Paul Healy’s Week


President who?

Paddy Power’s odds for the 2024 US Presidential Election have incumbent Joe Biden as 2-1 favourite, with Donald Trump second favourite at 3/1. While he may be a safe pair of hands, I think Biden has been uninspiring as president. Post-Trump, you could say he’s been the calm after the storm, but he hasn’t been a great president. His approval rating fell from 56% to a shocking low of 36%, and is currently at about 46%.

As for Trump, the sense is that he’s not quite as popular as before. In the race to be the Republican Party nominee for 2016, Trump swatted aside 16 other candidates. This time, he is faced with a very strong challenger for the Republican nomination in Ron DeSantis. Trump is still favourite to get the nod, but it could be very close.

Some of the ‘long shot’ listings are amusing. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson 50/1. Oprah Winfrey 50/1. Leonardo DiCaprio 66/1. George Clooney 66/1. Kim Kardashian 66/1. Angelina Jolie and Bill Gates, both 150/1. Obviously someone in Paddy Power’s was in a fun mood.

It’s not gonna be President DiCaprio…


A rite of passage

Confirmation Day (and the weather is very nice). Bishop Kevin and Fr Kevin officiated at a lovely ceremony (one of two on the day) in the Sacred Heart Church in Roscommon town. Kudos also to the excellent choir. It was the last Confirmation ceremony in our house. C’est la vie, I guess, but we’ll miss the innocence, joy and sacredness of these occasions.

Looking around the beautiful church, I could see our son’s friends and classmates, close to their parents and sponsors, the children nervous, excited. Confirmation is a rite of passage, and it was impossible not to feel that, in some way, under our communal watch today, our son and his peers were growing up a little more.

*Well done to all the teachers, clergy and church volunteers involved today and over weeks of preparation.


A great league…

Just like that, the league campaign is over. It seems no time since opening day, when a somewhat unexpected win over Tyrone got Roscommon off to such a good start. An easy win against Donegal today leaves us basking in unfamiliar territory…finishing third in Division One, after four wins and three narrow defeats.


Nothing to see here…

In offices across London, editors have early-morning calls with journalists and photographers…(they went like this)…

Editor: ‘Our naughty neighbours, the Daily Mail, are in the dock in the High Court, and you’re saying no need to cover it?’

‘Well, some celebrities are suing them over alleged phone-tapping, but it’s not an actual trial, only a preliminary hearing today…legal argument. Yawn’.

‘You sure?’

‘Yep. It will be like watching – worse still, listening to – paint dry! Everything changes if the judge decides later in the week that the celebrities’ case can be heard…’

Editor: ‘So, nothing to see there?’

Seasoned hack: ‘Just boring legal talk. I might as well work from home today. Relax!’

An hour later…

Frantic Editor on phone: ‘Elton John’s turned up at the High Court hearing! And Prince Harry! PRINCE HARRY’S there! You’re at home, probably watching Loose Women! Hello? HELLO?’


Napoleon & Stephen

French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte reputedly said he’d rather have lucky generals than good ones. Sometimes I worry that the very decent and committed manager of our national football team, Stephen Kenny, might not be one of the lucky ones.

Tonight, Ireland gave everything against mighty France at the Aviva, where the atmosphere was exhilarating. But when we gifted the ball to Benjamin Pavard, he returned it in a manner not to our liking, a great shot that proved to be the match-winner.

Ireland applied late pressure, with the French ‘keeper making two great saves. It was a Monday night thriller, compelling TV. The quality of Ireland’s performance augurs well for the rest of the campaign.

The jury’s been out on Stephen Kenny ever since he was appointed, the public divided on the former League of Ireland man’s credentials. Hopefully Kenny proves to be a good manager at this level. Maybe better still if he turns out to be a lucky general.


Keep away from Walford!

As an occasional, eyebrow-arched viewer of the chronically depressing but passes-a-half-an-hour qualifying EastEnders, I’ve often observed (and advised readers on this page) that one should never live in a place like Albert Square. Too many people get murdered. Too many Christmas Day dinners get spoilt. Too many people who are ‘leaving the square’ find that their exit (always by taxi) somehow happens in full view of their arch-enemies/estranged family members, etc.

Now I need to add another concern. The café in EastEnders/Albert Square is not a great spot either. It’s no reflection on the management, it just seems to be that local residents have no qualms about having stand-offs/arguments in full public glare there. Often someone will storm out, just as a new cappuccino is being delivered. Again, the advice is simple: if you see any café like this one anywhere, stay away, because you’ll get no peace. I really don’t know what’s wrong with the folks in Walford, because I’ve never seen any of this tension in any of our great local cafes.


Star’s local connections

I read with sadness this morning of the untimely passing of much-loved comedian and TV presenter Paul O’Grady (67). A number of years ago, his roots in Roscommon People heartland came to light. Paul’s father, Pakie, was born in Ballincurry, Glinsk (later emigrating to the UK). In fact Paul O’Grady had family connections not just in Glinsk, but also in Creggs and Tulsk (see page 8). His mother (Mary) was from County Louth.

Paul O’Grady often visited Glinsk and regularly referenced his Roscommon-Galway connections in interviews. I know that people in these parts were proud of his success and of their association with him.

O’Grady rose to prominence in the 1990s in his drag queen persona (Lily Savage). He also followed in the footsteps of Terry Wogan and Les Dawson in presenting Blankety Blank (as ‘Lily’). His love of dogs also featured in much of his TV work. A gifted entertainer, Paul O’Grady came across as a lovely person. He is gone too soon. May he rest in peace.