Cathal Ó Searcaigh’s Statement

 Posted by on February 21, 2008  Add comments
Feb 212008
 

UPDATE: A Poem For Cathal

________________________________

When I first wrote about this, I thought Cathal Ó Searcaigh was almost a peripheral figure. I was more interested in the reaction of the artistic community, which reminded me of the Catholic Church’s denials and attacks on its critics.

I was going to say no more about Cathal Ó Searcaigh until I read his statement today, and I have to confess that I’m staggered by its monumental irrelevancy, manipulative intent and self-pitying tone.

Here.

Read for yourself what he says:

It is with a heavy heart that I have read and listened to the media comment about the documentary Fairytale of Katmandu.

I opened my life and work in Nepal to someone I considered a friend. Someone who had made a film of me and my adopted son and family in Nepal less than a year earlier and who never raised any concerns to me at that time.

I believe the filmmakers never had any intentions of showing the work I have being doing in Nepal for some 13 years now. I have undertaken projects to provide water, housing, education and business opportunities for the people of Nepal.

I have made many friends, both male and female and I have taken great pleasure in seeing my small efforts change their lives for the better. The well being of the Nepalese people is of primary concern to me.

If my gay lifestyle and relationships in Nepal has offended anyone, I am sorry. But to suggest that I in any way coerced or preyed upon these young men is untrue and distasteful. My relationships in Nepal have always been open and loving and above board.

I have considered deeply the opinions put forward by my critics and I can see how my actions could have been misinterpreted. It hurts me to think that I would be seen in this light.

However, as my efforts to support and nurture the people of Nepal are more important to me than the privacy of my relationships, 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, a Nepalese solicitor and accountant. I will distance myself completely from the distribution of funding for chosen projects. This will allow the work I have started in Nepal to continue and afford me the privilege of regaining some semblance of a private life.

I would finally like to say that the vast bulk of the money I used to help my friends in Nepal was my own income. Although I lived there for three months of the year, I support the educational and other projects all year round.

Is teann an taca an trócaire.

Remember: nobody criticised his sexual orientation. Nobody cares if he’s gay or straight. The only question asked was whether he had possibly exploited young people through his financial strength and their poverty.

Having read it carefully, I think this statement is an attempt by Cathal to divert the debate away from the real question. I think he’s trying to present the whole thing as the persecution of a harmless gay man, and I think his efforts to do so are both clumsy and transparent.

Let’s examine this statement in detail, paragraph by paragraph, and see if we can determine what it’s about. This is only my judgement of his motivation, but it seems to me that his statement is deeply manipulative and devoid of empathy.

Paragraph
Motivation
It is with a heavy heart that I have read and listened to the media comment about the documentary Fairytale of Katmandu.
Self-pityIrrelevant
I opened my life and work in Nepal to someone I considered a friend. Someone who had made a film of me and my adopted son and family in Nepal less than a year earlier and who never raised any concerns to me at that time. Guilt tripIrrelevant
I believe the filmmakers never had any intentions of showing the work I have being doing in Nepal for some 13 years now. I have undertaken projects to provide water, housing, education and business opportunities for the people of Nepal.
Guilt-trip
Self-pity
MartyrdomIrrelevant
If my gay lifestyle and relationships in Nepal has offended anyone, I am sorry. But to suggest that I in any way coerced or preyed upon these young men is untrue and distasteful. My relationships in Nepal have always been open and loving and above board.
Guilt-trip
Self-pity
Avoidance
MartyrdomTangential
I have considered deeply the opinions put forward by my critics and I can see how my actions could have been misinterpreted. It hurts me to think that I would be seen in this light Self-pityIrrelevant
However, as my efforts to support and nurture the people of Nepal are more important to me than the privacy of my relationships, I have decided to establish a trust to administer whatever funds I am capable of providing in the future. AvoidanceIrrelevant
The trust will consist of Prem, my adopted son, Sunita his wife and my daughter-in-law, a Nepalese solicitor and accountant. I will distance myself completely from the distribution of funding for chosen projects. This will allow the work I have started in Nepal to continue and afford me the privilege of regaining some semblance of a private life. Avoidance
Self-pity
Guilt-trip
MartyrdomIrrelevant
I would finally like to say that the vast bulk of the money I used to help my friends in Nepal was my own income. Although I lived there for three months of the year, I support the educational and other projects all year round. Avoidance
Self-pity
Guilt-trip
MartyrdomIrrelevant
Is teann an taca an trócaire. (My translation: Mercy is a slender support) Self-pity
Guilt-trip
MartyrdomIrrelevant

