Tag Archives: Terry McMahon


Outside the High Court, Dublin

A demonstration in support of Ed Honohan (top), Master of the High Court.

Mr Honohan had debt cases removed from him under a direction by the President of the High Court Peter Kelly.

Filmamker and activist Terry McMahon said:

“Ed Honohan is the Master of the High Court. Quite the title isn’t it. Quite the position. Quite the crown for the corrupt. Imagine the kind of man who yearns for that type of title. Master of the High Court.

A parasite dressed up as protector. A scavenger slicing the wounded for the bigger beasts to feed on. A profiteer of misery seeking the virgin bite of a fresh kill. A politician dressed in the clothes of the courts.

As Master of the High Court, Ed Honohan is meant to be a bad man. A malignant succubus. A facilitator of suicide. A team player.

Problem is, Ed is that rare thing in the corridors of power: Ed Honohan is a good man.

They call him an eccentric. That’s what they call good men these days. Eccentric. Some call him a maverick. Some claim this gentle, erudite, soft-spoken, Master of the High Court might even be a hero.

The Working Class have long known what a conveyer belt of dehumanisation the courts can be. Be a billionaire and watch the banks and the courts and the government roll out the red carpet for you.

They’ll make deals with you. Offer you contracts. Tell you to keep your taxes and write off hundreds of millions of euro for you. Be a bloke in a tracksuit and watch them stare with the blank-eyed hunger of hyenas on the hunt.

And these half-crazy half-dogs have acquired a taste for a different kind of delicacy now. They salivate as judges allow their client’s lies to destroy lives with impunity. They listen as a few more nails are banged into the coffin of our liberty.

From protected perches in foreign countries, parasitic vulture bosses instruct local-hire hyenas to move in on the vulnerable because both breeds of scavenger agree that no cold-blooded-kill has quite the warm-blooded payoff of the repossession of an Irish family home.

If that sounds extreme to you, visit the courts and witness for yourself the horror of people trying to save their homes. Witness the murderous malice the bailed-out banks and their capos have for the very people who bailed them out.

Bankers don’t bite the hand that feeds, they rip the entire arm out of the socket and beat you death with it.

And the judges tell you this is what modern justice tastes like. You’re told to swallow the force-fed bile of professional liars. Stand in line in a court ordained slaughterhouse.

Watch haunted, broke and broken people form an orderly queue to be put out of their misery, while the spoils of their lives are shared among their killers.

Nobody speaks out for these people in the courts. People who can’t afford expensive lawyers. People who can’t afford to feed their kids because they’re still trying to furnish a loan that the banks long ago had written off in that bailout. People who can’t afford to think of any way out of their pain, other than at the end of a rope.

In court, nobody protects these people. People like you and me. People like your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your sons, and your daughters. Except for one man. Ed Honohan. The Master of the High Court.

The basic function of law is to ensure moral, financial and physical protections are afforded to all citizens equally. The Association of Judges Ireland states that:

“The idea of law is that it embodies the core values of our society, creating rights and entitlements as well as duties and obligations. Nobody is above the law, no matter how wealthy or powerful they are.”

We already know that’s a fallacy. We have already witnessed the obscene consequences of our neoliberal Government. Policies are implemented. People struggle. People suffer. People die. And politicians get promoted.

Ed Honohan protects people by using the law. In the realm of the hunter and the prey, he doesn’t take sides. He simply holds bankers and their capos to the same standards that those parasites hold us to.

When the law is weaponised by highly-paid henchmen to protect their insatiable vulture bosses, Ed interrogates the bankers’ rabid exploitation of that law and finds a way to hand a few silver bullets back to the people.

He makes the law a two-way street. A little more balanced. Finally accessible to both sides. He brings equality to the law and uses it to do what the law is supposed to do. On behalf of the people, he faces down the vulture funds. And, for that, Ed Honohan has become the hunted.

