THE JEMMY HOPE COLUMN – ISSUE 24
“As a people, we are excluded from any share in framing the laws by which we are governed. The higher ranks usurped the exclusive exercise of that privilege, as well as many other rights, by force, fraud and fiction.”
One of the most fitting tributes to the memory of James Connolly came 10 days after the centenary of his death on 12th May, when, after a 114 year wait, Hibernian FC won the Scottish Cup. Edinburgh born Connolly was fanatical about his support of Hibs, as a boy he would do odd jobs around the Club’s ground to get cheap admission and when Hibs was in financial difficulties in the early 1900s Connolly organised fund raising ventures. In a letter from the US to a fellow Scottish socialist in April 1906, Connolly wrote about his need for information from home – “The only information I got lately was when a little Scotchman in the shop told me that ‘the Hearts were in the in the final of the Scottish Cup; they knockt hell oot o’ tha Hibs.’ Wherat I felt much depressed.”
Jemmy notes that The Irish Times has added Pat Leahy to its political staff, joining Stephen Collins and Harry McGee as journalists who have no fear of speaking truth to power and exposing corruption and malpractice in high places. The new government better watch itself with these crusaders on the case. Speaking of Harry McGee, Jemmy wonders if he has ever pondered if his puff pieces actually did the Renua party more harm than good?
Renua’s former spin doctor, the dynamic intellectual John Drennan has resurfaced (following his highly-successful tenure with that party) as a talking head at Denis O’Brien’s Newstalk and a reporter for the ‘Irish Daily Mail’. Sneering at people actually trying to change society is Drennan’s stock-in-trade, but Jemmy has noticed that he tends to follow a set pattern; cheer-leading a right-wing politician and then abandoning them once the tide turns.
Further evidence that you just can’t get rid of them is the news that former Northern Ireland First Minister, Peter Robinson, has been appointed to the board of ‘peace building charity’ Co-operation Ireland. There he will join the organisation’s vice chairman former Taoiseach John Burton – it is unclear what ‘expenses’ that pair were earn out of this, but we all know ‘talent’ like that doesn’t come cheap.
Jemmy was dismayed, but not surprised to see a US Ancient Order of Hibernians group leading a parade in Dublin in March to commemorate the Irish Citizen Army. Who thought it appropriate to have this sectarian organisation, which supports American wars, even attend this event, you might ask? Well, the organisers Sinn Fein did. And before any half-baked historian mentions that a group called the Hibernian Rifles fought along with the Citizen Army during the 1916 Rising, it’s worth bearing in mind that this group had already split from the ancestors of the US Ancient Order of Hibernians due to their refusal to support the locked out workers of Dublin in 1913.