Thwarted of my usual Sunday papers today in Schull I buy the Sunday Independent . A reprehensible moment of weakeness. Jesus what meretricious shite. What the hell is Gene Kerrigan doing there? A good deed in a naughty world, or a man who puts pay before principle? Even the once sound Declan Lynch has gone all tired and flaccid.
But you know what, there are occasional moments of merriment to be gleaned from the general sad, self-referential, and trite effusions that emanate from this diseased organ. Is Eoghan Harris the most ridiculous man in Ireland? Or am I being unkind and has he slipped into dementia? Maybe his ertstwhile wife is indulging him on sentimental grounds. Alas poor Eoghan – oh what a noble mind was here o’erthrown. In today’s edition he compares Bertie to Daniel O’Connell. Now we know Bertie appointed him to the Senate and gratitude is a wonderful thing – but we expect a little balance and perspective from our journalists. Bertie and his crew (and his corrupt old boss) have sunk this country. Anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t paying attention, or is unhinged. And no amount of banging on about the Peace Process (a process he was involved in and not his doing) should divert us from his despicable incompetence.
I first encountered Harris en route to Kilworth Camp outside Fermoy with the FCA back in the early Sixties. Harris was an NCO in A Company 23rd Battalion. He was a middle-class boy from Douglas in charge of an Irish-speaking platoon called the Buion Galeach. They were the best turned out, most organised, most disciplined of the platoons – thanks to Harris. He was a charasmatic leader and they were a tight group. He endeared himself to me at the time by marrying his Gaelic soldier trip with a love of Buddy Holly. His platoon used to sing his songs on the way to Kilworth Camp.
Time moved on and Harris joined RTE and combined his semi-state sinecure with a leading role in the Official IRA. Years passed in the somnambulant atmosphere of RTE and the next thing we know he’s out there doing PR and marketing for Fine Gael – remember the Twink debacle. I think there was a flirtation with Unionism subsequently – who knows, it was dizzying keeping up with his u-turns. Anyway he has now ended up sounding like a choleric retired colonel writing from Leamington Spa. For God’s sake Anne retire him.
Or better still let him loose on the literary pages. The last time I heard him talk sense was about 12 years when he was reviewing Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon.