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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Photo Minute: Galway between 1885 and 1910 (12 photos)

Shop St in Galway in 1885
Eyre Square in 1899
Williamsgate St (Upper) in 1898
Clifden in 1910
Clifden in 1900
Claddagh in 1895
Fish Market in 1888
Eyre Square in 1899
Oughterard in 1898

Oughterard in 1899
Williamsgate St (Lower) in 1898

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The secret lives of Ireland’s Protestants


UCD research project documents the cultural experiences of growing up Protestant

                                                         Church of Ireland in Dublin

Her friends were getting married. She made plans for the big day and imagined what she would wear. But her friends were Protestants, and she was Catholic. The priest said that her mortal soul would be at risk if she crossed the threshold of a Protestant church and he forbade her from attending. On the big day, she stood in the cold with the church door open and watched from outside. In later years, she told how hurtful it had been, and how it tainted her relationship with Catholicism. Still, the friendship survived.

This anonymous story from the 1940s is one of hundreds that are being gathered for a major folklore and oral history project that is being carried out by Dr Deirdre Nuttall for the National Folklore Collection in UCD. Faith is just one of the various aspects that make Protestants distinctive, she says. “Protestant and Catholic are cultural markers, not necessarily denominational ones. Protestants have a slightly different folklore, collective memory and experience of 1916, 1922 and other major historical periods.”
So far, Nuttall, who is of Protestant descent, has interviewed over 50 people. She has also been inundated with correspondence from Protestants who are keen to tell their stories and to record their history. In the NFC archives, a filing cabinet is quickly filling up; some of the responses are quite short, but others are 10,000 words or more. One correspondent seems to have written a small book. Their stories and recollections span include folk history, supernatural and medical traditions, relations with Catholic neighbours, social diversity and uniquely Protestant traditions.
“While Irish Protestants are well represented among Ireland’s earlier folklore collectors in the Republic of Ireland, Irish Protestant cultural history is not as well represented in the archives of the National Folklore Collection as that of the Catholic community,” says Dr Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh, director of the National Folklore Collection at UCD. “The Protestant folk memory project helps to redress a significant gap in the collection.”

Emotion
Nuttall has been surprised by the strength of emotion from people telling their stories. “There was a lot of sorrow and anguish. Statistically, Protestants do tend to be bigger farmers, but there are plenty from poorer or working-class backgrounds and many of them grew up being asked: ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘Where is your butler?’ ‘Aren’t you rich?’ Anyone with money tended to be shielded because they went to a private school, perhaps on to Trinity and then into the family business. You were cocooned by privilege. It was different if you weren’t comfortable.”
Perhaps the most infamous episode of the hardship and discrimination endured by some Irish Protestants occurred in 1957. Sheila Cloney, a Protestant woman from nearby Fethard-on-Sea who was married to a Catholic man, refused an order from the local priest to raise the children as Catholics in accordance with the Ne Temere decree. In response, the bishop called for Catholics to boycott local Protestants and their businesses; most duly complied.
“I remember hearing stories about this,” says Nuttall. “The Protestants in my family are from the New Ross area, and my grandparent’s generation felt that while they should support the businesses that were being boycotted, they didn’t want to ‘make a fuss’. So they drove down the back roads to Fethard. They were concerned that the boycott would spread to New Ross, and the Protestants there were not wealthy.”
Long before Fethard, the Scullabogue massacre during the 1798 rebellion is remembered by Protestants as a sectarian murder of at least 100 Protestants and farmers – by some estimates, there may have been 200 deaths – in a barn fire. “The folk record often overlooked or minimised this, or said it was a reprisal for something else,” says Nuttall. “My classmates in Wexford didn’t seem to know the story at all, though my family did.” Protestants also disproportionately sent their sons to fight in the first World War, and many died.”

