Tag Archives: Neil Curran

RTÉ News, yesterday

Last night.

Broadsheet on the Tellys Neil Curran shared a graph with viewers (see below) showing  virus growth in Ireland with Dublin and Donegal singled out, prompted by an RTÉ article which Neil claims is untrue and generating fear.

Neil writes:

“Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything”
Gregg Easterbrook

The only people who like accountants are other accountants. But there is one attribute to accountants we can all take from; predictability.

Whether its good news or bad news, accountants like to be able to predict it. Otherwise, even if you are giving your investors sky high revenue and profit results, if you didn’t predict it then you’re not in control of your books.

The same can be said for viruses. The difference here is that unpredictability leads to uncertainty and leads to fear. Fear is a very powerful force.

On September 18, Dublin entered level 3+ on the government’ Covid-19 roadmap and on September 25, Donegal followed suit. Second waves, doom and gloom, shame and horror – we are back there again.

With Tony Holohan’s return last Sunday, it brought a further wave of anxiety as the Level 5 leak spread like wildfire (how many of you are receiving the WhatsApp messages already where someone’s Mammy’s Aunt is a teacher and heard level 5 kicks in on X date?). It’s now a media circus.

Yesterday, RTÉ ran a story with the headline, “Still ‘exponential growth’ in Dublin despite level 3 restrictions”. The first paragraph tells us how Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, Tomás Ryan has said the situation in Dublin has got worse and we have what looks like exponential growth.

This is completely untrue

Rona rates in Ireland, September 18-October 8

…as you can see from this graph (above) which captures daily case rates since September 18, Dublin is not experiencing exponential growth. If we were experiencing exponential growth than the virus would need to be doubling its presence over a specific period of time.

Taking the daily rates from September 18 to October 8, cases are currently trending downward. That’s not to say we are out of the woods yet, we will need to see if that trend continues over the next 5 days.

However one thing is for sure, Dublin is not experiencing exponential growth and there is nothing in the data from the past 7 days that would suggest that.

So why did RTÉ run that article and give column space to an associate professor that was claiming a false truth? Why didn’t RTÉ fact check his claim?

It is fair to say beyond Dublin and Donegal the rest of Ireland is deteriorating rapidly. However, based on the data for Dublin and to a lesser extent Donegal, there is evidence to suggest level 3 restrictions are working, even if they are working at a slower rate than desired.

Yesterday, NPHET recommended no changes to current guidelines of level 3 nationwide and the government heeded their advice. Reading between the lines would suggest they are monitoring progress accordingly.

Without suggesting any return of complacency, it would do us all a favour if the government could acknowledge that level 3 is having a positive impact in Dublin and they are hoping for a similar trend nationwide.

Otherwise the lack of clarity will continue to fuel fear, madness and false claims made by people in positions who should know better.

Last night: Staying In Tonight?

Earlier: Death Without Dignity



Ivor Cummins aka The Fat Emperor writes:

THE ULTIMATE LESSON from Sweden – short and sharp for sharing. It will help people to grasp the reality, in these strange, strange times.




From top: Phoenix Park, Dublin last Saturday; Neil Curran

A month ago, a post went up on Broadsheet headlined ‘Dash It’, which highlighted a sign erected in Irishtown, Dublin 4, presumably by locals, requesting no joggers on a street due to the narrow pathway.

Some commenters threw ire at joggers, while others scratched their heads at the anger and some just got a chuckle from it.

Regardless of whether the sign did anything to deter joggers from doing their thing, the post does mark a moment in our Covid-19 journey where society risks turning on itself.

It’s now May and with the Government’s roadmap to lifting restrictions published, the reality of another three months of restrictions is sinking in and there are elements of society looking to vent frustration and anger somewhere.

Certain work groups, such as the publicans, are making noise about the desire to open earlier in line with restaurants and cafes. Until now, public talk of ridiculing the lockdown restrictions was taboo, something quickly shut down and certainly not entertained by the mainstream media.

We were all in this together by staying apart, as the campaign goes. However, as plans to lift restrictions, it is apparent that we may not be in this as together as we think, as we all have different paths out depending on our profession, employer, family status or age.

More and more, people are expressing frustration, pushing the limits of restrictions as the Government notes an increase in motor traffic and anecdotal evidence of more people outdoors going about their walks and exercise without giving much consideration to social distancing.

And to be fair, society’s frustration is understandable. We are social creatures, most of us haven’t seen friends and family in too long and online interactions will never make up for it. Many people are concerned about their livelihoods and are eager to get back to work.

Some are facing the prospect of having to rethink their careers as certain industries have a high degree of uncertainty as to how they can operate profitably in the new social distanced world.

As society’s frustration grows, that frustration will be directed somewhere and the risk of a potential segregation of society is growing.

From the Government’s perspective, the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan recently singled out “younger people in the community” when speaking out about the community infection numbers not falling at the desired rate.

