Partitionism is alive and well in All Ireland

Irony is lost on some people. Like the person I spoke with in India representing a well known mobile phone company, which is available on both sides of the border, as I tried to finalise a mobile phone contract in Northern Ireland/the North of Ireland.
I explained to her that I had moved back to Belfast in the past month to take up a new job.
Where had I been previously?
Cork, I responded.
What’s your post code there?
There are no postcodes in the South of Ireland, I said.
How long were you overseas?
Cork is not overseas from Antrim, I said, with increasing exasperation.
I have had a phone on contract from [this company] since 2010 and I have paid my bill regularly and in full. My credit is impeccable.
We cannot validate your address in Northern Ireland.
You managed to take money from my bank account using my chip and pin card on Friday, when I ordered this phone, all the same. You didn’t have any problem then.
You are not a valid customer. Goodbye.
Wait, what about the money you took from my account? When will I get that back?
21 days!
Wait….
Continous dial tone.
This is an illustration of just one of many ways in which partition is becoming more and more entrenched thanks to heightened regulations surrounding credit checks, not to mention broadcasting rights, banking, insurance, social welfare.
This galloping partitionism is becoming more and more an infringement on the lives of ordinary people, ironically in an era when there should be increasing co-operation and a partnership approach in the years following the Good Friday Agreement, now fifteen years old.
Parties who espouse  trenchantly and to their political advantage a United Ireland, on both sides of the border, have been remarkably slow in tackling issues such as the stringent regulations regarding credit checks. These regulations not alone run counter to the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement but also to the founding principles of the European Union and aren’t we all supposed to be good Europeans now?   After all, wasn’t the EU supposed to be about the free movement of workers throughout?  The unsavoury cocktail of roaming charges and regulations which make it virtually impossible to get a mobile phone contract from the same company in the north of Ireland with whom I had had a contract in the south have left me with a partition hangover.

Political parties who advocate a United Ireland prefer, it seems, to squabble about flags. Whether the Union Flag or the  Tricolour flies over every public building in the North, it makes not a whit of difference to the real lives of people unless you deal with the mechanical and fnancial outworkings of partition.  But neither Sinn Féin nor the SDLP in the north, nor Fianna Fáil in the south, all of which advocate a United Ireland, have ever gone near this issue.

The issue of mobile phones notwithstanding, there are other complaints I have about the way partition has become more and more entrenched.  Last Sunday week I sat down in front of my TV to watch the All Ireland Hurling Finals.  Traditionally I like to watch the minor match, with its commentary as Gaeilge.  As my TV is connected to Virgin Media, I don’t have access to TV3 and as that station broadcasts the minor match, I was denied access to an ‘All Ireland’ final.   I tried to watch it on the web – and access was denied also as the match ‘wasn’t available in your region’.   If you try to watch on TG4’s website the All Ireland Under 21 hurling final featuring Antrim and Clare, you will be told it’s not available even though TG4 have the rights for the island of Ireland.  Some web companies, however, do not make the distinction between a Northern Ireland IP address and a British IP address and they unilaterally deny access to the desired content.  Would that they were as careful about allowing access to internet porn!

A similar fate befell me when I sat down to watch the Ireland v Sweden World Cup qualifier on RTE 2, I was again told it wasn’t ‘in your region’.  Ironically enough I suppose, neither could I watch the Northern Ireland V Russia game as U(for Ulster)TV was only showing England V Moldova!  If I get an aerial I can watch it on Saor (stat, I presume) View but as I’m in rented accommodation and the issue had only arisen within minutes of kick off, the resolution of the matter was out of my control.

When I moved to the South in 2007 I closed my account in a bank which is an All Ireland banking chain (as I thought).  Weeks later I got a cheque for £1.96 as a settlement of my accont following the calculation of exchange rate calculations.  I found out if I wanted to cash this cheque then in the south, it would cost more than it was worth.  So I held on to the cheque as a keepsake.  When I reopened my account in the same bank upon my move back, I was told the cheque was out of date.

