Stay classy, Carál…

Good heavens!  You’re the culture minister…  UTV has the censored version.  And here’s the other half of the “satirical exchange”.

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  • I remember when Gerry Anderson used ‘gobshite’ on air a year or three back, and the Editorial Standards Committee had to make a ruling

    In case you were wondering, it’s apparently okay to call someone a shite, a gobshite, or even a bogshite on the airwaves of Northern Ireland. The BBC Trust received a complaint from a listener of Gerry Anderson’s morning show on Radio Ulster after Anderson used all three epithets to refer to his broadcasting colleagues. As The Times reports, the BBC Trust rejected the complaint, though Anderson must now diminish his use of these words:

    Asked to rule on the complaint, the BBC Trust editorial standards committee found that the words carried little more offence than “eejit” in Irish slang.

    It ruled: “The meaning conveyed by the words ‘shite’ and ‘gobshite’ in the vernacular of Northern Ireland, and in the context of this programme in particular, was different from other parts of the UK in that they did necessarily not carry the same level of offence and aggression and could be seen as a form of comedic banter.” The language was also “appropriate for children listening during school holidays”.

    However, Anderson must submit to a quota of colourful language and Radio Ulster must “mitigate the overuse of the words”.

    The trust said that the station had “set in place a system that ensured the programme did not use these words in a way that went beyond the audience’s expectation”.

    The BBC Trust is careful to say that these words are not very offensive in Northern Ireland, as opposed to “other parts of the UK.”

  • socaire

    Aye, but apart from all that – does anybody disagree with her opinion of him?

  • Limerick

    I wonder what his opinion is of her?

  • sonofstrongbow

    Takes one to know one.

  • Should all replies to this post be less than 140 characters?

  • Given the medium, might she fairly be called a twit.

  • Mark McGregor

    Anyone that thinks gobshite is offensive has no idea of Irish vernacular.

    It’d be like finding offence in ‘fool’ or ‘idiot’ – only the fool or idiot is likely to be offended.

    Pete may not find it ‘classy’. It is accepted, normal and inoffensive use of language for the bulk of Irish people.

  • Limerick

    An in depth discussion on the er, lady in question? Sometimes in life people find that they have been propelled into positions which are way beyond their abilities. People like Catriona Ruane for instance. Our culture minister however makes Ruane look like Plato.

  • socaire

    Now, to question whether or not she is a lady, that is different and would become the writer of a sleazy poem very much.

  • Davy McFaul

    “It is accepted, normal and inoffensive use of language for the bulk of Irish people”


  • iluvni
  • “I’m a rockchick I my spare time a pure party animal! I wish Tom but ironing needs done, shirt looked like a melodian!” .. from the classy C ni C

  • Rory Carr

    Thank you, Alan in Belfast and Mark McGregor for putting this grotesque piece of Aunt Sally knockabout into perspective and attempting at least to float discussion above the level of the classy gents of the usual suspects brigade.

  • sonofstrongbow

    She was classy on utv, a classy classic petulant teenager’s response to the reporter: “is this all you’ve got to talk about?”. Followed by a later hurrumping little tweet about ‘ministerial’ language.

    You can take the gal out of the New Lodge ………………

  • Joe Bloggs

    In any other country she’d be flipping burgers for a living so she needs to be a bit more careful not to get herself thrown off the gravy train.

  • You can take the gal out of the New Lodge ………………

    But you can’t take the woman players out of SOT.

  • socaire

    Aye, but what other province gets to call itself a country? ……or even a Nation? OMG

  • michael-mcivor

    Not only did the people give Mcdowell the boot but his party also went the way of the dodo- a bankrupt politician-

  • Mark McGregor


    It seems evident from much of the comment for most there is little real concern over the use of a word the majority of Ireland apply freely and inoffensively. It is purely an opportunity to attack a woman that refuses to adopt middle-class sensibilities, language and affectations.

    I’ve seen little true complaint and a lot of masochinism running with petty, unwarranted snobbery.

  • Pete Baker

    “It is accepted, normal and inoffensive use of language for the bulk of Irish people.”

    Context is everything, Mark. And Alan.

    As Sinn Féin’s ‘defence’ attempted to point out.

  • Limerick

    Mark McG,

    I wonder if you would stand up so robustly for Kerry Catona if she was the Culture Minister in Westminster?

