Irish-Americans haven’t a clue about Ireland. Right?

The very likely choice of Joe Biden by the Democratic Party doesn’t reassure those of us on this side of the Atlantic that the US and specifically the Democratic Party isn’t full of knuckle-heads.  But we can make mistakes in our own judgement of Americans.

Certainly of Irish-Americans. The oft-repeated line by unionist politicians that Irish-Americans have a rosy romantic vision of Ireland and that they know damn all about it is what I tend to call bollocks. I’ve met a whole range of Irish-Americans over the last four or five years and I may tell you, many of them are more informed and more insightful about Irish politics than many people living here.

There’s an example in today’s Irish Times. Irish-American Niall O’Dowd has an article titled ‘Irish America is hostile to the exclusion of Sinn Féin from government.’  He goes on to talk about the work that he and others did in helping bring Irish republicans out of the mire of violence and into politics. He quotes Bruce Morrison, who was a key figure (with O’Dowd himself) in liaising between Bill Clinton and Irish republicans in the run-up to the Good Friday Agreement:

“When we urged them forward to ceasefire and disarmament…we said peaceful politics was the way forward. Now that they have done that, the previously dominant parties are trying to change the subject to the past. It makes no sense.”

And O’Dowd himself doesn’t hold back on the role of the mainstream media here:

“As expected the media revisionists are truly angry that their cock-eyed view of history, where Sinn Féin are incapable of political thought and are just a bunch of goons who threatened the legitimate Northern Ireland state, has been discredited. Their theory is destined for the dustbin of history which makes it all the more strange to see leading politicians suddenly begin flogging that long-dead horse.”

I’d say between them, Morrison and O’Dowd have articulated pretty concisely the current absurd state of affairs in the south of Ireland.  The only question now is, who will the Irish Times fire for letting an article like O’Dowd’s find its way into their newspaper?

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