There is no doubting what is the main issue in Ireland this week, and it is that of the Leaving Cert results on Monday, and then on Friday the first callout from the CAO.
So far, so good. I listened carefully to the Minister on Morning Ireland on Monday. She was on for 20 minutes with Audrey Carville, who is a very forensic interviewer and on the ball all the time. Norma Foley had a very productive interview, and I note that the Minister acquitted herself, I thought, in a very fine fashion. She was obviously well prepared and well able to adjust to the emerging results.
I feel the Department of Education here in Ireland has benefitted greatly from the experience in the UK, where obvious mistakes were made in dealing with the calculated grades. Because of this experience, Ireland was able to avoid the pitfalls and it appears to have achieved equitable results.
Now, of course, Monday was only half of the story. The next half will be the CAO offers, and the triumphs and recriminations which will ensue after that. So we will be talking about education again next week, I feel. And why wouldn’t we? Education touches every home in Ireland, and it is important that we read everything about it, think and reflect upon it, and hopefully be knowledgeable about all aspects of it.
Over in the US, it is now seven weeks until the presidential election. The first public debate is on the 29th of this month. When Hillary Clinton lost four years ago, she wrote a very powerful book about her experience.
One point in it jumped out at me, and I have remembered it ever since: she said she had a huge regret that when she and Donald Trump were debating on public television, readers will remember that Trump prowled immediately behind her every step on the stage. She wishes now she had turned around and said “Stop that dreadful prowling, it is not the right way to conduct a debate and I take great exception to it”, or words to that effect. She didn’t do that, and now regrets not doing so. As she said herself, she was fearful that somehow she would be taken up as being too ‘precious’ about herself in giving such a rebuke. I feel strongly that it would have stopped him in his tracks.
Donald Trump is shouting away in the US that only for him, things would be so much worse in every way, both with the pandemic and also with racial unrest in many of the cities in the US. He is blaming the racial unrest on Democratic mayors or governors, where it suits him to use that as a pretext.
Let’s look at the Brexit debate. This week is an important week because the talks have moved to London between the UK deputation and the deputation from Europe, so Michel Barnier and his team, and David Frost and his team, will be intently dealing with the likely fallout of Brexit. The worst result of all would be a no-deal outcome to the Brexit talks. This would be dreadful for Ireland and indeed equally so for the UK, only that they are so caught up in their spirit of ‘go it alone’ and nationalism, etc, that they don’t seem to see how badly off they will be without their link to Europe. It is a very anxious week all round for us, and I truly hope that the outcome will be better than is being forecast in the UK newspapers this week, particularly in the Financial Times which usually records the correct angle to any debate.
What did the listeners and viewers think of The Late Late Show last Friday night with no audience? Ryan Tubridy did his very best to operate at full energy in dealing with such a bizarre situation. But
somehow, I feel the lack of audience took away an essential part of the show. Equally so, when you look at both the rugby and GAA matches, the empty feeling of no audience pervades the whole undertaking.
On Sunday afternoon last, I watched a very close contest, a semi-final county match between Clann na nGael Athlone and Na Piarsaigh. It was close to the very end, and the result was that Na Piarsaigh won by one point.
I was out with Aengus and Lisa last Sunday and looking at the match with him. We were all disappointed that Clann na nGael didn’t make it. Although usually Clann na nGael and St Brigid’s in Kiltoom are sworn enemies on the field, on this occasion we had wished for victory for them.
Going back to The Late Late Show, I thought Dr Ronan Glynn, the acting chief medical officer, came across as so practical, ordinary and very inviting in his own way. I particularly liked the way he talked with young people and the very sound advice he gave out in his interview. We are so lucky in Ireland that following Dr Tony Holohan, we now have Dr Ronan Glynn, both people so knowledgeable and able to project the correct advice in a winning way.
A great new series has started up on RTÉ1 and the first episode of six was aired on Sunday night last at 9.30pm. It is called The South Westerlies. Even if you missed it on Sunday, you can easily catch up next Sunday and all succeeding Sundays. There is a terrific cast, a good plot and really good acting in it.
That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.
In the meantime, stay safe and most of all, stay at home as much as you can.
Slán go fóill.