Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fanny, my arse!

In the Irish Senate, in the course of a debate on the abolition of the Senate, Senator David Norris accused Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty of "talking through her fanny".

This caused no small uproar and Norris subsequently tendered a sort of an apology saying he didn't intend to offend anyone.

He is quoted as saying, though, that he could defend his use of terminology in an academic debate.

Now the offence taken, by a lot of people, was to the reference to the female genitalia implied in his remark. Other people felt he hadn't gone quite that far, so to speak.

So if we're going to have an academic debate let's have it now.

From my favourite online dictionary (
fanny (plural fannies)

(UK, vulgar) The female genitalia.

Her dress was so short you could nearly see her fanny

(North America, informal) The buttocks; arguably the most nearly polite of several euphemisms.

Children, sit down on your fannies, and eat your lunch.
Get off your fanny and get back to work!

(UK, vulgar) Sex; similar to North American pussy

This club is full of fanny.

Now, it seems to me that Senator Norris's only defence, if defence it be, is to say he was using the term in the North American sense.

And for this Joycean scholar to have to resort to American usage to make his case would surely be the supreme irony.

Over to you David.


Póló said...

I drew Senator Norris's attention to this post via his Twitter account (@SenDavidNorris).

I then went to look at what sort of stuff he tweeted and found he hadn't tweeted for the best part of a year.

At that stage he was flogging his autobiography. Previous to that was his advertising an article in the IT and previous to that, over a year and a half ago, his campaign for the Áras.

Bit of a one way street there.

So I tried his Facebook page.Another one way street, frozen at the time of the Presidential election.

So much for social media.

Ah well, I tried.

Póló said...

I was uneasy about leaving it at that so I have emailed the Senator in the following terms at his Oireachtas address (

Dear David

I don't normally email people cold. But, having ascertained that your Twitter and Facebook accounts were set up as one way channels, this seems to be the only way to bring my post to your attention, which, in fairness, I should do.

You will see that Blogger allows one to comment on posts in extenso. Please feel free to do so.

Yours etc.


Póló said...

Got a bit of a shock from this reply from the Senator's Assistant:

Dear Mr. O Duibhir,

Senator Norris is in hospital been treated for inoperable cancer.

M. G. Smith
Assistant to Senator David Norris

I have sent the following reply:

Dear M. G. Smith

I am sorry to hear that Senator Norris is in hospital being treated for inoperable cancer. I had been aware from newspaper headlines that he was not well but was not aware of the extent of his illness.

I have now seen the Irish Independent report of 8 July, which predates his controversial remarks in the Senate.

I hope the fact that he is back in hospital does not mean a serious and sudden deterioration in his condition.

I know that he is a fighter and always tries to look on the bright side.

I hope he will manage to return to the fray soon.

Meanwhile I will draw the attention of anyone who might read my blog to your reply.

Wishing the Senator well.

Pól Ó Duibhir

I had been looking forward to a good scrap and, hopefully, I'll get it yet.

Póló said...

In all the circumstances, Senate recall or no, this has to be one of the crassest Phoenix cover montages ever.

PHOENIX Vol 31 No 17 August 23 - September 5, 2013.