Sir, –

What really worries me, more for the sake of our outraged and incoherent commentariat than for any reason that could be of itself described as moral, is the prospect of Martin McGuinness – him above all – inviting to Áras an Uachtaráin, in the admirable pursuit of his stated aims of peace and reconciliation, a war criminal, such as, say, fellow peacemaker, Tony Blair, to whose Christian fundamentalist ideology and unrivalled capacity for lying, the destruction of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian lives, Iraqi and Afghan, and many others too, can be safely attributed.

But such an eccentric anxiety may be entirely misplaced, even outrageous; the moral shudder at violence in Ireland – or should that be rephrased as “in Ireland the moral shudder at violence”? – fades when the violence has an external origin or when it reaches a truly heroic scale.

Yet I fear we will indeed see invitations to the Áras, afforded to many representatives, sponsors and practitioners of a global violence which has become so naturalised that, in the stampede to join them at the top table, we shall become their ever more adroit allies in smoothly legitimating it. Yet, the anxiety may be needless; perhaps we have at last become “mature” enough to be gratified by such a sleek role in this new moral world order. – Yours, etc,


Lombard Street West,

Dublin 8.