Wigmore 15 Nov 1984 - Tribune, Casement, Dr John Buckley

IN THE Sunday Tribune (November II) Workers' Party press officer Tony Heffernan tried to explain away Tomas Mac Giolla's demented ravings in North Korea by suggesting that the North Korean English-language newsspaper, the Pyongyang Times, from which the Trib was quoting, might have mis-translated Mac Giolia's reemarks.

Mis-translated? From what? In what language was Comrade Mac Giolla speaking? Korean?

In fact Mac Giolla's address at a luncheon on September 23 hosted by the megalomaniac "Great Leader" Kim II Sung was such a sustained piece of ox-tongued boot-licking that we can't be entirely certain he didn't deliver it from a kneeling position. Assuring the dessicated old Stalinist that "you and all the Korean people have many friends and supporters far across the world in Ireland," Mac Giolla repeatedly sucked up to him as "dear excellency", "Great Leader", "dear friend and comrade" and so forth.

Flanked by "esteemed Comrade General Secretary Sean Garland and esteemed Comrade Vice President Seamus Lynch", Mac Giolla clearly gave the North Koreans to under-

stand that the Workers' Party not only campaigns on the slogan "One Ireland and One People" but does so under the guidance of the theories of Kim II Sung which, residents of Ballyfermot will be intrigued to learn, Mac Giolia claims are "easily understood" in Ireland. "We fully understand the concept and principle of the J uche ", esteemed Comrade President Mac Giolia alleged.

Sucking down in return Kim noted that the Workers' Party "has waged a long-drawn-out arduous struggle to win back the independence of the nation and the sovereignty of the country under . . . the banner of Chajusong." Mac Giolla, Garland and Lynch sat silently while Kim told them that "Your party is vigorously struggling to get the British occupaation forces out of the Northern Ireland" and promised "firm unity" between his own regime and the Worrkers' Party in bringing this vigorous struggle to a successful conclusion.

There was much, much more from both of them along the same lines. But what Wigmore found most teliing was the tone of Mac Grella's remarks, an "exact reproduction of those abject paeans of praise to the "Great Leader" Joe Stalin without which no Kremlin bash was complete in the thirties and forties. How can anybody purporting to represent working-class Dublin people get to his feet, clear his throat and utter a paragraph like: "It is very clear to us that neither of these strugggles (against Japan and the US) would have been brought to a successful connclusion without the experience, the guidance, the great leadership of you, Your Excellency, Comrade President Kim II Sung"? Or: "Led by your Great Leader Comrade Kim II Sung the Korean people will and must secure victory; whether the imperialists wish it or not there will be a united Democratic and Socialist Korea in which all the people will be able to enjoy a peaceful and happy life under the leadership and guidance of Your Excellency Comrade President Kim II Sung, your dear leader Kim J ong II and the Wo1kers' Party of Korea"? (The second Kim is the offspring and annointed successor of the first.)

Mac Giolla, Garland and Lynch came to Pyongyang bearing gifts. The Pyongyang Times tells it like this:

"Comrade Kim II Sung ... received a gift in the name of the Workers' Party of Ireland from Comrade Tomas Mac Giolla, President of the Party.

"Comrade Tomas Mac Giolia exxplained the gift to Comrade Kim II Sung.

"Comrade Kim II Sung saw the gift on display and expressed thanks for it. "

But no mention of what the gift was.

A most curious omission. Wonder why. What could it have been? The contents of an abandoned arms dump, perhaps? A plaque from Long Kesh? An Easter Lily with an adhesive back? A £10 note? A Georgian tea-pot?

Anyway, now we know what to expect when the Workers' Party, armed with a full understanding of the Juche and campaigning under the bright banner of Chajusong, takes power in Ireland.

NOW that he's back home in Belfast, we should all keep our eyes firmly fixed on esteemed Comrade Vice President Seamus Lynch. Seamus was described two years ago by a Tory minister at the Northern Ireland Office as "the most useful politician in Ireland, I wish we had a dozen more like him." Simultaneously the bees' knees with the British Tories and the eat's pyjamas in Pyongyang, this lad's worth watching.

* * * * *

I'M told that the future Taoiseach, Ms Mary McAleese, has become a member of Fianna Fail in the Dublin South East constituency .

* * * * *

IS there to be no end to the traducing and misrepresentation of our patriot dead?

Scarce had Dick Spring arrived back from Kerry, where he had insullted the memory of Sir Roger Casement by suggesting that Roger had been a "constitutional nationalist", than Garret FitzGerald's department refuses to facilitate gays who wanted to lay a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance in honour of homosexuals who had died as a result of persecution and/or had given their lives for this country.

