cthl_jfxyaqtnkwParis, France


Berlin, Germany


London, England


Dublin, Ireland


Glasgow, Scotland


The Hague, Netherlands


Brussels, Belgium


Kathmandu, Nepal


Wellington, New Zealand


Cork, Ireland


Montreal, Canada


Lisbon, Portugal


Dublin, Ireland


Demonstrations around the world calling for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the constitution banning abortion in Ireland.

More as we get it.

Pics: Mark Malone, Rise and Repeal Paris, Hudson Taylor, Brian McDonald, Nathalie Sebbane, Liadan O’Connor, Meabh, Tricia Kehoe, Stoolio Iglesias) and Repeal 8th Global


A new animation from the PBS Blank On Blank series featuring an excerpt from a 1958 interview with the English novelist Aldous Huxley by Mike Wallace. To wit:

This is Aldous Huxley, a man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. Mr. Huxley wrote Brave New World, a novel that predicted that some day the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us. In this remarkable interview, Huxley foretells a future when telegenic presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, technology takes over, drugs grab hold, and frightful dictatorships rule us all.

Prevously: Gene Wilder Talks Truth




Today would have been the ninety-ninth birthday of Mexican pop-culture icon El Santo, and the world is celebrating, from pro wrestling nerds to the Google Doodle.

Debuting in the mid-1930s, pro-wrestler Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta knew his in-ring exploits needed the sizzle to match the beefcake.

Upon joining a group of silver-clad wrestlers in 1942, donned a mask and underwent his transformation to El Santo, a honest, fair-minded and upstanding technico that stood face-to-face against the nefarious rudos.

Over the following five decades, El Santo would thrill Mexico’s working class and poor, with tales of derring-do that would transcend the ring: his wildly popular comic book ran throughout Mexico for 35 years, only ending four years after his passing, and he would star in a long-running series (52 in all) of B-movies that would come to define the genre known as Lucha Horror.

It might be strange for those of us looking from outside that spectrum of pop-culture tropes, but his pre-Internet ubiquity was such, and his good-guy character’s virtues so simple, that he was able to blur the lines between fact and fiction, and be held in regard to this day as a real-life superhero.

Perhaps even more impressive was his adherence to kayfabe, the unwritten rule of protection of pro-wrestling continuity.

From the day he donned the mask, until a week before his passing, Santo was never identified unmasked in public, usually travelling separately from the rest of his promotion, and waiting hours to revert to his civilian identity, so as not to arouse suspicion of being one of the troupe.

He would even wear a custom version of his mask, adapted for eating, when dining publicly.

Santo retired in September of 1982, a week shy of his 65th birthday, after winning his final match, a chaotic four-on-four brawl where he teamed up with lifelong tag-team partner Gory Guerrero, as well as fellow legends El Solitario and Huracán Ramirez.

January 1984 saw El Santo appear on Mexican talk show Contrapunto to discuss life after retirement, and without warning, unmasked, as if bidding goodbye to the public.

He passed away the following week of a heart attack while on-stage at a play, and his funeral was considered one of the largest in Mexican history.

He is succeeded today by ten kids, including his son, El Hijo del Santo, and his grandchildren, among whom are El Santo Jr. and El Nieto del Santo.

Santo and Friends fansite


From top: Dessie O’Malley and Charlie Bird in 1985; Charlie Bird and Eamonn Farrell last night with a portrait of Haughey; Eamonn Farrell at the Hunt Museum

Last night.

The Hunt Museum, Limerick.

Charlie Bird launches an exhibition of photos from the career of Charles Haughey and his Limerick nemesis Dessie O’Malley by veteran photographer Eamonn Farrell, who runs the Rollingnews picture agency and is long term friend of the ‘sheet.

Charles Haughey: Power, Politics, Public Image And Desmond O’Malley runs until November 20.

Eamonn Farrell at the Hunt Museum

Pics: Eamonn Farrell, Rollingnews





From top: George Gibney; irvin Muchnik and the opening of his memorandum of points and authorities in opposition to the US Department of Homeland Security’s “supplemental” motion for summary judgement, submitted to Senior U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer on September 15 by Mr Muchnick’s attorney Roy Gordet

Former Irish swimming coach George Gibney. was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in April, 1993 – but sought and won a High Court judicial review in 1994 that quashed all the charges against him.

The judicial review was secured after a landmark Supreme Court decision, during which Gibney’s senior counsel Patrick Gageby argued that the delay in initiating the prosecution against Gibney infringed his right to a fair trial. Mr Gageby’s sister Susan Denham was on the bench of the Supreme Court that day.

