A monopoly on national memory by any party is a first step to fascism in any country, including our own.
The main reason I backed President Higgins for a second term is that I believed he would make sure there was no such monopoly in handling the centenaries.
Last weekend he vindicated my trust by his sensitive statement on Bloody Sunday which included this sentence: "At the close of that day of such killing and injury 100 years ago, 32 people, three of them children, lay dead or dying in Dublin."
Citing 32 victims, rather than just the 14 Croke Park victims, he was noting the 15 IRA victims, including three innocent civilians.
Like a real republican, President Higgins added: "People from different backgrounds on the island may reflect on Bloody Sunday in different ways."
Doug Beattie, of the UUP, responded immediately: "Impressive statement by the Irish President. In it he remembers - while so many others choose to forget - all those who died this day 100 years ago."
Meantime, the near-monopoly that is RTÉ continued to behave like a recruiting sergeant for the Recurring IRA with a stream of one-sided programmes that set nationalist pulses pounding.
Last week we had Bloody Sunday, the Brigade, TG4 on Tom Barry and tomorrow the Famine, although this is not a centenary year.
Once again, the only rounded film that did not try to ramp up rabid nationalism was Donal Byrne's carefully balanced reflection on the Kilmichael Ambush for Nationwide.
Let me rhetorically ask RTÉ and all responsible adults: what is the likely effect of endlessly focusing on one side of the War of Independence?
Why are we asked to believe that Dan Breen was on a higher moral plane than the two middle-aged RIC men he shot in Soloheadbeg, leaving widows and orphans?
Unlike most of my readers, I was raised a rabid republican but I now only respond to moral imperatives, not ideology. I believe Dan Breen committed a foul murder. My heart is with his victims.
For the full story of Bloody Sunday read Jane Leonard's essay in Terror in Ireland (Trinity History Workshop), which shows the terrible toll the IRA shootings took on both the perpetrators and their victims.
RTÉ's monopoly on national memory is only matched by its power to coerce print media.
Last week, faced by a blatant breach of Covid regulations, the print media ran for cover rather than antagonise Montrose.
No politician or political columnist called on managing director of RTÉ News Jon Williams to consider his position after such a blatant Covid breach, following a far-from-impromptu bash with invitations and balloons.
As soon as the story broke, presenters Bryan Dobson, David McCullagh, Miriam O'Callaghan and Eileen Dunne came out swiftly offering apologies.
But the director-general did not come forward to be accountable to the licence-fee payers who fund RTÉ to the tune of €200m annually.
That was bad. But far worse was the way the politicians and print media either stayed silent or rallied to RTÉ's defence.
The sole government politician to take a critical stand that weekend was Niamh Smyth of FF speaking to the Sunday Independent.
The print media was also either equally silent or cravenly rallied to RTÉ.
Last weekend saw a pathetic parade of modestly paid journalists in print media rallying to the rescue of highly paid peers in RTÉ.
Why? Because print journalists need broadcasting profile and they wanted to keep their seats warm in Montrose.
Cross the Montrose moguls and you find yourself effectively banned from RTÉ current affairs programmes. Like me.
But on the plus side it means I am now one of the few print journalists who you can trust to speak his mind about RTÉ.
On the Friday the story broke, the Taoiseach said the RTÉ breach was "very disappointing" and left the door ajar for more.
But last weekend, as print journalists rushed to reassure RTÉ, politicians realised they would get no support for RTÉ sanctions.
Listening to the lickspittle reactions of panellists to RTÉ radio and TV panels over the weekend, politicians would have been under no illusion that the heavy media wagons were circling around RTÉ.
Not one columnist called for serious sanctions or even a salary docking. Here are some of the ingratiating quotes: "We need to have a sense of proportion about the RTÉ gathering" or "We all make mistakes. We all make slip-ups". There is no need for a public "flogging".
Presumably this chilling effect prompted the Taoiseach to offer RTÉ absolution last Monday, saying: "Protecting its collegiate nature is best achieved in this particular case by taking no further steps in this matter."
Later in the day the chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan - a Late Late Show favourite - suddenly called for an end to "victim blaming" on breaches of public health guidelines.
In letting RTÉ off the hook, the Taoiseach and Tony Holohan seemed to be undermining their own public health message.
In fairness to politicians, at the end of the week Patrick O'Donovan, of Fine Gael, echoed the concerns of Niamh Smyth of Fianna Fáil. He made two critical points on Today with Claire Byrne.
First, he pointed out the difference between Golfgate and RTÉgate was the first was during Level 2 and the second was in Level 5.
Referring to the RTÉ photo of Jon Williams with his arms around two staff members, he ruefully remarked to Claire Byrne: "But if it was me that was standing in that picture you'd be asking me, Claire, 'Are you going to resign?'. That's the difference."
That is indeed the difference. But now that RTÉ knows it can get away with anything, expect its abuse of its virtual monopoly to get worse.
Richard Bushe, who died last week, was the maritime memory of Baltimore, Co Cork. He was also one of the most adored fathers I have ever come across. Blind in recent years there was always a son or daughter to walk with him - not guide, as he knew the way by heart - from his home in the Cove to Bushe's bar. As he passed my house, I often joined him for the journey, never leaving him without learning something.
Most of those who thronged his bar knew little of the quiet man who stood there beside his beloved wife, Eileen. But his love for maritime lore was all around them. Bushe's Bar is also a miniature maritime museum on whose maps and artefacts generations of visiting sailors gaze happily into the past.
A man of soft sardonic wit, he was a wonderful foil for his friend Youen Jacob, whose flights of fancy Richard would puncture with a pin of caution.
My happiest memory is of both of us bobbing in our boats, fishing for mackerel, beyond the Beacon and Sherkin Island, the two of us alone for hours, half-mile apart, and then as the sun set he would lift his hand and head for home. As he departs on the tide, as often in the past, I lift my hand in reply but this time in fond tribute and final farewell.