Michaleen Óg Flynn was a regular St Patrick’s Day visitor in Irish homes for many, many years. He, at least Barry Fitzgerald, was the matchmaker in John Ford’s 1952 film The Quiet Man.
Michaleen might have been familiar with an all-too-common reality of Irish life — the loveless marriage. Indeed, he may have played a significant part in the arrangement of many, especially when the suitors had few options.
Though Michaleen’s persuasive role in talks around forming a government has been taken by the coronavirus pandemic — and difficulties around alternative suitors too — it is impossible to promise that a marriage between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael won’t also be loveless, especially if too many of either wedding party are dragged kicking to the altar.
It’s not yet six weeks since we voted, but circumstances have changed beyond recognition.
The pandemic demands that Government has the legitimacy to make hard, possibly divisive decisions. The difficulties are so very great that it is not surprising that Sinn Féin has been struck dumb.
Maybe those involved in this week’s talks might be inspired by Michaleen’s great success — Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara) and Seán Thornton (John Wayne) overcame great difficulties to achieve their objective — a happy, enduring, and enriching relationship. Michaleen may not be around to coax and cajole, but the need for such a strong relationship grows by the hour.
Let life imitate art for a change.