Reverting to Stereotyping.

Surpised and disappointed at Mary McAleese. She has undone an awful lot of good work. McAleese: Protestant children taught to hate Catholics

President Mary McAleese was at the centre of a sectarian row tonight after claiming Protestant children in the North were taught to hate Catholics in the same way Nazis despised Jews.

It provoked outrage among unionists who accused her of vilifying an entire community.

President McAleese assessment came during ceremonies to mark the 60th anniversary of the Auschwitz concentration camp liberation.

Anti-Semitism that existed for decades had been built upon by the Nazis, she said.

“They gave to their children an irrational hatred of Jews in the same way that people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children an irrational hatred of Catholics, in the same way that people give to their children an outrageous and irrational hatred of those who are of different colour and all of those things.”

Unionists were astonished and incensed by the comparison from a head of state who has cited strengthening cross-community relations as a key aim of her Presidency.

  • Gay

    It happened. It’s true. It continues to a lesser extent today. Her choice of timing and anology was as bad as McDowell’s.

  • Davros

    That’s nonsense Gay. As offensive as extrapolating from some incidents to saying that “Catholic Priests are Paedophiles”. I don’t doubt some kids pick up such hatreds. Catholic Kids just as much and as often as Protestant kids. And there was no hatred of Catholics or Protestants taught in the schoolrooms of EITHER SIDE of NI in the way that the Nazi’s made Schoolteachers across all of Germany indoctrinate the children.

  • willowfield

    Disgraceful sectarian comments by President McAleese.

  • CavanMan

    it isnt one way, some Catholics are brought up to hate protestants too.She should have been fair and added that too,it is such useless utterances from pro unity leaders on this island,that is prolonging the separation of our two states,and giving unionists the impression that the good old days of anti-protestant bigotry as in the 1920’s and 30’s are still in occurance.Dont these idiots know that the only way we can persuade unionists to join a united Ireland is to respect their beliefs etc and show them they are better off with us than against us.As a ROI catholic i am disgusted with such remarks from our supposed Head of State.She should do whats best for the island and resign now.

  • Gay

    How can she be sacked for using an inappropriate analogy at an insensitive time when what she says is true? Maybe not now but previously the north was based on a fear of Catholics. An irrational fear. The McA comparison is valid but badly timed and inappropriate. Saying that, she was playing for the heart strings of a Jewish audience so the remarks were probably not meant so much as judgment of the north as ingratiation and platitude.

  • Gay

    ‘sacked’ should be ‘forced to resign’

  • Davros

    Gav – she was partisan, inaccurate and portrayed my community as equating to nazis. The way she phrased her remarks implied that it was an active process where people of one community and one community alone CHOSE to actively indoctrinate their children in the way that the nazis indoctrinated their children. That was unforgivable.It comes across that, either consciously or subconsciously, she is trying to piggy-back her own feelings of victimhood
    onto the horrors suffered by the Jewish people.

  • CavanMan

    Her Comments may be indeed true,the fact is she took upon herself to have a go at the protestant community by making comments which are ALSO applicable to the catholic community.Her non mentioning of the sectarianism in the catholic community when discussing religious hatred on this island is unnacceptable in whatever way you put it.President(for now) Mc Aleese had made her position as head of this state untenable and she should resign.

  • Davros

    I agree Cavanman.

  • CavanMan

    i do not wish to be represented on the world stage by a person who would make such comments,Maybe Gerry Adams wont have to wait too long to become president,after all!!!!

  • Davros

    Thinking back, remember how pleased most people were that Dana ….

  • Alan2

    Her comparison is not entirely fair. Nazism and racism are more or less one way. The Protestant / Catholic form of sectarianism which is particularly strong in Ireland and Scotland has alot to do with history is a two way street.

  • Emily

    It would seem that today, of all days, is an appropriate one to reflect on the dangerous mistake of demonizing an entire community of people. It’s an ironic pity this lesson was not obvious to President McAleese.

  • willowfield

    Ironic indeed.

    She should resign.

  • CavanMan

    Oh it seems that every figure on this island has an enviable ability to ruin good work,i just expected better from Mary Mc Aleese.

