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John Bruton ought to ‘fade away’ like General MacArthur

When one reads the incisive analysis of the 1985 Dunne’s Stores strike (Irish Examiner, January 1), it reveals the full extent of former Taoiseach, John Bruton’s fluid and self-serving analysis of global politics.

On July 23 1985, Mr Bruton, in his role as Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Transport admonished Ruairí Quinn, the minister for Labour, for daring to suggest the Irish should consider banning the importation of South African fruit and vegetables due to the abhorrent imposition of apartheid.

He warned there would be no gain for Irish exports but there were potential dangers that Ireland could breach EEC legislation and international trade agreements as well as face possible retaliation by South Africa, which was “a hefty net importer of Irish goods”.

Contrast this craven response to a genuine apartheid regime with his July 2015 membership of an elitist group of former European politicians, know as the European Eminent Persons Group, which sent a strongly worded letter to the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini condemning Israel, the only genuine democracy in the Middle East, for its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Considering Mr Bruton’s response to Ruairi Quinn, his position as a signatory on a statement that “standards of living and human rights in both territories have sunk shockingly low. It is no longer possible for the EU to allow these conditions to continue without grave risk to its international reputation and to its long-term interest in the stability of its neighbourhood” (13 May, 2015) is exhibition of stunning hypocrisy.

It is clear Mr Bruton has decided in his post- political life to portray himself to be the Irish people as some kind of historical visionary, for example, his revisionist attempt to traduce the physical force component of the Easter Rising revolution by imposing contemporary moral values on the heroic efforts of our revolutionary leaders by suggesting the rising was not necessary, as Home Rule would have eventually delivered independence.

This interpretation is simplistic to the point of denial. Mr Bruton seemingly feels qualified to comment on any aspect of Irish policy in both a historical as well as contemporary sense.

Perhaps he might do well to take a leaf out of General MacArthur’s farewell speech to Congress on 19 April, 1951 when he said “old soldiers never die, they just fade away” and be quietly never heard from again.

Dr Kevin McCarthy,


Co Cork


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