Terry Wogan: Irish ambassador or sycophant?

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I’m conflicted about the late Terry Wogan. The conflict is probably best summarized in the comments of two people I know. One of them texted me saying ‘Terry Wogan – Irish as it should be served, sycophantic, groveling, awestruck and grateful. With some loathing for all nationhood, bar UK, on the side.” The other person argued that Terry Wogan was an entertainer and consummately successful at the job he did.

I certainly agree with aspects of the second description. Wogan could be very funny, he was a reassuring presence and his death does leave a hole in the lives of many people, most of whom never met him. Enda Kenny declared that he formed a bridge between England and Ireland: England where he made his home and was so popular and successful, Ireland which he always acknowledged and celebrated as the place where he was born and grew up in.

On RTÉ this morning, a reviewer of today’s papers quoted the ‘Irish’Daily Mail as saying that he was particularly popular with Irish people living in England during the years of the Troubles, in that he showed how the great majority of Irish people rejected the violence that was being carried out in Ireland.

And that’s where I find a nagging voice that tells me Terry Wogan’s radio presence may not always have been what it could have been. Yesterday was the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. I wonder did Terry Wogan refer to it on his radio show, and if he did, what did he say? Maybe, as the ‘Irish’ Daily Mail says, he reflected the rejection of violence by so many people. But of course what the ‘Irish’ Daily Mail means is that he rejected republican violence, not the violence carried out by the British army and ‘security’ forces.

I’ll be honest – I liked the man. I thought he was witty and charming and self-deprecating. But if the Irish – or some Irish – in Britain were grateful for his presence, it was because some in the British population wouldn’t blame them for IRA or INLA actions. If they wouldn’t blame Terry Wogan, why would they blame uninvolved Irish?  In some respects, Terry was the kind of Irish the British like: full of good humour, a nice brogue, never taking authority or anything else too seriously. I’m reminded of a story I once read about a woman living next to Auschwitz, who tended her flower-garden with loving care, ignoring or dismissing the horrors of what was happening within smelling distance.

My positive respondent from the start of this piece argued that Terry Wogan was an entertainer, not a newsman or a political commentator. Which is obviously true. Maybe my conflict comes down to two questions: do we all have the right, should we so decide,  to opt out of politics and do other things? And if we have, is that commendable?

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79 Responses to Terry Wogan: Irish ambassador or sycophant?

  1. Donal Kennedy February 1, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    De mortuis nil nihi Bunkum.

    I’m saying nowt.

  2. Donal Kennedy February 1, 2016 at 9:32 am #

    That should be NISI.

  3. Jude Glasgow February 1, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    Cannot say that I was ever much of a fan. Here in Glasgow how was sometimes referred to as a “professional paddy” but I suppose that could be down to his persona as an entertainer.
    My real gripe with him was that as far, as I am aware, he never once spoke out about the injustices which were being perpetrated in the North. He was not alone in this as many Irish entertainers who earned their living in the U.K appeared to live in complete denial of the situation in their native land.
    A great pity because with their access to the media and high public profiles they could have made a difference.

  4. Iolar February 1, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    In response to your final two questions, perhaps Chomsky has an answer.

    “Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for meaningful democracy.”

    In relation to the events before, on and after Bloody Sunday, important questions remain unanswered. The evidence established that the majority of the deceased lost their lives as a result of aimed shots to the back, head or upper body. It is known now that paratroopers were briefed by a senior officer prior to Bloody Sunday. Some of the men shot had their hands in the air when they were killed. Non-issue bullets were used by paratroopers and the number of bullets fired was well in excess of the number considered by Widgery. In spite of the presence of military photographers on the day, it has been stated that photographs and rifles no longer exist. The truth about Bloody Sunday was known on Bloody Sunday. The manner in which the facts were deliberately distorted may still be found in some newspapers for the period.

    The Glasgow University Media Group undertook an analysis of the manner in which events in the north of Ireland appeared in the media. There are many examples of deaths being reported as a result of a shooting, when in fact the individual(s) may have been riddled with bullets, or a live lost as a result of repeated bayonet wounds, administered by military personnel.

    There is evidence available to establish that many with a duty to uphold the law and protect citizens, failed the test. The actions of some military and police personnel intensified and prolonged an appalling vista. Their attempts to hide behind a veil of national security may delay the development of a meaningful democracy, however, their efforts will meet with the same fate as Widgery, in failure.

  5. Martin gallagher February 1, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    Jude. You forgot to mention the most disappointing thing about terry and perhaps the most telling. 20 years hosting children in need taking a large fee secretly on the side while all around were doing it for free and while he was encouraging us to give generously. He also tried to embarrass frank hall in an interview perhaps playing to the English gallery but got a roasting from a man much more intelligent and principled than him!

  6. billy February 1, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    charging wages for presenting children in need tells me enough.

  7. fiosrach February 1, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    I think, like a lot of Irish, that Terry’s main aim in life was to become an honorary Englishman. In this he was very successful. He represented the harmless, joking Paddy to the English – the tamed Irishman – as opposed to the rest who would cut your throat for a shilling. As a well educated rugger type he was sure to fit in but I sometimes got the impression that he got an odd sly dig in at his masters. I’m sure he has left a hole in many people’s lives.

