Bishop Eamon Casey Dies

Yes, it’s true. Bishop Eamon Casey was a hypocrite. And it’s true he represented everything that was wrong about the Ireland he inhabited, from his self-important speeches to his personal ego-trips on the Late Late Show where he found himself fawned upon by Ireland’s half-squire of smugness, Gay Byrne.

It’s true that Casey was a true Father Ted stereotype, long before the series hit the screens, with his love for strong drink, fast open-top sports-cars and a combination of the two, leading to his multiple  convictions in Britain for drunk driving. In many ways, Casey was Father Noel Furlong.

Of course, if he had been stopped in his own country with a strong smell of alcohol, things would have been different in those days, because that was the Ireland Casey and his confreres inhabited. A land of abject deference to the collar. A land that still has not fully disappeared.

It would be unfair to ignore the fact that Casey took a strong stand against American foreign policy in Central America on purely moral grounds. Indeed, he was one of those who stood in the hail of bullets that killed Archbishop Romero in San Salvador, fired by supporters of the savage right-wing Arena party backed by the CIA. Casey was one of those who opposed Ronald Reagan’s visit to Ireland in 1984. But somehow, Casey’s outrage never extended to his home country, where women were illegally  imprisoned and enslaved by his church. Indeed, Casey continued to condemn women who had children outside of marriage, long after he himself had produced a child with Annie Murphy.

In so many ways, that makes him an even worse hypocrite, since he knew full well how wrong it was to oppress these women, and yet he knowingly ignored their plight.

He knew this was going on and he failed to intervene, preferring the rock-star notoriety of his campaigns against Reagan and the CIA.

Casey abandoned the slaves of the laundries because he did not care about them. Casey preferred singing on the Late Late Show before a grovelling, uncritical, unquestioning host. The same host who prostrated himself in front of Bono many years later.

Furthermore, Casey took emotional advantage of a vulnerable young woman, even though it’s true that Annie Murphy was 24 years old and therefore a grown adult. But Casey was at the very same time using his public profile to lecture the Irish people on their sexual mores. He and his colleague, Michael Cleary, both of whom had fathered children, had the utter cheek to talk down to Irish people as if they were infants.

And that was when the authority of the Catholic clergy in Ireland finally collapsed.

That was when the Irish people, who had for a century and a half been treated like children, finally realised how they had been duped by a bunch of hypocritical charlatans. How they had been deprived of love and intimacy by sexually-inadequate old men. How they had been cheated by a bunch of witch-doctors.

It wasn’t the shocking revelations of child abuse that alienated Ireland from the Catholic hierarchy, though of course, those exposures deepened the hurt.

It was Bishop Eamon Casey. We were the innocent spouse and he was the cheater. We’d been lied to, and there’s no forgiving a lie.

Ireland, Casey’s loyal Catholic spouse, had lived a chaste, joyless life for 150 years and now we learned that he and his crusty old friends had been fucking all around them. Is it any wonder the Irish people wanted to string them all up?

As for Brendan Smyth and all the other child abusers, that was just piling insult on insult.

After Bishop Eamon Casey cheated on Ireland, the details of the clergy’s disgrace hardly mattered.

A lover scorned is a hard enemy.


Crime Religion

Ireland overtaken by an evil cult of sexually-disturbed nuns

They sold human hair to English wig shops.

Think about that.

With the collusion of the State, they enslaved young girls, imprisoned them, tore their babies from their breast and imprisoned them.  They called those children the Spawn of Satan. They regimented the children of those poor girls, humiliated them, paraded them in front of the town children, dressed them in smocks and made certain sure that they would never have the slightest shred of dignity.

That was what these fine Christian nuns did.

That was what these Brides of Christ achieved in our fine new Catholic independent republic.

That was exactly what these disturbed, frustrated, demented religious women inflicted on the young people of this fine republic.

How many hundreds of babies were flung into a sewer in Tuam?

