How the North sends the South to sleep…

Rebecca Black was at Trinity College’s recent Northern Ireland debate. What she witnessed was a group of people simply going through the motions. It certainly seems to have failed to set Dublin alight with our more customary northern passion.

By Rebecca Black

The annual Northern Ireland debate in TCD saw the Right Honourable Paul Murphy MP, Mark Durkan, leader of the SDLP, the Rev. Mervyn Gibson of the Orange Order and Daithí Doolan from Sinn Féin present opposing viewpoints in front of an audience of largely apathetic and largely northern Trinity students.

The motion for debate was “This house believes Politics has brought nothing but trouble to Northern Ireland”. Predictably the speakers to cause the biggest stir were Mervyn Gibson and Daithí Doolan. Councillor Doolan took the opportunity to fiercely attack the Secretary of State for the bugging of the Sinn Fein offices in Belfast.

Mark Durkan of the SDLP brought a laugh round the room at the start of the debate when he defined politics as “poly” meaning many and “tics” blood sucking creatures!

The Rev. Mervyn Gibson spoke outlining his position as an anti agreement unionist, as is usual with unionist speakers in Dublin his comments sank without trace, like lead balloons. The Trinity News reported a second year student commenting, “I was raging, ready to sign up for the Shinners right there”. Most of his comments brought gasps from the floor, gasps that seemed by the end increasingly stage-managed.

The Rev. Gibson suffered from the usual antipathy and misunderstanding that most unionist speakers face when speaking in the Irish Republic. When introduced as speaking on behalf of the Orange Order, most of the audience seemed to make up their minds about him and refused to listen to his arguments, which for the most part were well reasoned and perfectly understandable.

As a unionist living in Dublin I find this culture of pre-conceived ideas about individual unionists and unionism particularly challenging and sometimes infuriating. Looking around the room when the Rev Gibson was speaking, the faces looked bored and eyes were wandering around the room.

The Rev Gibson spoke about the Good Friday Agreement and the unionist perception of it, he spoke about how no real effort was made to convince the unionist people to support the agreement, he blamed this on the British Government and also on the Ulster Unionist Party.

It’s an interesting question to ponder: why are unionists so frequently not taken seriously in the republic of Ireland?

That this is even the case in the former bastion of unionism, Trinity College, is perhaps the more alarming. Hard line unionists are laughed at and the moderates are simply not taken seriously.

The reaction to Councillor Doolan of Sinn Fein was more light hearted – he drew sniggers from the audience. He spoke vehemently about 800 years of British oppression. And, despite the fact he is from Dublin and had only joined Sinn Fein in 1994, he spoke passionately about life in Belfast in the 1970s and defended the Republican’s right to defend themselves.

Where Councillor Doolan really came into his own was when he brought up the topic of the alleged bugging incident in Connolly House. He talked about how this had seriously damaged the trust between both sides in Northern Ireland. In the light of the findings of IMC report it seems that even if the British Government were bugging rooms in Connolly House they were perfectly justified.

The Secretary of State Paul Murphy talked about the reception of the people from his local constituency in Wales to his job in Northern Ireland. He made it clear that the people of Wales were very supportive of his role in Northern Ireland and frequently made a point of wishing him luck when he spoke to the people of his constituency.

After the debate it was clear that by a large majority the audience agreed politics has brought nothing but trouble to Northern Ireland. However it was equally clear that the topic of Northern Ireland in Dublin is an effective conversation killer.

Despite the fact that Trinity’s Historical Society organisea a Northern Ireland debate every October and have hosted high profile politicians like Martin McGuiness, Mo Mowlam, Jeffrey Donaldson, David Burnside and General John De Chastelin, it simply isn’t a topic that people take seriously. People just don’t engage with the problem here.

Rather like the attitude towards Sinn Fein in the Republic, people on the whole don’t take them seriously; especially problematic when it includes the majority party Fianna Fail. Will it only be when Sinn Fein becomes as big in the Republic as they have in Northern Ireland that people will start to recognise them as the serious political threat that they are?

  • willowfield

    A united Ireland would be a panacea, wouldn’t it, Henry?

    Sectarianism would end, the economy would boom, everyone would be happy. Maybe the weather would improve too.

  • Davros

    I have never heard a rasher analogy.

    I was racked with gilt at my analogy – based on a crack(l)ing poem, but I then thought – sow what ?
    It’s my turn to be a boar 😉

    And your community don’t own 42% of the piggie (the unionist community identity/loyalty )- they own 42% of the farm –
    I’m going the whole hog with this analogy !

  • George

    Willowfield,
    “And what if agreement were not possible? Methinks Nationalist Ireland, with a 4:1 majority, might just be in a stronger position.”

    Nationalist Ireland really only exists in relation to the “national question”. It is not a solid group of like-minded people. Take away the national question and you take away the nationalists.
    It would be more 50-50 conservative versus liberal.

    If for example, we were all still in the union and some were pushing for independence, with my background I’d probably be a unionist just like my grandparents. I’m not for the simple reason that my place in an Irish Republic made it obsolete.
    Ending partition would end nationalism as we know it.

  • Davros

    Ending partition would end nationalism as we know it.

    History would argue otherwise George.

  • George

    Davros,
    you are talking about a time when Ireland as a whole was under British, I am talking about a time when Ireland as a whole would be independent.

    There’s a huge difference for Irish nationalism

  • willowfield

    George

    Nationalist Ireland really only exists in relation to the “national question”. It is not a solid group of like-minded people. Take away the national question and you take away the nationalists. It would be more 50-50 conservative versus liberal.

    Er, we’re discussing the “national questions”!

  • Davros

    you are talking about a time when Ireland as a whole was under British, I am talking about a time when Ireland as a whole would be independent.

    No I’m not 🙂

    Having ‘created’ an Irish Nation, one would maintain that Nation. Thus nationalism wouldn’t go away.
    There would still be an “other” against which an Irish Identity would be maintained- Nationalism.

    France was created as a national concept at much the same time as Ireland was created as a national concept. Hundreds of years later French nationalism still exists – as seen in it’s resistance to US cultural imperialism eg through regulations limiting the amount of Foreign TV and Foreign Music that can be played on the radio.

  • IJP

    Henry

    The GFA is not about integration. It is about making sure that division does not lead to violence. And it has nothing to offer on economic liberation.

    Excellent point.

    This is why parties that see the Agreement as the end of the process (like the SDLP seems to) are doomed to failure, both politically and intellectually.

    The Agreement is the start of the process. It sets out some foundations.

    What we must now do is move on from there towards greater social cohesion, integration and promotion of what we have in common rather than what divides us. That is why the ‘Big Four’s’ idea of two competing communities can never work because it lacks a commonality of purpose for us all to work towards together, and therefore leads to a permanently unstable balance (ergo mutual incomprehension, bitterness, fear, hatred, violence…)

    We share this territory, we need to work for what is good for all of us, and no one has the right to make a specific political preference a prerequisite to that.

    Certainly the Irish Republic has economic policies much nearer mine that NI has, or indeed than any party in NI offers. But a United Ireland isn’t going to happen in the next generation, whether I like it or not. Unlike Nationalists, I’m not just irresponsibly going to whinge for the next 25 years – instead, I’m going to put forward ideas to try to help us all move on!

  • maca

    “I was racked with gilt at my analogy – based on a crack(l)ing poem, but I then thought – sow what ?
    It’s my turn to be a boar 😉
    And your community don’t own 42% of the piggie (the unionist community identity/loyalty )- they own 42% of the farm –
    I’m going the whole hog with this analogy”

    I squealed when I read that! You’re really hamming it up there, but don’t be hogging all the jokes though!

  • davidbrew

    Davros
    given the British Israelite beliefs of many Unionists, perhaps the problem is patly the product.What Israelite wants a pig ?.

    Then again, the average Unionist’s views on the constitution is, to paraphrase the Beatles
    (Pig)let it be

  • Davros

    You folks are driving me spare rib-bing me!

    DB- Are their any British Israelites around NI these days ? Have never met one. I know they ‘rooted’ about Tara many years ago looking for the ‘Ark’ (geddit?) but were Sty-mied !

