Cathal Ó Searcaigh

Cathal Ó Searcaigh: Shifting The Blame
A poem for Cathal

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!



Statement by Cathal Ó Searcaigh

78 thoughts on “Cathal Ó Searcaigh

  1. I’m a distant cousin of Cathal Ó Searcaigh, my mother being from the same parish (Cloughaneely) in Donegal as him, though, to be completely honest, I barely know the man at all. And though this is the first I’ve heard of the documentary in question, we (friends and family) have known of Cathal’s Nepalese paramours for a long time. Whether financial exchange was involved was probably conveniently (or maybe naturally?) ignored by a and nobody even thought of the age of the . In this sense, you have to give Cathal credit for at least coming clean on this (unlike a number of other public figures I would dearly love to name here). As for the Joe Duffy show, it’s not really the best arena to wheedle out the details of the affair but, if your summation of the attitude of fellow Irish Arts folk is correct (and I am taking you on your word, Bock), the closing of ranks is unseemly, not to mention depressingly hypocritical. From what little I know of Cathal he’s certainly not a monster though he could possibly be short on scruples. I prefer to reserve judgement until I know more about this. (I know this might not be the most pertinent place to say this either, but Cathal is one of Ireland’s greatest living poets, in either language, and I recommend his work, before moral indignation chokes any appreciation for the art).

  2. Seanachie: I can only tell you what I heard from listening to the likes of Pauline Bewick and Máire Mhac an tSaoi

    I’m glad you noticed that this post isn’t principally about Cathal Ó Searcaigh, but about the kind of elites we still have in this country.

    Having said that, even if a man was the best poet in the Universe, or the holiest priest, it wouldn’t justify abuse. It does seem that some form of exploitation happened, which the pampered members of Aosdána would like to gloss over.

  3. As a grown-up who used to be one of those kids, I have no tolerance for abusers or their braying hordes of friends. I helped put my abuser in jail despite the sixty letters of support upstanding citizens sent the judge on his behalf. That said, I’m curious to know, is there a law in Ireland against sex tourism? Can an Irish citizen be prosecuted in Ireland for going abroad to have sex with kids? And if so, why did the friends and family who knew about his “paramours” not report him? I can answer that – in Canada we’ve had a law for years, and the only conviction under it was because police found a videotape while investigating something else of a man raping Cambodian boys. No one will report their boss, their relative, their colleague, their friend. And they’re good people – it’s just, well, these kids are far away. And maybe they’re all sixteen (if he knows they’re under sixteen do you really think he’ll say); maybe they do this for a living; maybe things are different there; maybe they’re not kids, they’re “paramours”.
    Seanachie, your use of the word “paramours” implies equal partners in an adult relationship, as do many other terms I’ve heard to describe kids who are sexually abused. They’re “lovers”, they’re in a “relationship”, they’re “dating”……….No. They’re kids.
    The reason adults use kids for sex is they’re not adults. They’re not equals. That’s why they do it. And then pretend the kids are adults to minimize and cover their own actions. There’s no love involved.

  4. Any mention of the flashpoint issue of child abuse is going to cloud the point Bock was actually making (I won’t repeat it).

    Tangentially, I’m reminded of a conundrum that emerged during a visit to Ireland by an American family. Should they let their 18 and 20 year old sons drink alcohol, since it’s verboten until 21 in the States?

    Along the same lines, (who needs to visit Nepal when) Spain has set their legal age of consent at just 13.

    But in Tunisia, it’s 20. And in Madagascar, it’s 21!!

    Can we judge them or they us? (Bock = Yes!)


  5. i do be thinkin we’s is all in that abatoir lately.. and scary talk does make ppl scared. i like them apples though, and bruce willis movies too. :) silly me.

  6. Darwin, I think I asked a valid question, which is completely in line with the point Bock was making. I have been on the receiving end of the same kind of “elitism” the howls of which, of course, clouds the issue of abuse. Which shouldn’t be clouded. In Canada the age of sexual consent is 14. So do Irish predators come here?

