Reciprocal Respect For Nationalist Sacrifices ‘A Step Too Far’ For Unionism?

Roy Garland is better known for his columns in the Irish News in which he preaches to nationalists about the need to respect the unionist identity and traditions- like the Battle of the Somme. Yet in his latest offering, it would appear calls by President Mary McAleese for reciprocal respect from unionists for the 1916 Rising and its important place in nationalist history is a step too far. Prompting the question, what’s sauce for the goose, Roy….

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: Prompting the question, what’s sauce for the goose, Roy
    But the battle of the Somme wasn’t fought against Irish Nationalism, whereas the Easter Rising was fought against the Union. There’s a key asymmetry right there.

  • HolyGhost

    One of the reasons I don’t buy the Irish news.

  • Reader,
    “whereas the Easter Rising was fought against the Union.”
    The Union wasn’t in existence at the time.!

  • D’Oracle

    Ireland -the state -exists because of the the events following 1916. The Rising was real -so is Ireland ; deal with them.

    If Roy is right-that this is a step too far for unionism, then we are dealing with a much worse flight from reality than we had realised.

  • Ciarán Irvine

    Spirit-level: Wha? The Union has been in effect since 1801.

    D’Oracle: speak for yourself, I’ve always been fully cognizant of the breathtakingly, majestically, insane extent of the reality flight that is Unionism…

  • ciaran,
    my mistake I thought we we’re taling about the partitioned 6 counties Union, not the whole of Ireland 1801 Union. Anyway the rising was in Dublin not Belfast

  • I don’t see what the location has to do with anything, they were fighting against the United Kingdom. Reader’s right, this is not comparing like with like.

    A (slightly) more realistic comparison would be asking nationalists to celebrate the 17th century battles at the Boyne or Aughrim.

  • Keith M

    D’Oracle “Ireland -the state -exists because of the the events following 1916. The Rising was real -so is Ireland ; deal with them.”

    The existance of the Irish state has far more to do with the British reaction to the 1916 rebellion than it has to do with the rebellion itself.

    In general unionists see the 1916 rebellion in the same way that nationalists see the signing of the Act of Union in 1800; an event in history that should be remembered but not commemorated in any significant way.

  • Reader

    spirit-level: Anyway the rising was in Dublin not Belfast
    But they wanted Belfast too, didn’t they? Or did they just want a 26 county republic?

  • David Christopher

    HolyGhost, I read the Irish News daily, and I find it by far the most informative and professional of the three NI daily papers. The Newsletter, for example, rarely carries moderate nationalist columns in the way that the Irish News regularly publishes unionist viewpoints.

    Roy Garland’s piece is excellent – it really sums up my own personal uneasiness about the nouvelle-fetishisation of the 1916 rising in the South.

    Of course, I get where Fianna Fáil are coming from on this – undercut Sinn Fein by being greener than green. It’s just a very dangerous path to take, one that can only increase the divides between Irish people.

    1916 unleashed a whole series of events, most of them tragic, upon the Irish Peoples. I respect the centrality of 1916 to the republican tradition. But we’re almost a century on from that now – surely we need a more subtle consideration of the Rising, and the effect it had upon both nations on the island?

    Roy is particularly correct in pointing to the decimation of the Southern Unionist tradition, which was forced into subservient quiescence for decades and which only recently started to find its voice again with the coming of the current peace process.

    The dismal fate of the once populous Southern Unionists, and the arrival of Southern Unionist exiles into Northern Ireland in the early 1920s, had a crucial impact upon the Northern Unionist psyche – one that remains largely unappreciated to this day – the visceral fear that “It could happen to us”.

    So, its not a case of unionists not recognising the importance of 1916 in the nationalist tradition. I read Roy Garland’s article as a call for a more subtle appreciation of the events of that year, and especially of the divisive impact those events had upon relations between the two peoples of this island.

    David

  • Reader

    D’Oracle: we are dealing with a much worse flight from reality than we had realised.
    I am sure unionists are aware of the existence of Ireland (with its multiplicity of meanings). But that doesn’t validate every single act carried out in the name of a 32 county socialist republic – which remains a fantasy.

