A Tricolour for every school and no more lame Amhrán na bhFiann renditions

Fianna Fáil’s push to mark the 90th anniversary of the Easter 1916 Rising continues with Kerry NorthTD Tom McEllistrim calling for every primary school to be given a Tricolour and flag post to mark the event. Speaking on Today FM’s, the Last Word the man who shares a constituency with Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris also seemed to have no objection to the idea of Ireland perhaps one day following the policy in American schools, where children pledge an oath of loyalty to the flag and the state it symbolises. On the Last Word, presenter Matt Cooper also mentioned that Fianna Fáil’s Tom Kitt wants the Irish national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann, to be taught better in Irish schools. I fear Brian Kennedy’s less than gutsy rendition of the national anthem before the Wales match, when Ireland’s Eurovision representative had to read it from a text in a folder he was holding, might have something to do with this one.

It’s not just Kennedy who has had problems with the latest Irish republican wave. Earlier (subs needed) this month, seven Fianna Fáil councillors in Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown failed in a motion to have a copy of the 1916 proclamation “permanently and prominently displayed” in the chambers, along with the national flag. Apparently, the council is one of the few around the country that does not display the document.

Fine Gael and Labour councillors put forward several amendments, including suggesting the proclamation be instead displayed in the assembly hall and in Irish. They also suggested that a letter be sent to the Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, calling on her to ask schools to display the proclamation.

The Green Party, for its part, suggested the EU flag should also be included in the chamber.

FF Councillor Cormac Devlin said they had not anticipated a lengthy debate.

“We didn’t expect it to be controversial,” he said.

However, Labour councillor Denis O’Callaghan accused Fianna Fáil of opportunism.

“This is part of a Fianna Fáil attempt to take ownership of 1916, a race with Sinn Féin to see who can claim it,” he said.

Councillor John Bailey (FG) said he voted against displaying the proclamation because it was too serious an issue to debate when so many of the council’s members were missing.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I thought that it would have been more within Mr McEllistrim’s remit to endeavour that his party provided the necessary finances to ensure every school was up modernised to an acceptable standard.

  • Cormac

    Sweet Jaysus…

    If they can’t get a majority of kids to leave school with the ability to even hold a simple conversation as gaeilge, good luck to them getting them to remember the words to Amhrán na bhFiann!

    I consider myself a reasonably competent speaker of Irish, and even I have trouble! They should just stick to the first verse as that’s all that’s needed for sports occassions, anyway.

    Incidentally, has anyone ever heard the whole thing sung?

    I agree with you Pat, money better spent elsewhere (unless you happen to be a Fianna Fáil election campaign manager, in which case it’s money well spent 🙂

  • Brian Boru

    I wasn’t totally sure of all the words until recently and now I know them off by heart. We were taught it in primary school but it probably wasn’t compulsory. We need to instill a sense of patriotism in the next generation – especially as many of them will likely be of immigrant descent.

  • DK

    “We need to instill a sense of patriotism in the next generation”

    Bloody hell, not more patriotism. Can we not have less – please! Have the children memorise the 500 page European Constiution instead. In Gaelic.

  • smcgiff

    ‘I wasn’t totally sure of all the words until recently and now I know them off by heart.’

    The last line is my favourite…

    Suh live Connie Awrana V – UP CORK!

  • Cormac

    “many of them will likely be of immigrant descent”

    What, just like the rest of us (Celt, Viking, Norman, Planter 😉 ?

    I do think it’s important to instil a sense of Irishness, but do you not think that would happen just by virtue of living and being schooled here? I lived in Australia for a few years. In Melbourne the largest language spoken at home – after English – is Italian, followed closely by Chinese. The kids in these families were culturally different to an extent, but they were most definitely proud and patriotic Australians.

  • Brian Boru

    OK Cormac but the same cannot be said of some of the Muslim immigrants in France going by recent events. And being brought up in the same school system doesn’t necessarily mean being loyal to the State. The London bombers being a case in point.

  • Brian Boru

    It is also important that the descendents of immigrants assimilate into a common sense of Irishness, with a common sense of national allegiance to Ireland. The partition of this island is arguable a warning sign of what can go wrong where a common national identity is absent.

