This afternoon.

Ranelagh, Dublin 6.

Frances Fitzgerald MEP (top in mauve ) and Neale Richmond TD (top right) watch as James Geoghegan, Fine Gael Councillor and election candidate in the the upcoming Dublin Bay South By Election, recreates a scene from The Firm (1993). The by-election is being held on Thursday, July 8.

Earlier: With Purcell, You Know What You Get

Sam Boal/RollingNews

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Musician Winston Marshall (above) who has left the band Mumford & Sons

This afternoon.

Musical differences?

No.

Musical similarities?

Stop that.

Via Winston Marshall

At the beginning of March I tweeted to American journalist Andy Ngo, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Unmasked. “Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man”. Posting about books had been a theme of my social-media throughout the pandemic. I believed this tweet to be as innocuous as the others. How wrong I turned out to be.

Over the course of 24 hours it was trending with tens of thousands of angry retweets and comments. I failed to foresee that my commenting on a book critical of the Far-Left could be interpreted as approval of the equally abhorrent Far-Right.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Thirteen members of my family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Holocaust. My Grandma, unlike her cousins, aunts and uncles, survived. She and I were close. My family knows the evils of fascism painfully well. To say the least. To call me “fascist” was ludicrous beyond belief.

I’ve had plenty of abuse over the years. I’m a banjo player after all. But this was another level. And, owing to our association, my friends, my bandmates, were getting it too. It took me more than a moment to understand how distressing this was for them.

Despite being four individuals we were, in the eyes of the public, a unity. Furthermore it’s our singer’s name on the tin. That name was being dragged through some pretty ugly accusations, as a result of my tweet. The distress brought to them and their families that weekend I regret very much. I remain sincerely sorry for that. Unintentionally, I had pulled them into a divisive and totemic issue.

Emotions were high. Despite pressure to nix me they invited me to continue with the band. That took courage, particularly in the age of so called “cancel culture”. I made an apology and agreed to take a temporary step back.

Rather predictably another viral mob came after me, this time for the sin of apologising. Then followed libellous articles calling me “right-wing” and such. Though there’s nothing wrong with being conservative, when forced to politically label myself I flutter between “centrist”, “liberal” or the more honest “bit this, bit that”. Being labeled erroneously just goes to show how binary political discourse has become. I had criticised the “Left”, so I must be the “Right”, or so their logic goes.

Why did I apologise?

“Rub your eyes and purify your heart — and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well.” — Aleksander Solzhenitsyn once wrote. In the mania of the moment I was desperate to protect my bandmates. The hornets’ nest that I had unwittingly hit had unleashed a black-hearted swarm on them and their families. I didn’t want them to suffer for my actions, they were my priority.

Secondly, I was sincerely open to the fact that maybe I did not know something about the author or his work. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak,” Churchill once said, “courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”. And so I listened.

I have spent much time reflecting, reading and listening. The truth is that my commenting on a book that documents the extreme Far-Left and their activities is in no way an endorsement of the equally repugnant Far-Right. The truth is that reporting on extremism at the great risk of endangering oneself is unquestionably brave. I also feel that my previous apology in a small way participates in the lie that such extremism does not exist, or worse, is a force for good.

So why leave the band?

On the eve of his leaving to the West, Solzhenitsyn published an essay titled ‘Live Not By Lies’. I have read it many times now since the incident at the start of March. It still profoundly stirs me.

“And he who is not sufficiently courageous to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his ‘progressive’ views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a distinguished figure or a general. Let him say to himself: I am a part of the herd and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and kept warm.”

For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that. I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning.

The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best. I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future. I will continue my work with Hong Kong Link Up and I look forward to new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be.

Why I’m Leaving Mumford & Sons (Winston Marshall)

Pic via Winston Marshall

A constantly morphing abstract short by Dalena Tran. To wit:

Composed of a single take, “Incomplete” invites us to traverse an endless choreography of bodies in perpetual free-fall and updating images that reflect a world in constant change. This work is an ode to what artist and media theorist Hito Steyerl coins the “poor image.” The image which is collected, copied, and processed to the point of disorientation and anonymity. The image which is not one but consists of many while presenting a different perception of coherency.

Fair enough.

curiousbrain

Above from left: Ailbhe Gerrard, Sarah Caroll Kelly Rachael Blackmore, Alanna Plekkanpol, Liz Walsh and Elaine Kelleher at the launch of the second annual #MADELOCAL campaign

This afternoon.

Grand National winning jockey Rachael Blackmore helps launch the second annual #MADELOCAL campaign developed by the Design & Crafts Council Ireland to boost sales and drive revenue for both makers and retailers in the Irish craft industry.

Rachael (at top) wears top and shorts by Stable using linen woven by Emblem weavers in Wexford and (at centre) sporting a dress by HelenCody. All jewelry from Momuse.

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

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Move your camera!

This afternoon.

Policing Authority.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is responding to an opening address on 999 cancellations by Bob Collins, chairman of the Police Authority.

Commissioner Harris provided the following data:

CAD = Computer Aided Dispatch system.

DVSA = Domestic Violence Sexual Assault.

Earlier…

This afternoon.

Earlier….

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

This morning.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

The Garda Commissioner is to appear before the Policing Authority at 3pm to explain the failure of gardaí to properly respond to 999 emergency calls for assistance in 2019 and 2020.

Via RTÉ

An internal inquiry led by an Assistant Commissioner into the handling of these priority calls has found that in hundreds of cases gardaí cancelled calls before there was an appropriate policing response.

The inquiry which is ongoing is focussed on domestic violence calls

Drew Harris has acknowledged that there was a practice of cancelling calls, which meant people seeking help from An Garda Síochána did not receive the policing service they should have.

Harris before Policing Authority after domestic abuse 999 calls unanswered (RTÉ)

Previously: Thousands of domestic violence 999 calls got no response from gardai (Sunday Times, June 12)

RollingNews

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Maria Kelly – eight hours

“It’s in the not knowing
If I’m coming or going.”

Alt.folk queen Maria Kelly (top) tackles self-doubt on her introspective and charming single – the follow-up to the acclaimed Martha. Look out for her new album in the Autumn on VETA Records.

Maria says:

“You convince yourself that it’s just one single thing, and that if you could just find it, fix it, get over it – everything would be OK again. Ironically, through that process of invalidating, there’s so much pressure, guilt and shame, which just sends us further into that spiral.

“It’s a cycle I think a lot of us fall into, because it’s really hard to give yourself permission to struggle. I spent a really long time fighting against my own experience. Feeling down or lost always equated to ‘not trying hard enough’. I was always on the hunt for something to fix, but I’m constantly reminding myself that nothing is inherently ‘broken’ – so there is nothing to fix in the first place.”

Nick says: Maria’s the name.

Maria Kelly

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