Imagine - stupid men discussing abortion!

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Fr. Michael Canny and myself were told by ‘Claire’ on Shaun Doherty’s Highland Radio show on Friday that not only were we two men discussing abortion but we were stupid too. She actually called us stupid live on air.

While I don’t want to be unfair to ‘Claire’ I have long held the view that some of the pro-life lobby is so stidently self righteous you would nearly vote against them just to ensure they don’t get to ram their views down your throat.

Just about every thinking person I have met over the years is against abortion but most rational humans accept it’s a complex, highly divisive issue and attempts to impose a ‘one solution fits all cases’ option is for the birds.

For example, am I supposed to condemn a woman who gets pregnant through rape and decides on a termination?

What too of the woman who is told her child has no hope of surviving. Is she to be asked to carry a child for 9 months only to watch it die? And do I have some right to interfer in what is a very painful, personal decision for that person.

I’m not God. Neither is ‘Claire’ though she seems to think He is exclusively in her corner.

The voice of the people

As regular readers of this column know I frequently go walking and,occasionally, you meet up with someone with something interesting to say. I met one such person last Wedneday night.

‘Daniel’ - let’s call him that - is a former member of the security forces and a person I know to be deeply involved in community and church activities. When people like this start telling you how much they hate this government you know the opinion polls can says what they like but the reality on the ground says different.

By any stretch of political opinion ‘Daniel’ is as middle Ireland as they come but he regards the introduction of the Revenue into the mainstream of economic life here as a massive attack on our democratic freedoms. He regards what’s happening now as fascism.

This man will never, I think, vote Sinn Fein but he told me that come the next election he is open to vote for any party that brings Ireland back to an accountable democracy.

The kindness of children

My son Shane and his wife, Vickki, had their third child, Isla, recently. A beautiful bouncing baby she is too. Congrats to them.

Anyway, last Saturday there was a memorial Mass in Letterkenny for my late mum and my aunt and following it we all retired to my sister Margaret’s house for a quick family get together over a cup of tea. There must have been about 30 of us there between in-laws and out-laws. And it was great.

As I was leaving I was giving Isla a goodbye kiss and my grandson, Patrick, a big boy of three, says ‘granda give Cora (his big sister) and daddy a kiss too.’ So I did, and then he says: ‘Granda, I’ll now give you a kiss...’

You had to be there to appreciate how kindly that gesture was meant.....

War on liberty, not terror

I find myself frequently agreeing with right wing Nigel Farrage, leader of the UK Independence Party in Britain.

On BBC’s Question Time last Thursday night he said it was his view that the Americans had gone much more over the top on their war on liberty and freedom than on the war on terrorism.

With their Prism spy system, their Patriot Laws, their open ended budget for Homeland Security, their recruitment of every nut job to spy not only on their own citizens but those right across the globe and you start to think our Nige might have a point.

Good quesions

Vincent Brown asked the following questions on his show last week:

1.Why has no newspaper or broadcaster (read RTE here) in this country not done a major expose of the breach of promise by the government in terms of burden sharing between the rich and poor?

2 Why is there no debate in regard to the stealth of the EU in continuing to erode the sovereignty of the Irish people and our government’s acquiescence in that erosion?

3.Why has the government’s failure not to make a formal complaint to the American government about breaching the privacy of just about every Irish citizen by its covert use of the secret intelligence system, Prism, to snoop into our emails and text messages not been front page news?

4.Why is no one asking major questions about whether Ireland is being used as little more than a tax haven to money launder for the big corporations?

More politics ‘Down Under’

While I’m a firm believer in the freedom of the press I’m still not joining any bandwagon to get Australian journalist, Howard Sattler his job back.

Sattler had his contract with Perth station, Radio 6PR terminated last week after a truly offensive, cringe worthy interview with Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gilliard, where he suggested to her that her husband was gay. The basis for this observation was that he’s a hairdresser so, by definition, must be gay.

What an idiot..

And finally..

Everyone listening to the professionalism of Highland Radio today takes the success of the station for granted.

What most don’t recall was the ropey start where there were some serious howlers - presenters who arrived late, jingles that didn’t play, interviews that were, on occasions, not only legally dodgy but sometimes downright baffling. It could have gone either way.

The man who made the difference was Charlie Collins.

A sensible, down to earth pragmatist with few airs or graces Charlie had a simple strategy when he took over as the station’s chief - play to audience that is out there, not the audience you want to be out there. If that means a two hour country ‘n Irish music programme so be it.

Highland has been Ireland’s number one local radio for so long I can’t even remember when it was second.

So good lucky to Charlie in the months and years ahead now that he has resigned from Highland to follow a new path