Leinster House

Picture by John Patton

“What do you think is the biggest political crisis facing Britain and the rest of Europe at present?”  A question put to me by a guy that I found myself chatting to in a Dublin pub while we waited for the start of the Ireland-Georgia soccer match. Syria and the refugee crisis was my obvious answer.

“If someone, say a Palestinian, managed to convince ISIS to lay down their arms and seek change by democratic means, how would he be regarded?”

” Paddy Power would be offering very short odds on him for the Nobel Peace Prize,” I replied, “but it looks to be  a pretty bleak scenario.”

My new acquaintance had further questions.

“Thirty years ago, what was the biggest military and political issue to dominate Westminster?”

“Undoubtedly, the conflict in the North,” I suggested.   

Now he got to the point of all these questions; Gerry Adams had played a  pivotal role in convincing the IRA  that the time for armed conflict was over and that an agreed, political solution was in the best interests of all people, North and South, Unionist, Republican and Nationalist. This chance meeting was with a middle aged man, Kieran, whose parents had  relocated to Dublin from Belfast in the early seventies. He was a software programmer in a   management position with one of the many multinationals which are well established in the Dublin area. He was particularly incensed that the political kudos from the Good Friday Agreement  had been attributed by the British and Irish media to Blair and Ahern; two people whose reputations, in Greek classical fashion, would soon crash and burn for different  reasons.

Some may question the simplistic nature of Kieran’s logic  but he had a point and it was glaringly obvious in some of the journalism that I encountered. My hotel supplied free copies of the Irish Independent, presumably provided by the paper to boost flagging circulation figures for advertisers.  The consistently high quality of Irish journalism attracted International admiration when I lived there over forty years ago; it is evidenced by the large numbers of Irish correspondents who have made World-wide reputations – Fergal Keane and Orla Guerin, for example. In the Sunday Independent, I chanced on a piece by Jim Cusack, whom I judged to be a graduate of an Enid Blyton  Media Studies course. Under the headline, ‘Provos panic as drug gang’s €500K is taken’  he was given a full half page to tell a story about drug operations and money laundering  in the Border area and he manages to write it without naming a single source or identifying any of the people involved but obliquely linking it to Adams and Sinn Fein. Eoghan Harris was another feature writer  in the same paper but it would take too long to delineate his professional failings.

Back to Kieran,  educated and a high earner, not the identikit profile of a Sinn Fein supporter in the South.  The party had a very successful European election campaign, has polled consistently well and is admired, even grudgingly by non-supporters, for its commitment and discipline in the Dáil. Kieran is quite prepared for a Taoiseach Adams and hopes that he will then be recognised by the Nobel Committee for his work on the Peace Process.

There may be a lot of silent Kierans out there.           

7 Responses to WISE WORDS IN A DUBLIN PUB by John Patton

  1. Sherdy September 20, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    ‘A prophet is never recognised in his own land’!
    The publicity business (never big on morals or ethics) some years ago utilised what they called knocking advertising where they would ‘knock’ the quality of their opponents’ products, but they eventually realised that long term negativity did no one any good.
    But politicians have latched on to the knocking idea and they have no qualms about demeaning their opposition – no dirty tricks are considered below the pale – and they will publicise it on every occasion, in every arena.
    As far as the Nobel award for Gerry Adams was concerned, apparently at the time it was being mooted for John Hume, Gerry Adams was to be the other recipient, but the London and Dublin governments objected, as there would be no ‘honour’ for a unionist (in the pursuit of ‘fairness’) so the Swedish committee acquiesced.
    Your opinion of the educational background of Jim Cusack is a bit too lofty, as he apparently failed the entrance exam for the Enid Blyton course, as he couldn’t differentiate between Noddy and Big Ears.
    But that sad failure didn’t deter the HR department at the Indo, and Jim fits in well with his colleagues there!

