THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY?

“Ballsbridge is like the Western front,” Ian McElhinney’s Edward Butler declared as RTE’s 1916 miniseries ‘Rebellion’ concentrated on the third day of the Rising.

There were plenty of bullets whizzing about in the third episode of director Aku Louhimies and writer Colin Teevan’s miniseries, starting with a British firing squad shooting a rebel.

Barry Ward’s Arthur Mahon couldn’t bring himself to raise his rifle and, avoiding a court martial, he ended up having to scoop bodies off the streets of Dublin.

Over the course of the episode, we saw a dead child, dead citizens, dead rebels, dead British soldiers and even a dead horse.

As the bodies piled up, Ruth Bradley’s IRB volunteer Frances O’Flaherty roamed through enemy lines with a concealed revolver, sometimes dressed as a woman and other times as a bloke with a flat cap.

Charlie Murphy’s Elizabeth Butler bonded with Sophie Robinson’s Ingrid Webster who revealed she had fled Belfast to avoid marrying a cousin.

Ingrid found her true calling as a nurse and tended to the wounded while Gus McDonagh’s Monsignor Mulcahy came into his own.

He defied Barry McGovern’s Archbishop Willie Walsh who advised him to have nothing to do with the rebels who he dismissed as “hooligans”.

Monsignor Mulcahy even helped Brian Gleeson’s Jimmy Mahon get back into the GPO.

Jimmy had been sent on a mission by Brian McCardle’s James Connolly along with Frances to ambush British troops but they both had to abort the attack under heavy gunfire.

As they fled the scene, Frances shot a British soldier in the head who was holding her colleague at gunpoint.

The violence got all too much for Arthur Mahon who returned to his family, only to be told his young son Peter, played by Jason Cullen, had rather ominously gone to the GPO to join his uncle Jimmy and fight for Ireland.

Episode Three of ‘Rebellion’ was at times thrilling, at times predictable, at times too sensational for its own good.

Some of the scenes where Frances O’Flaherty, Jimmy Mahon or Elziabeth Butler roamed the dangerous city streets did enough to keep audiences glued and the gun battles were reminiscent of Ken Loach’s ‘Land and Freedom’.

As discussed before, Teevan’s decision to focus on ordinary people caught up in the Rising rather than the main leaders was initially a smart move – drawing his audience in.

But as the series has gone on, we have seen weaknesses in this approach – particularly a tendency to veer into soap opera.

Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in the showdown between Sarah Greene’s May Lacy and Perdita Weeks’ Vanessa Hammond, whose senior British civil servant husband Charles, played by Tom Turner, was confined to quarters in Dublin Castle.

With May suffering morning sickness, Vanessa insisted on finding out why she was always ill.

With a doctor confirming May was pregnant, Vanessa was baffled when Charles’ Cork mistress told her she was carrying her husband’s baby.

Vanessa told her Charles had had a mistress when he was posted in East Africa.

You half expected a ‘Dynasty’ style brawl when Vanessa said May could not be pregnant by Tom because a Harley Street practitioner had told her and her husband “the fault lies with the seed, not the soil” only for May to retort: “The seed is fine in fertile earth. I seem to be able to give him what you have not.”

Scenes where Elizabeth’s brother Harry, played by Michael Ford-Fitzgerald, revealed he was in debt and then later got drunk in a pub after being given her engagement ring also rang hollow.

The soap opera elements of Teevan’s drama have become a distraction from the events of the Rising as seen through his main characters’ eyes.

And while the fatal shooting of Peter was an obvious, signposted moment in tonight’s episode, it was undoubtedly tragic. Brian Gleeson handled a difficult scene well when Jimmy learned of his nephew’s fate.

For all its deficiencies, Episode Three of ‘Rebellion’ did just about enough to persuade this viewer to stick with it – even a viewer from “the Black North” to quote Michelle Fairley’s Dolly Butler.

With two episodes remaining, we’ll be able to properly determine if RTE really is flogging a dead horse.

