DROIT DU SEIGNEUR? by Donal Kennedy

I’m not sure whether holding a professorial seat gives the holder the right to spout balderdash or whether spouting balderdash with great eloquence is a requirement for elevation to such Olympian heights.  In pre-democratic days and nights the big nobs enjoyed the “right” to use and abuse the daughters and wives of the common people. Today it seems that certain academics enjoy the pleasure of effing about with history

Amongst many ideas floated by that buoyant Corkman, Professor John A. Murphy is a national holy day to honour Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) whom he deems the father of Irish Democracy.
 I’ve just acquired, secondhand, a book published in 1996 entitled “1922 THE BIRTH OF IRISH DEMOCRACY” by Professor Tom Garvin. And the blurb on the back is sufficient to raise my unacademic hackles.
As I understand it, in January of that year a Rum Parliament, deemed “THE PARLIAMENT OF SOUTHERN IRELAND” held its one quorate meeting, usurping the legal, democratically established DÁIL EIREANN and appointed an Irregular Junta called THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT. In June 1922, under pressure from Winston Churchill, that junta pushed Dáil Éireann and the democratically established Republican Courts aside as it made war on its former comrades. Early casualties in that war were Cathal Brugha and Harry Boland, members of Dáil Éireann. In September 1922 a meeting of some of those elected in the June election met in Dublin, whilst other elected representatives were imprisoned or hunted by the junta. It was never established whether the meeting was one of Dáil Éireann or the Provisional Parliament of the Irish Free State. Lawrence Ginnell was unable to establish its status, because, although elected, he would have to take an oath of loyalty to the King of England before he would be allowed to put that crucial question.   On December 7 1922 the IRISH FREE STATE came into being and the following day celebrated by shooting four prisoners, including two members reelected to Dáil Éireann in June 1922.
But I’m no academic nor political theorist. I’ve read and heard various arguments on the rights and wrongs of the tragic mess of the Civil War and think that the Title of Professor Garvin’s polemic should have a question mark after it.
But there are statements in the book which are new to me and have no supporting evidence.
For example – “The IRA were certainly not wedded to free speech or to free elections;     local units allegedly burned out the houses of thirty-seven Dáil candidates before Collins repudiated the pact (with de Valera)”.
Professor Garvin doesn’t name 1. A single alligator.  2. A single IRA unit. 3. A single candidate whose house was burned.       3. Any report from THE FREEMAN’S JOURNAL, THE IRISH INDEPENDENT, CORK EXAMINER  or any other newspaper or journal.  Years ago I served on a jury and neither I nor anyone else would credit such a lame witness as Professor Garvin.

The Professor quotes scholars on all sorts of theories to add padding to his polemic.  It appears to me that his book should be catalogued  with Vanity Publishing, rather than History or Politics.

One Response to DROIT DU SEIGNEUR? by Donal Kennedy

  1. Brian Patterson June 17, 2017 at 7:18 pm #

    While I certainly largely concur with Dónal’s review, is it not true that the IRA burned down the house of the butcher Kevin O’Higgins and killed his elderly father?