Paul Healy’s Week


We’ve got (e)mail…

At the Roscommon People, in this PR savvy age we receive hundreds of emails every single day.

There’s some email spam (none of the multi-million euro bank transfers promised by bereft widows/widowers have yet materialised) and a few crank-types get in touch with pretty wild allegations that would leave us in need of some of the cash from those benefactors abroad if we were to publish the defamatory content therein.

Most emails are of course entirely legitimate, almost all seeking a mention in the People. Today, a PR company sent us one titled ‘Lovers Paradise’. It’s on behalf of the Irish Travel Agents Association, the attached press release promoting honeymoon offers for newlyweds in our readership area. You might be tempted by a trip to Thailand, a 5-star stay in Greece, or an ‘Irresistible Med Honeymoon Cruise’.

I was amused – given the hundreds of emails that flood in – to read the very next email. From a different PR company, it was headed ‘Divorcing? Separating? Living Apart? New Call Back Service for Free Family Mediation…

I was reminded of the great Hollywood actor, Mickey Rooney – veteran of eight marriages – who quipped: “Always get married in the morning. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted the whole day”.

I hasten to add that I know there’s nothing amusing about divorce – but there is something amusing about an email offering honeymoon advice being followed by one offering advice to do with divorce!

(The next email that whizzed in brought everything back down to earth; it was the weekly Roscommon Mart prices).




Er… musical chairs

The circus continues. News breaks in the early hours that Siún Ní Raghallaigh has resigned as Chairperson of the RTÉ Board.

As one Chair leaves and a successor awaits the poisoned chalice, I’m inclined to say they’re playing a grim game of ‘Musical Chairs’ out Montrose way – apologies if my use of the word ‘musical’ in the context of RTE darkens your mood!




Friday fun…

In one of the main carparks in town, drivers are zigzagging… in that familiar Friday afternoon way.

A mild disagreement arises between two motorists. One is double-parked, but in the driver’s seat, and satisfied that he has left enough space for other cars to pass. The second driver wasn’t happy about being ‘waved on’ – and wants to vent. Windows are lowered.

“You were in my way” the second driver admonishes as they slowly pass. They agree to disagree.

Afterwards, I exchange a smile with Mr Double-parked.

“Yeah, I was in their way” he says with more than a touch of sarcasm, “because they’re driving a big (names the model) car!”

Then he triumphantly adds: “Let them go up and join RTE!”




The late John Kerrigan

I was greatly saddened to hear of the death of John Kerrigan. One of the most familiar faces around Roscommon Town over the decades, he was an unofficial custodian of its heritage and history.

Since first meeting John in the late 1980s, I’ve considered him to be a personal friend. He was incredibly helpful to the local newspapers, his knowledge of the town’s historic buildings (and people) without equal. He was the ‘go to’ person if one wanted information about particular streets, families, names, etc.

John had an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the town and its environs, formed by his love of place and his passion for cherishing our collective past. He shared that knowledge with great enthusiasm. He was unfailingly polite and helpful when people sought out his expertise.

He had a great singing voice and I recall him launching a lovely DVD some years ago, in which he sang some old favourites and fondly reminisced about times gone by. (‘Memories of the Snug’ was based on the snug in JJ Harlow’s bar in Roscommon).

John wrote extensively over the years, with most of his articles being published during my time as Editor of the Roscommon Champion, and later at the Roscommon People. At one stage we collaborated to publish John’s evocative, beautifully told memories of his beloved Mote Park in book form.

As a historian, he made a huge contribution to the lives of thousands of people over the years, through his talks, walking tours, writings, and even down to nostalgic chats during chance meetings on the streets of the town he loved so much. He did it all in a most gentlemanly man.

The town won’t be the same without him. Rest well, John.




Rossies win…

I joined over 5,500 spectators at Dr Hyde Park today, where an impressive Roscommon easily defeated Monaghan. See my report on page 47.




Text etiquette

Every now and again, usually because it’s been an extremely busy day at work, it dawns that I haven’t replied to one or more messages on my phone. It begs the question: when is it too late to reply to a text?

Today, I realised it’s been a week since my cousin in London messaged – and I still haven’t replied. I’m sure many readers are experts on texting etiquette. We had the debate (a long time ago) on whether or not the ‘k’ text and the ‘thumbs up’ emoji are actually passive aggressive. The ‘thumbs up’ is a ‘low effort response’, Google informs me just now, somewhat judgmentally.

Back to this issue of at what point it might be considered socially ‘unacceptable’ to reply to a text or WhatsApp! If you let an hour or so pass, the other person may already be thinking you’re rude, but you can probably rescue the situation. If a full day (or longer) passes, it might be wiser to not reply at all, rather than messaging and thus drawing attention to the delay. After all, typing ‘sorry, I’ve been up the walls’ may come across as a bit weak, given that it only takes a few seconds to send a message.

So, my cousin in London texted over a week ago, and I still haven’t replied. Once we get this week’s paper finished, I might respond (with suitable humility).

Of course he may be trying to find out if my 5-a-side soccer team is all set to play his team when they land here (from London) in the summer. As ‘my’ team retired years ago, and I’ve yet to broach the subject of a comeback with even one of the unsuspecting golden oldies, I can hardly send my cousin a ‘thumbs up’.