Former Tanaiste Joan Burton during the Jobstown protest
Irish Liberal Foresees Own Enduring Relevance
My words are smoother than the essential oils
the Taoiseach last week
had his parliamentary assistant rub
into his badly traumatised buttocks.
My psychotherapist insists
half the people who’ve taken
shotguns to their own heads,
during this recession, would’ve reconsidered,
if only they’d heard me talk for an hour
each week about the dangers of Sinn Féin,
or how I live in the hope of a woman Pope.
I’m all for the good people of middle Ireland
making their point in a dignified manner
with china cups of nothing stronger than tea in their hands.
But when thugs from the far parts start burning vans
and generally acting as if they owned the place;
and gurriers from the depths begin picking up bricks
and tossing words so terrible,
they’re not even in the dictionary,
at the Minister for Poverty’s hair-style.
(How would you like your wife,
sister, great grandmother,
kidnapped in her car
for two and a half hours?)
The world will not be changed by fools
banging on the bonnet of a BMW.
But by the likes of me talking
against social exclusion in TV studios.
And fundraising concerts organised
by former pop-stars.
And the well-meaning priest
with whom I regularly have dinner;
between the two us we’ve enough
concern for the poor to construct a second
Fergal Keane of the BBC,
as a back-up in case
the existing one breaks.
Trust in us. Pay no heed
to the sweary-mouthed crowd,
who if they’re not put back where they belong
will soon be eating pot noodle from scooped out skulls
confiscated from their betters
in defiance of international law.
By the likes of them,
the world must not be changed.
A response to both Frankie Gaffney’s feelings about identity politics and the ‘disappointed’ reaction from ‘women activists’ about those feelings….
Death Chant of The Handmaidens: For Choir of 350 Identical Voices
We the underwritten do with great solemnity promise
on our watch Union Carbide, Johnson & Johnson,
Lockheed Martin, and the late Herrs Bosch and Braun
will all have penis and balls cleanly dismantled,
made safe, and exported to fortify the wall
keeping terrorists from Judea and Samaria out;
each have a working vagina installed
under a Chanterelle beige
plutonium-powered pants suit fit
to play rhapsodies in
for the safe delivery of the shells
Golda guided onto the outskirts
of Damascus, for Indira’s ‘Smiling Buddha’
one thousand four hundred kilogram bomb,
for Imelda’s closet of shoes too fabulous
for the likes of you, on a grand piano
your grandmother swiped
from departed refugees,
seconds after one’s typed
in the codes to end man,
plant, and womankind;
bequeathed the planet to the gender neutral,
and hence far more successful, bacilli
Deinococcus Radiodurans who unlike us
will waste not one moment working out
on their calculators
which Facebook comments
it would be a smart career move
Reading From Book of Dark Blue after Leo Varadkar, WB Yeats, and Enda Kenny
We are for the Ireland that rolls
laughing out of its bed every morning, those
whose national anthem is the alarm
clock exploding on the bedside locker and it still dark;
who, even August bank holidays, are
in the shed before five a.m.
fashioning origami former Garda
commissioners, or writing violin concertos in praise
of the Little Sisters of the Bon Viveur,
Blessed K.T. Whittaker and anyone else
who got up ridiculously early
to make this country what it
We represent those who know should they fall
up a ladder, or for some other reason –
be it insanity or baldness –
be unable to properly function,
we in government will do nothing
except, if they’re lucky, repeatedly
knee them in the nasty bits.
We whose ancestors have eaten
the still throbbing heart of General O’Duffy
(or at least what we thought was his heart)
now see leaflets tumbling through respectable letter boxes
in which cretin and comedian crow their gutless song,
their arguments a bladder bloated with animal blood.
We say, down the disposal pipe
with all these and their cries
of avarice and failure,
those who engage in wilful wastage of water
by sitting there all day – the jets
fizzing up their crevices –
in Jacuzzis given them
by the tax payer.
Drown them in the tank
and bill them for their own extinction,
for they are weasels who’d drink
of your chickens until they’re dry.
We are for people who look both ways twice
when crossing the road
and remember where they left their keys.
The day you slithered from the womb
the Doctor held you aloft, confirmed what we’d feared:
“Madam, it’s a potential Minister for Health.” And newborn you
screamed what we later understood to mean:
“bring me your perforated eardrums, your infected urinary tracts, and I will set up a committee to look in them.”
But this most recent birth wasn’t the beginning.
Since shortly before time officially began,
you’ve dragged yourself across the top soil.
You were present and correct to brush the dandruff
off the Lord Mayor’s hat each time he visited
the municipal Home for Unfortunate Women
whose babies had to be flogged
to couples named Barbara and Algernon,
so as to be prudent with the Parish’s pennies.
You were on hand to personally present
the late archbishop with his fifth chocolate biscuit,
last time he visited the much maligned
School for The Blind, which used to be
where the town abattoir now stands.
And it was written
in lines later deleted from the Book of Judges
that it would be you who’d flood
our hospitals with avant-garde urologists
who instead of the traditional
(and far more costly) balloon catheter,
and ultrasonic stone disintegration apparatus,
prefer more radical treatments involving
a fishing rod and an electric hair straightener.
