Elephant spotting at the GPO

Jude Collins has some thoughts on partition, the government-sponsored commemoration of the Easter Rising last week and on the awkward questions posed for many nationalists by Bertie Ahern’s linkage of the Rising with the Battle of the Somme.

  • The Devil

    I can only think that the heading was a misprint,
    “Elephant spotting at the GPO”

    Listen readers you will need to go to Dublin Zoo to avoid disappointment.

  • TAFKABO

    To be fair, it was a pretty decent article from Collins.
    Ultimately we have two opposing ideologies striving to find common purpose where there is none.
    No amount of fluffy speechifying is going to change that intractable truth.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Rather a play on words, Devil boy.

  • The Devil

    Okay I was caught.

    /////
    <>|<>

  • missfitz

    I dont know Taf, it would seem to me that while Bertie is trying to win back ground within Republicanism with his 1916 commemorations, the DI and Collins are reminding people that he is really quite treacherous in that he is extending the commemoration (or being urged to) by celebrating the enemy.

    There are quite a few questionable points in the article as well. Partition was not a pivotal factor in the Civil War, in fact it was quite low down on the actual agenda.

    Also I dont think that the “incident in Sackville Street in 1916” sits well with any commemoration of the Somme. Indeed, I have no doubt that it would upset parties on both sides. The men in the North were LOYAL in their desire to fight for the crown. The rhetoric of the time is full of comdemnation of the DISLOYALTY of those who did not join forces.

    Nah, I think this was just an article trying to regain some or any ground lost last week

  • dave

    1.both pearse and connolly at their court marshalls said they fought for the same thing which (irish troops in) the british army were fighting for in Belgium and Serbia.
    2. SF recognise partition in supporting the good friday agreement and aim to implement crown rule within the 6 counties so its a bit rich for daily ireland to go on the anti-partition line.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Republican commemoration not republican enough for Jude Collins. Surprise, surprise.

  • missfitz

    Dave
    I must need a life, but here is the text of Pearse’s court martial speech. I dont think you are correct in your assertion.

    “My sole object in surrendering unconditionally was to save the slaughter of the civil population and to save the lives of our followers who had been led into this thing by us. It is my hope that the British Government who has shown its strength will also be magnamimous and spare the lives and give an amnesty to my followers, as I am one of the persons chiefly responsible, have acted as C-in-C and President of the Provisional Government. I am prepared to take the consequences of my act, but I should like my followers to receive an amnesty. I went down on my knees as a child and told God that I would work all my life to gain the freedom of Ireland. I have deemed it my duty as an Irishman to fight for the freedom of my country. I admit I have organised men to fight against Britain. I admit having opened negotiations with Germany. We have kept our word with her and as far as I can see she did her best to help us. She sent a ship with men. Germany has not sent us gold.”

  • George

    missfitz,
    This is the relevant bit from Pearse’s speech about Belgium and Serbia before he was executed:

    “I repudiate the assertion of the prosecutor that I sought to aid and abet England’s enemy.Germany is no more to me than England is.

    I asked and accepted German aid in the shape of arms and an expeditionary force.We neither asked for nor accepted Germany(sic) gold nor had any traffic with Germany but what I state.

    My aim was to win Irish freedom: we struck the first blow ourselves but should have been glad of an ally’s aid.

    I assume that I am speaking to Englishmen,who value their freedom and who profess to be fighting for the freedom of Belgium and Serbia.

    Believe that we, too, love freedom and desire it. To us it is more desirable than anything in the world. If you strike us down now,we shall rise again and renew the fight.

    You cannot conquer Ireland.You cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom.If our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom,then our children will win it by a better deed.”

  • declan

    While partition is here it does not have to be the present unfair repartition. If, after the next two censuses, the catholic (by community) % of the youngest age group continues to decline, and in the last census it fell below 50%, then many nationalists will come to the view that a fair repartition is an option worthy of consideration.

  • George

    And this is the relevant part of Connolly’s last statement before his death:

    “We went out to break the connection between this country and the British Empire, and to establish an Irish Republic.

    We believed that the call we then issued to the people of Ireland, was a nobler call, in a holier cause, than any call issued to them during this war, having any connection with the war.