Countless people will verify how Ed Honohan has empowered them. But a judge wants to stop him. Countless people will prove how Ed Honohan uses the law to protect them. But a judge wants to remove those protections.

Countless more will need the help of a good man like Ed Honohan in the future. Some of those people might be you.

But a judge has taken it upon himself to prevent Ed Honohan from giving you that help. Why would a judge impose such obscene censure on a fellow servant of the public A judge renowned in the past for his attempts to recognize social and economic rights. A judge due to retire in a year or two.

Ed Honohan is trying to protect vulnerable people. And he is doing it better than anybody else in the courts. In a culture where pretenders, poseurs, and politicians fail upwards, Ed Honohan is a proud servant of us, the people. Nobody is quite sure, anymore, who some of these judges might be servants of.

A good man like Ed Honohan wouldn’t be made Master of the High Court today. Fairness and decency and dignity don’t sell in this era of every man for himself and to hell with the vulnerable.

We pay lip service to mental health but, let’s be honest, there is nobody more despised in this country than people who need our help. They are weak. They need to be cut off like the cancer that they are.

They need to be tortured and sacrificed to the banks because only then can the strong survive. Only then can the banks and the judges and politicians go back to rolling out the red carpet for their billionaire buddies flying high above the faulty radar of the law.

Another eccentric Irishman, Edmund Burke is purported to have said, “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.”

But what happens when Good Men do something and get forcibly stopped?

Continue reading

Terry McMahon writes:

That’s my daughter’s hand around my finger. Her mother is a midwife. Another midwife helped the birth. Their dedication is astonishing but now midwives have had to vote to strike. And it’s beautiful to see so many powerful people support these women who have chosen to make a life out of helping other women give birth.

Okay, it hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

Social media is awash with campaigns for these astonishing midwives who guide women through the miraculous process of birth and thereafter. Support is everywhere. And the t-shirts and the hoodies and the pop-up shops are amazing.

Okay, it hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

Anyone who questioned any recent campaigns has been proven wrong. Equality is here. Rights are real. Support is everywhere. Particularly for the midwives who do thirteen-hour shifts, without a break, to facilitate the miracle of birth for women who are at their most profoundly vulnerable, as they bring new life into our world.

Okay, it hasn’t happened yet.

But it will…won’t it?

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet


The 8 Rules To Surviving Social Media

1. Be mentally healthy

Mental health is everything. The best way to be mindful is to attack the mental health of another while claiming you are the victim. If you do it right you might even make them go all the way. And you can really milk it when you read their eulogy at the church. You will look so sensitive you might even get some sympathy sex out of it.

2. Be steadfastly heroic

Children are important. Old people are important too. But nobody is more important than you. You supersede all others. This does not make you a narcissist. It makes you a hero. This world was made for you. Old folks are easy to get rid of. Kids are even easier. These people are just background actors in your charismatic close-up. Never let the living get in the way of your deadly destiny.

3. Be responsibly free

Censorship is dangerous. Unless you are doing the censoring. Then it is necessary. Any coward who disagrees with you is dangerously wrong. They need to be confronted with courageous censorship. You are only doing what needs to be done to protect everyone, including those you are censoring. Intelligent people proudly block out all contrary thought. Only then can you truly think freely.

4. Be ready for battle

Words mean what you want them to mean. The idea that words should retain their functionary meaning is moronic. In this battlefield of feelings, there should be no room for tone. Or intent. Or satire. Or humour. Or confusion. Or context. Or anything. Etymology is for imbeciles. You own all language. Words are yours to weaponise as you wish. Attack! Attack! Attack!

5. Be relentlessly compassionate

‘Compassionism’ is the way forward. It may not even be a word but it is the new political doctrine. Show the world how compassionate you are. Use the word hugely. If anyone points out that your behaviour is the anthesis of what it means to be compassionate, annihilate them. Viciously. Relentlessly. Barbarically. But compassionately.