  7. Alberta, I’m fully aware of the difference in status between ‘lover’ and ‘abused’ and, if you read my original post a bit closer, I said that the friends or family (or at least those known to me) knew that Cathal had sexual relations with Nepalese men, nothing more than that. If any of us were privy to information that they were children, I would like to think that we wouldn’t have been as craven as the members of Aosdána appear to be in this case.

    And while I agree with you on the need for a law on sex tourism (to the best of my knowledge, there isn’t one in Ireland), I don’t wish to either damn or defend Cathal Ó Searcaigh until I know more of the details of this case (Bock’s post is my only source of information thus far, I live in France). The fact that he’s a member of my extended family, or one of Ireland’s best poets, is not going to sway my opinion of him if he happens to be guilty.

  8. I call them boys rather than men because that’s how Cathal Ó Searcaigh referred to them. However, it’s important to emphasize that nothing has been proven regarding their ages, and no charges have been laid against anyone.

    I wouldn’t like the central point of this post to be lost, which is this: we have all kinds of cabals and pampered elites in this country, though the veil slips only rarely, and we need to start exposing them.

    Aosdána are a particularly limp example, tending more towards Monty Python than Opus Dei, but even these loveys are prepared to dismiss all concerned voices on the basis that Cathal Ó Searcaigh is a fine poet and a friend of theirs. Neither attribute is relevant.

    Perhaps we should look again at our funding of a group that thinks so little of us.

  9. This post will not discuss the morality of sexual liasons with sixteen year olds. I listened to the same Joe Duffy shows ( it went on for three days) as you did and what I heard was people who knew him , mostly artists, poets but also neighbours, stating that the man they knew was basically a decent human being. Surely you are not implying that your profession or artistic bent (for the want of a better phrase) disbars you from defending a friend !

  10. I’m implying nothing of the sort. My criticism is of their dismissive attitude, not their jobs, but the people I heard were far more strident than you might expect the average bunch of friends to be.

    Friends like Maire Mhac an tSaoi who explained to us that all Asian children are sexualised from an early age.

    Friends like Pauline Bewick who claimed that he couldn’t have hurt anyone because he believes he did no harm.

    I’ve said that nothing is proven about Cathal Ó Searcaigh, and I’m not getting into debating the rights and wrongs of what he does. I’m more concerned with the outright dismissal of all concerns by these people.

    They may well be right, and Cathal Ó Searcaigh may well turn out to be a harmless, well-meaning poor devil, but waving away all questions is not the way to help him.

  11. Rather than elitism, is it not possible that the human inclination to not want to believe bad of someone associated with you, whether by friendship or by job, and someone regarded as possibly a hero in your field, could be responsible for a vehement denial that anything wrong could possibly have happened.

    It’s still wrong to wave away questions about somebody of course but wanting to believe in someone, in yourself ultimately, is a powerful emotion.

    I’ve been to Nepal, and I’m an artist, but anyone admitting having sex with boys there deserves some very serious questions being asked, however good they are at whatever they do, or however decent they are with their non-sexual friends.

  12. True enough, Eolai. but the closing of ranks is present no matter what the motivation.

    I know that nothing has been proven about Cathal, but it seems to me that the closed mindset of the artistic community isn’t a million miles away from the the church authorities’ culture of denial.

  13. There’s been a question in my mind for many years about O Searcaigh’s ‘relationship(s)’ with Nepalese youths. The may be entirely legal but I always suspected they might be unethical.

    ps the Aosdana ‘cabal’ splits in different ways on different member’s reputations. viz Mhac an tSaoi (sic) versus Francis Stuart.

  14. Bock, I can’t help thinking if they were female and Cathal a businessman then we’d have the exact same folks calling for his head. Since when did our morality stop at the water’s edge of what was legal? It might not be illegal for a 44 year old bloke to cop off with his best mate’s 18 year old daughter who is babysitting for him but it is plain wrong.