Tough time
One man from the southwest of Ireland told Nuttall that he had a tough time growing up in the 1930s. “The other children were told not to play with him, that he was going to the devil. On his long walk home from school, he had to contend with other kids threatening him. His parents didn’t believe him. More than 80 years later, he was very upset as he spoke to me about it.”
Irish independence was a jolt for Protestants, most of whom, to some degree, had lent towards unionism. “They had to reinvent their lives and work with their neighbours,” says Nuttall. “They may not have seen themselves as British but as subjects of the British empire, so they had to come up with a new way of understanding their history and identity. In some cases, that took one or two generations.”
Nuttall says that, while there were rarely huge flare-ups between Catholics and Protestants, there could be underlying tensions. People in rural communities might thresh together, or share a plough, but observant Protestants did not take part in Sunday sports and this excluded them from many community events. “It was sometimes a polite way of not taking part, because there was some anxiety that if your children socialised with Catholics too much, they may marry out. They were already watching their community shrink, and one of the reasons was Ne Temere. It wasn’t just that they were preserving their religion; they were afraid their Catholic grandchildren could be subtly turned against them.”
Jean Daly was born in 1954. Her father was a member of the Church of Ireland and her mother was a Methodist. They lived in Cork though her mother’s family came from Monaghan. Daly’s family lived in Canada for the first seven years of her life, and she says she only realised she was Protestant and somehow different when she returned to Ireland.

Later, when she married a Catholic man, she had to sign the notorious Ne Temere decree. “I found it very difficult, not only because of its religious significance but also because I resented terms and conditions being imposed on me. So, on the form to Rome, I put down my signature and then the words ‘under duress.’ That left me free to make whatever decision I wanted to about the religious persuasion of any children I would have. We ultimately decided not to baptise our son and we were in complete accord on that.”

Unique traits
It’s not all misery: Nuttall’s work is also capturing some of the unique traits and traditions of Irish Protestant culture. “A lot of older people believe in the idea of the Protestant work ethic,” she says. “There are stereotypes: Protestants are good at growing daffodils and can make a meal out of barely any food.”
“Home baking is popular among Protestants, especially jam-making,” says David Thomas, who was born in 1959. “I was recently at a funeral and everything was home-baked. Someone brought along Aldi buns but they stood out like a sore thumb.”
Daly recalls that Harvest Thanksgiving, a fading custom, was celebrated in the Church of Ireland in early to mid-autumn. “The Zion church in Rathgar put a beautiful display of fruits and vegetables on the altar. There were always hymns and I loved them; they still remind me of my connection with Dad. Hymns bring people together. One memorable Christmas in Zion, we were surprised with trumpets during Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. The whole church was filled with sound. It was magnificent. I turned to Mum and said: ‘Perhaps there are some compensations for being Protestant’.” Some families passed on herbal cures, says Nuttall. “In some areas, cures were associated with the Protestant community. I interviewed one man whose family had practiced herbal cures until the late 80s when they stopped over insurance concerns. His family folklore says that they came over with Cromwell’s foot soldiers and helped sack the monasteries in the area, but had rescued the monastery’s manuscripts and saved them orally.”
Are there bigger differences? “There is an idea in Protestantism that you are responsible for yourself,” says Daly. “For all your faults – and it has legions of them including its prescriptive thinking – you are face-to-face with yourself because there is no intermediary to confess to.”
“In my family, people are defined by their work ethic,” says Thomas. “If they say ‘he’s a great guy’, it means he is a good worker. If they say ‘he is an eejit’, it means he’s a bad worker. It’s also considered a sin to waste money, time and resources. But this may be as much of a middle-class value as a Protestant one – and if you look at Irish history, you will see that people are divided by religion more so than by class.”

Diverse
But Ireland’s story is not divided between Catholic and Protestant with nothing in between, says Thomas. “People have always been diverse. In my own family, there is elements of unionism and elements of Wolfe Tone’s republicanism.”
Like many Irish Protestants, his family believe they are descended from the English who arrived in Ireland with Oliver Cromwell during the 1650s. Another ancestor may have been a wealthy landlord. On his paternal grandmother’s side, the Mitchells – an Anglican family – were “extremely republican,” he says.
These divisions were exacerbated by the onset of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Before this, Orange picnics in the Republic – particularly in Donegal – were a day out for the whole community, regardless of religion.

Like non-Catholic children in Catholic schools today, Thomas sat out prayers; in his school, they occurred at the start of virtually every lesson. There was significantly less child sex abuse committed by Protestant clergy, although there are some cases, and over 200 babies died from abuse and neglect in the Protestant Bethany Home for unmarried mothers – a scandal that survivors struggled for years to have acknowledged.
Nuttall presents compelling evidence that while most Protestants in the Republic saw themselves as completely separate from those in Northern Ireland, this was not always the case for those in Border areas. “People in more northern parts tended to be descended from those who came from Scotland, but those around the rest of country were more diverse. People away from Border areas often stressed that they feel very different from northern Protestants, and these differences go back centuries.”

