Sean: Seamus, I know you have been working
on some interesting areas of
criminology for quite some time now. If I understand it correctly,
most of them have to do with the unique composition of Irish
society and the peculiar make-up of its responses to periodic
crises. What is it you are trying to say in this regard? And –
frankly – why bother?
Seamus: While the ‘why bother?’ question is,
possibly, the one I can identify with most, when one thinks of the nature
of Irish society and its ease of manipulation, then the answer to
‘the why?’-Question becomes clear. I have always believed that my
business was educational, to show people something: not to cry
‘wolf’, but to make available scenarios that were not countenanced
by the existing social arrangements in Ireland. Circumstances may
have changed in the second half of the twentieth century, but
essentially the things, which James Joyce saw, have not changed.
Ireland is a remarkably totalitarian society, a bit of a
throwback, one fears, to a less enlightened age.
Sean: For me this is not the case. I find
Ireland a really relaxed place: really easygoing, and, indeed, an
under-populated society. Ireland may even be overreligious, and
possibly terribly corrupt – but its religion is not for me
malignant, nor is its corruption of a violent nature.
Seamus: What you say I think I appreciate.
But it is such a personally oriented rather than an intellectually
oriented kind of commentary. It is partly because of what you
describe – and the manner in which you put it – that when
translated from the personal to the social or the intellectual, is
the main reason for the corruption that you don’t find violent and
the religion that you don’t find totalitarian. Is it not violent
to repeatedly beat children in school, on a daily basis? Is it not
violent to rape young boys – or does your personal accommodation
with Irish society exclude these matters conveniently at the point
of judgement? Is the deal done by the Church – indeed, in its
total governance of the Republic – is that not malignant? Is the
work of Opus Dei – in the schools with CORI, in the Banks,
in the Civil Service, in the Bar-Bench Bruderbund,
in the Hospitals (or hitherto in the Hospitals), in the
combination of the Pope’s men
in Spain, Ireland and Catholic Australia in East Timor, in the
American Bishops punishing Massachusetts for prosecuting their
paedophile clerics by urging a vote for Bush and the continuance
of a world-wide religious and unjust war, and our readiness to aid
these things --- are these not ‘malignant’ to the political health
of the Republic?
Sean: I see what you mean. But you have to
admit that what you said is a bit-of-amouthful. Let me put it like this: Where is
the totalitarianism of the Irish Republic in you opinion most
Seamus: I suppose the most immediate place
of its perfect visibility is the line of power that descends from de
Valera through Haughey to Bertie Ahearn. All the things that we
have talked about are interrelated, just as the Department of
Justice is related to the Department of Education and to the
Department of Foreign Affairs. The Taoiseach
and Tanaiste and the Minister for Finance oversee these most
important ministries, because they are the ones that deal with the
social rather than the natural sciences. All the rest are – pardon
the phrase – dim reminders of independent thinking. All the rest,
more or less, do what they are told.
Sean: But can we not isolate something?
Can you not demonstrate what you mean by reference to something checkable and
visible to others? You are, after all, in education; why not give
us a solid example?
Seamus: I have just given you an example;
the most visible acts of totalitarianism in Ireland in recent times are to be
seen in the extension of the line of political power from de
Valera through Haughey to Bertie Ahearn. And there are so many
isolated acts of totalitarian power encapsulated even in the short
period of descent from Haughey to Ahearn that they are difficult
to isolate further and pin-point them. It ‘s like taking a
snap-shot from a movie, or in the words of Henri Bergson, moving
your hand from A to B, knowing that between A and B there are all
kinds of what we call ‘resting’ or ‘discrete’ places, a little
like the difference between real and ordinary numbers. Bergson, of
course, knows that we only think in ‘stills’ and are a little
brainwashed to that method of perceiving reality. Whereas we
apprehend reality in the totality of ordinary experience, in a
cinematographical way, and not by categorising its photographs.
Sean: Unfortunately the categorical,
logical way is the only way that I for the moment can appreciate. So, can you
illustrate further what you mean about the totalitarian nature of
Irish life, particularly as it has been applied to the passing of
political power from Fianna Fail and Haughey to Bertie Ahearn?
Seamus: O.K. But please allow me an
introduction itemising the events I wish to recall by way of
Sean: Of Course.
Seamus: Much of this website has been about
the matter of Irish history, and in particular the manner in which it
has been suppressed. Apropos that, it has also been about the
manner in which the foreign and Roman church appropriated Gaelic
and Anglici fertility and more or less bottled and manufactured it
for Imperial consumption. This means that the church destroyed the
polygamous and tribal relations of the Gael and introduced VI
pulsa the Roman notions of the Patria Potestas Thus, the skeletal value structure
of the Holy Family, was the container of Irish fertility and reproduction.
The nation – and beyond the nation – was, if you like, shaped into
a kind of Christian factory of reproduction for the Holy Roman
Empire. How am I doing thus far?
Sean: I have to say that if I look at
history in such great sweeps I can see what you mean quite simply…What you say is
hardly deniable, even if that was not the intent – the stated
intent – of the contemporaneous church.
Seamus: It doesn’t really matter what they
said or why they believed they were doing it. This is what they did, and still
do. I know of a woman who lost her baby at birth. She prayed every
night for the salvation of her child, to rescue its tiny soul from
Purgatory. It gave the poor creature a constant headache thinking
Sean: But Purgatory is
now gone. It is not to be believed in…
Seamus: Maybe so. The remarkable thing is
that this woman still prays, and still gets headaches…. But let us not dwell on
the personal. We lose sight of our argument all the time reverting
to the personal. Examples are very good ways to argue, but
examples do not always mean that one must argue personally.
Sean: Yes; and you were
talking about recent times, not ancient history.
Seamus: The one is the other in some
cultures. And in Irish culture -- a bit like America, where there is no sense of
history, only a sense of things past – the same arguments that applied fado apply
now. Why? Because the same socio-religious circumstances have not
changed, or because the preponderant religious beliefs are exactly
the same, and it is about them that we are arguing all the time.
