Equal rights for Brits in the Republic…

The Newsletter points out an anomally in FIFA’s decision to allow Northern Ireland players to sport one of two passports, the same will not apply to the British citizens in the Republic, unless they produce an Irish passport. If anything political conformity has, at times, been rigidly enforced in the Republic in a way it never has in Northern Ireland, as this guy points out.

  • CS Parnell

    I believe that Ireland used to play a lot of Rugby internationals in Belfast until the 1950s and indeed GSTQ was played as the anthem.

    The whataboutery of the Newsletter misses the point.Under FIFA’s rules players born in NI can only pay for NI, or least they cannot play for RoI, so the identity thing is an issue in a different way for players for the RoI.

    That said, I agree that the GFA provisions should be fully respected and UK passports accepted. Indeed I’d go further and suggest the logic of the GFA was fully applied so that we have an all Ireland team 🙂 As far as I am concerned they can play The Mickey Mouse Club song before the games if that is the price for it happening.

  • Nathan

    Tony Cascarino played for the ROI with a British passport – apparently he never held an Irish passport.

  • Ziznivy

    Indeed he didn’t even qualify to play for them.

    “Under FIFA’s rules players born in NI can only pay for NI, or least they cannot play for RoI”

    And yet they do.

  • Mick

    What are you getting at here? The joke before the late “Princess” Diana had one of her kids was, if the child was a boy, he could play for the 26 co Irish team? The DUP have, I think, already brought up your point. But that is those losers bringing sport unconscionably into politics. No one in the 26 cos gives a shit who plays for them; the Orangies, in contrast, threaten to kill the best players the 6 cos can produce. Apples and Orangies. A British passport packing soccer player who was born in Ireland or who had grannies etc born in Ireland is eligible to play for the 26 co team if he so desires (ie if not good enough for England).

    Kevin Barry of UCD – named after the rugby Belvedere old boy, I presume – forgets the Irish rugby team used to play the Irish national anthem but they replaced it with the current bs. Rugby is very much a minority game and will never have widespread support. Indeed, the kiling by the Blackrock guys of the Belvedere guy was partly because they are pushed too hard.

    Jackie Carey played for both the 6 co and 26 co teams. Why not have a “UK” team? Let’s face it, bar England, all the others can hope to win is soccer’s version of the wooden spoon.

  • The Beach Tree

    Mick

    I think you are rather missing the point here, I suspect wilfully.

    The citizen of Northern Ireland is, as accepted by both governments, allowed by right, both passports and nationalities. It is a unique situation because in NI we have fully recognised dual citizenship ab initio. The Irish, as well as the british, passport is (one of) the valid passports of the citizens of the country.

    This simply does not apply in the Republic (or for that matter in GB) where the only citizenship you derive from your birthplace is the irish one (or as the case may be British). Holding another passport there indicates citizenship of ANOTHER country altogether.

  • Realist

    Taigs,

    “Rugby is very much a minority game and will never have widespread support”

    Where?

    “Jackie Carey played for both the 6 co and 26 co teams”

    Lots of players did.

    “Let’s face it, bar England, all the others can hope to win is soccer’s version of the wooden spoon”

    That rules out all but a dozen countries in the world then.

    All crap teams should merge or disband. My county GAA team supporters then.

    What is your point exactly? I find your ramblings somewhat disjointed.

  • The Beach Tree

    As for the Newsletter article it was a notably spiteful and unpleasent attempt to cause trouble, and underlined how much its editoral staff see the NI soccer team as the property of their tradition.

    “Will Northern Ireland-based members of the all-Ireland international rugby, hockey and cricket teams be also allowed to uphold a strict preference for the
    carrying of British passports during their overseas travels for their sports?”

    To my certain knowledge they already are! Pure Sh!tstirring!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Pathetic whataboutery from the News Letter. The argument (“if NI players can have Irish passports then what about RoI players and British passports?” – yep, profound thinking going on here…) is flawed for the simple reason that Northern Ireland is a disputed territory, while the Republic of Ireland is not. Northern Ireland requires special category status, because it is an abnormal state.

    The divided people of Northern Ireland are essentially co-governed according to the terms of an international treaty agreed by two sovereign nations. Almost half the people of NI are very proud to be Irish and identify with the Irish state – and have recently won the hard-earned right to do so. It only makes sense that FIFA would recognise this somewhat unorthodox reality. And fair play, they have belatedly done so.

    But an Irish passport won’t qualify you to play for Scotland or England or Wales, and nor should it because this isn’t about the UK. It’s about Ireland. An Irish passport will entitle you to play for either the Republic of Ireland, or the post-GFA disputed territory of Northern Ireland. A British passport will entitle you to play for any of the British teams, or the post-GFA disputed territory of Northern Ireland.

    Northern Ireland is a state that exists, and will eventually cease to exist, on the basis of the consent principle. Its intrinsic artificiality is recognised by both British and Irish governments in their agreement for the terms of its dissolution. (ie the consent principle.)

    The Republic of Ireland on the other hand does not owe its existence to any such qualifications or caveats. What is true of NI is not necessarily true of RoI, and very often simply isn’t – no matter how much the leader writers at the News Letter might wish it was. The Republic exists as a manifestation of the settled will of virtually all who live there. Therefore it simply cannot be compared with the northern state. One could only make the comparison if one laboured under the misapprehension that NI is a real state – or, heaven forfend, a country! And of course it is nothing of the sort.

