Wednesday 21 February 2018

Here's to triumph of decency over dogma

A series of TG4 documentaries on our past reminds us that humanity can break though the hardest of shells, writes John-Paul McCarthy

TG4 continues to stimulate and inspire as the station bids to become our national historical conscience. Mac Dara Curraidhn's thoughtful documentary on JM Synge, Synge agus an Domhan Thiar, takes its place alongside the riveting social history of the Seventies, Siar sna Seachtoidi, which reassesses everything from that fateful decade's myriad campaigns for sex equality to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

And in Ceart agus Coir, TG4 has been focusing for the last fortnight on the Protestant IRA hit-man George Plant who was executed by military firing squad under legislation passed by de Valera's government in 1942. Plant was hardly a monster, but he proved himself a pitiless enforcer of IRA discipline when asked to abduct and then murder a suspected informer.

One is struck watching this programme by the waste of human potential which stalks almost all revolutionary projects. Plant spent his last night lecturing fellow prisoners on the need for a massive afforestation programme in the new republic, this being the last gasp of what Kavanagh would later call "life as it is broken-backed over the Book of Death".

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