Bruton calls for Redmond Home Rule monument (‘Living for Ireland is preferable to dying for Ireland’)

John Bruton, An Taoiseach 1994-7

John Bruton, An Taoiseach 1994-7

As predicted, the war is continuing, and shows no sign of abating.  By “war”, I mean the ongoing battle over interpretation of Ireland’s  past, and how and whether certain historical figures deserve particular attention and commemoration.  The latest campaign in this conflict unfolded at the Royal Irish Academy on Dublin’s Dawson Street.  A quartet of speakers, including former Fine Gael Taoiseach John Bruton, discussed the contribution and significance of John Redmond, Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) leader in 1900-1918, whose crowning achievement, the 1914 Government of Ireland Bill, received the Royal Assent exactly a century ago.

John Redmond (1856 - 1918)

John Redmond (1856 – 1918)

I have already touched, here on Slugger, on the extraordinary historical symmetry of this event occurring precisely a hundred years before Scottish voters decide whether their country should become independent.  For his part, the ex-Taoiseach was not slow in recognizing the same:

‘The Scots are exercising full national self-determination.  That came about because, for the past number of years, Scotland has had a home rule government, and a home rule parliament, and a majority in that parliament was later democratically won by a party that wanted complete independence.  All that has happened in Scotland without loss of life, without the bitterness of war.  Ireland was given a similar opportunity 100 years ago this week, to move through home rule, towards ever-greater independence, gradually and peacefully, when Home Rule for Ireland became law on September 18th 1914.  Ireland could have followed the same peaceful path towards independence that Scotland is now considering taking.’

Essentially, Bruton’s point, which he made in a speech earlier this year, was that the Easter Rising in 1916 was therefore unnecessary:

‘The reality is that, in 1916, Home Rule was on the statute book and was not about to be reversed. If the 1916 leaders had had more patience, a lot of destruction could have been avoided, and I believe we would still have achieved the independence we enjoy today…

‘I believe living for Ireland is preferable to dying for Ireland.  256 civilians died in the Easter Rising.   Each year, a Mass is said in the Irish armed forces for those who died in the Rising; it is unclear to me whether those who are remembered include those civilians.’

Bruton added, though, that suggesting that the Easter Rising might have been a mistake was not to deny the heroism or idealism of Pearse, Connolly, MacDonagh and the others.  He finished by calling for 18 September to be a national holiday in Ireland, since the 1914 Government of Ireland Act was ‘not a mere addendum to the history of theGreat War – it is a unique parliamentary achievement,’ and asked why Redmond had not been included in the received pantheon of national heroes:

‘On the one end of O’Connell Street there is a statue of Daniel O’Connell, who failed to get the Act of Union repealed; at the other end there is a statue of Charles Stewart Parnell, who failed to get a Home Rule bill on the statute book.  Around Leinster House there are monuments to the Rebels of Easter 1916, who failed to achieve a 32-county sovereign republic!’

Joining Bruton in the debate at the RAI were historians Dermot Meleady (Redmond’s most recent biographer), Professor Ronan Fanning (of the UCD, and author of “Fatal Path”) and Professor Eunan O’Halpin (TCD, author of “Defending Ireland”).

Meleady agreed that Redmond had been undeservedly forgotten in the Irish national consciousness, saying it was a “national scandal” that there was no public monument to him in Dublin.  He added that the experience of the 1914 Act and the events that would follow it towards partition and independence should serve as ‘a warning against valuing territory over the people who live within it.’

More critical points came from the other two speakers.  Professor O’Halpin said that even if Home Rule had been enacted in the summer of 1914, with a measure of exclusion for at least part of Ulster, there would still have been the problem of how Catholics in the North East would be treated (just as there would be little consideration about this among the Free State government after 1922).  He reminded the audience that Redmond could, moreover, hardly be viewed as an apostle of liberal politics, in that he was opposed to bringing in old-age pensions, and…

‘Even before Redmond was hit by an axe by a Dublin suffragette in 1912 he was not in favour of giving women the right to vote.’

More searching observations were offered by Professor Fanning, who put it to Bruton that, for all his confidence that Home Rule was bound to be enacted as soon as the war had ended, the 1914 Act nonetheless WAS repealed – in the autumn of 1919, a mere five years after its Royal Assent.  This was, after all, part and parcel of the British constitutional set-up, in which, under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, no parliament can bind its successors, and anything can be repealed – as the Unionists of Northern Ireland were to discover to their alarm at the abolition of Stormont in March 1972.  What is more, Professor Fanning argued, the 1914 Government of Ireland Act was put on the statute book precisely BECAUSE it would immediately be suspended, on account of the war.  This, Fanning reckoned, is sufficient proof that the Asquith and the Liberals never had any intention of granting Ireland Home Rule – at least not the all-Ireland Home Rule that they wanted, which explains the government’s readiness to offer an Ulster exclusion deal as early as the autumn of 1913.

To the question of whether Redmond merited a more significant place in the Irish national memory, Fanning also added that the death tallies in the Easter Rising and the War of Independence and Civil War that followed it all pale into insignificance when compared to the 30,000 deaths of Irish servicemen in the Great War – for which, he argued, Redmond bore some responsibility, having urged Irishmen to serve in the British Army on the outbreak of war in the summer of 1914.

The debate over John Redmond’s significance to Irish historical memory, and how great an achievement an Act of Parliament that was never actually enacted is, or should be considered to be, will continue.  This year is already a politically and historically sensitive one for both Ireland and Britain, and Bruton’s campaign for his hero Redmond has attracted oppobrium, and not just from Gerry Adams.  Fianna Fail’s Eamon O Cuiv (grandson of Eamon De Valera) has also weighed in, arguing that the Easter Rising actually saved thousands of Irish lives, since recruitment of Irishmen into the British army dried up in the ensuing months.

It seems possible, however, that some kind of monument to the little-appreciated Mr Redmond will be set up: Bruton told today’s event at the RAI that other members of Fine Gael supported his campaign.

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  • Ernekid

    John Bruton is King of the Brit-Lickers

  • Sir Rantsalot

    “John Bruton is King of the Brit-Lickers”
    This is why normal people laugh at the chuckie Irish Nationalist mindset. The backwardness is backed up by the funny 19th C clichés. Please continue. Surely you have something to say about the dastardly oppression you are experiencing?

  • Jurassic Parke

    Had Home Rule become a reality circa 1912-1914 under Redmond, I genuinely believe that all 32 counties would still be in the United Kingdom.
    I feel that Carson overplayed his case and in the end the outcome was the opposite of what he wanted, him being an Irish unionist rather than an Ulsterman after all.
    But the benefit of hindsight, eh? It’s not as if Redmond or the unionists saw the Great War coming. During an historic watershed like that, all bets are off (indeed, a Yes vote tonight would be one of those moments).

