Posted on 21st January 2023

The view of Slane Castle from the hill

It was good to be home after my brief spell in hospital and great to have my inner spirit restored by being able to walk to my favourite tree and have a quiet conversation with nature.  However, 2 nights on a trolley in A & E, and the journey through it in a wheelchair to get a scan, is imprinted on my brain.  Surely we can do better than this ?  The Taoiseach after all is a doctor.  Speaking of Leo, what about the shambles in Fine Gael ?  First of all, we have the frankly extraordinary scenario of Damian English lying to get planning permission.  Did it not occur to him that after Robert Troy was outed it was inevitable that his lie would be found out ?  He had after all been a Junior Minister for Housing.  Personally, I’ve always liked the man but the bottom line is that as a T.D. you need to have your house in order otherwise the media will find you out.  If the loss of a Junior Minister from your own ranks isn’t bad enough, along comes the scandal surrounding Pascal Donohoe’s electoral expenses.  Now Pascal is a big blue beast, a poster boy for Fine Gael, who has so far given a rather unconvincing story about his election expenses.  He is to give a further statement to the Dail on Tuesday.  Sinn Fein smells blood and they will be determined to inflict as much damage as is possible.  The Taoiseach who was in Davos said the explanations put forward by Minister Donohoe are “valid” and that it is now a matter for SIPO (  Standards in  Public Office).  In this instance I don’t think trying to kick the matter into touch works.  So even if Pascal Donohoe is an exalted President of the Euro Group, he should still come into the Dail and come straight on the issues at hand.  To do otherwise would further tarnish the image of the Blue Shirts and potentially destabilise the government.

So war with Vlad the Bad grinds on with President Zelensky stating clearly that the supply of weapons remains “ pressing and very sensitive”.  Full credit to the British for stepping up to the plate by pledging to provide 14 Challenger2 tanks.  The hope is that the Americans and other European countries will stump up sufficient tanks to keep Vlad the Bad at bay.  Now here’s a really interesting thing.  The Kingdom of Jordan has recently retired its fleet of around 400 British Challenger1 tanks.  It has already been suggested that these should be bought and supplied to Ukraine.  It would immediately give the Ukrainians a tank division and would not be putting any advanced tank technology at risk of being captured by the Russians.  In addition on Thursday the British Defence Secretary announced that they were sending 600 Brimstone missiles to Ukraine which he said “ will be incredibly important in helping Ukraine dominate the battlefields”.  There is no question that since the start of this war the British have stood by Ukraine.  Putin is a threat to Europe.  Despite Brexit we still need the Brits.

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