Mr. Pussy book launch tonight

Alan Amsby is a true champion and one of our most provocative artists.  He challenged this society in a way that very few did.  He gave an outlet and an opening to a lot of men who were coming to terms with their identity.  Before Brendan O Carroll or any of the tame Panto dames, there was Alan Amsby (Mr Pussy).  Dangerous, provocative, innovative, ground breaking and loved by everybody including all those in the shadows and underworld of Dublin’s then unlawful gay scene.

I hope President Higgins sees fit to honour Alan Amsby in some way. It is fantastic to see this book finally come out of that big wardrobe that Alan Amsby has.  Its part of our social and political history as well as our artistic cultural identity.

Alan Amsby, a British citizen, gave this city and this country his life and a fantastic service well before the Belfast agreement.
mr-pussy

In 1969, a young Englishman named Alan Amsby arrived in Ireland with a frock and a wig. He was booked for one week, but was an overnight sensation, and made Dublin his home. Catholic Ireland had never before seen anything like the beautiful and outrageous Mr Pussy. For almost fifty years, Alan has delighted audiences and demolished boundaries.

Here, he recalls his early days as a drag princess and model in Swinging London, partying the likes of Judy Garland, Noël Coward and David Bowie; being heckled by one of the Kray twins – and snogging Danny La Rue. He also remembers grey 1980s’ Ireland, shocking the country with its first adult panto, and losing friends to the Aids epidemic. Then there’s his 1990s’ renaissance, ‘doing time’ with Paul O’Grady and Daniel Day Lewis, and opening Mr Pussy’s world-famous Café De Luxe with Bono.

Full of hilarious celebrity yarns, sequinned characters like the remarkable Stella Minge, and a lot of shameless name-dropping, Mr Pussy is the story of a legendary, ground-breaking entertainer, full of pathos, charm and wit.

 Alan Amsby (aka Mr Pussy) was born in London and performed a popular drag act before moving to Ireland in the late 1960s. 

Petition to Disband the Artane Band

home-of-the-artane-boys-bandphoto-artane-1969
I just started a petition: Disband the Artane  Band.
It is no longer appropriate, with what we now know, about residential institutional child abuse at St Josephs Artane, that this band, should be still in existence, wearing the uniform of that institution – St Josephs Industrial School Artane, and making statements that they are proud of their history when in actual fact, the vast part of that history was engulfed in horrendous human rights breaches upon children, including child sex abuse at St Josephs Industrial school, Artane, where the band was founded.
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We who are the survivors should not have to endure the ordeal of this band in that uniform, parading around Croke Park, or any other public place. This is a constant active reminder of our ordeals and every effort should be made for this to stop.

Our lives, in those institutions, matter. What happened to us matters. We have a right to get on with our lives to recover and to heal. The Artane Band, in its present form, is a major obstacle to that process. No other band of its type would be allowed to get away with what they are getting away with. The band is still under the control fo the Christian Brothers through the Artane Music School.

If enough people sign my petition, we can make a difference.

Here’s a link to the petitionhttp://www.care2.com/go/z/e/Awo8W/zoyY/CRT_0
And here’s a link to share it on Facebookhttp://www.care2.com/go/z/e/Awo8x/zoyY/CRT_0

If there’s anyone you know who might be able to help me spread the word, please let me know. Thanks so much — I really appreciate your help!

Kind regards,  Gerard Mannix Flynn
Artistic Director,
Farcry Productions

 www.farcryproductions.ie

disband-the-artane-band

Response to Lord Mayor Brendan Carr

September 15th 2016

Press Statement from Dublin Independent councillor Mannix Flynn

Mannix Flynn, an Independent councillor in Dublin City Council has today hit back at Dublin’s Lord Mayor over claims that his calls for the disbandment of the Artane School of Music are “upsetting the vast majority of Dubliners”.

