Patriotism today in Ireland

Should Taoiseach Brian Cowen challenge his community and his political rivals to redefine patriotism?In the Irish Republic the notion of ‘patriotism’ was historically rooted in the politics of the past, the civil war and the fight for independence against the British.

The post civil rights era in Northern Ireland continued to stymie a contemporary redefinition of ‘patriotism’ in general terms.

The so called Troubles as we knew them are behind us.

The current Fianna Fail government is plagued with the woes of a worldwide economic downturn.

There is no monopoly on the financial pain being suffered by any resident of the Irish Republic.

Thousands of people availed of and enjoyed the Republic’s economic successes over the last decade.

Would the opposition in the Irish government have acted differently?

Is there any evidence to support this thesis?
This is questionable.

This brings into focus the role of the opposition.

Is it appropriate for an opposition to be permanently negatively, carping at a government struggling to make amends?

What would the opposition do in the event of entering government?

Mindful of this should Taoiseach Cowen resurrect the notion of Alan Dukes’ Tallaght Strategy to jolt the opposition into backing a common approach to resolving the economic crisis?

The upside of all this would be to send a very positive message to the outer world.

What I am suggesting is that Brian Cowen embark on a campaign to raise an awareness of each citizen’s civic responsibility to one’s neighbour.

This redefining of ‘patriotism’ would receive a huge boost if the opposition were to espouse their former leader’s philosophy articulated in the Tallaght Strategy.
Let the debate begin.

Eamonn Mallie

  • Big Maggie


    Isn’t there a real difference between patriotism and nationalism?

    Seems to me that it’s nationalism that’s being discussed here.

  • JimRoche

    If the opposition were fool enough to go along with that, they would prove themselves hapless amateurs. I’m sure Eamonn Gilmore for one is no such thing

    The government have a majority in the house and can implement their policies for as long as that lasts. When Alan Dukes gave his support to the Haughey government they did not have a majority. It’s a different situation.

    Let’s remind ourselves of the electoral thanks Alan Dukes got for the Tallaght Strategy. None. Let’s also recall that Fianna Fail in opposition are always negative and relentless. They even opposed the Anglo Irish Agreement.

    What I am suggesting is that Brian Cowen embark on a campaign to raise an awareness of each citizen’s civic responsibility to one’s neighbour.

    Brian Cowen doesn’t have the standing to do anything of the sort. It would be seen as (and would be) a dishonest lie. Give us an election and let us have a government that has a mandate, a government that is not tainted by the bubble policies and mismanagement Cowen was largely responsible for as Finance Minister, a government that is not running in fear of by-elections.

    If Fianna Fail and their media cheer-leaders want constructive opposition then give us an election now so they can get the chance to show us how it’s done. It would be a sight to behold.

  • Fearglic

    Why is is always the ordinary man [or woman](to coin a Christy Moore ditty) that has to perform his / her patriotic or nationalist duty to sacrifice his her hard earned lifestyle to bail out the bankers and “businessmen” whose greed never ceases to impoverish us all. Government should stimmy the greedy motivations of so called entrepreneurs.

  • sam

    Irish Republicans seem to judge a person’s patriotism on their willingness to support the killing and maiming of their fellow countrymen. Presumably, then, those people like myself who don’t believe in such tactics can’t be proper Irish men. Real patriots are men like John Hume who seek to unite the people of Northern Ireland first and then let future generations sort out the problem of uniting the whole of Ireland or even Europe

  • hodgie

    patriotism neeeds redefinition for the 21st century; the old insular national sovereignty of the past doesn’t work in an increasingly interdependent world.
    but patriotism needs to have at its core the welfare of the people; the working man and woman should not be penalised so severely over the greed of the bankers and the wealthy elite.
    unfortunately, political trends in ireland appear to be more driven towards jumping into bed with the bankers and wealthy elite rather than challenging their corrupt practices. while the rest of us are being told how we must tighten the belt to pay, the bosses and chief executives are raking in the usual exorbitant bonuses and salaries.