    As for All Ireland teams in hockey, rugby etc, clearly it should be the right of northerners to hold either British or Irish passports to play for such teams – and it is. This controversy was entirely a FIFA-related one, and so only applied to soccer – one of the very few partitioned sports in Ireland.

    Nathan
    “Tony Cascarino played for the ROI with a British passport – apparently he never held an Irish passport.”

    As far as I know, the regulations have changed since Cascarino’s day. When he was playing, I think players had to produce birth certificates and other forms of documentation proving ancestry etc, but FIFA eventually simplified things by saying that you can declare for any country you hold a passport for – ie if the government of Poland says you’re a Pole, that’s good enough for FIFA. Though clearly somewhere like NI was going to be a grey area.

    Also, as I understand it, Cascarino’s ineligibility related to his having been adopted, or his father having been adopted or something like that. So when he demonstrated his Irish ancestry to FIFA, he had all the right paperwork and SEEMED to qualify. In fact, as I understand it he didn’t become aware of his ineligibility until after he had won several caps. He told Jack Charlton, who basically said: “I didn’t hear you, and I don’t ever want to hear it mentioned again.”

    Or maybe I’ve just dreamt that I read that somewhere? (It’s possible.)

  • The Beach Tree

    Billy Pilgram

    Let us also rememeber that despite what Cascarino claimed for the benefit of selling his autobigraphy, the authorities later clarified that there was no problem, as his adoption inheritance was just as valid as a supposed biological one.

    He thought the adoption invalidated his right to play, but the authorities confirmed several years later that in fact it did no such thing.

  • Ziznivy

    Disregarding the waffle that has so far been talked, can anyone explain to me what would happen in the following scenario.

    If I was to completely lose my senses and wish to play for the breakaway partitionist association (i.e. the FAI) and they were to lose their senses and pick me, would I require a ROI passport to play for them (given that I don’t have one and I was born and live in Northern Ireland).

    The GFA was widely cited in this case, mainly in a frenzy of IFA-bashing. Indeed the Irish government and Peter Hain became involved and made great capital from this particular point. Of course FIFA were not a signatory to the GFA and nor do they have any compulsion to stick by it. However if it is the yardstick by which we’re to judge this issue, can I, as someone who has a right to consider myself of Irish nationality, play for the RoI football team under my British passport?

  • Mick Fealty

    Nathan,

    I suspect that a fair number of NI players were able to play without British passports in the past. We simply don’t know, because that will have been before the enforcement of this Fifa regulation.

    TBT:

    “…a notably spiteful and unpleasent attempt to cause trouble.”

    Try to stick to the ball. Generally your contributions here are measured, direct and seemly. These remarks however reflect precisely the way anything with a Unionist bent is coming to be received on what is (what is currently at least) a majority Nationalist forum.

    All I ask of anyone is that they deal with politics and leave the spite outside the door.

    In the case of the Newsletter’s comment this is a line that has been in train for sometime: since Gregory Campbell raised it in response to Ahern’s raising it with Fifa in fact.

  • Cushtoonvarna

    The wider issue here is that the small British minority in the south still, 8 years after the Agreement, don’t have the right to the citizenship of their choice.

    This especially affects the still substantial minorities in the 3 ‘lost’ Ulster counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.

    It’s ludicrous that people and governments are dancing up and down about football regulations when this minority with it’s unique Irish/Ulster-Scot/British identity still lack recognition for their identity.

    I totally agree that nationalists up here should have the right to an Irish passport (and be able to use that passport whilst playing for NI if that’s their choice – but I live a stone’s throw from the Monaghan border and know a lot of Orangemen from there and from Cavan and they still have a strong sense of their Britishness and I can’t see why that can’t be respected too.

    Fair play to the DUP for highlighting this issue in their North-South-East-West document. I hope they get a result for their three-county brethren in the negotiations this autumn.

  • Cushtoonvarna

    And, not to be too “ulster-centric”, i hope they get a result for the smattering of unionist types in the other 23 counties too.

    Passport equality must work both ways.

  • Brian Boru

    I don’t think Belfast Today is comparing like with like. The GFA states that ppl in NI can be British, Irish or both. It doesn’t not make this point regarding the South.

  • Realist

    The people of the lsot 3 counties ahve no problems being british if they can produce documentation that either of their parents were entitled to be a british subject before the GOIA. Tony O’ Reilly has done so. If they haven’t it is either (A) they are lazy so and sos or (B) because they want to whine about unfair treatment after deliberately excluding themselves.

  • Brian Boru

    Also an important point is that whereas a very substantial section of the Northern population feel Irish, this is not so at all in the Republic. Most of those from the UK called themselves “Irish/English” in the 2002 Census reflecting in large part that most of them were of Irish descent anyway.

  • Brian Boru

    Uh oh! Should have read:

    “Also an important point is that whereas a very substantial section of the Northern population feel Irish, a substantial minority in the South does not feel British.”

    🙁

  • mnob

    … and what about in the nationalist dream of a UI, will we still be able to hold our British passports and play for an all island team ?

    If so then will this mean that NI still exists in some form of legal form and will it still be an artificial entity doomed to failure and operting only under the ‘consent’ of its people ? (funny way to express democratic principles but there you go)

    and if not, then parity of esteem didnt last very long did it.

    Your black and white arguments arent very black and white.

  • Realist

    Just to state that the 2.51PM post is not from this “Realist”.

    I hope the old gremlins are not returning?

  • George

    Ziznivy,
    you would have to have an Irish passport to play for Ireland (Republic of).

    For those getting confused about about the GFA and the right to be British/Irish:

    This only applies to Northern Ireland, the citizens of the rest of the UK don’t have this luxury. Why? Because they aren’t Irish and nobody thinks they are.

    Equally, the citizens of the Irish Republic don’t have the luxury of being British if they want to.
    Why? Because they aren’t, and no one thinks they are, not even those in the “lost” three Ulster counties.

    The way unionists go on about Donegal, you’d swear it was the Sudetenland.

    This all reminds me of Gregory Campbell’s postcard campaign for all the southerners in Northern Ireland who want to be British.

    I said at the time that we wouldn’t hear anything else as no southerner living in the north would send a postcard for this ridiculous campaign.

    Northern unionists really should try get to grips with the reality that there isn’t a fifth unionist column south of the border waiting for the day they can unfurl their union flags and sing God Save the Queen.

  • Cushtoonvarna

    The people of the lsot 3 counties ahve no problems being british if they can produce documentation that either of their parents were entitled to be a british subject before the GOIA. Tony O’ Reilly has done so. If they haven’t it is either (A) they are lazy so and sos or (B) because they want to whine about unfair treatment after deliberately excluding themselves.

    Or (C) because they’re now too young to have a parent qualify under the GOIA rules – so the entitlement of the British minority has been dying out over the years.

    Why should it matter that they’re only a small minority – we are talking about respect for individual identity here – besides, how can any self-respecting anti-partitionist nationalist argue that any such respect for identity needs to stop at the border??

    Given that nationalists have accepted the right of people in NI to be Irish, British or both it seems strange that they don’t want to extend that to the small (but, in the 3 counties, not insignificant) minority of “Irish & British” people in the Republic – most of whom, in my own experience, are happy living in the Republic and proud of the Republic’s achievements but who just want their British identity acknowledged after all these years of having to keep their heads down.

    We should all be able to choose for ourselves whether we are British, or Irish or both – Is there any nationalist out there who agrees with me on this?

  • Ziznivy

    “and if not, then parity of esteem didnt last very long did it. ”

    Very true mnob.

    The sole argument seems to be “it’s different for nationalists”. Makes you wonder how the unionist / British Irish identity would be respected in a 32 county state. Given the way it has been treated in the 26 county state you would have to be sceptical.

  • Cushtoonvarna

    George, your reference to the southern minority as a “Fifth Column” is very revealing as to your own attitude and not at all in tune with my own knowledge of 3 county protestants.

    Why cant you just accept that the Republic is a diverse place, and part of that diversity is it’s small “Irish and British” minority who are very much part of the modern Republic?

    As opposed to seeing them as potential traitors in your midst??

    Besides, what’s so wrong with a Donegal man or a Cavan woman wanting to unfurl the Union flag and sing God Save the Queen, providing he or she isn’t offending his/her neighbours in so doing?

    I’m a Border Protestant and a Unionist and I’ve no problem with nationalists who wish to fly the tricolour up here, provided it’s not in my face or deliberately done to offend me. I’d just like to see people on the other side of the county line have the same rights.

    It grates on me that they don’t – especially as despite all the fine words it seems this is probably what would await all of us unionists if there were ever to be a united ireland.

  • Those wishing to carry British passports hailing from Offaly/Laois should be able to have Kings/Queens county on it also….*shakes head*

  • The Beach Tree

    Cushtoonvarna/Ziznivy

    You miss the rather glaring point that it is not within the power of the Irish Government to give out British Citizenship to anyone in the ‘lost 3 counties)!

    British Citizenship lies in the gift of the British Government! Blame them!

    For goodness sake, saying that the refusal of the BRITISH ADMINISTRATION to give them citizenship means the IRISH ADMINISTRATION have done something wrong is absolutely barmy!

    Mick

    Is a unionist incapable of being ‘spiteful’ ? Why should the leader writers of the Newsletter get kid gloves? And how does the backing of Gregory Campbell for the Newsletter change this in any fashion at all ?

    In political circles my argument was ” a refusal to a ccept the premise of the leading question”. The Newsletter article was another variation on “when did you stop beating your wife”.

    And we’ve been down the road of your nonsense of a ‘nationalist forum’ before. A ‘nationalist forum’ were at last count 90% of the non Fealty posts were by avowed unionists. It was tripe then, and it’s tripe now.

    I don’t expect you to be neutral, mick, or even fair. But at least be honest.

  • Garibaldy

    “If anything political conformity has, at times, been rigidly enforced in the Republic in a way it never has in Northern Ireland, as this guy points out.”

    What do you mean here Mick? Do you mean McCarthy teaching people the words of the anthem of something else? Or is this a wider comment on society?

  • Mick Fealty

    TBT:

    Breifly,

    ‘Nationalist forum’ refers to the majority of commenters, not the bloggers. Bloggers blog on the basis of time available to them, and the dictates of their own passion. I don’t dictate what they write or demand committments for how often they do so.