Never homogenous
Of course, the Protestant community, although comprising mainly Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians, was never homogenous. Today, immigration from Africa has helped swell the ranks on Protestant pews. One correspondent who filled out a questionnaire for the NFC said that Methodists were stricter with alcohol, gambling, card-playing, dancing and Sunday observance.
Daly’s Methodist mother, to her, embodied what the church was about. “The church has less of a hierarchy and is more individualistic. There is less formality and pomp than in Anglicanism. My mother was deeply unconventional and questioning and she always pushed you to be the best version of yourself that you could be. She leant towards rebellion and was a solid republican. I spent the first seven years of my life in Canada when they emigrated for work, and she had a real difficulty with the idea of swearing allegiance to the Queen of England.”
The majority of people interviewed by Nuttall – both Protestants and people of Protestant descent – chose to stay anonymous. When they talk of their family history they tend to focus on Quakers, Pallatines or Hugeunots; Cromwell remains taboo.
“One man told me that his ancestors came with Cromwell; then he asked me to delete it; then said I could include it but not to mention where he is from, as he didn’t want anyone to know,” she says. “Even though it was a long time ago, it is a heavy burden to bear. Another woman from the northwest of Ireland talks of her people coming from Scotland but does not want to be identified.”
Much has changed. The youngest people who responded to Nuttall’s survey are in their 20s and their experience of growing up in Ireland seems to be largely the same as anyone else’s. But, beyond them, there are stories that need to be saved and histories that must be told. This project may just fill a vital gap.

David Woods, 43: “When a nun got on the bus, everyone else moved”
“When I was a kid, I was in the Boys’ Brigade, and we were always taught to salute the tricolour. As far as I was concerned, I was Irish. But then I went to secondary school and got a terrible time. I was constantly told I was English and British.
“I grew up in Pembroke Gardens, Ballsbridge. The houses were originally built for poor Protestants and my upbringing was firmly working-class. My parents were staunch Church of Ireland members.
“Verbal abuse was common and I’d hear that, if you run backwards around a Protestant church seven times, you’d see the devil. It was horrible, but I had to get on with it. People thought that we didn’t believe that Mary was a virgin or we don’t believe in saints – all untrue. One neighbour used to say hello to us every day, but after he discovered we were Protestant, he never even looked at us again.

“That said, I think we had more freedom. I always got the impression from Catholic friends that there was a level of fear which I didn’t experience. As an outsider, I’d notice that when a nun got on the bus, everyone else moved up three or four seats. I respected the clergy, but there wasn’t that fear and deference. In referendums on issues like divorce, we were not instructed how to vote and our clergy reminded us that we had free will. I don’t believe in a Christian God but I read the bible and think Jesus gave good guidance. And I might go to a clergyman for advice: they can have relationships and we don’t have to call them ‘father’, so it’s a bit more down-to-earth.
“I don’t know much about my ancestry, but my grandad said he would salute the queen if he was in England, though my Protestant grandmother would definitely not. There’s a massive difference between us and Northern Irish Protestants: in church, we pray for the president, whereas they pray for the queen.
“The Dublin Conservative Club is a Protestant working-class association just off Camden St. Women attend but only men can be members, which is one of the reasons I’m not inclined to go there; I like to think of myself as more open-minded. But in 1988, Ireland scored a goal against England and everyone was celebrating. We are Irish.” unique aspects, aside from the religious element?
Peter McGuire

Why the liberal world order is worth saving


We too easily forget that there is nothing inevitable about peace or the march of democracy


Berlin 1989: It was no accident that, once the Berlin Wall had come down, the freedoms available in the west of the continent were grabbed with both hands by the formerly communist nations in the east. Photograph: Lionel Cironneau/AP.

