“one of the biggest episodes of my childhood”

Not that I’m disputing the undoubtedly elephantine memory of Irish President Mary McAleese, who is in Budapest to represent Ireland at the 50th anniversary commemorations of the 1956 Revolution.. but when, as the Belfast Telegraph reports, she states, “I remember the impact that it had on my home, my parish, my street. We were, to put it mildly, upset by it” [not part of the official speech – Ed], it’s worth pointing out that she was only 5 years old at the time..Some of the other comments reported by the Belfast Telegraph

Irish President Mary McAleese yesterday described the Hungarian revolution of 1956 as “one of the biggest episodes of my childhood”.

Speaking in Budapest, she also said she felt the 50th anniversary celebrations of the revolution were very important for the Hungarian people and an opportunity to put their country’s best face forward following recent political turmoil.

The president said she was old enough to remember the uprising. “I remember the impact that it had on my home, my parish, my street. We were, to put it mildly, upset by it.

“On the old black-and-white television, we watched and listened nightly. Like all Catholic families at that time, we said the rosary and we thought Cardinal Mindszentzy was a next-door neighbour.”

The current Hungarian government is also having some difficulties.. as previously noted

,

  • willis

    Well I can vividly remember things which happened when I was 4 or 5.

    I can also remember President Kennedy’s assasination when I was 7.

  • páid

    You might not doubt that she remembers it, Pete, but I doubt it.

  • Little Eva

    “On the old black-and-white television, we watched and listened nightly.”

    Such bullshit.
    Her family had a tv back in 1956? As a 5-year-old she sat and watched nightly? She can remember it?

  • maura

    Pete: ‘Not that I’m disputing the undoubtedly elephantine memory of Irish President Mary McAleese, who is in Budapest to represent Ireland at the 50th anniversary commemorations of the 1956 Revolution.. but when, as the Belfast Telegraph reports, she states, “I remember the impact that it had on my home, my parish, my street. We were, to put it mildly, upset by it” [not part of the offical speech – Ed], it’s worth pointing out that she was only 5 years old at the time.. ‘

    Pete, many people have memories from a very young age and many others do not. I for one remember a certain civil rights speech, from when I was as young as Mc Aleese was in this instance, that affected me deeply. I cried my eyes out at the injustices stated( those I could understand) and the passion in the speakers voice captured me and I can state truthfully, that I truly think it was the beginning of my awareness to the injustices in society. One of my sisters, claims to remember the images from Derry on the day Bloody Sunday happened, and she was very young at the time.
    I think speeches, words, tones and indeed images can have a massive effect on the mind of a child.

  • Ziznivy

    “Her family had a tv back in 1956? As a 5-year-old she sat and watched nightly? She can remember it”

    I thought her family were being culturally, economically and politically repressed at that time!

  • smcgiff

    Pete/Pid,

    Ye are both making a fundamental error. Don’t ever doubt it, women forget NOTHING!!!

    🙂

  • joeCanuck

    Maura

    You are right. People are very different in memory retention.
    I can remember the funeral of a neighbourhood child when I was 3 and can remember how sad I was. Yet my eldest sister cannot remember anything from before she was 5.

  • maura

    ‘Ye are both making a fundamental error. Don’t ever doubt it, women forget NOTHING!!! ‘

    And don’t you forget it, SMcGiff 🙂

  • CS Parnell

    Children in the North of Ireland are the most politicised in Europe. Or at least we used to be.

    Neighbours offering cups of tea to the solidiers, civil rights marches, man on the moon, Tories winning the 1970 election – all before I was 5.

    I cried when the power shariunge excutive fell – must have been 8 then.

  • lib2016

    What a snide and pointlessly insulting thread – just what one would expect during the marching season. Are we going to have to put up with this all year round now?

  • CS Parnell

    By the way, those making the sarcastic point about Catholics being “repressed” have missed the point – she is referring to way they treated the Catholic Church. I can well believe that the PP, the nuns and the rest of it would have banged all this into the kids at great length.

    Martyrdom of the poor bride of Christ is what it is all about (depresses me just thinking about it – that sense of matryrdowm being a high calling marks you for life)

    Oh, and are you saying Catholics in the North weren’t re/op-pressed? If even David Trimble can acknowledge that isn’t it time the rest of yees caught yourselves on?

  • maura

    ‘Children in the North of Ireland are the most politicised in Europe. ‘

    Absolutely Parnell, that has been my experience. My childhood memories are littered with the images and sounds from what was going on around us.

    Lib, I usually try to give others the benefit of the doubt, but you are correct, the snideness in the opening bpog is evident. Pete, can’t you do better than that? Perhaps you could have reported the story and asked if any of the rest of us can remember things as clearly? Or perhaps you think we are all incapable of such memories?

  • Pete Baker

    Everyone’s a critic, lib..

    .. and I reserve the right to be sceptical of every politician’s utterances.

  • I have memories from when I was 4, mainly about school though. It’s entirely possible that she remembers this especially if it was such a significant event in her house/neighbourhood.

  • joeCanuck

    A tad disingenuous Pete?

  • Little Eva

    maura and the rest who have elephantine memories.

    Yes, we can all remember things from childhood that happened a few streets away or even in other parts of the north – but Budapest. It was hardly the killing of Kennedy or even the 6 Days War. The republic took in a few hundred refugees (specifying beforehand that they MUST be catholic) treated them abysmally and are now looking a pat on the back. Mary is doing her ‘I feel your pain act’ with the little added bonus of ‘I well remember, and even suffered your pain with you’. I suppose it’s marginally better than her telling the jews as she did last year that she and her people suffered the same as they did.
    She really is a total embarassment.

  • maura

    Little: ‘maura and the rest who have elephantine memories.

    Yes, we can all remember things from childhood that happened a few streets away or even in other parts of the north – but Budapest. It was hardly the killing of Kennedy or even the 6 Days War. The republic took in a few hundred refugees (specifying beforehand that they MUST be catholic) treated them abysmally and are now looking a pat on the back. Mary is doing her ‘I feel your pain act’ with the little added bonus of ‘I well remember, and even suffered your pain with you’. I suppose it’s marginally better than her telling the jews as she did last year that she and her people suffered the same as they did.
    She really is a total embarassment.’

    Well this is the first time I have read anyone argue that the Hungarian Revolution was a non-event, but I suppose it depends on what one’s interests and background and such are!
    Mary Mc Aleese has rubbed many Unionists and others the wrong way, with her ability to make them take a look at themselves and not like what they see. Which might explain the short non-elephatine memories- as a matter of political convenience?
    I wonder to whom President Mc Aleese is an embarassment? Not to me and many like me. Quite the opposite in fact.

  • joeCanuck

    Little Eva

    You’re too cynical. I was 8 when the Hungarian uprising occurred. The whole school was involved in fundraising for the refugees. I personally made a school model out of cornflake boxes and it was set up in the assembly hall. Kids contibuted by dropping pennies down the chimney.
    I’m sure there are people who were 5 at the time who remember those terrible events.

  • lib2016

    Little Eva,
    Little Eva

    Most responsible British people who have looked at the subject have realised that the British record in Ireland is not something they can or should be proud of. How many million dead Irish people would it take for you to decide that it merited a mild tone of regret?

    What unionists and the more objectionable British imperialists never seem to realise is that the people who really despise their politics are those of us who never gave up on peace and democracy i.e. The President, Alex Reid et.al.

    The ongoing attempt to pretend that Irish Republicanism and British Imperialism are two sides of the one coin is poisioning itself with it’s own bitterness. Ireland will take it’s place among the other free European republics soon enough but wither the UK? Not European, not American and increasingly only slightly democratic.

  • mickhall

    Whilst we are on the subject [just about] a book worth reading on the Hungarian Revolution is “In The Name of the Working Class’, by Sandor Kopaci.

  • Pete Baker

    joe

    Nothing disingenuous about it.

    maura

    My criticism of Mary McAleese, well documented in the Slugger archives, has centred on her embracing, and promotion of, the ‘good’ UDA.

    Mick

    Just about, indeed. Tear gas and rubber bullets on the streets of Budapest today.

  • maura

    Pete ‘maura

    My criticism of Mary McAleese, well documented in the Slugger archives, has centred on her embracing, and promotion of, the ‘good’ UDA. ‘

    So this is what explains completely your doubts that she can have memories from her childhood?
    Now why am I having my doubts about that!
    Anyway.

