Welcome to my website!
Here, you will find details of my Career and Life, Books, and Media & Public Appearances. I also make available a collection of my journalistic writings. Just below, you will find a new Moral Matters Column (uploaded each Friday) and a selection of my Saturday Essays from the Irish Daily Mail. At the bottom of this page, I have selected a quote from my writings in the hope that it will help you kick off your day on a contemplative, thought-provoking, but always life-affirming note.
April 18, 2018
Step inside the parlour… it’s another world
The other day, I was telling our boys about dear old Daisy. Daisy was my grand-aunt – my maternal grandfather’s only sibling. As I told them her story, you could hear a pin drop in the car. There was nothing remarkable in Daisy’s life. Like most women of her generation, she lived and died simply. But the world she inhabited – a world so different to ours – is one that perished with her. Known to her devoted neighbours as ‘Mrs Mac’, Daisy lived in a small house with her husband and another elderly lady named Una. How Una came to live with Daisy is still a mystery to me. What I do know is that Daisy and Una were inseparable. It was not that Daisy and Una always got on with each other. All day long, they bickered about anything and everything. Indeed, they were so used to bickering that, even when they were being nice to each other, they feigned to bicker. An example. Una walks into the kitchen, collapses in her armchair and says: ‘What ails ye?’ Daisy: ‘You are! Can’t you see I’m trying to clean the floor?’ Una: ‘Will we go and get the groceries?’ Daisy: ‘If you’d give a hand we’d get out quicker!’ And then, irrespective of the weather, they would set off in their overcoats and scarves, their shopping trolleys trailing behind. Daisy’s day always began at dawn – even in the summer…Read more
- Moral Matters has been running each week in the Irish Daily Mail since 2009. Columns from 2013 to the present are available simply by hitting the ‘Columns’ tab above.
March 17, 2018
Can Pope Francis heal his divided Church?
LAST Monday, former President Mary McAleese appeared on RTÉ’s Today With Seán O’Rourke programme. Having recently obtained global headlines with her searing denunciation of the Catholic Church as an ‘empire of misogyny’, Mrs McAleese used her appearance on the show to take aim at none other than Pope Francis. The Pontiff, she claimed, is ‘not a great strategist’, but is a ‘very spontaneous, almost scattergun person’. And, while these might be ‘disarming and lovely’ traits, we are, she believes, ‘beyond the point where that is enough’. It is not often you hear leading Catholic liberals so stridently criticise the current Pope. However, the former president wasn’t finished. While acknowledging that Francis is, indeed, a ‘reforming pope’, he nevertheless presides over ‘a male bastion of patronising platitudes’, to which he himself adds ‘his own quota’. While many were shocked by her criticisms of this popular Pope, Mary McAleese is, in fact, not alone in finding fault with Francis. Indeed, on both sides of the Catholic divide, the Pope has his detractors – people who believe, like Mrs McAleese, that he hasn’t gone far enough, and others who think his ‘reforms’ have gone much too far. As it happens, Mrs McAleese’s broadside against Francis coincided with the fifth anniversary of his election as Pope on March 13. What began as a pontificate of great promise has, however, become one that is often unpredictable, complex and, at times, bitterly controversial…Read More