very popular ITV crime drama in the 1990s – just happens to be one of those shows that I never saw much of. Channel-hopping on TV late on Thursday night, I briefly stopped on a repeat episode, and was reminded of the screen presence of its star, Robbie Coltrane. Today came the sad news of his death at just 72 years of age.

In all likelihood, comedy capers ‘The Pope Must Die’ and ‘Nuns on the Run’ might not feature highly now on his career body of work, but it was via those movies that I first became aware of Coltrane! Of course he subsequently became internationally renowned for his role in James Bond movies, and especially as Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films.

Robbie Coltrane was a versatile and brilliant actor who had a great career in TV, film and theatre. He will be greatly missed. His legacy speaks for itself, and his TV work and movies will continue to be enjoyed long into the future.

A word too on legendary actress Angela Lansbury, who died earlier this week. While most of her long life (she died just short of her 97th birthday) was spent in America, Lansbury was born in London, her mother being Irish actress Moyna Macgill.

Lansbury had a wonderful career – over eight decades – and was rightly celebrated as one of the last stars of the golden age of Hollywood cinema. For all her film successes however, you won’t be surprised if I suggest that she will probably be most remembered in these parts for her iconic role as fictional writer and detective Jessica Fletcher in the long-running American TV series ‘Murder, She Wrote’.

What a star Angela Lansbury was. Again, TV repeats/YouTube etc. will ensure that the glow she brought into people’s lives will never fully fade.




One could be tempted to formally complain about how boring Irish politics is, relative to the conduct of some of our friends over in Westminster.

Today, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss (in office 36 days) summoned the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng (in office 36 days) back from the United States…and then sacked him.

It was an elaborate political move, known as the ‘Someone else must go under the bus to save my skin’ manouevre.

Ever since their ill-fated mini-budget of a few weeks ago, Truss and the Chancellor she appointed have been under more pressure than a half-back line facing a rampant Limerick (hurlers, that is).

There is speculation that the ‘new’ PM may not last much longer in Downing Street, that she could be gone by the end of the month. In fact she may not even make it to the rest of this column.




Spurs are awarded a penalty against Everton, finally livening up a fairly dull match. The Everton defenders encircle the referee, protesting against the decision (it’s the same at every club). Why do players do this? Has a referee ever changed their mind due to being lobbied by players (“Okay lads, in light of the points you have raised, I will of course reverse my decision”).




The Sunday Independent has hyped an interview with the marvellously self-confident Health Minister Simon Donnelly, who is slightly bizarrely asked if he has any ambitions to lead Fianna Fáil (his answer is “No” – but no doubt he could be persuaded).

I have long treated Donnelly’s brand of self-serving spinning with amusement. He is one of those politicians – Leo Varadkar has a similar knack/cheek – who comfortably manages what should be the difficult trick of seeming to agree with criticisms of government, while quickly talking up what’s been done.

In the Sunday Independent interview, Slippery Stephen casually lists targets the HSE is currently missing (“they have missed targets on beds, they have missed targets on recruitment…”).

Would it be reasonable at this stage to point out to Mr. Donnelly that he is the actual Minister for Health, with authority over the HSE?

As ever having it both ways, Donnelly has the audacity to tell interviewer Hugh O’Donnell: “I don’t think the public are too worried about targets”.

You can’t win with Slippery Simon!




“Can I ask you a favour?” some guy asked in an email to the office today.

I replied – because he might have wanted a news item in the paper, or to place an ad, or maybe he had a world exclusive for us.

But then the cat fell out of the bag, because the follow-up email from him went something like this: “It’s my niece’s birthday, I’m out of town, wondering could you be so kind to pick up an apple gift card for her in a local store. I’ve tried purchasing online but had no luck. I’ll refund you as soon as I get back”.

Normally the rule has to be to not reply. Of course I would never dream of sharing card/account details online or by text, etc. But I couldn’t resist making one little suggestion.

I replied that we’d be delighted to purchase the apple gift card – but asked the person to “send on the money to us” first.

They replied that they are having a “problem” with their bank.


In that same reply, they offered to refund me as soon as possible. I ended the relationship (by not replying).

A quick Google search revealed that this particular scam attempt has been raging for a year or more.

Be careful! Ignore anything that’s remotely suspicious.




It would appear that Liz Truss (UK Prime Minister) looks set to survive to the end of this week’s column (see ‘Friday’ reference). That of course is not her main priority. I am inclined to feel sorry for her, because while she has certainly made an accident-prone start, her every move or utterance is now being pounced on, often ridiculed. That’s not particularly fair. The media are lapping up all the chaos, and the Tories are at war. This latest sorry mess that the Conservatives find themselves in – with all the implications for the British public – can of course all be traced back to that fateful Brexit vote!




In other news, a lollipop lady has just rang Joe Duffy to ask if it’s safe for her to go out in the lightning with her lollipop (she works at a school in Dublin). Apparently the weather is very, very rough in Dublin (we’ll never hear the end of it!).

I don’t know how the lollipop lady and Joe got on, but neither do I know how we’d survive without Liveline. I suppose it might depend to some extent on what the ‘lollipop’ is made of.

Anyway, that’s why Joe’s there; I will leave him and the lollipop lady and the world’s woes. We’ve a newspaper to get out!