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Gerry O'Carroll: You are a role model for common sense, Amy...

FAIR play to the canny Amy Huberman, who was spotted wearing her wedding shoes out on the town.

Brian O'Driscoll's wife is a role model for common sense, and a welcome antidote to the usual glammed up WAGs. Nowadays this is labelled recession chic.

We didn't call it that back in the day, mind you. I remember a time that if you examined a lady's unmentionables you might see the brand name 'Rank's Flower' because the garments were cut from flour bags.

Not another tirade please, Twink!

WHEN will the old panto dame Twink leave the stage? Not a week goes by that I don't read another story about her.

The latest concerns her 'on-off relationship' with estranged husband, David Agnew, he of 'zip up your mickey' fame.

The couple were reportedly set to reunite but now David has been snapped out with a new beau. I live in fear of 'hell hath no fury' reaction this may elicit from Ms Adele King.

This tale has already gone from panto to drama. Now it's turning into a bit of a farce.

I'm not anti-cannabis but either the law is changed now or Ming gets busted

HARDLY a wet week in the Dail and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan has ignited a major debate.

The new TD has put the cat among the pigeons with his admission that he grows cannabis at home.

Ming has a long history in this regard and first hit the headlines in the 90s as an advocate of cannabis.

He's also been deliberately provocative on the matter, once sending hundreds of joints to members of the Oireachtas.

Strangely enough he has never been charged or convicted in relation to this matter.

But that may change.

His recent statements have provoked a reaction from rank-and-file gardai.

An editorial in the Garda Review branded Ming's cannabis comments as a direct affront to the law, and said that he must face charges.

I am against drugs, in particular hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

But my attitude changed many years ago, when I worked as as detective at Sundrive Road Garda Station.

We staked out a Drimnagh cannabis-dealing gang for a week, watching their coming and goings. What struck me was the type of buyer they had. Hard-working, decent and otherwise law-abiding citizens bought their cannabis there.

We subsequently convicted the dealers, but the whole operation left me with an ambivalent attitude towards the criminalisation of this drug, or what that was achieving.

As time has passed I've seen politicians and others admit using it in recent years, along with large swathes of middle-class people.

Currently the possession of a single joint, for personal use, can lead to a criminal conviction.

I was reminded of the Drimnagh operation last week when I heard an RTE interview with a grizzled New York cop. He declared that, when it came to cannabis seizures for personal use, he advised his cops not to prosecute. It simply took too much time and didn't warrant the manpower.

Mind you, those that supply the drug, on a large-scale basis, should be shown no mercy. I only need to remind readers of the case of John Gilligan, a man who amassed millions through the importation of the drug, and whose gang murdered Veronica Guerin.

It may have been acceptable for 'Ming' Flanagan toa campaign for the legalisation of cannabis as a private citizen but he must expect arrest now.

By reiterating his views, he has thrown down the gauntlet to gardai to come and get him.

The gardai can hardly arrest street dealers who grow the drug and sell it secretly and ignore a public figure who admits cultivating the same drug, albeit not selling it.

Presumably he thinks a highly publicised arrest and court case will help achieve his goals.

But can the gardai stand by as the law is so publicly flouted?

The answer is simple. Ming should be arrested and prosecuted or the law changed.

The Anglo Avenger has won loads of sympathy but not mine

WHY should I have sympathy for the so-called 'Anglo Avenger' Joe McNamara?

And why should I support his actions? That's what I thought when I saw the developer walk free from court this week.

Mr McNamara was cleared over a protest at the Dail last September, when he drove a cement truck up to the gates of Leinster House.

Given the full-on emergency that his actions prompted that morning, Mr McNamara can consider himself lucky to have been acquitted.

Like many people I wondered last September who this "super hero" figure was. Was he a poor homeowner about to lose his two-bed to the bank?

Or a PAYE worker who lost his job and had fallen on hard times? Not quite. The more I learned about Mr McNamara, the less sympathy I had for his plight.

This is a man who played a willing part in the Celtic Tiger boom, planning a massive hotel in Achill.


At the time of the Leinster House incident Mr McNamara owed €7.5m to Anglo Irish Bank. Surely a businessman like Mr McNamara knows that risk is a key element of his work. If the crash had not occurred he would be living high on the hog, no doubt.

My sympathies are not with crusading Joe, but with the ordinary people who had a modest home and are now in trouble because they have lost their modest jobs.

Unlike Mr McNamara, they are battling privately, day by day, to keep their head above water. These are the people who deserve praise, not some Anglo attention-seeker.