Hello to all the Advertiser readers.
Isn’t the weather just beautiful? I am always very wary that when I compile my column and the weather has been beautiful, that maybe by the time it’s being read it will have changed. Be that as it may, it is just gorgeous – sun in the early morning and then dull all day but such blessed beautiful warmth. It’s just lovely. Then around 6pm each evening, the sun comes out again. We should be all so grateful for this real taste of summer.
I feel that this column is like a carry-on from last week’s column, so I will deal now with Part 2 of the question which arose, in which I said I was very much in agreement with the letter Barry Cowen TD sent to every TD and Senator, in which he said we in Fianna Fáil should go over the 2020 election a year and four months ago, and also the by-election, to see where we went wrong in those cases.
Now I remember the 2020 election well, because Junior Minister Sean Fleming took up the invitation from Micheál Martin to set up a review committee to take submissions from people who had ideas of what went wrong, and then to let us all know what they were. Well, I understand he received many submissions and the result of that review is to be made public on September 1, which is only five weeks away.
The outcome of the parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday was that there would be a full in-person meeting of the TDs and Senators on that date, when the two reviews of the General Election 2020 and the recent by-election would be laid open for everyone to see.
I am so pleased at that. Like many others, I made a lengthy submission to that review of the 2020 election. I looked it up in my email and it was 1,400 words – sounds like a lot of talking – but I wondered what had happened, and another two separate people who had made lengthy submissions asked me on the telephone if I had heard anything. Well now we’re going to all be hearing what was the outcome of that.
I am so glad because we cannot rectify things unless we see what went wrong, what we have not been doing, and seek to correct it.
I am glad that Barry Cowen’s letter sparked interest among the TDs and Senators. I was glad to be able, as an ‘elder’ of the party, to add my voice via an interview with Midlands 103. This was then picked up by the Irish Independent and led to an interview on Today with Claire Byrne.
Now, I don’t intend to continue intervening. As I said very clearly on Claire Byrne’s show, I wanted to add my voice to what I thought was a common-sense suggestion by Barry Cowen. In case any of the readers think there was some kind of Midlands plot going on, I have not met or spoken with Barry Cowen for perhaps four to five years. It’s just that I recognised common sense when I got an email copy of the letter he had written, and so wanted to add my voice to his.
So that’s the end of all of that, I hope, until five weeks’ time, on September 1.
Let’s look at the health scene and the outlook for same. As we all know, indoor dining and pub drinking is about to emerge. Just in time, the Delta variation strikes again. There has been an alarming rise in the number of notified new cases, and with that a subsequent rise in hospital admissions. This is all so worrying, just when we thought we perhaps had emerged, but no, the fourth stage of the Delta variation has begun in earnest in Ireland, as it has done throughout Europe.
Some countries are worse than ours; at the same time, it behoves us all to be careful again and to err on the side of caution always.
The GAA matches go on each weekend, and so far there has not been any huge dramatic surprise in the outcome of most of these encounters. But I guess we will have a few before long.
Meanwhile, on the rugby front, games are still being played. Recently, the under 20 Irish national rugby team, which had been doing well, suffered a second defeat at the hands of France. It was a close match but France prevailed, so that left Ireland in the third position in that under 20 league.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the Lions had a telling defeat by South Africa, the score being 17-13. I think it gave the team a taste of what lies ahead in advance of the Tests. Alun Wyn Jones is set to resume the captaincy of the British and Irish Lions from his stand-in replacement Conor Murray. I see it is said that Alun Wyn Jones had a “Lazarus-like recovery” from the dislocated shoulder that he sustained in the recent win over Japan at Murrayfield. Will Alun Wyn Jones resume the captaincy or will it be left in the capable hands of Conor Murray? Warren Gatland, the coach of the British and Irish Lions, has said he will talk to the two again, so we will know that within the next few days.
Covid is very prevalent in South Africa, and you have to wonder was it a good idea for the Lions to take up the tour there?
Next week in my column, I hope to write about good books I have read since Christmas, and perhaps readers will have an opportunity to look up some of them in their local bookshop or in the library. Just for now, I thought I would share with you my very first remembrance of books read. I have two so clear in my mind: one is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, and the other is the ever-enjoyable Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I vividly remember reading those when I was a very young girl and learning about life and people far away, and thinking “Oh, this is wonderful; there is so much enjoyment from good reading.”
Anyway, enough about next week. Space has got to me again in this column, so I repeat again my boring, but very timely now, warning: wear your masks when you meet people, keep your distance, wash your hands, and above all, be cautious where you go and with whom. In the end, it is your personal job to mind yourself and to be careful and cautious.
That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.
Slán go fóill.