The Ireland of O'Brien is almost unrecognisable from today's Celtic pussycat that has just sloped off. For one thing, the British administration pervaded almost every facet of life, from business to culture. It is not that O'Brien set out to change the entire social structure of the country. On the contrary, there were aspects he wished would not change, such as the close interaction between Irish people and their British counterparts. His main thread of thought concerned the relations of the various classes with each other. The Irish people were not completely seperate from the British; on the contrary, many Irish people served with distinction in the British Empire. The question of Ireland's relationship with the commonwealth of countries that made up the Empire has long been an issue of contention, with both politicians and historians alike. Ireland was not a colony; it was an equal partner in the governing of the Empire, in much the same way as her Celtic cousins in Scotland and Wales. Sure, some important differences existed between the countries in the UK. But the sum was greater than the whole of the parts. It was this close connection that O'Brien wished to foster, albeit with the provisio of Ireland becoming a self-governing part of the Empire, while retaining her place in the centre of Empire business.