Monday 5 December 2016

Kevin Myers: Don't blame others: public figures must claim ownership of their historical sins

Published 28/09/2012 | 17:00

IT'S been a mixed week for truth. On the plus-side, a stunning blow for historical realism was struck by Michael Lillis in his letter to 'The Irish Times', in which he noted the deplorable failure of successive Irish governments from 1922 to 1969 to ameliorate the appalling conditions endured by the Northern minority.

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Indeed, throughout those decades, no Irish administration made any attempt through the League of Nations, the United Nations, or diplomatic channels in Washington or London, to end the institutional discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland. Instead, official Irish government policy was to Sulk, Scowl, Posture & Pout about the injustice of partition, like a peevishly slothful adolescent.

Michael Lillis is not just another letter-writer. The architect of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, he is arguably the most influential diplomat in the history of the State. His observations prompted a welcome of considerable importance from Professor Eda Sagarra, daughter of Kevin O'Shiel, from Tyrone, a legal adviser to the Free State in its early days.

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