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Thursday 28 August 2014

A nation divided: Five moments in Irish history that have split the country like Garth Brooks

'This wouldn't have happened in Bertie's day'

Louise Kelly

Published 11/07/2014 | 23:55

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The never ending nightmare that has hung over the country, like a “dark cloud” according to the man himself, has been the epic to-ing and fro-ing as a solution to the Garth Brooks ‘Comeback Special’ crisis was sought.

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Newspapers screamed the country superstar’s name daily, Google alerts worked overtime to keep up with ‘Garth Brooks’ search term, death threats were even made as the fate of the shows hung in the balance. Entertainment editors felt like they were in a time warp as ‘good’ music was abandoned in the quest for something purer than talent.

But whether you’re completely and utterly fed up with the entire fiasco – many ticketholders have expressed their hope that there is no resolution so they can simply get their funds back – there can be no doubt that emotions were overwrought and sides were firmly taken.   

In fact, there are few moments in history that mimic such division and strength in argument.  Let’s take a look (with our tongues fiirmly in cheek) at five that might come close.

Irish Civil War

In the eyes of those 400,000 ‘children’ of Brooks, the conflict over the Anglo-Irish Treaty might pale in comparison to the war that waged between the Dublin City Council and Aiken. Nonetheless, the battle for the unity of Ireland and the country’s independence caused a not so insignificant bit of division among the population almost a century ago.

The Celtic Tiger

It was a time when the economy roared with success, roads to nowhere were being built and the girls were so pretty. But after the animal suffered a wheezing, painful death, the plunge back to ‘reality’ separated the counties in two: us and the banks. The Croke Park residents association briefly held that mantle in the past two weeks. 

Bertie Ahern’s resignation

Another gentleman with a large personality and a way with the crowds that managed to win the hearts of the people of Ireland. His resignation in the wake of the Mahon Tribunal was met with mixed reviews and he still remains beloved to a large proportion. “This wouldn’t happened in Bertie’s day” was a well-used phrase over the last few weeks.

Saga Saipan

The rather public quarrel between former Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane and manager at the time Mick McCarthy split the opinion of the nation in two as either side sought to make either Roy or Mick culpable for the fallout. Like the Brooks saga, the argument dominated the media – and didn’t result in a happy ending.

Arthur’s Day

A topic sure to set the fire alight for Irish people is the subject of alcohol – and whether they can get it or not. Never mind the recent ideas bandied about to let publicans serve these beverages on Good Friday, the fact that Arthur’s birthday may be less Paddy’s Day and more Crystal Swing has erected a few fences among friends.

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