Wednesday 13 December 2017

McAleese article a masterpiece

Sir -- John-Paul McCarthy's article on the President's talk to the PSNI (Sunday Independent, Aug. 1, 2010), was in its own way a minor masterpiece. It was candid, lucid, interesting, informative, indeed revelatory, and yet, by implication, through no fault of Mr McCarthy, cynical to the point of morbidity.

Mr McCarthy praised the President for 'sheer dignity and insight' and then presented credible evidence in support. Again using empirical facts he pointed to apparent glaring 'contradictions and prejudices', in her political philosophy and concluded: 'Her PSNI speech suggests that the President, like every other citizen, is groping all the time for proper weight of voice, and for a finer rhetorical and moral synthesis.'

With respect, the latter is simply polite code meaning that she, as a personification of the Irish body politic, against the background of harsh reality, is being forced to grapple with the legacy of paradox, contradiction, absurdity and inanity inherent in Irish Catholic nationalism. As the historian Professor George Boyce put it, Irish Nationalism is typically Irish in the vulgar sense in that it is: 'paradoxical, self-contradictory and guided by its own internal logic.'

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