Des O’Malley on Ireland as a republic, 1985 Dáil debate


From the Dáil debate on Family Planning (Amendment) Bill, 1985, and worth reading in full… but here’s an excerpt:

“Republican” is perhaps the most abused word in Ireland today. In practice what does it mean? The newspapers do not have to explain it because there is an immediate preconceived notion of what it is. It consists principally of anglophobia. Mentally, at least, it is an aggressive attitude towards those who do not agree with our views on what the future of this island should be. It consists of turning a blind eye to violence, seeing no immorality, often, in the most awful violence, seeing immorality only in one area, the area with which this Bill deals. Often it is displayed by letting off steam in the 15 minutes before closing time with some rousing ballad that makes one vaguely feel good and gets one clapped on the back by people who are stupid enough to think that sort of flag waving is the way to make progress in this island — to go back into your own trenches rather than try to reach out to people whom we need to reach. Continue reading


Patrick Kavanagh and Ireland’s public sphere

That time has come around in Ireland again for another treaty, another vote, and supposedly another debate. There has been some discussion about the fact that Ireland once again is to do Europe’s bidding, and certain parts of the “no” camp are saying our sovereignty is under threat (to which I might flippantly point out that the Troika don’t have tanks or an army, so that’s not strictly correct). It is to be noted that different countries have different relationships to thought. This is popularly accepted, thought it might be demode to point this out. It does, however, manifest itself to an extent in the guild mentality of various centres of philosophical study. Thus, Britain and America are known for a certain tradition, wary of speculation, aiming we are told for a practical focus: empiricism, logical positivism, analytic schools, ordinary language philosophy, etc. On this point, Ireland remains straddling a number of boundaries, as ever. Trinity College Dublin is regarded as broadly in the Anglo-American tradition, University College Dublin is renowned as a centre for continental and phenomenological thought, and Maynooth is a hybrid of medieval scholastic philosophy and the overlooked phenomenologists such as Edith Stein and (to a lesser extent) Hannah Arendt.

This is an expression of our piebald cultural identity, as a mixture: post-colonial and yet Western European. Continue reading

Making politics professional?

What qualifies you best to be a politician? The American political system seems to have made its choice, and accordingly the role is self-selecting: “out of the 535 members of the U.S. Congress, only 22 have science or engineering backgrounds, and of these only two might be considered experienced scientists or engineers.” [Source] Western democracies elsewhere have followed suit, and Ireland is no different. I ask this because Fencingwithkierkegaard rightly poses the question as to why politics is not regulated as a profession, with the following points for discussion: Continue reading