I’m no fan of Michael D – but the other candidates have looked like political pygmies compared to him

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I’m no fan of Michael D – but the other candidates have looked like political pygmies compared to him


ARAS OFFICE: President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Mark Condren
ARAS OFFICE: President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Mark Condren

‘FIGHTERS,” he said with disgust, “sure you’d beat them with your cap.”

The minority of us who not only loved but also actually learned Gaeilge at school might recall that line from the real and loveable memoir about life for a young Irish navvy eking out a living on the buildings in England in the 1950s and 1960s. The book was called ‘Dialann Deoraí’ and its piquant messages were often wasted on Irish teenagers in the 1970s when it was on the school curriculum.

It was written by Dónall Mac Amhlaigh, a Kilkenny native with strong Connemara connections, who wrote with fierce honesty. That opening quote relates to an incident at a new Irish centre in England where the priest-cum-community-leader insisted there were to be absolutely no street fights outside as he was trying to manage relations with the neighbours.

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