Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Last time I ever mention this idiot. I promise.

Ian OD
Last week I expressed surprise that Ian O’Doherty had not been taken to task over some really callous homophobic invective in a recent newspaper article. Now I’m a little wiser. Having a rational argument with O’Doherty, I realise, is like having a fist fight with a toddler. There is no glory in it.

Yesterday in the Indo, he fired back at me. Well to be fair, he first chipped in a really stellar (even by his own lofty standards) think-piece about bras, which concluded with the burning question: “After all, who wants to live in a world where chicks with massive hooters aren’t celebrated?” Then the gloves came off.

Though professing not to know me, nor to have any quarrel with what I had written about him, he referenced (apparently without irony) my supposed “bitterness” and “talentless outrage.” Really, in terms of the guy having a comically low self-awareness, he could only have topped that by singling out my drooping jowls and pass Leaving Cert standard English.

There are lot of sad, lonely, embittered people out there. And they all seem to read ISpy. And then blog about it.

One blog, written by someone called Eoin Butler, had a pop at this column last week when he was offended by an item. And while that’s fair enough, some of the comments posted underneath were interesting.

One person claimed to have sat beside your hero in DCU while doing a journalism MA in the ’90s, which came as a big shock.

Granted, a lot of that decade remains shrouded in a chemical haze, but I’m, pretty sure that DCU would never sink so low…

For what it’s worth, Ian, I never believed that disgraceful slander about your having had an education. Not for a second.

…while another person dismissed this column’s praise for Nick Cave’s The Boatman’s Call by saying: “see what cutting edge ‘sounds’ Ian is reviewing this week. That’s right, a Nick Cave Best Of from 13 years ago.”

Okay children, here’s a little lesson — this column doesn’t review new albums, it recommends classics that might have slipped through some people’s nets and, more crucially, it’s not a bloody best of, it’s a masterpiece.

There was also a remarkably libellous assertion posted before being eventually removed — some people in the Indo suggested suing, if only for a laugh. But what could he offer as payment? Ten per cent of bitterness? A basket of self-loathing? A bushel of talentless outrage?

No thanks.

Link is here.

You may think what’s remarkable here is that O’Doherty has studiously ignored the substantive point I raised, concentrating instead on completely off-topic comments left by other readers. That is remarkable, but only if you know nothing about Ian O’Doherty. The “straw man” approach is his stock-in-trade. That’s all he’s got.

I was more intrigued by his professing not to know me. I mean, I wouldn’t expect that he should. But it still seems a bit odd, given that he has written more than once in glowing terms about stuff I’ve done. (Lame comeback suggestion, Ian: write that I was surprised you hadn’t heard of me, but neglect to mention why…) My friend Mark dug this up yesterday:

One of the most common complaints about Irish journalism – up there with gripes against idiot social diarists, sleazy hacks cum TV judges and the ISpy column – is that the Irish media tends to play things just a little too softly with the great and good of our society.

And then there is Mongrel magazine.

Having been the best Irish publication – Indo excepted, of course – since the sad demise of The Slate, Mongrel has made a name for itself with its annual assault on the boring and mediocre of this country…

Link is here.

I was one of the main writers for both Mongrel and The Slate. However, Mongrel’s annual C*nts List, which he goes on to refer to in that article, is something I was vehemently opposed to. I thought it was a really crass idea. It went ahead despite my objections, and when O’Doherty chipped in to say how much he loved it, I considered that the ultimate vindication of my earlier stance.

He also wrote, in arse-licking terms, about my fake social diary, about my commercial feature promoting Satanism, as well as claiming on another occasion to have fond recollections of catching my hapless singer-songwriter alter ego Ollie Higgins playing live with the Kill City Snowmen back in the day.

I can’t find links to these articles on the Indo website. The search function there doesn’t seem to work very well. Sufficed to say, if I’m lying – he can sue me.

As I recall, it was profoundly unsettling to learn that a troglodyte like O’Doherty approved of articles I’d written. If I had discovered blood in my stool, quite frankly, it would not have occasioned as much agonised soul searching. That’s all I have to say, and all I’m ever going to say, about this guy. He can write what he likes about me. I hope I haven’t sunk to his level in anything I’d said here. If I have, I apologise. Normal service will resume tomorrow. Yee-haw!

[P.S. With thanks to my friend Colin for the montage above. I’m sure it was a labour of love. I’m thinking of making it my desktop wallpaper!]

April 27th, 2010.

38 Responses to “Last time I ever mention this idiot. I promise.”

  1. Steve Says:


    This guy really seems to be quite the clown. I for some reason now have an image of him plodding along comically in size 18 clown shoes….knocking over cups of coffee and vases in the office. Don’t stop now, this makes for some fine morning coffee reading. I’ll leave for work now grinning in the happy knowledge that the circus is in town.


  2. Bibi Baskin Says:

    He looks like Meatloaf only inside out. Very unsettling.

  3. Rob Says:

    It’s all kickin’ off now! Journo fight!!!

  4. JP Says:

    Seeing pictures of and reading the hate utterances and proclamations of this episcopal priest (priest definition – One who is designated an authority on religious matter) evokes the same revulsion and patrial embarrassment I normally reserve for Brendan Smith, fumbling bishops and other defenders of conservative oppresion and greasy fear venders in this country.

    I have not bought the Irish Independent in years and regularly remind my family and friends not to, as to do so means they are holding back an entire continent from fully liberating itself from the 1950s hardline conservatist and deferent society we inherited.

    I read your blog almost daily as its progressive and healthy.

  5. Paul Moloney Says:

    I remember when Atheist Ireland chose this guy to speak at their first meeting, thinking what had I as an atheist done to deserve that?


  6. harry Says:

    “If had discovered blood in my stool, quite frankly, it would not have occasioned as much earnest self-examination on my part.”

    The gauntlet is thrown down O’Doherty. Or should I explain what gauntlet means first?

  7. Andrew Says:

    Ian O’Doherty is quoting me in his column? I’ve finally made it.

  8. BMD Says:

    Ian O’Doherty *sniggers*.

  9. Mick Says:

    I still don’t get it…what were you doing reading the Independent? Something to go through your stool with?

    Thoroughly confused.

  10. Eoin Says:

    @ Andrew – I wouldn’t get too excited.

    @ BMD – are you sniggering at the mention of his name, or are you positing the suggesting that Ian O’Doherty may have been known to snigger on occasion.

    Because the latter, I think is a given. Every time and old lady slips on ice, I’d imagine.

    @ Mick – as it happens, it was left on the table in the cafe where I have breakfast. But I have no problem with that paper, only O’Doherty.

  11. Pauline Walnuts Says:

    Nick Cave’s the Boatman’s Call. Yeah, a real under the radar cult classic that one.

    Didn’t the renowned music archivist Peaches Geldof have the lyrics to Into My Arms tattooed to her back once??


    And only three years later O’doherty is on the case. Brilliant.

  12. BMD Says:

    @Eoin: At first I was sniggering at the thought of big Ian making a living from writing the same tired article every other day. But now that you mention it, I imagine Ian erupts in uproarious laughter every time an old lady injures herself, especially if she is a lesbian/transsexual/feminist/liberal/intellectual.

  13. Eoin Says:

    @ EK – LOL. And appreciated.

  14. Elaine Says:

    Hahaha….would it be libelous to suggest that Ian O’Doherty may have been born without a brain? [edit]

  15. Andrew Says:

    Next week: O’Doherty lets the public in on a little secret known as ‘Titanic’.

  16. Dolly Says:

    Brilliant. I read O’Doherty’s bit in the Independent yesterday and I figured you’d respond. Btw its hilarious with all the publicity hes given your blog not one person has posted a comment supporting him.

    Can we assume, that even as we speak O’Doherty is slithering around underground dungeon reading up on every article you’ve ever written in preparation for his next abisymal comeback.

    My monies is on “Butler claims to be friends with Mondo from Fair City but I spoke to the soap star yesterday and he has denied the two have even ever met”…

  17. Dolly Says:

    Sorry that should say “my money is one…”

  18. Dolly Says:

    D’oh! No that should say “my money is ON…” 😮

  19. Eoin Says:

    @ Elaine – not if you have the medical records to prove it… Do you have the medical records to prove it?

    @ Andrew – This week: You’ve got to check out this exciting new combo called The Beetles!

    New week: Breaking news. John Lenin shot dead in Moscow!

    @ Dolly – if he does write about me again, and I really, really hope he doesn’t, he’ll go the amazed-I-hadn’t-heard-of-him route. It’s not that difficult to figure out how his mind works.

  20. Colin Says:

    In fairnes to Ian, I think some of the inaccuracies should be cleared up, from the comments.

    Concerning Steve’s assertion above, you have no knowledge as to whether Ian O’Doherty wears large clown like shoes or if his equilibrium is affected by said shoes.

    That is all. Give those commenters hell, Iano!

  21. A respected legal expert writes... Says:

    Seriously, lads. Comments suggesting Ian O’Doherty was born without a brain are both outrageous and slanderous.

    As a respected legal expert, I would advice O’Doherty to disprove this vile allegation by carving open this skull with a kitchen knife, rusty penknife or whatever blunt instrument is closest to hand.

    I’ll even represent him on a no-win no-fee basis – can’t say fairer!

  22. Peggle Says:

    The fact that he never had any third level education is in no way comparable to never having been to school, and I find the idea of looking down on him for THAT, instead of the countless other problems one might have with him, distasteful and smug. Try to avoid completely disappearing up your own arses in this festival of self-satisfaction.

  23. Eoin Says:

    @ Peggle – My late father was one of the most learned people I’ve ever known. And he did not have a third level education. So I wasn’t looking down on O’Doherty for that.

    Having said that, I never studied English beyond Leaving Cert, but I do know how to write coherently. [Okay, on reflection, I’ve just had to edit my own comment there… Christ, talk about a new low. That’s it, I’m done here!]

  24. Robert Says:

    I think the argument can be settled thus;

    No-one buys the Indo to read Ian O’Doherty. In fact I use his page as a bookmark, as it indicates the end of the newspaper and the start of the “lifestyle” section, that which is devoted (at least once a week) to some twunt in a school jumper / skinny jeans combo going without their i-phone, laptop, etc, and their inevitable disappointment when they realise that although they can’t survive without technology, technology copes fine without them.

    However everyone who comes here, comes here to read your stuff.

    If tomorrow, Ian heads off to the Daily Mail or something, no readership would follow, and he would just be replaced with another rent-a-quote with similarly adolescent opinions.

  25. Steve Says:

    @Colin – Indeed, I agree to a point, but his social commentary seems quite blunderous and if you will allow me, clownlike at times. I have put the oversized shoes on him for effect, and I think they suit him.

    I have to say though, this has turned into quite an O’Doherty baiting session, and in some cases quite silly. The man should be given time to reply or defend himself, or at least a chance to use the water squirting flower on his lapel.

  26. Eoin Says:

    @ Steve – agreed. Can you all please avoid making juvenile and/or libellous comments – at least until the football is over and I can delete them!

  27. sean Says:


  28. gueuleton Says:

    @ Sean — *facepalm*

  29. Eoin Says:

    Thanks Sean, you really know how to help a brother out.

  30. Maximilian Says:

    If I may weight in at this late hour. I don’t care if Mr O’Doherty is irresponsible in the way he treats other groups in are society. That does not give anyone here the right to respond to him in kind.

    With all due respects I think Eoin may have gone too far when he referred to Mr O’Doherty’s personal appearance. Funny or not, comments like that are beneath him, regardless of any provocation there might have been in the papers that day.

    Having said that I disagree with Peggle about education. I don’t believe that Eoin intended to mock people who haven’t gone to university themselves. I think he was taking issue with people who take perverse pride in lack of learning.

    Anti-intellectualism is one of the most dangerous plagues of the modern world. It is responsible for everything from Sarah Palin and Fox New to the Taliban and yes even Ian O’Doherty.

  31. sean Says:


  32. DD Says:

    “Having a rational argument with O’Doherty, I realise, is like having a fist fight with a toddler. There is no glory in it.”

    No glory. But lots of entertainment for the rest of us. I’ve been living in the Midwest (US) for eight years. I have no idea who O’Doherty is and I’m still lovin’ this!!

  33. lee Says:

    Can I take up that point about Ian O’Doherty having only pass Leaving Cert level English. I teach a Junior Cert English class (mostly honours but some pass students too.) Neither of Ian O’Doherty’s articles reproduced on your blog would merit any more than a C in my class.

    “One blog, written by someone called Eoin Butler, had a pop at this column last week when he was offended by an item.”

    Who was offended by the item? Was Eoin Butler offended by the item? Or was his blog? Since when is Eoin Butler’s blog a “he”? Since when does Eoin Butler’s blog get offended by things it reads in the Irish Independent?

    “Every form of sexual deviancy is now seen by some as legitimate and we shouldn’t judge them.”

    The author uses “is” (singular) followed by “them” (plural). Very poor. Who or what is being referred to as “them”? If I was correcting a pile of papers in a hurry, I would just cross out that entire sentence and write “SYNTAX??” in red biro beside it.

    Should I continue?

  34. micfur Says:

    Eoin, you need to grow yourself a humour tumour. You take yourself far to seriously.

  35. Darragh Says:

    I like the wallpaper. I want it for my flat. 2 rolls please.

  36. demure lemur Says:

    Ian O’Doherty definitely did have a brain when he was born. I know, because I sat next to him when we were having our frontal lobotomies done.

  37. Eoin Says:

    Okay, I think we’ve had our fun here. I’m minding my niece and can’t monitor so I’m shutting down comments.Adios!

  38. Holy crap, is this the most casually homophobic article you’ve ever read or what? | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    […] See also here. April 21st, 2010. […]