  8. Perkin Warbeck February 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    The reaction in the Free Southern Stateen Esteemed Blogmeiser, all the way from that of the PM down to the President himself to the passing of the BBC Broadcasting Behemoth who made his name with his own distinctive Terryman jokes ,has been nothing if not uniform.
    One is on standby in not tenterhooks itself for the official announcement that the Irish Sea will be renamed Lake Woebegone for the first week of Spring.

    Already there has been a Book of Condolences opened in his native city of Limerick but so far, surprisingly, no B.O.C. in B.A.C. After all, Baile Atha Cliath is where he attended finishing school, at Belvedere. It has been not a happy time of late for Knights of the Belvo Brand.

    The other Knight, of course, is Sir A.J. O’Reilly who also got the chip of being a mere wogman gently knocked off his shoulder by the tap of the flat side from the sword in Queen Elizardbeth, four forelock touching years before the broadcaster felt the genteel tap of the broadsword. Tones, as it he fondly known, was two years ahead of Tel in Belvo, and, sadly, his Ireland Fund has bottomed out since his global business empah was banjaxed.

    Coincidentally, one was watching on the Internet the visit of Queen Victoria to Liffeyside in 1900 on grainy footage as captured by British Pathe when the news of the ‘passing of the bridge between these islands’ was sadly announced. One is struck by the similarity of reaction to the arrival of one and the departure of the other.

    In the case of the visit of Queen Elizardbeth’s great great grandmother (impishly codenamed ‘The Iguana out of Dat Tour’, according to recently released court documents) there was much loyal doffing of tophats and fluttering of white handkerchiefs from the massed crowds of ecstatic Dubliners who packed the footpaths of Wogania as Her Maj was being wheeled through the streets of the city in her horse drawn royal blue landau on Her way to the Viceregal Lodge. Located, then as now, contagious to the Royal Reptile Enclosure in the Zoological Gardens.

    Although the footage was silent, one can almost hear the bellows from the jolly good fellows and the squawks of their overawed squaws on the sidewalks:

    -The badge, Maj, the badge !

    Tatooed right across and down the various organs of the homogeneous hackitariat here in the Free Southern Stateen this morning,, there has been the metaphocial equivalent of tophats being doffed and hankies (black rather than white) at half-mast. As the una voce outpourings of good grief continue to tsunami in in tribute to Our Tel, such is their tsimilarity that is only necessary to quote one. From of course, The Unionist Times:

    -His move from Irish to British broadcasting was seamless because the two countries because the two countries share more cultural values and assumptions that some people on this side of the Irish Sea care to acknowledge. The utter lack of sanctimony with which he described all this was a welcome and refreshing rebuke to other more atavistic notions of Irish identity swirling around the 1980s’.

    Attaboy, Jasper.

    A daaarlin’ word, atavistic, Joxer, a daaaaaarlin’ word.

    • Iolar February 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

      Did not Joyce point out that a pier is merely a disappointed bridge?

  9. Brian Patterson February 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    I first felt dislike for Wogan when he made the moronic and unfunny remark “Tá sé Mahogany gaspipe!” to a British audience when an RTE presenter said a few words “as Gaeilge” during a Eurovision contest. This was back in the 70’s when every 10th rate British comedian began his act thus:”There was this Oirishman…” (Real professional comedians like Monkhouse and Dodd eschewed such racism). My opinion of him was confirmed by subsequent events, his acceptance of a knighthood, his neo-racist disparagement of east European singers in Eurovision.Above all his attendance at Thatcher’s funeral. Like that other Icon of revisionism, Tom Cream, let those he served honour him

    • John February 2, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

      I didn’t know that Brian, he went to Thatcher’s funeral, not only one of the most hated people in Ireland but hated by most of the british working classes, remember the cinema’s putting up ‘the witch is dead’ on their displays, the song that made the charts etc. So much for being the voice of the ordinary folk cobblers we keep hearing about in the media. That does it for me, though i thought as much anyway, definitely a brit sycophant, end of.

  10. Séamus Ó Néill February 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    He may have been an entertainer,a raconteur, but could he not have achieved his success in his own country. Oh the English love the auld Paddy with the quick tongue and that lovable brogue……it’s like a pat on the head to an obedient dog…it seems to absolve their collective conscience from their centuries of abuse to their nearest neighbours….and as a token of their respect and admiration , they award a useless gong in memory of a despicable empire reviled throughout the civilized world ……and most sadly of all……there’s always the complacent Paddy to oblige and bow in servility to a foreign parasitic head of state.

  11. Mick Fealty February 1, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Do we really care? (Seriously, do we *need* to care?)

    • Jude Collins February 1, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

      Well, Mick, the people on the other island appear to care – TW got a full ten minutes at the top of the main news yesterday. I think people’s interest on this island is that he was a successful Irishman who accepted a knighthood and who presented the sunny, carry-on-nothing-to-see-here version of Irishness during the Troubles. It’s not mandatory to care but obviously a lot of people do, one way or another.

