TV3 on the three pillars of the southern state- Fianna Fail, GAA and the Catholic Church

On Tuesday night on “Tonight with Vincent Browne” on TV3, Ger Colleran as a substitute for Vincent Browne had a panel of Ger Loughnane, former Clare Hurling manager and primary school teacher, Bishop Dr Willie Walsh Bishop of Killaloe, Mike Cronin of Boston College, John McGuinness of Fianna Fail to discuss the three pillars of the Irish Free State – The Catholic Church, Fianna Fail and the GAA.
The opinions expressed and the prejudices revealed showed just how
presumptuous that idea of triumvirate was.

However, Ger Colleran an ex-St Flannan’s Ennis school pupil produced a few terrific quotes from the 1950s with John A Costello as Taoiseach, Sean McBride of Clann na Publachta and exIRA, and William Norton the then Leader of the Labour Party putting the rules and opinions of the Catholic Church and its hierarchy first over any secular consideration.

The Republic of Ireland was a theocratic kip. I have written about this
lamentable state of affairs before.

The interesting thesis tonight was the proposition that Fianna Fail is on
its back (No it is still busy wrecking the country – Anglo), The Catholic
Church is on its knees (No it is still busy kicking around women and
generally imploding), and the GAA is going from strength to strength.

The GAA is going well because it has moved away from sectarianism and continues to do so. The GAA is a cultural pillar in Irish society that is probably growing. The interest in GAA among the rugby people that I know is considerable. Even cricket people are interested in the big games.

The blindness of that discussion is that it equates Ireland with these
three pillars and resulted in a stultifying cultural greyness and political
conservatism that was massively destructive of Irish life.

The roles of the agnostic, the semidetached catholic, the Anglicans,
Presbyterians, Quakers, Methodists and other protestants were ignored
completely. Their culture was that Catholic, GAA, FF certainty that
permeated a majority of the people in county Clare. I am familiar with it
from my mother.

It is the culture of national amnesia often written about my Senator Eoin Harris and Kevin Myers. It featured the burning of “big” houses, pogroms in Limerick, ethnic cleansing in Cork, the primary school teacher affair in Wexford, the banning of most modern Irish literature, the emigration of a whole protestant class in the southern Ireland.

Catholic supremacy and Rome rule was the order of the day. Basil Brooks’ Northern Ireland was a mirror image – a cold place for Catholics. What a place Ireland!

So Mr Colleran, you have stoked up some reflections in my mind now. By the way 10%+ of our population was born outside this island so things and the Irish have changed and are changing further. I abhor the incompetence and hubris of Fianna Fail. “Spectacular failures” is the only way I can politely describe them. Ireland is for all of us who live here irrespective of origin or colour or religion. That is my way and the triumvirate will never have an easy ride from me.