Nationalism's residual prejudices against Unionists

Alex Kane believes that in her comparison between Northern Irish some Protestants and Nazis, President Mary McAleese let slip a thought that’s harboured in many a Nationalist’s chest: that they despise Unionists more than armed Republicans.

I think it was George Bernard Shaw, who, on hearing a very frank outburst from an actress, commented; “her slip is showing.” In President Mary McAleese’s case, it was her Freudian slip which was on display last week. Her comments were unwise, historically inaccurate and un-Presidential, and it is no surprise that she caused offence to so many within the pro-Union community.

Now, had it all been a mere slip of the tongue, I think that a gracious and genuine apology would have brought the matter to a close. But I don’t think it was a slip of the tongue. What she said was certainly crass and her choice of platform inappropriate; an apology was required and subsequently delivered, albeit one which smacked of spin-doctor manufacture. Yet the impression remains, in my mind at least, that she strayed because she really does believe that Protestants are taught to hate Roman Catholics.

And that impression was confirmed by the reaction of local nationalists to her comments. Neither Sinn Fein nor the SDLP believed that she needed to apologise. The Irish News was full of letters from readers who expressed a similar view. Most of the non-unionists who contacted Talk Back agreed with her. In other words, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Roman Catholics/Nationalists really do believe that they are hated by Protestants/Unionists.

This may explain why Sinn Fein, the political wing of an armed and still active terrorist machine, has continued to increase its vote so substantially. Right across Northern Ireland, from the poorest parts of South Armagh, to the leafy suburbs of the Malone Road, Sinn Fein candidates have been piling up the votes and winning council, Assembly, Westminster and European seats. They have beaten the SDLP into second place and are well positioned to finish them off in a few months time.

All of which begs one question: why would educated, articulate, professional and generally successful middle-class Roman Catholics desert the SDLP in favour of a political party which has excused and endorsed a campaign of terror and murder against Protestants? And the question has even more relevance when you consider that the political fronts of Loyalist terror have never made the same electoral breakthrough within the unionist community.

Or, let’s put it another way: if it is true, as President McAleese hints, that Roman Catholics believe we hate them, is it also true that they carry a psychological baggage which enables them to endorse a machine which has terrorised those of us who believe in the United Kingdom? Let’s face it, irrespective of what the IRA does, or how slippery Messrs Adams and McGuinness have proved to be, yet another swathe of the nationalist vote rows in behind them.

That being the case, it is hard to see how we will ever get the present so-called Agreement, let alone any alternative to it, up and running. The SDLP seems prepared to provide political cover for Sinn Fein, in yet another indication that their core vote would rather run with the gunmen than rally around the democrats. Again, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that “moderate” nationalists hate unionists more than they hate armed republicanism. How very depressing.

I was not taught to hate, and today, as an adult and an atheist, I have no political hang-ups about Protestantism or Roman Catholicism. But I have to admit that experience has taught me to doubt the political motives and sincerity of the “other community.” In my opinion, Northern Ireland is a less trusting and more polarised place than it was in April 1998.

President McAleese was wholly wrong in her effort to draw parallels between Nazism and Unionism. Nevertheless, she has succeeded in turning over a stone and revealing a dark and very unpleasant facet of the nationalist psyche. It isn’t just IRA disingenuousness which has made it so difficult to deliver a democratic settlement. The President’s apology is meaningless, for it is as offensive as her original comments. Beam and mote, Mary. Beam and mote.

First published in the Newsletter, Saturday 5th February 2005

  • Davros

    That’s true Fraggle 🙂 But if one accepts the generalisation then one can understand some of the negotiational problems.

  • slug9987

    Barry

    “The wider world, i.e. the rest of the planet beyond the tiny confines of Ulster, calls an RC a “Catholic” for much of the time, and no one takes any issue with this. Indeed the style guide of “The Times” suggests that the first mention be “Roman Catholic” and the rest simply “Catholic”. Only in benighted Ulster, especially in newspapers with a Unionist ethos, do we find EVERY mention of Catholic preceded by the “Roman” qualifier, as was the case with Alex’s article.”

    Is this one of those sensitivities that historically disadvantaged communities have? Would it be only in N Ireland that people of that religion might take offence at the presence of the R word? What do people outside NI feel – for instance if the R word were used by a Frenchman to describe a fellow Frenchmans religion would it seem he was being offensive? Can’t really understand why this issue is so big, but then there is no reasoning as to why words acquire offensive status simetimes.

  • Ringo

    willowfield & slug9987 –

    regarding the BBC – point taken.

    willowfield –

    The term Ireland is used on occasion with irredentist implications, but it is used without those connotations in all but a near negligible number of cases each day.

    Whether it is the intention or not of the user to offend, its use should be discouraged as the effect of it is offensive.

    I take it that the only thing you find offensive about the use is the irredentist implications.

    And you accept that it is merely in a tiny minority of cases it is used in this fashion.

    In those cases people mean to cause offence and the rest of the time no offence is implied.

    Surely you are not saying that the use of a word by the vast majority in one context should be ended because a few deliberately use it in a different context which offends you?

    And, like Maca, I recall your defence your use the word Gaelic on these grounds.

    And what about the use of the term Ulster?

    What about it?

    Come on – you read the earlier explanation.
    When Ian Paisley declared that ‘Ulster Says No’ was he referring to six or nine counties, and was he being irredentist?

  • slug9987

    Barry
    “I do wish people would put their learning and intelligence to more constructive use”
    But isn’t it pretty silly to be offended at somt things of these sorts. I am not picking on NI-nats here, lots of historically disadvantaged groups have these sensitivities.

  • maca

    Davros
    “It’s of less significance where you come from
    because there are so few ‘others’.”

    Actually here I now live, as you know, most people are “protestant” (Evangelist Lutheran) but I have never once heard them call themselves protestant.

    Alan2
    “Mormons are not Protestants”

    I think they are. Is there something wrong with mormons that they are not ‘real protestants’ ;))

  • maca

    Cripes!! Correction…
    “Actually here I now live, as you know, most people are “protestant” (Evangelist Lutheran) but I have never once heard them call themselves catholic.”

  • Sherlock

    To Barry Turner:

    Barry, it might have been easier if I had just used the term “Fenians,” for, if nothing else, it might have spared us your pointless and entirely pedantic sideshow.

    I use Roman Catholic and I use Protestant. It is that simple. I am an atheist and that is how I refer to these two religious blocs. I have written for a wide range of local and national newspapers, and no duty editor has ever told me to change the terms I use.

    So please, stop obsessing about it.

    Best wishes,

    Alex.

  • Alan2

    Fenianism is a movement not a religion – a development of the Irish Republican Brotherhood albeit Fenianism was entirely sectarian inpersuit of a Catholic, Gaelic Ireland hence the numerous articles on various Fenian skirmishes (Canada etc) and songs about Fenians being sung at funerals and commemorations of Republicans.

    Maca – Mormons do not consider themselves Protestants and many Lutherans do not consider themselves Protestants either. I used to have discussions with a Lutheran minister in the states and he said he was neither Catholic or Protestant. Indeed this being Ash Wednesday and the Catholic community has a large number of people with ash on there foreheads to days reminds me that he told me Lutherans also follow that tradition.