  • Peace and Justice

    When she lived in Belfast, many people thought of her as a bigot. But it appeared she had put all that behind her after becoming President. That assumption was obviously wrong. McAleese should resign.

  • Jimmy Sands

    It appears to be national foot in mouth day today. There’s nothing wrong with drawing parallels, indeed we fail the victims if we do not, but this is just crass. The fact that that both remarks have come from two of our least embarrassing public representatives makes it worse.

  • Henry94

    I’m a great admirer of Mary McAleese but she will have to do some serious apologising for that remark. Of course no community that elects Paisley as it’s leader can be too worried about a bigotry charge. But the comparison to the Nazis is over the top by a long way.

    She may well have to resign. Eoghan Harris’s “tribal time-bomb” just went off. Just as well he’s not the type to say I told you so.

  • cg

    Mc Dowell and Mc Aleese should both be ashamed of their disgraceful comments in relation to Nazism.

    The fact of the matter is that catholic families are just as capable of fostering sectarianism in their children; it also depends on the geography.

    One of my friend’s families originally comes from Belfast and I am often disgusted by their mentioning of “Huns” in relation to Protestants.

    In the area I come from there are very few Protestants so people don’t tend to be sectarian. It’s in areas like these that republican/stoop aggression is prevalent.

    It also depends on how religious an upbringing you get. Mine was fairly loose to say the least so these bullshit theories about Protestants weren’t brought up.

    The point is that nationalists are just as likely to foster sectarianism in their children as Protestants and that’s why McAleese’s comments are a total disgrace.

  • Davros

    RTE reports the row but as yet nothing from the BBC and UTV.

    It’s worth listening to this clip from RTE… the presenter is a little kind to Mary McAleese as she changes what was said to “Some” protestants. The recording of what the president actually said is different. (realplayer needed)

  • Vera

    Hasn’t anyone over there heard of Godwin’s Law???

  • Liam

    Fair play to her for telling the truth.

    But of course Unionists will cry that its not true. Just as they will attempt to deny the truths of Bloody Sunday, of discrimination, of gerrymandering, of collusion. They really need to get out of denial.

    Before the usual suspects get to knee-jerking, think seriously on this and I pose you a challenge:

    Name me one rebel song that refers to killing protestants? I can name plenty of Loyalist songs that threaten Catholics….but I know the words of every rebel song and theres not even one word of hurting a protestant, never mind killing them!!

    Now think again what you have taught your children to sing?

    Think also about Loyalist graffitti – think of K.A.T. – the only good Fenian is a dead Fenian etc. etc. Tell me that there is or ever was similar graffitti in republican areas? NO, there never was!!

    McAleese was right. She spoke from personal experience. She has her integrity, if others cannot recognise the truths of what they taught their children, thats their problem, not hers.

  • Davros

    Liam – do you seriously believe that as with Germany, teachers in state school were made to indoctrinate children against Catholics ? And that all protestant parents taught their children to
    hate Catholics ?

  • Davros

    Liam – How did the Mob abuse Paddy Devlin on Bobby Sand’s death ? “Get out to fu*k you protestant lover” was one insult he specified. Sectarianism was rampant on both sides.

  • cg

    Liam we tend to agree on most things but I can’t agree with your insinuation that most Protestants teach their children to hate Catholics.

    I have worked with a few protestant women back home and they never taught their children any such things.

    The reason why there are no Rebel songs threatening Protestants is because Irish Republicanism embraces all of Ireland’s children. Unfortunately that hasn’t been seen by the majority of Protestants. That doesn’t mean that some of our more religious comrades aren’t sectarian.

    I agree with you about the loyalist stuff but not all protestants are like stone or Adair.
    As a republican you CAN’T be sectarian and if you are then you aren’t republican. Unfortunately not every Catholic is republican.

    McAleese’s comments are a disgrace.

    In a time when we should be reaching out to the protestant community she accuses the majority of them of being sectarian fascists, well I don’t accept that. The same way I won’t accept anyone’s attempts to portray Republicans as fascists.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mc Aleese seems to be following in the steps trod by Cardinal O Fiaich who stated that 90% of sectarianism in the North emanated from the unionist community.
    It seems to be a bad day for analogies, however those who tramp all over Mc Aleese didn’t show the same fervour when Mc Dowell started the ball rolling, all be it in a manner proven to be false.

