Wednesday 11 December 2019

Oh, the thrill
 of the reshuffle

Prime Time (RTE1) The Street (RTE1) Deirfiuracha na hEolaiochta (RTE1) Ireland's Ocean (RTE1)

Germany win the World Cup
Germany win the World Cup
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

They got another week out of it somehow. The Cabinet reshuffle which had been so feverishly anticipated by the sort of people who feverishly anticipate these things, was followed last week by the appointment of Junior Ministers.

With that great drama reaching its climax, and the Garth Brooks story ending too, and the World Cup gone, it is fair to say that the days which lie ahead will be among the most difficult that many of us will know.
I mean, what are we going to do now? Where next for Paddy now that he knows that Germany won, that Garth Brooks lost, and that Simon Coveney has mysteriously added Defence to his portfolio? When he heard that someone called Joe McHugh had been appointed a Junior Minister for the Gaeltacht did part of him die a little, knowing that we would probably never see such wild times again?

Personally I would like to go back just one more time to a personal highlight of this magical period, the moment when Ciaran Cuffe of the Green party started his Prime Time contribution to the Brooks debate by saying he'd much rather be talking about Gaza. 
I suppose he meant that 
Gaza, on the whole, would be a more important subject for debate, than Garth. And there is something in that. But the views of Ciaran Cuffe on Gaza....ah now that would be different.

Indeed without wishing to call into question his record as a public representative in any way, or to doubt that he is a decent enough fellow all round, I suspect that even his most ardent supporters might concede that in the great scheme, the views of Ciaran Cuffe on Gaza - no more than my own indeed - are, frankly, about as important as a bucket of bogwater thrown into the great flooded forests of the Amazon.

Not that the Irish political class is uniquely over-excited at this time. Their British counterparts have been running their own Cabinet reshuffle for a while now, with Michael Crick, political correspondent of Channel 4 News tweeting "Hague, Green, Grieve, Duncan, Willetts, nearly all my Oxford contemporaries are leaving the government"....
Truly it is a small world in which they all move, and sadly, Crick would probably be the best of them.


***

In the actual world, in Dublin, there are people who live and work in O'Connell Street, or who sleep in it or take drugs in it, or who just walk through it as fast as they can. Many of them featured in the documentary The Street, the enjoyment of which was probably heightened by the awareness that this is the best way to experience the grand old thoroughfare - sitting in your own home 50 miles away, watching it on television.

It was also uplifting to see good folk like the news-vendor Austin Cregan and members of the Simon Community doing their work, but perhaps some reflection was needed
on just what it is, that is so deeply wrong about O'Connell Street.

Are there many other main streets, in other countries, which have become places of madness and desolation? 
On the upside, the Ireland's Ocean series has told us that we have a lot of brightly-coloured things under the sea, that some of it looks like those tropical waters you'd see on television, rather than the bleak monochrome Fifties look which many of us had imagined. We must go down there some time.

There is much to celebrate too, in Deirfiuracha na hEolaiochta, or "Sisters of Science", the four-part series about relatively little-known Irish women such as Dorothy Stopford-Price who discovered the BCG vaccine or Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the great astrophysicist. 
That would be Dorothy Stopford-Price and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Other "sisters of science" include Lilian Bland, whose grandfather was Robert Wintringham Bland, and Kathleen Lonsdale.

Call me Mr Pedantic, but in a show about Irish women I'd probably be expecting a few more Kathleens and maybe a few less Stopford-Prices and Bell Burnells and Wintringham Blands. 
Then again, if I got that, I might have to do with less of the BCG vaccine being discovered, and the astrophysics.

It's the same when we're presented with these Irish people who are such brilliant organic farmers, men such as...eh.... Pieter van der Linden and Hans Gunter Holzenbein. 
The best thing to do really, is to stay quiet.

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