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Malachi O'Doherty

Seamus Heaney wasn’t an ideologue for any cause, so co-opting him into Northern Ireland centenary celebrations was always going to be a problem

Malachi O'Doherty


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Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney is one of the greatest people to have come out of Northern Ireland. There is no disputing that.

So, if you wanted to sing the praises of this place abroad you would no doubt cite Heaney, perhaps alongside Van Morrison and Mary Peters, if only to jog memories and make connections in people’s minds with this place.

You would also have to say that this is the place which is famous for sectarian division. They’d say, “Oh, now I know where you mean.” Here, everything becomes contentious, a question of which side or the other is affronted by — take your pick — same-sex marriage, the invasion of Iraq, Brexit.


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