Last Saturday was my 78th birthday, which makes me one of the longest-running political columnists in Ireland.
In more than 30 years as a columnist, I've come to value the pragmatic advice of 18th-century French writer Nicolas Chamfort.
Chamfort said we should swallow a toad early in the morning to be sure of not meeting with anything more revolting in the day ahead.
But I would have needed to swallow a monster toad to prepare me for both the Taoiseach and Catherine Martin's despicable decision on the Alan Rusbridger case.
Unless you read the Irish and Sunday Independents, this story may be new to you. The Irish Times delayed covering it and RTÉ did not interview Máiría Cahill until it was over. Here's the story.
Last Sunday week, British newspapers were agog at an admission by Roy Greenslade, a former columnist on The Guardian, that he had been an active agent of influence for the Provisional IRA, in writing for that paper.
Máiría Cahill recalled that when Spotlight, in 2014, revealed her rape by an IRA member, Roy Greenslade had attacked her, and his editor, Alan Rusbridger, gave her no redress.
Cahill reasonably called on Rusbridger to resign from the Future of Media Commission to which he had been appointed.
The Irish Times took five days to deal with the story. It is hard not to conclude the delay was connected with the paper's long association with The Guardian, for which its leading columnist, Fintan O'Toole, writes frequently.
RTÉ was much more partisan. Although RTÉ had never once interviewed Máiría Cahill, Jon Williams, managing director of RTÉ News, effectively took sides by retweeting Rusbridger's defence of himself in The Guardian and Irish Times.
For the Taoiseach, Catherine Martin and the Future of Media Commission to conclude that Alan Rusbridger was a fit member of the commission means they did not do due diligence.
Let me do some for them. Alan Rusbridger was editor of The Guardian for 20 of the Greenslade years between 1995 and 2015.
Some 21 years ago, the trusted journalist Stephen Glover contacted me in connection with a three-part article he later published in The Spectator, alleging there was a republican cell at the heart of The Guardian.
Rusbridger blustered but, significantly, did not sue - simply because Glover's charges could be stood up.
Recalling the articles two weeks ago in the Daily Mail, Glover correctly pointed out that "probably more influential than the deceitful Roy Greenslade was Ronan Bennett who was the partner of Georgina Henry, the deputy editor of The Guardian".
In 1975, Bennett served six months in Long Kesh for the murder of a NI policeman before being released because his identification in a parade was deemed by a judge to be 'unsatisfactory'.
Glover wrote: "To his credit, Bennett never hid his beliefs and on account of them was barred from the House of Commons in 1987 after being hired as a researcher by a young Labour MP called Jeremy Corbyn, a man whose own republican sympathies are notorious."
Alan Rusbridger was so close to Ronan Bennett they made a once-off television film, Fields of Gold, which Bennett set up, and which must have been flattering to Rusbridger's ego.
In late 2000, Ronan Bennett told The Spectator that he wouldn't have turned in the Omagh bombers. Close to that time, he and Alan Rusbridger would have been working on their film, which came out in 2002.
Furthermore, in a defiant interview with The Irish Post in March 2014, Roy Greenslade explained why he stood surety for John Downey, the Hyde Park bomber responsible for killing four British soldiers and seven horses.
So if Rusbridger was not aware that Greenslade and Bennett were rabid IRA supporters, he must have been the only journalist in London to be in the dark.
Máiría Cahill recalled on Pat Kenny - yes, Newstalk, unlike RTÉ, covered the story - that Private Eye in the 2000s referred to Greenslade as 'Roy of the Provos'.
Ed Moloney, on October 28, 2014, replying to Greenslade's attack on Cahill, wrote: "The sun rises each morning and sets each evening, and with the same certainty whenever Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is in trouble, Guardian columnist Roy Greenslade can be relied on to come riding to the rescue."
Given the sheer weight of evidence to the contrary, how can the Taoiseach and the commission expect us to believe Rusbridger - who spent 20 years reading Roy Greenslade's partisan pro-IRA copy and made a television film with Ronan Bennett, who never concealed his IRA sympathies - could not have been aware of their support for the IRA? How can we take seriously Rusbridger's claim that "there was no republican cell pulling strings in The Guardian"?
Clearly the commission didn't dig into Rusbridger's politics because they were so thrilled to get a top-notch Guardian luvvie on board.
But I have been around a lot longer than members of the commission and have followed Rusbridger's career closely in relation to The Guardian's coverage of Sinn Féin and IRA issues.
Unlike the commission, I can clearly see that years of hanging out with IRA supporters, like Greenslade and Bennett, has left at least one significant cultural mark on Alan Rusbridger.
Any other newspaper editor, faced with Máiría Cahill's charges, would have resigned without delay.
But Rusbridger has certainly picked up the Sinn Féin culture of brazening it out to the bitter end.
By my count, he issued at least five statements, becoming increasingly incontinent in his interventions, in what increasingly looked like a political campaign.
His apologia last Sunday, on The Guardian online, was both arrogant and self-absorbed. In a piece of 23 paragraphs, Máiría Cahill's name wasn't mentioned until the 21st paragraph.
He also tried the ploy of wrapping himself in the peace process - this despite Máiría Cahill's ordeal having taken place well after the Good Friday Agreement.
But Rusbridger really didn't have to work so hard because a consensus to retain him, in spite of Cahill's complaints, was under way.
Last Sunday, Mark Little, media mogul and commission member, signalled its mind, in advance of its decision, by retweeting Rusbridger's claim that "there was no republican cell pulling editorial strings".
Adding momentum on Monday, Jon Williams retweeted the Rusbridger article - although RTÉ had still not covered the story by interviewing Máiría Cahill.
The Taoiseach should have reacted with fury to RTÉ's brazen attempt to nudge the decision of a State commission and called for Williams's resignation, too.
But last Tuesday afternoon, the commission released a statement saying the members unanimously agreed that Rusbridger should remain.
Incredibly, in a panel of 10 members, not one of the six women members protested that it looked like a rape victim's testimony was being marginalised so the commission could keep a cherished luvvie on board.
Given the craven silence of "feminists" in the media and academe we must salute the courage of Regina Doherty, who has never retreated on this issue.
We must also salute Alan Kelly, Willie O'Dea and Senator Malcolm Byrne who continue to ask hard questions. This is not over.