People Watching – January 25th





3 Things we didn’t like this week…


Hard border fears

Brexit: Is this the beginning of a climbdown by the EU on the Irish border issue? First, we had the Polish Finance Minister suggesting that the backstop should have a time limit of five or ten years. A day later, a European Commission spokesman said Ireland would see a new hard border if the UK crashed out of the EU without a deal. Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney responded by saying: “The Irish government will not support the re-emergence of border infrastructure. We’re not planning for it. But certainly, if we don’t have a withdrawal agreement, it becomes very, very difficult to prevent that, and we need to work closely with the European Commission and the British government who have an obligation of course to relationships on this island”.  

  But at this week moves on (and events are unfolding hour by hour at this stage) there is a real sense that Ireland is coming under pressure to soften its position on the border, in order to help avoid a no deal crash out by the UK. We’re being warned that if the UK leaves without a deal in March, a hard border on this island is inevitable. So, what can we do to avoid it? For their part, a rattled Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney are still trying to portray that the next move is London’s, while at the same time hoping that the ‘EU 27’ – well, the other 26 – are not preparing to abandon Dublin.

  Serious poker playing now, or as Mick McCarthy might say, ‘squeaky bum time’…


A blow for patients?

The prospect of thousands of hospital appointments being cancelled in the event of a nurses’ strike going ahead is a gloomy one for the public.


Scourge of scammers

Reports of ongoing attempts by ‘scam artists’ to con people through various means (Internet, by phone, etc.) are worrying. See Frank Brandon’s column this week.


3 Things we liked this week…

Triumph in Tuam

Roscommon senior footballers had an excellent and largely unexpected victory over Galway in Sunday’s FBD Final, played in Tuam. In quite demanding conditions, a superb defensive performance was the foundation on which Roscommon built this win against the Tribesman. However there was plenty of positive play further up the field too and Roscommon were deserving and impressive winners on a 0-13 to 1-5 scoreline.


On the right road…

News that An Bord Pleanála has given the go-ahead for development work on the N5 between Ballaghaderreen and Scramogue is to be warmly welcomed.

  The works will see the proposed development link with the Ballaghaderreen bypass before joining up with the existing N5 at Scramogue, near Strokestown.

  Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Cllr. Ivan Connaughton said that the announcement was a major milestone – and we agree! 


Young at heart (of Oscars)

Congratulations to Boyle native Paul Young, who is on the Oscar trail again. On Tuesday, Paul’s studio Cartoon Saloon was again nominated for an Academy award. That’s the fourth such nomination. We wish Paul and all at Cartoon Saloon the very best of luck at the Oscars when they take place in Los Angeles next month.


Quote of the week


“I slept okay last night but I woke up a couple of times with all sorts going through my head. I could visualise this little one (his daughter) running around on a par three in the middle of the night. That’s how mental this game is…
oh God, I am so happy”


– Offaly’s Shane Lowry speaking to reporters after winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at the weekend. It was
his first tournament win in over three years and catapults the popular Irish man back up to number 41 in the world.


Good week

It was a good week for Curraghboy man Ger Cummins, who won a handsome €65,000 on the RTE show ‘Winning Streak’. Nice one, Ger!


Bad week


It was a bad week for the community in Northern Ireland and all supporters of the peace process/normal society, following worrying incidents in Derry. Police believe that republican dissidents were responsible for the car bomb in Derry on Saturday evening and for further subsequent security alerts.


Our person of the week


Our person of the week is Castlerea native Susan Carty who earlier this week was named overall winner of the inaugural Irish Women’s Awards. Susan took the title of ‘Woman of the Year’ at an event held to showcase the contribution of women to various industries and professions such as law, medicine, technology, arts, sports and education. Originally from Trien, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, Susan was awarded the title in recognition of her contribution to women’s rugby on a national and international basis over several years. Susan (‘Su’) is a former World Rugby Women’s Development Manager.