Gibney  subsequently left Ireland, first for Scotland and then America.

You may also recall the efforts by American journalist Irvin Muchnick who has been attempting to obtain the US Department of Homeland Security’s immigration file on Gibney – in an effort to understand how Gibney was able to get a visa, and then a green card, to live in the States, given the previous charges against him.

In July 2015, following his FOI request to the US authorities for the file, Mr Muchnick received just four pages of Gibney’s file.

On April 17, 2016, Justine McCarthy in the Sunday Times, reported that further documents released to Mr Muchnick showed Gardaí gave Gibney a certificate of character – issued on January 20, 1992 – to support his application for an American visa.

The certificate given to Mr Muchnick was reported to be partially redacted with the name of the issuing officer and its contents obscured.

According to the Murphy Inquiry – which was set up to look at abuse in swimming in 1998 – a parent from a club other than Trojan Swimming Club, where Gibney coached, was told by an assistant coach of Trojan in November 1991 that the gardai and the ISPCC were informed of the allegations in relation to Gibney.

However, later the ISPCC said it had no record of any such complaint in 1991 or in 1992. And, the Murphy Inquiry states the first record on the Garda file is dated December 15, 1992.

Mr Muchnick is still trying to obtain Gibney’s full immigration file and, in May, he appeared before Judge Charles Breyer, a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, about the matter.

Mr Muchnik wants to know who assisted or sponsored Mr Gibney in successfully attaining a Green Card. More than 100 American swimming coaches have been jailed and/or banned for life from the sport in the past few years for offences against boys and girls.

At that May hearing, Judge Breyer said he would review in camera (privately) disputed documents from George Gibney’s US Citizenship and Immigration Services file, and render a decision.

On September 16, Mr Muchnick’s attorney Roy Gordet submitted a memorandum of points and authorities in opposition to the defendant’s “supplemental” motion for summary judgement to  Judge Breyer.

Essentially, Mr Muchnick is trying to get 20 documents, which amount to 43 pages, of Mr Gibney’s immigration file.

In his submission, Mr Muchnick’s attorney Roy Gordet argues…

“…the Court is justified, based on in camera review, to order release of the now only 20 withheld documents in dispute, or of appropriately segregable content therefrom. Such an outcome would meet the immense and justified public curiosity, on two continents, of the American government’s role in enabling the movements of former Irish Olympic swimming coach George Gibney, one of the most notorious and disgraced figures in all global sports. In no way would such disclosure abrogate legitimate privacy exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.”

at its core this FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] case presents the Court with the need to balance the classic countervailing policies concerning how much secrecy a government agency requires to perform its function properly and the privacy interests of an individual who is the subject of an agency inquiry, on the one hand, versus on the other hand a legitimate journalistic investigation into the operations of that agency…

one of Plaintiff’s [Muchnick’s] various goals in obtaining the documents and information that is the subject of his FOIA request, as stated in his Complaint and in his earlier Memorandum at page 17, is to shed light on how the US Immigration Service permitted a person with a known criminal history to enter the United States.

Should it have been prevented, and could it have been prevented? So, on one side there is this significant inquiry concerning the public interest of an isolated case as well as the implications about who generally is allowed into our country today and in the future, and on the other side, we have the purported privacy rights of a non-citizen whose sordid history has already been exposed in international media so who clearly has diminished privacy rights in these documents and in this information.

…Document 37 is a “Police Certificate” related to Gibney. How could there be a need to protect the privacy of an Irish police person or bureaucrat that plausibly might have written about criminal files of an Irish national and sent the report based on a mere request from the subject individual?

Document 40 is an “Offer of Employment”. What privacy interest, and of whom, is being protected by this refusal to disclose the details of this employment offer? Moreover, the existence of an employment offer as part of an immigrant file or application is a strong clue that Gibney was admitted to this country under a special visa category, and examination of the USCIS standards in this connection fit precisely the definition of “pierc[ing] the veil of administrative secrecy” and “open[ing] agency action to the light of public scrutiny.”

Document 32 is an “administrative decision” related to a “third party” but inexplicably refuses to disclose which administrative agency and who is the mysterious “third party”? It is the government’s burden to “disclose as much information as possible without thwarting the purpose of the exemption claimed.”

For Documents 24, 25 and 26 Defendant makes the ridiculous claim that they contain information that will enable others to circumvent the immigration laws. If the information is so general that it would have such widespread applicability to so many potential immigrants, it defies logic that the information is so private and confidential, as also claimed by Defendant.