    If on another day Mc Aleese had simply stated that there is an irrational hatred among large sections of the unionist community towards Catholics and that this hatred was fomented by certain political parties, organisations and individuals, then few could have had any complaints.

    As it is Auschwitz day was bad timing to say the least.

  • Alan

    McAleese should not resign, but it is time for sackcloth and ashes.

    As someone brought up as a protestant in West Belfast, I was proud of the fact that a wee girl from Ardoyne became President of Ireland. She set out to be even handed, and made a good stab at it. She has fallen acropper, perhaps her family history rose to the surface when it was better to let it lie.

    Make no mistake about it though, what she said was deeply offensive. I think of my parents and family who taught us that no matter what people said in the street, that the vast majority of people on both sides were the salt of the earth.

    The difficult thing for McAleese to do is to stay on in her post and build up trust and confidence in her presidency again. Yet that is what faces all of us if we are to move forward. To resign is to leave an opening for those who would make hay out of this situation, possibly even those who did teach the kind of hatred that her original comments rightly criticised.

  • Butterknife

    1. Which nation’s Head of State defended Hitler, sent condolences to the German people when he committed suicide?

    2. Which nations in built bigotry made all returning Irish solders that fought on the side of democracy feel like scum?

    3. How dare this President compare me with members of the SS who sent millions to the gas chambers. Is her comment, as head of state, no less insulting that the third in line to the throne of the UKs or is she a special case?

  • maca

    Butterknife, I don’t see how exactly 1 & 2 are relevant here. If you want to drag up nasty things from the past about our respective heads of state i’d have no problem coming up with an arms length list.
    Churchill admired Hitler and wished ye had someone “as admirable” to lead the British people.
    Be careful throwing around words like bigorty, might come back to bite you.

  • Henry94

    Alan

    McAleese should not resign, but it is time for sackcloth and ashes.

    I think that’s about right. It was a silly mistake and the apology will need to be world class but she should remain in office.

    Butterknife

    Is her comment, as head of state, no less insulting that the third in line to the throne of the UKs or is she a special case?

    Do you think they should both resign?

  • ricardo

    The most offensive thing for me was the implication that somehow Protestants were taught to hate, like there was a special class in school or something . . .reminds me of the ‘5 minute hate'(is that right?) from 1984.

    Disgusting remarks, she should resign.

  • ricardo

    Liam

    ‘Think also about Loyalist graffitti – think of K.A.T. – the only good Fenian is a dead Fenian etc. etc. Tell me that there is or ever was similar graffitti in republican areas? NO, there never was!!’

    what planet are you on? Take a wee tour round the Falls, Divis, Turf Lodge, Whiterock, Ballymurphy, Lenadoon, Twinbrook, Poleglass and then come back to us.

    You are deluded person if you think that this sort of thing only comes out of one community.

  • ricardo

    For your information Liam, ‘KAH’ (Kill All Huns), and the slogan ‘Kill All Loyalist Scum’ are just a couple of the phrases that I would regularly walk past on the Falls Road last year. Did I imagine this??

  • Donnie

    She shouldn’t resign.

    What she said was half-right but cannot be compared with the fate of the Jews. Thousands of prods were brought up to hate Catholics, but unfortunaty the reverse is true. If she had said that she’d have made life easier for herself.

    It will all blow over!

  • maca

    Ricardo
    I honestly don’t think that is what she meant. I’d say she has a poor knowledge of “nazi indoctrination” and she was simply trying to say that hatred is passed from one generation to the next. Which is very true, on both sides of the divide.
    Not defending her comments mind, they were disgraceful, just trying to explain what I think she meant.

    Why are people calling for her to resign? Have the heads of NI political parties not made worse remarks and done worse things? I know she is head of state but i’d say people would also demand resignation if Ahern or any other Irish minister made such comments.

  • ricardo

    Maca,

    That is how I am interpreting her comments and I’m sure lots of others will too. It is an absolutely outrageous community, she seems to be suffering from the same delusions as Liam, she needs to open her eyes and take a good honest look at the world around her. and then resign

  • ricardo

    community??? I meant comment. Rage is clouding my mind.

