Author of three collections published by Doire Press, in 2016 - 2018 Susan's poems have appeared, among elsewhere, in: The Cafe Review, Oregan, USA - Gather In, in a Special Irish Edition; Bosom Pals,Ed Marie Cadden (Doire Press, 2017) an anthology entirely in aid of Breast Cancer Research in the National UniveristyHospital, Galway and When They've Grown Another Me in Poetry Ireland Review, Dec 2018. January 2018 has seen her poems Commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Competition.

She has been an invited reader of her poems at local readings in Galway, Cork and Dublin and at festivals, including the Belfast Book Festival, Cuirt International Festival of Literature and Clifden Arts Festival. Her poems have been read on radio.

Susan completed her degree in social science and qualified as a professional social worker in Trinity College, Dublin 1975. She was a psychotherapist, trainer, facilitator and occasional consultant to organisations for over thirty years until her retirement in 2012. Drawing together her writing with her earlier skills she has written interviews and facilitated conversations mediated by poetry. She continues to work on a manuscript relating the story of starting out in poetry and a mid-life move West along with occasional other creative non-fiction pieces.

Her workshop Having a New Conversation: About Dreaming was listed on the The Cuirt International Festival of Literature Programme (2015) and she facilitates similar workshops on a variety of themes, discussed through the medium of poetry, regularly and occasionally in local community settings.

While a founding editor of Skylight 47 Susan interviewed: then Ireland Professor of Poetry, Harry Clifton; Kay Ryan, former US Poet Laureate invited to Ireland by Dromineer Literature Festival and Dani Gill who talks about curating The Cuirt International Literature Festival. Her most recent interview, of Maeve O'Sullivan, appears in The Honest Ulsterman February, 2018.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Ambiguity Has Value Until You Want to Pin Down ‘The’ Truth - Part 1.

Poetic license is important.

Why let the truth get in the way of good story? This catholic world viewpoint can drive a protestant soul mad. Protestant souls are more Yorkshire minded – a spade is a spade, or it is not.

Gerry Adams was not a member of the IRA. Yet, if he was not a member he wouldn’t have had the necessary standing to be able to negotiate the Northern Irish Peace Process.

The Regulator ‘can’t recall' a lot about what he was regulating when Anglo Irish bank Directors discussed with his Office a deal that would prevent the Irish banking system from collapse. If the Irish banks had collapsed the ripple effect would almost certainly have had many banks in other parts of the world follow suit. I still await and wonder about a further possible truth emerging that not only the Irish Central Bank but the European – and maybe American – Central Authorities were blinding their eyes facing in this direction too and acting in accord. It worked for everyone (on one level), except those who want to bring to account those responsible.

It’s tempting to leave it there - at the border that has us turn our own eyes and ears away.
But let’s persevere. Would we rather the Regulator, or the Central Bank who really held the reins, had stuck to the letter of the law, disallowed a ‘technically’ (I imagine this might have been a word used to describe it in the circumstances) illegal loan to friends, and favoured clients, of the bank for the greater good of saving the system? If the Regulator had not happened to be looking the other way at the time and the loan was not allowed and the banking system collapsed would we then be bitter about slavish attention to following the rule book when wriggle room was required? Or, would we prefer they had stuck to the regulations, allowed the system collapse – or at least, by facing up to the crisis in a different way, have saved only part of it. For example, the deposits of ordinary punters. But then, how do you distinguish between ‘ordinary punters’ and the ‘commercial’? And, wasn’t it the ‘commercial punters’ who went out on a limb, took risks to employ people and to build the Celtic Tiger Ireland that we like to thrash now while still wanting to retain the benefits of infrastructure, coffee shops and the higher standard of living that, despite all, lies in its wake? Having done this for the country, why do we want to make these the particular fall guys?

Would we prefer Gerry Adams had always told us clearly that he was a valued member of the IRA and had the Unionists and others continue to refuse to negotiate a Peace while he was anywhere near the process? Can we give the loyalists credit for being absolutely sure in their heart of hearts he was in the IRA but being willing to fudge it for the greater good of saving lives if a Peace Accord could be agreed (and, remember these were protestant souls for whom this kind of ambiguity is much more difficult!). Of course if Gerry Adams wants the past left behind, then he and his party must put to rest the parts they still want to accuse the British Government and loyalists for also. Negotiating this territory is the business of continuing to build peace in Northern Ireland. It is naïve and dangerous for those in the South to pretend that there is no need for us to accept the ambiguities underlying the Peace our government struggled to assist.

These are the grown up questions most of us, let’s face it, don’t want to have to decide. We’d prefer to have our elders decide them for us and blame them when things go wrong. You can argue they were/are the ones whose job it is to know. But when it comes to deciding these quandaries and weighing up the obvious legal and correct way against what appears to be (and may or may not be) for the greater good then any one of us has to face that decision on our own. You have to choose the ground you’re going to stand on and take the consequences. Those are the moments you discover who you are.

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