  • Cormac

    Brian Boru:

    I think (and I’m no expert so I could be WAY off here) that the problems in France were to do with how the immigrants were treated after they had arrived – ie housed in crappy areas on the outskirts of Paris and a certain attitude towards them from the ruling class. We seem to be doing a better job here, but who’s to say we won’t have race riots at some stage in the future? I hope not, and we need to look at other countries’ experiences so we don’t make the same mistakes.

    As for the London bombers… well, I’m afraid I just don’t know what the answer to that is, but I suspect it has more to do with British foreign policy. Look at Irish America’s traditional support for Irish Republicanism. They may consider themselves 100% American, but still maintain very strong links to Ireland, to the point where they will support rebels/terrorists (pick a term) in another country. Not sure if they would have supported attacks on America, though (in the unlikely event the US went to war with the Irish, but you know what I mean). Still, you’ve given me something to think about. But as long as we have a decent foreign policy and treat our immigrants with respect, we should avoid the bad effects of immigration.

  • circles

    I find this whole discussion a little worrying. Firstly, on the issue of the future population being of immigrant descent – is this really something we should try and prepare for? I think giving new arrivals a fair chance, and trying to ensure people are not ghettoised and ostracised wold do a lot more than drumming Amhran na Bhfiann into there heads and respect for a piece of cloth.
    Secondly, it all has something of the King Canute about it.
    If the republic is about anything it should be about the people themselves, not the waving of a flag and the recitation of an old song.

  • Brian Boru

    Circles, the only country that has been really successful in assimilating the children of immigrants is the one that gets them to pledge loyalty to the flag and anthem every morning in the schools. If it works then I see no reason not to use it.

  • circles

    Brian B: If that means the republic becoming a patriotically, either with us or against us, inward looking state like that one, then don’t you think the price is a little high?
    circles

  • Brian Boru

    Circles, that language was used in the context of a war and the Republic is hardly likely to be involved in a war. Political-Correctness needs to move over on this. We are entitled to demand certain things of communities of immigrant origins.

  • Dave

    Some of the comments made on this tread seem to purport the idea of Ireland for the Irish. What is wrong with the idea of people living in “Ireland” and embracing their own culture? or is that a no.no? so much for parity of esteem eh.

    If it’s such a good idea

    [Fianna Fáil’s push to mark the 90th anniversary of the Easter 1916 Rising continues with Kerry NorthTD Tom McEllistrim calling for every primary school to be given a Tricolour and flag post to mark the event. Speaking on Today FM’s, the Last Word the man who shares a constituency with Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris also seemed to have no objection to the idea of Ireland perhaps one day following the policy in American schools, where children pledge an oath of loyalty to the flag and the state it symbolises.](Would this be enforced by law)

    I take then that people living in Northern Ireland would not have a problem with or object to
    their children taking the oath of loyalty to the flag and the state it symbolises? or would that be a step too far? Just asking.

  • Just an observation…

    The hilarious spectacle at GAA matches where the last verse of the national anthem is all ready to be sung and the majority of the stadium start screaming and roaring like banshees, and drown out the last verse which sounds like “shoving Connie around the field”, which is simoultaneously being sung by those in the “lord mayor” and dignitary seats.
    Only in Ireland 🙂

  • Brian Boru

    Dave, I would hope that in a United Ireland, that over time former Unionists would become okay with this idea.

  • slug

    LOL.
    Dream on.

  • Mustapha Mond

    I see no reason for this at all, And do not see how it could be forced on the unwilling.

  • missfitz

    At the risk of getting the piss taken again over my itinerant past, I went to primary school in New York. I can still recall the “pledge of alegiance”, indeed I can recall when my parents became naturalised american citizens and the excitement and preparation that went into it.

    Citizenship is easily identifiable, your passport (s) easily tesitfies to that simple fact. Your identity is more complex and is associated with your sense of belonging, sense of association and pride in where it is that you live.

    As many of the readers here will know, the sense of identity in Northern Ireland has been a moving feast since it was first recorded in 1968. At 10 year intervals, studies have been carried out and the results are illuminating. Perhaps as a reaction to the events unfolding, the protestant population are becoming less likely to identify themselves as Irish, and nationalists more likely to do so. Interestingly, the label of Northern Irish is becoming stronger as the sense perhaps of isolationism here deepens.

