Tuesday 24 October 2017

We need a modern Daniel O'Connell to lead the way

James Downey

James Downey

SOMEONE once asked Daniel O'Connell to name the greatest Irishman. He replied: "Apart from myself, I suppose Harry Grattan." Nice to have that kind of self-knowledge and self-confidence.

I thought of it when the supporters of the five finalists in the rather daft "greatest Irish person" poll made their cases on television. All polls of this kind are seriously flawed, and some of the eliminated candidates bordered on the ridiculous, but we can at least give thanks that none of the Famous Five were, at all, ridiculous.

O'Connell was vain -- just think of that curly wig -- and Bono and Bob Geldof are often ridiculed for vanity. Rock stars vain? Imagine that. They'll be accusing politicians of vanity next. Not to mention journalists.

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