  • joeCanuck

    Mickall

    That should be Kopacsi

  • Pete Baker

    No maura, they are separate issues entirely.. as is “her [alleged] ability to make them take a look at themselves and not like what they see”

  • maura

    Pete:’ Just about, indeed.’

    Pete, correct me if I am wrong, but the topic and essence of your blog was hardly the anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, but a snide swipe at Mc Aleese’s claims to remember said event.

  • Greenflag

    Reflections on the revolution’

    A citizen in Budapest after the Russian invasion in 1956 went into a police station to complain .

    ‘My Russian watch has been stolen by a Swiss soldier .’

    ‘Have’nt you got it mixed up?’ asks the policeman .

    ‘Only if you insist,’ replied the Hungarian .

    The teacher asks a class of HUngarian children what their parents do for a living . Little Ferenc Gabor says

    ‘My dad works as doorkeeper in a Budapest brothel’

    The teacher is horrified and sends a note to Ferenc’s father asking him to come by and see her .

    Next day he drops in, wearing the uniform of an AVO ( secret police) major.

    ‘But Comrade Major .” stammers the teacher .’Your son Ferenc told me you were a doorkeeper in a brothel !’

    ‘He always says that ,’ says the major . ‘He’s ashamed of people knowing ‘

  • maura

    Pete ‘No maura, they are separate issues entirely.. as is “her [alleged] ability to make them take a look at themselves and not like what they see”

    I would suggest that my contention above is exactly the issue and why President Mc Aleese is met with your type of sneering attitude no matter what she says or does.
    But that is just opinion, isn’t it?

  • lib2016

    When I hear unionists condemn the loyalist paramilitaries the phrase ‘plausible deniability’ immediately springs to mind. Where was the condemnation when the mainstream unionist politicans were urging on the men with the cudgels at every street corner or when the ‘romper rooms’ were busy?

    No doubt you are familiar with the phrase ‘good German’, perhaps you even had the effrontery to base your phrase ‘good UDA’ on it. Should we now define the phrase ‘good Unionist’?

  • Lurker

    I am the same age as Mary and I remember my father listening into radio broadcasts from Hungary on the ‘wireless’. I have precious little recollection of detail, something about a woman being attacked on a bridge, I think.
    I doubt if anyone on our street had a television then, or for another four years.

  • Greenflag

    Hungary as a country got the worst ‘deal’ post world war one . The Allies much publicised policy of self determination did not apply to the Hungarians who saw 3 million of their countrymen end up as minorities in Yugoslavia and Romania. That situation still exists today. The crazed Communist leader of Romania Ceaucescu tried to ‘romanize ‘ the million or more Hungarians by forbidding them to speak Hungarian and by outlawing their language and culture .

  • Little Eva

    lib2016

    Who mentioned the British presence in Ireland? I thought we were talking about Mary McAleese and her supposed 5-year-old memories of Budapest from probably the only privately owned tv in the north. The woman is a complete embarassment and, I would wager, a fantasist.

  • maura

    Greenflag ‘The crazed Communist leader of Romania Ceaucescu tried to ‘romanize ‘ the million or more Hungarians by forbidding them to speak Hungarian and by outlawing their language and culture . ‘

    Hmmmmmmm !

  • maura

    Little: ‘ The woman is a complete embarassment

    I ask again, to whom?

  • Most people think that they can remember things from when they’re 4/5. May probably believes that she remembers such events, but what she actually remembers is people describing such events.

  • Little Eva

    lib2016
    Your comment about unionist politicians failing to condemn loyalist paramilitaries is simply not true in the vast majority of cases. But,anyway, that really is rich coming from a provisional republican considering the IRA’s deeply sectarian, genocidal campaign against protestants.

  • joeCanuck

    Little Eva

    I still think you’re too cynical. From another thread you might note that I grew up in a very poor neighbourhood; still, in 1957 our next door neighbours had a tv and they let me and my brother come in after supper on a Saturday night to watch “Dixon of Dock Green”.

  • lib2016

    Even in the wilds of Newry we had television in 1956. It was brand new and I’m sure of the date because we moved house that year. I have vivid memories of the neighbours coming in to watch the more interesting programs on a very small black and white set before taking the plunge to buy one themselves.