  • Michael Henry

    ” Living for Ireland is preferable to dying for Ireland “- Redmond did not think that living for Ireland was preferable to dying for Belgium in one of the worlds most wasted wars- the Great War –

    Redmond was also opposed to women and wanted them to know their place during his life- he was against woman voting- any wonder Redmond hated Sinn Fein -and the gullible Bruton is looking for a memorial for a woman hater- for shame-

  • Muiris de Bhulbh

    Clichés have been given a bad press. Two that are relevant to this discussion are ‘the past is a foreign country’ and ‘the retrospectiscope gives 6/6 vision (or 20/20 if you’re still an imperialist).
    The UK did not have democracy as we know it (limited as it still is), with a male only property related electorate. The concern for the wishes of the Unionist population was in sharp contrast to the disdain of decades of ‘home rule’ party mandates, even with that limited electorate.
    I believe that John Redmond was a generally good honest sincere man, but of his time and class (perhaps something like John Bruton). I believe that he was utterly wrong to advocate for WW1 participation, (but see cliché 2 above).
    I also believe that Pearse et al were also of their time and class, when belief in the therapeutic ‘blood cleansing of Europe was widespread (if only by those who has never experienced war, of course).
    It seems that I have a lot of beliefs

  • Aráto

    I can’t help but feel that regardless of how it might have turned out, there would have been an ‘Easter Rising’ somewhere, and probably a civil war as well. The two camps were being placated by the two faces of Westminster – pawns in a very well stacked game of chess.
    As for Redmond.. I’m actually surprised to learn that there isn’t a statue to him in Dublin! That said, a bit of stone is neither here or there when it comes to looking at our history without prejudice – something far more important.

  • tmitch57

    The mention of all the statues to failed political leaders shows how much the mentality of republicanism is like the mentality of Arab nationalism. Defeats are proclaimed to be great victories, and those who actually do achieve some measure of programmatic success are denounced as traitors and shunned or worse.

  • New Yorker

    The Home Rule vs 1916 Rising discussion should include what policies and type of people would have been in place if the home rule route was taken compared to what actually took place on the post 1916 Rising route. For example, home rulers would probably have been more outward looking than the post revolution leaders and fifty years of poverty and emigration might have been averted.

  • gunterprien

    Yeah New Yorker.
    The Wall Street Crash and World War two wouldn’t have happened either.
    What are you smoking and Can I have some?
    Because History recalls that in the So called Uk Belfast was the worst area affected by the Wall Street Crash. So How do you conclude that Ireland would have “avoided poverty” ?

  • gunterprien

    You are wrong.
    Under Home Rule,
    Britain would have controlled Taxes, the Police army and Foreign affairs.
    Had even HOME Rule been granted after WW1 that would have left a very narrow window for Ireland to break out of the union Until World War 2.
    During WW2 Ireland would have served as a base for USA and Britain. Ergo Ireland under home Rule would have been dragged into NATO.
    U.S. and British Submarines would have been based in County Cork with Nuclear weapons.
    And it wouldn’t be Scotland voting in 2014..It would be Ireland.
    So Bruton and Redmond are failures big time.

  • John Gorman

    John Bruton seems to have forgotten that it took the best part of 50 years to get to the 1914 Government of Ireland Act. Considering the previous bill had been passed through parliament only to be rejected by the old boys of the Lords proved there was zero guarantee that even this act was going anywhere and as stated above it was likely passed knowing full well with WW1 it could never be implemented.

    ‘I believe living for Ireland is preferable to dying for Ireland.’

    A very noble thought but again ripped apart considering 50000 Irish men died fighting in the trenches somehow believing they were furthering the Irish or Ulster cause. The number of dead would have been even greater if compulsory conscription as voted by Westminster was carried out here.

    I agree that Redmond despite his flaws deserves more recognition but the rest of Brutons views are crazy. Without the Easter rising and more importantly the botched British reponse we would probably be discussing the 24th Irish home rule bill along with the Scottish referendum!

  • babyface finlayson

    “And it wouldn’t be Scotland voting in 2014..It would be Ireland.”

    Which would be sooner than we will be voting in reality thanks to 30 wasted years of ‘war’.

  • gunterprien

    So you’d prefer to have been part of the Uk(raine) with ALL their “wars”?
    And have Trident Submarines based in Ireland?
    God knows there are 4.5 million people in the 26 Counties.
    Under British Rule that would probably be Three million ( If that.)
    There would be no inward investment..And There would only be jobs in servicing Nato military bases..Which would have been cut since the 1990’s. And civil service crumbs.
    And as for war dead?
    Think Wotton Bassett..Only with More O’Neills. More Burkes. More Corcorans..More Stapleton’s..More Clarkes..More O’Reilly’s. More O’ Connor’setc..etc..etc.
    The Gud news is..There would be a lot more Bogs..As the British wouldn’t have cut them up.
    And the envoirment might be cleaner..As there would be less.population..less pollution..less industry. etc. etc..etc.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    All too much is constantly made of the heady, romantic “belief in the therapeutic ‘blood cleansing of Europe’ ” at the expense of what Pearse positivly believed a regenerated Ireland should offfer its people. I’m on record as saying elsewere on Slugger that “Pearse the Revolutionary” was a terrible waste of “Pearse the Educationalist” for starters. Our children are still finding their creativity and life expression crippled by a system that educates them to sell the greater part of their lives in order to be simply “cogs in the machine” for creating wealth for others (“getting a good job”). Pearse, whose educational concepts were compared in 1914 to the brilliant innovations of Maria Montesorri, wanted to develop the entire person so that Ireland would be a nation of truly free people and not simply the “independent” milk cow for our own professional politicians that it has become. Bruton’s two-dimentional thoughts, gleaned from some popular modern history book, are simply a sort of “ancestor abuse” that has been popularised by the now passé revisionist approach to our histroy that his younger self may have encountered as a form of liberation from older, more rigid nationalist historiographies. But historical research has moved on, what a pity it takes so very long for the politicians to catch up!

  • kensei

    I entirely agree that Living for Ireland is better than Dying for Ireland

    Redmond directed thousands and thousands and thousands of Irishmen to the then biggest meant grinder in history claiming it’d help the cause.

    Briton is, and I say this under advisement, a twat.

  • babyface finlayson

    Trident is an obscenity. But it was never used, so in practice that would have made little difference.
    It is all speculation of course. But i personally believe it would not have taken 100 years, if there had been no rising, to reach a point of a referendum.
    The situation could hardly have panned out much worse after all.
    Partition, a state ion thrall to the church, sectarianism, culminating in a misguided and futile campaign to get the Brits out over the last 40 years.
    All to to leave us one step behind Scotland.

  • gunterprien

    You totally misunderstand the situation.
    The strategic importance of the island of Ireand meant that there was NEVER any chance Of Ireland escaping from the grip of the UK(raine) the USA wouldn’t have allowed it.
    Which leaves the period 1918 to 1935..The year that Britain started to Re arm for WW2.
    That period endured the Wall Street Crash etc.
    If you don’t understand was SOSUS is;.And what it did and what GIUK gap is: and the fact that the USSR had 300 submarines Than it is no wonder you can’t grasp it.

  • gunterprien

    BTW ..Don’t bother about whether Tident was used or not.

    A French and British Nuclear Ballistic submarine collided a few years ago..It could have wiped out life in most of western Europe.

    So, the fact that it wasn’t “used” is irrelevant.

  • Michael Henry

    The Taoiseach Enda Kenny says today that he wants a memorial to the sexist pig Redmond put up at Leinster House-which is a pure disgrace- for a leader to want this for a anti female is a resigning matter and I expect Journalists to be foaming at the mouth over this proposal-( unless they are anti female also )-

    The Minister for foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has also come out in support for the sexist pig Redmond by calling him a Canon of heros-he should also resign for supporting the anti female Redmond who opposed women being allowed to vote-

  • chrisjones2

    Trident is an obscenity ….that has kept you safe for 40 years

    PS look at today’s papers …that nice Mr Putin was boasting how many European Countries he could invade in 12 hours

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But then Vladimir can boast, he has an army still, and not about seven front line troops and 30,000 support services.

