The Corner

Holding Paper

Jonah: The all-time international grandmasters at holding paper are surely

the Irish.

I was sitting in a pub in Dublin one day in 1981, shortly after the then

Irish PM Charles Haughey had announced his intention to hold a summit

meeting with Margaret Thatcher, scandalizing the fiercer kind of Irish

republicans. Well, a rebel song came up on the jukebox, laying into Haughey

for this “betrayal,” and referring to him as: “Our Dermot McMurrough of


At that time I didn’t know much Irish history, so I asked the Irish friends

I was drinking with who this Dermot McMurrough chap was. Oh, they told me,

he was the fella that first let the English into Ireland.

In the twelfth century.


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