“This is not a crime in Ireland, or even a misdemeanour.”

In the Irish Times, Miriam Lord’s sketch of events in the Dáil yesterday, which led to the promise of Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue’s resignation, is, as always, worth a read. But it’s Frank McNally’s Irishman’s Diary which gets closest to the actualité.

I HAVEN’T seen the charge formally levelled against him yet anywhere. But it seems to me that what John O’Donoghue stands accused of, fundamentally, is that on a specified number of dates between about 2005 and 2009, he did, knowingly or unknowingly, individually or in concert with others, lose the run of himself.

As Frank McNally goes on to say

Never mind the KBE or the Papal Knighthood. The NLROH [Never Lost the Run Of Himself] is the most prestigious set of letters you can have after your name in this country. And yet I cannot for the life of me discover where the phrase originated. It sounds quintessentially Irish.

But it could well be one of those terms – like “the crack” – that was born and reared in England before it crossed the sea and, finding its talents more appreciated here, went native.

The “run” is a vital component of England’s national game, after all. And just about the worst thing you can do in cricket is to be “run out”, which has a similar meaning. Then you can’t blame a good ball or a bad pitch. To be run out at the very least implies a sense of disorientation that you brought upon yourself. At worst, it means you threw your wicket away in a crass error of judgment.

I doubt if John O’Donoghue has ever played cricket, so he hardly knows much about running between wickets (and when he was Minister for Sport, somebody would surely have ordered him a car). But he now has the look of a batsman caught out of his ground, suddenly, when changing conditions in the outfield caused the ball to come back earlier than expected.

And not just John O’Donoghue.

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  • Greenflag

    ‘And not just John O’Donoghue’

    Indeed . Most of the economic policy makers in Washington , London , Dublin and their political mentors and expert ‘financial ‘ advisors from Federal Reserve Bank Chairmen to the ‘gurus’ of the shadow banking fraternities .

    Special mention should be made of the ‘paltry ‘ amounts skived out of the public purse by a ‘coterie’ of Westminster parliamentarians of all parties in the not too distant past . And then there was the maestro himself our own former Duce -CJ 🙁

    Hey it’s democracy or should that be kleptocracy ?

    We should of course note that had the economic crisis engendered in the back rooms of the shadow banking fratertnities in Wall Street , augmented by the by the negligence of politicians of both parties over two decades -been averted . Mr O’Donoughue would not have received a mention .
    That says as much about ‘ourselves’ as it does about ex speaker O’Donoughue.

    In response to the public baying for ‘blood’ O’Donoughue is presented for the sacrificial altar . Not unlike the mass desertions of political careers in the recent Westminster ‘revelations’ perhaps it’s in the hope that the ‘lynch ‘ mobs will now be assuaged ?

    Somehow I don’t think so . The ‘appetite ‘ for more ‘revelations ‘ will instead be enhanced .

  • Thereyouarenow

    Hang him.

    Maybe its when you are on the run

    If you lose the run of yourself you get caught

    ! Hammer ! Hammer !. I am building a strong Gallows as I am expecting a lot of custom.

  • Dave

    The idiom is more likely to have its origins in ‘run’ being a synonym of ‘manage’ rather than in McNally’s west-brit bias where everything that is culturally Irish is actually British – managing something as in “running the company.” Therefore, losing the run of something would be to no longer be in control of it.

  • Dave

    “…in the hope that the ‘lynch ’ mobs will now be assuaged ?” – Blueflag

    Lynch mobs and hooligans – both use Irish surnames to demote vulgar, violent, unlawful or anti-social behaviour of social groups. Hooligans (no longer in use as a surname) came from a rowdy Irish family in the East end of London. I’ve no idea where Lynch came from but Google is always your friend. These fit a pattern of propagation of anti-Irish stereotypes.

  • Greenflag

    Hooligan is an anglicisation of O’Houlihan . The G is absent in the modern name having been previously silent . Presumably their terrified english neighbours found it easier to pronounce with a G .

    Lynch was the name of a judge in the USA who was over fond of people swinging from the rope for crimes committed. I think the English ahd a Lord North ? who was similarly inclined .

    ‘These fit a pattern of propagation of anti-Irish stereotypes. ‘

    So ? We Irish have always been revolting not always without justification but then the English would’nt have it any other way ;)?

    Question :

    Why are the people of Dundalk anti semitic .


    They’re not . It’s just because they prefer the taste of McArdles to Smithwicks any day

  • Reader

    Dave: These fit a pattern of propagation of anti-Irish stereotypes
    Better to be a Tory or a Hooligan?

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Hammer ! Hammer !. I am building a strong Gallows as I am expecting a lot of custom”

    I bagsy the public hanging Tee shirt rights. Profits to the taxpayer, after er expenses