By Patrick Markey
Slumming beauty queen
She’s a queen, but she’s missing her carriage.
Miss Ireland organizers have been accused of leaving their newly crowned monarch without the car prize she thought she had won.
The Examiner reports that Emer Holohan Doyle was promised an A-class Mercedes for the term of her reign, but three months after being crowned, she still hasn’t got one.
"They said, you know, it’s going to take a bit of time to be processed and everything, and I was fine with that," she said.
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But the missing Merc has become an issue: "I mean, it has been a couple of tough months. I suppose, trying to get from one function to another and the fact that I’m back in college this year as well, and having to combine the two has been pretty tough," she said.
The Roscommon music student complains she’s been forced to hop from bus to bus and get her mother to chauffeur her around.
Kieran Murray of the Miss Ireland Office said that the car controversy was too petty to deserve a reply.
Fueling criticism, however, former Miss Ireland Niamh Redmond said that when she took the title three years ago, she had to buy her own car. And though she was promised £25,000 worth of prizes, Redmond believes they didn’t add up to that. "It was more like a year’s supply of tights, that sort of thing," she said.
Ulster sunbed war
For north Europeans looking for a year-long tan without the cost of three Caribbean holidays, sunbeds have provided a cheap and easy option.
But now, Northern Ireland’s local politicians are fighting to ban the tanning machines, at least from public sports facilities.
Several local councils have heeded a warning by the Ulster Cancer Foundation that the beds should be banned, reports the Belfast Telegraph
Ards Borough Council recently became the latest local authority to review its sunbathing service. Their decision follows Castlereagh Borough Council’s move to scrap sunbeds from their leisure facilities.
Gerry McElwee, the UCF’s head of education and training, said: "Ultra-violet radiation has been shown to damage skin, so we would urge people, particularly those at high risk, such as those who burn easily or who have suffered from skin cancer, to completely avoid them."
But Kathy Banks, chief executive of the London- based Sunbed Association, slammed the sunbed revolt.
"This is so stupid. Councils are there to provide facilities for the public, including sun beds," she said.
"There is no evidence that sunbeds pose a health risk to people, providing they are used properly."
Shaw’s literary sting
A set of previously unpublished letters written by George Bernard Shaw have given an insight into the prize-winning Irish author’s views on the literary life.
"Your story is a trifle that may have been written by any amateur," he tells one correspondent who is an aspiring writer. "Don’t make a confounded nuisance of yourself . . . don’t bother me with this rubbish."
The Examiner newspaper reports that the letters surfaced at auction in London. The Dublin-born dramatist and Nobel Prize winner at first appears patient with letter writer Albert Ridgway.
He had some simple advice, urging Ridgway to make the British Museum’s Reading Room his "daily refuge as I did for many years and Samuel Butler and Karl Marx did all their lives."
"You must write your fiction with pen and ink. Quiet is compulsory and the seats and desks very commodious — if you cannot write there you cannot write anywhere. Much of my work has been done in railway carriages and on bus tops," Shaw wrote.
When Ridgway offered to work for Shaw for nothing, the celebrated writer, who had himself suffered periods of poverty, wrote: "Do not steal another poor man’s job by offering to do it for nothing."
After another exchange of letters, Shaw is clearly exasperated.
"Please pursue your literary career without bothering me about it. If you have done nothing better since 1942 . . . you had better either try some other job or else by writing a thousand words a day for five years to qualify yourself for writing as a profession. Meanwhile don’t make a confounded nuisance of yourself by sending your stuff to authors instead of to publishers and editors."
Ridgway, who changed his first name to Athelstan in the mid-1940s, persevered and went on to become a journalist, editor and writer. He published many short stories and became the master of the fantasy story.
The letters are estimated to fetch around £1,800 at Christie’s next month.