Friday 15 December 2017

Anna Nolan: Ryan's not one for the chit-chat with Joe Soap ... so he'll do well on Radio 1

Ryan Tubridy
Ryan Tubridy
Ryan Tubridy
Sarah Byrne
Shira Banki
Pint of Guinness
Hugh Jackman

To get to the RTE Radio production teams, you go through reception and through a glass door.

If you want Radio 1, you go one way. If you want 2fm, you go the other way. But if you didn't know which was which, you wouldn't know you were in the wrong area. The decor, the seating layout, the vibe is all the same.

There's no crazy antics on one side of the building and serious intellectual discussion on the other.

So for Ryan Tubridy, who will be making his way from one side of RTE radio to the other, the move will be seamless.


Ryan is going to Radio 1. He has spent the last five years in 'replacement' mode - filling the seat that the irreplaceable Gerry Ryan held until his tragic death.

Gerry was old enough to be a 2fm DJ, but had the heart of a teenager. Ryan was younger but has the heart of a septuagenarian.

When Gerry was bold on radio, nuns blushed and mammies whooped. When Ryan is bold on radio, everyone feels awkward and switches to another channel.

For me, it has been five years of waiting for Ryan to settle into the radio slot.

I have listened to him chat, interview and have the craic. I have heard him talk to callers who have very personal stories to tell, or young children on their way to school.

Of everything I have heard, I feel Ryan is best when he is not talking to members of the public. He is not good with Joe or Jane Soap.

He is at his best with straightforward interviews with experts, people he can challenge on air.

Whether they are writers, musicians, scientists or scholars - Ryan is clever with clever people.

The whole gang of younger radio broadcasters that have come in to 2fm have made Ryan sound even older.

Nicky Byrne and Jenny Green are energetic, fun and solid. The Republic of Breakfast gang are very entertaining. Eoghan McDermott, who has plenty of radio experience from Xfm in London, will be a popular broadcaster.

2fm boss Dan Healy has made his mark in transforming a dying station. Healy's changes remind me of what Matthew Bannister did in the mid-1990s to BBC Radio 1.

He got rid of the oldies. DJs such as Simon Bates, Dave Lee Travis, Steve Wright and Bruno Brooks all were sacked or left under Bannister's reign and young bloods such as Emma Freud, Danny Baker and Chris Evans were brought in.

The recent changes to 2fm may seem harsh, but it is a young station that needs to target a young audience.

So Ryan on Radio 1 at 9am? It couldn't be a better fit. His interviews can be sharp with no space for the unfortunate witterings he developed on 2fm. No more chit chat, just smart interviews. Perfect.

Now all they need to do is liven up the decor on one side of radio buildings, so Ryan knows which way to turn ...


Life is all about dreams - Ireland's Special Olympians have shown us that

Sarah Byrne

Albert Einstein said "only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible". 

Some people must have found Eunice Kennedy Shriver's dream to host an Olympic Games for people with special needs more than absurd. But that didn't stop this inspirational woman following her dreams and helping others to follow theirs.

The Games grew from an idea Eunice had. She had a sister with an intellectual disability and she saw how such people were being treated in the 1950s.

She set up a summer camp in her own back yard. Her goal was to show these people, and everyone else, that men and women with intellectual disabilities could participate and excel in sports. Fast forward six decades and Los Angeles has just hosted the latest Special Olympics, with 7,000 athletes from 177 countries.


Picture the scene. There is a basketball match taking place. It's the women's final and Ireland are playing Mexico. It's been a tense, close game and it will take something special for either team to win.

That something special comes in the form of Sarah Byrne from Clondalkin. As the clock is ticking down, the game is tied at 17 points. Now, those of you who play sports know that at moments like this we can all shy away from taking a chance.

But teams need people like Sarah Byrne. Confident and brave. She gets the ball, turns to the basket and takes a jump shot. It lands - and Ireland beat Mexico 19-17 on the buzzer!

In total, Ireland won 86 medals. The hard work that every single athlete put in was rewarded and as a nation we should be extremely proud.

It's a cliche, but life should be all about dreams. Eunice Kennedy Shriver had one for people with special needs. Sarah Byrne had a dream to get a gold medal in basketball final.

We are extremely proud of her and of all those on Team Ireland.


We should always remember Shira

Shira Banki

The murder of Shira Banki in Jerusalem's gay pride march is desperately upsetting.

How could this 16-year-old girl, who was on the march with friends, have known that a psychopath would lunge into the crowd with a knife and stab as many people as he could?

The attacker was recently released from prison after serving 10 years for an attack at a 2005 gay pride event.

Shira's family released this statement: "Our magical Shira was murdered because she was a happy 16-year-old - full of life and love - who came to express her support for her friends' rights to live as they choose."

This young girl's tragic death deserves a lot more attention.


Wolverine's Irish? But of course!

Hugh Jackman

There's shameless plugging and there's shameless plugging. Seems like Hugh Jackman went slightly overboard in a recent interview.

When being asked about the new Wolverine movie, he said that the X-Men character has Irish blood. Ah yeah, of course he does, Hugh.

I'm sure Jackman just stopped short of telling us that Wolverine's granny loved Brennan's bread, that Wolverine's great uncle loved a pint in Mulligans on Poolbeg Street, and his granny had a stall on Moore Street.

Really, actors would say or do anything to sell a movie.

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