  • Alan2

    Fenianism is a movement not a religion – a development of the Irish Republican Brotherhood albeit Fenianism was entirely sectarian inpersuit of a Catholic, Gaelic Ireland hence the numerous articles on various Fenian skirmishes (Canada etc) and songs about Fenians being sung at funerals and commemorations of Republicans.

    Maca – Mormons do not consider themselves Protestants and many Lutherans do not consider themselves Protestants either. I used to have discussions with a Lutheran minister in the states and he said he was neither Catholic or Protestant. Indeed this being Ash Wednesday and the Catholic community has a large number of people with ash on there foreheads to days reminds me that he told me Lutherans also follow that tradition.

  • Ballyholmebake

    All the back and forth about who hates who the most and all the nit-picking through the evidence of the bigotry on both sides is of course utterly pointless. The basic facts are that both sides really do hate the other that’s why there have been so many deaths, and so little action towards a different way.

    McAleese just let the facade of civilisation that we all pretend to have, slip when she inserted her foot in her mouth. The outrage and embarassment is mainly coming from the educated and talking classes appalled that one of their own revealed that our nasty little Irish tribal loyalties are ingrained in us all, and not just the Millies in the kitchen houses.

    The President should resign as she obviously can’t hold her water in polite company. She reminds me of my old Aunt May who was paper and pins until she had a wee drink then she would eventually end up singing a party song. She wasn’t Presidential material and neither is Mary McAleese.

  • Alan2

    Maca that link is incorrect.

    From the LDS website

    I am not sure Jehovahs are considered such either.

  • willowfield

    maca

    Dav, why differentiate?

    Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, the differentiation between Protestants and Roman Catholics is quite important in (Northern) Ireland.

    p.s. isn’t use of the word “protestant” by certain “protestants” is offensive to other “protestants”.

    Such as?

    But if people have always used it then what’s the problem?

    1. People haven’t always used it. It used to be more common to refer to the Republic, Éire, etc.
    2. Those who “always” used it, were “always” offensive.

    (reminder: your comment on the Gaelic vs Irish discussion)

    That’s not relevant, since “Gaelic” is not offensive.

    Ringo

    Surely you are not saying that the use of a word by the vast majority in one context should be ended because a few deliberately use it in a different context which offends you?

    If the majority are ignorant of the implications of the term and the offence caused, they should be educated.

    When Ian Paisley declared that ‘Ulster Says No’ was he referring to six or nine counties, and was he being irredentist?

    I doubt it. But I can see that people in parts of historic Ulster not within NI might have been offended.

  • maca

    Alan2
    “many Lutherans do not consider themselves Protestants”

    And many DO consider themselves to be protestants.

  • Rebecca Black

    Speaking of names that people find offensive, I was reading where the term “taig” comes from. Apparently the Irish only started to be known as “Paddys” in the late 18th century, before that the Irish were known by the common name Tadge (maca, whats the irish spelling of that?) which in english is Tim. So before the 18th century the irish were all known a tims as taigs (spelling ulsterised from Tadge)

  • maca

    Alan2
    “many Lutherans do not consider themselves Protestants”

    And many DO consider themselves to be protestants. 😉 85% of the population here are Lutheran.

    Willow
    “Such as?”
    Pick any of the protestant faiths.

    “People haven’t always used it”
    We’ve been using it for a fair few years now, didn’t you notice?

    “That’s not relevant, since “Gaelic” is not offensive.”
    It is relevant because some peope do find it offensive, as you know.

  • maca

    Rebecca
    “Tadge (maca, whats the irish spelling of that?)”
    How would I know? 😉

    “which in english is Tim.”
    Tim is still used in Scotland to mean “catholic”.

  • maca

    Willow
    “Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, the differentiation between Protestants and Roman Catholics is quite important in (Northern) Ireland.”

    Quite important? It’s the problem!

  • Ringo

    So were banning the use of Ulster to describe the six counties too as it may cause offence? Now, Ian Paisley has managed to offend the people of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal on numerous occasions, but I have never heard anyone anywhere saying they were offended by his use of the word Ulster.

    And presumably I should tell off a lady I know for her thoughtless use of the term Korea for her homeland?

    And what about those Americans? Should someone point out to Dubya that America isn’t just the US when he’s asking God to bless her?

    If the majority are ignorant of the implications of the term and the offence caused, they should be educated.

    Finally what about people from the other side of the world or anywhere ‘out foreign’ that refer to the Republic as Ireland – how do you propose educating them out of their ignorant ways?

  • Barry Turner

    Alex, good that you responded.

    Before you accuse anybody of being pedantic and obsessive then do consider the following. Throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, RCs are generally referred to as “Catholics”. Check the US media for instance. Only in Northern Ireland are RCs referred to so often, indeed ad nauseam, as “Roman Catholics”.

    What does this suggest to you? That the rest of the big world is guilty of solecism? Or that the REAL obsession lies with those who insist on writing or saying “Roman Catholic” when “Catholic” is intelligible to all?

    Do we constantly refer to “Great” Britain? Do the good folk of L.A. speak only of “Los Angeles”? Of course not. Only an obsessive would. And only an obsessive (who’s only too damn conscious of his choice of words) will consistently choose “Roman Catholic” in favour of the shorter, and internationally accepted, usage.

    The constructive course might be to ask oneself why so many Ulster folk are out of step with the rest of the world, and try to get back on track. It’s not that difficult, is it?

  • Alan2

    I have to disagree with you here Barry. Look at any of the US evangelical sites and they use “RC” or “Church of Rome”. Catholic is a misappopriation if used that way although they do of course see themselves as “the one and only true universal church”

    maca – Yes I would class Lutherans as Protestants but the discussion just reminded me that the Lutheran minister considered himself neither.

  • George

    Alan2,
    a century ago, the majority of Fenians in Antrim were Protestant and the Ballynahinch group actually banned Catholics because they had a tendency to blab to their priests.

    The Fenians were a lot of things, militarist and sexist especially, but they weren’t sectarian.

  • Ringo

    Rebecca Black –

    Tadge – never come across it spelled like that myself – Tagdh is an Irish name.

  • Neal

    No. Because the use of “Ireland” is offensive and has irredentist implications. The term “Roman Catholic” is not (quite the opposite: it is the insistence on “Catholic” that is offensive).

    Willow – rubbish. When did “offensive” become an objective descriptor? To you using Ireland to describe the republic is offensive; to me it’s not. To you it’s offensive not to include Roman; to me it’s offensive to insist on including it. It’s not a black and white issue. Perhaps we should all quit trying so hard to be offended.

  • IJP

    Anyway, any chance of returning to the topic of the thread, namely Alex’s article…?

    The basic facts are that both sides really do hate the other that’s why there have been so many deaths, and so little action towards a different way.

    Do they?

    As a Protestant (albeit a Catholic one…) I’ve been in the company of, let’s say, Republicans who have let some of their true colours show but I’ve never once thought they hated me. I’ve seen prejudice, ignorance, pettiness, intolerance, even arrogance, perhaps a degree of fear – but not hatred.

    It all goes back to Dunlop’s sectarian pyramid again. Segregation breeds ignorance breeds fear breeds intolerance breeds hate, but most people don’t get to that last one (at least not reference a whole community).