Sean: That’s what you
say. Could you please get on with it!
Seamus: In more recent times de Valera, when
he left the IRA, had to win favour with the RC church in order to
occupy the same position as Cumann Na nGael did between
1922 and 1936. The only way that it was possible to oust Cumann na nGael – for they, as you know, were very Catholic and
very keen not to ruffle the feathers of the most frightfully
finicky bishops. Forget Michael Collins and all the men of war.
They had their moment of reality around the General Post Office
and in the Castle. When the dust settles and the priests issue
forth from their parishes, the real Irish world begins. And de
Valera knew this by 1936. So, what did he do to oust Fine Gael
from Holy Roman favour? He started the notion of a new beginning,
a new social contract, a new constitution, and a new Bunreacht Na h-Eireann.
And before it was drafted he gave a Carte Blanc to his
Holiness, to write his own Constitution for – what was after all –
his most pious people (semper fidelis). And when the Pope
overviewed the very bourgeois Bunreacht and registered the
Special Place for Catholicism
in it, it lacked for nothing. Naturally, the words ‘Papal
Ownership’ and ‘Treason’ were never mentioned. But here the Irish,
after struggling with the British for 800 years, and oblivious of
their destruction by the Holy Romans for over 1,000 years, fight
like blazes for their independence. And when they receive it, what
do they do? Within a decade and a half they crawl hand-and-foot
back to the first authority that sold them into bondage, and yield
themselves up like the ignoble shits they are. There is a passage
from Coriolanus that is most apt for such an event. What was it?
He calls the Volscians ‘dogs’ and ‘curs’ and all the things that come so easy when one thinks of what de Valera did.
And the horrible thing is that one knows in one’s heart that even
if someone had accused de Valera of negotiating the new sovereign
powers of the Irish with a foreign potentate, no one in Ireland
would have the nerve to do a Cromwell on it. What Irishman could
do what Cromwell did? He too the traitor Charles 1, who conspired
against the people and the commonwealth of England, he took him
out and chopped off his head. Realism of that historical order was
never Irish. To the Irish all was ever reaction, never action! For
our purposes the main thing is that de Valera passed the torch of
Catholic power down the line of the Free State and the Republic to
those whom the RC church wanted in power. Moreover, two respective
lessons were to be learned from these events. These were: One:
Irish accession to power is always and invariably a return to the
right. Each government is more conservative and more biddable than
the one before. In other words, the only movement in Irish
politics is historically backwards from contemporary standards of
liberty, equality and fraternity. It is a return to Rome’s
medieval notions of a monkery or monastery or sisterless-Bruderbund. Two: All
those calling themselves Political Parties, to gain power, have to
do something like what de Valera did. In any event they have to
please their master in Rome, because it is through him and his
agents that the people are most affected. Unfortunately all
phenomena have proved these two propositions correct.
Sean: I think I see where you are going
with this argument. And however plausible it appears, there are many who
would disagree. If all governments are more conservative than the
one before, how come we have Divorce and Contraceptives now
available in the Republic?
Seamus: This apparent step-back is part of a
strategy – a strategy by which the medieval church is educated a little, and by which
the Irish are the last to avail of
what is available to everyone else in their
environment for decades. If this is not the case, then why is Rome
against the use of contraceptives in Uganda? And why, where the
matter of a scientific piece of rubber that could save thousands
and thousands of lives, is it forbidden to be used by those poor
faithful and foolish people? More importantly, why is the Pope
allowed to make such decisions by the rest of us who know that it
is perverse and deadly? As for Divorce and those who opposed it,
the ones who opposed it are in government, and the people who have
benefited from it have the church and those in government for
having delayed their liberties so long. Why would anyone vote for
someone who tried to put chains on him or her? It’s a bit Irish,
isn’t it? And by ‘Irish’ we mean in this context, irrational,
operating under false consciousness, or a passive intelligence,
which will not allow one contradictory aspect in an argument to
confront another. In a way, it’s a bit like the way we approached
the death penalty or how we presently relate to Irish soccer: when
we eventually grow up to the realities that others have left
behind, when we come to realise what others have been trying to
tell us for ages, we not only begin to imitate, to accept things
that we denied for ages. The fact that neither the death penalty
nor monogamy was really necessary must have come as a great shock
to some Irish people. The unfortunate thing is that, like Irish
soccer, we eventually begin to convince ourselves that we– the
last tatter on the most conservative member of the rear garde -- that we
invented soccer, we
drove the revolution against the use of the death penalty, we
sponsored divorce, we invented contraceptives, and that we would
never vote into power those people who tried their damndest to
prevent all these civil rights being conveyed to the people. What
we could do if we only had a history, or even a memory!
Sean: That’s as maybe… but you still
haven’t demonstrated how the Republic is totalitarian? It’s true that
the line of power passed on to people like Jack Lynch, the Cork
Hurler and good Catholic, and then with the bifurcation of Fianna
Fail, Haughey, who brought in people like
Cearbhaill O Dalaigh, Brien Walsh, Michael Woods, etc. They were –
as one might expect – all good Catholics. but so were George
Colley and Martin O Donoghue, so what was there between them that
is possible to call totalitarian?
Seamus: This is what I meant by isolating a
still from the flow of the film. En
passant we don’t just have a passing of
power, but we have a great dislocation and the rumblings of a secular beginning
amongst the clergy-driven Catholics. Moreover, in a short time the
ideologically strong left-wing parties (such as they ever were)
are going to die in the dark and never raise their socialist
banners again. The question is: what will they raise? And the
answer is nothing. They will now go the way of deValera and wait,
and wait, and wait…. for some bishop to take them under his wing.
When the Pope planned to get the Jesuits into East Timor, do you
know who was sending out the help-me letters in the colleges? The’
left-wing’ parties. Please help the Pope in East Timor, they said.
