Paul Healy’s Week


Last week I finally caught up on the Netflix hit ‘After Life’, the comedy-drama written, produced and directed by Ricky Gervais, who is also the show’s star.

Having watched all 12 episodes, my view is that while After Life is certainly not flawless, it’s very enjoyable.

After Life is the story of Tony (played by Gervais), a newspaper reporter who is grieving following the death of his wife (Lisa). He is sad, lost, bitter and angry…the world his enemy. The show is very melancholic and touching (and beautifully shot). It’s often hilarious too, with some wonderful comic moments, Gervais supported by a great cast.

With its consistently dark humour – trademark Gervais – After Life isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some of the humour is probably unnecessarily crude and offensive, and the central theme – Tony’s battles with his inner anguish, and with the unpleasant person it’s making him – ultimately became a touch tedious for this viewer. Is it really credible that a person’s grief would impact quite so much on their everyday life, and that they would treat people as badly as Tony initially does?

It isn’t perfect, and some of the critics tut-tutted about After Life, but I think it’s touching, poignant, sentimental, inspirational at times…and often hilarious.



I didn’t see the Late Late Show but it was quickly evident from the response on Twitter that the interview with Charlie Bird (and his wife, Claire) had been both heartbreaking and inspirational. I subsequently saw a few clips of the interview and it was certainly very, very moving.

The veteran retired journalist – famous in his career heyday as a brilliant roving reporter with RTE – was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. His bravery, honesty, openness and humility has touched the entire nation.

(As an aside, Charlie has been in Roscommon quite a bit over the years. I recall him launching an edition of Roscommon Lions Club’s award-winning 4U magazine in Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown, on which occasion he was extremely obliging and friendly. Back around 2013, he also presented an important edition of his Saturday afternoon radio show from Kilglass Community Centre, near Rooskey, covering the challenges facing rural Ireland).

As he bravely faces his illness, he is speaking up for others, his message one of love and humanity. I wish Charlie and his family the very best.



Congratulations to excellent Roscommon senior football champions Padraig Pearses on progressing to the Connacht Senior Club Football Championship Final with a one-point win over Mountbellew-Moylough today.

The Butler (Tom) delivered, he served up late drama, he lifted the lid on his club’s ambition, or whatever pun or play on his surname you are having yourself.

When they won the County Final recently, I made the fairly self-evident point that Pearses are the real deal, a very formidable team with the self-confidence, skill, physicality, composure and maturity to be a major force for some time at club level and beyond.

Watching them close out games, observing how they don’t panic, seeing their combination of football quality and power, leaves one in no doubt that this is a team with great ambition and one that will always leave everything out on the pitch. Both skilled and streetwise, they’re a nightmare for opponents.

Not having seen the game, I can’t comment on criticism of the referee, but there is absolutely no justification for the very unpleasant (mercifully brief) scenes at the final whistle (which I saw on social media).

A number of Mountbellew-Moylough players surrounded referee Jerome Henry in an intimidating manner, during which he was clearly pushed and shoved. In my opinion stewards could have reacted more quickly, but when they did, they offered good protection to the official and thankfully he was shielded from any further abuse.



Strange times…even some of Boris Johnson’s supporters are beginning to question their loyalty to him! The British Prime Minister’s long honeymoon period – based largely on ‘getting Brexit done’ – may finally be coming to an end.

An opinion poll in The Observer newspaper confirms that the…ahem, party…may be over for Johnson. That is to say he is no longer riding a wave of public adulation (not that I think he’s finished or anything). His personal approval rating is down a massive 14% on just two weeks ago. Over half of those polled want him to resign as PM, and Labour are suddenly soaring above the Conservatives (41% v 32%).

While Johnson has never been far from controversy before or since becoming PM, it’s the handling of the  Christmas party that was or wasn’t which has finally destabilised his support.

It’s pretty clear to the entire world by now that some form of staff party (maybe even more than one) was held at Downing Street last Christmas. Such an event would have been in breach of Covid-19 guidelines. The Johnson Government’s denials and backpeddling on the issue in recent weeks has been an insult to people’s intelligence, public anger exacerbated by the emergence of a video showing Downing Street staffers laughing and joking about the alleged party.

Arrogant, untrustworthy, unprincipled, reckless, and frequently displaying contempt for the truth, Johnson has up to now somehow kept the public onside with a mixture of charm, amiable buffoonery and eccentricity. Enough people just like him, and either ignore or condone the aspects of his character that others are unimpressed with (to varying degrees). But just now, the tide seems to be turning. Today’s poll result suggests the honeymoon is finally over for Boris.



Russian President-forever Vladimir Putin has revealed that when times were hard for his family at a point in the early 1990s, he ‘moonlighted’ as a taxi driver. I can only imagine the conversations…

Passenger: “Is it busy?”

Putin: “Ah…mainly weekends”.

Passenger: “Eh…what time are you on ‘til?”

Putin (calls on main day job, i.e. KGB agent): “That remains to be determined”.

Passenger (bit taken aback): “Ah sure this country’s a joke. I blame the Government, Yeltsin in fact! We need change!”

Putin: “Mmnn…”

Passenger: “I said we need change! We’re a basket case! You’re a taxi driver…you must have lots of opinions on the state of the nation? We need change!”

Putin: “You have arrived at your destination. I can give you no more information. You must go! As for change, all I’ll say is if I was running the country…”

(Passenger to friends afterwards: “Taxi driver who brought me here was very intense, I’m sure I heard him mumbling that he could do a better job than Yeltsin! Last thing he shouted was ‘I won’t be driving this taxi in ten years! I’ll be famous!’ Those taxi drivers, they really are characters!”)