Three weeks after the documentary aired there's still a controversy in the media over whether or not the man has done anything wrong. The man's supporters - mostly acquaintances, 'artists', Irish speakers and gay people - have tried to paint the controversy as a complex issue or have accused O'Searcaigh's critics as being, variously, homophobic, anti-Irish or a mob. I even heard one woman claim that if he was straight, and we were talking about teenage girls, men would be jealous!
But it boils down to this - would those young lads sleep with O'Searcaigh if they weren't benefitting from the cash he supplies? Yes or no? The answer, it would appear, is no. Therefore he's effectively a sex-tourist regardless of how genuine and appreciated his charitable work is and also regardless of how genuine his affection for those he sleeps with is.
To be honest, up 'til now, I haven't really cared about the whole thing but this column in last Sunday's Turbine really got my back up:
BEFORE last Wednesday, it would have been hard to imagine what Cathal O
Searcaigh could possibly do to alienate himself further from the heaving,
O Searcaigh's latest trespass against orthodoxy was to give his first
interview to Radio na Gaeltachta...
He was defended [for conducting his first interview since the controversy broke in Irish] by Donall Mac Giolla Choill of La Nua, who said that the poet had explained that he wanted to speak first of all to his own people. After all, "he is a native Irish speaker from an Irish-speaking community."...
Jesus H Christ! The 'Irish speaking community' in this country are even more lacking in self-awareness (and even further up their own arses) than Travellers, Shinners, Unionists and Munster rugby fans (if that's possible) and it shows.
Well, I want to be a member of the heaving, bullying mainstram orthodoxy. Because I think that someone who takes advantage of an economic disparity to travel to the third world, and persuade local teenage boys to sleep with them, isn't really in a position to choose who he talks to if he expects a fair hearing when the scandal breaks. So sign me up and get me a t-shirt.