Michael O'Doherty: It seems some are more equal than others when it comes to marriage, Lucinda
AHEAD of the Leaders' Debate on Tuesday, Miriam O'Callaghan bemoaned the all-male panel as a sign of the lack of women in politics. "This is my fourth debate," she sighed, "and I'm still waiting for one of the leaders to be female." She continued: "It's difficult for women to go into politics. We have babies and society makes that difficult."
This is a strange admission, coming from a woman who has managed to rise to the top of her profession and still have eight children. Even stranger, however, is the trouble that a female politician Lucinda Creighton TD has got herself into over the same subject of babies.
Lucinda has caught the Twitterbug, and earlier this week defended her opposition to gay marriage. She tweeted: "Civil partnership should ensure gay couples are treated fairly and recognised by the State. But marriage is different... I think marriage is primarily about children, the main purpose being to procreate and create."
The most bizarre thing about Lucinda's view is that she is clearly not homophobic -- she supports the Civil Partnership Act, and has no issue with same-sex couples having equal status in law as male/female couples.
So why prevent someone from getting married, just because they are biologically unable to procreate? Logic would state that you extend that belief from gay couples who can't have children, through heterosexual couples who can't, to couples who simply don't want children.
If the purpose of marriage is to create children and bring them up, she is then presumably opposed to people getting remarried, especially if the woman is beyond child-bearing age. After all, by Lucinda's reasoning, what's the point?
Many people get married simply in order to publicly cement a commitment to each other, with children being a desirable but secondary concern -- they would love to have children "if God is willing".
Interviewed in VIP a couple of years ago with his wife Majella, Daniel O'Donnell seemed unconcerned about not having had kids. "We'd have accepted children if we were lucky enough to have them," he said, "but I don't feel deprived in any way."
So what would Lucinda have happen to heterosexual couples if God isn't willing -- revoke their marriage licence?
She has been, predictably enough, subjected to a barrage of online abuse, much of it excessive and vitriolic. But while Lucinda attempts to deflect attention by dismissing the criticism as an orchestrated, dirty tricks campaign, the puerile nature of the abuse shouldn't disguise the insight we've just been given into her strange mindset about marriage.
And for Fine Gael to say that this is merely Lucinda's personal opinion, and she's entitled to it, is a cop-out. In clearly believing that same-sex couples shouldn't be allowed to exchange vows in a Church, Lucinda is stating that some people are ultimately not equal under God.
All this, coming from Fine Gael's spokesperson on Equality...
Call that pink tie a transformation, Ronan?
OPERATION Transformation is a truly inspirational programme, taking ordinary Irish people who are down in the dumps for one reason or another, and making them feel good about themselves.
And despite all the fears that, without Gerry Ryan at the helm, it would become a pale shadow of itself, it has blossomed with new presenter Kathryn Thomas.
From frisky travel show presenter, through cheesy game show host, to down and dirty boot camp commandant, Kathryn has shown herself to be the best all-rounder in RTE.
All of which makes it seem churlish to criticise any of the contestants. Which, of course, is where I come in...
Watching the final programme last night, I was struck by the appearance of Ronan Scully (43), as he minced down the stage one last time. He was 14st 13lbs when the show began, which is hardly obese, and over the next seven weeks, managed to lose about a stone.
Compared to pictures of him before the show began, the main differences I could see in Ronan was that he had trimmed his beard, slicked back his hair, got a natty new pink tie and matching handkerchief, and developed a slightly effeminate walk.
Forgive my scepticism, but instead of putting himself through the tortuous regime, couldn't Ronan have just gone to the barbers?
'Lucky' Diarmuid's blind date auction
I'M not surprised to see that 'hunky' Diarmuid Maher, the token Himbo lobbed into Fade Street to create some tension among the women, has ignored the advice I gave him.
After telling him not to treat his work colleagues as though he was in "a f**king dating agency", Diarmuid proceeded to go on dates with Vogue and Melina, both of whom turned him down flat.
He's now taking his dating efforts one step further, and taking part in a charity event this Sunday which will see one lucky woman bid to go on a date with him.
My apologies... did I say 'lucky'?
From one golden couple to another
IT'S great news to hear that Brian and Amy have been invited to the royal wedding at the end of April, as it reveals more than just the fact that the British monarchy have their finger on the pulse of celebrity culture.
After all, I don't remember Ireland's golden couple inviting William and Kate to their own wedding last summer. So its nice to see that the future king and queen of England don't hold a grudge...