A suppine Irish media?

Richard Delevan was on fire this morning with this blog on the weak media response to an apparently racist remark by Mary O’Rourke. In a head to head contest he reckons that Newstalk beat RTE hands down. He compares it to the Trent Lott controversy the US. Thanks to Pete for the heads up!

  • Richard Delevan

    Anyone who daily reads Instapundit needs medical help.

  • Keith M

    I was in London for the weekend, and thankfully heard nothing about this until I picked up the Irish Independent in Heathrow. I despaired that such a non-story had been given front page coverage. I know the Dail is not in session and the hacks have to come up with something to fill column space, but this is truely scaraping the barrell. This is an even worse case of the politically correct mafia trying to enfore their lexicon than last year’s tirade of abuse suffered by Kevin Myers (who dared to use the dictionary definition of “bastard”). At least Myers went out of his way to be controversial. Mary O’Rourke has done nothing wrong and I hope she stands by her guns.

    What next I ask, the banning of the phrase “Chinese whispers”?


    Is this the great Ireland of equals I am constantly being told about?
    Sure what’s a little racism between friends?
    And if the blacks don’t like it, then they know where to go, right lads?

    Richard Devlin gets it spot on.

  • Keith M

    TAFKABO, Richard Develan (who I assume you mean by “Devlin”) has got is completly wrong and through his hysteria has marked himself out as a member of the politically correct mafia who would try to stimy the free use of langage. If nonsense like this goes unchallenged before you know it we’ll be as bad as America. http://www.adversity.net/special/niggardly.htm

  • Robert Keogh

    In the early 80s the Dublin County Council organised a cricket match with a visiting African team. At the ceremonial dinner one of the officials (I believe it was the mayor) was giving a speech thanking everyone and extended special thanks to council workers who “… in the last few weeks had worked like blacks to get everything ready in time…” whereupon he realised who was there and embarrassed silence ensued.

    “Work[ing|ed] like blacks” is an old Dublin saying, while not PC is hardly racist. Only a moron like Dickie Delevan would perceive a parallel to Trent Lott’s lamentation for the demise of segregation in that beacon of freedom, liberty and justice, the USA.

  • EWI

    Actually, it’s Richard de Levan. No-one seeing the mugshot on his Turbine columns could be under any illusions but that the man is in fact, French.

    He compares it to the Trent Lott controversy the US.

    Oh, come on. Trent Lott was talking about segregation in the American Deep South. O’Rourke is just an occasionally silly woman who foolishly used a non-PC turn of phrase that’s common among older rural people.

  • I think Mary got it wrong here, she’s not a racist but it was an inappropriate phrase to use. Apologise and move on.

  • Keith M

    Maca “Apologise and move on.”. Exactly who should she apologise to?

  • Naturalment – it’s so hard for me to keep track of all the conspiracies in which I’m enmeshed. Am I the O’Reilly hack who attacks Irish Ferries, the anti-FF guy who defends the party against Chomsky, the PD hack who had a go at McDowell?

    Or the PC guy who defended Myers a year ago when some people suggested that Myers was inciting hatred, using language that implied a threat of prosecution, the first of what will undoubtedly be many times a journalist will be intimidated using that threat – including at the time, let me see, oh yes – MARY O’ROURKE?

  • Keith M

    Richard, please spare us the victimhood. If you can support Myers when his jugdement (by his own admission) was faulty, then why join “the mob” in trying to create a story here. This whole “story” is nonsense. It is petty nonsense, and all it confirms is that there are opportunistic people who will use nonsense to fill column space.

  • Keith – what mob? Would that be the Fianna Fail folk who gasped at her choice of language? Or the RTE presenters who, with Mary O’Rourke, led the quite real mob against Myers last year, but who can’t find it in themselves to even ask her a direct question as to whether she ought to apologise?

    That glaring inconsistency is the very real story here.

  • Keith M

    Richard “the mob” is the phrase you used to describe those that criticised Myers last year. Now it’s the same kind of behaviour, but by different people. It was politicans criticising a journalist last year and now it’s reversed. Regereatably the mon-like behaviour is the same the same.