Sometimes a landscape’s contours dissolve into the detail. This is happening now amid the fracturing of the west’s liberal order. Brexit, Donald Trump, angry nationalism and populist politics - all are closely reported and rudely debated. Lost to the cacophony is clear sight of just how much is at stake.
For all its blemishes, the post-1945 settlement ushered in a remarkable period of relative peace and prosperity. We can all list the mistakes - whether hubris in Washington, corrupt politicians in Europe or greedy bankers everywhere. But for the most part, the story has been one of rising living standards and a spreading politics of generosity.
Freedom has advanced in step with the absence of war between the great powers. We too easily forget that there is nothing inevitable about peace or the march of democracy.
We might have noticed also the synergy between a rules-based world order and flourishing open societies. What unites peace abroad with democracy at home is the rule of law. Substitute arbitrary power and states fall to war and societies slide towards authoritarianism. That is why we should shiver when Mr Trump, the president of the world’s most powerful democracy, casually challenges the right of US judges to uphold basic freedoms and disdains international co-operation in favour of America-first nationalism.
The system established after 1945 was built on US power. But it endured and, after the end of the cold war, expanded because US leadership was embedded in multilateral rules and institutions. Everyone had a stake. Washington sometimes over-reached - in Vietnam or with the invasion of Iraq. By history’s standards, however, the Pax Americana was essentially benign, resting as much on the force of example as military might.

Legacy of war
In Europe, a legacy of war between states was replaced by a system that recognised their interdependence. There are lots of things wrong with the EU, but nothing at all when set against what came before. Compare the peace and prosperity of the second half of the 20th century with the barbarism of the first. It was no accident that, once the Berlin Wall had come down, the freedoms available in the west of the continent were grabbed with both hands by the formerly communist nations in the east.

This order, of course, was the creation of the west. The redistribution of power within 
the global system was always going to impose stresses. Nations such as China have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the US-led open trading system. But Beijing was never going to sign up to liberal democracy or forever abide by rules and institutions of exclusively western design. The challenge was whether the system could be revised to accommodate the aspirations of rising states and contain the resentments of a declining Russia.
What was not predicted was that the rich democracies would turn against their own creation, and the question would become whether they could manage the insurrections within. The textbooks tell us that at moments of global transition established powers such as the US defend the status quo, while rising states such as China seek to upend it.
History has been turned on its head. With Mr Trump, the US has joined the ranks of revisionist powers, threatening to surrender US global leadership in the cause of economic nationalism. Britain has done something similar by repudiating the EU. Germany and Japan are almost alone in seeking to hold on to the old multilateral order.
The charge sheet against western elites is by now familiar enough. Globalisation was rigged in favour of the one per cent. Politicians, mesmerised by markets, conspired in the theft. The incomes of the majority stagnated even as they carried the burden of post-crash austerity. Bankers who should be in jail are still pocketing bonuses. Unchecked migration has heaped cultural dislocation on to the economic insecurities wrought by technological change.

Complacency
These grievances cannot be brushed aside. Mr Trump’s xenophobia, the vote for Brexit in the UK and rising populism across Europe have been fed by the complacency of a political establishment in thrall to unfettered capitalism. Winning back public confidence requires mainstream politicians to deploy the tools of government - taxation, education and welfare policies, and yes, redistribution - to balance the excesses of globalisation.
No one should pretend, though, that the populists have the answer. Protectionism impoverishes everyone. Demonising Muslims will not make anyone safer. Locking out Mexicans or, for that matter, Polish plumbers, will not raise the living standards of workers in the US or Britain. Closed societies are meaner, poorer and more repressive. Rising nationalism most typically provides a backdrop to wars.
Memories are short. In Britain, the Brexit vote has stirred a fashion for rose-tinted spectacles. The 1950s were tough, the story goes, but communities stuck together. There were jobs and opportunities for the white working classes.
Breadline wages and slum housing, hotel signs declaring “no dogs, no blacks, no Irish” and cabinet ministers who denounced homosexuality as a “contagious perversion” as dangerous as heroin addiction go unmentioned. Opportunity? University was for a privileged five per cent.
The danger with nostalgia is that it can blind you to progress.
Philip Stephens

Irish Travellers as ‘genetically different’ from settled Irish as Spanish

Study finds Travellers emerged as distinct group up to 200 years before Great Famine


John Ward, a Traveller making tinware near Galway, 1971. Photograph: Pat Langan.