  • granni trixie

    I give credit to ‘people from the New Lodge’ that if they were an MLA and Minister they would have the wit not to appear so rude in public fora. MMG also clearly does not know what is appropriate for a public representative also especially one who aspires upwards. It may only be a small thing but the people of Ireland surely will be asking themselves “who wlse would he be calling west brit should he become President'”.

  • granni trixie

    oops…should have read “who else…” sorry.

  • “middle-class sensibilities, language and affectations.” .. Mark

    If I could borrow Carál’s style: “Jaysus, Mark, calm down wee lad but know exactly what you mean”.

  • Mark McGregor

    I can think of many reasons to disagree with Carál, her party and her policies.

    Her use of vernacular, accent and hair don’t fall into my list.

    For others those things seem pretty important – stay classy.

  • Joe Bloggs

    I, for one, like the curls.

  • Limerick

    Her main contribution to culture seems to be as a modern art masterpiece.

  • Alias

    “It is accepted, normal and inoffensive use of language for the bulk of Irish people.”

    It is only “inoffensive” when it is used as vulgar slang to refer to someone who isn’t present. Try saying it to someone, and you’ll find out how offensive it can be.

  • Rapunsell

    Walked past Caral outside her office last week. Was deeply unimpressed to see her lighting up a cigarette just outside the front door. A lot worse in my book than calling someone a gob shite

  • Henry94

    It’s ok. It counts as culture. It’s in Ulysses.

    — O! Mr Dedalus cried, giving vent to a hopeless groan, shite and onions! That’ll do, Ned. Life is too short.
    He took off his silk hat and, blowing out impatiently his bushy moustache, welshcombed his hair with raking fingers.
    Ned Lambert tossed the newspaper aside, chuckling with delight. An instant after a hoarse bark of laughter burst over professor MacHugh’s unshaven black-spectacled face.

    Ulysses by James Joyce Episode 7 – Aeolus

  • RyanAdams

    Never mind ‘irish language act’

    Mind your own bloody language Caral

    Although funny Alasdair McDonnell has often got away with ‘bloody’ among others during televised debates with no consequence.

  • Mark McGregor

    I wonder if she’ll use it during the pub quiz tomorrow?

    Only one way to see, get yourself down to the Black Box for 7.30pm.

    Maybe she’ll go further? You can find out, have fun and support a good cause.

  • Rory Carr

    Many of the cruder comments on here from the usual suspects, who bombard us daily with corner-boy invective and trot out their impossible wish lists in the belief that they are providing some type of insightful analysis, remind me of nothing so much as the chorus of crows in Walt Disney’s Dumbo – raucous, offensive and infantile. I was going to add, ” uninspired”, but that would be unfair to the crows, who do at least provide some moments of real entertainment in their refusal to deviate from their received ignorance.

  • between the bridges

    Mark a rhetorical question (just to check on this ‘normal and inoffensive use of language ‘ logic of yours)… do you mean to say that if i was to refer to you as a fool, idiot or gobshite, you (and ‘the bulk of Irish people’) would not be offended?

    Rory… the ‘usual suspects’ was an excellent film but dumbo was somewhat far fetched, i mean we all know elephants are scared of mice…

  • Alias

    I think the difference is that ‘offensive’ can mean vulgar as well as insulting, so the former might not offend but the latter is intended to and usually does.

  • Is it much different from calling someone a pompous windbag?

  • I hope she begins her address to Sluggerites tonight with an observation that she has never seen so many gobshites in one room. 😉

  • J Kelly

    Could anyone give us a better description of Michael McDowell. Please keep it clean and classy,

    Michael McDowell is a failed politician from a failed political party who doesn’t speak too much sense and often lets his prejudices get in the way of the truth when he opens his mouth, who gets too much airtime for his views that have been rejected by the Irish people.

    Honestly I prefer Gobshite.

    On a wider point is twitter, blogs and other social networks not intended to allow people to a be a bit more honest and less restricted. If we all jump up and down everytime a politician or celebrity speaks candidly on these platforms all we will be left with is press releases from press officers. I could buy the Irish News or watch the news for that. Lighten up,

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree completely with Mark here. “gobshite” isn’t an offensive word. I wouldn’t use it myself but I don’t see a lot to get worked up about here.

    The rest of the contributions here are plain old snobbery. And I see that we’re now going after her because she’s a smoker. I’m glad that everyone around here is so clean living.

