Paul Healy’s Week


Today is Day One of a six-week series that nobody is a fan of. ‘Level 5’ is the reality show we didn’t sign up for. But, here we go.

At the Roscommon People, we’re deemed to be essential workers. We’ll continue to bring our thousands of readers their favourite local newspaper, backed up by strong (and growing) social media content. We’re grateful to the people of Roscommon for your fantastic loyalty and support.

In Roscommon Town today, there’s still lots of traffic and quite a bit of activity. This is not on a par with Lockdown 1, which is no consolation to those businesses that have been instructed to close.

Meanwhile, compliance with the mask-wearing requirement (in shops, etc.) appears close to 100% status by now. In the shops, the odd person rudely (or maybe absent-mindedly) encroaches into the next person’s space. We may have to develop a ‘stare of disapproval’ in order to remind these isolated ‘offenders’ that they are…out of step!



Yes, of course I stayed up to watch the US Presidential debate. Mind you, when the two old chaps were bickering over children in cages (“You locked them in cages” – “Yeah, but you MADE the cages!”) it almost felt wrong to be in the same space as them.

Still, it was a good bit more dignified than the first debate, the one in which Biden told Trump to shut up – and called him a clown – while the President bellowed his unique form of venom, interrupting like a rebellious boy in the classroom.

This was much better, and, at the risk of drawing the ire of the rest of the Irish media, I must say Trump was formidable. It doesn’t mean I approve of Trumpism, but I am willing to give credit where it’s due. For the most part, Trump was impressive in this debate. Even the laughably biased CNN ‘experts’ initially gave Trump credit in their post-debate analysis, before sentencing him to metaphorical death by selective fact-checking/relentless partisan commentary!

Biden had his moments too, though he walked into traps on both America’s oil industry and the issue of fracking. Biden also made the classic error of looking at his watch (for a prolonged period). Biden looks old and frail. I am staggered that neither party can come up with younger candidates (but I digress).

Trump, unsurprisingly, lacked credibility when defending his administration’s handling of Covid-19. Had the pandemic not happened, Trump would almost certainly be unbeatable next week (economy was flying, Democrats were in disarray). But Covid-19 has undone much of the economic progress that was being made. It’s Trump’s poor handling of the pandemic that has put Biden in the driving seat. With five days to go to the election, Biden is favourite, but Trump could still win. Watch out for Trump’s ‘hidden voters’ – those who would never admit to pollsters that they’d vote for him – making this a real contest. Biden ought to win, but Trump cannot be written off. If he loses narrowly, expect lawyers to rub their hands in glee and a monumental legal saga to begin!


Friday night

More ‘Misery TV’ from the Late Late Show, where ‘the team’ are obviously convinced viewers want ‘Covid Extra’ after a long week of blanket pandemic coverage on TV, radio, social media and in the papers.

Week after week, the Late Late combines celebrity interviews and music with stories of human tragedy – and relentless Covid coverage. Surely by Friday night, a beleaguered public, if they are watching TV, want some release from the pandemic?

Tonight, it’s the turn of Dr. Tony Holahan, Chief Medical Officer. I switched channels. Nothing to do with Dr. Tony; he’s doing a great job and has been heroic. I’d watch an interview with him on Prime Time or any current affairs programme.

As for that Friday (night) feeling, we’ve no chance if we’re at the mercy of the Late Late Show planners. If they can’t abandon their misery mantra, maybe it’s time to replace the Late Late with a laugh-out-loud comedy movie – and give the nation something to smile about.



Back in the late 1980’s, I was a regular on the reporting beat in Cavan. Stephen King was…king of Cavan football for a while then, Ronan Carolan a renowned free-taker. The team had a certain swagger, but I always felt they were haunted by high expectations, prisoners of the past…when Cavan were a major force at provincial and All-Ireland level. By the late 1980’s, not unlike Roscommon at the time, they were mired in a footballing famine.

I always enjoyed covering games in Cavan, where the thirst for a return to the glory days of the 1940’s and ‘50’s was passed from generation to generation. Cavan’s fans are amongst the most passionate in the country.

Today, Roscommon condemned Mickey Graham’s team to an unlucky descent into Division Three. They won’t be there too long. As for our lads, they were impressive again, especially when you consider that several key players were missing.

Roscommon’s two-point win sealed the Division 2 title, with Enda Smith collecting the trophy. Roscommon have momentum in a season draped in uncertainty. Maybe this is the one season when we’d have relished the Super 8s! Or maybe the straight knock-out structure in this Covid-hit year will suit counties like Roscommon. Either way, the team/panel is flying just now.

I watched the game on TG4 and enjoyed what I saw. Regaining Division One status is great, and will ensure this exciting team continues its progression. Good times ahead; that’s if the pandemic doesn’t prove to be the ultimate difficult opponent.


Every night

It’s so sad to see the doors closed again…stark symbols of this wretched shocker of a year. A number of shops and other outlets remain open under Level 5, but the abrupt (latest) closure of hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes (other than for takeaway/delivery service) is hurting the economy, impacting on the wellbeing of many people…and stripping our lives of much of the normal social interaction that we thrive on.

It’s demoralising to drive through Roscommon’s Main Street at night…the town eerily quiet, save for a steady flow of people out walking. The atmosphere has been stolen. I’m sure many residents don’t miss the occasionally messy late-night revelry of pre-pandemic Saturday nights. Still, it’s not normal to see restaurants and bars in darkness…with all the implications for employment, social interaction, mental health even.

These times will pass, and the sooner the better.