  15. You say you don’t care if people are religious (“I don’t care if you’re [. . . ] Catholic”) but actually you do. If people have beliefs you don’t like (“if you’re the kind of religious person who thinks we’re all going to hell [. . . ] then you can fuck off . . . “).

    Of course, you’ve created a bit of a straw man since nobody believes that we’re all going to hell, but your attitude probably applies to people who think some of us are going to hell, doesn’t it?

    So, you don’t mind religion as long as people don’t presume to think religiously. In other words, you are the typical intolerant secularist. Just don’t delude yourself, is all.

  16. Well, Bock, in a piece of 750 words, it wasn’t until 500 had been written that you actually mentioned Ó Searcaigh. It seems you had a lot to get off your chest before addressing your “topic”.

  17. Well, you know, Peter, that’s the great advantage of owning your own site. You can structure the things you write any damn way you feel like, and you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone for it.

    Just in case you overlooked it, by the way, the words “Cathal o Searcaigh” are the first three you can see, right up there in the title.

    Now, if you’ve got that little digression out of your system, maybe we could get back to the substance of the post.

  18. Just in case you overlooked it, by the way, the words “Cathal o Searcaigh” are the first three you can see, right up there in the title.

    Gee, no kidding. So that means you discussed him in your first 500 words, then?

    Of course you’re entitled to write whatever you want, but you invite comments, and my comment is that you’re not the tolerant type you try to portray yourself as at some length
    at the start of your piece.

  19. You obviously can’t read. I said I hate tolerance.

    Now I think you’re just being annoying for the sake of it like a small child, and before very much longer I’ll have to start treating you as a troll if you can’t stay on topic.

  20. You said you hated tolerance, in a grand (but actually quite trite) opening gambit. You then proceeded to urge your tolerance on us, to wit:

    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.

    However, it soon becomes apparent that, far from simply wanting to be left alone, you have your own notion of thought crime:

    if you’re the kind of religious person who thinks we’re all going to hell . . . then you can fuck off.

    Of course, your abuse isn’t going to change the world but it’s an example of the type of aggression that seems permissible towards those who think differently on certain issues. Even among preening pseudo-liberals.

  21. Very well, Peter. Since you’ve engaged in the deeply dishonest tactic of the ad hominem argument, playing the man instead of the ball, all bets are off.

    I think you came here with an agenda. I think you might well have some connection with the clergy. You’re either a clergyman or someone with a church connnection. Either that, or you want to deflect attention away from Cathal O Searcaigh by trying to focus on me personally.

    Which is it, Peter? Are you a priest or are you a pal of Cathal?

  22. Not wanting to take things off the current topic they have digressed to – but yes Bock, I do agree that the closed mindset of the artistic community isn’t a million miles from the behavior of the Catholic church in the face of charges against it.

    That culture of denial exhibited by the church has long taught me not to close my mind to the possibility of absolutely anybody being guilty of anything. Unfortunately.

  23. Eolai: Thanks for getting the conversation back on track. I think I might have to ban that goddam troll-priest.

    Someone not noted for his own flexibility said this: I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken

    I’d say he’d be waiting a while for Aosdana members to imagine they were fallible.

  24. O Searcaigh might be good at Irish but he’s basically a self involved waster ( – I would call him a wanker but he’d probably like that – ), and he’s doing it at my expense (as a taxpayer), the bastard.

    And, yes, where is the artistic community’s moral outrage over this?? All those liberal minded ladies and gents who wrote indignant letters to the Oirish Times and marched the streets in protest at ‘evil americans’ and their supposedly immoral war in Iraq? Where are they now that evil has been shown to have visited out own doorstep?

  25. Collywobbles: I agree with much of what you say, but let’s wait and see if Cathal O Searcaigh actually did anything wrong. We have no information on that and it isn’t even very relevant.

