1 March 2011

Ireland: electing to fail

Richard Waghorne expresses my view better than I can in Critical Reaction. For all the convivial charm of its inhabitants, when it comes to politics Ireland is a nasty little place - and always has been.
RTE’s Irish-language political editor emailed the family of the IRA victim Jean McConville to say ‘please do not send my anymore of this obnoxious crap’ after they issued a press release during the campaign highlighting the widely believed involvement of Gerry Adams in her murder. The political editor in question is himself a former member of the IRA, something not deemed a relevant consideration for his fitness to be in the job in the first place. There is no suggestion that he will be disciplined, let alone summarily dismissed, as would occur in any country with a minimally adequate culture of standards in public life.
Jean McConville was tortured and murdered and the location of her body concealed by the IRA when it was being run by Adams and McGuinness, to whom the British state has grovelled for the last 17 years. "A minimally adequate culture of standards in public life" is pretty hard to define when until recently Germany had an unrepentant ex-terrorist and KGB agent as foreign minister. In politics scum floats to the top - get used to it.

Intrigued by Waghorne's conclusion: "The soul-searching and intellectual probity required after the fourth profound failure of the Irish state in ninety years of existence did not begin with this election just past. A new administration cannot but prove largely beside the point until that starts to happen".

Fourth? The first would be De Valera precipitating the civil war and having Collins murdered; but what d'you suppose Waghorne thinks the other two were?

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