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An interview with Con Houlihan
Hot Press spoke to with the late, great sportswriter in 1984...
Declan Lynch, 13 Dec 1984
“To me freedom… you wake up in the morning in a house that isn’t a hovel. And you have a decent wage. Poverty’s a bad thing! Oh dear, dear. That to me is brutal. And thirdly. Freedom is going out of an evening and being able to speak your mind without getting a belt. To me freedom is a lovely concept, but to bring it down to an ordinary level, it’s having enough to eat and drink, having a houst that isn’t crowded, and most important, being able to go out and play billards or have a few drinks, and speak your mind. To me having ten houses, and ten girlfriends and a million pounds a week – I don’t want it.”
Do you enjoy luxury? “ Lunxury is reading books and looking at television and writing poetry.”
Even such a gentle and generous man as Houlihan who aspires only to life’s simplest pleasures, is no stranger to controversy.
Con’s script for the recent Green Fields documentary on RTÉ1 was criticised by the G.A.A as being “anti”. RTÉ obediently tugged the forelock, and are plaaning another programme to correct the impression that the G.A.A are anything but the greatest bunch of boys in the history of civilisation.
“We were asked to look at the G.A.A., its roots and its future. Look, oh dear God, we were at it day and night. Three men who are all mature, and we love the G.A.A. We were called propagandists! Holy Christ in heaven, I don’t know. Doreann Ní Bhriain is a girl from Cork who speaks Irish. She was shown the film. She said it was lovely! Doreann is a magnificent, intelligent woman. End of story.
“Look. I was born in a council cottage. My parents fought in the Civil War. I have a Fenian background. I speak Irish. I’m anti-G.A.A.? For the love of Jesus! This is shit, it’s rubbish, it’s paranoia. For god’s sake, love isn’t blind. I have a girlfriend and I love her. Suppose you have a girlfriend and you like her. The more you love her the more you’re aware. Tomorrow morning, I guarantee you’ll see her faults. It’s a funny world.”