    I think that it really is important to inculcate that sense of identity, the sense of the place where you live. Whether we generally accept it or not, identity can be visually expressed through flags and other cultural symbols. A nation will have a shared story as well, and if that is in the words of a song, well, that is what needs to be learned.

    At the age of 10, I learned Irish for the first time, going on to the Gaeltachts and becoming fluent in the language. Without doubt, it formed and shaped my understanding and love for Ireland and gave me that elusive sense of identity.

    Mind you, I still mumble the bit in the middle, and am eternally grateful for the genius who thought to put the words up on the screen in Croke Park.

  • Dave

    Brian Brou

    “Former unionists”? what about (unionists) or would they be a thing of the past?

    After all the unionists thought that after a period of time other would comform and support the County they live in, this has not been the case.

    Lets hope for all our sakes that a united Ireland remains nothing more than a dream.

  • missfitz

    Dave
    Surely we should be aiming for a shared culture, or at least the sharing of stories. Learning about the Protestant culture has been a novel experience for me, and one that could/should have happened at an earlier age.

    We have to celebrate and cultivate both stories and all stories and embrace them in whatever New Ireland we are heading towards

  • Nathan

    Which councillors voted against the motion?

    The Irish Times have been awfully quiet about Erskine Childers daughter, Cllr Nessa Childers, who sits on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Council for the Irish Green Party. I’m suspecting she towed the line on this occasion, and voted in line with Fianna Fail, in support of the motion.

  • Richard James

    “Dave, I would hope that in a United Ireland, that over time former Unionists would become okay with this idea.”

    That’s an interesting point Brian, would your reasoning extend to supporting the erection of Union Jacks outside of all schools in Northern Ireland and teaching God Save the Queen to all school children as long as we choose to remain a part of the United Kingdom?

  • Brian Boru

    “After all the unionists thought that after a period of time other would comform and support the County they live in, this has not been the case.”

    Well the former Southern Unionist community has conformed. And a 20% minority will be easier to integrate than a 41% one.

  • Realist

    “Dave, I would hope that in a United Ireland, that over time former Unionists would become okay with this idea”

    Brian Boru,

    Your hope would be misplaced.

    The notion that unionists will simply wake up some day and foresake what they hold dear is ludicrous.

    The suggestion that unionists will simply switch allegiance is silly.

    The premise that any future 32 county state would retain current ROI flag, ROI anthem etc is, frankly, beyond belief.

    Do you feel that your sense of patriotism is somehow stronger and more valid than that a Northern Irish unionist?

  • Brian Boru

    “Do you feel that your sense of patriotism is somehow stronger and more valid than that a Northern Irish unionist?”

    Opinions are all very well and people are equally entitled to hold differing opinions. At the same time, the State needs to condition the next generation towards a common sense of national identity. Of course, only the person themselves will know what identity they subscribe to. But if its ok in the US, why not in Ireland (hypothetically).

  • Realist

    “At the same time, the State needs to condition the next generation towards a common sense of national identity.”

    What?

    Have you been looking in at the BNP website for ideas again Mr Boru?

  • Nathan

    Brian Boru,

    The very existence of the Reform Movement as a fringe outlet, is indicative of the fact that remnants of the former southern unionist community still exist to the present day. A disproportionate amount of these are Castle Catholic post-nationalist, who have joined the southern unionist cause with the zeal of a convert.

    Although quite a miniscule minority, they nevertheless gather in holy huddles and enjoy the West Britonist camaraderie that distinguishes them from me and you.

    It is quite self-evident that the remnants have NOT conformed willy-nilly to the ethos of the Irish State, and probably never will.

  • Brian Boru

    Nathan I am talking about the vast majority. There will always be a few cuckoos in the nest but I’d say 99% of the former Southern Protestant Loyalist community has come to accept and be happy in the State and proud to be Irish.

  • circles

    I had hoped that this one would blow itself out after a couple of posts.
    Am I the only republican who finds this kind of thing more than a little scarey?
    “The state needs to condition the next generation” – alarm bells are going off here!!!
    Znd to refer back to my previous post, all those who do not conform to this conditioning – are we to assume that they are against us?

