Today with Claire Byrne RTÉ 1, Weekdays, 10am
The Ray D’Arcy Show
RTÉ 1, Weekdays, 3pm
Marty in the Morning
Lyric FM, Weekdays, 7am
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that everyone I know has Covid, but I’ll say this: at the height of the pandemic, now and again I would hear of someone personally known to me who had tested positive. Of late there has been a steep rise in that cohort, which might be regarded as mere “anecdotal evidence”, but still…
I expected Today with Claire Byrne to get stuck into this on Monday morning, and I was not disappointed.
Having “called” it myself, I was reassured that Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer of the HSE, was on the case too. And while he wasn’t calling for emergency measures, he was reminding people that it’s never too late to get vaccinated.
Because of the success of the vaccines, a lot of the people who have Covid are not getting seriously ill.
Otherwise, frankly, some of my best friends would not be returning my calls, or anyone else’s for that matter.
The following morning too, Claire was all over it, and rightly so. Now she was joined by Dr Yvonne Williams, a GP in Co Clare, and Paul Moynagh, professor of immunology at Maynooth University, and it was just like old times – but not quite as dark.
Williams was advocating a kind of “back to basics” approach, suggesting that the wearing of masks on buses or trains should never have been abandoned in the first place.
It’s hard to argue with that, given how little trouble it is anyway to wear a mask, and how much trouble this latest wave of the sub-variant is causing, with plays and concerts again starting to be cancelled.
Claire has generally been abused by the Angry Brigade for what they see as her collaboration with the forces who seek to extinguish their freedoms. I have never found her to be anything but reasonable on these issues, but then I am in favour of Reason, on the whole. I like Reason, I think it’s good. So on this I am biased.
Covid is going to be around indefinitely, it seems, but then alcoholism has been around even longer – and there’s no end in sight there either.
I’ve been calling that one too, and there are others, such as Cait O’Riordan of The Pogues, who have wisdom to impart on these matters.
She was a guest on The Ray D’Arcy Show, speaking of her own experiences with the drink, demonstrating that the only true experts in this domain are those who have lived it. And yet so often it is those who lack this expertise who are invited on to the current affairs programmes.
Two main things emerged from this interview with Cait: she sounded like she was in “the right place”, as we say, and for anyone struggling with an addiction it is tremendously important to hear that tone of voice.
It was also clear that education is crucial here, that addiction is so endemic to the human condition – and to the Irish version in particular – that the occasional item on the radio will never be enough.
A weekly, or even a daily treatment on The Ray D’Arcy Show might be a start.
If anyone thinks that’s a radical departure, perhaps there are times when we are not radical enough, when we are dominated by convention to such a degree we do not embrace progressive solutions.
Recently I was listening to Marty in the Morning on Lyric FM, and finding it so enjoyable, and indeed therapeutic, I tweeted: “You could listen to it all day.”
It got a lot of likes. In fact, the response to it made me wonder if the tweet should have had a more literal intent. Clearly I didn’t actually mean the show should be on “all day”, but then I started to wonder if I was erring on the conservative side here.
Whatever about the whole of the day, there is absolutely no doubt Lyric FM would be better if Marty was on all morning – from seven till lunchtime.
Which would be about six hours straight on the air, but what the hell? The mental health dividends alone would be worth it.
And as for Marty’s own health, no man ever sounds more alive than Marty when he is presenting his show – arguably for such a showbusiness professional, the longer the show, the longer the life.
Let’s do it.