  • sonofstrongbow

    When he comes to a toss-up between a failed politician and a failed terrorist I’ll plump for the politician option.

    Most people can live with a failed politician whereas graveyards attest that the same does not apply to terrorists.

    On the wider point it would be a nice little earner for Slugger to offer providing Twitter with a yellow/red card service to manage civilised debate.

  • Let him that is without sin…

    The word was used in the Dáil by Senator David Norris. Commenting on a proposal to move a plastering course out of Dublin, he said
    “Whatever gobshite made this suggestion appears to be blithely unaware that Dublin plaster work, particularly from the 18th century, is regarded as one of the jewels of European architectural heritage,” .

    Much ado about nothing.

  • Stewart

    Not a big deal really is it, not overly offensive. However while in common usage it probably shouldnt be used in a professional capacity by someone holding ministerial office (not in public anyway). I realise twitter blurs that line but I still think she probably shouldnt have done it…but she did, I dont care, most people wont either and some will find it funny and or endearing.

    Only damaging thing about it for me seems to be that she apologised – so does that mean she doesnt think he is a gobshite? If she still thinks he is a gobshite she shouldnt have apologised. I can live with bad language but am not so keen on insincerity.

  • OOPs ignorant me (up all night). Obviously not in the Dáil but in that other place.

  • granni trixie

    Comrade:I think remarks about the district are snobbery and those about the MInisters appearance unacceptable. But it is not snobbery to expect people to use language appropriately,in this case as a Minister. One of the things I taught young people (as an English teacher) and which they seemed to understand was that certain language is appropriate in some contexts and not in others. Forinstance, I overheard many F***s when they were talking to each other but thankfully not when expressing themselves in class.
    To my friends I might about a book say “That is a load of s**** “but I would not say that about say a pupils work.either in class or out of class.

    Talking of appropriate, I was horrified at the insensitivity of Mary McArdle being appointed Advisor and now of MMG going forward for President. Nothing could convince me that it is ‘right’.

  • “Full day, paperwork that would make you cry. Had an informal session with over 100 DCAL staff – team DCAL!” … Caral

    I wonder which choice words were used by all concerned before, during and after this little gathering. Has anyone noticed any difference in the tone of FoI responses? An MLA has called me a ‘dangerous bastard’ and an NIO press officer called me ‘the blogger’ but I’m not thin-skinned like some of the stuffed shirts here and I suspect neither is Caral 🙂

  • An MLA has called me a ‘dangerous bastard’

    Do you have any context? Dangerous why? Asking too many awkward questions? And dangerous to whom?

  • Joe, politicians and journalists here can be too close and too interdependent so the latter may well pull their punches as a consequence. I sometimes shed light in unexplored territory and that can expose secrets, lies and hypocrisy. I wouldn’t knowingly publish material that would expose anyone to physical attack, lethal or otherwise. I suspect the ‘dangerous bastard’ remark was made in a jokey sort of way but it doesn’t do any harm to narrow political comfort zones.

  • “Mob outrage epic. I retire with an image of toothless villagers with torches and pitchforks” .. Squinter

    Belfast is a collection of villages. I wonder if Squinter keeps a pitchfork handy when he writes one of his daring criticisms about President Adams. Maybe there only was the one!

    Who’s to blame for the failure to press home the Harry Holland momentum? Gerry Adams is to blame, that’s who.

  • “Gobshite” is a brilliant word and very egalitarian. And very Irish. So its entirely appropriate that the Minister for CULTURE should use it.
    Perhaps a team of the Assemblys finest legal minds (Attwood. Allister, Weir) could make a ruling as to its admissability in the Chamber and we could get to hear the word more often.
    There are two types of Gobshite……the TOTAL Gobshite who gets a war started on the basis of non-existant weapons of mass destruction………and the harmless Gobshite.
    Like six Sinn Féin MLAs putting on their GAA county shirts to highlight that they dont have a vote in the Presidential Election……….Harmless Gobshites and my kinda people cos Im a harmless Gobshite myself. Most people are harmless gobshites.
    Indeed “do you take this harmless gobshite to have and to hold in sickness and in health” should probably be written into Irish wedding services.

  • Alias

    So now that vulgarism is fine and dandy for a politician to use, we can all issue our apologies to Tom Elliott for being all uppidy about his use of offensive slang. Or do the apologists just go into overdrive when a Shinner is the culprit?

