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Close encounters

On Monday's Mooney, Carl Nally from UFO and Paranormal Research Ireland revealed details of a terrible cover-up. Ten people Carl knew had woken up unable to account for hours of their lives. The reason was obvious to us all: they had been abducted by aliens.

So Carl was establishing therapy programmes for those people and he was spreading this news, armoured from ridicule by techno-babble, fact-like phrases and, presumably, a tinfoil hat.

"This is going to sound mad to people, you know that don't you?" said Derek Mooney. "Every time you discuss it they must think you're nuts."

But Carl spoke in an authoritative voice about Government documents and affidavits signed by military personnel and Derek played a recording of President Jimmy Carter in which he professed a belief in UFOs (sadly for the Carter presidency, he didn't believe in sound fiscal policy).


I wasn't quite buying it until the broadcast was seemingly interrupted by a strange voice speaking an eerie and incomprehensible language. "OH MY GOD!" I thought. "The aliens have hijacked the broadcast!" But it was just Brid with An Nuacht.

Afterwards, Derek read out an account of an abduction in which someone in Bray lost consciousness and woke up several hours later with red marks on their arm. Prior to this they had observed a "grey humanoid, four feet tall" in their garden. Several listeners in Bray must have thought: "But that's just Geoff! He's always standing in people's gardens selling heroin." Then Carl explained that the aliens sought sperm and ova from abductees, because they were trying to create a new hybrid species (not because they were lonely and newly divorced).

We can mock Carl all we like, but elsewhere a naive rural type was indeed being probed by a sophisticated meddling species he could barely comprehend. The probee -- human/ gombeen hybrid Michael Healey-Rae. The probers -- the Dublin Media. Back in 2007, Healey-Rae appeared on a reality television show called Celebrities Go Wild.

During this time, someone mysteriously used Leinster House telephones to make 3,600 calls voting for him on the same show.

Healey-Rae spent the week being beamed from studio to studio sounding hurt at the very suggestion that these calls had anything to do with him. Seasoned interviewers such as Sean O'Rourke (on Wednesday's News at One) and Matt Cooper (Tuesday and Wednesday's Last Word) attempted to penetrate Healey-Rae's wounded provincial pride but it was to no avail. Healey-Rae likes being probed by the Dublin Media. It gives him a good story for the pubs back home.

On Wednesday's Moncrieff Show, as anti-cuts demonstrations in Athens raged out of control, Henry McKean began an on-the-spot report huddled with tear gas raddling his sinuses. Then he chatted casually to various ex-pats, baristas and restaurateurs about the local cuisine. It was like a dispatch from Dresden in 1945 that focused primarily on how delicious the sausages were (to be fair, the always-entertaining Henry was really there to cover the Special Olympics).

A few days earlier on The Dunphy Show Greece was also discussed, as was the public sector/private sector divide and university salaries. The guests were Cormac Lucey, Brian Lucey, Lucinda Creighton and nude model/ columnist John Waters (henceforth referred to as Lucey, Lucey, Lucy and Nudey). As is the host's wont, it was an enjoyably rambunctious affair where everyone talked over one another.

This was particularly true when, apropos a thoughtful article by Nudey, the quintet discussed the wacky presidential races and began hilariously contradicting one another.


"The Irish people are a very sober-minded people in their hearts," said Nudey, who believes Finbar Furey should be president.

"No they aren't!" said Brian Lucey, who is a TCD professor from the department of 'fightin' talk'.

Soon the panellists were trying to out-do one another with ludicrous suggestions for the presidency. "I think we should give it to Ryan Tubridy when he grows up," said Dunphy. Lucey suggested David McWilliams for the role, after which there was the longest radio silence I've heard in a while. "We're still here folks," said Dunphy eventually, lest you thought they'd been abducted.