    And Trident is sooooo expensive……

  • babyface finlayson

    If it could have wiped out most of western Europe then the proximity to Ireland would surely have been irrelevant!

  • babyface finlayson

    If there was never any chance of Ireland escaping the grip of the UK (what’s this UK(raine) business by the way?) then by your logic the rising was indeed futile.
    I can’t follow the rest of your post really. Are you saying that from 1918 until 1969 international economic and strategic considerations would have prevented any further progress from home rule had it been put into effect?

  • gunterprien

    No. the rising wasn’t futile. I was arguing my point taken from the position that the Rising didn’t happen BUT Home Rule did.

    It’s the ALT history that Joan Brutal speaks of.

    Alt history = alternative history.

    And the point is If home Rule was granted in 1918..Then Ireland had until 1935(o r so) The reason I pick 1935 is that was the year the British started arming up for WW2.

    And MY point is that from 1935 until 1991 ( The collapse of the USSR) Ireland would have been under the Jackboot of NATO.

    So these ALT history chappies have only 1918 to 1935 for Ireland to go from Home Rule to Repubic. Which is 17 years..NOT enough time.

    You obviously don’t know what SOSUS and GIUK Gap is.

    Please read the links.

    To understand..and SEE why Ireland would have been under Nato Jackboot.

    clue??? It’s got nothing to do with the FCA. Also you shall need an atlas.
    to understand why Joan Brutal is really talking garbage..And why he should NOT be listened to.

  • Starviking

    And how could the collision have wiped out life in most of Western Europe?

  • Starviking

    NATO did not even exist until 1949, so how you can say Ireland would be under their jackboot from 1935 escapes me.

    Also, one key point about Alternative Histories is that a change, called a Point of Departure, changes the historical events that occur after it. Thus, a more united British Isles changes geopolitics. So claiming that people will be under NATO jackboots is fallacious – as NATO as we know it, and many other things that came to pass because of the way our history worked out – would probably not exist.

  • gunterprien

    LMAO..Don’t be naive. Are you saying that WW2 wouldn’t happen If Ireland had home Rule?
    As for Nato..It makes no difference what year it came into being.
    The POINT is Ireland would have been kept under British Rule for the duration of WW2 and after, since it would have been used as a wartime base ..It would similarly have been used by NATO. There Fixed it for you pedant.

  • gunterprien

    Simple..If one of those missiles had of cooked themselves.

  • gunterprien

    BTW..If you had of read my earlier posts..You will have read that I said Ireland would have been under the British Thumb from 1935..As this is the date of the start of British build up for WW2 and THEN under Nato afterwards. So read the earlier posts.

    And here is the full QUOTE ..”During WW2 Ireland would have served as a base for USA and Britain. Ergo Ireland under home Rule would have been dragged into NATO.”

  • babyface finlayson

    I don’t know how you can say 17 years would not be enough, On what basis?

  • New Yorker

    The Free State and Republic largely excluded themselves from the world economy until the 1970s due to an inward looking mentality. Compare economic stats during the 1920-1970 period with other Western European countries and you may get the point I am making. Of course there would have been the 1929 crash and WWII. Ireland did not benefit from the post WWII boom, why do you think that was?

  • babyface finlayson

    Which attacks has it fended off then?

  • Starviking

    They would have to have gone through an arming procedure, and would have been detonating under a considerable amount of water, so I think Western Europe would have been safe.

  • Starviking

    “Darling?” Sorry, I’m not female.

    And, as I said, NATO as we know it might not exist. Indeed, with a better relationship in the British Isles, the Empire and Commonwealth may remain powerful enough not to need a defensive alliance like NATO.

  • Starviking

    You seem to have some issues with people challenging your opinions.

    I’m sure some conflict would have broken out in Europe, it might even have been big enough to be called WWII. The point is, with a better relationship in the British Isles you are making a massive change to one of the nations that was the principal fighter, with the Empire and Commonwealth, for the first two years of our WWII – so even if something like WWII occurs it will be much different. Even at a minimum, the RN will have access to what we call ‘The Treaty Ports’. Also, the presence of a significant number of Irish MPs at Westminster changes British Politics – so we would probably not get the same goverments in power, which changes British diplomatic strategies.

    Also, you have to remember that the Russian Revolution took some inspiration from the Easter Rising, as did the Israelis later on. Home Rule instead of rebellion has a knock-on effect there too.

  • gunterprien

    On the basis of Sloth…You know one of the so called 7 deadly sins.
    And also World events. such as the Wall street Crash. European Facsism..Small things like that.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    This book might give you an insight as to what New Yorker is referring to:

  • babyface finlayson

    Well Scotland got its parliament in 1998 and 16 years later had a referendum on independence.Not so slothful! Look at the collapse of the Communist bloc in 1989, the speed of events!
    Those world events you mention could just as easily have precipitated a move from Home Rule to independence. You cannot know.
    In reality the rising gave us partition and a bitterly divided country. Home Rule may still have resulted in some partition but possibly a smaller more manageable rump.
    It is fun to speculate, but if you take a position of NEVER that seems overly dogmatic to me.

  • Muiris

    No doubt Pearse was a forward thinking educationalist. I’m not sure that offering a child a rifle, as a prize for winning a poetry competition comes under that heading, however (see cliché 1 as per previous post) 🙂

  • gunterprien

    Is there a similar book on British de industrialization?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I’m sure there are many.
    But, just like ‘Portuguese irregular verbs’ by Dr Von Igelfeld they have very little bearing on New Yorker’s point (which you seemingly can’t accept)

  • Rugfan

    “Considering the previous bill had been passed through parliament only to be rejected by the old boys of the Lords proved there was zero guarantee that even this act was going anywhere and as stated above it was likely passed knowing full well with WW1 it could never be implemented.”

    With respect, the problem of the House of Lords as an obstacle to Irish Home Rule was removed by the Parliament Act 1911.

    It was the threat of civil war which would have been the most likely reason for Home Rule in Ireland to fail or fail to be set up. Unionists and Nationalists were never going to be willing enough to give each other sufficient concession for a compromise solution.

    Whether the 1916 rising did or did not happen, Ireland was a powder keg. Things could actually have been worse than they actually turned out. A civil war between the North and the South would have been utterly catastrophic with sectarian murders occurring on a large scale. The British would then have been forced to intervene and would have still have ended up being hated.

  • gunterprien

    Oh it does.
    It points to a record of incompetence.
    And surely when you,or New Yorker is trying to demostrate a situation whereby Ireland might have “benefited” from been under the Union. than you must point to some sort of competence.
    I am saying that there isn’t.
    Sorry if that is over your head.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Are we taking into account the crippling debts Britain demanded were carried by the new Irish State in 1922 (“their ‘fair’ share…”) or the “Economic War” of the 1930s between Britain and Ireland, when redress was sought, that ensured that Ireland was kept in an economically subservient position to Britian until quite recent times?

