Cathal issued a public statement. Reaction HERE.
I hate tolerance.
Tolerance means putting up with people even if you don’t like what they are. It’s sniffy. It’s worthy. It’s right-on condescending.
I don’t give a shit what you are. I don’t care if you’re black, or gay, or Catholic, or a Traveller or anything else. I genuinely don’t give a flying fuck what your race is, or what your sexual orientation is or what your religion is, unless you try and force me to believe the same nonsense as you.
I don’t care what you are. I only care what you do.
I don’t give a shit if you fuck badgers, as long as you don’t fuck my badger without asking me first.
Now, I don’t know if there’s a word for that kind of attitude, but it’s not as forgiving as tolerance. For example, I don’t give a rat’s arse if you’re a tinker. I’ll stand my round as quick as you and I’m happy to work with you. But if you’re the kind of tinker who burns huge piles of cable or leaves a heap of shit behind you when you move on, then I have a big problem with you.
Likewise, if you’re the kind of religious person who thinks we’re all going to hell, or if you want to impose Sharia law in my country, then you can fuck off as well.
And even more likewise, I couldn’t give the green end of a goose’s shit whether you’re gay or straight. In fact, that would be irrelevant at all times.
Now, intolerance is a different matter entirely. In my view, the very first thing we should refuse to tolerate is intolerance. We should refuse to put up with arrogant fucks like Bishops and Archbishops and Cardinals who elevate themselves above the rest of us and who believe their judgement is superior to ours by virtue of their exalted position. I’m glad to say that this caste of people is now coming under increasing pressure, and the Irish people are no longer so credulous or passive that they’re prepared to accept the huffing and the puffing of Churchmen. After all, we now realise that these are simply men detached from the common run of humanity and deluded by the flattery of their toadies.
Little did I realise until this week that there was another secret and parallel Hierarchy ready to spring forth fully formed like Flann O Brien’s middle-aged Spaniard with a knowledge of physics extending to Boyle’s Law and the Parallelogram of Forces. Oh, and with the ability to read a gas meter.
But fuck me sideways, if I wasn’t listening to Joe Duffy during the week. All right. I know. I know. Duffy the Gobshite. I know. The only excuse I can offer is that I was in the car and there was nothing else on.
Duffy is a cynic, prepared to drum up any kind of spurious controversy if it will contribute to raising his profile. I know this. I’m not a fool. But Duffy had latched onto a story about Cathal Ó Searcaigh going to Nepal, and on the face of it, there were grounds for concern. Cathal O Searcaigh? I know nothing whatever about the man, except that he’s a poet and a member of Aosdana. Apart from that I know nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. He could be a fine fellow. He could be a monster. I don’t know. I have no information about him or his activities.
However, there were suggestions that Cathal Ó Searcaigh had used his position of relative wealth to manipulate vulnerable Nepalese boys into engaging in some kind of sexual act with him. It all emerged in the course of a documentary that was being made about him, and there’s a piece where Ó Searcaigh confirms having sex with some of these boys.
Now I don’t know about any of that. Some say the boys were all over 16. Others say they were economically vulnerable and desperate. More say that Nepalese teenagers would be very naive about such things. I don’t know, and I won’t know until the full facts emerge.
What I do know is that every painter, sculptor, novelist, self-styled poet, actor, busker and graffiti artist in Ireland came on the radio to dismiss any suggestions of impropriety by Cathal Ó Searcaigh. Some were more imperious than others, but all carried the same message:
This man is one of us, and we know best. How dare you question him?
And I thought to myself, Oops! Here we go again!