THERE is no Irish artist in history who has been the subject of the level of abuse I have endured since I was 20 years of age.
The craven extent of the abuse concerning my marriage was, however, an all-time low, even for some of the bottom-dwelling rags whose wont is to abuse.
With very few exceptions, including the Sunday Independent and The Star, every newspaper that covered my marriage bullied and abused me to the point where at a time when I should have been happy, instead I was extremely distraught, traumatised and heartbroken.
Not one writer of the abuse had the courage to contact me and state their abuse to my face, despite the fact that until two days ago, every paper in the country had my phone number, and had no qualms about calling me in the past regarding other matters.
Bullies, of course, are always cowards.
Nor have I been offered any right of reply so far. In fact, any attempts on my part to contact those editors and writers who kicked me around have been studiously ignored.
It is despicable and horrifying that my marriage was used as a chance to stamp on me. There are reasons why this has happened.
One: Those papers were angry they didn't know anything about the wedding.
Two: They never will.
Three: I am fantastically talented.
Four: I have a fantastic arse. Which has been responsible for the conception of my four lovely children, by four lovely men. By the presence in my life of those beautiful children and their four beautiful fathers, I am honoured and proud.
Five: I am a woman who does not box herself in and play by the rules dictated by patriarchal society or patriarchal newspapers for women to play. Why is it that male editors get women journalists to attack another woman? And more importantly, why do these women do it? How would any of these editors feel if it was their daughters or sisters who were the subject of such craven insults?
My non-cooperation with the 'rules' results in a lot of female journalists becoming ravingly jealous of me, because they have taken no for an answer, and take orders from male editors to destroy other women.
In short, they envy my freedom, my courage, my talent, and my arse.
These writers are a disgrace to their parents,
who most likely worked their fingers to the bone so that their children could go to school and college.
I doubt that these parents hoped for their children to become adults who make a daily living out of hurting people.
These writers should go on their knees to their mothers and apologise for disgracing them.
I am currently engaging with the press ombudsman regarding every one of the articles. I have been advised on what actions to take and advised as to the codes of practice expected of newspapers.
Almost all of these codes have been broken by those who bullied me, and I fully intend to continue working with the ombudsman until justice is done.
I am not on the earth to be bullied.
And I will not lie down and do nothing.
I am one of the finest artists and women ever to be born of this country, and I have the courage of a million lions. This courage provokes malicious envy . . . Well . . . Read it and weep.
My father over the years has never batted an eyelid over what was written about me. But since the press coverage of my wedding began on July 23, he has been as traumatised as I have been.
As he said to me this week when I was sobbing in his arms after reading a particular piece which sank to the level of heavily implying that I had lied about my experience of abuse growing up, which is an attack on everything I have stood for as an artist and a human being: "God will deal with these people justly."
While we await that happy moment, let me make something clear to anyone who thinks I was dishonest about my upbringing. In the late Seventies, Alan Shatter wrote the book Family Law in the Republic of Ireland, and in the chapter on custody he stated that for the most part (in the Seventies) a mother would be given custody of the children. He pointed out there could be exceptions to that norm and cites the judgement of Justice Hamilton in the custody case between my parents (O'Connor vs O'Connor, 1975), in which my father became only the second man in Irish history to be given custody of the children as an example of that exception.
Justice Hamilton says: "I am satisfied the wife has inflicted severe corporal punishment on the children. That she has humiliated them before each other. And the position now is that all four children are very frightened of her. Civilised societies have long since abandoned such barbaric practices. This type of violence, particularly when perpetuated on girls, will lead to severe emotional distress and disturbance."
After Hamilton's ruling we lived with our father for a year, and then asked to be brought back to her as when we rarely saw her, she did an Oscar-winning job of convincing us she would love us properly. Which is what any small child wants to believe. No one likes to be removed from their mother.
The abuse got worse by a thousand-fold, and our mother prevented all contact with our father. I ran away from my mother forever at the age of 13 and returned to my father's house.
Read that and weep.