  • Brian Boru

    Circles this idea is important to avoid the mistakes previously made in mainland Europe which just have not worked. Make excuses if you want for immigrants, but they actually have to have responsibilities as well as rights. The PC-brigade want them to only have the latter – I believe they should have both. Getting to stay in the West is very beneficial for them economically – even the poor ones earn vastly more than their countries of origin. The West is entitled in return to expect loyalty to the State by these people. The best way of promoting long term harmony, is to have the children who go to schools take pledges of loyalty to the national flag along with the Irish pupils, and sing the anthem. This has worked in the US e.g. none of the 911 hijackers were American, whereas most of the London bombers were born in Britain. We need to see through the Utopian ideology of the Irish and international Left and PC-brigade, and do what needs to be done to ensure communal harmony in the long term.

  • Realist

    “I’d say 99% of the former Southern Protestant Loyalist community has come to accept and be happy in the State and proud to be Irish”

    Brian Boru,

    I’m a Northern Irish unionist…I am as proud to be Irish as you.

    Unless you think that I need to be “conditioned” differently?

    If so, please enlighten readers of what constitutes “Irishness” in your eyes.

  • Nathan

    Brian Boru,

    Your 11.21 comment exposes alot more about yourself than it does about the former loyalist community.

    Like most simple minded Irish people, you adore the comfort blanket of unexamined stereotypes when it comes to the southern protestant community. As far as your concerned, they were a homogenius lot, the One Protestant People who believed in the integrity of the Crown and Empire. Heaven forbid that any southern protestant would be descended from a Home Rule family, or shock horror from a physical force Republican family.

    Having been quite observant of your comments recently, I find that your quite quick in raising your head above the paraphet, the moment a unionist contributor mutters those filthy words, “southern protestants”.

    Its a pity your not half as enthusiastic when it comes to acknowledging southern protestant differences in historical origin, denomination, geography or class e.g. the fact that those southern protestants concentrated in rural areas of West Cork or East Donegal were more inclined towards Loyalism in the 20C, whereas city dwelling prods had a greater tendency to be either Home Rulers (the majority) or advocates of physical force Republicanism (a miniscule minority).

  • Brian Boru

    “Brian Boru,

    I’m a Northern Irish unionist…I am as proud to be Irish as you.

    Unless you think that I need to be “conditioned” differently?

    If so, please enlighten readers of what constitutes “Irishness” in your eyes.”

    But your primary loyalty is to Britain. I want to ensure that immigrants coming to the South whose children are going through the schools will grow up with a sense of Irishness, including Ireland being the country that their primary loyalty is to. My point is more directed towards the immigration issue.

    If you consider yourself Irish then so do I. However, we are used to hearing endless declarations from Unionist politicians and Orange marchers about how “British” they are so you should forgive me if I’m feeling confused right now. Lord Laird would probably not agree with you – calls himself an Ulster Scot.

    Perhaps some people see the same term as meaning different things. It is true that John Bruton, our former Taoiseach, would consider himself Irish, yet we had to listen to him calling a meeting with Prince Charles the “greatest day of my life”. To me that isn’t very patriotic but he is entitled to his views. What I want now is for immigrants coming in to the South to be conditioned towards feeling Irish through pledges of loyalty to the Irish flag and singing Amhran na bhFiann every morning. We need to create a common sense of ownership of the events of 1916, 1798 and the WOI, to avoid ghettoisation and potential Balkanisation of the Republic. I won’t make a judgement on whether the North is Balkanised or not…

  • Realist

    Brian Boru,

    “I’m feeling confused right now”

    Yes, I’m sure you are.

    Confused that some people do not take a myopic view on their identity?

    “What I want now is for immigrants coming in to the South to be conditioned towards feeling Irish through pledges of loyalty to the Irish flag and singing Amhran na bhFiann every morning”

    If you believe in a truly “united” Ireland, do you feel that this old school patriotism sends out a positive message to those of us you wish to “unite” with?