    You have enough in your first post to do serious damage to the argument of original. Let that speak for itself and keep your ‘animus’ to yourself.

  • Brian Boru

    “George, your reference to the southern minority as a “Fifth Column” is very revealing as to your own attitude and not at all in tune with my own knowledge of 3 county protestants.”

    Cushtoonvarna, George actually said that there isn’t a unionist fifth column in the South. Not that Protestants in the 3 counties were one. I think you should not take people out of context.

    “It grates on me that they don’t – especially as despite all the fine words it seems this is probably what would await all of us unionists if there were ever to be a united ireland.”

    99.9% of people down here are not sectarian unlike a far larger bunch on your side of the border. Personally if I saw someone waving a Union Flag around down here I would be annoyed, but would also ignore it, which I believe is how most people would react.I also believe that the Southern Protestant community considers itself Irish and not British, and as such would not want British citizenship. I think a lot of voluntary assimilation has taken place since partition. In a poll of Donegal Protestants for example, 60% said they had nothing to do with the Orange Order. There are Protestants in all political parties in the South, including a sitting Cavan-Monaghan FG TD. So I think you are perhaps overestimating the extent of continued British identity among the descendents of former border Protestants in the Republic. Unlike the Northern statelet, the Southern one – while by no means perfect – has been far more accommodating of its minority – especially in recent years – than was the Northern statelet.

  • Ziznivy

    “Cushtoonvarna/Ziznivy

    You miss the rather glaring point that it is not within the power of the Irish Government to give out British Citizenship to anyone in the ‘lost 3 counties)!

    British Citizenship lies in the gift of the British Government! Blame them!

    For goodness sake, saying that the refusal of the BRITISH ADMINISTRATION to give them citizenship means the IRISH ADMINISTRATION have done something wrong is absolutely barmy!”

    True Beach Tree, but ultimately irrelevant in the context of this thread. The granting of the passport is in the gift of the administration is in the gift of the British administration. The equality of it’s use in terms of Irish sports bodies, cultural bodies etc is not.

  • The Beach Tree

    Ziznivy

    No, it’s not. In the case we have here the body was not irish, it was swiss! it was FIFA causing the problem.

    FIFA (swiss) set down proof of qualification criteria,

    HMG (british) set down British citizenship and passport rules.

    Neither are irish. It wasn’t the irish who refused to give out british passports to the ‘lost three’, and it wasn’t the irish who demanded irish passports from ROI internationals.

    and as far as I know the’ve never done so for any sporting body, all-ireland or otherwise. It’s a complete straw man argument.

    Mick

    We’ll have to agree to disagree, because I’ve never personally seen any truth in the number of posters argument either. Anyway…

  • Garibaldy

    I don’t think this is a unionist or a nationalist blog. Anyone can contribute to the debates, and the topics that are put up would probably not alter should there be an additional nationalist blogger or two. I think however that the unionist bloggers, Fair Deal in particular, engage in the subsequent discussion in a way that, say Chris, doesn’t.

    I think this is a difference in style. Chris makes his point in his comments when he links to the story, and seems often happy that he has made his point. Mick often does this too, although in both cases it could be due to time factors.

    I don’t think it really matters who blogs stories, as the arguments follow their own logic.

  • Democratic

    Can anyone explain to me why when Nationalists pursue their right to hold an Irish Passport while playing for Northern Ireland and have the associated Irish (non-British)identity respected by the “other sort” – this was a totally understandable extension of the GFA. (fair enough I agree)
    However if a Unionist questions the reverse scenario in the event of a United Ireland situation (which Nationalists constantly tell us is inevitable anyway) – then the Unionists are of course merely s###t-stirring b#gots and agitators?!
    Do ye need a hand with them goal-posts lads? – you do seem to be managing just fine on your own!
    As always in my experience the people most vocal about their outrage – be it in the matter of Irish passports in the NI team or in relation to the religious exclusion of Catholics from the British monarchy – they are usually those who would never countenance becoming involved with either set-up anyway under any circumstances! – Ironic I suppose.

  • Brian Boru

    Democratic if we had a United Ireland then we could probably look at the issue again but the context in which this discussion is taking place is the status-quo and what should happen therein, rather than in a UI.

  • pid

    Cushtoonvarna’s point about 3 county Protestants is well made.
    No doubt they have mixed and differing allegiances like everybody else.

    It reminds us that when Ireland was partitioned, Ulster was also partitioned.

    CJ Haughey’s point, which I tend to agree with, was that NI was a ‘failed political entity’. In repeating this I also tend to agree with Martin Mansergh’s point that partition was inevitable from about 1914.

    Ulster, with it’s bona fide distinctiveness and culture, may yet have a part to play in our political affairs.

    I predict that it will outlive Northern Ireland.

  • Mick Fealty

    TBT,

    So long as you stick to the rules of the site, you can disagree to heart’s content… The make up of the site has been and is likely to remain dynamic… which is good… my chief concern is that everyone feels they get a fair crack, without being ‘hacked’ off the pitch…

  • At the 1919 election, the fifth columnists elected Maurice Dockrell as MP for Dublin South. So there is a southern Unionist tradition, thinned out by them joining up in the Second World war and other acts of adventurism.
    Democratic: Is that Democratic as in DUP/RHC or democratic as to how it is normally understood. The Act of Succession, like the concept of monarchy itself, is not democratic but is rather a sorry legacy of earlier years most democracts would shun.

