A life less ordinary…

LAST October, Conor Cruise O’Brien told the Irish Independent: “I hope to die with a pen in my hand, but I am in no rush.” Now the writing is done. Love him or loathe him, the life of Conor Cruise O’Brien is one that had a profound influence on Irish politics – north and south – over the past half century. From his ill-fated UN diplomatic service in the Congo, to becoming a Labour TD and a minister, to his vigorous censorship of Sinn Fein, his journalism and writing, sympathy for Zionism, hatred of Irish republican paramilitarism and Charles Haughey, and even membership of the now-defunct UK Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, his life was as diverse as it was controversial. The Cruiser was also the man who gave us GUBU, short for “grotesque, unusual, bizarre and unprecedented”, and as Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said: “He was never afraid to take up unpopular positions, with the result that few ever agreed with him all the time.” How true. When the power-sharing government here fell apart in 2002, he remarked: “I’m glad to see this bloody thing crash. It’s been a horrible fraud.” And he argued that Unionists could defeat republicanism by taking their place in a united Ireland, leading to his departure from the UKUP. You can read his Wikipedia biography here, and obituaries from the BBC and Irish Times.

  • blinding

    He did not have much of value to say but in the opinion of some(not me) he said it very well.

  • DC

    He seemed to be a very conflicted person, which is strange given, so they say, his academic ability.

  • Harry Flashman

    An intellectual giant among pygmies, the Cruiser will be sadly missed.

    I await the bitter wee snarky comments from people who weren’t fit to tie the man’s shoelaces, indeed I see from above they have already started.

  • Gael gan Náire

    RIP.

  • Brian Walker

    The word thran might have been invented for O’Brien. He was charming and irascible by turns, you never knew which in advance. A hereditary member of the small Dublin metropolitan intellectual elite, he was first and foremost an historian (of Burke and Parnell) and then, like his hero Burke, a man of political ideas even when they challenged prevailing practice. He was a great journalist who was prepared to do his rethinking aloud, often very provocatively.

    He’ll be remembered as the man who devised the “two States” theory that so affronted traditional nationalism but which has done so much to shape its contemporary course, although he will still be reviled for it in some quarters. But he first put into words what people like Jack Lynch thought privately, even if they didn’t go the whole way. Garret FitzGerald shared his impatience with southern “partitionism” although his “constitutional crusade” was more conventional in taking account political realities.

    In that formative book, O’Brien charts the course of a rethink open to the new experiences and changing circumstances of the early Troubles, including, memorably, being beaten up and then rescued by Apprentice Boys in Derry.

    By sheer force of personality, his role as a minister in the 1973-77 coalition contributed much to the first powersharing attempt and although they didn’t always agree, he was valued by Garret FitzGerald for his insights and his direct contacts with the North, then rare among the southern establishment. He often confused then infuriated the SDLP of John Hume.

    His scorching attacks on Charlie Haughey were memorable from the Arms trial onwards. His coinage of GUBU was typical of the satirical style that got under the skin of his opponents.

    The IRA were his real enemy and he took them on on their own ground, their place in the canon of Irish freedom. Though in many ways a liberal figure he shared the authoritarian view that their front organisation Sinn Fein should be banned from the airwaves because they operated outside the democratic consensus.

    His support for Bob McCartney was a perverse coda to his career. It shouldn’t be thought he simply switched to becoming a southern unionist; his ideas for repartitioning won no support.

    Internationally, he broadened Irish horizons and remained a stubborn friend of Israel, as recounted in his memorable history “Siege” He once infuriated me by agreeing to make a BBC programme about the validity of the Israeli position in the 1980s and then pulling out at the last minute. That was one re-examination he wasn’t prepared to make.

    The early book which brought him fame, “To Katanga and Back” on his UN role which often challenged the post-imperial stance of Britain and the US remains a great read and its relevance remains today.

    Conor Cruise O’Brien had an easy relationship with the old imperial power,(though as an indefatigable loner, not always with fellow journalists). He didn’t loathe unionists in principle and he remained always if not always consistently, a very particular Irishman.

  • Mick Fealty

    Right,

    If you have something to say (positive or negative) about the man (without breaking the rule about public taste, bring it on.

    I’m cutting the rest…

  • Andy

    HF
    What do you expect – people shouldnt criticise him? Please let me know what you think of his assertion that the bloody sunday marchers were simply “sinn fein activists operating for the ira”.

