Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another 10%?

Of course, Elaine Byrne could just be having a laugh. Or All Fools' Day came early to the Irish Times:
A positive correlation exists between Catholicism and corruption. Political science literature and academic research suggests that the more Protestant the population, the less corrupt the country. Divergent views on sin and loyalty account for this corpulent assertion...

In [Daniel] Treisman’s 2000 cross national study, for example, the University of California professor contends that countries with a Protestant tradition, a history of British rule and a developed economy are less corrupt.

In his comparison between Ireland and Denmark, he suggests that if Ireland had an additional 5-10 per cent Protestant population, our corruption rating would be that of Denmark’s, which has consistently been in the top five least corrupt countries in the world since polling began.
There's not a great deal more flesh on that particular bone, but it is still worth the gnawing.

Malcolm has repeatedly gone on record about his admiration for some, repeat some aspects of the Anglo-Irish minority culture: most recently, he reckons, last September.

A cynic (again in the Irish Times) lately suggested "Anglo-Irish" was simply posh-speak for "a Prod on a horse". Well, there's an element of truth in that, and it's certainly the view that Willie Yeats would have taken -- more so in the last decade of his life when he mixed in some very peculiar circles.

On the other hand, the Anglo-Irish tradition gave nationalist Ireland the likes of William Molyneux, Henry Grattan, Thomas Davis and Charles Stewart Parnell. Come the Twentieth Century, we can add Con Gore-Booth, the two Erskine Childers, Douglas Hyde and even Mary Robinson of the Mayo Bourkes. A passing notion there, could the saintly Mary Robinson be related to the "pirate" Gráinne Ní Mháille?

Less swan-like in public splendour, perhaps, but paddling like hell under the water-line, many of Ireland's civil service have sprung, in part or in whole, from Irish Proddery. Ken Whittaker was the cerebellum behind the liberalising of Ireland in the 1960s. Martin Mansergh has been a guiding light for Fianna Fáil's northern initiative.

And let's not start counting the academics, now across five continents.

As for Elaine Byrne's recognition of the Irish Protestant, it comes a bit late. Before independence, 10% of the 26-counties' population were Protestant: by 1990 it was barely 3%. Yes, there has been an up-tick in recent years (all those second-homers, perhaps). But the damage was done.

And whom and what do we blame?

Easy: all of the religiosity, and chauvinist baggage that de Valera loaded into his 1937 Constitution, overthrowing the secular tone of the 1916 Declaration of Independence:
The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities for allits citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally ...
If only. Sphere: Related Content

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