Death Of The First Republic

The first Republic of Ireland is dead; this is a sensationalist statement to many but we are now in denial at its funeral. We crowd around its coffin, backs turned to the corpse and draw hope and nostalgia from those that brought her to birth, but those ghosts will teach us little more and if they could we would not listen. The lessons, valuable irreplaceable lessons, will only be found in its autopsy and in the investigation of its demise.

The first republic was born from a theatrical passion for cultural fulfilment, ownership and historic tribalism. Born as a hippy child it was raised by conservative parents backed by a regimental religion, hands shackled from liberalist choice in case it cut its knee in self discovery. Through its adolescence in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s it made friends in the European playground, picking up its fashionable taste for fast and loose capitalism. Of course young Ireland was not educated to the level of those who had dabbled for so long, but it would posture and be allowed do so. The reigns that had harboured young Ireland so close to its moral centre were quickly being rebelled, mistaking peer pressure of internal financial aesthetics, with the freedom of choice it had for so long wished to be its own.

But it had acquired a habit of nauseating consequence and symptom, a virus of self grandeur by reflection from which it would not recover. It peered over the fence of the Irish Sea and wished it too it could have the toys of the mature and the experienced, the Britain and the Europe who fawned hollow on its talismanic pet.

The first republic had many of its children at its wheel, but had many more with tape over their mouths in the boot. Those driving with their eyes fixed firmly on a place at a capitalist top-table, knowing they would not share the meal that waited with all the children of the first republic. Those that looked in the media windows could watch their bigger brothers and sisters feed heartily and, along with the children of Europe unable to find a place at the feast, be content to take the scraps. But scraps from a king or a beggar are still just scraps, the unwanted by those higher up and not a fair portion shared with equality in mind. These scraps took the form of materialism and trend, trifles of distraction as the weak are dragged to a party it can ill afford. If the children of the first republic had realised this it would have learnt a lesson that may have saved its life, it did not and the last scrap dropped has now turned rancid; it is the misplaced divinity called the property boom.

So who are those that gave economic heroin to our young republic, fed the junkie and made a fraudulent national economic history, flaunting it as if it deserved it?  Who exactly took the young republic, which had crawled so rose tinted from the womb of the G.P.O. and stood goddess like with tricolour in hand, and turned her into a corpse with such horrible wounds, with such horrible denial?

We all did, every man and woman of action and more importantly inaction. Consciously or otherwise we pushed our mother Ireland to an early grave. Our democratic acceptance of stagnant politics through dynastic and nepotistic voting is now being revealed as an embarrassing disaster. We scream on the barstools for an ‘alternative’ that simply does not exist. Many will put on the costume and parade it on your doorstep, but it was buried years ago in a deep grave of political narrow mindedness and sarcastic cynicism, dug by those who revel in simplistic polarised political opinion. It will come again but we must build it and accept it is precious, not to be rubbished because it suits neither the day nor the majority. Democracy is evolutionary and revolutionary as should be the political philosophy of all its citizens. Conservatism and capitalism should have the ability to flux with the ever-changing opinions and needs of society, the right winged rigidity shattered for it did not respect or feed this necessity, it will happen again if we do not learn.

I say turn now and look at the corpse of the first republic, find your fingerprints on its person and wonder how they got there. The birth of the second republic will only come with acceptance of involvement. National pride for some may be lost but it can be regained in learning from our mistakes, they were necessities for our nation’s second coming.

What are needed first, are not politicians to change our country but our countrymen and women to change our politics. Not just the politics of government but those we exercise in society, ones that can bring the renaissance of community.

A return to the bowl of sugar across the hedge, a return of our children to first our shores and then our gardens, away from the dark alleys of alcoholism and depression to where they have so gravely wandered.

The absolute embodiment of all children of Ireland in one image of personal and social fulfilment, not just those who can pay for the current elitist dream of wellbeing.

The restoration of true value in true worth, the people we share this Ireland with and whom together we will build first solidarity before all else.

The acceptance and nurturing of the family in its modern incarnation; it is a beautiful, sacred unit that cannot grow and survive without the help and support of all the values it represents and all those who represents it.

We must now, finally, drop the rose upon the coffin of the first republic, eulogise its passing in the history books of our children, and create a chapter thereafter of unheralded political re-invention, community re-establishment and of a Republic of Ireland re-born.

Aidan Pendlebury

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