Wednesday 7 December 2016

Kevin Myers: I was wrong about Ahern, he served only at the altar of his ego for political power

Published 01/09/2011 | 18:00

One of the problems about writing columns for a living is that, like an imprudent sexual encounter many years ago, it can come back to haunt you in terrible ways. A reader has reminded me of what I wrote just over three years ago.

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"Ahern is palpably a good man, who, as a politician, palpably sought to do good deeds. Which he did, and for very little personal reward. In the process, he has redefined Irish republicanism more cogently than any politician, since Wolfe Tone enunciated its founding principles. Not merely will he be remembered as one of the greatest Irishmen of the 20th century, but, in matching lofty aspiration with actual outcome, to my mind, he is the greatest."

Now I must have been on something really odd that day, because of all people, Wolfe Tone truly embodied all that I despise about Irish republicanism: a devotion to violence, a willingness to kill any Irishman who didn't see eye to eye with him, and a fair dollop of hypocrisy -- after all, how different would his life (and Ireland) have been if he had been granted what he originally sought, a safe imperial sinecure in the Sandwich Islands?

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