  • Michael Robinson

    Taigs wrote: “the Irish rugby team used to play the Irish national anthem but they replaced it with the current bs”

    Incorrect.

    Amhrán na bhFiann is played as well as Irelands Call for home games at Lansdowne Road.

    In recent times, the only rugby internationals held in Northern Ireland have been A or age group games and I understand that only Irelands Call was played at these games.

    The Ireland rugby team did not use any anthem for away games until the introduction of Irelands Call.

    The Ireland rugby team pre-dates Amhrán na bhFiann anyway.

  • Democratic

    Hi “Taigs”
    My handle you’ll be glad to know is unrelated to the DUP/RHC as you put it.
    My point about the act of succession was merely that those like yourself that endeavour to get their panties in such a bunch about it wouldn’t have anything to do with the British monarchy (or any monarchy) under ANY circumstances anyway! – It’s just used as a nice juicy little gog for the perpetual propaganda machine in my opinion. That said I do agree with you that the act is undemocratic and outdated in the 21st century if it makes you feel better and that the Church (of England) and the office of head of state should be separate.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Brian Boru said:

    I also believe that the Southern Protestant community considers itself Irish and not British, and as such would not want British citizenship. I think a lot of voluntary assimilation has taken place since partition. In a poll of Donegal Protestants for example, 60% said they had nothing to do with the Orange Order. There are Protestants in all political parties in the South, including a sitting Cavan-Monaghan FG TD. So I think you are perhaps overestimating the extent of continued British identity among the descendents of former border Protestants in the Republic.

    As one of those southern Protestants, perhaps I can add my two cents.

    I have a large number of southern Protestant relatives, both in the border region and elsewhere, and I can honestly say that I do not know of one who considers themselves British, or even wishes to be British. Mostly they have little or no interest in the question, or, if asked, they express pride in being Irish.

    They are entirely indistinguishable from their Catholic (and increasingly ex-Catholic) neighbours, and in the last generation or so, have generally married for love rather than religion – hence most are married to Catholics, though in reality neither side particularly cares.

    Most of us southern Prods have relatives in the north too (I certainly do), but the period from 1922 onwards has, I believe, seriously embarrassed the southern cousins, who do not understand or support the actions of their northern kin. In a sense, the extremity of northern Protestant bigotry visible since 1922 has helped to reduce, or even erradicate, the bigotry of southern Protestantism. And I do not deny that there used to be bigotry amongst southern Prods – my own grandparents were bigots in their own way – but that has mostly died out.

    To return to a point made above – there simply is no hidden (or suppressed) ‘British’ minority in the south. It is a myth invented by certain unionists to try to excuse their own actions. But, as with so many things, when no trace of its existence can be found, it allows them to say that that is proof of how deeply suppressed it is. But in this case, it is not suppressed, it simply doesn’t exist! There are loads of British people living in the south, but they are recent immigrants from Britain, and they neither hide, nor need to hide, their origins or even their aspirations. However, the reason many of them have moved to Ireland is to escape from the less pleasant aspects of Britain, so they are usually very happy to assimilate.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Oh dear, I see mick has turned back on his auto-censor! I wonder why?

    The #######s above contained the word b i g o t or b i g o t t e d

  • Democratic

    Did I read somewhere on this site Stephen that you were also a Shinner?
    I would reckon if this were true then that at least would certainly put you in a very, very small category.
    No problem with that mind – just interested to know.

  • piebald

    From the “Who is eligible for a UK Passport ?” section

    “However, most persons born in a colony which has since become independent acquired citizenship of that country on independence and lost British citizenship.”

    So the problem mostly lies with the British Government.

    Also, it would be highly unlikely that the British Government would offer citizenship to people with grandparents born in the UK as this could potentially open the floodgates and i can’t see an exception being made for the 26 counties.

    This would also need consent from the Irish Government which is very unlikley given that most in the 26 would qualify.

    “The Ireland rugby team pre-dates Amhrán na bhFiann anyway.”

    The Loyal Orange Lodge membership card pre-dates the UK passport anyway. 😉
    piebald

  • George

    Cushtoonvara,
    I never mentioned Protestants, and it’s telling that you did. Maybe you should have a look at your own insights.

    I mentioned unionists and people who consider themselves “British” although born in the Republic (as opposed to the hundreds of thousands of British people who live here).

    Coming from south of the border myself, my own experience of those very few with a particular British affinity here is that they consider themselves Irish and think Ireland could do fine in union with Britain.

    They don’t consider themselves “British” per se, like the northern variety, a bit like fellow southerner Carson who thought of himself as an Irish unionist.

    But these days, such people are very thin on the ground, even in the 3 Ulster counties. I would count them in the hundreds at most, rather than the thousands, and certainly not in the tens of thousands.

    Moving on, I never mentioned them as traitors either, I mentioned that unionists seem to consider there is a fifth column for their ideology south of the border. There isn’t.

    Unionism is dead from Dundalk down. That is a reality. Not saying anything about right or wrong.

