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30 July 2010

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Losing their heads

BY THE TIME you read this, you may have become gay. So too might your children. And their friends. And possibly your pet dog. Not your cat, though - he was gay to begin with.
I’m writing this on the day the Civil Partnership Bill passed the final stage in the Seanad. One small step towards equality for same-sex people in Ireland; one giant leap into a world of disgusting, sordid degradation where man will lay down with beasts, altars will be profaned, children will run naked in the streets, priests will be hanged by baying mobs of gays, and nuns will couple with Chinamen in plain view of decent people.
Yeats had the right of it. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” True for you. WB. We all know how the gays like the anarchy.
Yes, the conservative right in Irish life went a teeny, tiny little bit over the top over the last couple of weeks. A few diehard loo-lahs were pictured in the Times wandering around the front of Leinster House. One chap was firmly holding a placard saying we ought to obey God rather than Man, presumably meaning The Bible as God missed out on the last seat in Galway West and doesn’t sit in the Dáil.
Maybe, but there’s some scary stuff in there. Exodus 35:2 clearly tells us that people should be put to death for working on the Sabbath, which would put one hell of a hole in the GAA calendar for the year. And as I write this, a 42-year-old mother of two in Iran faces death by stoning for the ‘crime’ of adultery... as is advised in Leviticus 20:10 of The Bible. Happily in Ireland, despite decades of governance by incompetents, we’re not quite Iranian bad, and we know that basing our law on religious teachings might not be the best idea.
We don’t often applaud the Government and the civil partnership legislation didn’t go far enough but fair play to them for standing up to the backwoodsmen.


I’VE always had a soft spot for Oliver Cromwell.
Traditionally, of course, he’s got a bad press from Irish republicans. But with the benefit of hindsight his campaign of sending people ‘to Hell or to Connacht’ can be seen as an early form of decentralisation and an effort to economically stimulate the West.
Yes, there was the unpleasantness in Drogheda but I’ve been to Drogheda. I’ve gone out in Drogheda. I’m not altogether sure I wouldn’t choose to be hacked to pieces by English soldiers rather than live there.
But instead of looking at Cromwell’s alleged offences, let’s look at what he accomplished, because Oliver killed a king. On January 30th 1649, the English put King Charles I to death. Let’s compare statistics, shall we? Number of English kings or queens killed by Cromwell? One. Number killed by Irish republicans? None. It’s a sorry record, frankly, and I think we need to give credit where it’s due and show Oliver a bit of respect.
I’ve been thinking about Oliver because of all the talk about Britain’s queen coming over to visit Ireland. Since I think it’s fair to say we’re not inviting her here to execute her I think you can guess where I stand on the idea but some of the nonsense that’s been written about it is pretty over the top.
Read what Ed Curran wrote in the Belfast Telegraph last month.
“There is no blacker mark on the Republic... than its failure, to date, to afford the common courtesy of welcoming the head of state of its nearest neighbour.”
Janey Mac! No blacker mark, no less. Really, Ed? Nothing? In the entire history of the southern state, all 80 or so years, nothing it has ever done has been worse than the fact we didn’t invite over the head of the English franchise of a minor German noble family?
For decades the state and the Catholic Church colluded in the abuse of tens of thousands of little boys and girls, but not having Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor Saxe-Coburg Gotha over for a cup of tea is the big potato?
We’re in for more of this, boys and girls. I’m reliably informed the journalists in The Irish Times newsroom are already practising how to tug their forelocks and commemorative magazine editions are being planned.
He might have been a bit of an auld sod at the end of it all but Cromwell knew what to do with kings and queens. Proper order.

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