Paul Healy’s Week

Thursday

I adore Sligo. Growing up, we spent many happy times in the county’s resorts, such as Enniscrone, Rosses Point and Strandhill. In more recent times, there have been day trips and occasional weekends in the embrace of this friendly, intimate, welcoming town. The ‘High Street’ buzzes with atmosphere, and it’s always a pleasure to enjoy a coffee, pint, stroll, or browse in a book shop.

  It seems particularly sad that a slightly hidden gem such as Sligo should be in ‘the news’ for the most horrific of reasons, but that’s the devastatingly unfair fate that befell the town and its community last week.

  I try to keep this column upbeat, humorous…but sometimes you can’t ignore the evils in this world. There’s nothing I can write that will ease the anguish of the families of murder victims Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee, but on behalf of our thousands of readers, I’d like to express to their families and friends  our condolences and solidarity. Today, a man appeared in Sligo District Court, charged with murdering both men (and with assaulting a third man, Anthony Burke). The legal process will now take its course.

  The country has been stunned by what happened in Sligo. I have spoken to people who knew Aidan Moffitt well, and they speak of a very popular, sociable man who was a good and loyal friend, a successful businessman, a sports’ enthusiast who lived life to the full. Aidan was a native of Lisacul, Co. Roscommon, a member of a very well respected family. Warm tributes have also been paid to Michael Snee, described as a quiet man who was friendly and loyal.

  The people of Roscommon stand in solidarity with both families. They are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  As for Sligo, it will always be beautiful, and it remains a special, friendly town. Evil chooses its own rules.

  May Aidan and Michael rest in peace.

Friday

The Late Late Show is either running out of guests, making poor choices, or delusional about what viewers like (or some combination of all three). There has to be some explanation for the tedious repeat appearances of Dermot Bannon, Francis Brennan, Jason Byrne, and – of late – former president, Mary McAleese. She may be an adopted Rossie, but we do not need to hear Mary On Everything.

  Meanwhile, Ryan’s habit – developed during the peak of the pandemic – of opening the show with a monologue/address to the nation, has become tiresome, the words of wisdom often patronising.

  Is it time to call it a day? Ryan has lots of broadcasting talent that can be utilised in different roles. This famous show is tired, the format jaded, the host trying too hard, the output too often straight from Cringe Central.

  Of course RTE can point to large viewing figures, and I guess that’s what counts! ‘Mrs Merton’ (Caroline Aherne) memorably asked Debbie McGee what first attracted her to the millionaire Paul Daniels…one might take a leaf from her book and ask why RTE persists with the big (advertising) revenue earner that is the Late Late Show?

Saturday/Sunday

It was a great weekend for sports fans, with top action in GAA, rugby, soccer, golf, snooker and other sports too. On Saturday, Liverpool and Manchester City went at it again, this time in an FA Cup semi-final. Liverpool were excellent and well worth their win. (I can imagine John Giles and a few more ‘old-timers’ rolling their eyes at City boss Pep Guardiola’s decision to make widespread changes before the match, rather than playing something closer to his strongest team).

  In the hurling on Sunday, Limerick’s win over Cork was sobering for all pretenders to the former’s crown, while Galway somehow let victory slip against Wexford (it ended in a draw).

  On Sunday evening, Shane Lowry was well placed to win an exciting RBC Heritage event, but the in-form Offaly man couldn’t close it out, short game wizard Jordan Spieth back in the winner’s enclosure.

  I’ve hardly seen any of the World Snooker Championship yet, but I hear Ronnie O’Sullivan is incurring the wrath of the officials, so no change there. We’ll miss him when he’s gone!

All weekend

We attended the Roscommon Easter Parade, highlight of a very successful two-day festival in the county town. The music in the new-look Square attracted good crowds, while there was a great turnout for Sunday’s eagerly-awaited parade.

  It was just wonderful to see so many people out and about again after all the hardship of the last two years.  Heartiest congratulations to the organising committee on their tremendous work leading up to and during the festival.

  Meanwhile, there were very positive reports too about both the Strokestown Easter Parade and the County Fleadh, the latter hosted in Ballaghaderreen over a number of days. Well done to all involved. (We have photographic coverage throughout this week’s issue, and online too).   

Monday/Tuesday

In light of the worldwide furore about Ryan Tubridy asking actress Jamie-Lee O’Donnell what age she is, the powers that be in Political Correctness HQ have issued preliminary guidelines on the latest words/terms/questions that cannot be used (effective soon)…

‘Any craic?’: This will be outlawed due to any implication that the person being spoken to may have an interest in matters drug-related.

‘You’re a horse of a man’: Animal welfare groups have signalled that some horses may resent the mixed messages here (banned with immediate effect).

‘Are ye going to Garth Brooks/Yeehaw/Sure I have friends in low places’: These are still being worked on, but are likely to be banned in the New Year, if only to save our collective sanity.

‘Now you’re sucking diesel’: Banned immediately, as such a trivial comment may cause offence to beleaguered consumers for whom all references to diesel/petrol etc are currently very sensitive.

‘The dogs in the street knew it’: Will be banned as it unfairly implicates dogs in everything to a potentially prejudicial degree.

‘Hello, how’s it going?’: While it is acknowledged that this is a long-standing traditional greeting, it will now be banned because it arguably places an unfair burden on the person or persons being spoken to, leading them to feel it necessary to respond, with the ‘how’s it going’ element of the sentence particularly objectionable as some people might feel it is passive-aggressive.

‘Sure we’ll go for one/two pints’: Banned, because it’s just silly.

‘Will Galway beat Mayo?’: Banned effective this morning, due to offences against originality.

‘Ah no, I’m grand’: If uttered in response to being offered tea/coffee/a pint, this phrase is herewith banned on basis that it is almost certainly dishonest.

‘Hey, would you like to buy a bit of turf?’: Banned, person uttering the phrase completely shunned from society/forced to watch endless repeats of Gordon Ramsay cookery shows.