I acquired the name “Colman” at the age of eight at my confirmation
I have a unique perspective as a foreigner who lived in rural Sri Lanka from 2002. I lived in Uva province from 2002 until 2017. I have now moved closer to the Colombo fleshpots, I have good contacts among both supporters and opponents of the government and with journalists, editors and academics. I am able to adopt a detached but informed viewpoint about Sri Lankan affairs.
The name on my birth certificate is Michael Patrick O’Leary. I write under a different name because Michael O’Leary is such a common name that Google gets confused. Any search for “Michael O’Leary” is likely to come up with more than anyone would want to know about the multimillionaire CEO of RyanAir.
I started writing a regular column under the name Michael O’Leary for Sri Lanka’s leading business magazine Lanka Monthly Digest (LMD), in 2007. In 2010 they asked me to provide a second monthly column, predicting world events. Later, they asked me to contribute a third column, this one on current happenings in Europe. My articles were also translated for a Sinhala business magazine, Vyápárika Handa. I also wrote a regular column for LMD’s sister magazine, Living Essentials.
From August 2013, I contributed regular columns to another business magazine, Echelon and its sister publication, The Abacus.
My work has been published in most of the English-language Sri Lankan newspapers. I was a regular contributor to the Sri Lankan Sunday paper The Nation. I have also been a regular contributor to two other Sunday newspapers, The Sunday Island and Lakbima News. On January 1 2014, I started a weekly column, Colman’s Column, in Ceylon Today and had eighteen articles published in Mosaic, the arts section of the Sunday edition of Ceylon Today.
I have blogged on Sri Lankan current affairs on The Agonist and Le Monde diplomatique (Diplo)
An article on Irish Central, an Irish-American website with a large readership, got 583 shares.
An article on the Sri Lankan website Groundviews attracted 5,000 hits and over a hundred comments:
An article on Sri Lanka for The Agonist was described by Charles J Brown, Washington Director at the Institute for International Law and Human Rights as “one of the best descriptions of what’s going on in Sri Lanka that I’ve seen anywhere in the media”.
One Diplo reader commented: “I love reading Padraig Colman’s article every month. It is nice to read an intelligent article about Sri Lanka in western media once in a while. You are one of the few journalists I know that can report on complex issues with amazing perspective. Reminds me of Joe Schlesinger, great journalist from Canadian journalist from CBC.”
Sunday Island editor Manik de Silva wrote about one of my articles for Ceylon Today: “Dear Michael, I benefited greatly by reading what you have written. You also showed me another side of your character – that you are much more than an enormously well read man and a most gifted writer. Admiringly.”
Shamindra Kulamannage, editor of Echelon, “I have been meaning to tell you how much I enjoyed reading Anosmia. It’s one of the most perceptive pieces I have read by a person known to me personally. Congratulations on creating such a moving narrative that is able to draw in and hold a reader.”
The distinguished Irish historian Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote of an article of mine about the IRA: “Fascinating, authoritative and depressing”.
My articles have been syndicated worldwide in many websites and publications including New York Times:
(http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/08/opinion/08iht-edcoleman.html) International Herald Tribune and The Scotsman.
I have had articles published in the UK magazine Best of British. My work has also been published in Britain’s top-selling magazine, Private Eye.
I contributed to the prestigious magazine Himal Southasian, when it was based in Kathmandu. It is now based in Rosmead Place, Colombo.
I have written several articles for the Sri Lankan Airlines in-flight magazine Serendib.
I have acted as consultant/editor for four Colombo NGOs and a Kandy animal welfare group.
Examples of my work can also be seen at https://pcolman.wordpress.com/
I have a degree in American Studies from Manchester University.
My working career in the UK included a stint working for Sir Arthur Armitage at the Social Security Advisory Committee; Management Consultancy in the NHS; ministerial advisor on child protection.
I also blog about our life in Sri Lanka and Ireland here: https://staionarytraveller.wordpress.com/
I blog about my life here:
I blog poems here:
Michael Patrick Colman O’Leary
My writing for Open Salon drew these comments:
“Padraig, you once again bring some much-needed civility and intelligence to the table, and for that I am very grateful… I’ve been reading your writing long enough to not need additional evidence of your sincere interest in seeing people do right by each other (and seeing governments do right by people)“.
“May we all Live to enjoy MANY years more of your extraordinarily eloquent, reasoned, logical, and ALWAYS unquestioned integrity and focus on TRUTH and REASON. You write and think several levels above the general comprehension levels around us, which continues in freefall in congruence with the American economy, morality and concept of (yikes) courtesy.”
“This is brilliant, you are a meticulous thinker and I applaud you!”
“Padraig, I admire your ability to break down the volatile topics into the discussion of technique. I think it would take me twenty five reincarnations to reach your clarity and thoughtfulness.”
“This is extremely well-considered and presented. Critical thinking, indeed.”
“This just blew my mind. Thanks, as always, Padraig for bringing these sad truths to us.”
“Thanks for writing so well and so thoroughly about such important issues. You are an admirable champion for the downtrodden and abused.”
“Thank you, Padraig, for this well-reasoned and exceptionally informative article.”
“Rated for the well-reasoned approach many here have come to expect from Padraig to a very troubling matter.”
“Your scholarship is stunning, your logic clear and beautiful, and your prose articulate.”
“I am highly impressed with the intense detail of this post.”
“Excellent post, lots of food for thought needing plenty of time for digestion, but I can actually feel my brain growing. Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you.”
“I especially appreciate how you referenced and documented all of your points.”
“Your post, Padraig, appears to be based on research and is presented in a calm voice. So, you are ahead in the convincing department… Things are frequently very complicated, with rights and wrongs on all sides, and a wilful blindness about both past and necessary future…
Kudos for the work and attitude…”
“You ARE, indeed a Renaissance man with a multiplicity of talents.”
“you’ve really done a nice job dealing with the problem of arguments based, not in factual evidence, or even admitted impassioned wishes, but in fallacious reasoning. It’s so important to keep the sun shining on these problems of argumentation. Thank you for a terrific post.”
“Another excellent post, well worth the two cups of tea it took to read it!… Thank you for this gift of a post!”
“it’s always a good day when you post…I”
“This is a powerful and important and passionate piece of work my friend. I appreciate that you have shared it here. It certainly is worthy of an OS cover and Editor’s Pick and belongs on Big Salon as well.”
“I think that you and your talent and your passion for justice and humanitarianism is ESSENTIAL to OS.”
“I salute you for leaving this incredible body of work which involves a wealth of research and proofs.”
“Excellent article and nothing less than what I have come to expect from your pen (or keyboard as it were). Your voice is valuable here for many reasons, not the least of which is adding the international outlook and viewpoint to the events that shape our world.”
“In a site such as OS, we can have an article or series of articles such as yours and people of more conventional political views will actually read it. If once in a while a person who would not read an article with your point of view, encounters it here, then you have actually reached someone outside your circle, then I feel that is a success.”
“Yours is a monumental voice here. I learn from reading you. No one else offers what you offer.”
“You are quite unique on this forum…we value your mind and production greatly…”