From the papers

Gerry Adams

In 1973, Adams was interned without trial in Northern Ireland. He made two attempts to escape and was subsequently given a four-and-a-half year sentence for doing so. Now a supreme court in London has decided that this conviction was unlawful, because the download-2original internment order was not signed by the Secretary of State for NI, Willie Whitelaw. The decision of the judges was unanimous and could lead to a large pay out to Adams, should he decide to pursue it. His concern, however, was that the British Government should inform other internees that their original internment may also have been unlawful.


The Leaving Cert

There will be no Leaving Cert examination in Ireland this year. In its place, each student will be given a mark from each teacher to indicate competence in that particular subject. These numbers will then be combined to form a single total, theoretical Screen Shot 2020-05-19 at 12.33.15 pmmaximum of 600, the number which tertiary institutions use to fill various courses of study.

This internal assessment system which does not depend on a final exam has been used for many years for students in the ACT. It requires lots of checks and balances to achieve fairness, something that is possible in a system like the Canberra one, with about 20 senior colleges; how it will work in a larger system like Ireland will be interesting to watch.

However …

The ASTI has told their members not to cooperate. Their reason? Not because of extra work or the need for more detailed record keeping, but because they are afraid that individual teachers may be sued for not giving a student the mark their parent thought they deserved.Association_of_Secondary_Teachers_of_Ireland_logo

As a little glimpse into the mind of a country for which young men and women were prepared to die less than a century ago, it is difficult to beat this. If you don’t like something, you sue. And there are plenty of underemployed legals happy to take on the case for one-third of the payout in what has become the litigation capital of the world. This writer, as well as being a former member of the ASTI, had 20 years of experience in the Canberra system, a place replete with public servants, but was never aware of legal problems.

Fields of Athenry

In May last year, more than 5 000 people gathered in the square in the town of Athenry Co Galway to sing together the full three verses and chorus of Pete St John’s song Fields of Athenry. Watching it now is deeply moving. ‘For she’ll live in hope and pray / For her love in Botany Bay.’

Find it at

Normal People

The book was reviewed in Tintean last year where the review described it as ‘a love story for the millennium, a reminder that there is a new world out there, where ‘out there’ means modern post-Christian Ireland.’ The book has now been filmed as a 12-episode TV series running on RTE and BBC and on STAN in Australia. The early filming was set in Sligo where the original story is based, moving to Dublin, Wicklow and Italy, and has caused much soul-searching and no little controversy for the way it deals with teen and early-adult sex.


Now, here’s a dance you should …

The great ones are dying. On May 29th, Brendan Bowyer died at his home in Las Vegas. 5184-2vnZaL._SY355_He was 81. Originally from Waterford, where his father was a well known musician and conductor, Brendan was one of the originals in what is now known as the showband era. His biggest success was The Hucklebuck …. ‘wiggle like a snake, waddle like as duck’, he sang to the approval of dancers all over Ireland. RIP.

Frank O’Shea