Attacked today in the Irish Times by the Director of Policy, Progressive Democrats. What an honour! See below for my response, sent today. Probably won’t get published, but fun to write.
Madam, - Peter Molloy takes me to task (December 2nd) for not identifying myself as director of policy for the Progressive Democrats in my letter of December 1st, which was critical of Fr Sean Healy's recent opinion piece in your paper.
I must say that I am hurt and saddened, not by the explicit attack on my integrity but by the implicit attack on my political skills. If Mr Molloy seriously believes that I was engaged in some Machiavellian attempt to manipulate public opinion by concealing my identity, he must think me not only a knave, but a fool.
My name is somewhat unusual, to say the least (if you google "Seamus Mulconry" you will not find another one) and I am well known to my opposite numbers in the other parties, and to these who read the letter columns of The Irish Timesas being the Progressive Democrats' policy director.
The reason I did not write using my title is that I was writing to express my personal opinions and did not wish to convey the erroneous impression, that my criticism of Fr Healy had either the blessing or backing of the party. While I have no doubt that a robust defence of low taxation is as core to the Progressive Democrats as transubstantiation is to the Catholic Church, I did not consult my colleagues before sending the letter and thus felt I had not the right to associate the party with my personal views.
Having reread Fr Healy's article I remain convinced that his diagnosis of the condition of Irish society is seriously flawed and his policy prescriptions fatal to the prosperity and wellbeing of the Irish people.
An article by Dr Eamon Maher (Rite and Reason, December 4th) makes the statement that it is difficult for sincere voices within the church to make themselves heard. In this regard, he points to how the praiseworthy commitment of the Conference of Religious of Ireland to justice and equality can be safely sidelined, even ignored, by those in power.
However, sincerity does not mitigate the effects of unsound analysis, and the reason the advice of CORI is (largely) ignored by politicians is not that its commitment to justice and equality is not respected and indeed shared, but rather that the solutions it proposes will do more damage than good to the very people it seeks to help. CORI has been in existence for 25 years. Had we followed its advice 25 years ago, we would not now enjoy our current prosperity, nor the opportunity it gives us to help the marginalised in society. CORI was wrong then, and it is wrong now.
I might also point out to Mr Molloy that I am an honorary member of the Uzbekistan Komsomol. The experience of having seen at close quarters the suffering caused by state socialism probably has more of an impact on my views on CORI than the fact that I work for the Progressive Democrats. - Yours, etc,
SEAMUS MULCONRY, Ballinatone, Greenane, Co Wicklow.
My response emailed today:
Seamus Mulconry’s natural modesty, which caused him to omit his PD party title from his original attack on Fr Healy, may have failed him again. His expectation (Letters 6th Dec) that readers of the Irish Times letters page will be familiar with his PD role just might be a little misplaced. An Irish Times archive search reveals only three letters published, prior to this little spat. One of these (21/10/05) carried his current title, the other two (12/10/02 & 23/9/04) predated his PD appointment. However, I would like to congratulate him on being an honorary member of the Uzbekistan Komsomol. Every former Russian republic should have its own Borat. Regards etc.
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