Friday 23 March 2018

Eoghan Harris: Peace means casting a cool eye on past atrocities

Reactions to An Tost Fada keep coming in from Roman Catholics. Apart from a minority of predictable "whatabouts", most emails are full of praise for Canon Salter. Many ask for advice about further reading that goes beyond what one calls "wrap the green flag round me" books.

Actually there's not a lot worth reading in that line. So far the field has been dominated by Peter Hart's 1998 classic: The IRA and it's Enemies: Violence and Community in Cork, 1916-23. Most of what's been published consists of challenges to Hart's conclusions by academics and extreme nationalists -- whose views seem to increasingly converge.

The web is also full of weird green blogs bad-mouthing Hart himself. As he tragically died two years ago, in his prime, and is no longer around to defend himself, these polemics leave a sour taste. As did the absence of any public defence of Hart's work by academic historians.

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