  • Ciarán Irvine

    Roy is particularly correct in pointing to the decimation of the Southern Unionist tradition, which was forced into subservient quiescence for decades and which only recently started to find its voice again with the coming of the current peace process.

    Aye David, go on, tell us all again how Oppressed you were in Trinners back in the day 🙂

    One of these days southern unionists still pining for Mutha are just going to have to accept she isn’t coming back, and that 99% of the population of the Republic are quite happy with the current state of affairs.

    Given the choice between independence – whatever its flaws, pitfalls, risks or past mistakes – and going back to powerless subservient grovelling and even most of the old Ascendancy would rather we stay just the way we are, thanks.

    You, Robin Bury and Keith Mills I suppose can be admired in a way for stubbornly persisting with a ridiculous and pointless cause, but please give over with the MOPEing.

  • Henry94

    It is impossible to mark 1916 in any way without provoking unrestrained fury from a small group of politicians and columnists.

    In each and every case they have three main arguments all of which are dishonest.

    The fist one is the application of a humanitarian standard to the 1916 rebels that is not applied to the British forces in Ireland.

    The second is the mandate question, which was resolved by the subsequent general election and the long-standing consensus in the 26 counties for full political independence. Arguments that such an outcome could have been achieved without 1916 are hypothetical therefore bogus.

    The third issue is the one about legacy resolving itself around the question that Eoughan Harris claims he can’t answer for his undergraduates. In this scenario any group can declare themselves the IRA and go out and fight for the republic. But that would not change if the southern establishment repudiated 1916 anymore than the stampede to the right by former Workers Party members stops the SWP.

    If the issue is mandates then the real answer is for people to get behind the Good Friday agreement mandate of theIrish people insted of treating it as an opitional extra. The force of mandate should always trump the mandate of force. It is where mandates get trampled on that force becomes an option.

  • Comrade Stalin

    my mistake I thought we we’re taling about the partitioned 6 counties Union, not the whole of Ireland 1801 Union.

    spirit-level, the union today is the 1801 union. What changed was the geographical layout of the region within that union.

  • abucs

    The 1916 rising was against a British Empire that had gone out all over the world and raped, enslaved, stole and butchered everywhere they went.
    And they are reviled the world over because of that.
    Running slaves to the West Indies, pirating spanish ships from South America, stealing land and resources, drug running to the Chinese, shifting populations for divide and conquer, exterminating whole races like the Australian aborigine and that’s not to mention Ireland.
    Are they like that today ? No. They have lost their empire thank God.
    One by one they got kicked out of most countries if they hadn’t decimated the local population.
    And it started in 1916.
    There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

  • GavBelfast

    Ciaran, why such a sneering attitude in that last contribution of yours? To dress-up denial?

    David, well said. Nothing wrong with commemoration as such

  • oceallaigh

    The 1916 Rising was about removing the yoke of colonial exploitation and imperialistic subjugation of Ireland`s people and the country`s freedom to choose its own destiny in the world,good or bad .Mr Garland should not try to deny Ireland that right and the Easter Rising should be celebrated as a very important milestone in Irelands history.It would seem Garland is in favour of aggressive colonisation and military occupation by one country over another by his writings .If Ireland had been an island off the coast of Africa occupied by the French would he still criticise their Independance Day .I think he looks at things from a pro-British perspective hankering back to the glory days of the British Empire (thankfully over) without regard to Irelands right to a place among the nations of the world unhindered by Britain`s colonial ambitions and can he really say that the British presence on Irish shore was ever to the benefit of the natives,I think NOT .

  • Shore Road Resident

    I didn’t think anyone actually used expressions like “the yoke of colonial exploitation and imperialistic subjugation” any more.
    How quaint. This commemoration will truly be living history!

  • oceallaigh

    SRR …Ok maybe I should call it by what it was ,a Land Grab pure and simple that involved ethnic cleansing ,mass murder,and the military oppression of a native people over many generations .Does that sound any better?

