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, 16 July 2016

Weighing the Odds

  - Post the Brexit Vote  and Theresa May’s new Cabinet.

Is the new British Prime Minister playing an extremely smart long game or does she actually believe this is her best possible cabinet?

    The question I kept returning to this week, like a rough tooth that a tongue just can’t stay away from, is whether the new British Prime Minister is playing an extremely smart long game or actually believes her new Cabinet is the best possible.

     She acted swiftly to nail her colours to the mast for exiting the EU.

     The Prime Minister appointed Boris Johnson and David Davis, strong campaigners for the Against campaign to positions where they will be to the forefront of negotiating the deal. She has even included her rival for leadership by appointing her to the Energy and Rural Affairs portfolio and she has appointed a new Chancellor of the Exchequer. There is no question then of prevaricating in relation to moving Britain on and out of the Union, that is the European Union. She has made her commitment to the other, United Kingdom union, clear: she is Prime Minister of that Union and has made clear her urgent concern to look after it by visiting Scotland at the first available opportunity. She doesn’t want a Scexit from the UK.

     She has thus acted quickly to reassure the majority of the voters who won the Referendum for Brexit that she will honour their choice while allowing some comfort to the others, half almost, in the population who know she wasn’t on the side of exiting herself. She has also offered them leadership by demonstrating a determination to honour the decision made regardless of what her own preference would have been.

     Theresa May has even managed to clearly acknowledge and state from the beginning her commitment to resolve the underlying and inevitable sense of injustice at the root of the vote. 

     The inequity of the ever widening gap between the top echelons of society and those most alienated by their suffering as a result of austerity politics and the expanding economics of globalisation is currently at the heart of British and international politics. As David Williams cogently put it in an article in The Sunday Business Post last weekend*10.7.2016, those in power forget at their peril that every now and then in a democracy the population are all equal, that is when they exercise the power of their vote.

     A more Machiavellian perspective on the new British Prime Minister’s strategy, the one that that tongue just won’t leave alone, might suggest that the leaders of the Leave campaign have been given their just deserts by the new Prime Minister

      Johnson is not getting out of the mess he led the British into by stepping down from the leadership contest, he is going to have to face the international leaders – European and way beyond Europe – who see him as having been a main contributor to the challenges they now have to address and lead the diplomatic mission to mend and move the broken fences. A quickly masked incredulity was seen on many of the faces screened as the news broke of his appointment. While theirs was not so, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t resist an ironic smile while viewing the appointment from this perspective.

     It may indeed instead be encouraging that these Exit campaigners can be certain to work for the outcome they supposedly desired. But the caveat must be born in mind that commentators have also suggested it was not in fact their truly desired outcome. Instead their desire may have been for political power. Well if that’s it, they have it – even if not quite to the extent hoped. The curse, now it seems falsely attributed to the Chinese who have never heard of the saying, may apply: may your dreams come true. It will be interesting to see how they bring about what they desired and what they learn in the process.

Nevertheless, if I was in the Labour Party I’d be worried.

      Despite having other small things to worry about – like how the shadow cabinet and Party membership are to agree on a leader and direction for the Party -I’d be worrying just how soon Theresa May is going to call the General Election, that very possibly her carefully chosen cabinet would best position the Conservative Party to win. Presumably it won’t be called too quickly – a certain amount of stability has to be secured first from the initial chaos of the Brexit vote – but I’d be concerned that it might be as imminent as is decently possible. Would Boris Johnson and David Davison be re-appointed afterwards? Considering that future sharpens the tooth that that tongue won’t let alone.

Angel Merkyl and Theresa May are capable of procrastination when it is politically expedient

     There was an interesting piece in The Irish Times on Friday, 15th July, by Derek Scally reporting from Berlin in which he pointed out that both Angel Merkyl and Theresa May are capable of procrastination when it is politically expedient. There will be an inevitable period of stormy weather ahead for Britain and its relationship with the EU.

I think I’d put money on the possibility that the Conservatives will form the next Government in the UK and that, whether or not the EU exit clause is invoked, eventually the relationship between Britain and the EU may not be all that different from what it is now however it comes to be described.

     However, if I was a gambler - and like it or not we’re all gambling given the world we live in now, although maybe it was always case even if less evidently than in the past – I think I’d put money on the possibility that the Conservatives will form the next Government in the UK and that, whether or not the EU exit clause is invoked, eventually the relationship between Britain and the EU may not be all that different from what it is now however it comes to be described. But I wouldn’t put all my money on it. I’d take a punt against as well. If, alternatively, the UK can make Brexit work the danger to the European Union that it would encourage others to try to do the same might be offset by their example becoming the most effective agent in bringing about the badly needed change of perspective within the EU. In the longer term one possibility has still got to be that the Brexit vote could ultimately lead to a better outcome for both.


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