6. Be more intelligent-er

Stupid people contradict themselves. Wise people contradict everyone else. You are never wrong. Even when you are. You have never been wrong. Even when you were. You will never be wrong. Even when you will be. That’s real intelligence.

7. Be ready to embrace emotion

Never hesitate to accuse another without foundation. Due process is a scam. Everybody is guilty of something. Nobody is innocent of anything. Just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. Just because they didn’t do it doesn’t mean you are wrong. People are what you accuse them of being. If you feel they did it then they absolutely did it. Emotion is the new evidence.

8. Be full of feeling

Facts are for fools. Never let facts get in the way of your feels. If people expose your lies with their facts then attack them with your feels. Feelings trump everything. If you feel something is real then, goddamn it, it is real. Even if it isn’t. Feeling is the new fact.

Happy hunting, hyenas.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Illustration via Kaspersky

Last night.

O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.

Earlier: F Sharp

Ella (left), who is pregnant, and her children, from left:, Skyler (3), Paige (2), Logan (4), Torrie (10) and her partner Derek who are homeless and living in Emergency Accommodation at yesterday’s Housing Demo in Dublin city centre.

Terry McMahon writes:

Told my ten-year-old he was coming on the march in support of homeless people. He went nuts. Bananas. Barking in protest. My three-year-old was sitting on my shoulders, ready to leave, confounded by her older brother’s rage. This is the exact conversation, word for word.

Him: “But marches don’t change anything! You all think you’re doing something but you’re not. The scumbag Government don’t care. It’s bullshit. I’m not going. I’m not. You can’t make me. I’m not going.”

I didn’t know whether to high-five him for calling the Government, “scumbags,” or chastise him for saying, “bullshit.” But I did neither. Because, on multiple levels, the kid had a point. I had no smart comeback so I told him the only broken truth I know these days.

Me: “You’re a ten-year-old kid. You have your own bedroom upstairs. You have a place you can call your home.”

Him: “I’m not going.”

Me: “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.”

Him: “Good, because I’m not going.”

Me: “But hear me out.”

Him: “I’ve heard all this bullshit before.”

Me: “You can’t say bullshit.”

Him: “I can when it is.”

He was making to leave. I had five seconds to reach him.

Me: “There are four thousand kids out there who don’t have a place to call home.”

He didn’t stop but he did slow down.

Me: “What happens when one or two of them see a ten-year-old kid on the television, marching for them?”

He stopped. He didn’t turn around. But he did stop.

Me: “What happens when that boy or girl sees a kid who doesn’t know how to really change anything in our crazy country but still puts his coat on to march in the rain for them?”

He didn’t move.

Me: “What happens when those boys and girls see that ten-year-old kid leave his warm bedroom and cosy house to let them know that he hates their scumbag bullshit Government as much as they do?”

He sighed.

Me: “What happens when some stranger who is only ten-year-old still finds the basic decency to make those kids feel less alone in the world by trying to give them a tiny sense of hope for the future?”

He didn’t move. That was it. I had nothing left. The words had run out. He turned and stared at me again. It was coming. I could feel it. The explosion of words to justify his anger.

He opened his mouth to give his standard, brilliant counterargument. But only one word came out. And it was quiet. And it pumped my heart with blood. Because it was the look in his eye when he said it. The look that told us both that he understood. The look that nearly made me burst out crying.

Him: “Okay.”

He put his coat on and opened the front door of his home, where he has a warm bedroom upstairs, then looked up at his three-year-old sister sitting on my shoulders.

Him: “Let’s go.”

It took a ten-year-old boy to make me remember to never forget why we march.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Yesterday: The Home Crowd

Sam Boal/RollingNews

Film director Nicolas Roeg (1928-2018)

There’s a generation out there that probably don’t know who Nicolas Roeg is. Yet, to some of us, this beautiful bastard is as important as Stravinsky, Picasso or Joyce.