  • Alias

    Sovereignty is simply the power of a nation to make decisions in its own national interests, e.g. the power to decide if interest rates should be raised from 2% to 8% to stop rampant borrowing and overheating in the economy or the power to decide what the capitalisation requirements should be for banks. If you give that sovereignty away then you end up creating an external debt of 1.67 trillion in the ten years since you gave it away and with drastically undercapitalised banks which you then have to bail-out in order to protect the eurosystem markets because you are required to put systemic risk considerations and the the EU interest before the national interest…

  • Finnbarr O’ Floinn

    And there’s me thinking that patriotism invilved the trashing of the KFC on the Donegall Road – May Ireland’s Dead Rise Up and Order a Zinger Burger!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    A bit late for Patriotism …on many levels.
    Patriotism is a good thing.
    Chauvinism is a bad thing.
    Having sold out Sovreignty to the Evil that is the Common Market/EEC/EU/EC/Europe whatever its called..Fiann Fáil or indeed any major Party in the South is qualified to talk about the “national interest”. Neither are the bankers and journalists who so brazenly backed everything with the word Europe attached to it.
    Where was the patriotism of the bankers (so closely part of the Golden Circles…..not just the FF circles) who sold the country down the river.
    Where is the patriotism of the journalists who denounced everything with “Irish” as parochial and celebrated everything “Yoorpeen” as sophistication.
    Where is the patriotism of the lawyers/accountants/mortgage brokers who made money at the expense of ordinary people. Where was the patriotism of the beef barons and the tax dodgers and the political bag men with stuffed envelopes and planning permission.

    Where is the patriotism of the politicians in a REPUBLIC who allowed the Catholic Church to exist as a proxy monarchy……republicans who did not recognise the primacy of the Republic.
    Where is the patriotism of the smugglers and dissident terrorists in Louth and Monaghan.
    Where is the patriotism of the drug cartels in Dublin and Limerick.

    The FIRST REPUBLIC has failed.
    Time for a new one.
    And Brian Cowen is hardly the man to lead the Revolution and while we are in the week between American Independence and Bastille Day…….there is no real suggestion that anyone has the energy to let make a new republic happen.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The FIRST REPUBLIC has failed.’

    It has’nt failed . It just has’nt succeeded as well as it might . Our politicians have proved themselves to be either totally naive of the ways of the economic world or else they are the most adept gangsters and con men west of the Volga and North of Sicily:(

    Three crocodiles recently escaped from the Dublin zoo were lying on the banks of Anna Bella Plura Livia sunning themselves .

    ‘I’m hungry ‘ said one .’I could just do with a young school child ‘

    ‘I’m hungry too ‘ said the second crocodile ‘ I rather fancy a nice plump priest or better still a bishop ‘

    The third crocodile grunted , opened one lazy eye slowly and said :

    ‘I’ll settle for a top FF politician or party official ‘

    ‘Why so ‘? said the other two crocs together .

    ‘Nice and fat and no backbone ‘

  • Greenflag

    Overheard in Dublin

    ‘Is’nt it terrible to have to choose between Brian Cowen and Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore for Taoiseach ?’

    ‘What are you complaining about ?’ says another

    ‘We’ll only get one of them ‘

  • Munsterview

    So the First Republic has failed ?

    Let us recap here for a moment !

    A Provisional Republic was established by the IRB in the Easter Rising of 1916.

    This Republic was ratified by 88% of the electorate ( based on counties for and opposed ) for as against 12% against in the General election of 1918.

    The majority of the elected representatives not in prison and constituting the 88% formed a First Dail in 1918, the IRA became the Army of that Republic and defended it in arms against it’s opponents, foreign and domestic, in the First Defense of the Republic that lasted until the treaty.

    There were two main aspirations involved in the Revolution : those who wanted a National Revolution of ‘Brits Out’ and those who wanted a both a National and a Social Revolution.

    The Free State by and large constituted the First grouping, they agreed to an interim solution that included the hijacking of two counties against their democratically elected choice into the new Six County Statelet.

    The Free State also agreed to accept arms, munitions artillery and other War Material from Britain for the purpose of counter revolution and suppressing, in an agreed agenda with England, those who wanted a true revolution of economic emancipation as well as national liberation.

