Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn

Recent Articles

“All I ask is a Merry Yarn… when the Long Trick’s Over…”

“All I ask is a Merry Yarn… when the Long Trick’s Over…”   Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’ September 2018   It’s not the earliest memory I have of my parents, of course it isn’t; but it’s certainly one of the nicest. There was my brother Donald and me – he, six years of age and me, eight – in the back of my dad’s old Ford Zodiac. Crazy, the things you remember. I loved that Zodiac because of the little fins it had on the back of it. I was already into science-fiction and it made me think we were being sped along in that underwater vehicle from Gerry Anderson’s 60s TV puppet show ‘Stingray’. And we were coming back from a day on the beach at Ayr, Scotland.  I can’t remember what sort of messing around we were doing in the back; it was probably annoying our little brother Tom, who was four. But in that vague way you have when you’re that age, you always have your big ears open to what’s going on with the adults – the grown-ups – the ones that make life safe for you; not that you think of it in those terms.  But whoever first coined the phrase: ‘Little pitchers have big ears’ had the right of it. And we could hear Tom and Agnes ‘Nan’ Brady — our parents– talking back and forth about the lovely day we’d just had. White noise, really, except… Out of the blue, Nan asks Tom what was the happiest time in his life; and Tom says:  ‘This is.  This is the happiest time in my life’. I can still remember Donald and me just stopping – one of those magic moments of stillness that you never ever forget – and looking at each other, this... Full Article →

Tricky Mickey Lowry & Other White Collar Crooks

Tricky Mickey Lowry & Other White Collar Crooks   Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’, August 2018   “What business had they, bringing me here to the special criminal court in Dublin?” wailed dodgy TD Michael Lowry after being slapped very mildly on the wrist with a €25,000 fine for tax offences. Gee, I don’t know, Michael, but let me take a wild guess.  Maybe because they thought, like most of the rest of us and definitely me, that you’re a criminal? But he’s a card, is Michael.  A white-collar card. It’s all apparently a State & Media conspiracy to besmirch the name of a good man, you see.  In fact, he was only short of pulling on a Richard Nixon mask, raising the two fingered V-sign and yelling I AM NOT A CROOK.   Thing is though that I’ve got a soft spot for the late Tricky Dicky and none at all for Tricky Mickey. “Nobody understands unless you are in the position, if you’ve been harassed, chased and hounded by various institutions of the state.  It’s only when you are in that position, and fortunately I had the strength, I had the courage and I had the conviction, blah blah blah….” The strength and the courage… pass me the sick bucket, I do believe I’m about to have a movement. Ah yes, it’s a tale as old as Time:  a good, decent man picked on and bullied by the nasty media.  Amazing how different someone can sound when he’s giving a self-serving public speech compared to when he’s caught on tape, though. Here is Tricky Mickey being strong and courageous with property consultant Kevin Phelan in 2004, concerning a certain £248,624 sterling that the mean old Revenue commissioners were showing an interest in: “I’m asking you Kevin, for fuck’s sake, will... Full Article →

How to Make Further Misery for Children with Cancer

How to Make Further Misery for Children with Cancer Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’, July 2018.   I have a story to tell.  And because it is about a children’s cancer charity that is very dear to my heart, it’s not a good story.  Nor do I think that my tale will have a happy ending. It is a story that is only one of many chapters in the ongoing and very strange Saga of Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE). Somewhere along the way the HSE lost its way, you see:  it became not something that helped people, but instead went very consciously out of its way to hinder and harass them; badger and obstruct them; frustrate them and add to whatever miseries they were suffering through. But even by the HSE’s standards – standards that are now so low that you would have to turn over a rock in the ground in order to find them crawling, bewildered and blinking, into the light – this is a pretty low one. This chapter is called: TAKING AWAY FROM CHILDREN WHO HAVE CANCER. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. In 2008 the HSE made a firm, written commitment to help the children’s cancer charity ‘Hand in Hand’ to the tune of €450,000. Now, that’s a very pleasant, melodious tune.  And for a small charity that has its back perpetually to the wall, it was sweet to the ear to learn that they would have a little bit of extra monetary resources to help the kids and families that they care about. €300,000 had come from the closure of another charity which recognised the enormously important work that ‘Hand in Hand’ does.  The remainder was to come from the HSE in what I can only guess had been a sudden rush of... Full Article →