Saturday 20 January 2018

Lenihan a Romantic hero doomed to fail

The former Finance Minister's bravery has secured his place in the nation's affections, writes John Drennan

It says something about our national character, and it is not necessarily good, that the most common trait of the Irish political icon is that their heroic status is defined by failure rather than triumph.

Maybe it is that former colonies are not easy with success but Padraig Pearse set a template for Irish political iconography, which was further strengthened by the Romantic nihilism of Noel Browne.

It could be argued that other icons such as Michael Collins and Donogh O'Malley had their successes, but their place in the affection of the national psyche was cemented by the poignancy of their early deaths.

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