  • ricardo

    Donnie, she didn’t say thousand of prods, or some prods, she implied it was all prods, she should be ashamed of herself. Her credibility just went down the pan with the unionist community.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    I would guess that at this moment Mary McAleese deeply regrets her choice of words yesterday.

    Before we all start demanding her resignation, I think she should be given an opportunity to explain/clarify/reflect on/apologise for what she said yesterday. Has no-one here ever said something and think afterwards “That didn’t come out as I meant it”?

    Mary McAleese and her husband Martin have done more than any other President to try to reconcile the two traditions who share this island. She has done a lot of good work, and should at least be offered the chance to put things right.

  • maca

    She’s made the BBC

    A few comments of note there:

    President McAleese’s remarks have been defended by senior Catholic clergyman, Monsignor Denis Faul.

    He said she was just giving an example of bigotry adding: “She could have just as easily have given an example of political bigotry from the Catholics.”

    SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the Holocaust could teach everyone “lessons about the danger of unchecked prejudice and unchallenged persecution”.

    “The Holocaust memorial event in the north has always referred to the lessons for our own society, which has its own prejudices around difference,” he said.

    “We believe that it was this that the president was saying, as she will be able to show from her own record of bridge-building.

    “We do not believe that she was attempting to equate directly any of the prejudices which exist in the north with the systematic policies of deadly hatred of the Nazi regime.”

  • slug9987

    I think the KEY thing here is that while we in NI can feel sorry for ourselves at times and rightly feel the “other side” has done us wrong (whichever side we’re on) in no way does it compare to the Nazi concentration camps.

    The point is we must not forget the holocaust.

    Even though I think she was extremely insulting and unfair to the protestant community I think the real damage she did was to the Jewish victims and their families and the rememberance of their suffering.

  • slackjaw

    Ill-judged and one-sided remarks – as a head of state one would expect her to have had more sense, as many in these islands and beyond are inclined to believe the worst about Protestants in Northern Ireland.

    In her defence, I fail to see how she implied that it was all Protestants. While some may choose to interpret her remarks as such, it is perhaps stretching it a bit to propose that she was drawing direct parallels between unionists and the Nazis.

    In the wider context of her comments on the matter, and perhaps in light of her own personal experiences, she was illustrating that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary hatred. It is a shame, especially given the occasion, that she was unable to express this in less inflammatory and discriminatory, and more inclusive terms. The Holocaust wasn’t carried out by people like ‘them’ – it was carried out by people like us.

  • willowfield

    Disgraceful sectarian comments by Liam at 1.55am this morning. On another thread, Liam expressed support for the Provisional IRA murder campaign. Now he endorses sectarian comments about Protestants.

    Since Liam poses questions to Protestants, let me pose one to him: which community insists on promoting sectarian division by removing its children into apartheid schools thus avoiding contact with Protestants?

  • maca

    ..and willowfield follows up with a comment which some might consider to be sectarian. And the cycle continues….

  • Alan2

    I have to say that I am quite disappointed with President McAleese after all the good work she had been doing in Loyalist communities. She of all people must see that “the troubles” were a result of religious and cultural difference from living in a shared space rather than any particular desire to annihilate “the other side”.

  • Davros

    People should listen carefully to the clip of the interview and think carefully about what this woman said. This wasn’t a throwaway remark from a yob in the street, it was a comparison made by a highly intelligent woman whose business was use of language.

    From the 1930’s on German Children were systematically brainwashed to hate Jews. There were lessons in school. According to McAleese THAT was what happened to all of my community in NI, we were brought up to hate Catholics. This was said in the 21st century during a peace process, not in the middle of the 20th century during a time of tremendous civil unrest.

    I’m pleased to see that many on the other side of TDF have rejected her comments.SOME people did bring their children up to hate the other religion. Did schools ? You CANNOT justify a remark that damns an entire people because of the actions of a few. Mary McAleese’s comments were just as bigotted and ignorant and hate-filled a smear as the dreadful lies told about Jewish People before Hitler came to Power. She has shamed herself and shamed us all.

  • Donnie

    “which community insists on promoting sectarian division by removing its children into apartheid schools thus avoiding contact with Protestants?”