This a preliminary to the Bush advances were meant, inter alia, to test the waters, and the
so-called Irish left wanted to come in out of the cold so badly.
It was pathetic. You must remember that the dialectic of Irish
politics –never up to much – is now without any balance
whatsoever. The road to the right is the road to Rome and there
can be no one to halt or hinder the stampede. Indeed, the only
active movers is the RC church; for this is what the Opus was set up to monitor.
As part of the new religious
corruption the inevitable growth of secularism made its
appearance. What we were really seeing in Ireland was the triumph
of fascism at the same time as Ireland was creating the first
Catholic middle class, otherwise (with the possible exception of
Northern Ireland) the last, the least and the pettiest bourgeois
formation in Western Europe. One thing about Haughey was how he
loved nice things, and liked them in public. -- a secular vanity
establishing itself in the incensed chambers of the New Jerusalem.
And was it not Noel Browne who talked of how the bishops liked
their fast cars (and women), their brandy, their Taj Mhicheal, and their big
cigars? At much the same time Whitaker and Lemass had read John
Maynard Keynes –more secular materialism on the creep…and when you like
nice things, it is perfectly understandable that you acquire the
necessary cash to buy more of them, regardless of where the money
Sean: I’m getting your drift, but I am
still short of totalitarianism? Where do all the French shirts and English
mistresses make up one ounce of totalitarianism? What are you
trying to say?
Seamus: What I am trying to say is no more
than I have been saying since I contracted to establish a
criminological centre in the old College of Rathmines. It really
hasn’t changed, it just got clearer. At that time – in the 1980s –
we used occasionally to invite Ministers and an array of others to
talk on matters affecting crime-and-punishment, but the gap
between those who studied the matter and those in authority over
the institutions comprising them was so great, that it was simply
unbridgeable. These days, of course, there is no connection
whatsoever. Indeed, as far as DIT is concerned, the greatest
virtue you can have is that you don’t know a word of the first
official language, and that you despise whatever it is that people
call ‘Irish’ and most of all “Irish history.’ But to get back to
the more interesting times of the ‘80s. It was embarrassing to
hear a Minister say (after the debacle in a Bank Robbery in Athy,
when the security forces shot civilians) that the Gardai should
not be armed with guns. Instead, the army ought to be brought in
aid of the Gardai. And with their military weaponry—not to mention
the Constitutional issues – this was thought by a lawyer to be the
better option. Of course, when they then went so far as to
practically execute Dessie O Hare, while the Gardai stood by – at
least for me, it simply was the end of a lost logic – and there
was no party or political or moral consciousness within an ass’s
bray of knowing what really happened.
Sean: Well, what really happened?
Seamus: It’s a while ago now, but the
essential events were perfectly clear at the time. And their thrust remains
with me. The first news we heard in Rathmines – for, as
criminologists, we had more than a passing interest in it -- was
that a few shots had pierced the car they were looking for. I felt
instinctively that they had riddled it. What I didn’t know was
that they had shot the wrong guy. But it didn’t matter…
Sean: How can you say it
Seamus: Sorry: I mean to say that
‘Politically’ speaking, it didn’t matter. Politically, if you go back and look at the
newspapers of the time, I believe you will find the following to
1. Fianna Fail was in power;
2. A previous government had signed an extradition
treaty with respect to terrorists; 3. Then the Enniskillen explosion occurred, and
4. The Fianna Fail party faithful went up to see
Haughey and told him that there was to be No Extradition….
Margaret Thatcher was bellowing and so was her Attorney General.
International agreements didn’t matter to the Irish – especially
if they involved the odd priest with thousands of detonators in
his pocket –
Sean: Yes; I remember it.
But what’s your point?
Seamus: Well, if you were Haughey, what
would you do? You were due to meet Margaret Thatcher shortly and other European
leaders to deal with matters of terrorism. You were in a bind:
what would you do?
Sean: I suppose I would delay matters, put
some time between the Enniskillen bombs and Fianna Fail. Yes; I would
allow some time by way of delaying tactics to allow the people’s
feelings to subside.
Seamus: Precisely! And that was what made
Margaret Thatcher and her Attorney General mad with rage, if I remember
correctly. But by these delays you have still only solved one
aspect of the dilemma that you are in. It may sound Machiavellian
– as a matter of fact that is precisely what Machiavelli meant
when, in the Prince,
he pointed out that the
Prince was not a born liar, but an acquired one. By virtue of his
position and the contradictory forces he purported to manage, he ipso facto became a good liar. And while
you have answered the first leg of the dilemma, you have not
touched the other leg, namely, what are you going to say to
Margaret Thatcher and the Europeans about you being ‘soft’ on
terrorists and unable or unwilling to stand by former agreements.
Already, she has warned Europe that you are in league with
terrorists…what are you going to do at the next meeting?
Sean: I don’t know. And I still don’t know what it has to
do with Dessie O Hare?
Seamus: After Enniskillen Haughey had to do
two things: as you rightly pointed out, he had to put distance between
him, his party and their ‘Republican’ sympathies, and the public
clamouring for justice, including the extradition of terrorists.
The second thing he needed to do was to win the trust of Margaret
Thatcher – because relations were at they’re lowest and the
Unionists were in high voice about it. Failing, that he had to
convince the Europeans that he was in earnest about the repression
of terrorism – and the facts simply did not favour his words
Seamus: Enter Dessie O’
Sean: What? Surely you aren’t suggesting
that they made Dessie O’ Hare chop people’s fingers off? Surely
they didn’t make him into a terrorist to suit their purpose?
Seamus: No; of course not
Sean: Well, what are you saying, then?
Seamus: It’s not that they made him
exist, but they brought him into being… If he
didn’t exist, they would have created him. For, look at what
problems his execution solves – and look up the role that the
shooting in Gibraltar served at this time! . After his attempted
execution Haughey can now go to Europe and point to what he does
to terrorists – who else could behave so boldly against them.
O’Hare would silence – and did silence – all voices, not that
there were ever many searching voices in the Republic of Ireland.
