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Showing posts from November, 2022

Abusive Schools in Ireland

  Abusive Schools in Ireland           Gerry OShea Gabriel Byrne’s Broadway play Walking with Ghosts deals with the actor’s life growing up in Dublin as the eldest of six children in a working-class family. It is a dramatic memoir of his young years, dealing impressively with his early school and church experiences before moving on to heartbreaking family tragedies and his own successful battle with alcoholism. At age eleven, in the early 1960’s, he was recruited as a likely candidate for the Catholic priesthood by some order with a preparatory junior seminary in England. There, he liked studying Latin and was lauded by his teacher as a possible future classical scholar. In one of the high points of the play, the Latin teacher invited him to his room for a chat. The priest questioned him about his sexual propensities while grooming him for grotesque sexual molestation which occurred on that day. In a poignant scene from a later point in his life, Byrne speaks on the phone with

Reflections on the Midterm Elections

  Elections Reflections              Gerry OShea Despite the positive results for democracy that emanated from the recent midterms I am still completely perplexed by the happenings in American politics since the last presidential election. Saying that we live in extraordinary times does not begin to capture the extent of the moral and political confusion that has engulfed the country. It is mind blowing that more than half of the candidates representing one of our two main parties ran for office on the outrageous assertion that Donald Trump was cheated out of victory in the last election. They assert - without blushing - that he should still be at the helm in the White House. Sixty judges reviewed the results and not one could find the slightest evidence of any chicanery. We hardly need to explain that in a democracy the one who gets the most votes in an election (in America in the electoral college) wins the contest. All these Republican candidates and leaders in the various sta

Catholics and the Presidency

  Catholics and the Presidency             Gerry OShea In 1933 President Theodore Roosevelt told two of his trusted advisors, Henry Morgenthau Jr., a Jew, and Leo Crowley, a Catholic, “you know this is a Protestant country – Jews and Catholics are here by sufferance.” A hundred years later, these two religious groups are no longer outsiders, but traditional Protestanism still carries real heft in political circles. People associate religion with conservative politics. Evangelical Christians and churchgoing Catholics tend to support the Republican Party while people deemed liberal in both groups join Jews, Blacks and secular voters to populate the Democratic party. It is hard to imagine a freethinking candidate, unattached to the Christian mainstream, securing a Republican nomination for high office. Similarly, an aspiring Democrat who, for instance, condemns gay marriage would vainly appeal for approval in the Democratic community. It is highly ironic that two of the top three De

Reflections of an Immigrant

  Reflections of an Immigrant             Gerry OShea I came to America on a student visa in the summer of 1968. I travelled with a college friend, Ignatius Coffey, who hails from Labasheeda in County Clare. We were attending University College Dublin (UCD) after completing a second year studying the Arts curriculum. As evening students we were making our way by working in various jobs because our parents could not afford to cover our living expenses. So, we arrived in New York on the last day of May with very few dollars in the back pocket wondering if this new country would give us a break. I had uncles and aunts in New York who were a big help in providing meals and subsistence. A first cousin’s husband, who worked in Woolworth’s warehouse in Harlem and who was one of about six shop stewards in the Teamsters Union there, found us a job in his place, despite the line of American students knocking at the door. The pay was good and we worked every hour of overtime that we could