'The whole theory of life was purely local. The bare right of existence extended only a few miles from your own door, to the men who bore the same name as yourself. Beyond that nothing was sacred."
These words were not written to describe the decision of the Fermanagh county convention to pass a resolution in support of the Quinn family last week. No, they are taken from The Story of Ireland, written in 1885.
The passage quoted above relates to an observation on life in Ireland in the third and fourth centuries, and it continues: "Like his cousin of the Scotch Highlands, the Irish tribesman's life was one perpetual carnival of fighting, burning, raiding, plundering, and he who plundered oftenest was the finest hero."
It is comforting to know that we have come such a long way in the intervening 1,700 years.