February 17, 2016

Why do people call Northern Ireland Ulster?

Edward Carson and James Craig, the founding fathers of Northern Ireland, who were party to the dismembering not only of Ireland but Ulster also
Ulster is a misnomer, as Mr. Clynes said in 1920, "Ulster is an expression which has misled a great many people." Letter writer, J.H. Nunn, wrote to the Irish times in 1916:
"Ulster has agreed, in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of her Covenant, to desert basely not only the Unionists of the South and West, but also her fellow Covenanters in the three included counties."

Sean O'Casey said:
"The partition of Ireland is a double partition. It divides Ireland from Ireland, and separated Ulster from herself, for Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan are separated from her. So the Ulster that Englishmen speak about isn’t Ulster at all, but only part of Ulster. Ulster is as much part of Ireland as a limb is a part of the human body."
Major Newman said on July 31 1916:
"The Act of 1914 [meant] the setting up of the hateful system of government by hostages. That is to say, in Ulster a certain number of Nationalists and Catholics were to be the hostages, and in the other counties there were to be held as hostages some 300,000 Protestants and Loyalists, and the two were to be balanced one against the other. That is a hateful and abominable system, but that is what the system was, no more and no less."
John Redmond wrote:
"Ireland for us is one entity. It is one land. Tyrone and Tyrconnell are as much a part of Ireland as Munster or Connaught. Some of the most glorious chapters connected with our national struggle have been associated with Ulster—aye, and with the Protestants of Ulster—and I declare here to-day, as a Catholic Irishman, notwithstanding all the bitterness of the past, that I am as proud of Derry as of Limerick. Our ideal in this movement is a self-governing Ireland in the future, when all her sons of all races and creeds within her shores will bring their tribute, great or small, to the great total of national enterprise, national statesmanship, and national happiness. Men may deride that ideal; they may say that it is a futile and unreliable ideal, but they cannot call it an ignoble one. It is an ideal that we, at any rate, will cling to, and because we cling to it, and because it is there, embedded in our hearts and natures, it is an absolute bar to such a proposal as this amendment makes, a proposal which would create for all times a sharp, eternal dividing line between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants, and a measure which would for all time mean the partition and disintegration of our nation. To that we as Irish Nationalists can never submit."
Eoin MacNeill wrote in ‘The North Began’ ((An Claidheamh Soluis) 1 November 1913:
"There is no ‘homogeneous Ulster’. It is impossible to separate from Ireland the city that Saint Patrick founded, the city that Saint Columba founded, or the tombs of Patrick, Brigid and Columba. They would defy and nullify the attempt. It is impossible to separate from Ireland the 'frontier town’ of Newry, the men of south Down, Norman and Gael, the Gaelic stock of the Fews that hold 'the Gap of the North’, the glensmen of south Derry, or north Antrim. If there were any possibility of civil war, if civil war were assured, not to speak of its being insured, these districts alone would hold immovable all the resources of General—I believe— Richardson. There are besides the 100,000 nationalist home rulers of Belfast, and others, Protestants, Catholic, Orange and Presbyterian, in every corner of the four counties, who under any change of government are certain to 'revert to type’. With what facility they have fallen in with the idea of holding Ireland—for the empire!" 
Lord Craig explained the logic of eliding Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal from Ulster, March 29 1920:
"I come now to the third and the most distressing of the problems we had to face, and I refer to that of the area. As hon. Members know, the area over which the North of Ireland Parliament is to have jurisdiction is the six counties of Antrim, Down, Armagh, Londonderry, Tyrone and Fermanagh. The three Ulster counties of Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal are to be handed over to the South of Ireland Parliament. How the position of affairs in a Parliament of nine counties and in a Parliament of six counties would be is shortly this. If we had a nine counties’ Parliament, with 64 Members, the Unionist majority would be about three or four, but in a six counties’ Parliament, with 52 Members, the Unionist majority would be about 10. The three excluded counties contain some 70,000 Unionists and 260,000 Sinn Feiners and Nationalists, and the addition of that large block of Sinn Feiners and Nationalists would reduce our majority to such a level that no sane man would undertake to carry on a Parliament with it. That is the position with which we were faced when we had to take the decision a few days ago as to whether we should call upon the Government to include the nine counties in the Bill or be satisfied with the six. It will be seen that the majority of Unionists in the nine counties’ Parliament is very small indeed. 
