Brendan’s big boots


I remember Mary McAleese telling me once (of course it was before she became President, Virginia) that partition had in one sense worked, as two separate states had led Irish people into two different takes on the world.   If you want to see an example of how right she was, take an anti-sickness tablet, give  half-an-hour for it to take effect, then read  a column by Brendan O’Connor in the Irish Independent last month.

His article is titled ‘To play senior hurling, Sinn Féin need to grow up’. Yes, I know. This from a man who embarrasses himself and much of the nation each Saturday night as he goes through a sub-Johnny Carson routine that is only buttock-clenching in its teenage awfulness.

O’Connor declares in his column that Sinn Féin want to get into power in the south but they don’t understand the score: “West Belfast and Leinster House are two very different places and we do things differently here”. Condescending? Moi?

He goes on to warn Sinn Féin that “in senior hurling you can’t take your ball and go home anytime someone does a vaguely dirty tackle on you”.  Pssst – Brendan. If Sinn Féin had taken the ball and gone home every time they received a two-footed tackle, they’d have gone home decades ago.

After that Brendan tell us that no other party, in particular Fianna Fail, would have got away with kangaroo courts involving Mairia Cahill, the way Sinn Féin did. “Imagine” he asks, “if it [Fianna Fail] had refused, even now , to accept this victim’s truth”. What truth?  That Gerry Adams told Maria Cahill   victims of sexual abuse sometimes enjoy the experience? That Mairia Cahill was raped repeatedly over a year? Both these things may be true.  Or one may be true and the other not. Or neither true. One thing that is in noticeably short supply is evidence.  Which is normally required before things become truths.

Brendan rumbles on like that to conclude eventually   that  Sinn Féin is really all about  “sectarianism and tribalism”.  From now on, he says , people will link Sinn Féin with Trojan horses and when the party “talks about equality- the poor, the marginalised, people with disabilities – everyone will know it is just cynicism”.

And brace yourself for this final two-sentence paragraph:

“Welcome to politics, Southern-style. Kid gloves and sensitivities should left outside the door”.

Could there be a finer example of the  inability of many southern hacks to accept that Sinn Féin is an all-Ireland party, not a northern party?  Or a failure to grasp that the more the likes of Brendan come at them with hobnailed-boots analysis, the more Irish people recoil and give the Shinners their vote?

I’ve had second thoughts. It was too simple-minded to attribute all of the blame to partition  for the chasm between Brendan’s thinking and the thinking of us nordies.  You don’t get to be quite as  loutishly abusive as Brendan if you haven’t worked hard at it yourself.

Here’s the article itself. Maybe empty that anti-nausea bottle first:

18 Responses to Brendan’s big boots

  1. alex December 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm #


  2. Mick Early December 8, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Thanks Jude! I cringe every time I accidentally see his big ugly head! And absolutely could refuse to clinch my buttocks to spend valuable time watching his parody of stupidity on Telly! Rte real need a wake up call, I know the Stickies run it and all. It, seriously??

  3. neill December 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Yeah the truth often causes indigestion still at least in your eyes SF are victims hammered by the evil reactionary forces that keep Ireland disunited and the poor people oppressed god help us if SF leads us to a new Ireland B-)

  4. Seán McGouran December 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Has O’Connor written anything in the last fifteen hers that wasn’t an attack on SF? And on wicked Northern Nationalists, We seem to spend all of our time trying to get on Brendan’s goat, his being – in his own words – a “West Brit”. He has, so far as I know, never bothered to tell us why that actually means.

  5. Ruaidri Ua Conchobai December 8, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Suffice to read your above your observations, Jude, than bother adding to the click rate of demented Brendan O’Connor’s musings.

  6. Iolar December 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Busy doing nothing

    Chomsky posed the questions, who controls the media? Who sets the agenda? Who gains access to the media? Another question springs to mind, who decided that Mr O’Connor was competent or qualified to provide an analysis of a political party? Perhaps Mr O’Connor would venture an opinion on what passes for politics at Westminster?

    Nigel Mills M.P. was conspicuously absent as pensions experts gave evidence during a hearing in Parliament. It was reported that the Tory MP was playing Candy Crush on his taxpayer-funded iPad for more than two hours during a hearing. The deaf listener provided a display of arrogance and contempt for his constituents, individuals in receipt of pensions or who may be eligible for pensions and anyone earning the minimum wage. All this from a Tory representative and a Tory Party determined to eradicate health and welfare services in the interests of privatization and profits, a trend currently being followed by Fine Gael and the Labour (?) Party.

    Perhaps it is time for Mr O’Connor, Mr Mills M.P. and his Boss to read about Candy in the novel, “Of Mice and Men”.