    It came from a shop on Hill Street and we had a plastic thingie which was supposed to create a colour effect – failed completely, of course.

    Surprised that unionists don’t appear to remember all this. It must be just their political beliefs that are frozen forever in the fifties.

  • Little Eva

    maura
    To anyone from this part of the world who is above the daytime television talkshow host-style claptrap she indulges in.
    I’ll bet most of the Hungarians who had to listen to her were muttering to each other, “Who the f*** does she think she’s kidding”.

  • Pete Baker

    maura

    I can only state, again, that your assertion is wrong. You can either accept that or not.

    Wait there, lib, I’ll check the archives.. I’m sure we covered it on Slugger at the time..

    To all

    Let’s try to keep on, at least, one of the topics.

    No-one seems to have read the last couple of links in the original post for example.

  • maura

    Little :’ maura
    To anyone from this part of the world who is above the daytime television talkshow host-style claptrap she indulges in.
    I’ll bet most of the Hungarians who had to listen to her were muttering to each other, “Who the f*** does she think she’s kidding”. ‘

    That does not answer my question, so again, to whom is President Mc Aleese an embarassment specifically.
    In my part of the world she is a source of great pride at her accomplishments and (like her predecessor) the esteem with which she is regarded in the larger political world. So, I am really interested as to whom specifically she is an embarassment?
    I’ll bet Fred will rise from the dead on Corrie, but then who cares what I bet, it is hardly reality is it?

  • Little Eva

    lib2016
    That colour thingie you speak of didn’t appear until after colour tv was introduced, and that certainly wasn’t in the 50s. It was for those who couldn’t afford colour tvs (most people) but wanted to have something of the effect. They were crap by the way.

    joecanuck
    I’m beginning to wonder who exactly were the oppressed people in NI.

  • lib2016

    Little Eva,

    Little Eva,

    Who or what is a ‘provisional republican’? I demand the right to be considered the genuine article.

    Not only did the leading unionist politicans not condemn the loyalist paramilitaries but they frequently publicly urged them on, have been repeatedly photographed in uniform trying to organise them, used them to threaten the minority population here and both governments, and have generally minimised and excused their behaviour.

    There are widespread accusations from the PUP and others that behind the scenes they were even closer than was publically visible.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    joecanuck
    I’m beginning to wonder who exactly were the oppressed people in NI.

    Don’t worry if your memory fails you Eva – it’s failed many unionists before you. It seems that there’s some sort of blockage that prevents you remembering – Repression Denial perhaps we should call it. Unionists had the power and misused it to such an extent they had to be removed from power by the British and now, here we are, seeking to find a way to let you back into power again, albeit with partners to ensure you don’t repeat your mistakes, in the hope you’ve learned your lesson.

    Have we learned ours, I wonder…..

  • Little Eva

    maura
    No maura, you’re enquiring about my religion and/or politics hoping that you can then point to those as reasons for my views on Mary McAleese and dismiss me as sectarian.
    I do wholeheartedly agree with you about her predecessor who was a wonderful president. But after a promising first term, McAleese has been dire.

  • maura

    Pete: ‘ maura

    I can only state, again, that your assertion is wrong. You can either accept that or not. ‘

    I respect your right to claim what you need Pete, and no I don’t accept it but I am sure you respect my right not to do so. I am sure your contempt, due to UDA associations, is not limited to President Mc Aleese and I look forward to the evidence of that in the future. Can I ask that whatever Unionists we find associated with Loyalist Paras ( and we know there are) will you be doubting every word out of their mouths?

    Pete: “Let’s try to keep on, at least, one of the topics. ‘

    I content that there really only was one topic- your contention that President Mc Aleese was being dishonest with her memories? That a five year old could not retain such memories when I think there may be years and miles of research that would dispute that.

    Pete:’ No-one seems to have read the last couple of links in the original post for example’

    Oh I read them but I am unclear how they are related to your irrational sneers?

  • maura

    Little: ‘ maura
    No maura, you’re enquiring about my religion and/or politics hoping that you can then point to those as reasons for my views on Mary McAleese and dismiss me as sectarian. ‘

    I couldn’t care less what your religion is, I am simply asking you to support your claims that President Mc Aleese is an embarassment. Again I ask, to whom?