    We succeeded in proving that Irishmen are ready to die endeavouring to win for Ireland those national rights which the British Government has been asking them to die to win for Belgium.

    As long as that remains the case, the cause of Irish freedom is safe.

    Believing that the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland, the presence, in any one generation of Irishmen, of even a respectable minority, ready to die to affirm that truth, makes that Government for ever a usurpation and a crime against human progress.

    I personally thank God that I have lived to see the day when thousands of Irish men and boys, and hundreds of Irish women and girls, were ready to affirm that truth, and to attest it with their lives if need be.”

  • Brendan, Belfast

    [See commenting policy – edited moderator]

  • Nonpartitionist

    The best bit of the entire commemoration was Michael McDowell commenting (quoted in the Sunday Independent – now there’s a surprise) how ‘the men of 1916 were brave, unlike the evil Provisionals’. So Michael, why is shooting up Dublin in 1916 so much braver than, say, sniping at British soldiers in South Armagh post 1970? The only thing one can say for sure about the 1916 Rising is that McDowell would have been running around at the time condemning its perpetrators as ‘evil’ and ‘terrorists’. The only reason republicans should regret the Rising is that it led to halfwits like McDowell riding on the back of others generations later and becoming government ministers

  • missfitz

    George
    That was very helpful, thank you. Do you have a source?

  • Chris Donnelly

    “It gladdens me to think that this man will die of old age in the United Kingdom – unless he dies first of spite.”

    No reasoning provided, no arguments made and no effort to engage in a discussion on the substantive points made by the writer.

    A bit pathetic, Shore Road Resident. You should be capable of making and sustaining an argument without resort to such infantile statements.

  • aquifer

    “Partition was not a pivotal factor in the Civil War, in fact it was quite low down on the actual agenda.”

    Correct. Irish separatism was ever self-absorbed. So we have a border, now both a cultural high tide mark for gaelic and catholic ireland and a european reservation for corporate america.

    From now on, judge whether the actions of those separatists are most likely to retain or remove that border. Until they can accept that unionism is not some sort of false conciousness, rather a link to a progressive polity and a prudent alliance in a disordered world, they build the border higher.

  • lib2016

    aquifer,

    The majority of Irish people disagree fundamentally with you, as you undoubtedly realise. The whole concept of ‘Britishness’ is under review in Britain and Irish loyalists should be prepared to take part in that review if they genuinely believe in their cause.

    Unless, of course, one takes their election of Ian Paisley as their leader as their contribution to that debate.

  • declan

    Partition does not have to be the present unfair repartition. I would argue that, if, after the next two censuses, the catholic (by community) % of the youngest age group continues to decline, and in the last census it fell below 50%, then many nationalists will come to the view that a fair and preferably consensual repartition is an option worthy of consideration.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Declan,

    Are you a web-bot? Your single-transferrable post must be the most tedious thing on Slugger.

    [PS sorry Mick]

  • declan

    If you consider it tedious you do not have to reply. However, as John Hume says, the North is divided into two basic communities, the nationalist community, which is largely co-terminal with the catholic (by community background) %, and the unionist community, largely co-terminal with the protestant (by community background) %.

    If the former outnumber the latter, or if the former % continues to look as though it will go to 51%, then nationalists will feel at least happy that things are moving in the right direction and that partition can be eventually removed.

    However if the former number looks as though it has maxed out at less than 51%, and I anticipate this is possibel after the 2021 census, then a change will happen, and it will be unclear where the anti-partition majority is going to come from, and I conjecture that many nationalists will, in that scenario, begin to think again about a fair and consensual repartition.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    sc: “

    Declan,

    Are you a web-bot? Your single-transferrable post must be the most tedious thing on Slugger.

