Easter Sunday Marian Finucane Show

I’m part of the panel on Easter Sunday’s Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio 1 (11am – 1pm). I will be joined by fellow panelists Lynn Ruane (TCD Students Union President), John RTE Radio 1Downing (Irish Independent Political Correspondent), Niamh Lyons (Political Journalist), Ken Murphy (DG Law Society). Topics might include education, Dunnes Stores strike, housing / mortgages and young people’s mental health.

Any other thoughts?

What else is in the news this weekend?

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My Seamus Heaney Encounter

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of Seamus Heaney…

Seamus Heaney RIP

The following is the text of welcome remarks I made at a Rotary Conference in Dublin in September 2005:

“In preparation for the conference we considered all sorts of ways in which we might present a real sense of Dublin to you all. Some of the suggestions were very dramatic indeed, but still didn’t get across the essence of the city today.

Then, last Friday evening, I was returning from a club visit and, as I made my way home through Connolly Station, I found myself at the back of a group of people who were rushing for their train. I noticed a white-haired man striding purposefully alongside me, very much at his own pace, taking in the world about him. I glanced to my right and thought I recognised him. When we reached the platform, I realised that I had been staring at the man. He nodded to me and offered a broad smile. I asked him gingerly: “It is Seamus Heaney, isn’t it?” – to which he replied, in that wonderfully rich Derry accent, “It is”. I apologised for staring, and suggested that he must get that all the time from strangers. His smile grew larger as he threw back his head and told me not to worry about it and we went our separate ways.

For our visitors, Seamus Heaney is effectively Ireland’s Poet Laureate, having won the Nobel Prize for literature in the mid-nineties. That encounter last week encapsulated for me what Dublin is all about – that, despite the success of the Celtic Tiger, and amidst the hurly-burly of a capital city on a Friday evening, a poet can still contemplate life at his own pace and share a smile with a stranger.

Fáilte go Baile Átha Cliath. Welcome to Dublin.”

Seamus Heaney inscription


I was thrilled to receive, courtesy of my sister Ann,
a copy of Heaney’s “District and Circle”
with the following inscription:

“To Martin –

you should have stopped me in the station that day –

Seamus Heaney,

Christmas 2008”

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