Just a block-and-a-half from where Cory Lidle's plane smashed into the centre of a 42-storey building in New York last Wednesday, there is a small, almost-forgotten reminder of what it means to be in a city of surprises.
It has emerged that protestors against Shell in Rossport, Co Mayo have been engaged in widespread baby-eating and child murder. One local, who admitted to being too terrified to use his name, spoke of his horrific ordeal when a known protestor (name withheld) turned up at his house and cannibalised his six infant children. He added: "It is known in the area that the IRA is controlling them."
One of the more striking aspects of the media's recent behaviour over "Bertiegate" has been the identity of the newspaper most vigorously inclined to go in for the highly dramatic kill on the poor old Taoiseach.
At the "America" literary festival in Paris two weeks ago, the attending writers were invited to the US embassy in the heart of the city. The writers had come from all parts of the North American continent. The guests included Margaret Atwood, Chuck Palahniuk, Kent Haruf, Guillermo Arriaga and 75 others, including myself.
'Pay ruling will undo 50 years of women's struggle," screamed the headline on the front page of the Irish Independent. "EU court rules women can be paid less," complained the headline on the front of the Irish Times. The sisterhood was exercised as only the sisterhood can be exercised, lacerating "discrimination" and demanding "equality" in the face of patriarchal nastiness and dirty dealing.
It was one of the flukes of the current political theatre that a meeting with Sinn Féin was the occasion for the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste's first public engagement after what was obviously a difficult tête-à-tête between the two earlier that morning.
This conflict between the Irish Times and the Mahon Tribunal is an interesting collision of interpretations of "the public interest". At the time of going to press, the tribunal has yet to say what action, if any, it proposes to take against the newspaper in relation to the recent leak about the financial affairs of the Taoiseach. But what is more interesting is the fact that here we have two institutions each claiming to represent the public interest, with no possibility of reconciliation. Each side is, from its own point of view, correct.
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The best part of the reporting during the Bertie payments scandal was the broadcasting of Joe Higgins' now legendary Dáil speech on Wednesday 27 September. Higgins mocked up a letter for Bertie to send, with a bank draft, to his generous pals: "Ah jaysus, lads, you'll have me in huge trouble if you don't take back the 50 grand. My circumstances have improved and I will have 50 reporters traipsing me for the rest of my life if this comes out. Bertie." And a PS: "Tell Paddy the Plasterer to stay clear of Calelly's house.
In July, when the government published a draft privacy bill, Fine Gael's justice spokesperson, Jim O'Keefe, expressed his party's "reservations about the need for such a bill". By Sunday 1 October, after "Bertiegate" had received 10 consecutive days of frontpage headlines and blanket coverage across the media, O'Keefe's reservations had turned into denunciations that echoed those of the media.