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Irish, Irish, Irish! Out, Out, Out!

The Irish Tricolour flies over Belfast City Hall – what real democracy would look like in the North of Ireland
The Irish Tricolour flies over Belfast City Hall – what real democracy would look like in the North of Ireland

Well, it’s politics as abnormal in the north-eastern part of the country as the decaying corpse of the British colony in Ireland continues to leach its poison. From the Impartial Reporter newspaper:

“ULSTER Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has claimed all 23 councillors at Fermanagh District Council could be facing fines for voting to place Irish graphics on Council-owned vehicles and letter-headed paper without carrying out an equality impact assessment first.

According to the former councillor, all of the councillors, including his own UUP colleagues and members of the Democratic Unionist Party who voted against it, now face being fined by the Northern Ireland Audit Office for costs incurred by the Council as a result of the decision.

Mr Elliott says the Equality Commission is currently investigating his complaint and he has also informed his solicitor, whom he says has told him that “I have a case.””

Unionists seeking support from an “equality commission”? So much irony, so little time…

Meanwhile Ireland’s ruling elite demonstrate that when it comes to appeasing anti-democratic forces Neville Chamberlain was virtually a ballot-box Rambo by comparison. The militant extreme of the British Unionist minority uses violence and the threat of violence to block political progress on the island of Ireland. Is it 1912? 1913? Why no, its Ireland 2013 and here come the pleas for peace in our time. Again.

Liz O’Donnell, former centre-right PD politician, in the Irish Independent:

“Clearly, the move to take the flag down from City Hall was not one that should or could be achieved by brute democratic force, ie by majority vote.”

Absolutely. The very idea of democracy in “Northern Ireland”? Madness. Sure, wasn’t that the reason why the place was created in the first place? To get away from bloody democracy (those crazy Irish and their damn “voting”… Grrrr!).

As for equality, well everyone supports that. Obviously. It’s simply that under British rule in Ireland some people are more equal than others. I believe its called “our tradition”.

“Sinn Fein’s weekend call for a border poll on Irish unity suggests that lessons have not been learned from recent events. Even if a majority vote is achievable on that question within a generation, it is folly to trumpet it now. Although unionists remain a majority in Northern Ireland they are a minority on the island. They need re-assurance that when the worm has turned their dignity and allegiance will be protected.”

Exactly. Just because there might be a majority in the North of Ireland who now support reunification does not mean we need to actually go ahead and allow them to vote on it. After all, if we give in to the Irish “worms” it will only anger the British Unionist minority. And that is the last thing we want.

In 1813. Or 1913. Or 2013. Or…

11 comments on “Irish, Irish, Irish! Out, Out, Out!

  1. EmmetRising_1803

    The partitionist mentality of O’Donnell and columnists in this state is sickening, reinforcing the perception amongst the public that the current trend of loyalist violence is from those troublesome nationalists “up there.”

    On another note, if there is a call for a unity poll, it is crazy for Sinn Fein to assume (even with their numbers in this Dail) they’ll be some sort of vanguard people will flock to. Absoloutly, McGuinness’ numbers in the presidential election were strong, but not enough to assume a SF-led campaign will really push momentum for it. At the very least, any kind of talk of Irish unity is off until the current outcome of the Scottish referrendum is decided.

    • I quite agree. Violent anti-democracy protests blight the north-eastern part of our country for weeks on end and the Unionist-sympathising Irish press provides cover for the protesters by obfuscating or qualifying their condemnations and trying to apportion blame to Sinn Féin (while excluding the SDLP and Alliance). Its simply staggers belief that supposedly serious journalists will justify or down-play reports of violence from the militant extreme of the British Unionist minority in Ireland while sexing up risible claims of some faction of a faction of the CIRA issuing threats to “Irish soldiers” serving in the British Army (who are surely “British soldiers”?). Talk about smoke-screens.

      I favour 2019 myself as a suitable date for a referendum for a number of reasons.

      • EmmetRising_1803

        If Adams does not get Taoiseach at the next general election, I reckon he will retire in 2016. (I have seen this assumed elsewhere, though mostly in the southern media mind). If we see a SF-led majority in Leinster House however, I reckon there will be more serious push for a poll and some sort of all-party agreement for it in the southern state.

        It’s very doubtful that will happen now though, I have seen firsthand (and heard) how the Shinner set-up down south is too shambolic to really take advantage of the upsurge in the polls to get momentum by way of resources and potential candidates by then, and the Martin-led Fianna Fail could well continue to eclipse them. The numbers Fianna Fail can still command in their grassroots should not be underestimated. And make no mistake, the recent surge of anti-democrat violence by the disaffected loyalists in Belfast will seriously (if rather bizarrely) hurt Sinn Fein in the long-run. On this last point, I hope I am wrong.

  2. I have to admit that as a Dubliner born long after partition, I still feel guilt that the democratic will of the Irish people was denied under threat of war by the British Govt and ratified by an Irish parliament. In hindsight that decision was taken under duress but we must deal with what we have now. What we have now is a north where demographic change is rebalancing what was an artificial colony. This is a precurser to reunity and pretty much everyone knows it. There is only one question and that is “When?”
    The real debate has begun at last and I am really looking forward to it

    • I have very much the same feeling, magnified by family history (my Protestant/Catholic great-grandparents fleeing southwards after partition along with many thousands of others and the reminisces of my grandmother and my father visiting relatives in Enniskillen in the 1950s and ’60s).

