Wigmore November 1985 - Jim Mitchell, Paddy Power, Bob Geldof, Paddy Aspell, Mark Killilea
JIM MITCHELL decided to award the rights to Ireland's first broadcasting satellite to a private firm rather than to RTE. Fair enough. We would like to suggest, however, that there was a far worthier candidate for the satellite than James Stafford of Atlantic. Chris Carey, bossman of Radio Nova is not only a man of enormous culture and civilisation, a scholar and a patron of the arts, he also has more than a passing affinity with outer space.
Urbane space person Chris Carey Anxious to establish himself in the race for local radio respectability and to lose the pirate "tag" Mr Carey decided to sack eight journalists and throw them overboard because they were members of the National Union of Journalists. Mr Carey was involved in a similar dispute last year and his behaviour in the industrial relations field has continued to defy gravity. He may think he's sucking up to Jim Mitchell by bashing the unions, but inside sources suggest that he has his eye on the satellite. This man should be launched immediately.
"STRIKERS IGNORING economic realities" said· the headline in the Irish Independent for a piece, on the day of the public sector strike. Fair enough, we thought. Don't give them a penny, the piece said; we can't afford it. Okay by us. But 10, what is this bye-line: By Brendan Walsh, Proofessor of Economics at UCD. And is the Professor of Economics at UCD not a public servant? He is. And what does he earn? Oh, around £25,000 a year, not to mention nixers like writing for the Indo. Can we, as a nation, afford this money, we ask ourselves. Can we afford Brendan Walsh? We think we should be told.
"ILL-JUDGED RUSH to the picket line" screamed the headline in a similar piece the previous day by a newcomer to newspaper journalism, one John Boland, who in his spare time is Minister for the Public Serrvice. "The government is already faced with the prospect of a major overrun on the Exchequer Pay Bill target 1986" he wrote. We were pleased to note his concern. Does this mean that we can have our £37,566 a year back please? Can we afford John Boland? We have a right to know.
BOB GELDOF is a great man. On his recent visit to Dublin to accept the magnificent donation of the Irish people to his Live Aid fund, he annnounced that his next campaign would be to combat child abuse. We are all in favour of this. In this regard, Mr Geldof knows that charity begins at home; he knows a great deal about child abuse. Mr Geldof's innocent daughter has been blessed with the name Fifi Trixiebelle. Mr Geldof knows child abuse when he sees it.
REPORTS THAT Barney Eastwood has been seen scouting around the Newbridge area in search of possible opponents for Barry McGuigan's next fight are as yet unconfirmed. The atttention of pugilistic circles has been attracted to the area following the Kildare Comhairle Dail Ceanntair of Fianna Fail's recent meeting to discuss that party's brillian t strategy in the June local elections which lost them three safe seats in the county. The meeting was called by party headdquarters in Dublin and attended by four headquarters personnel. According to the Leinster Leader, pandemonium broke out after Councillor Paddy Aspell launched a stinging attack on the local TD Paddy Power, former Minister for Defence, Haughey loyalist and scourge of the Brits.
Paddy Aspell claimed that the three seats had been lost because Charlie McCreevy had been denied a nominaation- and also because of the earlier expulsion from the party of himself, and Newbridge Town Commissioner Ray 0 'Brien (Councillor Aspell has since rejoined the ranks). As he conn·tinued his attacks, Paddy Power and some of his supporters became "very emotional". The meeting erupted and Paddy Aspell received "more a push than a belt". The man next to him was struck by a blow aimed at Aspell. There were extraordinary scenes at this stage as Paddy Aspell was cheered by his supporters who carried towels and chanted "Up McGuigan".
In our view, it is disgraceful that such scenes should take place behind closed doors at internal party meettings. In future all political pugilism should be staged in Croke Park where we can all have a look. Conducted in the right spirit, as Gaeilge, and with the UN flag carried shoulder-high by Paddy Power; they could become an uplifting national spectacle and do wonders for the coffers of Fianna Fail, the morale of the unemployed, and -the health of the economy.
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WIGMORE IS a man of many talents. He has, in his time, given pleasure in all sorts of little ways, to millions of people. He is a friend to the poor, the lonely, the destitute and Shane Ross. There is, however, a limit.