  7. paddykool December 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Hi jude . I don’t know much about Brendan O’Connor at all. Am i missing something here ? Half the population in the north here wouldn’t know a great deal about the great game of hurling either, of course, but they will know how Sinn Fein have grown as a small outsider party into possibly the biggest party in Ireland ….and that’s whether or not they agree with their politics or not.
    I think Mr O’connor is missing a trick here too if he thinks politics island-wide are going to have that easy complacency in the future , because whether you, I , or he ,thinks about it , Sinn Fein haven’t got to that position by being little league hitters or political naifs. I think a lot of southerners are wakening up to the facts of a whole new and different future.I don’t know how it will turn out but it’ll make interesting watching. Look what happened to the monolithic SDLP and the Official Unionists. There appears to be a rising tide and a lot of people are not really preparing their lifeboats .

  8. greg December 8, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    how come 1916 ira were all saints with water pistols and 1969 ira are all devils with big bad guns

    • pretzellogic December 8, 2014 at 7:58 pm #


      The IRA in 1916 were not Saints nor were they armed with water pistols or lethal weapons. They didn’t exist. SF did but they were kept out of the loop. When the IRA really did come into existence and went under the title IRA as opposed to the Volunteers it was to ignore the electorate and try to wreck the newly created State. Kevin O’higgins once described them as mad men screaming through the keyholes of City Hall. The Provos didn’t exist in 1969 either.

      • Anthony Leisegang December 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

        Almost. The IRA was name-change of the IV in the Tan War or War of Independence leading up to the Truce, Treaty then Free State/anti-treaty factions.
        Before the Free State it was a combination of IV, ICA, FE, CmB etc fighting the post-WW2 invasion of Britain to put down the SF Dail.

        • pretzellogic December 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

          I don’t quite get your almost. None of the groups you mention were the IRA in 1916 . As far as the term IRA it was used more as army of the Republic to describe the Volunteers and that was shortly before the truce after Dev’s return from the States when the volunteers were to swear allegiance to the Dail. The name IRA only really came into use following the treaty split.I imagine you mean WW1 and I don’t think it was a post-war invasion to put down the SF Dail. The IRA were trying to put down the Dail around that period and that included a SF Dail which the IRA rejected the legitimacy of against the wishes of the people.

      • ANOTHER JUDE December 8, 2014 at 11:48 pm #


    • ANOTHER JUDE December 8, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

      They never shot anyone, nor did they ever use explosives. They would knock on the doors of the RIC and sit them down to a logical political discussion, appealing to their Irish identity. Then, if the RIC man was still not convinced, they would leave some leaflets with him, just to give him a little information. Nobody died in that period, peaceful persuasion was the order of the day. Bloody Sunday Croke Park massacre? Nah, all that happened was the British made the fans SIT IN HARD SEATS, WITH TERRIBLE VIEWS OF THE PITCH!!

      • pretzellogic December 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm #


        What are you on about?

  9. Anthony Leisegang December 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    No thanks re the link. Got to keep the supper down.
    The end of the Dewani debacle in Cape Town today, the judge tossing out the State’s pathetic case against the Bristol Brit experimenter, has settled the stomach nicely.
    The Dewani case — he was charged with organising the kidnap murder of his new bride within an hour of their arrival in the city — gives one faith once more in our wobbly justice system here.
    The system does not need bootman Brandan’s branding, not employing the jury system of bigoted lay people of any kind.
    A skilled judge, assisted by peers if needed, suffices to deliver what the Brandan brand cannot — reason, rationality and plain fairness.
    And Cape Town is an African capital.

  10. Perkin Warbeck December 8, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    Brendan O’Connor is known as the Desperate Dan of Donnybrook, Dublin 4 for all too obvious reasons: behold that chest-of-drawers chin of this native of Cactusville, Cork. Dat is de county which is known for de Re-bel Yell. Shucks, Cork is not only the largest county in the Free Southern Stateen, it’s even shaped like Texas, y’all and in a similar location, vis a vis, like.

    The main difference between the Langer from Leeside and the other wheelbarrowers of dosh from the public purse is that he beefs up on pasture-sized plates of cow-pie whereas the other Spinach Doctors of Orthodoxy achieve their Popeye-proportioned forearms by scoffing the S-stuff.

    The only time Perkie’s inner masochist was remotely tempted to risk a gawk at his Saturday Night farrago of a Show was when Bernard Dunne was a, erm, guest. At the time, the boxer, a champion of the First Official Language of the FSS, was embarking on a crusade to entice folk to answer the bell and let their tongues do the talking.

    Desperate Dan of Dis, Dat, Dese and Dose was having none of this malarkey and his, erm, guest had hardly taken his seat when he was greeted with a below the belt sneer every bit as low and as slimy as a boa constrictor’s cor blimey. It was all very Donybrook, Dublin 4 and all too reminiscent of G.B’s extending the hand of friendship to his pocket and all that lies within when a certain Six County Sinn Feiner was, erm, guest on his show. G.B. for Gay Byrne.

