To the USians reading this: the election I’m talking about is the Irish general election- GE16- on Friday. Not the Presidential election that you have in nine months. Our election campaign? Three weeks long.
With one day to go before the election, I don’t know who I want to vote for. Who not to vote for? That’s easy, in a constituency that includes the founder of Identity Ireland. It’s an easy rule of thumb: if you’re being invited to speak at Pegida rallies, you don’t get a preference.
That’s easy. Another easy one? Renua’s Paddy O’Leary. A flat tax? Three-strikes-and-life policy for crime? From a party that began when Lucinda Creighton couldn’t stomach dying women being able to access abortions? Continue reading “GE16 Red Lines: Who is left to vote for?”
Twenty-five years ago the phone rang. I’m a little hazy on the details- you have to remember, I was only seven at the time. I remember that I’d been excited, because my dad was going to see my uncle John living in America, and that uncle always sent me on the best presents. Toys you’d never get here- polar explorer play sets, a gorgeous illustrated hardback Hobbit that I wouldn’t appreciate till years afterward.
There was always a kind of glamour to our overseas family, wasn’t there? You’d only see them once or twice a year at most. Their visits were filled with drama- the excitement of meeting them at the airport or in a house stuffed with family, a few days or a week to fit in months worth of experiences, and before you knew it you were saying goodbye again.
I say ‘were’, of course, but the present tense would be just as appropriate, wouldn’t it?
Of course- this won’t surprise you, since I led with it- that phone call twenty-five years ago was different. The details I’m gonna keep to myself, but my uncle- less than a decade older than I am today- had died suddenly.
It happens. It was horrible, of course. Of all my childhood memories- almost all hazy- the feeling of walking into my Nana’s house later that day, the silence of the aunts, uncles and cousins filling the living room lives in sharp, full-colour contrast.
I don’t know the details. I was only a child. But I think that it took days to bring his body home.
Let’s fast forward a few years, shall we?
Continue reading “Identity Ireland? Xenophobia Is Not My Irish Identity.”