Dan McGinn is the resident film critic of Belfast 89FM’s ‘Saturday Bites’ programme and regularly reviews the latest cinema and television releases on the blog They’ll Love It In Pomona http://loveitinpomona.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-bear-necessities.html?m=1

  • Robin Keogh

    The soap opera element of the series might well upset the sensitivities of 1916 purists who revere the volunteers as heroes. However we have had romanticized and hollywood style presentations of the civil war, the troubles and possibly every major conflict in modern history with the exception maybe of the ulster covenant threat.

    All our heroic struggles have been offered up to us on screen with side stories of love, lust or some sort of scandal and sensation. While many fear this detracts from the historical significance of a story it can be argued that it helps attract younger generations who learn something of the serious issues while at the same time enjoying shallow but cruicial commercial entertainment. Crucial because whether we like it or not, a dollop of soap attracts a greater audience.

    In any event, the series so far has not disrespected the memory of those involved. It has captured the idealism and blood sacrifice of the volunteers, the conflict of conscience which haunted Irish Military personnell, the existence of genuine British sympathies for the Irish cause, the cruelty of the British military machine and the indifference of Britain’s imperial government. So far so good.

  • Jollyraj

    Half expected this to be about the IRA kidnapping and shooting Shergar.

  • Jollyraj

    “The cruelty of the British military machine” and the “blood sacrifice of the volunteers”. Are we to understand it is not cruel as long as Irish people are doing the shooting?

  • WindowLean

    After three episodes it has to be concluded that Rebellion isn’t very good.

  • Jag

    Paid peanuts, got monkeys.

    The final frames in last night’s episode supposedly showed the shelling of the GPO, the general post office there on O’Connell Street (there’s a replica building on the site today). The 3-second scene was shot in near pitch-black (natch, but even so, it looked like the doll-house it was) and as one Twitterer said, you could do a better job with MS Paint.

    Last night’s episode comprised A shooting at B, B shooting back, C getting wounded, D was killed along with a skit from “Upstairs Downstairs” and A Rake’s Progress.

    RTE failed to win any sympathy for ANY of the characters. Fine with the dastardly Brits, occupying swine that they were. But you’d think some of the Irish protagonists might have been portrayed in a more inspiring manner. The leaders, especially Pearse are aloof sketches. The “ordinary people” don’t do things, or say things, which might endear them to you – that’s pretty basic.

  • Jag

    Speaking of peanuts, Rebellion is being touted as a €6m (£4.6m) series. It is 4.5 hours long. £1m an hour remains a fairly meaty budget for TV drama. This is “historical drama” with external scenes, which probably puts it at the upper end of budgets, but it’s still expensive. The script is, let’s face it, woeful. The actors are unknown beyond Ireland. The scenery is extremely stagey, and very little attention has gone into costume. Where did all this money go? Probably not special effects and stunts and certainly not on extras.

    The €6m comes from five sources. RTE Licence fee (we the citizens) and Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (we the citizens). RTE isn’t saying how much of our money it’s spending, but the BAI says its input is €400,000.

    The third source is a company, Generation Film Production Limited, which is a so-called section 481 tax vehicle which was incorporated in March 2015 so we don’t have its accounts yet. Section 481 means an investor can sink €100,000 into the vehicle and they immediately get a 41% tax allowance, or €41,000 which they can offset against other tax liabilities. The investor generally gets paid back tax-free on their investment when the series is exploited in other territories or media (like DVDs). Again, it is we the citizens that ultimately pay for this funding because we lose out on tax revenue though the investor does potentially risk a poor-performing investment.

    The fourth and fifth sources are De Agostini (the Italian outfit that you see a lot of at this time of year, flogging new magazines) and Sundance TV, the itsy-bitsy US cable channel that shows foreign and independent series and which pre-bought the series from De Agostini. De Agostini apparently gets worldwide ex US TV rights for its undisclosed investment. In response to questioning over what RTE will get from worldwide sales, RTE says it’s “commercially sensitive”.

    RTE’s entire licence fee is around €180m per annum, and it gets about the same from advertising. It would appear it’s spending 1-2% of its total annual income on these 4.5 hours. I think we’re being robbed.

  • mickfealty

    I have to say I’m rather enjoying it. Pretty intense, but I think they’ve gone after it in the only way they can which is to tell a story in and out of the main historical characters.

    Only spongy bit I’ve seen is Ian McElhinney’s wife’s reference to the ‘Black North’. But it is a small flaw in an otherwise tight ship.

