Michael O'Doherty: Is nursing home getting rough deal?
In the interests of full disclosure, I should state that I am a long-standing friend of the Lipsett family, they of the Rostrevor House nursing home controversy.
And the accusations surrounding mistreatment of residents in the home are truly shocking -- to treat these vulnerable people with anything less than respect is totally unacceptable.
But is it just me who thinks that everything may not be as clear cut as it seems?
Isn't it strange that not a single visitor, who would call into this home far more regularly than health inspectors, has ever lodged a complaint about the care their relatives were getting?
While on an admittedly less serious scale, it's curious to note the fleeting mention that another nursing home received in the press yesterday, which found Robert Fagan, owner of two such homes, guilty of tax evasion to the tune of nearly €500,000, money which our hard-pressed Revenue Commissioners could certainly have done with.
Could the tiny coverage of this be something to do with the fact that Mr Fagan doesn't have three beautiful socialite daughters who provide soft targets, and attractive photos, with which to fill up acres of newsprint?
The chronic media gambler, the young woman he got sacked and Lowry's casino
About 10 years ago, I was approached by a casual acquaintance. He needed €10,000 in a hurry, and obviously felt that my company would be in a position to provide him with a loan which was needed to clear up some 'emergency debts', as he put it. Despite his attempts to tug at my heartstrings -- he had kids to feed etc -- I smelled a rat and walked away.
A young female employee working in a Dublin bookies lost her job last weekend, however, because she was not so quick-witted. For when I read the story about the 'sports media personality' who conned the girl into letting him run up bets on credit, lying to her that he was going to the bank to cash a cheque, and instead went to a pub, it was obvious to me that this unnamed 'personality' was one and the same cretin.
The girl in question was sacked for breaking company guidelines, while the presenter, whose shambolic history of drink and gambling-related problems is well-known in certain circles, has escaped scot-free. Not only that, but he still manages to find employment, be served in pubs and allowed to place bets in bookies...
How appropriate it is that his story should come to light on the day that An Bord Planeala gave the green light to the monstrous temple to greed that will be the Tipperary Venue, set to feature an enormous casino, 500-room hotel and greyhound track in the wilds of North Tipperary. And in case you were in any doubt about the sheer vulgarity of this project, you need only be told that one of its main champions is that oily, gombeen, tax cheating politician himself, Michael Lowry.
The 65,000 sq ft casino, the backers are keen to point out, will create many full-time jobs. What they don't talk about, of course, is the social problems that go hand in hand with this kind of gambling, lubricated by copious intakes of booze.
The comparisons that its supporters have made to Las Vegas and Monte Carlo are nothing short of laughable, for while there'll be the occasional, glamorous visitor, the hardcore with be pathetic, desperate people squandering money on a chronic habit, to the detriment of their families and friends.
But when the 'sports media personality' is finally barred from every establishment in Dublin, and his online credit runs out, I'm sure he's be welcomed with open arms at the bar and the blackjack tables of the Tipperary Venue.
After all, who cares about the addictions of one more pathetic statistic, when you're making money from him?
I know why Miriam tuned into her rivals
There remains one question over the incident which found Miriam O'Callaghan phoning up TV3's Midday to clarify comments which wrongly suggested she was anti-working mothers. Namely, how come Miriam was watching the rival channel's programme?
It's a question I'm happy to answer. With nothing on RTE television at that time, Miriam was probably listening to the news on Radio One.
But at the exact moment that Midday started its piece on working mums, RTE Radio cut to a tedious homily by John Waters on the subject of Brian Lenihan's death, so self-important that it would have made anyone switch off, and tune into the next best thing.
Which is obviously what Miriam did.
Classy Ali is the real star of Spider-Man
With U2's Spider-Man musical finally opening last night in New York after countless false starts, Bono and Co attracted the kind of stellar guests that others can only dream about.
But among the A-listers who included Bill Clinton, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson and Cindy Crawford, one woman stood out -- the stunning, impossible-to-believe she's actually 50 wife of Bono, Ali Hewson.
As far as I'm concerned, Spider-Man can't close down and re-open often enough, if every new premiere means that we'll be reminded what a class act Ali is.
McWilliams' book event trumps idiotic Wallies
While this weekend with feature another attempt at an idiotic Guinness Book of Records entry -- the largest gathering of 'Where's Wally' impersonators in one place -- a far more worthy event is the Dalkey Book Festival.
The brainchild of David McWilliams, this three-day event is nowhere near as stuffy as it sounds, and instead features lectures, debates and readings from such diverse characters as Tommy Tiernan, Ryan Tubridy, Maeve Binchy, Barry Murphy and Roddy Doyle.
Coming hot on the heels of Bloomsday celebrations today, the Dalkey event is a welcome reminder of our proud literary heritage.