We Really Have to Talk About Bill…


From the May, 2017 issue of Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’


…Or do we?  I’m not so sure now.  Perhaps a few weeks ago — when he once more began to come out with his completely barmy and in-denial utterances concerning Catherine Corless and her findings at Tuam, sounding like some sort of deranged and cranky King Canute – there was a need to call a halt to his gallop.  But, by this stage, so many have quite rightly had a go at him that it scarcely seems necessary.

‘A busted flush, desperate for attention’, writer Niall O’Dowd rather pithily put it.  And that kind of sums him up, to my mind.  Dara Kelly, also at ‘Irish Central’ has a good piece.  And yes, we are talking about that strange, bitter and increasingly irrelevant gentleman called Bill Donohue, he of the equally odd Catholic League.

Still, just on the off-chance that someone who doesn’t know much about him might mistake him for…well, you know, an actual Christian… I’ll add just a few remarks on old Bill.

I asked several practicing Irish Catholics what they thought of his recent remarks and not a single one of them felt that he in any way represented them. In ANY way. Two of them used a word I haven’t heard in a while:  Ignoramus.  For the record, I don’t agree that he is an ignoramus, just a man fighting against reality and capable of some ignorant and ill-judged remarks.

In 2013 he said:  “This idea of two men getting married is the most bizarre idea in human history”. 

Really?  The MOST bizarre?  I’m sure that a lot of us, just right off the top of our pointy little heads, can think of much more bizarre ideas that History has thrown us than that.  But he wasn’t finished:  “The whole purpose of marriage is to have a family.  It’s not about making people happy.  It’s not about love.”

B’ the hokeys, the younger Bill (now divorced, incidentally) must have been a right bag of laughs during his courtin’ days.  How did he phrase his proposal?  In terms of a business agreement, emphasizing that there was no need for such claptrap as ‘happiness’ or ‘love’?  Just get on with the ‘duty’ of procreating and don’t be confusing the issue?

Of course, it’s vaguely insulting to happily married people who choose not to have offspring; and it’s possibly even more insulting to those couples who simply COULDN’T have children.  And he’s nothing if not consistent.  He was still banging on the following year with: “Marriage is about family – it’s not about love.  Two sisters can love each other.”

Uh…right.   And that’s the trouble with intellectuals and people like Donohue who like to bore you with their background in sociology:  an awful lot of them don’t really have much in the way of old-fashioned cop-on.

On another topic, here he was on his website less than a year ago:

“The bill was sold as justice for the victims of sexual abuse when, in fact, it was a sham:  the proposed legislation that failed to make it to the floor of the New York State legislature in the wee hours of Saturday…was a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church”.

Dear oh dear.  Even someone who has been existing in his bubble as President of the Catholic League for quarter of a century should have phrased that one a little differently!  Of course, he was busy gloating over his gang’s part in stopping the bill, but still… ‘out to rape the Catholic Church’?  Unfortunate terminology, to put it mildly.  I guess that along with ‘love’ and ‘happiness’ simple ‘sensitivity’ isn’t too high on Mr. Donohue’s list of priorities either.

He dismisses Catherine Corless as being nothing more than ‘a typist’.  Bloody hell, I’m not the best at making new friends myself, but this guy is away with it altogether.  Dara Kelly puts it better than I could:

“There is no end to Donohue’s pomposity. Donohue continues: ‘Those who think I am being too harsh should consider what happened when Corless tried to obtain information from the Galway County Council to facilitate her research. She was told to take a hike – she was denied access because she lacked a university degree.’

“Doubtless, they would have refused information, too, to college dropouts like Bill Gates and Michael Dell and Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter.

“…Nevertheless, Corless persisted until she obtained the death records, made the discoveries, alerted the world, and the Irish state investigations confirmed her findings.”

I would add that it is precisely because of Ms. Corless’s independence that she has been so tenacious in bringing this horrifying period blinking and screaming into the light.  AND at her own expense.  Every one of those documents that she has unearthed – being fought against every step of the way — cost her money.  And she doesn’t have the Bould Bill’s $474, 876 salary to fall back on.  To my mind, she is a genuine Irish hero – something that one suspects will never be said about Mr. Donohue.

Integrity is in short supply in this messed-up world; but it is a quality that Corless has in spades.

And talking about integrity, I see that you had a St. Patrick’s Day junket-cum-freeloading visit from an Irish politician who possesses none whatsoever.  And that would be Senator Aodhán O Ríordáin.

Now first off, don’t be fooled by that ‘Senator’ tag.  Over here it doesn’t exactly carry the same weight as it does in the States.  Although there are one or two that I admire, the Séanad is basically a retirement home for clapped-out politicians who the electorate made clear weren’t wanted in any shape or form.  As one commentator nicely put it, they have about as much say as the local Tidy Towns committee.   Less, probably.  They are not voted in by the People but by their own cronies.  Pure and simple.

So now O Ríordáin is lecturing the Americans on their choice of President instead of concentrating on Ireland’s own issues:  you know, people lying on hospital trolleys, housing…little things like that.  No, the man who was booted out when it came to re-election in 2016 and was undemocratically rewarded for being totally useless by being given an equally useless seat in the Séanad is now harping on Trump.

To give you a measure of this guy’s integrity:  he fought AGAINST Ireland even having a Séanad.  Thought it was a terrible waste of space, so he did. (And was right.)  He even made a promise that if he was given the bum’s rush – which we were more than happy to oblige with – that he would leave politics:  “I am not going to kick around the Séanad for five years.”

Guess how long that pledge lasted when he realised he was out of a nice little earner?  Put it this way: for all his ranting and raving, if Donald Trump offered him a job he would take the arm off him in his hurry to get it.

Come to think of it, I’m sorry to even mention this phony in the same article as Catherine Corless.  Apologies.