    Sometimes a depressed inward looking economy may be viewed from another angle as an oppressed economy engaged in survival stratagies. Exactly why is it that the old “coal in the bath” version of the Irish economy goes unchallenged even now when a more even playing field has displayed a nation seemingly more able to attract and hold manufacturing than the wee six?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “And surely when you,or New Yorker is trying to demostrate a situation whereby Ireland might have “benefited” from been under the Union”
    Who said ‘under the union’?
    Home rule was about taking Ireland (all of it) OUT of the union.
    You’re arguing with something that isn’t there.

  • gunterprien

    Scotland HAS home Rule since 1998.
    Are you telling me it’s NOT in the Union.
    Juiz Luiz man. We all make mistakes.
    But there are mistakes and then there are mistakes.
    Ireland under Home Rule would still have been ruled by the British.
    Home rule is just devolution. It’s the same thing.

  • New Yorker


    The debt in the early 1920s was excused by the Brits in a secretive deal on the Border Commission in which the Free State dropped their demand to draw the boundary such that nationalist sections of the six counties would be in the Free State; the Free State agreed to a boundary that included all of each of the six counties in the UK in exchange for excusing ‘their fair share’.

    The Free State and Republic could have traded and sought investment from countries other than he UK. There were ways to escape alleged economic servitude. My point is that an inward looking mentality prevented them from taking advantage of those methods. Economic success in the 1990s and after came about when they became more outward looking.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    My dear fellow, Newyorker, yes, the bizarrely inflated “share” of the Imperial debt that Westminster initially imposed was quite properly cut. Everyone knew a new Ireland, with an economy that had been crippled in English interests for centuries, until well meaning people such as Lord Dunraven began to see the sense of Irish Ireland economic proposals, could hardly ever pay off such enormous sums. But the Wyndham acts provisions for funding the farmers who had purchased land, and making up the “gap” between a fair price and what the landlords claimed they needed, this was inherited and the level of payment to English banks effectively crippled the new-born economy. When Ireland, frustrated at any reasonable refusal to re-negotiate this burden, refused to continue payment, tariffs were imposed that further crippled Ireland’s economic life during the world recession.

    “The Free State and Republic could have traded and sought investment from countries other than he UK.” The British empire considered Ireland a Dominion and trade with the dominions was a very big no, no outside of Britain’s terms. Britain had only recently been the dominant world trading power, and still held tight trade control on countries outside the empire such as Argentina and China. Remember, we are in the 1920s, not the modern “Global world of fair trade”. (“…” intentional).
    You may be mistaking the appearance of independence Ireland took on in the 1920s. While, unlike other dominions, Ireland accepted ambassadors from foreign powers, these powers would have been unable to engage in unregulated open trade with the Free State against Britain’s wishes. I had all of this explained to me on my father’s knee, one of the few advantages of actually l growing up among ‘movers and shakers” in this benighted land.

    I’m no great fan of Dev’s Ireland, which was inward looking, yes. But with no early economic encouragement of the new Free State, England is very far from innocent of encouraging the success of inward looking policies. Takes two to tango…….

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    It still has little bearing on New Yorker’s point where he speculated how ’50 years of poverty’ might have been curtailed/reduced with a more outward looking approach (which is what eventually happened anyway, why not do it sooner rather than later?).

    It did happen, union or no union and neither of us said that being in the union was ‘the way’ to go.

    As Seaan points out there are other factors too but the theocracy-lite, inward looking attitude also was a major part of it.

    Just because Belfast suffered after the wall st crash doesn’t mean the Republic’s (or dominion’s) way was any less backward.

  • gunterprien

    For at least the first 10 years of the Free State. The Govt. “imported” Civil servants from the so called Uk treasury.
    These British civil Servants advised the Irish to run a balanced Budget.
    Let’s look at Italy and Denmark in the 1920’s. for an “outward looking approach”
    Those Countries borrowed money, ran deficits for Investment. This worked in both these Countries cases.Quite successfully.
    So according to your argument Ireland’s “outward looking approach” Should have gone furhter afield than Britain.Yes/No? This is my understanding of what you are saying when you put your argument up against the actual facts ..anyway.
    That was the 1920’s.
    In the 1930’s a host of European Countries engaged in policies of economic Self Determination or “autarky” DeValera in Ireland DID the Same.
    So Can you please explain what Ireland was to do with the Beggar Thy Neighbour policies in Europe of “autarky”.?
    Was Ireland supposed to write the heads of Governments in Europe a stiff letter?
    Do tell.
    “How do you solve a problem like Maria?2 a tv “talkent” show…How Do you solve a problem when Ireland’s European Neighbours are pursuing “autarky?
    Again it’s Juiz Luiz time.

    Last but NOT least Ireland gained it’s partial Independence at a time when Britain has been in a long drawn out period of both relative and actual economic decline. and of course 90% of Irish industry in 1922 was in 17% Ireland. So this is a major factor in play.
    So, in summation. You are one of those Unionists who love to put their boot in. Carry on.
    But next week I shall be asking the question of How Britain received MORE US Marshall Aid than anyone in Europe ( By a large degree ) AND suffered the least bomb damage after WW2. of the warring powers..And Ask. How has it come to where it is Now?
    i.e McJobs for the population 10-15 million low paid workers on some form of Government assistance.
    Traditional industries shuttered.
    An oil bonanza squandered.
    Lowest productivity in Europe.
    A creeking infastructure..roads, railways and the National Electric grid are way behind anything in Europe.
    Where did it all go so wrong?

  • gunterprien

    Ireland didn’t have universal secondary education for it’s citizens until the 1960’s.
    I think If you ask any economist what is the single most important thing any government can do.
    They will either say. Stability as in Peace Law and Order etc.
    Or education.
    So the simple answer o your question is contained in my first sentence.
    And read Seaan’s post as to why it took Ireland until the 1960’s for universal free education to become available.

  • New Yorker

    In your first paragraph are you agreeing that the Free State government betrayed nationalists of the six counties who lived in majority nationalist areas, which would probably have been part of the Free State, to save a few pounds?

    Despite British ‘dominance’ Henry Ford set up in Cork in 1917. Why did the Brits allow that? If Ford could do it, why could it not have been done after 1922?

    My point is not that the Brits are blameless for the fifty years of poverty of the Free State/Republic, but that the mentality of Sinn Fein at that time was inward looking and led directly to poor economic circumstances.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    1917? What else happened then…..

    Oh yes, the United States entered WWI allied to Great Britian and France…..nothing to suggest that Ireland (still part of the United Kingdom, anyway) was not acting in the British Interest.

    I do not think we are disagreeing about the inward looking nature of the new Free State administration, but I am suggesting that this was underwritten by British attitudes to the Irish economy. The retention of Sterling and of Dominion status pre-disposed Irish trade to favour Britain and the Empire, and the issue of currency convertability being easier within the Sterling friendly environment ensured that this predisposition continued in a manner that inhibited Ireland from wider trade links. English policy towards the Irish economy encouraged the unadverturious nature of the various administrations until 1973s and Ireland’s membership of the EEC. But it was a two handed game, and simply seeing Ireland as a conservative and unadverturious economy state does not address why it was a conservative economy.