    • John September 21, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

      Splendid reply there Sherdy – Fair dues to you (and thanks for yet another chuckle at the expense of the Indo/Sindo!). As far as dirty tricks / scare tactics and the like – you may well have heard (you’ll be the last if you haven’t!) about the Election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s new Leader, over the water. Quick as a flash, the Tory’s labelled him ‘A Threat To National Security’ – and produced a 3 minute or so video, for the ever-compliant BBC and ITV to broadcast. Safe to say, the video contained pieces of him at speaking engagements over the years – but heavily edited in just such a way….well, you can guess the rest. Not even a week into his overwhelming win, with 60% of the votes cast (including, it seems, a high number of the 18-25 age group, who finally saw a Politician who speaks as it is etc.,presented himself as a change from the insular/old-school/neo-liberal mould – and joined the Labour Party in huge numbers) – The Tory response smacks of fear and a sense of panic – a la the (as you very amusingly put it) ‘failed exam’ media in the South here. The difference being, FF, FG and ‘Labour’ (who don’t in one iota deserve to use the name. The days of Joan chaining herself to a picket line she’ll have had erased from her mind somehow) – and a totally compliant media, will see a whole heap of muck-spreading in Gerry / Sinn Fein’s direction over the next 5 months (i’m seeing the General Election no later than that). I sincerely hope that once again, the public will see through the muck that’ll be spread – and that there’s many, many Kieran’s – and clued-up / copped-on voters in the 18-30 age group – plus a ‘middle-ground’ / middle-class that won’t be fooled one jot by next month’s (sure to be somewhat pleasant) Budget ‘giveaway’s’. (Buy One – Get Feck All).
      As for Corbyn and John McDonnell – who praised Bobby Sands back in ’93 – clarified his remarks on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ last week (to applause from the audience – but within minutes the Tory ‘rags’ were denouncing it via ‘Twitter’) – there’s a long 4 or so years of non-stop muck-raking and everything the Tories and a 95% right-wing newspaper media can throw at them. (The exception being ‘The Guardian’ – an oasis in a huge desert).

      Again Sherdy, spot-on comment you posted. – All the Best to yourself. – John. (Not the writer of this particular blog).

  2. Iolar September 20, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    I note Kieran’s parents relocated to Dublin in the early seventies. I wonder why?

    An old man shared two stories with me about a period in the ’60s when the UVF were murdering citizens and planting bombs in Co Donegal. He was a skilled tradesman, however, for a brief time he was unemployed. He said he felt humiliated standing in a long queue to sign for a social security payment. A female clerical officer objected to the fact that he had a young child with him and therefore was unavailable for work. She promptly deducted the daily entitlement. Another friend, an equally skilled tradesman in full-time employment received a visit from his neighbours. He was cordially invited to move to another area in the interests of his general health.

    Perhaps some of the journalists from the Enid Blyton School of Journalism should begin to interrogate the role political unionism played in perpetuating the social and economic conditions that contributed to ‘the troubles’ or better still, the role it is prepared to play in support of Tory welfare cuts.

