Paul Healy’s Week



Loan Ranger…

If Chelsea manager Graham Potter bought the winning lotto ticket just now, chances are that calamity would follow. I can imagine him with the winning numbers, only for a gust of wind to prise the ticket from his fingers, the precious passport to a fortune swirling off into the distance, or maybe being feasted on by a passing dog.

With the sack a real possibility after just one win in ten games, under-pressure Potter paid a staggering €11m to loan Portuguese star Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid for a few months. Chelsea’s would-be saviour was hurriedly included for tonight’s crunch game with Fulham.

Not only did Chelsea lose again…Felix, the new kid on the block, got sent off on his debut.

At the time of writing, the likeable Potter is still hanging on to his job. And the €11m ‘loan ranger’ is suspended from playing for a month.




Ditching Damien

Is it any wonder that politicians get the proverbial bad name?

Over the years, I’ve watched Meath TD Damien English adopt quite the indignant position on a range of topics when challenged by broadcasters and fellow politicians.

He’s no different to most in his position – it’s natural  that politicians will defend themselves and their party, even if some of what they are saying is nonsense – but I was always struck by our Damien’s tetchiness, his slightly prickly side, particularly in some of his exchanges with Vincent Browne.

Yesterday, Damien fell on his sword, exposed by new news website ‘The Ditch’ for making a dishonest declaration to Meath County Council, and for failing to declare his ownership of a particular property in the Dáil register.

I’m sure Damien’s a popular guy, but his downfall has come about entirely because of his own conduct. 14 years ago, English applied for planning permission to build a house in rural Meath; on the application form, he neglected to detail that he already owned a house in the area. He would also have signed a declaration to the effect that all the information on the form was accurate. It wasn’t, and he had to know that (most of us have signed similar forms, and been careful not to mislead). In the years since, Deputy English has consistently failed to declare ownership of the said property.

These guys ‘make the rules’ for everyone – but some of them feel they can live by their own. Give us a break…





It was an enjoyable weekend on the sporting front. Roscommon and Mayo qualified for Friday’s FBD final – whether new Rossie manager Davy Burke likes it or not! (The manager’s lack of enthusiasm for such pre-season tournaments makes some sense; see page 39).

Manchester United’s dramatic derby win over neighbours City was one of the big talking points of the weekend, with a massive debate over the legitimacy or otherwise of their equalising goal.

I know snooker doesn’t command the same TV audience in these parts as in the 1980s/‘90s, but I greatly enjoyed the Masters’ final, where Judd Trump narrowly defeated the ageless Mark Williams.

Still, the sporting highlight of the weekend had to be Paudie Clifford’s speech as the Fossa captain accepted the cup following his team’s All-Ireland Junior Football Club title win. Praising the match officials, Clifford bizarrely added: “A good job…other than at the end when I was wrongly sent off. Unbelievable how I was sent off”.

Those Clifford boys (his brother, David, scored 0-11) really are rewriting the history books!




Trials of ‘To do’ list…

I admit it; I never saw this ‘list twist’ coming…

As we know, the world is made up of two types of people (here we go again!). Those who (probably wisely) would never dream of tormenting themselves by making lists…and the rest of us.

I started making ‘To do’ lists at work years ago, scribbling a daily or weekly one on paper. Nowadays, they are typed, giving the prospect of extra satisfaction whereby you can proudly delete a task when it’s done.

Of course the danger is that it becomes a form of madness. Some people make ‘To do’ lists for work, some make a list for home/personal life…some even combine both. True devotees juggle items on the list, so that there are priorities…maybe even ‘before lunch’ and ‘after lunch’ categories. Some people might even use different colours, or create an excel sheet!

Here’s what happened: With it being January – and good intentions abounding – I’ve been flying with my ‘To do’ list lately.

Bring stuff to the civic amenity site. Ticked. Tidy those files. Ticked. Make those tortuous calls to the companies who won’t answer for ages (but who appreciate your call). Ticked. Send that Mass card. Ticked. Ring plumber. Ticked. Get those bulbs. Ticked. Tidy shed (again). Soon.

With such ‘progress’ made, naturally my long-term ‘To do’ list had become shorter…and shorter. Then, the plot twist (or list twist) struck me. Never having been so near to the end of a list before, I hadn’t previously given this any thought. What happens if everything gets ticked off?

Suddenly, as I write, the status quo is under threat. While some people might love ever-present lists, I’ve always assumed that most of us who live by lists are, in a strange way, working towards the utopia of not needing a list (i.e. everything done). But can we function without them? Now it seems that the shrinking list will inevitably be replenished by new entries…

For all those years, I thought the goal was to finish the list(s), to get all done…to end the madness. But it may be that, like taxation and Piers Morgan, the list never goes away…




Paschal’s posters

More ministerial embarrassment, with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe in hot water over a failure to declare expenses for erection of posters during the 2016 election campaign.

And to think Paschal has been Fine Gael’s ‘Poster Boy’ for financial competence…