Irish history, Ryle Dwyer, Irish Examiner and Ireland as a cultural ghetto

Ryle Dwyer writes weekly in the Irish Examiner. I am fortunate in being able to afford to buy the Times, Indo and Examiner daily. They each are distinct and more interesting for that. The Examiner and Times are better written than any of the English papers as is the weekend saturday Independent.

The internet allows the reader a free look at the Examiner. Get with the series on the Arms Crisis and the foundation of the state. The duplicity of de Valera is clearly described as is Collins’ ruthlessness and murderous tendency. The futility of coercion of Unionists clearly emerges from the succinct description of that period. Collins’1919 plan of murder of British security agents and the consequences which were immediate and terrible retaliation in the Croke Park criminal killings of spectators and Michael Hogan is tersely explained.

Michael Collins’s contention that Fermanagh, Tyrone, city of Derry, South Armagh and South Down should be incorporated into the free state and must not be coerced into the North East refusnik area was prescient. The consequences of not doing so for the Unionists have been monumental. For the rest of Ireland and those nationalists living in the partitioned areas, these areas became foreign in our own land. I have never understood why repartition has not taken place. It has always seemed obvious to me.

However, protestant fears of a Catholic Theocratic state in the South were vindicated. Read Ryle Dwyer on the pathetic prostration of the cabinet in the Interparty Coalition of 1948 towards the Pope and the Vatican. His comments were published on January 9th in the Irish Examiner and the relevant awful embarrassing part is copied below.

Ryle Dwyer – Examiner

“There has been a tendency in recent years to depict de Valera’s Ireland as a priest-ridden bog, but while the Long Fellow may have been almost physically blind, he had more vision than the leaders of the coalition which ousted him in 1948.

One of the first acts of that government was to send a telegram to the Pope desiring “to repose at the feet of Your Holiness the assurance of our filial loyalty and our devotion to your August Person, as well as our firm resolve to be guided in all our work by the teaching of Christ and to strive for the attainment of social order in Ireland based on Christian principles.”

Maurice Moynihan, the cabinet secretary, strongly advised against the telegram on the grounds that “no civil power should declare that it reposed at the feet of the Pope,” but he was overruled and promptly banned from future cabinet meetings. That was the government that formally proclaimed the Republic in 1949.

It also provided firm proof that Home Rule did amount to Rome Rule in those years. William Norton, the Tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party, backed down on a Social Welfare Bill when faced with ecclesiastical opposition and Seán MacEoin, Minister for Justice, abandoned an adoption bill under orders from Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. “He won’t allow it,” MacEoin told the cabinet. That was that.”

In my case, the Irish Civil War, the War of Independence, Charles Stewart Parnell, John Redmond were never mentioned in my house or school which was Marian College in Ballsbridge. I discovered a little about the Civil War when in first year in UCD from other students from outside Dublin – Limerick and Tyrone expecially. Mind you in school, the “The Catholic and Apostolic Church is the One True Church founded by Christ was a constant refrain”! No room for equivocation about Christ being condemned to death by Pontius Pilate at the behest of the Jews. Antisemitism was not exactly hidden very far from the surface. Nobody seemed to notice that Jesus Christ (one or two people) was Jewish and so were his pals and supporters.

Censorship of the mind and cultural denial were the order of the day. We as a society were even prevented reading the novels of our best writers.

Better Glananaar by Canon Sheehan than James Joyce, Brendan Behan, Edna O’Brien, Austin Clarke, Benedict Kiely, Kate o’Brien, Frank o’Connor, Sean o’Faolain etc. Outside my family, the Brits were blamed for everything but I remember my father saying many times that the decent Englishman is as honorable a man as you could wish to meet. I came to realise that every country has the good, the bad and the ugly!

The Republic of Ireland when I was a kid was an anti-intellectual, theocratic kip with muppets as politicians.

Read the late Donal Foley – “Letters of a Successful TD” to get a feel or look at the videos of Frank Hall’s pictorial weekly to get the texture.

Check out Brian Travaskis of Trinity College on the Late Late Show and you will see the genius of Gay Byrne as a facilitator and broadcaster.

Enough for today!