But time – Enniskillen time—had now come and gone, the party was
happy, and Haughey could go and face any European head he liked;
for none, up to this time was anything like as totalitarian with
respect to terrorists as he was (even if it didn’t include erring
priesteens!). Of course the fall out was enough to make this
Irishman quite sick… It was even worse than the Pope’s visit… that
feeling of being a part of a nation of leprechauns…
Sean: What fall out?
Seamus: The Press, the Church, the Lawyers
(‘Jurists’), the Trade Unions, the ‘Opposition’, the whole country concurred in this
dreadful act. For the first time in my life I witnessed how a
whole nation could be reduced to nothing but a band of
powerless and chalk-like creatures in the face of
totalitarian power. Haughey had the power of a religious
community. The homogeneous monolith was really as manipulable as a monkey on an organ. Ireland, a
modern society? Forget it! If they wanted to hang persons out of
every second lamppost, all they had to do was fan the people to
it. Only in the most phlegmatic would deny the evidence of the
phenomena before them. The Irish were to government as they were
to soccer. In the same breadth they couldn’t stand it as a
‘foreign game’; then, after Charleton, they almost claimed that
they invented it! Such manipulability, such instability, such
settled nothings – all demonstrated the potato qualities of the
New Republic, and actually scared the wick out of me! For the
political career of one man, the Constitution was torn up, the
Army proper were on standby, the President couldn’t give a cabaiste, and all those legal checks and balances
envisaged by lawyers -- like arrest, trial, and due process – by
which I thought we lived – were instantly and unanimously
abandoned. If my memory serves me correctly, even Connor Cruise O
Brien, whose articles at one stage tracked Haughey as one would a
diseased panther (because Haughey always ran an incredibly
successful drinks-for-the-Kinsealy-boys campaign), that it was a
strain to read him. But then he wrote an article once – I can’t
say when exactly – but I thought it rather insightful. And he more
or less predicted that if Haughey were returned for a second term
as Premier, he would probably have everything by then in a state
of maximum corruption. These views were the first I had heard of real politic in Ireland, and, what’s more,
it coincided with my own opinions. But Connor, if insightful
sometimes, is all too often unwittingly Irish. When Haughey did
precisely what he predicted, however – who backed him? The bold
Connor. If my memory serves me correctly, it was shortly after
this, taking the lead from Haughey, that Thatcher had the
Gibraltar terrorists executed. And you know who complained of it
most? It’s almost as hole-in-the-head-Irish as the Catholic
church, whose only interests were furthered by the IRA, conferring
honours on Margaret Thatcher, but none on those poor young men who
gave their lives to free up Northern Irish society for Catholics.
Indeed, there is, in my opinion, no power on earth harder or purer
than a young man giving even his life in the cause of perceived
justice. I knew that Margaret Thatcher, nor all the King’s horses
and all the King’s men could possibly break such a bond as the
hunger-strikers had. Young men are like that: they will die in the
dark rather than yield to the enemy. It’s the oldest and best
thing we know. So, who then, did break the hunger strikers? We
know, don’t we? It couldn’t be an ‘earthly’ power, but one that
could get near them, push their buttons, and, at the same time,
honour their enemies.
Sean: Haughey has now gone and all that
era is over. We know what he said about Bertie Ahearn and all that.
But Bertie has survived and so has Fianna Fail. And these days
they have to form a coalition to get into government. Is this not
a safety valve against future threats?
Seamus: Have you never
asked yourself how Mr Ahearn remains on in power?
Sean: You’re not going to
tell me that he is in Opus Dei, are you?
Seamus: Of course not; they wouldn’t have
him. And what’s more they don’t need him. They have Ms Hanafin,
daughter of Des… and everybody in Fianna Fail
remembers Des. He though nothing of funding an
action to save us all from ourselves, that is, from getting
divorced from each other and remarrying another. Des Hanafin knew
better than all of us what was good for us. And his daughter? In
any event Michael McDowell, the moralist, is in Justice and we
know why he is there?
Seamus: Do you not recall
how he got there? And why he is kept there?
Sean: No; tell me!
Seamus: A letter sent to the Irish
Independent made the following claims about the election Bertie Ahearn went
into the election as the prime successor and inheritor of Haughey’s sleaze. Many unanswered questions gave
the most unsatisfactory of trajectories in this respect. But his
immediate problem was to answer promises that had been already
made about abortion and the status of abortion under any
circumstances. Michael McDowell couldn’t get a vote no matter what
he did, and there was no hope on earth of his being elected. He
was regarded as a Rothviler. But where Earth offered no hope
Heaven was to prove a more rewarding prospect. The cognoscenti, a
small legion of civil servants and pious party zealots. Who are to
be found in every country; but who, in Ireland, approximate Opus Dei types, read
the scene and came up
with a solution. These pious people move constantly between the
available polarities of power, especially between the Taoiseach of
the day’s office and the Archbishop of the millennium’s office.
They are the ones who know certain things. The know that whoever
runs in the elections, the RC church will win; they know that they
work either doing God’s Work (Opus Dei) or the Government’s work –
which is one and the same thing; and they know that everything and
anything is commandeerable in the interests
of their new creation. Now whether you call these men Opus Dei, or
good Catholics, of social climbers, or whatever, it doesn’t
matter. This will be their function no matter where they live.