  • barnshee

    “The second is the mandate question, which was resolved by the subsequent general election and the long-standing consensus in the 26 counties for full political independence. Arguments that such an outcome could have been achieved without 1916 are hypothetical therefore bogus”

    Can you image the joy in England when the “26 counties” achieved “full political independence.”
    A backward rainsoaked drain on the public purse sloghed off why o why did the lot not go. Think of the billions in welfare benefits saved -that lot in the north sucked billions think what the lot of them could have cost.

    “can he really say that the British presence on Irish shore was ever to the benefit of the natives,I think NOT . ”

    The fact that you and you fellow country men can write in understandable English and the fact that (a minority) speak comprehensible English has allowed the Republic to progress — benefit ??I think SO

    Try running a call centre or a computer support system in Irish . The Republic is a spoiled fractious child which needs a boot in the posterior to remind it of the basis of its “success” and the source of the funds that created it.

  • David Christopher


    Roy is particularly correct in pointing to the decimation of the Southern Unionist tradition, which was forced into subservient quiescence for decades and which only recently started to find its voice again with the coming of the current peace process.

    Aye David, go on, tell us all again how Oppressed you were in Trinners back in the day 🙂 One of these days southern unionists still pining for Mutha are just going to have to accept she isn’t coming back, and that 99% of the population of the Republic are quite happy with the current state of affairs.

    A highly constructive contribution to the discussion, Gavin. Perhaps, having vented all that, you might care to deal with the points I raised?

    I wish that more of those in the nationalist tradition would acknowledge the fact that there are those in the South – albeit a small minority of perhaps less than 2-3% – who maintain a British dimension to their Irish identity. Seeking to belittle and marginalise that tradition achieves next to nothing for any of us.

    My point was that the persecution of the minority community in the South during the 1919-22 period, and the subsequent exodus of that minority, had a major subsequent impact upon the Unionist psyche.

    If you’d care to reach beyond poking fun at the minority tradition in today’s Republic, I’d be glad to talk this through with you.

    David

  • David Christopher

    Sorry, should have said Ciarán, not Gavin. My apologies to both.

  • spartacus

    David:

    Sounding a lot like an apologist for sectarianism there. I think you’re embellishing the strength of your co-thinkers or else deluding yourself when you describe unionism as a ‘minority tradition’ in the south. It amounts to little more than an obscure cultural-political cult, propped up by wannabee colonials pining for the glory days, and by sectarians in the north. News flash: Not coming back. Get over it.

  • Reader

    Henry94 : The second is the mandate question, which was resolved by the subsequent general election and the long-standing consensus in the 26 counties for full political independence. Arguments that such an outcome could have been achieved without 1916 are hypothetical therefore bogus.
    It’s the argument that there can be such a thing as a retrospective mandate that is bogus – surely you ought to get a mandate *before* you start killing people? And there is nothing bogus about the claim that nationalists could have had a 26 county free state without violence. They certainly could have had a free state – that wasn’t what the 1916 rebels fought for.

  • oceallaigh

    ” The Republic is a spoiled fractious child which needs a boot in the posterior to remind it of the basis of its “success” and the source of the funds that created it.”
    Posted by barnshee on Feb 05, 2006 @ 05:22 PM…..

    One might say that Britains “success” depended heavily on the exploitation of it`s colonies which resulted in mass misery for many millions throughout the world,look at China where the British traded opium for goods until they were kicked out or even going back to why the Americans gave them the boot too for heavy taxation.As a north American myself I can say if it wasn`t for the Americans and Canadians Britain would not exist today as we know it as we had to send billions of dollars in aid ,some of which has still not been repaid as well as the human cost in hundreds of thousands of young lives helping Britain in TWO world wars .The fact that there are over 40 million North Americans of Irish descent might leave one to believe it is the British who should be grateful for any foreign aid and especially to the Irish.Also it was the Irish writers who made the English literature what it is today .Think of Wilde ,Swift, Heaney,Beckett,Yeats ,Shaw etc,etc…

  • Reader

    oceallaigh: Irish writers who made the English literature what it is today .Think of Wilde ,Swift, Heaney,Beckett,Yeats ,Shaw etc,etc.
    Though the English gave most of them their faith, their language and a lot of their genes. So it was a two way street.