  • Davros

    Here’s one for Maca and Mick 🙂

    Is iad na muca ciúine a itheann an mhin

  • maca

    “Here’s one for Maca and Mick 🙂
    Is iad na muca ciúine a itheann an mhin”

    What’s the fascination whith pigs today anyway? 😉

  • Davros

    My little joke at myself 🙂

  • objectivist

    Willowfield.

    ”I don’t have any “orange irredentism”. If you were consistent, you would oppose irredentist gestures such as having “children from all the 32 counties of Ireland” at a 26-county state occasion.”

    I have repeatedly outlined logical,sequential , and evidence-based arguments as to why this not only non-irredentist but morally obligatory and also why your approach effectively amounts to hegemonism and irredentism.You by contrast have not gone beyond repeatedly stating that this action is “irredentist” without presenting any clear step-by-step line of reasoning.It (irredentism) is a word that you continually bandy about as a sort of knock-out strategem but I am beginning to wonder if you actually know what it means.

    ”Its wasn’t my expression of irredentism. It was the Irish Republic’s.”

    Now you are being childish.I was merely quoting your use of the term ‘expression of irredentism.’

    ‘I’m quite aware that the nationalist population in NI broadly identifies with that brand of Irishness personified by the Southern state. The fact that nationalists have been unable to separate their identity from a rigid geographical definition is the cause of irredentism.’

    Do you not think you are slightly arrogant in dictating to nationalists,North or South,what their identity, pure ethnic or ethnogeographical,should or should not be?.After all this is identity developed for well over a thousand years.In pre-Norman invasion Ireland for example there was, on an all-Ireland basis,a unified legal system (the Brehon Law) and a symbolic High King. All Irelandism in other words has a long and distinguished pedigree.

    “It’s neither irredentist nor annexationist. I am opposed to irredentism and annexation. I respect the boundary between NI and ROI.”

    A boundary which in terms of half the surface territory of NI,straddling the border,was conceived in a spirit of irredentism and annexation – a matter of historical record.You are up an intellectual gum tree here.

    “You, on the other hand, by claiming that the ROI has some kind of jurisdiction over counties in NI because a majority living there is nationalist, and that this requires “formal recognition” in a ROI state ceremony, are making an offensive irredentist and “annexationist” argument. It is dishonest that you attempt to misrepresent my position and deny your own position.”

    Please point out where I claimed that the ROI “has some kind of jurisdiction”.I merely pointed out the fact that nationalists are in a majority in some counties in NI to illustrate the substantial nature of this group.Substantial and,in terms of formal recognition, unignorable.My position has been quite clear and consistent.I was trying to point out the inconsistencies in your position.

    “Conceptual geographical localisation” is irrelevant.”

    On the contrary it is highly relevant.

    “ The ROI has jurisdiction over 26 counties and nothing more.”

    It is not a question of jurisdiction.This is a complete red herring.It is a question of responsibility.This being the case President McAleese has a responsibility to occasionally move from a 26 county to a 32 county dimension in recognition of all indigenous Irish.Remember that the ROI is not a full nation/state as its boundaries only contain a proportion of a nation –the remainder being in NI.Asking it to symbolically disown indigenous Irish in NI is,figuratively speaking ,asking it to cut off a limb.

    “Giving “full formal recognition” to all “indigenous Irish” is irredentist!”

    You keep saying this over and over again.But repeating a contention ad nauseum does not constitute an argument for that contention.It is merely vacant sloganeering.You have yet to advance even one convincing argument to support this statement.It strikes me that you are irritated by this gesture on an instinctual level and then scream ”irredentism” as a catch-all dialectic exocet.You also seem disconcerted- as if arguments you have held to be axiomatic have been effectively challenged for the first time.

    ” The ROI only has jurisdiction over 26 counties, not 32.”

    Please see above comment.

    “If “giving formal recognition” means treating NI as though it were part of the ROI, yes, of course it is irredentist.”

    An absolute nonsequitur. “Giving formal recognition” etc. literally means what it says.Stating that this ,in this instance, equates to “treating NI as though it were part of the ROI” is merely an attempt at a smokescreen of spurious posthoc de-legitimisation.

    “I don¹t have an irredentist/hegemonist mindset, therefore it would be impossible for me to abandon it.”

    You are in denial.This has disturbing similarities to the classic alcoholic who refuses to admit that he has a drink problem.Your general worldview centres around denial of formal recognition to the Irish population within the 6 county area and their envelopment in undiluted all-encompasiing Britishness.If you think things through logically no other conclusion can be arrived at.This is effectively irredentist/hegemonist/annexationist/colonialist/supremacist/ethnoexpressively obliterative.

    “On the contrary, I oppose irredentism and respect the jurisdiction of each of the Irish states.”

    You refuse to respect the rights ethnopolitical expression of the Irish population within the six county area.

    ”And 20th century nationalism¹s penchant was to grab as much unionist territory as possible consistent with a comfortable overall nationalist majority.”

    Who actually grabbed a sizeable tract of territory where the other side was in the majority?.The historical record is conclusive. And you are arguing effectively that the South compounds this injustice by symbolically expelling the majority population of this territory from the Irish nation..

    ”But that is irrelevant since we’re talking about 2004, not 1912.”

    Unfortunately events in 1912 and 1921 are relevant as they have adverse contemporary resonances..

    ”You’ve actually proved my point by claiming that the ROI has the right to give “formal recognition” to some sort of jurisdiction over certain counties in NI because “indigenous Irish” people live there.”

    You are putting words in my mouth.Where did I actually say that the South had a right to jurisdiction over certain counties in NI?.I merely used this point,among a number of points that could be outlined ,to illustrate the substantive and etnoexpressively unignorable nature of the indigenous Irish population in NI.Ergo no point of yours was accepted by me.Incidentally I note the obvious corollary in your comments that unionist majorities count and nationalist majorities don’t.Interesting and revealing.
    “When is a majority not a majority? When it delivers the wrong result.”
    -Prof.Joseph Joseph Lee.
    “Irredentism” applies when a claim is made on territory against the wishes of a majority of its inhabitants.This definitively does not apply here in the case of nationalist majority territory in NI.It would only kick in if unionist majority territory were claimed.This is an academic point anyway as the South does not advocate repartition.

    “That is irredentist in the same way that Hitler might have believed he had the right to give “formal recognition” to “indigenous Germans” living in the Sudetenland.”