    In my view a highly intelligent individual – brave in some senses (eg his atheism). He also lead a fantastically varied life.

    However his introduction of section 31 is a black mark against him. He could happily decide whose viewpoints the listener/viewer would be subjected to.

    His prediction of civil war in 1994 seemed a bit wide of the mark.

    What were his actual achievements as minister by the way? (genuine question)

  • Mick,

    I’m cutting the rest…

    You are somewhat similar to the Cruiser in a number of ways!

  • I, of course, found the two books which C.C. O’Brien wrote which was most relevant to my research, and for which he is apparently best remembered – States of Ireland, and Parnell and his Party – most unsatisfactory.

    The first was a legitimation of the artificial divide that A. V. Dicey created by his last works and efforts – what resulted in the Government of Ireland Act – in the hope of keeping a united Ireland still part of the UK by contrivance.

    The second book was a legitimation of all the dirty work that Dicey, The Times, Richard Pigott, the Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union, Edward Caulfield Houston et al. did to destroy the Irish leader for no valid reason – what destroyed the chance of Ireland getting Home Rule peacefully, and what was recently quoted in a volume of essays about modern Irish history:

    “Whether that policy, backed as it was by a great English party, and a great Irish party, and by the combined prestige of Gladstone and Parnell, could have succeeded in bringing all Ulster without serious bloodshed, within the framework of home rule, can obviously never be known. It may be said, however, that no subsequent policy, and no subsequent combination of leaders, offered such good grounds for hope of a united and self-governing Ireland – or of real and well-founded friendship between England and Ireland.” (Quoted from The Making Modern Irish History, p. 221.)

    In my biography of Dicey, I have shown that it was successfully being achieved and reported, especially by Dicey himself, without much violence in Ulster until he falsely concluded that Parnell was merely a front for the Clan na Gael, particularly The Invinciles. (Albert Venn Dicey: The Man and his Times, p. 101ff.)

    And I have even greater complaints about C.
    C.’s performance as a diplomat and politician if anyone is interested.

  • percy

    “And he argued that Unionists could defeat republicanism by taking their place in a united Ireland”
    I like that, solves the problem really

  • Slarti

    “no one who knows anything about Northern Ireland doubts that the `civil rights civilians’ were Sinn Fein activists operating for the IRA”.

    The Cruiser writing in the Sunday Independent on the Bloody Sunday murder victims.

    What a lovely person. And a lovely newspaper too.

  • Guppy

    Brian Walker says “His support for Bob McCartney was a perverse coda to his career. It shouldn’t be thought he simply switched to becoming a southern unionist;”

    Conor was never a Unionist and certainly no integrationist. He was a deep-died southern (26 county) patriot who was willing to go to the utmost extreme to protect that state from the corrosive and destruction force of the Provisionals and their deceptive ‘republican’ ideology.

    He was willing to be utterly unpopular in pursuit of his aim. That is not perverse rather heroic.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    My Granny Sarah Franklin was his nanny when he was a wee baby!

    He was perhaps the first to suspect the shenanigans of cheeky auld Charlie Haughey.

    Regarding his role as minister but only the very hard hearted would not have been angered by the blatant indescriminate bombings of civilians by the IRA during the awful period of the Troubles.

  • Slarti

    He was an insane little fascist. The very same one who, until Tim Pat Coogan got wind of them, had plans to make it against the law to play on the radio songs like The Foggy Dew and for teachers to say anything nice about the Easter Rising leaders. You may call him a 26 county patriot, but the thing is that the men who made that state would all have put him up against the wall and shot him. Which would have been just a tragedy.

  • Slarti

    Greagoir,

    Maybe if he’d changed sides he could have spouted on about how the Enniskillen murder victims were all MI5 activists working for the UVF.

  • He was an insane little fascist.

    Amen to that! He played a major part in creating the repressive atmosphere of the mid-1970s in the south. He provided intellectual and political cover for censorship, the ‘heavy gang’ and many human rights abuses. Claiming that he was doing it for some higher motive (’26 county patriotism’) is wrong – he was simply an arrogant bully who believed that his particular beliefs could, and should, be imposed on the whole southern state, regardless of their corrosive effects.

    Almost single-handedly he provoked the major Fianna Fáil landslide in 1977, which put CCO’B out of active politics for evermore.

