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SHANE MAC THOMÁIS -an untimely sudden death

TALL, FIT, soft spoken with a kindly mischievous glint in his eyes Shane Mac Thomáis was hard to miss in a crowd. When I first met him around 2001 I was already acquainted with his late father, Éamon, and had avidly read and followed his father’s folksy historical media contributions, such as bestseller Me Jewel and Darlin Dublin.

AL PACINO, THE JUDGE & I -my life on stage

I WAS FRAMED had been running for almost a year and making eye contact, the soon-to-be Chief Justice of Ireland peered over his glasses at me and said I was an accomplished actor. I smiled back gratefully until he went on to sentence me to 12 years penal servitude.

GÁRDA WHISTLE BLOWERS -a 38 year-old warning

TODAY IS THE 38th anniversary of the Gárda Heavy Gang & Sallins Mail Train Robbery Case. I know this because every year, on this date, I wake up soaked in sweat at about 5am, by way of a subconscious reminder.

This is the time I was taken from my cell, in 1976, and brought down into the tunnel under Dublin’s Bridewell police station to meet the Gárda Heavy Gang and be tortured .

BRENDAN BEHAN -a writer with heart

On the 50th anniversary of the death of Brendan Behan It is too late to talk to him about his writing. He is dead. But he was alive when I first overheard my parents discussing him.

My father, Deasún, and Brendan, were fellow writers in among other publications, The Bell, perhaps the most important Irish literary and intellectual journal in the twentieth century. Both writers shared radical political and literary thoughts, always conversing in Irish, which they had both learnt recently, post school.