A letter to Grahame Morris

Dear Grahame,

I’ve been waiting for the dust to settle on your unfortunate comments about the Irish. Unfortunately, it keeps swirling about in tornado-like fashion both here and in Ireland.

So, there is no ideal time of post-apocalypse reflection to make a few observations that may be helpful to you in the ensuing months.

I was first alerted to your brain fart by a tweet from an Irish relative enquiring as to “who the hell is Grahame Morris” I informed the tweeter that once upon a time you were a much-admired, high-flying senior advisor to a former conservative Prime Minister and that alas, you were now reduced to the role of a lobbyist suffering from relevance deprivation syndrome seeking relevance rebirth by making yourself available to low-rating cable news shows.

I then did some research to see what you had said that had so upset the Irish.

Your comments seemed to emanate from the resounding Irish marriage equality referendum vote. Your personal bigotries were so offended by the “yes” vote that you sought to lash out at the very people who were responsible for this travesty; the Irish people themselves.

It was immediately apparent that you knew very little about the Irish.

You opined that the Irish can’t grow potatoes, presumably a reference to the famine of 1847 which wiped out a million people and caused another million to emigrate. It wasn’t, Grahame, that the Irish couldn’t grow potatoes; the entire crop was wiped out by a fungus colloquially known as “the blight” The people starved because all of the cereal crops were exported to the then colonial master of England through a bit of public policy called The Corn Laws.

As you continued to lather up on Sky you then put forward the idea that the Irish national emblem was a “mutant lawn weed” I take it you mean the shamrock, Grahame? No, it’s not the national emblem; merely an emblem used to celebrate Ireland’s national day on March 17th. You see, the mythical character of St. Patrick was said to have used that as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity.

Ireland’s national emblem is actually the harp, Grahame, which was found on the coat of arms of Irish kings dating back to the 13th century.

I’m pretty certain that by now you acknowledge your comments to have been – at best – ill-advised, ill-considered, condescending and downright insulting.

Grahame, you have insulted an entire nation. Not an easy thing to do, but you have done it! Not only that, but you have also insulted millions of Australians.
You were probably not aware, Grahame, but Australia is the most Irish country outside of Ireland because more people here profess an Irish background than in any other country.

It was insulting to the thousands of Irish who have emigrated here, contributed to the social and economic fabric of life and voted politicians in and out of office.

You have insulted a nation that has shaken off the yoke of religious oppression to become a truly self-determining people: A modern, progressive country with a number of social firsts or close firsts. First to ban smoking in pubs, second to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes and the first to enshrine marriage equality by popular vote.

Should you feel the need to apologise – and I suggest it would not be a bad move – you’ll find the Irish Ambassador, Mr. Noel White to be a very understanding and forgiving man. He will understand, I’m sure, that one’s dearly held bigotries will occasionally become bilious and that things are said in the heat of the moment that on reflection are best left unsaid.

But most of all he will show you that genuine Irish trait of forgiveness, of letting bygones be bygone and of just “let’s get on with it”

But while the Irish may forgive – and they do – they are not likely to forget. At least not for a while.

So, Grahame, if ever you do “go across the seas to Ireland” as the song goes, be prepared for a spirited discussion or several with a people who are rightly proud of their place in the word.

Gerry Gannon, Perth
Irish by birth, Australian by choice.

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