Fintan O’Toole honoured by Queen’s University Belfast

His Irishness makes room for ‘open and fluid relationship with Britishness’


Irish Times writer Fintan O’Toole was yesterday conferred as a doctor of literature at Queen’s University in Belfast.

He was awarded a DLit for services to broadcasting at the ceremony which was attended by members of his family including his father Samuel.

Prof Shane O’Neill said Mr O’Toole, “throughout his career, had advocated an open and nuanced interpretation of Irishness; one that makes room for a complex, intimate open and fluid relationship with Britishness”.

Prof O’Neill referred to how the late Séamus Heaney described Mr O’Toole as a “patriot”, adding that he was “committed to the well-being of everyone living on the island” of Ireland.

Mr O’Toole said it was a great pleasure and a deep honour to receive the doctorate.

“As well as being a home for outstanding scholarship, Queen’s has stayed true to the ideals of civility, inclusivity and open-mindedness without which the possibilities of a shared future would be so much dimmer for everyone on the island of Ireland,” he said.