It still takes way too much time and expense to transfer money from north to south – or vice versa.  There’s far too much bureaucracy surrounding people who move north or south regarding social welfare and insurance.   If we could sort out these bureaucratic issues, making life better for everybody, then the flags issue might take care of itself.

I don’t think these issues are too complicated to solve.  They have arisen because, as we carried on our neighbors’ row, technological progress carried on and enforced the simplest solution (for them) on us.  In all likelihood nobody asked them to do otherwise.   That’s why politicians are paid out of the public purse but as they’re too busy, it seems,  getting involved in sectarian squabbling over flags or undertaking taxpayer funded expensive personal crusades against gay couples and blood donors.

 

 

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  • Hopping The Border

    What is it with some northern protestants and their continuous attempts to run down gaelic sport?

    Barnshee:-

    “You will also find some 900,000+ who will regard the made up game (where handling the ball is regarded as “football”) with a range of attitudes from disinterest though dislike and distaste to disgust.”

    (a) All games/sports are made up – I’m interested as to how else you think they came into being?

    (b) Try and work out what the ‘F’ in IRFU, RFU, two national governing bodies of rugby, a sport played primarily in hand, stands for like a good lad.

    (c) Just because you dislike gaelic sports does not mean all protestants/unionists/loyalists (well maybe the last subset) are of a similar mind, banding all under your way of thinking is frankly ridiculous.

    Then again, most protestants I know who have at least a passing interest in gaelic sports (primarily hurling) were not the type to throw a hissy fit because the Union Jack now flies in accordance with accepted UK wide practice.

    BluesJazz

    “Unsure of the timing, but a lot more ‘Irish’ people in the Southern republic and here in the UK will have more interest in the Manchester derby than an amateur game between 2 Southern republic gaa teams hitting a ball on a stick about on a variant of Hockey.”

    (a) It’s football finals day tomorrow. The hurling replay is next weekend

    (b) Any possible way to back the interest claim up other than it simply being wishful thinking on your part? (Of course I’ll not deny I’ll keep up to date on proceedings at the etihad whilst watching the AIF).

    (c) Hurling was in existence long before hockey and indeed it would seem from wikipedia that hockey may have evolved from hurling.

    (d) If your issue is that the sports are amateur, then I suggest you read this article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7962884.stm

    Perhaps the extreme dislike/continuous attempts to belittle gaelic sports from the two aforementioned gentlemen and those like them stem from:

    (a) the ignorance of a closed mind and a never never never attitude

    (b) jealousy at the comparison of the success of sports run on an AI basis versus those run on an NI basis (our man can’t pass the suitability assessment? ah to hell with it, we don’t need a new stadium that bad anyway)

  • Comrade Stalin

    McSlaggart,

    It sounds like you’re more interested in trying to catch me out than argue a point and as such you have lost sight of what you were originally trying to say.

    Let’s recap. Ireland (somewhat similarly, in general terms, to every other Western european country except the UK) has a voluntary health insurance system which is operated/subsidized/regulated by the state with some private sector insurance available. Healthcare services, whether they’re doctors, surgeries, hospitals or whatever else, charge for their services and they recover those costs either directly from the patient or through the patient’s insurance. Or, if you’re entitled to a medical card (ie on welfare, a pensioner or whatever) they charge it that way.

    You appeared to be disputing this by saying that hospitals did not attempt to recover costs for services they supplied. This is wrong. One way or another, the costs have to be recovered. I’m sure in the border region there are reciprocal arrangements but you claimed that they were all-Ireland. This is clearly nonsense. How could it be the case that someone could walk into a hospital and receive the same treatment as someone who voluntarily pays health insurance ?

