Pat’s Patch

Hit those who can’t fight back

The muted reaction in the Republic to last week’s budget goes a long way to supporting the hypothesis that the government got it right - hit the powerless, the marginalised and the vulnerable and the political fall out will be minimal.

Young people on the dole are expected to live on 100 euro a week - should the government not just cut to the chase and issue them air tickets to Canada and Australia? - while old age pensioners are to get their savings hit, their telephone allowance cut and could lose their medical cards.

And in one of the sickest things I have heard in years RTE’s ‘Prime Time’ told of a man with motor neurone disease had his medical card revoked. How can that possibly justified under any circumstances?

In the meantime all the bankers on massive wages - the people at the forefront in destroying the economy - have not had a penny pay cut while our public representatives remain amongst the best paid in the world.

No wonder there is such contempt for politics and politicians

Finding Maddie

I watched the BBC’s ‘Crimewatch’ special on Madeleine McCann on Monday night last and I have to admit to being somewhat underwhelmed by its so called big ‘breakthrough’.

Basically, the massive new ‘finding’ is that detectives think they were working on the wrong timeline in regard to the actual crime but seven years on that hardly makes much of difference; does anyone remember the events of a particular day seven years ago never mind a particular half hour?

And just when I thought there is no hope the discovery of the blonde haired child in a Roma gypsy camp in Greece suggests there is still a possibility of a Hollywood ending to the McCann story.

Break throughs in cases like this are often down to some random human instinct - like the police man in Greece last week looking at a pale blonde child with dark skinned parents and thinking ‘that’s odd’?

The Roma ‘mother’, by the way, last year registered something like six child in nine months in different parts of Greece.

There should be scientists looking to talk to her as well as the police.....

Is Dunphy for real?

I wonder has there been ‘some previous’ between interim Irish soccer manager, Noel King, and RTE pundit Eamonn Dunphy because last week’s pretty nasty criticism of King bordered on the personal. Claims that the former Derry City manager was ‘out of his depth’ was just one of many pretty cheap shots.

King, who has one of the top coaching qualifications in soccer, won one and lost one, and the one he lost was against probably the best team in the world right now, Germany.

Does Dunphy think even for one second Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho would have achieved better results had they been in charge.

And while talking about international management I bet England boss Roy Hodgson won’t crack any more monkey jokes. The fact that it was totally innocent, non racist means nothing, not when you have people from the tabloid media looking to spin even the most innocuous remarks into controversy.

A lesson for us all

I’m reading a book, ‘The Last Lecture’, by Randy Pausch, at the moment.

In American universities it is a custom to ask a professor who is leaving to give ‘the last lecture’ for students, but this one is different. Pausch is only in his mid 40’s but he too is leaving - he’s got terminal cancer.

A man of amazing courage with a great sense of humour he has the students laughing and crying at the one time.

One example of this is when tells of the day he was told the cancer had returned and this time there was no hope and when his wife burst into tears he started looked around for a box of tissues because he thought, like in all the films, there should be tissues for a scene like this.

His lecture was not about dying but an exhortation to the students to achieve their dreams and ambitions, of seizing every moment. It is about really living.

Suppose there’s a message there for all of us....

A suitable analogy?

Received this from a friend and seeing the week that was in it I thought I would share it with you:

On a recent trip to the United States , Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan addressed a gathering of Native American Indians.

They spoke in turns for almost two hours on their success in reversing the fortunes of Ireland by the use of good fiscal methods and how they have maintained lines of communication with their colleague in Government in Northern Ireland likening it to the way that the U.S. Government found a suitable agreement with the North American tribes.

At the conclusion of their speech, the crowd presented each of them with a plaque inscribed with an Indian name - Walking Eagle for Kenny and Walking Condor for Noonan.

A very pleased Kenny and Noonan then departed in their motorcade, waving to the crowds.

A news reporter later asked one of the Indians how they came to select these Indian names.

They explained that any Indian name referring to a Walking Bird is the name given when a bird so full of sh... it can no longer fly.

Hang our heads in shame

A friend in Australia perhaps summed it up best when she said on ‘Facebook’ that the ‘Irish government should hang its head in shame’ in regard to its treatment of those suffering from cancer in Donegal.

She was commenting on an article ‘The Toughest Journey’ which appeared in the Irish Times which is an account by journalist, Eoin Butler, of a day spent traveling on the Good&New Bus taking cancer sufferers from Letterkenny to Galway for treatment. Butler’s very matter of fact style gives immense power to a story of why people already under enough stress from their illness should not be treated like this.

Just for the record, below a line from Galway in the west to Dublin in the east there are eight high level cancer treatment centres - four of them in Dublin - but above that line there is....NONE

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It really was a great day

Ireland’s star rugby player, Brian O’Driscoll told on Friday night’s Late Late Show of the day Ireland played England for the first time at Croke Park and how big a deal it was for many in the Irish team.

I was in London, just outside Twickenham, that day for the christening of my grandson and I don’t think I have had a better day in regard to a sporting event anywhere, anytime.

In the home of Gaelic games it was anticipated by some of my English friends there might be some seriously adverse reaction to the playing of the British national anthem but there wasn’t a single boo, not one sound of disrespect. That was a brilliant start. And then our boys totally destroyed the highly fancied English. By the time the game finished I was about nine foot tall.

Believe me, there is no better feeling than sitting surrounded by English rugby fanatics - lovely people, it has to be said - who before the game were total confident their lads would come out on top, and then your country absolutely destroys them.

It was one great day

Isn’t time cruel?

Saw Harrison Ford on the Graham Norton Show the other night.Straight up he’s now the spitting image of my wife’s uncle Dan. The white hair, the slow walk.

The sex symbol days are definitely gone....

And finally

Over the years you think you have heard all the unfortunate names in public life there can possibly be but I nearly fell of my seat the other day when I saw the name of an Indian politician.

I kid you not - Sheila Dikshit.