    Little: ‘I do wholeheartedly agree with you about her predecessor who was a wonderful president. But after a promising first term, McAleese has been dire. ‘

    We can agree on Robinson then, but I am referring to her work after her presidency of Ireland. To what are you referring?
    I would be very glad for you to explain to me why President Mc Aleese’s first term has been dire. I think she has been an exceptional President and a massive source of pride to the people of Ardoyne and Ireland as a whole.

  • Little Eva

    lib2016
    The provos who you gave your allegiance to never have been the genuine article where republicanism is concerned – far too sectarian, right wing and murderous for that.
    What about your dodgy memory on the colout tvs it is nearly as bad as your memory of what the provos were and still are – nationalist bigots.

    Oilibhear Chromaill
    And albeit within a Northern Ireland that is still part of the UK, and you and your ilk forced to swear allegiance to it, as well – you must be used to losing by now, eh.

  • maura

    ‘it’s failed many unionists before you. It seems that there’s some sort of blockage that prevents you remembering ‘

    Ah but we always have President Mc Aleese to knock them out of their non-elephantine abilities, don’t we?
    Which is the key to this whole discussion anyway:-).

  • Pete Baker

    “I am sure your contempt, due to UDA associations, is not limited to President Mc Aleese and I look forward to the evidence of that in the future. Can I ask that whatever Unionists we find associated with Loyalist Paras ( and we know there are) will you be doubting every word out of their mouths?”

    maura

    You don’t have to wait.. you could, for example, just look through the Slugger archives.

    Here’s one post that comes to mind from earlier this year..

    the right balance?

    I have, you’ll find, been as consistent as I could possibly be.

  • Little Eva

    maura
    Specifically, to anyone from this part of the world who is above the daytime television talkshow host-style claptrap she indulges in.
    Now that accounts for a sizeable amount of people, including me.
    Ardoyne might well be proud of her, but let’s be honest here they haven’t much else to be proud of.

  • lib2016

    The danger for republicans has always been that they will be reduced to the same mean-spirited level as their opponents. This thread makes me feel dirty and I should not have responded to it.

    Sorry if that sounds like playing the man rather than the ball. It’s not meant as an attack on anybody but to express my regrets at being part of this pointless bitterness. Think I’ll give it a break for a while.

  • Little Eva

    maura
    I should add that sites like this do at least show how narrow minded and sectarian nationalism and large sections of republicanism actually are when they can hide behind the anonymity of the keyboard.

  • I remember the famous 1956 Olympic water polo match between the Hungarians and Soviets. A pity wee Mary wasn’t given a dunking in that bloodbath.
    Of ocurse, why doubt her? Sure we all remember 1916 and 1690 so why shouldn’t Diapora mark 11 remember some other stuff?

    Mother Hungary had three disasters: the Turkish occupation, the Nazi occupation and the Soviet Liberation.

  • Little Eva

    lib2016
    You have at last remembered what a republican is supposed to be.

  • maura

    Little: ‘maura
    Specifically, to anyone from this part of the world who is above the daytime television talkshow host-style claptrap she indulges in.
    Now that accounts for a sizeable amount of people, including me. ‘

    In other words, you can not answer my question and your claims to President Mc Aleese being an embarassment are pure and utter bile based on your own bigotry and based on nothing factual.

    Little ‘Ardoyne might well be proud of her, but let’s be honest here they haven’t much else to be proud of’

    And there you have it folks!!!!!
    Much too easy.

  • joeCanuck

    Little Eva

    “joecanuck
    I’m beginning to wonder who exactly were the oppressed people in NI.”

    I’ve been posting on this site for about 2 years. I defy you to visit the archives and find anywhere where I have used the words “oppressed people”.
    You’re striking out wildly and are completely off topic now. I think you need to get a grip.

  • Doctor Who

    One of my earliest childhood memories was of a dead body with blood coming out of it´s head. I poked the figure with a stick as I seen the eyes staring at me but there was no movement.

    I found out through time that this was a policeman murdered by the IRA.

    Such things can of course have aprofound affect. However sat in front of “a Balck and white telly” watching a news report on Hungary when five year old, she´s either mad or just a liar.