    Speaking of traitors, if the truth be told, many northern unionists consider the Irish people traitors for fighting to leave the Union.

    Personally, I feel unionists should address that issue, over 80 years after our independence, rather than thinking there are still countless “loyal” citizens south of the border waiting to be set free from their Republican bondage.

    Even the Royal British British Legion in Dublin flies the Tricolour.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Democratic,

    Did I read somewhere on this site Stephen that you were also a Shinner?

    Leaving aside fore an instant the ad hominem nature of your question, I cannot really answer it, as I have not read everything written on this site. But, regardless of what may have been written, I am not a ‘Shinner’, nor a member of any party or political organisation. I write here in an entirely personal capacity.

    Your implication, though, needs to be challenged. It seems that you are subtly trying to undermine what I wrote by implying that it represents a party line rather than personal experience. Let me assure you, therefore, that what I say about southern Protestants is based entirely and honestly upon my own knowledge and experience. I don’t claim that it is the only possible truth – everyone has their own story – but it is my truth.

  • Democratic

    Apologies if I had offended you Stephen – It was not my intention honestly.
    I withdraw my original question unreservedly as it was badly phrased and ultimately irrelevant.

    I do note though that there is another Southern/Border Protestant giving a very different account of his identity experiences on this thread – but like you so rightly say each has their own truth in such circumstances.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Democratic,

    Apology accepted, though I wasn’t insulted or offfended 🙂

    The ‘other Southern/Border Protestant’ you are referring to is Cushtoonvarna, who actually lives north of the border, but apparently not far north of it. He claims to know Monaghan and Cavan Orangemen who feel British – and he may be right. But in a population of around 120,000 southern Protestants, they form a miniscule minority. I don’t know any southern Orangemen, despite the fact that all of my family are Protestant – which shows that it is a very minority thing in the south. The modal southern Prod lives in Dublin anyway, not in the three Ulster counties.

  • seanniee

    Sums it all up.Cascarino was a rubbish footballer,shame on Charlton for picking him.

  • Nathan

    Cushtoonvarna,

    Instead of sitting on the sidelines, churning out a production line of grievances, perhaps its better that Border Protestants start milking the resources which could enable them to develop confidence as a community.

    The Border Minority Group http://www.borderminoritygroup.ie/ might be of some interest to you.

    It is certainly not my cup of vanilla-flavoured tea. And I don’t necessarily approve of outlets which encourage Protestants to live in a cultural cocoon, but its there nevertheless for the more autistic-minded Protestants in Irish society, who can’t even manage the basics such as participating fully in the civic life of the country.

  • IJP

    I’m really not sure what the issue is here.

    The Agreement clearly states that the “people of Northern Ireland” (I’d like to see this defined, mind) can be citizens of UK and/or Ireland, and that this would be respected regardless of constitutional settlement.

    It does not say that the people of the whole island have such an option.

    That’s what we voted for.

    It is quite obvious that it is possible to be a “person of Northern Ireland” as a UK or Irish citizen, therefore either passport should suffice in the case of NI.

    The Irish Foreign Minister’s rantings may have been ill-advised politically, but he was entirely right in what he said, and had the right to intervene as representative of one of the Agreement’s signatories.

    What is more interesting is that, if we really had “mutual respect” in our society, this (including D Ahern’s intervention) would be a complete non-issue.

    Ziznivy

    And yet they do.

    Do they?

    As far as I’m aware, Shay Given is the only Northern-born player who has played for the Republic for as long as I’ve followed the game, and even in his case only because, like many people in East Donegal, he happened to be born at a hospital in Derry.

  • David Christopher

    I’ve long been on record as a supporter of the equal citizenship rights argument – what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    A Donegal person of minority British identity is just as entitled to have that respected as is a Tyrone person of Irish identity.

    Equal citizenship rights across the whole of the island is the only possible way to reflect the complexities of our shared inheritance as an island, and of the equal legitimacy of the nationalist and unionist identities across the island.

    I do expect this to eventually happen, although perhaps not in the short term. It is clearly a “stop further on down the line” to use the long-worn railway-track analogy of reconciliation and understanding.

  • David Christopher

    A lot of discussion on this thread has focussed on Southern Protestants, rather than the much wider category of (Irish-born) southerners of British identity.

    Stephen Copeland’s point about many Southern Protestants having shifted away from any kind of “British” or “unionist” affinity is to a fair extent well made.

    Many southern Protestants, in my experience, have assimilated into the southern soft-nationalist mainstream. However this is less the case in rural areas and much less the case in the 3 Ulster counties.

    In my personal experience with the TCD unionist association, and with helping to organise the Reform Movement in it’s early days, is that the wider category of those with an “Irish-British” identity goes far beyond Protestants.

    Roughly half of the TCD unionists (we numbered about 40 at our height) at the time were Catholic and more than half of Reform were. There are still many Catholics across the south who see themselves as having a British dimension to their Irishness.

    So using the term “Protestant” in this discussion isn’t very accurate given that many Southern Prods don’t see themselves as British, and many Southern Catholics do.

    It really depends on how you want to define it – in the narrow sense of “Irish-born people who are basically Unionist in outlook” or in the wider sense of “Irish-born people with some degree of a British dimension to their Irish identity”

    The former group (i.e. Southern Unionists – people like me!) is indeed quite small – but the latter group is much larger and encompasses at least as many southern Catholics as Protestants.

