Notions on culture criticised


THE PROFESSOR of modern history at University College Dublin, Prof Diarmaid Ferriter, who resigned from the board of the National Library of Ireland in protest at Government policy on culture, said that despite all the talk about the importance of cultural tourism, there seemed to be a notion in Ireland that culture was expendable.

“What I find most offensive is that the national library is being depicted as a quango,” he said at the opening of the sixth International John McGahern Seminar in Carrick-on-Shannon last night.

“It is our library,” Prof Ferriter said.

The professor said that this was not “some abstract academic debate” but was about a sense of ownership.

He said McGahern was one of a long line of aspiring young writers who found solace in the national library.

“It was one of his favourite places. What did he find there? He found civilisation, he found solace, he found creativity, he found a library that belonged to him, just as it has belonged to everyone since the 1870s.”

Prof Ferriter also expressed regret that McGahern had not intervened publicly in some of the issues he addressed in his writings in such a “nuanced intelligent” way.