    Although it isn´t the first time she´s spoke a lot of bollox in public.

  • Doctor Who

    lib2016

    What in beezebubs balls has your sermon to Litle Eva got to do with the fact the Irish President is off her loaf.

    Some day you will wake up from your Irish Republican wet dream utopia.

  • Little Eva

    maura
    Don’t kid yourself. Speak to anyone in Dublin Foreign Affairs about just how much of an embarassment she is. Listen to the claptrap she comes out with, for goodness sake.
    As for Ardoyne, you’re letting your local loyalty and sectarianism run away with you. Tell me what else it has to be proud of aside from local-girl-makes-good Mary. The suicide rate, the threatening of youngsters by republicans, drug and alcohol abuse at epidemic levels?

    lib2016
    A brief check back shows that it was you, ably assisted by friend maura, who dragged this thread into the gutter by launching off on a diatribe about the British in Ireland.

  • Doctor Who

    While all you “oppressed” Republicans now claim to have had TV´s before anyone else, what else are you not telling us.

    Furthermore while you all had TV´s I bet very few of you had a TV license, or do now.

  • joeCanuck

    This thread started off as doubts being expressed by Pete as to whether anyone can remember things from when they were 5 years old. I think it was demonstrated quite early in the thread that there are great differences in the ability of people to remember things fromtheir childhood. I can recall lots of things from when I was 3 years old and was the baby in the family, at home alone with my mum.
    The thread has now descended into the usual diatribe of mutual insults. I think I’ll give it a rest too.

  • Little Eva

    joeCanuck
    “I’m beginning to wonder who exactly were the oppressed people in NI.”

    It appears, all of a sudden, that those from Mary McAleese downwards who will happily prattle all night about how oppressed they were in NI could afford tv sets from the mid 50s. I don’t know any working class unionist that had a tv then, or could even begin to afford one. So, either people weren’t as badly off as they like to pretend or simply lying to try and win an argument.

  • Little Eva

    joeCanuck

    Again you miss the point. Everybody can remember domestic, family and neighbourhood things from early childhood, but not world affairs as Mary is trying to claim she does. You have to admit there is a major difference.

  • ulster36th1916

    I think she’s three sandwiches short of a picnic.

  • Brian Boru

    Well maybe be “we” she means her family.

  • Brian Boru

    “by we” I mean.

  • Little Eva

    Brian Boru
    Or maybe, as usual, she is just telling nice sounding, self-promoting, look-how-empathetic-we-Irish-are, re-writing history lies. As if anybody in the third-world Ireland of 1956 gave a shit about Hungary even if they knew anything about the place, which is doubtful. Most were too busy trying to scrape a living themselves and couldn’t have found it on a map if they had tried. The token gesture was made by the government egged on by the Bishops because it was a catholic country, then when the refugees got here they were treated like crap.

  • Maura

    Little: ‘ Speak to anyone in Dublin Foreign Affairs about just how much of an embarassment she is. Listen to the claptrap she comes out with, for goodness sake.
    As for Ardoyne, you’re letting your local loyalty and sectarianism run away with you. Tell me what else it has to be proud of aside from local-girl-makes-good Mary. The suicide rate, the threatening of youngsters by republicans, drug and alcohol abuse at epidemic levels?

    lib2016
    A brief check back shows that it was you, ably assisted by friend maura,’

    Who in the Department of Foreign Affairs are you referring too, Little? Can you be more specific? I have family members who work for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, and they appear to disagree with you.
    Also could you show where I ONCE referred to British rule in Ireland? And I am not from Ardoyne, nor Belfast for that matter.

  • Yokel

    Oh come on, be happy, dance….herre’s a little track for you all to sway to. This one is especially for Joe Canuck its Hugo Duncan and his version of ‘Village in County Tyrone’….

    For all you spidey disco types Communards ‘Don’t Leave me this Way’ next….

  • Little Eva

    Maura
    “Who in the Department of Foreign Affairs are you referring too, Little? Can you be more specific? I have family members who work for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, and they appear to disagree with you.”

    Would you ever wise up to yourself, you’re not even as convincing as made-good-Mary at the aul porkies. And even if you were, as if I’m going to start trotting out names here. Did you just there phone round all your relations and check?
    Time to go, I’ve got an RTE programme to produce.

