Ardal O’Hanlon

Indeed and you probably are.

On RTÉ One’s Deirdre O’Kane Talks Funny….

…Jilly McDonough writes:

Ardal O’Hanlon joins Deirdre O’Kane as they talk funny with one another on Father Ted, performing My Lovely Horse on stage at Slane with Moby in front of 80,000 people – showing him footage he has never seen before! And from sitcom to stage, Ardal shares how it took some time for people to accept that he was a credible actor.

Of his audition for Father Ted, Ardal tells Deirdre that the only acting job in Ireland that he had done prior to Father Ted was a reconstruction for Crimecall. He admits that he didn’t have high hopes for Father Ted, thinking it would be ‘culty’ and only a handful of people might watch it.

‘You couldn’t not know with Father Ted, everything worked… so we had to start believing that this was actually good’.

When he watched the first season back with Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan he loved it ‘I remember loving it so much that didn’t see myself in it, so I wasn’t self-conscious’.

Ardal admits loving that it is referenced regularly, ‘at any protest you’re going to have the signs ‘Careful now’, ‘Down with that Sort of Thing’… in the Dáil pretty much every day somebody will refer to it’s like something out of Father Ted’.

Speaking of Dermot Morgan’s death, Ardal said his mind couldn’t process it. Having wrapped the third season just the day before, they had spoken about what was next for them, hoping to see each other that Christmas. But he got a call the next morning with the news that Dermot had died, ‘I continued to reel in shock for some time afterwards’.

Deirdre Kane Talks Funny tomorrow at 9.40pm on RTÉ One.

Pic: RTÉ

You’ll like this.

‘Villon Song’ by East London minimalist folksters Stick In The Wheel (Nicola Kearey and Ian Carter), animated by Daniel Hardiker and Neil Hetherington of ZEROH. 

cant song, translated into London slang by W.E. Henley – a ‘straight tip to all cross coves’. To wit:

For all your efforts to get money it’ll only be your ruin: “Booze and the blowens cop the lot”.

curiousbrain

From top; Supreme Court Justice Séamus Woulfe; Labour TD Brendan Howlin

This morning.

On Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One.

Former Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin discussed Sáamus Woulfe’s appointment….

Brendan Howlin: ” I’ve been privileged to serve in three coalition governments, two with Fine Gael. I know these things work and the notion that, for example, if we were in Government with Fine Gael that a minister would make such a strategic decision about an appointment of this nature, a really important appointment of the highest court in the land, without clearing it, politically, with the partners in government is absurd. It just wouldn’t happen, never happened.

“And I don’t believe, from what we’ve heard now, that it happened in this instance either. Unless the two other parties in Government, Fianna Fail, and remember Fianna Fail had the Taoiseach’s position and the Attorney General’s position when the decision was made. That they simple acquiesced to it and the fact that they weren’t involved, any way at all in it, is just not credible. So the Greens too, I would have assumed, even as a junior partner in a three-party coalition, there is a structure where everything, before it goes to Cabinet of a very serious nature, is cleared.

“In essence, just so that people understand how Cabinet works: Cabinet is by and large more a decision-making body than a debating chamber. You don’t go shoot the breeze and talk about things and merits and demerits. By and large, things come to Cabinet for a decision when they are politically agreed and something as important, as the appointment of a member of the Supreme Court would have to be [inaudible] by all the component parts of Government.”

Claire Byrne: “So the conversations would have happened before the recommendations were made to Cabinet?”

Howlin: “There’s no doubt about that. I mean, you see, the Minister for Justice, I think performed stoically and valiantly yesterday. And she’s right to say that the Minister for Justice would always bring one name to Government. But behind that, that decision would have been largely made at that point.

It would be the acceptance of the agreement of the parties in Government and would have been brought to Government. That’s the way it works…..”

He added::

“If the Government actually came clean and said this is actually what it is, that some would regard as a grubby and political deal and we decided because Fianna Fail were going to get the new Attorney General’s job, that we have finalise the position for the outgoing Attorney General and that’s the deal. That would be both legal and constitutional. Now we might have something to say about it being ethically acceptable but it’s legal and constitutional currently.

The problem for the Government is that it is concocting another version of events, that somehow all of this was left to one individual, newly appointed minister for justice to make the decision on her own.

“I’m saying anyone who know the process knows that that is not credible and that it would be better if the Government said ‘yeah that’s the way we did it on this occasion…’.”

Later

Howlin: “Why would it be left to a newly appointment minister to determine from, we now know, five serving senior judges, plus the outgoing Attorney General with no judicial experience, and the other list which is the panel of all eligible judges, to determine that by herself without reference to anybody when we know that there are more vigorous processes now for decisions that would not be as important in the law. That would be unbelievable.”

