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Anna Nolan: Diarmuid, you're a gardener. Now stop lecturing me and go and do some weeding

When Brendan Gleeson appeared on The Late Late Show several years ago, and tore the health service to shreds, we as the audience were gobsmacked that someone spoke so angrily and so passionately about how his mother was treated in an A and E department.

It was a spontaneous outburst, that was timed perfectly and executed brilliantly. He was no campaigner, but he spoke like a leader.


It's a dicey move when you decide to preach on The Late Late, and it can go horribly wrong, as it did on Friday night with Diarmuid Gavin.

Diarmuid is an extremely talented and creative gardener. He is also a complex character. His career has gone up and down like the annual growth and decay of ivy. So I thought his appearance on The Late Late would give an insight into this left field horticulturist.

Instead, we were lectured on how negative a nation we are. And I HATE people lecturing me.

We were told not to blame the politicians for everything that has gone wrong. He told us to get out and clean the streets. In a strange reaction to the recent story of a man's electricity being cut off, Diarmuid suggested, "if your electricity is cut off, go out and do something". Like what Diarmuid, build a generator?

RTE was told by Diarmuid to come up with formats and sell them around the world (which they actually do). In a rant that seemed to have Diarmuid on the brink of tears, it was an uncomfortable interview and a missed opportunity.

The telltale sign was when Diarmuid apologised at the end of the interview, saying: "Sorry if I ruined it."

I think we would have benefited much more if Diarmuid had told us how he had gotten through HIS tough times. How he rose above the average gardeners. How he fought against the system to make it to the top.

I would have loved to have heard about all of those Chelsea gardens and the joy and pain of winning and losing. I would have loved to have heard about his traumas and his achievements.


Sometimes it takes a small personal story to have a huge impact. There's only one Brendan Gleeson moment, and there's no point in trying to recreate it!

I wonder who set this up -- was it suggested to Diarmuid that he should do a rant, was he encouraged? Was he being pushed as some sort of campaigner.

Diarmuid is no campaigner -- he is a gardener.

Either way, whoever decided to allow Diarmuid to tell us how to live our lives, big mistake. A truly embarrassing moment.

Oh, Olwyn, don't blame your babies

Olwyn Enright has been on my mind for some time. Her resignation from politics left me irritated in the extreme.

She blames the departure on her home situation -- saying that she could not keep doing what she was doing because of having a young family.

When I heard this explanation, I immediately thought: "Olwyn, say you couldn't hack it, say the pressure was unbearable, say you sucked at your job, but don't blame your babies for taking you out of the workplace." Why do women bow out? What happens to us in the workplace when we reach a certain level of difficulty, or stress, or stagnation that we simply take the option to leave rather than to go on and fight it?

Yes, motherhood is demanding. As my mother would say, with a wry grin, "Mother-hood is the toughest, yet most rewarding job in the world". But, without a doubt, some women use it as a safety valve, opting to be at home rather than getting back into the workplace.

I have no children, but I have experienced the little voice that women hear when they haven't got that promotion, or when they feel their career is at a stand still, or things are a little unfulfilling. The little voice that says "just give up", or "go down to three working days a week", or "become a volunteer in a chimpanzee hospital in Africa".

Leaving a job because it has become a bit tough, and using the excuse of wanting to be a full-time mother, is not acceptable any more. Family life and work life is tough -- but you know what, life is tough for everyone.