  • andy

    i have a couple of genuine questions for those from the South who are here being critical of the 1916 rising:
    Are you glad there is now an independent Irish State?
    if so was it worth any violence/bloodshed at all?

  • George

    David,
    “My point was that the persecution of the minority community in the South during the 1919-22 period, and the subsequent exodus of that minority, had a major subsequent impact upon the Unionist psyche.”

    Giving full support to the occupying British power and the refusal to accept the democratic wishes of the Irish people was obviously going to put certain unionists between a rock and a hard place in war-time. This is a war we are talking about here.

    For example, the support and active collaboration by unionists around Bandon with British death squads in an attempt to deny Ireland’s democratic wish for independence didn’t go down well there.

    It led directly to the 11 unionists murdered in Bandon in 1922 after they were found on a list of “helpful informers” (collaborators) left behind by the Black and Tans.

    Hardly Ireland’s brightest hour but how many non-combatant, non-collaborating unionists do you believe died in this period and does it compare unfavourably with other nations in their fights for independence?

    I suppose the problem is that unionists got just 23,000 votes in the 1918 election outside of Ulster but had the full might of the British empire to try and impose their political will on the rest of us. Sinn Fein got 366,000 which is 16 times as many.

    How many southern unionists came out and said they would accept the democratic wishes of the Irish people and how many colloborated with the enemy?

    If you want to win a war of independence, you do not indulge collaborators, you destroy them or be destroyed.

    If the British had agreed to the democratic wishes of the Irish people, there would not have been a war but once they banned the democratically elected Irish parliament there was and could only one objective for the people of Ireland, to win the war.

    If the British part of southern unionist identity that you say exists today still has as one of its basic tenets the undermining of the democratic wishes of the Irish state and Irish people then they are merely British subversives in my view and should be treated as such.

    If however, they as Irish citizens of British culture cherish the Irish state, its people and its institutions then they should be defended to from all enemies, external or internal, regardless of cost.

  • Henry94

    Reader

    It’s the argument that there can be such a thing as a retrospective mandate that is bogus

    Would you agree that the DUP are now claiming a retrospective mandate for their opposition to the GFA. A mandate which they claim overturns the result of the referendum.

    Thatcher’s government got a retrospective mandate for the Falklands war.

    There is no reason whatsoever that a mandate can’t be gained retrospectively. In fact the argument was only invented to apply to the 1916 rising and the proclamation of the Republic.

    What was the British mandate to occupy Ireland after the 1918 General election? It was that rather than 1916 which really led to the development of the IRA.

  • D’Oracle

    Ciaran (re 2.17)-Point taken – how about..”than most of us had realised “?

    Keith M (re 3.09)-the British reaction to the rebellion was most surely one of the important events which followed ; its nice to record agreement with you, abeit on little things, from time to time

    Reader(re 3.17)-You’ve lost I’m afreaid on the 32 county socialist republican bit ;
    misunderstanding or too much red wine maybe ?

  • Biffo

    Beano

    “A (slightly) more realistic comparison would be asking nationalists to celebrate the 17th century battles at the Boyne or Aughrim.

    No, this is a unionist talking to nationalists. The comparison would be nationalists asking unionists to stop cebebrating the the battle of the Boyne and the siege of Derry.

  • Reader

    Henry94: Would you agree that the DUP are now claiming a retrospective mandate for their opposition to the GFA. A mandate which they claim overturns the result of the referendum.
    No. They were elected to the forum on a hard line ticket, and have opposed the GFA in every election since then. The nearest they are doing to what you suggest is claiming that their vote undermines the presumed cross-community support for the GFA. I’m pro-agreement myself, but it’s hard to disagree…
    Henry94: Thatcher’s government got a retrospective mandate for the Falklands war.
    Thatcher’s government had a mandate to govern, and made the decision on that basis. For them, winning the *next* election as well was a bonus

  • Henry94

    Reader

    The mandate for Home Rule was long standing by 1916 and had not been delivered. Would a mandate for a republic have fared any better? We found out in 1918 that it would not and armed struggle was required to move the British.