    We only know that Aosdana don’t want to know, though they’ll be quite happy to keep accepting our tax-money.

  26. Are you a priest or are you a pal of Cathal?

    Neither, Bock. I’m not even religious. And I disapprove of what Ó Searcaigh has done. Also, I don’t think there’s anything dishonest about pointing out your contradictory positions. I think it’s worth pointing out where liberalism is being preached but not applied. Call me a troll if you want. Ban me, even. If that’s how you cope, so be it.

  27. Peter, you really need to look at yourself. This post wasn’t about me, and yet you expended so much energy on the wrong thing.

    Why are you so interested in me?

  28. I’m not interested in you. You are not interesting. It’s your very typicality which makes it worthwhile commenting on your posturing. If you had original or eccentric ideas I wouldn’t comment. But you represent the very mainstream of faux liberalism – all into every one doing their own thing, mon, as long as they don’t dare to have religious beliefs. Then they’re fair game, it seems. I ask you to ponder this disconnect. Not as a religious person, just as someone who values truth and fairness.

  29. Peter, you are one sad bastard.

    And what’s more, you are one sad bastard who is giving me a pain in the arse.

    Consequently, you are one sad bastard who is fucking banned.


  30. Re- Seanachie’s post..9th Feb.

    You are no cousin of Cathal’s. A sad apologist, you are. Cathal’s mother is from the parish of the Rosses.

    As to him being a monster, well I believe those who were forced to know Cathal most intimately, those being impoverished, 16 and younger Nepalese boys may argue otherwise.

    All the artistic community is worried about is losing their ‘deep spiritual kudos’ on the discovery that their ‘sacred cause celebre’ is nothing but a middle aged, empty, child abusing poet, with absolutely no wisdom or character…hopefully in this case there will be justice and more importantly..lessons learned.

  31. Furthermore. the autistic (sic) community are missing the point. This is not a debate on sexual liberalism, this is about power and control and the ability of mainly fat, middle aged western men to exploit desperately poor, uneducated and vulnerable young adults and children.
    It is stated above that one could sodomise canadian
    14 year olds with impunity and more usually 16 year olds elsewhere. The point being that in Canada and Europe, vulnerable children can go to relevant authorities and get help, be it for abuse or housing or benefits. Nepalese boys (to use Cathal’s own words) do not have such recourse. Finally, most young adults found shacking up with a middle aged predator, for predators they are, as an adult would find no intellectual or experience commonality with a 16 year old or a younger child,are there because they too are vulnerable within their own environment and are looking for a safe figure in their lives..Predators know exactly how to present themselves as safe! Also, are Cathal or other middle aged men that deluded that they believe they are a sexual magnet to these young people. I know the man sets himself up as Guru Gaelgoir of the Western World…but pulease..these kids would rather be shagging each other…and that’s how it should be

  32. Sharon..

    I hope I did not cause offense to you Sharon, or anyone suffering from the developmental disorder that is autism. This was not my intention, in my shock at the artistic community’s inability to relate to the exploitation of young people and children by Cathal O’ Searcaigh. I made a petty play on the word ‘artistic’ to make a point. For this I apologise. However, I stand by my disgust at the artists who are supporting something which is unsupportable.

  33. I appreciate the apology Nuala. I have seem the word ‘autistic’ applied as an insult fairly often recently and have got a bit fed up with it.

    And you’re right about the shameless behaviour of those artists.

  34. Think it’s a bit mad that the events in Nepal took place months ago (think it was two years ago) and yet the filmmaker who was so shocked by his behaviour waited until her film was being released before going to the press.