Among the many movies he made, some are good, some are stone-cold classics, and some are one-of-a-kind masterpieces.

There are few things more tiresome than some fool making the death of an icon somehow be about them but…a financier of one of my little films, (there are only two, for Christ’s sake), knew Roeg and passed that film onto him.

The financier had no idea if Roeg would even watch it. But Roeg did. Three times, he said. And Roeg imparted a scene-by-scene breakdown detailing the most profoundly personal reactions and insights.

I nervously asked the financier if Roeg might be willing to give a short, single-line quote for the poster. The financier had no idea how Roeg would respond. No idea if he had stepped over the line. No idea if I had gotten him into a world of shit.

Roeg responded immediately and this is the single line he sent: “A stunning and shattering piece of work with a profound sense of truth.”

It was like a student monk doubting his faith receiving a telegram from God. Or a piece of music from Stravinsky. Or a sketch from Picasso. Or the address of the best whorehouse in the Monto from Joyce.

We used to repeatedly watch his films. When nothing else compares, you often find yourself returning to your first love. It’s why we listen to an album for decades. Or study a painting for centuries. Or build a culture around a reinventor of language. Just like Stravinsky, Picasso and Joyce, every time you return to a Nicolas Roeg film, some new and astonishing human truth is revealed to you. Or about you.

There’s no point in listing his movies. The people who know Roeg already know his legacy. As for the people who don’t know him, I envy you. You are virgins in one of the greatest orgies in cinema.

His last breakout movie was ‘Witches (1990) Some producer had the insane idea of offering Roeg a movie based on Roald Dahl’s book written for kids. That’s like offering a hotel management position to Norman Bates. It became one of the scariest kids movies ever made and one of the most brilliant.

There was nothing Roeg couldn’t do. Except be ordinary.

RIP #NicolasRoeg

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Nicolas Roeg Obituary (The Guardian)

Pic: Getty

A mural on Frederick Lane, Dublin 1

Terry McMahon writes:

I was asked to write a piece for the Sunday Business Post’s powerful three-page-special (behind paywall) on homelessness yesterday. 500 words. In fairness to the editor, it was probably the lawyers who advised the cuts, so respect to The Sunday Business Post for running what they did. This is the piece as it was intended, unedited and unapologetic

“I’m not crazy – I will end homeless families living in hostels

Then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney (Irish Independent, January 4 2017)

Imagine the excitement of thousands of forgotten Irish children, holed-up in emergency accommodation, as minister Simon Coveney swears he will get them out by summer 2017.

Imagine those children, two years later, realising the only thing Coveney’s promise secured was his own political advancement. He was made Tánaiste. The second most powerful man in Government.

Imagine those children today, knowing that their dreams and aspirations were nothing more than cannon fodder for the normalisation of obscenity.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines Psycopath as: a person who has no feeling for other people. Does not think about the future. Does not feel bad about anything they have done in the past. Very mentally ill. Unstable. And dangerous.

Coveney taught these children that lying leads to success. Lack of empathy benefits progress. Betrayal is good for business. Only certain lives matter. Dreaming is for the few. A childhood is for the chosen. The consequence of naivety is eviction. The price of vulnerability is horror. Santa is too busy hanging with the socioeconomically selected kids to visit your sorry working-class ass.

These children were taught the literal Cambridge Dictionary definition of what it means to encounter a psychopath. They have learned that political leaders don’t give a damn if increasing numbers of children’s lives, along with the lives of their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, end in a damp doorway.

Is it abnormal for our children to yearn to connect? It is abnormal for our children to yearn to love, and to be loved in return? Is it abnormal for our children to yearn for a home, with their own bed, where they can sleep, without fear, every night?  Is it abnormal for our children to want us to fight for them? For their nation. For their soul. For their right to take back their stolen childhoods.

Despite the normalisation of obscenity, there is hope. Profound hope. All studies have shown normalisation works both ways. When courage becomes common, we normalise heroism. When heroism becomes a condition of being human, we normalise nobility.