A couple of Members sick, or two or three Members absent for some accidental reason, might in one evening hand over the entire Ulster Parliament and the entire Ulster position, for which we have fought so hard and so long, to the hon. Member and his friends, and that, of course, is a dreadful thing to contemplate. Nothing—and I say this with all sincerity, and I am sure everybody will believe me—nothing was more heartbreaking to us than to take the decision which we felt we had to take a few days ago in Belfast when we decreed more or less that our Unionist fellow countrymen in the three counties of Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal should remain outside the Ulster Parliament; but in judging our action we must ask hon. Members to try and place themselves in our position. They must remember that we are charged with the defence of the Ulster position, and surely that carries with it the duty of undertaking the government and the defence of as much of Ulster as we can hold. We quite frankly admit that we cannot hold the nine counties. I have given the respective figures of the Unionist and the Sinn Fein and Nationalist inhabitants in those three counties, and from them it is quite clear that as soon as the Ulster Parliament was set up, the first task which the Sinn Feiners would set themselves, in those three counties at any rate, would be to make government there absolutely impossible for us. They have made it impossible for the English Government in practically the whole of the South and West of Ireland, and we recognise facts sufficiently clearly to know that they could make it impossible for us to govern those three counties. Therefore, we have decided that, in the interests of the greater part of Ulster, it is better that we should give up those three counties rather than take on a bigger task than we are able to carry out.”
T. P. O'Connor in 1920 in the House of Commons asked What about the Protestant Covenanters of Donegal and Cavan and Monaghan? He also articulated the southern opposition to the Government of Ireland. He said:
"I do not believe the Orange community of the North of Ireland is more than one-sixth of the population. There are in Derry 42 per cent. of Catholics and 46 per cent. in Armagh. That is a very considerable minority. We never hear anything about them. We only hear of the homogeneous community. In Fermanagh and Tyrone, two of the counties excluded under the Government proposal, you have actually a Catholic and Nationalist majority. But the Catholic majority becomes a minority when it is opposed by Orangemen. That runs all through the scheme. This sixth of the population, which is the richer section according to the statement, gets exactly the same amount to start with, £1, 000, 000, as the majority of five-sixths of the people. Why should not the super-men have super-money?"
He also said:
"It is said that the rights of minorities will be protected. That question will be stated much better than I can by the Southern Unionists; but what becomes of all the vaticinations about the future of Protestantism and of the Protestants in Ireland? A favourite cry when this struggle began, many years ago, was that Home Rule was Roman, and that all the Protestants, therefore, would be deprived of all their personal and religious liberty
In face of that cry, the big Protestant brother of the North abandons his weaker brother to the mercy of all those bigots and persecutors who mean to interfere with his religious and personal liberty. I may allude to another minority. What about the Covenanters of Donegal and Cavan and Monaghan? I understand that if any particular item in the Covenant is more vehement or more resolute than another, it is that, under no circumstances or conditions whatsoever, should that Protestant minority of Donegal and Cavan and Monaghan be abandoned by their coreligionists in the six counties; yet the Covenanters of Donegal and Cavan and Monaghan are given up to the Papists and Nationalists. It may be a surprise, to some English hon. Members at least, to hear that there is a considerable Catholic and Nationalist minority in the six counties. Moreover, do not run away with the idea that my hon. Friends the Members for Belfast represent all the Protestants in the North. In my opinion they do not represent the real spirit of Protestantism at all in any county, but perhaps I should not have made that observation, as I am not dealing with religious opinions. The Unionists were not able to carry an anti-Home Rule resolution in the annual gathering of the Presbyterian clergymen of Ulster, and they had to withdraw the proposal. That, at any rate, is my information, but I will take it that the minority in the six counties represent only Catholics and Home Rulers. That minority is left entirely at the mercy of the Northern part. My hon. Friends must pardon me for saying this, but in my opinion the only minority in Ireland that is oppressed today is the Catholic minority in the North of Ireland. I will not, however, dwell upon that; I will leave that to my hon. Friend the Member for Falls (Mr. Devlin), who knows much more about it than I do. This Bill, which rests upon the protection of the rights of minorities, is full of proposals to abandon all the minorities of Ireland."