    I think the real issue, as I hinted earlier, is that our political and social structures are set up to encourage segregation, and therefore all of the above – through (in practice) state-funded segregated education, state-funded segregated leisure centres, state-funded segregated council housing etc etc etc. In short, you might as well be sectarian – there’s money in it!

    Until there’s no money in being sectarian, and until there’s no money in maintaining the problem, we need not expect a true solution/settlement to be found.

  • slug9987

    IJP do you have a proposal for reducing sectarianism. Obviously there is the designation question, but aside from that.

  • slug9987

    To all unionists

    Alex’s piece is interesting but it throws up questions for unionists as much as nationalists. These attitudes feed off each other. It’s not that the intolerance comes from one unique side.

    Nationalists seem to distrust you so much they would punish the SDLP for going into government with you and without SF. Further, one senses that one of the things that makes Sinn Fein popular is that they annoy unionists so much that unionists fear sharing power with them.

    This is where some thinking about image work becomes relevant – because it is in your interests to be distrusted less. We know that there are nationalists who share many of the values of unionists. We see unionists finding commonality with some ROI-nationalists. So it seems possible to improve the relationship.

    Are there any ways that this issue can be tackled. I raised the idea of civic unionism, which only IJP replied to. But he is not a unionist supporter, so his response, ditch the unionism, seems unlikely to hold sway amongst unionists.

  • Barry Turner

    Hehe, nice one, Alan2! I fell for it completely and clicked the link.

    Quote from that site, the intriguingly named LazarusUnbound.com: “Interesting and humorous expose of the Catholic Church and that man of sin, the son of perdition, the Pope of Rome.”

    Good to see that the spirit of Christian understanding and respect is alive and well.

  • Mick Fealty

    Slugg,

    “…a proposal for reducing sectarianism”.

    It’s worth considering what kind of metric you might use for quantifying the current extent, considering IJP useful qualification of looking simply at what people say rather than the quality of their real time relationships, before attempting to reduce it.

  • slug9987

    Mick I have no idea how to measure sectarianism. You mean empirically? Fascinating research question.

    It cannot be defined as a society with polarised opinion – there is nothing obviously bad about a battle of ideas and something to be said for the intellectual excitement of living in a nonconsensual societies such as the UK was in the 1980s, say.

    I think it could be measured in terms of those “star” diagrams showing peoples deep relationships. Have you seen them?

    1. You select 1000 NI people from they town of Ballyany randomly
    2. Then find out the closest 5 people that they know best from outside their family.
    3. How many cross the divide?

    If Ballyany is 50/50 then so too should your best 5 friends.

  • IJP

    Hi Slug9987

    In fact, I think I do qualify to answer your question about ‘civic unionism’. I am an Ulster-British Protestant. I ditched unionism because the prospect of politics based on some sort of ‘tribal loyalty’ rather than responsibility to all my fellow citizens is truly repellent to me. ‘Civic unionism’ still did not solve that. It goes back to what I said on another thread – whether we are ultimately governed from London or Dublin is a question of identity, not politics. It is simply not a question for the political arena – whereas roads, hospitals and schools are. Politicians should stick to politics!

    do you have a proposal for reducing sectarianism.

    You can’t remove sectarianism, it may even be you can’t reduce it. What you can do, however, is remove it from the political arena. Good roads, hospitals and schools benefit us all. The focus should be on where we have commonality of interest (roads, hospitals, schools), not what divides us (nationality, religion). What divides us will always divide us, what unites us will always unite us, so if we are to build a stable society we must focus on the latter.

    My concern, therefore, is that public policy is, at almost every turn, based on ‘balancing two tribes’. Schools are divided two ways, houses and leisure centres are built so as to segregate us, even things such as cultural policy are designed in such a way that it’s a ‘sweetie for Unionists’ and a ‘sweetie for Catholics’ – what is good for the community as a whole is almost irrelevant. (An example is the nonsense from Weston Park of promising £3m p/a to an ‘Ulster-Scots Academy’ to ‘make up for’ the money being spent on bringing TG4 North – DCAL has failed to present the business case for the Academy because there isn’t a case for one!)

    So, that’s the problem, what’s the solution? Well, all public policy should be designed to *promote* integration. Thus:
    – mixed/integrated schooling and a united curriculum for all NI schools should be default;
    – leisure facilities should be deliberately designed to encourage integration;
    – more focus on encouraging people into business (to create genuine wealth for the whole community, rather than get money on the basis of representing a specific side of it);
    – acceptance of ‘Neither’ as a legitimate designation (e.g. on employment monitoring);
    – promotion of cultural events/minority languages etc in a way that is specifically unifying rather than divisive;
    – etc etc etc

    People would still be sectarian – everyone is. But it would no longer pay to act on that sectarianism. That is the key.

  • slug9987

    IJP forgive me but can I be sceptical? Integrated schooling should be default you say. In practice integrated schooling can grow but only if parents choose it. Encouraging that it seems quite popular right now and growing at the moment but the Catholic schools will always be popular too – they are aacdemically excellent in many cases. Leisure facilities – ok but marginal. Encouraging business – ok but governments try that anyway for broader economic reasons. The other stuff you mention is worthy but pretty minor. Sorry to be negative.

  • maca

    Good post Ian.

  • slug9987

    ijp the situation seems to be similar to the race problem in the us, with the keen sense of historical disadavntage, and the ever increasing housing segregation. it is probably less intractible, though, since there is no very obvious racial element, and the economic inequalities that fuel the anger in the us are less obviously an enduring feature of ni

  • mogo

    Willowfield
    Are you refering to me personally as being inarticulate as an indictment of the Christian Brothers or the fact that I never met a protestant . Either way i partly agree. But the unionists govt. also bears responsibility as they, if memory serves did a deal with the catholic church at the settin up of the six to support the church’s schools in return for tacit aquiesence of the state. But you can’t blame only the catholic church for me not knowing a protestant in a protestant state for a protestant people

  • ShayPaul

    Nice post IJP

    However you miss one point, sectarianism can be defeated by people who stand up as “anti-sectarianism” it isn’t good enough to say it will always exist.

  • mogo

    For what its worth as a catholic i think most of my co-religionists would suffer and many would inflict sectarianism rather than give up catholic schools for religious and educational reasons.As a republican i think this is understandable but regretable as integrated schools with parity of esteem and optional religion classes would be truly republican

  • willowfield

    maca

    Pick any of the protestant faiths.

    Anglicans. What is your evidence for claiming that Anglicans are offended “by the use of the word “protestant” by certain “protestants””?

    We’ve been using it for a fair few years now, didn’t you notice?

    It it has been offensive for those fair few years now.

    It is relevant because some peope do find it offensive, as you know.

    There is no reason for some people to find it offensive. So it is not relevant.

    Quite important? It’s the problem!

    Exactly. So your statement that there was no need to differentiate was ridiculous.

    Ringo

    So were [sic] banning the use of Ulster to describe the six counties too as it may cause offence?

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not banning anything.

    And presumably I should tell off a lady I know for her thoughtless use of the term Korea for her homeland?

    If she comes from Korea why would you tell her off?

    Finally what about people from the other side of the world or anywhere ‘out foreign’ that refer to the Republic as Ireland – how do you propose educating them out of their ignorant ways?

