As I have pointed out time after time in this blog, Daniel Cassidy, author of the book How The Irish Invented Slang, was a total fraud. Even before it came to light that he had no qualifications and that he wasn’t a real professor, it was obvious from the claims made in his book and in various articles published by groups like Counterpunch that he was simply a madman. Nearly all the Irish phrases in his book were made-up and anyone with any knowledge of the subject would immediately recognise this. Cassidy did everything to demonstrate his insanity but don a tinfoil hat and a sandwich board saying “CERTIFIED 100% NUTTER” and march around San Francisco with a megaphone shouting “Yep, I’m crazy, even by Californian standards!!” at regular intervals. There is no excuse for those people who supported this maniac. Anyone who was taken in by him and his fake etymology needs to take a good hard look at themselves and ask themselves why they were so gullible.
We recently had an election here in the statelet and Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, a Sinn Féin politician who was previously editor of the Irish language newspaper Lá has just been appointed as Minister of Finance at Stormont. Now, there are many good things about Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. He works very hard and he has supported many causes which I believe to be morally right. For example, he has done a lot to help the Roma community and to welcome refugees from the Middle East (neither policy is an automatic vote-catcher, by any means). He has made it plain that he is in favour of gay rights. He consistently supports the rights of Irish speakers. In an Assembly where some of the Members are actually proud to admit that they are Young Earth Creationists, his principles are to be applauded. At least they are 21st century, not 17th century!
However, he also endorsed Daniel Cassidy, describing him as ‘our friend’. There could be many reasons for this unwise and foolish decision. Cassidy pretended to be a supporter of Irish Republicanism, though How The Irish Invented Slang is verging on racism in its ignorance of and casual contempt for our language and culture. One of Lá’s journalists got a trip (presumably free) to Cassidy’s Golden Gates Irish Festival (later the Irish Crossroads Festival) in San Francisco in 2002. Or perhaps Ó Muilleoir just listened to some of the many pompous liúdramáin in the Irish-American community who thought Cassidy was the best thing since sliced bread.
Who knows? Hopefully Ó Muilleoir is a bit more careful and less gullible now. He has a difficult road ahead of him and I wish him well. We all stand to gain or lose from his success or failure. However, it does nobody any harm to be reminded of their fallibility from time to time, and in lending his support to a worthless jerk like Cassidy, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir really let himself down a bucketful.