Paul Healy’s Week

Wednesday/Thursday

I have no wish to kick a man when he’s down (or up), but Robert Troy’s resignation statement was arrogant and ill-judged. Of course he had to go, a reality that reflects poorly on the judgement of both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste. As for that resignation statement, it wasn’t quite Borisesque – but it wasn’t far off it.

Troy explained that he was resigning as Minister of State due to the number of errors he had made (relating to the failure to properly declare his property interests). Now if he’d left it at that, fine. He could have apologised, while throwing in the standard thank yous to people who have stood by him, referenced his record, etc. But Robert couldn’t leave it at that. After telling us that his biggest offence was lack of due diligence (that’s not really his call), Robert went into barely subtle self-pity/lashing out mode.

Landlords, he argued, are being vilified. He won’t apologise for being a landlord (I’m not aware that anyone asked him to). He bought his first house when he was 20 (why is he telling us this?). He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has worked for all he has (to which one might say “snap”). Finally, there’s a dig at the media (and we are not above criticism) with Troy claiming – without evidence – that factually inaccurate headlines and misleading articles have been published.

Oh just literally get your house(s) in order, Robert.

 

Friday

As I’m walking into the church grounds, a suspected tourist emerges from the Sacred Heart Church, returns cheerily to his suspected partner (who is photographing the grotto) and remarks: “It’s even nicer inside!”

 

Saturday

It may have been a 6.50 am start for us in Roscommon, but we had a very enjoyable day at the Aldi Community Games Arts and Cultural National Finals, held in the magnificent grounds of St. Patrick’s College in Carlow.

We were there because our son, Matthew, was taking part in the U-13 Chess event as a member of the Roscommon-Kilteevan team. They were unlucky to miss out on a place in the final, drawing 2.5 apiece with Dublin, who advanced due to rules which still slightly confuse me (while being perfectly fair).

Our lads defeated Cavan in the subsequent play-off, thus finishing third to take bronze.

A number of children from County Roscommon were in Carlow taking part in team and individual events, and while many of those involved won gold, silver or bronze, credit goes to everyone who made it this far, all of whom did our county proud.

As for the event itself, it was superbly well organised, with lots of child-friendly outdoor activities, and a lovely atmosphere (in fabulous weather) created by a variety of entertainers, including musicians, stilt walkers, clowns, face-painters, etc. The friendly volunteers played their part.

During a break, we left the college grounds and had a sunny stroll around Carlow. Spotting ‘Paddy The Turk’ barber shop, I wondered about getting a quick haircut, but the place was too busy. A twist then one street on, when I spotted an even bigger ‘Paddy The Turk’ premises. This one was also buzzing, but with the advantage of having six friendly barbers on the job. Myself and Matthew filled in a bit of time by availing of two speedy haircuts. I’m sure the other Paddy the Turk will understand.

 

Sunday

Other golfers win big tournaments, and some of them produce sizzling rounds in the process, but nobody does it quite like Rory McIllroy.

McIllroy’s brilliance and charisma are the main reasons he’s box office, but he’s also compelling to watch because you are never quite sure what might happen.

Judged by ridiculously high standards (the price he pays for his immense talent), Rory can sometimes ‘implode’ – or at the very least disappoint. But he is the only player in the world now about whom the commentators could credibly say ‘he might just turn that six-shot deficit around’.

Tonight, an absorbing PGA Tour Championship tournament climaxed with McIllroy doing just that (overturning a six-shot lead) against world number one Scottie Scheffler, who finished joint runner-up with Im Sung-jae. McIllroy was inspired. It was great TV entertainment.

With a mind-boggling cheque for $18m in his back pocket, and his status as poster boy for the PGA Tour’s power struggle with Liv Golf well established, McIllroy is currently the most compelling figure in world golf.

 

Monday

Yet again I must take the ‘TV people’ to task. Tonight, as I was channel-hopping – blissfully unaware of what was to come – it happened. At 10 pm, Virgin Media went straight to The Tonight Show, signalling the return of current affairs programming after the silly season. There was no prior warning to viewers, let alone a parental guide for any poor children who might still be up.

For fear I might hear the word ‘Budget’ – or worse still see a panel discussion on Troygate – I switched to a recording of a reality show in which former England cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff takes a group of so-called underprivileged boys and tries to mould them into a cricket team.

This three-part series (‘Freddie Flintoff’s Field of Dreams’) has been enjoyable, with the likeable Flintoff and his “working class” kids bonding well as they set out to challenge the stereotypical image of cricket as an elitist sport.

Yes, it’s true…just now, I’m watching cricket-related reality TV instead of current affairs programmes. I expect that will change as September does its thing and coldly ushers lingering thoughts of summer into the shadows in our memory banks.

 

Tuesday

Of course I forgive David Dimbleby for turning into a grumpy semi-curmudgeon in the latter stages of his long tenure in the BBC Question Time hot seat; I’m arguably working on a similar project myself. He is, after all, a legendary broadcaster – and probably deserving of ‘national treasure’ status in the UK.

Tonight on BBC Two, I came across the 83-year-old’s latest venture. Days That Shook the BBC with David Dimbleby is a three-part series, which will reflect on some of the key moments in the history of the BBC over its centenary.

Episode one concentrated on Margaret Thatcher’s testiness over any attempt by the BBC to cover the ‘Republican side’ during the Troubles, the calamitous (for him) Prince Andrew interview on Newsnight, and Martin Bashir’s now discredited Panorama interview with Princess Diana. Well worth watching, the series continues next Tuesday.

 

Wednesday

A walk down to Loughnaneane Park reveals that a large number of people are out and about enjoying this week’s very pleasant weather…complete with a lot of pet dogs.

The park is looking fabulous. If you haven’t been there in a while, you need to see it for yourself; new trails have been developed and there’s excellent signage and some lovely new features.

There was no sign of any dog fouling at the park, but oddly enough on my return to the office there was quite an exhibition of it on the pavement outside the County Council HQ, which is a bit like a serial killer in a TV show taunting officers outside their police station (though obviously not as serious).

 

All week

Around the county the children have returned to school, while many more have experienced their very first day at school. Best wishes to all the pupils – and to their parents, guardians and teachers.