Fintan O’Toole will give a lecture, entitled ‘A Republic once again?’ on the ‘tattered legacy of the Easter Rising’ chaired by Elaine Byrne in the Little Museum of Dublin, Stephen’s Green, Dublin at 5.30pm.
The talk is part of the museum’s Dublin Lectures 2015 series.
A limited number of tickets are available at the greasy till, for €10.
In these, it’s okay to leave out any fact that doesn’t suit your narrative.
Fintan chose to leave out some basic facts about the approach of Enda Kenny’s Government to dealing with Ireland’s financial crisis.
As the Taoiseach has said repeatedly, Ireland’s recovery is based on the forbearance and resilience of the Irish people, and that recovery remains fragile.
However, it should be acknowledged, this Government removed job-damaging income tax increases from the original bailout agreement, with no income tax increases in Budget 2012, 2013 or 2014. Budget 2015 saw income tax reductions benefitting 742,000 people. 330,000 individuals were removed from the USC entirely in Budget 2012. A further 87,000 were removed from the USC entirely in Budget 2015….
…Enda Kenny’s Government has pursued pro-growth, pro-jobs policies with a range of measures to support small business, growth in jobs-rich sectors and foreign direct investment. Enda Kenny himself has explained this approach in full at two press conferences subsequent to his original comments but Fintan O’Toole, and others have chosen to ignore that completely. I guess it didn’t suit the narrative either.
Members of youth groups from across Ireland outside Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin in October 2013
In April 2009, the State contained 1.423 million people aged between 15 and 35. In April 2014, there were 1.206 million in the same age group. That’s a reduction from one generation of more than the entire population of Limerick city and county. This is the age group of rebellion, of adventure, of trying it out and trying it on. It’s the generation that annoys its elders and outrages convention and challenges accepted wisdom. It is demography’s answer to the stultification of groupthink. It is not always right but without its capacity to drive everyone else up the wall, smugness settles over everything like a fine grey dust.
Look anywhere in Ireland that is not a specific redoubt of youth culture, and the place is heavy with middle-age. From the civil service to the media, from politics to the arts establishment, you find demographic landscapes that have been largely frozen for the last six years. The thinning ranks of the young have been unable to mount any sustained challenge to the self-serving orthodoxies of their elders. Which would be fine if the place they leave could afford the consequent culture of stasis and complacency
Fintan O’Toole writes in today’s Irish Times about why he feels libel actions taken by columnists should be an “absolute last resort”.
He tells how the Sunday Times, in 2010, reported that he drove home from an Irish Congress of Trade Unions rally in his series 5 BMW, therefore depicting him as something of a hypocrite.
Only he doesn’t have a series 5 BMV, or any other kind of car, because he cannot drive.
I am a national newspaper columnist. I occupy a position of enormous privilege. I’m allowed to take part in what we might call the semi-official national discourse. I’m allowed to be robustly critical of all sorts of people. I’m allowed to enrage some of those people and (though I don’t set out to do so) to upset others. I’m given those freedoms because there is a working assumption that free and open and robust debate is not just permissible in, but essential to, a democracy.
So instead of hiring a lawyer and suing the Sunday Times, I talked to the paper’s Irish editor. He agreed pretty quickly that the article was inaccurate and indefensible. It was taken off the paper’s website and a retraction was published the following week. And that was the end of it.
..there’s a price to be paid for the considerable privilege of being granted an especially loud voice in the national conversation. With the megaphone comes a duty to protect freedom of expression and a vested interest in keeping it as open as possible.
[Fintan O’Toole at the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) Annual Conference in the RDS last November]
It’s good that most of those who oppose gay marriage love and respect and cherish individual gay people, though they should hardly expect a pat on the back for not hating their fellow citizens. But they need to recognise that that’s not enough.
The whole point of the law is that it’s not about giving people equal status because you like them. It’s about freeing people from subjection to the arbitrariness of other people’s benevolence. Gay men and lesbians shouldn’t have to care one way or the other whether the members of the Iona Institute love them or not. Just as the rest of us shouldn’t measure the rights of our fellow citizens by what they get up to in bed.
[Pat Cox, Chairman of Limerick City of Culture with former CEO Patricia Ryan]
Fintan O’Toole writes:
The City of Culture process has been casually insulting to artists. The 10-person board has just one professional artist – and, incidentally, just one woman – on it.
I can think offhand of a long list of really interesting artists who are either from Limerick or have worked in the city – Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Mary Nunan, Mel Mercier, Michael Curtin, Clairr O’Connor, Gerard Stembridge, Darren Shan, Gabriel Rosenstock, John Liddy, Marian Keyes, Mary Coll, Amanda Coogan and many more. If some time had been spent talking to them, they might have pointed out that they do not wish to be called (as the official City of Culture “vision” calls artists) “cultural providers” who “export Limerick Cultural Product” as if it were bacon.
“…we now have a perfect warning of what happens when politicians and bureaucrats try to use the arts without respecting them. Irish artists are much better at doing their jobs than Irish politicians and administrators are at doing theirs. If they spent more time with books, music and performances, politicians might learn something about rigorous thinking.”
Perhaps most importantly, the Government has incurred in this deal a huge hidden cost – the loss of the sense of justice, dignity and national self respect that is crucial to the building of a successful society. A nation taught to be grateful for such small mercies is not one that can imagine big things for its future.