herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Michael O'Doherty: Cyclists are the real menace in city centre

WALKING along Baggot Street on Tuesday, a young woman started to cross the road in front of me. She only looked left, as it's a one-way street, and saw nothing coming. A few paces out, she got whacked by a cyclist, coming the wrong way up the street.

She was sent flying across the road by the force of the impact, just as a car turned a corner and drove towards her. Luckily, the driver jammed on the brakes and stopped just before hitting her.

Totally dazed, the pedestrian fled, too disorientated to come back.

The cyclist, meanwhile, after briefly apologising to onlookers, got back on his bike, and continued his cycle up Baggot Street. The wrong way.

Witnessed

It's the second time in a few months that I've witnessed this exact scene close to my office, where Merrion Row leads onto Baggot Street, both one-way heading away from Stephen's Green, and a steady stream of cyclists head into town against the traffic, to save themselves a 300-yard walk.

A couple of days later, Cllr Andrew Montague and his ilk were having their wishes obeyed, as the gardai set up speed traps on Kildare Street to catch any motorist doing more than 30kph, because in their eyes cars are the enemy, and cyclists are the cure.

Will we have to wait till someone is killed in Dublin city centre as a result of being hit by a cyclist before our bicycle-obsessed councillors will stop harassing motorists, and start applying basic rules of the road to cyclists?

Let me tell you where to stick your oboe, Agnew

WE hardly ever get solicitors' letters into VIP Towers because, to be honest, we're not in the habit of saying libellous things about people. So when one does drop in through the letterbox, it tends to stick in the mind.

One such case occurred four years ago, when solicitors representing David Agnew -- oboist extraordinaire and former husband of Twink -- wrote to us.

Limelight

It concerned a photoshoot and interview with Twink and her daughters which we were about to conduct, shortly after her infamous 'zip up your mickey' phone message had been made public, and Agnew obviously feared that she might say things that would reflect badly on him.

I can understand Agnew's fears. Twink is a force of nature, who basks in the limelight, says it like it is, and asks you to love her or hate her for what she is (I love her, by the way).

And the problem when interviewing her is trying to find some usable material out of a litany of shocking, grossly indiscrete and hugely entertaining revelations and opinions.

Pathetic

As it turned out, she didn't say anything derogatory. Nothing that we published, at least. But she didn't really need to, because her two-minute rant, that almost perfect distillation of the pathetic nature of middle-aged, philandering men, said it all.

And revelations over the weekend following the verdict on Ruth Hickey's libel case against the Sunday World are further ammunition to Twink's famous quote, which described Agnew as a "fat, bald, middle-aged d***head". Unlike Twink, Agnew's new partner, Ruth Hickey, seemed determined to stay out of the limelight, hence her case against the newspaper for invasion of privacy when she was photographed coming out of the Registry of Births office with their son.

Her defeat in the case, however, was followed by the news that her relationship with Agnew, who had pointedly failed to turn up to the court hearings, was also at an end.

So both women, it seems, have been let down by the faintly ridiculous, puffy-shirted lothario, and for that they both, in different ways, deserve our sympathy.

The person who comes out worst from this whole messy affair is the one who has stayed silent throughout, except for that bizarre letter to me four years ago.

Split

David Agnew had two children with Twink and then left her. He moved in with Ruth Hickey and, after having a son with her, they have now split as well.

In an interview with VIP eight years ago, Agnew posed in one of his trademark comical shirts, and described the challenges involved in playing the oboe.

"Most knowledgeable musicians describe the oboe as 'an ill wind that blows nobody good!" he said.

In hindsight, he could just have well been describing himself.

Defence of Bertie ad falls a little bit short

A TABLOID paper has been trying to defend its latest advertisements, featuring the crass appearance by Taoiseach-turned- national-joke Bertie Ahern.

Ignoring the tidal wave of scorn that has been heaped on Bertie all week, the paper has somehow managed to find one or two people who like the ad.

One fan wrote on Twitter "lol, its a f***ing ad, settle down, be jaysis" -- a comment which provides a unique insight into the articulate nature of the average NOTW reader.

If I were them, I wouldn't be so quick to publicise it next time...

Biffo needs no help in embarrassing us

OUR inspiring leader, Brian Cowen, apparently doesn't like people referring to him by the nickname 'Biffo', feeling as he does that it damages people's impression of Ireland.

And he's quite right. Staying up boozing till 3am, and then turning up hungover to give an important radio interview the next morning -- nobody else should be allowed damage Ireland's reputation.

After all, that's his job.

RTE drop the ball as BBC net Special 1 TV

SATIRICAL sports puppet show Special 1 TV has been snapped up by the BBC for a 16-week run.

Creator Mario Rosenstock apparently had numerous meetings with RTE personnel before they decided not to commission the show.

So RTE pass on this show, but recommission The Panel. And you wonder why there's never anything funny on Irish TV?

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