Because of their preponderance, their ubiquity, their intelligence
and their unimaginable wealth, Opus Dei. All the rest who act as
satellites about them, like well meaning, never offensive, easily
put- intheir- place civil servants, are rarely the inconstant
inspiration; but they are the very loyal followers. Long before
the election, it became clear to Opus Dei that Bertie Ahearn had
to be saved, if Fianna Fail was to continue its sterling service
to the church. Now, to save Bertie Ahearn from the Haughey legacy,
not to mention his own rather shifty performance, he would need
strong – very strong, almost Rothviler support in the morals
department. Thereafter, the ship of state could sail the least
turbulent path towards the EU leadership. And a new young
President who had already shown her proclivities in opposing Mary
Robinson, no just in criminology, but in being the bishops’ girl,
would not go amiss either. The point was – where to find a
Rothviler and how to get him elected. Well, Michael McDowell had
been on the books for ages. Was he ready? Gagging for it! Was he
willing? Frothing out of the mouth! Was he able? Line them up for
Senior Counsel! If he didn’t frighten them to death, he would talk
them down. The only question remaining then was: how to get
Michael McDowell elected? The Opus knew he needed help. And
the answer was very straightforward. Put him on the Fianna Fail ticket! But
how could one do that? Michael McDowell was a PD through and
through – the party of forked Fianna Failers and Fine Gaelers. Of
since the inception of the Free State, if you took
the guns out, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael were all good Catholics;
they just had to give some reason to the world for playing the
game of democracy. Unfortunately, they themselves began to believe
that they were different. In the eyes of the Lord (and the Pope),
of course, they weren’t, but just to give some verisimilitude to
the notion that Ireland had a Democratic Party political system,
like all the other European countries, the game had to be
maintained. In other words, there never was any real difference
between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, but if they united, then their
real base would become self-evident, and their attempt to play at
‘nation-making’ would be dissolved. So, here was the next best
thing to the united front: McDowell (once Fine Gael) would run on
the Fianna Fail ticket, while retaining with the Tanaiste and a
few others the fiction of a coalition. To secure Michael in power
Bertie instructed the faithful to give him their Number 2. At the
time the 20million euro spent on political spin came up with the
most modest of theatre. The press came up with the widespread
story regarding how clever Bertie Ahearn actually was. He told the
faithful to give Michael their number two votes, on the basis that
if they did that, they would not give him their number one. What
brilliant advice! Now they could get Michael in without being seen
to do it. The mind in Ireland boggles. To add to the theatre, some
angry words were exchanged between Bertie and Michael, mar dhea! Michael
called Bertie a Ceausescu – or was it the other way round? – and on the circus went,
making out to the public that they were having some kind of free
election. Of course all the deals had to be done by now. Opus Dei delivered the
mechanical massaging methods
to secure the church’s favourite party in office. And for its part
the church would agree to a very limited scope for contraception.
This took the carpet from under the opposition parties who were
waiting for Fianna Fail to trip up and confound the religious
electorate. What a gullible opposition! For this all the deals
were then secure. With McDowell to protect Bertie as Taoiseach, he
would lead the lights away from the corruption-inheritance, and
lead on new initiatives that the bishops wanted secure, about
drink, about youth, about making the Gardai answerable to Opus Dei supernumeraries.
Woods would secure other deals in education, especially the
appointment of Opus Dei types in the Regional Technological
Colleges, The Dublin based
colleges and universities were already secure, and Foreign Affairs
would look after Catholic immigres by exporting the non-Catholic
Romanians, collecting a whole plantation of Philippine-nurses to
make Ireland the most nurseprone society in Europe, and, of
course, to secure the plantation of future Catholics by getting
the lawyers and judges to allow them the right to bring in their
families. And what if they went to England in great droves as
well? Weren’t they all good Catholics? And didn’t England need
more Catholics? But Foreign Affairs wasn’t finished dealing yet.
There were the Poles to be looked after, the Slovakian Catholics
as well, and the East Timor old soldiers in the EU…. A letter on
these socio-religious-political arrangements was sent to the Irish Independent.
It also had much to say of the Protestant wets in the South of
Ireland, and of their
bands of secret societies. But the Independent only published half
the letter. And Bruce Arnold was the only person at the time to
pick up on the deal with Woods. Moreover, he showed great courage
in following the story and revealing the deepest shades of Roman
proprietorship of the Irish Republic.
Sean: I see what you mean by the line of
power being passed down to Bertie Ahearn. But if these things put the
possibility of an Irish Criminology out of your head, why now? Why
make this elaborate website?
Seamus: I was born in 1941. I’m in my
sixties, and when I was sixty I was quite
happy to lecture on my notes to my students for the
following five years. Indeed, I enjoyed it – not with the
same relish after the Dessie O’Hare episode as before, but I was
content to do my lectures. To your students and your friends you
just tell the truth. Publications and things like that never
really interested me. —Not, that is, since I wrote the History of the Irish
Police back in 1974. Sometimes you do these things, just to get them out of your
system. And a lot of this website is to allow me to move on.
Sean: I understand. But
move where? You’re lecturing in criminology since 1981/2?
Seamus: I devoutly wish to put these
political things behind me. I even wished it when I became sixty and before. I
had developed a very strong passion for music over the years. It’s
like this: you tell yourself a few lies. I once got rid of all my
books. At first I tried to sell them on the cheap to the late Jim
Hickey for the ‘criminology department’ in the College of
Commerce. Failing that, I just delivered them for storage there
and gave them to the College; but they had no room – and no
storage space. What happened to them? They were fecked. Week after
week, they just dribbled out and disappeared, not into the
college, but out of the college. But in some ways I didn’t mind
this, because I had got rid of them. Then I gave a lecture there
in computer music software. At that time I was into –what d’ya
call it? —Amiga, I think. And a lot of my discs are in that now
obsolete format. Anyway, I wanted to write an Opera, and that’s
what I wanted to do – until in 1992 the greatest load of bullies
ever assembled in academia descended upon the College of Commerce.
As you can imagine they were mostly ‘runners’ who hadn’t a clue
about either Irish culture or Irish history. Some were Bible-zealots and an odd Das Kapital-zealot. ‘Odd’ is the operative word. Anyway, to cut a
rather long story short, the ‘runners’ made the place so
uncomfortable, and it became obvious that it was utterly inimical
not only to criminological studies but to any form of social or
scientific enquiry. The social sciences were simply impossible,
not least because political science was staring you in the face.