    What ignorant ways?

    Neal

    Willow – rubbish.

    It’s not rubbish.

    When did “offensive” become an objective descriptor?

    I wasn’t aware that it had.

    To you using Ireland to describe the republic is offensive; to me it’s not.

    And?

    To you it’s offensive not to include Roman; to me it’s offensive to insist on including it.

    Difference is, there is good reason for me to be offended, but no good reason for you to be offended.

    mogo

    Are you refering to me personally as being inarticulate as an indictment of the Christian Brothers or the fact that I never met a protestant .

    I wasn’t aware that you were inarticulate, so it must be the latter, although I’m not indicting the Christian Brothers specifically; I’m indicting the RC education system generally.

    Either way i partly agree. But the unionists govt. also bears responsibility as they, if memory serves did a deal with the catholic church at the settin up of the six to support the church’s schools in return for tacit aquiesence of the state. But you can’t blame only the catholic church for me not knowing a protestant in a protestant state for a protestant people

    Yes, the Unionists shouldn’t have caved in, I agree. As for your last comment, it doesn’t make sense as there is no “Protestant state for a Protestant people”.

  • maca

    Willow
    “Anglicans. What is your evidence for claiming that Anglicans are offended “by the use of the word “protestant” by certain “protestants””?”

    It’s a question not a claim.
    Evidence? The cheek of ya!

    “It it has been offensive for those fair few years now.”
    Your own argument: We’ve been using it and that’s it.

    “There is no reason for some people to find it offensive. So it is not relevant.”
    There is reason and it is relevant.

    “Exactly. So your statement that there was no need to differentiate was ridiculous.”
    Doh! Hardly! If differentiating is part of the problem then why differentiate??

  • IJP

    ShayPaul

    sectarianism can be defeated by people who stand up as “anti-sectarianism” it isn’t good enough to say it will always exist.

    Well, like Mick F says, it’s hard to quantify. But, for example, growing up in the South of England as I did partly, I heard outrageous prejudice against ‘Frogs’ and ‘Gerries’. Everyone wants to be part of a ‘group’, and everyone wants a ‘group’ to oppose – and that is sectarian. So in that sense, it’ll always be there.

    The task is to reframe the debate. Although ‘sectarianism’ is a natural human emotion shared by all of us if we’re honest (which most of us in NI aren’t!), it doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘anti-Catholic’ or ‘anti-Brit’. Furthermore, our sectarianism should not inform our entire political debate, as is the case currently.

    Slug

    Far from it.

    I accept entirely that integrated education is not the answer to everything. But a few points:
    – I suggested a united curriculum for all schools (that goes beyond integrated schools);
    – to go further, I would outlaw discrimination against pupil selection on the grounds of ‘religious background’, and remove the exclusion of teaching from fair-employment legislation;
    – less than 5% are educated in integrated schools despite surveys showing over 80% of parents supporting the principle, so clearly not as much is being done as some people like to think!

    Now, let us take a few other things. For example, on what does DCAL base its Ulster-Scots policy? Does it base it on what it perceives is rationally a good thing for NI, or on what some Unionists demand? Did it come up with the idea for an ‘Ulster-Scots Academy’ because it’s a good idea, or because Unionists demanded something in return for TG4? But you watch, an Academy will be set up paying big wages to people with a track-record as Unionist politicians – as a sop. And of course, Irish has become a ‘Republican’ language because of similar done the other way around. Now, is policy development on the basis of sectarian carve-up a good thing, or might it be better to do what is rationally right for NI as a whole?

    This is not a small thing at all. It is to do with the removal of sectarianism from general politics and society, not because morally it should be removed, but because it is an extremely bad thing long-term for all of us. Yet the current reality is that Government policy is based fundamentally on ‘balancing the tribes’ (thereby increasing segregation, ignorance, intolerance, fear, hatred) than on general commonality of interest. This is the key political issue.

    But you can see why it is so difficult to get that message across!

  • willowfield

    maca

    It’s a question not a claim.

    Oh. Sorry. In that case, the answer is “no”.

    Your own argument: We’ve been using it and that’s it.

    It’s not my own argument. Nor is it a valid one.

    There is reason and it is relevant.

    There’s not and it isn’t.

    Doh! Hardly! If differentiating is part of the problem then why differentiate??

    Because it’s not possible to have a political discourse without differentiating.

  • Alan2

    “Did it come up with the idea for an ‘Ulster-Scots Academy’ because it’s a good idea, or because Unionists demanded something in return for TG4?”

    The Ullans Academy was recently set up by the Ulster-Scots Language Society which pre dates the Good friday Agreement. I believe Dr adamson is involved in this who has often been involved in Irish language projects.

  • Alan2

    “The Fenians were a lot of things, militarist and sexist especially, but they weren’t sectarian.”

    Hmm. What was it that Mahony said about deanglicanising, Catholicising Ireland?

    Barry Turner – What did you fall for? The point I was making was that the term RC is most certainly used outside of NI. Lazarus Unbound is an entirely US a based grouping that conduct ministries and sermons. Infact I think they are planning a trip to Ireland this year…..

  • Davros

    On which thread were we discussing Ulster Presbyterians and gaelic ?

  • IJP

    Alan

    To clarify, Dr Adamson’s ‘Ullans Academie’ has nothing to do with the one I’m referring to.

    At Weston Park it was agreed to allocate £3m per annum to an ‘Ulster-Scots Academy’ (understood: a new organization). DCAL has since been developing a business plan, but mysteriously has failed to produce anything whatsoever. The reason, of course, is there is no need for an ‘Academy’ costing that sort of money, it was merely promised as part of the sectarian carve-up.

    Now, I’m not for debating Ulster Scots here, but rather making the point that rational proposals were sacrificed in favour of promising some outrageous nonsense to Unionists to make up for the outrageous nonsense promised to Nationalists. Funny how my own organization’s suggestions, fully costed and backed by native speakers and qualified linguists, have been utterly ignored without a single reason being given for ignoring them – but then, I’m not backed by a Unionist Party. Indeed, DCAL more often than not does not even provide the courtesy of a reply to my letters. That’s the point.

    The fact is it’d be easier for me just to join the Ulster Unionists (in other words, ‘designate myself’) and bring their backing to my proposals. Is it not an utter nonsense, though, that my proposals should be judged depending on my political background rather than on merit? Is this not a complete farce? Is anyone surprised that sort of thing doesn’t lead to stability?

    (I wish Dr Adamson well with his, but he’ll not be needing £3m of our money each year for it.)

  • Ringo

    Davros –
    On which thread were we discussing Ulster Presbyterians and gaelic ?

    If I recall correctly it was a GAA thread shortly before Christmas?

    Willofield –

    Thanks for the grammar lesson.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not banning anything.

    ok you’re being evasive – but you do agree that the use of the word Ulster and the use of the Ireland is similar in that they can both can be used to to describe geographical areas greater than the political entity they also describe, and more to the point they are used interchangably by a majority of the population in both places?

    And isn’t it also the case that the use of the terms America and Korea also, strictly speaking, mean a geographical area greater than the political entity that is referred to in common usage?

    Now, if the words Ulster, Korea or America for example, are used in the same way as Ireland, and you say that the use of the word Ireland is offensive when used in this way, then surely the other words should be deemed to be just as offensive?

