A killing 40 years ago that still echoes though a family
The long-term costs of a more recent calamity came under the spotlight on The Ray D’Arcy Show (Today FM, weekdays), when the Independent TD Stephen Donnelly discussed the bank-debt deal with his host. Donnelly explained why he deeply disagreed with the Government’s strategy on the crisis – Ireland had to fight for the debt to be repudiated, he argued – while conceding that those in power believed they were doing the best for the country.
“They’re not doing what’s good for us,” said D’Arcy. “My children will be paying debt off a bank that [insert past tense of vernacular verb for procreation here] up the country.”
It was a lively encounter, D’Arcy agreeing with the TD’s scepticism about the Irish political system while dismissing his deeper idealism. “The beauty of democracy is that the choice is with us as citizens,” said Donnelly. “That’s arse,” replied D’Arcy.
D’Arcy also showed that sorrow and bitterness are not the only emotions that resonate down the decades. Love, or at least infatuation, can do so too, in the most unlikely guises. The crusty broadcaster George Hook, not everyone’s idea of a hopeless romantic, had previously been on the show on St Valentine’s Day, talking about the teenage crush he’d had on a Dublin girl named Francess. On Monday, D’Arcy went further and manufactured an on-air reunion between Francess and her one-time suitor.
Hook sounded genuinely overwhelmed at hearing his old flame again, describing Francess as “the most beautiful thing in my life”. Francess, in turn, asked him to have lunch with herself and her husband, taking to care to invite Hook’s wife along, too. With Hook turning on the twinkle-eyed charm, this was probably a wise move.
Even so, it was an unexpectedly sweet item, peppered with intimations of mortality: when Hook recalled a mutual friend named Henry, Francess informed him that “poor Henry is dead now”.
But D’Arcy seemed less interested in autumnal affections than in the adolescent fumblings of the past, details of which eventually surfaced. “She was the first girl I saw who had a see-through blouse,” Hook recalled, dispelling any dewy-eyed nostalgia. Talk about the ripple effect.
Moment of the week Pat, kettle, black
Discussing the renegotiation of the Croke Park deal with Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael, Pat Kenny (Today with Pat Kenny, RTÉ Radio 1, weekdays) spoke of a division between frontline public servants and those with more regular hours. Kenny felt that reducing shift allowances would hurt frontline workers more than asking other public servants to work extra hours. “For a lot of people, that’s just longer coffee breaks,” said Kenny. Given that he earns far more from public funds than any such worker, this was hugely arrogant. People in glass houses . . .