  35. Re: Nuala; I am a distant cousin of Cathal Ó Searcaigh, as I clearly wrote, my mother is from Cloughaneely, as is Cathal, I am related to him on his father’s side of the family. I am also no apologist for him, I simply think the man is innocent until proven guilty. Hardly a radical concept to grasp…

  36. Cathal’s guilt is well established, it came from his own mouth and his statements were proffered freely during the course of an interview to Neasa Ní Chainnan.
    Whether or not he is found to have committed a crime in the eyes of Nepalese law is immaterial, he has used his elevated status and wealth to procure young boys, in an economically and educationally impoverished country.
    This, he concedes on film himself and morally no matter which way you try to defend your distant relation, is indefensible
    The hotel owner in Katmandu, said that as many as sixteen young boys were going up to his room daily. One of these boys was bleeding heavily from his anus and had to be rushed to hospital. The hotel owner also said that Cathal nailed all the boy’s underwear to the bathroom wall as though they were trophies. Yes, the hotel owner could be lying but this is the same man who alerted Neasa Ní Chainnan the documentary maker, by speaking out about his grave concerns. This is why Neasa put the questions to Cathal in the first place, and we all know the candid arrogance of Cathal O’ Searcaigh’s answers.

  37. O Searcaigh’s arrogance knows no limits. He is still arguing about his innocence in spite of the revelations. He is finished and his career will not c0ne back

  38. Hi folks, all this chat about Cathal O Searcaigh is surely nothing new for West Donegal where sex scandal after sex scandal has been exposed, priests, teachers, et etc, sure isn’t this same area of Donegal -Gortahork – where paedophile priest Fr Eugene Greene (who will hit the street again in December this year) and teacher Denis Mc Ginley abused young altar boys and pupils, not forgetting Sligo teacher Patrick Curran who is from nearby Derrybeg…Jesus one has to wonder what kind of creeps are living in this area?…If what the film portrays is accurate, and sure isn’t it his own words, then O Searcaigh is no angel…and by the way year his late mother hailed from Meenderrynasloe near Annagry, a member of a famous writing family the Roarty’s…

  39. The notion that the artistic community is closing ranks around O Searcaigh isn’t really supported by the facts. He’s certainly been defended by a few artists close to him or the Aosdana circle, and there’s been an element of kneejerk gay defensiveness (I’m looking at you David Norris) probably on account of the right of older literary queens to sleep with shiny younger men is a basic article of faith in gay culture. For every defender the man has however, there’s scores of arty types who reckon the whole thing stinks. The film-maker herself is a card carrying member of the same arty set after all.

    The silence from most people is well founded – they haven’t seen the documentary and haven’t had a chance to form an independent opinion. I saw the film in the festival, and had missed much of the media debate beforehand. The overall response to the screening (from a pretty arty audience in the main) was one of support for film-maker. Apologists for O Searcaigh were few on the ground and I’d hazard that this will be reflected in the broader community once RTE screen the film.

  40. On reading the above – just to clarify – I’ve no problem with older literary queens sleeping with shiney younger men. I’ve also no problem with O Searcaigh doing whatever floats his boat with consenting lads – but there’s an obvious abuse of financial leverage at play in what he’s been doing. He could go to Italy or Portugal and find younger legal guys, just not at the same bargain basement price.

  41. Alastair: For the record, I couldn’t care less about Cathal Ó Searcaigh’s sexual preferences as long as they don’t involve children. This thing was written specifically about the reaction of Aosdana members the week the story broke, and things have moved on a bit since then.

    Your point about the price in Italy and Portugal is well made. One would have to ask how great the financial needs of the Nepalese lads are, and how desperate they might feel.

  42. It’s all very reminiscent of the controversies around the abuses in the Industrial & Reformatory Schools. Those who mentioned how abusive these places were and how cruel the [TAKE YOUR PICK:> christian brothers, sisters of mercy/charity, rosminians, oblates] were, you were shouted down and LOUDLY reminded about the GOODNESS and CHARITY of these religious orders. If these elitist supporters of Ó Searcaigh see nothing at all wrong in his actions in Nepal why don’t they all get together and bring over some middle-aged Nepalese citizens to Ireland and let them do to young Irish people what Ó Searcaigh was doing in Nepal – maybe these elitist supporters could volunteer their own family members for “tete-a-tetes” with the Nepalese.