When we value humanity and art and science, beyond commerce, as something fundamental to our existence, something vital to our wellbeing, something capable of changing our world, we put those children’s sublime dreams and aspirations into action.

These children know we are braver than we believe. They understand that we will only comprehend courage in retrospect, after we have taken action, on their behalf. They have learned that we don’t have to fear liars. Or traitors. Or psychopaths.

These brave boys and girls are waiting for us. They are yearning for us to teach them what it means to go crazy for real. What it means to fight back. What it means to be what they need us to be. Powerful parents. Dragon slayers. Psycho killers.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet


Pro Choice campaigners block a banner from the ‘Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform’ (ICBR) outside the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin during the Eighth Amendment referendum campaign last May.

This afternoon.

Responding to criticisms of his post last Thursday on the abortion debate, Terry McMahon writes:

Getting attacked seems inevitable when you deviate from whatever the new consensus morality is. Apparently, it comes with the territory now. But the bile is reaching new depths.

And, not only are the rage-fueled reactions disconnected from any reality, the reactionaries spouting the bile are proud of themselves. They have allies now. And righteousness on their side. And carte-blanche authority, it seems, to projectile vomit over any dissent.

When the abortion campaign began, I was voting YES. I was doing it for the women who told me they wanted YES. There were some who were saying the opposite but I was so caught up in the fervour of doing the right thing that I barely registered them.

So confident, in fact, was I in how I was voting, I decided to ignore those dissenters a little less and explore the subject a little deeper by asking some questions. I was looking forward to the clarity with which my side would articulately address those questions.

That’s when it began to get ugly. But the ugliness wasn’t from the NO side. It was from people on my side. People I knew. People I cared about. People I believed knew better. It was a strange feeling.

Nobody likes to be an outsider. Every time I tried to probe a little further in an attempt to understand, the reactions got uglier.

There are always folks out there who will hate no matter what you do but this was different. I desperately wanted to support the many magnificent women who were brilliantly articulate advocates of the necessity of voting YES.

Yet, the deeper I dug, the more impossible it became to ignore the fact that the child was being systematically erased from the conversation. And any questioning of that fact only escalated the rage.

I spoke with many women. And men. And couples. Then spoke with more women. I gorged on all the podcasts. Read all the articles. Spoke with and listened to some of the best people I’ve ever met. On both sides. I also encountered some of the most rabid revisionists it has been any man’s misfortune to encounter, but they were in the minority.

Noble people on the YES side invited people who may have been conflicted to ask questions on social media. It was a kind offer. And smart. So I did ask. Simple, sincere questions from a conflicted soul.

Lenny Abrahamson and Colm O’Gorman proved to be two patient educators. But that’s where it ended. I had to delete multiple posts because of the rabid reactions of some of these new selectively sensitive social warriors.

They didn’t know me but that didn’t stop them becoming self-styled experts on my motivations. They may have had ‘humanitarian’ in their bio but, trite as it sounds, all they had was hate in their hearts.

It was relentless and cruel and deliberate. And, it has to be said, the people who did know me felt no need to come to any defence. Asking basic questions had rendered me an asshole, forever more.

Social media exploded during the campaign. Language was bastardised into the philosophy of convenience and complex morality was dismissed as the weapon of the ignorant. Any deviation was aggressively rejected or turned into an accusation of way-to-make-it-be-all-about-you.

You might feel this was not the case but that’s probably because you were one of the decent people who didn’t feel the need to destroy any and all dissent. Check it out, though. You’ll find it all turned a little crazy. I didn’t know what to think. Or to feel. Or to do.

Then I got blocked by the Repeal Shield. No explanation necessary. No enquiry accepted. Blanket censorship dressed up as liberal progressivism. Ask us any question you want, except the ones we don’t want you asking.