The emergence of Irish Travellers as a distinct group occurred long before the Great Famine, a genetic analysis shows. The DNA study also indicates that while Travellers originally descended from the general Irish population, they are now very distinct from it.
The findings provide strong evidence that Travellers should receive some form of  ethnic status, said Prof Gianpiero Cavalleri, who conducted the study with colleagues at theRoyal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Edinburgh.
“We think this is a nice piece of evidence for that complex debate,” he said. The research group “would be supportive of some form of ethnic status”.
Travellers are now as genetically different from the settled Irish as are the Spanish, he said. And if the small Traveller population is taken into account, they are still as different from the Irish as are the Scots.
“Travellers cluster with the Irish but they are very definitely distinct from the Irish. There is a considerable genetic distance between them.”
The far-reaching study sought to understand the genetic connections between Travellers, the settled Irish and people further afield. It involved looking at the DNA of more than 11,000 people including Travellers, Roma Gypsies, settled Irish, British, Continental Europeans and individuals from the rest of the world.
It also sought to set a time for when the Traveller community began to form as a distinct and separate population.
Today there are between 29,000 and 40,000 Travellers in Ireland, representing 0.6 per cent of the total population.

Generations
The DNA analysis allowed the researchers to track when and how quickly Travellers arose. This occurred between eight and 14 generations ago, with the best fit suggesting 12 generations or 360 years ago, said Prof Gianpiero, professor of genetics in the department of molecular and cellular therapeutics.
The 12 generations would push the emergence of Travellers back to 1657. This significantly predates the Great Famine of 1845-52, an event long thought to have caused the formation of a migratory community that became the Travellers.
The research suggests that Traveller origins may in fact date as far back as 420 years to 1597. The Plantation of Ulster began around that time, with native Irish displaced from the land, perhaps to form a nomadic population.

The researchers did not try to connect the emergence of Travellers with any one historical event. “We tried to avoid speculating. You could point to Cromwellian times but it is speculation,” Prof Gianpiero said.
They did not however have to speculate about the genetics including an important analysis of the interrelatedness of Travellers, something the researchers say could have implications for disease mapping mapping within Ireland.

It is common practice for Travellers to marry first and second cousins, leading to a situation where they have some of the highest rates of duplicated DNA in the world.
“The isolation and consanguinity (marrying cousins) have in turn led to an increased prevalence of recessive diseases, ” the author’s said.
They published their findings on Thursday in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, with the RCSI’s Edmund Gilbert as lead author.

Genetic clusters
The DNA analysis also revealed that there are four “genetic clusters” or subdivisions within the Traveller community. These in turn tend to match up with their social grouping and use of language.
One cluster is associated with the “Rathkeale group” of Travellers. Two other clusters are linked to whether the Traveller speaks the Cant or Gammon dialects of the Traveller language Shelta.
The study clearly showed there was no significant genetic contribution made by Roma Gypsies to Traveller DNA. This disproves a view held by some that the two groups were genetically related.

Traveller origins have long been a “source of considerable debate” the authors write. There is also a lack of documentary evidence that reveals the history of the Irish Traveller population.
Dick Ahistrom

False sex allegation against McCabe circulated by Tusla following “clerical error”


A file containing a false allegation of child sex abuse against whistleblower Maurice McCabe was sent by Tusla, the child and family agency, to gardai and widely circulated in 2013, however no effort was made to substantiate the claim.




The abuse claims were made by a young woman in August to a counsellor, who contacted Tusla and gardai. However, no attempt was made to contact Mr McCabe and put the allegations to him.
In 2014, Tusla admitted a mistake had been made and attributed the false accusation to a “clerical error”.
It was only last year that Mr McCabe became aware that the highly damaging false abuse allegation had been widely circulated. He is to take a legal case against Tusla and has met with Minister for Children Katherine Zappone. She has indicated a public apology will be forthcoming.
However, major questions remain as to how the allegation came about, how it was processed by both the gardai and Tusla, and why Sergeant McCabe was never informed about it.
The allegation surfaced on a file in August 2013, and the “error” was detected the following May, a period during which Sergeant McCabe’s claims of malpractice were causing major political and garda related controversy.

The allegation was known among senior officers in the force. Despite this knowledge Sergeant McCabe was not informed about it, either after the initial file was created, or once it was discovered to be an error. He was not arrested or questioned about the initial allegation, and neither was he informed by the commissioner, his employer, about the error after May 2014.
Today’s revelation puts in context the rumours and propaganda that has been swirling around Sergeant McCabe since he brought forward his claims of malpractice in the force.
Yesterday, Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the Dail that he had been contacted by a journalist who told him he had direct knowledge of the garda commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan, briefing journalists that Sergeant McCabe was responsible for “sexual crimes”.



