Durcan appeared on RTE Radio 1’s “Pat Kenny Show” last week where he read an open letter attacking Gerry Adams for dissembling as the “Santa Claus of Irish history.”
Meanwhile, Paulin’s invitation to Harvard was later offered to the well-known critic and poet again, after academic colleagues complained that his right to free speech had been compromised.
Durcan, known for his use of offbeat and surreal humor in his poetry, said: “The stomach of my soul seizes up and I wonder if the neighbors can hear me as I retch,” he said.
“All those hundreds and hundreds of unique, individual human beings murdered, many of them much more interesting and decent people than you or I, Gerry Adams. All of them dumped into the trashcan of history, their rotting arms and legs hanging out of bins everywhere, on estates and on seashores and on derelict bogs.”
Durcan said that the piece was inspired by an Irish Times photograph of Gerry Adams posing with the 6-month-old son of Sinn Fein politician Michelle Gildernew and the Sam Maguire Cup.
“This marvelous photograph of you as a benign, handsome, gentle godfather . . . fills me with such despair that my eyes leak tears,” Durcan said, “tears of anguish that you did what you did and that you have been rewarded with victory. I have no choice but to accept your victory but I cannot forgive you for what you did.”
In his diatribe, Durcan remembered seeing a pool of blood on television news in 1976 from a Protestant shot dead in Newry. His daughter Saorla asked him, “What is a Protestant?”
Durcan’s speech then addressed Adams directly about this incident.
“Do you remember the man’s name?” he asked. “Let us cradle that man’s skull in the Sam Maguire cup . . . and, holding it up to the TV camera, let us contemplate the brain cells of his skull, the beautifully intricate structures of his gray matter, the circuitry of his pre-frontal cortex, the plasticene of his frontal lobes.”
The speech ended with a vision from the future, when, Durcan imagined, Adams had become president of a united Ireland and would be in his 70s.
“You yourself will be in your early 70s and you will be ensconced in Aras an Uachtarain as president of the Republic of Ireland, and all the people will be saying, ‘Isn’t President Adams the best president we’ve ever had?’ ” Durcan said.
“I refuse to accept it, now or ever,” he ended.