I am totally livid. I dislike being in that state.
Usually I prefer to walk a whimsical path along these lines, but that is not possible. Forgive me for that.
A secondary reason for my lividness is the fact I have had to write this piece twice because of an email malfunction, but the prime cause of my anger is the appalling Paddywhackery published here last week by one Patrick McDonnell. This was the ripoff Ireland story which appeared under the headline saying that “Irish Green Has Become Irish Greed.”
Normally this species of tripe is produced by a non-national, frequently by an English person from the No Dogs No Irish era of our jaundiced history. This Patrick McDonnell, however, states that he is Irish born and describes himself as Irish American nowadays.
I hugely regret that there is only a single letter differential between our clan surnames. I stress that we are not related in any other fashion. I have never met the man and I hope I never will.
From reading readers' comments about articles in the Irish Voice and IrishCentral down the years, I am aware that many of you over there are highly critical of the common use of bad language by the Irish in Ireland. That is a valid criticism with which I totally concur.
I avoid using expletives myself except at times when he strike my thumbnail with a hammer or suchlike instances of pain. But I have to confess to falling from grace when I was unfortunate enough to peruse the piece from McDonnell.
He savaged just about every level of Irish life and living today in his tirade against his own. He is critical, for example, of the salary earned by our taoiseach (prime minister) and the defects in the health service and public services generally.
And the cost of gas and diesel at the pumps of the transport world. And the cost of health insurance here. And the lack of trust shown to him by a dentist whom he visited when suffering from a toothache when he was unable to pay immediately for the treatment he sought.
It occurs to me that toothache may well have been caused by an excess of acrid bile in his angry mouth.
But I peg the power and validity of his criticisms of ripoff Ireland by the very first example the man quoted. He said he went into a coffee bar in Dublin with his own coffee and his own milk and even his own cup. Then he asked the server to merely fill his cup with hot water so he could make his own coffee.
He was affronted when the server in the coffee bar charged him €1 for the hot water, and that is the point at which his tirade against us took off. Some of you read it yourselves, and I am delighted that many of your published comments echo my view.
McDonnell described himself as "a struggling writer.” If that is so, and it probably is, why did he not stay out of the coffee bar and make his cuppa at home?
Would he not be aware that the owner of the coffee bar could not stay in business for even a week if everyone arrived in just looking for hot water for their own cup? Would there be chains such as Starbucks if everybody adopted that course?
Would McDonnell be at all aware of the fact that due to the arrival in Ireland of retail discounters such as Aldi and Lidl that he could provide himself with a week's supply of coffee for less than €2? Hardly a ripoff there.
As I said above, I judge the validity of all his subsequent criticisms of everything in Irish society against the hot water incident. If all our visitors and tourists adopted the same cent-pinching approach to an Irish vacation we simply would not have our vital tourism industry at all. And ne'er a barista in sight.
Of course there are shortcomings in our health service today. That is a European reality. Of course our gas at the pumps costs more than in Texas, but then we have to import all of it and about half the price is caused by government tax.
Of course the cost of living is high, again a European reality today, and the fact that we are a small and largely ruralized population with less volume and footfall than many others is relevant.
What is equally true for most observers who visit us is the fact that we are emerging from the harsh recession fast with a genuine and untarnished Cead Mile Failte for all, and Ireland is a very hospitable land to either come to on vacation or on a permanent basis.
I read that McDonnell had intended to return to Ireland permanently after spending 15 years in California. Here, as a writer, he was close to the publishing capital of the English-speaking world and sitting atop a genetic pool of about 40 million folk with Celtic connections.
Many writers have dramatically converted that situation into a lifestyle where they did not have to enter coffee bars bearing their own cups and describing themselves as struggling to survive. There is a caliber comment there somewhere.
McDonnell, in his tirade, did produce one short sentence which pleased me somewhat and stopped my flow of expletives. It came at the very end.
He wrote, “I am heading back to the good old USA." I fervently hope that he is there already, cup in hand. And that he never returns.
I feel a bit better now. Back to normal service next week!
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