I want to puke. I want to throw up. I really want to finally express my revulsion at the sort of state these so-called revolutionaries created, when all they managed to do was put our children in the hands of religious lunatics.

The nuns sold human hair to English wig shops, torn from the heads of the poor girls they imprisoned against the law. The nuns sold babies to America and Australia, against the law. The nuns used girls as slaves in their laundries against the law.

And now those same nuns thumb their noses to the law by refusing to release information about the babies they stole, leaving heartbroken mothers bereft.

It’s time these nuns were dragged before a court to answer for themselves instead of issuing callous, dismissive press statements, but of course, what could one expect from people who have never experienced close personal human relationships?

People who might be experiencing extreme personal anger as a result.

People who might be very damaged and unsuitable to look after anyone else.



Reluctantly back

Could we ever have imagined in our most disturbed fantasies that a hubristic imbecile like Trump might now be occupying the Iron Throne?

I didn’t see it coming any more than his opponents did. I didn’t see it coming any more than Donald himself did.

For that matter, if Donald hadn’t made the mistake of hiring the poisonous Breitbart worm, Steve Bannon, he wouldn’t be trapped today in the appalling presidential bubble that requires him to behave like a man.

This won’t be easy for Donald, a man-child with no personal experience of acting like an adult. This will not be easy at all for a guy who is essentially a loser in the game of being a grown-up. This will not be easy for a guy who is the son and the grandson of opportunists and who derived his sense of decency from a grandfather who became rich by being a pimp.

That, my friends, is the new President of the USA.

That, my friends, is the unlettered fool who has never read a book, or written one, yet who now claims to be the leader of the free world, whatever that means.

I didn’t plan to reactivate this blog, but when our civilised society is assaulted by such a cretin in temporary control of such a powerful force, what else can one do?

Unfortunately, it seems you’ll have to put up with me a little longer than I planned.

Politics Racism Society

Breitbart. The parasite that has taken over America’s brain.

The jewel wasp is a remarkable insect that knows precisely how to take over a cockroach.  First it stings the insect to temporarily paralyse its front legs.  Then it injects a precisely-measured amount of venom into exactly the right place in the cockroach’s brain to disable its  escape instinct.  Having achieved that, it leads the docile insect by the antenna, like a farmer leading a cow, to a tomb, where it lays an egg that will eventually become a larva.  The larva burrows into the cockroach and eats it from the inside out, taking care not to kill it, and at the same time spreading an anti-microbial layer to ensure that it has no competition as it consumes its host, until it eventually bursts out of the used-up husk, a newly-pupated jewel wasp.

I can think of no better analogy for the sort of evil ideology that has consumed America, just as it consumed Germany eighty years ago.

The viciously anti-Semitic, racist, woman-hating former CEO of the Breitbart website, Steve Bannon, has now wormed his way into the very heart of the American power structure, by drugging the biggest cockroach of them all, Donald Trump. And just like a jewel wasp, he has led the incomprehending roach down a hole and into his lair while the host still believes that it has the best advisers.

Tremendous. Really great.

This is something that the hosts of parasites often do,  continuing to behave as if they’re still alive long after the mutating larvae implanted in them have eaten their vital organs.

Long after hope has vanished.

A ladybird is a formidable adversary, even though it’s as pretty as an Enid Blyton story, but in the animal world, those black spots and that red carapace don’t say beautiful. They say don’t mess with me. When Dinocampus coccinellae lays its eggs in a ladybird, that host is doomed, and yet the drug injected into the insect’s brain ensures that the ladybird continues to protect the larvae even as they eat it from the inside out.

Today we learn that Bannon has appointed two more of his former Breitbart staffers to senior positions in the White House, thereby trebling the malevolence index at a stroke. Now we have three people from a racist, fact-mangling, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim propaganda mill at the very heart of American power.

Do you think I’d care if these people had influence in the Seychelles or the Solomon Islands?

I would not, for the plain and simple reason that the Seychelles have no ability to destroy our planet, unlike the United States.

And now the United States is being taken over by the Breitbart Jewel Wasp.

