Liam Cosgrave’s political legacy

Sir, – Diarmaid Ferriter is to be congratulated for injecting some balance into assessments of the late Liam Cosgrave ("Cosgrave's support of the Garda cast a long shadow", Opinion & Analysis, October 14th).

The then-taoiseach’s approach was summed up when distributing television awards in 1976. According to your March 1st, 1976, news report, “Mr Cosgrave told the guests that the public institutions, of which RTÉ was a part, must be straightened to withstand constant attacks from many quarters. These attacks ranged from ‘all-out assaults on the State to the insidious attack of those promoting a permissive approach to life’.”

Unquestioning support for broadcasting censorship, for gardaí accused of brutality, plus a refusal to countenance a right to contraception, have had long-term consequences. They are found in Morris Tribunal revelations and in issues surrounding the persecution of Maurice McCabe, as well as in the daily denial of women’s rights introduced by the 1983 abortion referendum.

Mr Cosgrave’s career encapsulated the limitations of “Catholic” nationalism. – Yours, etc,





Dublin 7.