Rossknowlagh day

The ‘Mini-Twelfth’ of the RoI border county lodges will be held in Rossknowlagh. The event, that is growing in popularity, is expected to have 15,000 people attending. This parade is usually used as an example of tolerance . However, its historical basis is not a story of tolerance. Twelfth parades ended in Monaghan and Cavan after intimidation and attacks in 1931. This pattern was repeated in Dublin in 1937. The Donegal County Twelfth ended when it was stoned out of Donegal Town. Since then Border lodges have headed north for the main Twelfth demonstration and Rossknowlagh was chosen as the venue for a ‘mini-Twelfth’ for the southern lodges because of its seclusion (and hopefully safety).

Recent years is a mixed picture, an Orange parade at the invitation of the Dublin Lord Mayor was cancelled following threats and the Love Ulster Victims demonstration led to republican riots. In Donegal, there were a few attempts to block parades in the late 1990’s but last year saw a successful Black parade in Raphoe.

  • loftholdingswood

    A few of my colleagues are attending today but, because of other committments, I have had to pass. It is, by all accounts, a nice day out and I hope everyone has a peaceful and safe day.

  • Prince Eoghan

    “This parade is usually used as an example of tolerance . However, its historical basis is not a story of tolerance.”

    Ok, the tolerant are praised for tolerating the intolerant. When the tolerant decide to not turn the other cheek to the intolerant, that makes them intolerant. I wonder if the intolerant weren’t so intolerant, would the tolerant ever have any call to be, well intolerant?

    Tolerable responses please.

  • loftholdingswood

    “This parade is usually used as an example of tolerance . However, its historical basis is not a story of tolerance.”

    Ok, the tolerant are praised for tolerating the intolerant. When the tolerant decide to not turn the other cheek to the intolerant, that makes them intolerant. I wonder if the intolerant weren’t so intolerant, would the tolerant ever have any call to be, well intolerant?

    Tolerable responses please.”

    Sounds tolerable to me.

  • Nathan

    One historical point you’ve omitted Fair_deal:

    Orange Parades in Rossnowlagh was banned for a short period of time in the 1970s, when tensions were at epidemic proportions and when there was the greatest fear that sectarianism would spill across the border.

    By the end of the 1970s, however, the Irish authorities felt that the sectarian eruptions had subsided and so they permitted OO parades once again.

  • George

    Fair_Deal,
    “Recent years is a mixed picture, an Orange parade at the invitation of the Dublin Lord Mayor was cancelled following threats ”

    I think it should be noted that it was cancelled after the St. Anne’s COI church on Dawson street refused to allow the Orange Order use its building.

    Canon Adrian Empey refused to facilitate the Orangemen with the use of his church because of their disgraceful behaviour at Drumcree.

  • fair_deal

    “When the tolerant decide to not turn the other cheek”

    Ceasing to be tolerant = intolerance

    Nathan

    I didn’t know that, cheers for the info.

  • fair_deal

    George

    “I think it should be noted that it was cancelled”

    I am afraid it need not be noted as your note is incorrect.

    1. After the refusal the Mansion house was offered as an alternative venue. Also the comments from the CoI in this report are much more moderate in their tone than you comments. The phraseology you use is what was attributed to him by Tom Cooper in the Sunday Business Post not the words he chose to use himself.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/711631.stm
    http://www.rte.ie/news/2000/0413/orange.html
    http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2004/09/19/story786803705.asp
    2. Confirmation of threats
    From the Irish Examiner
    http://ted.examiner.ie/archives/2000/may/5/current/ipage_27.htm

    “GARDAÍ are investigating a campaign of threats and abuse against the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mary Freehill, over her support for the Orange Order march down Dawson Street.
    The march, which was since cancelled, was promoted by the Lord Mayor. She received abusive letters and threatening phone calls as a result.
    One threatened to burn down the Mansion if she continued to support the parade.
    The Lord Mayor said she was disappointed the Dublin and Wicklow District of the Orange Order felt it necessary to postpone the march on May 28, and was deeply concerned at reports that members of the Order also received threats.”

    From the BBC website
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/732493.stm
    “Organiser Ian Cox said he had taken the action because he and fellow members of the Dublin and Wicklow Lodge had been intimidated.
    He said: “Every day I get abusive letters and phone calls. It’s not so bad for me because I don’t have a young family, but for other members of the Lodge it was extremely worrying.”
    He also claimed he had been “abandoned” by the political leaders who had initially welcomed and even encouraged the march.
    “We were left on our own. The people who had supported us ducked for cover. It was very cynical.
    “We didn’t want to cancel it. We had no choice,” said Mr Cox.

