Clockwise from top left: Neil Curran, Marco Dias, Vanessa Foran and Derek O’Donoghue

Indeed and you probably are.

Broadsheet on the Telly returns at 9.30pm for its first show of the new year streaming LIVE above and on our YouTube channel.

Join old friends, new pals and our pets as we discuss the news of the week, including the Mother and Baby Home Commission report

All viewers must be tested rona negative.

Hosted by Neil Curran.

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Not a celestial ad for Mickey D’s, just a rare conjunction of two familiar arcs in Scandinavia’s night sky. To wit:

Perhaps the more familiar one, on the left, is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. This grand disk of stars and nebulas here appears to encircle much of the southern sky. Visible below the stellar arch is the rusty-orange planet Mars and the extended Andromeda galaxy. For a few minutes during this cold arctic night, a second giant arch appeared to the right, encircling part of the northern sky: an aurora. Auroras are much closer than stars as they are composed of glowing air high in Earth’s atmosphere. Visible outside the green auroral arch is the group of stars popularly known as the Big Dipper. The featured digital composite of 18 images was captured in mid-December over the Lofoten Islands in Norway.

(Image: Giulio Cobianchi)


Gay Byrne in 1990

‘Dear Gay’

A documentary for RTÉ One, celebrating the ‘Irish people’s unique relationship with one of their best-loved broadcasters’.

You, or someone you know, may have received critical financial support from the Gay Byrne Show Radio Fund. You may have been moved by an item on the show to share your own experiences. You, or someone you know, may have been one of the thousands who wrote to the radio show after the tragic death of Ann Lovett and her baby son in 1984 to tell your own story.

You, or a loved one, may have been one of those who came out to Gay, anonymously, as the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Ireland gathered pace. You may have appeared on the Late Late Show, campaigned to be a child reviewer or performer on the Toy Show, been nominated for a Gay Byrne Show Local Hero Award or Calor Kosangas Housewife of the Year and be willing to tell us how that experience changed your life.

Whatever the reason for writing to Gay during his time in RTÉ, if you have an interesting story to tell and would like to share it with us, please log on to and fill in the form.

Or simply write an old-fashioned letter to us at:
Dear Gay
Dublin 4
(And don’t forget to include your contact details!)

The documentary will air on RTÉ One later this year. We look forward to reading your stories!





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From top: Bessborough former Mother and Baby Home in Cork; Dan Boyle

This June will see the 30th anniversary of my first election as a councillor. I was elected for the South East ward. The now infamous Bessborough Mother and Baby Home was part of the ward.

I hadn’t canvassed there. Part of my reticence was based on fear. My then wife had been born at the facility. She would have associated the place as representing a black hole in her knowledge of herself. While she had no direct memory of the home, her sense that her being born there would not have been positive.

Later I would have been asked to represent the Lord Mayor of Cork at an event to mark a significant date in the history of Bessborough. When asked to speak to the gathering I sought to depart from the usual platitudes by adding a personal touch.

I thanked those associated with the centre with being involved with the birth of someone important in my life.

My revelation was met with silence. It seemed that I had broken the Omerta. Taking pride in what had been determined was an act of sin in this place of shame. The shame, as defined then, was to be female and in ‘trouble’.

The report of the Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby homes makes copious mentions of Bessborough. Many of references are horrific. The unsocial contract that Church, State and much of Irish society shared contained provisions that went beyond the dumping on of the frowned upon, the tutted upon, and the failures to God’s grace.

Many, who were sent here to spare the embarrassment of others, were subject to a torrent of psychological terror. Many were put through awful levels of physical abuse.

Constantly they were told they were the fallen undeserving of respect. Their children were not their children. But they were considered to be bearers of the same sin, entitled by those who so determined to the same lack of respect and disgust as their woebegone mothers. The health and very often the lives of these children were disgustingly neglected. The death rate in these institutions were many times that which existed in general society.

Where they survived the children were taken away and given to others, often commercially. Some were made human guinea pigs for the testing of drugs.