    What ignorant ways?

    See your own post>
    If the majority are ignorant of the implications of the term and the offence caused, they should be educated.

    And finally do you really think it is necessary to embark on a worldwide campaign to eradicate the use of the word Ireland to describe the Republic? Or would you be satisfied with a more modest campaign restricted to Irish people, and if so why?

  • maca

    Willow
    “It’s not my own argument. Nor is it a valid one.”
    It’s the argument you used before. So now you’re saying your own argument was not valid! Fair enough.

    “There’s not and it isn’t.”
    There is reason and it is relevant.

  • Davros

    Ta Ringo : I came across something relevent I’ll scan later that might help clarify.

  • Alan2

    IJP – Fair enough. Surely one Academy would be enough? ;/

  • JD

    I think the real issue, as I hinted earlier, is that our political and social structures are set up to encourage segregation, and therefore all of the above – through (in practice) state-funded segregated education, state-funded segregated leisure centres, state-funded segregated council housing etc etc etc. In short, you might as well be sectarian – there’s money in it!

    This is what I was getting at above on the drawing of the border. It is a structure that set the segregationist mindset in NI in motion. It essentialised and ontologised the differences.

    I’ve read with interest your other posts on the Alliance take on the so-called constitutional issue. I can’t help but think that the stability you advocate will prolong NI’s status as part of the union. It seems to be a de facto unionism.

  • maca

    JD
    ” I can’t help but think that the stability you advocate will prolong NI’s status as part of the union. It seems to be a de facto unionism.”

    I agree. BUT what should be the most important thing, a UI or a stable NI? Maybe the quest for a UI will actually become unnecessary. ??

  • idunnomeself

    IJP,

    I’m not arguing with your general point, but your example is riddled with inaccuracy:

    ‘Did it (DCAL) come up with the idea for an ‘Ulster-Scots Academy’ because it’s a good idea, or because Unionists demanded something in return for TG4?’
    ‘At Weston Park it was agreed to allocate £3m per annum to an ‘Ulster-Scots Academy’ (understood: a new organization).’

    DCAL was not a party at the talks in Weston Park.

    The Academy was not mentioned at Weston Park- it was mentioned in the joint declaration of March 2003. the Weston Park Document was at August 2001.

    If you care to read the joint declaration you’ll see the words actually state ‘It (The British Government) will also take steps to encourage support to be made available for an Ulster-Scots academy’. No mention of amounts, no promise of support and no mention at all that this was or was not a new organisation. I gather that the UUP assumed (and may still do) that this was ‘the’ Academy.

    And you’ll see that the balance was an Irish language TV fund, not TG4.

    So in your example you have been inaccurate (or mislead) at least 4 times (that I have spotted).

    So I don’t know what I can trust about what you write about issues I don’t know about.

    On your general point this is a bad example as the funding for this was decided on as part of an agreement between Nationalists and Unionists- asked for by those politicians. Obviously then it is going to split down Orange and Green lines. Do you have an example from a policy that was formed in the normal way?

  • JD

    I agree. BUT what should be the most important thing, a UI or a stable NI? Maybe the quest for a UI will actually become unnecessary. ??

    Hi Maca. I think that an unstable NI is on the cards for quite a while yet given the GFA.

    Instability radicalises people. The broad RM knows this. The problem is how effective the strategy of a threatened resumption of armed struggle will continue to be. There’s no doubt that it is an effective way to stir the pot.

    But there is a difference of opinion in the broad RM as to the continuing political effectiveness of armed struggle. It’s just hard to hear given the usual way of tarring the RM with the one brush.

  • IJP

    Nonsense IDM. ‘It’ referred to the Government in general, of which DCAL is part. I therefore have not erred at all and my point stands entirely.

    Unlike DCAL, which blatantly misinforms the public on a regular basis and abuses its money by spending it on unaccountable, unqualified service providers.

    So if you want to talk about DCAL’s general language policy, fine. I think tax-paying Sluggerettes will be interested to hear about it.

    DCAL’s policy is riddled with inaccuracy and error and founded on utterly false assumptions. It continues to spend thousands on unaccountable service providers with no qualifications and frankly the wastage of public money makes Lord Laird’s taxi fares pale into utter insignificance. DCAL regularly refuses to respond to correspondence because it cannot deal with these very serious issues of public money disappearing up the sheuch. Its usual policy to avoid reality is to attack the people who expose them, again inaccurately. So much for Civil Servants serving the public…

    The public has a right to demand answers as to why its money is being abused and whose responsibility this outrageous misexpenditure is. I will ensure it gets those answers, and I’ll ensure the relevant heads roll.

  • Barry Turner

    Alan2:

    “Barry Turner – What did you fall for? The point I was making was that the term RC is most certainly used outside of NI. Lazarus Unbound is an entirely US a based grouping that conduct ministries and sermons.”

    Now I’m genuinely confused. You gave me a link to a page where I assumed I was going to find a plethora of “Roman Catholic” allusions. I didn’t find a single one. In fact the only allusion was to the “Catholic Church”, that excerpt I quoted.

    It rather proves my point. To judge by the insulting reference to the Pope, this particular site is run by bigots. I contend that mainstream Christians, i.e. those with no quarrel with their Catholic neighbours, and who show Christian tolerance, do not follow the Ulster model and speak almost exclusively of “Roman” Catholics.

    Some people in this thread imagined that I was referring to the “insult” felt by said Catholics. I was not. I am simply calling attention to the unnecessary use of “Roman” by the Unionist population of Ulster. No amount of sophistry can allay my concern that the sole reason for this overuse is to hurt their Catholic neighbours. Whether those neighbours do or do not take offence is irrelevant. It’s the intent that’s at issue here.

    In other words, dear Unionists: If the outside world doesn’t think it necessary to use “Roman” when it’s blindingly obvious that one isn’t referring to a Protestant, then why should you? I reiterate that refraining from doing so might go some way towards achieving both inner and outer peace.

  • maca

    “To judge by the insulting reference to the Pope, this particular site is run by bigots”

    Easy Barry. Do you even know who runs this site??

  • idunnomeself

    IJP

    Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t you work as a translator? Don’t you think that that therefore means that you will have a deeply vested interest in langage work in DCAL?

    Other than that considering the sloppy nature of your statements so far I expect most people will take ‘what you think’ with a large pinch of salt.

    Barry,

    Protestants are Catholic too. To call them otherwise is very insulting.

    If you knew anything about Ulster Protestants you’d know that the ones who are most anti-Catholic refer to the ‘Roman Church’- because they don’t want to refer to it as Catholic!

    So your argument is deeply wrong in several ways

  • idunnomeself

    ‘For example, on what does DCAL base its Ulster-Scots policy?’

    and then you say:

    ‘Nonsense IDM. ‘It’ referred to the Government in general, of which DCAL is part’

    Obviously you are using some starnge grammar unknown to the rest of the world then?

    Or are you going to say it’s a fair cop?

  • Barry Turner

    maca:

    Oh, so to call a man who’s devoted almost his entire life to God “that man of sin, the son of perdition, the Pope of Rome” is not a manifestation of bigotry?

    Easy Barry. Do you even know who runs this site??

