International Women’s Day aptly recognised as Royal family debacle plays out in public

Hello to all the Advertiser readers.

Yes readers, I have great news to tell you. I got my first vaccine last week here in Athlone, and have a date for three weeks’ time for my second vaccine. Did I feel any different? No, I felt no pain but I have to admit I felt a sense of delight that at last I was going to be covered from getting the virus, and particularly when I get my second vaccine.

It was just great to be there and to be able to nod to people of a similar age who were masked up and waiting for their vaccine. I will wait until I get the second vaccine before I venture out in the car around my five kilometres, but as soon as I am cleared through the second vaccine, I will be going for my drives.

Readers will know that Monday of this week was International Women’s Day. I think it is only correct that there be a big hype about such an important event. Way back in 1912, women workers in a small factory in New York went on strike and started International Women’s Day. It has survived throughout many countries ever since, and I am so delighted.

I thought I would have a very quiet day, but a few days beforehand, The Pat Kenny Show rang me to ask would I start off their show on Monday to talk about International Women’s Day. I was delighted to do so, a short interview but I thought it went well. Later that day, I did Tipp FM, again a good interview, much longer, and we went into a lot more detail.

But earlier, on the Saturday beforehand, I was asked by Medtronic here in Athlone (that is the firm that used to be Mallinkrodt ) if I would do a video. Their women employees had set up a women’s network and they were keen that I would do a video endorsing what they had done.

My daughter-in-law Lisa came on Saturday and we did the video, in which I recognised Medtronic and the role it played in Athlone. It is, in fact, a full manufacturing plant employing both men and women, and perhaps slightly more women. Anyway, we did the video, we had a couple of practice runs and then we were satisfied in the end with what we had done. Lisa went off to deliver it and I heard no more about it over the weekend.

However, on Monday, International Women’s Day, they showed the video along with other videos in Medtronic and I am told that it got a great reception and loud cheers any time it was shown.

Now I hope people are not thinking I’m blowing my trumpet (which I am a bit, I suppose ) but I am so glad that the video was a success and that the women’s network has got off to a blazing start in Medtronic.

Later that day, I had a lovely surprise. The doorbell went and, as you know, in lockdown you don’t answer the door, but after a while Aengus came by and brought in a beautiful bouquet of flowers which had been left on the doorstep. Guess who it was from? The bouquet was from Norma Foley, the Minister for Education, and she said in the lovely card which came with the flowers that she wanted to thank me for paving the way for other women. Wasn’t that just a delightful thought, and I was so moved by emotion. I telephoned her within an hour and spoke directly to her, so we both, in different places, were celebrating International Women’s Day.

Then over the weekend, we had the whole Harry and Meghan carry-on. The papers, especially the English ones, were obsessed by it, and then of course on Monday night we had an hour and a half on RTÉ2 from 9.30-11pm in which the whole interview between Harry, Meghan and Oprah Winfrey was played out. I had been looking forward to it all day, and that night, before the interview, I got into my pyjamas and readied myself. And do you know what happened? I fell asleep at 9.30 and slept until 10.15. I was too comfortable and too warm at home. Of course, I was sorry to miss it. However, I saw much of the important parts which were played out in clips during the day. I haven’t quite made up my mind what I feel about it. In a way, I feel sorry for Harry, and indeed for Meghan as well, in that they ever thought that life could be normal as a Royal in the UK.

I don’t count as racism any comment that was made when one of the Royals wondered what colour the baby would be, her first baby that she was carrying. I felt that curiosity myself, because Megan is of mixed race and Harry is not. But that was not born of racism; rather, it was born out of curiosity. Anyway, there is a lot to play for in this yet. But it certainly added a bit of texture and excitement to International Women’s Day.

The rest of the week is going to be very placid and ordinary after all the excitement of last weekend, and particularly of last Monday.

I’m sure I share the amazement and surprise felt by many of the readers when over last weekend also, the Pope went off to visit Iraq and Simon Coveney went off to visit Iran. And there they both were on our TVs and in our newspapers, with their masks on, carrying out various official duties. I was really surprised but on reflection glad that the Pope had made the visit to Iraq, where he spoke some very healing words. I don’t know what effect they all will have, but hopefully they will find an echo in that tortured country.

Simon Coveney was on a mission from the United Nations of which Ireland is now a member, so he had his duties to carry out in Iran. But it seemed so coincidental that the two of them arrived in those war-torn countries at the same time.

Next weekend sees the continuation of the Six Nations and we are promised good rugby arising out of that. There is also the continuing carry-on of Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol, on which there is ongoing dispute – hopefully not leading to anything really serious, but at the same time, worries about the carrying out of that Protocol.

These are huge matters that I hope I will have an opportunity next week to write about and talk over with you.

Good luck and well done to all who have already got the vaccine, or who are looking forward to it. You will feel so good and so happy when you have gone through it, and I can assure you personally of that.

In the meantime, heed my advice: stay at home where you are safe until you have received the vaccine. After all, we are sure it is coming, though there are delays right now, but I am told they will be ironed out over the upcoming weeks.

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

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke

 

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