Mrs O'Sullivan has denied spreading the allegations of sex crimes against Mr McCabe.
In a statement yesterday, she said she was surprised by claims of her involvement in a smear campaign targeting Mr McCabe and insisted it was the first time she had heard the accusation.
The explosive allegations about a sex crime slur were revealed by Labour leader Brendan Howlin who said he was contacted by a journalist who claimed to have direct knowledge of the Commissioner being in contact with other reporters.
Ms O'Sullivan said she was taking an unprecedented step to publicly deny the claims despite a judge-led inquiry being ordered.
A statement from her office on Wednesday said: "The Commissioner has no knowledge of the matters referred to by Deputy Howlin and refutes in the strongest terms the suggestion that she has engaged in the conduct alleged against a serving member of An Garda Siochana.
"This is the first occasion on which the Commissioner has been made aware of the allegations made by Deputy Howlin and to her knowledge no report having been made to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman or elsewhere relating to the specific allegations."

Judge Peter Charleton has been appointed to lead an inquiry into allegations that senior officers attempted to blacken Sgt McCabe's name among the media with unfounded allegations.
He will examine nine issues including whether Commissioner O'Sullivan knew about it or if she played any part in directing it.

The Commissioner said Judge Charleton will get full cooperation from the force.
Michael Clifford

Black rumour and gossip could damage An Garda Síochána



Supt David Taylor, claims he was instructed by Garda commissioner Martin Callinan to play a part in a campaign against whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

THE extent to which Supt David Taylor has implicated himself in a campaign of black propaganda against Sgt Maurice McCabe became fully apparent yesterday.
The terms of reference for the commission of inquiry to investigate whether there was a campaign against McCabe spoke volumes. The terms are based mainly on Taylor’s claims.
These include his claim that he briefed the media “to write negatively about Sergeant McCabe to the effect that his complaints had no substance, that the gardaí had fully investigated his complaints and found no substance to his allegations and that he was driven by agendas”.

In addition, he admitted briefing that “an allegation of criminal misconduct” had been made against Sgt McCabe and that this was the root cause of his agenda, namely revenge against the gardaí.
The latter theme also featured in attempts at the O’Higgins Commission to attack McCabe’s character.
There is a pattern here, or maybe just a series of coincidences. Unable to refute McCabe’s claims of malpractice, elements within the force allegedly decided to instead mercilessly attack his character. The question is whom these elements were.
Taylor admits his role, but claims he was instructed by his boss, then commissioner Martin Callinan, with the full knowledge and complicity of current commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.
Taylor had left the press office and HQ by April 2015 when there was another alleged attempt to attack McCabe’s character behind the closed doors of the O’Higgins inquiry into McCabe’s claims.
Counsel for O’Sullivan said he was instructed to do so, but the commissioner says she never issued such instructions. Only when McCabe produced a tape recording vindicating himself of such allegations, did the matter die.
Taylor was gone by then. If what happened at O’Higgins was part of a pattern to attack McCabe, then it outlived his tenure at HQ, which would give some weight to Taylor’s claim that he wasn’t acting off his own bat.
The goings-on in O’Higgins are not included in terms of reference, which is unfortunate, as they were extremely serious and remain unresolved.


Nóirín O’Sullivan

What is included in the terms is an allegation that RTÉ was supplied with briefing material about the O’Higgins report ahead of publication, which painted McCabe as a “liar”.
The inquiry will also examine a meeting between Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness and then commissioner Callinan in a carpark in 2014. McGuinness has stated that Callinan attempted at that meeting to discredit McCabe, saying he wasn’t to be trusted and that there were issues about him.
Earlier in the Dáil there was a significant, if somewhat shocking, development, when Labour leader Brendan Howlin made an extraordinary allegation under privilege.
He had raised the issue over whether O’Sullivan should step aside for the duration of the commission of inquiry. Then he revealed that he had been contacted by a journalist by phone that morning.
The journalist told him they had direct knowledge of “calls made by the Garda commissioner to journalists during 2013 and 2014 in the course of which the commissioner made very serious allegations of sexual crimes having been committed by Garda Maurice McCabe.”
Howlin’s decision to relate the allegation under privilege carries a certain weight. He passed on allegations about the gardaí in 2000 which led to the setting up of the Morris Tribunal into malpractice in the force in Donegal.
Afterwards, Howlin and former TD Jim Higgins were dragged all the way to the Supreme Court over their refusal to divulge their sources. As it was to turn out, setting up the Morris Tribunal was a correct, if belated, decision, demonstrated by an outcome which exposed serious malpractice and corruption.
Now Howlin is making another claim under privilege about the guards, and deserves to be listened to. As does O’Sullivan, but the questions around her are multiplying to the extent that either she has serious issues to answer or a number of people are now out to bury her in the same way some elements once attempted to bury McCabe.