    For many people he represents a black period in modern (southern) Irish history. He’s been dead politically for a generation, this is just his body catching up.

  • Slarti

    Unfortunately Horseman he represented a disease of the mind which is very prevalent in the south of the country today. He helped spread that disease among many but certainly wasn’t the original cause of it, merely a symptom. He could never have risen so far without the potential of that disease being carried in so many in the first place. I can’t imagine too many countries on earth in which he’d have been anything more than a smelly old crank handing out leaflets to annoyed pedestrians on the streets late at night.

  • Oh, thanks, Mick, for taking down the first post of the thread – my not having anything good to say in general about O’Brien. I didn’t notice its disappearance until now.

    Think you could at least want to know now why I don’t like his activities as either a diplomat or politician either.

    P. s. The next time I notice your doing so, I’m gone

  • andy

    “Regarding his role as minister but only the very hard hearted would not have been angered by the blatant indescriminate bombings of civilians by the IRA during the awful period of the Troubles”

    OK – I was under the impression he was in a cabinet which was noticeable for its risible aparthy in pursuing the perpetrators of the Dublin 74 indiscriminate bombing.

    May I also ask the question as to what his view was on indiscriminate bombing carried out by Zionists in the 30s and 40s ? I thought he supported them but stand to be corrected.

  • Democratic

    “P. s. The next time I notice your doing so, I’m gone”

    Bye then…..the NI forum on politcs.ie is probably much more up your street anyway in tone and content…..

  • Slarti

    Andy,

    He certainly supported the Israelis’ indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Lebanon at any rate. Still though that’s okay as it seems in some circles that the only bombs that ever hurt anyone were bombs made in cowsheds in south Armagh.

  • Wilde Rover

    Democratic,

    “Bye then…..the NI forum on politcs.ie is probably much more up your street anyway in tone and content…..”

    Charming.

    I thought this was supposed to be a thread on a political website about a public political figure.

    It’s not as if we are all sitting in the man’s living room sipping tea and throwing sandwiches at his coffin.

  • Greenflag

    ‘he remained always if not always consistently, a very particular Irishman.’

    Sounds about right .

    He was first and foremost an academic and a diplomat . I often thought that the loss of his Dublin Artane Dail seat in 1977 ‘unhinged ‘ him from his political base and thus from the great majority of Irish voters subsequently . This led him to pursuing ‘politics ‘ and influence in Ireland North and South via his journalism and his oddball membership of McCartney’s NI Unionists . He was an ‘intellectual ‘ in a political culture at a time(1970’s ) when the former attribute was considered suspect – and still is .

    He feared the potential rise of a Green Fascist State in the South and an Orange mirror image in the North which would result from a continuation of IRA activity in NI. Wonder what his final thoughts were re SF and the DUP sharing power ?

    Whatever his detractors may say about him he at least had the courage of his convictions and spoke his mind . Irish politics could do with a few more politicians with his backbone although perhaps not too many 😉

    He at least did not drag the country’s reputation through the courts for ‘financial ‘ skullduggery . In that respect his reputation for ‘honesty’ will remain for posterity in an altogether higher league than his more infamous but politically more successful constituency rival .

    R.I.P

  • dub

    Trowbridge,

    Your use of the word “what” instead of “which” is incredibly annoying and, imo, ruins your posts, making them sound illiterate. I for one would love to hear what you have to say about CCOB’s diplomatic career.

    As for the man himself, may he rest in peace. I think he played a very important role in alerting people in the south that there were actually people in the north who considered themselves British or at least, not Irish. Desmond Fennell did the same, though it lead him to very different conclusions. It is a great pity that Unionism has not produced such a potent critic of their own “tribe”. They are in very dire need of self criticism. Needless to say, i disagreed with very much of what he did and said.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Greenflag makes an excellent point. His positions in later life became more difficult to defend the more removed he became from frontline politics. This should not overshadow the fact that he remains arguably the State’s most important political thinker of his generation.

  • Slarti

    Well just thank fuck his generation are all dead then.

  • … his generation are all dead then.

    No, Garret Fitzgerald and Ian Paisley are still here.

    Shouldn’t be long, though.

  • Slarti

    Although in those cases it’s debatable what ‘here’ means.