  • New Yorker

    We do not disagree about the inward looking nature but the causes. You emphasize the British factor but seem to ignore the change of mentality that took place with the arrival of the Free State and Sinn Fein. If Henry Ford wanted to set up his business post 1922 rather than in 1917, do you think he would have been welcomed by the Free State government? And so the ‘ourselves alone’ mentality continued for fifty years and Ireland the much poorer for it.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m just attempting to put a bit of balance into the allocation of blame. The habit of positivism requires us to believe that victims in any situation are to blame if they do not simply put that trauma behind them, “pick themselves up, dust themselves down and start all over again.” This becomes difficult when your legs are paralysed.

    And while I freely admit that there was a strong conservative streak in the new Irish state, there is a tendency to blame this for every ill. Britain has long presented their every action as honest broker, objectivly balancing things to ensure that fairness and decency prevail in client states. I am attempting to bring a usually much ignored factor of British motivation into the discussion. Simply blaming the Irish for the outcome of centuries of colonial control tips a much more complex truth well over to serious imbalance. And underlines an old habit of blaming the victim for their own experience of abuse.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Here we go again! Rather than simply repeating the old clichés, please check out “A Significant Irish Educationalist. The Educational Writings of P.H. Pearse” edited by Seamus Ó Buachalla.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    In which case Gunter New Yorker’s point still stands, they might have had a better chance with Home Rule after all then (for a while?), at least that way the disadvantage of being a dominion is done away with and we might not have lost so much of our whisky industry (for example) as a result of the economic war etc.

    So again, New Yorker’s point is valid.

    He/we did mention 50 years and you mentioned only the 20’s and 30’s, two of the most trying decades. The Republic didn’t wake up till very much later.

    ” You are one of those Unionists who love to put their boot in. Carry on.

    Yes, but you’re very much mistaken if you think I reserve the boot exclusively for nationalism, everyone gets a touch of the boot.
    And curiously (and not-hypocritically?) are you not just getting the boot into the UK whenever the argument allows it?

  • gunterprien

    Ireland would have been depopulated under Home Rule.
    The population of Ireland is 6.5 million.
    New Yorkers point is not valid whatsoever.
    I make Wales my case in point.
    As soon as coal industry was no longer viable Wales went into massive decline.
    Ireland was run into the ground by the British.
    And they have run most of their Country into the ground.
    So How can that be right?
    “the Republic didn’t wake up….”
    The Country had an English jackboot on it’s throat.
    Pour Encourger Les Outres.
    Like Scotland or India for example in breaking away.

  • gunterprien

    “He/we did mention 50 years and you mentioned only the 20’s and 30’s, two of the most trying decades”
    Are you for real?
    So What.
    I left out the 1940’s?
    You do know what happened to Europe in the 1940’s.
    I am sorry I didn’t spell that out for you.
    I just thought you may have worked out that one for yourself.
    So that’s the 20’s 30’s AND 40’s “covered”
    30 of you self appointed 50 years!!!!
    And you make my point for me in saying the 20’s 30’s were “trying decades”
    What were the 1940’s??? A game of skittles.
    I mean Face palm..stuff this is.
    Ireland built airports built power stations and electricity grid during those “trying” decades. And a National Airline etc..etc.
    After WW2 Ireland invested in agriculture and increased Yields. using Marshall aid loans.
    and As I already mentioned it wasn’t until the 1960’s that ireland got Free Universal secondary education for it’s citizens.
    About 15 years later than Britain..But I wouldn’t trade Independence for that.

  • New Yorker

    We have different opinions on the value of history. You appear to have a view that holds by ignoring faults we pamper one side and this leads them to success. On the other hand, I believe a hard look leads to identifying problems that require rectification. I suggest your view assisted in the fifty years of poverty and emigration which we not necessary if certain major mistakes were not made. The pampered approach did not lead to success, whereas a hard look very well might have.

  • New Yorker

    And why was there no universal secondary education until the 1960s when the rest of the West had it? You identify another injury the sinn fein mentality foisted on the people of Ireland. An outward looking mentality would have taken consideration of what other countries were doing and concluded that it would be a good thing for the people of our country. But, then again, would a well educated population have voted for those in power!

  • gunterprien

    England didn’t get it until 1946. You call yourself New Yorker but you may as well have written under the name Tiger’s Bay.
    Would you like to discuss the injuries inflicted on Ireland by the British Trive.and their quislings?
    I suggest you read my thread about “outward looking” the Free State had British Civil Servants advising on their Finances.
    Your argument is in tatters.
    You are blinded by false propaganda of Unionism.
    How is Harland and Wolff these days under the rule of the “mighty British”?

  • New Yorker

    Play the ball, not the man. Otherwise, readers might conclude you surrender on the issue and are just ill tempered, much like a certain political party.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear, New Yorker, this is simply not good enough! Look at the actual situation in Ireland in those years and do not simply use “inward looking” as a catch all, it needs much more detail, much more unpacking, to let us know what you mean by “outward looking” other than simply throw away generalisations such as telling the Neanderthals of the Free State taht they should have “taken consideration of what other countries were doing and concluded that it would be a good thing for the people of our country” and to stop sulking in the corner. Irish education actually did this in places, where there was the funding to do it (Yeats’ “Among Scoolchildren” is an example). Being “outward looking” is far too abstract a way of looking at this, for education does not exist and grow in a vacuum, it needs to be organised and its organisation costs money, a great deal of money, to be effective. It does not, like “Topsy”, simply grow all by itself. If you want to know where to look for the inability of Ireland to develop, look Pearce’s essays on how teh English education system aws affecting Ireland before 1914! Training helots, rather than education the whole person. Despite this, perhaps in reaction to this, Ireland developed some of the most significant figures in European culture.

    You ask if “a well educated population have voted for those in power” seemingly forgetting that the previous generation of Irish intellectials and artists produced many of the most significant figures in European literature through the twentieth century, alongside any number of scholars and others who excelled in other arts. Irish intellectials had more than “taken consideration of what other countries were doing” and their awareness of developments in contenental philosophy alone show how incredibly insular English philosophy was by comparison, with only Whitehead actually aware of Neo-idealism as just one example .

    Ireland has produced one of the great cultures of Europe, contributing significantly to almost every aspect of European thought and culture, an extraordinary intellectial record for a country whose own native culture had been effectivly repressed in the interests of England needs from the Elizabethan conquest until well into the nineteenth century. all of this besides overt and covert campaigns to cripple the naissant Irish economy.

  • gunterprien

    The only personal remark I made to you was about your avatar and it’s location i.e New York.
    As for surrender???
    There is no need. I think it is far more galling for you that 26 Counties left the Union than for me that 6 Were Gerrymandered in.
    Whilst I am a Nationalist, And the idea of a Gerrymander appalls me. The fact that the British aren’t making any money on the deal. soothes the nerves somewhat.
    Whereas you seem consumed in trying to knock down the Free State.
    If you are American, And If you are worried about the 50 years since 1922.
    What could I unearth about American history from 1922 to 1972.
    Well prohibition, Chicago Mob, Wall street Crash, Imperial adventures in Mexico, The Phillipenes, Cuba, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam War, Assassination of Kennedy,
    South and Latin American Imperialism.Senator McCarthy, The Hays code.
    America is pretty inward, isolated place to be in.
    Has the shock of Janets’ Jackson wardrobe malfunction died down yet?
    How is the American Health Service.
    Where Doctors run Free Clinics in Walmart Car Parks for the many who can’t afford insurance.
    And people with terminal Cancer live in tents after selling their possessions to pay for treatment.
    Do you really think you can judge Ireland???
    I mean Really?

