Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - LOOKING BACK -

Christy O’Con­nor Snr in turn was joined by Muham­mad Ali, pro­vid­ing ab­so­lute con­fir­ma­tion that 2016 would be the year in which we gained a true un­der­stand­ing of the les­son of our times: any­thing in this world that is any good is in con­stant dan­ger.

Yet we were still in a rel­a­tively safe place as re­gards the Repub­lic’s im­mi­nent de­par­ture for Euro 2016 — safe in the sense that we knew they weren’t go­ing to win it, but prob­a­bly wouldn’t dis­grace them­selves again.

How­ever, it looked for a mo­ment that Martin O’Neill might have some­thing to say about that when he ex­plained to an en­thu­si­as­tic crowd in the Cork Opera House that he had taken coaches Steve Guppy and Steve Wal­ford to the Su­per­bowl so that peo­ple wouldn’t think that he and Roy Keane were “queers”. He re­sponded to Queer­gate as he had ear­lier re­sponded to Ugly Women­gate: “If I had made in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments, then I ob­vi­ously apol­o­gise.”

“If. . .” But, of course, if we’d known what lay ahead in the world in the in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments de­part­ment and in­ap­pro­pri­ate­ness in gen­eral, we’d prob­a­bly have just waved him through.

We were even think­ing poorly of our­selves at the news that Ir­ish teenagers are among the most pro­lific for ‘sex­ting’ in the EU, when ev­ery­thing the Ir­ish have ever done wrong was sud­denly blown into ir­rel­e­vance by the sin­gle great­est act of self-in­flicted sab­o­tage ever com­mit­ted in a civilised coun­try in peace­time — Britain voted for Brexit.

It was a mis­take in ev­ery sense — they didn’t re­ally in­tend to do it. From the mo­ment it hap­pened some of us have been con­vinced that the Machi­avel­lian forces who re­ally run Britain are engaged, with all their in­ge­nu­ity, in ef­forts to undermine and ul­ti­mately to over­turn the de­ci­sion of the peo­ple, due to the un­for­tu­nate fact that, in this case, the de­ci­sion of the peo­ple hap­pens to be a load of ab­so­lute cob­blers. Nat­u­rally, these un­seen pow­ers will have to fool the peo­ple into think­ing they’re not do­ing this, but, hell, that shouldn’t be be­yond them ei­ther.

It was bad, bad news for Paddy, too, so we’d bet­ter keep quiet for the mo­ment about those 180 EU jobs for Ir­ish­language speak­ers which will be­come avail­able in Brussels and Lux­em­bourg now that Ir­ish is an of­fi­cial and work­ing lan­guage of the EU, which is also, in its own way, a load of ab­so­lute cob­blers.

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