Paul Healy’s Week

Friday

There’s an amusing video (yes, another one) of Deputy Danny Healy-Rae doing the rounds for the past while, and it’s quite the piece of work. He’s declared war on Russia, well on Putin at least, with intended collateral damage for the Russian Ambassador to Ireland.

In the face of ongoing calls for the arrogant Ambassador to be expelled, Danny has a better idea: keep the man here, lock him up even, then feed him scraps…essentially give Putin something to think about. Extreme perhaps, but when it comes to facing down nuclear warhead-brandishing dictators, Danny’s not in the mood for diplomacy. (Danny is also available to get potholes filled in).

Putin caved in to the Kerry fishermen; now it remains to be seen if Danny can finish him off. If all else fails, I suppose we can always play the Mattie McGrath card.

 

Saturday

Great news from the Connacht Centre of Excellence today where the Roscommon team won the Connacht LGFA U-16 final, defeating Sligo by 3-10 to 2-7. It was a very exciting occasion for the players, management, their families and supporters, this being Roscommon’s first ever win at Connacht U-16 ‘A’ grade. We have lots of coverage throughout today’s issue. Well done to all involved!

 

Sunday

Whisper it, but as the latest in a welcome series of prospective super sporting Sundays, today was arguably more exciting for the Premier League football across the water than for the stop-start GAA action!

True, Limerick v Clare was a tasty hurling encounter, and Derry’s comfortable win over Monaghan in the Ulster SFC semi-final maintains their refreshing rise, that latter game a bit easier on the eye than the very dour BBC studio, in which GAA legends Mickey Harte, Peter Canavan and Oisín McConville were crouched together in close proximity, mics gripped tightly, eyes trained on presenter Mark Sidebottom.

What really sucked the ‘super’ from this particular GAA Sunday was the all too familiar one sidedness of the Dublin-Meath Leinster football semi-final, while there was little in Kildare’s win over a game Westmeath to suggest that the Lilywhites can end the Dubs’ provincial domination.

At least TV channel-hoppers could switch to Sky Sports, where – once the interminably hyped build-up finally gave way to the actual action – there were two cracking live Premier League games. West Ham and Manchester City played a 2-2 thriller (do Manchester United fans have recurring nightmares about the club’s rash decision to sack David Moyes all those years ago?), while Everton v Brentford was terrific entertainment for neutrals, but absolute anguish for the home supporters. Brentford won 3-2, Everton having two men sent off.

Leeds ended a fairly catastrophic run by scoring an absolutely vital injury-time equaliser against Brighton, the salvaged point injecting some hope into their desperate fight to avoid relegation. This matter of grave importance – the short-term fate of Leeds United – is one of a number of outstanding issues which will be resolved this weekend.

 

Monday

The woman who rang Liveline today is by no means the most desperate example of our homelessness/housing crisis – but her story was still a stark indication of the often silent suffering of people from the proverbial ‘all walks of life’.

Emphasising that she wasn’t making a point about ‘class’, the woman sadly articulated that she went to college, has worked for years, pays her taxes…but still finds herself homeless…at the age of 50.

Brenda was renting a “shoebox apartment” for the past eight years, with peak rent being €1700 a month. When she asked her landlord if they could make some “essential repairs”, the request was declined and the property promptly put on the market. Her subsequent search for comparable alternative accommodation went nowhere.

She is now sharing a room with a stranger in homeless accommodation. She has a nine-hours-a-day job and cycles 11km to and from work. Brenda became emotional when explaining to stand-in presenter Katie Hannon that she has had to try and find a carer for her beloved pet dog.

Despairing but dignified, Brenda – who has a 24-year-old daughter – spoke of a broken system, of being a prisoner of the “rent trap”.

Later, on Claire Byrne Live, they trotted out statistics, rehashed pledges and promises, tossed soundbites at one another – the earnest Senator John Cummins and podcaster Tony Groves that is – the latter coming across as a touch too anxious to impress his online following. Many in the audience, some of whom are deeply mired in the centre of the housing crisis, looked on in understandable apathy at the seeming pointlessness of it all.

What an indictment of successive governments this timeless tragedy is.

Brenda’s pet dog – also homeless – is called Blossom.

 

All week

What an achievement by Castlerea boxer Lisa O’Rourke to win (at a minimum) a silver medal at the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Turkey.

It is absolutely remarkable what Lisa and her sister, Aoife, have achieved through excelling at this ‘noble art’.

Now Lisa fights for gold today (Thursday). The people of Roscommon – and Ireland – will be cheering her on. Win, and in a truly unique family double, she joins her sister as a World Boxing Champion. Lose, and Lisa has still brought enormous honour to her family, native town, county and country, by securing that fantastic silver.