    You are basically trying to argue that the sky isn’t blue. By all means continue to do so. I hope for your sake you are not travelling in the RoI jurisdiction and find yourself requiring medical care without any insurance cover (or an EHIC). Chances are you’ll end up with a bill. As I tried to tell you, a friend of mine was injured in Dublin and went to A&E, and he was handed a bill when he was discharged. I’m in Dublin visiting another friend this weekend, and he injured his hands playing rugby a couple of days ago and was trying to figure out whether or not going to the Swift Care place for an X-Ray would be covered by his VHI or not. I told him about this mad Tyrone bloke on t’interweb trying to tell me that you can just walk into a medical facility if you’re a northerner and get free treatment, and he just laughed.

  • Barnshee

    HTB
    “(a) the ignorance of a closed mind and a never never never attitude

    (b) jealousy at the comparison of the success of sports run on an AI basis versus those run on an NI basis (our man can’t pass the suitability assessment? ah to hell with it, we don’t need a new stadium that bad anyway)”

    If you trouble to read the content you will note the
    list of those that appear to have organised on a UI (IRFU ICU etc) basis AND have received unstinting support across the religious/politicql divide. You will further notice that the GAA is not on that list.

  • Hopping The Border

    I also noted that you didn’t address the first three observations I made on your previous contribution.

    Very well then, the fact the GAA is an all-Ireland sporting institution is not the reason for your hostility & continuous attempted belittling of the various gaelic sports.

    What then is?

    The other suggestion I made?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin
    This is the question I asked of you:

    “Now read what you wrote and think about it:

    “I trust that you accept that the facts of this matter have now been established and that you are wrong. Excepting specific arrangements for cross-border purposes, which I understand are reciprocaL”

    A simple question what parts of Northern Ireland do you think would not be covered by any such an arrangement?”

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    At the outset I give a simple example of me walking into Leterkenny hospital in the summer and getting treatment.

    The only piece of information I gave was my home address.

    I made it clear that the NHS would be picking up the cost of my prescription.

    Now if your friend has VHI he must live in the south and the NHS will not cover his costs.

  • Comrade Stalin

    McSlaggart,

    I’m clearly not getting through so I think I’ll end it there. My point is made.

  • Barnshee

    HTB

    ” Very well then, the fact the GAA is an all-Ireland sporting institution is not the reason for your hostility & continuous attempted belittling of the various gaelic sports.

    What then is?

    The other suggestion I made?”

    Please do READ (and try to understand) the blog

    I indicate a range of attitudes in the protestant community to the GAA from disinterest through dislike to disgust— Its a fact of life in the black north –get used to it

    I further identify a series of sports -organised on an AI basis – which include active not to say enthusiastic participation by the AFM northern prod. I point out the apparent contradiction
    between these and the AI organised GAA.

    Why do these differences arise?

  • Hopping The Border

    “Why do these differences arise?

    I am many things, but a northern protestant is not one.

    That is therefore a question for you, since you appear to have the problem….

  • Reader

    Hopping The Border: That is therefore a question for you, since you appear to have the problem….
    If people do like the IRFU, there’s no problem.
    If people don’t like the GAA, that’s their problem.
    If people don’t like the OO, that’s their problem.
    Got it.

  • Brian Walker
    in reference to your post of 12.32pm on 21 September:
    That’s a fair point. I only directed my comments at nationalist parties because they’re the ones espousing a United Ireland and, apart from getting involved in the old squabbles re flags etc, they could use their time more effectively to dismantle the barriers to a single market on this island and onwards.
    Your contention that both States control the banks reminds me that it’s better to owe the bank milions than vice versa. Because they’re in debt to us – we need them to do ‘good business’ in order to increase profits/reduce debt. Taxpayers were sucker punched on that one.
    I admit that I could have handled the exchange with the call centre better. However I do feel that the company involved could better inform its workers regarding the geography of Ireland, since they operate on both sides of the border if it is to locate its call centre business in India to avail of cheaper labour costs.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “My point is made.”

    The points he was making.

    “You can’t spend Euros in Belfast. That is an inevitable consequence.