In an article in one of today’s newspapers, Brendan Carr, the Labour Lord Mayor, was quoted as lambasting Flynn over his motion: “[Flynn is] raising the issue over the way kids were treated years ago, but the impact he’s having on the kids in that band at the moment is something that any city councillor should be ashamed of”.

In a statement issued today, Flynn has called on Cllr Carr to withdraw his remarks and separate his opinions from that of the Lord Mayor’s office, a title which should remain impartial and unbiased.

“If Cllr Carr would take a moment to discuss the matter with me he would understand that the Artane School of Music, in its current form, has evolved out of misery and brutality forced upon innocent children who attended St Joseph’s Industrial School in Artane.

“It is not accurate for Cllr Carr to insinuate that I am out to cause hurt to any of the children involved in the current band. The debate is much deeper than that.

“While the Lord Mayor has every right to call on crowds to cheer on the band at Sunday’s All-Ireland final, he is quite wrong in congratulating the band’s 130-years of ‘proud association with the GAA and Croke Park’. Those who attended St Joseph’s School and who were in the band attest to the monstrosities they and other boys endured during their time there. The band was more often than not an escape from the degradation and neglect other boys suffered as they undertook menial chores on a day-to-day basis. Being in the band meant you could at least wash occasionally and couldn’t be beaten on the face, but it did not exempt you from the sordid sexual abuse that was rife in the school.

photo-artane-1969

1969 – Artane Boys Band travel to America to raise funds.  They are in blazers and not the usual uniform as the band room had been burned down.  Former band member Patrick Walsh (Irish SOCA) is in the front row aged 15 years.  The notorious Brother Joseph O Connor  (Joe Boy) took this photo, Shannon Airport.    

 

“I have come under criticism for raising this issue but if you were a child who endured any amount of time in an industrial school, you would be reminded of the horrors that took place every time the Artane band took to the pitch on match days.

“And I’m not alone. This week, members of Irish SOCA  (Survivors of Child Abuse) came out in support of my cause. Like me, these were men forced into industrial schools and some of those were even in the band in Artane and experienced first-hand the exploitation and manipulation of children by the religious.

“Will the Lord Mayor acknowledge that his apathy and indifference to their suffering is causing much hurt?”

ENDS

New Motion lodged on Monday 12th September to Dublin City Council:

That this monthly meeting of Dublin City Council, mindful of the shameful legacy of institutional abuse in industrial schools documented in the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse, call on the Artane School of Music to disband as a matter of human rights.

The School of Music is an establishment jointly run by the Christian Brothers and the GAA, yet encompasses the original and traditional insignia and uniforms that hark back to an age of chronic sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the religious.

The Artane Boys Band was used as a front to hide the gross inhumanity that took place at St Joseph’s School in Artane and other industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers at home and abroad. The harrowing memories of these institutions for abuse victims are regularly flaunted without care or recognition at national sporting events in Croke Park in the form of the present Artane band.

A disbandment of the trust would sever all ties with the former industrial school and its brutal history and in doing so, would acknowledge the ongoing collective suffering of so many.

Statement: Disband the Artane Band

September 12th 2016

Press Statement from Dublin Independent councillor Mannix Flynn

Mannix Flynn, an Independent councillor in Dublin City Council has today withdrawn a motion due for presentation at a South East Area Committee meeting for the Artane band to be renamed.

In its place, Cllr Flynn has submitted a new motion calling for the disbandment of the Artane School of Music, a venture jointly established by the Christian Brothers and the GAA, that continues the legacy of the Artane Boys Band.

Cllr Flynn is aware that those against his initial motion claim his endeavours have caused hurt to those presently involved with the band. However, Cllr Flynn, who himself attended industrial schools in Ireland said the Artane band’s continued use of original-style uniforms, insignia and associations to the school cause untold hurt for the many victims of childhood abuse at the hands of religious orders in Ireland.

Please find the new motion below, submitted today for October’s monthly meeting of all Dublin City Councillors.