Or that there is so much gold in those hills for potential malfeasors to use to their advantage from documents generated around the time that Gibney was granted entry into the United States, something on the order of twenty years ago. Clearly laws, practices and technologies have significantly changed since that time.

Indeed, this gets to the crux of Plaintiff’s inquiry: what practices and procedures were in place at that time that Gibney was able to gain entry?

Johnny Watterson, in The Irish Times, reports:

An oral hearing into the release of documents regarding how Irish swimming coach George Gibney was able to acquire a green card for the USA will be heard next month.

…Original material released indicated there was a letter appearing to offer Gibney a job in swimming in the US.

Although the name and organisation of the sender and almost all of the letter’s content is redacted, what remains is “Dear George,” followed below by “… would be very interested in your services as coach to there [sic] team”.

It is not known if the letter is from an American team or club, or from an Irish citizen who was trying to broker the deal.

Oral arguments are expected to be heard by Senior US District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco on October 22nd. Judge Breyer had originally rejected the government’s motion to withhold almost all of the Gibney file from public scrutiny.

US court to hear case on Olympic coach George Gibney (Irish Times)

Read Mr Muchnick’s submission in full here

Federal Court Hearing Set Next Month on Possible Release of Immigration Documents on Rapist Former Irish Olympic Swim Coach George Gibney (Irv Muchnick, Concussion Inc)


Oireachtas Retort has takes  in-depth look at the relationship between legacy media such as RTÉ, and the Catholic hard-right, with a specific eye on marginalisation of women’s voices.

It’s a long read at the link below, but worth the prolonged grabbing of tay.

An excerpt:

When news of the Miss X broke in 1992, An Taoiseach Albert Reynolds stood in the chamber to make a statement on Ireland’s injunction of a fourteen year old girl. There were just eight women TDs at the time and the two who tried to speak were ruled out of order by the Cheann Comhairle.

After over 21 years, a government passed legislation in line with that Supreme Court judgement which had been upheld by the people not once but twice.

From that January through May, no law in our lifetime was ever given so much time in parliament but it was not until the final stage of the final night in 2013, after months of supposed debate, that someone read onto the Dáil record part of evidence given by a then teenage girl during the X Case.

She had been absent throughout. She was not alone, government also excluded the D Case from consideration. Deirdre Conroy was absent until waving her anonymity in 2013 stating that what happened to Savita Halappanavar “was the final straw”.

Ahead of the 2002 referendum she had previously published an pseudonymous open letter the Taoiseach asking to be listened to. Here she was again three Taoisigh later.

There is no reason why anyone in her circumstances or any other should have to forfeit so much to be heard in Leinster House.

In public houses where there is considerably less drinking and antisocial behaviour, places long considered and marketed as the heart of Irish social life, women were routinely banished to a snug if they were served at all.

One way or another, women were absent. Through the law and much more, women’s views, experience and decision making was kept out of sight where it was less likely to intrude or contribute….

On the Importance Absence And Nuisance Oireachtas Retort


Mark O’Keeffe and Fiona Feeney, of the Open House Cork Committee


Danny writes:

Happy Friday! Here’s something your readers may be interested in. Open House Cork will take place for the second year next weekend (30 Sept – 2nd Oct).

Over the course of the weekend some of the finest examples of Cork’s architecture will be open to the public, with guided design-based tours, free of charge.

We also have a range of extra activities for all ages, including a sketching tour of MacCurtain Street, an architectural pub trail and a 3D printing workshop at the Architecture Factory. More info and our full programme at link below. We’d love to see ye there.

Open House Cork



Meltybrains?new single and E.P, Irish dates

What you may need to know…

01. Last we saw of Dublin post-rock destroyers Meltybrains?, they were busy outgrowing genre definitions almost entirely, taking their torches to Amhrán na bhFiann.

02. They’ve since been busy working on the next step, with new E.P. Kiss Yourself due out November 18th, and a rake of gigs to follow.

03. Streaming above is the band’s new single Know My Name, premiered today at Clash Magazine. Video directed by Brendan Corcoran.

04. It’s the first single from the upcoming E.P. Preorder it digitally here, and on wax here. They’ll be touring in the run-up to launch, starting October 1st at Nelliefred’s in Dingle, Billie Byrne’s in Kilkenny on the 7th, Connolly’s of Leap on the 8th, and the Roisín Dubh in Galway on the 15th, ahead of a short run to the UK and Iceland for Hallowe’en and early November.

VERDICT: If they hadn’t transcended the norms of post-genre labelling and pigeonholing before, they certainly have now, with powerful pop songcraft and a keen sense of dynamic.