  43. Extract from a statement released by Cathal Ó Searcaigh: “I have decided to establish a trust to administer whatever funds I am capable of providing in the future. The trust will consist of Prem, my adopted son, Sunita his wife and my daughter-in-law, and a Nepalese solicitor and accountant. I will distance myself completely from the distribution of funding for chosen projects.” Does he really expect us to believe that he’s distancing himself by keeping control of the funds in the “family”? What’s wrong with giving the money to a registered charity? Is it just me, or does there appear to be something wrong here??

  44. In case anybody made travel plans based on my comment earlier that the sexual age of consent in Canada is 14, here’s an update. The law raising the age to 16 just passed the Senate. Sorry about the non-refundable tickets, boys.

  45. …and gals!!!

    Not an exclusively male phenomenon Alberta. The beaches of Gambia are an eyeopener for instance, some of the more elderly lay-dees are not too worried about corrupting the young boys there. Age limit or no.

  46. faux liberalism, the evil over here.. the taxpayers money over there. you can take a crap in anyones back yard i guess as long as it’s not your own. i say don’t let anyone shit on you, open your mouth :)


    Big stone falls into small Irish poetical pond!
    One of our number has been having sex.
    (No, that fact is not the stone.
    That’s merely a ripple)
    He’s been having sex with young men in Nepal.
    He’s a sex tourist, dammit!
    Not good, not good.
    Letters to papers.
    Matter of ethics.
    But there again on the other hand.
    Milton was a PR man for Cromwell.
    Great art is above and beyond
    These piffling details of the weakness of humanity.
    Et cet era.
    And bear in mind, he was also teaching them
    Useful stuff (apart from sex),
    Reading riting ritmetic and so forth.
    It could be said, admitted, alright, it was sex tourism,
    But it was Fair Trade Sex Tourism.
    And anway, none of this gets to the point.
    The real question remains unanswered.
    Was he having sex with them in Irish or English?
    If the latter, the question of grants and subsidies arise.
    There are definite forms to fill, proper procedures,
    Arts administrators to keep in jobs.
    If none of these things are done properly
    Well then the Irish poetical pond would be chaotic.
    Might even be poetry.
    Couldn’t have that.
    All that relevance to reality.

  48. I love your literary flair for invective, Bock me oul’ segotia, even if it has internal illogicalities. Well that is called literary licence. Middle-aged men having sexual delights with 16-year-o;d foreign boys is…umm…sexual licence. Poetic licence can be purchased at the local post office for a few euro. Where can I get a sexual licence?

  49. ok…. I read all the pre-emptive press about the film by Neasa Ní Chainnan…. i chose to watch the film itself on RTE the other night…. and cried uncotrolably throughout…..

    I think an earlier post made a fair point – (SOME of) the literary and artistic middle age gay community see sexual liaisons with young shiny guys as a perk of the job, if you will…. but there is a hell of a difference between 2 consenting adults sharing their love of Keats and body fluids an what Cathal seems to be doing with these buys – for that is what they were – boys….

    As far as (SOME of) the literary and creative community in general coming out to defend him? ……….stone them all I say.

    One of the definitions of a paedophile is that THEY think WE are wroing for thinking there is something wrong with having sex with boys (or girls) – a definition clearly illustrated by the protestations expressed by Cathal when confronted by Neasa Ní Chainnan’s questions at the end of the film.

    I hope his poetry is taken off any school or college syllabus as soon as possible. I hope bookshops chose to take a stand and stop stocking his books.

    I have never read any of his poetry but the excertps that were in the film were shite anyway so it can’t be that great a loss……..

