- 19 Jun 17
The political and cultural landscape has changed almost beyond recognition since the Hog first exited his pen – and took up his pen. But there is no getting away from some eternal truths.
Things change, things remain the same. In the beginning, before the first month was out, Fine Gael had a new leader. Yes, there was a general election in June 1977 and the ruling National Coalition of Fine Gael and Labour were soundly beaten by Fianna Fáil, led by Jack Lynch, who had made a series of irresistible promises to the electorate. Liam Cosgrave resigned as leader of Fine Gael and was duly replaced by Garret FitzGerald. We here on Hog Heights were pleased to see the back of Cosgrave. After all, as well as his general conservatism he had, after all, crossed the floor of the Dáil to vote with Fianna Fáil against his own Government’s Bill on contraception in 1974. In retrospect we were probably unkind. After all, the man was a spent force. Besides, he had done good things too. He is still with us and over the years has accrued a patina of experience and knowledge, respect and even affection. We wish him well.
Another target of our early ire was the visit to Ireland by Pope John Paul II in 1979. It wasn’t just the disruption, it was the whole kit and caboodle, the arrogance, the assumptions, the missionary intention to re-evangelise Ireland. JPII was cheer-led in Galway by Eamonn Casey and Michael Cleary. We gnashed our teeth and pulped our spuds. Although it was exactly what we desired we didn’t foresee the fall that was to come.
If the present pope visits Ireland he will encounter little of that world and we are all the better for it. He will doubtless be welcomed as the spiritual leader of the Church to which many Irish still profess attachment. He will also be welcomed as an important voice on the global stage on equality and global climate change. His glum expression when meeting Donald Trump spoke volumes as did his evident pleasure when meeting Michael D.