      • Mick Fealty February 2, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

        He’s just not political football material. The unbearable lightness of being Terry Wogan, British and Irish citizen? Which of course many of us still are. I think his political effects are being exaggerated (although not by him).

        He seems to have been well liked by his work colleagues, family, friends and his audience of two. He didn’t have a lot of time for the Provo bombing campaign (very few on either island ever did at the time), but then again nor did he really make that a feature of his public work.

        He was an Irishman who moved to Britain and plainly loved it there and as we say, ‘did very well for himself’. Nor did he ever deny his roots. Light, witty, and unserious in a very committed way.

        • Jude Collins February 2, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

          I’m with you pretty well all the way, Mick. And yet and yet…I can’t rid myself of the notion that he played up his image as the thinking Englishman’s paddy. I don’t think I’d have expected him to come out as an IRA/republican supporter. Ideally I suppose I’d have liked to see him encourage people to look at the Troubles as something beyond the two-crazy-tribes version. Of course if he had, he might well have set a match to his career. And since if I’d been in his shoes I probably would have avoided the topic too, I’m not going to condemn him. And I did find him very funny at times.

  12. paddykool February 1, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    Terry Wogan was an entertainer. He wasn’t a “professional” Irishman . He made a career out of his handy line of stream-of consciousness urbane witticisms. He had apleasnt engaging lilt to his voice but was simply pleasing himself and a consequence of that was that he became a much-loved broadcaster. He managed to have a very successful television career unlike anything seen before , forexample and was on television practically all the time . how many can say they’ve done the same. He appeared not to take the subversive pettyness of life too seriously . Of course people have a tendency to think that they “know” celebrities. Well …fact is …they don’t. They don’t know any of those famous people who pegged out in the month of January. They didn’t “know” Bowie either.They know a version ..that’s all.
    I don’t think Terry Wogan had to get our permission to do what he did with his life or to like him or not. He was obviously his own man and didn’t much care what others thought of it .Yeah ..he was an Irishman who took an English knighthood , but then again , he lived in the Queen’s backyard at Windsor and seems to have had a warm relationship with her , so he probably thought it was good manners.Bowie refused such an award . Wogan was obviously knighted for sticking with that awful Eurovision Show for so long while slicing at it with a depracating wit…. or maybe for helming the popular Charity” Children in Need” for so long…do we really” know” anything about him other than this?
    There are people who will hate him like they hate Bono or Geldof but in contrast these are people sitting on their hands and making no contribution to anything and are trolling and treading some sour grapes. Wogan , on the other hand, might have been a political conservative(Was he?) but at least he lived and died and made some kind of mark in his time .Those that put him down for that might have their own narrow agendas for hating him , but what have they done with their own lives and will anyone remember or care even?

    • Ciarán February 1, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      When I think of wogan I think of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘John Bulls Other Island’, the stage Irishman ducking it up to mother England.

    • pointis February 1, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

      Paddykool, I couldn’t have summed up my feelings on the matter more eloquently that you did. Every Irishman is not a republican or a Conservative, most are somewhere in Between!

      Wouldn’t life be very boring if we were all the same and had the same outlook?

      We should celebrate and cherish diversity of views!

      We are entitled to disagree with another’s point of view but to hate someone for it, sails a course perilously close to fascism!

      • neill February 1, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

        Very well put pointis

        • Pointis February 2, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

          Yes Neill,

          Well as I commented to Am Ghob, most of this stuff against Terry Wogan could appear from an independent observers point of view as people being pretty petty.

      • paddykool February 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

        Yes pointis …methinks many inconsistencies in both the “Christian” and the idea of true “republican” ideals have been exposed as wanting here , given some of the bile and hatred offered up and heaped on the head of a veritable stranger.,…not even a political rival, come to that…just a popular entertainer … Not too much about love, fraternity or the brotherhood of man to enrich the bile-filled broth at all, when all things are considered .Wasn’t there something about loving thy neighbour as thyself or somesuch..or was that just so much Christian hokum? .. there’s something amiss here alright … a certain inconsistency….

        • pointis February 3, 2016 at 9:42 am #

          I would agree wholeheartedly with you Paddykool. What happened to

          “cherishing all of the children of the nation equally”?

  13. Sherdy February 1, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    My enduring memory of Wogie was waving his union jack during a Eurovision contest.
    Nuff said!

  14. Wolfe tone February 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    A sycophant and a symbol of how the west Brit would like all Irish people to behave. Never mind his refusal to involve himself in what was going on in his own country; his silence about the carry on that was going on in the BBC speaks volumes. A true blue BBC man. One of the first people to extol him since his death, was that vile creature Esther rancid Rantzen, another BBC icon who saw no evil,heard no evil etc concerning the rampant child abuse at the BBC. Enough said. Perhaps his obedience got him the gong of greedy Betty Windsor?

    • John February 2, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

      How ironic not to say hypocritical of Rantzen to go on to set up child line for abused children, when there was clearly a paedophile ring operating at the bbc, saville wasn’t the only one, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall etc. and we’re supposed to believe nobody knew about it. What people don’t gossip, hear things at the BBC?

