Wigmore - October 1984: Paddy Madigan, Irish soccer, Rangers, Nicky Kelly

  • 1 October 1984
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A FEW years back I was being cross-examined during a criminal trial in Dublin when I noticed an unkempt man at the front of the court. The man clearly felt deeply emotionally involved in the exchanges between myself and the fleshy lawyer who, I had been warned by impressionable people, was a hot-shot brief capable of demolishing even as formidable and transparently honest a witness as myself. The unkempt man would smack a fist into the open palm of the other hand as the brief wound himself up for another question, like a fan at a prize fight encouraging the guy he had put money on towards further effort.
As it happened, the unkempt man's empathy was to no avail. It was no bother to me to cut the hot shot brief into small pieces: in the end he stood for a moment with his mouth flapping wordlessly open and shut before slumping defeated into his seat. My side won the case. I had been giving prosecution evidence against a garda sergeant landlord who had terrified and assaulted a young woman tenant. The garda landlord's brief was Peter Sutherland. The unkempt man was Sutherland's instructing solicitor, Paddy Madigan.

Madigan is now offering himself to Fianna Fail in Dun Laoghaire as a Dail candidate and will, I imagine, have the support of all those who want a TD who can be counted on to plead the case of the rich and powerful.

I do not doubt that he will do well. The reason for Madigan's obvious emotional involvement in the garda landlord case became clear in Septemmber last year when an account was published of a previous case in which he had figured. Four tenants of flats in a house in Eglin Road in Dublin 4 which Madigan owned had taken a High Court case against him for harasssment.

Describing Madigan's "outrageous" behaviour, the presiding judge, Mr Justice John Kenny, told how he had broken down a door, used a screwwdriver to render his tenants' letterrboxes unusable, deliberately damaged walls, threw furniture out of the house, removed the door of a self-contained flat and left it on a landing, and attempted to break his way into anoother of the flats. Madigan also made a number of telephone calls from a public box to a woman tenant. On each occasion when the woman lifted the receiver Madigan did not speak. All she heard was heavy breathing. Mr Justice Kenny said: "I have no doubt that this was part of a cammpaign of intimidation."

Justice Kenny described how one woman tenant was so frightened by Madigan's behaviour that she became ill and was put on tranquilisers by a doctor, how another was "weeping when she was speaking to the guards because she feared that Mr Madigan was about to break into her flat."

He summed up: "I have no doubt that the purpose of what Mr Madigan did was to intimidate the tenants ... He has even less excuse for his behaaviour when it is borne in mind that he is a solicitor and an officer of the Court. "

We know that members of Fianna Fail in Dun Laoghaire, ever-conscious of their duty to the nation, will be thinking long and hard about the credentials of all those offering themmselves to carry the party banner in the next Dail election.

* * *

MOST embarrassing scenes in the Dail restaurant last month. Gerry Collins, the well-known nose-flautist, crossed the room to speak to some obscure Fianna Fail hack and found himself at the same table as Nicky Kelly. Kelly had visited the Dail with Tony Gregory and they repaired to the resstaurant where Kelly's appearance caused some disquiet. The assembled

gougers, the vast majority of whom had wilfully ignored the blatant injusstice done to Kelly, in the process abrogating their public duties and bringing the Dail into disrepute, averted their eyes and continued wolfing their subsidised grub. (You'll note that though the gougers are too lazy to go into the Dail and legislate and are still on holidays they prefer to dine on the excellent but cheap grub at their works canteen.)

We are pleased to report that while Collins pretended that Kelly didn'{ exist and betrayed his emotions only by his vibrating nostrils and the bead of sweat that coursed down his left cheek, Kelly received a warm wellcome from the restaurant staff, several of whom congratulated him on his freedom. And he got an extra-large helping of dessert.

* * *

NEWS of an added service from this column. Some months ago a reader from Newtownmountkennedy asked us for information on how much Gemma Hussey costs the taxpayers. We duly printed the information. Blow me down if I'm not listening to RTE's Dear Sir Or Madam a couple of weeks back and doesn't our answer come up in a letter, word for word except that the Minister in question was this time Dick Spring. And the sender of the letter - from Clare, I think - got £8. Fair play. The way this crowd is boosting food prices you have to make a buck some way.

So, readers may please feel free to copy out any piece in Wigmore, stick a Dear Sir Or Madam on top and a Yours Truly on the bottom and send it in to John O'Donovan. We don't want a cut from the prize money, but do remember us in your prayers.