    Thanks, actually… you saved me the trouble…

  • barnshee

    “why is shooting up Dublin in 1916 so much braver than, say, sniping at British soldiers in South Armagh post 1970?”

    largely because
    1 They did not run away when the brits fired back in the few cases where police etc were able to return fire the classic PIRA response was to disappear with large bropwn stains on their trousers

    2 There was at least an element of direct confrontation

    whereas (one or two examples)

    PIRA firebombed a dog club meeting (la mon)
    PIRA bombed a remembrance parade(Enniskillen)
    PIRA bombed a chip shop (shankill)
    PIRA massacred people at a Church service(Darkley)

    Speaking purely personally I would love PIA/SF to do it again– occupy the GPO in Belfast and rerun the whole thing in (say) 2016 -with the same result

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Declan: “However if the former number looks as though it has maxed out at less than 51%, and I anticipate this is possibel after the 2021 census, then a change will happen, and it will be unclear where the anti-partition majority is going to come from, and I conjecture that many nationalists will, in that scenario, begin to think again about a fair and consensual repartition. ”

    Then go back to the partition / repartition thread and conjecture, by all means.

    You really are starting to sound like a broken record — and I will tell you again, your conjecture and a pocketful of dosh might able to have a good night on the town, but that doesn’t mean your conjecture is worth anything. Likewise, its a pipedream, that requires something on the order of four sea-changes in attitude, which is three too many to be taken seriously.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    barmshee: “1 They did not run away when the brits fired back in the few cases where police etc were able to return fire the classic PIRA response was to disappear(*gratuitous comment deleted*).

    Different tactical doctine — the GPO battle was a beau geste — foolish from a military position, even if all the volunteers mustered. Guerrilla tactics, while uglier and not as eligible for lionization, have the beenfit of being potentially more effective.

    As for who did what to whom, there are more than enough “bad acts” by both sides to fill entirely too many tomes, going back as far as you would like. Picking at scabs only leads to infection.

  • declan

    Dread

    “You really are starting to sound like a broken record—and I will tell you again, your conjecture and a pocketful of dosh might able to have a good night on the town, but that doesn’t mean your conjecture is worth anything. Likewise, its a pipedream, that requires something on the order of four sea-changes in attitude, which is three too many to be taken seriously.”

    On the contrary it could well come to be seen as more realistic than any other alternative. The nationalist attitude is deeply shaped by the fact that the catholic % has gone up Census on Census. If that changes then the catholic attitude will change.

    The idea of a United Ireland looks attainable while the Catholic % of the population is increasing, even though the Catholic % is less than 51.

    However if the Catholic % looks like its going to stop increasing at a point when the catholic % is less than 51%, something which could start to seem to be the case in 2021, especially if the % catholic in the youngest age groups continues to fall below 50%, as it did in the 2001 census, then I conjecture that nationlaist attitudes are likely to transform, and a fair and sufficiently consensual partition would seem to be an improvement on the present unfair partition.

  • elfinto

    Oh dear, someone’s forgotten to take their pills again!

  • nonpartitionist

    Barnshee

    Brown trousers you refer to must have been the prison uniforms, which convicted IRA members had to wear – unlike Brit Army/RUC/UDR who tended to be promoted after their killings. See Clegg et al. How is the John Stalker investigation into shoot-to-kill progressing BTW…?

    IRA didn’t do Darkley and condemned it – rightly so. It was renegade INLA.

    Le Mon I agree was unforgiveable

    Shankill was an attempt to wipe out the loyalist ‘commanders’ who had been engaging in sectarian assassinations of RCs (sometimes with ‘security force’ (sic) information) and with the encouragement of many other loyalists. Provos were 90 minutes late otherwise would have wiped out Adair and his ilk.

    Fact: In % terms, British Army killed higher rate of civilians than did PIRA. 52% of PIRA killings were of ‘Crown forces’. That still leaves an awful lot of civilian deaths I agree, but the IRA has said sorry – unlike the RUC/UDR/Brit Army

  • barnshee

    declan

    Keep it up lad you have my vote

  • Reader

    nonpartitionist: Provos were 90 minutes late otherwise would have wiped out Adair and his ilk.
    Any comment on the collateral damage?
    nonpartitionist: IRA didn’t do Darkley and condemned it
    That was rathyer hypocritical of them, considering they *did* do Kingsmills.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    declan: “On the contrary it could well come to be seen as more realistic than any other alternative. ”

    A lot of things “could happen.” It does not make them liklihoods, or even desirable. Nowehere in your pipedream do you address the almost inevitable aftermath of sectarian violence, the fact that gloss over the fact that three parties would have to sign-off on this flight of fancy and that it, unfortunately, would play to the negative aspects of both sides mythology regarding this conflict. At best it would be hitting the snooze bar.

