Saturday 10 December 2016

Minister Varadkar needs to read up on life of Arthur Griffith

Published 24/08/2016 | 02:30

Minister Leo Varadkar speaks at Glasnevin Cemetery on Sunday. Photo: Maxwell Photography
Minister Leo Varadkar speaks at Glasnevin Cemetery on Sunday. Photo: Maxwell Photography

Minister Leo Varadkar's speech at Glasnevin Cemetery reminds me of British historian Bernard Lewis's statement that present-day politicians wished that "history was not as it was . . . but as they would have preferred it to have been". Reading Mr Varadkar's speech, one would be forgiven for imagining that Arthur Griffith drew up Fine Gael's economic policy - nothing could be further from the truth.

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Griffith founded the Sinn Féin party in 1905 as an alternative to the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP). His main criticism of the IPP was that they did nothing to alleviate the worst poverty in Europe at that time, which was in the Dublin slums.

Griffith promoted the idea of returning to the policies of Grattan's parliament which was to develop the Irish economy.

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