LETTER: Gregg should attack the point – and not the man

July 23rd, 2017 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – ‘Outburst of toxic bile ... spreading poison ... asking questions is tantamount to treason.' Gerry Gregg's response (July 1st, 2017) to criticism of his documentary An Tost Fada (‘The Long Silence') plumbed new depths. The view it presents of my position is politically deranged.  Momentarily, I thought I was reading the ‘North Korean Star'. 

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland did not examine my complaint, for the reason cited on June 17th. Mr Gregg's separate citation does not contradict that fact. I repeat, he got off on a technicality.  Mr Gregg did not address the mistakes RTÉ admitted, apart from blaming the elderly subject of his programme. 

We still don't know whether they will be corrected at the West Cork History Festival. Gerry Gregg and Eoghan Harris, please tell us if you will comply with RTÉ's 2012 commitment. Please be a mensch, Mr Gregg.

It is indeed commendable that, as Mr Gregg assures us, he and Eoghan Harris, spent their lives asking questions. It is a pity they came up with so many wrong answers. Avoiding inconvenient evidence will do that.  

Mr Gregg has his mind made up, having completed his questionnaire on life. His problem is not with treason, but with reason. Sectarianism and its first cousin, racism, are a foul corruption of our common humanity. 

It was rejection of that component of British rule within the Irish body politic that motivated republican and socialist opposition. Those who were most solicitous of the alleged plight of southern loyalists tended also to be racist.

Jasper Wolfe, former Crown solicitor for Cork, later independent TD for West Cork, stated that he was an IRA target because of his role not his religious identity. 

He later became friends with the person who tried to kill him. Wolfe's views were similar to those of most southern Protestants. His biographer, his nephew, reiterated the non-sectarian nature of Jasper Wolfe's personal and professional experiences. 

Accusations of IRA sectarianism might stick in relation to one three-day period in April 1922 in West Cork. There is a historical discussion about that, pro and con. Mr Gregg's approach in his documentary was to present facts supporting his opinion, to confuse and to generalise from them.  

Will those of a sceptical disposition at the West Cork History Festival, tempted to comment after the credits roll, experience a similar gale of outrage? If so, Messrs Gregg and Harris might experience another ‘long silence.'  

In the meantime, I suggest that Mr Gregg learn the art of sticking to and attacking the point, not the man (or woman or Catholic or Protestant, or Muslim or Jew).

Yours sincerely

Tom Cooper, 


Dublin 6.

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