September 12, 2016


Col. Tim Collins, RBAI alumnus and classic NIPPLE
I have written many times before about normal Northern Ireland and the two world's of Northern Ireland, and I've also written about the 'Unionist Gap'. Peter Geogheghan wrote that Northern Ireland is increasingly "janus-faced".

The acronym ‘NIPPLES’ stands for Northern Ireland Protestant Professionals Living in England and Scotland. Ian Jack elaborated further, he wrote in the Guardian in his interview with Ian Paisley:
"A common perception is that the Unionists have lost. Many of their aspiring young have migrated over the water, a process that began long before the Chuckle Brothers assumed power in the new Stormont assembly. No reliable figures are available, but there’s an acronym, Nipples, to describe Northern Ireland Protestant Professionals Living in England and Scotland. Didn’t this loss sadden him? Again, he heard something else - a question about his own behaviour."
Conor Cruise O'Brien touched on this issue:
"Scottish universities have been flooded for years with students from Northern Ireland as increasing numbers find a triumphalist republican ethos in Ulster’s two universities unacceptable."
Jamie O’Reilly, former Down and Queen’s University GAA centre half forward, grew up playing for his club in Loughinisland, not knowing anything outside of Gaelic games and the community that surrounded it. He said that GAA and other sports clothing was territorial and aggressive:
"It sounds stupid to you and I, and it is, but if you wear a certain type of tracksuit in Northern Ireland for your sport, that’s making a statement, whether you want to or not. If you go south of the border and we said that at UCD or Trinity, we’d be laughed at and rightly."
Jonathan Drennan is a classic NIPPLES from East Belfast now living in Australia, and he wrote:
"So far from home, but will wake up at 2am in Sydney to see Northern Ireland play in our first major championships in three decades. 
I haven’t lived at home in 12 years, but every part of me is indelibly marked by growing up in that tiny wet and windswept island. 
There’s so much to be proud of, in terms of how far we have come as a country in terms of peace and confidence. 
Now the land of CS Lewis, Louis MacNeice, Seamus Heaney, Van Morrison, Kenneth Branagh and George Best is dining at the top table of sport once again. 
Let’s enjoy every minute. Allez les verts."
Northern Ireland citizens living and working elsewhere also come in great numbers from the Catholic community*. Emigration is not unique to Northern Ireland, and the people of the Republic of Ireland know about being exiled all too well; David McWilliams calls this demographic in the South of Ireland the "near diaspora". Matthew Symington wrote that "'An unwelcome diaspora' was how Sir Richard Nichols, former chancellor of the University of Ulster, described the ‘haemorrhaging’ of thousands of talented graduates from Northern Ireland to Great Britain."

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