March 11, 2016

Kevin Myers speaks to the #NorthernIreland2016 Interview Project

Kevin Myers is a veteran journalist of the Troubles and Irish politics. He is a respected polemicist and historian. He was heavily responsible for bringing  the Irishmen who fought in the First World War back into the consciousness of modern Ireland. He writes a fortnightly column for the Sunday Times.

He wrote a memoir of his time as a Troubles reporter from 1971 to 1978, 'Watching the Door'. His seven years in Belfast were with RTE and later for Hibernia, the Observer and NBC in the US. He said to Justine McCarthy:
"I didn't live with other journalists, or socialise with them. I drank with the UDA, the IRA and the UVF."
Brian John Spencer: "When did you first learn about the Easter Rising of 1916?" Kevin Myers
"In childhood."
BJS: "Do the men, the act or the stated ideals in the proclamation mean anything to you?" KM: 
"A great deal; they reveal the dishonesty, the death-cult narcissism and stupidity of its leaders. How could they possibly undertake to protect the lives and liberties of the Irish people by killing Irish policemen, Irish soldiers and Irish civilians moments after the Proclamation had been read? 
This was a volitional insurrection to bring about a victory for the murderers of thousands of Belgian and French civilians. It was a moral horror."
BJS: "When did you first learn about the Battle of the Somme?" KM: 
"In childhood."
BJS: "Does this act, the men and their determination to show their loyalty to Britain mean anything to you?" KM: 
BJS: "As a (British/Irish/Northern Irish*) person, is the 1916 Rising important to you and your sense of identity and sense of belonging on this island?" KM: 
BJS: "As a (British/Irish/Northern Irish*) person, is the Somme offensive important to you and your sense of identity and sense of belonging on this island?" KM: 
BJS: "Will you be commemorating or celebrating either of these two events in April and July of this year respectively?" KM: 
"Yes. I shall be commemorating the Somme as an unspeakable tragedy. I do not know it could have been stopped. 
The rising was volitional, intended to bring war to a peaceful island. As such it was an act of utter wickedness. 
All commemorations of the April rising in Dublin have committed the heinous blasphemy of linking it to Easter, and I will not participate in any such commemorations, as  such. However, I have agreed to give two talks explaining my position."
BJS: "Are you happy with the series of commemorative events put on by the Irish State? And what do you think of Arlene Foster's take on the events of Easter 1916 (she has refused to attend any commemorations)?" KM: 
"No no no. 
I agree with her."
BJS: "As a person on (or from) the island are you happy with the where we are now at in terms of culture, cosmopolitanism and broad-mindedness?" KM: 
"The question is meaningless."
BJS: "What are your hopes for the future of this divided province and island?" KM: 
"I have no hopes. The peace process has hopelessly contaminated Irish life. I am close to despair."
BJS: "Please share any further thoughts these questions may have stimulated." KM: 
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