December 05, 2018

"Look to Belfast and be a repealer if you can..."

Illustration depicting Cooke’s Challenge to O’Connell within the context of the Union.

Henry Cooke issued this challenged to Daniel O’Connell when the latter came to Belfast in January 1841:
"Look at Belfast, a glorious sight, the masted groves in the harbour, the mighty warehouse, the giant manufactories, the rapidly growing streets, all owed to the Union. Look to Belfast and be a repealer if you can."

December 03, 2018

"This everlasting teaching of hatred of England..."

Edna Longley observed:
"Irish Catholics and Ulster protestants not only tend to remember different things, but remember them in different ways."
Fiona Kennedy wrote in the Irish Times:
"When I was a child I learned from my grandmother that the Protestant heathens who lived next door had plundered and tortured us, ruined our language and culture and divided our country."

November 19, 2018

American independence was England's second civil war

Poor old England endeavoring to reclaim his wicked american children. And therefore is England maimed & forc'd to go with a staff
Christopher Hitchens wrote:
"I would like to claim the American Revolution as part of an English revolution all the same, it was basically a revolution of highly educated English people against a German monarchy and its German surrogate forces in America. The sad thing to me is that the German monarchy still remains in England."

Neither in Welsh nor in Irish did a word exist for ‘republic’

‘David Lloyd George blessing James Craig’, by Shemus
Kenneth O Morgan in the No 10 guest historian series, 'Prime Ministers and No. 10', wrote:
"He held a series of talks with the Sinn Fein leader, Eamon De Valera, at Downing Street in July 1921, at which key issues in Ireland’s proposed new relationship with the UK, were discussed. Lloyd George, who made a point of speaking in Welsh to his Secretary, Thomas Jones, in the presence of De Valera, successfully argued that neither in Welsh nor in Irish did a word exist for ‘republic’."

November 06, 2018

Britain and Ireland, archipelagic peoples

The one characteristic that has marked Ireland and Britain from time immemorial is proximity and propinquity. During the last Ice Age 18,000 years ago, the British Isles were one island (see here), yet for many, to this day they remain one. 

October 11, 2018

Ed Moloney - The IRA set out in Spring and early Summer of 1971 to exploit circumstances and to force the British into a premature and ill-prepared internment swoop

Operation Demetrius involved the location, arrest and internment of 342 people in three days. These arrests sparked protests and riots in several Catholic areas across Northern Ireland. The worst of the rioting broke out in Ballymurphy in west Belfast. Only hours into Operation Demetrius British paratroopers went into Ballymurphy to arrest suspected IRA volunteers. On their entry into the estate the soldiers opened fire, claiming later that they had come under attack from IRA snipers. Six civilians were shot and killed that day.

Fintan O'Toole wrote:
"This belief encouraged the IRA republicans to adopt in the 1970s a classic terrorist position that violence would produce a reaction which would display the state in its true, fascistic colors. Instead of trying to alleviate the suffering of ordinary Catholics, the IRA was intent on destroying rational reform and provoking repression... A defense of the IRA’s bombing campaign written in 1976 and published in its own newspaper was entirely explicit about this."
Ed Moloney wrote in 2015:

August 22, 2018

George Bernard Shaw wrote - Am I not a protestant to the very narrow of my bones?

George Bernard Shaw wrote, "Am I not a protestant to the very narrow of my bones?" And he also said: "My own family and antecedents are ultra-Protestant; and I am a bit to the left of Protestantism myself."

George Bernard Shaw wrote elsewhere:
"Ulster children still repeat the derisive doggerel, "Sleether slaughter, holy wather”; and the adults are determined as ever that ‘the Protestant boys shall carry the drum’. As a Protestant myself (and a little to spare), I am highly susceptible to the spirit these war cries express."

July 31, 2018

Sinn Fein abstained from the vote on the Good Friday Agreement

David Trimble said to Alex Kane:
"Sinn Fein were heavily opposed to a Northern Ireland Assembly. In December 1997 it was proving almost impossible to get them to even agree to put an Assembly on the agenda. The SDLP wanted it on the agenda but they weren’t prepared to face down Sinn Fein at that stage."