Meanwhile….

This morning.

Also on Today with Claire Byrne

Dr Laura Cahillane, lecturer in law at the University of Limerick, said:

“Even if this was, say a naked political appointment, there’s not much you can do about it because the current process actually allows for that to happen. And that is the problem because even though this mightn’t be problematic from a legal perspective, it is problematic from a moral perspective, from a legitimate perspective and even from the perspective of the independence of the judiciary. So this is why this process needs to be urgently reformed in order to ensure fairness and transparency.”

Asked about Minister McEntee claiming that Tanaiste Leo Varadkar told her that Seamus Woulfe “would make a good judge”, Dr Cahillane said:

“I suppose people will have to draw their own conclusions in relation to what happened there but what I’m really confused about is the fact that apparently the minister hadn’t yet received the names of the judges who had expressed interest at that stage. So there was already conversations ongoing about who was potentially going to be appointed but yet apparently the whole list of candidates were not given to her at that stage. She also said that she didn’t receive those expressions of interest until she had already indicated that a nomination was to be made to Cabinet. So I’m quite confused as to the process there and when exactly did the expressions of interest from the judges were received and when they were considered.”

Later

“….the impression was given…that somehow that JAAB was saying that this was the most suitable candidate, now the thing is the Act, the 1995 Act, does actually use the word ‘recommend’, the problem is that, in practice, that’s not what JAAB does…”

Earlier: King Henry VIII, The Benchers And Séamus

RollingNews

From top; Chief Justice Frank Clarke and Supreme Court Justice Séamus Woulfe; Deputy Bríd Smith

Yesterday.

At the Dáil at the Convention Centre.

Solidarity–People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith discussed the inner workings of the Irish bar during questioning of Minister for Justice Helen McEntee over the appointment of Séamus Woulfe as a Supreme Court Justice.

Deputy Smith Said:

“One of the most amusing statements today came from the Minister, who said the great strength of the Judiciary is its non-political character. I was in knots of laughter when I heard that comment.

In essence, many Deputies are expressing outrage that the Government used a vacancy on the Supreme Court to appoint a politically connected person because that person was politically connected rather than because he was the best or most suitable person for the job. I have a newsflash; all our top judges are, effectively, political appointees.

When Fianna Fáil is in government, we get judges with Fianna Fáil connections; when Fine Gael is in government, we get judges with Fine Gael connections; and the odd time, if Labour is the extra wheel, we might get one of their mates. This time we have Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in government and Fine Gael got to appoint the judge.

Perhaps the outrage expressed is because this is a glaring example of a political appointment, as opposed to the more normal and subtle way of appointing judges via the old boys’ network. Is the outrage because the person appointed was not a barrister? [Woulfe is a barrister; perhaps judge was intended] The normal route to the court is through a judicial system dominated by a very small and self-perpetuating elite.

The judicial system and barristers are drawn from a small pool, largely controlled by the Honourable Society of King’s Inns, set up by none other than Henry VIII to ensure controlled access to the Bar, and initially to keep out Catholics. This is the only place where somebody can become a barrister.

Judges are not exclusively but are overwhelmingly barristers. The Honourable Society of King’s Inns is the only place that trains barristers but there is no statutory basis for this in any law made democratically by us. It owes its origins to Henry VIII and was set up to ensure that a small, well vetted elite controlled who could become a barrister or who would be kept out. It is still doing that.”

She added:

“Inside the Honourable Society of King’s Inns there is another secret society, known as the Benchers. There is an inner bench and outer bench. Anybody who is made a judge automatically becomes a member of the Benchers. They have secret dinners about which nobody finds out. These happen regularly. I wonder if some of the outrage is caused by the fact that Séamus Woulfe was not even a Bencher.

The idea now is the Minister for Justice has appointed a candidate because he was a Fine Gael activist. We are now in for a bigger shock, so we should get the smelling salts ready. Here is another newsflash. There is no such thing, in reality, as the separation of powers.

We have a political system dominated by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, with a splash of Labour and this time around the Greens have been thrown in. We have a judicial system dominated by the friends of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, with the odd Labour appointee. In expressing outrage about such a fiasco.

I say to the other party leaders, including Deputies Mary Lou McDonald, Alan Kelly and Catherine Murphy, that next week they will have a chance to demonstrate outrage by supporting the motion tabled in the name of People Before Profit by Deputy Paul Murphy to remove Séamus Woulfe for stated misbehaviour.