    The Free State suppressed the Republican forces : most of the jailed leaders were executed by firing squad under a quasi-judicial ‘special courts’; hundreds were jailed, some for multiple life sentences, and thousands of Republicans were forced into exile. The same civil servants as had administered Ireland for the Empire were kept in place with minimum change of the old discredited and failed ways.

    Sinn Fein split in the aftermath of the Second Defense of the Republic, the minority who became Fianna Fail eventually got into power with the electoral support of the Sinn Fein majority in the early thirties. By now the counter revolutionary forces and other disgruntled right wing elements had formed into the Blueshirts Fascist Movement who attempted to stymie the constitutional advance by street violence.

    Fianna Fail opened the Jail Gates like as happened with the Kesh post the ceasefire and Republicans got a free hand to batter the Blueshirts off the street, and did, a fact neither forgiven or forgotten by the Fine Gael to this day. Once the Blueshirts were crushed and the Republicans tried to collect on their various ‘ understandings ‘ with Dev, they got repression, Jail, exile and forty-six deaths, most of them leaders, to make the Twenty-Six counties safe for Fianna Fail.

    While at the end of the 40’s a Coalition Government made up of in part of old IRB opponents did make a common cause and declare a Republic, very little of the Ideal Republic of Easter Week or that of the First Dail was left in aspiration or policy at that stage.

    A Republic is more than a name, by implication it has a structure of government and social policies suitable for its people that reflects Republicanism core values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

    Liberty : we never had full liberty for all the Irish People on the island of Ireland; partition and the suppression of dissident opinion has also meant quasi-judicial measures, ‘Special Courts’ Broadcasting Bans, Newspaper suppressions and other Basic Civil Right violations from the inception of the Free State to the unlamented end of it’s inglorious existence. Likewise for the declared Republic, the name over the shop may have changed but the goods for sale remained the very same.

    Equality : where was the equality for those in the Industrial schools, the Madeline Laundries or the orphanages ? For the slum dwellers or the farm laborers ? For the thousands continually forced into exile down to and including the present as to quote The Late Brian Lenihan “We could all not expect to live in this small island !” What of the Bankers bailed out while ordinary mortgage holders are left to stew.

    Fraternity : tell the Elderly who build this state and society and are locked away in substandard nursing homes or the sick piled up in hospital corridors as result of useless Health Boards that they are cared for and cherished!

    If when you say that the First Republic failed, you mean the State that came into being to replace the Free State, then I agree with you, Republicans like me have been saying this all our lives and some have paid with their lives for opposing it. However except for the cosmetics and nomenclature, how much of a Republic it ever was to begin with, is open to debate.

    By the traditional criteria of Irish Republicanism, we did not have a Twenty-six County Republic in much other than name and accordingly the ‘First Republic’ did not fail, the First Republic was repressed and aborted by a counter revolution and our failed States North and South on this island are a consequence of this suppression.

    The First Republic, far from failing, did not get a chance to succeed, it had in areas like Justice before it’s suppression and this Republic is still awaiting re-establishment!

  • Cormac Mac Art

    Folks, welcome to the human world.
    It’s imperfect. Always was, always will be.

    It don’t matter how what you call it; a provisional republic, a free state, whatever. Even with the best of intentions, a country is only ever going to be as good as the people running it. And people are human. Falliable, idealistic, stupid.

    We would have found all too many ways of ****ing up our cherised republic had we the opportunity.

    Re-creating a new state won’t solve anything, just change the window dressing.

    This is the country we live in. Do the best you can for yourself and yours, cause as little harm as possible, and enjoy yourself whenever you can. That’s all there is to it.

    Whatever we may say or think there, we’ll all vote the same in the graveyard.

  • MV

    The old republicans took too long to recognise the reality of the Dail, they should have fought from inside, they refused to do that. I know there were reasons and of course its a long story, but they still nursed their hatred like a favourite toy and allowed the corruption and deceit to fester unopposed. The old republicans must take their share of responsibility for what has happened.

  • HeinzGuderian
  • HeinzGuderian

    In other words………….we can do whatever we want,and when it all goes tits up,(as it inevitably will),we just blame it on the Brits.