    “That glaring inconsistency is the very real story here.” It is party of the “story” and it cuts both ways.

    And again I ask the question which I asked earlier, to whom should O’Rourke apologise?

  • Nic

    Speaking of Newstalk106 – they have a podcast of a series of interviews with Prof. Terry Dolan, Hiberno-English expert at UCD, for anyone interested in that sort of thing.
    Did you know that the Afro-American slang word “dig” as in “can you dig it, man?” is reputed to come from the Irish “Tuigeann”, which means to understand? Ysee, apparently the word first appears in the area of the US where many Irish were working as slave-farm managers.
    Prof. Dolan also laments the rise of “texting” (or perhaps “txtg”) since it reduces the amount of words in common usage and if you lose your vocabulary, your brain atrophies (if u – ur vocab, ur brain <). As you speak, so you think, in other words. And there's the rub. I wasn't sure for a while but I've long since come to the conclusion that PC is very important stuff. Space and time don't allow me to go into all the reasons why, but the upshot is I agree with DeLevan that O'Rourke is a racist and should at least apologise. I also agree wholeheartedly that the asylum-seeker remark under pressure on radio betrays her attitude even more starkly. In fact, you would have thought that a media which has built an industry around following and/or supporting the tortuous machinations (aka "choreography") of this dreadful "peace process" would surely appreciate the significance of those remarks. In other words, their general reaction to a racist remark by a prominent politician vis-a-vis their picking apart of every ambiguous grunt or sniffle regarding NornIron make hypocrites of them all.

  • Nic

    Why Keith, she should apologise to black people, obviously.

  • Tai

    The comment reflects the fact that the Republic is a crypto fascist state, where smug money reigns supreme, and political correctness is but a forlorn dream.

    It is not uncommon to still here people refer to “darkies”, and to bemoan the fact that “those coloureds are taking over the place;” and that’s amongst so called eductaed sections of the population. (On a par with the comments often heard at North Down dinner parties, about the Catholics taking over the place.)

    In both instances a sign of a people ill at ease with themselves.

  • harry flashman

    “Suppine”, “Ambramoff”, is the spell checker not working Slugger?

  • Nic

    Of course, she could have said her supporters all worked like croppies, we’d have heard a few gasps then all right.

  • cjm

    A load of codswallop!

    Whats next? culchies, townies, paddies, irish, taigs?

    If you are going to object, at least be consistent. Its hypocritical to shout only when you perceive insults to one color or creed. Stand up for everyone(including Irish people), regardless of color and creed. Anything else and you become what you condemn: i.e. intolerant and racist.
    Sadly, such is the PC brigade in Ireland, who regulary insinuate racism against the whole country.
    Defend freedom of expression, oppose the diktat of PCness and above all be tolerant, Mr. Delevan!

  • Keith M

    Nic “Why Keith, she should apologise to black people, obviously.”

    What, for saying that they were hard working? This is going one level beyond surreal.

  • Keith
    “Exactly who should she apologise to?”

    Anyone who may have taken offence.
    It’s not a big deal, she could just say ‘apologies if I caused offence, none was intended’. Very simple.

    “The comment reflects….”
    utter rubbish.

    “It is not uncommon to still here…”

    Sadly you hear those sort of comments everywhere, the UK, Holland, France, the US etc etc etc etc etc etc. Sad but true.

  • Keith M

    Maca to suggest that O’Rourke should apologise to “anyone who may have taken offence” would be pathetic, as it it only encourges these constant moaners who seem to have nothing better to do than “take offence” at the drop of a hat.

    This weekend I attended a film with a gay theme (“Brokeback Mountain”), where regretably many people walked out, some no doubt having taken offence at the subject matter. Should the director and actors issue an apology to those people?

    An apology only means something if someone deliberatly sets out to cause offence and then regrets it. In both examples no offence was meant, and any apology would be inappropriate.

