From the Papers

Brexit Again

In a letter to The Spectator, the Irish Ambassador to the UK, Adrian O’Neill, took that magazine to task for what he called its ‘snide and hostile’ articles about Ireland. The Spectator is known as a right-leaning publication and especially for its anti-Europe stance; among its former editors were Boris Johnson and former chancellor of the exchequer Nigel Lawson. Z2lEj2oa_400x400.jpg

Last year, Ireland joined the International Organisation of the Francophonie as an observer member. The Spectator referred to that action in a recent article,

Only a cynic would suggest that this is a calculated two fingers to Brexit Britain. Only the mean-spirited would suggest that little Leo will do anything to suck up to the top gang in the EU playground. He is going to need to, of course, if he wants to hang on to his nation’s cosy corporate tax deals once the Brits are no longer around to help fight Ireland’s corner against big EU tax reforms.

Ambassador O’Neill described this as an ‘egregious example’ of the magazine’s attitude to Ireland. And we agree.Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 1.36.05 pm.png

In response, the editor of the magazine said that in fact it loved Ireland.

The Spectator loves Ireland – but critiquing the Varadkar government is hardly the same as criticism of Ireland. If the UK ambassador wrote to The Irish Times every time Fintan O’Toole went for Theresa May’s government, the postage bill would be considerable.”

Not the same thing, sir.

And Yet Again.

The Independent reporting on a Women in Media conference in Ballybunion, quoted


former Prime Minister Bertie Ahern telling that he had attended several Brexit meetings in Westminster. He described Jacob Rees Mogg as ‘a lovely fella when he’s asleep.’

‘…  he admitted to me he had no idea of what the border was. I think a lot of British politicians thought the border was something up around Dundalk or Newry, and that there was a gate on it.

I mean the idea that it was 460 kilometres across the island and that you could criss cross it to farms and houses, they just didn’t know it.

And regards to the fact that lot of these guys went to Oxford, Cambridge and Eton, they’re not very bright. This is the problem.’

Bertie, you rascal!


Roddy Doyle

Charlie Savage is the Dubliner created by Roddy Doyle for his weekly piece in The Irish Independent. He is a bit rough around the edges, but is a good, caring husband, father and grandfather.roddy-394246.jpg

There’s a woman on the radio. She’s going on about sexual harassment, and she says something about ‘unwanted attention’ from men.

I come from a line of men who shout at the radio, and I shout now.

– Some of those wagons should be delighted with the unwanted attention.

The daughter is in the kitchen. And she looks at me. And she looks at me. And she looks at me.

I speak first.

– I’m wrong, I say

She nods.

I know I’m wrong. I know it. I feel it.

– Sorry

She shrugs, and walks out.

The wife is looking at me. She’s grinning.

– What?

– Nothing.


Pat Spillane

This was when I cheered his every move, all those magic points from outside 40 or 50 metres. He still holds the record for the number of All Star awards in Gaelic football.inpho_00032174.jpg

From there, and eight All Ireland titles, Pat Spillane went on to work as an RTE sports pundit, strong Kerry accent no bar to equally strong, sometimes outrageous opinions – he described the Donegal and by extension, the Ulster style as Shi’ite football, for example. He had trained as a PE teacher, and worked in the Irish second level system, including a period as principal of a school in Bantry, Co Cork.

Now we learn that he was for some time employed as Ambassador for Rural Ireland, a post which was not renewed when his contract ended at the end of 2018. Interviewed onPL38297081Gaelic Writers A.jpg the Late Late Show in April, he was highly critical of the government minister who had not renewed his contract, suggesting that he, Pat, was responsible for the creation of a Ministry of Rural Affairs in the first place. Minister Michael Ring was not pleased. ‘Clearly, he has a high regard for himself,’ he said.



Mark O’Connor

We featured young Geelong footballer Mark O’Connor in our September 2017 issue. Since then, he has had trouble with injuries, but now seems to have found a permanent spot in the high-flying Geelong team. Asked about his performance in the April 28 game against Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 6.50.40 am.pngpremiers West Coast Eagles, coach Brad Scott said, “Yeah, he’s really improving … he does one or two things every week that take us by surprise … and it shouldn’t really because we picked him early on in the year on the basis that he was clearly in our best team … so we really had confidence in him but he’s really out-performed especially over the last couple of weeks. I guess the part we are thinking about Mark now is how he can continue that progression and it might just be that he will be a permanent defender long term.”

Well done, young man.

We would love to hear about the progress of other Irish players in the various AFL teams. Send to