    Sunday Times 11 December 2005

    An Orange parade planned for Dublin in 2000 was cancelled after intimidation of members of the Dublin and Wicklow lodges. Mary Freehill, the then lord mayor of Dublin, was threatened and abused after she supported the Orange Order’s plan to march down Dawson Street.
    http://saoirse32.blogsome.com/2005/12/11/

  • páid

    I hope (and expect) that the weather improves for the march in Rossnowlagh.

    I hope (but don’t expect) that members of the OO fly the tricolour, one third orange, as a flag that grants them civil and religious liberty.

    And if they fly the Union flag as well, good luck to them.

  • Stephen Copeland

    pid,

    … the tricolour, one third orange, as a flag that grants them civil and religious liberty.

    You hint at a fascinating paradox.

    The OO has two seemingly independent objectives – the promotion of the Christian faith, Reformed and Protestant, and the maintainance of the British connection. In the past these were closely linked, as it was felt (if I understand correctly) that the British connection was necessary to ensure the upholding of the Protestant faith and the liberty to practice it. This was certainly an issue in the seventeenth century, as religious wars, repression and the counter-reformation spread across Europe.

    But today, in the twenty-first century, there are no more religious wars in Europe (apart from NI, perhaps), and religious freedom is guaranteed in every single western European country. In the south, a liberal constitutional democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of worship are guaranteed in the Constitution, and upheld through an independent judiciary, answerable ultimately to the European Court. Civil rights are not under threat, and cannot be withheld by the government. The constitution acts as a higher authority, that is out of the reach of the government, and protected by the independent judiciary.

    So the need for the British connection appears to be obsolete. Protestant rights are guaranteed in the south, perhaps even more than in Britain, given that the constitution of Britain is more unclear and subject to arbitrary change by the government of the day.

    Should the OO not, therefore, be encouraging its members to support an Irish connection, in order to promote their civil and religious liberties? What purpose, if any, does the secondary objective – the maintainance of the British connection – serve today?

  • páid

    Well argued post, Stephen, as per usual.

    I’m glad you see what I’m getting at. I think that there is a chance that more Ulster Protestants MAY start to see that there is a chance to reconcile themselves with Nationalism IF they are given a bit of room in which to operate.

    In too many places, (including Slugger betimes) green and orange fight a zero-sum game.

  • George Burns

    Fair_Deal,
    I stand by what I wrote.

    I am not incorrect in saying that Canon Adrian Empey refused the Orange Order use of the COI church on Dawson Street. I also don’t believe I am incorrect in saying the disgraceful behaviour of the Orange Order in Drumcree played a major part. Are you saying that Tom Coope misquoted Empey?

    http://gazette.ireland.anglican.org/270701/editorial270701.htm

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2000/0413/orange.html

    http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2004/09/19/story786803705.asp

    The march was only postponed after Cox was hit with a 7k bill and they couldn’t use the church.

    This is what Cox also said:

    “The people of Dublin responded very positively to our proposals but the silence from every political party was deafening. The Department of Foreign Affairs didn’t even give us the courtesy of a letter of refusal, instead telling us over the phone and giving no reason for their decision,” he said.

    http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=201996&issue_id=2155

    For the sake of balance, I felt these facts should also have been brought to light.

  • Stephen Copeland

    pid,

    … more Ulster Protestants MAY start to see that there is a chance to reconcile themselves with Nationalism

    I think that there is (or should be) no problem for northern Protestants to reconcile themselves with the southern state – as Protestants, i.e. in a purely religious context. All they need to do is look south, talk to their co-religionists in southern parishes, and see that the south is a warm house for all religions.

    However, reconciliation with ‘nationalism’ implies a political process rather than a religious one. Of course the overlap between Protestantism and unionism in the north is very great, but it need not be. Protestants, as Protestants, need have no fear or dislike of the liberal constitutional democracy to the south – indeed over 100,000 Protestants actually live in the south, without any question. The outlook for the other 900,000 (our northern cousins) would be equally positive, if religion was the only hurdle. However, for most northern Prods the political side of their personalities is more important than the religious side. So even when they realise that Home Rule is not Rome Rule, they still will have political antagonisms to overcome.

    So far, since independence, we have removed the religious reasons and the economic reasons that unionism has used against reunification. Has unionism moved even slightly? I don’t think so, which makes me wonder whether those reasons were ever real, or were just a smokescreen. The recent moves by the southern state towards commemorating ‘British’ events like the Somme are another move that should help reassure unionism on, lets say, broad political grounds. If thet lead to no movement whatsoever by unionism, then many people will start to draw conclusions about the true nature of unionism.

