Written on: 13. 10. 2021 in the category: Uncategorized

Behold, Our Very Own 32-County Paraguay!

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No posts have appeared in this space for a while because I have become numb with horror. A catastrophic mood has taken hold of the Irish people. The only hope is that moods can change – but change can only happen when reason prevails, and ‘reason’ is now a barely evident quality in Irish life.

This has usually moved in electoral cycles over the decades, but there are other cycles that are apparently driven by larger and darker forces. These are a departure from the democratic norms of other western societies and seem sub-consciously determined on self-destruction. The entire period between 1916 and 1923 was one example. The economic war with the British Empire in the 1930s was another. The 1950s was a consensual disaster, requiring the permission of all the main parties. A measure of the insanity of that time was the construction of Galway Cathedral to inhale and imprison (rather than invest) whatever savings the impoverished people of the west might have had.

A decade of peace and rising prosperity followed, to be followed by another IRA campaign lasting over a quarter of a century. It almost passes belief that successive Irish governments, even after the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973, continued to allow the IRA to operate in Border areas, not so much as an act of policy as one of moral laziness aided by convenient absent-mindedness.

One of the symptoms of the epochal cycle that besets Irish life so regularly is effusions of hysterical piety. The Sean South funeral, which convulsed the Republic in 1957 was one. Another was the moving statues of Ballinspittle in the 1980s. The Ethiopian fund-raising madness around the same time was another. Some of the campaigns around constitutional reforms – the attempts to remove the ban on divorce (unsuccessful) and add a ban on abortion (successful) and then remove it (successful) and to make unconsummated homosexual marriage legally equal to consummated heterosexual marriage (successful, though self-evidently barking-mad) – were conducted amid orgies of savage and unforgiving sanctimony.

A decade ago, we were all set on a path of inter-island harmony that would open a new chapter in the relations between Britain and Ireland. Instead, today we are looking at a future of bitterness, stupidity and bigotry as tribal pride trumps national self-interest and the ingredients for a 32-county calamity steadily gather.

Not all of them are insular in origin: Covid has devastated the retail sector, but it is Varadkar who has put an Irish spin on it by throwing money at public servants who never asked for it. Brexit has introduced intolerable (and often incomprehensible) complexities into north-south, east-west relations, but once again, with toxic levels of Hibernian holier-than-thouness from right across the politico-media spectrum.

The same level of suffocating sanctimony, now enriched with a deep vein of anti-Semitism and enlivened by profound ignorance, erupted after Hamas launched yet another unprovoked attack on Israel from Gaza. The Dail debate on this, https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2021-05-25/9/

is worth reading if only to get a sense of the deep loathing for Israel that is now socially acceptable. Still, we might all enjoy Deputy Mattie McGrath’s observations on Gaza: “There is still an incremental takeover, wipe-out and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. ….Call it what it is – ethnic cleansing. It is an apartheid as bad as that under Mugabe in South Africa. It is nothing short of that.”

These words (naturally, unreported by the media) are no more bizarre than many of the other contributions in the Dail, almost all of which were marked by profound anti-Semitism and abject gratitude to Sinn Fein for bringing the motion before the house: viz, Brendan Howlin’s embarrassingly obsequious cringe.

The deep if usually invisible currents of anti-Semitism in Ireland explain why successive governments have permitted Sfira to host the annual Sean Russell Annual Mardi Gras, making this the only country in Europe to publicly celebrate a Nazi collaborator. Who could have been surprised that David Collier’s recent report confirms Ireland’s anti-Semitic status, or that Sally Rooney is refusing to allow her latest novel to be translated into Hebrew? This latter is an explicitly anti-Semitic act unreported in the mainstream Irish media. Blissfully happy Chinese and Russian readers – whose leaders unashamedly levy wars, murder opponents and imprison without trial – will not be so deprived.

Perhaps the most dangerous component of the new mood convulsing Ireland is UKphobia. The repeated attacks by President Higgins on the British Empire have been profoundly unconstitutional, yet his curt rejection of an ecumenical invitation to attend a church service to mark a century of partition has won 88% approval from voters in the Republic. Not merely has he made racist disdain for unionists and the British laudable, he has set an agenda for the entire Oireachtas. Simon Coveney’s attack on partition – from the deputy leader of the party that negotiated it in 1921, that authored the Anglo-Irish Agreement and assented to the Belfast Agreement with all its unconditional undertakings to show respect for other traditions – is a measure of the depths to which this intellectual dysfunctionality has taken us.

Behind it all is Sinn Fein, which is not a political party but a militarised cult whose purpose is to give a democratic sheen to the decisions made by a secret ten-person army council. These edicts are then duly ratified at Ard Fheis, which has all the transparent accountability of a Baathist Party conference in Baghdad. The decade of centenaries – quite predictably: and I say with some certainty because I predicted it – has normalised a Fenian vocabulary across the entire political spectrum. Sfira’s previously unique attachment to ambush and martyrdom – which had otherwise been abolished from the lexicon of Dail Eireann – was restored as Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny embarked on a competition they could not – and did not – win.

Catastrophic damage has been done to public morality during the decade of centenaries. Army officers read out the Proclamation to every pupil in Ireland as if it was the Sermon on the Mount, even though Pearse’s rendition of the original on the steps of the GPO, was rapidly followed by the cold-blooded murders of fourteen-year Eleanor Warbrook outside Jacobs factory and DMP Constable O’Brien at the gates of Dublin Castle. This same putrid, “gallant-allies” document became the moral authoriser for the 27-year war waged by the IRA, 1970-1997 in which some 4,000 people were killed or died prematurely.

So, far from physical-force republicanism receding as a consequence of the ‘peace process’, it is culturally resurgent, with Fein (allowing for margins of error) possibly standing at 35% in the polls and rising. Perhaps the most-obscene outcome of all has been that the “Sing Sing” secret dungeon in Cork where IRA-man Martin Corry kept scores of prisoners between 1921-23, of whom some 35 were murdered and secretly buried, has now been restored and is now a tourist attraction exulting in its historic role.

It is precisely why a mass murderer like Corry could repeatedly be elected TD for Cork right up until his death in 1969 that unionists resisted governance by the rest of Ireland. They knew what toxins lay within the barbarous fusion of Catholicism and Fenianism, publicly exemplified by the IRA’s burning of the Protestant orphanage in Connemara in 1922.

Moreover, partition was not unilaterally imposed by Unionists: it was morally, psychologically and economically a nationalist creation also. The very first Acts passed by Dail Eireann authorised the erection of Border customs posts, making them a Free State invention, not a unionist one. This was followed by the Obscene Publications Act, a cultural border that made it a criminal office to print the words “contraception”, “abortion”, “divorce” and “menstruation” in the 26 Counties.

These repeated departures from democratic norms were possible because there is no overarching ethical order within Irish life. The absence of such restraint is a primary facilitator for our regular bursts of hysteria, and also for the election to Dail Eireann of chancers like Haughey, Beverley Cooper-Flynn, Arthur Morgan, the Healy Raes, Michael Lowry, Martin Ferris and of course, Adams.

And now, in their final bid for power, Sinn Fein activists are going down the clientelist route, promising all things to all constituents: planning permissions, jobs, university places and houses for all. But in the absence of an obliging Northern Bank coughing up the readies every day, Sira cannot solve Ireland’s economic and social problems. Their two main spokeswizards merely incant fluent spells before a bewitched and babbling media throng: in reality, Pearse Doherty is merely a Fenian Paisley and Eoin O Broin is Sfira’s own Elton John, his primary talent being his choice of rivetingly gay spectacles.

This crowd of fiscal lunatics might yet make Charles Haughey seem like Ludwig Erhard. But by the time the Irish people wake up to that discovery, Ireland will have become Europe’s Paraguay. Meanwhile, goaded by Sfira’s reckless capers, a fresh version of the Troubles might well be stirring, perhaps giving us yet another decade of centenaries to celebrate in a hundred years’ time.

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