Paul Healy’s Week


I was shocked to hear of the untimely death of Irish Olympian Jerry Kiernan, who had one of the greatest characteristics a person can have…in that he was truly his own man and famously spoke his mind.

He was undoubtedly an accomplished athlete, and by all accounts a magnificent and memorable teacher, but many of us knew him best as a fascinating, deeply intelligent and articulate ‘pundit’ with RTE.

I always enjoyed listening to his forensic analysis before and after races. As a pundit, Jerry was (as Jimmy Magee said of Maradona) ‘different class’. His sincerity, passion, knowledge and eloquence commanded the attention of viewers. He had no interest in showboating, or in fabricating controversy or entertainment. A true one-off, whom we will miss.




At least our politicians are keeping us amused…

Here’s my Guide to Irish Politics (Part 1): In a recent Sunday Independent interview, Barry Cowen (sacked as Minister for Agriculture by Micheál Martin) said the Taoiseach should not lead Fianna Fáil into the next General Election.

In today’s Sunday Independent, the previously Rarely-spotted-in-the-media Charlie McConalogue (appointed as Minister for Agriculture by Micheál Martin) said the Taoiseach should absolutely lead Fianna Fáil into the next General Election. I can’t imagine what might help explain the divergent views of our two heroes!

Meanwhile, the shy Deputy Cowen hasn’t stopped at giving some tactically astute newspaper interviews – he’s also taken to putting lamely cryptic posts on Twitter, including one of a dog being walked, captioned: ‘It’s a long road that has no turns’.

In one of those print interviews, he compared his own political plight to the experience of Muhammad Ali: “Muhammad Ali was on his backside a few times and got up and became world champion three times – I have to adopt that attitude”.

You couldn’t make this stuff up…!



Laurence Fallon, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, was a worried man when I spoke to him today about the heartbreaking flooding crisis in Rahara.

At that point, one household had already been evacuated – and others were (and remain) under threat. The Lough Funshinagh flooding disaster really is devastating.

As Cllr. Fallon spoke, a sense of desperation was evident. The water levels keep rising. It is still only January. Last year, the water rose by four foot from January to April. The starkness of that bodes very, very badly for the coming weeks.

“One farm has been consumed already” Cllr. Fallon said, grimly adding “one more foot of water, and two more houses will be gone”.

We sent Dan Dooner and Mick McCormack to the scene on Wednesday, where they spoke with locals. Our special report is across pages 15-17.


Monday night


I found Ian Paisley Junior quite annoying on Claire Byrne Live! I thought relations had improved between the Republic of Ireland and ‘Team Paisley’, but it’s obvious that Covid-19 and Brexit are bringing tensions back to the surface.

Whatever about what I thought, Roscommon’s most illustrious resident – former President of Ireland Mary McAleese – didn’t hold back during a recent interview in the Sunday Independent.

Mary, who is rarely out of the papers/radio/TV these days, had this to say when commenting on Donald Trump:
“…you get a stirrer upper, like Trump, someone who is able to manipulate, for example, the Christian gospel. We had that in (Dr. Ian) Paisley. Someone who talks the gospel, but is actually a spewer, a contaminator of the world with hatred”.

I’m not entirely sure these are wise words from Mrs. McAleese at this time.




On Newstalk, an out-of-work actress rang in to merrily chat about getting through lockdown. It should be said that almost everyone in the arts is out of work just now.

This lady has been innovative…and has gone way beyond mere banana bread levels of distraction. She’s learnt to play a musical instrument, studied algebra, binge-watched on Netflix, taken on several scenic walks, and pursued various other new hobbies.

As positive as her outlook was, I was taken by what the actress said when broadcaster Andrea Gilligan asked her what she misses.

Many of us will identify with the woman’s response. She misses casual social interaction…being able to have a coffee with a friend, or on her own.

When speaking about having a coffee on her own, she memorably summed up what we are missing: “Even a coffee on my own…listening to other people talking. I miss the sound of other people”.


Later on Tuesday


I’m grateful (for all that my gratefulness and his endeavours are worth) to the concerned citizen who rang Joe Duffy today to report The Case of the Missing Radio Stations.

A couple of years ago, I was intrigued to discover that various ‘Sky channels’ on our TV actually included a few dozen radio channels.

In addition to RTE, Newstalk, etc. there were great UK-based music channels such as ‘Gold’, ‘Heart’, ‘Smooth’ etc. We often whiled an hour or more away listening to classic hits from the past.

A week or two ago, I discovered they were gone! I was disappointed, confused even, but it went out of my head.

Then, today on Liveline, a man rang in about this important issue of our times. He was on the case. He too had noticed the radio stations had fallen from the Sky. He rang Sky. A lady answered. He informed her of the problem, but she was unable to offer any explanation. After she made internal enquiries, the lady reported back. Er…Brexit – yes, Brexit! – was the reason for the lamentable removal (for subscribers in Ireland) of the UK radio stations.

The man then informed the lady that the withdrawn radio stations accounted for nine per cent of all the stations in his Sky package (for which he pays a hefty €200 or so a month). Therefore, he expected a nine percent discount.

The lady from Sky (who may be in line for a career in politics) calmly informed him that he hadn’t been paying for the radio stations! The man asked how was he to know what stations he was paying for. He got no joy. And so it seems Brexit has taken the hits of the past from our TVs!