What do you reckon?

___________________

Previously: Cathal Ó Searcaigh

Elsewhere: Conan Drumm

  50 Responses to “Cathal Ó Searcaigh’s Statement”

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  1.  

    A heavy heart? What did he expect. This is an limp attempt to gain sympathy…. the adopted son, whether his son is adopted or not, he is his son, why even use the word “adopted”? Gay men have biologically fathered children, so I don’t get why he said this. And using his own income. That was his choice so again, why bring it up? I won’t knock gay relationships, although I do find it rather difficult to take on board – that’s just me, but the very fact that he refers to them as “young men”, just gives it away in my opinion. Judging by what he’s written, he’s actually convinced himself at this point that he hasn’t done anything inappropriate. Although in the very core of his being he knows he’s fucked it up. There’s nothing else I can say.

  2.  

    A heavy heart. what did he expect? This is a lame last ditch attempt to gain sympathy. Why is he referring to his son as “adopted”? What does it matter? Is he trying to portray himself as the kindly man who adopted a poor needy child? His son is his son, regardless, so I don’t understand the relevance of the adoption thing.Because he is gay? Gay men have fathered children naturally, so there is no relevance there. And using his own money – that was his own choice, so where’s the point in divulging that information? I am not against gay people, although I do find it difficult to take on board, but that’s just me. However, the fact that he refers to them as the “young men” actually in my opinion makes it look even worse! In the very core of his being, he knows he’s fucked it up. But there is a large chunk of him i think that actually believes nothing he has done is inappropriate. If you convince yourself enough, it can almost become a reality, and that’s what he seems to be doing. Ya.

  3.  

    The reason my two paragraphs are almost the same is because my first one did not deliver properly, and i wrote it again – just in case anyone is tempted to verbally tickle me on it. cheers.

  4.  

    See, analysis is always good. Nicely done Bock :-)

  5.  

    Yup, I happened to see the programme. Blogged about it the other day. He’s a sad excuse for a human being and I’ve absolutely zero sympathy for him because he refuses to self-criticise.

  6.  

    Nobody gives a flying fuck if he’s gay, yet he tries to play the homophobic card. So he justifies his seduction [EDITED] with tales of self-sacrifice and providing a better life for the Nepalese villagers. If he were a 52 years old taxi driver from Limerick pulling the same stunt with young girls in Thailand under the pretence of providing a better life for their village would the same apologists as those defending O’Searchaigh rise in his defence?

    Doesn’t work like that Cathal, a stór-those Nepali villagers would have managed to get clean water for less than the price you exacted.

    Incidentally he says the “vast bulk” of the money raised was his own. I was under the impression that he collected works from his friends in the artistic community and auctioned them to fund his projects.

  7.  

    I heard about it at Conan’s and commented there. How old were these Nepalese boys who were going to his rooms?

  8.  

    Cathal says 16.

  9.  

    That guy from the nepalese charity says even younger than that. let’s not forget though, that the issue is not really what age they are, it’s the imbalance of power that exists between Cathal and the boys.

  10.  

    In essence, he’s done nothing counter to the law of the land the alleged ‘offences’ took place in, and his only mistake was appologising when he should have come out with a hearty “Get Fucked”. This whole fandango arose out of one journalists desire for a seedy story and to be honest, Im ashamed to say our national broadcaster snatched it from the hands of the Daily Sun, who Im sure would be far more suited to this inuendo driven fap-fest doled out to raise the ire of the parocial wactchdogs who have instilled themselves as the moral guardians of us all, regardless of whether we asked them to or not. I suppose next we’ll be claiming he financed an abortion. THE HORROR! I hear there’s a sale coming up in B&Q. I’m sure ye’ll be able to pick up a few pitchforks to wave at the next trial by opinion fairly handy.

    I guess sex really does sell…..

  11.  

    When you recover, you might like to point out what exactly you think I’ve accused him of.

  12.  

    I wasnt aiming anything at you, just a general few words aimed at the BURN HIM bregade.

  13.  

    Also, you might like to point out what exactly you think Ive accused you of accusing him of.

  14.  

    I dont give a shit one way or the other, I’ve never met the guy, but he’s claiming he was unfairly misrepresented. However, as we all know, no film maker would dare taint thier work with bias for the sake of a buck…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G6fU-aYq-E

  15.  

    what’s your feeling on taking him off the curriculum, Bock?

  16.  

    I think his statement is being misrepresented as an apology. Rosie’s question brought to mind a story told by Rodney Marsh about playing for Alf Ramsey’s England team. Marsh stated that Ramsey told him ‘I’ll be watching you for the first 45 minutes and if you don’t work harder I’ll pull you off at halftime,” to which Marsh replied: “Crikey, Alf, at Manchester City all we get is an orange and a cup of tea.”. He was never selected for the England team again.

  17.  

    On the curriculum thing:

    If the poems stand on their own, if the texts are worthy, they should be left on the curriculum, IMO. Frankly, if every writer whose private life caused comment (or even scandal) was taken off the curriculum, it’d be decimated. And I’m not talking about Irish writers exclusively.

    “If he were a 52 years old taxi driver from Limerick pulling the same stunt with young girls in Thailand …”

    There you have it. But if his work has literary merit, leave it alone I’d say.

    (BTW, does anyone know if Michael Davitt was taken off the curriculum?)

    http://www.irishwriters-online.com/michaeldavitt.html

  18.  

    Rosie: I don’t agree with it. if you followed that line of logic, we’d never have heard of Verlaine or Rimbaud.

  19.  

    he was whipped off the second level one quicksmart, Nora, but kept on my college one (though there was never any mention of the unsavoury aspects of his personal life – i knew nothing of them until the ó searcaigh story came to light and people started to make comparisons)

  20.  

    His statement is weak. The “analysis” of it is remarkably superficial.

  21.  

    Really, Groucho? Well, I’ll be grateful for your advice on how to improve it. It’s hard to avoid being superficial when there’s nothing to analyse.

  22.  

    This whole fandango arose out of one journalists desire for a seedy story and to be honest, Im ashamed to say our national broadcaster snatched it from the hands of the Daily Sun, who Im sure would be far more suited to this inuendo driven fap-fest doled out to raise the ire of the parocial wactchdogs who have instilled themselves as the moral guardians of us all, regardless of whether we asked them to or not.

    Really? I could have sworn that it stemmed from the man in question allowing himself to be documented exchanging financial favours for sex. Ó Searcaigh chose to publically condemn sex tourism while patently engaging in exactly that – and to add a bit of additional spice – at least partially on the back of charitable donations he’d gathered from well meaning people. The ‘innuendo’ you mention isn’t denied by Ó Searcaigh – he simply chooses to ignore the exploitative nature of the relationships. Perhaps you’d be better actually watching the documentary and judging for yourself what’s distorted editorialising and what’s simply an accurate reflection of the events. That’s what I did, and there’s not much room for ambiguity.

    I’m no parocial moral watchdog – far from it. But what the guy’s doing is exploitative, would offend most people’s ethics, and, at the minimum is the sort of gross hypocrisy that deserves a light shone on it.

  23.  

    What O searchaigh did was reprehensible. What doctor orgasm has said on this site is pretty ignorant too. yes, both of them ought to be strung up but w’re civilized, mild mannered people in Ireland as a rule, so we don’t do that here. Instead, we give them tax money because we try to give them some credit for whatever modicum of talent they do possess, and we praise them for what they produce with our help. Actually, you know, I wonder who’s really the sicker party in this equation. Is it them or the rest of us?

  24.  

    I’ll bring the string so. You bring the guitar so everyone can sing from the same hymn sheet on an opinion well forced down throats. It’ll be brilliant, so lets just hope it doesnt rain.

  25.  

    I’m not following you here. Which opinion is that?

  26.  

    seems the only one forcing things down throats was Cathal.

  27.  

    heheheh…

    Anyway, the base of the point I was making was to state that they guy was accused of abusing his position in a television documentary. The Orts community defended him blindly, while the rst of us decided he should be nailed up in the presence of no objective evidence other than that stated in a documentary in which bias in editing may (or may not) have played a part. Then, when he tried to defend himself no one really cared becuase they had their minds made up that he is a person of less than honorable morals, therefore doesnt deserve the chance at a fair and bojective hearing.

    The reason I posted the youtube link above, and if you havent looked at it, I reccomend you do, was to illustrate that no matter what the underlying subject matter, a dash of clever cutting and editing can make a very convincing case for something that just isnt there. Not Im not saying its not there in this man’s case, but I am saying that maybe we should reserve judgement untill we know all the facts. Again, like I said above, I’ve never met the guy and dont care either way, but I think this whole scenario is sympomatic of a wider problem in modern Irish and British society thats fuelled by the man on the street’s hunger for a good scandal and fed by the tabloids willingness to print ANYTHING to rake in a bob. If people might start waiting for all the evidence to come out before going all red top and simply saying ‘well I’ve heard enough’ then maybe we might be able to get to the bottom of the real problems in our society that allow actual people of questionable morals to function with impunity.

    If I pissed anyone off I appologise.

  28.  

    Doctororgasm: If you look again at the two posts about the case here, you’ll see that they were both about denial.

    The first one concerned the reaction of the Arts community, and the second related to the inadequacy of Cathal’s own public statement.

    He was not accused of committing a crime, nor was the outcome of any investigation pre-judged.

    On a lighter note, please don’t apologise for pissing people off: as I’ve said here dozens of times, there’s nothing wrong with offending people.

  29.  

    Well, i agree but the last thing I want to do is come in and start throwing things all over your blog. Which in hindsight it what I appear to have done. Must be all that alcohol I havent been having lately.

    Stupid brain cells…

  30.  

    LETTERS PAGE Irish Times 28 February 2008

    Madam, – Many commentators on the Ó Searcaigh controversy claim or imply that their views are not affected by the fact that Ó Searcaigh’s sexual encounters were with boys rather than girls. The writer of your Editorial of February 23rd is one of these. However, the use of the words “pederasty” and “pederasts” belies this. The use of a word specific to men who are sexually attracted to adolescent boys (there is not even an equivalent word for men attracted to girls, let alone for women attracted to adolescents of either sex) indicates a deep-seated, albeit perhaps unconscious, prejudice, just as use of the word “mistress” indicates an underlying sexism. Furthermore, some commentary, including the Editorial, suggests that the boys with whom Ó Searcaigh had sexual encounters were over the “age of consent” of 16 in Nepal; yet elsewhere it has been stated that sex between males is illegal in Nepal, in which case consent does not arise as rape and consensual sex are equated.

    Whatever about Nepal, the Ireland in which Ó Searcaigh grew up was one that equated rape and consensual sex between men (the only difference being that the latter involved two criminals rather than one). In that Ireland men could not say “yes” to sex with other men, just as a married woman could not say “no” to sex with her husband. It is also claimed that there is no suggestion of criminal conduct on Ó Searcaigh’s part. However, the Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act 1996 effectively allows for the enforcement of discriminatory laws, such as those in Nepal, in Ireland. This, of course, reflects domestic sexual offences laws which provide for different ages of consent with respect to certain forms of sexual contact, depending on whether the participants are of the same or different genders. – Yours, etc, SD, P..n Road, Dublin 6.

  31.  

    and the point of this letter is?

  32.  

    FAIR TRADE SEX TOURISM

    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.

  33.  

    I can’t actually believe that people are defending this repulsive human being. I have just watched the film and the man’s lack of guilt, remorse and ability to recognise that he is a sexual predator of the lowest order is beyond belief. To travel to a poor country and lure young boys to his room under the premise of learning, where he proceeded to molest them, is unacceptable. The fact that he is a member of the aosdana should have no bearing on the situation whatsoever. And also this has nothing to do with sexual orientation – I’m sure everyone would be equally horrified by this if it was young girls involved. His indifference to the situation disgusts me and something must be done about this. It can not be allowed to be swept under the rug and action must be taken to ensure that the children involved are helped, and that this sick individual is brought to justice

  34.  

    He has done nothing illegal in Nepal or in Ireland unfortunately.. I too just watched the film and baring in mind that there can be selective editing to make a point on the filmakers behalf.I saw nothing to dissuade me that this guy is an unrepentant sex tourist masquerding as a humanitarian..
    Fuck him and his defenders…

  35.  

    I was impressed with the hotel managers comment that westerners should help the poor without terms and conditions. He looked like a guy weary of the adulation shown by the documentary crew and felt that he had to say something, even in the roundabout way that he did. That he did hint at something about one of his regular customers speaks for itself.

  36.  

    You could tell in a scene before that (where he was sitting in reception and a boy came up to the desk and asked for room 405) ,that he wanted to say something to the film crew.
    Quite a powerful moment..

  37.  

    Just on another point: this qoute from his letter;
    “The trust will consist of Prem, my adopted son, Sunita his wife and my daughter-in-law, a Nepalese solicitor and accountant. I will distance myself completely from the distribution of funding for chosen projects. This will allow the work I have started in Nepal to continue and afford me the privilege of regaining some semblance of a private life.”

    Firstly:Did he Legally adopt Prem? I ask because in the Documentary ,Prem retold a story of him staying in Ireland with Cathal and on their return,Cathal said that he was adopting him as his ‘spiritual son’.But it wasnt clarified if this was legally done.Also earlier on there was a hint towards Prems arranged marriage being a convenient business arrangement for him..

    Secondly: There was no footage or mention of “Projects” that he was funding.All i saw was him buying clothes for young boys that he picked up..

    Did I miss something?

  38.  

    There was a discrepancy in the story how Prem and Cathal met. Cathal said that he was walking down the street and ‘bumped’ into Prem and claimed destiny and somesuch that they were meant to meet each other. Prem’s version was less romantic. He saw a rich foreigner standing at the station and went up to meet him. He expressed surprise that he was a nice foreigner. There’s something odd about this I thought at the time….

  39.  

    This documenatry should have been called “SICKO”. This sick, perverted & sad piece of shite should have his penis transplanted to his mouth. Humanitarian??? [REMOVED: DEFAMATORY]
    He had alot of people defending him. Mr. gay senator David Norris was quick to step to his defence. By defending him norris is just as sick as Ó Searcaigh

  40.  

    Paul, why do you say “gay Senator David Norris”?

    If you have a problem with anyone being gay, you came to the wrong place. Take your prejudice somewhere else. This isn’t about anyone’s sexual orientation. Not Cathal O Searcaigh’s and not David Norris’s.

    I hope you’re clear on that.

    Secondly, please do not post defamatory comments on this site or I’ll have to remove them and if you persist, I’ll have to block your IP address.

  41.  

    Cathal O’Searcaigh what a sick man. i watched the programme and was shocked. his reltationship with his so called son is very strange to say the least. his education and business opportunities for the people of nepal by the look of it doesnt include the women of nepal. not one girl was seen in his company. he must take the people of ireland to be idiots with his statment. this guys about as sick as they come.

