Winter 2001


As Comhaltas celebrates its 50th anniversary and looks forward to an era of renewal in the coming decades, the movement will now focus on the new challenges facing Ireland’s distinctive identity in a global setting. Cultural globalisation that is not sustained with a sense of place, nation and tradition is an act of tyranny against individuality and independence. We should guard aginst committing future generations to the lowest common denominator of profit as opposed to principle.

It would be a useful exercise to re-visit the grand vision which motivated the setting up of forums which are intended to harmonise - not diminish - the diverse traditions and legitimate aspirations of the many countries who are affiliated to such bodies. By its very nature, such activity is organic and requires regular monitoring and appraisal. Ireland is ideally suited to act as an honest broker in such deliberations.

As the means of mass communications fall into the hands of a smaller number of people, there will be less and less opportunity for smaller countries to play a full and vital role in the shaping of the new world. The large consortia whose tentacles reach into every corner of the earth while riding on the back of democracy may often put profit before people or principal.

Ireland’s success in maintaining and enhancing its own cultural identity has not only been impressive but won the admiration of many other nationalities. People from abroad often come to Ireland to study our cultural and artistic infrastructure. Such attention also helps our standing internationally in relation to other matters - social, tourism etc. These are assets which should not be undervalued and very often such international respect can translate into support and friendship when our broader interests are at stake.