  • josephine

    a correction, an important one – you write that GUBU stood for “grotesque, unusual, bizarre and unprecedented” – wrong, it stands for “grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented” – a small but important difference – the irish times made the same error which i presume you copied, a warning against believing everything that emanates from that quarter!

  • Nathan

    Its amazing how long he lasted, 91 years of human life is a significant achievement.

    A warm cheerio to a great Irish writer and commentator.

  • Given your pedantic complaints about my use of what and which, words which are synonyms of one another, I am most reluctant to answer your request, dud, but shall provide at least an outline of O’Brien’s dirty work in the Congo.

    When Patrice Lumumba became the first, elected Prime Minister of the Congo, he caused complete turmoil in the country by denouncing Belgian atrocities during its rule, leading to the breakaway of its mineral-rich province Katanga, led by Moisa Tchombe.

    When Lumumba called for the Belgians to withdraw, and they refused, he called in the UN to intervene. While UN forces were deployed, they accomplished little in stemming the growing turmoil, thanks to the interference of the Belgium civil service on the scene.

    When Lumumba called for Soviet assistance, Lumumba was dismissed from office, and the Brits and the Americans then plotted his assassination – what was successful in January 1961.

    In the meantime, O’Brien, UN Secretary General Dag Hammerschöld’s special representative on the scene, closed the airports to prevent any Soviet assistance from arriving, and closed down the Katanga radio station supporting Lumumba. Soviet advisors on the scene were ordered to leave the Congo.

    In the wake to Lumumba’s murder, the UN finally ordered more forceful actions by its forces – what led to O’Brien belatedly ordering them after six months of inactivity to go on the offensive (Operation Morthor). O’Brien had the Katanga radio station announce after just one day that its seccession was at an end, though he had no authority to use them for his purpose. Then they, especially a battalion of Irish troop, atttacked civilian installations in Elizabethville.

    Things became so confused, especially because of O’Brien’s offensive use of his forces, that Hammerschöld was forced to fly to the scene to stop the bloodshed, but he was killed in a still unexplained airplane crash when it approched the field at Ndda. The fighting continued until the trapped Irish soldiers were forced to surrender at Jadotville.

    In light of this, O’Brien had the hutzpa to write this, as K. Vela Velupillai recounted last year in an issue of The London Review of Books: “O’Brien’s To Katanga and Back is a masterly and unusually frank account of Hammerschöld’s abysmal failure to protect a democratically elected leader.”

    I see it much more as a self-serving hatchet-job.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Trowbridge,

    I think that may be the most twisted disingenuous account I’ve ever read.

  • Earnan

    “He feared the potential rise of a Green Fascist State in the South”

    Strange..considering he was a big proponent of mass censorship…almost had Tim Pat Coogan arrested

  • Dave

    Not quite, Jimmy, when it was claimed that British intelligence were behind the murder accident, O’Brien’s claimed that it couldn’t possibly be so because they ‘don’t run around killing people.’ That was a similar attitude that he displayed to the Dublin bombings, of course. His view as a government minister at the time was even if British intelligence did ‘run around killing people’ in a foreign state (an act tantamount to a declaration of war) that it should be covered up because it might increase support for the Provos and that criticising the action might result in the loyalists/British Intelligence bombing Dublin again. Given that he used his office to promote a campaign of political censorship in the Irish media of the nationalist perspective on the nature and causes of the conflict in NI while simultaneously conspiring to permit propaganda the official British versions of said nature and causes by trying to make the BBC into the official second national media channel in Ireland there are serious questions about where his loyalties lie – where his perverted morals lie are seen in support for a secret force within the Irish police who used torture against those who were suspected of subversion (the Heavy Gang). When FF came to power in 1977 and fired the Gardai Commissioner (whom O’Brien defended in government) without giving the reason, it was well known that Garvey was in the employ of MI6 (as were three ministers in the government that O’Brien served in). See Fred Holroyd and Mr Justice Henry Barron’s inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings for the details.

    As regards O’Brien being a great political thinker, there is no contribution to political thinking from O’Brein that didn’t predate him. He was a fine academic but he was a failure as a politician – unless you include proving cover for British Intelligence murder campaigns, support for British Intelligence propaganda campaigns, and support for British Intelligence’s infiltration of the Irish polices as acts of greatness. Others would properly classify them as acts of treason.

  • Dave

    Ned Garvey, of course, being the (dismissed) Gardai Commissioner.