    So the judgement of Pearse and Co. that armed struggle was required was proved correct.

    The IRA as we know it is not based on the 1916 model but on the 1918-21 model. It’s mandate came from the duly elected government in Dail Eireann.

    I believe that model of armed struggle has now also been rendered obsolete.

    So the Nietzscheian eternal return that the pro-unionist commentariat claim to worry about is nonsense in any case.

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s a little more to the point Roy’s making than has been discussed here. In particular he draws on what he believes is a parallel directly from Unionist experience:

    When the President welcomed Orangemen to Aras an Uachtaran, however, Mr Ahern remained at a safe distance. Now she is again taking risks in the Taoiseach’s shadow. There is a parallel between Fianna Fail and the Ulster Unionists in the 1960s. The UUP tried to take ownership of 1912 and the UVF through a massive demonstration at Balmoral. UVF relics were displayed and the largest Union Flag ever was flown. Terence O’Neill later went to Larne to unveil a plaque to 1914 gunrunners.

    All this to undercut extremism while, behind the scenes, Paisleyites planned to upstage the supposed traitors.

    The Ulster Hall resounded to the prayers of thanksgiving for the guns of 1914. A year later, the UVF was reformed. The 50th anniversary of 1916 brought massive republican and Paisleyite parades in Belfast. Tensions were raised and bloodshed returned to the streets.

    Now, it seems clear from other of his comments that he’s not suggesting that Ireland is in such a perilously close position to conflict as it was (in retrospect at least) back then. But he is arguing that the raising of this singular event, (‘heroic’ in the eyes of Republican, and both cowardly and disasterous in the eyes of many Unionists), it is an espousal of ‘Separate Futures’ as opposed to the ‘Shared Future’, that has been the subject of so much official rhetoric in recent months, for the British and Irish of this island.

    Is this valid, or not?

  • mc

    The reaction to David Christopher’s points only validate his argument.
    Nationalists shout about parity of esteem as its called now, but seem to find it a difficult concept. It works both ways.
    How big does a minority have to be before it is worth respecting? Some posters seem to feel a small minority deserves only contempt.
    The 1916 rising did nothing for Ireland. The ending of the World War had more impact.

  • Henry94

    Mick

    I think a shared future is impossible if it requires us to agree on the past. What we need to do whatever our tradition is agree the principles and institutions of the future.

    Normal politics emerged in the republic despite he fact that the two main parties had fought a civil war.

    Had either side been forced to repudiate their past more harm than good would have been done.

    Commemorations are always going to be tribal. But they don’t always have to influence the politics of the day.

    If in 2016 nationalists and unionists are sharing power in agreed institutions with no discrimination or injustice then the centenary of 1916 will be a parade not a controversy.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Yes and no, Mick.

    I can understand the point you are raising, but you fail to address the substantive matter as to why unionists can not accomodate and respect the validity of the republican tradition in the same manner in which nationalists have attempted to vis a vis unionism through acknowledging Irish participation in Britain’s wars.

    It is not an assertion of a desire for separate futures to celebrate critical events in this nation’s long struggle to assert it’s sovereignty. Indeed, in the United States, the July 4th celebrations are held for that very reason.

    Now I am not foolish enough to suggest there is no distinction to be drawn between commemorating 1916 in Ireland and the 4th of July for Americans; for there clearly is, given the on-going political divisions in Ireland today.

    What is at issue here is the absence of any reciprocation from unionism for expressions of nationalist history and tradition.

    It suggests an unwillingness on behalf of elements within unionism to afford any legitimacy to the nationalist community- something that truly will have an impact upon the efforts by others to build a ‘shared future’ here.

    In fact, it goes to the crux of the matter.

    Unionist political leaders make no effort publicly to prepare their people for the seismic changes that will be visited upon this part of Ireland as the new political realities set in.

    The DUP will never be in a government without Sinn Fein at their right hand; Paisley or Robinson will never be First Minister without Martin McGuinness being by their side; and, crucially, public manifestations of the nationalist tradition- such an anathema to ‘moderate’ unionists like Garland- will become more and more mainstream.

