Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for Am Ghobsmacht

Found way down the food chain, a 'middle of the road' creature that is attacked by creatures from either side of the political jungle, from the bottom feeding 'Republicanus hypocriticus' better known as the 'common shinner' to the chameleonic 'Unionisus opportunitisticus', better known as a 'Dooper'. Known to feed on single celled organisms such as 'Rangerophilus fanus' and 'neque Deditionem' better known as 'no surrenders' and occasionally surfacing during rutting season to lock horns with 'MOPEus Eternus', better known by their moniker 'MOPEs'.

Latest comments from Am Ghobsmacht (see all)

Am Ghobsmacht has commented 778 times (59 in the last month).

  1. Comment on AN LÁ DEARG was an expression of both a growing sense of anger
    on 20 April 2014 at 1:49 am

    BTW, this Gaelic Hogwarts that I spoke of only applies to Irish Gaelic, not Scottish Gaelic.

    I (slovenly and occasionally) study Scottish Gaelic, it’s not bogged down with the points I’ve highlighted.

    It was from mixing with Scottish Gaels that I (eventually) dropped my hostility towards Irish Gaelic.

    Just giving you some perspective.

    Go to comment

  2. Comment on Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?
    on 20 April 2014 at 1:37 am


    Venables – Just a reference to Cromwell’s right hand man who (as you know) gave the Presbyterians a good skleping at Lisnagarvey as well as hoofing them out of Carrick and Enniskillen.

    Greenflag – The chances may indeed have been slim to SFA that they may have carried through with the Home Rule act but we’ll never know.

    We’ll never know if 4 years of slaughter in the name of the King may have caused people to view things differently.

    All we know is that the Easter Rising set off a chain of consequences that ensured the Home Rule act was never to be realised.

    And here we are.

    ‘Here’ being a partitioned Ireland a thing that nationalists hate and some will hate even more as they commemorate the men who helped to make partition a reality.

    Go to comment

  3. Comment on AN LÁ DEARG was an expression of both a growing sense of anger
    on 20 April 2014 at 1:23 am


    I find your articles very insightful as it allows me to peer into a world that I am very detached from. A sort of anglo-muggle peering into the world of a Gaelic Hogwarts if you will.

    However, I was disappointed by your conclusion that the politicisation of Irish is simply down to unionist politicians.

    Whenever some one mentions the perceived association between republicanism and the Irish language there is a predictable volley of feeble counter arguments, such as:

    a/ SF worked hard to preserve the language and offered shelter

    b/ The unionists are hostile to the language regardless

    c/ Intransigent unionist politicians compounding matters

    None of these arguments puncture the original accusation, they merely deflect it.

    If a rational outsider were to take all the factors into consideration they would be quite likely to combine all the above factors and present them as a case as to why Protestants are a bit iffy with the language.

    The republican association would be considered key a key element, not one that is magically absolved because unionists are so narrow minded.

    SoS has pointed out that unionist cooperation (for the time being anyway) is necessary.

    With that in mind it could be worth exploring what it takes to lower the paranoid guard of unionists.

    If they say that the link between republicans and the language is a problem then this is surely worthy of examination as opposed to just rolling one’s eyes and firing off the usual suspects of counterpoints?

    You have an objective (one which I support incidentally)

    You are being made aware that the association between republicanism and Irish is a major stumbling block.

    Do you (and your colleagues) then

    a/ Ignore this stumbling block and continue to grind away?

    b/ Accept that this might be an issue after all and give it the consideration and contemplation that all obstacles receive when people are trying to fulfill their objectives?

    To use your own parlance:

    “Much like the every utterance of a Tory politician in London on Scotland drives Scottish voters into the Yes camp, the association of republicanism to Gaeilge drives potential Protestant-Irish speakers to support harder line unionist views on the language”

    Go to comment

  4. Comment on Belfast Telegraph’s Are you voting for the wrong party poll, and other political anomalies?
    on 19 April 2014 at 3:54 pm

    According to the test I’m actually Edwin Poots.

    I didn’t see that coming.

    Or these things that folks are calling ‘dinosaurs’…

    Go to comment

  5. Comment on Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?
    on 19 April 2014 at 8:02 am

    Interesting stuff Mick

    Carson to Redmond: “You will gain nothing by coercion. One false step in relation to Ulster will render a settlement impossible…”

    I would wager that seizing buildings in Dublin and declaring a Republic would have been seen as a false step by some unionists.

    Go to comment

  6. Comment on Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?
    on 19 April 2014 at 6:03 am

    Well Ruarai

    For a start, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who has had such thoughts.

    I was tempted to put it in a recent blog but I’m now glad that I didn’t as it would be like watching that art montage on Tony Hart’s TV program:

    *Am Ghobsmacht, aged 5….Ruarai, aged 15….*

    First of all, I don’t wish to demean the bravery of the chaps who rose up, that’s not up for dispute.

    I just find it rather odd/sad that nationalism’s big day celebrates something (or rather the ambitions of something I suppose) that perhaps cemented the creation of something that nationalists hate.

