Thursday 24 October 2019


The crafty Bert has been creeping back into the public consciousness after years in the wilderness Photo: Frank McGrath
The crafty Bert has been creeping back into the public consciousness after years in the wilderness Photo: Frank McGrath
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

While Michael D is striding around Latin America, yet again, culminating in a cosy tete-a-tete with Cuban dictator Raul Castro this Wednesday, the bookies are slashing their odds on one Bertie Ahern to become his successor.

The crafty Bert has been creeping back into the public consciousness after years in the wilderness. And it hasn't gone unnoticed with wily punters. You could get 25/1 on him ending up in the Park at the beginning of January, but after a few hefty bets he's now down to 10/1 in some outlets.

That puts him almost in the same territory as Miriam O'Callaghan!

He appeared on RTE radio with Sean O'Rourke and earlier this week turned up on TV3 with Pat Kenny, making sensible, non-party pronouncements on issues like Brexit and Enda's trip to the White House with a big bowl of shamrock.

Remember too that next year marks the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the high-water mark of Bertie's achievement.

Micheal Martin doesn't seem to want the former leader back in the Fianna Fail fold - but could the "Drumcondra Mafia" upset the apple tart by pushing for an Independent Bertie?


Word along the leafy lanes of Dubln 4 is that aviation tycoon Domhnal Slattery has his eye on Dublin's top address, Shrewsbury Road.

Slattery moved out of his Ailesbury Road home, a stone's throw away, after scooping a reported €30m through the sale of aircraft leasing company Avolon to the Chinese conglomerate Bohai. Although Dublin is, apparently, the centre of the world aircraft leasing business, Slattery decamped to Hong Kong after the sale to integrate the new business.

According to recently filed accounts, Avolon made a profit of €105m in 2015, which, according to the money men, justified the price tag of $7.15bn.

All this good fortune must be a relief for the ex-GPA hotshot, who ended up in an acrimonious legal dispute a few years ago with Friends First over a proposed $14m loan to two firms related to his Claret Capital, which wanted to buy Washington DC's A-list hangout St Regis Hotel.

With all that behind him, Slattery can hope to enjoy an occasional well-earned rest from business in Hong Kong at his plush holiday home in Liscannor, Co Clare.


Celebrity chef Richard Corrigan is more hipless than hipster after going bionic with a hip replacement recently.

Corrigan, who now runs the upmarket Virginia Park Lodge in the Co Cavan town of the same name, or "Vergin" as they call it up there, was seen striding through Mayfair in London last week... surgically attached to his phone.

As well as running the private venue in Cavan's lake country he's still involved in various culinary and media activities. These include a TV series with fellow chef Michel Roux Jnr, although we're so confused by all those "lettin' on" television stations that we can't figure out if the programme we watched last week was new or another endless rerun.

Anyway, hip or no hip, it won't stop Corrigan's gallop.


We've heard all about fake news, but what about fake films?

When people see the words "based on a true story", they erroneously believe that what they're seeing on the silver screen is the truth and the absolute truth at that.

Well, they'd be wrong.

Recently the excellent film critic Paul Whitington pointed out a website called Information is Beautiful, which has analysed the truth content of a host of well-known films, with surprising results.

The film Philomena, which tugged at the heartstrings as an Irish woman comes back from Britain to trace the son she gave up for adoption, scored 68.9 according to the website's criteria.

So which part of the 31.1pc of the film is a good story rather than the absolute truth?

It scored so low because of the "dramatic insertion of journalist Martin Sixsmith into the main plot line and big liberties with what Philomena actually knew and didn't know about her lost son", the website concluded.

Even The Wolf of Wall Street, improbable as much of it seems, scored better on the truth meter, while The Big Short came in at an impressive 91.4pc true.


How many of those pontificating about Bus Eireann have ever actually been on a "country" bus.

On a recent trip from Dublin to Listowel, the bus was no longer than three minutes late pulling into Limerick. Was the connecting bus waiting? No, it had departed bang on time, but it meant that those of us completing the second leg had to drag ourselves around Limerick for two hours in search of a decent lunchtime pint, seeing as Collins's in Cecil Street was closed.

So we decided to take the train from Tralee back to the city. Eh, €87 one way.

And then they wonder why we don't use public transport more!

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