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.
September 6, 2017
Communists offer paradise, but deliver hell
When I was in school, we had to write an essay on ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. It was the time of the Cold War, a time when we faced the real prospect of nuclear war. That we have reached that point once again is not surprising in a world where communists still govern. Even as children, my school mates and I were acutely aware of the distinction between good and evil. There was no attempt on our part to mitigate the crimes of communists. As far as we were concerned, they and their rotten system were wicked. Because we read the grim statistics, we knew that Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and Chairman Mao were the greatest mass killers in human history. Theirs was not the new ‘heaven on earth’ as promised in their demented speeches and pamphlets. It was, if anything, hell on earth.So, when we wrote about ‘man’s inhumanity to man’, we wrote about that diabolical experiment called ‘communism’. We wrote about Pol Pot’s Cambodian ‘killing fields’, about the ‘gulag archipelago’ and the frenzied terror of Mao’s ‘cultural revolution’. We wrote about mass murder. North Korea is a remnant of that benighted era when communism spread like a virus across half the globe. It provides ample proof of a thoroughly evil system: starvation, paranoia, death camps and people without hope. That it has been ruled by a single family since its inception shows that communist despots are royalty in everything but name. To my children’s generation, North Korea is a world away. To them, it is barely conceivable that, in my childhood, the people of Berlin were terrorised by a menacing wall that signalled the end of the free world…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