In recent weeks Wigmore has, in his palatial top-floor suite of offices èstaffed by policy-analysts, interpreters, advisers, handlers, an ethics committee which sits night and day and a secreetary on the hot line to John Healy held a series of top-level meetings on the state of the nation with the Cabi-
net, the hierarchy, and the Board of the Central Bank. We are sorry to report that these meetings have been interrupted by a stream of shameefaced visitors looking for "the massage parlour". At one point, just as Wigmore and our esteemed Taoiseach had come up with the answer to the country's problems we were interrupted with a particularly urgent request for unnspeakable services. To our great disstress the answer to the coun try's problems was forgotten and has still not been found.
We wish therefore to categorically deny that we are running a massage parlour or, for that matter, any other similar kind of social service. While we are ever anxious to please there is a point beyond which we will not go. We wish also to inform potential cusstomers that the Executive Health Club is two doors up on the right hand side, at number 16. Visiting Wigmore's offices and insisting otherwise bodes ill for democracy as we know it today and must stop.
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Man of the Month
A HUSH descended on the illustrious gathering like a fall of snow onto a carpet of rose petals. There was so much electricity in the air that even when the lights were dimmed, the audience glowed like Tehran in Ronnie Reagan's dreams. The Great Wigmore, for it was he, stepped softly towards the podium, his fabulously expensive snakeskin brogues seeming hardly to touch the ground. In his delicate but manly fingers he held a gold lame envelope. Inside, on ancient Irish vellum specially ripped from The Book of Kells, nestled the name of the Wigmore Person of the Month. Those privileged enough to be part of this august assem bly hugged themselves with eager anticipation, while in millions of homes from Kinnegad to Canton, by the miracle of satellite television, perceptible frowns of strain formed themselves on the faces of the common people.
In the front row of the auditorium the brains of a small group of cognesscenti were racing madly. "Who could it be?" they wondered. Who from all the hosts of contenders could Wigmore have chosen for this signal honour? For days the press had been agog with speculation. The Board of the Abbey Theatre had been hotly tipped for the first collective award, for their Outtstanding Contribution to the Arts in having the National Anthem, played by the Band of the Royal Engineers, restored to its rightful place at the beeginning of every performance in our national theatre. The pundits were to be disappointed, however, since Wiggmore in his infinite wisdom had already decided that the Abbey Board would not win this coveted award until they had the courage of their convictions and brought Bishop Newman to the theatre to throw in the ball and start the play.
Nor, in spite of vigorous represenntations, would Justin Keating receive a retrospective award for his outstannding contribution to the mining inndustry in the Bula deal so recently come to triumphant fruition. Even the collective claims of the three exxdirectors of the liquidated National Aluminium, Noel McSweeney, Ken Murphy and Jim D'Arcy would fail to win the ultimate accolade for their courage, fortitude and entrepreneurial spirit in setting up their own replaceement window firms and leaving behind debts of £4 million which might have deterred lesser souls.
By now, the Great Wigmore had reached the platform. Pausing for effect, he deftly undid the gold clasp which held the envelope closed and slid the hand-painted parchment from its snug resting place. "The Wigmore Person of the Month," he announced in deep, calmly assured Haugheyesque tones, "is Senator Mark Killilea." The rest of his words were drowned in a torrent of bellows, cheers and yahoos from the back of the hall. In the front row Princess Diana dabbed her pink silk handkerchief delicately to her brimming eyes.
When the wild ovations had died down at last, the citation was read. Wigmore pointed out that the claims of Mark Killilea had won out in this fierce contest because he had been unnjustly overlooked on previous occaasions, and for other honours. Markeen, as he is affectionately known to the people of Galway, to distinguish him from his late father, had deserved the nation's gratitude as a member of the "gang of five" who had given us Charles Haughey as leader of Fianna Fail, but he had been made neither President of the Republic nor even Our Man in Europe. These intolerable slights he had borne with dignity. He had even fought back from the loss of his Dail seat in 1982 to become chairman of the Western Health Board. And it was indeed in this latter capacity that he now found himself the holder of the fabulous Wigmore trophy.
For was it not under the chairrmanship of Mark Killilea that the Wesstern Health Board had decided only last week to seek legal advice on having female sterilisations declared illegal? While others might quake at the prosspect of interfering with the private morals of the women citizens of Ireland, of putting a stop to their reckless carry-on, Mark Killilea has not been found wanting. Mark Killilea, philosopher, theologian, man of mediicine, father confessor, we salute you.