Kevin Myers: Why FF won't be imposing a new moral order on Irish life
Published 03/11/2010 | 05:00
The career of Jim McDaid TD, who resigned yesterday, should have ended years ago, when he drunkenly drove the wrong way up a motorway.
But it didn't, because he was the beneficiary of that thing we may call the Autonomous Irish Moral Order. This was first seriously propounded as an authentic phenomenon (rather than being a mere anti-Irish jibe) in 'The Playboy of the Western World'. In it, the main protagonist acquires huge social-esteem because he is believed to have murdered his father. A profound discomfort about this cultural ambivalence towards violence was probably the real (if subconscious) reason for the riots that followed: but either way, events were to prove Synge correct.
That Michael McDowell -- supposedly a hardline critic of the culture of the IRA -- could have proposed Michael Collins as the greatest Irish figure of all time merely affirms the continuing vigour of AIMO. Certainly, Michael McDowell's justification for Collins -- that Ireland uniquely owed its statehood to him -- was both ludicrous yet significant. Nationalist MPs in the House of Commons had sought an independent Irish state for over a generation. A semi-independent Ireland had been granted by the Home Bill Act of 1914. The Irish Parliamentary Party thought it didn't go far enough, but felt that it was a useful stepping stone to full independence. John Redmond himself saw the 16th (Irish) Division as the basis for the post-war army of an independent Ireland.