Why would I not be afraid?

Let us hope that the host realises what the parasite is up to before all cognitive ability is gone.




French Fashion Police overruled as Burkini ban lifted

Did we ever think the Fashion Police would become a real thing, with a gun on its hip and a sneer on its lip as it instructs sartorial offenders to take their clothes off in public?

Even though a French court has ordered suspension of the burkini ban, the utter stupidity continues.

This week the world endured the degrading spectacle of French police forcing a female French citizen to undress in public, on the grounds that her clothing covered too much of her body.

Four armed men forcing a woman to undress.


Think about that for a minute. You’re not naked enough. Take off more clothes or we’ll arrest you.

Was the woman wearing a niqab, that vile dehumanising mask, that symbol of female oppression rejected by the majority of Muslim women?

No. The lady was simply overdressed, in the opinion of the police, and her clothing was of an unapproved style.

Of course, when the image of a policeman standing over the woman hit social media, the French authorities issued threats of prosecution for anyone reposting the image which is one sure way to get yourself right up there where you don’t want to be, as Barbra Streisand discovered when she tried to prevent publication of a photo of her house.

The Streisand Effect is now a recognised phenomenon and the French cops are its latest victims.

I think it’s safe to say that there would have been a huge public outcry in France if the police had ordered a nun to undress in public, and yet the argument they put forward against the burkini applies equally to the nun’s habit. If anything, the nun’s habit is more religiously-based than the burkini, so why exactly is one illegal while the other is not?

burkini nun swimming

Unwittingly or otherwise, these policemen have removed the veil (so to speak), exposing the naked (so to speak) xenophobia behind these laws.

A woman can cover up as much as she wishes, provided the woman is a Christian, an atheist or a Jew. But if a woman is Muslim, she must bare more flesh than she feels comfortable with or risk being called a terrorist, arrested and fined.

That, in anyone’s words, is Islamophobia.

But it’s worse. This is hatred and oppression of women. Of all women. This is a state telling women what they may wear and what they may not wear.

Masks are another matter. No civilised society should tolerate the niqab and I agree with the French ban on it. We need a similiar ban here in order to begin the emancipation of those women who are oppressed in such a manner, but the burkini has nothing to do with this. The burkini is simply a woman’s choice of how to dress, and no civilised society has any business interfering in that choice.

Today, I heard a magnificent lunatic on Liveline trying to justify the ban on security grounds. Explaining that a woman on a beach might be able to hide a bomb under her burkini, this individual proved that ISIS have truly captured the hearts and minds of idiots.


Religion Sexuality

Maynooth sex scandal – Archbishop pulls out

maynooth seminary

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has had enough of all these sexual shenanigans in the National Seminary at Maynooth.

He’s pulling his students out and sending them to the Irish College in Rome where he hopes they’ll get greater exposure to cosmopolitan European culture and they won’t be shagging each other.

Who could blame him? If Maynooth wasn’t good enough for Ireland’s first Cardinal, Paul Cullen, nearly 200 years ago, why should it be good enough for Diarmuid Martin’s vulnerable young protegés? Admittedly, of course, Cullen’s father had a different reason for sending his lad to Rome. Hugh Cullen wasn’t letting any son of his attend a Catholic seminary provided by the perfidious English oppressors whereas Diarmuid Martin is more concerned about The Gay.

That’s right. I said Gay.


There’s a seminary full of men, sequestered away in a monastic environment and some of them turn out to be  gay.

Not only that, but some of them turn out to be sexually active.

Who knew?

One way or the other, Archbishop Martin is worried and to be fair to him, his concerns are probably not based on the fact that the activity is homosexual. That’s more or less a given, since  it would be hard to see how anyone would engage in heterosexual activity in a place where there are no women.

I know. It  doesn’t have to be heterosexual. You could point out that there are sheep in Kildare and no doubt the occasional frog but from what he said, Martin seems to be more troubled by what he perceives as an atmosphere of coercion. Martin thinks Maynooth is a place full of abusers preying on emotionally-vulnerable young men.

