Fintan O’Toole: Covid-19 has redefined Ireland’s relationship with Britain

For once, we didn’t follow Britain – a moment of great psychological significance

Fintan O’Toole: ‘It is probable that Johnson’s slovenly response has ended up killing more than 20,000 people’ Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA.

Fintan O’Toole: ‘It is probable that Johnson’s slovenly response has ended up killing more than 20,000 people’ Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA.

So many unforeseen things have happened in the past few months that it is easy to miss a big thing that did not happen. In this existential crisis, Ireland did not take its lead from Britain. Not only that, but no sane person thought that it should.

Given the tragic mess that the Johnson-Cummings administration has made of its response to the pandemic, this seems obvious enough. But it does nonetheless feel like a moment of great psychological significance for Ireland – and one that says a lot about Britain’s standing in the world. 

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