    So which community is it then? You obviously don’t have an answer as parents have the right to choose. My mate is a Catholic and went to Banbridge Academy. To my knowledge the Catholic Church never called round to his house to try to force him to go to a RC grammar school. You are (yet again) talking sh*te.

    He was also mercilessly bullied at this, of NI’s most prestigious, predominantly middle-class grammar schools precisely because of his religion!

    Her comments were wrong, made at the wrong time but most reasonable people understand what she was trying to say. However, yet again as Davros (or someone) made the point on the Zoe Salmon thread that some people go out of their way to be offended.

  • Peace and Justice

    McAleese should resign. She is supposed to be above this sort of thing. It’s deeply insulting and shows that she hasn’t changed after all. She was a bigot when she lived in Belfast and it looks like she is still a bigot. Members of the Pan Nationalist Front are always asking the British Government for apologies for every wrong they believe happened to them. Let’s have an apology first and then let her do the honourable thing and resign.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    To use Auschwitz day as a backdrop for a more parochial insight into intolerance and hatred must be condemned.
    Michael Mc Dowell cynically used the day as a cheap stunt to attack republicans but in a typical ham fisted manner used an analogy that exposed his opportunism to his own detriment.

    If we try to forget the backdrop of the Mc Aleese speech and concentrate on her actual speech then it is a subject that needs discussing. It would be better if some time in the future Mc Aleese gave examples of the assessments she has arrived at.
    There is testament from some posters that the vision as painted by the President is alien to them. Far better for Mc Aleese to provide examples of people, parties and organisations that have led her to believe that there is an inherent sectarianism among sections of the unionist community.
    If nothing else the discussion would give others the chance for rebuttal, if such a case existed. The speech was too wide ranging and not specific enough and has branded an entire community as sectarian.

  • Davros

    “Far better for Mc Aleese to provide examples of people, parties and organisations that have led her to believe that there is an inherent sectarianism among sections of the unionist community.”

    Pat – she didn’t mention sections. That was the problem.

  • Butterknife

    maca

    The President of Ireland when comparing the sectarian crap that has happened in Northern Ireland to that of the NAZI party makes points 1 and 2 valid. As another contributor has pointed out, ‘the only real alternative to the House of Commons was the concentration camp’ and Ireland was neutral in name only. Her leader was, as some may expect, was an Anglophobe, so to was Charles de Gaulle, but at least he knew what side was right. A famous example is how the Ireland treated their soldiers coming home from the 1st World War and how they treated their sons coming home after the 2nd World War.

    Not only should this ceremonial head of state, like HM The Queen, refrain from making political comments but she should be aware that her own adopted country is not free of bigotry towards Protestants and other nationalities. For example explain the forced migration of the Protestants from Cork etc in the early 20th century etc.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    A terrific post from Slackjaw at 10.11.

    Davros

    “It comes across that, either consciously or subconsciously, she is trying to piggy-back her own feelings of victimhood onto the horrors suffered by the Jewish people.”

    As I have repeatedly said, there are no shortage of people in Ireland willing to do this, and it’s disgusting. McAleese’s comments have exactly the same value as any other Hitler gambit – ie f*** all.

    Re. your point about schools. You are missing the point about the fomentation of hatred. Are you seriously saying that had the Nazis not taught hatred in school, then they couldn’t be regarded as having fomented or perpetuated hatred at all?

    The point is that however we have done it, we have been passing down sectarian hatred through a dozen generations here, and only a fool or a liar would deny that head-slapping reality. You can’t just say that it’s not on the curriculum so there can’t be any element of fomentation or perpetuation. Sectarianism isn’t in the genes, it’s in the culture and circumstances of the day.

    McAleese’s comments were way over the top, and bringing the Nazis into it was disgraceful, but the fact remains that sectarian hatred is THE defining feature of Northern Ireland, and it doesn’t come from nowhere. So before we start preening ourselves with moral indignation we should take a hard look at ourselves in the mirror.

    I have previously argued that sectarianism is markedly more pronounced in the unionist community, and is more easily tolerated among unionists than among nationalists. I have argued the point back and forth in good faith with other unionist posters but have not been dissuaded from that view. I wouldn’t for a second pretend that there aren’t plenty of Catholics I know who will with wilful abandon talk about ‘huns’, ‘black bastards’ and so on and so forth. Nationalists are not inherently better people, nor are they above bigotry, but unionism inherently requires sectarianism in a way the pro-unity argument does not.

