Friday 24 November 2017

Stop seeing emigrant trail through tears

Government must refrain from sentiment and show maturity to story of emigration, writes JP McCarthy

For all its innocence, the Rose of Tralee festival certainly helps focus the mind on the promise and perils of emigration.

The bright eyed overachievers who terrified Daithi O Se last week do not seem to have been embittered or palsied by their emigrant status, and they make an interesting contrast to the standard representation of the emigrant since the Robinson presidency.

President Robinson's candle in the window of the Aras made for excellent publicity, but it rather imperiously assumed that all Irish emigrants secretly pine for the next ship home, an urge that is hard to square with some of the sentiments recorded in Kerby Miller's endlessly moving Emigrants and Exiles.

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