Fake news, phoney philosophers, quack doctors of letters, hack historians, are not new phenomena. But it seems to me that never has the human race faced a greater tsunami of shite, poppycock and tommyrot than it does today. Nowhere are these phenomena greater than in today’s Ireland. In some specific issues there are apparently co-ordinated acts of psychological sabotage.
In two week’s we should be celebrating Ireland’s exercising her Right to Freedom, and her repudiation of a party begging favours from her enemies. Ninety-Eight years before England voted for Brexit, Ireland in a General Election, “regarded on all sides as a Plebiscite” according to London’s TIMES, gave the English King, all his horses and all his men notice to leave Ireland.
A near namesake of mine, Dennis Kennedy, sought, in a long article in History Ireland, to forestall a celebration of that democratic exercise. Instead he wanted us to show our gratitude to Lord Fitzalan who condescended to grant Dublin Castle to “the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State” on 16 January 1922, by celebrating Independence Day on January 16.
I pointed out that voters had not established the “Provisional Government” but had freely established Dail Eireann on 14 December 1918, and suggested that if we were to celebrate an Independence Day it should be on 14 December. It would honour the plain people of Ireland and could not be misrepresented as militaristic.
Anyhow the Tin Soldier and the Friends of Dorothy Gale (not Dorothy MacArdle!) appear to have stymied the appropriate commemoration of the 1918 establishment of the Republic at the ballot box.
I see that the Centenary of the Inaugural meeting of Dail Eireann involves some panel discussion chaired by a near namesake of Jude’s – – Stephen Collins. I have been reading pieces by Stephen Collins for years, none of which impressed me in a positive way. He claims the Labour Party (founded 1912) is the oldest party in the Dail. Sinn Fein was founded in 1905 and established the Dail, and Sean T O Ceallaigh and W T Cosgrave, founder members of the Dail, had been Dublin Corporation Aldermen since before the Labour Party was founded. I don’t know whether the Labour Party had any members of Dublin Corporation in 1919 but it did not contest Parliamentary elections until 1922. Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Clann na Poblachta were major or minor off-shoots of Sinn Fein. Indeed, when Stephen Collins made his assertion many Labour Party men in Leinster House had cut their political teeth or sown their wild oats with Sinn Fein.
Stephen’ s ideas about history are matched by his sense of taste. The IRISH TIMES reproduced a Cumann na nGaedhael election poster from the 1920s which would shame a schoolyard bully for its stupidity and its attempt to win the votes of bigots and xenophobes-
It was headed:
Featuring SENOR de VALERA
The poster was displayed all over the country in 1932 proving there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Senor De Valera, Monsieur Lemass, and their lampooned colleagues had their names so imprinted in the minds of the electorate that they were repeatedly elected and re-elected and formed the Government for the following 16 years, and the party formed most governments in the 70 years since 1948.
The most impressive thing Stephen wrote was about the time he asked Charles Haughey if he was about to resign. It is alleged that Charlie grabbed Stephen by the lapels, or the throat, and told him to “ F*** OFF”. Is it any wonder that Charlie remained the People’s Darling for some years afterwards?
Anyhow I named this column LOOKING FOR AUTHENTICITY. The report of the 1917 East Clare By-Election is from THE TIMES OF LONDON JULY 12 1917. In my Column OLD SOLDIERS’ COMPLAINTS I mentioned the Emergency of 1939-1945. The Constitution enacted by the citizens in 1937 contains Article 28 governing the circumstances in which a State of Emergency may be declared by the Oireachtas. It is not, and was not a euphemism for War as hostile propagandists and their servile parrots would have you believe.