Captain William Redmond, son of John Redmond, said:
"Why did he not carve out more of Ulster, and why was county option dropped? The answer was given only the other day when the Ulster Unionist Council itself turned down the very Covenant by the signing of which they came into existence and refused to fall in with their fellow covenanters in the remaining counties of Ireland, and insisted upon carving out for themselves this little territory where they are to reign supreme for ever more."
Ronald MacNeill explained the partition of Ulster:
"One of Carson’s chief difficulties was to make men grasp the significance of the fact that Home Rule was now actually established by Act of Parliament. The point that the Act was on the Statute-book was constantly lost sight of, with all that it implied. He drove home the unwelcome truth that simple repeal of that Act was not practical politics. The only hope for Ulster to escape going under a Parliament in Dublin lay in the promised Amending Bill. But they had no assurance how much that Bill, when produced, would do for them. Was it likely, he asked, to do more than was now offered by the Government? 
He then told the Council what Mr. Lloyd George’s proposals were. The Cabinet offered on the one hand a "clean cut,” not indeed of the whole of Ulster, but of the six most Protestant counties, and on the other to bring the Home Rule Act, so modified, into immediate operation. He pointed out that none of them could contemplate using the U.V.F. for fighting purposes at home after the war; and that, even if such a thing were thinkable, they could not expect to get more by forcible resistance to the Act than what was now offered by legislation. 
But to Carson himself, and to all who listened to him that day, the heartrending question was whether they could suffer a separation to be made between the Loyalists in the six counties and those in the other three counties of the Province. It could only be done, Carson declared, if, after considering all the circumstances of the case as he unfolded it to them, the delegates from Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal could make the self-sacrifice of releasing the other counties from the obligation to stand or fall together. Carson ended by saying that he did not intend to take a vote—he “could be no party to having Ulstermen vote one against the other.” What was to be done must be done by agreement, or not at all. He offered to confer separately with the delegates from the three omitted counties, and the Council adjourned till the 12th of June to enable this conference to be held. 
In the interval a large number of the delegates held meetings of their local associations, most of which passed resolutions in favour of accepting the Government’s proposals. But there was undoubtedly a widespread feeling that it would be a betrayal of the Loyalists of Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal, and even a positive breach of the Covenant, to accept exclusion from the Home Rule Act for only a portion of Ulster. This was, it is true, a misunderstanding of the strict meaning of the Covenant, which had been expressly conditioned so as not to extend to such unforeseen circumstances as the war had brought about; but there was a general desire to avoid if possible taking technical points, and both Carson himself and the Council were ready to sacrifice the opportunity for a tolerable settlement should the representatives of the three counties not freely consent to what was proposed. 
In a spirit of self-sacrifice which deeply touched every member of the Council, this consent was given. Carson had obtained leave for Lord Farnham to return from the Army in France to be present at the meeting. Lord Farnham, as a delegate from Cavan, made a speech at the adjourned meeting on the 12th which filled his hearers with admiration. That he was almost heart-broken by the turn events had taken he made no attempt to conceal; and his distress was shared by those who heard his moving words. But he showed that he possessed the instinct of statesmanship which compelled him to recognise, in spite of the powerful pull of sentiment and self-interest in the opposite direction, that the course recommended by Carson was the path of wisdom. With breaking voice he thanked the latter “for the clearness, and the fairness, and the manliness with which he has put the deplorable situation that has arisen before us, and for his manly advice as leader ”; and he then read a resolution that had been passed earlier in the day by the delegates of the three counties, which, after recording a protest against any settlement excluding them from Ulster, expressed sorrowful acquiescence, on grounds of the larger patriotism, in whatever decision might be come to in the matter by their colleagues from the six counties. 
