“let’s go on a journey and forget about the destination – the destination isn’t really important in that respect”

Former Irish Minister for Justice and Progressive Democrats leader Michael McDowell’s call for the 12th July to be an Irish national holiday makes a cheap, and easy, headline for the RTÉ report.  And there may be video from the MacGill Summer School where he made the call.

But the RTÉ report also hints at what else he had to say

Mr McDowell said that if we were genuine republicans and if the orange panel in the flag meant anything, then we had to consider building an inclusive society.

He was speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Co Donegal

The former Justice Minister said that the stakes are high.

He asked if the Good Friday Agreement was a sticking plaster over an open and infected wound or a stage on the path of genuine reconciliation.

Current Taoiseach Brian Cowen, picking up from where Bertie Ahern left off, has also addressed similar territory before

Setting out his vision of economic co-operation between the two parts of Ireland in the era of the Belfast and St Andrews agreements, he said: “We would be working the agreements we have, recognising the legitimacy of our respective traditions – one loyal to Britain, the other looking to Irish unity as a legitimate objective, but one that will only be pursued peacefully by common consent.

“Therefore there would be no threatening, exclusivist political philosophy which would make people defensive or insular or non co-operative.

“The genius of all of these agreements is that we are all on a common journey together where we have not decided on the destination. The problem with our ideologies in the past was that we had this idea about where we were going but we had no idea how anyone was going to come with us on the journey.

“We have now all decided: let’s go on a journey and forget about the destination – the destination isn’t really important in that respect. We can all work for what it is we would like ideally to see, but this is not something that can be forced or imposed upon people on either side of the island,” the Taoiseach said. [added emphasis]

Adds  From a BBC report

On Thursday, Mr McDowell told the BBC that he was using the terms in a broad sense.

“I was pointing out that in the Republic in particular, there is a failure to address the significance of the orange panel of the Irish tricolour, as in the part of Irishness which is not Gaelic or Catholic.

“I was pointing out that there were many many things the establishment in the Republic could do to show all Irish people, North and south that the Orange tradition in that broad sense was truly appreciated.

“It’s not a sweetener, it’s a matter of friendship, of simply saying we acknowledge the Battle of the Boyne was an event to which the Orange traditional attributes major historical significance.

“The civil and political liberties which were at the forefront of their mind at that time are values that we hold.”

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  • Anon

    Your headline makes it look like McDowell is responsible for the quote, rather than a reheated quote from Ahern from years ago. Indeed, there is no way of telling from above the fold. Awfully, awfully sloppy,

  • Pete Baker

    Anon

    That’s a quote from Brian Cowen.

    The lesson – don’t rely on a headline and read below the fold carefully.

  • Anon

    Most people scan to decide which articles to read. They;ll further scan to decide which are worth going to an original link and digging deeper. I’ve no desire or time to read them all, just the ones that interest me. I’ve seen that quote before but I’m not familiar word for word. I naturally assumed that McDowell had said something very similar. Turns out I’ve been sold a pup and I’m in here on false pretenses. Not up to professional standards.

  • Oceallaigh

    Speaking as a “cultural Catholic” and republican maybe it’s time to go all the way on this issue and admit the Irish of 1690 who supported King James were on the wrong side,hindsight is 20/20 but it must be obvious to all by now if you read your history objectively that the Glorious Revolution was a victory for the common man of the day.The bigotry and hatred shown by some sections of the Orange Order towards their Catholic neighbours in no way reflects the values of what the said revolution was about.Maybe we can all claim ownership of William’s victory,properly analyse it in it’s historical perspective and finally all celebrate it for what it initially was.Just a thought,Orange Halls in the Bogside and eventually James Connolly Clubs on the Shankill and the Newtonards Road,then we will know we have really arrived where we should be as a people.Now I am up for an Orange Fest at the Gas Yard feile.

  • Genocidal Maniac

    Ahh lighten up.

  • aquifer

    Yep. All republicans owe more to Oliver than to some remnant of regal DNA.

    Brave for anyone south of Banbridge to make that call, and it could decommission protestant paranoia, the demogogues best ally.

    A united ireland could arrive quicker by invitation than by ham fisted cultural coercion and murder.

  • HeadTheBall

    Oceallaigh

    Brave of you to take that stance and more power to your elbow for so doing.

    Twice in the 17th century Irish Catholics fought for an English king against an English Parliament. At the time they may not have seen much alternative so perhaps in charity we could bracket that under “ill-judged but understandable”. If people from the Unionist community could come to see the actions of the UVF in 1912 (which Edward Carson himself came deeply to regret) as similarly “ill-judged but understandable”.we might start to make some headway. A common acknowledgement that we Irish have been ill-served by our history might provide a way forward.

  • Munsterview

    One bald shiney head emerging from the last election wreckage and sliddering up the nearest lampost with a blank Fine Gael election poster. If Kenny was not f’ before he is now!

  • Pete Baker

    Adds From a BBC report

    On Thursday, Mr McDowell told the BBC that he was using the terms in a broad sense.

    “I was pointing out that in the Republic in particular, there is a failure to address the significance of the orange panel of the Irish tricolour, as in the part of Irishness which is not Gaelic or Catholic.

    “I was pointing out that there were many many things the establishment in the Republic could do to show all Irish people, North and south that the Orange tradition in that broad sense was truly appreciated.

    “It’s not a sweetener, it’s a matter of friendship, of simply saying we acknowledge the Battle of the Boyne was an event to which the Orange traditional attributes major historical significance.

    “The civil and political liberties which were at the forefront of their mind at that time are values that we hold.”

  • Seymour Major

    This nonsense about a shared journey is rhetorical abuse and it is certainly not particularly original. In my original post on my new blog, I used this term to describe a common journey of people from different backgrounds sharing the political ideals of the centre-right.

    http://nicentreright.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/hello-world/

    As to the idea of having a National holiday on 12th July, is this really consistent with being a grown up pluralist state. Northern Ireland’s summer bank holiday is, after all, a holiday which promotes sectarianism.

    I would not want to stop Orangemen having their parades. However, I would like to see that bank holiday being scrapped altogether and replaced by a new bank holiday on a different date which is has common significance to both communities.

  • Munsterview

    We talking about ‘Mack The Mouth’ here right, the same man who as a Government minister wanted to abolish Stamp duty as we did not need it.? This is him? The same man that lost his seat? The same man that resigned from politics for good and apparently now wants to start climbing lamp-posts for Fine Gael ….. as if poor Enda did not have enought to worry about.

    Is this perhaps the same Mac the mouth that provided the straw that broke the property camels back. Same old story…. leave the donkeys off the lawn and they start thinking they are racehorses….until they face reality at the winning post.

    Do Mac intend to specialise in winding up redundant political parties ? Seems Enda cannot cut the grass, well, the long grass anyway and he is not long for this rarified world of party leaders.

    Leave it to a lawyer to start the licquidation while the client is still occupying the property!