March 27, 2018

The Scots Irish

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on St Patrick's Day 2018:
"Ulster-Scots Protestants are as much a part of the history of the Irish in America as the Irish Catholics are. In the same way, they are an integral, respected and valued part of the history - and the future - of the island of Ireland."
John Hume wrote in 1989:

March 05, 2018

Religious apartheid in 1940s southern Ireland

As has been a recent theme on this blog, I've been a little alarmed at the growing narrative that only protestants and unionists are bigoted, something Sinn Fein and republicans appear to be promoting.

As Jenny McCartney wrote in 2004 following the complete exit of protestants from a catholic estate in Belfast:
"Mr Eoin O'Broin - steeped so long in Sinn Fein’s myth that Northern Ireland’s Catholics must always be oppressed and Protestants the oppressors - simply cannot bear to admit the truth about the intense anti-Protestant bigotry in many working-class Catholic areas... It is pure dishonesty, however, for anyone to pretend that the sectarianism flows in only one direction."

February 22, 2018

Yes James Craig said Northern Ireland was a "Protestant State", but why do we forget de Valera said that Ireland was "a Catholic nation"

John Draper wrote in History Ireland:
"Did the Unionist leader James Craig really describe Stormont as a ‘Protestant parliament for a Protestant people’, as quoted by Tony Canavan in ‘A papist painting for a Protestant parliament’ (HI 16.1, Jan./Feb. 2008)? This is at variance with the version given by Craig’s biographer, Patrick Buckland (James Craig, Gill and Macmillan, 1980). Citing Northern Ireland House of Commons records, Buckland says that Craig was making a comparison between the north and the south. Craig is recorded as saying that southerners had boasted and ‘. . . still boast of Southern Ireland being a Catholic State. All I boast of is that we are a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State.’ Note that in this version there is no reference to the northern state and parliament being ‘for a Protestant people’. Critics may draw that inference, but that does not mean that the prime minister uttered those words. 

Having to speak to republicans like they're a child

James Stephens said:
"It is too generally conceived among Nationalists that the attitude of Ulster towards Ireland is rooted in ignorance and bigotry."
John Hume said that being pro-Union does not make you a bigot. He wrote in his famous 1964 letters for the Irish Times:
"Another positive step towards easing community tensions and towards removing what bigotry exists among Catholics would be to recognize that the Protestant tradition in the North is as strong and as legitimate as our own. Such recognition is our first step towards better relations. We must be prepared to accept this and to realize that the fact that a man wishes Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom does not necessarily make him a bigot or a discriminator. Which leads me to the constitutional question."

January 27, 2018

Sinn Fein is "the Irish for John Bull"

Cartoon by Morten Morland (2003), via the British Cartoon Archive

Presently in Northern Ireland Sinn Fein has worked to make itself synonymous with progress and positive. They have done this to the detriment of Unionism and the wider protestant culture, both of which are perceived as cold and narrow minded.

The creation of Northern Ireland and the Free State gave Home Rule to all of Ireland

'All right—who else can steer?' O’Neill and Chichester-Clark drowning in a cartoon by ‘Mac’, Daily Sketch, 1 January 1971. (British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent)

The Ulster Proclamation of Provisional Government of 1913 signalled the intent of unionists to form their own administration in the nine northern counties of Ireland if Westminster handed powers to a nationalist parliament in Dublin.

It was issued the year after almost half a million people in Ulster signed either the Solemn League and Covenant or Declaration in opposition to Home Rule and as tens of thousands joined the original Ulster Volunteer Force in preparation to resist the move by force. The crisis was overtaken by the outbreak of World War One and a nine-county government was never formed.

January 23, 2018

The vanity of Irish exceptionalism...

