Environment, Food Politics, Gastronomy, Health, Immigration, Uncategorized, Veganism

Slaughter House Rules of the Jungle

(Published in Village Magazine, June 2016) Ireland is awakening to the environmental impact of its livestock industry. Village has led the way, tackling an unpalatable subject that the O’Reilly/O’Brien press and the Old Lady of D’Olier Street for a long time ignored. RTE has been more craven still in its favouritism towards a livestock industry, often lovingly referred to as …


Arab-Israeli, Book Review, Immigration, Islam, Middle East, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized

The origins of Likud Ideology

(Published in Village Magazine, December, 2014) It has been said that there are two possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: one realistic the other miraculous. The realistic solution involves divine intervention; the miraculous, a voluntary agreement between the parties. The latest round of conflict is, mercifully, largely over. On August 26th, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) accepted a …


An Enduring Legacy – Lessons from the Great Famine

(Published in Village Magazine, November 2012) Who was to blame for the Great Famine? This thorny question rears its head with the recent publication of the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine by Cork University Press. We may accept the detached assessment of the American economic historian Joel Mokyr expressed some years ago that ‘Ireland was considered by Britain as …

Anti-Refugee Sentiment in Czechia

(Published in Village Magazine, April, 2016) Aflons Mucha’s Slav Epic enjoys pride of place in the Czech National Gallery in Prague. It is a cycle of twenty large and portentous paintings completed between 1910 and 1928 recalling the history and myths of an heterogeneous people inhabiting territory from the Asian steppe to the shores of the Mediterranean. The artist imposes …

Song is Existence

(Published in Village Magazine May, 2015) In the presence of great music we have no alternative but to live nobly. Sean O’Faolain Donal Dineen recently described this as a ‘golden age’ in Irish music. We might take heart when a DJ of his calibre with knowledge crossing genres and continents makes such a pronouncement. His sets and peripatetic shows reveal …

A Czech in Ireland (longer version)

(Unpublished, 2016) The Irish Free State avoided most of the depredations of World War II. There were casualties from a few bombing raid and Belfast suffered grievously but the Emergency is mostly remembered for insufficient white bread and Eamon de Valera’s visit to the German embassy with a letter of condolence on the death of Adolf Hitler. Moreover, in an …

A Czech in Ireland

(Published in the Irish Times 5/4/16) Seventy years ago in 1946 the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia emerged as the largest political party in free elections forming a coalition government with the support of smaller parties. By that time Denis Scrivener (nee Zdenek Skrivenek) had returned to Prague with his new Irish wife Nan Keating. But the Communist Party soon became …

Large scale immigration requires ‘the nation’ to be redefined

(Published in Metro Eireann, 2007) ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel’ (Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784) Provisional census figures indicate that the there are approximately 400,000 non-nationals living in this country. Coping with such a level of diversity is a new challenge for the indigenous population of a peripheral island historically removed from the European mainstream, une isle derriere une isle …