It was the saddest hour the Ulster Unionist Council ever spent. Men not prone to emotion shed tears. It was the most poignant ordeal the Ulster leader ever passed through. But it was just one of those occasions when far-seeing statesmanship demands the ruthless silencing of promptings that spring from emotion. Many of those who on that terrible 12th of June were most torn by doubt as to the necessity for the decision arrived at, realised before long that their leader had never been guided by surer insight than in the counsel he gave them that day. 
The Resolution adopted by the Council was a lengthy one. After reciting the unaltered attachment of Ulster to the Union, it placed on record the appeal that had been made by the Government on patriotic grounds for a settlement of the Irish difficulty, which the Council did not think it right at such a time of national emergency to resist; but it was careful to reserve, in case the negotiations should break down from any other cause, complete freedom to revert to “opposition to the whole policy of Home Rule for Ireland"."
Ronald McNeill wrote:
"To separate themselves from fellow loyalists in Monaghan, Cavan, and Donegal was hateful to every delegate from the other six counties, and it was heartrending to be compelled to resist another moving appeal by so valued a friend as Lord Farnham. But the inexorable index of statistics demonstrated that, although Unionists were in a majority when geographical Ulster was considered as a unit, yet the distribution of population made it certain that a separate Parliament for the whole Province would have a precarious existence, while its administration of purely Nationalist districts would mean unending conflict."
Denis Ireland said:
""Ulster" is used to denote the miniature state of Northern Ireland."
Tom Hennessey and Robin Wilson, Democratic Dialogue Report, ‘With all due respect - Pluralism and parity of esteem - British? Irish? Or what?’wrote:
"This sense of Catholic Irishness was, however, not limited to the geographical definition. Others within the focus groups defined Irishness in terms of the unique culture of Ireland’s past, particularly its language and traditional music. None described their national identity as ‘Ulster’. To Catholics, the term Ulster refers to the nine-county province, a provincial consciousness reinforced by crossborder contacts in numerous arenas, such as Gaelic football, where the nine-county unit is recognised."
Irish poet from Belfast, Gerald Dawe said:
"The differing critical perspectives on how “the North” of Ireland is known, described and/or defined – the Six Counties, the North, Northern Ireland, Ulster, the north of Ireland, the Province, and so on – used to once bother people much more than it does today." 
William Crawley said:
"Ulster has always been more that a place: Ulster is also an idea, with many meanings."
As a writer to the Irish times said: "I love Ulster, all nine counties." Seamus Heaney said in a interview with Mark Carruthers that the name Ulster was used by unionists as a kind of signal that Ulster was British. Heaney said:
"For a long time the name Ulster was used by people of a unionist persuasion as a kind of signal that for them, Ulster was British. Ulster in that case stood not so much for the six counties bounded by the border, but for a Northern Ireland affiliated to the UK. l remember, for example, Joseph Tomelty’s ironical parting shot to me when I’d be leaving his company, was always ‘And don’t forget you’re British!’ So nationalists had a standoff from that usage. At that time, if I described myself as an Ulsterman I’d have thought I was selling a bit of my birthright because I’d be subscribing to the ‘Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right’ tradition, and that was a different Ulster from the one that I was in, which was basically SDLP before the SDLP were invented – a nationalist, apolitical background, but with a kind of northern nationalism, I’d probably have said, rather than Ulster identity."
Mark Carruthers asked: "What seems so strange now is how easily people like Terence O’Neill and Brian Faulkner used the term Ulster when they were referring, in fact, to Northern Ireland." Heaney responded:
"Yes, I know. That’s what got the nationalists’ goat – and now as a concession or realisation of the new times I call it Northern Ireland."
Brian Kennedy said to Mark Carruthers:
"It was already the property of the protestant community. ‘Ulster says No’. When Ian Paisley said those words, he basically was saying, 'Ulster is me. I own Ulster - and we say no!’ And the really interesting thing about the difference between the Irish language and the English language is when you might say to me, 'I’m hungry’. Just two words, 'I’m hungry’. If you say it in Irish, you say, 'Ta ocras orm’, which means, 'the feeling of hunger is upon me’. It’s as if, hunger visits you and then leaves again, but actually, in English, you are hunger - 'I’m hungry’. You own it. It’s not something that comes and goes and I think that’s really interesting. It really is fascinating. Cathal O Searcaigh, the wonderful poet friend of mine, explained that to me one day and I just remember thinking, that’s it! That’s the difference between these two identities - between being Irish and being English."
