Page 8, 30th December 1938

30th December 1938
Page 8
Page 8, 30th December 1938 — WHAT IRELAND NEEDS National Identity

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Locations: Dublin


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WHAT IRELAND NEEDS National Identity

Keywords: Social Issues

Sia,—Irish emigration is an affair both of economics and of tradition. In the beginning Irish people emigrated because they had to; now they emigrate partly because they must and partly because it seems the natural thing to do: nearly everyone of spirit has made a bee-line out of this country during the past hundred years, so that—with an intensely traditional and conservative people like we are—it is not altogether to be wondered at that young people nowadays follow the lead.

Hence the problem is twofold, and the remedy must be twofold. Mr de Blacam would work up our young people to such a pitch of exaltation that they would live at home, cost what it may; Mr McCaffery would work up the old people to such a pitch of Christianity that they would give the young people a home fit to live in, cost what it may. The combination would seem to be ideal.

Mr de Blacam is right in saying that de-nationalising influences should be swept away ; but Mr McCaffery is no less right in saying that de-nationalised economics should be swept away. I think the fine phrase " to cultivate one's own national identity " is Mr de Blacam's; h. applies just

as much to economic as to political and cultural problems. Used drastically in the shaping of a national economy as in the making of a national culture or a national legislature, it will give us a country that people will want to live in, and find it not impossible to do so.

Mr McCaffery has said that we must break the financial connection with England, the source of all our social ills. The proposition was true enough in another context and Mr de Blacam's answer sits strangely on a disciple of Tone; but perhaps the CATHOLIC HERALD would give Mr McCaffery space to detail the reasons which forced him to this conclusion.

THOMAS BARRINGTON. 26, Iona Crescent, Dublin, N.W.6.

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