It is not in the least surprising that Irish people living in the U.S. should feel uncomfortable by reports of statements and actions that point to an antipathy that seemingly runs deeper than just criticism of a particular U.S. military action. This is nothing new, of course. America has long paid in global popularity terms for its success and prominence. And criticism of the Iraq war was to be expected. Many Americans were against it too. But given the fact that embassies in Dublin other than the American rarely if ever witness large-scale demonstrations outside their doors, it is hard not to believe that the U.S. is simply disliked by some Irish people for what it is as much as what it does. It would certainly be a long wait for anyone expecting to see hundreds rally outside the Chinese embassy in Dublin protesting against Beijing’s occupation of Tibet, itself a clear parallel to the Irish experience of occupation by a larger neighbor.
The crowds that chanted outside the U.S. embassy are not going to regenerate in anything close to similar numbers outside the Russian embassy to protest the military suppression of independence-minded Chechens. They don’t have to. Ireland is democracy. So is the Cork Association. It has rightly addressed an issue, voted on it and has also, rightly, decided to continue with a tradition of traveling to Ireland for a biannual dinner gathering. It is to be hoped that the traveling members, once they arrive in Ireland, speak loudly and well of a country that amounts to far more than the one-dimensional caricature so often plastered across a placard.