    The Sudetenland chestnut is regularly pressed into service by unionist propagandists.I shall dispose of it here..It could be pointed out that the Sudeeten Germans constituted 22.3% of the total population in Czechoslovakia (less than half the proportion of nationalists in NI) and were in a majority in about one eighth of it surface area (as ooposed to about 2/3 in relation to nationalists in NI) but there are more cogent facts.It is pretty obvious that Herr Hitler’s ambitions extended beyond “formal recognition”.He clearly had more in mind than Sudeten schoolchildren being received by a putative German ceremonial head of state.His territorial ambitions were already on record (Mein Kampf etc) and it was obvious that the Sudetenland takeover ,which denuded CZ of its main defensive shield ,would presage and invasion of the whole state and of Eastern Europe.For a Sudetenald analogy to be valid you would have to envisage the (extremely) hypothetical circumstance of the ROI ,post repartition ,having both the inclination and military capability to seize control of the remaining are a of NI and then seizing parts of Britain for “lebensraum”.
    This leads on to the issue repartition.This is not an option that I advocate but there is no doubt that substantial arguments can be advanced for it especially if you accept the principle of population majority determining population territory sovereignty.A brief reality check-nationalists are in a majority in about two thirds of the surface area of NI,a substantial majority in the second largest city,and very nearly a majority in the largest city.And this is the population you want to consign to ethnoexpressive outer darkness.Though not generally advocated among nationalists its objective merits cannot be denied as long as its advocacy is confined to nationalist majority territory.It would only become irredentist if extended beyond this.In a similar vein.formal recognition of indigenous Irish commensurate with their numbers and majority geographical distribution is not irredentist.It only becomes irredentist if supracommensurate.The other side of this coin is that a large area of nationalist majority territory was incorporated in the northern state at its conception at the time of Lloyd George’s postwar coalition when the Southern negotiators effectively operated with a gun to their heads.Accordingly dragon’s teeth were sown whose toxic fruit have extended into our time.All this is a matter of historical record and hard,verifiable,fact.In this instance it can be seen that the Northern State at its inception,as opposed to what would have been a more logical 3 or 4 county pure unionist majority state was (and is ) the apotheosis of irredentism which is even more pronounced now with the extension of the nationalist population.In fact it could be described as transirredentism as it was irredentism that was translated into reality.
    And you,WF,are a transirredentist extraordinaire.In fact you operate a particularly extreme form of transirredentism in castigating gestures such as President McAleese’s. It says a lot about the supremacist streak in some sections of unionism that even gestures as innocuous and tokenistic as this can be labelled as ‘irredentist’.
    You continually use the term ‘Northern Ireland’ in some ways like
    doctrinaire republicans use the term ‘Ireland’ in circumstances which misleadingly suggests that it is a homogenous unionist state rather than a somewhat arbitrary state with 2 populations of comparable size,tending to be geographically localised,and of divergent ethnic orientation. As part of the GFA articles 2 and 3 were replaced by the constitutional enshrinement of the right of anyone born in the island of Ireland to Irish nationality.Therefore President McAleese ,who is guardian of the constitution,was acting in full accordance with her constitutional remit as defined in the GFA which was endorsed by substantial majorities North and South including a majority in unionism.
    The Alliance Party has historically endorsed ,rather than grudgingly accepted
    institutional all-Irelandism –the GFA and Council of Ireland.This being the case it is quite obvious that a bare majority of the North’s electorate supports,as opposed to reluctantly accepts,institutional all-Irelandism-albeit to dramatically varying extents.This means that you are out of synch even in restricted NI terms. As the ROI is a sovereign state with the appropriate official apparatus where most indigenous Irish reside ,in practical terms it has the responsibility for giving active substance to All-Irelandism.There is simply no escaping the fact that there are circumstances when she has to assume an all-Ireland role.
    Even the Orange Order believes in the all-Irelandism of a sort-‘Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.’
    The Northern state’s incorporation of so much nationalist majority resulted in an organic instability whose adverse sequelae have extended into our time.This being the case it is axiomatic that stabilisation must be bought at the price of substantial all-Irelandism.Those who scream ‘irredentism’ at any gesture towards all-Irelandism are effectively predisposing towards eventual repartition.This being the case my worldview is actually more conducive towards preserving the present 6 county setup then is yours although I expect the subtlety of that argument to be lost on you.
    ‘It is deeply worrying that you fear a perspective of mutual recognition and respect.’
    ‘Mutual recognition and respect’ (sic) that is predicated on something that I honestly believe to be morally unsound is simply not worth having.
    Your contention is something as follows:
    ‘We can only be friends if you uncritically accept my worldview and abandon members of your own family’.
    Not possible.
    Personally,from bitter experience,I find debating with WF style unionists a frustrating exercise.You invariably come up against a brick wall of posthoc rationalisation.
    My line of reason is quite transparent and evidence –based.You on the other hand have failed to susbstantiate your primary contention that President McAleese’s gesture equates with the ROI claiming jurisdiction over NI.
    I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever as to the moral justifiability of President McAleese’s actions.
    I also think that Northern MPs and MLAs should be allowed rights of access to and address in the Southern senate.

  • Davros

    In pre-Norman invasion Ireland for example there was, on an all-Ireland basis,a unified legal system (the Brehon Law) and a symbolic High King. All Irelandism in other words has a long and distinguished pedigree.

    nope.

  • objectivist

    nope.

    Why not?

  • IJP

    Not this again!!!

    There is nothing ‘objective’ about the above account. It is determined to present the idea that ‘the island unit’ must form a single country distinct from any other. Time after time it has been shown this is nonsense.

    Ireland did indeed enjoy a degree of cultural, religious and even legal unity for centuries. It never enjoyed political or fiscal unity. Neither of this proves or disproves the case for an all-island state.

    Malta, Iceland, and Madagascar all form island/archipelago states (albeit ones that have been under foreign control for much of recorded history). Borneo, St Martin and Cyprus (de facto) do not as they are partitioned between two; nor do Sardinia, Newfoundland or Tasmania as part of larger sovereign units; nor does Hispaniola partitioned into two separate states.

    The unity of Ireland distinct from anywhere else has some historical basis and contemporary parallel. The partition of Ireland per se also has some historical basis and contemporary parallel. The link to another larger island also has historical basis and contemporary parallel.

    Mutual respect behoves us all to accept these indisputable facts, not to place our own singular interpretation upon some of them to the exclusion of others. Progess is dependent upon mutual respect. This is made impossible by parties whose very political foundation is upon a selective rendition of history (i.e. most of them in NI), which is why it is pointless voting for them if you want a genuine solution and real progress.

    Ireland is partitioned. I’m sorry that it is. But it is. For perfectly legitimate reasons- historically, geographically, socially, culturally and economically. If you wish to remove that partition, put forward your case. If you don’t, put forward your case. But don’t present one specific set of historical circumstances to the exclusion of all others as ‘proof’ and then react all offended when people give you another equally valid interpretation, or surprised when it does not advance your cause one iota.

  • IJP

    It never enjoyed political or fiscal unity [as a distinct unit].

  • Davros

    Good posts IJP. Even the legal unity is dubious.

  • objectivist

    ”Not this again!!!

    There is nothing ‘objective’ about the above account. It is determined to present the idea that ‘the island unit’ must form a single country distinct from any other. Time after time it has been shown this is nonsense.”

    Not so.Please read my posting(s) carefully.This is what is known as a ‘strawman’ argument- you are knocking points that I never actually made.I did not argue for Irish unity or that Ireland was a natural unit.What I did argue was that the intrinsic merits of the nationalist Irish position in NI,in terms of history,tradition,numbers,geographical distribution make all Irelandism,institutional and symbolic,an absolute sine qua non.

  • Davros

    I disagree. You are basing your case on Nationalist Mythology.

  • IJP

    To be fair to you, objectivist, I was taking a broad swipe at common Irish Nationalist sentiment to save other people the bother.

    However, I broadly agree with Davros, you are basing your case perhaps not on ‘mythology’, but on an extremely one-sided reading of history and series of assumption that are at best debatable and that are simply (and wholly legitimately) not shared by others.

    We are where we are. If you want to go somewhere else, by all means explain why and how.

  • Davros

    IJP , I mean mythology as in
    mythology : myths collectively; the body of stories associated with a culture or institution or person
    Myths themselves are not necessarily wholly fictitious.

  • willowfield

    objectivist

    I have repeatedly outlined logical,sequential , and evidence-based arguments as to why this not only non-irredentist but morally obligatory and also why your approach effectively amounts to hegemonism and irredentism.

    You haven’t.

    You by contrast have not gone beyond repeatedly stating that this action is “irredentist” without presenting any clear step-by-step line of reasoning.

    I have explained several times why it was irredentist: it is quite obvious! The ROI consists of only 26 counties, yet the ceremony deliberately used children from “all the 32 counties of Ireland”, this implying jurisdiction over the whole island.

    ‘I’m quite aware that the nationalist population in NI broadly identifies with that brand of Irishness personified by the Southern state. The fact that nationalists have been unable to separate their identity from a rigid geographical definition is the cause of irredentism.’

    Do you not think you are slightly arrogant in dictating to nationalists,North or South,what their identity, pure ethnic or ethnogeographical,should or should not be?

    It would be. But I’m not dictating what anybody’s identity should be. I’m merely pointing out that an ROI state ceremony should not involve irredentist gestures. A state ceremony should stick to the parameters of the state.

    A boundary which in terms of half the surface territory of NI,straddling the border,was conceived in a spirit of irredentism and annexation – a matter of historical record.

    It wasn’t. But – by attacking the border – you seem to be arguing in favour of irredentism, while pretending to oppose it. That is dishonest.

    Please point out where I claimed that the ROI “has some kind of jurisdiction”.

    You said that, because there are counties in NI which are majority nationalist, that this entitles the ROI to give “formal recognition” in a state ceremony, thus implying some kind of jurisdiction.

    I merely pointed out the fact that nationalists are in a majority in some counties in NI to illustrate the substantial nature of this group.Substantial and,in terms of formal recognition, unignorable.