  • Keith
    Far from pathetic Keith. She’s a public figure who made an inappropriate comment at a bad time (when Ireland is still adjusting to the fairly recent influx of immigrants), which would have caused offence. The decent thing would be to apologise.

    “An apology only means something if someone deliberately sets out to cause offence and then regrets it.”

    That’s absolutely ridiculous Keith. You can cause offence without actually meaning to do so, and in such cases an apology is entirely appropriate.

  • frappeurz

    Moi -je trouve cette Delevan trop americaine

  • Richard Dowling

    Good series on BBC 2….. Balderdash and Piffle…..
    Mondays…. derivation of words, etc…

  • Mustapha Mond

    Irish person makes racist remark… and people are shocked?

  • Mustapha Mond

    Should read “Irish politician”

  • Brian Boru

    No she should not apologise! Her remarks were in praise of her workers and not intended as a racist insult. She made the point she said this as she regarded Blacks as hardworking. It seems that PC-ness has now become so extreme that making compliments about ethnic-groups is now offensive in their eyes. Don’t apologise Mary! The PC-bullies know what they can do…

  • Keith M

    MaCA “You can cause offence without actually meaning to do so, and in such cases an apology is entirely appropriate.”

    Some people have ridiculously thin skins when it comes to stuff like this. Apologising is only pandering to them. How many black people have gone on record saying they were offended?

  • elfinto

    I can’t believe that people are actual defending Mary O’Rourke on this one. ‘Working like blacks’ is an expression which alludes to the days of slavery when black people were forced to work under extreme conditions under threat of brutal punishment.

    Instead of apoogising for her inappropriate remark O’Rourke compunded her racist image by congratulating a black lady, who phoned in to the radio show she was a guest one, for getting asylum, depite having no evidence whatsoever that the lady was an asylum seeker. Unbelievable!

    In my experience this form of casual racism is widespread in Irish society.

  • Ringo

    This is the height of bullshit. The comment was ill-advised and inappropriate. The hangwringers who insist on dragging this into the sinister world of racism need to get a grip on reality.

    The phrase is as racist as describing men who gossip as ‘like a bunch of old women’ is sexist.

    A few months ago we had a thread on here where people queued up to recount the differing uses of ‘protestant-looking’ in their area. Despite the fact that it – like O’Rourke’s expression – sought to connect a way of doing something with a minority on this island (both with the aim of positively reinforcing the underlying point) I don’t remember anyone getting their knickers in a knot and ranting about sectarianism (for a change).

    But I’m delighted to see that there appears to be an outbreak of common sense where it matters, here in the Republic – (which apparently just serves to ratchet up the annoyance felt by the handwringers and their standard bearer on Slugger – Richard Delevan). Anyone who seeks to compare a on old fashioned phrase made at a local convention speech to express thanks to constituency workers in Westmeath with a speech at Strom Thurmond’s birthday defending his old segregationist views has lost all sense of perspective.

  • George

    O’Rourke campaigned for two Nigerian mothers, Elizabeth Odunsi and Iabo Nwanzi, to stay in Ireland and she also supported Kunle Olakunle.

    Aisling Reidy, director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, said the remark was not a reflection of her attitudes but that an apology would go some way to remove any offence caused.

    Peter O’Mahony, chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council, said she has a good track record on immigrant issues but that the comment was “clearly ill-advised”.

    Maybe the reason this hasn’t blown up into a huge issue is not because of a supine media as Richard Delevan suggests but rather because these organisations have decided not to look for blood over this because they see it for what it is, an ill-advised comment from one of the few politicians to have stood up and supported immigrants in Westmeath.

    Or is the Irish Refugee Council and the Irish Council of Civil Liberties part of this club rallying around Mary O’Rourke?

    As for Newstalk being better than RTE, give me a break. This is after all the station that didn’t even bother to interrupt its recorded programming when the Pope died. Whatever one’s opinion about the Pope, his demise is worthy of comment.

  • Ringo

    Maybe the reason this hasn’t blown up into a huge issue is not because of a supine media as Richard Delevan suggests but rather because these organisations have decided not to look for blood over this because they see it for what it is, an ill-advised comment from one of the few politicians to have stood up and supported immigrants in Westmeath.

