Email Us My Blog



Cathal O'Searcaigh and His Critics

Added to on February 14, 2008

[ When journalists start screaming insults at an alleged "child abuser" I am usually skeptical. In the case of Cathal O'Searcaigh, what he did was probably not illegal but was certainly immoral i.e. going to Nepal and having sex with youths who were apparently just over the age of consent. He was a Westerner operating in a very poor country where homosexuality is taboo. (Thus the youths he used sexually could become the target of opprobrium and of legal prosecution.) Moreover he was bringing gifts of money that he had collected in Ireland to help the poor in Nepal. The people who donated the money did NOT give it to him for the purpose of soliciting sexual favours.

On the other hand some of the journalists who condemned him are guilty of behaviour that may be equally repulsive. Take for example Sunday World columnist Amanda Brunker who slandered Bishop Comiskey in 2005 [2 and 3] but now feels free to take a high moral tone with O'Searchaig [1]. With enemies like that O'Searchaigh doesn't need many friends. His enemies may well discredit themselves and at the same time discredit the REAL case against Cathal O'Searchaig and others like him.

Rory Connor
13 February 2008]

(1) AMANDA BRUNKER: Cathal's Sex With Boys Makes Me ill
(Poet Abusing His Position Of Power in Nepal)
Sunday World, 10 February 2008

What sort of poetic licence does Cathal O'Searcaigh think he has to bed 16-year old boys in Nepal, a poor country on the other side of the world?

Amazingly this story has also slipped under the radar for most people I know **, and I'm shocked at the blase treatment of the gay Donegal poet.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the controversy, Cathal O'Searcaigh is an extremely successful award-winning Irish poet whose work even features on the Leaving Cert.

Last year young Irish filmmaker Neasa Ni Chianain went out to Nepal to visit with him and make a tribute documentary about his life and his charity work with young boys in that country.

But when she discovered he was having sex with young impoverished local boys, she was horrified.

While Cathal claims he never sleeps with boys under the age of 16, I'd love to question how he knows for sure.

Does he ask the youths for ID? Does he make formal demands for passports before he has sexual contact with those young boys? Of course he doesn't. Most of those kids barely have shoes, not to mention a means to prove their age.

He gave those young men money and privileges after having sex with them but he says he never abused any of them, and denies that any of the boys were "damaged" from their experiences with him.

In his own words he admits on film: 'Yes, I certainly had sex with some of them, yes, yes, but I wasn't coercing them into having sex. I mean the door was always open."

His brazenness makes me ill and so does the defences that were mounted by his friends and PR gurus on Joe Duffy's Liveline show this week.

At the very best this is a clear case of exploitation and abuse of power.

If it's all so normal, then why doesn't he get 17 year old Irish boys to sleep with him in this country? It just wouldn't happen because he is not in the same position of power and privilege here.

The documentary, Fairytale of Kathmandu will be screened on RTE ONE on March 13 and everyone can make up their own minds then.

** Amanda Brunker's obscene slandering of Bishop Comiskey and another person in 2005 also "slipped under the radar for most people". It was briefly reported in the Irish Independent (see [2] below) and I don't think it made the Irish Times at all.

[2] Dunphy Says Sorry to Bishop over Gossip Beauty's Radio Allegation

Irish Independent 16 February 2005

EAMON DUNPHY yesterday apologised to Bishop Brendan Comiskey for comments made about the cleric on his morning radio show.

The apology came after former Miss Ireland Amanda Brunker made serious unfounded allegations on Dunphy's Newstalk 106 breakfast show.

The controversial broadcaster had tried to stop Ms Brunker from making the claims on last Friday morning's programme.

Ms Brunker (34), the show's gossip columnist, could not be contacted to clarify whether she too was going to apologise to Bishop Comiskey.

Before making the allegations, Brunker had said live: "Maybe I shouldn't say this . . . " but she continued anyway despite Dunphy's protestations.

After the comments, which were reported to be potentially libelous, Dunphy immediately told listeners: "We didn't mean it. We dissociate ourselves from that remark."

Later he said: "Oh my God. The corporation is going down the drain. Amanda, thank you very much."

He then added: "Her career is over, we'll end up busking on Grafton Street."

But an effort to settle the matter took the form of a live formal apology on air, after a series of discussions between legal representatives from both sides.

A spokesperson for Newstalk said two separate apologies were made.

The former Bishop of Ferns, Dr Comiskey (69), who resigned three years ago over his handling of clerical sex abuse in his diocese, is thought to be back in Ireland after spending time in the US.

He had moved to New York to take a course in drug and alcohol counselling after his retirement.

[3] New Ross Standard, 17 February 2005

Broadcaster Eamon Dunphy was forced into an embarrassing apology yesterday after serious and unfounded allegations involving the former Bishop of Ferns, Brendan Comiskey, were inadvertently aired on his radio breakfast show on Dublin's Newstalk 106 last week.

TV star Amanda Brunker made a comment about the Bishop and another person in an interview with the pundit.

Dunphy immediately cut the interview short and disassociated the station from the comment.

'We didn't mean it, we disassociate ourselves from that remark. Apologies to Bishop Comiskey,' he said. He went on to say the station could find itself in trouble over the remark. 'Oh my God. The corporation's going down the drain. Amanda, thank you very much'.

Both Brunker and the station could find themselves facing legal action over the comments. 'We'll end up busking in Grafton Street,' said Dunphy.

Newstalk 106 also broadcast a full apology yesterday morning, stating categorically that there was no truth whatever in the suggestion made.

Bishop Comiskey, who is believed to be living in Dublin, has made no comment on the matter.