IN FEBRUARY 1933 an editorial in the IRISH TIMES, which had never, ever, championed democracy in Ireland, warned of the catastrophe which threatened the country should it return Eamon de Valera and Fianna Fail to power. The party had held power for nearly a year, with the support of a few Labour TDs. The electors, most of whom cared as much for that paper as it did for them, gave Fianna Fail an overall majority, and renewed its support of the party in numerous elections until 1948, and in most elections between 1951 and the1990.
IN MARCH 1933 in an Editorial “Herr Hitler’s Way”, the IRISH TIMES welcomed Adolf Hitler’s accession to power in Germany, because of the thuggery of the Nazis towards Socialists,itself arguing that you cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg. I was first made aware of that “IRISH TIMES VIEW” in a piece by Conor Cruise O’Brien, and I can never understand how that paper manages to form a view about anything with so much egg on its face.
The solipsist poseur Fintan O’Toole has been converted to the idea that Sinn Fein should be let in from the cold. Public opinion has already done so and they owe him no favours.
He declares that Fianna Fail opposed democracy in the 1930s. That is a falsehood and if O’Toole was intelligent enough to realise it, I’d call him a liar. De Valera was a democrat from his entry into politics. He, and Cathal Brugha, realised, that conspiratorial methods, necessary and legitimate before 1916, were no longer appropriate after the reorganisation of Sinn Fein in 1917 and the establishment of Dail Eireann by the electors in 1919. I’ve been re-reading ” B’Fhiu An Braon Fola” (It was worth the drop of blood) by Seamas O Maoileoin, a veteran IRB man, who broke with Michael Collins on this matter. Perhaps O’Toole might get somebody to translate the relevant pieces. But as he seems never to have seen, much less studied informed pieces in English on the subject, I’m probably wasting my breath.
THE IRISH TIMES under its Editor, Douglas Gageby, came in from the cold, actually from de Valera’s Irish Press Group, into the Irish Nation by 1966. On Easter Monday that year it reported, how on the Silver Jubilee of the Insurrection, citizens young and old celebrated it with joy and pride. Some 900 or so Easter Week veterans, approximately half of those who participated in the Rising, were gathered at the GPO. It is likely that as high a proportion of citizens cheering them could remember that week. Thus they could remember when they were mere subjects, members of a despised, insulted and abused subject nation (this is no hyperbole). They were now citizens of a Republic they themselves had established. And British Newspapers – from the Daily Telegraph to the Sunday Times, and British TV was saluting them and the Insurgents without reservation.
But O’Toole, asked to write a piece on 1916 for the 75th Anniversary of the Rising could produce nothing about it. He looked into his own, mean little soul.He could remember being
8 years old for its Silver Jubilee and confusing Yul Brynner and the Magnificent Seven with the signatories of the Proclamation of Independence. Yul and his mates did show
courage, as did Pearse, Connolly and Co. But, unlike the Insurgents, they were essentially Mercenaries. O’Toole is merely a mercenary, without principles, guts, or discernible brain.