Bruce Arnold

Critic of Public Affairs, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Constitution Threatened By Mistakes

The Irish Constitution, and the Irish people whom the Constitution serves, are both seriously threatened by the Government through uncertainty in the wording of the new Article to be inserted under the Marriage Equality Bill. This would become the definitive textual source and reference point for a new right to marry.

The proposal is so seriously flawed that the passage of the new Article into the Constitution by popular mandate of the electorate should be withheld. The Oireachtas should insist that the flaws in this amendment are repaired before a same-sex marriage proposal it put to the people. This is not only my personal opinion but is the legal opinion of senior counsel and distinguished academic lawyers who will be making their research findings public in due course.


The Essential Editing Problems of Volume V of the Yale University Press Book, Art and Architecture of Ireland

I have paid special attention to this volume, covering Irish Art of the twentieth century and of the first decade of the twenty-first century because much of my writing and scholarship has been concerned with that period and with the lives of certain of the great painters who lived and worked then.

In analysing the major faults I find in
Volume V, the obvious starting point is the one chosen by the authors of the Preface and joint editors of this fifth volume, Catherine Marshall and Peter Murray. They say that the project ‘emerged from a proposal to mark the centenary of the publication of Walter [George] Strickland’s seminal A Dictionary of Irish Artists in 1913’. They further claim that the Dictionary ‘remains the foundation stone upon which our understanding of Irish art history is based’ and that this is widely and warmly acknowledged. Their brief, which they say is shared with their advisory board, is ‘to bring Strickland up to date’.

One might well ask two questions: What has this narrow brief to do with the large number of essays on the selected twentieth-century artists of note together with the disparate essays on a wide variety of related or unrelated subjects? And why try to do it again when it has already been done with great thoroughness by Strickland’s distinguished successor, Theo Snoddy?