  • fjh, gobshite, the composite compost, might well be Irish but its elements are well-rooted in English vernacular, possibly even from Anglo-Saxon and Norman times. The first element and a variant on the second would give the Speaker a more emphatic intervention: “Shut yer gob, ye wee skitter!”. The most articulate of MLAs would probably be left gob-smacked!

  • In my own sheltered upbringing…..”gobshite” was never used but my mother would often refer to me as a “gop” (sic) for not wearing a vest or a “kitterty” for looking forlornly waiting for “that wee blade” to phone ……Ive not actually heard that word “kitterty” used outside Armagh/Caledon/Tynan/Middletown direction and I feel its an underused word.
    Less Gobshites. More Kittertys.

  • Trapattoni

    Gobshite, as offensive as feck.

  • Reader

    fitzjameshorse1745: “Gobshite” is a brilliant word and very egalitarian. And very Irish.
    Hmm let’s see. “Gob”, “Neb”, “Lug”, “Oxter”. Not really Irish; not quite English. What else could they be…

  • Cynic2

    Gobshite…perhaps. Bomber, no.

    Now which do I prefer?

  • 241934 john brennan

    A gobshite could be said to be someone “running off at the mouth” – just a crude unlady like expression. But a lying gobshite? That would be libellous. Now Michael Mcdowell, in his ministerial position, was in a position to know who was in PIRA’s Army Council.

    Tweeting that he is a gobshite might not be ministerial and so deserving an apology. But if what McDowell said is untruthful and injurious to Mr Guinness’ character (remember is an MP, MLA and DFM, never mind candidate for Irish president) he could sue for a large amount of money indeed. So why not go to court.

    On the other hand if Carla had said Michael ‘is a lying gobshite’, Michael would have undoubtedly forced her to withdraw the word ‘lying’ – or pay him damages. So who is afraid to test the truth?

  • kitterty is a new one to me, fjh, but it’s in the Concise Ulster Dictionary with a left-handed affinity (cf sinister) and, in the context you mention, means ‘a fool, someone not in possession of his or her full senses’. It can also mean a giddy, flighty female. Apparently it derives from the Irish ciotach and this word reminds me of Colkitto/Coll Ciotach Macdonnell.

  • Limerick

    Is it just in my neck of the woods that the term used is ‘gabshite’?

    As in “That gabshite Ruane made a proper bollocks of the transfer system.”

  • Limerick, gab is a Scot’s variant on the English/Gaelic gob.

    From the Dictionary of the Scots Language: gob, gobb – [Sc. and Ir. Gael. gob. Also in northern Eng. dialects (1674– ). In later Sc. as gab.]
    a. A mouth, esp. a large or ugly one. b. The beak of a bird.

  • Limerick


    It would be interesting to know if the term ‘gob’ is prevalent outside the Pale.

  • babyface finlayson

    As in kitterpaw?

  • Don’t know about the rest of the world, but, although I have introduced many N.I. expressions to my colleagues, I have never heard gobshite being used, not even by myself.

  • Incidentally, gobshiteism isn’t confined to politicians. Anyone can fall prey to the condition, even broadcasters.

  • vanhelsing

    Nice title to the blog. Although I would imagine that Carol wouldn’t think that ‘Diversity is an old, old ship using during the Civil War’
    Anyway she clearly doesn’t fail to meet my expectations..

  • 241934 john brennan

    Defecations upon MMc’s presidential campaign continue to pile up. First that gobsite, ex-justice minister, Michael McDowell, then also shat upon by present justice minister Alan Shatter. Now it is the turn Fine Gael’s gayshite Mitchell
    All this manure is reminiscent of an old Glasgow poem about a genuine jack-ass causing problems on one of the city’s drying greens.

    The Cuddy

    Tha cuddy runs aboot tha braes,
    An’ shites amang tha neihbors’ clathes.
    Tha neihbors try tae shoo him aff,
    Wi’ clods an’ stanes.
    But tha mair they shoo,
    Tha mair he shites.
    Tha hoor.

  • “As in kitterpaw?”

    Any term commencing with kitter or kittach refers to left-handed, babyface.

  • babyface finlayson

    “kitterty is a new one to me,”
    I was just trying to be helpful. Being a ciotach myself I know the term.

  • Thanks, babyface.

  • Roy Walsh

    Is ‘gob’ not the Irish for beak?