Your upcoming marriage the usual
confidence and supply arrangement
you’ve had every other century.
Your fingers are starving worms
patiently awaiting their moment.
On the passing of Anthony Cronin, poet, writer and Charles Haughey’s cultural attaché.
One Has To Admire His Ability As A Poet
“I was struck by … his courage in speaking out to defend the memory of Charles Haughey” Vincent Woods, RTÉ website
To defend the memory of Boris Yeltsin’s
vodka bottle. To take money from both the late Benito
Mussolini and, when pragmatism demanded it, those
who spat on him when he was safely
hanging upside down outside an Esso station.
To put in the proper context of realpolitik
as practised in parts of County Wexford
the late Father Fortune’s harem of boys.
To share a Ouija board with President Duvalier
while supping rum from the skull of an infant
who was always going to come to this
because, in the words of W.H.Auden,
‘poetry makes fuck-all difference’.
To share a roast leg with General Amin
and not mind which of his enemies was being eaten.
To recite even his longer poems
to a musical accompaniment of Vladimir Putin
twanging his jock-strap, like a rude balalaika.
To roll around wrapped in the French flag
with Marine Le Pen, whispering
in her cockle shell the words ‘Barbie, Bormann,
Goering’, because that’s the sort of thing
an advocate for the arts must sometimes do.
First published by Poethead (curated by Christine Murray).
The grounds (top) where an unmarked mass grave apparently containing the remains of nearly 800 infants who died at the Bon Secours mother-and-baby home in Tuam Co Galway from 1925-1961 rests. Attorney General Máire Whelan (above)
Solicitor Kevin Higgins and blogger Izzy Kamikaze spoke to Philip Boucher-Hayes on RTÉ One’s Liveline this afternoon in relation to the Tuam Babies story.
During the segment, Mr Higgins pointed out that the Attorney General Máire Whelan has the power to order a coroner to hold inquests into the deaths of any remains exhumed at the Tuam site. He said if she chooses not to exercise this power, she will inevitably face a legal challenge.
Philip Boucher-Hayes: “Kevin, you believe that with the, sorry, no pun intended, with the digging, but the trawling that you have been doing through the archives and the documents and so on, that the legal argument now for exhuming whatever is buried in the ground at the site in Tuam, and for holding coroner’s inquests, that that could no longer be resisted.”
Kevin Higgins: “I think that’s is absolutely true. I think the evidence, including public records is such that there simply must be an excavation of the site in Tuam to establish the truth of what lies beneath. And, as you’re possibly aware, there is a very specific statutory provision which confers absolute discretion on the Attorney General. It is in fact Section 24 of Coroner’s Act 1962 and I’ll read it for you if you wish.”
Boucher-Hayes: “Oh, don’t do that. Put it into English, please.”
Higgins: “Well, actually, it’s in remarkably plain English, remarkably plain English. It says “Where the Attorney General has reason to believe that a person has died in circumstances which in his opinion make the holding of an inquest advisable he may direct any coroner to hold an inquest in relation to the death of that person”.”
Boucher-Hayes: “Ok so, basically, the Attorney General can tell a coroner to hold an inquest.”
Higgins: “Indeed, and can indeed nominate a coroner of his, or indeed as it is today, her choice. And the discretion is particular and specific to the Attorney. It’s without reference to any minister or office of the State. It is entirely, the matter entirely rests with her based on the information available to the Attorney.”
Boucher-Hayes: “Is there, from what you’re hearing from Izzy and from what you’ve assembled yourself, are you absolutely sure, in your opinion, as a lawyer and as an officer of the courts that there is enough evidence there to warrant the Attorney General going, taking on board what is going to be an immensely upsetting exercise for an awful lot of people living in that area, digging up what is under there and conducting inquests on the remains of God knows how many countless infant bodies.”
Higgins: “Yes, I do. I do think the evidence is overwhelming and I do believe that the Attorney will be inevitably confronted. I, like everybody else, I have regard for the Attorney’s experience as a lawyer and as a public official and I’m sure that she is aware of the powers she possesses under this section. I’ve no doubt that she is also a Galway woman and I imagine that perhaps gives her an additional interest. This is not very many miles from her own family home. The evidence, quite frankly, Philip is indeed overwhelming. It really is a matter of when this site, perhaps the first of many, is excavated and the manner in which it is undertaken.”
Higgins: “I do believe the Attorney General is giving attention in this matter, I believe that she is acutely aware of the situation in the Mother and Baby Homes. This is inevitable because the Commission of Inquiry has been set up. I have no doubt that it is a matter of immediate concern to the Attorney’s office, inevitably, because of her role. I believe that she is, as I said, quite aware of the, of the discretion which she enjoys under Section 24 of the 1962 [Coroner’s] Act and I have every confidence that that matter is being actively looked at. I think if the, if there is any, if it comes into the public domain that the Attorney has considered the matter under Section 24 and decided not to exercise that discretion she enjoys, I do believe that the likelihood will be a legal challenge to that. I would very much hope that the Attorney would take the view that the exhumation, in the first instance, of the infants at Tuam is something which should be done in the public interest and would be a very proper exercise of her power.”