Monday 19 February 2018

Strange stigma of being 'found on'

Con Houlihan
Con Houlihan

My one-time colleague and all-time friend, Des Cahill, was only a dry week in Kerry before he discovered an intriguing aspect of our culture. One day, he was playing at right-back for a local club and was rather pleased to get words of encouragement from a man watching nearby.

The teams, as is the custom, changed sides at half-time; Des was now near the other sideline -- his newfound fan was there too. By now, he was thinking that his admirer was a Kerry cousin of whom he had never heard. As Des left the pitch, the superfan approached him and said: "Young Cahill, you had a mighty game. You might do me a small favour." He had been in court for being found in a pub after hours. Would Des keep his name out of The Kerryman ...

And so my old colleague in The Evening Press discovered that journalism in Kerry is a rather different ballgame. There was an unwritten rule in The Kerryman: names of "found ons" cannot be kept out of the paper, except in the case of a Garda or a clergyman. Too well I know: in my days on that great paper I was pestered -- and blamed for not having done -- "small favours". Such little court cases are fodder for the circulation. People take wicked delight in their neighbours' minor misfortunes -- it is all harmless fun.

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