Who could have imagined that the seminary churning out Ireland’s priests would be sexually abusive, especially when you consider how balanced and emotionally complete Ireland’s priests have proven themselves over the centuries? It’s astonishing.

But apart from the sexual aggression, Martin also seems to be worried about the shagging. By the sound of things, the lads in Maynooth are getting laid like jack-rabbits using social media, and who could blame them? Their final vows will include not only celibacy but also chastity, so why not make hay while they can?

Te morituri salutant.

Martin doesn’t think his priestlings should be getting laid and of course, he’s the boss. But given the consequences of that policy over the centuries, perhaps he’d be better off just saying nothing. Let them get on with it. Let them use dating websites, gay or straight and who knows? He might even end up with emotionally well-adjusted priests and what a difference that would be, although of course it’s too late to change anything. The damage was done a long time ago and the Catholic church has already lost the hearts and minds it needed to survive.

Now, it’s true that Diarmuid only has three seminarians to educate this year when in times past his predecessors might have had dozens. That’s why he was sending them to Maynooth: Clonliffe College closed years ago due to lack of interest but let’s not focus on numbers.

Diarmuid Martin must be feeling pretty despondent. The institution he devoted his life to no longer enjoys the confidence of the general public and here he is, the Archbishop of Dublin, saying that he has no confidence in the national seminary.

Nobody trusts the clergy, and the top cleric doesn’t trust the place that makes the priests.

Artificial seminarians, so to speak.

That leaves him in a difficult position, wouldn’t you say?

Our lives Stupidity

Paying €60 for a short plank in Dunnes Stores

As the economy goes up, our collective IQ seems to go down in a bizarre see-saw way that might well explain the utter madness of the property bubble. And what better metaphor for the return to collective stupidity than the small piece of timber Dunnes Stores are selling for €60?

Dunnes Stores Paul Costello plank

A small plank. About 20mm thick and maybe 450mm long by 150mm wide. Or as we used to say, three-quarters of an inch thick and 18 inches long by six inches wide.

A very small and light board, but a board with a difference. This little board, you see, has been designed by a designer. A proper designer. Paul I-worked-in-Paris Costelloe, to be precise.

And Paul Costelloe designed this little board to be simple, yet refined as Dunnes say in their blurb.

You can almost smell the simplicity and refinement as you congratulate yourself on the purchase of this minimalist, uncompromising artifact. Imagine how impressed your friends will be when you serve them cheeses, charcuterie and antipasti on this elegant little, eh, plank.

This thing? Oh, it was only €60, you know. It would hardly pay for an hour of Sneachtfra’s Montessori.

The great design maestro himself, Paul Costelloe, got a free plug on Ray D’Arcy’s show this afternoon.

What’s all this about a plank for €60? asked Ray. (Or words to that effect).

Well, it’s oak, said Paul. Do you realise I worked in Paris?

Oak! Paul intoned the word like he was telling Ray the board was carved from the living roots of Yggdrasil.

Oak? That would be the stuff of which I have a half dozen planks in the workshop. Proper planks and not the effete 3/4-inch fly-swatters Dunnes are selling.

Could you make them at home? asked Ray.

Oh well, you could try, said Paul Costelloe. Because, as everyone knows, sanding a small piece of wood is perhaps the hardest thing anyone has ever tried. And if I heard correctly, he also seemed to mention that the wood was treated with something, which is not really what you want in a board you’re going to use for serving cheeses, charcuterie and antipasti. Oak does just fine with no preservatives, which is why generations of shipwrights have used it to build ocean-going vessels but of course Paul Costelloe would have known that from his years working in Paris.

Obviously I must have misheard him.

I was probably distracted by the intense purity of the 90-degree corners and the clean smooth lines he designed.




Marriage equality referendum — one year on

It’s a year, one full year, since Ireland voted in a referendum to make all our citizens equal, and the Irish people voted overwhelmingly to do the right thing.

