Written on: 30. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured news | read the full article

Had Myles escaped he might have become a literary giant

Last Saturday, just about the most brilliantly shocking supplement in the history of Irish journalism (give or take) appeared in this newspaper. It featured the monotone half-decade, 1950-54. Grey rosary processions of women in grey cardigans were blessed by grey bishops, while other grey bishops scattered grey droplets of holy water on grey soldiery in grey serge. Ireland was the colour of a granite jail cell, lit by the forlorn candle of guttering hope. Another supplement, for the late ’50s, […]

Written on: 29. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured news | read the full article

No offence, but let’s end this god-awful nonsense

LISTEN to the Irish rugby players in New Zealand. They don’t speak any more of “lads” or “fellows” or “chaps”. Nowadays, to my mind tragically, they’ll only say “guys”. For Australians, the word “bloke” was once a defining term of their identity. Now it’s all “guys guys guys”. This week I got an email from the Broadcasting Authority on the subject of food advertising for children, asking all “stakeholders” to offer their opinions. And no, I have no idea what […]

Written on: 28. 9. 2011 in the category: news Uncategorized | read the full article

I just don’t accept the Darwinian law of natural selection as a means of explaining migration

ON Monday evening, the swallows gathered on the telephone wires. By Tuesday, they were gone, prompting some pretty age-old questions, such as: what will they do when underground optical-fibres and iPhones make telephone wires extinct? Will the swallows dig pits to squat subterraneanly on the fibres? Or will they cluster on children’s mobile phones, as the weighty little dears stand outside their schools, ponderously gorging upon a few thousand calories until their mothers drive them home, a massive mile away? […]

Written on: 27. 9. 2011 in the category: Uncategorized | read the full article

Moral order of banditry and corruption lives on

THE 30pc or so of the population that, according to the ‘Sunday Independent’ /Quantum Poll, in essence think that it’s not too soon for Martin McGuinness to be president are probably the defining demographic of this State. They constituted both the bedrock supporters of the IRA, and the Haugheyite wing of Fianna Fail. Theirs is a world of dodgy planning permissions, jobs for the boys and the entire wink-wink culture that has always beset this State. These Thirty Percenters live […]

Written on: 24. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured news | read the full article

It wasn’t economic policy which ended the slump of the 1930s but the Second World War

Isn’t it quite wonderful that the governments of the world, which are clearly incapable of breaking the recession-slump that is sucking us to perdition, are nonetheless certain that they can reverse global warming? They have proved their utter ineptitude at coping with tangible, man-made phenomenon, the global economy: yet this doesn’t prevent them from telling us they can solve a problem which is even deeper and longer term, and might not even be man-made. I’ll accept for the purposes of […]

Written on: 23. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured news | read the full article

If we elect McGuinness to the Aras we will be turning our backs on the victims of the Troubles

I see. This poor broken Republic clearly still has some way to sink. Pitting Gay Mitchell and Michael Higgins against the Sinn Fein electoral machine in the battle for the Park is rather like deploying the Kirov girls’ ballet school to protect the Winter Palace from the Bolsheviks’ Third Shock Army. The last I heard, the IRA army council had not been disbanded. The last I heard, Martin McGuinness was still on it. Ergo, are we close to putting an […]

Written on: 19. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured news | read the full article

Suffocating silence is Ireland’s weakness

Look; I’ve been living in Ireland longer than most Irish people have been alive, but sometimes — no, often — I think I understand the country no more than I did the day I arrived at Mrs Higgins’s boarding house at the back of the Stella Cinema, Rathmines. How is it possible that we are importing doctors from all over the world, even though we have given free college education to all medical students for the past 16 years? Irish […]

Written on: 16. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured | read the full article

‘Modern art’ is one of the greatest con-tricks of the 20th century … awash with stupid money

LET me acknowledge a personal interest at the outset here: I wrote the foreword to the catalogue for the latest exhibition of paintings by the artist Anthony Murphy at the Ib Jorgensen gallery in Dublin. I would like to say that Ib paid me €10,000 for my contribution, in fact I would love to say it, but it wouldn’t be true. I wrote the foreword because Anthony is a quite wonderful artist, of a kind that is regrettably becoming rarer […]

Written on: 15. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured news | read the full article

We must say au revoir to French imposters

When Ryan Tubridy, in the company of four Irish-American heroes from 9/11, last weekend spoke about “an ommahj”, did they have the least idea that he meant actually “homage”? That’s the word they would have used, and it’s the word Shakespeare would have used, and just about everybody has used since the Norman-French were kicking the tripe out of the poor old Anglo-Saxons, and making them pay homage to the invader. In a way, that’s where the damage was done: […]

Written on: 13. 9. 2011 in the category: Featured news | read the full article

Our politicians who steered the ship onto the iceberg have walked away with fortunes

A national narrative is not just about the past. It also enables the present, for it contains a covert and coded morality. This is why I go on and on, endlessly, about the 1916 Rising. It was at its core an evil event, wholly unjustified by the circumstances that existed in Ireland, with many deplorable outcomes. If you make that affair the “start” of authentic independent Irishness, then you cannot be surprised that the resultant political ethos is as lacking […]