Garda Maurice McCabe

The other outcome from Howlin’s Dáil claims is that he apparently has unearthed another whistleblower of sorts. The journalist who contacted Howlin — taking the Labour leader at his word — must have been within the ambit of those who were fervently briefed by Garda HQ about Sgt McCabe, if this journalist has the direct knowledge that they claim.
Judge Charleton will be interested to hear from one who has apparently undergone a Pauline conversion. Presumably, the judge will also be curious as to which other senior figures briefed this journalist and what exactly they had to say.
In addition, there is the issue over whether these alleged nefarious briefings affected how this journalist covered the whistleblower story.
Unless everything is a ball of smoke, as an earlier phase of this story was once prematurely characterised, then it’s not just the upper echelons of An Garda Síochána that will be damaged by Judge Charleton’s inquiry.

Elements of the media and some senior political figures may also emerge from the process shipping damage.
Michael Clifford

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Photo Minute: Listen Eagle find your own tree said the crow













Laws laws everywhere


Some laws make sense while more are senseless yet it seems they are everywhere.
Still others are an injustice and just plain wrong. There are more laws now than ever before, and because of it, ensures that there will always be work for those that run and rely on its well oiled wheels; those who cannot afford justice will find little comfort in most judgements either.  For the mega rich and in trouble, the law is little more than an irritant in an otherwise perfect day. But I digress: my own gripe is not even remotely criminal on what I have done, but more criminal in what the law has done to me. 

Recently, I had to make an early Sunday morning journey to the airport at around 7am. Apart from the mating cries of birds, there was no other sound of life as I passed a school 3 miles outside the village where I live in Oughterard.  Parked so secretly beside the school was an unmanned van with a speed camera. A letter the next week told me that I was to be fined €80 with 2 penalty points on my licence for being caught speeding 10 kilometers over the designated 50 at the school. This law still applied even at 3 am in the morning!!

The reality in this minor gripe is that this speeding law, without sense or reason, is done with only a tax revenue in mind and not the spirit of what law is meant to be. It encourages other prejudices and apathy, rightly or wrongly, of what law is really about, in case there was any hopeless optimism left that there was any justice to be had at all in the first place. A wrong law is criminally unjust, yet sometimes, the law works even if not intended to do.

Not too long ago, Clare Garvey was stopped by a Gardai on her way to Oughterard. It had been reported that she was seen veering back and forth over and on the white line.

Clare tried to explain away that it was tiredness and she had just finished work, and added, “I hope you did not think I was drinking.” The Gardai, a good natured man, let her go on her way with a warning for her to be more careful. What she nor the Gardai or anyone else knew, was that she was in fact driving under the influence, the influence of a yet undermined brain tumor.

More than 24 hours later, she felt an awful weight in her head and began to get sick. She also began to think again why she had been stopped by the Gardai the day before which made her decide to get to the Hospital fast. Within 72 hours she was having surgery to remove a tumour from her brain. The operation was a success. 

Up to that fateful morning before she was stopped by the Gardai, she has showed no symptoms or migraines that there was anything wrong with her; she did not smoke or even drink that might have heralded what was indeed amiss. Being stopped for a DUI made her do something sooner rather than later to find out what was wrong, and the person that had called the Gardai may very well have helped save her life.


Barry Clifford

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Before and after the megalomania

A collection of extracts and commentaries from the some of the worlds most bloodthirsty despots, dictators and tyrants, of the 20th and early 21st century. All of them used these words coated in honey to cover their trail of blood on their way to power or while trying to hold onto it, and had the blood of children, women, and men on their hands without conscience or regret. Many more are waiting in the wings who have already acted or are about to.
Barry  Clifford  




“We must aspire to make the child a source of enlightenment within the family, which includes his parents and siblings, so that he may bring about positive changes. He may also teach his family some of the rules of good conduct and respect.”
Saddam Hussein 

“As a Christian, I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”
Adolf Hitler 

“He that ventures his life for the liberty of his country, I wish he would trust God for the liberty of his conscience, and you for the liberty he fights for.”
Oliver Cromwell

“Anti – Semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism.”
Joseph Stalin

“We are making a unique revolution. Is there any other country that would dare abolish money and markets the way we have? We are a good model for the whole world.”
Pol Pot       

“ I am an international leader, the dean of the Arab rulers, the king of kings in Africa and the imam of Muslims, and my international status does not allow me to descend to a lower level.”
Muammar Gaddafi

“Rome comrades! Through you I want to speak to the Italian people. To the authentic, real, great Italian people, who fight with the courage of lions on land, sea, and air fronts; people who early in the morning are up to go to work in the fields, factories and offices; people who do not permit themselves luxuries, not even innocent ones.”