  42.  

    At this moment in time I have not explored this poets works. It is not a question of a persons sexuality. I have always believed that one cannot seperate the artist from the man ,they are one and the same. In saying this and this is just my opinion, the ability of a poet to be able to transfer the mundane and the ordinary into an expression beyond your ordinary joe soap is a wonderful art. To lack the insight of his reality and lack understanding of any wrong doing just doesn’t hold water. I feel he saw himself as untouchable a legend in his own little world. However I refuse to believe he was unaware of the consequences of his actions, he just chose to ignore them. I wonder what literary creation will flow from his pen as he ponders this very real predicament

  43.  

    They [the defenders] are still at it and that poor woman who made the documentary is still having to defend herself,we are a twisted lot really are we not?

  44.  

    We? Speak for yourself.

  45.  

    The film makers behind Fairytale of Kathmandu, which accused O Searcaigh of exploiting Nepalese teenagers for sex, are preparing to release unedited footage of key interviews to further bolster their claims, according to today’s Sunday Indo.

    Neasa Ni Chianain and her partner David Rane are doing this in response to a short film in defence of O Searcaigh, which concludes that the accusation that the poet is an exploitative sex tourist is a lie, according to the Indo.

    Again, according to the Indo, the film maker, Paddy Bushe, a member of Aosodana, “made his first foray into film making to defend O Searcaigh, who he admitted to the Sunday Indo was now a close friend.”

    In Fairytale of Kathmandu a Nepalese teenager, Naryan Panta speaks of being in O’Searcaigh’s room.

    “Most of the time, his hand is on my penis also. In the morning he told me, I love sex, ” Panta is quoted as saying in today’s Sunday Indo.

    The full interview with Panta lasts about 35 minutes. The above plan to load the full interview on the Fairytale of Kathmandu website in the next few days.

  46.  

    Aosdána is closing ranks to protect one of its own, just like all the other secret societies and cosseted cabals in this country. It’s like the Christian Brothers and we must treat it accordingly by closing it down and removing the unearned privileges its members enjoy.

  47.  

    Why does Irish and western society hold our teenage males in such contempt?

    Michael Jackson allegedly molested boys and is already being eulogised. Oscar Wilde allegedly consorted with teenage rent boys and is eulogised as one of our greatest writers. and Cathal O Searcaigh – well we can’t really eulogise his talent because he has none – is allegedly consorting with Nepalese teenage boys. The common denominator is all of this is the word “boys”. But if you replace the word boys with the word “girls” the sisters would quite rightly destroy the reputations of the lot of them.

    Meanwhile, our contempt for teenage males is now enshrined in our laws. Next week a number of teenage boys will appear in court charged with rape. Their crime was to have sex with girls under 17, even though the teenage boys in question were under 17 at the time also. According to our Orwellian laws, introduced just over two years ago to appease all sorts of hysteria from the usual suspects, the girl is innocent (quite rightly so) in this situation. But the boy will be charged with rape and could face up to five years in jail as well as having his name placed on the sex offenders list.

    The girl in the above context is referred to as “a female child under the age of 17”. The male child in the above context under the age of 17 has no definition – after all he is a “depraved rapist and sex offender.”

    A number of these cases will be heard next week. This is a national scandal and it is also scandalous that the Sisters and various other equality quangos have nothing to say about this. Do they want to see these children jailed?

    Meantime, if you are the parent or guardian of a teenage boy – and yes we know they can be a total pain – then be afraid, be very afraid.

    Here’s Kevin Myres writing on the subject today.

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/this-pious-and-fatuous-law-is-a-charter-for-blackmailers-1791457.html

  48.  

    Then should not the girl be charged with having sex with a person underage as well.Then Ireland can be a laughing stock registering teenagers who have consenting sex with each other as paedophiles.Actually heard of a case in America where a 14 year old girl was charged with possesing child pornography.Nude pictures of herself !!.Making stupid laws should be a criminal offence with stiff sentences.

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