From the papers

Death of Paddy Moloney


He was one of the founders and longest-lasting members of the Irish traditional music group The Chieftains. In a tribute, President Higgins said that ‘he had brought a love of Irish music not just to the diaspora, but to all those across the world who heard his music.’ He was aged 83.

The Dáil

Lots of interest in Budget 2022 of course, but we were particularly struck by the offer of free contraceptives to women aged 17-25. The Minister for Health said he was open to extending the offer to those under 17, which happens to be the current age of consent in Ireland.

Meanwhile, we learn from Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae that ‘God above is in charge of the weather and we here can’t do anything about it.’ Take that, Glasgow!

Last of a great family

Máire Mhac an tSaoi, poet, lawyer, diplomat, scholar, died at the end of October at the age of 99. ‘I am the same age as the state, / And neither turned out as you wished’ she wrote in a poem to her father Sean McEntee – you will find it at She married Conor Cruise O’Brien in 1962 and her mother was Margaret Browne from Tipperary. See Mhac an tSaoi’s poetry was on the Leaving Cert Irish course for many years.

Brendan Kennelly (1936-2021)

Poet, academic, scholar, he came from Ballylongford in North Kerry. He won a scholarship to Trinity and was associated with that institution all his life. ‘Skeletoned in darkness, my dark fathers lay / Unknown and could not understand / The giant grief that trampled night and day / The awful absence moping through the land.‘ A member of a well-know football family, a local once complimented him, ‘For a poet, you huv a foine kick.’