Well, you might think so from McFadden's "swingeingly articulate" lyrics:
"This is the city that raised me with the religion they gave me...it was leaving that saved me, I've seen so much that has changed me...break with the past and know your own mind, 'cause this Irish son has moved with the times..."
Unlike the rest of us, then, Brian? Good to know that someone who spent their adult life singing cheesy ballads is more progressive than, say, me and my friends who organised a successful feminist festival that was attended by teenagers and 60 something mammies. Or even the Archbishop of Dublin, who approves of civil partnerships for gay people. McFadden's evocation of a world ruled by evil priests might make some sense if he hadn't been born in 1980. Yes, Ireland was pretty conservative even in the '80s. It still is a conservative country in some ways. But it isn't some sort of god-fearing theocracy anymore - a glimpse at O'Connell Street on a Saturday night would prove that - and it hasn't been for pretty much all of McFadden's life. Also, as he grew up just a mile up the road from me, I know the schools he went to and they weren't priest-run hellholes by any stretch of the imagination (his secondary school Rosmini is kind of scary, but it was the teachers who were scared of the pupils rather than the other way round). To present Dublin to the world as some sort of backwater where McFadden (who, lest we forget, is white, straight and now rich) is repressed by the forces of conservativism is just pandering to other people's bigoted ideas of what this country is. I can't help thinking that he went through a checklist of miserable Irish stereotypes that would help him get taken seriously as an "artist". The fool.
You know, I give out about Dublin, and Ireland, quite a lot. But I don't pretend that the Ireland in which I grew up was the Ireland of the '50s.