Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Five Lamps? More like The Five Points…

The aftermath of violence near the GPO in Dublin this week. Pic: Evening Herald

I REMEMBER THAT summer in Dublin, when the Liffey it stank like hell.

And the young people brawled on O’Connell Street, and at The Forty Forty four were felled…

Apologies to Bagatelle, but they’ll have to rewrite their ode to the capital if the events of this week are anything to go by.

On Monday the sun came out to play. By Thursday evening we had hospitals treating victims for knife and hurley injuries, gardai carrying out two major investigations and the Tourism Minister scrambling to assure visitors that the Five Lamps isn’t the Five Points.

We witnessed the first outbreak of violence last Tuesday night at the GPO. The area has a history of bloodshed, but what occurred last Tuesday night would have made the State’s founding fathers turn red – with anger.

More than a dozen people were involved in a mass brawl, with some participants reportedly taking hurleys from children to use them on the other side. Tracksuited men and women were involved in the melee, played out in full vew of tourists on our country’s main street.

Fast forward a couple of days to the Forty Foot, the city’s best known bathing spot.

Usually a venue for portly retired southsiders to enjoy a wrinkly, sedate dip last night it morphed into a full on battlezone. Once more, over a dozen people staged a fracas which resulted in four people, three men and a woman, being treated for knife injuries.

Apparently the two sides had spent the day drinking in the sun before staging the violent public falling out.

Cue a raft of garda vans and ambulances driving in one direction and terrified locals fleeing in another.

You can rest assured that, like the Forty Foot violence, the melee at the GPO was alcohol fuelled.

It might now be quite as bad as LA riots in the 90s or the Bronx in the 1970s, but there was a tangible air of menance and Dublin’s sunshine this week.

It’s almost inevitable when a rare outburst of good weather is mixed with beer-slab boozing.

It seems all biggest cliches are true. Irish people can’t handle the sun, or the drink. Mix the two and you end up with headlines like those we’ve seen this week.

 This post first appeared in the Evening Herald, May 25, 2012

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Why doesn’t Tubridy make the leap across the Irish Sea?

WHY IS Ryan Tubridy still on Irish airwaves?
It’s clear he wants to work more at the BBC in London, and it’s clear that more and more of us are switching off his ailing 2fm show.
Is it not time then for the 37-year-old to spare us all the embarrassment, bite the bullet, and quit RTE?
As the months pass there appears to be less and less for him in Montrose – in marked contrast to his ongoing good fortune at BBC Radio 2.
It’s now emerged that Tubridy is set to cover for Chris Evans on Radio 2’s breakfast programme for a number of weeks during the summer.
This follows on from a successful stint filling from Graham Norton last year. He makes his debut in the Evans’ slot on Monday.
As Ryan practices his Queen’s English this weekend he’ll also be digesting the latest listenship figures in his other, fulltime job.
His 2fm show has lost a further 4,000 listeners, according to the latest survey.
He’s managed to reduce Gerry Ryan’s 300,000 daily listeners to 172,000 in just two years – a calamitous ‘achievement’.
While we can only ponder what the late G Ryan would make of such a collapse we can safely say that Tubridy’s radio bosses at RTE must be seriously considering whether he can remain in a 2fm morning post.
Unfortunately things are little better for Tubridy in his second RTE job.
The faltering Late Late Show has provided an ongoing headache for all involved in it.
To be fair the rot there preceded Tubridy’s takeover at the helm. Nonetheless figures for the first show of the current season saw him down 182,000 viewers on the same show of the previous season.
On foot of these numbers it’s clear Tubridy can’t do two jobs successfully at once – so how is going to attempt three?
Why then doesn’t Tubridy make the leap across the Irish Sea?
One reason may be the amount he is paid by our national broadcaster – it was recently reported that he received pay totalling €519,000 from RTE in 2009 alone. A paycheck of this order would be difficult for anyone to turn down – even when the much-heralded stars’ paycuts are applied.
Questions persist of course as to whether Tubridy, or any Irish broadcaster for that matter, is worth upwards half a million euro a year.
Perhaps Britain’s taxpayers can foot such a bill – because we simply can’t afford to.
Which begs the question would Tubridy be paid anywhere near his Irish paycheck by the BBC? It’s very, very unlikely.
If he opts to remain in Ireland (despite his summer slot he has consistently denied he’s planning a fulltime move to the BBC) his future may well lie outside broadcasting.
Because even his staunchest supporters in RTE must now realise that he cannot remain in plum positions indefinitely while haemorrhaging viewers.
So it’s over to you Ryan.

This post first appeared in the Evening Herald, May 4, 2012.

25 and past it? Miss World thinks so

BORN before 1986? Here’s some bad news – you’re over the hill.

That’s right. You may feel young, fit and healthy, but you’re already sliding into old age.

Marie Hughes rudely discovered this in recent days. She was Miss Ireland for all of 24 hours before it emerged that she was 25, too old to take part in the Miss World pageant. The beauty queen forfeited her title, with the crown going to the far more age-appropriate Rebecca Maguire (20).

Now not all of us take sociological instructions from a blinged-up Lovely Girls’ Contest.

But the Miss World rules are the latest example of our society’s obsession with youth. It’s clear that many people (99pc of them under 25 I bet) feel that hitting the quarter century means you’re past it.

For those of us long past the salad days of our mid-20s the point is moot. Thirtysomethings like me are – in pop culture terms at least – about as on trend as Victor Meldrew.

‘Who’s he?’, the kids ask. Never mind..

But the Youth of Ireland shouldn’t start celebrating just yet.

Medical journal The Lancet last week reported that adolescence may go on until 24. 

This all means that adulthood now lasts 12 months. What used to span a generation is now crammed into the 365 days between your 24th and 25th birthday. Blink and you miss it – and most of us probably did.

Now we struggle on, battling infirmity, into our 30s and beyond. Some of us – whisper it – even reach our 60s and 70s. Even more incredibly we still manage to lead normal lives. Who’d have thought it?

But as we get older we live and learn. And one of the things we discover is that nonsense rules laid down by beauty pageants are just that – nonsense.

Mind you, you don’t have to be over 25 to realise it.

This post first appeared in the Evening Herald, May 2, 2012.