    Ian Paisley? 😉

    idunnomyself:

    “Protestants are Catholic too. To call them otherwise is very insulting.”

    This is sophistry, and would be greeted with derision in any corner of Christendom apart from troubled Ulster.

    “If you knew anything about Ulster Protestants you’d know that the ones who are most anti-Catholic refer to the ‘Roman Church’- because they don’t want to refer to it as Catholic!”

    I know a great deal about Ulster Protestants. I married one. I also know that Ulster Protestants are in denial that their language (as in this instance) is often calculated to hurt their Catholic neighbours. This is a very small though significant example. If you continue to deny it then there is no hope.

    Mary McAleese was reminding Unionists of how their hurtful language and behaviour blighted the lives of Nationalists. They angrily refused to countenance this, let alone make any attempt to make amends. This is tragic.

  • maca

    Barry
    “Oh, so to call a man who’s devoted almost his entire life to God “that man of sin, the son of perdition, the Pope of Rome” is not a manifestation of bigotry?”

    It’s a case of crossed wires Barry. When you said “this particular site” I thought you meant Slugger O’Toole but the line you quoted is from the site linked above about which I know little.
    Doh!

  • Davros

    I also know that Ulster Protestants are in denial that their language (as in this instance) is often calculated to hurt their Catholic neighbours.

    Conversely , those who insist that they should only be referred to as ‘Catholics’ are in denial that behind that assertion lies an insult to other Christian denominations.

  • IJP

    IDM

    Dearie me, talk about man not ball. Pathetic.

    1. You have not addressed a single one of my challenges to you.
    2. I sold my translation business, so even your attempts at attacking me are collapsing in a heap.

    Why do you not answer my points, either privately or publicly?

    Because they’re true. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money is being spent on providing tranlations that no one other than those making money out of them asked for, done by providers who have not a single translation or even linguistic qualification among them.

    Care to explain to the public not only why that is, but why DCAL has no intention of doing anything about it?

    Care to explain why the FAQs language section on DCAL’s web site (upon which DCAL’s language policy is based) is littered with errors, thereby rendering the foundations of DCAL’s language policy entirely false?

    Now, who’s going to take responsibility for wasting public money and misinforming the public?

    Or are you just going to keep trying to attack the member of public who takes responsibility for bringing these outrages to your attention?

    Rather than serve the members of the public, DCAL’s ‘Civil Servants’ would rather attack them with no evidence!

    You’re not answering these questions because you can’t and because DCAL’s actions (including not providing the courtesy of a response to correspondence) are indefensible.

  • willowfield

    Ringo

    … but you do agree that the use of the word Ulster and the use of the Ireland is similar in that they can both can be used to to describe geographical areas greater than the political entity they also describe, and more to the point they are used interchangably by a majority of the population in both places?

    I accept there are similarities, of course. I also accept there are differences.

    And isn’t it also the case that the use of the terms America and Korea also, strictly speaking, mean a geographical area greater than the political entity that is referred to in common usage?

    Korea, certainly. America’s a bit different since the geographical expression is “the Americas” rather than “America” (either that or “North America”, “South America”, “Central America”, etc.)

    Now, if the words Ulster, Korea or America for example, are used in the same way as Ireland, and you say that the use of the word Ireland is offensive when used in this way, then surely the other words should be deemed to be just as offensive?

    Certainly, I can see that referring to South Korea as “Korea” might be offensive to North Koreans, or referring to North Korea as “Korea” might be offensive to South Koreans.

    And finally do you really think it is necessary to embark on a worldwide campaign to eradicate the use of the word Ireland to describe the Republic? Or would you be satisfied with a more modest campaign restricted to Irish people, and if so why?

    Both campaigns would be valid. The latter one might be more achievable.

    maca

    It’s the argument you used before.

    It’s not.

    Barry Turner

    I am simply calling attention to the unnecessary use of “Roman” by the Unionist population of Ulster.

    It’s not unnecessary. It’s necessary to avoid giving offence to Protestants.

    No amount of sophistry can allay my concern that the sole reason for this overuse is to hurt their Catholic [sic] neighbours.

    How would it hurt their Roman Catholic neighbours?

    This is sophistry, and would be greeted with derision in any corner of Christendom apart from troubled Ulster.

    How can a factual statement – that Protestants are also Catholic – be “sophistry”? Please explain.

    I also know that Ulster Protestants are in denial that their language (as in this instance) is often calculated to hurt their Catholic [sic] neighbours.

    Really? How do you know this? And how does it hurt their Roman Catholic neighbours?

  • Barry Turner

    willowfield, why not try a little healing within yourself? It’s self-evident that Ulster is a messed-up place and your continuing to play disingenuous games is part of the reason. The world laughs sadly at the sort of nonsense that passes for logic in NI.

    Take a leaf from Mrs McAleese’s book: try to build bridges (unlike the people of the Shankill who seems set on burning them, if today’s news report is anything to go by). I guarantee it will give you inner peace, and who knows where that might lead?

  • Alan2

    “Easy Barry. Do you even know who runs this site??

    Ian Paisley? ;-)”

    It is run by the Lazarus Unbound ministry in the States. The main person behind that ministry is one Michael Bunker.

    “Oh, so to call a man who’s devoted almost his entire life to God “that man of sin, the son of perdition, the Pope of Rome” is not a manifestation of bigotry?”

    That comment is based on scripture, particularly revelations and is used in the Westminster confession of faith, is in the foreword of the King James Authorised version of the bible and similar statements are made in various other denominations confession of faith and were also the conclusions of various reformers including Calvin, Knox, Luther, Wesley, Zwingli and many, many others.

  • Alan2

    Barry – Roman Catholic used here

  • Biffo

    Willowfield

    “..I am simply calling attention to the unnecessary use of “Roman” by the Unionist population of Ulster.

    It’s not unnecessary. It’s necessary to avoid giving offence to Protestants..”

    Wheres your evidence that Protestants are offended by Catholics calling themselves Catholics? (Sorry for any offence)

    Are you talking about normal people or some sort of far right protestant fundamentalist weirdo cult? Your contention is just too bizarre.

  • willowfield

    Barry Turner

    Your inability to explain how the phrase “Roman Catholic” “hurts” Roman Catholics reveals the invalidity of your argument.

    Equally, your failure to explain how you know “that Ulster Protestants are in denial that their language is often calculated to hurt their Catholic [sic] neighbours”.

    Pathetic.

  • Biffo

    Willowfield

    “..I am simply calling attention to the unnecessary use of “Roman” by the Unionist population of Ulster.

    It’s not unnecessary. It’s necessary to avoid giving offence to Protestants..”

    Wheres your evidence that Protestants are offended by Catholics calling themselves Catholics? (Sorry for any offence)

    Are you talking about normal people or some sort of far right protestant fundamentalist weirdo cult? Your contention is just too bizarre.

  • Davros

    Biffo – they can call themselves whatever they choose – what we are discussing is their attempts to monopolise the term. I was raised a Catholic – in the church of Ireland. I take offense at people who deny the catholicity of what was my church.

  • cg

    “what was my church.”

    Interesting 😉

  • Ringo

    willowfield –

    allegation of evasion retracted 🙂

    Both campaigns would be valid. The latter one might be more achievable.

