The attached is a article about John Cooney which was penned by a fellow Scot in 1999. Note the following paragraph in particular:
"In the course of his radio debate with [Eamon] Dunphy, the Scottish scribe also resorted to an on-air appeal for anyone to bring forward any filth they had on the former Archbishop. It sounded like a somewhat desperate plea for a whistleblower to help him firmly establish what half a decade of supposedly painstaking research had evidently failed to do."
So John Cooney made grotesque and unsubstantiated allegations against Archbishop McQuaid IN THE HOPE THAT A "WITNESS" WOULD COME FORWARD AND CONFIRM THEM.
Six years later nobody has come forward - not the publican, not his son and not the Department of Education inspector. It is clear that Cooney's vicious gamble has failed.
This controversy began on 19 June when a solicitor for the Christian Brothers said at a meeting of the Child Abuse Commission that John Cooney was "not the most reputable journalist" and that he was responsible for a "salacious and scurrilous story" which he had included in his biography of John Charles McQuaid. Cooney threatened to take legal action for "gross defamation and character assassination". Since Cooney himself has engaged in gross defamation and character assassination, he is in no position to take legal action. HE HAS LITERALLY NO REPUTATION TO LOSE.
July 10, 2006
A Scottish journalist is causing a right stir in the Republic of Ireland just now. Not me. Having packed in the deputy editorship of the Sunday Herald to escape the strains of commuting on a weekly basis between these islands, I am quietly easing my way back into the far less strenuous lifestyle of a tele-cottager in Kinsale, the gourmet capital of Ireland.
No, the stir is being caused by John Cooney, a Lanarkshire lad who succumbed to the delights of dirty old Dublin shortly after gaining a history degree from Glasgow University in the early 1970s. Cooney has just penned a book which alleges that the most powerful figure in the Irish Catholic Church this century was gay and might also have been a child abuser.
John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin from 1940 to 1972 (the year Cooney became the religious affairs correspondent of The Irish Times) is posthumously accused of making sexual advances to a schoolboy and of inappropriate behaviour towards other children. Controversial stuff, even in a post-Catholic country where paedophile priests and nymphomaniac nuns seem to be exposed and pilloried in the press every other day.
Cooney's claims made the second lead item on RTE's Nine O'Clock News the other night. The author, whose West of Scotland brogue has been barely softened by three decades across the water, also made a lengthy appearance on The Last Word, the daily chat show which has developed a sizeable cult following for Ireland's newest radio station, Today FM.
This is more for its savage satire than for its host's interviewing style, I might add. Footballer-turned-fulminator Eamon Dunphy has a tendency to be sycophantic with far too many of his guests. But he got stuck into Cooney, accusing him of having amassed shockingly flimsy evidence to support his shock claims.
Dunphy did seem to have a point. Cooney claims to have devoted six years to researching and writing his biography, but his thesis appears to rest almost entirely on a single unpublished manuscript penned by the late Dr Noel Browne, a left-wing firebrand who was a sworn enemy of McQuaid and all he stood for throughout his turbulent career in Irish politics.
Apparently, Browne was approached at the end of a funeral in 1988 by a retired school inspector from the department of education who said he was desperate to unburden himself of a dark secret. Browne then penned an essay entitled A Virgin Island, which chronicled the secret and sordid lifestyle of a revered, respected and above all feared figure whom he referred to as John the Bishop.
In the course of publicising the book over the past week, extracts from which will start to appear today in the Irish edition of The Sunday Times, Cooney has called on the Dublin government's recently appointed investigative commission on child abuse to look into Browne's claim and to allow access to reports of former school inspectors.
In the course of his radio debate with Dunphy, the Scottish scribe also resorted to an on-air appeal for anyone to bring forward any filth they had on the former Archbishop. It sounded like a somewhat desperate plea for a whistleblower to help him firmly establish what half a decade of supposedly painstaking research had evidently failed to do.
It could, of course, be that this appeal will reap the desired dividends and, thanks to information passed on by some helpful Today FM listener, Cooney will soon be in a position to chronicle conclusively the moral corruption at the highest echelons of Catholic Ireland for much of the 20th century. If so, there deserves to be strong demand for the second edition of John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Ireland.
The way he has gone about hyping the first edition tells us a lot about today's Ireland. Cooney's sensationalist style is obviously aimed at the seemingly insatiable market in the Republic these days for revelations which will further undermine the authority of the once all-powerful Roman Catholic hierarchy.
Nowadays the most unenviable job in all Ireland is that of a spindoctor for the Dublin Archdiocese. The poor cleric charged with responding to Cooney's claims on television last week appeared more exasperated than outraged.
It isn't just pervert priests and naughty nuns who are coming increasingly under the Dublin media's critical microscope. Politicians and a host of other public figures are starting to find their private lives being probed in a fashion which would have been considered out of bounds a few years ago.
Members of Ireland's parliament, the Dail, used to be able to indulge in any sort of extra-marital flings that took their fancy - homo or heterosexual - secure in the knowledge that there wouldn't be a whisper of it in the papers. The press turned a blind eye to such peccadilloes, in a manner more Continental than British. Today, randy TDs are considered fair game along with every other form of national celebrity who strays from their marital bed.
The change has been brought about largely by those British titles which have in recent years targeted the Irish market, like the Scottish one, with special Celtic editions. As usual, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has been leading the charge. This could be considered a form of re-colonisation, were it not for the fact that the raciest daily on Ireland's newsstands is The Star, a co- production by Express Newspapers in the UK and Tony O'Reilly's Independent Newspapers.
The Star has been reacting, it must be said, to an onslaught by the "Irish" Sun. The Ruler of Ireland today isn't McQuaid, but Murdoch. The tabloid press is Dublin's new priesthood. It has no compunction about casting the first stone at anyone who breaks its strict moral code.
My compatriot John Cooney could never, of course, write about that in the Irish edition of the Sunday Times.