  • PaddyReilly

    The Cruiser was, as far as I can tell, an agent for the British Government when the Conservatives were in power. He was their mouthpiece in Ireland: his job was to do their PR and put their point of view across as if it came from an Irish politician.

    Indeed to some extent I think he wanted people to guess this, and was somewhat impatient with them for being too stupid to do so. His championing partition for the whole time the Tories were in power, and then suddenly telling Unionists they should consider the benefits of a United Ireland the moment that (British) Labour were elected was his method of doing so. Labour was not interested in paying Irish politicians to make propaganda for the Unionists in a futile attempt to keep them them in sole power.

    As such, his legacy is of importance solely to the Cruise O’Brien family. I’m sure he was a good husband, father and grandfather. I would be grateful if he was my grandfather, I’m sure I would have benefited by the start in life he gave me.

    But his political and historical works were merely propaganda, his expressed political opinions merely PR for non-nationals. His role for the (Irish) Labour party was to put people off voting for it. I recall one election where he received zero transfers from any other source, propbably the only politician in the history of the Republic to do so.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Dave,

    The suggestion that he was on the side of the US/UK in Katanga could not be further from the truth. I really do not understand this obsessive need to smear anyone who refuses to accept nationalist shibboleths.

    Fred Holroyd eh?

  • Mack

    Dave
    When FF came to power in 1977 and fired the Gardai Commissioner (whom O’Brien defended in government) without giving the reason, it was well known that Garvey was in the employ of MI6 (as were three ministers in the government that O’Brien served in). See Fred Holroyd and Mr Justice Henry Barron’s inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings for the details.

    That’s pretty shocking, have you got links for that?
    Fred Holroyd wikipedia entry contains info on Ned Garvey, but not the government ministers.

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

  • same old story

    I was told by an Irish Army Soldier who spend 12 hours mortaring a village in Congo (that the cruiser had made sure they attacked) that after all the civilians had been either killed or run off, a huge mining company moved in and set up shop before people could return.
    I wonder why he made sure that shelling took place? I know this soldier and his fellow unit were disgusted when they found out later it wasn’t a military target.
    Good man cruiser

  • RepublicanStones

    An irishman in name but not in heart. A bit of a loony as well who relished his contrarian reputation. Still a sad loss.

  • Ri Na Deise

    Good Riddance. He wont be missed.

  • Dave

    Mack, one of them is now dead. The other two are not. I’ve no intention of exposing Slugger (or myself) to legal action by naming the other two (even if others have no such reservations via Google)

    Jimmy, the private secretary to the head of Irish Special Branch, Chief. Superintendent John P Fleming, was arrested in the Gresham Hotel in 1972 passing state documents to an MI6 agent (who was also arrested). The British Intelligence mole within the Gardai’s chief’s office, garda sergeant Patrick Crinnion, and his handler, the MI6 agent ‘John Wyman’ of them were given a lenient prison sentence of 3 months and both left the country when released. This isn’t the fancy of Holroyd and ilk but the common practice of British intelligence in Ireland.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Dave,

    I’m not suggesting documents weren’t passed. In the context I’d have been more surprised if they hadn’t been.

  • dub

    Trowbridge,

    The song which i like the most is…(relative pronoun); you could use that here as well instead of which

    Bertie Ahern was elected 3 times as Taoiseach, which was a remarkable achievement….(relative pronoun); here you cannot use that as well, as which here means which thing

    Which one would you like? (interogative) here you COULD use what as well

    What are you doing? (Interogative) here you cannot use which

    What i would like to know is…(has the meaning of the thing, or the things which…)

    WHAT CAN NEVER BE USED AS A RELATIVE PRONOUN WHICH IS AN IDIOSYNCRACY OF YOUR POSTS, TROWBRIDGE, AND CONSIDERABLY MARS WHAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE INTERESTING CONTRIBUTIONS.

  • Andy

    Jimmy
    can you expand on that? We werent talking about communication between two intelligence agencies on equal terms – eg like police forces swapping intelligence.
    We are talking about an officer of one intelligence service secretly giving information to another ie he was a spy. Fairly simple, no?
    You think this is fine…
    Basically if you have no problem with a foreign state having spies within the Irish intelligence service, you kind of reveal your loyalties – ie with the foreign state.
    That doesnt neccessarily mean you’re a bad person, but your support of CCOB should be seen in this light.

