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Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: I’m having Vietnam-style flashbacks here

Sometimes it’s easier to tell a girl the truth. I’m like, ‘Honor burned down the caravan, Sorcha’

‘I didn’t exactly discourage her, especially when she said Ronan had taught her how to make it look like an accident’. Illustration: Alan Clarke

The dude who's interviewing us looks like he's only out of Templemore a wet week, but I'm still sweating like a trumpet player's orse crack.

He goes, “Let’s get this statement taken, will we?”

And I’m there, “I still think I’d prefer to have my solicitor present. I’ve left a message for him.”

Sorcha goes, “Ross, we’re here voluntarily, to try to help out our friends who’ve been – oh my God – wrongly accused of, like, burning down their holiday home.”


“No one’s accusing anyone of anything,” the dude tries to go.

Sorcha's there, "Er, the insurance company is refusing to pay out because they're saying that it was possibly orson?"

The dude goes, "We're satisfied that it was arson."

“And we’re here to tell you that it couldn’t have been Claire and Garret,” Sorcha goes, “because we were with them the entire time. And if you check your records, you’ll see that I’m a Peace Commissioner.”

This clearly means fock-all to the dude.

He’s like, “A what?”

I consider throwing in a mention of my Leinster Schools Senior Cup medal, since we're talking about achievements, but I decide to keep it up my sleeve for now

"A Peace Commissioner," Sorcha goes, "under Section 88 of the Courts of Justice Act 1924. It means I'm someone in the community whose word is trusted. I was also a founding member and chairperson of the Peace and Justice Commission at school and the recipient of a Global Leader in Humanitarian Service Award from the Ranelagh and Rathgor Lions Club. And a Minister for the Eucharist."

I consider throwing in a mention of my Leinster Schools Senior Cup medal, since we’re talking about achievements, but I decide to keep it up my sleeve for now. Instead, I go, “I still think I’d prefer to wait until Hennessy gets here?”

That gets the dude’s attention. He’s like, “Hennessy Coghlan-O’Hara? What, he’s your solicitor?”

You see, in legal circles, Hennessy’s name actually means something – mainly that you’re as guilty as sin.

I’m there, “Do you know the dude?”

He’s like, “Just by reputation. Everyone talks about him.”

"Look," Sorcha goes, changing the subject back, "if it was orson, then the insurance company is borking up the wrong tree thinking it was Claire and Garret. I still say it was a protest against gentrification."

The dude goes, “What’s that?”

"Er, gentrification? You can't open an ortisan restaurant in the middle of – no offence – but Bray, then stort serving massaged figs and autumn watercress and sheltered salmon sliders without making a lot of people nervous – and even angry. I think someone burned down their holiday home as a warning."

“Well, that’s just speculation,” the dude goes. “All I’m interested in hearing is what happened on the night of the fire. You went to the pub.”

Sorcha's like, "That's right. Claire is, like, one of my best, best friends from my UCD days, even though she went to Loreto Bray and I went to obviously Mount Anville. We just, like, hit it off. Anyway, she and her husband, Garret, invited us to spend a week with them in Ballycanew. The first day, the weather wasn't great, but Garret took out his guitor and we spent the afternoon singing mostly Crowded House songs."

Jesus Christ, I’m having Vietnam-style flashbacks here.

“Then that evening,” Sorcha goes, “the weather storted to pick up, so we went to the pub. And like I said, there was no way they could have set fire to the place because we had, like, eyes on them the entire time.”

The dude goes, “Your daughter went back to the caravan at one point – is that right? According to Garret’s statement, it was to get her contact lenses.”

I’m there, “Can I try Hennessy’s number again? We’re entitled to a phone call, aren’t we? You always see that on TV.”

"Honor doesn't wear contact lenses," Sorcha goes. "I think Garret must have, like, misheard her? She actually went back for her Invisalign braces."

The dude looks through his file. He’s like, “Sorry, I left his statement on my desk. Excuse me,” and he focks off out of the interview room.

Sorcha goes, “Oh my God, can you believe this goy? Did you see the blank look on his face when I mentioned my Global Leader in Humanitarian Service Award?”

I decide to just tell the girl the truth. Mad as it sounds, sometimes it's easier that way?

I’m like, “Honor burned down the caravan, Sorcha.”

She’s there, “Excuse me?”

“Honor set fire to it,” I go.

Her mouth drops open and she doesn’t utter a word for a good, like, 20 seconds.

“Oh! My God!” she eventually goes. “That’s, like, oh my God!”

I’m there, “I had a feeling you’d say that. That’s why I didn’t tell you.”

"But why? Why would she do something like that?"

"Why do you think? Your friends are knobs, Sorcha. The finger of blame has turned upon itself. I couldn't have sat through a focking week of that. No one could."

“Oh my God, you put her up to it.”

“I didn’t put her up to it, but – yeah, no – I didn’t exactly discourage her, especially when she said Ronan had taught her how to make it look like an accident.”

“Oh! My! God!”

All of a sudden, the Gorda dude walks back into the room.

"Yeah," he goes, reading what I'm presuming is Garret's statement, "both Garret and Claire heard your daughter say that she was going back to the caravan for her contact lenses."

Sorcha’s there, “I don’t wish to say anything further at this time.”

Oh, that rocks the dude back on his George Webb heels.

You two idiots, get the fock out of here now

"You don't have to say anything," he goes. "You're here of your own volition."

“Well, I just want you to know that we will not be saying another word until our solicitor is present.”

At that exact moment, there’s a loud bang as the door is literally kicked open and Hennessy morches into the room.

“Shut your focking mouths,” he goes – this is the kind of legal advice he chorges, like, ten grand for. “My clients are being questioned here today in breach of the Constitution of Ireland 1937, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and the Geneva Convention 1949. You two idiots, get the fock out of here now.”

Me and Sorcha both stand up and head for the door. I can’t help but notice that the Gorda dude is staring at Hennessy in just, like, total awe.

“Hennessy Coghlan-O’Hara,” Hennessy goes, flinging a business cord across the room at him. “You’ll be hearing from me. And so will focking GSOC.”