Conor Cruise O'Brien 1917-2008

Irish politician, writer and intellectual Conor Cruise O’Brien has died at the age of 91. Always controversial, ‘The Cruiser’ was one of the few intellectual heavyweights in Irish politics.

He was internationally renowned, but at home probably best known for two things: his coining of the phrase GUBU (Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre and Unprecedented) — which related to the arrest of a murderer at the home of the then attorney general, and captured many people’s feeling on the excesses of the Haughey regime as a whole — and his fierce opposition to physical force republicanism. This lead him so far in later life as to stand as a candidate for the fringe United Kingdom Unionist Party, but most notoriously lead him to vigorously enforce Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, which banned Sinn Féin and the IRA from Irish airwaves.