Friday 20 October 2017

Words stimulate debate - but not always reform

For all the self-projection and white noise, the MacGill Summer School still falls short of expectations.

Joe Mulholland at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Jason McGarrigle
Joe Mulholland at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Jason McGarrigle

John-Paul McCarthy

Those who enjoy the rhythms of the summer school circuit must have been riveted by Miriam Lord's recent critique of the MacGill symposium. Her charge sheet listed self-absorption, abstraction and repetition, and it seems to have registered with MacGill's director, Joe Mulholland.

When asked on radio for a response to Lord by Sean O'Rourke, he laughed it off, but his tone suggested that his smile did not quite reach his eyes. And despite his belief that MacGill was "unique in the world", it probably has some way to go yet before Königswinter or Chatham House need fear comparison.

For all its self-projection, MacGill still falls short of Oakeshott's ideal of deliberation "without the sense of an enemy at one's back". After all, Pearse Doherty and Lucinda Creighton had important partisan contributions to make.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss