Sep 11, 2023·edited Sep 11, 2023Liked by Fergus McCullough

Excellent article, Sam!

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Re-read this today . Really good

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Absolutely brilliant piece. I'd love to learn more about *how* neutrality came to be such a sacred cow, which doesn't seem fully explained by the 'one fluke after another' story in this piece.

Like, sovereignty is a sacred cow for much of Ireland (left and right and centre) for a very clear reason: the modern Irish state is directly descended from the 1916 demand for sovereignty, the 1919-23 wars over sovereignty, and the constitution written in pursuit of sovereignty. To downplay the importance of sovereignty is, to a large degree, to downplay the very foundations of the state. It's politically stable for a reason!

But as the piece shows, especially with those remarkably clear quotes from Lynch and FitzGerald, the elite of this country have never really held a deep enthusiasm for neutrality, and certainly it was never the basis of an entire government's political programme (as sovereignty was under Dev). Yet it has ended up as a sacred cow for a whole broad range of nationalist / soft-republican / vaguely left people - basically >>half the country. When did that happen? Before the Emergency, during, or after? And why?

'One fluke after another' can explain why Ireland ended up with a policy of neutrality, but not why it ended up with one that's so deeply entrenched in public opinion (despite being basically fake!).

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