Why Loose Women’s Denise was right to stand up trolls!

Last week, actress and ITV’s Loose Women panellist Denise Welch made headlines when she hit back at those who criticised her for posting ‘unedited photos’ of herself wearing her swimsuit on social media. Fair play to her; she’s perfectly right to put the brakes on those snarky trolls.

I’m not a fan of Denise’s, nor am I a fan of Loose Women for that matter, finding the panel’s over-the-top drivel to be mind-numbingly boring; especially when they act like a pack of needy, attention-seeking toddlers, all shouting over each other, desperate to have their minute in the spotlight!

In fact, as someone who has worked in live TV, (and in programme development), I often wonder what kind of  creative mind came up with this idle chit-chat format, and, even more baffling, who gave them the green light to run with it?

Anyhow, back to Ms Welch, and, by sticking up for women of a certain age, the former Coronation Street actress (64) didn’t hold back, saying she doesn’t care about the negative comments she received, adding she doesn’t use a filter ‘partly because I don’t know how to’.

I’m not in the habit of posting pics of myself wearing a swimsuit, however, if I did, I wouldn’t use a filter either; and not because I have a tight butt, toned legs and great boobs…I haven’t; nor is it because I don’t know how to edit photos…I do. However, while I believe many people would love to have whiter teeth, more symmetrical features and brighter, tighter bits and pieces, (me included), we all know that the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s about time we realised these social media ‘beauty filters’ are nothing more than editing tools using artificial intelligence to alter our features; and, while we’d all like to make ourselves look fresher, it’s my opinion that the further these ‘selfies’ get from how we really look, the worse we’re probably going to feel about ourselves in real life. Why? Because filters are distorting our natural body shape, our self-image and our self-esteem; and that’s worrying.

There’s a major misconception in society that women over a certain age, (and in Denise’s experience over 60), are uninteresting and uninspiring; in short, they’re meh! Not only are they perceived to have passed their ‘best before’ date, but they should be put out to pasture with a spinning wheel and a ball of wool in which to fashion their frumpy-chic cardies, spectacle chains and strings of pearls!

We’ve all been on the receiving end of toxic comments from someone who believes that, once a woman experiences a drop in her oestrogen levels, her best friend is no longer the illuminated flash of the close-up selfie; rather it’s the very forgiving flicker of a candle!

In short, instead of being hailed as experienced role models, women of a certain age are being savaged for daring to bare our cleavage and knee wrinkles, bingo wings and swollen ankles!

Sadly, and disgracefully, when women reach menopause, instead of being hailed and celebrated for living and surviving through life’s highs and lows and learning from them, society tries to rob us of our  cultural currency and our relevance.

However, when I look at Denise Welch defiantly posing in a swimsuit, I see a woman who’s not just in her prime; I also see a woman who’s confident enough to assess her personal body shape and image through her own prism of desirability. In short, she’s flipping that perfectly manicured finger at society – and fair play to her.

Getting older and wiser should never be seen as a negative. Therefore, instead of us all falling victim to that dreadful disease I call filter dysmorphia, perhaps it’s time to latch onto Denise’s example of not only nurturing ourselves, but by going forth and being fabulous whilst doing it!

Why I won’t be voting for Bertie!

The rumour mill is rife with news that Bertie the deal-maker-peace-maker-former-Minister for Finance-who-kept-cash-in-envelopes-because-he-didn’t-have-a-bank-account Ahern is being mooted as Fianna Fáil’s candidate for the big job at the Áras in 2025!

The three-time former Taoiseach, who, to give him his due, did make a substantial contribution in pushing up the sale of brown envelopes, oh sorry, in securing the Good Friday Agreement, has himself hinted he’s considering running for the role, so long as he manages ‘to stay alive that long’.

However, having left the political party following the Mahon Tribunal’s findings regarding his er, financial discrepancies, and the fact he didn’t exactly give a truthful account of himself either, I have to say I find it insulting that he’s being brought back into service.

I do know we’re approaching the 25th anniversary of the historic Good Friday Agreement, of which Bertie was an architect; but couldn’t we just hand him a medal or the Freedom of Dublin or some sort of distinguished service award? Do we have to have him as our president?

I know many of you may believe that Bertie is possibly God’s gift to Ireland (I do hope you kept the receipt), and, in fairness, he’s probably a really nice man.  However, even though he’s from my neck of the woods, (Dublin’s north side), if he runs for office I’m afraid Mr Ahern will not be getting my vote. Why? Because when it comes to politics, I believe it’s about time the citizens of this country got a bit of sense and stopped rewarding what I call smart alec-y, flamboyant-chancery. Besides, my days of being blinded by boyish charm, charisma and cute hoorism are long behind me!

Sincere condolences to the Turkish and Syrian communities living locally

It has been nearly two weeks since the deadly earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria, and, as I write, the scale of destruction is being laid bare in hourly news bulletins, with reports that in excess of 35,000 souls have tragically lost their lives.

With sadness and sincere sympathy, I’d like to offer my condolences to all those Turkish and Syrian families living here among us in County Roscommon who have connections in these two countries and who have suffered devastating losses as a result of these earthquakes.

I cannot imagine the pain and the heartache you’re all going through at this extremely sad and difficult time. I do know that the good, decent and compassionate people of this county will not just rally around, they’ll also wrap their arms around you, and do all that they humanely can to help you through this extremely painful time. May the souls of the deceased rest in peace.