    The money clearly has gone into getting period Dublin right, and again I think that’s spot on. Seeing Liberty Hall come out of the old sepia photos was deft feat.

    Acting is sound. Not sure what people were expecting. RTE could hardly not do something a bit special for the year that’s in it.

  • Big Yellow Crane

    They could have done more to boost he credibility of the series. In the TG4 series from 2010 they cut dramatic re-enactment with historians’ opinions and all the Shinners seemed happy with that.

    Here they could have used extracts from the military archives and other contemporary witness statements or diary entries (maybe in the opening or closing credits) to validate the drama. The Director said his only condition was the script was historically accurate. They could be doing more to show that’s the case.

  • Thomas Barber

    “Here they could have used extracts from the military archives and other contemporary witness statements or diary entries”

    Would that be British military archives ?

  • mickfealty

    I’m off on a search for the TG4 programme so I can’t compare the two. I’m really puzzled at all the negs re Rebellion. It’s a fiction. And it’s really not a bad one. For me it’s definitely batting for the home team, but apart from the apocryphal use of ‘Shinners’ I think it’s what you might expect from the first mainstream attempt at dramatically representing such a seminal event.

    BYC, I don’t think using archives would have helped tbh. This is a drama after all, it’s appeal for authenticity comes out of the drama as more than anything else.

  • Big Yellow Crane

    I was talking about witness statements from Ireland’s 1916 military archives of the sort read by actors on this Google site.

    https://dublinrising.withgoogle.com/welcome/

    The TG4 program was Seachtar Na Cásca.

    There are a few episodes on YouTube. Michael Foy from Methody’s one of the consulting historians. TG4 don’t seem to have it on their Player.

  • Big Yellow Crane

    You can hoke around the archives from here (this is some audio from 1950 – maybe it could have been used for reminiscing – worked in Band of Brothers)

    http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/voicerecordings.html

  • Robin Keogh

    No

  • Jollyraj

    Fair enough. Then perhaps you might also acknowledge “the cruelty of the volunteers” and the “blood sacrifice of the” British soldiers?

  • Robin Keogh

    Not that simple. But explain in detail why you believe that to be the case?

  • Jollyraj

    I’d consider it cruel of the ‘volunteers’ to have caused the deaths of innocent Irish people, and terrorized the city. I’d also say the British soldiers who lost their lives doing their duty paid a terrible price. But you seem to disagree on those two points?

  • Starviking

    I recall reading of a workman getting his head blown off by a volunteer for the temerity of trying to recover his requisitioned workcart, a woman getting her head blown off for raising an arm to a volunteer.

  • Jag

    Yes Robin, by the way you’re going on, you’d think Ireland was occupied by an invader and was trying to liberate itself. Like France under the Nazis. Like Kuwait under Saddam Hussein. Like East Germany under the Soviet Union.

    How dare you portray the British like the Nazis, Saddam Hussein or the Soviet Union. They were an entirely different invader altogether.

    Maybe if RTE were to commission an “Allo Allo” type comedy of 1910s Ireland, the Brits might get the message. Yes, you were the bad guys.

  • Reader

    Jag: Yes Robin, by the way you’re going on, you’d think Ireland was occupied by an invader and was trying to liberate itself.
    “Ireland” is a lump of land and doesn’t care who occupies it. The Irish people care, of course, and in 1916 were represented by their elected MPs. How many of the elected MPs endorsed the rebellion?

  • John Collins

    Only men, and men only, over 35 had a vote. A very limited representation indeed. Apart from that GB is also only ‘a lump of land’ and if any foreign power tried to occupy it the British people would resist and as Randolph Churchill might have said ‘they would be right’.

  • John Collins

    But they were still an invader. The majority of those returned to Westminste from Ireland for the previous eighty years sought HR. It was obvious by 1916, as Carson said the year before, that HR was dead in the water. We would be still a poor and neglected ‘integral’ par of the UK, if it was not for the men of 1916.

  • John Collins

    Do you read of the thousands vapourised in Hamburg, Cologne and Dresden at all.

  • Jollyraj

    I did, but I fail to see how that makes Irishmen murdering other Irishmen in Ireland any more heroic. Put another way, what’s your point?

