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 Brilliant or Bananas? Cearbhall O'Dalaigh President of Ireland 1974-1976

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PostSubject: Brilliant or Bananas? Cearbhall O'Dalaigh President of Ireland 1974-1976   Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:13 pm

Ó Dálaigh proved to be a mixed success as president. While popular with Irish language enthusiasts and artists he had a strained relationship with the Coalition Government. Some have alleged that he exhibited political naïveté at a number of press briefings (for example, giving a press
briefing to international journalists in the Irish language and deciding on one state visit to speak every major European language but English).[citation needed]


***
O'Dalaigh was president immediately before Hillery and sounds like an interesting character from a reading of Wikipedia, which happens to be short on details of the Security Bills in question and long on the citations needed. In the torment of the Troubles in the seventies, Security Bills were introduced by the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition of the time and O'Dalaigh chose to use his powers to refer those Bills to the Supreme Court to test their constitutionality, which action wikipedia somehow then links to the killing of a Garda by the Provisional IRA which is then linked ultimately to O'Dalaigh's resignation less than three years after taking office in storm of controversy where the President's actions were seen by the coalition Government to have precipitated the violence.
***

Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was a radical maverick, and he challenged convention as Attorney-General, Chief Justice and President with innovative ideas. His downside was his almost complete political
naïveté. As Chief Justice, he got into rows about Chairman Mao and Disney's stage-Irish film,
Darby O'Gill and the Little People, over which he mounted a public picket with his close friend, the actor Cyril Cusack. As President, he puzzled ordinary people with his complicated, legal-sounding speeches, his tendency to jump between languages (Irish to French to English, back to Irish with some Latin
terms thrown in). Historians differ on whether to regard Ó Dálaigh's presidency as a disaster, or a triumph destroyed by his enemies. He was undoubtedly the presidency's most intellectually brilliant
office-holder, at least until the election of Mary Robinson fourteen years later. He was also undoubtedly politically naïve, something that got him into severe difficulties at key moments. In a different context, those problems could have been overcome, but if Ó Dálaigh was the most politically naïve president, then the Government he worked with was notable for its own inability to offer him the
necessary guidance to overcome those problems, with an honourable and decent taoiseach who nevertheless was, as Ó Dálaigh himself observed, taciturn in the extreme and did not support him when Donegan attacked him.[citation needed]

Anyone have any opinions on this odd and very different president? And can anyone give an insight into the relationship he had with the then Government.

All I've read about him is from wikipedia and most of that is above.


From wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cearbhall_%C3%93_D%C3%A1laigh
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PostSubject: Re: Brilliant or Bananas? Cearbhall O'Dalaigh President of Ireland 1974-1976   Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:43 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Ó Dálaigh proved to be a mixed success as president. While popular with Irish language enthusiasts and artists he had a strained relationship with the Coalition Government. Some have alleged that he exhibited political naïveté at a number of press briefings (for example, giving a press
briefing to international journalists in the Irish language and deciding on one state visit to speak every major European language but English).[citation needed]


***
O'Dalaigh was president immediately before Hillery and sounds like an interesting character from a reading of Wikipedia, which happens to be short on details of the Security Bills in question and long on the citations needed. In the torment of the Troubles in the seventies, Security Bills were introduced by the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition of the time and O'Dalaigh chose to use his powers to refer those Bills to the Supreme Court to test their constitutionality, which action wikipedia somehow then links to the killing of a Garda by the Provisional IRA which is then linked ultimately to O'Dalaigh's resignation less than three years after taking office in storm of controversy where the President's actions were seen by the coalition Government to have precipitated the violence.
***

Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was a radical maverick, and he challenged convention as Attorney-General, Chief Justice and President with innovative ideas. His downside was his almost complete political
naïveté. As Chief Justice, he got into rows about Chairman Mao and Disney's stage-Irish film,
Darby O'Gill and the Little People, over which he mounted a public picket with his close friend, the actor Cyril Cusack. As President, he puzzled ordinary people with his complicated, legal-sounding speeches, his tendency to jump between languages (Irish to French to English, back to Irish with some Latin
terms thrown in). Historians differ on whether to regard Ó Dálaigh's presidency as a disaster, or a triumph destroyed by his enemies. He was undoubtedly the presidency's most intellectually brilliant
office-holder, at least until the election of Mary Robinson fourteen years later. He was also undoubtedly politically naïve, something that got him into severe difficulties at key moments. In a different context, those problems could have been overcome, but if Ó Dálaigh was the most politically naïve president, then the Government he worked with was notable for its own inability to offer him the
necessary guidance to overcome those problems, with an honourable and decent taoiseach who nevertheless was, as Ó Dálaigh himself observed, taciturn in the extreme and did not support him when Donegan attacked him.[citation needed]

Anyone have any opinions on this odd and very different president? And can anyone give an insight into the relationship he had with the then Government.

All I've read about him is from wikipedia and most of that is above.


From wikipedia:
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cearbhall_%C3%93_D%C3%A1laigh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cearbhall_%C3%93_D%C3%A1laigh[/quote[/url]]

A lot of this is retrospect judgement IIRC - at the time he was just another President to most people - It wasn't till the Donegan controversy broke that he moved centre stage.