Perhaps the evidence does highlight that “younger people” are part of the community infection chain, but what does that mean when generalised statements are used. What age brackets are “younger people” in? Is it nationwide?

From other parts of society, as more and more people speak out about restrictions, there are  suggestions that we should look at continuing to cocoon the elderly and the most vulnerable in society while everyone else gets back to work and gets on with it.

The mention of this one month ago would have evoked the wrath of the heavens, but now it’s becoming more and more acceptable to air these views. While there is no issue in that, the greater concern is the potential slur on society as a result.

Parents with young families, single working parents and families with special needs children are also facing a dilemma. We know that creches and schools are closed over the summer and as businesses return to work, the honeymoon period of working from home will end and parents will have to juggle their job and home-schooling/childcare at the same time, while those with no children or older children have less of a burden.

The option of Granny and Grandad isn’t there due to cocooning, leaving parents in a difficult position. I know of two working parents who encountered issues recently due to this challenge. One lost a client contract with comments made about children in the background during an online meeting and another faced a frosty reception during an online interview. Has being childless suddenly become a huge plus on your CV?

Love it or loathe it, the path to a lifting of restrictions has been mapped out and the next few months are going to bring new challenges for our society as we rebuild our routines and livelihood. There will be anger, frustration and sadness along the way.

We are looking to the Government’s plan as a route out of this but must remember it’s a two-way street; if the virus takes hold again, we take a step back. No one wants that. We may see further anger and frustration directed at parts of our society, including the vulnerable as a result.

The mental health of the nation is strained way beyond anything we have seen in a very long time. More than ever, we need to practice empathy at a time like this.

So, if you are the neighbour, the manager, the co-worker or just stuck in line outside the supermarket in the rain, remember we still need to be kind to one another and recognise that we are all struggling in different ways.

Neil Curran is part of the Broadsheet on the Telly team, an Improviser and in his own words, an unqualified commentator. You can follow him on Twitter here or on Instagram here.


Frayed .

A FREE Fringe running until September 12 across Dublin.

Improv maestro Neil Curran (him what was on the telly) writes:

Frayed is a range of free events – including theatre, stand-up, improv comedy, and an art tour with a twist at the National Gallery.

The goal of Frayed is to highlight the quality of, and raise the profile of, performance art in Dublin.

The festival also hopes that by mixing different types of art forms, it will make them more accessible and introduce them to non-traditional audiences.

The festival is fully volunteer-run and all shows are free to attend

In frayness.


Broadsheet on the Telly: mixed eclectic voices with hostage video broadcast quality

Last week, Broadsheet on the Telly bowed out after 89 late night episodes.

Neil Curran, who produced the show, broadcast live on Thursdays, and served as its movie critic, writes:

Many moons ago, Broadsheet put out a call for punters who might be interested in joining a new initiative of the site, Broadsheet on the Telly. The requirements were in true Broadsheet fashion, vague; “if interested, email us”. So I did.

Soon after I got an email from a John ‘Preposterous’ Ryan asking about having a chat. Well this was exciting. Was I going to be auditioned and quizzed on my knowledge on the site? Would John ask tough questions on politics or economics to test my worth? Would John quiz me on my political loyalties to see if I was a spy?

My relationship with Broadsheet over the years has been one of a casual nature. I wasn’t familiar with the site during the time of Kate Fitzgerald but became aware of it not long after. I read many of the articles, light hearted and heavy hitting, but I rarely visited the comments section.

At the time, Broadsheet had a reputation of “anything goes” in the comments section so I never got acquainted with the regular posters nor the drama that sometimes raised its head.

Cut back to that video call with John and seeing him for the first time. I expected a skinhead wearing a faded Pink Floyd t-shit with a Sex Pistols poster in the background on my screen. Instead I got a man with, let’s be honest, fantastic hair and a well ironed shirt, soft spoken with humility.

There was no audition, no quiz. Just a chat. I got the impression he wasn’t overrun with emails from people desiring to be part of the Telly slot. I guess people were just appreciative the anonymity the site offers.

Those early broadcasts saw a mix of panellists while the show found its footing. Johnny Keenan was there like myself from the start. Similar to me, Johnny didn’t have a background in media or politics and took party in the show for nothing else other than to be part of an alternative panel show.

Things plodded along until the tragic story about the late Ms. Dara Quigley broke. Broadsheet posted a link to the video of Ms. Quigley captured a few days before her death and all hell broke loose on the site. Regular commentators and panellists jumped ship and the comments section of the post was being hit over and over with anger from readers. Eventually Broadsheet took down the video link, but the anger continued and the damage had been done.

Of course, I missed all this on the site. Due to work commitments I hadn’t visited the site in two days. John sent the regular email about the show and I sent a reply committing to the show as normal.

I became aware of what had happened on the site from the string of upset and angry emails from some of the panellists afterward. As I caught up on what I missed and it made for very unpleasant reading and it was clear there would be only one thing talked about on the show that night.

