Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

I was thinking the other day about the enormous amount of literature generated by the various Tribunals that have taken place in Ireland over the past 10 years. I had cause to go in search of a transcript because it concerned a place I had once worked briefly. Man were there hundreds and hundreds of witnesses and pages and pages of transcriptions to scroll through before I found the individual I sought.

The transcription I read went on and on in a similar manner: judge seemed to go through every line of a statement to which the witness responded very little other than “correct” at the end of a long paragraph read aloud. Then the barrister (I think) began cross examination. Again endless, endless repeating of long lines to very single word or single sentence replies.

The written and verbal equivalent of pigeon steps along a line of a never ending spool of thread.  I was trying to imagine whether in a hundred years people would pour over these kinds of papers in bound books or be able to pull them up on a flatscreen on the fridge door and what would it tell them about today?

All I really learnt was a few tidbits about the person that could probably be gathered on a Facebook query. I don’t know what I thought I’d find, I think I was mostly interested in the performative recording, of how the individual responded and dealt with being queried on a time and place I could visualize, in front of a room of people and the six pm news.

I wonder if Tribunals would ever spawn board games or reality tv shows along the lines of So you think you can cross examine? Or where the contestant has to recall minutae of xmas day 25 years ago and their family are in the audience disputing the colour of the wrapping paper.

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