Jude Collins worked for thirty years as a lecturer at the Ulster University/Ulster Polytechnic. Before that, he was a high school English teacher in Derry, Dublin, Edmonton and Winnipeg (Canada).
He is the author of eight books, including Booing the Bishop and other stories and Martin McGuinness: The man I knew. He has been a weekly columnist for The Irish News, Daily Ireland and currently writes for The Andersonstown News.
He has broadcast on TV and radio for the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Press TV and RTÉ. For the past thirteen years he has written a daily column on his blogsite www.judecollins.com
RORY McIlroy (MBE). He’s in his thirties, was brought up in County Down and is a household name throughout the world for his golfing skills. Patrick (“There’s a part of me that’s British’ ) Kielty. He’s in his early fifties, was brought up in County Down and is a household name throughout Ireland and the UK for his comedic skills.
IT'S hard not to think of that old slapstick duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (“This is another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!”) when reading about the present disarray within the PSNI. The Chief Constable resigns, the Police Federation representing rank-and-file officers passes a vote of no confident in the Assistant Chief Constable, another of no-confidence in the chief operating officer, and another of no-confidence in the assistant chief officer.
SO here we are in September. You remember September: that was the month when the DUP were supposed to go back to Stormont. They would have received a nicely-patterned fig leaf from the Westminster government and they would have marched proudly back into Stormont, flags flying and shouting loudly, to anyone who’d listen, about the way Westminster had been pressured into delivering. no, not a fig leaf at all, but a major concession. Others might prattle about fig leaves, but this was a strong, firm-as-a-rock commitment that NEI would be a part of the UK for the next 1,000 years at least.
IT'S easy to forget how much and how quickly our world has changed. Thirty years ago, there was no internet or mobile phones, which makes you wonder what adults gave out about regarding young people. “The internet and mobile phones have detached our children from reality! All they ever do is stare down at their phones, their thumbs texting like mad!” This is bad, we’re told, because it means these youngsters have opted out of real life. The obsession with selfies is more of the same.
THE fear and trembling brought on by that massive PSNI leak has been loud and public, and perhaps with reason. The names of PSNI people, their places of work, the departments in which they worked – virtually all the stuff you’d not want to be made public was made public, excluding home addresses. Think of a fox’s nose appearing at the entrance to a henhouse and you’ll get something of the PSNI’s state of mind right now. Some police officers have spoken of emigrating, others of changing house, others of changing jobs.
'Money is the root of all evil' – that’s what some would have you believe. As it happens, it’s an amputated quotation; the full one is ‘The love of money is the root of all evil.' And how true that is. Throughout my life, my concerns over money were more often about how little I had in my bank account rather than on to what degree was that little was impacting on my life. When I thought of my balance looking solid or even bloated, I got a warm fuzzy glow. When I thought of my balance being skinny and skeletal, I worried.
I WAS going to start this column with “Jim Allister is not a happy man." But then I remembered that Jim is rarely anything other than unhappy. Many things lead him to this suspicious view of life; currently it’s Casement Park that has raised Jim’s well-exercised hackles.
Occasionally, a news story will stop me in my tracks. The Guardian newspaper carried one such story a month or two ago. It was about a woman in Britain who aborted her foetus at somewhere between 32 and 34 weeks – in the eighth month of her pregnancy.
THE first part of last Thurday’s Prime Time (RTÉ ONE) was about a breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Although that part got most of the airtime, it was the second (and shorter) item on statues that carried questions for us all.
SYNCRONICITY they call it, I think. It’s two events happening that appear related but don’t come about for the same reason. The two events preoccupying us at present both centre on broadcasters, both involve the use/abuse of money, but only one of them involves sex as well.
AT the end of hours of witness questioning, Labour TD Alan Kelly said he was as confused as ever about the Tubridy/RTÉ debacle. I felt Alan’s pain, so I checked out Prime Time (RTÉ ONE) last Thursday night. You know Prime Time – where they give a summary of what’s happened and then explain what happened. Perfect.
I WAS in London last week and I remarked to a Yorkshire man I knew that I’d be interested in seeing an exhibition called ‘Northern Ireland: Living with the Troubles’ at the Imperial War Museum. He sardonically commented: “Remember you’ll be getting the British version of that time." But he didn’t need to say a word – I ‘d sort of factored that in already.
I'VE been to Wimbledon once – I drove a factory van past it when I had a summer job as a university student. But I’ve never been in the real Wimbledon.
JUST supposing you were wakened around 1am and when you peeped out the window you saw a group of youths dancing on the roof of your car. And supposing next day one of the group arrived at your front door and told you he was sorry about that, he’d jumped on your car the previous night. My guess is, among other things, you’d demand from him: “What about the four other yahoos that were with you? Where are they?”
EARLY into 'The NHS: A People's History (BBC1), a voice notes: “The NHS is seventy-five this year and it’s come a long way.” I’m pretty sure they meant it as a compliment. The documentary – much of it old black and white film – did chart the NHS’s development, but the emphasis, for better or worse, was on individual stories.