We don’t often debate the issue of freedom of expression in Ireland. Which is odd really given the number of taboos that have prevailed in this country over the years. At one time Irish writers and artists found themselves forced into exile because what they had to say about the human condition caused grave offence to the professed moral norms of our society. We were a country where sex and sexuality were deeply taboo subjects, where even tampons were banned because a Catholic Archbishop pronounced they would ‘give rise to occasions of sin’ in young girls. Things... [Read more]

In recent weeks there has obviously been a huge amount of debate and discussion as to the prevelance and even the meaning of homophobia. During a debate on RTE 1’s Saturday Night Show, I gave a definition used by the EU parliament when it adopted a resolution on homophobia in 2006. The full resolution is copied below, but the section which clearly defines ‘homophobia’ is as follows: “homophobia can be defined as an irrational fear of and aversion to homosexuality and to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people based on prejudice and... [Read more]

For only the second time in my life I am about to undertake a sponsored challenge. The last being a twelve hour sponsored basketball marathon when I was in my first year of secondary school back in 1978…yes I am so old that I last did a sponsored challenge sometime between the end of the steam age and the beginning of the computer age. If you are considering sponsoring me but are worried about receiving further requests from me in the future, you might want to take comfort from the fact that on that past record, I am unlikely to be seeking sponsorship again... [Read more]

Yesterday I posted a letter to my 25-year-old self, I wrote recently for a feature in the Irish Independent. In that post I mentioned that a few years ago I had been asked to contribute a similar letter, on that occasion to my 16-year-old self, to a book published to raise funds to the Irish Youth Foundation. The book was called ‘With Love, from me…to me: A Letter to my Sixteen-Year-Old Self.’ I have been asked to post that earlier letter on this blog. Which caused a bit of a dilemma as I couldn’t find it. But it turned up, or rather the fabulous... [Read more]

A few years ago I was asked to contribute a piece to a book to raise funds for the Irish Youth Foundation. The book was a collection of letters written by public figures to their 16 year-old selves.  I had thought I had posted the piece here, but it appears not. I’ll hunt it out and stick it up at some point. Anyway, I was recently asked to write a similar letter to my 25 year-old self. The piece was for a series which appeared in the Irish Independent newspaper: Dear 25-year old Colm, I know that life is not easy right now. I know that you are not happy. But... [Read more]