    That said I personally have met out-and-out solid Unionists from every county in Ireland. A few years ago we ran an out-and-out Unionist campaign in Dublin North – no resources or budget, all we had was our campaign leaflet which had a Union Jack on the front – and we still pulled in 107 votes and beat a couple of weaker candidates!

  • The Beach Tree

    “A Donegal person of minority British identity is just as entitled to have that respected as is a Tyrone person of Irish identity. ”

    As I said before, take it up with the British Government. It’s not the Irish denying you, it’s the British Government who set their own citizenship rules.

    And David, be careful not to mix up identity, nationhood and citizenship. Irish americans for example may well have a minority ‘irish’ identity; it doesn’t entitle that person to irish citizenship or nationality, nor place a duty on the United States to recognise anything.

    The problem for many of these posters is they want to equate NI, with the ROI. But it’s just not an apt analogy. The ROI, a sovereing uncontested state, is much better compared with another sovereign state, the UK.

    NI is simply a contested region, the messy bit in the middle. And there is no real evidence that the ‘lost three’ forms any similar region.

  • Nathan

    Has it ever crossed your mind, David, that alot of those 107 votes in Dublin North were at best personal votes, for a remarkable free-spirit who had the raw courage to canvass in what could be described as one of the the Irish Republic’s most inhospitable areas, and at worst a mere protest vote.

    If I had lived in Dublin North as opposed to Dublin Mid-West back in 1998, then I would have given John McDonald my personal vote, and then made a strategic transfer to the political party of my choice. In fact, thats what a few Shinner voters did in Dublin North – they gave him their personal vote and Sinn Fein their transfers – it hardly signifies that those Shinners or myself for that matter, are closet southern unionists – quite the contrary in fact.

  • David Christopher

    Absolutely Nathan, I’ve no idea who the 107 were (except for 2 who I knew personally!) – it would be great to gather them all together in a room and see why they voted that way.

    It was difficult to tell where our transfers went because when we were eliminated we were lumped in with a bunch of other candidates. Though I did myself see one ballot which was McDonald 1, Sinn Fein 2 which made me smile.

    I think it’s great there are people out there who defy the norm to think like that! 🙂

  • Ken A. Biss, Finland

    Northern Ireland is possibly unique in Europe in that every citizen there is entitled to hold British or Irish citizenship or both. That is enshrined in both UK and Irish law as well as in an agreement made by two sovereign states and recognised as international law. FIFA seems to be putting itself above international law. A British citizen living in the Republic of Ireland would be entitled to apply for Irish citizenship after a certain period and would not have to give up his British citizenship. The criticism that the whatabouters are presenting would become valid only if the Irish Republic insisted on the player using the Irish passport only. And who could check that he actually did?

  • Brian Boru

    “That said I personally have met out-and-out solid Unionists from every county in Ireland. A few years ago we ran an out-and-out Unionist campaign in Dublin North – no resources or budget, all we had was our campaign leaflet which had a Union Jack on the front – and we still pulled in 107 votes and beat a couple of weaker candidates!”

    107 out of 67,000 is pretty lame!

  • Brian Boru

    And David Christopher, I don’t agree with you on there being loads of people in the South with a strong “British” component to their identity – accept maybe British immigrants. However as most of them are probably of Irish descent that too is called into question – most called themselves “Irish-English” in Census 2002.

  • loyalist

    The problem for many of these posters is they want to equate NI, with the ROI. But it’s just not an apt analogy. The ROI, a sovereing uncontested state, is much better compared with another sovereign state, the UK.

    The problem with this view is that the Republic of Ireland, though strictly a foreign state, over an international border, is in reality an English region, speaking English, watching English, eating English. Devlopments such as the British-Irish Council are simply a recognition of this fact, and are an effective way of applying pressure on our smaller neighbour in the 26 to recognise this special position.

  • Objectivist

    ”107 out of 67,000 is pretty lame!”
    Especially if you consider that anyone with his/her name on the ballot paper is bound to pull in *some* stray votes no matter what from the visually challenged,intellectually challenged,illiterate etc.

  • Objectivist

    ”Apologies if I had offended you Stephen – It was not my intention honestly.”
    Stephen tends to get a hard time from some unionist posters here – being one of those pesky Southern Prods who has no grievance against the ROI.A few jokers,a while back, even tried to suggest that he was an imposter posing as a Southern Prod.

  • Nathan

    David,

    It is courtesy of the Brits that we can defy the norm when it suits – it was one of their better ideas, thought up in 1920 by the brainchilds of the dreaded partition Treaty in order to protect minorities within Irish society – and without their intervention, Ireland probably wouldn’t have the STV in place today!

    Comments in the form of “107 out of 67,000 is pretty lame! “ and

    “Especially if you consider that anyone with his/her name on the ballot paper is bound to pull in *some* stray votes no matter what from the visually challenged,intellectually challenged,illiterate etc.”

    Wake up and smell the coffee you two – raw courage is a rare quality. When you come across someone who has it, such as John McDonald who liked the south so much that he stayed on to become a Fine Gael councillor, you really can’t help noticing the shabbiness of the people who don’t – bits and bobs like yourselves who have the brass cheek to denigrate ones brave enough to put themselves forward for political office on an Independent ticket, while refraining from doing so yourselves. You pair should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves – arrogant political anoraks that you are.

