There has been much speculation in Ireland as to how much the founding fathers of the modern Irish state, the leaders of 1916, would shudder to see the country they created now.
On the 95th anniversary of that gallant rising that “hurled the little streets upon the great” as Yeats wrote, it is a fair question to ask.
All changed utterly as Yeats often said, but the people he castigated, those “fumbling in the greasy till” are still with the Irish.
In a week when the ousted CEO of the utterly failed Allied Irish Bank was revealed to have pocketed a $4 million payoff, when Derek Quinlan, a former Celtic Tiger superstar now bankrupt, was revealed to have had a $140 million mansion, and Sean Quinn, Ireland’s richest man, turned out to be broke, it is fair to wonder what the founding fathers would think of Ireland today.
In a year when the Irish leaders now go cap in hand to Europe and the International Monetary Fund to ensure their future, it is an even more important question…
No doubt many of those leaders, surveying the legacy of greed and political corruption of the past decade, would echo Yeats’s words.
“Was it for this the wild geese spread, the grey wing upon every tide. For this that all that blood was shed. For this Edward Fitzgerald died. And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone. All that delirium of the brave?”
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