    Doesn’t this imply that you are more concerned by the offensive use of the term Ireland by Irish people than by others?

    If I use the term Ireland without any irredentist implications how is that more offensive than an Australian doing the same thing?

  • idunnomeself

    Barry,

    You asserted that Protestants chose their vocabularly because it will cause offence. I totally deny this, the term ‘Roman Catholic’ is deliberately used as it is considered theologically correct and as it is less offensive than ‘The Roman Church’.

    The extension of the claim that Protestants aren’t Catholic is that they aren’t Christian as the Catholic Church means ‘universal’. That is deeply insulting

    Biffo
    This issue is well known as the Creed (widely used in Protestant servcices’ says ‘I believe.. in the holy Catholic(/Katholic) Church’ and obviously kids go ‘what does that mean.. sure we’re Protestant’..

    IJP
    If you are engaged in some correspondence with DCAL I am sure you will hear in time (although I don’t think there are any rules about how quick they need to answer you? at least month is usual, IME).

    I have no intention of defending their policy for them. I imagine that the Minister is responsible for it, so unless you can get an MP to ask about it for you I suppose you are relying on DCAL’s goodwill in engaging with you.

    Anyway let us know how your campaign goes, I wouldn’t be so confident as you seem to be- as I have pointed out your arguments are riddled with inaccuracies.

    I take your point about man and ball, but in this case you gave yourself as an example. You became the Ball, sorry if any offense caused.

  • willowfield

    Biffo

    Wheres [sic] your evidence that Protestants are offended by Catholics calling themselves Catholics? (Sorry for any offence)

    Davros for a start. Me. IDM.

    Are you talking about normal people or some sort of far right protestant fundamentalist weirdo cult? Your contention is just too bizarre.

    It’s not bizarre. It’s perfectly rational and valid. Certainly within the Anglican Church, which cherishes its “catholicism”, most active and genuine members would object to the Roman Catholic Church’s attempts to monopolise the word.

    Ringo

    Doesn’t this imply that you are more concerned by the offensive use of the term Ireland by Irish people than by others?

    No. It explicitly states that the latter campaign would be more achievable (due to the smaller numbers involved).

    If I use the term Ireland without any irredentist implications how is that more offensive than an Australian doing the same thing?

    I don’t know.

  • Barry Turner

    [Deep sigh of sadness]

    Dear disingenous Unionists, I am an Anglican born and reared in a provincial English city. In my youth RCs, whose numbers equalled those of Anglicans in our community, were spoken of as “Catholics” or occasionally “Roman Catholics”. I and my Protestant friends should have regarded it as ludicrous were we to have spoken of ourselves as “Catholics”. With me so far?

    I marry an Ulster girl, settle in your province and wonder why Protestants here insist on the “Roman” qualifier for RCs practically at all times. Why should Protestants here be any different from those with whom I grew up? My conclusion: they wish to cause offence.

    Similarly, in my home-town one might see a Union Jack flying above one or two public buildings on any given day. This is the flag of MY country, remember. Here in Ulster it is ubiquitous. Why? Because Ulstermen are more patriotic than I? I don’t think so. To give offence then? Almost certainly.

    Do think about your motivations. And think too about those bridges I referred to. It’s not too late to start building them.

  • Biffo

    Davros & Willow

    So, Catholics call Roman Catholics Roman Catholics to avoid confusion, and Roman Catholics call themselves Catholics to deny the catholicity of Catholics.

    I assume you would refer to Catholics who live in the capital city of Italy as Roman Roman Catholics.

  • Biffo

    Davros & Willow

    So, Catholics call Roman Catholics Roman Catholics to avoid confusion, and Roman Catholics call themselves Catholics to deny the catholicity of Catholics.

    I assume you would refer to Catholics who live in the capital city of Italy as Roman Roman Catholics.

  • Davros

    I’ll repost from “The Faithful Tribe” and remind those determined to monopolise the term Catholic that to many non-Roman Catholics what they are saying is every bit as ignorant as any Paisleyite claims that the Roman Catholic Church is not a Christian Church.

    * This is as good a place as any to clear up a problem of language that is a running sore today in Northern Ireland. Catholics are those who believe their Church has evolved from the ancient Christian Church; Anglicans, many other Protestant sects and Orthodox Eastern Churches come into this category, along with those who acknowledge the Pope as head of the Church, and who have historically therefore been termed ‘Roman Catholics’. ‘We stand,’ says the Orange Order, ‘for the true Catholic Faith and we deny any church the right to make exclusive claims thereto. The title “Catholic” belongs to all who own the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and honour Him as Lord. They are all by His grace members of His Catholic or Universal Church. That saving grace is confined to no single sect.’
    Yet since Rome has always insisted it had exclusive use of the term ‘Catholic’ and since the belief that it is the one, true Catholic Church has been a principle of Roman Catholic teaching in Ireland, it is in the psyche of the Irish Roman Catholic that he is a Catholic, and that anyone calling him a Roman Catholic is in some obscure way being offensive. A Southern Irish friend of mine recalled hearing the term first in the 1960s in television coverage of an lan Paisley speech; he and his other teenage friends gazed at each other indignantly. ‘What does he mean Roman Catholic?’ said one of them. ‘We’re not Italians.’
    Orangemen are asked not to take offence but, in the interest of saving trees, throughout this book I use ‘Catholic’ to mean ‘Roman Catholic’.

    the faithful tribe , Ruth Dudley Edwards, ©1999

  • willowfield

    Barry Turner

    I see you continue to refuse to explain how it would be “hurtful” for a Roman Catholic to be called a “Roman Catholic”.

    Your refusal to back up your own claims is pathetic.

    Regarding your comment about the motivations for flying Union Flag from public buildings, I would suggest that the reason this is more apparently common in NI than in England would be insecurity among unionists, or defiance in the face of nationalism, more than “to give offence”. But you are quite welcome to explain your reasons for thinking that the purpose is to give offence; just as you are welcome to explain how you know that Ulster Protestants are “in denial” about their use of the term “Roman Catholic”.

    Since you have so far refused to explain the latter, however, I won’t be overly expectant of an explanation of the former.

    Biffo

    So, Catholics call Roman Catholics Roman Catholics to avoid confusion, and Roman Catholics call themselves Catholics to deny the catholicity of Catholics.

    No. Protestants use the term “Roman Catholic” because it is both accurate and avoids the offensive implications that go along with the term “The Catholic Church”.

    The Roman Catholic Church calls itself “the Catholic Church” as an assertion of its claim that it is the “one true faith” and that other Christian denominations are not proper churches (hence its offence to Protestants). Use of the term “Catholic” is partly an extension of this, and partly a shorthand or laziness.

  • idunnomeself

    We have had this discussion before.

    I was reassured then that the vast majority of Roman Catholics used ‘Catholic’ as an abrevation, and not as an assertion that Protestants aren’t Christain. I accept that.

    Some Catholic theologians might think I’m not a proper Christain, but thats not why the term is abbreviated.

    I can assure you that Protestants don’t use the term ‘Roman Catholic’ to give offence. If they want to give offence they would say ‘the Roman Church’. For some reason you are refusing to say why it gives offence, never mind actually explaining how you came to the conclusion that Protestants sat down one day and, after considering the options, decided to prefix ‘Catholic’ with ‘Roman’ in order to cause maximum offence to their neighbours.

