Magill File October 1977

Short articles from the Magill File, October 1977


First National Building Society: Cast a cold eye

THE LATEST addition to the litany of radio advertisements for the First National Building Society involves the recitation of the epitaph of W.B. Yeats, The bones of our great poet and statessman, we are told, lie in the shadow of Ben Bulben and within the comforting ambit of a First National office.

More pertinent to the First National theme than his epitaph are Yeats's lines in "September 1913":

What need you, being come to sense, But fumble in a greasy till

And add the halfpence to the pence And prayer to shivering prayer, until You have dried the marrow from the bone?

For men were born to pray and save:

Romantic Ireland's dead and gone ...

Old friends are best. 



DURING THE debate on the Emergency Powers Bill over a year ago, successive Fainna Fail spokesmen stated that when their party was returned to office the measure would be repealed. At the Fianna Fail inaugural campaign press conference in Leinster House on May 26 Jack Lynch was asked if the Emergency Powers Act would be repealed if Fianna Fail won the election. He replied that it would be.

At the press conference, again in Leinster House, on the day after the election of the new Government by the Dail, on July 6, Jack Lynch was again asked if the Emergency Powers Act would be repealed. This time he said that they would have to "look at it". When reminded that he had stated at the first pre-electionipress conference that the Act would be repealed, he vigorously denied giving any such underrtaking.

Apart from it being the crystal clear recollection of this reporter that Mr. Lynch did make this unequivocal underrtaking, may we refer him to The Irish Press and The Irish Times of May 27 last?

On page 4 of that morning's Irish Press there is the following report: "He (J ack Lynch) said Fianna Fail would repeal the Emergency Powers Act which was an unnecessary piece of legislation and the Criminal Justice Act under which not one case had been taken North or South ".

On page 6 of The Irish Times of the same morning there is the following report: "Fianna Fail, he (Jack Lynch) said, would repeal the Emergency Powers Act which was an unnecessary piece of legislation and the Criminal Law J urissdiction Act - 'a dead letter' - under which not one case has been taken North or South".

So much for promises.


THE CURRENT jibe against Conor Cruise 0 'Brien is that he now speaks for nobody" but himself. But at least that's an improvement on some Fianna Failers who appear not to know whether they speak for themselves or not.

We sent a circular to members of the Oireachtas enquiring how they would vote on a new contraception Bill. Several Fianna Fail members replied that their party whip would speak for them. Ruairi Brugha was one of these. It will be remembered" that when he was spokessman on Northern Ireland he repeatedly insisted that he spoke only for himself, and as Kevin Boland asked, if spokesmen speak only for themselves, who do the "five eights" speak for?

The answer apparently is that they don't. know whether they speak for themselves or not, at least not until the party whip tells them what they are to think. Now that Ruairi Brugha is a "five eight" since his election defeat, can we presume that now he does not even speak for himself?



THE BRITISH Irish Association, which " holds its annual jamboree at Oxford, is turning into a personal forum for Conor Cruise O'Brien, who for the second year was the star performer of the connference.

His after dinner speech on southern attitudes to Irish unity was a theatrical masterpiece, even if his use of opinion poll statistics left a lot to be desired. After his speech he was personally attacked by fellow TCD senator, Mary Robinson, but was unruffled.

On the following morning Austin Currie was geared up to refute the  O'Brien thesis but his speech turned out to be innocuous. Then Fr.McGreil, whose book and researches 0 'Brien had made such use of, rose to refute Conor point by point. However the chairman of the session, Lord Longford, brusquely and arbitarily applied the 5 minute time limit, leaving him in mid air.

One of the disappointments of the conference was Martin O'Donoghue, who in his first speech managed to say nothing and say it in a listless academic way - his second speech was not much better.