NEW MOTION

That this monthly meeting of Dublin City Council, mindful of the shameful legacy of institutional abuse in industrial schools documented in the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse, call on the Artane School of Music to disband as a matter of human rights.

The School of Music is an establishment jointly run by the Christian Brothers and the GAA, yet encompasses the original and traditional insignia and uniforms that hark back to an age of chronic sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the religious.

The Artane Boys Band was used as a front to hide the gross inhumanity that took place at St Joseph’s School in Artane and other industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers at home and abroad. The harrowing memories of these institutions for abuse victims are regularly flaunted without care or recognition at national sporting events in Croke Park in the form of the present Artane band.

A disbandment of the trust would sever all ties with the former industrial school and its brutal history and in doing so, would acknowledge the ongoing collective suffering of so many.

ENDS

artane-boys-band

The Artane Boys band on route to America to raise funds for The Christian Brothers in 1962 the image was used later on the album that came out in 1969

 

Happy Birthday Pecker Dunne

1st April 1933-19th December 2012

Pecker Dunne broke the mold.  He was one of the great liberators of the Travelling community and from the Travelling community. He was a fluent conversationalist and his wit and intelligence and expression could transform and transcend any company.

He was always a man who would stand up to prejudice and racism not just on behalf of his own community and himself but on behalf of others. He knew hardship and empathized with the hardships of many others outside of his own kind, own clan and own community.

If the word ‘hero’ applies to anything, well then it applies to Pecker Dunne and his epic life journey.  The testament to the man and his artistry, his humanity and his commitment to his community and family are a well-known legend and live on today through his children and his wife Madeline and indeed the very essence of the Pecker himself.

For those that knew him and experienced him, he is part of our living culture.  That essence will never die.  Like the great Irish legends that were written down in Clonmacnoise, the Pecker Dunne engrained his experiences and his artistry and his music into our society, into our everyday.  And we are the richer for it.

 

Peckers tune,  Tinkers Lullaby, written for his young son, is an anthem about the Travelling community.  It is a deep lament in the great tradition of lamenting and indeed keening.  It is grief stricken but its melody and lyrics are full of hope and love and dignity.  Learn it and sing it.  From the GAA grounds of Limerick to the Rugby grounds of old Landsdowne road, to the race tracks of Galway, the streets of Dublin and Donegal, and the corners of Ballybunion through fields and encampments, roadsides and halting sites and the grand music halls and concerts venues of America – the Pecker Dunne can still be heard if you care to listen.

 

Kennedy and Pecker Dunne 1981 one

Kennedy Wedding, Glandore

The above photos are from the wedding at Glandore, Co Cork (Cuan d’Ór ) in the early 1970tys of a young American couple Miss Shauna Sump Hegarty and Mr Mark Kennedy both from Oregan USA. Pecker Dunne played music at their wedding as he did at many a wedding.

 

Pecker Dunne casket

The simple coffin of Pecker Dunne. A burial full of humility and serenity.

 

Tinker’s Lullaby 

Go to sleep my little tinker
Let all your troubles pass you by
For you have no place to camp now
Ah that’s a tinkers lullaby.
Ever since you were a baby
Cradled in your mothers shawl
Society said they did not want you
And now you have no home at all

When your mother died and left you
You had to fend all alone
All in this land of saints and scholars
And still you have not got a home.

Although your clothes are torn and ragged
And your hair is silvery grey
Some day you’ll die and go to heaven
And you will find a camp ground there.

Go to sleep my little tinker
Let all your troubles pass you by
For you have no place to camp now
Ah that’s a tinkers lullaby.

 

Everybody in Ireland and indeed the world should get to know the Pecker. Listen and learn from his music and become wise from his shared experiences.

Breithlá Shona Dhuit Pecker agus go raibh míle maith agat.

 

Voting Register Closes Feb 9th 5pm

Are you registered to vote?