    Also do you really think The cruiser was anti-nationalist? Certainly he was a big fan of Zionism, which, regardless of its rights or wrongs is unequivocally a form of nationalism with many violent manifestations.

  • What an additional load of crap, dub.

    Given your examples, one can say:

    1. In light of Berie Ahern’s re-elections, one can use “what” as well as “which” despite the fact that you misstated “what” for “that”.

    2. Regarding the interrogative you mentioned, one can use “which one” as well as “what”.

    They are both relative pronouns, dummy.

    And are you ever going to get your head out of your ass, and start talking about the topic of the thread???

  • dub

    Trowbridge,

    You are wrong but let’s agree to disagree.

    As regards the subject at hand, i think for the cruiser to be depicted as some towering intellectual is absurd. He let his emotional and entirely personal view of the republican movement cloud nearly everything he wrote about the north. He also wrote some remarkably fatuous nonsense about post-reunification Germany. And his rabid defence of Israel at all costs showed that his so called denunications of violence for political ends were entirely partial. Thank you for your information regarding his activities in the Congo. If there is more than a grain of truth in what you say, and i suspect that there is, then this fourth class intellectual also was a man of very dubious morals. Nevertheless he has died and i believe that this is not the day to speak ill of the dead.

  • John 45

    There was always one thing that annoyed me a lot about Conor Cruise O’Brien’s writings. He had the habit of finishing a piece with a prolonged bit of prose, poetry or quote in French, Italian or some other ‘foreign’ language, without the benefit of some sort of translation. I always felt that this was a way of saying “if you are ignorant enough not to understand me, then so be it. Too bad for you.’
    He was not the only intellectual to do this.

  • CW

    The Cruiser was chairman at an inter-schools debating contest at Trinity College, in which I took part for Omagh CBS back in 1991. Didn’t actually meet him though. Seems like a lifetime ago now. A few years later whilst at Queen’s I quoted him in an essay on Franco-Algerian writer Albert Camus’ (whom he was a noted scholar of)”L’Étranger” (The Outsider).

    I was no great fan of the man, but he was certainly a highly intelligent and erudite individual who had the courage of his convictions to go against popular opinion. I don’t think his obsession with media censorship while in the quaintly named position of Minister for Posts & Telegraphs acheived anything practical – and was probably counter-productive if anything,

    I also feel he lost much credibility by joining the rathrer pointless UK Unionist Party, which was little more than an extension of Bob McCartney’s ego.

    Still, he led a varied and prolific life and should be remembered for it.

  • Thanks, dub, for your most positive response – what I did not expect, but which I most appreciate.

    As for speaking ill about anyone, one has to be worried about libelling the living – what puts off most publishers about printing anything ill about them – and then when they die, it’s not good form to speak about the dead’s shortcomings until they are forgotten about.

    One, it seems, just cannot win!

  • Jimmy Sands

    Andy,

    I didn’t say I condoned it, rather that I wasn’t surprised by it. It’s not the same thing. An employee of the State should not be working for a foreign government, friendly or otherwise.

    I agree with you that his support in later years for Zionism was inconsistent with his otherwise consistent opposition to nationalism.

  • dub

    too true!!!

  • Ri Na Deise
  • Dewi

    RIP – he thought about stuff.

  • Mick Fealty

    On a side note, obits for controversial characters regularly produces the kind of terse remarks that little what is a times an erudite conversation.

    I think the answer is not that people should not speak ill of the dead, but that people say something of value about them. Whether in praise or criticism of them, their work and their lives.

    Horse, you got clipped because by your own admission you were not commenting on the subject in hand. Trow, I clipped yours because frankly it contained nothing but poor taste. Everything else (even your speculative reconstructions of history) stays.

    Night all…

  • Dewi

    Nos Da Mick – and Nos Da CCOB – he lived his own life.

  • “I am cutting the rest.”
    The spirit of Section 31.
    A fitting tribute Mick.

  • Celina

    The guy who attacked Haughey was also a tax cheat refusing to pay tax on his journalism.

    the ironing is delicious

  • Southerner
  • Martin

    Did he buy obsolete Telephone exchanges from BT so that GCHQ could eavesdrop?

  • Dean

    In the Gerry Fitt biography Eamonn McCann is described as an intellectual and mad as a brush.

    A bit like the Cruiser.