Patriotism today in Ireland

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Should Taoiseach Brian Cowen challenge his community and his political rivals to redefine patriotism?In the Irish Republic the notion of ‘patriotism’ was historically rooted in the politics of the past, the civil war and the fight for independence against the British.

The post civil rights era in Northern Ireland continued to stymie a contemporary redefinition of ‘patriotism’ in general terms.

The so called Troubles as we knew them are behind us.

The current Fianna Fail government is plagued with the woes of a worldwide economic downturn.

There is no monopoly on the financial pain being suffered by any resident of the Irish Republic.

Thousands of people availed of and enjoyed the Republic’s economic successes over the last decade.

Would the opposition in the Irish government have acted differently?

Is there any evidence to support this thesis?
This is questionable.

This brings into focus the role of the opposition.

Is it appropriate for an opposition to be permanently negatively, carping at a government struggling to make amends?

What would the opposition do in the event of entering government?

Mindful of this should Taoiseach Cowen resurrect the notion of Alan Dukes’ Tallaght Strategy to jolt the opposition into backing a common approach to resolving the economic crisis?

The upside of all this would be to send a very positive message to the outer world.

What I am suggesting is that Brian Cowen embark on a campaign to raise an awareness of each citizen’s civic responsibility to one’s neighbour.

This redefining of ‘patriotism’ would receive a huge boost if the opposition were to espouse their former leader’s philosophy articulated in the Tallaght Strategy.
Let the debate begin.

[This article originally appeared on Slugger O’Toole]

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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