Asked for an opinion on clubs for women, Bernard Shaw  favoured them, provided reasonable persuasion had failed.

There are certain persons whose actions and opinions invite general derision, but might suffer horsewhipping without outraging my compassion. One such person is Kevin Maher.

I doubt any of my readers are familiar with his weekly, (I first printed “weakly” – a Freudian slip) column in the “Times 2” section of “THE TIMES” even if they regularly take the paper.

It’s the section showing the TV and Radio fare of the day, and a couple of its easier cryptic crosswords which I attempt with limited success.

Advancing age robs me of the memory of familiar words. When I couldn’t remember the Christian name of a fairly recent Taoiseach, which he shared with my son and my late elder brother, I feared the bell was beginning to toll for myself.

 Though  I read Kevin Maher’s pieces I cannot remember learning anything from them, nor him making even the

 flimsiest attempt at a witticism.

Then, a few weeks ago a report that Gaelic was dying out in Scotland got from him the same exultation which the Great Hunger once got from his paper., THE TIMES saw the hunger as THE FINAL SOLUTION TO THE IRISH QUESTION. 

Kevin Maher exulted in the  prospect of cultural genocide,

Kevin Maher claims that he had been subjected to physical punishment for inability to conjugate Gaelic verbs in his Irish school. I gather he was born in 1972. Corporal punishment in the Republic’s schools was banned in 1982.Corporal punishment in British schools receiving state funding was banned in 1987. 

According to Maher,Gaelic is only spoken by hod-carriers, unskilled, unlettered, unlearned peasants. Well into the 20th Century Scottish boats used navigate round these islands in pursuit of herrings, and if they were in Howth, Co. Dublin on a Sunday their Gaelic Speaking crews would be visited by a Presbyterian Minister to conduct a Service on one of their boats, or he would conduct a service in their Gaelic dialect in the Mariners’ Hall on the West Pier. Mainstream Presbyterian ministers are not noticeably ignorant whatever their language and seamanship is hardly  the accomplishment of a useless gobshite.

Gaelic has been spoken in Ireland since before the time of Christ and has the oldest literature in Europe north of the Alps. And Gaelic writers, fluent in Greek and Latin, wrote (in Irish) of the Judgement of Paris and the Siege of Troy before the cities named Paris and Troyes were founded in what is today called France. And a priest in the 20th century in Galway translated Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid into Irish verse. He was President of University College Galway but introduced to the film director John Huston   as a mere local priest. I read about that from Benedict Kiely, (a spoiled Jesuit) whose own training entailed speaking Irish, Latin and English on alternate days during their spare time.

Anyhow, irritating as I found Maher’s exultation at the prospect of cultural genocide I intended to ignore it. But I found more to take issue with.

 On Friday July 24 Kevin Maher in the Film Review Section of “Times 2” reviews “SAINT FRANCES”  under the Headline – “An abortion rom-com with wicked one-liners” described as a “Deadpan comedy.”

The late and brilliant comic Spike Milligan (whose epitaph is inscribed in Irish on his headstone) was scathingly contemptuous of abortion. And he described a poor attempt at humour as being like a baby being crushed.

Comments are closed.