    Stephen tends to get a hard time from some unionist posters here – being one of those pesky Southern Prods who has no grievance against the ROI.A few jokers,a while back, even tried to suggest that he was an imposter posing as a Southern Prod.

    The only reason Stephen got stick from unionist posters, is that he has a tendency to use his religious background in order to assist in cheap political point scoring.

    There are too many unscrupulous characters out there who misuse and abuse true Wolfe Tone Republicanism by introducing Protestantism into the equation. Unfortunately, Stephen has been the usual suspect here on Slugger, as he has used the so-called ‘Protestant republican’ tradition as an instrument for battering opponents with and for political point-scoring. Such behaviour leaves alot to be desired, and I hope he reforms himself soon

  • Stephen Copeland

    Nathan,

    … I hope he reforms himself soon

    Gosh. Hard words!

    I don’t use my (ex-) religion to ‘batter’ (such a violent analogy) anyone. I merely use it to illustrate the reality of my existence. I cannot help it if my reality, my experiences, and the beliefs and aspirations that grow out of them are discordant with yours. I may be the ‘usual suspect’, but that is simply because there are relatively few southern Prod posters on Slgger.

    I think that the real reason that I sometimes get stick from certain unionists here is that they don’t like the message I peddle – that the south is not a no-go area for Prods, that Prods are not genetically predisposed to blind unionism, that Prods can be proud of their Irishness, and so on.

    I most certainly will not be ‘reforming myself’ any time soon, or indeed ever. I am old enough to know the world, and my place in it, and to be comfortable with both. I am reassured to note that, with the passage of time, it is more and more clear that most southern Prods are on the same wavelength. Now if only our northern cousins could catch up …

  • Nathan

    I don’t use my (ex-) religion to ‘batter’ (such a violent analogy) anyone.

    Once upon a time, though, you did. I remember all them running-in’s you had with willowfield, all them years ago when Slugger was in its embryonic stages. Thankfully, you’ve calmed down now, although you still like to throw around the words ‘protestant republican’ every now and again for impact. You’ll just have to accept that I will not and will never accept the legitimacy of such terminology.

    I think that the real reason that I sometimes get stick from certain unionists here is that they don’t like the message I peddle – that the south is not a no-go area for Prods, that Prods are not genetically predisposed to blind unionism, that Prods can be proud of their Irishness, and so on.

    I certainly have grounds for believing that these reasons have merit also!

    I most certainly will not be ‘reforming myself’ any time soon, or indeed ever.

    What – are you ashamed to metaphorise with age. Since I’ve blogged on Slugger, that my opinions have, on occasion, been reformed and refined by other people’s thoughts and reflections. Are you telling me I haven’t a snowballs chance in hell in persuading you that we shouldn’t be seeking to construct an exclusively “Protestant republican” tradition.

    I believe in Republicanism, not because its all about Catholics in Irish society, but because its is about the Irish citizen, the individual. Of course I’m not happy when people try to construct a ‘Protestant republican’ clique, because thats not the type of identity that Wolfe Tone envisaged in 1798.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Nathan,

    … I remember all them running-in’s you had with willowfield, all them years ago when Slugger was in its embryonic stages. Thankfully, you’ve calmed down now,

    Please don’t be patronising. Everyone had run-ins with Willowfield – he was just impossibly unreasonable and pedantic. My views have not changed since Slugger’s ’emryonic stages’, but the arguments are getting repetitive so I often don’t bother.

    … you still like to throw around the words ‘protestant republican’ …

    No, I don’t. I think they came up once in a thread on Eirigi or something. As it happens, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Protestant republican, or a Catholic or Muslim repubplican … well apart from the sheer silliness of all religions, of course. But republicanism in its real sense embraces all religions, it doesn’t try to eradicate them. Hence I don’t really understand your problem with the term.

    Are you telling me I haven’t a snowballs chance in hell in persuading you that we shouldn’t be seeking to construct an exclusively “Protestant republican” tradition.

    That’s a straw man, Nathan, since I have never aspired to any such exclusively “Protestant republican” tradition. I am beginning to suspect that you either haven’t really paid attention to a lot of what I have said over the years, or you are conflating my posts with those of other people.

    Your final paragraph is entirely in line with my thinking, so hopefully we can avoid another repetitious misunderstanding in the future.

  • Objectivist

    [i]Wake up and smell the coffee you two – raw courage is a rare quality.[/i]
    I was not commenting on his moral courage – merely making the point that the political philosophy he espouses attracts minuscule support.
    [i]bits and bobs like yourselves who have the brass cheek to denigrate ones brave enough to put themselves forward for political office on an Independent ticket, while refraining from doing so yourselves. You pair should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves – arrogant political anoraks that you are.[/i]
    Seeing that you don’t know the nature and extent of my coalface political involvement I think you should keep comments like this to yourself.
    [i]such as John McDonald who liked the south so much that he stayed on to become a Fine Gael councillor[/i]
    In other words he morphed into becoming a member of a soft nationalist party.Interesting.

  • Brian Boru

    “In other words he morphed into becoming a member of a soft nationalist party.Interesting.”

    FG a nationalist-party? LOL