The Budget, Brendan and Ballintubber!



Paschal spares us!


I missed most of the Budget coverage on Tuesday due to a long day at work, but I did catch a few minutes of Paschal Donohoe being interviewed by ‘Matt and Ivan’.

  And I actually heard the Finance Minister counter the charge that he had failed to make even minimal tax cuts by saying…wait for it…that he didn’t want to put more money into people’s pockets and then (if we have had a no deal Brexit) have to take it back off them in a few months’ time.

  So, Paschal was sparing the hard-pressed taxpayers. We might call it the ‘I won’t be giving you an engagement or wedding ring darling, in case we get divorced in future’ policy!


Moving tribute to Brendan


Episode two of the three-part documentary series featuring the late Brendan Grace aired this week.

  ‘Thanks for the Memories’ was originally intended to follow the famous entertainer’s plans to stage a variety show for dementia sufferers with the Forget-Me-Nots community choir. When Brendan sadly passed away this summer, the programme evolved into an emotionally-charged documentary on his battle with illness.

  Monday night’s episode was extremely moving. Brendan Grace’s immense courage and great humanity shone through. While deeply sad, it is an excellent documentary, a very emotional and fitting tribute to a great man.

Deer – and Bird

On Monday morning, Morning Ireland reported on an appeal to the public not to take selfies with deer in places such as the Phoenix Park.

 The warning to “leave wildlife alone” came as the  ‘rutting’ or mating season begins. Taking selfies with deer could be dangerous, we were told by the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

  I’m sure I wasn’t the only listener (easily) amused by the fact the their spokesperson is a Ms. Gillian Bird.


It was worth it…

I understand why the Government, Met Éireann and the media are all being accused of over-hyping Storm Lorenzo, which, let’s face it, was a bit of an…er, damp…squib. Thankfully.

  It certainly was over the top, all those solemn updates from the HQ of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, where our grim-faced masters continuously warned us to ‘stay back, stay high and stay dry’. 

  Still, it was all worth it. After all, it meant we knew where ‘Boxer’ Moran and Eoghan Murphy were at all times, and it kept them out of mischief for a few days…


Yellow card for rugby pundits!


Ah, those rugby pundits…

  A week or two before the World Cup, Neil Francis intimates that Ireland are peaking at just the right time. After a couple of unconvincing performances, Know-All-Neil has the barbs at the ready.

  Eamonn Sweeney spent much of 2018 lauding Joe Schmidt and Ireland as the greatest thing since fried bread; now he has them down as toast.

  Sometimes I wonder how those of us who work in the media get away with it. So many pundits who unashamedly puff their chests out and co-exist in two parallel universes…enjoying the best of both worlds.

  It was Liam Cosgrave Senior who graciously said of Charles Haughey: “He did more than his critics ever did”.


Hey…it was OUR Ballintubber!


It’s bad enough losing out to Mayo when they actually beat us in sporting combat, but it’s such a shame to lose out unnecessarily…

  Irish Independent TV critic John Boland, reviewing ‘Raised by the Village’ last Saturday (he wasn’t particularly impressed by the programme) wrote that the so-called ‘troubled teens’ from Dublin had been briefly re-located to Ballintubber, Co. Mayo.

  It was of course Ballintubber, Co. Roscommon that featured on the programme recently.

  In contrast to Boland, Brenda Power in the Sunday Times was very impressed by the programme, reporting that the two teenagers were transformed due to their visit to “rural Co. Roscommon”.

  And I caught a couple of minutes of Gogglebox Ireland, in which the ordinary-people-sitting-on-their-sofas raved about how well the two supposedly troublesome teens had fared when they spent a week in Ballintubber (Co. Roscommon!).


Free advice for ‘Week in Politics’


RTE’s ‘The Week in Politics’ needs another makeover. Presenter Áine Lawlor does a good job – but the format is jaded.

  Long, circular sofa with (usually) four politicians as guests. In their best suits, except for the cool Lefties who probably think they’re making a game-changing statement with their casual attire. All four wait in turn to have their say. Naturally, they articulate their perspective, stick to their line; spin and hope to win. Blandness rules. There will be no meeting of minds. We learn little or nothing. What’s the solution? Maybe there’s no solution, but it’s not working at present. Current affairs shows in the UK and America seem to have more vigour and energy.

  The Week in Politics needs a shake-up…less guests, maybe even a small studio audience, a review of the Sunday papers, maybe an outspoken commentator/columnist or two…most urgently of all, some real, meaningful, lively and edge debate.


Mysterious blaze


I spotted the following headline on the RTE website last week:

  ‘We all need Neighbours like this! Jason Donovan tackles blaze in his underpants’. There was a video, with footage of the Australian singer/actor responding heroically.

  I looked at the headline a second time. ‘Jason Donovan tackles blaze in his underpants’.

  And naturally, I immediately wondered…how on earth did a blaze start in Jason Donovan’s underpants?

  Yes, I was reminded of the old Groucho Marx joke (which obviously inspired me to make the above flippant observation).

  Groucho: ‘One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got in my pyjamas, I don’t know’.

  Thank you, Groucho. (And if any younger readers/readers don’t know about the Marx Brothers, please correct that position). We need a little more silliness in this world…


The late Christy Keane

We lost another good man out our way this week. Just a week after the passing of Fonsie Nolan (RIP), another great neighbour has gone to his eternal reward.

  Christy Keane, of Ballymurray, Roscommon, was the most unassuming of men. Quiet, dignified and soft-spoken, Christy lived life without fuss and was devoted to his wife Marie and children. He had a great sense of humour and always seemed to be cheerful, in fact often mischevious.

  Widely known in farming circles, Christy loved the soil, and nature. He was also a keen race-goer for many years. Of course, many hundreds of people knew Christy through his 35 years’ as the familiar and friendly man behind the wheel of the school bus. Poignantly, he had just recently retired from that role.

  Christy faced his illness with customary serenity and courage. He passed away last Friday and was laid to rest in St. Coman’s Cemetery following Funeral Mass in Kilteevan. A thorough gentleman who had a great way with him, he will be greatly missed and very fondly remembered. May he rest in peace.