I was lost. Broken. Wanting to do the right thing. Wanting to be on the right side of history. Wanting to be a decent human being. Trying to de-weaponize democracy at the ballot box, I re-read precisely what we were voting for. Over and over. Just to make sure. I was about to tick the box and read it one more time. Words were never more important. I hesitated. Then voted.

As the results slowly trickled out later that day, I already knew it was going to be YES. I had known for weeks. The manipulated wording of the positive YES versus negative NO proposal was already too one-sided. Besides, the campaign was so brilliantly constructed, it was impossible for it to fail.

The word ‘Abortion’ was erased and replaced with the word, ‘Choice.’ The word ‘Child’ was erased and replaced with, ‘Choice.’ ‘Life’ was erased for, ‘Choice.’ And the new buzz phrase was, ‘Compassion.’

Like a frenzied new movement led by all of Ireland’s political parties. Compassion. The repressive regime of cruel, old-world FASCISM was being replaced by a fuzzy, new-world political philosophy that could just as easily have been christened the darkly comical name COMPASSIONISM.

The celebrations were incredible, and, frankly, a little disturbing; unless you had already succeeded in erasing the unwelcome side of the conversation from your soul.

We head just learned of the deaths of multiple women through faulty smear tests but our government heroes they had their sick slates wiped clean in Dublin Castle. As we chanted their names we made heroes out of psychopaths.

Yet, that can be understandable. Anybody can get caught up in the fire. It was a raw and painful campaign. For all sides. In the making of any big moment, mistakes can be made.

Now we’re into the legislative side of things. Those same Government heroes whose mismanagement allowed women die, and are happy for homeless children to have no future, and for those children’s mothers to live in abject poverty, are determining the finer details of the lucrative world of abortion.

Some deeply troubling details are being revealed but the majority gets what the majority wants and the minority needs to shut the hell up about it. That’s the democratic way. And you can’t argue with that. At least you’re not supposed to.

I would never judge a woman for deciding to have an abortion. Nobody knows the complexities of a person’s state of being and it’s her own damn business what she – or they, the couple – decide.

I know women who have had abortions and some of them are some of the finest people I have ever met. I know women who have never had abortions and insist they never would, and some of them are some of the finest people I have ever met. Neither has the monopoly on morality.

But I did have one question. It was related to the talk of refusing to administer pain relief to an about-to-be-aborted baby on the grounds that it would further “shame” the mother.

The cruelly dismissive word coined by an Irish politician to describe this, “obsession with the foetus” over the rights of the mother is, “foetocentric.” It’s not even a real word. But what a word. And what a concept. Foetocentric. Caring too much.

We don’t know what the final legislation will be. We don’t know who is going to profit, but, rest assured, someone will, massively. We don’t know how our already broken health system will deal with the projected numbers.

What we do know, however, is we have a Government that has already shown how psychotically callous it can be to our most vulnerable citizens. So, is it unfair to ask if we should perhaps petition for basic pain relief to be granted by law to a soon-to-be painfully dying human being?

That’s all I’m asking. And, for that absurdly basic question, the Broadsheet attacks began. For those of you who want to write, “way-to-make-it-be-all-about-you,” this is a personal post. That’s all it is.

I have never insulted anyone from the YES side. In fact, the only time I passed public judgement on anyone was when members of the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (ICBR) stood outside maternity hospitals with images of developing babies.

All I have tried to do is wrestle with a profoundly painful moral question. And I did it publicly in the hope that conflicted people like me might receive insight beyond that complex quandary. I never wanted to hurt anyone. And I still don’t. And that’s why this will be my last post on this subject.

Having asked that basic question about pain relief for an about-to-be-aborted baby, a  commenter on Broadsheet, who I don’t know, and who hid behind an alias, publicly posted the following:

“Do you want answers about abortion, Terry? Have some conversations with women who have experienced it. Listen.