The Commission Report goes into far greater detail on the scale and incidence of these atrocities. Though written with legal considerations in mind, it doesn’t in any way dilute the nature of these crimes. Where it does disappoint, however, is being emphatic on where the responsibility for these crimes lay.

Ultimately it is the State, in the form of governments elected and public servants administering, that bears the greatest responsibility. With this commission report, one of a series of investigations that expose how the Irish State unduly influenced by religious organisations has failed in meeting the rights and entitlement of all its citizens equally, it seems that the need to apologise, if not atone, has become all too familiar.

We cannot continue to allow sorry to be the easiest word. Such apologies are hollow if not followed by real and effective ways to bring about change. Give those who have been left behind and forgotten the rights they should be entitled to, the right to full and total information as to who they are and where they come from.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator and serves as a Green Party councillor on Cork City Council. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Paul Reid, CEO, HSE at Dr Steevens’ Hospital for the weekly HSE operational update on the response to Covid-19 this afternoon

This afternoon.

At the HSE weekly briefing at Dr Steeven’s Hospital Dublin…

The HSE’s chief executive Paul Reid said 69,378 of them were received by frontline healthcare workers and 7,925 were received by people in long term care facilities.

He said said Ireland has received 152,100 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to date, along with 3,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

He confirmed that there are 1,792 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospital.

Paul Reid said that equated to over 100% more than at the first peak.

Watch: Weekly HSE briefing on Covid-19 (RTE)


This afternoon.

RTÉ has reported a net deficit of €7.2m in 2019, according to the annual report for that pre-Covid year released today.

Via RTÉ (to be said in the voice of Fergal Bowers):

The broadcaster said there was a decline in commercial revenue in 2019 of €4.2m due to Brexit uncertainty and changes in media consumption habits.

Operating costs, including the costs of special events, were reduced by €2m while there was an increase in total revenue of €342.1m.

Licence fee income increased by a net €7.2m to €196.3m due to the €8.9m increase in public funding in Budget 2019 .


the Chair of the RTÉ board Moya Doherty said.

“The current funding model is broken, and RTÉ will face a material uncertainty about its capacity to provide the same level of services in the medium term if it is not resolved quickly and definitively,”

Save Tubs.

RTÉ reports deficit of €7.2m for 2019 (RTÊ)


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By popular demand.

Millie’s Spiced Banana Bread

Reader Millie writes:

This is one of my favourite bakes ever. I confess, I’m not a huge fan of banana bread – but this loaf changed my mind. There is something immensely comforting about this bake, whether it be how easy it is to make or the delicious smell that wafts through the house as it bakes and lingers for hours after. It’s a very forgiving recipe too, in that you can adjust the spices to your personal taste and in that you can swap the Greek yogurt for sour cream or natural yogurt, and you will still get a delicious loaf. It lends itself especially well to toasting, requiring only a minute under the grill before the sugar begins to caramalise. I like it slathered with butter and a good-sized cup of coffee.

You will need:

115g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs
190g plain flour
1tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
240g mashed banana (roughly 2-3 bananas, depending on size)
120g greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

How To:

1. Preheat oven to 170C/160C (fan). Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Whisk eggs together and slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, making sure to beat the mixture well after each addition. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl too, as this will ensure your mixture is fully combined. This, according to Her Majesty Queen Mary Berry of Cakes, will help to avoid the dreaded curdling of the egg. I’d also recommend keeping your butter and eggs at an even temperature, as this can also help. In any event, I usually carry on with the bake, even if it has curdled a bit.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and spices. Add to butter, sugar and egg mixture and fold together until just combined.

4. Next, mash your bananas. I should add that I never actually weight out the bananas, just throw in 2 or 3 ripe bananas and the loaf has always turned out well. Add mashed banana, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract and mix again.

5. Pour mixture into greased and floured loaf tin and bake for approximately 50-60 minutes, until a deep golden brown and a skewer, when inserted, comes away clean.


Pics via Millie

This afternoon.

Good times.

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