As a veteran of previous referendums, I wasn’t sure they would but I’m glad to say I was wrong.

As somebody who didn’t have a dog in the fight, I was glad that my LGBTQ friends were vindicated.

As an Irish citizen, I was proud to have contributed whatever small thing I could.

The Irish people decided to do the decent thing. Marriage equality is now the law of the land and yet there are many who fail to accept the democratic will of the Irish people. The Iona Institute lobby group have pumped out one self-pitying article after another bewailing the fact that the Irish people voted the wrong way in a democratic referendum. One authoritarian ideologue after another has berated us for failing to obey their instructions.

If you thought oppression disappeared in 1922, you made a big mistake. They haven’t gone away, you know, and the oppression only got worse. After independence, Ireland was delivered into the hands of an overbearing elite of wealthy people who, of course, had always been in control but who now held the levers of power.

It comes as a shock to most of us who didn’t share in the privilege and the wealth of these people for generations. When we see them shuffle out of the darkness, as we saw last year in the Marriage Equality debate, we are genuinely shocked. We gaze on them and we ask ourselves how we could not have known about this layer of society. This layer that holds so much wealth and so much entitlement. This layer that considers itself superior to the rest of us, even though there is no objective reason to justify such an opinion.

I went to the radio debate held by Newstalk and of course the attendance was as diverse as you might expect. There was the lunatic fringe, represented by John Waters. There was the idealistic group of committed youngish people. There was a bunch of battle-worn old skeptics like myself.

And over there in the corner was a crowd of sour-looking, prosperous-looking elders (sad to say) dressed like the audience of the Late Late Show and clearly outraged at the notion that anyone would have the gall to disagree with them.

Otherwise known as The Rich.

I found them hilarious, but the louder I laughed at John Waters, the deeper became the scowls of the ladies in the twin-sets until eventually a stern-looking old fellow in a suit walked up to the young people in front of us and gave them a harsh stare, like a teacher from the 1960s threatening physical abuse on a class of six-year-olds.

I got the blame, naturally, for laughing at John Waters but I’ll wear that badge with pride. The rich old people might well have never heard of him but they seemed happy to take any lunatic they could get, given the utter stupidity of their cause. In fairness to them, the older I get, the stupider I get but at least my stupidity isn’t aimed at depriving my fellow citizens of freedom. That’s where religious madness comes in.

It’s a full year since our brothers and sisters won full recognition but at least it happened. Ireland legalised same-sex marriage and the people who voted for it included elderly aunties, raving Commies and quiet-minded religious people who understood the notion of decency.

As I said, I had no dog in the fight, but  that might have been a little inaccurate. Of course I have LGBT friends who might wish to be married, but more importantly, the dog I have in this fight is the dog guarding us all against intolerance and religious extremism.


Ancient longing for power behind religious opposition to same-sex marriage amendment

Same-Sex Marriage — Anti-Equality Lobby Recruit The Brady Bunch

Lawyers For Yes tear apart every last Opus Dei lie about marriage equality

Father Ted meets Monty Python as Brother Dougal hits Limerick in the fight against the evil gays


Climate Politics Stupidity

Danny Healy (Rae) and climate change denial

As I sat on top of the chicken house yesterday in the pouring rain with my neighbour Adolf O’Goonassa, we watched an old man who could hardly walk or talk staggering through the fields with a creel of fish.

‘Tis true what Danny Healy (Rae) says, he shouted against the downpour. Only the Man above is in charge of the weather.

Adolf reached into the póca of his weskit, withdrawing a pouch of tobacco and a small bottle of whiskey.

Do you know phwhat Bock? he muttered in the softest, most melodious Irish anyone ever heard.

Phwat? I replied.

‘Tis a bad sign that the ducks are in the nettles.

And so it was. A bad sign indeed, because even though a Kerry village pines for its missing idiot, our national parliament gains one more ignoramus. Kilgarvan’s loss is Ireland’s loss.

Danny Healy Rae Michael Healy Rae

On the other hand, you might say that Danny Healy’s (Rae) contribution to the climate change debate was a master-class in the power of buffoonery (if by contribution you mean bluster and if by debate you mean denial). You could almost hear them tuning up those banjos back in Kerry as Danny rounded on Eamon Ryan and told him that one year the sun didn’t shine in Ireland at all at all, and another year we were drowned out of it. And in 1740, three million of us died from famine at a time when there were only 2.5 million in the country and there were no combustible engines then either as Danny reminded us.

Twice, Danny pointed out that there were no combustible engines back in those days long ago.

Squeal like a pig? No. Eamon kept a straight face throughout Danny’s  lecture on a subject he plainly knew nothing about and in a way it was hard not to shed a nostalgic tear. There was a time when every bar in Ireland had some bombast ready to hold forth on any subject in return for a pint or a cigarette.

Of course Danny, no more than the rest of his political crew, isn’t that easily bought. It will take a lot more than the offer of a small whiskey to sway him, and that’s why, after displaying to the world the boundless unplumbed depths of his ignorance, he brought his rant around to local matters.

Danny made it plain that he sees no difference between weather and climate and besides, there’s nothing we can do about it down here on Planet Earth. God above, you see, controls the weather and when it rains, the best thing the government could do would be give maybe €200,000 to drain the river at Glenflesk, naturally enough using diggers supplied by Danny’s plant-hire firm which was specially set up by God to protect Kerry from his wrath.

It probably plays well enough around Kenmare and Kilgarvan, and what else would Danny care about? This, after all, is the same man who suggested that pub owners should be able to give their customers certificates allowing them to drive with excess alcohol in their blood, and just like the flooding and the diggers, this suggestion had nothing whatever to do with the fact that he owns a pub himself.

And still they elected him.

Let’s hope, when he arrives to save the poor drowned people of Glenflesk, his engines aren’t too combustible.

Politics Religion

Pope takes Syrian Muslim refugees to Rome

The Pope has taken three refugee Syrian Muslim families back to Rome from Greece, and many commentators have accused him of tokenism for doing so.

Guess what?  They’re right. It is tokenism.

Guess what? The Pope is right, because his tokenism beats my tokenism any old day of the week. I agree with the Pope. Some people might think we have no basis for agreement on anything, but of course they’d be wrong, since we share the same values of human decency and the Pope seems to be just as appalled as anyone else at the treatment of the people trying to escape the slaughter in Syria.

There is much that I would disagree with the Pope about, which is hardly surprising  since he is, after all, the head of the Roman Catholic church while I on the other hand am an atheist. I don’t accept that his god exists and I don’t accept that he has any moral authority in society at large simply for being the Pope. What’s more, I found some of his recent utterances repugnant to my sense of fairness, but in this instance, the Pope has done a thing that might resonate across the world and might perhaps achieve some good.

It’s easy to see how his symbolic rescue of a dozen Muslims could be troubling, but the Pope has at least confronted the bigots in a way they can’t avoid and by doing so, he has laid down a challenge to those people who call themselves Christian.

Perhaps one of the most shocking things about the refugee crisis has been the vitriol directed towards the refugees. If this is Christianity, then I’m glad to be an atheist but I suspect it is not. I suspect the likes of Pegida and our own pathetic home-grown Identity Ireland are no more Christians than the deranged killers of ISIS/Daesh are true Muslims. I suspect that the Pope knows it.

I have yet to hear an atheist demand that refugees be sent back to the place where ISIS/Daesh will murder them but I have heard many Christians doing so and here we have Pope Francis confronting such intolerance in a hugely symbolic act.

If the Pope, of all people, is embracing Muslims as his brothers and sisters, how can bigots continue their ignorant tirades against a full quarter of the world’s people? There is much I disagree with the Pope about, but I can find no grounds to quibble with him on this. He has given the decent people of the world something to hold out in front of self-described Christians.

Something to point at.

Look at this.

Your most prominent holy man is comfortable with Muslims.

What’s your problem?