    It is quite possible to “ignore” this group (i.e. not include them in a state ceremony)!

    It is not a question of jurisdiction.

    It is.

    This being the case President McAleese has a responsibility to occasionally move from a 26 county to a 32 county dimension in recognition of all indigenous Irish.

    If so, that is an irredentist responsibility and it should be removed from her. The president should not be responsible for “all indigenous Irish” (what an ugly term): she is only responsible for the ROI. You’re treading on dangerous ground with these extraterritorial claims.

    Remember that the ROI is not a full nation/state as its boundaries only contain a proportion of a nation –the remainder being in NI.

    You’re starting to sound like Hitler or Mussolini.

    Asking it to symbolically disown indigenous Irish in NI is,figuratively speaking ,asking it to cut off a limb.

    Dear, dear. This argument is becoming uglier and uglier. Next it’ll be troops massed on the border.

    You have yet to advance even one convincing argument to support this statement.

    The argument is quite simple: the ROI state has jurisdiction over the ROI. NI is not within its jurisdiction. This should be respected.

    You are in denial.

    I’m not. If it were true that I had an “irredentist/hegemonist mindset” then you would be able to present an argument and provide evidence.

    Your general worldview centres around denial of formal recognition to the Irish population within the 6 county area and their envelopment in undiluted all-encompasiing Britishness.

    It doesn’t.

    You refuse to respect the rights ethnopolitical expression of the Irish population within the six county area.

    I don’t. You, on the other hand, by referring to Irish nationalists as “the Irish population” imply that unionists are not Irish: a disgusting, chauvinistic and dangerously exclusivist position.

    Who actually grabbed a sizeable tract of territory where the other side was in the majority?

    Who actually wanted to grab an even more sizeable tract of territory where the other side was in the majority?

    And you are arguing effectively that the South compounds this injustice by symbolically expelling the majority population of this territory from the Irish nation.

    Nobody is “symbolically expelling” anyone. The ROI state has its own boundaries and should stay within those. Implying that its jurisdiction goes beyond those boundaries is irredentist.

    Where did I actually say that the South had a right to jurisdiction over certain counties in NI?.

    The whole point of your argument is to defend the ROI implying it has jurisdiction over NI because of the need to give “formal recognition” to “indigenous Irish” (ugh) in NI.

    I merely used this point,among a number of points that could be outlined ,to illustrate the substantive and etnoexpressively unignorable nature of the indigenous Irish population in NI.

    Shame on you for attempting to advance an exclusive definition of Irishness. It’s as though you’ve just stepped out of the 1930s. Wake up and join the rest of us in the 21st century.

    Incidentally I note the obvious corollary in your comments that unionist majorities count and nationalist majorities don’t.Interesting and revealing.

    What nonsense.

    “Irredentism” applies when a claim is made on territory against the wishes of a majority of its inhabitants.This definitively does not apply here in the case of nationalist majority territory in NI.It would only kick in if unionist majority territory were claimed.This is an academic point anyway as the South does not advocate repartition.

    So you admit that this gesture is an implied claim on NI territory: you merely dispute that this is “irredentist” because (some of) the territory claimed has a nationalist majority?! I think you’ve just conceded. Thank you. (And, btw, why were children from Down and Antrim represented, if only “nationalist majority territory” is being claimed?)

    It could be pointed out that the Sudeeten Germans constituted 22.3% of the total population in Czechoslovakia (less than half the proportion of nationalists in NI) and were in a majority in about one eighth of it surface area (as ooposed to about 2/3 in relation to nationalists in NI) but there are more cogent facts.

    The reference was only to Germans living in the Sudetenland: not to Germans living in the whole of Czechoslovakia – so the above is irrelevant.

    It is pretty obvious that Herr Hitler’s ambitions extended beyond “formal recognition”. He clearly had more in mind than Sudeten schoolchildren being received by a putative German ceremonial head of state.His territorial ambitions were already on record (Mein Kampf etc) and it was obvious that the Sudetenland takeover ,which denuded CZ of its main defensive shield ,would presage and invasion of the whole state and of Eastern Europe.

    So, you are arguing that if Hitler’s ambitions had not extended beyond “formal recognition”, that it would have been reasonable for him to include Sudeten Germans in German state ceremonies?! I disagree!

    And you,WF,are a transirredentist extraordinaire.

    I’m not. On the contrary, if nationalist majority areas wanted to leave NI, I would support them.

    You continually use the term ‘Northern Ireland’ in some ways like doctrinaire republicans use the term ‘Ireland’ …

    I don’t. I use it literally to refer to the state of NI.

    As part of the GFA articles 2 and 3 were replaced by the constitutional enshrinement of the right of anyone born in the island of Ireland to Irish nationality.

    That in itse
    lf, of course, was irredentist. But it doesn’t give the ROI jurisdiction over the whole island. There are people of Irish nationality in England and the USA: why were children from these places not included?

    ‘Mutual recognition and respect’ (sic) that is predicated on something that I honestly believe to be morally unsound is simply not worth having.

    It is not morally unsound to respect and mutually recognise the integrity of both states in Ireland. The fact that you think this is morally unsound is deeply disturbing and betrays an ugly, aggressive irredentist nationalism.

    You on the other hand have failed to susbstantiate your primary contention that President McAleese’s gesture equates with the ROI claiming jurisdiction over NI.

    I didn’t say it “equated” with a claim of jurisdiction. I said it implied jurisdiction. And that is quite an obvious observation.

    I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever as to the moral justifiability of President McAleese’s actions.

    Then you should try to be more self-critical. Step out of the expansionist nationalist mindset.

    I also think that Northern MPs and MLAs should be allowed rights of access to and address in the Southern senate.

    Dear, dear. The irredentist bandwagon moves on.

    You really need to ditch this ugly, 1930s nationalism. Have respect for the integrity of your neighbouring state and stop trying to undermine it.

  • objectivist

    Willowfield.
    …………‘’I have explained several times why it was irredentist: it is quite obvious! The ROI consists of only 26 counties, yet the ceremony deliberately used children from “all the 32 counties of Ireland”, this implying jurisdiction over the whole island.’’’……………

    This is a whopping great nonsequitur.You have yet to outline any argument that I find convincing as to why the invitation of children from all over Ireland implies all-Ireland jurisdiction beyond repeating over and over again that this is so.If and when you do I will re-evaluate your position.It will be very interesting if you do as this will throw an irredentist light on the St.Patrick’s cross in the Union Jack,the Irish Guards and the Queen’s annual presentation of shamrock to same,and the use of the term ‘British Isles’.

    …..…….‘’It would be. But I’m not dictating what anybody’s identity should be. I’m merely pointing out that an ROI state ceremony should not involve irredentist gestures. A state ceremony should stick to the parameters of the state.’’………..

    I can find no cogent rationale in any of your postings as to why this gesture is irredentist.I eagerly await such a rationale.The parameters of Pres.McAleese’s office involve affording ethnoexpressive recognition to those with an all-Ireland outlook in the NI state-a responsibility that simply cannot be fudged.

    ‘A boundary which in terms of half the surface territory of NI,straddling the border,was conceived in a spirit of irredentism and annexation – a matter of historical record.'(my comment)

    …’’It wasn’t.’’……..

    It was.The historical record is conclusive.Read any serious history book dealing with that era.The spirit of that age unfortunately lives on.

    …………’’But – by attacking the border – you seem to be arguing in favour of irredentism, while pretending to oppose it. That is dishonest.’’………..

    Quite the opposite.Anyone approaching the matter from an evenhanded and *non-irredentist* perspective would have serious misgivings about *that particular* border-not with a *fair* border.Dragon’s teeth were sown by this folly.

    ‘Please point out where I claimed that the ROI “has some kind of jurisdiction’ (my comment)

    …….’’You said that, because there are counties in NI which are majority nationalist, that this entitles the ROI to give “formal recognition” in a state ceremony, thus implying some kind of jurisdiction.’’……..

    I said nothing of the sort.I merely used this point,which is one of a number of points that could be made, to illustrate the substantial ,and therefore ethnoexpressively unignorable nature of nationalists within NI.Again I would point out that it is a whopping great step of extralogicality to infer a claim to jurisdiction in Pres. McAleese’s gesture.If and when you can outline a convincing line of reasoning to underpin this inference I will of course reassess your position and mine.