And while you’re at it, ask us about our experiences of being sexually harassed in our school uniforms, assaulted in bars, abused by boyfriends, abandoned by baby-daddies, humiliated by doctors, forced to walk past gory foetus porn during the referendum, kept in the dark about our cervical smear results, and blamed for rape because of our knickers.

Ask us what a miscarriage feels like. Ask us how we feel about the cost of childcare, the lack of subsidizing of childcare, and the fact that we do most of the grunt work in raising children and keeping homes.

Ask how it feels for us to have to defend our decisions and experiences to people like you, who perform a burlesque of macho concern, but are actually as thick as two planks.”

It’s tame compared to some of the things that have been posted about me – no doubt there is more bile to come – but this well-written articulation of her accusatory hatred does seem a fitting end to what has been a horrible education.

Thank you for engaging.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet


Previously:  A Conscientious Objection

From top: Minister for Health Simon Harris flanked by Master of Holles Street Rhona Mahoney (left) and Master of the Rotunda Fergal Malone during the Eight Amendment referendum campaign last May; Terry McMahon

Have to ask this question. Not trying to offend anyone, though precedent suggests this will likely inspire that strange rage that seems to be our national language these days. Or that other reaction. Silence. Followed by censorship. But, in good conscience, it has to be asked.

Abortion, for a woman, or a couple, is a profoundly private decision. In advance of the ‘Repeal’ referendum, many people were asked to put their personal morality aside and use democracy to give those women or couples the right to make that profound decision in their own country, rather than be shamed into travelling overseas to terminate.

Repeal proved to be a divisive campaign. As both sides carved out their positions decades of inarticulate rage also spewed out. New names were given to old words and language lost all meaning. Anything that didn’t fit into the new narrative was cut out like a gangrene memory.

Yet, when it came to the ballot box, people believed their final decision was done for noble reasons. Both sides believed they were doing the right thing.

And the democratic outcome decided that the right to life of the unborn was no longer constitutionally equal to the right to life of the mother.

At least it was now clear. Easy to comprehend. Regardless of which way you voted. Regardless of the moral complexities.

But now we have politicians defining the consequence of that outcome. We are trusting them with the most profound issue of our time, even if many of them have a verifiable history of implementing policies that have destroyed people’s lives.

We are allowing them to define the reality of abortion, even if many of these men and women have already proven themselves to be psychopaths.

These trusted politicians are now questioning if our nation’s remarkable hospital staff, many of whom are legitimate conscientious objectors, should be forced to participate in abortions. Or face being struck off.

These trusted politicians are now questioning if race, gender, and physical or mental disability are valid reasons for late-term abortion. Including the termination of someone with Downs Syndrome.

These trusted politicians are now questioning if we should refuse to administer pain relief to the soon-to-be-terminated foetus on the grounds that it is just another attempt to shame the mother. Yes, you read that correctly.

Have we really gone from legitimately attempting to address the stigma of shaming a woman seeking an abortion by repealing the 8th, to insisting that a late-term foetus, who feels everything with every nerve ending in its body, should be granted no pain relief in case we cause that mother some shame?

No matter which side you were on, is there anyone out there – literally anyone – who supports the assertion that granting pain relief to an unborn child in advance of its painful death is somehow wrong?

Amid all the noise of Repeal, is this really what we voted ‘Yes’ for? If it’s not, then why in hell are we all so suddenly silent?

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet


From top: Terry McMahon’s impending African thriller Caged in the Creeks; article in The Guardian (Nigeria) newspaper.

Terry McMahon writes:

Even though I stopped writing for Broadsheet because of poisonous psychos hiding behind pseudonyms, I see that a recent powerful post detailing a video about incredibly brave people fighting for rights to medicinal cannabis in Ireland is still somehow lassoed by another moronic troll as a means to insult me. With yet another lie.

But the facts don’t matter to trolls. Or the truth. They simply need to defecate. Everywhere. Poor souls.

