Archive for the ‘Features’ Category


after Bertolt Brecht

You clean collared columnists

should first help us fix the basic roof-over-head

dilemma, before penning your next sermon.


You shower, who preach careful now

and always know your own exact bank balance,

what is this mature democracy towards which you sweat?

Without a door I can safely lock behind me

to keep your pity at bay, civilisation

doesn’t even begin.


First bring those of us who get by on Supermacs

each our own mahogany table and a big, silver knife

with which to cut the turkey and ham into manageable slices

(with a vegetarian option for those so afflicted)

and answer us this:


What put the diamonds in your owner’s wife’s ears?
Or the Prince Albert ring in her boyfriend’s willy?

The fact you’re in there polishing phrases

and we’re out here in the undemocratic rain

which everyone – from the Primate of the Church of Ireland

to the Council for the Women of  Consequence – agrees

must never be allowed land on you,


this is what keeps pinning diamonds

to your owner’s wife’s sad little lobes,

and puts the ring that winks up at her

in her boyfriend’s knob.






Features, Human Rights, National

Coalition of Mother And Baby home Survivors


Survivors of Ireland’s notorious Mother and Baby homes and related institutions expressed their OUTRAGE fury at the one year delay to the final report of the Mother and Baby home inquiry headed by Judge Murphy. The survivor community is elderly and dying and many hundreds have already died since the Tuam 800 story broke in May 2014 and the Government announced an inquiry.

CMABS demanded in 2014 that the Government needed to form an “inquiry of modules” where each individual Mother and Baby home was examined in relation to the aging survivors, as a matter of urgency and furthermore that an immediate Acknowledge, Apology and Redress was offered to the different groups of elderly survivors after each module.

CMABS again demands that the Government and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar immediately offer: an Acknowledgment of the horror of the Mother and Baby homes, an official Apology to the survivor community and, an interim Redress payment to the elderly and dying survivor community before any more of us die.

Paul Redmond (Chairperson of CMABS) said:

“This is yet another delaying tactic by the Government to deny survivors truth and justice. The current inquiry is already too limited and excludes many survivors and this delay will now enure that thousands more survivors are denied justice by death.”

Clodagh Malone of Beyond Adoption Ireland said:

“This is utterly shameful. Our community are heartbroken and devastated. Tears are flowing.”

Derek Leinster of the Bethany Home Survivors group ’98 said:

“Living survivors must always take priority over inquiries and reports. We need an immediate and final result for the handful of elderly Bethany survivors who are left alive. There are 227 names on the Bethany Memorial in Mount Jerome cemetery and this Government have now added more names of victims to that Memorial  by this disgusting delaying tactic.

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Ode To The Russian Revolution

after Warren Beatty & John Reed


Not the continent of tractor factories

you became. Nor the photographs of those

later killed by questions they didn’t ask.


But the banners made of bed linen

flooding Nevsky Prospect. A boy’s laughter

at an old man’s shout of “Down with everything!”

on a street packed with serious talk.

Another man vanishing into the morning

with some odd vases of valuable porcelain.

The high white letters of the crowd’s

new sounding slogans, as they move

around the corner on their way

who knows where.


Ken Doyle



It is with great sadness that we learned of the sudden death of our friend and colleague Ken Doyle. Ken was a generous hearted and principled man who we had the privilege of campaigning with over the last number of years.

Ken was an activist for years before we got to know him.  He was very concerned with environmental issues and was an advocate for the cooperative movement.  He spent many years as a member of the Green Party and in more recent times as a member of the Woodland League, he played an active role in protecting our national forests  from privatisation.

As chairperson of the Swords anti property tax campaign he worked hard to protect his community from the austerity that was being foisted on people in the wake of the bank bailouts of 2008.  He continued in the same way as a dedicated activist in the recent movement against the water charges.

In 2014 he took up the challenge to run for his local council where he would have loyally represented his community. Over the years he lent much of his  time and support to me and his good friend cllr John Lyons.  He was a community activist in every sense and was appalled at the political decisions that created hardship and inequality for so many.  He did everything in his power to help as many people as he could who were facing hardship.

Ken had time for everyone, was a generous and kind man.  He was a great friend, father, son, husband, brother and grandfather.  It was a privilege to be able to count him as a friend.  He will be greatly missed.  We send our condolences and best wishes to all of his family and friends at this sad time. RIP Ken.