  • Aaron_Scullion

    Brilliantly put Stephen.

    Someone give that man a newspaper column.

  • Donegal-John

    It should be noted that while protestants make up 11% of the population of Donegal, less than 1% (0.9%) of public sector jobs in Donegal are filled by protestants.

    The Irish goverment has never made any attempt to address the bias that exists here in Donegal.
    A survey last year reported that 25% of border Protestants in the republic experienced sectarian intimidation, and guess what the irish goverment has done. !!! NOTHING.

    when catholic churches are attacked in Northern Ireland, the Irish goverment brands it as sectarian, hovever when protestant churches are attacked here in donegal, they make no comment.
    Lifford COI, Manorcunningham Presbyterian, Ballindrait Presbyterian,Convoy Presbyterian are some of the churches that have been attacked in the last year.

  • Brian Boru

    “Recent years is a mixed picture, an Orange parade at the invitation of the Dublin Lord Mayor was cancelled following threats and the Love Ulster Victims demonstration led to republican riots. In Donegal, there were a few attempts to block parades in the late 1990’s but last year saw a successful Black parade in Raphoe.”

    This ‘victims’ parade included individuals carrying UDA banners according to a Newstalk 106 caller and media reports (not just Daily Ireland). Ironic for a ‘victims’ parade to carry the banner of those who created hundreds of Catholic victims since the 60’s surely? Also, evidence that an effort was made to provoke comes from the refusal of Willie Frazer to promise that a banner of Robert McConnell – allegedly involved in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings – would not be brought on the march as it had been in the North. Also, the parade was to begin where one of the bombs went off, before going past the Garden of Remembrance (monument to War of Independence) and then the GPO (HQ of 1916 rebels). Make of that what you will, but the word it’s easy to see how this could be seen as provocation, especially with the Union Flags, Loyalist flags, and Loyalist bands which people associate with Orange marches.

    Not that I’m condoning the 700 thugs that attacked the Gardai (in a city of 1 million). But it seems to me that the organisers cannot have been entirely displeased at what happened.

  • is it true

    Is it true that there are only about 9 protestants in the gardai ???, does anyone have exact figures ?

  • Stephen Copeland

    is it true,

    It sounds like an urban myth. If so my Protestant Garda cousin is part of a select group!

    See here, where the government states clearly that the figures on the religion of Gardai is not available.

  • Brian Boru

    “Is it true that there are only about 9 protestants in the gardai ???, does anyone have exact figures ?”

    This is a myth, especially in the absence of official figures. The govt should arrange for the collation of such statistics in order to debunk damaging myths like this.

  • blandy

    Stephen

    We dont care if the South has religous liberty for all or a booming economy. Our wish to remain part of the UK is a matter of Identity, of shared UK history and cultures. Back when the South had the potholes and we had the motorways there was no great clamour for the South to rejoin the (then wealthier per capita) UK.

    It is not a case of “bugger me they’re rich down there – best sod this unionist business then” the fact is we have a genuine British identity which, put bluntly, wont go away.

    The belated recognition of war dead in South is no more going to make unionists change their identity than Ken Livingstones St Patricks day parade have the South clamouring for readmission to the UK.

    PS We have religous liberty up North as well, and we’re not exactly on the breadline either.

  • Aaron_Scullion

    It is not a case of “bugger me they’re rich down there – best sod this unionist business then” the fact is we have a genuine British identity which, put bluntly, wont go away.

    I went to see a comedian in London last night. He picked on a girl from the audience, asked where she was from, she said Co Down. He made a remark about her Irishness. She said, “I’m not Irish, I’m British and proud”, to the comedian’s obvious amusement. It was kind of embarrassing. For her.

    I don’t mean to mock the attempts of Unionists to insist upon their British identity – more power to them. It’s just always funny when they try to convince people on the mainland that they’re all the same..

  • páid

    If unionists tell me that they FEEL British, then Nationalists (I am one) have to accept that truth. It’s ok and true about the changed South re. economy, religion etc. but people feel what they feel, and cannot be argued out of it.

    É sin ráite…….

    The nature of Britishness and Irishness is changing. The grandparents of many of today’s most ardent Unionists, and I dare say the grandparents of the KAI drummerboys, were proud Irishmen and British subjects.
    Who is to say what their grandchildren will regard themselves as?

    One thing is for sure: dictating to people what their Nationality is doesn’t work: Irish Nationalists know that better than anyone; or should know it at any rate.

    Ulster Protestants share this island with Irish Nationalists. Sooner or later a common identity will be forged; and it will have roots in current identities, but be different from them. It’s happening as we type, in pubs, workplaces and colleges all over the North, and beyond.

    And thankfully, above all else, it’s beginning to look like very few more people will feel the sickening terror of being told their husband, father, brother or son has died over it.

    And this absence of murder and hatred and murder and hatred will accelerate the process.

    It could all change faster than we think, once it gets legs.

  • is it true

    Stephen

    Indeed your cousin is a rare breed !!!

    I did get govt estimates once (will try to dig them out) where it was stated there were more dogs in the gardai than protestants

    An what do you make of this stephen ?

    “Mr. McGinley Mr. McGinley

    131. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Justice the number of Protestant gardaí, if any, of officer rank or higher currently in the Garda Síochána.

    Minister for Justice (Mr. Burke) Raphael P. Burke

    254

    Minister for Justice (Mr. Burke): I am informed by the Garda authorities that, at present, there are no Protestants at [254] superintendent or higher rank in the Garda Síochána. Religious affiliation is not a factor in the selection of members of the force for promotion.”

    surely discrimination ?

    http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0410/D.0410.199107020067.html

  • dantheman

    “It is not a case of “bugger me they’re rich down there – best sod this unionist business then” the fact is we have a genuine British identity which, put bluntly, wont go away.

    I went to see a comedian in London last night. He picked on a girl from the audience, asked where she was from, she said Co Down. He made a remark about her Irishness. She said, “I’m not Irish, I’m British and proud”, to the comedian’s obvious amusement. It was kind of embarrassing. For her.

    I don’t mean to mock the attempts of Unionists to insist upon their British identity – more power to them. It’s just always funny when they try to convince people on the mainland that they’re all the same.. ”

    Unionists are a strange fish.

    When they are in Britain they are Irish
    When they are in Ireland they are British

    Is there another race of people in the world with such obvious psychosis?

  • páid

    Well Dan, the County Down girl is an example of mistaken identity, but not the only one.

    In Brittany, 5 years ago, I heard a Dublin couple attack a bar man because he assumed they were British.

    The same barman made no such assumption about a Welsh (speaking) stag party in the same bar.

  • Andy

    ‘If thet lead to no movement whatsoever by unionism, then many people will start to draw conclusions about the true nature of unionism.’

    Yeah, people might start get the crazy idea that their primary aim was to maintain the union with Britain.

  • páid

    Andy,

    I accept (and I suspect Stephen does) that the prime aim of Unionism is maintenance of the Union.

    The question arises though if this is an end in itself, or is the desire to maintain the Union due to sub-reasons associated with (for example)religion, the monarchy, the economy, and cultural reasons.

    The nature of the Union, for example, between England and Scotland is changing.

    The sub-reasons quoted above are also changing.

    UUs can ignore changes in the South but could they ignore a Scottish break from the Union?

    Or a Catholic British Monarch?

    Or severe public sector cutbacks in NI?

    Or intensified “joint stewardship” fully endorsed by a sovereign Westminster parliament?

    “Maintain the Union” is a simple enough aim, but the wider picture is changing.

    Look what has happened to the “Union of Southern Slavs” aka Yugoslavia.

    A rupture as serious as Yugoslavia is IMHO, unlikely to happen in the UK, but it is surely likely that serious constitutional change will occur to the UK in the medium to long term.

    And over the last 10 years the Irish govt (kind of representing Northern nationalists) is playing an increasing role in NI business. The Irish Times reports yesterday that the number of Irish civil servants working on North-South affairs has increased in the past 8 years from 70 to 700.

    Would you not agree that the next 20 years will be challenging for Unionism? And are Unionists equipped to cope with these challenges?

  • Reader

    pid: Or a Catholic British Monarch?
    How many nationalists will become unionists if that is fixed?
    pid: Or severe public sector cutbacks in NI?
    Would the Republic promise to maintain the NHS in a United Ireland?
    pid: And over the last 10 years the Irish govt (kind of representing Northern nationalists)
    Read that again. Several times over if you need to. Can you see a problem?

  • pid

    Hi reader.

    3 questions!

