A bleak headline from a story in the Irish Independent, reporting the words of the Fine Gael minister of justice, Frances Fitzgerald:
“Ireland is also under threat from terror and must prepare, says minister”
Except that is not exactly what she said, as the rest of article makes clear:
“There is no particular information that we are a target. But every democracy is at risk to some degree because it is the very democratic values that, as we saw in Paris, are under attack. The freedom to be out there, the freedom to go to a concert, to a sports event,” she said.”
So in reality the likelihood of violent Islamists staging a terrorist attack on this island nation is somewhere between zero and a little bit more than zero. Or as Fitzgerald’s ministerial colleague, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, stated a few days ago:
“The situation as far as Ireland is concerned has not changed since the Paris attacks. An incident is possible but not likely.”
However one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise given the anti-Islamist rhetoric fulminating from the inhabitants of Independent House who have apparently branched out from the field of journalism and into the arena of counter-terrorism, brave little troopers that they are. Meanwhile, in the Irish Times:
“Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney have moved to play down concerns about Irish troops being dispatched to Mali to replace French peacekeepers as a hostage situation continues in the country’s capital.
Mr Kenny said that any request for Irish troops to assist in peacekeeping duties in Mali would come through the United Nations and no request has been received by the Dept of Defence for such assistance to date.
He said that any request would have to be considered by the Cabinet and the Oireachtas in line with the triple lock mechanism governing Irish neutrality.
Mr Coveney also moved to play down concerns regarding sending Irish troops to Mali to replace French troops which may be recalled to assist with security measures in France following the Paris attacks.
“Some people seem to be suggesting that that is somehow us contributing to a war effort which is really nonsense,” said Mr Coveney, adding that Ireland already have a UN peacekeeping presence in Mali and a significant peacekeeping presence in Lebannon.
Mr Coveney stressed the government would not do anything that “compromises Irish neutrality” and any decision would have to go through the triple lock process which requires a UN resolution before being approved by the government and the Oireachtas.”
Which won’t best please the hawks banging the rhetorical war-drums in Talbot Street, as evidenced by resident man-about-town Jody Corcoran (yes, “Jody” can be a boy’s name too):
“…it is evident that the West has become a soft touch, too soft for this denouement in what has been described as the clash of civilisations.
As was evident in Paris last weekend, there is no place for such weakness in the heart of Islamic fundamentalism.
There is no doubt, as the conservative US political scientist Samuel P Huntington has written in the Clash of Civilizations in 1992, that “Islam has bloody borders”.
In fact, conflict along the fault line between the Western and Islamic civilisations has been going on for almost 1,300 years.
According to the Isil playbook, the ingredient of softness is one of the ingredients of failure for any jihadi action.
After decades, indeed centuries, in the ascendancy, the West has become weakened.
The recent era of what we might call wasteful consumption and crass materialism, and the outlay of billions in wars, has caused Islamic fundamentalists to now seize the moment. The old fault line has been breached and Isil has extended the reach of a new one into the heart of Europe.
This clash of civilisations will continue for years to come, a mere blink of an eye in terms of global history. The people of Europe will have to become accustomed to events such as the savagery that occurred in Paris. Authorities in the West will also have to devise greater security to protect their citizens.
Life, as we know it, has been changing for decades – Paris merely represents a landmark in that change.
In a timeline of 1,300 years, we may be approaching a denouement, but there is no certainty an accommodation will be reached, let alone that a softened West will prevail.
For now, though, citizens in liberal democracies such as ours will need to know when asked: which side are you on?”
Let me put it this way. Whatever side the likes of Jody Corcoran is on, I’m on the other! Thankfully more rational analyses can be found elsewhere in the Irish media, albeit in a guest column by Julien Mercille, in that otherwise cesspit of right-wing trolldom, the Journal:
“THERE HAS BEEN a lot of debate about the roots of the Paris terrorist attacks. But the immediate cause is plain to see: it is a response to western and Russian bombing of Syria and Iraq. Stopping military intervention and closing Shannon airport to the US military would thus be good steps to take to reduce the threats we face.”
Exactly so. Though one is left with the impression that there are others out there in conservative Ireland who wish nothing more than to see atrocity visited upon their fellow citizens so that they can beat their breast and bellow: we told you so!
The less-than-reliable Urban Dictionary tells me this:
“Jody: In the Marines, a “Jody” is a generalized term meaning: any man who stays home while everyone else goes to war. He gets to enjoy all the things the Marines are missing…”
Need I say more?