Whatever the weather, European political issues still prevail

This summer weather exhibits smiles all round. I’m sure there’s not one reader that isn’t delighted with the good weather.

Now I know the farmers have difficulties and I understand that, but I also know that they’re putting up a good fight to rectify the fact that there is no grass growing.The troubles they had earlier in the year were because of the rain, and their troubles now are because of the sun.

Be that as it may, it’s good to have it, and I note going around that everybody is in better humour, they’re smiling, they’re saying hello and talking to one another, so I think that’s a very good outcome of the continuous sunshine.

There were some marvellous GAA matches, both hurling and football, over the weekend. There was the Kildare-Mayo match in St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge last Saturday at 7pm.

I heard it on the radio, but it was a terrific commentator and I was able to follow everything. The final score was Kildare 21, Mayo 19. My great feeling of regret is that Mayo did not win this match and therefore proceed into the final eight. But it was not to be. How and why did Kildare succeed so much?

I’ll tell you why, in my own informal way. I am quite sure that the David and Goliath struggle which was put up earlier that week by Kildare manager Cian O’Neill that the match be played in Newbridge, and the fact that he did not give in to the order from the GAA that it had to be moved to Croke Park was the reason; that same David and Goliath spirit infected the team as they took to the pitch.

Now I know readers might think this is far-fetched, but to me it is not. Those Kildare players were inspired by that courage and enthusiasm and a strength which they would not have had, had they not earlier in the week been uplifted by the spirit of Cian O’Neill who declared quite formally “this match will be in Newbridge or nowhere.”

That same spirit infected the supporters from Kildare who were present at the match and gave full expression to their feelings. Well done to Kildare, and I have such sorrow for Mayo especially when I think of the trainer Stephen Rochford and the gallant Mayo crew.

In that match last Saturday, it was really the second half of the second half when Kildare got wind; up to that it seemed as if Mayo would triumph but Kildare got a renewed spirit in the last 15-20 minutes of the game.

Next Saturday sees Roscommon versus Armagh in Laois and I am looking forward to that game. I hope it will be on Sky Sports, and if it is I will go out to my son’s house for a good viewing. I hope so much that Roscommon will win this one and so advance on through into later games.

Also if Galway win next weekend, it will mean, despite the Mayo loss, that the west will be wide awake again in their further games.

Sadly, Carlow beat Westmeath in the final of the Joe McDonagh Cup and they had worked mightily to get that far. Equally the Westmeath women players were trounced by Dublin – with their wealth of players versus provincial teams, they always seem to have the upper hand.

Let’s leave the games and we’ll move to Europe where Angela Merkel was in severe trouble over her immigration policy from her partners in the German parliament.

The EU meeting last week was concerned solely with Germany, and the findings of it did not appeal to Merkel’s partner in parliament, Horst Seehofer. However he has been mollified it appears and the German coalition government continues in office, even if a little uneasily.

I would be sorry to see Angela Merkel lose out and lose her prominence in European affairs, because to me she gives a great stability to the whole European Project.

I had two lovely engagements in Dublin last week which happily coincided on Thursday. TV3 had asked me to their launch which was laying out their new Virgin Media name, the gains they have made and their shows for the future. It was held in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

It was one of the extremely hot days, and I thought, who would live in Dublin? The crowds, the heat, the traffic all combined to make it a not very pleasant experience to get down to Bord Gáis. But when I went in it was all so wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

By coincidence that same afternoon I had been invited to open an art exhibition called ‘And the Women Voted’ which was an all-women artistic tribute to the women who had got us the vote in 1918. The exhibition was held in St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, off James’s Street in Dublin.

It was a wonderful inspiring event and I really enjoyed it, because of course it was historical, political and artistic, all at the one time. There were some beautiful paintings and great feedback from all who were present.

They had invited a large crowd and made it open to the public, with the result that it was a really engaged afternoon.

What are we to make of Miriam O’Callaghan? She seems to be running TV these times, and I say that not in any sardonic sense, but in a sense of pure delight at her energy and her reach.

She runs the Thursday night Prime Time political show on RTE1, on Sunday morning she does Sunday with Miriam from 10am to 11am, which is a great programme of music, musings and chats, and now she is running the Today with Sean O’Rourke show every morning from 10am to 12pm, as Sean is gone on extended leave.

She’s truly a successful and wonderfully inspiring woman. I like listening to her voice and I like the tone and tenor of all of her programmes. Good luck to you Miriam, and I hope you get your due holidays in August.

By the way, I believe Germany have crashed out of the World Cup, and they a country renowned in soccer terms. I guess they’ll be blaming Angela Merkel for that soon!

I have so much more we could be talking about, but I will hold it over until next week.

That’s my lot for now. Hope to talk with you all next week.

In the meantime go safely.

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke.

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