PILLARS OF SOCIETY : MICHAEL O' LEARY .......
From 'Phoenix' magazine , April 1986 .
Why has the rich promises of the 1960's never been fulfilled ? The answer is clear enough - in the first place , Michael O' Leary , as a potential leader , was fatally flawed , possessing an erratic temperament and occasionally unsound judgment .
Some of his initiatives as leader of the (State) Labour Party were decidedly odd - for example , his decision to abandon Leinster House for several weeks to bury himself in of all places East Galway , in the forlorn hope of achieving a good Labour by-election result .
Again , there was his public and predictably futile attempt to recruit Noel Browne as a Labour candidate for the Dublin West by-election . O' Leary indeed shared many of the faults of Noel Browne without having any of his virtures . Essentially a loner , Michael O' Leary , unlike Frank Cluskey or Dick Spring , was incapable of gathering around him a coterie of trusted confidants who could lend support and advice when the going got tough.......
PASSPORTS , PLEASE....... !
The latest passports for investment revelations involve a controversial £10,000 donation to Fianna Fail by US investor Gerry Lindzon .
There are grounds for suspicion that much of the money that changed hands in other deals was never intended for investment in the business but rather a 'facility fee' which accrued to the company for allowing its name to be used .
By Daire O' Brien .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1999 .
It's strange to think that the entire passports affair has its origins in a fairly innocuous clause in the 'Naturalisation Act': in addition to people born in the country , or people with Irish parents or Irish-born children , the 'Act' suggested that citizenship was available to those with "...close Irish ties.." .
It was this vague loophole that allowed the granting of passports to be in the gift of politicans until laws were tightened in the wake of the publicity surrounding the Masri affair. The scheme was finally abolished in 1997 .
[END of ' PASSPORTS , PLEASE ! ']
(Next - 'Disarming Martin' : from 1999.)
EMPIRES OF DUST .......
Britain's leaders talk about remodelling the world and its historians draw attention to the 'good side of the old empire' . But what about the reality ?
From 'MAGILL' magazine , March 2003 .
By Edel Brosnan .
Behind the hyperbole surrounding him , however , Niall Ferguson's own attitude to 'Empire' is subtler , and more critical than he lets on - " There's no glossing over the ugly side of empire ..." , he says at one point , nor does he defend "...some of the military excesses .. " : so that's all right then ! But , he adds, "...in economic terms it was a positive force . " Which it was- for some people , for some of the time .
But did the people of Mumbai , Mombasa or Mullingar feel so positive ? Were schools and railways enough to compensate for famines , bad administration and loss of independence ? That is the question Niall Ferguson never asks , and cannot answer . Running an empire is an exciting business - a 'boy's own' adventure where the Great White Master always gets to call the shots because he is 'civilised' and he knows best . Britain's empire was also good for business - for centuries , the nation that 'ruled the waves' got to write the rules for trade .
That was the whole point of world government : The British East India Company first 'acquired' India in the name of private enterprise , and Britain got a foothold in Africa thanks to the asset-stripping diamond despot Cecil Rhodes.......