I faced a choice. Do I also bail on the show? Do I add my anger to the comments? No, instead I chose to go ahead with the show. I was a panellist not a staff member and I believed that the site, via John, should be given the chance to explain themselves. I also found it difficult to believe that a site like Broadsheet, posted the video to draw attention to themselves or drive traffic too. I wanted to hear the Broadsheet perspective.

Episode 14 is a show that I will never forget. There were tumbleweeds in the pre-show online lobby. The only non-staff panellists who turned up was the ever-reliable Johnny and myself.

Even Johnny, an always upbeat gentleman, was sombre. John briefed us on his intention for the show; he would explain why he posted the video link. While at first, I didn’t agree with his views on it, I respected the integrity he showed in his explanation. He took the feedback from people on the chin but believed he was serving a greater purpose. It can be watched here . Right or wrong, I believed his intention was good.

It was somewhat of a turning point for me and how I viewed John and the site. That’s the thing with John Ryan. He always has a higher vision. His vision for the show has always been pure. He wanted to give a voice to regular folk and threw out open invites for guests all the time.

And It really was an open platform.

If someone didn’t come on or bailed, it was their choice, never the site. If you didn’t like a view on the show or indeed a person on the panel, you were welcome to take part of at least submit a view to the site (which in the latter life of the show could be done via the Live Chat on YouTube). There was no silencing of a voice if someone wanted to be part of it. (Unless you posted obnoxious comments in the Live Cha)

Broadsheet on the Telly did truly offer an alternate panel show that just couldn’t be matched by mainstream media. And while it was a low budget operation by volunteers, both staff and panellists, there were a number of stories that you wouldn’t necessarily get elsewhere particular as in-depth as covered by Broadsheet; Olga’s coverage of the Disclosures Tribunal, Lucky offering insight into the Direct Provision system, Vanessa’s financial review of RTÉ and the elements of the housing crisis, the candid in-depth interview with Tuam Home survivor Peter Mulryan with updates from lawyer, Kevin Higgins, both Stephen Garland and Kenny Tynan offering insight into the challenges they face getting the medical support and care they need in Ireland (for separate conditions). The list goes on.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been part of such as interesting show through the ups and downs over the 89 episodes. John, Olga and the Broadsheet team are doing great things with the site and long may it continue. Hopefully the show will return at some stage, after all, how are you going to know what movies to catch in the cinema at the weekend?

Previously: The Last Chatter

Free Friday?

Tightrope Dublin presents ‘Sketch Night’ in the Pearse Centre, Pearse Street, Dublin 2 Dublin at 8pm.

Neil Curran (him off the telly!) writes:

The thrill of theatre, the attention span of television. Dublin’s own comedy furnace,Dublin’s own comedy furnace, the Tightrope, presents a special once-off night of live sketch comedy.

Think Monty Python, SNL or Key & Peele, but here and now, and right before your eyes.

Featuring unique performances from Lovely Stuff, the Underthings, and the live debut of Youtube sketch group Kings of the Harpies.

Tightrope Dublin

Neil + 1

A night of improv starring Neil Curran (him off the telly!) at Smock Alley.

To wit:

Neil +1 is a unique improvised theatre show starring Neil Curran and a random audience member. Completely unplanned and improvised, an audience member is invited up on stage and becomes a leading performer in the show!

There are no tricks, plants or gimmicks; everything is made up on the spot. What unfolds is an alternative view of the life of the audience member, unfolding through improvised narrative.


Bill and Bob are the improvising duo of Shane Robinson and Tamryn Reinecke. They perform a specific style of improv creating real characters from the quirks of human nature.

Neil + 1 at the Smock Alley


Improv maestro Neil Curran (him off the telly) writes:

The Tightrope is Dublin’s only twice weekly improv night taking place in Anseo [Camden Street, Dublin 2] and we are pleased to be launching our monthly theatre night at the Pearse Centre Theatre pPearse Street, Dublin 2] this coming Friday.

Kicking of the theatre season are two of Dublin’s top improv groups; Auto-Correbt with their “Choose Your Own Adventure” show and Jess’s’s’s with the Edinburgh Fringe hit, “Poetic Jesstice”.

Tickets €10/€8.

The Tightrope January Theatre Night 2018

Chris Fair

Free next Tuesday?

Acclaimed Chicago performance artist Chris Fair kicks off his European Tour of the “Laser Comedy Show” in the Powerscourt Theatre, Powerscourt Town Centre, Dublin 2 at 7.30pm.

Laser Comedy?


The Laser Comedy Show is a one of a kind, improvised story telling experience. Chris uses Laser Reactive Technology to draw characters and scenery with a cinematic sense on a glow in the dark screen, which the lines fade in moments like a high tech etch-a-sketch.

Chris brings the characters to life by voicing them over, creating sound effects, music and continually drawing action to turn a 2-D screen into a 3-D world.

With support from Neil+1 (Neil Curran – yes, him off the telly!)

Laser Comedy Show at the  Powerscourt Theatre

The show moves to the Accidental Theatre, Belfast on February 17.