Sleaze, opportunism and nepotism were in your face every day and
everywhere. The notion of studying it was too actual to be removed
enough to be studied. Indeed, the astonishing thing about fanatics
in Ireland is that they are imports and they hate both ‘Irish’
‘Irish culture’ and above all else ‘Irish history.’ And this was –
and this is – a precondition of higher education in Ireland, not
just in the DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology). You see, prior
to the inauguration of DIT – and I sometimes thing that the Opus concocted the whole
notion of regional technical
colleges and more or less told successive Ministers for Education
to get on with it. They even told them to appoint supernummeries
of the Opus in each
and every college. This is not only a strategy of the Opus internationally, but it is how the Catholic mind first broaches
‘science’. It is essentially foreign to scientific thought; it
fears it as secular and distrusts it and is impatient with it. As
a result of this alienation, it fetishistically wishes to
appropriate it by owning it and the privilege of appointing
whomsoever they wish to these colleges is how the Catholic mind,
under the instruction of Opus Dei, is how the Irish bishops wish to control the
scientific and technological areas of endeavour. –What got us onto
Sean: You were talking
about moving on.
Seamus: Yes; I wanted to write music But
just as I had gotten rid of all my other books – or most of them –
I began to read music and lo and behold, I found that my shelves were beginning
to stack up with as many music books as I had on all the other
subjects of philosophy, sociology, criminology, law, etc…
Sean: Do I understand you correctly? When
you became sixty you wanted to write music, and you were looking forward to five last
years so lecturing in the College of
Rathmines, but because they bullied you so much and were generally
such an obnoxious lot, you quit
Seamus: Quit nothing. The whole course in
criminology was terminated summarily. And it took three ‘runners’
to do it. Indeed, the Opus got in on the act and matters became real Irish. I could
not lecture to students, but I was not sacked. I could be abused
(by a runner!) for being on the premises, but I wasn’t sacked. I
was cut off the payroll and had no income, but I wasn’t sacked. I
couldn’t recruit, hire, recommend reading material, as I had done
for twenty years, but I wasn’t sacked. I couldn’t advise --- nor
was I consulted – and the new Directors of DIT spent not one-penny
piece on criminology, yet I wasn’t sacked. My telephone, computer,
office and library connections were wrenched or closed down; I was
cut off all my social welfare payments, including VHI, but I
wasn’t sacked. And then there was the Opus. What a lovely crowd!
Sean: Anyway, were these the only reasons
why you felt the necessity to write up this website?
Seamus: No. There were at least two others.
One had to do with the late James Hickey. James Hickey was a very unassuming kind of
Irishman – nothing like the runners presently saturating the
college. James Hickey was quiet spoken, given to speaking Gaelic
and encouraging it in the college. Of course, at that time there
wasn’t a penny-piece to be had for anything. It was before the
great days of the Celtic Tiger, when Europe paid one in five
pounds produced by the Irish. They got so many handouts from
Europe that the Irish persuaded themselves that they had a Tiger
on their hands. Anyway, James Hickey hadn’t a penny to spare, but
he ran the college to some other kind of standard. To cut a long
story short, I contracted with the College to found a Centre for
Criminological Studies. I’m not sure that they knew precisely
where criminology could lead. Indeed, I doubt very much if at the
highest level of DIT up to the most recent
times, any distinction was made between the social and the natural
sciences. And I always have the nagging notion that the most that
was ever envisaged by ‘science’ in DIT really amounts to no more
than mere technology. And what is meant by ‘technology’ is what
the Bishop of Limerick did after the famous kidnapping of Tiede
Heremann – they blessed the machinery in his factory. In a way,
Irish technology is about Opus employees and people working in a
low level type of technology – and everybody talking about
‘science’. The only way out is to do ‘research’, and by Irish
‘research’ is meant importing foreigners to give the place a name.
James Hickey was otherwise made. And when he wanted Irish
Criminology, I think that’s what he meant. Anyway, I felt indebted
to him and that is one reason for this website.
Sean: And the second
Seamus: The second reason concerns
criminology itself in Ireland Truth to tell, there is the awful state of
Irishcriminology. It’s simply appalling rubbish. And one feels
demeaned by being associated howsoever with it. You can get guys
criminology – they hang about (women as well) for
years and years, and they haven’t got a word of criticism about
anything. It’s a little like the golfer you meet at the golf club.
Some people have a natural flow, hurlers and the like. But you
have this guy. He loves golf like he loves his mother. He adores
it; he loves being about the club; he knows everyone and is ever
so helpful. And you wish to heaven that he would win things… but
he never wins anything. He is present at every sort of do, and he
is laughing and smiling and thoroughly enjoying the events, just
as he enjoys every single thing about golf, the club, its
politics, its outings, its competitions. But when he takes to the
first tee, you can see in the way he swings that there isn’t a
hope in hell that he will ever develop a fluidity that is even
comfortable. But, undeterred, he soldiers on, and on, and on…
Sean: What’s the point?
Seamus: The point: nature is so cruel! He
loves so much, yet he gets such little in return. Or, maybe I put that
badly. He loves and gives so much, yet he has such little natural
talent, that all the rest will never make him good at what he
wants to be good at…Of course it doesn’t take from his enjoyment –
although this is hard to see –for, in a way he gets more out of
the golfing culture than anyone else, no matter how good they are…
Similarly – and this is my point – people who find themselves
stuck deep in criminology, haven’t a clue either about Irish life
or about what criminology is about… and in Ireland, this is what
comes to the fore. At least in the golf club, the pious member is
seen for how he is; in Ireland he is appreciated for the very
reason that he has nothing to say. It is some kind of religious
relish in utter and absolute ignorance. I know nothing like it
anywhere else in the world…and that is another reason why someone
should put down a stake or two and say what Irish and Criminology
are really about…
Sean: You never got to
write the Opera?
Seamus: I prefer the word
Operetta, but it’s a musical I have in mind.
Sean: By the way, what
happened to your pension?
Seamus: The runners have
Sean: By the way, are you
proud of your Irishness?
Seamus: Let’s not talk
Sean: Are you ashamed?
