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.
August 9, 2017
Even the kids of Cyberia just long to belong
Last weekend, I found myself sitting in Sunday Hill Farm listening to a trio of musicians playing Beethoven. Sunday Hill Farm is the Wiltshire home of British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton. As his biographer, I was there to hold a public conversation with him about his life and thoughts. Sunday Hill Farm is situated on the outskirts of Malmesbury and is ‘an old cottage of Costwold stone’. In this rustic idyll, Scruton writes and farms his way through the day. He calls it ‘Scrutopia’, a rooted place shaped by culture and custom, animals and Aristotle. Our conversation takes place at the ‘Scrutopia Summer School’, an event that seeks to give delegates a taste, not only of Scruton’s thought, but of his daily life. That is why, as the sun begins to set, we are assembled in his library. It is a converted barn that contains two pianos and thousands of dusty tomes. Oozing antique charm, this library is a place that reveals the beauty of old things. It is a storeroom of memory, where the ghosts of Scruton’s past smile down from the rafters. It is a true home that bears witness to the ‘remnants of a life’…Read more
July 1, 2017
A dark day for democracy
IN a democracy, trial by jury is an essential guarantor of true freedom. It is a right not enjoyed around the world; it is a right for which, over the years, many have fought – and some have even died. It is a cornerstone both of our judicial process and of our deeper belief that, ultimately, it is the people of this country who are the pillars on which the State was built. And therefore, when a jury of 11 men and women handed down not guilty verdicts on Thursday to six men accused of falsely imprisoning the former tánaiste and her assistant in 2014, I saluted them. They had done their job: they had weighed the evidence presented to them, they had considered the arguments put before them, and they had arrived – unanimously – at an emphatic verdict. The Jobstown Six, as they have styled themselves (doubtless trying to suggest themselves, laughable as it is, as a latter-day Birmingham Six), were found not guilty of the charges they had faced. The system had done precisely what our forebears had intended it to do. Paul Murphy and his acolytes were free to go, without a stain on their characters. But being innocent of this particular crime does not, however, mean they had done nothing wrong…Read more