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Monday 5 December 2016

Michael O'Doherty: Irish people don't resent success, but they certainly do resent snobbery

Patrick Guinness
Patrick Guinness
Jonathan Rachel Clynch
Pat Kenny

Back in the early days of VIP magazine, we ran a series of photoshoots with the owners of some of Ireland's finest country homes.

Some, such as the Leslie family, owners of Castle Leslie in Co Monaghan, were charming. Others, with their plummy, strangely-British accents, sizeable inheritances, and lack of acquaintance with what most of us would consider to be a normal day's work, came across as a bit cut off from reality.

Which brings us nicely to Patrick Guinness, a descendant of the famous Guinness brewing family, who - though they have long-since given up any involvement in the business - have benefited from the very valuable shareholding built up by their ancestors.

Flog

Patrick appeared in a VIP photoshoot 16 years ago and resurfaced on Ryan Tubridy's radio show last week, ostensibly to publicise the sale of his country estate, Furness House.

Quite why RTE would invite on a guest just to help flog their home is a question in itself. Stranger still, however, was Patrick's suggestion as to what he may do should he fail to sell.

"We may fill it full of Syrian refugees, you never know," he declared, adding "preferably female aged between 20 and 30".

Managing to be elitist and sexist in so few words is quite an achievement, and Guinness did himself no favours a few days later when he sought to defend his comments in a newspaper interview.

"There was a practical aspect to it," he insisted, before going into a rambling explanation about how most refugees in boats were men, rather than women, which served simply to add the incomprehensible to the indefensible.

Patrick went on to portray himself as the antithesis of the idle rich landlord living off the hard work of his ancestors. He pointed out that he has worked as a financial analyst, and suggesting that the backlash towards his comments is based on classic Irish begrudgery.

"There is a general resentment in Ireland towards successful people ... just because they are successful. I think when people are unhappy with their own lives, they will always lash out at an identifiable icon."

Quite why Patrick should consider himself "successful" is open to debate. Aside from the notion that he should be applauded for actually choosing to work, it should be pointed out that he has hardly turned his back on his inheritance, as Furness House was decked out with countless Guinness family antiques, which he recently auctioned off along with 700 or so family heirlooms.

Display

Patrick attempted to display a Buddhist attitude towards losing these possessions, declaring that "You own things. They don't own you. If you have something that you would never sell or give away then you're admitting it has a hold on you."

A cynic, of course, might suggest that it's easy to be sanguine about losing your inherited gifts when just one of them, a clock, nets you €129k at auction.

So just to be clear, Patrick. Irish people don't resent success. They resent snobs.

 

Dressing well is not a cinch, Jonathan

2015-10-12_opi_13631359_I1.JPG  

'Gender fluid' RTE presenter Jonathan Clynch last week revealed what gender fluid looks like.

Turning up to work, Clynch sported a loose-fitting t-shirt, a cropped cream leather jacket with padded shoulders, red trousers, black high heels, a floral scarf and a red handbag.

While he concealed much of his face behind large sunglasses, his expression gave the impression of a man-slash-woman who was very happy with him-slash-herself.

Well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble Jonathan, but the wait to discover what a gender-fluid person wears wasn't worth it.

Because, to be honest, we've seen better dressers.

 

A year's a long time in TV for Kenny

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A YEAR ago UTV Ireland launched with much pomp and ceremony, unveiling their best-kept secret: star-signing Pat Kenny.

Kenny's introduction was as grandiose as you could imagine - he walked all the way from the front door, through the crowd and up onto a stage, much as would a prize fighter at a world championship bout.

When asked this week, however, why his talk show had been axed, Kenny (left) replied: "I don't know the reasons ... I didn't hear it from UTV Ireland".

When asked whether it was to do with budgets or viewership figures, he responded: "I know nothing about it".

One thing we do know, though - a year is certainly a long time in TV.

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