Benito Mussolini

Photo Minute: New York City (1941-1942) in brilliant and original colour

 photographs reveal 1940s life in the Big Apple in all its glory
Photos by Indiana snapper Charles Weever Cushman in 1941 and 1942
Expensive colour Kodachrome was used to take impressive collection
Many buildings have since been demolished but some of them still stand


It’s been 70 years since an Indiana photographer visited New York City and returned home with an amazing collection of holiday snaps.
But Charles Weever Cushman’s pictures are even more impressive today, as they were taken on pricey colour Kodachrome and look far more recent than they actually are.
He went around the city taking photos of architecture such as the Brooklyn Bridge and other parts of the Manhattan skyline - and it’s hard to believe they were taken while World War Two was going on.

Land and water: The Liberty Street ferry in New York City on September 27, 1941


Horse and cart: Men and boys are seen collecting salvage on the Lower East Side on October 4, 1941

Daily life: This street seen from October 3, 1942, is just one from a huge collection by Charles W. Cushman

Pub: McSorley's Old Ale House, still open today, is pictured on East 7th Street on October 7, 1942

Compared: McSorley's Old Ale House in the East Village today, hardly changed from the above photo


But what is even more intriguing are the street scenes and daily life Cushman documented in his photos, showing 1940s New Yorkers going about their daily business.
Pictures of children smiling for the camera, businessmen sitting down outside and street traders are a fascinating insight to what life was like in the city all those years ago.
Many of the areas have been demolished or rebuilt since they were pictured in 1941 and 1942.
But others such as McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan’s East Village look almost identical now as they did back then, with the same store front and shop logo.

Park life: A suited man walks through Bowling Green in lower Manhattan on October 1, 1942

Smoking: Three homeless people from South Ferry doss houses are in Battery Park on June 6, 1941

Crossing: The East River is pictured below Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, on June 6, 1941

Around town: A portable soft drink stand at Bowling Green on October 1, 1942, left, and a Lower East Side street scene on September 27, 1941, right


The images are even more significant at a time when Americans are remembering the fallen World Trade Center, showing that a city ultimately transcends its buildings, reported The Atlantic.
Mr Cushman was born in Poseyville, Indiana, in 1896 and read English at Indiana University, where he was sports editor on the student newspaper.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Illinois in 1918 before leaving three years later and began working in New York City in 1928. He moved back to Chicago in 1929 and died in 1972.
His second wife, Elizabeth Penniman, said: ‘He loved life - music, good books, sports, the outdoors, travel, integrity - and could not tolerate ignorance.’


Hosepipe: Looking up Fulton Street from South Street in downtown Manhattan on September 27, 1941



Business as usual; A street in Chinatown, left, and another in lower Manhattan, right, both pictured in October 3, 1942

Downtown life: A man looks out from Battery Park on June 6, 1941, while a horse and carriage can be seen at the lower end of Broadway on October 1, 1942


Boat trip: The Statue of Liberty is seen across the water from downtown Manhattan on June 6, 1941


Looking up: A tower of Brooklyn Bridge is seen from South Street in Manhattan on September 27, 1941


Say cheese: Residents of lower Clinton St near the East River on a Saturday afternoon in September 1941

Shops: Near the corner of Broome Street and Baruch Place in the Lower East Side on September 27, 1941



New Yorkers: These two, left, live in a big new housing project near the East River and are pictured on October 4, 1942 - while a woman, right, sits in front of a doorway in the Lower East Side in the same month


Chinatown: Chinese store windows are pictured in New York as men walk past on October 7, 1942


Traders: Hot sweet potatoes, left, on October 4, 1942, and Wall Street, right, is pictured on June 6, 1941


City buzz: A crowd gathers during a salvage collection on the Lower East Side on October 4, 1942