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

Dream Cathedrals & Memories of the Past

Dream Cathedrals & Memories of the Past   Irish American News, April, 2018     It’s all good, this time around. I was at the cinema this evening, at a film by the name of Game Night.   It was an upbeat, very funny antidote to that over-hyped, over-rated and self-indulgent drivel called The Shape of Water – a film so awful that it was almost bound to win four Oscars. Afterwards I called into Oranmore’s Olde Brewery bar, a rare thing for me at a late hour.  You know: me with the creaking bones, the moans, groans and general all-around sourness at the way the world is. I searched for my oversized ear trumpet whilst asking the bartender to ‘speak up, son, I’m a bit deaf’ as he called me ‘Mr. Brady’ just in order to make me feel even more decrepit than I actually am.  And I thought to myself:  Well, here we are.  Somewhere along the line you turned into an  older dude with a ‘mister’ in front of your moniker. Sitting at the bar with a pint on the way, opening the newspapers (yes, some of us still read actual ink-print) and adjusting the new reading glasses, I looked behind me as a group came in from another establishment.  They were all young and pretty (both sexes) and had just finished a long bar/restaurant shift. And as I watched them and listened to their laughter I thought how much like them I was forty years ago.  They imagined that they were family.  And of course, for this space of time, that is exactly what they are.  In this glittering moment they no doubt feel that their friendships will last forever; that this feeling of companionship will last forever. Some were obviously in love; some were probably just... Full Article →

Gerry Adams and A View from Ballymurphy

Gerry Adams and A View from Ballymurphy   Appears in Chicago’s Irish American News, March, 2018     Heaven knows that I’m not exactly the greatest Sinn Fein supporter in the world.  Or supporter of any of the other power-based political systems, dress them up how you will.  In fact I’d trust that lot about as far as I could throw any political party.  With my weaker arm. And a broken arm at that. But much to my disgust I’ve found myself…oh, kind of warming to them in recent years. And a lot of that is down to Mary Lou McDonald.  She is certainly one of the more astute and constructively combative politicians this island has produced. I’ve been watching with something less than amazement the attacks on her this week by the mainstream media as she replaces Gerry Adams as leader of SF.  She hasn’t even been in the job for more than a couple of days and you would think that she was the Devil Incarnate.  Well, taking over from the previous Devil Incarnate, maybe! I could go on at length as to why I like her, but in fact I now need look no farther than this comment: “Leo is kind of smarmy.”  What? Leo Varadkar is kind of smarmy? The only disagreement I’d have with Mary Lou there is the use of ‘kind of’. Meanwhile, back at the ranch… I was knocked out last week by an article from my neighbour Paddy McMenamin, who has a regular column in the Donegal weekly paper, the Tirconaill Tribune.  Paddy is a Belfast man, although before settling in County Galway he had spent thirty years in Donegal.  He’s one of those guys who is always upbeat when you meet him; a great conversationalist (unlike my more morose self); and... Full Article →

Roaring Backslappers & Raging Bull Talkers

Roaring Backslappers & Raging Bull Talkers                                              Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’, February 2018   “I’m not on speaking terms with half of the people here because I tell them what they don’t want to hear while they stand around like a bunch of glad-handing, back-slapping jackasses, congratulating each other on what they didn’t understand to begin with”.  – the late, great Jerry Fielding, who wrote the soundtracks for director Sam Peckinpah, amongst others. No wonder he and Sam got on.   The New Year and Christmas season was over and I was coming back to Galway after a two-week break in Scotland.  I had been in the small town of Ayr on the west coast where I was incredibly lucky with the weather.  In fact, there were days when I felt like that guy in Lost Horizon:  wandering through the ice and snow of the Himalayas only to come across this inexplicably warm valley. Now I was at the airport and hearing of delay after delay as the snow really began to come down.  That was OK, though; I’d rather spend all night in an airport than not arrive at all. Finally, aboard the flight, I had my usual feelings of excitement as I awaited takeoff and for the ground to fall away from under us as we get one of those reminders of just how tiny we really are.  I’ve been incredibly lucky to have travelled or worked in well over thirty countries through the years and I love flying; but that feeling of awe that anything as big as a plane can actually stay up there has never left me.  I hope it never does. Yet as we took off I looked over the aisle at the kid across from me.  He was maybe ten years of age... Full Article →