Down Memory Lane in Longford
In moments of great excitement people often say things that they have not given much thought to beforehand – it’s called shooting your mouth off.
Terry Leyden from Roscommon gave a good example of this phenomenon at the recent Fianna Fáil election convention in Ballyleague. In a state of understandable euphoria after he had won a nomination, Terry is quoted in the newspapers as having said in his victory speech: 'Fine Gael could not settle the troubles in the north because they had created the split in the first place'.
I had a letter from a person who claimed he was a Fianna Fáil supporter saying that the remarks were outrageous and expressing worry that such a man might be a TD representing Longford in the near future. The writer may be genuine in his comments or simply be continuing the 'gut Terry Leyden' policy within the Fianna Fail organisation in Longford-Roscommon.
Stoking up the fires of politicial bitterness in the year 1997 is the last thing this country needs and we only have to look at the antics outside Harryville Catholic Church in Ballymena in recent months to see what the legacy of such bitterness can do.
In Ballymena a 300-strong contingent of police in riot gear was needed to ensure that 300 Catholics were able to attend Mass.