Irish Water and Repealing the 8th can take a back-seat as the Euros kick-off in France. Now all we need are a few Shane Long hat-tricks to seal the deal...
Fuck Brexit. Screw Donald Trump (preferably with a screwdriver). Putin can go and suck his own dick, even if he secretly takes pleasure in it. We don’t care and we won’t care. Not for two weeks at least. Football is all that matters right now. Have I made myself clear? Football. Is. All. That. Matters.
Ah yes, Euro 2016 is upon us and Ireland are in the mix. How can anyone expect us to treat the affairs of the nation as anything other than a piddling side-show when epoch-defining feats of derring-do are potentially in prospect? Who gives a good god-damn about Irish Water when the future of something much more important – Irish football – is at stake? You got it in one. Nobody.
Which brings us neatly to the all important question, upon which the fate of an entire civilisation clearly hangs: have we a hope in bleedin’ hell of making any sort of a positive impression once the ball is finally in play, and we are all permanently glued to the box, night after night after night after night? For the record, we will, of course, also be busy during the day, sticking pins in dolls and engaging in multifarious other arcane rituals, in the understandable albeit possibly illusory hope that some voodoo might just increase the likelihood of one of our brave boys-in-green sticking the liathróid in the veritable onion sack. Preferably the one behind the opposition goalkeeper, that is.
Ah, yes indeed. To grossly misquote the great Voltaire, aka François-Marie Arouet, in Candide: everything is possible in this best of all possible tournaments. Let the madness begin.
It is chastening to recall the build-up to Euro 2012. Ireland, managed at the time by the authoritarian Italian Giovanni Trapattoni, had qualified in rather less than fine style, squeezing into the tournament only via a play-off victory over a poor Estonia side. But we were there – and where there’s life, there’s hope. Or at least there was.
During the build-up to the big kick-off, the notion took hold among optimists that, having made the finals of a major tournament, Trap might finally relax his slavish dependence on the long ball game and allow the Irish side, at least on occasion, to show their creative instincts.
In interviews in Hot Press, John O’Shea and Stephen Hunt made the case that Ireland could go all the way – and who were we to cast aspersions on the grandiose scale of their ambitions? In truth it was music to our collective ears.
We all know what happened. In advance, our opening game against Croatia had been considered our best chance of a win. Sadly, Trap stuck with the neanderthal style that had got us to Poland and we were thumped 3-1. Games against the world champions Spain and Italy beckoned. It didn’t take a genius to work out that our goose was probably cooked. And so it proved. Spain rogered us 4-0. Italy showed some mercy and left it at 2-0. We still boasted a 9-1 deficit after just three games – the worst ever performance by any team in the group stages of the Euro finals.
There were those, at the time, who argued that we had no right to expect any better. The result was an accurate reflection of our true position in the global football pecking order. With a bunch of second-rate journeymen from the Premiership and the Championship making up the squad, we were lucky to have qualified. It was time to get real. We didn’t have the players. We didn’t have the quality.
I wasn’t alone in feeling that this was completely wrong. Of course there was a gulf in class between Ireland and Germany or Spain. But the beauty of football is that a cat can look at a king. Since the game was invented there have been shocks and surprises. If you walk onto the pitch with the right attitude and give it everything, then there is no knowing.
Denmark failed to qualify for the Euro 1992 finals and were added only when Yugoslavia were disqualified as a result of the war(s) in the Balkans. They went on to win the tournament. In 2004, Greece started as rank outsiders. No one gave them a prayer. But they defended superbly throughout, rode their luck and scored a goal or two – and finally beat Portugal, 1-0, in the final.
The only rule is that there are no rules. Great footballers are an asset to any team. Of course they are: would Ireland have fared better if Andrea Pirlo had been playing in the centre of midfield for us rather than Italy, in Euro 2012? Certainly (as long as Trapattoni selected him, that is; he mightn’t have). Would Wales have made the finals of Euro 2016 without Gareth Bale? Probably not.
