March 04, 2016

The south of Ireland is no longer backward

David McWilliams said in 2014 at the Xchange Summer School:
"If you look back 150 years, Northern Ireland was the Silicon Valley of the world."
"Sometime in the past century, [Northern Ireland’s] Protestant majority swapped Max Weber for Karl Marx."
Northern Ireland has gone from being an economic engine to an economic dependency. Read my previous post on this where I note that Stormont is like a “quango spending a budget” here.

The old matrix for Ireland was: the industrial North versus the pastoral, rural South. At one stage in the late 1700s the north was seen as the Athens of Ireland, the centre of progress and enlightenment. More latterly in the late 1800s and early 1900s it was called the Black North, a place of bigotry and recalcitrance.


William O'Brien wrote:
"For months the country was permitted to hear of nothing but patriotic junketings and speeches, "passed by the Censor," over- flowing with the raptures of " the Black Northerns " at the discovery of the charms of " the Sunny South," and corresponding responses from the Sunny South to the advances of the dour men of the Black North — all purely for exportation to " the U. S." 
Southern Professor John Coolahan, co-founder of SCoTENS, shared his non-view of Northern Ireland:
"I trained as a teacher twice in the 1960s in the South and as far as education in Northern Ireland was concerned it could have been Timbucktu. There was no reference to it, no mention of it, it was just out of one’s consciousness."
A blogger wrote:
"For a long time, maybe up to the GFA, every nordie Prod was seen as an Orangeman full of hate for Irish Catholics like an army of Ian Paisleys."
Susie McCarthy and Tony Sheehan, Schull from Co Cork said to the Irish Times for the ‘Never Been North' feature in 2014:
"The Antrim coast road was as good as if not better than the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, in Australia."
Tony Sheehan said:
"It was intimidating to see such a heavy display of flags [in Bushmills]. You wouldn’t see that in England. We got a bit anxious driving a car with southern registration plates and not knowing whether we should stop."
Kim Jackson, a Protestant and unionist, said to the Irish Times for the feature, ‘Never Been South':
"What young people [in Ireland] have in common is that there is no work for them, not enough is being done for them, and they are leaving the country in droves. They get their education here and then they take it elsewhere, which is a great pity, because without them we won’t be able to develop our communities, either here [in Southern Ireland] or in Northern Ireland."
Read my post here on the stereotype of the Northern Ireland and Irish protestant here.


Andy Pollak wrote in the Irish Times:
"To make the DUP less fearful of the South, Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation brought the party together with southern political parties that many in the northern party would have seen as only slightly less abhorrent and anti-unionist than the IRA."
Elaine Baillie, office manager from the mainly unionist area of Ligoniel in north Belfast, said to the Irish Times for the 2014 feature 'Never Been South':
"I thought of the South [of Ireland] as a rural place. I thought there would be more cobbled streets everywhere in Dublin, like there are in Temple Bar. But it was quite refined and sophisticated. It looked beautiful in the sunshine – everywhere looked clean and tidy. I didn’t expect that."
Roger Connor said to the Irish Times:
"The roads used to be rubbish. People in the North [of Ireland] always saw the South as a poor country."
Kim Jackson, a Protestant and unionist, said to the Irish Times in ‘Never Been South’:
"People in Northern Ireland still see the Roman Catholic Church as having done a lot of damage here. The church is still turning a blind eye to paedophile priests. The Catholic Church is still not addressing these issues, although the new pope seems to be going out of his way to set things right."
If Southern Ireland used to be backward, it certainly isn’t now. Northern Ireland is the backward one. Roy Foster said:
"The South was viewed… in some ways archaic, backward and uncomfortable, if also diverting to visit and good for drinking. It was not only Unionists who saw it as Mexico to Northern Ireland’s USA."
An inversion, as Roy Foster explained:
"Not only did the Unionists decline a ride on the back of the Celtic Tiger; in a poignant role reversal the newly rich Republic evinced little desire for reunion with an ailing, unprofitable and expensive backwater. ‘John Bull’s Political Slum’ had become an economic slum as well."
Andy Pollak wrote that Ireland is “an outstandingly liberal society” while Northern Ireland is “reactionary, troublesome and hugely expensive.” Andy Pollak said:
"Many [Northern Ireland] Protestants continue to insist on seeing [Southern Ireland] the Republic through an outdated mid-20th-century lens, back to when it was a poor, largely rural and overwhelmingly Catholic country."
Andy Pollak also said:
"Coverage of Northern Ireland in [Southern Ireland] is now largely limited to the annual, and often alarming, marching season and to legacy issues such as on-the-run republicans and the continuing deadlock over flags, parades and dealing with the past."
Kim Jackson, a Protestant and unionist, said:
"[Dublin is] more European than Belfast, even though it’s only 100 miles away. It’s much more multicultural than Belfast, with all the tourists and immigrants."
The late Liam Clarke wrote:
"[Northern Ireland is] more like Russia, or the Congo, than Britain, or Ireland."
Mike Nesbitt said in response to the Yes vote on same-sex marriage in Ireland:
"This is a seismic shift in attitude within Irish society. No longer can we consider the Republic to be governed by the Catholic Church."
This is the inversion of Southern and Northern Ireland along the liberal and economic axes.

Then also, there’s another inversion. Writers talk about the Protestantisation of Southern Catholics. And we’re also seeing the Catholicisation of Northern Protestants.

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