  15. ANOTHER JUDE February 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    I personally had no time for Wogan during the conflict, when the peace process started and the GFA came into being I sort of acknowledged his talents. Accepting a knighthood or whatever it was did not endear him to me or anyone I know, much like Bono and Geldof he was seen as part of the establishment, someone who was trusted by his British masters because he did not speak out against Britain`s war on the nationalists of the the sick counties. Billy Connolly is an example of a tamed Scot, minus the war.To be fair to Wogan he did make me laugh occasionally, but his `come on Sweden give us the twelve points` schtick during Eurovisiopn DID grate, much like his successor`s, that other loyal servant Graham Norton, mind you Terry Wogan never had to resort to smut the way Norton does but that`s another point altogether. Rest In Peace Terry, but you were never really loved in the way say Val Doonican was.

  16. Séamus Ó Néill February 1, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    Paddykool , sorry to disagree with you but that was some generalization!!…..I personally have not sat on my hands and made no contribution…..I have led a very fruitful and successful life…..but I do have the right to criticize ” Irishmen ” who have betrayed and demeaned their nationality….you mentioned Bono ,Geldof and in the same breath Wogan accepting a gratuitous insignificant gong from the master of imperialism and expect me to admire their achievements……I bow to no one ….they are servile puppets perpetuating the myth that Britain is a friendly neighbour……for 845 years they have tried their genocidal policies and if it wasn’t for the tenacity of people like myself ,,,,,they probably would have succeeded .

    • paddykool February 1, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

      Hang on Seamus . You might as well say you hate John Wayne’s cowboy films because he had such right-wing politics. That doesn’t make “the Shootist” a bad film. Many people out there don’t care about his politics. Take any of our heroes and if you poke about at them you’ll find they’ll have feet of clay. It’s his own business how he lives his life. really and we can pick and choose to listen to him or not. I’ve no doubt that although i love loads of art and artists, music and musicians, that some of them might be hard work to get along with.That doesn’t make them less- talented and it really doesn’t matter where they came from or where they might choose to live either.
      I’ve a tendency to look at the talent rather than the man.Whether we think Wogan’s politics or worldview mightn’t jive with our own is one thing , but what do we really know about anyone and their life anyway.I don’t tend to judge by their creed, colour, or nationality when a talent is concerned either. To my mind, Wogan made a career for himself on television and radio and he went where he’d be appreciated and paid .He raised his family there just like any other person who went to England for economic reasons and somehow he made a success of his chosen life …Well…bully for him!.He doesn’t owe me anything for any of that.He raised himself up all by himself…He never experienced what happened in Norneverland like many of us so in that respect he’s not much different from many living down south…someone living in Cork or Dingle. It was not really part of his life -experience when you think about …so why would it cross his mind?
      His forte was rooted in a light-entertainment format and whether he had much interest in politics at all is no more a mystery than how many other peoples’ personal interests.
      I just don’t get it.There are plenty of English artists and musicians and writers whose work i love.I don’t blame any of them for what England did to Ireland either.

      • ANOTHER JUDE February 1, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

        …..now hang on a minute, pilgrim….the only real hero who had feet of clay was Muhammud Ali. Sorry.

        • paddykool February 2, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

          That’s is really quite excellent AJ…I think you should tell it again for all the folks who obviously missed your reference to the wonderful Ali’s slave -name..

          • Jude Collins February 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

            PK – you surely don’t believe that anyone who’d miss the Clay reference would be allowed onto this site?????

          • paddykool February 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

            I suppose alot might depend on their age , Jude. I liked the “pilgrim” bit too. I could have said thta I loved Jimmy Stewart films too but would anyone remember him , I wonder…?

          • Jude Collins February 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

            The ignorance of youth is no excuse, PK. Show them the door…

          • giordanobruno February 2, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

            now just hold on a minute there……..

      • fiosrach February 1, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

        Spoken like a true christian.

  17. neill February 1, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

    Good God the man has just passed away and people are having pops at him and people think Unionists are begrudgers!

    • Ryan February 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm #

      Unionists? Begrudgers? Come on now Neill!, don’t jesting! where would we have ever got that impression!………………….

  18. MT February 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

    The expectation that a light entertainment radio DJ ought to have “spoken out” about Bloody Sunday (but not about any other atrocities) really is quite incredible. It reveals more about writer than Wogan, I think.

    • Ryan February 1, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

      Point out to us exactly where in the article it was typed that Wogan shouldn’t have spoken out against other atrocities apart from Bloody Sunday MT?

      Stop reading what you want to see MT and read what is actually typed.

  19. Belfastdan February 1, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

    He was a self described West Brit; the man Gay Byrne wanted to be.

  20. giordanobruno February 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

    I t does not matter how well loved Wogan was in evil Britain or indeed the rest of the world.
    All that matters is he did not spend every minute of available airtime denouncing the evil imperialist occupiers of Mother Ireland.
    However I happen to believe that Terry was doing his bit after all. Over 50 years he used the weapons of inane chitchat and irritating banter to befuddle and melt the brains of the hated imperialist overlords, thus leaving them unable to muster any worthwhile resistance to the twin pronged attack of administering British rule and waiting for a referendum.
    BlanketyBlank was surely the pinnacle of his cunning sabotage.
    God bless him!

