THE YEAR IN EIRE
From Our Own Correspondent
The year now closing has been for Ireland, in her neutral quietude, almost uneventful; yet there was a sense in the air of history being made, as the habits of our people were moulded in new ways, and minds bent on a changed order everywhe'e.
A beloved bishop died in Dromore ; two new bishops—churchmen greatly loved—were consecrated. These were the only outstanding events in the Church. In the coming year, St. Patrick's foundation of the Primatial See of Armagh will be remembered by its 1,500th anniversary—so the traditional dating has it—but unless peace conies soon and settled conditions with it, ceremonial observance is unlikely.
In politics a general election was the one big occasion of r943. Just before Christmas the Government's majority in a division sank to two—the question was one of increased allowances to soldiers which the Opposition groups combined to advocate, while the Government preferred economy to popularity. A cry went out that another election is becoming inevitable.
Seeing that the election 1943 achieved nothing for the nation, and that another would be unlikely to make any considerable change in either direction. most prudent people deplore the prospect. Opposition papers in the provinces condemn the agitation for a fresh contest There is nothing new in the situation to change the public mind. No new dynamic persons or policies have appeared. The Labour Party has not strengthened itself perceptibly since its disappointment at the polls, and the new arrival, the Farmers' Party, has not fulfilled the hopes raised by its first actions and speeches.
in short, the only desire for change that is strongly felt is for greater stability in the House; but the Government is not likely to put the country through the pains and expense of a contest until the lack of stability simply demands action. So one doubts, on balance, the probability of an early appeal to the nation fora strengthening of hands.
EDUCATION Economic action being restricted by lack of imported materials to a minimum, and political action towards the ending of partition being perforce impracticable, patriotic effort is being concentrated on the language revival, while a ferment of educational 'thought and work is perceptible.
Thus, a new book on education by the Rev. Dr. Leta. C.S.Sp., is the general theme of discussion. T have not seen the hook itself. but reviews and debates are met at every turn. The Irish Times published an initialled denunciation of the work as a danger to democracy, in which the writer represented Ireland's best-known spiritual author as inculcating a reactionary and totalitarian doctrine because he advocates dogma as part of Christian education.
From another angle, a Catholic critic of weight disputes Dr. Lecn's advocacy of Patristic in preference to Classical studies, and a lively debate has followed in the columns of the Standard.
That brilliant centre of spiritual learning and authorship from which Dr. Leen writes and from which Dublin's new Archbishop was elevated —and in which. it is said, the draft of our Constitution was studied and advised upon—is bound to influence educational development in the near future. Although the Minister for Education has done his work so well, and alone is well supported from all sides of the House, there to reforms admittedly needed to check the encroachment of State programmes on the freedom of the schools. The religious Orders, now that they have provided abundant means for the teaching of the national language, feel that they ought to have greater scope to develop 'their own specific cultures—to
study the texts and histories of their own founders.
LITERATURE The year has been, I think, the richest in Irish literature for a long time past. Irish publishers had many new books of distinction, and most of these were reprinted almost as soon as published— this befell Dr. Little's Malachi Horan Remembers (an astonishing transcription of an old man's memories from the Dublin mountains); Francis McManus4 much-debated novel, The Greatest of These; Father 11. V. Gill's Fact and Fiction In Modern Science; and a Dublin detective story, Murder and Music, by a Son of St. Francis whose identity is concealed by the penname "Gerald Lee." A few years ago the Irish clerical world was agog to guess the identity of " Donn Boyne," whose book I Remember Maynooth was a best-seller, and perhaps the most brilliant picture of a Catholic seminary ever written. This year the author appears under his own name, the Rev. Dr. Neil Kevin, as author of / Remember Karrigeen, which I understand to be a picture of rural Ireland.