Does the Irish intelligentsia hate nationalism?


Sir, – Rather sweepingly, Cian Carlin implies that the Irish intelligentsia detest nationalism (March 16th).

I suggest that what they detest is violence that purports to be in the name of Irish nationalism.

Such violence has been continuously criticised by intelligent patriots throughout the 20th century.

O’Leary and Davitt condemned Rossa for his violent tactics, which later would inspire some of the 1916 insurgents. Griffith castigated the armed opposition to the democratically approved Treaty.

From the 1930s onwards, Éamon de Valera sought to suppress republican violence, and every subsequent taoiseach maintained the same line.

Even Gerry Adams eventually persuaded his movement that violence was not only futile but harmful to the national interest.

Omitted from this account, of course, is the second nationalism that exists in Ireland: Britishness – now largely concentrated in the northeast of the island. The intelligentsia who adhere to it seem content with it, but they may feel some uncertainty about its prospects and the future form it will take after Brexit. – Yours, etc,


Brussels, Belgium.