    Even the ranks of Tuscany would scarce have forborne to cheer, not to mention throw up their sweaty nightcaps in celebration if the riposte appropriate to this boorish greeting had been given: a clout on the loutish chin. But of course, Bernard Dunne is much too much of a gentleman and no daw, as dey say on Leeside, like: that chin which requires a blow torch and a chisel to shave would have knackered his knuckles beyond the point of no return.

    All too predictably Desperate Dan is a Fianna Failure and a pal of B for Bertie. FF is the party of yes, Dev, the Long Fellow himself who had such a thing about the leprechaun that he insisted it become the First Official Language of the FSS. Like B. Dunne (see above) he thought it was a natural enough thing for Eireland to do. i.e, to become bilingual. It’s what normal countries do.

    One would hesitate to describe the B for Bertie as even a monoglot. He’s the former Prime Minister of the FSS who used to have a supporter’s private plane on standby on the tarmac of Dublin Airport on Sunday mornings so Super-Dub could fly over to Old Trafford to bone up on his obviouslies, in fairness. Fro some reason, Bertie always gave the impression, even in his Anorak days, of having a left arm’s length of wristwatches below his sleeven’s sleeves.

    F.F. is now the F.S.S. party which has revived the Sinn Fein/IRA coupling. That’s in keeping with the sticky plastering of the Roman prefix in front of the Catholic Church. One would be forgiven for thinking it was The Big Mon rather the Long Fellow who drew up the plans for the Free Southern Stateen.

    Take the radio programme last Saturday on RTE in which Lynn Boylan MEP of Sinn Fein was ankle snapped on one side by Senator Darragh O’Brien, from the Fianna Gael wing of Fine Fail and on the other side by Simon Y. Harris of the Fine Fail wing of Fianna Gael.

    The Y. there stands of ‘Young’ as in ‘I’m the youngest M.P. in the Irish House of Commons and the most junior Minister in the Government’ as Simon Y. Harris (17) never lets his listeners forget. Only the Ogres of Sinn Fein used Og in their names. Simon Y. is the junior minister in the Dept of Finance.

    Senator O’Brien gave Lynne B’s references to Norneverland somewhat short shrift. He wanted her to concentrate on the southern side of the Black Pig’s Dyke, though he didn’t specify whether he considered if Malin Head lay on the s. side of the BPD or not. Meanwhile, Simon Y. was reminding Lynn B. MEP, who exactly was the youngest member of the Irish House of Commons.

    One suspects the Senator out Berties even Bertie in the sports ecumenism stakes. Consider the following: not only is the versatile Senator O’Brien an active member of St. Syvester’s GAA club but the time-managing Senator is also an active member of Malahide United F.C., not to mention being an active member of Malahide RFC. One suspects ‘The Clash’ is S.O’B’s favourite band. Just as one has a hunch Simon Y. Harris may be heard whistling Cliff Richards’ ‘The Young Ones’ in time to his smart phone’s ring tone.

    But, to end where one began: Perkie would now like to consider Desperate Dan and his place in the, erm, pecking order in the RTE Wheelbarrowers’ Amalgamated Union. Given the sensational news today that Ray (as in sunshine out of) Darcy is back in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 after an spell-binding s. in one of DOBlin’s private wireless stations.

    During the run up to the FSS Presidential Election Ray lived up to his surname by mooning Martin McGuinness like good oh on his show. This virtuoso performance obviously did not go wholly unnoticed by his former paymasters in RTE who have reportedly ponied up a bottom line of 500 Ks to entice him back.

    The dog in the street knows that this bumps Ray up from the back crack of the queue to leapfrog in front of Bren Gun Brendan.

    The dog being the brass Dawg beside the statue of Desperate Dan in the Dandy city of Dundee.

    The battle lines on the Donnybrook Q have been redrawn. Let the Shinners beware.

  11. michael c December 8, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    The two foremost exponents of anti republicanism in RTE for decades were Eoghan Harris and John Caden.They were both WP and then moved increasingly to the right when the sticks went into free fall.They boasted about having a “network” of people throughout the media and wider society “who could be relied upon to take on “tribal timebombs” like Mary McAleese”! Brendan OConnor is John Cadens son in law. I rest my case.

  12. ANOTHER JUDE December 8, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    The Staters would not talk such shite if they had been subject to the same misrule as the northern nationalists. They would have been out with the old guns and bombs before you could say `Michael Collins`. Partition may have brainwashed buffoons like whatsisname but it will never silence the desire of the nationalists in the north to be free and rule themselves. The tricky part will be in convincing the Unionists of the merits of said freedom as opposed to the dubious delights of being little englanders, no disrespect meant. Still, that`s what politics is all about.