  50. I watch the documentary last night and I didn’t get to sleep until 4 am this morning as I am so outraged by this man. Simply he is nothing more than a predator, singling out poor boys who have not even a concept of what sex is, and abusing them. He is an arrogant, over eater with bad teeth who couldn’t pick up any 16 yr old boy in ireland and heads off to nepal to where he can get his joy. As a gay man myself, it disgusts me to think of such men on the loose. Like gary glitter he should be locked up for doing what is totally morally wrong. I understand that it is legal to have sex at 16 in nepal, however does this give cathal the right to exploit the situation. who the hell do you think you are? You should be arrested and the key thrown away. you horrible, horrible, monster.

    oh yeah what kind of a poet says… Pussy cat pussy cat where have you been. I’ve been to london to see the queen…. poet my ass.

  51. Aosdana is not an united body…on any matter. Only a tiny minority are in support of Cathal O S. And you’ll find that the only thing they have published in years is a letter to the Irish Times.

    The rest of us, we’re just busy paddling our own cnuas.

  52. I have known Cathal O’Searchaigh for some time though only meeting him once every few years whenever I happened to be able to visit our family home in Gortahork. I happened to be visiting in March during the documentary and watched it with some cousins who had attended school with Cathal. The reactions were mixed. One cousin was Cathal’s teacher and was attempting to defend him by calling in to question the film-maker’s attitude, tone, intentions, etc. But as I said to him, the evidence is already there in front of the viewer, though as we both knew, evidene can be skewed by how a camera is focused. If it is on one aspect of a man’s life it can ignore the context. The film maker deliberately did this. She is not very popular in Cloughaneely, Donegal, due to other rather mean-spirited documentaries.

    My own view is that Cathal is himself bound, like a 16 year old, in an emotional whirlpool which he has never been able to extricate himself from. Whether counselling would help is uncertain because those who are doing what he has been doing have convinced themselves that they are helping, and loving, the youth they are sexually engaged with.

    My relatives, who know him well, say that Cathal is naive and honest and straightforward. He came to believe that what he was doing was quite proper because his motives were good and intended to be helpful, but (having had to deal with local pedophile behaviour) I can attest that pedophile literature is full of this kind of thinking.

  53. [Mod edit: this comment contained defamatory statements and has been removed]

  54. He was taking advantage of poorer people with his western wealth in exchange for sex, such predatory behaviour is at a very minimum amoral if not immoral and wrong.

  55. Anyone read the book “breaking the silence” by Martin Ridge outlining the sexual deviance which occurred in North West Donegal? A good but truly shocking book of cover-ups, clergy lies and ignoring facts. Whatever made that part of the country so bad?

  56. Enough material here for a complete new system of ethics. (Or indeed a religion for what else is a religion but a complete system of ethics wrapped up in a fairy tale (the fairy tale being for children and the simple minded)).

    All of the questions addressed. Your freedom to swing you arm ends at my nose. Your tinker friends freedom to live in shit ends when you choke on the smell of burning insulation or put your foot in the shit.

    People do like to live amongst people like themselves, hence seek those who share their ethical (religious) views and to impose their ethical views (Sharia or however you spell it) on the remainder who do not.

    Unfortunately not enough planets to accommodate all the various people who want to live in pure communities of the like minded, so kill the unbeliever? Or just get them to agree not to try to impose their systems of behaviour on you as long as you stop before you get to the end of their nose.

    Funny thing about sex is that it almost never happens between equals. There is always some degree of exploitation. Always; even between people of equal age one will be more atriculate and the other less, one more intelligent, persuasive etc.. A normal adult persuading a more simple minded adult to submit is exploitative. Well it is if the one takes pleasure without giving it. Is it if the sex is giving as well as receiving, if the pleasure is mutual?

    The law is a crude and blunt instrument. Various countries lay down laws which state limits in terms of numbers of years. It is a crude measure which takes no account of maturity or the nature of the relationship (giving and receiving pleasure (love?) or simply taking pleasure and giving pain). Yet it must be so for enquiring into subtle shades is beyond courts – on an everyday basis at least.