    Or perhaps you believe that some day all of us on the island will be pledging loyalty to the current ROI flag and singing Amhran na bhFiann every morning, and we’ll all live happily ever after?

    If so, I think your grasping of the problems on this island are somewhat weak.

  • Brian Boru

    “Its a pity your not half as enthusiastic when it comes to acknowledging southern protestant differences in historical origin, denomination, geography or class e.g. the fact that those southern protestants concentrated in rural areas of West Cork or East Donegal were more inclined towards Loyalism in the 20C, whereas city dwelling prods had a greater tendency to be either Home Rulers (the majority) or advocates of physical force Republicanism (a miniscule minority).”

    I am not saying all the Southern Protestants in 1921 had been Unionists, but most were and I don’t see why pointing this out should offend anyone. I also acknowledge that some were not e.g. Sam Maguire, Ernest Blythe, Bulmer Hobson, W.B. Yeats, Erskine Childers, Robert Casement.

  • Nathan

    Brian Boru,

    I dispute your proposition that most Irish Protestants outside of Ulster (i.e. southern protestants) were Unionist, and thereby voted Unionist in the early 20C. Apart from Unionist hotbeds such as Rathmines, West Cork, East Donegal and Dublin University, unionism didn’t necessarily form part of southern protestant makeup. I reckon the IPP was the logical choice back then, rather than its monarchist counterpart, the Irish Unionist Alliance.

    There were a few anomalies however, where southern protestants neither backed the IUA or the IPP, but Republicanism instead e.g. Wicklow and Monaghan, which returned Ernest Blythe and Robert Barton in 1918.

    Not all southern protestants were politically active in the early 20C, however and people are quick to forget this. For example, George Plant, the future IRA graduate to be, came from a non-political southern protestant family, prior to him being persuaded to join Na Fianna Eireann in his teenage years.

    And what about those southern protestants who didn’t have the vote, merely because they were female and/or didn’t own a house. Or because they didn’t attend TCD, and so didn’t qualify for the Dublin University constituency vote?

    I recall someone lending me a copy of “Speaking Volumes – A Dublin Childhood” in which it was indicated that in the working class parishes of Dublin alone, there were a significant number of protestant males who didn’t qualify for the vote, as they didn’t have the means to own living quarters. The author’s father, Hugh Gow was one such person, a Presbyterian who lived his existence in a slum in the Swords area of Co.Dublin. By virtue of his social class, he was therefore not entitled to vote for his natural choice, the Redmondite Party, in the early 20C.

    So you see, they were complexities and contradictions in being a Irish Protestant in the 20C. It is deeply offensive to even suggest that on the balance of probabilities, city dwelling protestants supported the Loyalist cause which was been fought for in rural areas such as West Cork. Would Jan O’Sullivan or Mildred Fox or Trevor Sargent appreciate, for instance, been told that by virtue of their religious affliations, they are descended from the southern unionist tradition on the balance of probabilities? I doubt it somehow.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Nathan, and Brian Boru,

    I am a southern Protestant from a farming background on my father’s side, and a lower-middle class Dublin background on my mother’s side. So I have a fairly good grasp of at least two of the possible versions of southern Protestantry.

    Neither side of the family was ever involved in politics, either before 1922 or after. As small farmers and petty bourgeois, they tended to be more concerned wih getting by, and getting on with their neighbours on a very local level.

    In my paternal parish the war of independence passed by without any particular incidents. Protestants were neither bothered nor burnt out (despite the rumours). They stayed, they farmed, they worked hard, and to a great extent that is still what they do. None of my family fought for the British in WW1, despite being of an age to do so. I cannot tell you what their motivations not to do so were based upon, because that generation is long gone. The next generatiion also did not get involved in WW2. In common with their neighbours, my family had more contacts aand relatives in the US than in England, and probably tended to look west rather than east.

    My mother’s family were a little different. Again, nobody fought in Britain’s wars, apart from a great-uncle-in-law, who was a Lancaster bomber rear gunner. Despite that, he returned to Dublin afterwards, lived long and happy, and was a proud Irishman, and prouder Corkman!

