Presidential decisions to be made as Royalty arrives on these shores

Well, we’re overwhelmed with topics to chat about this week, what with the GAA games, the looming soccer finals, the presidential election, the mayhem in politics in London, the visit of Prince Harry and Meghan to Dublin – so many talking points and overshadowing them all, the beautiful summer weather.

Let’s begin with something which affects the constituency of Longford-Westmeath. Last week Willie Penrose announced he would not be running in the next general election, in other words he was bowing out. I for one am sorry. I worked with him in Longford-Westmeath from the time he was elected in 1992 until I departed in 2011. I found him always a stalwart and honest comrade in arms. We were different parties of course but we both served the one constituency of Longford-Westmeath and the people who live therein. I found him fair and honest and we developed a good working relationship. I wish him well in his retirement.

Well what do we make of Teresa May and the ongoing furore in English politics? Firstly, I’m going to say I admired her conduct when she set up the Chequers Cabinet meeting last Friday, in which all of her Cabinet were invited to talk and give their views, and listen to her point of view on Brexit.

Some wags described that Chequers meeting as a ‘pyjama party’ as it was held from 10am to 10pm, and in a great stroke of smartness each Minister arriving in his or her great big Daimler was presented with a taxi rank card among his Cabinet papers. This meant that if any Cabinet member disagreed with the outcome of the meeting, he or she would have to relinquish their car and call a taxi to leave Chequers.

Now all cabinet members left the meeting in the cars in which they came and everything seemed okay for about 24 hours until late on Sunday night when David Davis said he was not accepting of the latest Brexit outcome and was resigning. He was the Minister in charge of Brexit so that was certainly a blow.

On Monday Boris Johnson resigned. I thought his resignation was particularly cowardly. He waited to see would anyone go, and then moved in behind them. Also, it has emerged that at the dinner that night at Chequers, when they were all around the table, he proposed a toast to Teresa May and her ongoing endeavours with Brexit. Never mind, she is well rid of the two of them, as word has it that David Davis was lazy in his ongoing European work on behalf of the British Cabinet on the matter of Brexit.

On Monday afternoon we had a very spirited Commons performance by Teresa May and then a sort of normal behaviour on Tuesday when she met with her replaced Cabinet to discuss the White Paper which is to be published on Thursday, and then we will see where all that will go in Brussels.

Back to our GAA games last weekend, and the forthcoming packed weekend of hurling and football.

Up the Rossies! They had a great win over Armagh on Saturday. No it was not on TV but again there was very good radio commentary and the Rossies played brilliantly. They well deserve their place in the Super 8 which will now be run on a round robin basis. Enda Smith with his goals was brilliant and the Murtagh brothers, Cathal Cregg and many others played so well. Next Saturday, Roscommon will meet Tyrone in Croke Park and that will be something to look forward to,

Galway had a great hurling win over Kilkenny and a well deserved final score in their favour. The west was really awake last weekend with both Galway and Roscommon and more to follow next weekend.

I haven’t devoted any time to the World Cup, simply because I haven’t had the time, or indeed to Wimbledon tennis, which I look at from time to time. With regard to the soccer, good luck to England in their semi-final this week. My column will be gone to print before the result but they will have many friends urging them on in this country.

This week sees Prince Harry and his new bride Meghan Markle arrive in Ireland for a very brief 24-hour visit. Yes I’m interested, and so are so many other people, more especially as Meghan is a complete novelty into the Royal family line-up and we will be viewing how she looks, what she wears, what she says, and all of that. Now of course many people will think me frivolous even talking about it, but they are new life, new blood, and I’m sure there will be a general warm welcome for them in this country.

Our own President Michael D. Higgins declared this week that he was running for a second seven year term for Áras an Uachtaráin. So that has provoked a flurry of Independents – will they, won’t they, and who will they be? We await their decisions with interest, and of course the finale of the election – that is, if there is one. It is generally accepted that Michael D. was a strong President in which the Irish people could take pride at home or abroad, so it remains to be seen what will be the outcome of his announcement this week.

Amid all the fuss in the English political scene this week, Fiona Mitchell, the RTÉ correspondent in London, stands out. She was always available and her tone was always calm, sure and even. No emotional outpourings, just a very level account of events as they were. Well done Fiona; we watch you with interest here in the Midlands as you started life as a journalist here.

So readers, onwards with this glorious summer! We are now in the fourth week of continuous 20-plus degree temperatures and almost constant sunshine. Let’s all enjoy it while we can, because when the winter days come we will look back with nostalgia to the sun-kissed days of July 2018.

That’s my say for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.

In the meantime go safely.

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke.


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