    So while I condemn McAleese’s comments I am glad she has named at least one of the two great big elephants in the room. Perhaps we can now move beyond comments like, for example, Cg’s, that “not all protestants are like stone or Adair” – an utterly banal and pointless statement. Stone and Adair emerged from a specific cultural milieu, and THAT is the important point.

    Alan

    “I think of my parents and family who taught us that no matter what people said in the street, that the vast majority of people on both sides were the salt of the earth.”

    If that were true we wouldn’t live in the sick society we do. It’s important that we realise that it’s not enough to live a blameless life if you are, for example, a member of the Orange Order. (This is just an example, by the way. I could list a examples from either side of the fence.)

    I know a few Orangemen and I haven’t a bad word to say about them as people. Salt of the earth. Dacent oul skins, as we say in Armagh. They are completely bewildered at the accusation that the Order is a monument to, and fomenter of bigotry because, basically, they don’t understand bigotry. They think it’s enough to live their whole lives and never say a bad word to anyone. They think it’s enough that when their Catholic neighbour calls round to borrow the garden shears, that we are glad to help out. They reassure themselves with banal mantras about how they “have nothing against” Catholics.

    Yet they have contributed in their own small way to ensuring that the next generation holds fast to the same subconscious and immovable hatreds they do.

    Surely the lesson of Holocaust Memorial day should be about the danger of tribal hatreds? I find it utterly pathetic when people take the easy lesson of the Holocaust, and argue that it’s about spotting evil elsewhere. Perhaps my Catholic upbringing is showing here, but surely the first place we should look for evil is within ourselves. The Nazis were us.

    Peace and Justice

    “She was a bigot when she lived in Belfast and it looks like she is still a bigot.”

    Why do you say that? I ask only for information – I’m not really aware of anything Mary McAleese did when she lived in Belfast.

  • maca

    Butterknife, that doesn’t make points 1 & 2 valid, they are irrelevant. They have nothing to do with the issue. you’re attacking the country over events from long ago because of comments she made in 2005. Stick to the subject which is her comments, otherwise you’re just venting.

    “that her own adopted country is not free of bigotry towards Protestants and other nationalities. For example explain the forced migration of the Protestants from Cork etc in the early 20th century etc.”

    Getting your tenses mixed up here.

  • Davros

    Billy – I disagree with an awful lot of what you have written above but for an entirely unrelated reason I’m having to disappear for a while.

    God Bless.

  • maca

    Davros
    “From the 1930’s on German Children were systematically brainwashed to hate Jews. There were lessons in school. According to McAleese THAT was what happened to all of my community in NI”

    I can understand your anger but I honestly don’t think she meant anything even close to that. It was dreadfully badly phrased but I think she was meaning in general sectarianism is passed on to kids. Which is the truth. I mean, you hear your dad simply complaining about the other side and you will grow up prejudiced.
    And she definitly should have also mentioned catholics or not mentioned any side at all.

    “They gave to their children an irrational hatred of Jews in the same way that people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children an irrational hatred of Catholics, in the same way that people give to their children an outrageous and irrational hatred of those who are of different colour and all of those things.”

  • slug9987

    “but unionism inherently requires sectarianism in a way the pro-unity argument does not”

    Certainly the pro-union case was once based on religious (sectarian) argument that protestants didn’t want a Catholic dominated country. But interesting though that religious differences aren’t used that much anymore in the pro-union case.

  • offer it up

    Her remarks were perhaps a little over the top and poorly timed, but she had a point. The subjugation of a minority/minorities is certainly one ideological pursuit that both one-party states (Germany and Northern Ireland) shared.

  • Alan

    Billy P,

    *If that were true we wouldn’t live in the sick society we do.*

    Would you be suggesting a degree of mendacity in my comment? Now I might take exception to that!

    Your point about the average Orange members family is well made, but what about the rest of us?

  • CavanMan

    Stop with the welcoming of the Irish men who fought with the british army in WW1.They were representing Britain NOT Ireland,so there is no reason as to why they would be treated in any special way.