      There is a shame and guilt to the abandonment of the Irish communities of the north-east of Ireland that hangs unacknowledged over the Irish people and Irish state as a whole. We in this part of the country bought our freedom with their continued slavery. We sold them out, those who shared the struggle for freedom and democracy with us.

      That in part, I believe, accounts for some of the animosity of a few in the south to their northern compatriots. Unresolved guilt. The same IRA that fought the War of Independence on the streets of Dublin and Cork was the same IRA that fought the War of Independence on the streets of Belfast and Derry. The same Sinn Féin and the same Dáil Éireann that represented all of the island-nation of Ireland.

      You are right though. We are living through the epilogue of British rule in Ireland. Thank God.

  3. “Unionists seeking support from an “equality commission”? So much irony, so little time…

    When it comes to the Irish language, there’s a record of using equality legislation against it. In 2010, the Council of Europe reported that “the Committee of Experts has been informed about several instances, especially within local councils, where it was decided not to promote or use the Irish language as it may contravene section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act”.

    It’s a joke that they can get away with it, but it seems that they do.

  4. Willie Davison

    The population movement following partition was a two-way one. Between the 1911 census and 1926 over 220,000 Protestants and erstwhile Unionists left the Irish Free State and only a minority of these would have been associated with the British admin in Ireland : this was the largest population movement in Ireland in the 20th Century, not as some would assume the demographic changes during the recent troubles. The Protestant minority in the South was a small one, which got smaller, the Catholic minority in the six counties was a large one, which got larger.
    As a small u Unionist I would love to see a border poll as the result is a foregone conclusion. I have yet to meet a member of the Catholic community in my area who is in favour of a United Ireland, : if they aren’t lying to me then they seem quite content to continue to live under “slavery”, or perhaps they are all the unthinking dupes of “colonialism”. This blog continually subverts any decent points it seeks to make by gross exaggeration and the use of ludicrously inappropriate language, added to a large dollop of fantasy and wishful thinking.

    • I’m sorry, Willie, but that is simply untrue.

      Such numbers are based on a gross distortion of the census results in Ireland at the start of the 20th century and completely ignore other factors, including an ageing Protestant population with a higher mortality rate, a pre-struggle economic decline with high levels of emigration amongst all communities but especially the Protestant community due to better levels of education, skills and income (especially during WWI when high numbers of Protestants went to Britain in search of work), the death toll of WWI which fell disproportionately on the Protestant population across the country as a whole, and of course the withdrawal of Britain’s colonial government from the south of Ireland in the 1920s, which you seem to dismiss.

      To take the oft mentioned example of Cork the total decline of the number of “Protestants” from 1911 to 1926 in this region was 14,770 individuals. However at least 10,714 of these were non-Cork Protestants (of the 35,000 people who identified themselves as Protestant in the 1911 Census in Cork around 9,000 recorded themselves as English alone). That is they were Protestants from elsewhere in the then UK, mainly Britain, and largely represented members of the British Armed Forces (army, navy, air corp, territorials), the Coastguard, the RIC, the judiciary, civil servants, etc. The remaining 4000 have been explained by seeking out statistics on emigration, casualties of the Great War, deaths in old age or infancy, deaths due to the great pandemic of 1919, etc.

      One simple example for you from the 1911 Census. The religious make up of the British soldiers stationed at the British military barracks in the small town of Ballincollig, Co. Cork, in 1911: Roman Catholic 33, Protestant 486. What do you think happened to those soldiers and thousands like them during the 15 years from 1911 to 1926? They are the major part of the alleged Protestant decline.

      I also speak from personal family history, of Protestants who fled partition and continued British rule in Ireland by leaving their homes behind in Fermanagh, of mixed-faith couples and families driven out from a sectarian and racist new state.

      The language of the blog is the language of historical accuracy. What you may call “Northern Ireland” is simply the last remnant of the British colony and British colonial rule in Ireland. That may be unpalatable to hear or acknowledge. But it remains the simple, unvarnished truth.

  5. Seamus Heaney, according to todays irish news claimed there would never be a united Ireland and criticised people for not letting fascists fly their flag. Why didnt he just come straight out and tell the croppies to lie down? If the troubles hadnt happened this ‘poet’ would never have made a name for himself. He was indulged by british media and establishment because he made all the right noises. I remember being forced to read his work in the late 80’s at school and it seriously gave me a headache! Why dont these people bend the ear of the hob-knobs they dine with or even better why dont they use the airwaves to appeal to the queen to issue a statement and urge these protesters to cease their activities? After all we are supposed to ‘share’ this isle and its history. Frazer et al are hardly going to call elizabeth saxe-coburg-goth a lundy are they? No its better to just call on the peasant irish to remember their place. Pull the ladder up jack i’m alright.

    • Saw those reports about his IT interview and was quite disgusted by the alleged content (I’ve yet to read it). Thought he had more sense. Or nuance. David Ford should get him on the phone and appoint him the party poet laureate.

      Very disappointing for an otherwise intelligent man. These days the only Irish poetry I read is in Irish. Anglophone Irish poets always disappoint.

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