  • willowfield

    McAleese’s supposed recollections are about as plausible as Tony Blair’s of watching Jackie Milburn play for Newcastle.

  • Armed Atheist

    I usually enjoy the antiphony of sectarian flaming hereabouts but I can’t laugh at you and feel sorry for you at the same time:

    The Irish President – she’s an irrelevant vestigial figure. You can fit her constitutional duties on the back of a stamp. Her opinions on a long-ago event far away – who cares?

    Having a burning conviction imbued with great significance on what another person, unknown to you, can or can’t remember from her childhood – step away from the computer, go for a walk, think about starting a hobby. Remember talking to yourself is fine, it’s only when you start hearing replies that you need to go see somebody.

  • maura

    Little: ‘ Speak to anyone in Dublin Foreign Affairs about just how much of an embarassment she is. Listen to the claptrap she comes out with, for goodness sake. ‘

    So let’s try this again. Little, What percentage of the ‘Dublin Foreign Affairs’ department do you suppose are embarassed by President Mc Aleese? How do you know this, what is your source? Newspaper? RTE? BBC? What?

  • John Love

    Armed Atheist
    Oh for the giddy heights of sanctimonious self-regard where you can kid yourself that you are gazing down on the foolish machinations of the untermenschen, not realising that in your own sweet way you are every bit as much a prick as everyone else. When that truth does eventually seep through the ego, as it must, the realisation is so painful.

  • Merrie

    Well, I remember the Hungarian Uprising and I was only 6 and living in Australia. I remember going to Church and aftewards onto my first demo (1956 was well before it became fashionable to go on demos). I remember the crowds, 100s of people marching in solidarity. And I remember particularly I was quite jealous of the Hungarian girls who wore their national dress, lots of ribbons and colour. I wanted a dress like theirs! (I lived in a town which had many migrants from Eastern Europe.)

    So, Pete, just because you cannot remember what you were doing when you were five or six, some of us can. And I know what Mary Macaleese meant when she said the Hungarian Uprising had an impact on her life. I remember we talked about it a lot at home and I became interested in the news.

  • slug

    “Like all Catholic families at that time, we said the rosary and we thought Cardinal Mindszentzy was a next-door neighbour”

    An interesting glimpse of life round the black and white telly for Nortehern Catholics in the 1950s.

  • John Love

    Merrie
    “And I know what Mary Macaleese meant when she said the Hungarian Uprising had an impact on her life.”

    Unlike Australia, there were no Hungarian emigrants living in Ireland in 1956.
    The only “Hungary” that had an impact on the lives of ordinary people here at that time was one without an “a” in it. McAleese is full of it.

  • páid

    Well I am as guilty as PB as expressing doubts about President McAleese’s memory.

    Not because I’m snide, or hate her, or anything like that. In fact, I voted for her and think she’s the best President we’ve had in my memory. And her husband is excellent too.

    It simply because I would find it extraordinary that anyone could remember such things so distinctly at such a young age. This is mostly because I read an article on the subject a few months back in Scientific American Mind, an excellent read BTW IMO.

    I googled this, interesting..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_memory

    So maybe the Prezzy did remember, but surely we are allowed to wonder if the sense of occasion sparked a memory that was somewhat less than that claimed.

  • Pete Baker

    pid

    “Not because I’m snide, or hate her, or anything like that.”

    I wouldn’t worry unduly about such accusations.. for some criticism, or for that matter scepticism, seems only to be valid when directed against themmuns.

  • slug

    “I remember the impact that it had on my home, my parish, my street.”

    Its interesting she can remember the impacts on these three different groups.

  • Crataegus

    These speeches are usually a collection of platitudes anyway, we empathised with your plight and all that, but no need to stretch credibility beyond its elastic limit. The lass should get a new speech writer. Simple as that.

    I must confess that events like this didn’t really impress me in my childhood. I found other things much more interesting.

    “one of the biggest episodes of my childhood”.

    The poor girl mustn’t have had much of a childhood.

