Booster vaccine rollout essential as Haughey book extracts prove riveting reading

Hello to all the Advertiser readers.

Well, as usual, there is a lot to talk about. But of course firstly, we must discuss the present health situation.

As all the readers will know, it is extremely serious and the daily fear is the burden on the hospital situation and on those who staff the hospitals.

I hope as many people as possible can get the booster vaccination quickly. It seems that the double vaccine which most of us got over the last number of months is waning, and it is imperative that there is a serious push on now with the third vaccine, or the ‘booster’ as it is called.

In the meantime, of course, we all have to mind ourselves and assess carefully any situation into which we intend to go or to visit. We are certainly in a dire, grim place at the moment, and it behoves all of us, firstly, to keep hoping, and secondly to always observe the health rules. It appears the rule we must all adhere to is if you go outside your front door, put your mask on, because Covid is airborne and therefore if you’re anywhere, in or out, without your mask you can become infected.

Well readers, we’ll turn now to more enjoyable matters, and of course the first one is the Irish women’s rugby team game against Japan last Saturday. Now that was a terrific game. As we all know, the Irish men’s team beat Japan; then it fell to the women, and they beat them well too. The result was Ireland 15-Japan 12.

It isn’t that it was easily won; far from it. For long stretches of the game, it appeared that Japan had the edge and would surely win out. But no, Ireland stuck with it. They set the pace right throughout the game.

A really important part of it all was that Ciara Griffin, who was the Irish captain up till now, announced a few days before the Japan match that she was going to retire from Irish national rugby. She is only 27 and it was an unexpected declaration.

Ciara got a great reception during and after the match, and it was good that the audience, small as it was, recognised her talent and the way she has played for Ireland. In particular, the applause and clear acclamation of her teammates as she went about the game was wonderful to see. Apparently she is getting married shortly. One way or another, she has given great service to the Irish team.

The next bit I read from a newspaper so we must take it at its word; it said that Ciara Griffin wanted time now for her passion away from the game – farming, fencing and milking cows! So there you are. But well done, Ireland’s women’s rugby team.

So now we move on to the men’s rugby on Sunday, Ireland versus Argentina. When I saw the Argentinian team coming out, they seemed to be so big and so burly that I thought they were out to annihilate Ireland.

It was a magnificent game for Ireland, the result being Ireland 53-Argentina 7. So it just shows you, big and burly doesn’t always win the day.

Back home here in Westmeath, we had the second county final between St Loman’s of Mullingar and local team Garrycastle. The previous final had ended in a draw, as indeed this one did too, but there was extra time and in that extra time St Loman’s scored the winning points.

I was sorry for Garrycastle; they put up a great fight and it would have been good for GAA locally if they had triumphed in the end.

Indeed, really locally, my granddaughter Sarah was playing for St Brigid’s Kiltoom in the women’s under-19 final against Boyle. Now she’s only 16 but she has proven to be a good GAA player and she played for the full match. St Brigid’s won, and Sarah O’Rourke scored two points.

I hope the readers will forgive me for my grandmotherly beaming and talking about her, but I believe it was a very strong game and well done to the women of St Brigid’s.

I am sure some of the readers look at the Andrew Marr Show. It is on BBC One every Sunday morning for an hour, from 9-10 am. He is the sole presenter of the show and always puts forward an excellent run of events, usually on the state of politics in the UK and in Europe. I have been watching and enjoying it now for 15 years.

Well, out of the blue, it has been announced that Andrew Marr is to finish with the BBC. He will leave at the end of the year and take up a new post with Global Media on January 1. I don’t know anything about Global Media, but I certainly know that I will miss the Andrew Marr Show every Sunday morning. It has become a part of my life and I am so sorry to see his expertise and knowledge leaving the BBC.

The great literary news to emerge at the weekend was the printing in the Sunday Independent and the Sunday Times of extracts from the forthcoming book on Charlie Haughey. The book is to issue this Friday November 26: it is titled Haughey and is written by Professor Gary Murphy of Dublin City University.

The extracts in the two newspapers were quite riveting, but it remains to be seen what the book will contain. Professor Murphy has said that he had full access to all of Charlie Haughey’s papers so therefore the book, all 670 pages of it, should be full of some up-to-now unknown information.

As I am compiling this, the weather has turned from benign summer-like weather to extreme frost. Apparently the frost and cold weather have come with a vengeance, so we can forget the lovely autumn we have had and muffle up well against the cold!

That’s my lot for this week, as again time has caught up with me. Remember what I said at the beginning of the column: it is important that we all do our bit during this very serious health situation.

Stay safe.

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke


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