October 24, 2015

George Orwell and "Peace Walls"

The term Peace Wall is emphatically Orwellian. They are not peace but hate walls and walls of war. George Orwell wrote in his book 1984:
"People ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same."

October 23, 2015

The Garden Centre Prod explained

I am a self-professed garden centre protestant. I wrote about my trip to the Féile an Phobail as a garden centre prod. The Irish historian Roy Foster said Professor Paul Bew coined the term. He didn't in fact. The neologism was the creation of Ms. Bew, i.e. professor Greta Jones.

For the etymology of 'Garden Centre Prod', Professor Greta Jones explains:

October 22, 2015

Dublin's dentists wives

The Queen’s visit to Dublin with well dressed women in attendance, Merrion Square (1900) (more here)
Irish republicans of 2020 portray Ireland of the early 1900s as a deeply unhappy island suffering under the boot of Britain. This picture could not be further from the truth. Thanks to the social revolution - which included the huge transfer of land to the less well to do, the enactment of the 1908 Old Age Pensions and 1911 National Insurance Acts etc. (part of the wider welfare reformation that swept across the UK under Lloyd George) - the Irish were incredibly content and saw themselves at home in Union with the Scottish, Welsh and English people.

John Redmond on August 4 1914 said in the Commons:
"The sympathy of the Nationalists of Ireland, for reasons to be found deep down in centuries of history, has been estranged from this country. But allow me to say that what has occurred in recent years has altered the situation completely."
John Redmond said in late 1916:
"[Ireland has] its feet firmly planted in the groundwork and foundation of a free nation."
John P. Hayden, twenty-one years a Nationalist Member of Parliament for South Roscommon, said in May 1921:

October 21, 2015

Catholic Unionists and the question: Does a functioning Northern Ireland turn soft nationalists into soft unionists?

Denis Stanislaus Henry and Sir John Gorman, Catholic unionists
Andy Pollak wrote:
"Northern Ireland's high-flying Catholics are not necessarily the ones old-fashioned Catholic nationalists would hope for and old-fashioned Protestant unionists would contemplate with dread and terror."

October 06, 2015

Northern Ireland's Dance

By Ian Knox
I remain very confused about Belfast and Northern Ireland. So much of it is progressive, cultured and astonishingly metropolitan. Yet the politics is feudal and tribal and certain estates are ominous and intimidating.

October 05, 2015

Being a Protestant atheist

Martin Luther, theologian (1483–1546)

I'm a Protestant atheist, a cultural Calvinist. The Reformation brought to the world the Protestant faith and the Protestant culture of individual autonomy, enterprise, trade and self-direction. Being a Protestant and an atheist is not an oxymoron. 

Christopher Hitchens said, "I'm a Protestant atheist." Gore Vidal said:
"I am an atheist but I am powerfully influenced by the protestantism with which I was brought up. We must bear witness to what we do and to what the nation does."

October 02, 2015

Irish Rugby unites Ireland

The IRFU flag

Terence O'Neill was asked in an interview in 1965 with Telefís Éireann, 'Prime. Minister, when Ireland is playing England, in a Rugby International for instance, what do you feel, as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, as somebody from Northern Ireland?' Terence O’Neill responded:
"I think we all feel the same and we all cheer for Ireland and we always have done."
The interviewer John O’Donohue continued: 'You don’t find any awkwardness in questions of allegiances when Rugby is being played?' Terence O’Neill returned:
"No, certainly not."
Jack Kyle said:
"That was the wonderful thing about [Irish rugby, the absence of religion]. When the various unions were splitting up, the Irish Rugby Union said: “we play as one country”. Those of us from Ulster were very fortunate that happened. It was also a much greater honour for us to play for the whole country. I think it says a lot that during all the Troubles, never once did a southern side fail to come north or a northern side fail to go south."

Alex Kane and Andy Pollak, Northern Ireland protestants with opposing views on a united Ireland

Every election in Northern Ireland is a plebiscite for loyalty, a referendum for Irish unity. As such, the question of a united Ireland is always in conversation. It was addressed in August 2015 by Alex Kane here and Andy Pollak here, both cultural protestants from Northern Ireland. The two took the opposing view to the other.

Alex Kane wrote in the Irish News, August 21 2015, 'Why I would not stay if north became part of a united Ireland':

October 01, 2015

IRA violence wiped out Protestant self-identification as Irish

Source here.

IRA violence turned Irish against English and English against Irish, protestant against Catholic, and
robbing protestants of Irishness. As Christopher Hitchens said:
"It was also the Provisional IRA, and not just the 1974 Prevention of Terrorism Act, that left “the Irish community in Britain feeling like a suspect nation."
The Provisional IRA may have persuaded Britain to the negotiating table, however their relentless campaign of homicide powerfully dissuaded Irish unification and effectively rendered extinct protestants who self-identified as Irish. That fact alone speaks for how the armed separatism was not only immoral and wrong, but also spectacularly counterproductive. What justification is there for the PIRA armed campaign of destruction of persons and property if the result was to dissuade and create a vehement rejection of being Irish among the very people who they wanted to be Irish in an Irish Republic?

Brian Kennaway said:
"[IRA violence] knocked the Irish heart out of Ulster Protestants."
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