Monday 19 February 2018

The spirit of Michael Collins

BRIAN Lenihan made -- as the organisers doubtless knew he would -- an elegant and well-judged speech at Beal na mBlath yesterday. He could have said too much, or too little, about Michael Collins. He settled for the minimalist approach.

The Finance Minister and those who invited him to participate in the commemoration were engaged in an exercise of reconciliation and good will. But they could hardly put out of their minds the comparison between our present struggle through the economic whirlwind and the crisis that afflicted the infant Irish State in 1922-23.

They are comparable in magnitude, if not in nature. The first is controversial. The second is potentially embarrassing. True to family form, Mr Lenihan skilfully avoided both controversy and embarrassment and invoked "the spirit of Collins" without attempting to define it.

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