Sunday 17 December 2017

Kevin Myers: Let's honour the glorious living and not dead hunger strikers

Kevin Myers

There was something weirdly apposite about Sinn Fein launching its campaign to have Cork Airport renamed Terence MacSwiney Airport just as the European Transplant Games were getting under way in Dublin.

No doubt if they are successful -- and the Shinners usually are in their cultural wars -- then they can move on to our other airports: Dublin Airport can be named Thomas Ashe Airport, and Knock can be named Frank Stagg Airport, and Shannon can be rebranded as He Who Dies for Ireland Lives Hub.

Meanwhile, people who know the meaning of life are pushing themselves to the very limits at Dublin City University in the flight-path to what is still Dublin International Airport. All of them, without exception, are alive today because of technologies which have been developed since Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison. Few phenomena stand in such stark contrast in this year of 2010: the life-worshipping heroism of the athletes in DCU this week, and the obsession with voluntary death, as represented by Terence MacSwiney. He wasn't the first hunger striker to die by any means -- Thomas Ashe predated him by three years -- nor the last, as we know. I differ from many people -- perhaps most: I really don't know -- on the matter of Terence MacSwiney. I regard such voluntary deaths as revolting, barbaric and useless.

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