    ‘I merely pointed out the fact that nationalists are in a majority in some counties in NI to illustrate the substantial nature of this group.Substantial and,in terms of formal recognition, unignorable.’ (my comment)

    ……’’’It is quite possible to “ignore” this group (i.e. not include them in a state ceremony)!’’……..

    This comment is extremely revealing and extremely disturbing.

    This being the case President McAleese has a responsibility to occasionally move from a 26 county to a 32 county dimension in recognition of all indigenous Irish.

    ….……’’If so, that is an irredentist responsibility and it should be removed from her. The president should not be responsible for “all indigenous Irish” (what an ugly term): she is only responsible for the ROI. You’re treading on dangerous ground with these extraterritorial claims.’’…………..

    I used the term ‘indigenous Irish’ to distinguish those who express Irish, rather than British,nationality in NI ,from extrapatriate Irish in the US etc. when you used the latter in an unsound analogy.You know this perfectly well.However if you have a problem with this I will simply use the term “Northern nationalist”.
    The use of language by both tribes in Northern Ireland never ceases to fascinate me.The tribal subconscious generates its own lexicon whereby words are used as chess pieces to attack and pre-empt lines of counterattack.Phraseology evolves where certain palatable realities are highlighted and unpalatable realities are suppressed – a sort of tribal linguistic natural selection.This type of tribal,tendentious verbalism (acr.TTV) is self-reinforcing as the TTVer by constant repetition auto-hypnotically convinces himself of the unshakeable truth of his agenda.A viscious circle!.Challenging a TTVer is a frustrating exercise as they invariably go into intellectual autopilot and dish the stuff out over and over again.Thus tokenistic and symbolic gestures towards the Irish dimension of NI tribally transmogrifies into ‘irredentism’ and arguments for the justifiability of such gestures into ‘extraterritorial claims’.
    Please note that you have repeated over and over your Pres. McAleese-is-stepping-outside-her-jurisdiction-and-is-therefore-irredentist mantra without outlining any detailed rationale to underpin this contention.

    ‘Remember that the ROI is not a full nation/state as its boundaries only contain a proportion of a nation –the remainder being in NI.'(my comment)

    ……..”You’re starting to sound like Hitler or Mussolini.”……

    I’m afraid you understand very little of Messrs Hitler and Mussolini and have not thought through my contributions here in any great detail if you can make statement like that.On the contrary your effective assertions that nationalists in NI shlould be ethnoexpressively shackled as well as your obvious belief that it was legitimate to incorporate large swathes of nationalist majority territory in 1921 carry vague but disturbing echoes of ‘untermenschen’.

    ‘Asking it to symbolically disown indigenous Irish in NI is,figuratively speaking ,asking it to cut off a limb.’ (my comment)

    …….’’Dear, dear. This argument is becoming uglier and uglier. Next it’ll be troops massed on the border.’’……..

    This sort of thing is beyond the pale.Disingenuous hyperbole is the kindest description I can think of.

    ‘You have yet to advance even one convincing argument to support this statement.’ (my comment).

    …….”The argument is quite simple: the ROI state has jurisdiction over the ROI. NI is not within its jurisdiction. This should be respected.”…………

    You seem to have some difficulty in distinguishing the crucially different concepts of jurisdiction and responsibility.President McAleese has extra-jurisdictional responsibilities.

    You are in denial.

    ….’’I’m not. If it were true that I had an “irredentist/hegemonist mindset” then you would be able to present an argument and provide evidence.’’……..

    I’ve been doing this over and over again.

    ‘You refuse to respect the rights ethnopolitical expression of the Irish population within the six county area.’ (my comment).

    ……..”I don’t. You, on the other hand, by referring to Irish nationalists as “the Irish population” imply that unionists are not Irish: a disgusting, chauvinistic and dangerously exclusivist position.”………

    This was shorthand for those in the NI area who subscribe to Irish rather than British nationality.However ,as said before, I will substitute the term ’Northern nationalists’ if this causes you angst.Nevertheless I think you are hardly in a position to use the term ‘exclusivist’.

    ‘Who actually grabbed a sizeable tract of territory where the other side was in the majority?’ (my comment)

    ….……”Who actually wanted to grab an even more sizeable tract of territory where the other side was in the majority?”…….

    Not factually accurate.Both ‘tracts of territory’ were equal in size in 1921.Now the nationalist slice is larger.Also this is confusing the issue and has failed to answer my original question as to who *actually grabbed* as opposed to who *aspired* to grab.However you seem to implicitly admit that a large corpus of nationalist territory was inappropriately seized in 1921 so at least some progress is being made.There is another inaccuracy in your comment here.Nationalists had accepted some form of partition by 1921.They were sold a pup in the negotiations of the same year,which awarded huge swathes of nationalist majority territory to the NI state,by the promise of a Boundary Commission which would later initiate an appropriate redistribution.Even the good Dr.Paisley is on record as saying that the Southern negotiators were ‘led up the garden path’.On the eve of the deliberations of the BC the then PM of NI,James Craig,lierally threatened war if nationalist area of NI were transferred over.Get this-armed force was threatened in order to keep within the NI tent areas that did not want to be kept in the NI tent.The BC subsequently chickened out.That is a somewhat more valid analogy to Hitler and Musolini and the spirit of hegemonist unionism unfortunately still lives on.

    ‘And you are arguing effectively that the South compounds this injustice by symbolically expelling the majority population of this territory from the Irish nation.'(my comment)

    ………..” “symbolically expelling” anyone. The ROI state has its own boundaries and should stay within those. Implying that its jurisdiction goes beyond those boundaries is irredentist.”……….

    The are various ‘boundaries’ –political,jurisdictional and boundaries of responsibility.Pres.McAleese was acting within her boundaries of responsibility.

    ‘Where did I actually say that the South had a right to jurisdiction over certain counties in NI?.'(my comment)

    ….……”The whole point of your argument is to defend the ROI implying it has jurisdiction over NI because of the need to give “formal recognition” to “indigenous Irish” (ugh) in NI.”………

    This is absolute nonsense,I implied nothing of the sort.

    ‘I merely used this point,among a number of points that could be outlined ,to illustrate the substantive and etnoexpressively unignorable nature of the indigenous Irish population in NI.’ (my comment)

    ……”Shame on you for attempting to advance an exclusive definition of Irishness. It’s as though you’ve just stepped out of the 1930s. Wake up and join the rest of us in the 21st century.”……”

    This point has been dealt with above.I would suggest you step out of your supremacist unionist timewarp.

    ‘“Irredentism” applies when a claim is made on territory against the wishes of a majority of its inhabitants.This definitively does not apply here in the case of nationalist majority territory in NI.It would only kick in if unionist majority territory were claimed.This is an academic point anyway as the South does not advocate repartition.’my comment)

    ……..”so you admit that this gesture is an implied claim on NI territory: you merely dispute that this is “irredentist” because (some of) the territory claimed has a nationalist majority?! I think you’ve just conceded. Thank you. (And, btw, why were children from Down and Antrim represented, if only “nationalist majority territory” is being claimed?)”……..

    I have conceded nothing.This is a cynical amalgam of strawmanisms,misattributions,and nonsequiturs.What I outlined was a *hypothesis*- namely that the intrinsic merits of the nationalist position in NI is so strong that a substantial argument could be made for repartition although this is not an option I would personally advocate.If a case could be made for something as seismic as repartition then it could certainly be made for something tokenistic and innocuous like President McAleese’s gesture.There is a (possible) suggestion here that Pres. McAleese was onside in receiving children from Fermanagh,Tyrone,Armagh,and Derry.Some more progress (possibly).

    ‘It is pretty obvious that Herr Hitler’s ambitions extended beyond “formal recognition”. He clearly had more in mind than Sudeten schoolchildren being received by a putative German ceremonial head of state.His territorial ambitions were already on record (Mein Kampf etc) and it was obvious that the Sudetenland takeover ,which denuded CZ of its main defensive shield ,would presage and invasion of the whole state and of Eastern Europe.'(my comment)

    ….……” are arguing that if Hitler’s ambitions had not extended beyond “formal recognition”, that it would have been reasonable for him to include Sudeten Germans in German state ceremonies?! I disagree!”……..

