Friday 19 January 2018

Ronan Fanning: Lemass would have wanted us to be at the heart of Europe

Ronan Fanning

BRUCE Arnold, in a recent article in the 'Irish Independent' (January 9) which took issue with an article of mine in the 'Sunday Independent' (January 1), did me the honour of pronouncing my argument as "interesting", before attacking what he described as my "distorted views of history".

I'm happy to repay the compliment because what I found interesting about his article is not the differences between our historical interpretations but why Mr Arnold should feel compelled to devote a page-long article to a sustained criticism of my assessment of Lemass's role as the founding father of Ireland's European enterprise.

The answer is obvious and has less to do with history than with the politics of 2012 because Lemass remains an iconic figure, a colossus who still casts a long shadow in Irish politics. The essence of my difference with Mr Arnold, in other words, is political, not historical.

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