Vain search for true leadership
Published 12/12/2010 | 11:36
Sir — With all due respects to John Hume, voted the most famous Irish person, I have to agree with your assessment when naming Daniel O’Connell ‘The Greatest Irishman, living or dead’ (Sunday Independent, November 28).
Both O’Connell and Hume shared their utter conviction that non-violent constitutionalism was, and is, the true and proper course of means to achieve political aims. This view can be legitimately challenged by those of the physical force tradition, pointing to the degree of freedom achieved by 1916-1922 and latterly in Northern Ireland where Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein is now deputy First Minister.
The constitutionalist will answer — what price freedom? And so the twain shall never meet. In the present crisis facing the country, there are calls from many quarters for true leadership to lead us out of the financial mess. We may seek in vain for an O’Connell, a Parnell or a Davitt, for our political system leaves us with partisan leadership.