But Messi hasn’t been able to carry Argentina, nor Neymar Brazil. The reality is that coaches have so little time with their squads at international level, that the most important factor is to get the team organised and functioning effectively as a unit; and to build the kind of collective spirit that enables players to play above their station both individually and collectively. Even where lesser teams like Ireland are concerned, as both Jack Charlton and Mick McCarthy proved in their day, if you can do both, then the footballing gods are far more likely to smile on you.
Giovanni Trapattoni was so fundamentally negative and fearful in his approach that in the end it became a self-fulfilling prophecy: the players played with fear. The question now is: have Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane flipped it the other way sufficiently to create a feeling among the players that there is no one in the tournament they can’t beat over, a given 90 minutes.
The dynamic between footballers and their managers is very hard to grasp for anyone who is not part of the group. You have to watch what happens on the pitch to gauge what is in the players’ heads and hearts and work backwards from there. And in that regard, the evidence has been hugely encouraging. Early on in the Euro campaign, I wasn’t sure that O’Neill was picking the right team; or that he was allowing them to play football. Trapattoni hadn’t trusted them to have the ball, and to keep it, in their own half. It looked as if Martin O’Neill was thinking along the same lines.
That perception has receded over the course of the campaign. Both he and Roy Keane have put an emphasis on the idea that we should get on the ball and control it. They have encouraged players to believe in themselves. Gradually, they have empowered our goalkeepers to make passes to the full backs or to the centre halves, rather than banging it straight up to the strikers. There is clearly no point in Ireland trying to emulate the tiki taka style of Barcelona and Spain: it is too technical. But we should be able to vary things and we have been doing that, with increasing fluidity.
Even moreso, the players seem to have been galvanised. They go into battle as a unit. They are good without the ball. The midfielders track back and create a defensive shield. People put their bodies on the line. They do the unspectacular stuff really well, winning headers, getting blocks in and making tackles when they have to. And they don’t give up: you can see, to the very end of every game, that they will throw everything they have into defence or attack, depending on what is required.
This is why they took four points against the World Cup winners, Germany, scoring in the last minute, away, to draw 1-1 and holding out fiercely to beat them 1-0 in Dublin. It is why we prevailed against Bosnia in the play-off: we wanted it more.
We are, of course, not unique in bringing qualities of organisation and resilience to France. Iceland and Northern Ireland, among others, have shown a similar aptitude. The curious thing is that on balance we have better footballers – by some distance – than either of our North European fellow-minnows. The challenge for Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane is to get the players to realise that – and to have the confidence to express themselves and be creative, as well as hard-working and strong.
Everyone knows at this stage that the first game will be vital. We play Sweden. They didn’t do well in the group stages and qualified via the play-offs. They don’t have real strength in depth. But they do have one of the greatest footballers of the past decade in Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing upfront and orchestrating things. He is one of the few players in the tournament – Gareth Bale of Wales is another – who can win matches on his own. But if we can shackle him effectively, then we have to be in with a very good chance.
The team that Martin O’Neill names will tell us a lot about his intentions. Most of the team picks itself. But he has big decisions to make about who to start in goal and in central defence. Without the benefit of watching them in training every day, my instinct would be to stick with Darren Randolph for the No.1 shirt, but if he gave the nod to Keiren Westwood, it would be impossible to argue. He has had a great season with Sheffield Wednesday, and is the man in form.
At centre-half, age may be beginning to catch up with John O’Shea, but he is an organiser and a motivator and, with Robbie Keane unlikely to, should start as captain. In raw terms, there is little or nothing to choose between Ciaran Clark, Richard Keogh and Shane Duffy. I would go for Ciaran Clark, who is the best footballer of the three – but it is a close call. Might he go, for example, for Shane Duffy’s height to equalise Zlatan’s advantage in that department?
The biggest issue, however, is will he start Wes Hoolahan? I believe he must. The inventiveness that he brings to the team means that the opposition are far more likely to spend time on the back foot. Plus, we keep the ball far better when he is on the pitch, meaning less energy-sapping racing around trying to fill holes and plug gaps. But Martin O’Neill might just prefer to play Jeff Hendrick in there with Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy, who are certain to start.
The other question is who to start on the left side of midfield. If Hoolahan is playing, it is between Jeff Hendrick, James McClean and – an outside bet – Aiden McGeady. In the diamond formation that Ireland have been using recently, there is every likelihood that he will opt for Hendrick, who tucks in naturally. He also knows Robbie Brady well and can link with him bombing forward.
I’d still prefer to see McClean given his head. He is more likely to do damage in attack. He is a better crosser. And I suspect he has more goals in him. Plus, no one will be in any doubt about the fact that he is on the pitch. He is hard as nails and will let the Swedes know it, early and often.
Whatever happens against Sweden, we have to go into the games against Belgium and Italy believing that we can beat them. If, as happened against Croatia last time out, we ship a heavy defeat in the opening game, then team spirit will be everything. Against Belgium, we will probably have to defend for 70% of the game. They have so many world-class players that they will be a constant threat. But, so far, the Belgium whole has not been as good as the sum of its parts. Which is why we can dream of beating them or at least snatching a point.
Italy tend to come good in tournaments like this, generally performing better than their form in advance promises. If we can put ourselves in a position where a draw will do, then we might well scrape it. But if we have to win to stay alive, it is certainly not an impossible ask.
After that, with the four best third-placed teams making it through, it is anybody’s guess what will happen. But you have to start out on the journey believing that at the very least you will give a good account of yourselves. I think this Ireland side will. It is hard to imagine anything other than that Germany, Spain, France and Belgium will be the last four standing, with an England side that is bursting with talent the most likely to gate-crash the semi-final party.
Ireland’s spirit is personified by Jonathan Walters; our grit by John O’Shea; our power by Seamus Coleman; our technique by Robbie Brady; our guile by Wes Hoolahan; and our pace and attitude by Shane Long. We have a lot of positives as long as Martin O’Neill recognises and plays to them. And if James McCarthy can step up consistently and deliver with confidence on his immense natural ability in the centre of midfield by making passes and controlling the game better, and Shane Long can continue in the magnificent form he sustained through the second half of the season with Southampton, then we really could turn out to be the surprise force in Euro 2016.
Fuck Brexit! Screw Donald Trump (I’ll lend you the screwdriver). And, what the hell, screw Putin as well.
Let the madness begin in earnest!
In Hot Press, a fortnight ago, we asked a series of questions of Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Since then, things have unravelled even further for the Social Media Monopoly. So here’s another one: how can the anti-competitive status, free of any form of regulation, which has been claimed by Facebook, possibly be justified when advertising lies flourish there?Read More
Hot Press Editor Niall Stokes gives the background to the Cambridge Analytica scandal – and writes an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking what Facebook intends to do about advertising and micro-targeting in the upcoming referendum in Ireland.Read More
The Irish-American singer Thom Moore, formerly of Pumpkinhead and Midnight Well – has died. Here, Hot Press editor Niall Stokes pays tribute...Read More
It was Wednesday June 14th, 1995, when the terrible news of Rory Gallagher’s death was first phoned through to the Hot Press office. In more ways than one, it was the end of an era. On Wednesday November 8th that year, a commemoration service was held at Brompton Oratory in London. The ceremony ended with a tribute, which was delivered by Niall Stokes, editor of Hot Press. As a special remembrance of Rory, on what would have been his 70th birthday, we reproduce here the full text of that tribute.Read More
The Tánaiste Simon Coveney has intervened in the abortion debate, taking a conservative position which opposes the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly and the Oireachtas Committee. Niall Stokes explains why he should reconsider.Read More
In the latest issue of Hot Press, editor Niall Stokes asks Simon Coveney to reconsider his position on abortion.Read More
A message from Hot Press editor, Niall Stokes, from our special Dolores O'Riordan tribute issue.Read More
Ireland were humiliated by Denmark, in the worst defeat suffered by an Irish team at home in years. The question now is: can Martin O'Neill stay on as manager?Read More
Darren Randolph was Man of the Match. But how did our other players fare last night? And what team will Martin O'Neill pick for the crunch World Cup tie on Tuesday?Read More
Storms have been afoot, with devastating consequences in parts of Ireland. Step back, however, and they illustrate the extraordinary power of the wind. So why is Ireland not a world leader in wind-generated power?Read More
Women in Ireland should be allowed to control their own fertility.Read More
The emphasis in Mental Health Week is on the well being of everyone who has to grapple with any of a variety of Mental Health issues. Indeed, at some point, that probably includes almost everyone in Irish society.Read More
It was a tough and gruelling encounter - but Ireland deserved to win the crunch World Cup tie against Wales, and to progress to the play-off stage.Read More
Over the past fortnight, a Facebook post by long-time Hot Press contributor Adrienne Murphy highlighted in the most heart-rending way the difficulties of living with a young man with severe autism...Read More
The Ireland and Leinster rugby star tells Hot Press that it is time for change.Read More
As the controversy about the Newstalk presenter refuses to die, the question needs to be asked: where does this poisonous stuff come from?Read More
When you are told that you need a Public Services Card to avail of social welfare or to renew a driving licence, it is mere semantics to claim that the cards are not compulsory…Read More
When you are told that you need a Public Services Card to avail of social welfare or to renew a driving licence, it is mere semantics to claim that the cards are not compulsory…Read More
Ireland’s World Cup hopes hinge on tonight’s do-or-die encounter with Serbia in Dublin. But as Niall Stokes writes, the paucity of tactical ideas on Saturday against Georgia – a recurring theme of O’Neill’s tenure – suggests the omens aren’t good. And if the result doesn’t go our way, it might just signal the end of his time in charge…Read More
Already one of the songs of the new century, Brendan Graham’s ‘You Raise Me Up’ has been selected as the end title track in a 30-episode epic on the man who is credited – along with his daughters – as a founding figure, in the People’s Republic of ChinaRead More
The time for hiding from the lights was over. In so many respects modern Ireland was born in 1987. And central to that was the huge artistic and commercial success of The Joshua Tree...Read More
Niall Stokes draws on his best-selling book Into The Heart: The Stories Behind The Songs Of U2 to offer a unique insight into the way in which some of the greatest songs in the history of popular music came into being.Read More
From Hot Press' 2002 Annual, Bono spoke to Niall Stokes about all matters personal and political.Read More
20 years ago, U2 came out with one of their most highly-anticipated albums, Pop. Niall Stokes met the band following its release for an in-depth interview.Read More
With the damaging impact of Brexit on the UK becoming clearer by the week, the threat of a hard border in Northern Ireland is likely to be used as a bargaining chip in Britain’s increasingly threadbare negotiating strategy.Read More
The Irish Music Rights Organisation has confirmed the appointment of the multi-award winning Irish songwriter, singer and composer Eleanor McEvoy as its new Chairperson, in succession to Keith DonaldRead More
There was what might have seemed like a dramatic development in the controversy surrounding the proposed new ownership of the National Maternity Hospital. But if all that is involved is shifting ownership from one religious interest group to another, then the issue remains as fraught as ever. By Niall StokesRead More
Once upon a time, there was a vision of a digital utopia. Instead, we now have global tech monopolies, surveillance capitalism and extraordinary levels of political manipulation. Welcome to the modern world...Read More
With the decision of Enda Kenny to step down – finally! – as leader of the party with the highest number of TDs in Leinster House, a new Taoiseach is on the way. Here’s an opportunity to check back over our Hot Press interviews with the leading candidates, to see what can be gleaned...Read More
The recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly may not be as far ahead of the public as politicians are claiming. But we also need legislation to prevent the covert use, and abuse, of personal data in the context of a referendum.Read More
The controversy about the ownership of the National Maternity Hospital has invited a new focus on the charitable status of Church institutions – and the extraordinary and unwarranted financial privileges which they have enjoyed since the foundation of the State.Read More
And no, this is not another Hot Press article encouraging mass promiscuity. It is about Brexit, and the push from the far right to completely undermine democratic politics.Read More
The cover of Hot Press is a national institution, coveted by emerging musicians and established stars alike. Now, the historic covers of the magazine – signed by the cover stars, and beautifully printed on specially chosen art paper – have been gathered together for a free exhibition, in the National Photographic Archive, Dublin. Introduction by Niall Stokes…Read More
Confirmation of the fact that the remains of hundreds of babies were buried in a so called ‘Mother and Baby’ home in Tuam, Co. Galway is testament to just how sick the attitude to sexuality promulgated by the dominant Church in Ireland really was. In special edition of The Message, on International Women’s Day, Hot Press editor, Niall Stokes reflects on an issue that has provoked outrage and anger.Read More
On March 9, it will be 30 years since the release of The Joshua Tree, a record that transformed U2 into the biggest rock band in the world. In this issue of Hot Press, we look back to the genesis of the album, how it was put together and and what made it work. And ask: has it stood the test of time?Read More
Over the past week, astonishing revelations have emerged about Garda collusion in a campaign of vilification which painted the whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe, as a sex offender. With the ‘Child and Family Agency’ Tusla being dragged into it, this has become a real horror story...Read More
With Steve Bannon directing operations, and aided and abetted by a bunch of power-crazed loonies, the answer is probably very far indeed. Things could get extremely nasty...Read More
There's a rocky road ahead. And we’re not talking about the one from Galway to Dublin. The good news is that Irish musicians have become far more politically involved than ever before. The bad news is that we are all facing into a particularly difficult and uncertain future. So how can we all – citizens, musicians and the media alike – deal with the political challenges ahead, from the Referendum to Repeal the 8th to the effects of Donald Trump’s presidency, knowing that we have entered the post-truth world – and that this is the backdrop against which fascism has been gaining momentum?Read More
It took the combined force of Hot Press' Editor Niall Stokes and U2 journalist extraordinaire Bill Graham to thrash it out with the four members of U2 back in 1987 to uncover the method and the magic behind their seminal album THe Joshua Tree.Read More
Speculation has been mounting about a special U2 tour that would celebrate the release of their global smash hit album The Joshua Tree, 30 years on. Well, the announcement will be made this morning...Read More
The funeral took place yesterday of Frank Murray – the man who began his career as tour manager with Thin Lizzy, and worked with Elton John and The Specials, before managing The Pogues, as well as The Frames, The Lost Brothers and more, in what was a highly distinguished career.Read More
Christmas may be coming - but in the wake of the most astonishing US Presidential election in living memory, the fear that a cadre of white supremacists may get their hands on the levers of power is growing. And it feels like uncharted territory...Read More
One of the leading lights of Irish music for the past 25 years, Glen Hansard has been chosen as the recipient of the Oscar Wilde Award for 2017 – which will be presented during Oscar week in the Los Angeles. No one is more deserving...Read More
This is 2016 and very strange and deeply disquieting things have been happening in the US and here in Ireland. It might help if we stopped singing the praises of people guilty of butchering their families, Niall Stokes said in The Message, written in that pregnant pause between the opening of the polling booths and the calculation of the result in the US election. Clearly an afterword is required…Read More
There was an Irish winner tonight, as the novel Solar Bones found favour with the judges, in an award which aims to reward genuine innovation...Read More