The world is a big and beautiful place. Small-minded psychos shouldn’t be allowed to define its conversations. What Broadsheet does in Ireland is important. Writing for readers who care about something beyond a troll’s obsessive need for keyboard attacks is an honour.

So, to hell with the trolls.

The keyboard warriors. The anonymous cowards. The pseudonym psychos. No doubt they’re already frenziedly trashing out their rebuttals with their usual charm and chlamydia-infected fingertips.

But that’s enough about the troglodyte cowardice of Irish trolls. Africa is calling. Big, beautiful, brave Africa.

In Ireland, there seem to be select filmmakers who get offered movies no matter what they do. Some of them can even make back-to-back duds and still secure finance for their next film.

Then, there are the rest of us. People whose track record is also irrelevant. In a destructive way.

The last film I directed won multiple awards internationally, and three IFTAs at home, yet there wasn’t a single offer to direct another film from anyone in Ireland.

Not one.

And believe me, I wasn’t sitting on my arrogant arse, waiting for handouts, I reached out to everyone. Nothing. Nada. I couldn’t even secure an unpaid apprenticeship on the television show Vikings.

For my third film, I desperately wanted to make a passion project, ‘The Dancehall Bitch,’ a deeply provocative prison drama about the nature of coercion and sexual violence.

The two leading actors of my previous films, Emmett Scanlan and Moe Dunford were as equally passionate about the project as I was. There was a kind of poetry in these two previously unknown actors, who are now trailblazing their way across the world stage, joining each other for our third film together.

Also, in an era when the dangers of violent masculinity and the obscenity of coercive rape are two of the most contentious conversations in our culture, I also believed our timing couldn’t have been better.

These were two superb young Irish actors who completely trusted their Irish director – all of whom had now proven themselves on that international stage – and we were ready to make a provocative picture about the national narrative like this country had never seen.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Irish Film Board turned the project down.

The same happened with several other projects. Evidently, the kind of cinema I wanted to make was not the kind of cinema they wanted to make.

The political landscape had changed. Certain films were taboo now. Just like certain directors. Paying the mortgage became an increasingly difficult task.

I also had a new kid. Mouths to be fed. So, with twenty-five years of teaching experience, I applied to advertised positions in colleges.

At the risk of sounding immodest, I had taught in several of these colleges in the past, consistently generating remarkable testimonials from the pupils. It may not have been filmmaking but facilitating students in finding their voices can still be incredibly creative.

Then the penny dropped. I didn’t even make the shortlist for many of the interviews. Later it would be revealed that the positions had often gone to people significantly less qualified than me.

And that’s when you begin to get worried.

Five years after ‘Patrick’s Day‘ won the Galway Film Fleadh and The Cork Film Festival, every filmmaker who had made the big films in those festivals that year had gone on to make another film. Sometimes two.

Every filmmaker except the one who had won both festivals. In those five years, I had become increasingly involved in the politics of austerity and the sickening policies of our government. I had been asked to make some speeches. They caused serious backlash.

I broke some cultural rules that are not meant to be broken. Apollo House didn’t help either. Everyone is equal in this new era of equality. Except for the ones who can’t swallow the lie. I was out. Finito.

I would have killed to make my third film in Ireland. I adore our country. I adore Irish people. With a passion that’s almost embarrassing. Most of them, anyway. But telling the truth these days in Ireland is punishable by career death.

Yet, the Gods of Film are a gloriously fickle bunch. The audacity you are punished for in your own country can be the very thing that ignites the imagination of another.

And nowhere on earth embraces audacity more than Africa.

They don’t care that you took some small action against the government’s murderous austerity. They admire it. They don’t care that you want to use film to shake up the world. They insist upon it.

They don’t care that you’re a pink-skinned, black-listed Paddy who can’t keep his damned mouth shut. They love it.

The only thing our African brothers really care about is whether or not you’ll put everything on the line to make a movie. And that’s the only thing I care about too. Which is why I love those magnificent men and women right back. Almost as much as I love the trolls.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet