The enemy within
* The exploitation of Ireland by the Irish has been more debilitating to our culture and to the sense of ourselves than all that England could throw at us.
As I grew up, the history of Ireland was constituted by accounts of various attempts to rid us of the old enemy, England, and by immortalising the memory of the many who died in the cause of Irish freedom. Eventually we won our freedom, albeit a limited version of it; the six counties became a persistent thorn in our sides, being indicative of a task half-done. When asked which part of Ireland I was from, I invariably replied unconvincingly: "All of it."
For many, the only significant identity, either personal or national, remained rooted in our involvement in severing the links with England. From this culture emerged our new rulers by persuading us that they were the rightful heirs to the tradition of blood sacrifice.