    You can’t have the NHS pay for your hospital treatment in Dublin. That’s another inevitable consequence. ”

    This other poster disagrees with you his name is

    Comrade Stalin

    “Excepting specific arrangements for cross-border purposes, which I understand are reciprocaL”

  • Hopping The Border

    Not really sure what you’ve got reader but you work away.

    As for Barnshee and the boys, I was simply enquiring as to where their unending hatred for the GAA comes from and why they feel the need to attempt to diminish it at every turn.

  • Greenflag

    @ Hopping the Border ,

    Probably close to 250,000 people will pay good money to attend the All Ireland Football Final and the Hurling Final at Croke Park and the replay . Thats an average of 80,000 plus at each game .

    Windsor Park on the other hand has a capacity of 12,950 for international games and even less for domestic games due to safety reasons .

    I would’nt get upset re barnshee’s or anybody else’s dislike of GAA sports .People in the Republic have no hang ups about watching and/or supporting GAA, Rugby and Soccer even English soccer teams .That capacity is not yet widespread in Northern Ireland or at least in some parts of Northern Ireland . Ironically we may shortly have a situation whereby a Northern O’Neill (Martin ) may become the Irish Republic’s national team manager along with the current Southern or should that be Eastern O’Neill (Michael a Dubliner ) who is current manager of the Northern Ireland soccer team .

    It will always be a struggle for soccer in the Republic and even more so in Northern Ireland for either team to qualify for the World Cup and/or European Nations .It’s amazing that they perform as well as they sometimes do even so .

    The ‘politics’ and the fact that lets face it the NI Soccer team is about the only international sporting recognition that Northern Ireland gets anyway just means that current staus quo for the game and it’s organisation and development in both Irelands will stagnate until such time as the NI State withers away most likely which may not be for a quarter , half century or even never .

    That hurling final was a cracker btw . Fastest field game on the planet planet bar none 😉

    .

  • Greenflag

    @ hopping the border ,

    ‘I was simply enquiring as to where their unending hatred for the GAA comes from and why they feel the need to attempt to diminish it at every turn.’

    Why does a cat chase a mouse ? Why does a dog run after a bone ? .As long as it can be identified as Irish or Gaelic some of these retards will bark . I would accept that as a given . It’s not a remediable deficiency . There is no cure . In some cases it may be pathological and in others it may result from personal family trauma suffered as a result of the uncivil wars that have plagued the province .

    Of course the same condition /pathology would apply to those who would burn Orange Halls etc etc .

    It will pass eventually if not anytime soon which is why the GFA was necessary even if imperfect.

  • Barnshee

    ‘I was simply enquiring as to where their unending hatred for the GAA comes from and why they feel the need to attempt to diminish it at every turn.”

    Again I suggest you read the blog

    I point out the success of some AI sports in involving (indeed obtaining the enthusiatic support ) he Northern Prod

    Carefully avoiding the question –this becomes “(hatred of the GAA)

    Once again I invite you to explain the failure of the GAA to attract similar support

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    ‘…explain the failure of the GAA to attract similar support (of the ‘Northern Prod (sic)…)’

    Here’s my explanation: it’s a consequence of sectarianism within the broad PUL community.

    More specifically: reactionary elements within the broad PUL tradition use the GAA as a totem with which sectarian discipline within the tribe is maintained.

    So when someone from the broad PUL tradition expresses an interest in Gaelic games (and there is a great deal of such interest), more reactionary elements beat them down.

    Because you can’t be a good ‘Prod’ (sic) if you don’t hate the GAA, right?

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: Because you can’t be a good ‘Prod’ (sic) if you don’t hate the GAA, right?
    Your argument has gone circular. So let’s put it another way:
    What is the key difference between one All Ireland sporting body (the IRFU), and another All Ireland sporting body (the GAA)?
    Note that unless your explanation compares the sporting bodies; it’s circular.

  • Barnshee

    “More specifically: reactionary elements within the broad PUL tradition use the GAA as a totem with which sectarian discipline within the tribe is maintained.”

