Sunday 21 January 2018

Why 'The Big Fellow' has little to teach political parties in modern Ireland

A national debate which tries to put so much weight on the shoulders of a man like Michael Collins is embarrassing, writes John-Paul McCarthy

IN his moving book, The Great War and Modern Memory, Paul Fussell noted the popularity of phonograph records in the twenties which allowed survivors to relive certain battles. As a veteran of the Normandy campaign of the next World War, who watched his friend die beside him in 1945, Fussell was not amused by these toys, and he suggested that they belonged to the "sick nostalgia market".

This term will do nicely as we assess the debate about Brian Lenihan's speech at Beal na mBlath.

Many questions arise when adults begin the mad scramble to stand, as Moses did, between the living and the dead, especially when the dead in question was a provincial, 31-year-old war minister who was consumed by the violence that defined his truncated life.

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