Issue 3-2023-200dpi

5 November 1998 Edition

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Editor's desk

Not for the first time, I am indebted to the Daily Telegraph for another thrilling obituary of an old soldier. This time it is old Etonian General Sir Kenneth Darling (whose nickname was `Katie'), the British Army commander in Cyprus in the late 1950s.

Katie's first act was to screen the entire population of three villages in order to identify EOKA freedom fighters. ``The only EOKA terrorist I'm interested in is a dead one,'' he said at the time.

His men were accused of brutality but that didn't deter him. However, true to form, in 1959 Darling ``found himself at a cocktail party in Nicosia talking to two EOKA leaders whom his men had hunted a few months before in the anti-terrorist sweep; they were now ministers in the transitional Cabinet.''

Katie Darling never made it to the Six Counties where his cocktail party expertise might now be coming handy.


In the bad old days republicans had to contend with the Special Branch and the media when promoting their agenda, but in this era of Irish Glasnost things are just not the same.

A recent series of lectures, by that gathering of reconstructed and unreconstructed republicans called The Ireland Institute, to commemorate three lectures given by their idol Patrick Pearse was dogged by the new era obstacles.

In the fine debating chamber in Dublin's Civic Museum the first lecture given was on the theme ``Revisionism and the History of 1916''. Dogged by bad amplification, the speaker, Pádraig O Snodaigh, had also to contend with representations of British soldiers staring down at him from part of an exhibition the museum is hosting on the histories of Irish British army regiments.

One of theose regiments was responsible for the court martial of one of the executed 1916 leaders Thomas Kent in Cork on 4 May, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. How is that for revisionism and the history of 1916?

The second lecture in the series tackled a more contemporary theme ``Irish Republicanism: Good Friday and after'' and the obstacle for the lecturer, Daltún O Ceallaigh, and his audience was again more contemporary. Speaking about the intricacies of the peace process to the sound of the Spice Girls' ``Viva Forever'' belting out from below was above and beyond the call of duty. Being in love with one's country took on altogether different meaning when ``I'm so horny, horny, horny'' seeped up through the floorboards from the teeny-boppers downstairs at Clongowes monthly disco.

Fianna Fáil's spin doctor Martin Mansergh gives the final talk tonight. It will be interesting what the Gods will throw up as an obstacle for him.

An Phoblacht
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Dublin 1