Frank O’Connor and Ben Mayo

Ben Mayo was the pseudonym used by Frank O'Connor for a period during World War II when O'Connor had run afoul of the Irish government and establishment. His books were being banned; access to the online media of the time in Ireland (Radio Éireann, now RTÉ) was being limited by State and Church.

O'Connor used the pseudonym exclusively for a series of short articles for the Sunday Independent intended to 'point the finger at what is wrong in Ireland.' The series had been conceived by the editor of the newspaper, Hector Legge, who insisted on the use of a 'nom de guerre' so 'frowned upon' Frank O'Connor would not be associated with the articles.

The Ben Mayo articles exquisitely describe a young nation: its recently achieved independence; its struggles to achieve a state of democracy that reflected the cultural norms of a population desperately working to confirm independence and identity; the nation's efforts to establish a sense of equity within the population; its perspective on its role (as a small nation) in a world in the turmoil of war. The articles do so with humour, wit and logic.

Eighty years later the Ben Mayo articles still speak directly to the heart.

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