    If I understand correctly, the Home Rule Bill was passed.

    If I also understand correctly Irishmen of every hue were being fed to the grinder on the western front in the name of King and Empire.

    Wholesale slaughter tends to take the sheen off such patriotic ideals.

    If there was ANY chance that Home Rule might have been granted after the war it was then burned down with the GPO.

    There’s a mural on the Shankill to Cromwell.

    I find this odd as he did not bode well for Presbyterians in Ireland.
    (well, maybe not that odd, it’s just a stupid ‘getItUpThemuns’…)

    The Easter Rising may have been a Cromwell (well, maybe Col Robert Venables) of nationalism’s own creation in terms of a united Ireland.

    I’m sure people are punching the screen at this point but that’s the way I see it.

    A brave blunder.

    1798 partly begat the Union with Britain

    1916 partly begat Northern Ireland

    The Provo’s campaign partly begat the massive presence of the British Army in NI.

    Go figure.

    (and X amount of unionist folly begat other things that unionists don’t like. Yes, got it)

    What could be POTENTIALLY a day for all Ireland if it ever comes to be would be a memorial day for if/when the people of Ireland agreed (before walking the demographic plank) to unite.

    That involves dismantling unionist paranoia which I believe the current SF approach to nationalism does nothing to alleviate (save for a few smart gestures in front of the TV cameras).

    Of course, that’s a different topic.

    Go to comment

  7. Comment on AN LÁ DEARG was an expression of both a growing sense of anger
    on 19 April 2014 at 2:11 am


    I must have heard the Maghera High School idea a while ago.

    Here it is:

    (I am surprised that they estimate there’d only be 20 pupils though, I thought there was more demand)

    “Now, if only we could find the money to pay for it…”

    Mergers anyone?

    Thought not….

    (Hint hint, there’s two (segregated) primary schools in Desertmartin, two (seg.) in Castledawson, two (seg) in Bellaghy, Draperstown & Tobermore have 3 between them, Toome area has 3 and there’s the X amount of schools in Magherafelt. Not sure how oversubscribed they all are but surely it’s worth investigating…?)

    Go to comment

  8. Comment on AN LÁ DEARG was an expression of both a growing sense of anger
    on 18 April 2014 at 11:24 pm


    ” I cannot see how, given the latest revelations of shockingly low standards amongst swathes of schoolchildren across the controlled and maintained sectors, John O’Dowd could be expected to find the money for this”

    Interesting point.

    Even if Chris Donnelly’s post does shake this a bit (jury’s still out for me, too many stats and variations).

    So on one hand we’re seemingly opposed to any kind of integration, even just a handful of schools.

    And somehow, shock horror, there’s not enough cash in the kitty for Irish medium schools.

    It would lead one to suggest that a GCSE in accountancy might not go amiss as far as the curriculum is concerned.

    For example, Magherafelt (a village with FIVE secondary schools).

    Due to the ‘themuns get everythin’ mentality, St Pius gets improved, this causes whinging so the high school (100m down the same street) gets a BRAND NEW school.

    In the meantime an integrated school is built.

    Millions spent.

    Surely, in the interests of saving money and helping inter community mingling they could merge all three of the above schools? (with options for Irish and Gaelic sports).

    (Also, Castledawson doesn’t need two separate primary schools)

    Anyone who wants a purely faith based education can still send their kids to nearby St Mary’s, St Pat’s, St Paul’s or St Colum’s.

    They could then flog off surplus ground to developers.

    Now there is some money in the kitty.

    There is also the recently vacated Maghera High School lying empty.

    It would (I think) make an excellent location for an Irish medium secondary school.
    It’s just off the the turn-off for the A6 which means one can get to the nearby towns of Dungiven, Toome, Castledawson, Draperstown and Magherafelt (not to mention Bellaghy, Swatragh, Clady, Portglenone and Kilrea) quite quickly.

    So, (optimistically), a bit of chopping, changing and ‘integrating (yuck!) could potentially lead to the following scenario for South Derry:

    1/ A smaller expenditure on schools

    2/ Retention of its excellent Catholic Grammar schools

    3/ The addition of an Irish medium secondary school

    4/ A greater degree of community interaction

    But no.

    It’s not enough, we must have religiously separate schools AND medium schools?!

    And this in an area that wishes to kiss goodbye to the Union (and it’s hefty injection of billions every year)?

    Time for people work out what they really want.

    Go to comment

  9. Comment on Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?
    on 18 April 2014 at 10:11 pm


    A jaw dropping piece.

    Honest and thought provoking.

    A feast for thought.

    I’m going to print it off.

    Go to comment

  10. Comment on A tale of two wars (well two divergent accounts of the same war)…
    on 18 April 2014 at 11:15 am

    Mc Slaggart

    “Churchill said ‘Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” in Belfast. Do you disagree with him?”

    Well, his son Winston did (eventually) disagree with this sentiment, hence his rough reception in Belfast.

    Go to comment

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