  • Jollyraj

    We see a similar sort of glamorization of the dispicable acts noe being carried out by ISIS. It is a pity apologists for the modern day IRA utterly fail to see the parallels.

  • John Collins

    Well Jollyrai I came up in the fifties/sixties and I heard from primary sources how the Black and Tans treated what to them would have been other British people and you could hardly call it heroic, Sadly what happens in war is not always heroic. Just one of many examples of their sheer and down right brutality and meaness comes to mind. My grandfather came from a labouring family who had no interest in fighting for anything be it King, Country or the IRA. He had a handicapped brother who was grabbed by a convoy of Tans and repeatedly half drowned by them in a local river because he would, or indeed could not, give them information about the local IRA. The fact was that this poor boy would not be responsible for a box of matches, never mind have any knowledge of what local paramilitaries were doing. The boy died shortly afterwards having never recovered from his ordeal. I could also tell of several other vicious acts that what was then British men on both sides did to each other and they were certainly not heroic.

  • John Collins

    Well if the British were so sweet and tender why have they been sent home from so many countries. And do you really think they conquered half the world by being little nice guys. Get real

  • Starviking

    So you’re saying that the advent of mass aerial bombing over 20 years after the Rising is a free-pass for cold-blooded murder?

  • Starviking

    That’s terrible, and the acts of the Black and Tans were despicable, but they are not the only ones who performed despicable acts then, which was my original point.

  • Starviking

    “Sent home”? More like “left”.

  • Jollyraj

    Well, assuming that the people telling you those (by then 30/40 year old) old stories were as honest, even-handed and unprejudiced as you yourself seem to be, we can certainly take them as literal fact.

    The more I hear from Irish Republicans incredible elasticity with the truth about events in my own lifetime, the more I tend to doubt the stories handed down from their antecedents.

  • John Collins

    Well I certainly knew my grandfather and he was apolitical and certainly not pro violence or anti British and as his story of my unfortunate granduncle was corroborated by some of their siblings in my presence I have no doubt of its veracity. Many of the other stories ended with the victims dead so I do not think they were lies or even exaggerations.

  • John Collins

    Well they were ‘sent home’ from the USA and the ROI for starters

  • SeaanUiNeill

    http://www.militaryarchives.ie/collections/online-collections/bureau-of-military-history-1913-1921

    The collection of these accounts in the 1940s and 50s on both sides of the border is a most exciting story in itself.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Jollyraj, this inability to honestly evaluate both factions of our community is a general characteristic. Both factions glorify and whitewash those who represent their own values, and demonise the other. It gets more difficult to keep it black and white when you have actually met participants. I’ve met people back k in the 1960s who were active as A Specials after the Great War up here, but who were just as bitter at the folly and brutality of the Auxiliaries and the Tans as any Republican, describing them as men who knew nothing of the country and cared even less about it, crassly simply doing a Freikorps tribute act in events such as the burning of Cork and the shooting of loyalist farmers mistaken for Volunteers with the same name by men who cared nothing who they shot as long as the accent was Irish. This is far from a one sided black hat/white hat situation for anyone who actually cares about the factual history rather than viewing the matter as some sort of enormous sporting event that one side must win…….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Starviking, exactly………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And, just as importantly, Reader, how many of their elected MPs in 1919 endorsed continuing British rule in the Island….

    History does not stop to offer us pearls of eternal wisdom at any give moment and a much broader picture is required for anyone who is not simply weighing the scales.

    But of course, many of those who had created and developed the Irish Volunteer movement, such as Eoin McNeill and Bulmer Hobson, not to mention the only actual casualty in action amongst the leadership, Mícheál Seosamh Ó Rathaille, “Ua Rathghaille”, utterly disagreed with precipitous action in 1916. It was not just the “elect” who judged the Rising folly at the time, but not so three years later………

  • Jollyraj

    Sorry, wrong house. I fully agree with you. Respectfully, I think Mr J Collins might be the man you need to send this to.

  • John Collins

    I never said they were the only ones to commit dreadful acts and I have consistently condemned IRA/Sinn Fein. However I never hear the USA or GB, or any of the other big nations beating themselves up on an on-going basis about the atrocities any of them have committed in the past.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Slightly confused as to what my culpability may actually be here, gendjinn, but am ready to accept anything my faulted nature may have mislead anyone in, but you may need to expand.

