Saturday 22 July 2017

We must forget the fantasies of the past and face the tough truth

Let's step out of the shadow of the past, admit mistakes on both sides, and open a proper public forum across the border, writes Eoghan Harris

It is early 1922. The black cloud of civil war is coming closer. Liam Lynch, Chief of Staff of the anti-Treaty IRA, walking with Eamon de Valera in the Knockmealdown Mountains, turns to him sadly and asks, "What do you think Tom Clarke would have thought of all this?" Dev replies tersely, "Tom Clarke is dead. Our problems are our own."

That is as true today it was 88 years ago. Our problems are our own. Whether we want to roll back the recession or reach for a future republic, the first step is to forget the fantasies of the past, and face the truth, no matter how tough a truth it turns out to be.

Liam Lynch was a brave man. He was also a humane man. His gallant treatment of captured British soldiers and members of the RIC contrasts with the cruelty of some other Cork commanders, and reflects credit on the 2nd North Cork Brigade.

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