    Let’s extend this analogy from a different angle.Suppose the Weimar Republic had seen off Hitler and preserved democracy.Suppose again that Austria freely and without external manipulation voted to join up with Weimar Germany to form a greater Germany.This greater Germany would have been geographically contiguous with the Sudetenland and would have loosely approximated to the Holy Roman Empire, a prototype of post-unification Germany,of which the Sudetenland was a part.In this scenario,if both entities were willing,a reasonable argument could have been made for a special relationship with whatever formal expressions that would have entailed.

    ‘And you,WF,are a transirredentist extraordinaire.’ (my comment)

    ……..”I’m not. On the contrary, if nationalist majority areas wanted to leave NI, I would support them.”……

    I would strongly suspect that most Fermanagh unionists if offered a choice between repartition a few schoolkids dropping into Pres. McAleese would plump for the latter.

    “You continually use the term ‘Northern Ireland’ in some ways like doctrinaire republicans use the term ‘Ireland’(my comment)

    …..”I don’t. I use it literally to refer to the state of NI.”…..

    You use it in terms that gloss over its fundamental biethnicity.

    ‘As part of the GFA articles 2 and 3 were replaced by the constitutional enshrinement of the right of anyone born in the island of Ireland to Irish nationality.’ (my comment)

    ……….”That in itself, of course, was irredentist.”…..

    Very interesting.If so this ‘irredentism’ was accepted by a substantial majority in the area you claim to be the object of the ‘irredentism’ including a majority within unionism.This does not seem to cut any ice with you.

    ……..”But it doesn’t give the ROI jurisdiction over the whole island.”……

    Neither I nor anyone argued that it did.However it did reflect the reality of a large proportion of the NI population which subscribed to Irish rather than British nationality- a reality which was reflected in Pres.McAleese’s actions.

    ……..”There are people of Irish nationality in England and the USA: why were children from these places not included?”…….

    The obvious point here being that they were *expatriate* Irish.But now that you mention it,if they had,would it have amounted to a claim of jurisdiction over the US etc.?

    ‘‘Mutual recognition and respect’ (sic) that is predicated on something that I honestly believe to be morally unsound is simply not worth having.’ (my comment)

    ……..”It is not morally unsound to respect and mutually recognise the integrity of both states in Ireland”…….

    The integrity and national identity of both communities ,which are of comparable size and geographic distribution, within NI must be respected-not one at the expense of the other.President McAleese has been more than fair.She wore a poppy on Remembrance Day as a gesture to one side.The schoolchildren visit was a gesture to the other.The hard realities on the ground require nationalists to swallow partition and unionists to swallow substantive all-Irelandism.

    ….“The fact that you think this is morally unsound is deeply disturbing and betrays an ugly, aggressive irredentist nationalism.”…….

    More TTVism.

    ‘on the other hand have failed to susbstantiate your primary contention that President McAleese’s gesture equates with the ROI claiming jurisdiction over NI.’ (my comment)

    ………”I didn’t say it “equated” with a claim of jurisdiction. I said it implied jurisdiction. And that is quite an obvious observation.”……

    This is splitting hairs.You have failed to substantiate either ‘equation’ or ‘implication’.

    …….”Then you should try to be more self-critical. Step out of the expansionist nationalist mindset.”…….

    More TTPism.”Expansionism” implies supracommensurate recognition.I only advocate commensurate pro rata recognition.I would advise you to step out of the straightjacket of supremacist unionism.

    ‘I also think that Northern MPs and MLAs should be allowed rights of access to and address in the Southern senate.'(my comment)

    ………”Dear, dear. The irredentist bandwagon moves on.”……….

    No.The era when the South shamefully turned its back on Northern nationalists for much of their history is well and truly over.You are sinking deeper into the quicksand.Southern hereditary peers have rights of attendance in the House of Lords and this is scarcely remarked upon.Perhaps the South has reached a deeper level of political maturity.

    …..”You really need to ditch this ugly, 1930s nationalism.”…….

    This implies a less than complete grasp of the points I have been trying to make and of 1930’s European political history.

    ………”Have respect for the integrity of your neighbouring state and stop trying to undermine it.”……….

    TTVism at its purist.

    The challenge for the thinking unionist if he/she wants to preserve into the long term the present six county entity is to be imaginative and constructive in terms of institutional all-Irelandism and Southern involvement.Willowfield-style unionism is hardly going to win friends and influence people and predicates towards eventual repartition.

  • willowfield

    objectivist

    This is a whopping great nonsequitur.You have yet to outline any argument that I find convincing as to why the invitation of children from all over Ireland implies all-Ireland jurisdiction beyond repeating over and over again that this is so.

    Look, pal, it’s quite simple. Are you concentrating? Here goes: ROI HAS JURISDICTION OVER ONLY 26 COUNTIES OF IRELAND (THAT’S TWENTY-SIX), NOT 32 (THIRTY-TWO). Get it?

    Symbolically using children from each of the 32 (thirty-two) counties of Ireland, instead of the 26 (twenty-six) over which the ROI has jurisdiction, is thus a symbolic act of irredentism (i.e. implying jurisdiction over 32, not 26 counties).

    The logic is not that difficult to grasp.

    If and when you do I will re-evaluate your position.It will be very interesting if you do as this will throw an irredentist light on the St.Patrick’s cross in the Union Jack,the Irish Guards and the Queen’s annual presentation of shamrock to same,and the use of the term ‘British Isles’.

    St Patrick’s Cross I’ve already acknowledged. But what’s this nonsense about Irish Guards and the shamrock?? Back to exclusive claims on Irish symbolism again?? Shame. Get out of the 1930s and into the 21st century.

    I can find no cogent rationale in any of your postings as to why this gesture is irredentist.I eagerly await such a rationale.The parameters of Pres.McAleese’s office involve affording ethnoexpressive recognition to those with an all-Ireland outlook in the NI state-a responsibility that simply cannot be fudged.

    Dear, dear. “Ethnoexpressive recognition” – what an appalling concept. You need to rid yourself of this dangerous ethnic nationalism. It’s 2004, man! Free yourself of your ethnic chains!

    As for your claim about the parameters of the president’s office,who told you that?! If true, then the parameters of the office need to be reigned in.

    It was.The historical record is conclusive.Read any serious history book dealing with that era.The spirit of that age unfortunately lives on.

    If so, you would be able to offer an argument. I note your failure to do so.

    Quite the opposite.Anyone approaching the matter from an evenhanded and *non-irredentist* perspective would have serious misgivings about *that particular* border-not with a *fair* border.Dragon’s teeth were sown by this folly.

    So your issue with the border is not its existence, but where it was drawn? You’re a repartitionist? Fair enough. Your only problem, though, is that nationalists living in NI don’t want repartition! If they did, I’d be all for it, too.

    In the meantime, though, you should respect the border as is until such time as it is changed. Let the people decide.

    I said nothing of the sort.I merely used this point,which is one of a number of points that could be made, to illustrate the substantial ,and therefore ethnoexpressively unignorable nature of nationalists within NI.

    Dear, dear, dear. Yet again you fall back on this awful ethnic language. It would be perfectly easy for the ROI to “ignore” nationalists in NI when it was appropriate to do so. Therefore it is not “unignorable”.

    I used the term ‘indigenous Irish’ to distinguish those who express Irish, rather than British,nationality in NI ,from extrapatriate Irish in the US etc. when you used the latter in an unsound analogy.

    Dear, dear. You’re dependent on ugly, dangerous assertions about the mutual exclusivity of nationalities. Back to the 1930s again. Do try to move on. Liberate your mind.

    I’m afraid you understand very little of Messrs Hitler and Mussolini and have not thought through my contributions here in any great detail if you can make statement like that.

    Really? So Hitler and Mussolini did not complain that the German or Italian “nation-states” did not contain the full “nation”?? They did not seek to extend the boundaries of the state in order to encompass members of the “nation” living in adjacent territories?? Maybe you should sign up for a 20th century European history course? Your local FE college might be able to help.

    On the contrary your effective assertions that nationalists in NI shlould be ethnoexpressively shackled as well as your obvious belief that it was legitimate to incorporate large swathes of nationalist majority territory in 1921 carry vague but disturbing echoes of ‘untermenschen’.

    Oh dear. You’re struggling so much that you are resorting to lies and misrepresentation. Doesn’t that indicate that you’re losing the argument? I have made no assertion that nationalists in NI should be “ethnoexpressively” (ugh) shackled (quite the contrary, people are entitled to express themselves in whatever way they wish); I have no belief, obvious or otherwise, that it was legitimate “to incorporate large swathes of nationalist majority territory” (again, quite the contrary, I believe it was wrong!).

    You seem to have some difficulty in distinguishing the crucially different concepts of jurisdiction and responsibility.President McAleese has extra-jurisdictional responsibilities.

    And what are these “extra-jurisdictional responsibilities”? Where are they written down? And why are these responsibilities applied only to NI and not to ROI citizens in other places??

    Not factually accurate.

    Er, so nationalists didn’t want to include the whole of Ireland in their independent state?? You’re barmy!

    Both ‘tracts of territory’ were equal in size in 1921.

    Sorry? The six counties that became NI were “equal in size” to nationalist-majority territory within NI?? You’re off your rocker!!

    However you seem to implicitly admit that a large corpus of nationalist territory was inappropriately seized in 1921 so at least some progress is being made.

    When did I ever argue in favour of where the border was drawn?? You’re guilty of assumption and prejudice.

    The are various ‘boundaries’ –political,jurisdictional and boundaries of responsibility.Pres.McAleese was acting within her boundaries of responsibility.

    This is getting ludicrous. It seems you’re just making stuff up to try and justify your defence of irredentist gestures! What are these “boundaries of responsibility”?? If such boundaries make the President responsible for irredentist gestures, they need to be reigned in!

    Let’s extend this analogy from a different angle.Suppose the Weimar Republic had seen off Hitler and preserved democracy.Suppose again that Austria freely and without external manipulation voted to join up with Weimar Germany to form a greater Germany.This greater Germany would have been geographically contiguous with the Sudetenland and would have loosely approximated to the Holy Roman Empire, a prototype of post-unification Germany,of which the Sudetenland was a part.In this scenario,if both entities were willing,a reasonable argument could have been made for a special relationship with whatever formal expressions that would have entailed.

    So you DO think it would have been reasonable to include Sudeten Germans in German state ceremonies!!
    You use it in terms that gloss over its fundamental biethnicity.

    I don’t. I already explained that I use it literally to mean NI.

    The obvious point here being that they were *expatriate* Irish.But now that you mention it,if they had,would it have amounted to a claim of jurisdiction over the US etc.?

    No. If they had it would have meant that the 32-county children was not irredentist. The fact that they were excluded demonstrated the irredentist thinking behind the gesture.
    The integrity and national identity of both communities ,which are of comparable size and geographic distribution, within NI must be respected-not one at the expense of the other.President McAleese has been more than fair.She wore a poppy on Remembrance Day as a gesture to one side.The schoolchildren visit was a gesture to the other.The hard realities on the ground require nationalists to swallow partition and unionists to swallow substantive all-Irelandism.

    Sorry, it is not appropriate for the president of one state to imply jurisdiction over part of another state, even if some people living in that state might support it. Presidents should respect the integrity of their neighbouring states. Should the Serbian president include children from Croatia or Bosnia in Serbian state ceremonies?

    No.The era when the South shamefully turned its back on Northern nationalists for much of their history is well and truly over.

    That’s a non-sequitur. You should have begun the sentence with “Yes”, because in your statement, “ending the era of ‘turning its back’” is simply a euphemism for ratcheting-up irredentism.

    You are sinking deeper into the quicksand.Southern hereditary peers have rights of attendance in the House of Lords and this is scarcely remarked upon.Perhaps the South has reached a deeper level of political maturity.

    All but 92 hereditary peers were removed five years ago. These 92 will eventually go.

    The challenge for the thinking unionist if he/she wants to preserve into the long term the present six county entity is to be imaginative and constructive in terms of institutional all-Irelandism and Southern involvement. Willowfield-style unionism is hardly going to win friends and influence people and predicates towards eventual repartition.

    The challenge for the thinking nationalist if he/she wants to promote good relations on the island of Ireland is to be respectful of the integrity of Northern Ireland and to channel “all-Irelandism” through appropriate and agreed mechanisms as set out in the Belfast Agreement. Objectivist-style nationalist irredentism and 1930s style ethnic nationalism is hardly going to win friends and influence people and predicates against reconciliation and good relations.

  • objectivist

    OK let’s go through this again.

    This is a whopping great nonsequitur.You have yet to outline any argument that I find convincing as to why the invitation of children from all over Ireland implies all-Ireland jurisdiction beyond repeating over and over again that this is so.(my comment)

    ………”Look, pal, it’s quite simple. Are you concentrating? Here goes: ROI HAS JURISDICTION OVER ONLY 26 COUNTIES OF IRELAND (THAT’S TWENTY-SIX), NOT 32 (THIRTY-TWO). Get it?

    Symbolically using children from each of the 32 (thirty-two) counties of Ireland, instead of the 26 (twenty-six) over which the ROI has jurisdiction, is thus a symbolic act of irredentism (i.e. implying jurisdiction over 32, not 26 counties).
    The logic is not that difficult to grasp.”………..

    This is simply not good enough.You will have to do better than that.I am always open to changing my mind when faced with rational argument.This falls somewhat short.
    Your oft-repeated argument centres around three contentions:

    1.President McAleese received schoolchildren from the whole island of Ireland.
    2.This amounts to a jurisdictional claim to the whole island of Ireland.
    3.This is irredentist.

    Your logic falls flat at step 2.You have yet to outline any rationale that I find convincing as to how this highly specific and contextualised gesture to a dimension of all-Irelandism amounts to a jurisdictional claim over the whole island of Ireland.The moment you do I will immediately change my mind,hold up my hands, and become a fervent opponent of similar gestures in the future.I wait with bated breath.
    Everytime I challenge you to outline a detailed logical elucidation of your Pres.McAleese-in-receiving-children-from-all-over-Ireland-is-implying-jurisdiction-over-all-Ireland-and-this-is-irredentist mantra what do you do?
    You glibly repeat the same mantra.

    ………”But what’s this nonsense about Irish Guards and the shamrock??”………

    Now this is an interesting one.The Irish Guards is a BA regiment which recruits specifically from the whole of Ireland-North and South.For 100 years or so the late Queen Mother and various preceding and succeeding luminaries present shamrock in an annual ceremony on St.Patrick’s Day to members of the regiment,Northern and Southern.I don’t have a problem with this BTW.
    I culled the following from their official website;
    ”The Irish Guards are presented with shamrock on every St Patrick’s day (17th March) by a member of the Royal Family. This dates back to 1901 when HRH Princess Alexandra presented the Battalion with it for the first time. Until recent years this duty has been carried out by HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother but the honor has now been passed to other members of the Royal family.”

    In classic Willowfield logic this would amount to a jurisdictional claim over the ROI especially as potents symbols of Ireland,the shamrock and St.Patrick’s Day,have been adopted.
    Why is sauce for the British royal goose not sauce for the Irish presidential gander?
    I await your deconstruction with bated breath.

    ……..”Dear, dear. “Ethnoexpressive recognition” – what an appalling concept. You need to rid yourself of this dangerous ethnic nationalism. It’s 2004, man! Free yourself of your ethnic chains!”……….

    Interesting and revealing that you find this an ‘apalling concept’.I would suggest that you step outside your straightjacket of anachronistic ethnic supremacism.

    Quite the opposite.Anyone approaching the matter from an evenhanded and *non-irredentist* perspective would have serious misgivings about *that particular* border-not with a *fair* border.Dragon’s teeth were sown by this folly.(my comment)

    …..”So your issue with the border is not its existence, but where it was drawn? You’re a repartitionist? Fair enough.”…….

    Once again you are obviously not reading my postings with any great concentration.I have made it repeatedly clear that I am not a repartitionist but would concede the fact that anyone who is can marshal a substantial argument for their viewpoint.