    Or maybe we’re getting defensive because you’re not from here and have decided to lecture us about something you clearly know very little about!

  • Davros

    For those in Denial : I decided to see what the Catholic encyclopedia had to say on this :

    A qualification of the name Catholic commonly used in English-speaking countries by those unwilling to recognize the claims of the One True Church.Out of condescension for these dissidents, the members of that Church are wont in official documents to be styled “Roman Catholics” as if the term Catholic represented a genus of which those who owned allegiance to the pope formed a particular species.

    Roman Catholic

  • Alan2

    and it goes on…….
    “It is in fact a prevalent conception among Anglicans to regard the whole Catholic Church as made up of three principal branches, the Roman Catholic, the Anglo-Catholic and the Greek Catholic.”

  • Alan2

    As to flags – surely the flying of flags is more prevalent than in England simply because of the divided communites and the insecurities. Hence similar things can be seen in the likes of Gibraltar. Defiance maybe but not to offend.

  • willowfield

    That’s what I said, Alan2.

  • Barry Turner

    Hehe, I must have blinked and missed the plethora of Union Jacks when last I visited Gibraltar.

    A divided community eh? Have you stopped to consider that the idiotic flying of flags might serve to prolong this division? And that a cessation of parades celebrating mass slaughter might heal those same divisions? But you know all this. The rest of the world has told you until it was blue in the face.

    I’m lecturing now am I? Bet most of you thought I was an Irish Nationalist when I first posted. When you find out I’m an Englishman then I’m lecturing you. You really must not confuse advice with sermonizing.

    And yes, as I predicted, the reference books are being feverishly consulted to prove that white is actually a very pale shade of black.

    Why not instead come out of denial, grab your hammers and saws and set about building those bridges? Or must the southern Irish continue to lead the way in this?

  • idunnomeself

    I don’t understand.

    The only thing I seem to be in denial about is whether or not your point is correct.

    And it seems that as you have made no attempt to justify your assertions at all (even though other posters have driven buses through the gaps in your arguments)

    So you’ll forgive me for not taking your word for it and continuing to use the terminology I do, safe in the knowledge that my intention is not to insult any Catholics (and safe in the knowledge that they are not insulted when I do).

    ps. Re your assumption that I must have assumd that you are Nationalist because you disagreed with me- when you spend more time on the site you’ll realise that Unionsists fight bitterly with Unionists here and Nationalists fight bitterly with Nationalists. When it comes to inter community arguing, it’s nowhere nearly as pointed

  • maca

    IDM
    “I was reassured then that the vast majority of Roman Catholics used ‘Catholic’ as an abrevation, and not as an assertion that Protestants aren’t Christain. I accept that.”

    Spot on!
    Roman Catholics are catholic, so using the term is accurate. Using “catholic” we do not attempt to monopolise the term. If we are “christian” are we saying that no-one else is christian?

    It’s the same with protestant. When an anglican or lutheran uses protestant does he mean their faith is the only true protestant faith?

    I believe people when they say they are offended but try as I might I can’t understand why.
    What the catholic church uses, that’s a different story and has little to do with the average punter using the term.

  • maca

    IDM again
    “safe in the knowledge that my intention is not to insult any Catholics (and safe in the knowledge that they are not insulted when I do).”

    (Us) Catholics are rarely if ever called Roman Catholic, so if someone, especially from the North, says it one might think they are making a statement. But insulted? I don’t know, maybe some are, others aren’t.

    p.s. any time we’ve had to fill out forms which required us to list religion it was usually put down as RC not C.

  • Barry Turner

    Did you know that 4,956,242 more cherubim than seraphim can polka on the head of a pin? This is because the seraph’s girth is 3.058% greater than the cherub’s.

    Not a lot of Ulstermen know that. . . .

  • willowfield

    Barry Turner

    You have been asked – several times now – to explain how the term “Roman Catholic” is “hurtful” to Roman Catholics. You have consistently refused to do so.

    Since this is the substance of your argument (i.e. Ulster Protestants use the term in order to cause “hurt”), one would think you might wish to respond. Your failure to do so, therefore, means that your argument falls.

    Regarding flags, you may be quite right that “the idiotic flying of flags might serve to prolong division”, but that does not demonstrate that the motivation for flying flags (idiotic or otherwise) is to cause offence. As I and Alan2 have suggested, the motivation is more likely to be insecurity or defiance.

    Regarding your point that the term “Roman Catholic” is more widely used in NI than elsewhere, perhaps this is because, given the religious division in NI, and given the higher church attendance rate and church identification in NI, Protestants there are more conscious of the theological implications of using the term “Catholic” as though it applied only to Roman Catholics.

  • maca

    Willow
    Do you think using the term “Roman Catholic” is “hurtful” to Roman Catholics?

  • Alan2

    “A divided community eh? Have you stopped to consider that the idiotic flying of flags might serve to prolong this division? And that a cessation of parades celebrating mass slaughter might heal those same divisions? But you know all this. The rest of the world has told you until it was blue in the face.”

    No because such things are a manifestation of the inherant problem which is two seperate identities. The way to remove the problem is for one single identity of which you have three choices:- Irish, British or Northern Irish. You cannot have an undivided community when people pledge allegiance to different countries hence the only real workable solution of for a self-governing Northern Ireland with a Northern Irish identity which allows the freedom for people to have “other” identites as well but it would require both sides to get behind a common Northern Irish identity and in a secualr manner.

  • IJP

    IDM

    A very wise response. Slugger-case closed.

    However, for the sake of tax-paying Sluggerettes, I will clarify why my case is entirely accurate.

    The following are *facts*:
    – DCAL spends public money on translations (i.e. tens probably hundreds of thousands of pounds) with no evidence whatsoever as to the qualifications of service providers (I am no longer one, btw);
    – DCAL has no plans at all to address that point, and will therefore go on allowing public money to be spend on service provision with no evidence as to the quality of work provided (in short, you could provide a translation in Esperanto and call it ‘Ulster Scots’ and the public would have to pay for it);
    – DCAL spent public money researching an language FAQ section which is misleading to the public which pays for it, both because of significant errors and inappropriate sources;
    – when these points concerning the abuse of public money were raised, DCAL failed to address either of the points raised in its response; when I tried again, it refused even to respond.

    The following are also nigh indisputable (i.e. you’d be hard pressed to show a case against it):
    – those providing the translations have a direct link to those asking for them, in fact the case for any Ulster-Scots translations has not been established at all, and proceeds on a vague and false reading of ‘equality’;
    – the Government’s language policy, in so far as it exists at all, is based on false foundations (as evidenced by the FAQ errors) and on sectarian carve-up, ‘evening up’ every Irish-language policy with one for Ulster Scots.

    I’d be keen to hear those latter points proved wrong, but I seriously doubt it. The first three are facts, however.

    (If you are also saying that the Civil Service has no rules concerning response times, that is also a total outrage. How can the public get information if it has to wait 3 months for a response, and indeed there’s no guarantee of receiving one at all? I will be researching that scandal too, thanks for raising it.)

  • mogo

    Willow
    “There is no protestant state for a protestant people”
    Not now there isn’t, thanks be to gerry