    In 10 years time, I would expect to see scores of PSNI officers graduating with IRA medals pinned to their lapels- before an admiring Sinn Fein Policing Minister- and the unionist politicians will be powerless to do anything about it!

    Unionism is going to have to begin preparing for the repercussions of the Agreement.

    Roy’s disappointing piece is an indication that even ‘modernising’ unionists have only begun to crawl.

  • me

    Sounding a lot like an apologist for sectarianism there. I think you’re embellishing the strength of your co-thinkers or else deluding yourself when you describe unionism as a ‘minority tradition’ in the south. It amounts to little more than an obscure cultural-political cult, propped up by wannabee colonials pining for the glory days, and by sectarians in the north. News flash: Not coming back. Get over it

    There must be a lot of pro-British (or should that be pro Man Yoo) sentiment for you to feel threatened by such a small minority. Newsflash: United Ireland, never happening, thats right, never, not 2016, not 2066 not 2116, never.

    Get over that. Also isn’t it high time we all acknowledged the balls of a country the Irish Republic was and put them back in the UK?

    “the human cost in hundreds of thousands of young lives helping Britain in TWO world wars .”

    Oh, bugger off and get your own language. Were it not for the loyalty of Northern Ireland, and the tenacity of all the British, Americans would be speaking German by now (apart from areas populated by those stubborn Scots-Irish of course.)

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris,

    I was leaving it others to address that point, since you’d already raised it. I was simply adverting to another, otherwise neglected, point.

    As bloggers on Slugger, we have the capacity to have the first word and cast the frame for the initial discussion. Other than pointing to untapped potential in that discussion I think it should be up to the wider readership to have the last word. Otherwise we are in danger of simply dialoguing with ourselves.

  • Richard Dowling

    Roy Garland’s article was a gentle piece of criticism, indeed. I
    though his introduction of Dietric Bonhoeffer’s critique of
    nationalism (as incompatible with Christianity) was a master
    stroke of understated insight. We have a lot to learn from the
    intolerances of undigested mythological hard chaw. And the
    terrible price paid for it in the sacrifice of INNOCENT BLOOD.

  • Reader

    Henry94: The mandate for Home Rule was long standing by 1916 and had not been delivered. Would a mandate for a republic have fared any better? We found out in 1918 that it would not and armed struggle was required to move the British.
    The Home Rule mandate was incomplete – it never applied to 32 counties. Same with the 1918 mandate. No progress was possible until Collins accepted the inevitable – he couldn’t have it all immediately. We had to wait most of a century until nationalism finally accepted the principle of consent. You could have had a free state in 1912 – without the Easter rising, the war of independence, the civil war and the troubles.

  • Henry94

    The Home Rule mandate was incomplete – it never applied to 32 counties.

    The mandate for the union applies to two counties now if we want to look at it that way. The principle of consent will become an issue very soon if the institutions of the agreement are not restored.

  • Ciarán Irvine

    If you’d care to reach beyond poking fun at the minority tradition in today’s Republic, I’d be glad to talk this through with you.

    Thanks, but I’ll pass.

    It works like this David: yes, indeed, a tiny minority of the population of the Republic wish we were still part of the Empire. You have a perfect right to feel this way and be as British as you like. Whatever floats your boat. Not a man to comdemn the fetishes of others, me.

    So, you have the right to hold these views and express them. As you have been doing for many years.

    What you do not have, what none of us has, is some sort of precious right to be taken seriously and for our opinions to be greeted with solemn respect no matter how swivel-eyed insane they are.

    Get over it.

    You can call yourself British, proclaim that everyone in Ireland is really British deep down, and declare that we’d all be better off back in the UK. 99% of the population will just laugh out loud and consider such notions to be self-evidently ludicrous. Compare the Republic today to Ireland at any stage of the Occupation. It is perfectly clear that independence has worked, and is good for us economically, culturally, psychologically, socially. Better by far to make your way in the world as an adult, mistakes and all, than to adopt an infantile subservient Mutha-fixation. Thanks but no thanks. Quite frankly, this notion of rejoining the UK is about on a par with someone suggesting we abandon technology and go back to living in caves and hitting animals over the head with clubs.