Seamus: Let’s say I know something about
Irish society, and I wish I had known it with greater conviction when I
was younger. I know what it did to Gaelic civilization. I also
know what the Mediterranean myth did generally – and still does --
to Irish society. I also know what it did to individuals, to
persons like Adam Dubh O Tuathaill, Brian
Merriman, Charles Stewart Parnell, James Joyce, Peter Lennon (Film
Maker) Willie Birmingham, Edna O Brien, and Dermot Morgan, (and I
know only damn well what they would have done to Oscar Wilde and
Roger Casement if they had the chance)
Sean: But surely there
was Emmet Stagg
Seamus: Amazing, isn’t it? I think these
occasions are just vulgar episodes meant to stuff it down everyone’s neck that
Catholic Ireland is cool and tolerant, especially with
non-normative sex, where it is absolutely riveted to pieces with
ordinary sex. It’s a bit like the new priest: at the wedding
ceremonies, it’s the priest who produces ad nauseam the dirty jokes – fear of being
tarnished with the other.
Sean: Ah now! You can’t be critical when
the Irish are tolerant and critical when they are intolerant.
There must be integrity in one’s argument, surely.
Seamus: I agree.
Well, where’s your integrity. In the case of Emmet Stagg the Irish
people showed enormous
tolerance of man’s weakness, and in the case of clerical paedophilia they – I suppose – did the same. What’s
wrong with that?
Well, what’s wrong with it is that it is totally hypocritical, or,
as you like to put it, lacking in any integrity.
Sean: Please explain how
you reckon that.
You have heard, I hope of Dr Buttiglione?
Sean: Oh, Yeah! He’s the Italian that
Barusso wanted in his European Government. When Barusso took over
from Bertie, it was Barusso’s turn to rule the European roost. He
went a long way to keep Buttiglione on board; but opposition from
the Northern Europeans protested at his Opus Dei connections –
Seamus: Never? —
Well, I mean they protested at his lectures on sin and his
homosexuality. Yes; its coming back to me now; he was a friend of
the Pope and the Northern Countries wouldn’t have him or Barusso’s
government if it meant employing him. The basis for the Protestant
and ex-Communist protest was, as I
remember it, because they had won tolerances and
rights for minorities like homosexuals, and Buttiglione threatened
that. As a friend of the Pope one can only suppose that he carried
some weight – enough to warrant Barusso risking his whole
government on it. Extraordinary! But what does it mean for Irish
attitudes. Didn’t they all vote against the liberal North and for
Barusso and Buttiglione? Oh Yes; wasn’t it Bruce Arnold who
highlighted Avril Doyle’s illogicality, not to mention Fine Gael’s
position, and Fianna Fail’s positive friendship with the Pope,
Barusso, the Red Cross and East Timor. The Irish are so good at
getting confused and voting in any event for what the Pope wants
them to vote, don’t you think? Seamus: Yes; but what’s this about
the Red Cross and East Timor? Oh1 I see…. Mum’s the word. Good,
very good! But what ever happened to our tolerance for Emmet Stagg? Indeed, whatever happened to the
tolerance shown to our buggering clergy when we picked up the tab
for their crimes? We didn’t even get an opportunity to voice our
displeasure at what they were doing -- which, in Durkheimian, or
any body else’s terms, is the basis of criminological virtue. We
didn’t even get a chance to rage against the most protected and
secret paedophile ring in the world?
Sean: I see what you mean. It was all
another awful piece of Irish Catholic theatre. And I agree with you: it is more
than hypocrisy; it is positively evil, a bureaucracy of evil
existing hand-and-glove, as Joyce so properly pointed out, between
holy- Churchand- peasant-State. What did Joyce say: I go to forge… Forget about
the forge, just go, young man; go…
Seamus: Didn’t some lecturer let the Opus
Dei cat out of the UCD bag a few months ago when she threatened the students
that they would not get their exams if they did not attend some
events sponsored by Opus
Dei? And what did
the college do? ,
They announced that they would hold an enquiry into the
according to the rules of UCD there is no religious bias attaching
to the administration of its faculties, not even to the Department
of Law or the Institute of Criminology. I wonder what ever
happened to the enquiry?
Seamus: I think they are looking at it very
carefully, with the same care in fact that they managed to oppose
the registration of paedophiles. What a University! Quel Institute!
But something that you might help me with. Why is there such a
bother about criminology and the religious – I mean why does the Opus want to muzzle thinking people in the first instance?
And what has Buttiglione got to do with thinking people?
Everyone, I suppose, has heard by now of Dr Buttiglione. What most people do not know is
that this‘ Professor’ and ‘friend of the Pope’ is replayed over
and over again in practically every University in the Republic of
Ireland. If one of them writes a letter to the papers, there is an
echo effect of support, if it has anything to do with protecting
the church from thought or enquiry. Because criminal
law/criminology interfaces with Catholic ethics, the intolerant
appropriation of these posts by Opus Dei is hidden. ‘The ‘Two
Marys’, for example, both
Presidents of the Republic, is a case in point. Both were
Professors of Criminology, the successor to the chair removing all
the secular overtures of the former. In the broader view,
Buttiglione did not just represent the intolerance of Roman
Catholicism, but the RC church (and Opus Dei) put the reverse
complexion on their
efforts to dominate the EU Commission, and had it not been for the
tolerant North, Europe’s citizens and their civil rights would be
the less, not to mention Emmet Stagg, David Norris and those in
Southern Ireland who have some rights even if held on the
oscillating knife-edge of Catholic ambivalence. Does that answer
What you are saying is that they marshal all the faculties in the
Universities and Technological Colleges and appoint and dismiss at
their pleasure. Berufsverboten is actually practised in
Sean: But isn’t that
against the law, the Constitution?
It’s against the words that make up the law and the Constitution;
but, as I have pointed out before, when the Judges act for Opus
Dei, there is no law or Constitution that is not muzzled.
But isn’t that a very violent matter.