Most prominent among these was, of course, Casement himself. Whether or not the "black diaries" were tarted up by the Brits to ensure that Caseement was hanged - and they were then, as they still are, capable of any fraud or forgery - it cannot be denied that Roger Casement was gay and, quite properly and uno bjectionably, actively gay. The National Gay Federaation might do well to consider adoppting Casement as its patron and organiising an annual ceremony in his honour at the Garden of Remembrance in recognition of the fact that down through the years gays have done their fair share of dying so that the state of which Dr FitzGerald is Taoiseach could come into existence. And they could invite FitzGerald to preside. Sooner or later this man who has been holding a public exhibition of his liberal connscience for the past two decades and, by implication, inviting the rest of us to admire its perfect lineaments, will, just once, have to put it on the line.

The ghost of Roger Casement is knocking at the door.

* * * * *

I WAS distressed to hear on RTE's "Day By Day" programme on Novermber 7 that Paddy "Madlaw" Madigan has never paid the grand plus penalty imposed on him in 1978 for harassing and abusing anum ber of his tenants. Madlaw seemed almost to be boasting about this failure to comply with the decision of the courts.

Of course Madlaw, as a solicitor and an officer of the court, would know more about these matters than I, but I do seem to recall some hapless joke-shop owner being hauled off to the slammer a couple of months back for failure to pay parking fines. And small inner-city urchins are regularly incarcerated in secure institutions for offences involving much smaller amounts.

Why isn't Madlaw Madigan in jail?

I'm not saying he should be in jail, merely asking why he isn't. Given his recent affiliations and utterances I'm sure he could claim political status.

* * * * *

AND it wouldn't be surprisin' if there was another risin', says the woman from the Daily Mail. Or the Mail on Sunday as it calls itself on the Sabbath.

Page two of the Thatcherite propaaganda sheet on November 11 carried an "exclusive" (aren't they all?) story headed "Striking miners in IRA security alert" which told of "sinister" meetings in Dublin at which NUM members were being tutored in "paraamilitary tactics" . . . by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions. The Mail painted a lurid picture of miners from South Wales and Lancashire being escorted around Dublin by Provos from public meetings in UCD and Trinity to "closed meetings" at which DCTU experts gave advice on "how to use paramilitary tactics to combat police operations".

The story claimed that the DCTU has "strong links with Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA" and identiified ex-Sinn Fein vice president Phil Flynn as a "key member" of the council.

The Mail had originally intended to run the story the previous week, November 4, and had asked a welllknown Dublin-based freelance journaalist to research and write it. The Mail's "tip-off" had come from Private Eye, whose own source was a complaint from a student at UCD that Sinn F einers had "hi-jacked" the NUM strike issue. The student had been referring to a pro-miners meeting at the college on October 22 which had been sponsored by Sinn Fein. But by the time the story reached the Mail via the Eye it had been expanded into the Provos hi-jacl~ing the miners' issue generally.

The freelance checked the story out and called the Mail back with the news that, sadly, there was just no truth in it.

Nothing daunted, the Mail disspatched a Ms Sue Reid from Wales to Dublin. She made contact with the student who had been the Eye's original source. He, too, told her that the theory that the Provos were maniipulating or controlling trade union support for the miners was nonsense. Still, by the evening of November 9 in (where else would she conduct her research?) Mulligan's in Poolbeg Street Ms Reid was announcing to all and in-: deed sundry that: "It might be a bit shaky but I'm going to stand the story up." (Even on a crowded Friday night the acoustics in Mulligan's are excelllen t.)

The facts are that Sinn Fein is pathetically badly-organised in trade unions in Dublin. Its influence on the DCTU hovers around zero. It is outtnumbered on the council by adherents of each of the Labour Party, the Workers' Party, the Communist Party and even Fianna Fail. Phil Flynn is not a "key member" but a rankfile delegate of his union: his attenndance record is bad and he rarely speaks. The council committee which organises support for the miners inncludes no member or supporter of Sinn Fein. And, of course, the "closed meetings" at which paramilitary tactics are imparted to NUM members are a figment of Ms Reid's over-active imagiination.

And that, folks, is how the free press keeps the great British public informed of the facts.

* * * * *

I HAVE been invited to draw concluusions from the fact that among the gardai detailed to ensure the safety of Justice Minister Michael Noonan is his brother-in-law, Norman Knightley. And there was me thinking that all Ministers for Justice are now told on their first day of office: "Steer well clear of the brother-in-law. "

But I draw no conclusions.