 SUPPLEMENTARY REGISTER CLOSES ON TUESDAY 9TH FEB AT 5PM (Dublin City Council)

Dublin City Council is asking voters to check immediately if they are registered to vote on the Register of Electors, so that they can be sure of having their say and vote in the forthcoming general election.

 The Register of Electors 2016-2017 was published on the 1st February 2016 and is on display at Dublin City Council offices, Garda Stations, Libraries, Post Offices and online at www.checktheregister.ie . If you are aged 18 or over, check that your name, address and details are correct on the Register.

Mr. Vincent Norton, Executive Manager, Dublin City Council says, “I would strongly advise people to make sure they are registered now to avoid disappointment as past experience has shown that many eligible people lost their chance to vote by simply not checking the register. I would encourage all who are eligible to vote to check the website immediately and to register with your local authority, to be included on the

Supplementary Register.  Postal applications must be received by 5pm Friday, 5thFebruary 2016 and the Supplementary Register will close on Tuesday 9th February 2016, 5pm deadline”.

 To be eligible to vote in this election one must be an Irish citizen or a British citizen resident in Ireland.

 Forms are available to download directly from the Dublin City Council website

www.dublincity.ie/YourCouncil/VotingandElections  or you can contact the Franchise Section Tel 222 5010.

Pity the Children

nora_somebodyAs the Spotlight film opens in Dublin we are now facing into yet another sex abuse scandal in a foster home in the south east of Ireland. Covered up and facilitated by the HSE. You have to ask yourself after all the issues of child abuse in this country – how could this possibly happen? How can the State be so negligent? How can the State be so indifferent? And here we have yet another fine display of mock-shock-and horror from the HSE, the Government and certain TDs. Shame on you. There is not a child safe in the land because of your failure to care for the most vulnerable.
What is the famous catch phrase…oh yes, ‘ we failed to hear your cries’ (Bertie Ahern’s famous remarks)
Enda Kenny’s famous remarks about the Magdalene women with tears in his eyes? Many of the women are still waiting, many  have already died.  And Minister Lynch’s remarks that we’re heading towards a public inquiry beggars belief and goes to show how far removed she is from what is actually taking place here.  Its an act of disassociation. … What is the point in having Ministers for Health, Ministers for Children, Ministers for Justice when the perpetrators and the enablers of these outrages will never be brought to justice? Never face any consequences and no child is protected by the State. 
There is talk now of public inquiry and people being brought before the Public accounts committee. Here again, the State is investigating itself and we all know where that leads. What did our last public enquiries bring us? Massive fees, massive bills and no real truth or consequences.  Robert Fisk’s great title ‘Pity the Nation’ comes to mind here except in this instance its ‘Pity our children’.
The same culture that is evident in Spotlight uncovered by the Boston Globe. The same evidence that is being uncovered in the Ryan Report, the Ferns Report, the Murphy Report, we all know will be found to have been at play here in this foster home child abuse scandal. For the many good people out there who foster children and protect the vulnerable stand up, do you hear me, stand up and show leadership here. Don’t let the good work that I know many of you do be undermined by abusers and a weak State and Civil Service. Your reputations are seriously on the line here because this investigation is going to have to include all fostering and all foster homes and protocols and guidelines around children .
The Nation owes this person and her mother an apology.  It would be a travesty for the Taoiseach or any Minister now to utter such words or even the HSE. This needs to come from the mouth of our very own President, Michael D Higgins who would understand the failing of Government and State here. The President has the confidence of all the people and the credibility internationally to make this statement.
 
Where are all the child agencies? Where was Bernardo’s on this? They seem to come very late with their statements.  Where is Amnesty International on this? This has all the hallmarks of dread with the dark hand of the State and its agents all over it.
We can be very grateful to the whistleblower here who has taken enormous risk cause we all know what happens to people who tell the truth, the honest truth and have to whistle blow in this State.
 
Spotlight Trailer: