Interesting Times


My Great-Grandfather Lance Corporal Joseph Bohan-O’Shea, killed 1916, Battle of the Somme. 

It’s been a week. Please forgive the wooziness of this post but I’m lying in bed post-operation and full of pain killers. My surgery followed seven tumultuous days here in the UK, where I’m currently based. The country went to the polls and opted to leave the EU. I’m still reeling from this result. Not that my operation had any relation to the referendum, but it was a suitably crap way to cap a crap week.

As a staunch pro-European I believe Brexit a sad and misguided mis-step, that will eventually deliver to the little Englanders exactly that, a little England. I’ve rarely experienced the anti-Irish prejudice here that was so prevalent during my grandparents’ years in the UK, however it does appear that the monster of intolerance and prejudice is raising its ugly head here again and all of this marks a deeply lamentable sea-change in the consensus in Britain. I am pessimistic for the future.

Of course, the wake of the Brexit vote saw the PM resign and his assassin in turn stabbed in the back, whilst the opposition party Labour imploded. And England were kicked out of the Euros by Iceland. Strange days indeed.

Meanwhile, my country Ireland saw its fans awarded a medal for sportsmanship by the mayor of Paris. There’s a scramble for Irish passports by worried Brits with an Irish grandmother (Irish grandparents turn up in the most surprising and diverse family trees: Margaret Thatcher, Sophie Wessex, Che Guevara, Mohammed Ali… to name but a few). Whilst we worry of the re-emergence of the physical border between Ireland (now the most Western outpost of the EU) and the UK, which does not bode well for the peace process.

And somewhat indicative of the historic ties between the UK and its neighbour, Ireland, this day, July 1st, commemorates the Battle of the Somme, where my great-grandfather was killed 100 years ago, wearing a British uniform. It should be a day upon which we remember why the EU, however imperfect, exists – instead, Britain seems intent on issuing divorce proceedings. It’s all wrong.


About suehealy

Award-winning Irish writer/playwright Sue Healy’s work has been supported and developed by Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and Arts Council England. Her full-length stage plays include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s work has also been performed at the Finborough, Arcola, Hackney Attic and Sterts theatres, and at festivals including the Claremorris Fringe (New Writing Award winner), the Brighton (Sussex Playwrights’ Award winner), the UEA Contemporary European Drama Festival, Norwich. December 2017 will see her work showcased at the Criterion theatre in London. Radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has been a finalist for BBC Scriptroom 12, Eamon Keane Playwriting Prize, Nick Darke Award and the Old Vic 12 New Voices. Sue's prose has won the the Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award and has been published widely. Sue has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from juried artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy. Sue is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumna. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She is currently London-based, completing a Ph.D. on the Royal Court Theatre. Sue is an Associate Lecturer in Playwriting at the Universities of Lincoln and Portsmouth, and tutors Creative Writing at City Lit. She is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre. View all posts by suehealy

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