Why Enda must maximise Ireland’s negotiating hand following Brexit

It has always annoyed me that the UK has continuously tried to lay claim to some of Ireland’s finest talents. For example, the late great Irishman Terry Wogan was tagged as their ‘national treasure,’ the late Richard Harris, an Irish actor, was billed as one of their ‘most legendary actors,’ and don’t get me started on how Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan and Michael Fassbender were named as ‘British’ stars at the London Film Awards!

  I mean, how geographically stunted are our neighbours? Well, quite a lot, given The Guardian’s jigsaw map reaction to their triggering of Article 50 where the Brits not only divorced the EU, they kidnapped four of our counties…Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan and parts of our own Roscommon! C’mon lads, how much more of our country do ya want? Hands off, and while you’re at it, give us back the other six!

  Okay look, you’ve fired the first shot Britain and while none of us know how this divorce will pan out or how the spoils will be divided, I would like to wish you the very best of luck. I sincerely hope you prosper and thrive but I’m not happy with you trying to get custody of some of our counties and I‘m wondering if we’ll now have to send Enda in to negotiate their safe return. Seriously, even though the idea was innovative, I think perhaps The Guardian’s page layout person needs to upskill?

  On a more crucial note, if I were Britain, I’d be assuming the brace position and putting my head between my knees and kissing my a**e goodbye. But I’m a worrier (and a realist), and while last week’s signing marked for me (and I’d say most of Ireland) what was a sad day as Theresa May’s triggering of Article 50 sent shockwaves across the globe with this landmark moment being recorded on every media outlet, I can’t help but think that Britannia, God love you, will not so much rule the waves as ruinously submerge beneath them and I for one am scared you’ll drag us down with you. 

  At this moment, what we really need, and what I’d like to hear, is that our Government can assure us that they have a clear view regarding what we need to keep our heads above water! So stop waffling, we’ve now reached the end game; unmask that poker face Enda and tell us…what’s da story bud?

  I mean, the irony is not lost on me that Britain banged down the door of the EU back in the 60s when it was known as the EEC and they wouldn’t entertain them, saying “Mais non, sling yer hook matey.” And, because of their access being denied, we couldn’t get in either. Yet now, as we reach this pivotal moment in our history, one our great grandchildren will learn about in school as possibly being the most defining juncture that changed our story, what we need to focus on is…what about us?

  We’re on a knife-edge, and the harder Brexit is made for the Brits, (and Angela Merkel with her dour ‘er, hello, can I see the manager’, haircut has signalled she ain’t gonna play nice), then the harder the land border will be for us, leading to far-reaching anxiety and concern around the fragility of the peace process. I just hope the EU understands fully our unique situation and position because it is a complex one folks; hinged not just on the border/peace process, but also on the Agri Food sector which is crucial to Ireland – and if our Government gets it wrong regarding negotiations, we will all suffer financially. 

  So, g’wan Enda, put your cards on the table and spell it out for dat Angela one; be clear, be concise man, tell her we deserve, nay that we demand special recognition regarding the Good Friday Agreement, and that we must (and we will) maintain access and trade with our UK markets in order to have a positive outcome for Ireland.

  Look, there’s bound to be friction, sure you’d expect it, but lay it out for them Enda – I mean if Merkel can play hardball, then so can we. To quote that great ancient Greek comedy writer Aristophanes…yep, I love my Ancient Greek Lit: ‘A man should be able to stand up under any disaster for his country’s good,’ so, while we’re expecting the worst, we’re also hoping for the best; and wouldn’t it be amazing if Enda could make this deal his final and most fabulous encore!

D’Arcy dropped down the line is best thing about Mrs Brown

I’m a big fan of Mrs Brown’s Boys but while Brendan O’Carroll has been granted a huge honour by the Beeb – who’ve given him and his alter ego a new chat show, All Round to Mrs Brown’s – I have to say that so far the first two episodes have fallen flat.

  Now I love Ireland’s favourite feckin’ Mammy and her volley of ‘F’ bombs, and it’s clear Mrs Brown has managed to net herself a big budget to attract the big names…the first show featured a shell-shocked Pamela Anderson with the second featuring Lulu and Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, complete with the latters’ mammies.

  Now while Pat Schofield proved she’s a game bird and was all about the fun, I’m afraid poor aul Lynne Willoughby clearly hadn’t been briefed on what to expect, or perhaps she’s just not up for d’craic, but the poor thing looked more like an uncomfortable sideshow attraction at a fairground rather than an actual contributor.

  There’s also what appears to be a recurring cooking segment featuring celebrity chef Aly Mahmoud whose offerings Ma Brown force-feeds to the guests and audience members, and of course the random bizarre Mammy of the Week slot which seems pointless, all serving to convince this Irish mammy that it’s not going to be a runner…well, not in our house anyway.    

  Look, while I will probably watch it next week just to be sure I’m not missing anything, and while I think O’Carroll is a lovely man and a talented comedian who deserves his good fortune, the show’s one redeeming quality for me so far has been the fact it’s knocked the drivel that is The Ray D’Arcy Show off its primetime pedestal as RTÉ are broadcasting it simultaneously with the BBC.

  However, so far All Round to Mrs Brown’s looks like a show being produced by trainees on a FAS course!


As an Ireland AM presenter/weatherman, Alan Hughes is a familiar face on TV. While I’ve no doubt he’s carved out a nice niche for himself at TV3, his mini-rant in the Irish Indo in response to Amanda Byram proposing to make ‘a rival breakfast show on Irish TV’ shrieking, “Amanda doing a breakfast show in Ireland isn’t going to happen, not while I’m on TV I don’t think, just because we are such a dominating force at the morning time,” came across as utterly childish. If I were Amanda my response to Mr. Hughes would be, er…MIAOW!