EVERY sports-page account of the Bohemian-Glasgow Rangers match I have read contrasts what happened on the pitch with what happened on the terraces and on the streets around Dalymount. Typical was Eamon Dunphy of the Tribune and this magazine - who writes the best sports article in this island.

Dunphy said: "What we witnessed on the pitch was the fruit of lives led purposefully, man in a state of spiritual grace, civilised by Taking Part. What we witnessed on the terraces and in the streets proved how thin the veneer of civilisation really is . . ."

Balderdash. The behaviour of the Glasgow Rangers' supporters exactly reflected what their club represents every time it appears on a football field.

Glasgow Rangers is a VIClOUS, bigoted, sectarian institution. Its deefining characteristic is a hatred of Roman Catholics. Of every Roman Catholic. No person born a Catholic has ever been signed by Rangers. The first question any Rangers soccer scout asks about a player is not how well can this guy kick a football but with what foot does this guy kick. A lad can possess the combined skills of Charlie Nicholas, Diego Maradona, Jobby Crossan and Georgie Best (oh all right, and Eamon Dunphy as well) and be available for signing at a fee of three and sixpence-halfpenny, but if it turns out that his mammy is a Murphy and sometimes goes to mass he won't even rate consideration. There has never been an exception to this club rule.

It does not apply only to players.

Glasgow Rangers has never employed a Catholic as a typist or boot polisher or lavatory attendant or turnstile ticket collector or as anything at all. Glasgow Rangers as an institution hates Catholics and just won't abide having a single one of them about the place.

Any organisation which is constituuted along such lines and which seeks to gather large numbers of people around its public displays and to engage their support for what it represents must both attract and encourage bigotry and violent hatred. Every performance by the Glasgow Rangers football team is a celebration of bigotry and violent hatred. It is psychologically impossible for Rangers supporters to behave in any way other than the way they beehaved in and around Dalymount. People who behaved differently would, by definition, not be Rangers supporrters.

(Dunphy assures me that Rangers did once sign a Catholic. Sadly for the cause of ecumenism, the player turned out to be 12 years old. And the Scottish FA forbids the signing of players under 13. A close one, but no harm done.)

* * *

EVERYTHING I have written here about Rangers applies in full measure also to Linfield, Shamrock Rovers' opponents at Glenamure Park this month. Linfield is the Belfast branch - even the head office - of the operaation and it is, of course, perfectly natural that their support is cooextensive with Rangers.

The exclusion of Catholics from both these clubs is as rigidly applied as is apartheid to any branch of sport in South Africa. Indeed, if it matters, it is more rigidly applied in that wideespread, publicly-expressed disapproval of apartheid in sport and the applicaation of retaliatory sanctions have forced a few - admittedly cosmetic - changes in South African sports. There has been no such weakening of resolve at Ibrox or Windsor Park, and part of the reason for this must be that there isn't widespread, publiclyyexpressed disapproval of their antiiCatholic policy, much less talk of sanctions to force its abandonment.

Why not? Why is it an affront to civilised values that blacks are exxcluded from rugby clubs in J ohannessburg but not an affront that Catholics are excluded from soccer clubs in Glasgow and Belfast? Why is this?

IT is, I think, that apartheid is recoggnised as a central and necessary part of the structure of South African society and its manifestation in sport therefore seen as an 0 bvious and approopriate subject for condemnsation, but that hatred of Catholics is not seen as a central and necessary part of the structure of the Northern Ireland state and its manifestation in the attiitudes and policies of Linfield and its Glasgow off-shoot therefore not seen as something deep-rooted and imporrtant and demanding of public condernnnation.

That is to say: at the back of it all is the unwillingness or inability of commentators on sport as on politics to face up to the nature of the Northern state.

My own view is that if sport really does represent the values claimed for it - claimed most eloquently by the aforementioned Dunphy - then there is an unarguable case not for banning the supporters of Rangers and Linfield from travelling to dodgy away matches but for banning these two clubs from soccer altogether until they formally and publicly renounce their policies of anti-Catholic hatred and give clear evidence in practice that these policies have been reversed.

State of spiritual grace indeed!

* * *

THE official Welcome Home Party for Nicky Kelly takes place tonight at the Spa Hotel, Lucan. Musicians, food, bar extension, great crack. Despite strenuuous efforts the Release Committee was unable to convince Gerry Collins to come along and snort us a tune on his nose-flute.