  • Many Irish of 1956 would have remembered Ferenc Puskás of Real Madrid. The Hungarian uprising, betrayed by the Yanks, was a big big event. Good to know Mary was licking up to the clergy then. It paid well for her. She must travel more than the Queen (but less than Mary 1, Queen/Presidente of Ireland).

  • common sense

    “Most responsible British people who have looked at the subject have realised that the British record in Ireland is not something they can or should be proud of.”

    The only shame I feel as a mainland British citizen is that we didn’t militarily eradicate republican vermin like we could have done.

  • Henry94

    This might be the perfect Slugger thread. Trivial, yet with potential for unlimited vindictiveness.

    That’s no offence to Slugger but a reflection of the by-line, Northern Ireland Politics and Culture.

  • circles

    This is one of those “So what!” threads.

    So What! Politicians are full of platitudes – true or false, they are rarely worth wasting any time over.

  • DK

    “The Hungarian uprising, betrayed by the Yanks, was a big big event.”

    I knew it – if it wasn’t the fault of the Brits, it must have been the Yanks. Couldn’t have been our socialist friends from the late, lamented USSR though. That would be nonsense.

  • mickhall

    “This might be the perfect Slugger thread. Trivial, yet with potential for unlimited vindictiveness.

    That’s no offence to Slugger but a reflection of the by-line, Northern Ireland Politics and Culture.

    Posted by Henry94”

    Henry,
    I fear you have hit the nail firmly on the head and this attitude is not only indicative of the north but the RoI and UK.[rest of] Welcome to the world of Blair’s Britain and the Celtic tigeress.

    Perhaps this attitude stems from a feeling of powerlessness? So we lash out all over the place, often over trivialities.

  • David

    As a NI resident of Budapest I think that the tenor of the thread above is quite petty minded. Events abroad only seem to have use to reinforce prejudices at home.

    Fortunately this was not always the case. Back in 1956 lots of Hungarian refugees were taken in by communities in both parts of Ireland.

    In Bangor for example this was recently recognised:

    http://www.northdown.gov.uk/news_detail.asp?id=62&area=4&aName=council

    Living in Budapest I hear all sort of stories when I go back to NI about refugees being helped by schools and towns throughout Ireland; maybe we were not as inward looking then.

  • George

    God this thread is depressing.

    Ireland’s exports to Hungary:

    Jan-July 2005: 72.7 million
    Jan-July 2006: 139.3 million

    McAleese can say she saw the great Puscas play or even dated the guy and had a secret love child as far as I’m concerned, if it leads to greater cultural, trade and business links with Hungary.

  • Doctor Who

    Yeah George..it still makes her a pratt. Perhaps you should take what she says with the same suspicion you reserve for Unionist politicians.

    When she´s next on a “cultural, trade and business” mission to the USA she can tell them about being there for the Boston Tea Party.

    Of course other historical events seem somewhat sketchy in Mary´s life, namely the holocaust.

  • Merrie

    John Love said:
    “Unlike Australia, there were no Hungarian emigrants living in Ireland in 1956. “

    Someone since has said on this list that there were in fact quite a few Hungarian refugees in both sides of Eire at the time.

    Even so, the protest about the uprising was a Catholic Church thing, not just a Hungarian emigrant thing. The Catholic papers in Australia at the time reported on it at great length and it is my guess that the same was happening with Catholic Irish press at the time. Most of the Catholic clergy in Australia and most of the nuns were Irish or Australians of Irish descent.

    As I said, this event had an impact upon me, aged 6, and I think that Mary could be simply stating the actual truth – and it is not “false memory” syndrome. Hey, some of us can remember things way back then.

    I also remember the excitement of having the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956, though not with much detail as I was not living in Melbourne and we didn’t have TV.

    In the 1950s there was the Cold War and great fear of Communists – you remember, reds under the bed, McCarthyism in the USA, etc. There was a great schism in the Labor Party in Australia, with a mostly Catholic section splitting to form the Democratic Labor Party which caused the Australian Labor Party to be out of office until the 1970s. My parents were actively involved in this. So, like Mary’s family, we were politically aware.

    Why not give Mary the benefit of the doubt?

    I think this thread has done one thing: revealed the ages of many of us!

  • Bill

    It’s worth pointing out that she was only 5 years old at the time.

    That is nothing. Tony Blair saw Len Shackleton play before Blair was even born!