    Why don`t these “: reactionary elements within the broad PUL tradition ” use the association with

    IRFU
    IGU
    ICU
    IHU

    In the same way?
    ISA

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Reader

    ‘What is the key difference between one All Ireland sporting body (the IRFU), and another All Ireland sporting body (the GAA)?’

    The KEY difference?

    No-one ever got called a Lundy for going to Lansdowne Road.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I trust you will address my post in a manner that I find pleasing: otherwise, your response will be a rhombus.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Reader

    The GAA finds itself a locus for the anti-Irish, anti-Gaelic and anti-nationalist hatred of the broad PUL tradition. You to imply that this says everything about the GAA and nothing about the PUL community. The opposite is true.

    In truth, there are two GAAs: the one that exists in the real world and the one that exists in PUL mythology.

    The former is quite possibly the best thing about Ireland, and it’s one of the most remarkable phenomena in the whole wide world.

    The latter acts as a sort of talisman for PUL sectarian discipline.

    Of course, neither of these statements hold true for the IRFU.

    So I suppose that’s a key difference too.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Oh, and I suppose another key difference is that the IRFU is merely a sporting organisation, whereas the GAA is much, much more than that.

    The GAA plays a crucial cultural role in Ireland. It is no mere organiser of games. If there was never another football or hurling match, there’d still be a GAA.

    Of course, if you believe the sort of cultural pursuits the GAA promotes and sustains ought to be exterminated, and if you believe that the Victorian ethnocide it was founded to resist was a good thing, then I don’t suppose you’ll much like the GAA. So it goes.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    ‘Why don’t these ‘reactionary elements within the broad PUL tradition’ use the association with (various sporting bodies) in the same way?’

    Sometimes they do. One recalls the international at Ravenhill some years ago, when the more reactionary voices in unionism had a field day. To the great credit of Ulster’s egg-chasers, they gave short shrift to these efforts to foment division.

    The reason these efforts failed is, I daresay, simple; Ulster rugby has a long, storied and rich tradition as one of the indispensable components of the even more rich and storied tradition of Irish rugby. This (mostly wealthy) segment of unionism simply is not going to denounce the sainted memories of Jack Kyle, Mike Gibson, Willie John etc out of sectarian solidarity with unionism’s reactionary extremes.
    (Some of whom were in fine form on these very pages at the time. Were you perchance one of them, Barnshee?)

    But of course, the GAA is a special case, due to its crucial cultural role. Of course one will naturally hate the Gaelic Athletic Association if one is brought up to regard Gaelic culture as inherently backward, despicable and in need of extermination, and all manifestations of Gaelic culture as an attack on oneself.

    But of course, many people of the PUL tradition do manage to see through this facade of lies and defamation, and develop an interest in Gaelic games. Many more would do so publicly if they did not fear that potent weapon of reactionary unionism: Lundification.

    But all of this tells us next to nothing about the actual GAA, the one that exists in the real world. As is often the case with hatred, it tells us much more about the haters than the hated.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ….and exhales….

  • Mc Slaggart

    Reader

    “What is the key difference between one All Ireland sporting body (the IRFU), and another All Ireland sporting body (the GAA)?”

    Worry.

    If the French and English clubs get together it could have a huge impact on the IRFU.

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: Of course, if you believe the sort of cultural pursuits the GAA promotes and sustains ought to be exterminated, and if you believe that the Victorian ethnocide it was founded to resist was a good thing, then I don’t suppose you’ll much like the GAA.
    And I suppose the “Victorian ethnocide” business accounts for the GAA’s traditional hostility to “Garrison games” – a hostility that lasted 100 years longer than Victoria.
    Actually, your characterisation of PUL problems with the GAA is misguided. My wife was involved in competitive Irish Dancing down the Ards peninsula with several cousins – never a problem. Irish music? Not a problem. Kevin Lynch hurling club – that’s a problem. The insistence that All Ireland is synonymous with United Ireland, and the insistence on nationalist symbols – those are problems. Actual culture – not a problem.
    But misdiagnosis is a game we can all play – it goes down so well with the peanut gallery: nationalism is all down to Anglophobia; republicanism is founded on misogyny; only the cloth eared object to loyalist bands; and those who despise Michael Stone are suffering from pogonophobia. See? Anyone can play that game.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Reader

