Sinn Fein and the shrinking Ireland

  • Sinn Fein and the shrinking Ireland

Ireland was once broad. To know Ireland was to know it's fields and rivers, mountains and glens, birds and cattle. To know the people that lived upon the land. Their way of life, their history and achievements, poetry and music, their religion.

Wander the land on foot and you would always be learning, always finding more to love. Ireland was great and worth fighting for. But this is not the Ireland of Sinn Féin. The Ireland of Sinn Féin is a shrunken ideal that lives high up in the sky were there is little air to breath. Sinn Féin are always looking up at this ideal and they cannot see the world around them. They have lost their roots.

The problem is that they have placed identity before values. They have idealised identity and forgotten the values that this unity is supposed to express. There is no merit in being Irish, it is a fact. However there is merit in loving the good in an Irish way. As Patrick Kavanagh argues we should avoid any sentimental Irish revivalism which tries to be Irish rather than true.

Seek the universal good within a particular context and the good you find and ultimately express will be conditioned by the good present within that context. For us this is Ireland, the place. For Sinn Féin Ireland is not a place but an idea.

It is a long time since Ireland was personified as a woman. Possibly the last time was in Yeats play "Kathleen O"Houlahain". Kathleen is an old woman who comes to the house of Michael who is just about to be married. Her laments that "they have taken my four green fields" persuades Michael to put the marriage aside and go off to join the rebel forces. At this the woman disappears and no one sees her leaving. But a passer by remarks that he "saw a young girl and she had the walk of a queen". It is the last personification for a reason because the woman Ireland has become politicised and with that the well of inspiration has run dry. The woman Ireland is not political, she does not own the four green fields but represents the four fields. It is the beauty of Ireland which summons men to politics, to protect the four fields.

Yeats' play puts political identity ahead of values. Michael must choose between marriage and politics, the two are in opposition and politics has to take precedence. But that order is all wrong, it is the beauty of marriage and the life of the people which motivates politics.

It is the common expression of these values which is the basis of our identity which must find political recognition and protection.

Sinn Féin follow in the tradition of Kathleen O"Houlahain and what was once a lament has become a possessive shriek. Increasingly in its obsession with political identity and its shrunken ideal it has lost the values of Ireland and the lived reality.

The family, the cornerstone of our society and of our life together is being attacked by Sinn Féin in their support of abortion and gay marriage. No longer do they recognise the beauty of the relationship of man and woman which is intrinsically open to the unconditional love of a child. No longer is the child safe within it's mothers womb.

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