POLLOWING my mild reference last month to the pronouncements of Pope John Paul II on the spiritual side of sexuality I am now in receipt of three (three l) copies of a most entertaining booklet called "How To Use Natural Family Planning". It is published by Veritas and carries the imprimatur of Dermot, Archbishop of Dublin, 1984. The blurb boasts that "over 120,000 copies" are in print.

It seems to me to be a most danngerous publication in that some of the advice it offers is not strictly in line with the more recent utterances of the Pope. I draw attention particularly to the section "How many children should you have?" and urge couples to 'seek guidance from a qualified theologian and/or canonical lawyer before proceeding on the basis of this chapter. The risk of sin is terrifyingly high.

For example, the statement that "It can be perfectly reasonable to postpone having children for a number of years if a couple has a good reason like finishing studies" may be true in that such a decision may be "perfectly reasonable". But that's not the point. The point is, is the decision in line with what the Pope says is right?

Answer: no!

It is so difficult these days to keep up. Or at least to keep sinlessly up.

* * *

A FRIEND just back from London tells me that in the pop music section of Madame Tussaud's she spotted B.P. Fallon having his picture taken with various exhibits. Whatever can this mean?

* * *

Magill and Tom O'Dea have reached an amicable settlement to a threatened legal action, arising out of references made in Magill to Tom O'Dea.

Mr Browne and Magill apologise to Mr O'Dea for its retaliatory swipe to references made by Mr O'Dea to Mr Browne in a column he then wrote for The Irish Press. Mr Browne and Magill now acknowledge that the comments about Mr O'Dea were unnfair and untrue.

As a gesture of goodwill to Tom O'Dea, Magill has paid Tom 0 'Deas legal costs, and Tom O'Dea has agreed to drop all proceedings against Vincent Browne, Magill and our printers, Lithographic Universal Ltd.


Woman of the month- Eileen Lemass

Eamon McCann

DIVIL of a time selecting Wigmore's Person of the Month. A petition from members of the Pyonyang (North Korea) branch of the Workers' Party urging me to consider Cathal Goulding has been rejected on the ground that sure hasn't the poor man suffered enough recently, what with his having to instruct his solicitor to take court action to ban RTE from broadcasting an interview with him as a protest against an RTE decision to ban the broadcast. Ach, God love him, sure the strain was bound to tell sooner or later. Likewise rejected are pleas in support of Cormac Boomer, the SDLP counncillor in Belfast who biffed PD man Fergal O'Hare in the council .chamber because he believes PD isn't strongly enough opposed to violence. And I 'rejected out of hand a submission in favour of the Indo journalist who, having phoned the Late Late Show to ask whether the programme's Nicky Kelly interview - largely based on the Kerrigan/Dunne book - had not been "too soft", and readily admitted that she hadn't read a page of the book, and then phoned the Magill office and just as readily agreed that she hadn't seen the Late Late Show interview either.

No. Winner of this month's coveted award is Ms Eileen Lemass, duallmandate member of the European Parliament and blond-haired person who romped home in the June poll with the first-preference support of 4.44 per cent of the Dublin electorate, some of this support coming on the basis of her well-publicised promise that, if elected, she would donate half of one of her salaries to charity.

In the Sunday Independent of Sepptern ber 23 Ms Lemass agreed that this, well, hasn't happened. She hasn't yet donated any portion of either of her salaries (total: £2,800 a month) to charity.

"I am waiting until I can accumuulate some of the salary," she is quoted as saying. "Was I expected to give £15,000 a year to charity?"

No she wasn't. She was expected to give half that to charity. She was expected, too, to use a similar amount to take somebody off the dole to run a constituency office. She was expected to do these things because during the Euro election campaign she perrsonally handed out leaflets promising to do them.

Wigmore commented in July: "Let's have no backsliding. We will want to see the receipts." We still do. And we expect them to show that the back money has been paid in full.

In the meantime, let it be recorded that Ms Lemass's personalised cammpaign in June, in which the charity promise figured prominently, secured the second Fianna Fail seat for her and relegated the less imaginative Jim Tunney to the ranks of the also-rans,

It is in recognition of this inspired will to win that Ms Lemass emerges once more ahead of the hapless alsoorans to take the ultimate accolade:

(I understand that she intends to give half the award to Trocaire.)