Saturday 18 November 2017

Eoghan Harris: Ivan Yates a role model for risen people in tough times

IVAN Yates is a reminder of our recent rural past: a provincial Protestant with deep roots in rural Ireland, a pragmatist with scant time for some of the more precious pieties of cosmopolitan Dublin, a former politician who still remembers how to press flesh. My late mother, from rural Roscommon, adored him when he first came into politics.

She would have adored him even more last week as he stoically travelled from studio to studio, laying out his sad story for all to see. Like many women who went to school in the rural Ireland of the Twenties, my mother was a repository of nationalist ballads and stirring Victorian Imperialist poetry. Last week she would have recited Henley's Invictus in Yates's honour.

By doing what almost no other public figure has done -- accepting responsibility for his actions -- Ivan Yates showed he was still master of his fate and captain of his soul. And his grace under pressure seems to have struck a chord. Last week people kept stopping me not just to praise him, but also to pay tribute to a certain rural Protestant tradition.

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