  • John Collins

    Just a minute Jolly.
    I have read what Unionist leaning historians had to say about Southern Ireland and Roman Catholicism back in the eighties and though some seemed to be quite wrong and often prejudiced I still learned at some level how to understand the Unionist and Protestant view. I have also studied Linda Colley’s ‘BRITONS’ The formation of Britain’ for a module in my BA degree. It gave a fair understanding as to why it was RCs had to be discriminated against in a Protestant GB surrounded by huge Catholic nations. It is good to ‘graze in another man’s field’ even if some of what you gorge yourself on is not very appetising. The truth comes in different packages.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Glad you’re going to revisit it, gendjinn. Peter Hart, despite a certain looseness at some points of detail, convinced me that his research was correct in general, as much by his honesty of person when we met as his argumemt. Similarly the solid arguments of Angus Mitchell and Tim O’Sullivan have convinced me that the Casement Diaries were probably forged, no matter how embarrassing this unpleasant fact might be to modern governments in Ireland and Britain. The “objective examination” that has convinced most contemporary historians is simply too perfunctory, and was carried out by someone reliant on

    http://www.drb.ie/essays/the-black-diaries-the-case-for-forgery

    Tim’s comments on the forensic examinations non-conclusiveness in this article are well worth looking at, and need to be set against the general. My family stories, passed down to me by those who had met him at Ardrigh, suggested that while everyone knew Casement to be gay, they also knew that this was used to facilitate the forgery’s credibility. Another area to revisit?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’d agree with you about the US and GB governments entirely. Note my comments on the Casement Diaries above, and Tim O’Sullivan’s interesting researches……..

  • John Collins

    Just read an article by Eamon McCann in the ‘Irish Times’ today, about how the Mau Mau were treated by the Brits. Suffice to say it was so bad Enock Powell vehemently condemned it, in the HOC. My point, again is British Politicians or Historians are not beating themselves up over this.

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: And, just as importantly, Reader, how many of their elected MPs in 1919 endorsed continuing British rule in the Island….
    I see your problem – the Easter Rising was in 1916.

  • Reader

    gendjinn: Regarding democracy – less than 10% of the population formed the electorate. In Ireland the percentage was even less. Even that tiny percentage had, at the ballot box, demanded the British empire out for 50 years. Which was ignored.
    Who said anything about ‘permission’?
    You can’t claim to speak for the ‘native people’ of the time. Even the rebels knew they couldn’t do that. Their plan to change the minds of the people was successful, but *not* retrospective.
    You have no reason to think that the election results would have been any different with a larger franchise. And w.r.t. the empire, you are exactly wrong. The Home Rule party wanted to stay in the empire.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Problem”, Reader? Only if you believe history should show some consideration for our more frozen opinions and perhaps oblige us by standing still……

  • Starviking

    It’s an interesting article, especially as it does not mention the atrocities committed by the Mau-Mau movement, atrocities which are not accepted as such by the Kenyan government.

    As for “The Brits”, and History – the case McCann mentions was out in the open soon after the events, and debated and discussed in great detail in the Commons. Check “HOLA CAMP, KENYA (REPORT)” at Hansard.

  • Starviking

    USA, ok.

    ROI, was part of the UK, and was going to be getting Home Rule anyway.

  • Anglo-Irish

    My mother was born in April 1909, making her 13 in 1922.

    My grandfather instructed her to hide if she ever heard the sound of a vehicle when she was walking to or from school.

    On her way home one afternoon walking with a school friend they heard a lorry approaching and my mother tried to persuade her friend to hide with her.

    The friend panicked and set off running up the lane leading up and over the hill to her home, my mother did as she was told and hid.

    The lorry was open with Tans sat on the back, they stopped and opened fire on the girl as she ran up away up the hill.

    At least six shots were fired and one hit the road and ricocheted away into the heather.

    After it was over one of the Tans laughed and said ” I think we winged the bugger”.

    Fortunately they hadn’t, and the ‘bugger’ was a 12 year old girl wearing a pale blue summer dress.

    I know what she was wearing because I asked my mother if they could have made a mistake as to what they were shooting at.

    Her explanation was that she thought they were drunk.

    A neighbour less than a half mile away was thrown into a ditch kept there for hours and beaten with rifle butts in an effort to get him to provide information he didn’t have.

    Cattle were shot and killed as they drove by and farmers shot at on occasion also.

    My father was an English protestant ex British soldier and the man who was beaten loved to invite him into his house and ask him about Egypt and Italy and his experiences during the war.

    Understanding that the actions of a few shouldn’t be blamed on everyone from that nationality shows both common sense and forgiveness.

    It doesn’t help matters though to attempt to dismiss what happened as inconsequential or exaggerated because you don’t like what you’re hearing.

  • John Collins

    I have researched the pre election coverage in the newspapers prior to the 1918 election and I notice all the usual threats that were used in the recent Scottish Referendum were used then, yet the electorate in what is now the 26 counties still voted for a lean from GB. That was clearly what their opponents said a vote for SF would entail. Thus I think the conversation had gone beyond HR, at least in the South early 1919.The GB government did not accept the decision of the people so there was a vicious War of Independence and GB then left. I find hard to see any evidence they would have left the South without violence. Simple fact that is what drove them out.

  • John Collins

    Reader
    Problems with 1910 Mandate for GB Government in Ireland
    (1) Only males over 35 had a vote. Those over 35 seldom vote to ‘rock any boat’
    (2) The House of Lords veto still existed so even if 104 Sinn Fein MPs had been returned to Westminster it would have made no difference. I think it can be reasonably speculated that potential Nationalist voters would see little point in voting in these circumstances
    (3) When a full electorate was allowed to vote in 1918, two years and eight months after the rising, the result, considering that 25 MPs were returned unopposed, was fairly conclusive

  • John Collins

    Well that is true and I have to say I have gained a highly unexpected and belated respect for Enoch Powell for his role in highlighting it. I have to say I am not surprised the Kenyan Authorities will not admit their role in those atrocities during the lifetime of any of their liberators. In the Republic in 1966 Pearse was still an untainted hero. David Thornley, an English born Journalist and Academic, wrote that he would not be surprised if Pearse was canonised. However a Fr Shaw, a Catholic Priest, took a more critical view and wrote ‘challenging the Canons of History’ as he called them, in which he criticised our hero. The piece was suppressed and was not published for seven more years. I am sure the ROI, or indeed Kenya, is not the only place people of this stature were placed on untouchable pinnacles.

  • Jollyraj

    “Understanding that the actions of a few shouldn’t be blamed on everyone from that nationality shows both common sense and forgiveness”

    Bravo, sir. But, respectfully, you really ought to practise what you preach, old chap.

  • Jollyraj

    “Yes Robin, by the way you’re going on, you’d think Ireland was occupied by an invader”

    Nobody is ‘occupying’it now.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Did I really old chap?

    You appear to be unable to see the difference between not blaming those who were not in anyway personally responsible for the actions of their fellow countrymen, and holding those who actually carried out the actions to account.

    Those responsible would also include those who sanctioned the actions.

    Not holding all British people responsible for the crimes committed by the British state against the Irish people and not holding the Irish people responsible for the actions of the IRA is simple commonsense.

    However, collusion took place which involved the British state and that is not acceptable, can you understand that?

    It does not make all British citizens culpable but it does make the state guilty.

  • Jollyraj

    Well, you’re fairly clear on what you take to be the wrongs of the situation – at least on the British government side – so I have a question for you. Putting aside whatever your take on the circumstances, how do you feel the British government should have handled the terrorist threat to British citizens, of any and all religious backgrounds, from the Republican and Loyalist terrorists. Given that both groups were engaged in mass murder of innocent people, how do you feel both governments should have conducted counter-terrorist operations?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While I’m no apologist for Imperialism in any of its forms, the fact is conveniently ignored often that the initiation for a new member of the Mau Mau was, as I heard once from some who had lived in Kenya, the rape and mutilation of a white person.

    Equally terrible wrongs were carried out on those captured, but this in no way cancels out the insurgents own setting of the bar with such foul actions.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Surely Mick you remember that delightful answer to the term used disparagingly, “The Black North” (1938) by County Down man Aodh de Blácam (Hugh Blackham), a truly positive celebration of that very “Irish Ireland” vision of the north as envisaged by an enthusiast remembering something of Frank Bigger’s alternative Ulster in the most triumphalist days of the old Unionism!