    ‘And I suppose the “Victorian ethnocide” business accounts for the GAA’s traditional hostility to “Garrison games” – a hostility that lasted 100 years longer than Victoria.’

    Yes. Of course it does.

    The attempted extermination of one’s culture isn’t the sort of thing one gets over easily. But it’s to the great credit of the GAA that we have found in ourselves the generosity to forgive, if never to forget.

    Incidentally, my use of the term ‘Victorian’ refers to an historical era. It wasn’t supposed to imply that it was Victoria herself personally wot dunnit.

    ‘Actual culture…’

    What am I to make of this throwaway remark? Does it imply that what the GAA does falls short of what you deem ‘actual culture’? I think you have rather given the game away there.

    There’ll be another full house at Croker next weekend, for what is one of the most important cultural events in Irish life; the All Ireland Hurling Final (replay). Think about this: in the space of three weeks, the population of Belfast will have attended the All Ireland finals. (Myself among them.)

    We do not need your imprimatur, or anyone else’s, to appreciate the cultural significance of what we’ve been part of. (The drawn hurling final was a real ‘I was there’ occasion. You should’ve been there too, Reader. It was a sight to see.)

    ‘See? Anyone can play that game.’

    Yes, but you can’t play it very successfully if what you’re saying isn’t true. My arguments have the virtue of holding water, while your responses, which you imply are their equal, are transparently absurd.

    So thanks for playing, but I’m afraid it was a short game.

    I did however have to look up pogonophobia. Wonderful! Thanks for that!

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: ‘Actual culture…’What am I to make of this throwaway remark? Does it imply that what the GAA does falls short of what you deem ‘actual culture’? I think you have rather given the game away there.
    I was sure I had made myself quite clear – games, music, dancing; not a problem. Memorialising an INLA man and flag waving; problem. I suggest only the first sentence lists “Actual culture”. I think the second sentence lists stuff that ‘falls short’. By all means, dispute the split I have made, but don’t obscure where I drew the line.
    Of course, if flag waving and memorialising terrorists is actually culture in your view, then that somewhat redeems the worst of the loyalist bands too, doesn’t it?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Reader

    You miss my point. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the well-worn talking points that reactionary unionism falls back upon, to justify (within the tribe) the unrelenting hostility. Nor would I be sorry if the hurlers of Dungiven decided to change the name of their club. It’s just that these things are of vanishingly small significance to the GAA that exists in the real world, as opposed to the other one, which exists only in reactionary PUL mythology.

    I just don’t care about your talking points. And you know what? You’d be much happier if you just let them go. They are trivial matters, just as, say, the War Memorial at Ravenhill would be an utterly trivial reason not to follow Ulster rugby. (I daresay such people exist. I ignore them and enjoy my rugby.)

    And your point about ‘flag waving’ is misplaced. Flags are not inherently antithethical to culture. On the contrary, when used to unify, a flag may even have a civilising function – though of course, as we well know, when used to divide and provoke, it can have the opposite effect.

    At GAA matches, thousands of fans fly the flags of their team colours. This adds greatly to the occasion. (Hill 16 is quite a sight, especially when the Dubs are playing.)

    At major intercounty games a single tricolour is erected in a place of honour, and taken down again afterwards according to proper protocol and with the appropriate dignity.

    This is not ‘flag-waving’.

    There is a legitimate place in the culture for flags, but dignity and protocol are the key concepts here.

    So the loyalist bands you refer to remain resolutely unredeemed, I’m afraid.