    As I told you before, your grasp of statistics, as described in your previous posts, is weak and that you’re only looking at one part of the elephant… and you’re not addressing the GPO with this mindless repartition repetition.

  • declan

    dread

    “your grasp of statistics, as described in your previous posts, is weak”

    The days of catholic demographic increase could be coming to an end. If that happens at less than 51%, expect more nationalists to start to think in terms of a fair repartition.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    declan: “The days of catholic demographic increase could be coming to an end. If that happens at less than 51%, expect more nationalists to start to think in terms of a fair repartition. ”

    I’ve already explained to you once where your mistakes are…

    Single attribute analysis is not something you can base long-term planning upon. Likewise, even assuming that it could make a reasonable case, its still pie in the sky, since, even assuming you could sell the Nationalist community on it, you have no way to clear the other three hurdles — Unionism, UK and ROI.

    Again, you have no answer for the inevitable afterbirth and by-blows of such a plan — the sectarian thuggery that would occur to those enclaves behind the new border, you come up with no mechanism to pay for the disassociation of infrastructures or even an incentive for the the other three parties to even think this a good idea. All you do is tear around the board like a caffeinated toddler with a new word, repeating yourself over and over and over again. You ignore the flaws anyone points out in your idea, as if through sheer mindless repetition and force of will, you will convince use, as if we were prisoners in a Cambodian re-education camp. Get some new material.

  • declan

    dread

    “Single attribute analysis is not something you can base long-term planning upon.”

    There are several attributes. The % catholic of the 20000 people born each year now is less than 50% with far more born each year than die. The % catholic of the 20000 people migrating in each year is less than 40%. That means that the days of catholic demographic increase could be coming to an end.

    “Likewise, even assuming that it could make a reasonable case, its still pie in the sky, since, even assuming you could sell the Nationalist community on it”

    As I say that nationalists would change their ideas if it was clear that the days of nationalist increase were at an end.

    “you have no way to clear the other three hurdles—Unionism, UK and ROI.”

    The last two are happy with anything thats a settlement while the first would have more say within a more sustainable state.

    “Again, you have no answer for the inevitable afterbirth and by-blows of such a plan—the sectarian thuggery that would occur to those enclaves behind the new border”

    There is no reason to think there would be any thuggery as the minorities would no longer post any threat.

    “you come up with no mechanism to pay for the disassociation of infrastructures or even an incentive for the the other three parties to even think this a good idea.”

    It would not be costly.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Denial… its not just a river in Egypt…

  • declan

    Dread,

    A failure to respond to the arguments for a fair repartition is a failure to respond to the arguments for a fair repartition, arguments which could resonate the more strongly with nationalists in future, as the days of catholic increase could be coming to an end.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Declan: “A failure to respond to the arguments for a fair repartition is a failure to respond to the arguments for a fair repartition, arguments which could resonate the more strongly with nationalists in future, as the days of catholic increase could be coming to an end. ”

    Well, that’s progress of a sort… we’re down to one “could” and one “if…”

    Seriously, you’re tryingto wave a wand and dispose of larger problems than you are willing to acknowledge, one’s you have yet to answer.

    First, you’re using Catholic and Nationalist interchangeably… not wholly wrong, but they are not perfect substitutes.

    Second, if there is no chance of a Roman Catholic majority, what impetus is there for the Unionists to surrender to this little experiment and give up pieces of Ulster?

    Thirdly, don’t kid yourself, there would be costs associated with any re-partition. Infrastructure costs, for one. Roads, utilities, all sorts of details, each with a cost. Who gets to pay for this?

    Fourthly, we can’t get a bunch of tourists from OHIO through Belfast without some sort of silliness. We’ve have alleged loyalists on this board — in the thread about repartition, in fact, discuss how a changed border would provide incentive to “go to work” on remaining enclaves. Likewise, Protestants were a majority at the time of the initial partition with nothing to fear and, yet, they made the time to commit violence.

    This is not as easy as sitting down with some demographics software, the census data and gerrymandering the new border to capture as many Catholics on one side and as many Protestants on the other.

  • elfinto

    No point encouraging him. Best just to ignore him.