Seamus: Most violent,
Sean: But can we be sure
of the things of which we speak?
Seamus: Well, you might well think that what
you see in the papers is all an accident; I certainly don’t.
Sean: How do you mean?
Seamus: You may believe that the Irish need
an Embassy in Thailand, and that they have a genuine interest in invading
East Timor; you may even believe that the differential voters who
got Bush into office was an accident or that those who voted for
John Kerry were committing a sin; you may even believe that the
Episcopal attack recently on Tommy Tiernan, the Irish comedian,
who dared to joke at the Imperial church was called for, or,
indeed, that the Da Vinci
Code – a red rag to Opus Dei -- brought the Jesuits
accidentally out of Barracks to decry the Code, lest anyone
inquire into the working branch in Clonskeagh –you may believe all
these things are accidental and not an explicit expression of an
over militant church. I don’t. You may believe that Buttiglione is
merely the Pope’s friend and was not used as a runner for the
Pope’s men to seize control of the EU. I don’t. You may even
believe that the RC church is a tolerant body. I don’t. For that
matter, you may believe that the millions given by the Irish to
the tsunami is out of concern and generosity and that the visit by
Dermot Ahearn to Thailand and Shi Lanka are of no consequence but
to put the Irish relief agencies in funds. I don’t. You may even
think that his insistence the South East Asia authorities keep
their frontiers open for Irish concerns for years to come is a
measure of true charity and a concern for the Irish
dead. I don’t!
Sean: Where are you
going with this?
Here are two quotations from one issue of a magazine called The Irish
Family. Have you ever heard of it?
How apt. Never!
Seamus: This magazine between advocating the
sale of indulgences and prayers for lost souls, quite sagaciously suggested the setting
up of an exclusive Catholic Party in Southern Ireland. More
disturbing, however, was the front-page response of Bishop Duffy,
the chairman of the Irish bishop’s Conference Committee on
European Affairs, who was reported as follows:
According to Bishop
Duffy the “socialist group was expressing a form of secularism
which we (Catholics) reject as inadequate and superficial.” The
rigidity of the socialist position “ignores the foundations of
society and would tend to a form of inhuman society,” he added.
aspect of the affair is the re-emergence of old battle-lines not
seen since the religious schisms of the 16th and 17th the
countries, which have become the latter day champions of the
liberal social agenda, were traditionally Lutheran protestant
societies with a historically strong anti-Catholic bias. The
decline in religious practice in these countries, combined with
their secularist outlook, may have led observers to conclude that
their Pope-hating days were over. However, ancient antagonisms
appear to have been stirred up again and tolerance, where it
applies to Catholic views, is found wanting. The old anti-papal
animosity, while apparently “lost in a sea of indifference, shows
itself in crises like this,” Bishop Duffy said. The anti-Catholic
sentiment underscoring the Buttiglione affair is yet another
manifestation of what appears to be a deep-seated irreligious
ethos within the EU structure. Earlier this year, a concerted
effort by the Vatican and a number of member country governments
(Ireland’s notably excluded) to have God and Christianity
mentioned in the preamble to the forthcoming EU Constitution, was
The fact that Europe
was once known as Christendom, and that the continent’s roots and
traditions are steeped in centuries of Christian belief held no
Europe’s Christians past and present are ignored in the
Constitution, the pagan Greco-Roman Classical era and the
freemasonic-inspired age of Enlightenment are acknowledged as
foundational pillars of the new EU. Voters in Ireland will be
expected to ratify this Constitution in a referendum possibly next
year. Now, what do you think of that? Could you believe that an
educated man would talk in this manner? Isn’t there something
radically wrong with a country when its Bishops have absolutely no
grasp whatsoever of either time or history? “The old anti-Papal
animosity?” In Denmark? I have been going to Denmark for twenty
years and they are blissfully unaware of any connection or
reference, good or bad, to the Pope. The Danes are happily
indifferent to the Pope and the Bishop’s ridiculous neurosis. I
don’t suppose it possible for anyone with such a medieval outlook
to comprehend twentieth century secular people at all. It would
make one despair.
Sean: And what about this
Well, that was thrown out elsewhere in the magazine alongside the
sale of indulgences. Shouldn’t that be made illegal?
Sean: Which? The sale of
indulgences or the creation of a Catholic Party - Which?
Indulgences, of course. The creation of a Catholic Party is as
creating an anti-Catholic party.
Sean: But you’re not
anti-Catholic, are you?
Seamus: Never: just
Sean: So, why suggest an
Anti-Catholic Party then?
Seamus: Because it is precisely
representative of our social needs. Just as class was representative of those
societies that have enormous modern cities and a division of
labour and income to support such ideas, so, too, with the Irish,
the most representative thing to have is an Anti-Catholic Party.
Sean: But what use would
Seamus: For one thing it would break up all
the existing parties, which are Christian, Christian and Christian, or
rather Catholic, Catholic and Catholic. Secondly, by pushing them
to where they belong, the people – especially the people in such
makeshift parties as presently exist – would see for the first
time who owns Ireland, what wealth, power and privilege the RC
church holds in the rickety Republic, and how utterly slavish the
political parties collective are towards it. As individualised
parties they exert a theatrical influence, which tends to reflect
a European secular reality that nowhere exists in Ireland.
Sean: But if Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and
the Labour Party (and Greens etc) all joined together on a
Catholic basis, we would have no semblance of politics forever.
Seamus: We have no politics, semblance or
no; we have no political parties that are not united in total Catholic
accord. And what about it if you lose for a generation or so; you
now have the possibility of taking back the Parishes and driving
the priests and their mythology to the seas. And that’s why this
magazine is right in reverse. Why they won’t ever set up a
Catholic Party is because that is what they have, that is what
they always have had since the fourth century. An Anti-Catholic
Party would demonstrate their treachery and the endless number of
times they betrayed the Gaels, then the Irish and now the
Anyway, you get the drift as to The
Raison D’etre of this Website.