Opportunity for new start
Sir -- Judging by accounts in your newspaper the news from Ireland has, for some time now, grown increasingly glum, perhaps reaching the nadir last week evidently on the basis of the recent economic figures. Against this background it is tempting for one of my cohort (children born in the 1930s, of which three out of four were forced into exile) to resort to the now cliched: plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
However, experts remind us that the latter is not a simple lament that things never change, but an expression of how there is continuity in change, and what is continuous in culture is more fundamental than what changes.
Clearly what was continuous in Irish culture since 1922 was the Catholic/Nationalist ethos. Now that each of these elements have hit the self-destruct button the mould has been broken, the shackles are off. Ireland is thus afforded a unique opportunity for a new beginning, a time of self-renewal and refreshment, the seeking of new directions. That, it seems to me is the challenge which, incidentally, carries with it good grounds for optimism, hope and, dare I say, dreams.