    Spot on, George.

  • eoin

    Nobody should apologise for anything. It is an old dublin phrase, which if about blacks at all ( it could be about miners in blackface, for all I know), is complimentary about their work ethnic.

    As opposed to the English phrases like “Get his Irish up” meaning to get angry, “Paddywagon”, and more.

    Political Correctness is all about ruling class control, and bugger all to to with “anti-racism” ( and for now, the ruling classes need migration, and no criticism of it).

    Further it demands the same mind control of previously oppressed groups (provided they are “white”) as of previoulsy opppressive groups*: and replaces real cultural identity with an imperialistic overlay: we must be guilty about blacks, since the Americans are. Nobody needs to be guilty about us ( least of all actual colonial classes like Ultster Unionists). Feeling guilty about blacks is, after all, white liberal guilt – and not only is is expected of a non-imperial race, it is also in Irish Pee Cee discourses not expected of actual colonialists ( like our Ulster friends).

    Horseshite. As for Mustapha Mond, if he is Islamic, and – in particular Arabic – he belongs to a tribe more imperialistic than the Irish ever were, or will be, and we have the right and duty to criticise whom we please, and particularly his tribe and sect.

    The fact that Pee Cee even works in Ireland is systematic of how controlling this ideology is.

    * not that that should matter either. Feeling guilt about something done by your ancestors – original sin – is a product of ruling class ideologies in the West since Christianity.

  • Leaving Eoin’s curious blend of reactionary and sub-marxist paranoia and self-righteousness, I find the fact that there is something like a majority on here supporting O’Rourke frighteneing to say the least.

    On the general point made that her remark was ‘complimentary’ to black people, that’s the same defence that was made of the black and white minstrel show and the US tradition of portraying black people as loveable entertainer-buffoons – ‘you’re a good little worker’ implies that that’s all you’re good for, adn I would find it deeply patronising if applied to me.

    Yes the expression has been common across Ireland for many years, but that doesn’t mean that it encodes a deeply ignorant and patronising attitude towards black people. Even if Ireland wasn’t becoming more multicultural, people should give a little more thought to examining the full implications of the words they use adn laziness is not an excuse. Growing up in Northern Ireland, as I imagine many here have, should give you an idea of the power of words to exclude and foment hatred. (what if the good little workeres get uppity?)

  • Ringo


    I would find it deeply patronising if applied to me.

    Fair point.

    people should give a little more thought to examining the full implications of the words they use adn laziness is not an excuse


    But being patronising or careless doesn’t put it in the same ball park as racist comments. Defending Mary O’Rourke against the charge of racism is not the same as condoning her choice of expression.

  • Ringo
    The anti-PC brigade make much of the argument that freedom of expression is being curtailed by a liberal mafia and that we should be more relaxed about the language we use. Yet when an accusation of racism is made, this goes out the window. I appreciate the damage that a false accusation of racism can do to people’s lives, but doesn’t this just reinforce the point that we should be careful about the language we use and be held accountable for the effects it has?

    I have no doubt that Mary O’Rourke has a benign intent towards ethnic minorities on this island and certainly does more than myself to help them. However, I don’t think we should be so uptight and self-conscious not to admit that quaint expressions and attitudes that we may still use contain offensive racial stereotypes. People seem to think that this is a slur on the virtue of the Irish nation, but everyone everywhere is equal prone to these lazy but contemptuous lapses. She made a ill-considered but still conscious decision to use the expression and – let’s be blunt – it was racist. It doesn’t mean she should be hounded from office so long as she admits the seriousness of the injury she has caused.

  • Mustapha Mond

    Well said hairierarea
    I just think she put her foot in it and her political enemies are capitalising, on reflection, there seems to be little to no venom in what she said and is probably more due to ignorance than hate, and could’nt be (and should’nt be) put on a par with the output of various neo-nazis groups.

    Anyway, she was probably talking about the workers in Irelands world famous coal mines.