Okay, I admit it. I've been a coward.
For too long I've heeded advice 'not to get involved' or been told 'they'll get bored eventually', and I've watched on, frequently incredulous at the spite and pettiness of supposedly professional adults, as empire-building bullies within the Irish genealogy industry have thrown insults and innuendo at those they dislike or bear a grudge against in the hope of ruining their reputations and livelihoods.
Sometimes I have had, and continue to have, absolutely no idea of the person or organisation's motivation, or where the grudge was born. Other times I know exactly what lies behind certain comments and statements (they're typically dressed up as rightful concern or a desire to stimulate debate, but that's not the real motivation) and it's usually personal.
It goes way, way beyond the normal competitiveness and political manoeuvring found in most industries.
Most of the aggression is confined to Dublin. I'm happy to say that Northern Ireland is an oasis of calm and, outside the island, grown-up behaviour still seems to rule.
In the capital, however, it's become so dirty I can no longer ignore it. I was brought up to be strong and to speak out against cruelty, unfairness and the mis-use of power, fame and wealth. Like many of my generation, the poem "First they came for the Communists" helped form my philosophy. So it's time for me to speak out against the bullies and hypocrites.
Inevitably there will be a backlash. Not only will some regular readers prefer my blog sticks to reporting news rather than my observations and opinions, others will be disappointed that I’ve aired the industry’s filthy laundry in public. And then there’s the certainly that I'm stepping out into the bullies' firing line.
What do I want? Call me an old hippy but I want peace. This is not what I signed up for when I started my website and blog. The industry, then principally formed of self-employed individuals, looked so pretty from a distance. It has grown mighty ugly close up. If enough people want it to be restored, it can be. Those that have kept quiet up to now could start challenging the protagonists, and those that have some influence or control over the mud-slingers could also contribute to the healing process.
I will do my bit here.
Those of a delicate disposition had better look away.
Links to subsequent blogposts:
Plagiarism: the Genealogical Society of Ireland's stance
Of Scoops and Poops