  • Starviking

    Enoch Powell seems to be a man of his era. Much as we can be embarrassed at things our elders expressed, we can be embarrassed/offended by what he says. But, much like our elders, we can also be impressed by some of the things they say.

    Powell vocally opposed the Prevention of Terrorism act, as ill-thought-out, knee-jerk legislation, legislation which discriminated against residents of one particular part of the UK.

    I’ll have to look up Fr. Shaw. I do remember reading an article about the Rising in the 1966 Capuchin Annual, and the anger and rage in it was frightening. It’d be good to get Shaw’s view on things.

  • Starviking

    I think the funny thing is this: the final HR deal – Northern Ireland, Southern Ireland, and a Council of Ireland – would have left far less distance between the Irelands than what Independence and division have wrought.

    As for the decision of the people – it was no referendum.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Nobody is ‘occupying’it now.”

    Are we leaving out Cerberus then Jollyraj?

    http://www.cerberuscapital.com/nama-announces-sale-of-northern-ireland-loan-portfolio/

    Things have moved on rather,and it’s not the semi-defunct “nation” states and their puppet “democratic goivernments” who hold the actual substance of power, it’s the multi-national corporations who provide the political funds to purchase who will be elected into governments. Their “ownership” and intentions for any landmass is the real thing one needs to actually worry about nowadays……………

  • John Collins

    Well I remember Easter Sunday Morning 1966 so well (where the hell is that hammer I put down just two minutes ago). It was a beautiful spring morning and I attended early mass in a local church. When it was over I was sent to a local shop to buy the newspapers. I noticed The Sunday Independent was only available, a sure sign the proprietor was no admirer of De Valera. In this parish there stood a fine edifice called Glenquin Castle. In 1916 a group of men had assembled to await the arrival of arms from Casement’s consignment at Banna Bay.
    Some other customer asked the now aged shopkepper if he intended to attend the fiftieth anniversary celebrations taking lace at the castle that day. He reply was didactic. ‘I will in my arse’ he said ‘there was only two men from this parish there that day and today there will be a band of them up there wearing medals they never earned’.
    Hugh Leonard wrote a so called historical drama which ran for seven nights during Easter week 1966. It was a totally uncritical portrayal of the events and lionised the role of Eamon De Valera to a ridiculous extent. I felt even that historians, journalists and indeed the media in general felt they had to portray this sort of account of 1916 while most of the general pubic of the day had a more realistic opinion of 1916 and the events that led from it.

  • John Collins

    Well Nationalist opinion would not have mattered before 1918 as the House Of Lords would have overruled any vote supporting Irish Independence anyway.
    Does everything have to be decided by Referendum?
    After all Ireland was the only state in Europe yo have a referendum on both the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties and the decision if the people was not even heeded.
    I respect your right to hold the opinion that this was not a vote for separation, but I feel that the point that we were leaving the UK, if Sinn Fein were voted for in 1918, was so rigidly hammered home by the HR Party members in 1918 that the people, who took a huge leap of faith, must have known what they were voting for.

  • John Collins

    Well Reader before 1916 there was no point for Nationalists to vote as the totally unelected HOL would have voted down their decision.
    ‘You have reason to believe that the election results would have been any different with a larger franchise’
    Well maybe he has. Look what happened the Liberal Party in England when the franchise was changed. The Labour Party in Britain had two seats in Parliament in 1902 and they were the party of government by 1925. Don’t tell anybody that the change in the franchise had nothing to do with this

  • Roger

    One could hardly argue with that! Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland were to be in the UK.
    You could go further and simply say that a continuation of things the way they were would have led to less division too…

  • Roger

    ‘Home Rule’ was just local administrative powers….Hardly comparable to independence. I think the powers envisaged for Ireland were even less than those modest powers enjoyed by Wales today.

  • Starviking

    Not sure about that second point, though some analysis of the Irish Convention of 1917 states Unionists were willing to go with an all-Ireland solution at stages of the process.

