RTEs obsession with all things Northern Ireland continues apace.
Apparently, we’re coming up to the 40th anniversary of the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement that ignited all the ‘recent’ troubles. RTE is marking the event with a new website which, we are told, gives fascinating reports from the station’s archives – I’m overwhelmed with the excitement of it all.
On Today with Pat Kenny (Friday) we heard four veterans of the movement endlessly relate their experiences. I suppose there’s some small justification for this but what are we to make of the long and very boring interview with author Brian Rowan (Today with Pat Kenny, Thursday) who has just written a book entitled How the Peace was Won.
Rowan is a former security editor for the BBC in Belfast and this is his 4th book on the Peace Process – yes, his 4th book on the same subject.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it was his 4th book on world history or Irish history or the history of Northern Ireland or even the history of the recent troubles but no – this his 4th book on the god damned Peace Process.
Does the man have no other life, no other interests, does he have a woman, a family, does he drink a pint, does he collect bird’s eggs; is there anything else he can do? Surely the man is in need of some serious counselling.
And what about those who read these books, I mean, is there really anybody out there who has actually read all four books. Is there some lunatic out there who, having just put down book three is thinking, I just can’t wait to get stuck into book four.
Surely Rowan and his readers, not to mention certain RTE staff are all victims of the conflict, all obsessed with a piddley little part of the world that has imposed its piddley little squabbles on the rest of civilisation for centuries.
And there’s no end in sight, it’s going to go on forever. RTE has miles upon miles of archives in the cellars of Montrose. And when all the countless events that occurred in the 30 years of their piddley little war are commemorated the whole ritual will start all over again.
Churchill, that great man of history, a man who knew the difference between great events and the mundane got it right when he said the following about Northern Ireland during the House of Commons debate in 1922 on the Irish Free State Bill.
“Then came the Great War: every institution, almost, in the world was strained. Great Empires have been overturned. The whole map of Europe has been changed. The position of countries has been violently altered. The modes of thought of men, the whole outlook on affairs, the grouping of parties, all have encountered violent and tremendous changes in the deluge of the world.
But as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short, we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again. The integrity of their quarrel is one of the few institutions that has been unaltered in the cataclysm which has swept the world.”
And so it remains today – May Zeus save us all.
Now – I feel a lot better for getting all that off my chest.
Pat Kenny Show