  • CavanMan

    WW2*sorry my error.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Alan

    Just making the point that if, as we always reassure ourselves, the “vast majority” of “ordinary people” are salt of the earth, how come the society we live in is so wracked with fear and loathing? How come, if the parts are so good, the sum total is so bad?

    I was using the Orangeman as an example, not singling out the Orange. Fact is we all pass our assumptions down through the generations, but in normal societies people start from the tenets of their family or community and then find their own way. Take Eoghan Harris for example: he’s the grandson of a veteran of the Easter Rising, yet he’s a unionist. Not only that, but his unionism has helped him become the star columnist in Ireland’s biggest-selling Sunday newspaper.

    How could this happen? Simple really: Harris’ family may have been republicans and extolled the patriots of ’16, but Harris did not have a visceral hatred of either Protestants or the British encoded into his DNA. Nobody ever told him he couldn’t be an Irishman is he didn’t hate X, Y or Z.

    In this particular society though, the assumptions of our fathers are articles of faith, though I would suggest more rigidly among unionists. Where are the unionist Malachi O’Doherty’s? (Actually, the answer is: abroad.)

    One can debate how we actually pass on our hatreds but as I said earlier, only a fool or a liar would deny that we do.

  • barnshee

    Brilliant Mary has just handed the DUPERS another batch of voters

    She is the president of the Republic of Ireland why should anyone outside the ROI call for her resignation- better to ignore her and make sure she never sets foot in a building with a protestant in it.

  • davidbrew

    everyone knows this was a faux pas on a massive scale, but the good thing to come out of it is the comments of such as cavanman at the beginning of the thread, who demonstrates the kind of openminded generosity which would help everyone on the island.
    I do think her spokesman’s later clarification was a bit lukewarm- what’s the harm in admitting, for once , that she put her foot in it? She has undone a lot of the good which many of us were frankly surprised and pleased to see in her last term.

  • willowfield

    Donnie

    “which community insists on promoting sectarian division by removing its children into apartheid schools thus avoiding contact with Protestants?”
    So which community is it then?

    Er, the RC community!!

    You obviously don’t have an answer as parents have the right to choose. My mate is a Catholic and went to Banbridge Academy. To my knowledge the Catholic Church never called round to his house to try to force him to go to a RC grammar school. You are (yet again) talking sh*te.

    I’m not talking shite. The fact that some RCs attend state schools does not mean that there does not exist a separate RC education system that removes the vast majority of RCs from the state system and from contact with Protestant children!

    Billy P

    unionism inherently requires sectarianism in a way the pro-unity argument does not.

    How’s that?

  • Alan

    Billy P,

    What’s with the lecture? There were thousands of families that were taught that the people in the opposing camp were also good people. McAleese’s comments rode roughshod over that. She should apologize – full stop.

    You have also argued against yourself in admitting that there are unionist Malachy O’Doherty’s (There you go Malachy, now you’re a cypher!), albeit abroad.

    *In this particular society though, the assumptions of our fathers are articles of faith, though I would suggest more rigidly among unionists.*

    Well, they either are or they aren’t – pick your side!

    “One can debate how we actually pass on our hatreds but as I said earlier, only a fool or a liar would deny that we do.”

    Let’s move from the abstract to the real. Yes I have tried to pass on my hatred of eggwhite to my kids – but it didn’t work! What I hope I can also pass on to them is my belief that all people are born equal, and deserve the best they can achieve. I’m not lying about that, so hand me the motely!

  • Mark

    Billy P

    Maybe Malachai O’Doherty and Eoghan Harris moved away from republicanism towards unionism as they believed it was a more valid political viewpoint for them. Maybe there are fewer similar comparisons on the protestant side of the fence because more protestants believe in the Union. It could also be argued that there are 6 million catholics in Ireland compared to 1 million protestants (apologies if the figures are wrong) so statistically there would be more people who would change their political viewpoint on the catholic side.

    It does not necessarily have anything to do with how you were raised as a child but how you develop as a person.

  • maca

    Mark
    “It does not necessarily have anything to do with how you were raised as a child but how you develop as a person.”

    It’s both really. Everyone learns and develops from childhood, this plays it’s part in how “you develop as a person”.