    Them’s the breaks. You have a right to your opinions. I have the right not to take you seriously. Me not taking you seriously isn’t “sectarian” or “anti-British”. I’m not Oppressing you. I just don’t think you’re living in the really real world.

  • David Christopher

    Ciarán I would never describe the identity or viewpoints of the nationalist and republican traditions in the insulting terms you have used – “swivel-eyed insane”, “fetish”.

    Surely everyone’s identity on this most complex wee island deserves respect?

    Your description of unionism as “an infantile subservient Mutha-fixation” is a case in point.

    Basically, there’s a 95%+ nationalist majority in the South today – that majority is clearly under no threat whatsoever – it has the choice of listening and understanding minority viewpoints or of continuing to steamroller them as was the case for the past 80 years.

    I suggest southern nationalists would be better off taking the former path, as that path leads to the enrichening and strengthening of the Republic.

    After all, I am far from alone in the South in expressing a British dimension to my identity. Many others feel the same way, for reasons well grounded in their culture and historical experience. We may be a tiny majority among the population as a whole, but our identity is no less deserving of respect.

    David

  • David Christopher

    tiny minority, not majority. been a long day… 😉

  • harpo

    I don’t see what the fuss is all about.

    Why does this issue impact NI unionists? There are few to zero unionists left in the 26 county state/ROI, so why is anyone asking them to respect the 26 county state/ROI desire to commemorate the men of 1916?

    If the authorities in the 26 county state/ROI want to commemorate them they are perfectly entitled to.

    As for unionists in NI, any such commemorations won’t impact them. They won’t be held in NI. As far as I care, the 26 county state/ROI can hold any commemoration they like to anyone they like. Unionists like me will still consider the 1916 fighters are rebels against the state. Traitors in a time of real war. I really don’t know why anyone is asking NI unionists for their opinion on these guys.

    The only thing that I wonder about is why it is the men of 1916 who are to be commemorated. Why not all those who fought in the 1919-1921 War Of Independence? Since their actions led directly to the creation of the 26 county state/ROI.

    I’d say it is for 2 reasons that are linked:

    1. The outcome of the WOI is disputed – it ended in the Treaty, and ultimately the civil war. If those who served/died on the WOI are commemorated that would mean the current 26 county state/ROI commemorating those who in the early years of the state rebelled against it because it wasn’t what the men of 1916 died for. It wasn’t THE 1916 Irish Republic. I doubt that the descendents/supporters of those who opposed the new state in the civil war would be too impressed if the names of those who did so were included in the list of people commemorated for ‘winning’ that state in the WOI.

    2. The men of 1916 who were executed are the last lot of people who are ‘safe’ for both sides of the civil war dispute. They had the good fortune to end up dead, and so weren’t involved in either the WOI or the civil war. That’s means everyone can look back on them fondly as the last lot of rebels who didn’t end up squabbling afterwards.

    Thus both sides in the civil war dispute can acknowledge that these guys set the stage for the WOI without having to worry about which side they ended up taking. Of course others – like dev – fought in 1916 and were involved in the WOI and the civil war, but they won’t be invoked in the commemorations. The commemorations will be kept pure by a reference to those who died fighting or were executed and a general tribute to all those who fought, without bringing up the WOI or civil war allegiences of those who survived 1916.

  • andy

    Harpo
    Great post. Without appearing callous, it must be a good career move for a revolutionary to die young – before you get the chance to f*ck up by governing like an autocrat. Compare and contrast Castro and Che, or Collins and DeValera to a lesser extent.

  • Southern Observer

    Barnshee,
    We were a civilised Celtic nation when the ancestors of the British were wandering around naked covered in woad in the Black Forest of Saxony.

  • Southern Observer

    Once again the fallacious chimera of southern oppression of unionists/Protestants is pressed into service by Garland and others.Unionists in the south in 1921 had a choice between staying put and being treated exactly the same as evryone elso or going north where they were guaranteed preferential treatment vis-a-vis jobs ,housing etc..Not surprisingly many took the latter option.