  • Mack

    MV –

    There are a couple of points that stand out in that

    #1 Revolutionary change in two states at once is never going to work. If the south is a failed state, then we the people there, need to sort that out first, before daring to ask the people in the north to join us. Joining a failed state with a tribal / balkanised tinder box of a basket case won’t make a successful state, it would make for a European Darfur. (I don’t agree the south has failed though).

    #2 Another part of your argument would seem to be that we have an obligation not to the wishes of our citizens today, but to the aspirations of a minority of those who fought in 1916 and in the war of independence. This is undemocratic. If the Irish people want socialism they can vote for it.

    If you think the south is an good country with whom the north should join (as I do), I think that is a much more sellable argument. If you don’t, then I would guess we’d need to get the south into some sort of working order before asking the Unionists / Loyalists of the north to bite (or more to the point not to fight in the event of unity).

  • Cormac Mac Art

    Mack – you make a very good point on past minority aspirations. Do you think a similar case could be made for a United Ireland, that its a past aspiration that may have outlived its usefulness?

    To me, a UI would bring too many problems to the Irish state. Would life not be better for all concerned if north and south remained distinct, but good neighbours?

  • Mack

    There is only one way to find out Cormac!

    If the people don’t want it then that is fine with me, I can abide by a democratic vote. But I suspect support is growing slowly in the north and has not yet died away in the south.

  • Greenflag

    ‘we’ll all vote the same in the graveyard.’

    There’ll be no votin in, from or via the graveyard . It’s no longer allowed 😉 This practice might well have currency in say Fermanagh Sth Tyrone and such areas but I can’t think of any constituency in the Republic in which a number of the risen dead would make a difference to the result ;)?

    Good post btw

  • Alan N/ARDS


    Do you really believe that support is growing for a UI in Northern Ireland? Why do you believe this? I do know that unionists have accepted that both parts of the island need to work together on certain issues but this is as far it goes.

    I believe that the republic has fallen a long way short of what Wolfe Tone envisaged. Maybe things are changing now that the Roman Catholic church is losing its control over the state. Maybe when the leaders of the republican movement which brought death and destruction to NI throuighout the 70’s,80’s and 90’s have departed this earth things might change.. I really don’t believe the ordinary citizen in the ROI cares whether the island is united as long as the island is peaceful.

  • Greenflag

    The standard republican historical view as outlined by Munsterview is all very well in theory . In practice the establishment of a ‘true ‘ Republic in 1918 or 1922 would have been an economic and political disaster and would probably have led to the demise of the early Irish State via the means of civil war between North and South -massive economic dislocation . Social policies of ‘equality’ etc aand all that good stuff have to be paid for . Where was the money to come from in the early Irish State of 1920’s ?

    We forget or we choose not to remember how very difficult it was for a small nation -the early Free State to achieve as much as it did . From the former colonial administrator the Free State got zero help other than the fact that the former colonial administrator continued it’s policy of free labour movement between the islands thus providing an outlet for the 1,074,111 people who departed the Free State and later Republic between the years 1922 and 1966.. The UK could have strangled the young Irish State at birth had they clamped down on the free movement of labour between the islands . 1920’s England was not a nirvana of full employment btw . The world economic depression of the time , the Jarrow hunger marches and the post war economic doldrums would have given any British Government the perfect excuse .

    Perhaps they believed as I suspect they did that the Free State would be a short lived entity and would soon collapse amidst the inherent economic contradictions of it’s birth . In similar vein the early Irish Free Staters and Republicans believed that the 6 county NI State would be a short lived entity . So here we are 100 years later and both ‘short lived ‘ entities are still with us .

    We forget that the world economy in the years 1922 to 1945 was basically ‘ruled ‘ by the UK and from 1947 until the late 1980’s the UK was still the destination for most Irish exports . It was only after accession to the EU that the stranglehold which the British economy had over the Republic and earlier Free State was reduced .

    So for all the principled words and high ideals of liberty ,equality and confraternity the harsh fact of life is that these words are meaningless in the absence of an economy that simply cannot of itself for whatever reason or reasons deliver the goods .

    The idea of a small independent ‘socialist’ Irish Republican State being allowed to exist and or prosper between the USA to the west and the UK to the east is the stuff of fantasy .

    What has happened in reality is that the Free State eventually gained enough political stability which enabled their former opponents to take power ‘peacefully’ in the 1932 election .

    The former ‘republicans ‘ now FF then went on under Dev to out-Catholic the Free Staters by allowing the RC Church to virtually write the 1937 Constitution which gave that Church and other Churches free license to protect their market shares .

    There is no going back to ‘idealistic’ and economically non feasible utopias of the past ffuture for either North or South . They never really existed except in the minds of men anyway .

    We live in a new age a new world where the relations between states and economies are vastly changed and in which the world order as it has been known and accepted is shifting . We either adapt to that world as best we can or we isolate ourselves and go under . The same option applies to every other so called ‘independent’ state on the planet .

  • Mack

    Alan –

    Do you really believe that support is growing for a UI in Northern Ireland? Why do you believe this?

    Improving nationalist electoral fortunes vis a vis unionist fortunes & the further away we get from the violence we get the more acceptable an option it will become (dissident republicans are hampering this). I don’t think a majority in favour of a UI in the north is in any sense imminent.

    I really don’t believe the ordinary citizen in the ROI cares whether the island is united as long as the island is peaceful.

    Yes that is true. In a referendum, certainly all the motivated people will vote, and they will tend to be motivated one way. But most people probably are still in favour of it, even if they’re not particularly bothered about it..

  • Greenflag

    ‘even if they’re not particularly bothered about it..’

    They are more bothered by the economy , jobs and the future for their families -just like the people of any other western democracy at this time .

    A UI will in any event only come about by means of the ‘Horseman Apocalyptic’ . Anyone who believes it can come about in any other way or by any other means is either an idiot or a republican dissident or both simultaneously ;(

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Frankly we cannot foresee the future…..and the older I get…the less I want to see it.
    Whether youre British or Irish the Future (nursing homes, working longer to get a pension, trade union rights, rampant capitalism) seems worse than the Past.
    The historic reality of Good and Bad Harvests over a period of years altering how we live….has been lost on a post World War II generation.
    No doubt folks under 35 are actually happy with how the world is….they understand it.
    The middle aged will have to cope.
    And the Elderly…..well they will introduce Euthenasia as a “liberal right” when of course its economic necessity.
    Same with Ireland.
    Its 2010 not 1950.
    The Church is in decline in the South matching the secularism that started in the North much earlier.
    No long lines of vehicles at the Border to check insurance documents (pre Troubles 1960s).
    No half hearted Customs men getting on Board trains in Portadown (1970s).
    No British Army checkpoints (1980s)
    and we are in the era where BBC shows GAA matches live……including of course the National Anthem at Casement Park.
    And of course the certainties of the Past North & South have changed.
    I wont of course live to see its final ending but I suspect the effect of this bad harvest (courtesy bankers and politicians) will have a revolutionary effect in Yoorp. Possibly even revolutionary violence and (hopefully peacefully) the end of European integration.
    Either way it will produce new certainties than todays elderly and middle aged wont rcognise.
    And Ireland wont escape it.
    It remains to me one of Lifes mysteries that some Irish politicians, bankers and journalists are not hanging from lamposts in Dublin.
    But possibly some populist no mark is already writing his version of Mein Kampf…in Europe (or London and Dublin).
    The Future is frankly not a place I wish on my worst enemies.
    Well actually on second thoughts I DO wish it on my worst enemies. 🙂

  • Greenflag

    ‘Frankly we cannot foresee the future…’

    I dunno -some folks have the knack – call it a sixth sense if you will not that I believe it’s anything more than a good grasp of what human nature is capable of plus an observant eye .

    Back in 1988 a census was taken in Leningrad and an elderly man is answering the questions of the census taker .

    ‘Where were you born ?”

    ‘St Petersburg ‘

    ‘Where were you educated ?’

    ‘Petrograd ‘

    ‘Where do you live ?’


    ‘Where will you die ?’

    ‘St Petersburg’

    And so he did 😉

  • Cormac Mac Art

    Mack – I’ve always said that despite been opposed to UI, I’m open to persuasion. And, if it was achieved tomorrow by popular vote, I’d accecpt it.

  • Cormac Mac Art

    Wow! very well written, Greenflag!

  • Munsterview

    All I did in my outline was establish a historical narrative that was generally correct with the various milestones along the way to provide some parameters for the debate.

    As a historian I have long ago gone from a black and white, yes and no situation to do with these events, indeed given the tradition that I came from, I never had that to begin with.

    I will allow the various arguments to develop a little further before putting in my two cents worth. However, two things for now!

    One : we did not just have a simple civil war in the classical way of these events, there was an IRB plan B back up in operation, without knowing something of that and the intent of it, the so called ‘Civil War’ is a chaotic, half hearted event on the part of Republicans.

    Two : after Fianna Fail assumed power in 1932 Republicans de facto accepted the legitimacy of the Southern State, I have had access to and picked the brains of many a Republican veteran from ordinary Vols to High Ranking decision makers who served in GHQ Staff, Army Council and Army Exectuive over the years and talked out these things in exhaustive detail.

    While some individuals had no difficulty in ‘taking on the Irish State’ the collective will to challenge the State and to wage war in any large scale operation was just not there among Republicans from the ‘Dump Arms and go home order’ of 1923. This led to a situation where the movement said one thing and did another down to the reorganization of the Republican Movement post 1969.

    Again here I personally knew many of the main players of that period and their attitudes.

    Whatever De Jura positions were maintained, De Facto the ‘Free State’ was always off the agenda and any clash with Southern State Forces arose collaterally rather from any deliberate intent. Indeed the primary consideration among experienced republicans was to not to cross certain lines which would have resulted in widespread internment and other repressive measures in the South.

    If there is to be a debate on the Republic, be it existing, historic or new, these are some of the factors that should merit consideration in the discussion.

  • MV

    ‘All I did was establish a narrative,’ and what a pleasure it is to see the response and the interest, relatively rare on Slugger, in my opinion, in southern politics.

    I look forward to your blogs. It will certainly add to the debate!

  • MV

    ‘All I did was establish a narrative,’ and what a pleasure it is to see the response and the interest, relatively rare on Slugger in my opinion, in southern politics.

    I look forward to your blogs. It will certainly add to the debate!

  • Alan N/ARDS


    What do you believe the republic has to do to persuade unionists that there is a place for them in a UI? Would republicans be prepared to agree to a completely new constitution, flag and anthem? Would they accept devolved government in NI albeit under a reconstructed Dail? Do you believe that unionists can be patriotic to Ireland while also giving their allegiance to to an “English Queen/King.” A lot of questions need to answered by republicans of all shades regarding a UI and they have to accept that it will probably take decades before unionists might be convinced they prerpared to respect them for what they are. Maybe a day will come when unionists will be proud to call themselves Irish once again. This won’t happen while republicans continue commiting murder in the name of Ireland.

  • wee buns

    ”It remains to me one of Lifes mysteries that some Irish politicians, bankers and journalists are not hanging from lamposts in Dublin.”

    FJH. It likewise astounds me, that we are not capable of demanding natural justice, esp in the light of our past, which should have ‘learned us’. Au contraire. The forelock gets tugged even harder it seems.
    Maybe when (not if) Yoorpe collapses, that will be the cure.

  • FJH

    The reason there are no Irish bankers etc. hanging from the lamposts in Dublin is the same reason they are not hanging from lamposts anywhere else. In view of our past with bells on!

    The south is a mature democracy mistakes have been made and will be overcome, and hopefully no one will die in the interim.

  • Greenflag

    Pippakin ,

    ‘Much as it grieves me to see nofat bankers or indeed even fatter bishops hanging from lamposts -as per fitzer’s sentiments above you are indeed correct – Pippakin . Mistakes have been made not just by the political parties and policy makers . Hopefully lessons will have been learnt and the next generation of politicians and indeed ‘voters’ will prove to be less naive about the world we live in and have to deal with than the present and previous incumbents .

  • Brian

    I have heard it argued that the 1st Republic lasted from 1919 to Jan 1922, when it’s democratically elected representatives voted itself out of existence.

    After all, the Sinn Fein policy heading into the election of 1918 was to establish a Republic and then let the people decide what kind of government they wanted. Their elected representatives (and later the electorate), all of whom styled themselves representatives in the 2nd congress of the republic, voted to become the Free State (under the threat of “immediate and terrible war” of course).

    The hardcore Republicans of the time, just as in later times never had any solution to the Northern problem. The fact of the matter is there was not much that they could have done to stop partition. Although I would have liked to see how Collins would have dealth with the Boundary Commission, not Cosgrave and company. As De Valera said when he learned of Collin’s death, “Lesser men will take his place.”

    In the treaty debate most anti-treaty speeches dealt with the issue of the Republic and left Ulster out of it. They certainly didn’t offer any solutions.

  • Greenflag

    I agree! but if you think of our, relatively, young democracy, the problems are minor, money is always easy for governments to deal with. I believe one of the main problems was the civil war split. People who might have pointed us in the right direction, or held transgressors to account, were either dead, or nursing their wounds.

    This latest problem, is no more than that – a problem. it will be overcome and the exuberance of the boom years will be diverted and restrained next time.

    As for the Bishops, hanging from lamp posts is too good for them, they should live long, healthy, poverty stricken and hungry lives, with nothing but their memories for company.

  • Brian

    De Valera said ” Lesser men will take his place” and one way or another he made sure they would.

  • Mack

    Would republicans be prepared to agree to a completely new constitution, flag and anthem? Would they accept devolved government in NI albeit under a reconstructed Dail?

    The flag and anthem could probably be exchanged – certainly if it would engender loyalty to the new state.

    There wouldn’t be the same need for a new constituition if you still had devolved government in NI. The Constituition is the prime source of Irish law, a devolved Northern Ireland would still have it’s own law making abilities. It would be simpler all round to go into a new state with the same laws applying in each juristiction.

    I think a devolved NI is probably the only workable solution, but others disagree.

    Do you believe that unionists can be patriotic to Ireland while also giving their allegiance to to an “English Queen/King.

    I don’t know. I’m not sure it matters what they give their allegiance to as long as there is a sense of belonging and loyalty to the state (reciprocated of course).

    Maybe a day will come when unionists will be proud to call themselves Irish once again. This won’t happen while republicans continue commiting murder in the name of Ireland.

    Very true.

  • Munsterview

    “…….. Would republicans be prepared to agree to a completely new constitution, flag and anthem? Would they accept devolved government in NI albeit under a reconstructed Dail?…..”

    In new Republics, or indeed Old ones, as we have seen in France’s several attempts; while the names may change, the nature of the beast seldom do, or at least not as much as those involved in the optics of such changes would like to convey. France a modern, democratic Republic still have much Imperial and indeed Royal baggage and trappings.

    It is likewise in Ireland, we cannot look to the future without having regard of the past. This may well merit an impatient ‘ we are where we are’, but without some appreciation of how we got here, we cannot really take stock of the present never mind plan for the future!

    1) Ireland for most of the second millennium was a Colony rather than a Country and a very unwilling Colony at that. Given the ‘Top Down’ Aristocratic nature of society, when following the Cromwellian Wars most of the Catholic ruling class, already much weakened and exiled from the Elizabethan Wars, were dispossessed and most of the remainder following the treaty of Limerick in the 1690 wars, the majority Catholic / Gaelic populace on this Island of Ireland were without representation.

    2) The administration of governance that emerged post 1690 was in the hands of wealthy Planter families who had seen three major wars against them at the start, mid and end of the 1600s, they lived in fear of another uprising and did every thing possible, bar mass killings to keep the Native Irish down. The few big Gaelic families left such as Daniel O’Connells and The O’Connors in the West had little or no influence with the administration and the ordinary people were slaves in all but name.

    3) The system of governance that came into existence reflected this Colonial reality. In the first instance the Kings Representative in Ireland was interested in keeping Ireland for the Crown and second in accordance with that checking power of the wealthy planter families. With the exception of Dublin, Cork and some other cities where the Irish populace were under their feet, problems of the native Irish did not trouble the Dublin Castle Administration.

    4) The English government had learned well the Cromwellian lesson of what a powerful, politicized military could do : in England the Army was curtailed and limited; Ireland for most of the 1700s had a bigger contingent of the British Army based here than in England and the military was an essential part of the Colonial administration with Officers in several local areas acting directly under Dublin Castle orders as de facto governors.

    5) The loss of America in the 1776 revolution caused panic in English Crown and Aristocratic circles : Ireland was the next most vulnerable Colony. The French Revolution compounded this alarm and our own 1798 rebellion shook the English State to it’s foundations. The Irish Protestant Planter establishment had de facto set up independence in all but name, they had large militias under their control and only a complete Union with England could guarantee Crown security and investments in Ireland.

    6) Some of the Irish planter families had one scare too many for their liking with the 98 rebellion and opted for Union, most middle class and Business class however were opposed and the Irish Commons reflected this. Even the Irish house of Lords repeatedly rejected Union : England’s answer; create a few more ‘Peers of the Realm’ and vote again. Repeat the exercise as often as necessary until they got ‘a majority’ to ram the Union through. The pensions financial packages given to these new ‘Union Peers’ became the Nama Scandal of its day. In fact the term ‘Union Peer’ remains the greatest ‘put down’ that can be used even to the present day Peerage circles.

    7) During the 19th, century the government and administration of Ireland was firmly under the King’s representative, the civil service had the structures that evolved from Elizabethan Ireland for Colonial Governance, it’s first function was to hold Ireland for the Crown and then secondly to administer Ireland for Crown, not native benefit.

    8) Post the 1918 election and the declaration if Independence by the First Dail, Dail Eireann set up a parallel administration, the British tried to break this but as most of the elected councils in the country had opted for the Dail, the game was up; Ireland could only be administered by a system of military govern ships and obviously this was not acceptable to England, the rest of Europe or the USA. A solution had to be found.

    9) The solution was to give the tappings of independence but preserve as much of real power as possible for previous purposes. The Free State just changed the names over the shop door and while there were many improvements, the Dail Eireann structures were demolished and the structures that had evolved to administer Ireland for the Empire were held in place burt now used for ‘Irish Independence’

    10) The structures we inherited were all geared towards centralized, unaccountable, elitist powers. This suited the top power brokers in the State then as it still do in present times. Under this central power every County Manager have more real power than his or her elected council. Time and again we have seen in recent years in the South of how there is absolutely accountability of public servants, especially in the health boards. In fact most community health workers in good standing with their superiors have more actual power and decision making ability in public affairs than the average TD.

    All governance structures North or South are unfit for purpose in a modern representative democracy and any tinkering around the edges is not going to make any meaningful difference! It will have to be a clean sweep where the voice of the governed is paramount.

  • Mack

    That should read

    it would be simpler all round if the existing laws applied in each juristiction.

  • Munsterview

    Anyone else have problems with little yellow faces popping up uninvited in their slugger comments ? Annoying !

  • MV

    I have, not sure what causes it, but I think it has something to do with pressing the ‘colon or semi colon’ keys at what might technically be inappropriate moments.

  • Munsterview

    Thanks, I will have to check out the ‘hidden’ keyboard. It only arise with occasional slugger postings since changover, these icons do not pop up elsewhere !

  • eamonn

    Fianna Fail is de Valera’s party who only entered the Dail because they realised abstentionism was not going to be tolerated. They are the party of the anti-Treaty which shows their decendants must have carried on the belief that because they wrap themsleves in the Tricolour all else doesn’t matter.

    As such they are ignorant of how finance/financiers work although they realised that to keep the people from ‘taking to the streets’ then throw money at them, breed a generation who’s only desire is the latest gadget, turn them into wage-slaves.

    Fianna Fail as do all Irish ‘republicans’ aim to turn all Irishmen and women into drones for the State, Sinn Fein similarily have no interest in ‘saving the Irish race’ their ultimate aim is to establish a United Iris Socialist Republic.

    What they do is hide behind their rhetoric of nationalism, pull at the patriotic heart strings, and try and maintain the public persona of being religiously pious.

    As soon as the majority of Irish men and women stand on their own two feet and reject Capitalism and Communism then they will be on the road to national salvation!