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"Old Fr Cronin keeps asking, 'Which one is Johnny Logan?'" Frank Augstein/AP/Press Association Images

Column Cardinal Rules (Part 24) On the joy unconfined of watching Jedward

This week, the (not) Primate of All Ireland relates the excitement among the Fathers as they settled in for last night’s nailbiting Eurovision semi-final: “We decide to do the Rosary early to get it out of the way…”

LAST NIGHT WAS a great one for Jedward, for Ireland, for the state of the nation’s morale, for… the Catholic Church? (Not) Cardinal Brady blogs from last night’s screening of the Eurovision semi-final:


Big excitement in the house as “Operation Eurovision” swings into action. Fr O’Leary and Fr Deasy are sent down to Tesco to buy lots of TK red lemonade and packets of crisps.

Meanwhile, Fr Lawlor and Fr O’Rourke must decide where to put our one piece of Eurovision bunting. I remind them that they are not to remove the words “Go Johnny Logan!” from the bunting, as going by the law of averages it is a fair assumption that he will be entering again next year.


Fr Ryan sees Frs Lawlor and O’Rourke debating where to put the bunting in the common room. He sneers.

“Eurovision has zero artistic credibility,” he says, and is “way uncool.” He then goes upstairs to play his Smashing Pumpkins album really loudly.


Disaster. Fr O’ Leary and Fr Deasy have returned from Tesco, and there is no TK red lemonade left. Instead they have brought back lots of Fanta orange, and yet everybody knows that NOBODY likes Fanta orange.


Fr  Quirke arrives into the house with a big bag of “Jed heads.” I am initially uncomfortable with the idea, but very soon all the priests are gathered around and trying on the “Jed heads” for size. Their enthusiasm is almost infectious.



After much cajoling I reluctantly try on a Jed head. Admittedly it is very cosy. Fr Quirke says they are held in place with a special adhesive for extra snugness.

Fr Deasy does a peace sign, followed by the splits, and shouts “Peace out!” Everybody cheers. It is at this point I begin to worry that things may be getting out of hand, and I order each and every one of them to remove their Jed heads immediately.


For some reason we cannot remove the Jed heads.


It turns out the “special adhesive” is of Fr Quirke’s own concoction. “they kept falling off,” he protests. Fr Lawlor is starting to hyperventilate. I berate Fr Quirke.

Fr Ryan stands on the stairs scowling down at us. “You all look ridiculous,” he says. As he stomps back upstairs I notice that the Radiohead t-shirt he is wearing is two sizes too small for him.


We decide to do the Rosary early to get it out of the way before the semi-final starts. It takes two hours. I can’t remember which decade I am on, and I have to keep re-starting – mainly because I can’t stop thinking about the fact that everybody is wearing Jed heads, we have no TK red lemonade, and I am torn between the joy of supporting Jedward and the fear of the catastrophic consequences for Ireland should they win the overall competition.

8pm – 9.30pm

The competition is only brilliant. There are people with funny hats, Marty Whelan is ad-libbing like a World ad-libbing champion, old Fr Cronin keeps asking “Which one is Johnny Logan?” and Fr Deasy is waving a big tricolour.

Meanwhile, Fr Ryan is peering through the door jamb, talking about how great something called Neutral Milk Hotel is, and saying “You’re all watching the Eurovision, and I’m like, whatevers.”


Joy is unconfined in the common room. Jedward are through! The general feeling is that these two wonderful boys with big red glittery shoulder pads are a more than adequate symbol for Ireland’s inevitable economic resurrection. That is unless they win, in which case the burden of hosting next year’s Eurovision will mean the exact opposite.

Everyone is so happy I barely even notice that I am drinking Fanta. Meanwhile, Fr Ryan is sitting in the corner, weeping like a baby and saying “Thank you, Lord,” over and over again, while wrapped in Fr Deasy’s tricolour.

It is a wonderful night for Ireland.

Peace out.

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady
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