  • New Yorker

    I am well aware of Ireland’s contribution to world culture. However, I specifically am referring to the period from the 1920s to the 1970s which was dire economically and politically and much self-inflicted and not the fault of perfidious Albion. You mentioned Irish intellectuals. Most of them decamped to the UK, mainland Europe, North America, anyplace other than Ireland of the period I am referring to. The period to which I refer was an aberration. From the earliest of the middle ages the Irish, as you know, founded learned institutions all over Europe, ie, they were outward looking and that orientation continued through the ages until the period of the Free State/Republic. From around the time of Lemass the Republic returned to an outward looking position and it is taking a good while to shake off the harm of the 1920ss to 1970s. I believe it is time the period to which I refer is critically examined, mistakes admitted, lessons learned and appropriate measures taken. John Bruton has taken the opening shot, now is the time to deepen and broaden the discussion.

  • New Yorker

    Whataboutery is the dying gasp of the vanquished. BTW, I don’t care if the Republic is in or out of the union. I care that both the Republic and the North be the best they can be and believe critically examining history is an important element of being so.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Most of them decamped to the UK, mainland Europe, North America, anyplace other than Ireland of the period I am referring to. The period to which I refer was an aberration.” Obviously the example of Joyce has blinded you to the great number of cultural creatives who stuck it out into the British engineered years of difficult poverty. I could start a list with Yeats and go on to many less known people such as Bulmer Hobson, but a simple look at a few biographies should allow you to correct your earlier misunderstanding yourself. Even with those who left for the US, such as Ella Young and Joseph Campbell, they were driven out by Anglocentric policies in the mid 1920s, not by the Ireland you pin point.

    The point I was trying to make was that “inward looking” needs a lot more serious unpacking before you can use it as a catch all.

    My simple point is that the foundations of the difficulties the new Free State would face were deeply laid when Lord Dunraven’s plans, during the Edwardian period, for a developing Irish economy were blocked at every turn by extreme Anglocentric nervousness about Irish competition, and that English meanness of spirit would flavour every succeeding decade until Ireland entered the EEC. I am not saying that Dev was not isolationist, its just that English policies favoured him and his policies, just as the Versailles settlement and reparations favoured extremism in Germany. In both cases English greed and moral laziness condemned others to long years of want and oppression. And an Ireland with even a smattering of English good will might mean that David Cameron would still be mentioning the “Non Member for West Cork” in debates, not something I would ever desire, but not unlikely with a less selfish thread of policies. And John Bruton would not have to pick up half baked ideas from some popular revisionist digest of how Brave Britain civilised savage Ireland and (honourably and altruistically) gave them laws and institutions, and publicly mangle a more complex and interrelated history with his crass Politicians simplifications. Lessons do need to be learnt, but not only by we ignorant savages, and blaming the victim for the malice of others is often the easiest, but not the most helpful of responses.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Yes, I am very much for real.

    If you thought that by my not mentioning the 1940’s and the war that came with it that I was ignoring the situation altogether then we’re clearly not operating in the same arena of mutual respect that I had assumed.

    I am outwith the digital notion that the only two options were either a Holy Roman Republic or an imperialist underling scenario.

    There are too many ‘what ifs’ to be considered before anyone can concretely declare any path as THE ONE.

    The violence scenario led to the expulsion (or ‘genocide’ if you accept some of the definitions on Slugger) of many Anglo-Irish, a class of Irish-dom that contained many talented people, what would their contribution to the Irish economy have been?

    We’ll never know now.

    (O’Neill was part of the wider Anglo-Irish net and was decades ahead in terms of reform, could there have been similar individuals burned out of their homes down south? Very probably).

    You have your digital view which you won’t even consider amending, fair enough, just don’t be surprised when people don’t take you seriously.

    And for the record, in what year was the English boot categorically taken off of the Irish neck?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “I care that both the Republic and the North be the best they can be and believe critically examining history is an important element of being so.” No sane person could think otherwise, but the important word is “critically”. A sea change has come over Irish historiography since the high point of Revisionist History in the 1990s when John Bruton’s administration began to draw on historians such as Roy Foster to help them enter the “modern world” and distance them from the old Nationalist school of historiography and the physical force tradition that drew inspiration from it.

    Serious attempts to evaluate ALL of the facts by younger historians are showing the threadbare nature of simplistic popular revisionism. The emotive use by historians such as Foster of terms such as ‘knee jerk Fenianism’, ‘pious nationalism’, ‘exclusive nationalism’ and ‘Gaelic Catholic nationalism’ are becoming recognised as themselves simply knee jerk reactions to the older historiography, simply a pendulum swing to the other extreme. A more complex analysis is beginning to evolve that does not excuse Dev for his severe limitations, but does not valorise the English role as the more popular of the Revisionists customarily did.

    I would beg you to begin to really look at Irish history again, especially the work of younger historians, in order to avoid the pitfalls of simplistic revisionist cliché poor John has fallen into. You would think listening to him he has not opened a new history book since his first year as Taoiseach!

  • gunterprien

    It hasn’t been.
    They are still here

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Is no one else struck by the irony that 100 years ago the idea of a statue to Redmond was the stuff of unionist nightmares (and propaganda) and now it’s the stuff of nightmares to some nationalists?

  • gunterprien

    “and believe critically examining history is an important element of being so.”
    You have been told on here about historical events and you have ignored them..When they don’t suit your agenda.
    And as for “whattaboutery” your mask kinda slippped when you try to turn a historical argument into a “sinn Fein” bogeyman type argument.
    In my view the argument turned at that point.
    You have your get sinn Fein at any cost agenda. I am not a camp follower of any political party.
    None of them are my leader.
    However when people have a rant about them It just makes me think they are doing something right.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I see Gunter (or maybe I don’t, are you talking about the Anglos or the boot?)

    a/ The Anglos
    Those hundreds of Anglo-Irish homes didn’t actually burn down?

    And thousands more didn’t leave?

    Because some remain in Ireland then it didn’t happen?

    I’m sure the remaining Armenian population of Turkey is equally optimistic in it’s outlook.

    b/ The boot


    So, Ireland is still economically under the boot of Britain.

    Well, you and Tim Pat Coogan have a lot to discuss seemingly, he’s under the impression that they aren’t and that they’re (or were) slightly jealous….

  • gunterprien

    Anglo homes.
    Well I am sure the French had lovely homes in Vietnam. too.
    Am I supposed to be worried about whether they are still standing?
    Well maybe so..But I am more in admiration for a people ( The Vietnamese) who didn’t lie down and take it.
    Not against the French..Not against the Chinese..Or the USA either.
    Oh dear..Did the Vietnamese break some eggs?
    So, are the Vietnamese now required to revise their history. And say they were all wrong to begin with/
    I don’t think so.
    As for the English still been here, remark.
    The English have denied the Irish a vote on a 32 County basis on what basis Ireland should rule itself.
    So you have problems with 1916? War of Independence..50 years of Free State rule?
    Then when don’t you join in with me and say the only way to settle this is to have a vote. Like Scotland has done.. Ireland as a Single unit..With a single simple question ( So everybody knows what people ACTUALLY voted for/against)
    And that question should be
    Ireland in or out of the so called UK?
    Yes No.
    Legally binding with all parties committed to respecting the result.(ncluding Westminster in the unlikely event that Ireland would vote into a UK)
    It’s so easy.
    So straightforward.
    So logical.
    That you have to ask..Why hasn’t it been tried yet.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    1/ You’re comparing the Vietnamese vs French colonial conflict to the Irish vs Irish & British conflict?