I voted agained Brexit, but I believe in democracy. The Brexit vote and the disentagling process can be critiqued, but many commentators and papers have taken a sneering and condescending approach to those who favour separation from Brexit.

January 20, 2018

Irish Republican's lack of self-awareness

Postcard showing the 'Ulster Cow'. A priest and John Redmond portrayed trying to tax an Ulster farmer. The cow, labelled ‘Ulster,‘ belches 'defiance' - 'Now All of you try and milk her, dairymaid Redmond Don't Funk. We have been beaten, not hands down, but horns up, Carson's a Holy terror.'

Alex Kane wrote an article in the Irish Times pointing out that unionists and republicans in Northern Ireland both suffer from having a blind spot in their view of the world.

January 08, 2018

Ethics and Empire, reappraising colonialism?

Shane O'Neill of Tyrone meets Queen Elizabeth of England
Ian d'Alton wrote:
"In 1916 Irish Protestants were looked upon, in the words of novelist Susanne Day, as ‘illegitimate children of an irregular union between Hibernia and John Bull’."
Hubert Butler wrote:
"We protestants of the Irish Republic are no longer very interesting to anyone but ourselves. A generation ago we were regarded dramatically as imperialistic blood-suckers... Our brothers in the north are still discussed in such colourful terms."
Erskine Childers wrote in ‘The Framework of Home Rule’ (1911):
"In natural humanity the colonists of Ireland and the colonists of America differed in no appreciable degree. They were the same men, with the same inherent virtues and defects, acting according to the pressure of environment. Danger, in proportionate degree, made both classes brutal and perfidious."

European report labels Ireland a tax haven, Sinn Fein votes it down

Valerie Flynn wrote in the Times, 'Sinn Fein MEPs help Ireland avoid tax haven label':
"The adopted report criticises Ireland’s role in tax evasion. In it the European parliament notes with “regret” that the latest EU tax haven blacklist focuses only on non-EU jurisdictions and omits “countries within the EU that have played a systematic role in promoting and enabling harmful tax practices”. 
The parliament noted that “at least four member states would be included on the [blacklist] if screened according to the same EU criteria”. Although not named, Ireland was one of the four member states in question. The report was adopted by a large majority of MEPs."

January 06, 2018

The Westminster convention of non-interference in Northern Ireland (1921 - 1969)

'The Lobby of the House of Commons, 1886' by Liborio Prosperi ('Lib'), published in Vanity Fair Christmas Supplement 1886

Paul Rose, MP for Manchester Blackley, helped to set up the Campaign for Democracy in Ulster in 1965. Speaking at a debate on Northern Ireland in the House of commons on 22 April 1969 (just before Bernadette Devlin made her maiden speech) Paul Rose said:

January 02, 2018

Edward Carson - If Home Rule for Ireland, why not for the north-east of Ireland?

In opposition to the third Home Rule bill Edward Carson said:
"What argument is there that you can raise for giving Home Rule to Ireland that you do not equally raise for giving Home Rule to that Protestant minority in the north-east province?"
Lloyd George said:
"I was drenched with suspicion of Irishmen by Englishmen and of Englishmen by Irishmen and, worst of all, of Irishmen by Irishmen. It was a quagmire of distrust which clogged the footsteps and made progress impossible. That is the real enemy of Ireland."

Irish Ireland, not Ireland

'Posting in Ireland', by James Gillray

Republican teaching records that Irish Ireland and the true Irish Nation had nearly extinguished, only the Easter Rising ‘woke up’ the Irish people and unleashed them towards independence.

Todd Andrews wrote that "Dublin [in 1901] was a British city and accepted itself as one", and Ernie O'Malley said, "‘the old hatred of the redcoats had disappeared."

Tom Barry wrote that he had "no  national consciousness" but events of Easter Week gave him a "rude awakening", and "Through the blood sacrifice of 1916 had one Irish youth been awakened to Irish nationality."

Eamon de Valera said in 1926:
"[Clarke, Pearse and Connolly] made sure of an Irish Ireland by dying for it."
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