July 23, 2013

SF fixation on Britain is bad for mental health

The importance of the Bell Magazine (the most important literary and cultural journal ever published in Ireland) to public discourse in Ireland and Northern Ireland today cannot be underestimated.

The founder member and editor of the Bell Magazine, Seán Ó Faoláin made some interesting remarks on the 'Irish fixation' on Britain. He said the obsession was bad not just for the nation's political status, but also bad for the whole definition of Irish identity. Seán Ó Faoláin said in his publication 'Eire and the Commonwealth' (of which Ireland was a member between 1931 and 1949) that:
'It is essential for the mental health of Ireland that we should as quickly as possible get to the stage where we do not give a damn about Britain.'
He continued on the question of joining the Commonwealth of Nations:
'If we do not bravely clarify our concept of our relations to the world - and we may as well make a beginning with the British Commonwealth, that being the most pressing part of it - we shall never expand the contours of life, expand our horizons, get room to breathe mentally.'
(It's important to add that Ó Faoláin was neither for or against membership of the Commonwealth.)

Author of the Bell Magazine and Representations of Irish Identity, Kelly Matthews said of Ó Faoláin's position:
"It would only be when Ireland stopped defining its identity with reference to Britain that the nation would be free to create a new sense of political independence."

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