Tag Archives: Oliver Callan

From top: Oliver Callan; Anthony Sheridan

Comedian Oliver Callan is a confused man and his confusion is getting him into all kinds of trouble.

He’s in trouble because he doesn’t understand the difference between harmless political satire and serious political comment.

If Callan was an ordinary Joe Soap comedian his confusion would not be a problem.  But Callan is not an ordinary Joe Soap, much of his income comes from powerful sources within the establishment such as RTÉ and The Irish Times.

The rule is simple:  If you work for the establishment, you don’t attack the establishment.

There’s just one exception to this rule. If you’re a comedian you can slag off the establishment if, and only if, your comments are made within the strict confines of comedy.

Clearly, Callan doesn’t understand this rule.

Recently he tweeted a very strong criticism of the leader of the establishment itself – Leo Varadkar.

‘The arrogance is astounding.  As covid19 kills scores and puts 500k on dole, Taoiseach [on full pay & exp] alleges without proof that workers are seeking layoffs to exploit benefits.  The SF leader gloats the crisis proves she’s ‘’right’.  Are we in  this together or not??? FFS’

Somebody must have had a word in his ear.  Perhaps a call from RTÉ or The Irish Times or maybe even a call from the Great Leader himself.

In any case, Callan quickly deleted the tweet with the following seriously pathetic excuse:

‘OK OK so I deleted my tweet referencing Leo’s comments on welfare applicants and Mary Lou’s opinion piece in IT.  I wasn’t fair to either of them and if we are in this together, I’ll have to simmer down too.’

This wimpish but understandably self-interested climbdown was rightfully torn to shreds on twitter.

So let’s have a look at the difference between Varadkar’s comments and McDonald’s Irish Times article.

McDonald wrote a well balanced, well informed article on the current political situation focusing particularly on the disgraceful, anti-democratic exclusion of Sinn Féin from government formation talks by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Varadkar, on the other hand, obnoxiously and without any proof accused citizens of exploiting layoff benefits.

But, according to Callan’s flaky logic, Varadkar’s vile accusation is no worse than McDonald’s reasoned political analysis.

This is the mindset of a man running in fear of those with power to damage his interests.

All went quiet then…for a while.  Callan probably thought he was off the hook, that he was still in the establishment’s good books. But, once again, he made the massive error of mixing up satire with serious political comment.

In another tweet he described a speech delivered by the Great Leader as wooden and robotic.

Clearly, Callan was not getting the message – If you work for the establishment you cannot criticise the establishment.

To hammer home that message, the mistress of the establishment’s high moral ground was called into action, Irish Times columnist Kathy Sheridan.

Personally naming Callan, Sheridan did not mince her words:

‘Cheap, personal shots at politicians demean everyone involved.’

Callan, at last, got the message.

In an article that would embarrass even the most toadying, most servile supporter of the establishment Callan prostrated himself in a spineless effort to regain favour.

The Great Leader, who just days before was described by Callan as  an arrogant robot, suddenly morphed into a man of passion for his country, a man who was going to deal with the [evil] ‘shinners’, a man who was determined to leave a legacy of greatness on history.

Climbdowns as abject as this only happen after a serious slap on the wrist has been delivered.

And to copper-fasten his total allegiance to his masters, Callan jumped on the bandwagon that is the establishment’s hatred of social media, a hatred second only to its loathing for Sinn Fein:

Here’s Sheridan’s comment:

‘Just the kind of hot take that characterises the swamplands of social media along with idiotic #notmyTaoiseach hashtags.’

And Callan’s servile parrot:

‘Social media…a place where the cringey hashtag ‘Not My Taoiseach’ trends with regularity.’

Ah yes, I think we can safely conclude – Callan has definitely been put back in his box.

Anthony Sheridan is a freelance journalist and blogs at PublicEnquiry.

Back In His Box (Anthony Sheridan, Public Enquiry)



Oliver Callan: Don’t throw baby Jesus out with bath water (The Irish Times, June 8, 2019)

Comedian Oliver Callan and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy

For decades, Dublin has been hailed as a low-rise capital that protects its historical skyline – until [Housing Minister Eoghan] Murphy said high-rise was needed to solve the housing shortage and would encourage more apartment developments.

So far, the only tower approved for planning under his new laws is Johnny Ronan’s 22-story office block and hotel.

It will be the tallest building in Ireland but won’t provide a single home for anyone.

…In 2017, over four million square feet of office space was built in the capital, enough for 25,000 extra workers.

But during the same ­period, just over 3,500 new housing units were built to house them. Basic math reveals the problem.

…Government policy on social housing is abysmal — last year in Dublin there were just 74 social housing units built, 69 of which were “modular” homes, basically prefabs. That leaves just five proper houses built in 12 months.


Our housing crisis was created by design and the Government, led by disastrous Eoghan Murphy, is refusing to solve it (Oliver Callan, The Irish Sun)


From top: Oliver Callan: Niamh Reilly

Further to Oliver Callan’s controversial contribution to inter gender harmony.

Oliver Callan’s gambol in the direction of a dialogue about men’s perceptions of feminism and their role in achieving gender equality is welcome.