  • Starviking

    Asquith stated:

    This brings me to explain what are the powers of taxation which, under the new state of things, will be exercisable in Ireland so far as taxation is concerned. First of all, the Imperial Parliament will continue to tax the whole of the United Kingdom. Next, the Irish Parliament will have the power, first, to reduce or discontinue for Ireland any Imperial tax, with the result that, if it does, 1419 the Transferred Sum will be correspondingly reduced—that is to say, reduced by the amount of the diminished yield. Next the Irish Parliament will have power to impose Irish taxes of their own, whether by way of addition to Imperial taxes or otherwise, with the result that the taxes will be collected, as I have said, by Imperial officers, and the transferred sum will be correspondingly increased, that is to say, increased by the amount that the new increased taxation will yield. This latter power, the power of the Irish Parliament to add to Imperial taxes or to impose taxes of their own, is subject to certain restrictions. In the first place they cannot impose any Customs Duty except upon articles which are for the time being dutiable by way of Customs in the United Kingdom. Further, the Irish Parliament will not be able to add to any Imperial duty of Customs except on beer or spirits, or of Income Tax, or of Estate Duty, more than will produce a 10 per cent. increase. With regard to Excise their hands will be free.

    Seems much more than what Wales can currently do.

  • Roger

    What stages? What analysis points to Ulster Unionists being willing to go under an all-Ireland parliament? Do tell. I’m interested.

    Perhaps by “all-Ireland” solution, you mean ‘no real change’: the former Ireland remaining wholly within the UK and with no parliament of its own?

  • Roger

    Again, it’s hardly comparable to independence. Note the sentence you didn’t highlight: “First of all, the Imperial Parliament will continue to tax the whole of the United Kingdom.” That’s not exactly independence. For those who don’t get it, “United Kingdom” there included “Southern Ireland”.

    The references to “the Irish parliament” are rather curious. No “Irish parliament” was envisaged under the GOIA. That envisaged “Southern Ireland” and “Northern Ireland” parliaments. Are you sure the above is even in reference to GOIA? Perhaps you are talking about another statute.

  • Starviking

    So? You were talking about less powers than the Welsh Assembly.

    As for the quote, it was about the Third Home Rule act.

    You seem to be coming from the position that Ireland remaining in the UK would have been a totally bad thing. I disagree.

  • Starviking

    “The Ulster delegations leader, Barrie, had disclosed occasional interest in doing a deal. At this time he was beginning to talk privately about the possibility of an all-Ireland parliament, and a unitary settlement. Differences between Ulster Unionists and nationalist at this time were not over the issue of partition, but over taxing powers of a likely Irish parliament. Control of customs continued to be widely seen as an essential feature of national self- determination. Despite restraints, there were instants during which agreement might have been reached. Sir Edward Carson, crucially, seems to have regarded a unitary settlement with a degree of sympathy at this time.”

    From Wikipedia, sadly – but referenced to Alvin Jackson Home Rule: An Irish History 1800—2000, Phoenix Press (2003)

    Perhaps by “all-Ireland” solution, you mean ‘no real change’: the former Ireland remaining wholly within the UK and with no parliament of its own?

    That would be silly.

  • Roger

    To recap in summary:

    – you said the funny thing was SI, NI and a Council of Ireland – would have left far less distance between the Irelands than what Independence and division have wrought.
    – I agreed with you and made the obvious point that sticking to the 1801 settlement would have entailed even less division.

    But neither your ‘funny thing’ observation or my ‘1801’ observation, addressed the political reality that most Irish wanted change. Big change.

    – we were then exploring the changes that were on offer and I was making the obvious point that they fell far, far short of what the Irish majority were by that time requesting…’independence’.

    My opinion on whether the former Ireland would have been better off remaining wholly within the UK under the ‘funny thing’ or ‘1801’ settlement doesn’t really enter into it.

    That it’s a quote about the Third Home Rule Bill means that it’s not a quote about the ‘funny thing settlement’ we were earlier referring to.

  • Starviking

    Roger, you wrote:

    I think the powers envisaged for Ireland

    I took that to mean the Irish Parliament, i.e. the 3rd Home Rule Bill. I will try and dig something up on the 1920 Govt. of Ireland act, but as it seems to have had several different designations, that might take some time.