The decision of the Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan had some culture snobs frothing at the mouth. Even Bob doesn’t seem to know what to make of it all.Read More
It was an emotional occasion when the home-spun Irish epic was unvelied in Dublin’s Savoy Cinema last night.Read More
The World’s Greatest Rock Journalist has broken a decade-long silence to discuss his potential role in the Presidential stakes…Read More
Considerable controversy has surrounded the trail-blazing Galway restaurant – but the Michelin judges say that it’s still right up there, at the top of the game.Read More
It is just over 40 years, since Larry Mullen put the note on the noticeboard in Mount Temple Comprehensive, which led to the formation of U2. As various contributions to this special issue of Hot Press confirm, that gesture changed the world for millions of people all over the globe. But that they are still together is perhaps the band’s greatest achievement...Read More
The Hot Press Collective sends a message to the people of IrelandRead More
Hot Press alumni are among the leading attractions at the upcoming Write By The Sea festival in Kilmore QuayRead More
The Minister for Skills, Training and Innovation, John Halligan put his head above the parapet in relation to the laws on prostitution in Ireland. As it happens, he was right.Read More
Irish people have moved on in a way that is genuinely impressive. Dr. Lara Kelly’s testimony on abortion is one example. But there is a new honesty among Irish politicians too that gives cause for optimism.Read More
The family of the Mayo woman, who disappeared in December 2000, have called for an inquest into her death...Read More
Anyone who has experienced the manifest beauty and wonderful joie-de-vivre of Nice at its best will have been deeply moved at the shocking mass murder on the Promenade des Anglais July 18. But Europe must look into its own heart too, to find answers..Read More
Reports that HMV are to close down their four Irish stores have been confirmed – but news reports that the company’s new online platform will go head to head with streaming giant, Netflix, are not accurate.Read More
Details are emerging of the deal, concluded yesterday, which saw Virgin Media – owners of TV3 – buy UTV IrelandRead More
The UK referendum was won by the Leave side on the promise that Britain would take back control of its borders. Their victory will stoke far right, anti-immigrant sentiment across the continent.Read More
For a wonderful 60 minutes, it seemed that Ireland might just oust the hosts France from Euro 2016. That dream may have died as a result of errors in Lyons yesterday – but the sense that Irish football is on the rise once more is a wonderfully encouraging one. By Niall Stokes.Read More
It was an enthralling day of football at Euro 2016, with Ireland getting off to a solid start in Group E – only to be trumped by a brilliant Italian win over Belgium.Read More
A year on from our historic and momentous 'Yes' vote on Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum, we look back at Niall Stokes' pre-vote message urging the citizens of Ireland to vote for freedom, equality and mutual respectRead More
Religious control of schools promotes inequality, prejudice, division – and worse. It is also against the founding spirit of the Republic. It must be challenged now.Read More
Guy Clark was one of the greatest songwriters of the modern era – and in Old No.1, he made one of the most extraordinary and enduring albums of all time. By Hot Press editor, Niall StokesRead More
Prince was the latest in a long line of black artists - from Sam Cooke and Otis Redding to Jimi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye - to push the envelope, both musically and culturally...Read More
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil need to end the posturing and hammer out a deal, which will provide the country with a sustainable government.Read More
The Proclamation of 1916 was a powerful document. In recalling the momentous events of a hundred years ago, it is important not just to honour those who took part in the Rising, but- even more so- to see what we can learn in order to best shape our future...Read More
Where now for the Labour Party, after an electoral annihilation the scale of which outstripped all their worst fears?Read More
As the nation heads to the polls, it’s vital to consider not just the candidates vying for our votes, but the type of country in which we want to liveRead More
When Enya released Watermark in 1988, it WAS the beginning of one of the most remarkable chapters in the story of Irish music. With Nicky Ryan and Roma Ryan ever-present as collaborators, 80 million album sales and dozens of awards followed. Now, after a seven year hiatus, she is back with a new record, Dark Sky Island, and a determination to take the collective’s music to the world in a different way.Read More
Darkness seemed to be everywhere in 2015. It is hard to maintain any sense of hope, when barbarism is so militantly on the rise. But if we don't, we surely will be lost...Read More
The orchestrated jihadist attacks on Paris were an abomination. And the worst of the atrocities took place at a rock gig in the Bataclan, where 89 people died. So where do we go from here?Read More
As the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour finally approaches Irish shores, it's time to once again celebrate U2 - not just the best of Irish, but the greatest rock band in the world.Read More
As recently highlighted by Roopesh Panicker, it is outrageous that, in 2015, educational discrimination on the basis of religion is still the norm in Ireland.Read More
After the high of beating the World Champions, neanderthal tactics and selections by Martin O'Neill ensured that The Boys In Green could not match the Sunday heroics of our rugby team...Read More
We've come a long way since the '60s, with music, literature, movies, TV and journalism all playing their part to reduce the stigma of mental illness. But reason must still prevail if we are to continue to make strides.Read More
With Europe's response to the refugee crisis lacking in effectiveness and empathy, the threat of ISIS suggests WB Yeats' most chilling words are now perfectly fitting for these times...Read More
Amidst the shock and grief of Johnny Lyons' premature passing, we pause to give thanks to a truly unique character for the countless laughs and many golden memories he gave us. Shine on, sir...Read More
As rental prices of houses and apartments skyrocket, especially in Dublin, thousands of Irish men, women and – unforgivably – children find themselves at grave risk of homelessness. Between them, local politicians and the Government must find a solution – and fast...Read More
It is easy to vilify those who take banned substances in the pursuit of sporting glory, but some of those who would be named and shamed are far more sympathetic figures than we would like to admit...Read More
...Or Ireland at least. Blazing rows erupted and staff members had to be pried apart, but the votes are in and the 50 best Irish gigs since Hot Press's inception have been settled on.Read More
The response to the tragedy in Berkeley was powerful and moving. But it is hard to listen to celebrities claiming a special relationship with God, when there are so many victims of tragedy – and of oppression– to think about...Read More
Sunday June 14 marks the 20th anniversary of the legendary Rory Gallagher's tragic death. While the world has changed in many ways, the trail-blazing guitarist's impact is still keenly felt...Read More
It was a joy to be alive in Dublin on the day the result of the referendum was announced. But there is still some way to go in the campaign for the separation of Church and State...Read More
"We're uncompromising. We're uncompromising to a fault I think. Because sometimes we're wrong. Sometimes we wind-up up blind alleys. You know. Maybe Radio Ethiopia sucks. I Don't know. Me and Patti are the only ones that like it in the world. But I don't care 'cos when we put that on we feel great." - Lenny Kaye [First Published in Hot Press Volume 2 No 7, September 1978]Read More
The referendum on same sex marriage is an opportunity for the citizens of Ireland to vote for freedom, equality and mutual respect – and in doing so to show the rest of the world what these words can really mean...Read More
With Hozier, HamsandwicH, Paul Brady, Le Galaxie and Kodaline all doing well, we are witnessing a small boom in Irish music. So how can we ensure that it lifts an even greater number of Ireland’s finest into the charts?Read More
Irish people who genuinely believe in free speech need to support the scrapping of our blasphemy laws.Read More
These are turbulent times, as Sinn Fein and socialist Independents find themselves in the unprecedented situation of topping the opinion polls. However you view this, pause to be thankful that there is no hard-Right movement of significance in Ireland, and no apparent appetite for one...Read More
It was one of those special Dublin nights. The occasion was a fund-raiser for a new short film, entitled Descend, directed by Hedi Rose, and written by Irish-based Texan screenwriter Margaret Miller. The location was upstairs in The 51 Bar on Haddington Road.Read More
Like paying to have your rubbish collected, Irish Water is another stealth charge, the genesis of which goes back to the decision to abolish household rates...Read More
Check out her take on 'Dreaming'...Read More