Sunday 16 June 2019

Why I’d love to see RTE’s Afternoon Show hosts battle it out in the ring

It's the best idea anyone has had all year -- throw a group of celebrities into a ring and tell them to beat the heads off each other.

Charity Lords of the Ring starts this weekend on RTE and it pits well-known man against well-known man in a series of boxing matches. We have had celebrity cooking and dancing and singing, but this is altogether much more fun.

There is just one thing missing from the mix, however; women. It's an all-male line-up for the debut show and given that the father of champion Irish female boxer Katie Taylor is training the lambs to the slaughter, surely there should have been a feminine element to the contest?

I have to admit that I would be back of the queue of contenders -- whether it was for charity or not. But there are legions of women who we would love to see bounding into the ring to the strains of Eye of the Tiger.

Our Government ministers are battling to hold on to their budgets before the Dail reconvenes. What better way to thrash it out than to pit them against one another in the ring? Mary Hanafin and Mary Harney could tog out against each other. The winner gets to retain their spending power and wins the loser's budget.

Scrap this year's Rose of Tralee too and put the lovely girls on the ropes by asking them to box for the crown. The sash goes to the first Oirish lassie to score a knock out. Then the winner gets to spar against Mary from Dungloe and Miss Ireland takes on the winner. It's a beauty queen bloodbath.

Nell McCafferty is always up for a good fight and, just to make it more interesting, she might box in the nude, reprising her pose in that infamous work of art. Nell would have to be drawn against a delicate flower -- this is entertainment after all -- I suggest the ultimate lady and lady of the mom, Amy Huberman.

The list of possibilities is endless -- newsreader against news- reader, entertainment presenter against entertainment presenter and, the ultimate contest, Afternoon Show host against Afternoon Show host. I think I might just have solved RTE's budgetary concerns forever. Their ratings would skyrocket, revenue would triple and the world would be set to rights again.

There are some potential humdinger fights to look forward too though -- Fair City actor takes on GAA star?

I can hardly wait.

If education is going to save us, why all the cuts?

Get smart, the Government tells us, with its plan for economic regeneration founded in high-level graduates and a world-beating education system.

What an out-and-out joke. Education has been subjected to the most vicious round of cuts this year and it appears that the number crunchers are only getting started. How can any minister stand over these swingeing cutbacks and insist that having an educated population is still his top priority?

If Minister Batt O'Keeffe has any belief that Ireland's way out of this maelstrom is through education, then we should hear and see him fight to retain these essential resources. Instead, it would appear that he is toeing the party line and making do with the "tough decisions" that are threatening to rip our crucial education system apart.


It begins in primary school, with budgets slashed for remedial and language assistants. Secondary schools are being hammered by increasing class sizes and reductions in teacher numbers.

Mature students will face a raft of additional charges and little help from the State, and courses are being cancelled at third level as I write. Making cuts in education is short-sighted in the extreme.

The Minister for Education must dig his heels in against these cuts. We need to save money, but culling the very system that might save this country is not the way to do it.

These tough times call for flowery tea towels

WE all need a bit of chicken soup for the soul right now and retro household products seem to be providing us with comfort in uncertain times.

Cath Kidson sells floral pattern housewares -- everything from tea towels to dishes -- and her company has seen profits rise by 60pc.

Perhaps in uncertain times, we need to relive the serenity of childhood when negative equity and job security were not keeping us awake at night.

Businesses that buck the trend of recession need to either offer ridiculous value or products that make us feel safe.

Eating our cut-price dinner off a flowery plate would appear to be one of the elements that has that cosy comfort factor down to a tee.

Hi, I'm Claire ... and I'm a Tweet addict

New figures show that fewer teenagers and more people in their 30s are using sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The fickle youth might just have it right this time. I use a Twitter account to keep listeners to the radio show up to speed and it's addictive to the point of irritation.

I really don't care about strangers and what they watched on TV last night and finding out that guy who hosts Masterchef had yet another slap up meal at a posh restaurant is equally depressing, but still I log on time and again.

My addiction is entrenched.

Today is my birthday and I'm feeling my age, so just for today, let me eat cake

It's my birthday today. Normally I love birthdays and get more excited than a puppy at feeding time. Today feels slightly different. I'm 34 and have reached a birthday watershed.

Turning 30 was no problem, and I got through 31, 32 and 33 with no issues, but 34 is slightly more worrying.

It might be because it has the number four in it and that only serves to remind me that 40 is just six years away.

It's at times like these that I feel some sympathy for the Queen of England. Being reminded of your mortality once a year is bad enough, but that poor woman has to deal with it twice -- every year.


Better to think about the French monarch, Marie Antoinette, and take her excellent advice when she said, "Let them eat cake".

Birthdays are the one time we can do that guilt-free.

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