    Well done.

    “Ireland will be free now that we’ve burned down the house of the oppressive O’Neills and other families of mixed heritage!!!”

    2/ I believe that I am on record on this very website to supporting the call for a referendum. If I recall correctly the words used were “bring it on”

    If it’s a close run thing then unionists would do well to reconsider their ‘WATP’ approach, if it’s by a significant margin then nationalists would be forced to reconsider their ‘Sean-Bhean bhocht’ approach.

    I welcome either outcome.

    If a UI comes of it, well, unionists had their chance. Darwin is as Darwin does.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Is no one else struck by the irony that 100 years ago the idea of a statue to Redmond was the stuff of unionist nightmares (and propaganda) and now it’s the stuff of nightmares to some nationalists?

  • gunterprien

    You misunderstand me.
    You are talking about a border poll.
    I am talking about an all island single entity vote.
    Winner takes all.
    In such a sceanario.
    Either 32 Counties of Ireland gets absorbed into a UK
    Or 32 Counties become an independent state.
    No 75 page documents to vote on,
    Just a simple question.
    Of course the British Govt. Will have to decide whether they want a 32 County Ireland.
    Either by having a vote on the island of Britain or Westminster deciding on their behalf. I don’t care.
    Totally different to a border poll.
    As for the Well done comment.
    You were comparing the Turks and Armenians.
    Am I to say well done to you. also.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Yes I did misunderstand you.

    I thought you meant a 21st century approach, not the 1918 approach.

    I’m one of the few unionists willing to admit that unionism back then dropped the ball, but I’ve witnessed that such a thing is even till this very day to be expected from unionist ‘leadership’.

    I pray for a new path for unionism and as a second bet I hope for a revitalised thinking of the nationalist approach, instead you’ve provided an idea worthy of the Nolan Show (out of date and repeated ad infinitum).

    I mentioned the Armenians and Turks as there was a parallel to my point i.e. a vengeful majority ‘cleansing’ a ‘disloyal’ minority.

    You mentioned Vietnamese and French as if they were a direct mirror image of the Anglo-Irish & Irish situation; given that major landlords of Ireland include names like McDonnell, O’Neill, Fitzgerald or other now recognised ‘Irish’ names then your comparison is duff.

    If Lady Moyola’s surname is Ng or Ta then you’d have a point, but unfortunately for nationalism the Anglo-Irish were also a foundational part of their platform.

    How ruddy inconvenient.

    The Anglo-Irish were (mainly) Irish and the French in Vietnam were (mainly) French.

    Separating the Anglo-Irish from Ireland is like separating the Norman-Scots from Scotland (De Brus (Bruce), Fraser, Balliol, Stewart…)

  • gunterprien

    I mentioned Vietnam.
    Because they are a race I admire.
    They resisted colonialism..something to be admired.
    I never said they were a parallel to Ireland .
    So, Don’t you admire the Vietnamese? Yes /no
    Would you dare tell them that they should bend down to France, China or the USA.?
    I suspect you wouldn’t.
    But you tell the Irish to bow down to their “masters”. Why not the Vietnamese?
    That was the context of mentioning Vietnam.

    You see the point is. neither one of us have a dog in that fight ( Vietnam)
    Unless you do?
    So , since we are not blinded by anything other than a case of right and wrong.
    Vietnam is less sinning than France, China or the USA with regards to who should rule Vietnam.
    If you were outside looking in ..on Ireland
    Than Nationalism is the side with right on it’s side.period.
    So what? some houses were burned.
    Well, I think the Civic Offices in Wood Quay are a disgrace.
    I think a Viking settlement should have been recreated..And I would make many monies (Or profit) by selling Ice creams to anyone who was ever once fascinated by the Vikings!!!
    Hmmm… Let me see Vikings eh?.Less popular in the public imagination than dinosaurs…..More popular than I dunno Wimbeldon.
    So I think my business case stacks up. Even allowing for disappointing Irish climate.
    So Woodquay then..A mistake.
    Well then..Ireland should become the 51st State of America for building on woodquay. Architectural vandalism like that should call a halt to Irish nationalism.They MUST be punished.
    BTW ..Anglo Irish..Did they ever profit by rack renting or other dubious means.
    See..I know this pirate in Somalia.
    He hasn’t killed any Merchant Seamen..But people are saying nasty things about him.
    You’d think they’d leave him alone .
    Wouldn’t you?
    He’s only making a living.

    Me? sympathy with Anglo Irish?
    It’s a case of what did they do in the war? isn’t it?
    How did they gather their wealth?

  • New Yorker

    When you state: “I am not saying that Dev was not isolationist, its just that English
    policies favoured him and his policies, just as the Versailles
    settlement and reparations favoured extremism in Germany.” I realize we will have to agree to disagree. BTW, I was unaware of the contributions made to world thought and culture made by Bulmer Hobson!

  • New Yorker

    My reference was to a sinn fein, ourselves alone, mentality, not to the party with that name; although they have also been very destructive to Ireland North and South.

  • New Yorker

    I will look at the younger historians. Which ones do you suggest?

  • gunterprien

    “although they have also been very destructive to Ireland North and South.”
    The length of characters who you could say that about is many and varied.
    Sinn Fein blocked conscription. That saved more lives during WW1 than all the lives lost in 1916, 1919. The civil war and the troubles combined.
    And when you factor in those descendants of those people who DIDN’T go off to war..You are talking some serious amount of people.
    Scotland suffered TWICE the level of death in WW1.
    If conscription happened to Ireland..That would have been Irish dead.
    Something for you to think about.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    You’ll probably be surprised that I suggest the late Peter Hart’s work. But then I’d suggest you read his critics and take the measure of the debate. Thomas Earls Fitzgerald’s work on spies and informers (do you have Jstor access, or something similar?) offers a critique of hart that is informative for a start.

    Senia Paseta’s Irish Nationalist Women is worth looking at also, although it almost entirely ignores the very active woman’s movement in the north.

    Let me get out to my library in the morning and I’ll have a think beyond this “of the top of my head” answer.

  • New Yorker

    Thank you for that and I look forward to others tomorrow. I do have access to Jstor.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Excellent! The problem is that most of the new work in 20th Century history is still simply journal articles. If you’re interested, there is a great deal of early modern work that really provides what we used to call (in the Film world) the essential backstory. While Churchill made a great story of Dev drivelling about Cromwell, the importance of seeing deep rooted trends is very important. One of my own wake up calls was Richard Kearney mentioning Ó Buachalla’s work that would culminate in “Aisling Ghéar” in his “Postnationalist Ireland.” To become aware that an entire theme in Irish History has been totally forgotten or buried under such politically motivated misdirections such as the term “Séamas an chaca” a sentiment which is represented in a small handful of poems, while tens of thousands of eighteenth century poems praise the king. Kearney shows how such selective reading of Irish history, where entire central experiences are suppressed in the interests of a pure Republicanism, is a key source of much of the imbalance that has given rise to the revisionist reaction.

