US Irish: enough of the knee jerk anti Americanism

Niall O’Dowd takes Vincent Browne to task for the latter’s extraordinarily visceral attack (subs needed) on Irish efforts at providing aid for the victims of hurricane Katrina. Anti Americanism in Ireland he argues has lost perspective (subs):

Vincent Browne would rather that Ireland, with perhaps the closest cultural, historical and political ties of all to the United States, was not one of those countries that contributed. He is once again exhibiting the reflexive anti-Americanism which has become such a part and parcel of the Irish intelligentsia.

Under the Bush era this anti-Americanism has reached its zenith. Now it seems that even desperate hurricane victims should be made feel the cold lash of Irish disapproval.

In their rush to the moral high ground, Browne and others have angered many Irish-Americans deeply, a fact reflected in the stream of angry comments and letters my publications, Irish Voice newspaper and Irish America magazine, have received.

Still at the stage of thought experiment, he speculates:

Let’s assume a virulent strain of anti-Irishism suddenly begins to flourish in America. Using the Browne logic, all American aid and support for Ireland would immediately stop. The International Fund for Ireland, which has dispensed more than €603 million on 4,850 projects to foster cross-Border peace and reconciliation projects, would be immediately ended.

The American taxpayer has higher priorities than funding peace efforts on the wealthy and tiny island of Ireland. Likewise, the private initiative known as the American Ireland Fund, which has raised more than $115 million in a spectacular fundraising drive in the past few years, would immediately stop funding their projects the length and breadth of Ireland. Thousands of small voluntary organisations would be deeply affected – but the point would be made.

Taking Browne’s article as a benchmark for anti American sentiment, he warns:

I feel it is time to send a warning that Irish-Americans have almost had enough and that, while fully understanding the anti-Bush sentiment in Ireland, something else altogether has begun to creep in. It is a mean-spirited and myopic attitude that everything American is bad, that the homeless and helpless can be included in that, and that Ireland has no obligation whatever to help in dire times of need. Americans deserve better than that from their oldest friends.

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