Author: Frank O

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Praying to Santa

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 15 December 2010
    6 Comments

    We invented you, Santa, and named you after a hirsute Russian bishop. For anyone who thought about it, you were a kind of parable; you helped us to believe that prayers could be answered, that there was a bounty that was not diminished by the number of clients.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Beating up on football thuggery

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 20 September 2010
    11 Comments

    Police look on benignly; clergymen bless them; politicians turn up to watch. But can any activity where players set out to damage their opponents be called a sport? And should such an activity be allowed to draw on the country's medical resources to mend that damage?

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  • RELIGION

    Father James Chesney and Ireland's religious war

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 31 August 2010
    7 Comments

    Throughout more than 30 years of killing and maiming in Northern Ireland, the media and governments maintained that the unrest was a political conflict. Though virtually everyone on one side was Catholic and those on the other were Protestant, nobody dared call it a religious war.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Confession of a football criminal

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 28 April 2010
    7 Comments

    The case was not reported in the local paper, much to our disappointment, so we never had the distinction of being described as 'local youths'. In our pre-teen innocence, we were convinced our parents would appeal, all the way to the High Court if necessary. They had more sense.

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  • RELIGION

    Empathy for Irish priests

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 17 March 2010
    26 Comments

    In Ireland, the attitude of locals to the Murphy and Ryan reports into child abuse in Catholic institutions is commonly anger at the apparent obfuscation by Church leaders. This St Patrick's Day, spare a thought for the ordinary priest in modern Dublin.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Christmas cakes in art and war

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 16 December 2009
    3 Comments

    If you ever hear a House Manager admit that her neighbour has made a better Christmas cake, write down the time, place and the names of witnesses, and get it signed by your parish priest. It is the kind of thing that might be useful in the early stages of a canonisation process.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The rise of Deaf Pride

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 18 September 2009
    16 Comments

    Those of us with normal hearing feel good if we think technology such as cochlear implants can help deaf people to hear. But Deaf people generally have little interest in 'cures'. They value their identity and see no value in becoming a different person.  

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Forgiving Frank McCourt

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 22 July 2009
    4 Comments

    For a while there, McCourt was 'mick of the moment', except in his native Limerick where they wanted to strangle him. Teacher Man, his best book, captures what it is to be the lonely figure with only cunning and a stick of chalk to protect you.

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  • RELIGION

    The 'bad eggs' of Ireland's abuse scandal

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 05 June 2009
    24 Comments

    After a lifetime in schools run by religious orders, I am appalled to think abuse against children in institutions in Ireland was 'endemic'. I try to persuade myself that 'Brendan', the saintliest man I ever knew, cancels out the bad eggs.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sex and bridge

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 29 April 2009

    If you can find a person who can execute a Reverse Squeeze or a Scissors Coup at the bridge table, chances are they will be able to carry out equivalent manoeuvres in a loving relationship.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Irish, prisoners of a sacred past

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 17 March 2009
    5 Comments

    St Patrick holds the Irish in a powerful emotional thrall. Parades all over the world honour the man who brought Christianity to Ireland. This week in Northern Ireland, saintly ghosts of the past have been called upon to bless murder.

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  • EDUCATION

    Taking maths out of the equation

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 02 February 2009
    11 Comments

    These are earnest kids, wanting to succeed. Society has told them that to succeed they must be able to draw a parabola, find the vertex, state the axis of symmetry. This city has two million adults — how many ever heard of an axis of symmetry?

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