Not saying the things said about him were not true but there were bigger news stories making the headlines back in the mid 70' than a President's percieved eccentricities... Embarassed

He did the honourable thing in resigning and IMO Cosgrave made a serious error of judgement in not sacking Donegan. It certainly cost the Coalition votes in the 1977 Election though I don't think they could have been saved anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Brilliant or Bananas? Cearbhall O'Dalaigh President of Ireland 1974-1976   Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:00 pm

"I have no desire to be President under a system of government which, as
it is now authoritatively established, sets so little store by the
fundamental rights of the citizen and which is at variance with
principles to the defence of which I believe I have devoted the better
years of my life. I have therefore considered it preferable and more
consistent with those principles to resume my duties as an ordinary
citizen rather than to retain the shell of the office of President.
"

O'Dalaigh wrote the words above in a letter of resignation, written a week or so before he resigned. He was deeply unhappy that he was being confined with regard to his role as president. He didn't, as it turned out, tender this particular letter when he resigned. I quote from it to show, that the incident that provoked his resignation was but the straw that broke the camel's back.

A week or so later of course, we had the "thundering disgrace," comment from the Minister for Defence. This brought the unhappy presidency to an end. Personally speaking, he must have been an incredible man to warrant this type of attack. It's not every man or woman that can rise to pissing the government off to that extent. Laughing

In my opinion, he was a great judge, our best president yet and an incredible and caring Irishman. His words (above) are as true today as they were then.
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PostSubject: Re: Brilliant or Bananas? Cearbhall O'Dalaigh President of Ireland 1974-1976   Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:17 pm

I liked him, and I still feel that his departure was grim. I was 11 when he left but it was a shocking event, and I feel contributed in no small part to the FF victory the following year. I think that his referring of the Bills was a profoundly democratic thing to do (and I'm no pre-judging the validity or otherwise of the Bills, simply that he cleaved to a rather old-fashioned view that such Bills scope necessitated full oversight), and the insinuation by some of his political foes that this 'contributed' to violence is quite revolting and in some respects utterly disdainful of his rights and duties as President under the Constitution.

His successor? Well, we went from a different President to a diffident President whose public profile was near minimal... And again, that too was a function of O'Dalaigh's experience.
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PostSubject: Re: Brilliant or Bananas? Cearbhall O'Dalaigh President of Ireland 1974-1976   Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:19 am

Hermes wrote:
In my opinion, he was a great judge, our best president yet and an incredible and caring Irishman. His words (above) are as true today as they were then.
Perhaps... But there was a time when he, as Chief Justice, truly was a thundering disgrace. And, 44 years later, all Irish people are still suffering the consequences of his blunder. See here.

For such an intelligent, educated man, it's incredible that he could be so ignorant about the science of nature.

Equally incredible is the fact that every Irish lawyer is familiar with the Ryan case, but they can't see the wood for the trees. Or is it that they just don't have the temerity to criticize Ó Dálaigh? Closing of ranks? "Whatever you do, don't damage the profession..."?
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PostSubject: Re: Brilliant or Bananas? Cearbhall O'Dalaigh President of Ireland 1974-1976   Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:46 am

soubresauts wrote:
Hermes wrote:
In my opinion, he was a great judge, our best president yet and an incredible and caring Irishman. His words (above) are as true today as they were then.
Perhaps... But there was a time when he, as Chief Justice, truly was a thundering disgrace. And, 44 years later, all Irish people are still suffering the consequences of his blunder. See here.

For such an intelligent, educated man, it's incredible that he could be so ignorant about the science of nature.

Equally incredible is the fact that every Irish lawyer is familiar with the Ryan case, but they can't see the wood for the trees. Or is it that they just don't have the temerity to criticize Ó Dálaigh? Closing of ranks? "Whatever you do, don't damage the profession..."?

I couldn't agree more. He even said fluoride wasn't a medication in his ruling. (As a side note: it's interesting that the addition of artificial fluoride to our drinking water went all the way to needing a note from the supreme court for it to be lawful and yet Aluminium Sulphate and the other additives have never been put before an Irish court?).

I make no excuses for this ruling, I deplore it. Especially so with regard to what we know now. I'm not making an excuse here, we knew enough back then too, to have not made this dreadful decision.

There's no beauty without its flaw. And Fluoridation is most certainly the deep flaw within this particular diamond.

Just for the record, and I've said it before, I'm not a member of the legal profession. I suppose I should be more clear than this so that there are no misunderstandings. As an anarchist and an activist, I've seen the inside of a courtroom on many occasions. Over time, one gets to learn how this monstrosity of a system works, or rather, how it doesn't. I've taken part in fights with both activists and ordinary garden variety citizens who've been shafted and have had my arguments used with success everywhere from the disrict court to the supreme court. I've had to lick my wounds on occasion too.

I've no love for the Judiciary or the legal profession in general. I take great pleasure in fighting with them.

I still respect and admire O'Dalaigh.
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PostSubject: Re: Brilliant or Bananas? Cearbhall O'Dalaigh President of Ireland 1974-1976   Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:09 pm

Hermes wrote:
... He even said fluoride wasn't a medication in his ruling. (As a side note: it's interesting that the addition of artificial fluoride to our drinking water went all the way to needing a note from the supreme court for it to be lawful and yet Aluminium Sulphate and the other additives have never been put before an Irish court?).
Yes indeed! There is no sound health reason for adding alum to the water. It is done for the benefit of big industries.

The fluoridation case set a frightening precedent. The truth is an appalling vista for the legal, medical and political establishment in Ireland, not least for the Greens, who capitulated to Fianna Fáil in the most abject way, even before the general election. See here.
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