Entertainment Radio

Sunday 26 May 2019

Notre-Dame took 850 years to build... so pronounce it properly


Tackling the blaze on Monday evening (Francois Mori/AP)
Tackling the blaze on Monday evening (Francois Mori/AP)
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

It took 850 years to build, and two hours to destroy.

That was the general consensus on Irish airwaves this week following Monday's fire at Notre-Dame.

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On Today With Sean O'Rourke (Radio1, Mon-Fri, 10am), the presenter was quick out of the blocks interviewing Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Irish ambassador to France, Patricia O'Brien, who both expressed their horror.

But amid the genuine upset at such a truly iconic structure being engulfed by the inferno, there were moments of hope, according to Martin.

In fact, as he put it, the fire had actually managed to do that rare thing in an increasingly fractured France - it had brought people together.

Jews, Christians and Muslims were all moved by the images and, he hoped, it would help ease some of the tensions in a country which has become so filled with rancour that it makes the current Brexit bitterness in the UK look like a walk in the park.

But while all ears were focused on matters Parisian, the world keeps on turning and reporter Evelyn O'Rourke produced an illuminating and remarkably depressing item on the perils faced by small businesses in the face of rising insurance costs.

O'Rourke's piece was a reminder that while some things are simply out of our hands, the runaway compensation culture in this country is a result of citizens suing each other, often for exaggerated or entirely spurious claims.

Standing in for the regular host on The Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk, Mon-Fri, 9am), Jonathan Healy must have wondered what side of the bed his listeners had got out of that morning.

The reason for such audience grumpiness?

Well, he mispronounced Notre-Dame, apparently. For shame!

But that was followed by perhaps the most moving and inspiring item to appear on radio this week. With the homeless figures now breaching the 10,000 mark it's often forgotten that this means 10,000 different faces with different stories, and none of them good.

Joining Healy was 21-year-old Jasmine Mooney, who has spent her life bouncing from one foster home to another.

An articulate young woman who had managed, in spite of her awful start in life, to ace her Junior Cert, Mooney spoke of her simple longing for a 'forever home' which would give her some stability for the first time in her life.

Anyone listening would surely have hoped she gets her wish.

Lunchtime Live (Newstalk, Mon-Fri, noon) with Ciara Kelly featured a lengthy discussion on GAA players and whether they should be allowed to drink. Ah yes, summer must be nearly here.

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