    …..”Your only problem, though, is that nationalists living in NI don’t want repartition! If they did, I’d be all for it, too.”……

    No they tend to vote for parties that espouse complete unification.However I can see them drifting towards repartitionism particularly if Willowfield-style unionism gains ascendancy.

    …….”In the meantime, though, you should respect the border as is until such time as it is changed.”…….

    TTVism strikes again.”Respect the border” essentially means exclusively respect one of the two communities on the other side.

    ……”Dear, dear, dear. Yet again you fall back on this awful ethnic language. It would be perfectly easy for the ROI to “ignore” nationalists in NI when it was appropriate to do so. Therefore it is not “unignorable”.”…….

    Revealing.I meant,and still mean, ”unignorable” in a *moral* sense.

    ……..”Really? So Hitler and Mussolini did not complain that the German or Italian “nation-states” did not contain the full “nation”?? They did not seek to extend the boundaries of the state in order to encompass members of the “nation” living in adjacent territories??”……..

    Sigh.I went into extreme detail in demolishing essentially the same points in previous postings.There is a medical term for persisting with unsound arguments after they have been rebutted.It is called ‘perseveration’.

    If you want a less imperfect,albeit not completely perfect,analogy from modern European history I would suggest Alsace/Lorraine 1871-1918 rather than the objects of Hitler’s and Mussolini’s desires.

    …….” Maybe you should sign up for a 20th century European history course? Your local FE college might be able to help.”………

    On the contrary your grasp of modern European history is somewhat ..er.. less than complete.

    Not factually accurate.(my comment)

    …….”Er, so nationalists didn’t want to include the whole of Ireland in their independent state??”…….

    Er,as I have pointed out above the nationalist negotiators in 1921 had accepted the need for *some form* of partition.Perseveration.

    Both ‘tracts of territory’ were equal in size in 1921.(my comment)

    ……”Sorry? The six counties that became NI were “equal in size” to nationalist-majority territory within NI??”…….

    Again it is obvious that you do not pay much attention to the text of what I write.What I clearly stated was that the areas of nationalist majority and unionist majority territory *within* the 6 county area were roughly equal in size.Ergo the area of nationalist majority territory inappropriately seized in 1921 was roughly equal to the area of unionist majority territory that would have been inappropriately seized in a hypothetical UI.You do not need to be a mathematical wizard to figure that one out.

    ……”You’re off your rocker!!
    You’re barmy!”…..

    Willowfield,with all due respects,if you have to resort to epithets like this it is a sure sign that the argument is slipping away from you.

    The obvious point here being that they were *expatriate* Irish.But now that you mention it,if they had,would it have amounted to a claim of jurisdiction over the US etc.?(my comment)

    ……”No. If they had it would have meant that the 32-county children was not irredentist. The fact that they were excluded demonstrated the irredentist thinking behind the gesture.”…..

    You are master of the nonsequitur.In terms of,broadly speaking ,the three relevant loci of Irish dimensionality,26 county,32 county,and global she was making an appropriate gesture towards the second.

    The integrity and national identity of both communities ,which are of comparable size and geographic distribution, within NI must be respected-not one at the expense of the other.President McAleese has been more than fair.She wore a poppy on Remembrance Day as a gesture to one side.The schoolchildren visit was a gesture to the other.(my comment)

    …..”Sorry, it is not appropriate for the president of one state to imply jurisdiction over part of another state, even if some people living in that state might support it.”…….

    More perseveration and TTVism.

    You are sinking deeper into the quicksand.Southern hereditary peers have rights of attendance in the House of Lords and this is scarcely remarked upon.Perhaps the South has reached a deeper level of political maturity.(my comment)

    ……..”All but 92 hereditary peers were removed five years ago. These 92 will eventually go.”……

    This is a tangential argument which does not address my essential point.I am convinced that you are making this stuff up as you go along.

    ……”The challenge for the thinking nationalist if he/she wants to promote good relations on the island of Ireland is to be respectful of the integrity of Northern Ireland”……

    TTVism again rears it’s ugly head.This is essentially Willowfieldspeak for being exclusively respectful of *one* of the North’s two communities.

    ……”and to channel “all-Irelandism” through appropriate and agreed mechanisms as set out in the Belfast Agreement.”……..

    This is where it gets interesting.You are already on record (vide supra) that Irish citizenship provisions in the Belfast agreement were ‘irredentist’ notwithstanding the fact that they were accepted by a substantial voting majority in the area that was the supposed object of irredentist aspiration.An intellectual blind loop!

    ……”Objectivist-style nationalist irredentism and 1930s style ethnic nationalism is hardly going to win friends and influence people and predicates against reconciliation and good relations.’…..

    More TTVism.Of course ‘reconciliation’ and ‘good relations’ are always possible in any (for want of a better term) conflict situation if one side capitulates to the other.But ‘capitulation’ solutions are a transparent non-runner.

  • Liam

    GREAT POST!!

  • James

    Objectivist:

    I give up.

    Just who the hell is John Gault?

  • willowfield

    objectivist

    This is simply not good enough.You will have to do better than that.I am always open to changing my mind when faced with rational argument.This falls somewhat short.Your oft-repeated argument centres around three contentions:1.President McAleese received schoolchildren from the whole island of Ireland.2.This amounts to a jurisdictional claim to the whole island of Ireland.3.This is irredentist. Your logic falls flat at step 2. You have yet to outline any rationale that I find convincing as to how this highly specific and contextualised gesture to a dimension of all-Irelandism amounts to a jurisdictional claim over the whole island of Ireland.

    I didn’t say it amounted to a jurisdictional claim. I said it implied such a claim.

    Now this is an interesting one.The Irish Guards is a BA [sic] regiment which recruits specifically from the whole of Ireland-North and South.For 100 years or so the late Queen Mother and various preceding and succeeding luminaries present shamrock in an annual ceremony on St.Patrick’s Day to members of the regiment,Northern and Southern.I don’t have a problem with this BTW. … In classic Willowfield logic this would amount to a jurisdictional claim over the ROI especially as potents symbols of Ireland,the shamrock and St.Patrick’s Day,have been adopted. Why is sauce for the British royal goose not sauce for the Irish presidential gander?

    The shamrock and St Patrick’s Day are Irish symbols that apply equally to NI as they do to the ROI. As such, the UK is entitled to use them insofar as they relate to that part of the UK which is also part of Ireland. Therefore it is quite appropriate to use such symbols in relation to the Irish Guards regiment, and such usage does not imply all-Ireland jurisdiction.

    As for the fact that the regiment recruits from the whole island, neither do I see how this is irredentist, for it is quite clear that any soldiers from ROI are joining a regiment of the UK army and not an all-Ireland or all-British Isles army.

    Interesting and revealing that you find this an ‘apalling concept’.I would suggest that you step outside your straightjacket [sic] of anachronistic ethnic supremacism.

    I am not inside any such straitjacket. On the contrary, I am opposed to ethnic supremacism and, more pertinently to this argument, to the appalling concept of the identification of the state with a particular ethnicity, as promoted by yourself.

    TTVism strikes again.”Respect the border” essentially means exclusively respect one of the two communities on the other side.

    It doesn’t. That is a non-sequitur.

    Again it is obvious that you do not pay much attention to the text of what I write.What I clearly stated was that the areas of nationalist majority and unionist majority territory *within* the 6 county area were roughly equal in size.

    You didn’t clearly state that. On the contrary, it was unclear.

    You are master of the nonsequitur.In terms of,broadly speaking ,the three relevant loci of Irish dimensionality,26 county,32 county,and global she was making an appropriate gesture towards the second.

    On the contrary, it was entirely inappropriate, since it implied jurisdiction over the 32. If she wanted to make some kind of gesture to ROI citizens living outside the state, she should have included all such ROI citizens, and not just those from NI.

    TTVism again rears it’s ugly head.This is essentially Willowfieldspeak for being exclusively respectful of *one* of the North’s two communities.

    It’s not. That is a non-sequitur.

    More TTVism.Of course ‘reconciliation’ and ‘good relations’ are always possible in any (for want of a better term) conflict situation if one side capitulates to the other.But ‘capitulation’ solutions are a transparent non-runner.

    Nobody is suggesting capitulation, merely mutual recognition and respect. That is the way forward, not irredentist gestures on the part of the ROI.