Paul Healy’s Week



The latest series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! is up and running, with its familiar ‘diet’ of gruesomeness. For a second year, due to the pandemic, the celebrities (so-called) and their less than appealing ‘jungle friends’ are located in a castle in Wales, rather than in the Australian bush.

Dismiss it you might, but it’s a phenomenal ratings success, no doubt much to the dismay of Culture Snobs. For millions of TV viewers, I’m A Celebrity is an entertaining diversion that shortens the winter.

That said, I haven’t seen any of the first few episodes of the current series, but I will probably catch up. As with Big Brother at its peak, it can be fascinating to see how the whole experience affects the contestants, to observe how they can even be psychologically impacted by living in such demanding conditions. As for the more disgusting trials, I am usually happy to look the other way.




All over the country, it’s a little bit like Christmas Morning…with one important exception: on this day of great anticipation, nobody is sure if the much-desired gifts will actually arrive.

Laptops, phones, tablets – and even the odd set of rosary beads – are strewn around kitchen tables. In Dalkey, Bono skips his session with the mirror and joins the frantic queue. There are unconfirmed reports that George Lee may even be excited.

Me? I’m in two minds. We saw Mr Garth Brooks live on two occasions in the early 1990s. We were big fans. His concerts were fantastic. He had us in the palm of his guitar-strumming hand…fans for life. Then, 2014 happened…Saipan with a Stetson. I was well unimpressed with him. Here’s my version of what happened: The big guy had three concerts in the bag, wanted five, sulked when he couldn’t get them, and just threw his Stetson out of the pram (I am summarising).

Before Glum Garth pulled the plug in 2014, we had joined the mass ticket hunt. Finally, we made a breakthrough on DoneDeal. A chap in Wexford agreed the sale of two tickets. We handed him the cash in person in Enniscorthy. He seemed like a nice guy.

When Brooding Brooks cancelled, the chap in Wexford (and everyone else) was reimbursed by the promoter. Oddly, when we rang (a few times) he declined to answer! We’re still waiting.

I digress. The laptop is on our kitchen table this morning too. By 8.30, I gave in and had a look. Just 80,000 people ahead of us in the queue. Luckily, Garth very helpfully added three concerts by 10 am (amazingly quick decision-making on his part, especially given the time difference between here and America). We secured two tickets.

My challenge now is try and forgive Garth. I have ten months to work on it. It would help if he stopped giving those incredibly corny interviews. Anyways, I may end up succumbing to Garth-mania again. With a bit of luck we’ll meet the Wexford guy on the way in…




A bit like Jim Carrey’s character in the movie ‘Liar Liar’, the kid on the Late Late Show has to tell the truth – regardless of the implications.

So, when the boy met Ed Sheeran, he told the star that he’s not a fan of the song ‘Bad Habits’ – as he’s heard it “about 1.2 billion times”.

We need this kid to appear on more RTE shows. He could start on The Week in Politics.

“No, Minister, you won’t in fact end hospital waiting lists by that deadline. You aren’t going to look closely at the opposition’s proposed amendments. When you say ‘with respect’ you mean the opposite. As for your promises on the economy/broadband/housing, I’m afraid I’ve heard the same guff about 1.2 billion times!”




As the first few episodes of I’m A Celebrity were recorded in our house (well, that’s recorded on our TV, they were actually shot in Wales) I’m now kind of tuning in. Anything to divert from the Covid mayhem.

The usual mix of DJs, presenters, sportstars and actors, many of the ‘celebrities’ seem to have been drawn from the lower leagues this year; either that or I’m suddenly completely out of touch with modern culture. Truth be told, I haven’t a clue who most of them are. Thank God for Richard Madeley, legend of daytime TV.

Also taking part is former footballer, the magnificent David Ginola, loved in equal measure by men, women and…David Ginola.

Just as I begin to belatedly develop an interest in this year’s line-up, Ant & Dec announce that Richard Madeley has had to leave the show (briefly hospitalised, he couldn’t return on Covid safety grounds).

But without Richard Madeley, what’s the point?




Reviewing Gary Murphy’s biography of Charles Haughey in The Sunday Times, Bertie Ahern (one of the great man’s successors as Taoiseach) writes: ‘It is the job of the impartial historian or biographer to weigh up the credit and the debit side of a political figure’s actions, but this task is always aided by space for mature reflection and the passage of time allowing passions to cool’.

I wonder what consideration could possibly have prompted Bertie to write the above?




Just as I thought…‘I’m a Celebrity’ has barely survived the departure of Richard Madeley! As readers will be aware, the show had to be ‘pulled’ for a few days due to stormy weather in Wales (not actually because Richard was gone). Apparently it’s back on Tuesday night. I can hear your sighs of relief…winter has been saved!




In tonight’s FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying game, the Republic of Ireland defeated Georgia by a record-breaking 11-0. I suspect it will be a long time before we see a more remarkable scoreline. Actually, only a few seconds…as when I go scrolling on to the BBC website, I see the result from Keepmoat Stadium (definitely not ‘Keep ‘em out’ Stadium): England 20 Latvia 0. Unfortunately this information came to me a few seconds too late…I had already given the ‘Team of the Night’ award to the superb Irish ladies, now second in their group after a highly promising start to the campaign.