    It is clearly wrong to buy a child an use it as a sex object taking pleasure and leaving it damaged. Also wrong to exploit those more poor, unsophisticated, weak, stupid, vulnerable, silly, drunk, unconscious, than oneself.

    If this chap did use his relative wealth to obtain firm young flesh to sink himself into and then leave bleeding and sore he is a bad man whether they were fifteen years and eleven months and thirty day old or whether they were twenty or whether they were thirty.

    It’s all a gradient, from getting a sexual partner tipsey or persuading a person of lesser social skills or intelligence to let you shag ’em, all the way down to this chap.

    So is morality and ethics. It all shades of gray merging from the clearly black end to the clearly white end.

    Doesn’t matter – except for the small matter of going to jail – whether some arbitrary legal line is crossed. I might read his stuff if it’s any good (listening to Wagner? or whatever someone said about Cromwell’s friend above) but I won’t be inviting him to dinner. Or bending over in front of him.

  57. To quote O’Searcaigh in the culture section of Times sunday last.
    ” I think a lot of gay people have a huge tolerance and understanding of lonliness, isolation and suffering, and i suppose out of that comes a pity for the despised and a sympathy for outsiders ”
    When questioned about his self centred nature, he responded ” Are’nt all artists pretty self centred ? ”
    I found the interview alarmingly self serving, disgusting and displaying a degree of denial, narcissism and arrogance that was incomprehensible, It’s a constant source of amazement to me how anyone divulging in a bit of creativity can call themselves an ” artist ” but apart from that, the liberties this guy believes he is entitled to because he proclaims his sexuality as opposed to ” hiding ” it seems to entitle him to even more privlige, proclaiming ones sexual preference, whether hetherosexual or homosexual is hardly the issue though.
    The Nepalese are an extremly gentle people possessed of aquiesance in a way that is not part of western culture, it seems very blatant that in his 12 years of visiting Nepal he just did’nt get it at all, and what part of bestowing his charity on these people gave him some kind of rite of passage (excuse the pun ) to engage in any kind of sexual acts with any of the people he was claiming to help, What would happen if workers from aid agencies decided to cross the boundaries and engage the people they were assisting in sexual acts ?
    He is a spectacularly dispicable creature, he has accused the filmakers of ” entrapment ” what was he doing with those boys if it was’nt entrapment.
    His claim that he brought the filmakers around because he had nothing to hide is just further indicment of his massive ego and total denial.
    He also claims that he made most of his living from ” readings ” now he claims that is almost gone because of the film, I for one am delighted, his claims of human empathy and “understanding of the isolated and dispised” his claims have echos of ……..The christian brothers, did they not claim everything they did for the good of……….

  58. He pissed off a lot of gays by hiding behind his sexual orientation, which had nothing whatever to do with his exploitation of vulnerable people.

  59. He’d be a creature to be pitied for his infantile immaturity were it not for his serial sexual predation in Nepal.

  60. That’s a fact.

    Amazing levels of denial at work there, both by Cathal Ó Searcaigh and by his colleagues in Aosdána.

  61. The other thing to bear in mind is that whenever I have seen anything in the media that I happen to know something about I am impressed by the way they skew and sensationalise and warp and oversimplify.

  62. I have lived in south east asia for over 11yrs.
    Did Maire Mhac an Tsaoi really say that all asian children are sexualised from an early ?

  63. I think it was Declan Lynch that wrote that all Irish language poets should be put on a list – a bit like a sex offenders list – so that people will know that they are in the community, so that we can warn each other least they strike without warning and start reading their poems, in the vicinity of innocent children. The horror, the horror as Brando sighs in Apocalypse Now.

  64. Ta ceann Chathail chomh fada suas a thon go bhfuil fogra a thaispaint: Fan Amach.

    Cathal O’Searcaigh’s head is so far up his arse there’s a sign saying: No Entry. Sadly, that’s his sex life over.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.