Time for a new Republic, one that’s a community of communities

We are too diverse for one-size-fits-all government. So reempower the people

Diverse Ireland: we are public schools and private schools; English-speaking, Irish-speaking and/or Polish-speaking communities; and many other things besides. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Diverse Ireland: we are public schools and private schools; English-speaking, Irish-speaking and/or Polish-speaking communities; and many other things besides. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fintan O’Toole rightly pointed out in his recent Irish Times series The State of Us that traditional narratives of Irish identity and nationhood are patently inadequate as descriptions of the Irish social landscape, which is culturally, morally, economically and linguistically fragmented.

This social fragmentation evidently creates a serious problem for the claim of the State to govern in the name of all: as the priorities and values of different segments of the community begin to diverge, growing numbers of citizens come to feel unrepresented by and alienated from their national rulers. In this scenario, the claim by leading citizens that they are acting in the name of the “people” is likely to be met by the response, “Which people?”

The Irish Times
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