    Through the many family members on both sides I know that there are, and were, many thousands of southern Prods who simply did not view their lives, aand their place in the world, through our modern geo-political glasses. They were what they were; Dublin or County XX protestants first, Irish people second, and really nothing beyond that. None would have been interested enough in politics to have pinned a label on themselves, and when they voted (and vote stilll), I imagine that Fine Gael is probably the main beneficiary.

    This may be irrelevant to your discussion, but it reflects a small and personal real-life experience of southern Prods.

  • Nathan

    Stephen,

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience with us, which was in parts an eye-opener.

    I’m surprised, however, that you persist in masquerading as a southern prod when, once upon a time, you revealed to me that you were an atheist. Why are you bothering to refer to yourself as a southern prod, when your quite clearly a member of the largest minority in the Irish Republic, namely the non-religious community?

  • Dave

    I think I was correct when I stated that what Brian really meant was that Ireland is for the Irish. If people believe for one minute that the protestant population of Northern Ireland will embrace a united Ireland and pledge an oath of loyalty to he Irish flag and the state,needs to see a doctor. Indoctrination is not a thing Free people wish to eembrace.

  • Dave

    Sorry about the typo’s

  • Brian Boru

    Dave, I wasn’t calling for it to be applied to adults.

  • Richard James

    “Well the former Southern Unionist community has conformed. And a 20% minority will be easier to integrate than a 41% one.”

    You didn’t intergrate the southern Unionist community, they left as the dramatic decline of Protestants in your country after independance shows.

  • Richard James

    “If you consider yourself Irish then so do I. However, we are used to hearing endless declarations from Unionist politicians and Orange marchers about how “British” they are so you should forgive me if I’m feeling confused right now.”

    I understand your confusion, it is common amongst Nationalists as they don’t understand what it is to be British. You see British is an overall identity that unites several nationalities. So one is English and British, Scottish and British etc. Much in the way someone in Dublin is both a Dubliner and Irish.

    “Lord Laird would probably not agree with you – calls himself an Ulster Scot.”

    While Carson, Craig and Paisley would consider themselves Irish. And if you are going to whinge about Unionists rejecting an Irish identity then I suggest you complain about how Republicanism has politicised it. After all it was people like de Valera who reduced it to being one or the other and demanded Unionists choose (and in the tradition of Republican ‘tolerance’ demanded they go elsewhere if they chose to be British)

  • Brian Boru

    “You didn’t intergrate the southern Unionist community, they left as the dramatic decline of Protestants in your country after independance shows.”

    Those who left did so mainly by choice, and that does not reflect on their treatment by the Southern state. American Loyalists left the US after independence, just as ethnic-Russians left Central Asia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Were they all driven out too, or was it just that they didn’t feel at home in the new dispensations? It is too simplistic simply to take the figures at independence and now, subtract one from the other and then say “oh the numbers have fallen – they must be persecuting them”. When independence is won by war, some former supporters of the Ancien Regime tend to leave for that reason alone.

    That line of reasoning could be used by the British Far Right as follows: The white % in the UK has fallen greatly in the past 50 years. The black % has risen. They would probably say this proves that blacks are persecuting whites. Now do you see how nonsensical jumping to conclusions on the basis of demographic changes is? The Catholic population in the North grew from 31% to 41% but they had to put up with having entire streets e.g. Bombay street, burned down, constituencies gerrymandered against them, and incendiary speeches e.g. Lord Brookeborough’s, made against them, which often led to Catholics being murdered. They had to contend with partisan and sectarian policing from the B-Specials and UDR. Civil Rights marches were beaten off the road by the security forces. The Tricolor was banned while the Union Flag was compulsorily placed on public-buildings. No Catholic received a Cabinet post in the North other than 1 Attorney General.

    In the South, the first Finance Minister was an Antrim Protestant called Ernest Blythe, as were 2 of our presidents (Hyde and Childers). 2 of our Supreme Court judges (Denham and McGuinness) are Protestants. Furthermore, the Southern Protestants are a very economically privileged group, owning 30% of the large farms down here I understand from a discussion on Southern Protestants I read from ages ago on this very blog. I think we can say in all honesty that our record in treatment of our minority stands on higher moral ground than that of our neighbour on this island.

