It’s remarkable what you can see on the internet.

Quite by accident I came across a diatribe by Ruth Dudley Edwards against various bodies, which parade at Easter, calling themselves Oglaigh na hEireann. She described them as traitors.

Most people are careful about using such words, even when their own loyalties have been constant.

Ms Dudley Edwards, in her obituary of her late former husband. Patrick Cosgrave, said he became an ardent English patriot.

Patrick Cosgrave, born of Irish parents in Dublin in 1941, reared and educated to graduate level there and employed by  the Irish national broadcasting station, mutated into a British jingoist  of Victorian vintage and a speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher. Were I a cataloguer of curios, I might find charitable words for him. But it would be false to describe him as English – or a patriot.

Ms Dudley Edwards purports to resent the use of the title Oglaigh na hEireann by any body other than those under the authority of the Dublin Government.

Such resentment is tenable to a citizen with an unbroken record of “fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State” as required by the Irish Constitution. But it is eyebrow-raising, hilarious, odd, ridiculous and rum, in someone as fickle in her  favours as Ruth Dudley Edwards.

For Ms Dudley Edwards’s adult choice to travel on  a British passport, revealed in a profile in the book LeadingLives  suggests lapses in fidelity and loyalty disqualifying her from pronouncements on allegiance and betrayal.

Ms Dudley Edwards is most scornful of the “Continuity” republican movement. Another irony, considering her empathy with English Victorian patriots. A Frenchman could describe the Charge of the Light Brigade as “magnificent, but not war”,  but the then English Laureate insisted that we should “Honour the Light Brigade”. Is her heart so cold and her mind so closed that Ms Dudley Edwards could not concede that “Continuity” policy might be magnificent, but not Politic?

Another Victorian exemplar was the Boy who stood on the Burning Deck whence all but he had fled. Perhaps a template for Ruairi O’Bradaiigh , whose profile of the late General Tom Maguire is entitled “Dilseacht” (Loyalty). Both men have been sincere and consistent patriots.

Deplore their politics if you will, but their records demand we Honour the Old Brigade.

Comments are closed.