* * * * *

I SOMEHOW doubt that there were scenes of despair and wild lamentation in Soweto at the news that Dr Garret FitzGerald has torn up his Antitheid membership card. And I rather imagine that reaction in Namibia to the resignations of Mr Brendan Halliigan and Mr Niall Green was, well, muted.

But what effect will the Taoiseach's resignation have on Irish Anti-Apartheid itself? What, apart from the inscription of his name on the headed notepaper, have been the recent practical contriibutions of Dr PitzGerald to the struggle against South African racism?

Well, his last piece of activity was a speech at a meeting in Dublin protessting against an IRFU invitation to the Springboks touring team. That was in January, 1970. Fourteen years ago. Since then, zilch. Hasn't done a hand's turn (apart from allowing his name to decorate the notepaper, of course). Also on the platform in January 1970 was the above-mentioned Tomas Mac Giolla, president of the pre-split Sinn Fein, political wing of the IRA.

As for Mr Halligan, such was the fervour of his commitment to the antiiapartheid cause that he sought election to the organisation's committee. And

attended one meeting. Apart from which his single intervention in the struggle was an offer, during his merciifully brief period as a fabulously welllpaid if unelected MEP, to allow AA to use his Euro Parliament photo-copier - an offer which the bemused organiisation never had cause to take up.

As for Mr Green, he is director of the satirical group the Youth Employyment Agency. On my reckoning forty young people have joined the dole queues on every day of Mr Green's tenure of office. Perhaps Mr Green will now find time to direct his enerrgies towards that problem.

And I'm afraid I have to draw Dr FitzGerald's attention to the fact that he shares membership of yet another organisation with hundreds of Provos. I refer to the Catholic church and now confidently look forward to news of Dr Fi tzGerald's resignation.

Man of the Month - Dr John Buckley, Auxiliary Bishop of Cork

THIS month we break new ground with the selection of a Bishop as Wigmore's Man of the Month - the first time a representative of the hierrarchy has qualified for this passionately sought-after and prestigious award!

A long series of late-night meetings of the advisory think-tank considered a number of nominations: {[here was strong support for Fred O'Donovan, the R TE chief who carries enough beef to clothe with flesh an entire village of Ethiopian skeletons and who insisted on taking space in a plane travelling to that blighted country with a consignment of food so that he could "personally supervise" its distriibution. The O'Donovan lobby argued that there should be formal recogniition of their man's alertness in getting "in" on the Ethiopian story before the national press hacks had even arranged the malaria ja bs. Moreover, the famine gave Fred an opportunity to use his single transferrable quote: "It's a matter of life and death." An equally strong lobby urged that the award be given to the entire population of Nicaragua for their fortitude and forrbearance in putting up with the pressence of Shane Ross during the recent elections.

But the final decision went to Dr John Buckley, Auxiliary Bishop of Cork, in appreciation of his insightful comment on the French letters controoversy that "I know that the Irish people will not follow any individual or party who would sacrifice religious principles or values for any political policy." The attention of the judges was caught not so much by the sentiiment as by the authentically elliptical manner of its expression. Note that Dr Buckley does not say that he, or inndeed the hierarchy as a whole, will exact retribution from any TD foolish enough to sanction a flood of Fren-

chies. Oh no. It is "the Irish people" who will do this thing, and Dr Buckley just happens to "know" what the attiitude of the Irish people will be. Nor is there any mention of specifically Roman Catholic principles or values. Just "religious", thus leaving a vague implication in the air that persons adhering to the principles and values of, say, the Protestant churches in this matter are not just un-Catholic but somehow irreligious. And the distincction between "religious principles and values" on the one hand and "political policy" on the other makes clear that while his line on lubricated rubber is an expression of eternal truth, any contrary line is mere profane and transient opinion.

The award is given with the harddhit tourist trade in mind. It was, I think, the Archbishop of Tuam who in 1937 praised de Valera's constitution in the following terms: "Ireland was always an interesting country to visit, but when it is realised that our new Constitution will put it before the world with its own distinctive characcteristics, outsiders will be more innterested then, and eager to see on what lines we develop ... they will come to see for themselves what kind of people we are .... "

I am sure that some enterprisin-g travel company could organise package tours to enable Yanks, Japanese, Australian Rules supporters' clubs and so forth to come and "see for themmselves". Tuesday: a bus-run to Alice Glenn; Wednesday: a conducted tour of the Very Rev Dr McNamara; Thurssday: a special performance of the Ballymascanlon Follies starring Mary Kennedy as Mina Bean Ui Chribin; Friday: "Annul and A void the Issue", an illustrated talk on the all-party committee on marital breakdown. Sure the possibilities are endless.