  • Brian Boru

    “I understand your confusion, it is common amongst Nationalists as they don’t understand what it is to be British. You see British is an overall identity that unites several nationalities. So one is English and British, Scottish and British etc. Much in the way someone in Dublin is both a Dubliner and Irish.”

    Well in the eyes of Southerners at the time when we were in the Union, “Britishness” had more to do with conferring legitimacy on English domination of other nationalities. Sorry if we can’t agree on this.

  • Richard James

    “Those who left did so mainly by choice, and that does not reflect on their treatment by the Southern state.”

    Granted the methods one of your Tanaiste’s, Frank Aiken, employed in south Armagh to rid it of Protestants weren’t used by your state but it hardly made itself a warm place for it’s Unionist community. A bloody civil war, the intimidation of former RIC members, a Catholic ethos permeating the institutions of the state, the inability of Cosgrove to guarentee the safety of those at Orange marches after things like the kidnapping of a Protestant minister can hardly be seen as reconciling Unionists to your statelet.

    “That line of reasoning could be used by the British Far Right as follows: The white % in the UK has fallen greatly in the past 50 years. The black % has risen. They would probably say this proves that blacks are persecuting whites. Now do you see how nonsensical jumping to conclusions on the basis of demographic changes is?”

    No as you are holding up a red herring. The Protestant population in the RoI didn’t plummet because of massive Catholic immigration. They became nearly non-existant because your statelet was a cold house for them.

    “In the South, the first Finance Minister was an Antrim Protestant called Ernest Blythe, as were 2 of our presidents (Hyde and Childers). 2 of our Supreme Court judges (Denham and McGuinness) are Protestants. Furthermore”

    I’m afraid you haven’t cited a single Unionist there so I don’t see how that can be seen as an example of intergrating them. And while you hold Hyde up as an example of tolerance he was appointed your President after he failed to get elected to the Senate because he was Protestant.

    “Well in the eyes of Southerners at the time when we were in the Union, “Britishness” had more to do with conferring legitimacy on English domination of other nationalities. Sorry if we can’t agree on this.”

    Well that is Southern bigotry if they can’t accept people can feel both Irish and British. You can’t blame Lord Laird for your own prejudices.

  • Brian Boru

    “Granted the methods one of your Tanaiste’s, Frank Aiken, employed in south Armagh to rid it of Protestants weren’t used by your state but it hardly made itself a warm place for it’s Unionist community.”

    He didn’t become Tanaiste until 1932, 10 years after independence. Your post is potentially misleading as refer to “our Tanaiste”‘s methods, as if someone if was in the govt when he was attacking people in the North. He was not and it is important to make that point. Also, in the war of independence it was necessarily to stop informers by all necessary means, because they had wrecked 1798, and 1803, and could be allowed to wreck this revolution. I don’t believe he was trying to “get rid of Protestants”.

    “A bloody civil war, the intimidation of former RIC members, a Catholic ethos permeating the institutions of the state, the inability of Cosgrove to guarentee the safety of those at Orange marches after things like the kidnapping of a Protestant minister can hardly be seen as reconciling Unionists to your statelet.”

    On the civil war issue, it was short by the standards of civil wars elsewhere (1 year). On your other points, I suppose wars always come with a lot of bitterness. You would have seen similar problems for German expatriates in countries like Britain around the time of the world wars for example. But the RIC had been used to try to suppress the war of independence, and as such those who had served in it at the time were never going to be very popular with the people. They were suppressing a democratic mandate for independence in 1918. This was treason as far as I am concerned. The real government from 1919 onwards was the Dail government and those refusing to obey its decisions were obeying a foreign government. I accept however the point on a Catholic ethos in the state (now removed). Orange marches were loyalist and in the circumstances, were also not exactly very popular. I don’t think the Americans would welcome a march by Canadians of American Loyalist descent in front of the White House waving Union Flags and playing God Save the Queen do you? But of course, the marches in Rossnowlagh go ahead no problem. People just need to show sensitivity to others concernes. The Hibernians do this by not forcing their way down Loyalist areas in the North, and there are far fewer marches by them compared to the Orangemen. Perhaps in time, in the context of the evolving peace process and consequent cooling-off period, Orange marches in non-border parts of the Republic will become possible.