My dad was a journalist in the 1960s. He attended the annual gaelic football (GAA) match between the gardaŪ and the army. Afterwards, at the reception, the then minister and future taoiseach (pronounced tee-shock, prime minister) toasted the gathering, praising the two greatest institutions of our State. My dad wrote in the Irish Times the next day: is he right? In a new democracy, surely these are not the ones to be proudest of? What about our colleges and schools? Our health service? What about parliament itself? The politician in question was embarrassed and had my dad lynched from the paper. A year or so later, my dad, who had joined the Irish Press, was at another reception in the Gresham Hotel and ran into the same minister in the loo. The future PM and leader of our land recognised the hack, and turning from his urinal, shook his member's remaining dribble over my dad's trouser leg. A pee-shock from a taoiseach. That was new Ireland. Another kind of swinging 60s.
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