  3. John September 21, 2015 at 12:40 am #

    A very astute and well written piece there John. A fortuitous meeting indeed you had that evening with Kieran. Hopefully, many, many (droves) of People like himself, myself (and it would no doubt seem yourself), will put that all important ‘first choice’ X on the Ballot Papers come the General Election – despite the Fine Gael “Sinn Fein / Sulphur” quote that emanated from their recent (no doubt, tax-payer funded ‘Think-In’ / Shindig).
    The recent ‘Red-Sea Poll’ made me wince i must say. – FG at 28, Labour 10 – and Sinn Fein at 18. All due no doubt to the murder in the North / DUP Throwing their toys out of the pram / and that old chestnut – “They haven’t gone away” – and an utterly compliant media – including the State Broadcaster – None of which has uttered a word as to whether the UVF, UDA etc have ‘gone away’ (which i very much doubt they have), and also needs big questions raising over, as i’m sure as day follows night, they haven’t disbanded.
    As for The Indo / Sindo (the blood pressure is starting to raise already – so i won’t dwell) – no less is expected of them (In fact, by the way, i believe it was Eoghan Harris who got Miriam “I don’t shake hands with murderer’s” O’Callaghan her extremely cushy number at RTE, from which she spouts her often mis-guided views (and Interviews with ‘C to Z’ list ‘celebrities’ via her ‘Chat Show’) – that’s the TV one, not the Radio ‘gig’. (The ‘no-shake’ as you will no doubt know, was with Gerry). I can’t say i was enamoured with her before such a disgraceful ‘act’ – taking it upon herself to be some sort of ‘moral guardian’ and ‘vote-divertee’ (if you know what i mean by the latter).
    As regards the media, we’re done for in terms of non-bias and utterly banal articles and ‘Opinion’ articles. Once upon a time, i had some trust in The Irish Times – but that’s now long gone. As Perkin, one of Jude and Paddykool’s contributor’s calls it: ‘The Unionist Times’
    As you mentioned re: the Indo / Sindo falling distribution figures – I often have to travel up to Dublin for Hospital Appointments via the bus from where i live in Co.Kildare. Every time, there at the front of the bus, wedged by the window – will be a stack of Indo’s. Re; The Sindo – Pubs around town – the one in which i live, and the next nearest – get a big pile of the Sunday ‘rag’, deposited F.O.C. – That’s a LOT of ‘papers – and where else is it going on – So tat they can triumph ‘1 Million Readers’ (sic) ‘Every Sunday’, on its banner headline.

    Anyway, as they say, “A week is a long time in Politics” – There’s a few months to go yet, and one can only hope that the right-minded Public (as after the Gerry ‘Arrest Stunt’ just before the Local / M.E.P. Elections) – will again see through the smokescreen and bull.

    – The ‘Graduate of the Enid Blyton School of Media Studies’ is an absolute classic by the way! – I’ll be chuckling about that all week!

    (If you’re conversing with Jude or Paddy by the way, give them my Very Best Regards. They know i have some health issues – which have been taking a great deal out of me over the last couple of months or so (and still are), and my normal replies to their blogs have been non-existent. – And Thanks for a very spot-on (and funny) blog John. – All The Very Best.


    • paddykool September 21, 2015 at 8:50 am #

      Hi John …good to hear you are still upright and still kicking against the pricks.You’re right about the Indo alright..I just spent a weekend in Donegal …and as you say free complimentary reader’s copies of “the Indo” can appear even in the smallest cafe. Take care of yourself …

      • John September 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

        Hi Paddy, grand to hear from you too. Yup, still keeping going, though the multi-diagnosis’ have gathered pace. Not upright as often as i’d like to be – a day down the (little) town i live in can have me on me back for 4 days generally. But the god news is, an excellent ‘Multi-Discipline’ Consultant & Pain Team ‘found me’ so to speak, a few weeks ago, and it seems that for the 1st time, i’ve landed on me feet, medically in going on 8 years. Lots of scans etc etc due. Only ‘downer’ is the feet/walking – turned the big 5-0 a month ago, and it struck me that day whilst out, that there were people 25-30 years older than me, speeding past! Still kicking against ’em as you say though. I sent a letter to some ‘hack’ at the Sindo about 3 weeks ago (without bandying my name and address about obviously) – he’d done a piece (it must have spread over 2 full pages, as i was reading it via the ‘Windows’ ‘News’ App on my Laptop). All about how he’d done a daring mission up to the Border to investigate fuel-laundering – virtually taking his life in his hands the way he wrote it. Basically about the effect on the environment, water supply etc. – So i thought i’d write and ask if he could look into the pollution levels of thousands and thousands of burning tyres, old settees and suchlike – and give it a mention in the ‘paper’ over the following weekends.
        No sign of owt yet. Surprise surprise.
        Other than that, just before i logged onto the blog – i was reading an article about ‘The Right Plank’ David Cameron. – Seems that while he was at Bullingdon, he stuck his mickey in a dead pig’s head. And it kind of went on from there (if you know what i mean).
        I’ll leave you with that one!
        – Other than that, still watching the stars (saw an amazing meteor shower recently!). – You take care of yourself too. All The Very Best,


  4. Neill September 21, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    There may be a lot of silent Kierans out there.

    You could be right ever nation has a large number of fools Kieran seems to be part of this group.