Few would dispute that men, no less than women, must recognise the harmful consequences of gender inequalities, stereotypes and violence, and the necessity of working together to transform the attitudes and actions that perpetuate such harms.

The main difficulty with your columnist’s modest proposal is that it gives women yet another onerous unpaid job to do – to “get to”, “to teach” and to take by the hand men who are still attached to chauvinism and, presumably, to cajole them along the road to gender equality.

He also says women must make a greater effort to understand (male) chauvinism in order to dismantle it. But women understand such chauvinism very well; it is why they found it necessary to invent feminism.

I hope the author will dig deeper, beyond social media and popular commercial websites, to form his views about the diverse expressions of feminism in Ireland and around the world. – Yours, etc,

Professor Niamh Reilly
Professor of Political Science and Sociology,
NUI Galway


Oliver Callan’s Perception Of Feminism (Irish Times Letters)

Irish feminists should realise how much they need men” (Oliver Callan, Irish Times, November 25, 2016)



From top: Oliver Callan: John Moynes

As part of the Temple Bar View festival (November 16-20)

Callan Kicks City Hall’ at City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2 at

A variety show featuring Broadsheet poet laureate John Moynes.

Sez the View:

Ireland’s premier satirist Oliver Callan headlines a variety show with a difference. John Moynes and James Cotter are both writing contributors to the RTÉ Radio One show and James also directed the Rubberbandit’s Guide to 1916 this year.

Special guests will be the award-winning musical comedy duo Totally Wired, who’ve contributed to the cultural life of Temple Bar for over a decade, while MC Paddy Cullivan is a both a writing contributor on Callan’s Kicks and ‘curator’ of this year’s View Festival.

Book tickets here

Callan Kicks City Hall

B5bBNp7IQAEHmEL-1 Sunday Independent’s LIFE magazine on December 21, 2014

You may have seen the cover of LIFE magazine over the Christmas of comedian and mimic Oliver Callan depicting President Michael D Higgins, his wife Sabina and  presidential assistant assistant Kevin McCarthy.

In yesterday’s Sunday Independent, the Abbot of Glenstal Abbey, Mark Patrick Hederman wrote an opinion piece decrying the LIFE cover, stating:

“The idea that every home in Ireland should be subjected to this supposedly humorous depiction of the President, his wife and his assistant, Kevin McCarthy, seems to me to be a scandal that should cause shame to us all. This is no less than bullying and harassment in the workplace, which we are trying to phase out at every other level, but when it comes to the President and his wife, we seem to imply they are fair game. Such lampooning of our President, his wife, and his assistant can no longer pass as entertainment.”

Further to this, both Mr Callan and Mr Hederman spoke to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One this morning.

Oliver Callan: “Satire mentions the elephant in the room and that’s what Charlie Hebdo’s done that’s what I’m doing aswell. To suggest that the President is so sensitive that he would feel this is bullying, I find that really hard to believe. I don’t make fun of people who are vulnerable, who don’t have the means to defend themselves. I also thought it was unfortunate by the way that the Abbot didn’t mention that he was a friend of the President, you know, he’s obviously very close to him. The President’s last book of poetry was dedicated to Mark Hederman as well and I thought that was unfortunate you didn’t raise that conflict of interest in your article yesterday but in fairness you’ve done it today.”

Mark Hederman: “No, there’s no conflict of interest in this. The fact that a friend of mine is being bullied is the exact reason why I should stand up and say, ‘enough is enough’.”

Callan: “But when you say ‘bullied’, how can you bully a president, someone who has the support of 1.2 million people who voted for him? Who has the admiration of the country? I mean it’s very difficult for someone like me to be…”

Hederman: “This, I’m afraid to say, it happens every single day in the workplace because, you mean. Look, I agree with you, some of what you do and some of what you say is extremely funny and I laugh at it immensely but when you go over the edge and start making insinuations about Kevin McCarthy and the President which is, kind of, you know, not stated but..”

Callan: “Well, I,  to be honest, I don’t know what you’re saying there cause I didn’t make insinuations about Kevin McCarthy, what I did raise is the very serious issue in this country and it was a very big issue in 2014 about cronyism and it was cronyism that a man, who drove the President around in the election, had a role invented for him, a taxpayers’ role, as executive assistant, a role which didn’t previously exist in the McAleese administration and that’s all I was suggesting in that. I don’t know what else you’re suggesting in anything I wrote.”

Hederman: “Right. Well, you are the one who’s gaining I don’t know how many members of your audience, because the suggestion is much more than that in what you’re..”

Callan: “You’re drawing conclusions more than what I’m saying.”

Hederman: “Maybe, well, I am, maybe.”

Sean O’Rourke: “We’ve heard the Abbot say, already Oliver Callan, that there’s no basis for any insinuation that may be read into, are you willing to accept that?”

Callan: “Absolutely, I mean the President has the defence of defamation like any citizen in the country.”


Callan: “I’m a small man myself and I don’t find it’s something to be insecure about.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Aide Decamps

This Cannot Innuendo Well