Paperback review: Up the Republic! Towards a New Ireland, Edited by Fintan O'Toole

Your guide to repair a jerry-built nation

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The Independent Culture

In these essays, scholars address the idea of the Irish Republic. The collection occasionally seems rather hastily put together, but there are some gems here, including Fred Powell's surprising, digressive account of Ireland's civil society, which alludes to Hegel, Murakami and Apocalypse Now.

In his own, eloquently angry contribution, Fintan O'Toole explores how Ireland's "jerry-built" and "philosophically incoherent" political set-up might be put on the right track. The answer, he argues, is in part a conceptual one: the notion of the republic must be rescued from its corruptions at the hands of militants and grasping politicians. This provocative book may prove a useful tool in that struggle.