Daniel Collins wrote:
"Like musician Brian Kennedy who grew up on Belfast’s nationalist Falls Road, I would have difficulty truly embracing the term “Ulsterman” given its cultural significance to others and its politically-loaded connotations."
Read my previous post on Sinn Fein's logophobia of the title "Northern Ireland" here.

George Bernard Shaw said:
"To be left out as a result of a solemn covenant to insist on being left in is a pretty feeble result of so much arming and drilling and singing of terrifying hymns."
Ieuan Phillips from Derry in Northern Ireland asked the Guardian why people call Northern Ireland Ulster. Its readers responded. John Adams from Querétaro, Mexico said:
"In 1920, the Unionists would have actually preferred full integration into the UK, but the best that the British government offered them was the devolved Stormont regime, so they had to make do with Northern Ireland. In order to make their Protestant statelet viable, i.e. in possession of a Protestant majority, however, they were forced to jettison the three majority-Catholic counties of Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan, but naturally continued to think of their patch of Ireland as Ulster, while nationalists became politically correct in refusing to use the term to refer to Northern Ireland."
And Simon King from London said:
"When Ireland was partitioned the plan was to separate Ulster from the rest of the the island of Ireland for the Unionists, but three counties were considered ‘too Republican’. It serves the petty-mindedness of these people to still call it Ulster, partly so they don’t have to say Ireland, and partly to wind up Nationalists. Republicans also don’t like the name Northern Ireland, preferring instead the North of Ireland (implying Ireland is still one entity) or sometimes even 'the Six Counties’."
Peter from Manchester said:
"It is an interesting one this, the term: "Ulster” or “The Province” refers to one of the old presidencies set up in Ireland by Elizabeth I, “Ulster” was finally controlled after the defeat of Chieftain O'Neill, though after Elizabeth’s reign (she knew Ireland was defeated by the time of her death, thanks to Lord Mountjoy’s deafeat of O’Neill’s Clan forces (and Spanish allies) (O’Neill was an Ulster Chief), Provincial presidencies were set up in Leinster, Connacht, Munster and finally Ulster. It is an irony that Ulster was the last part of Ireland to be defeated and now remains the last part of Ireland in the United Kingdom (there are good reasons why this happened, Ulster was set up differently to the rest of Ireland up to that point 1601 and by 1610, the plantation of Ulster). Northern Ireland set up after the Anglo-Irish Treaty, agreed by Lloyd George and Eamon De Valera, was set up by partition; using the boundary commission to separate the six-counties with the rest of Ulster, leaving three Ulster counties in the south. However it is not true to say that the term Ulster is offensive, indeed it is still referred to in the Republic or the “South” as just the name of the Province of Ulster, just as they would for Connacht or Leinster."
Darren from Belfast said:
"Thousand’s of Volunteers left what they knew as "the 9 Counties of Ulster” to fight in the battle of the Somme and elsewhere in WW1. They bravely went off to fight and die for King and country. What happened when they returned?. The country became Northern Ireland consisting of 6 counties. The 9 when they left was reduced to 6 by a government who over looked all they fought for. That was the repayment for sacrifice. I still call it Ulster in respect of all the fallen hero’s of the Somme who fought for Ulster. I would imagine a majority of Unionists would agree."
However, Michael Hall wrote in 1994:
"Loyalist use of the term ‘Ulster’ to describe Northern Ireland is anathema to most Irish nationalists, who prefer to call this ‘British invention’ the ‘Six Counties’, in recognition of the three remaining Ulster counties incorporated into the Republic of Ireland. Ironically, the 9-county configuration staunch nationalists deem to be ‘historic Ulster’ – and which includes Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan – is itself a ‘British invention’. For even up to the Anglo-Irish and Gaelic lordships of the early 16th century, ‘Ulster’ contained territory presently in Co Louth rather than Co Cavan, and it was Queen Elizabeth’s administrators who subsequently redefined the province’s boundaries."
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