    I am much impressed too, by Angus Mitchell’s careful work on Casement.

    I’ll have a think about articles now.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I like Vietnamese food (had a banh mi this morning, delicious), there’s a lot of them around here but can’t say I ever found myself ‘admiring’ them.

    I don’t recall saying that the Irish should “bow down to their masters”. If that’s what you’re taking away from this then you’re even more biased than I initially thought.

    And to simply write-off the expulsion of large numbers of the Anglo-Irish as ‘a few houses got burnt’ is staggering.

    I thought nationalism was about ‘equality’ and things like that, well, you let the mask slip there, you give the impression that it’s more about revenge.

    You didn’t outright say that the deserved it but you might as well have.

    Incidentally, rabble-rousers and scaremongers on the unionist side of the fence love to hear such things as it easier or them to punt the ‘this will happen to us’ line to the gullible and further fortify them against the very notion of a UI.

    Go Gunter!

  • gunterprien

    “And to simply write-off the expulsion of large numbers of the Anglo-Irish as ‘a few houses got burnt’ is staggering.”

    I didn’t write them off. But your point of View is that they are very important.
    In short. You are attaching too much importance to them.
    My point is they were the elite and the ascendancy.
    How did they acquire this wealth?
    That’s the crux of it..for me.
    Charles Haughey acquired a lot of wealth.
    Should I treat him with utmost respect?
    BTW I am not saying Haughey is an Anglo Irish.
    What I AM saying is there are MANY different routes of acquiring wealth.
    Some more lawful than others.
    Do you accept that The Anglo Irish may have acquired their wealth in “dubious” fashion.
    Rack renting..Exploitation etc.
    Not to mention the Anglos were “loyal” to Britain. Some may have been informers or Fifth Columnists.
    Some also were Rebels..
    So There are ALL shades of Anglo Irish.
    And their treatment should be viewed under the heading.
    what did you do during the War?
    And part 2 ..How did they acquire their wealth?
    I don’t care what Unionists think of a UI. They are already suffering from IRA under the bed syndrome.
    I regard them in the same light as McCarthy-ite Americans during the Cold War.
    Reds under the Bed.
    Basically the same idiots who led USA to defeat in Vietnam fighting communism..When the Vietnamese where fighting a struggle of National Liberation.
    Yanks never got this.due to paranoia.
    Unionists are oft the same cloth..although they aren’t worried about Reds.
    It’s not about revenge.
    It’s about coping on.
    BTW ..Nice sidestep on Vietnam.
    I shall ask the same question..Only more direct.
    Taking what you know about the Vietnam war.
    Who would you have prevailed. The Vietnamese or the Americans? Either you support the foreigner in Vietnam or you support the Vietnamese.
    Over to you.

  • Gareth Murray

    Far from accusing Redmond of being complicit in the deaths of Irishmen in WWI, remembering their sacrifice would be far more appropriate. In 1939 when36,000 men from the then Free State joined the British forces to fight in WWII Redmond was long dead. So who is to “blame” for their willingness to fight when their government told them not to?

    Irish republicanism has never really come to terms with the fact that more Irishmen fought at the side of their British cousins than ever fought against them.

    Of course it’s typical of Irish republicans to complain about a proposition that doesn’t follow their narrow view of history and what it mens to be Irish. They’d much rather entertain the idea of a statue erected to an IRA nazi collaborator like Seán Russell

  • Gareth Murray

    “Redmond was also opposed to women”


    He was against womens suffrage as were many of his peers, now that’s bad enough without going overboard.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    You didn’t write ‘them’ off, you wrote off the expulsion as “a few houses were burnt”.

    That’s a shoulder shrug and a half.

    Whether they were important or not (in the context of being singled out for expulsion) is irrelevant, they were Irish people and the ones who stayed (to be burnt out) were willing to make a go of it (Ireland).

    How did they acquire this wealth? From a wide range of avenues from plunder to legitimate business. It doesn’t matter.

    To say that it does is to pretty much justify someone torching Michael O’Leary’s place just because he is part of Ireland’s latest generation of rich people, some of whom obtained their wealth by dubious means (that’s not to say I’m not tempted after a Ryanair flight).

    “Should I treat him (Haughey) with utmost respect?”

    I’m not asking you to, I’m simply saying that it’s wrong to advocate burning him out of his house and expelling his type from the land.

    There were all shades of Anglos and the more vulnerable ones were attacked sometimes despite their political views.

    You might not care about what unionists think of a UI, which if extrapolated could help explain why there has been so little progress on the UI front.

    The McCarthyism point is valid (I’ve used the same example myself) but also quite hypocritical given you’ve just shrugged about an entire section of Irish society being expunged.

    You say it’s not about revenge but you give the impression that it wasn’t far off of revenge.

    As for the the Vietnamese, I didn’t side step, you asked me do I admire them and I said that I didn’t (and before you do you’re digital thing again that’s not the same of thinking of them in a dim light or not respecting them).

    Taking what I know about the Vietnam war (not much) I wouldn’t see it as America vs Vietnamese I would see it as America and Vietnamese against other Vietnamese.

    So whilst not a fan of the Americans I would have liked for South Vietnam to retain its independence and not have had the Communists forcefully install their vision on the region with the accompanying purges, re-education and revenge and expulsions (things that evidently you are not disturbed by).

    Having said that, were it not for this state of affairs then I might not have such easy access to Vietnamese food down here…

  • gunterprien

    “That’s a shoulder shrug and a half.”
    Well I guess what I could have said was looking at what else was happening in 1919 ( There were houses burned duing the 1919 war) And after. Is that considering the Black and Tan War. The Bloody Sunday in Croke Park. The exection by the British of IRA rebels.
    And the informers etc.etc. That burning of property is not my major concern. No it isn’t.
    The English brutalised the Irish. They hung on too long in Ireland.. The Irish lashed out.
    You are looking at this through hindsight..I am looking at it. based on what else was going on.
    So, Were people living in these houses or were they empty?
    Should I be more upset about burned down ( and empty) properties than an Irish Rebel summarily execued by the British.
    Or GAA fans gunned down in Croke Park.
    Or Black and Tan Terror.
    I know what I care about the most.
    And that is Irish fighting for their freedom. They take priority.

  • gunterprien

    BTW. You have people like Ruth ” Enoch Powell” Edwards and Eoghan Harris is the Scummy Independent making this case.
    You need better spokespeople than these.Coz those two are failures.
    Ruthie is a self loathing Irish person.
    And Eoghan is a blow hard self important parochial fart in a biscuit tin.( who is on record in defending a gay poet who travels to the third world to engage in 16 year old prostitutes!!!!!
    So, Way to go there.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    And here we are at last, Godwin’s Irish law; how long before some one palms off debate in favour of ‘Irish freedom’.

    Who needs reason when you have that to lean on?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Agreed, to disagree, I mean. But I cannot see how you cannot see how English Imperial policies to sustain a premier place in world trade for themselves, although not aimed at Ireland, were still very effective in crippling Ireland. And that a crippled Ireland found solice in Dev.

    Bulmer’s mother was a member of the Ardrigh circle. Bulmer was a playwright and an editor of Ulaid, the journal of the northern theatre movement. As with pearse and education, Bulmer the hot revolutionary was a waste of a creative imagination.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Back now from a trip to West Cork, anf will look at a few others.