‘The Man from the Daily Mail’

 

Sir, – Miriam Lord, in her fine and ever-fair “A very strange situation, including Gerry Adams, his PLO scarf and Bee-Gees hair” (Sketch, February 14th), noted Mr Adams’s aside after an interjection by a Daily Mail reporter at the Sinn Féin press conference. He boomed out a retort, “The Man from the Daily Mail”.

Your columnist styled this as a reference to a republican ditty.

Sean O’Casey included this ballad in his “Songs of the Wren No. 1”.

A mixture of satirical and love ballads, retailing at one penny, the collection appeared in early 1918 before the Sinn Féin electoral landslide later that year.

Sung to the air of “The Girl from the County Clare”, the “Daily Mail” lyric is one of a relatively unknown sequence of political war ballads penned by O’Casey during the first World War.

He mocks the colour reportage of the Daily Mail for observing that every “doggie had a tri-coloured banner” tied to his tail, while every bird was “singing treble I’m a rebel”.

O’Casey later stated that he used the Daily Mail much as he used the Bible – “takes what I wants out of both, & leave the rest standing where it is”.

Good advice for those looking to negotiate a possible coalition government! – Yours, etc,

PATRICK CALLAN,

Portmarnock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – I have it on the best authority that Gerry Adams is not now and has never been a member of The Bee Gees. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL ANDERSON,

Balgriffin,

Dublin 13.