    • paddykool February 1, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

      You have cracked it gio…the subterfuge that the literalist will always bypass.The hidden agenda in plain sight.The salting of the nation’s water supply with LSD.Not one them have noticed as yet as their minds have been possessed.Wogan as the ultimate Yippee sabateur…bringing down the Establishment while living in the very seat of power.He even had Her Maj under his surrealist spell and nobody knew or understood…even his fellow Irishmen who were looking the other way…etc….

    • Ryan February 1, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

      Neill…..have you hijacked Gio’s account?….

      • neill February 2, 2016 at 10:13 am #

        Yes it was very enjoyable!

        • giordanobruno February 2, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

          Keep out of my settings. Go back to England where you belong!! (smileyface)

          • neill February 2, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

            If you had said Wales I would have been pissed off! 😉

    • ANOTHER JUDE February 1, 2016 at 11:36 pm #

      giordanobruno, you could have a point there. If it did come out that old Tel WAS the ultimate Republican weapon, we Nationalists would be drinking to his memory!! Stranger things have happened here.

  21. Jim.hunter February 1, 2016 at 8:15 pm #


  22. Ryan February 1, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

    Terry Wogan was extremely popular in England. He ran a very successful radio show for decades, had his own TV chat show, hosted Children In Need (he had his fee, of course…), he also hosted a few little known/remembered Game Shows that I watched a few years back and of course hosted Eurovision for the UK for nearly 3 decades. So the man could have great influence, millions of people would listen to him, millions would believe him before they would ever believe any politician. So while conflict, misery, loss, heart ache and injustice was waging in his own native country, where was Terry? He was no where to be seen. He, like many other “celebrities”, would denounce a conflict happening on the other side of the world but one happening next door in his own country of birth he wanted no involvement, certainly not against the state he had now made his home. The blind eye was turned. The Window was closed to keep out the sound and the TV volume was turned up.

    Of course Terry wasn’t the only Irish “Celebrity” to ignore the injustices going on in the North. In fact a few of these “celebrities” even defended the British state, justified their crimes and at worst even supported them. Who could forget Gay Byrnes performances throughout the years, from his failed and backfiring ambush against Gerry Adams on the Late Late Show to his comments that Ian Paisley was a “good man”, this was when Paisley was in his Anti-Catholic, Protestant Fundamentalist, fire brand preacher element. Ryan Tubridy, whose own grandfather was in the Old IRA, even tried to paint Gerry Adams as the “baddie” on the Late Late Show a few years ago and while Gerry said what the PIRA did was exactly what the Old IRA did Ryan said there was “No comparison”, when challenged on this by Gerry Adams who replied “Why not, Ryan? why not?”, the audience erupted in a supportive applause for Adams while Ryan squirmed and said “We don’t have the time, we’d be here all night”.

    The fact is many Irish “celebrities” from Bono (the Billionaire who asks people to donate THEIR money to ease poverty in Africa) to Bob Geldof (who once said any rock star that makes a political speech is full of shit…..he made plenty to keep the Union together when Scotland wanted Independence) did nothing to highlight the injustices done by the British state here in the North of Ireland.

    In fact the Norwegian man who threw Tomato sauce at Queen Elizabeth on her state visit to Norway because of the British Army’s actions in the North of Ireland did more to combat British injustice than many of Ireland’s own “celebrities”. Normal individual every day Irish American civilians went on numerous marches, donated many of their hard earned dollars, wrote numerous letters to their senators, etc in an effort to combat British injustice in Ireland. All the while Terry and his friends pretended all was rosy.

    Terry Wogan is gone and I’m sure many in England will be sorry to see his passing but they should fear not, if they are looking for another Irish man to fill Terry’s role, who will flatter the English with his Irish charm, who will sit by and pretend everything is rosy and turn the blind eye if need be, then Eamon Holmes is their man and he has the poppy to prove it…..

  23. Am Ghobsmacht February 1, 2016 at 11:21 pm #

    The man blended into the establishment of his adopted homeland.

    When Irishmen do it in Australia, the US or NZ then Tim Pat Coogan would be writing about how excellent they are.

    Whenever an Irishman does it in England then he’s castigated as a turncoat. This is the nasty aspect of nationalism (and I mean all nationalisms, not just Irish nationalism) that paints people as traitors or lackies because said person doesn’t toe the party line.

    Being bitter that someone is not a nationalist (which is pretty much what most people here are doing) is the mirror image of loyalists castigating small ‘u’ unionists for not being ‘loyal’ enough and branding them lundies.

    I sympathise with the argument that some people believe he should have been more outspoken regarding Ireland but for the vast majority of his career the IRA were blowing the place to bits and this would have pulled the rug out from underneath his feet if he even thought about it.

    • paddykool February 2, 2016 at 10:16 am #

      That’s a bit of clear-thinking Am Ghob..

      As Charles Kingsley was wont to say..”There are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with cream”.Wogan was as subversive in his own way as any popular satirical artist.He posited himself as a light-entertainer but in every respect he was gently poking fun at those of a po-faced mien. He got away with it because of his intelligent use of language and his quickness of mind which raised him above the usual dee jay or “presenter” who had not his imagination. It was irrelevant that he was an “Irishman”..just like it’s irrelevant that Van Morrison is an Irishman.Their talent was innate .Most…the vast majority of other Irishmen never rise to popular prominence, no matter their many talents ,so it’s all a mixture of luck and talent to get to the point of that kind of national exposure and to hang onto it.It doesn’t matter what their political aspect might be or who you might think they “belong” to. They don’t belong to anyone but themeselves.

    • Pointis February 2, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

      Would have to agree with you Am Ghob most of this stuff against Terry Wogan is coming across as people being pretty petty.

    • Ryan February 2, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

      “I sympathise with the argument that some people believe he should have been more outspoken regarding Ireland but for the vast majority of his career the IRA were blowing the place to bits and this would have pulled the rug out from underneath his feet if he even thought about it.”

      Last time I looked Am Ghob it wasn’t only the IRA was blowing the place to bits. The British Army were too (and still are, check out Iraq/Afghanistan and they even wanted to blow Syria to bits too) Dublin/Monaghan is one example and Loyalists too were setting off no warning bombs, the intent being to maximize civilian causalities. Its strange how its OK to praise the British Army, wear a poppy, etc and, as you put it, the rug wont be pulled out from underneath your feet but yet look at the atrocities the British have committed in their History even up to the present. As Joseph Stalin once said: “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic”. In the case of the British its the murder of tens of millions, that’s in India alone. Yet these same people who poppies would dare call others “terrorists” or try to lecture President Putin on state murders?….

      Terry Wogan was born in Ireland. He was Irish, regardless of politics. Its not petty to assume one of your own fellow country men/women would do the right thing and speak out against injustices (whether its against the British state or IRA) especially when they were in the position of influence Wogan was. Is it “petty” now to assume that people should do the right thing, especially when its happening in their own homeland right next door to where they are living?

      My point is French students, Norwegian students, the Irish American population, etc all did far more to try to get peace for people here in Ireland, both Unionist and Nationalist, than the likes of Terry Wogan ever did. They didn’t have to go on marches, protests, etc for people they never even met, for a country they maybe never even visited nor intended to. All Wogan had to do for the people of his native country was open his mouth. He, along with many others, choose not to and to turn the blind eye.

      • Am Ghobsmacht February 3, 2016 at 1:49 am #


        The ‘place’ in the context of what I referred to was BBC-viewerland, i.e. Britain.

        The British army have not been blowing up Britain much so your point is void.

        ” Its strange how its OK to praise the British Army, wear a poppy, etc and, as you put it, the rug wont be pulled out from underneath your feet but yet look at the atrocities the British have committed in their History even up to the present.”

        That’s not relevant to the topic though, is it? I’m talking about an Irishman making his way to the very top of society in his adopted homeland despite the number of bombs going off courtesy of his fellow ‘countrymen’.

        That is a HUGE hurdle to climb and he did it without putting his birth-land down or becoming political.
        He was no Josephus, but it appears that NOT to subscribe to a certain political point of view makes him one.

        “Its not petty to assume one of your own fellow country men/women would do the right thing and speak out against injustices (whether its against the British state or IRA) especially when they were in the position of influence Wogan was. Is it “petty” now to assume that people should do the right thing, especially when its happening in their own homeland right next door to where they are living? ”

        I notice that he condemned neither.

        It was not he role of a BBC pet to condemn people who would plant bombs in pubs or main streets and he, like other members of the Beeb did not. His silence on either topic should not be seen as a condemnation rather as an abstention.
        Contriving a condemnation from such weak stances is the stuff of the Checka or Khmer Rouge.

        “My point is French students, Norwegian students, the Irish American population, etc all did far more to try to get peace for people here in Ireland, both Unionist and Nationalist, than the likes of Terry Wogan ever did.”

        THAT point is completely irrelevant WRT my rebuttal and is merely a goalpost-moving distraction.

        I’m sorry that you feel hurt that he didn’t ‘stand up’ as you see it but judging by the number of 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Irish people in Britain that didn’t you shouldn’t really be surprised.

  24. Concerned Citizen February 2, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    Wow! Do you lot want some salt and vinegar for the MASSIVE chips on your shoulders?

    I take a passing anthropological interest in this site from time to time. I am used to the rather frightening myopic Republican world view put forward by most of the contributors. (The general gist is: all Unionists bigots, all Brits evil, security forces are colluding death squads must be prosecuted / all Irish Republicans saintly, all IRA activity justified, amnesty for IRA “freedom fighters”, all criminality by the saintly shinners ignored….etc. etc. Basically one sided political posturing that most school children would find embarrassing).

    Attacking a benign broadcaster purely because he wasn’t politically engaged or didn’t share your rabid hatred of all things British before he is at rest in his grave is a new low even by the knuckle dragging standards of this little nest of hatred.

    • giordanobruno February 2, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

      Concerned Citizen
      If all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail.
      Similarly if all you have is a bitter hatred for perfidious albion then you tend to view everything through that prism.
      Fortunately most people have a more sensible outlook.
      Wogan was what he was. As far as I know he didn’t commit any atrocities.
      Let him rest in peace.

      • gendjinn February 2, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

        Sure he was only ever firing blankety blanks!

  25. Jim Lynch February 2, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    “Hang on Seamus. You might as well say you hate John Wayne’s cowboy films because he had such right-wing politics.”

    Paddykool many Americans hated John Wayne because he avoided the draft and never went to war.
    I went through basic training at Fort Dix New Jersey in 1959 in the US Army before I switched to the Air Force, and many of our DIs’ (Drill Instructors) were WW11 vets and every one of them to a man, despised big tough John Wayne for his cowardice.

    Ironically the most decorated soldier from any country in WW11 was Audi Murphy a little guy (5’ 8’ compared to John Wayne 6’ 4’) who did in real combat, what John Wayne pretended to do in movies.

    Joel McCrea an actor of the time, would never appear in a movie in military uniform simply because he never served in the military due to health reasons. He had too much respect for those who did the actual fighting. Not so John Wayne; “It’s the money stupid.”

    By the way how does this guy Wogan compare with Eamonn Andrews?

    • paddykool February 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

      Well Jim, I’m talking here about talent or lack of it .Yes I know all that about John (Marion)Wayne and Audie Murphy. The fact is , no matter how much of a hero the baby -faced Audie Murphy was in real-life wartime ,he made a string of mostly forgotten films and he never became the larger than life iconic symbol that Wayne did …and yes ..many hated Wayne in the 1960’s for his stand on things like the Vietnam War, his war record compared to Jimmy Stewart… and his awful “Green Berets” film , and I have to say i was very much on the anti-war side of the fence back then,but even I have to admit how iconic Wayne became until he represented something more than he actually was. As they say “Print the Legend”…well in Wayne’s case that’s what was done.He did appear in some very fine films tooalthough many said he was no stretch as an actor. Still..he had a few good directors.
      The Vietnam War divided families, towns the country .In the end , he was only a bloody actor , lest we confuse actors with reality and the people they are pretending to be . A good actor should be one who has the greatest gift of “pretence”. I mean are we really supposed to believe that Leonardo Di Caprio really fights that bear and survives it in “the Revenant”? He’s an actor pretending to be a fur-trapper…He’s not a real fur -trapper..no more than he was “the Wolf of Wall Street”. or some guy who drowned on the Titanic.

      As for Eamon Andrews. ..the only connection there is that they were both born in Ireland and had a somewhat similar career trajectory.Their set of skills were entirely different. Wogan had a sense of self-deprecation and comedic timing that would have easily made him a reasonable film -comedian.He had obviously a fine enough intellectual mind and could adlib to beat the band . He was a genius at that ,when confronted with all kinds of diverse personalities ..something that Andrews was n’t nearly as good at. You’ll notice that none of this has to do with any notion of his politics or lack thereof.

      • Jude Collins February 2, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

        We thought Audie Murphy was the man – even if his girl had to stand in a trench and he on a box to kiss. Wayne? Nah. Any guy whose real name was Marion – geddoutahere….

        • paddykool February 2, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

          You’re not thinking of Alan ladd and that wee box are you Jude? I thought that he was the real filmic shortarse!!

          • Jude Collins February 2, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

            Spot on PK – I was thinking of A Ladd (what an interesting name). Was A Murphy (as distinct from The Murphy) towering?

          • paddykool February 2, 2016 at 11:10 pm #

            Audie was a bit shorter than Wayne but taller than the miniscule Mr Ladd whose tiny daughter went on to the heàvenly role as a Charlie’s Angel.Audie was to be forgotten but Alan was to be Jack Palance’s nemesis in ”Shane”.

          • giordanobruno February 3, 2016 at 12:02 am #

            I think it was Ladd certainly for Shane (great movie) that had the trench. I believe he was fairly self deprecating about his matinee idol status, saying:
            “I have the face of an aging choirboy and the build of an undernourished featherweight. “.
            What that has to do with Terry Wogan I’m not quite sure.

  26. Wolfe tone February 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    Again Irish republicans are being chastised for not joining in and celebrating an irish man who mimicked everything an English royalist would do. So much so that the Irish man is called ‘one of our own’ by some English commentators lol.
    The narrative seems to be that Irish republicans should have charmed the occupying forces out of Ireland. A kind of court jester if you like. That way the occupiers wouldn’t get upset boo hoo. If only Pearse had spent more time in the theatre rather than the GPO.
    Yes it’s true Wogan had his own prerogative and it’s no ones business only his however when the great and the good hold him aloft as some sort of example of how an Irish person should conduct himself then it is well within the rights of folk to challenge that narrative if they don’t believe it.
    Moving on doesn’t mean we have to promote English royalism does it?

    • giordanobruno February 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

      Who is saying this is how an Irishman should conduct himself?
      The only ones doing that are those like yourself, criticising him for not being vociferously republican.

      • Wolfe tone February 3, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

        I didn’t criticise wogan for ‘not being vociferously republican’. I criticised those whose agenda is to hold the likes of wogan,Geldof and Bono as some kind of role model for Irish people to aspire to. And before you ask who is doing that, don’t insult my time please.
        Constant requests by you and others to doff the cap and bend the knee to such vile representatives of greed and selfishness such as the Royal cabal and its sycophants is offensive. Any Irish republican worth his/her salt should baulk at the notion of endorsing in any shape or form this criminal establishment, no matter whether it’s ‘good manners’ or not. To not do this ensures the Royal cabal will continue to recruit subjects and suckers.
        A good way of ‘moving on’ would be to move the Royal criminals on would it not?

        • giordanobruno February 4, 2016 at 10:47 am #

          I don’t think anyone is saying that Wogan is an example of what all Irish people should be like; you are being too extreme. No one is saying we should not hold republican views are they?
          Some people liked him some didn’t.
          He was just an entertainer after all, not a mass murderer.
          Now exactly when did I request anyone to doff the cap as you allege? Be as specific as you like.

        • Argenta February 4, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

          Wolfe tone
          How would you categorise Martin Mc Guinness shaking hands with the Queen and Gerry Adams engaging with Prince Charles?

  27. John February 2, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    Remember the George Best interview, can you imagine a british tv interviewer let a british icon disgrace themselves like that when you know the person is an alcoholic and clearly drunk, i can’t think of one, but we’re oirish so who cares, sure it’s all a bit of craic. What a tribute to a so called legend i.e. Terry not George to keep showing that eh.

    • paddykool February 2, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

      You’re very selective John .What about our old mate Oliver Reed .They couldn’t keep old Ollie off the box and he relished his pissedness as I think did George too,. george thought it was a great gas and made no bones about it.Just refresh the old memory and you’ll easily be able to dig up several other rat-arsed icons .That green room with all the free booze was too much of a temptation for most.

  28. billy February 2, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    isnt he lucky he stayed out of it the way things turned out.

  29. Concerned Citizen February 4, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    Some of the comments on here about a recently deceased, inoffensive man who suffered his illness (privately and with dignity) and that are aimed at him purely because he wasn’t a soap box climbing, whinging Republican are disgraceful.

    Some of my perceptions of TW as a broadcaster can be applied to the contributors to this site and in particular to its host.

    Firstly – TW had no axe to grind and was comfortable within his own skin; he displayed no insecurities and allowed people to take him as they found him. (I leave you to draw your own conclusions on my inference).

    Secondly – TW’s longevity as a broadcaster was due not only to his easy charm, but also his intelligence. Having delved into this site recently I noticed two recent links to Jude’s own broadcasting efforts on Radio Ulster which have helped me gauge the web host’s attributes in this regard. In the two offerings I heard / endured, I heard Jude get the intellectual better of Ruth Patterson (way to go Jude!), circle around WIllie Frazer but fail to land a punch and, then, (in another offering) take, in his own words: “a kicking” from Pat McCarthy. On the intellectual PH scale, then, Jude is just above Ruth Patterson (an achievement in itself from a Shinner!), but miles behind Pat McCarthy. Jude is hanging his intellectual coat on the same clothes peg as wee Wullie as far as I can see.

    Thirdly – I occasionally see or hear Jude on various BBC NI radio / TV programmes and, ironically, TW always springs to mind. Specifically it was the killer blow TW delivered to the deluded David Icke when he suggests that the viewers are laughing not “with him”, but “at him. Perhaps Jude should realise that he is wheeled out onto these shows as the comedy double speaking Republican for the fair minded to laugh at and, perhaps, to elicit a Pavlovian response from his fellow knuckle dragging loyalists.

    At least the rest of get to have a laugh and move on with our lives without resentment in our hearts!

    • Jude Collins February 4, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

      Well, CC, if I can spread a little laughter as I walk the road of life, I can ask no more…Go raibh cead maith agat.

      • Concerned Citizen February 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

        I don’t mind the laughter! Try spreading a little less hatred for your fellow man.

        • Jude Collins February 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

          Oh dear – so we’ve moved from amusement to hatred, eh, CC? And who, pray, have I suggested people should hate? Just askin’, like…

          • pointis February 6, 2016 at 10:46 am #

            Old CC made a promising start but a rather dismal finish. He should have stopped his contribution after his first three lines! His point was well made without descending into a personal tirade against Jude!

            Like a disappointing book in an impressive cover he quickly nosedived and wasn’t able to disguise his complete intolerance for Jude while at the same time getting a point across!

            Much more effort needed!

  30. dgm September 28, 2016 at 5:51 am #

    Wogan was a light entertainer, political commentary was no more expected of him than it was of Eamonn Andrews or Gloria Hunniford. When David Icke, in his second interview with Wogan, asked him if he knew about the PNAC, the US NeoCon thinktank, Wogan couldn’t have been less interested in finding out who they were. This was a man whose claim to fame was coining the phrase ‘fight the flab’.
    Didn’t like the fellow for his pocketing of a fee for hosting ‘Children In Need’ or his rather humourless reaction to the fuss over his moleskin trouser bulge some years back.
    The real question to be asked is why is the guy, a radio & tv presenter, getting a send off at Westminster Abbey?