Those Deputies can demonstrate that we are serious about the separation of powers and democracy. Just as important, we are serious about demonstrating that we recognise the major sacrifices of the Irish people over the past nine months in abiding by public health guidelines. It would show that these guidelines were not made just for the little people but were also made for the great and the good, whether they came from the Benchers club or not.

Is the Minister aware that Séamus Woulfe is a former branch secretary of Fine Gael in Dublin Bay North? Is she aware that Mr. Justice George Birmingham, who sat on the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board, JAAB, which recommended Séamus Woulfe, was a former Fine Gael Minister of State?

Is she aware that Séamus Woulfe sat on a previous JAAB that recommended Mr. Justice Birmingham for a position as President of the Court of Appeal? Does she believe there is a danger of “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”?

Did she know Mr. Justice Frank Clarke, who also sat on JAAB that recommended Séamus Woulfe, was a former Fine Gael candidate for the Seanad? The Minister should have found it distasteful that a body with so many Fine Gael connections should itself recommend somebody with a Fine Gael connection.”

Yesterday: Appointing Séamus

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

St. Kevin’s Park, Camden Row, Dublin 8.

Harry Warren writes:

Dublin has some beautiful well-known parks but one of my favourites is the petite St. Kevin’s Park on Camden Row. It is usually bypassed by tourists but favoured by locals. St Kevin’s Park is unusual in having the ruins of a church and being a half park and half graveyard.

The grounds were redeveloped some years ago and the cemetery became todays park. It has a long history, the first mention of a church on the site dates back to the 13th century. The church ruins in the park today are a later addition built in 1750. This church was closed in 1912.

The park grounds still have some notable headstones in situ but the majority have been removed. The old headstones now line the perimeter of the park and more are around the walls of St. Kevin’s church.

Unsurprisingly the park is reputed to be haunted. Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley was buried there after being executed for treason in the 16th Century. He secretly baptised Catholics during penal times in St Kevin’s. He was eventually arrested, imprisoned and tortured and was sentenced to death. The authorities had him executed by slowly hanging him until dead. He was buried in St. Kevin’s but his grave is unknown today.

His spirit is said to be seen in the park where he performed the baptisms. During the transformation of the graveyard into today’s park, the owners of graves that could be traced were offered to have the occupants remains exhumed and buried elsewhere but many graves were unidentified and their bones still lie there today. The angry souls of these disturbed graves reputedly haunt the park.

Notable existing graves on view in the park are:

The Moore Family, relatives of Thomas Moore the poet and composer.

Hugh Leeson, brewer, and whose family gave its name to Leeson Street in Dublin

Jean Jasper Joly captain of the Irish Volunteers in 1798.

John Keogh, friend of Theobald Wolfe Tone, he once owned the land that is now Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross

Also, of note, the 1st Duke of Wellington of the Battle of Waterloo fame, was baptised in St Kevin’s.

During the 18th century the cemetery was a hunting ground for body snatchers, a very lucrative business. After dark a fresh grave with loose soil was sought out. A hole was quickly dug down to where the head lay . On reaching the coffin, two broad iron hooks under the lid, pulled forcibly up with the rope, broke off a sufficient portion of the lid to allow the body to be dragged out.

The body was stripped of the grave clothes, which were scrupulously buried again. The body was then put in a sack for transport and the soil was restored. The body was then sold to one of Dublin’s many medical schools, Trinity College, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons.

There is a dark history to the park as well. Tommy Powell a six-year-old child, was tragically murdered here in 1961. Broadsheet had an excellent 2017 article about the unsolved murder that you can read at this link here.

Today St. Kevin’s is a haven for wildlife. There are many species of birds including wrens, blue tits, robins, magpies, blackbirds and wood pigeons as well as mammals like hedgehogs, urban foxes, squirrels and wood mice.

Three species of bat are to be found in the park, Leisler’s bat, the common pipistrelle and the soprano pipistrelle. These bats make use of the ivy around the old church ruin as a roost. It is a lovely place to visit but perhaps for those of a nervous disposition, not after dark.

Pics by Harry Warren

Previously: Harry’s Dublin on Broadsheet

Last night.

Prime Time on RTÉ One.

Professor Bill Tormey, of Beaumont Hospital debates Professor Anthony Staines, of DCU, on the efficacy of the government’s rona lockdown response, saying:

“The problem is we’ve had NPHET and the television station here address the point in such a way that there’s massive panic. There is no trolley crisis in the hospitals because people are too afraid to go.

The bottom line is Lockdown is causing more deaths, more lives lost  than Covid by a long way.

Watch back here