    1. I don’t know, few enough I suspect.

    2. Well, they have enough problems with their own health service. Expensive, inefficient, rated 25 out of 26 in Europe. Suspect it will rapidly improve over the next few years though. I don’t think a “takeover” is on the agenda, but co-operation is, and will grow IMHO

    3. Read it several times. Not sure what you mean?

  • Nathan

    Considering that Stephen has written a thoughtful response about the merits of a United Ireland, I think it’s appropriate on this occasion (and this occasion only) to give my 2 cents also:

    A United Ireland will mean entirely different things for different northern Protestants. There will be those who will appreciate the new opportunities that a United Ireland may bring e.g. scope for the formation of new political parties and possible mergers and amalgamations between existing political parties, new anthem and flag, and a proper all-Ireland discussion about whether the more savoury aspects of the unionist tradition can be preserved post-United Ireland e.g. the 12th of July national holiday and the democratic connection with Britain i.e. if not via Westminster, then maybe through a jointly elected Presidency setup between Britain and Ireland in the event of a British referendum (and subsequent Act of Parliament) in favour of a British Republic upon the death of the Queen Elizabeth II.

    And then they’ll be those who will be prepared to self-inflict upon themselves, a second-class role in the civic life of the Irish nation. As a result, they’ll be destined to the same fate as some of those Protestants that reside in the border region – withdrawn, fearful, tribal and seemingly so autistic in mind, that I can do nothing more for them than recommend the Border Minority Group http://www.borderminoritygroup.ie/, in the hope that the damage self-inflicted upon themselves through their own social and cultural negligence, can be remedied (take note Donegal_John)

    I have no doubt, however, that the quantity of northern Protestants who will wish to fulfil the above traits of some border Protestants today will be miniscule in the event of a united Ireland. Indeed, we’ll have no shortage of northern Protestants who would wish to champion their multi-dimensional role in Irish society, in a manner similar to some of their southern co-religionists today e.g. Colin Regan (the Gaelic football player), Bono (the musician), Jan O’Sullivan (the politician), Joe Neville (the Peace Commissioner), Carol Coulter (the journalist), Mr Justice Brian McCracken (the Supreme Court judge) and Julie Parsons (the writer).

    In spite of the current setup i.e. partition, this process of alignment between southerners and northern Protestants is already in motion. Plenty of northern Protestants have made their home in the Irish Republic – some of whom are Slugger fans (e.g. Rebecca Black) and some of whom are high-profile e.g. Michael Carson, an eminent barrister who is married to Liz O’Donnell (chief-whip of the PDs) and Andrew Davidson, former Derry-based UUP councillor who runs a legal practice in Dublin and who is married to Elizabeth Davidson, the southern Protestant who has a good a chance as anyone in being elected as a TD for the Irish Green party in the forthcoming general election.

    It just goes to show, then, that by integrating oneself with the Wicklow and Dublin Protestant community – which is renowned for its vibrancy, confidence and for its ability to place itself in a position of potentially unprecedented influence – there is a lot to learn and gain from life in an Irish Republic. But it’s a two way process. Dublin Protestants have NOT been put on this earth to piggy-back those co-religionists who fail to help themselves first and foremost. This applies as much to border region Protestants, who are currently lagging behind their counterparts in Dublin and Wicklow, as northern Protestants.

    Thus, if the Wicklow and Dublin protestant community can manage to adapt and thrive in independent Ireland, then I don’t see what makes border region and northern Protestants so special that they would not be able to make the best of the opportunities afforded to them also, despite their unionist beliefs.

    Sadly, apart from the notable exception of Colonel Harvey Bicker (retired British Army officer and former UUP councillor), who takes his advisory role to Mary McAleese on the Irish Council of State very seriously, unionists in general don’t feel the need to examine their bogey-man fears of the south, because they think it doesn’t advance their cause to do so. However, I think that despite this, they have the know-how to understand that in a united Ireland context, it would be much more pluralist, pragmatic and not to mention productive to catapult oneself to the forefront of civic life rather than gather in holy huddles (aka the Reform Movement). Indeed, those caricatures who rather than recognise the positive aspects, choose to churn out a production line of unwarranted grievances about the Irish Republic (e.g. the cringe-worthy Lord Laird, who agitates NOT on behalf of the UUP, but on behalf of the Reform Movement Quasimodo’s), will have no-one to blame but themselves if the more forward-thinking northern Protestants do decide to leave them behind in the wilderness should the need for a United Ireland setup arise.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Nathan,

    Nice post.

    I had no idea that some of the prominent southern Prods that you mentioned were even Prods! You could, of course, have listed many many more, but as a flavour of the contribution of Protestants to southern society, I think your list was interesting.

    I agree with you up to a point about the ‘Dublin and Wicklow’ scene, but, as a border-region Prod myself, I dissent from your view that we are ‘lagging behind’. I think our position is a bit different – we tend to be of small farming or shop-keeping stock, not the professional classes. Hence we are slower to rise to the top in many fields, and of course, in the mainly rural border regions the ‘fields’ tend to be literal! We don’t have ‘national’ bodies based in the border region, and then if one of us moves to Dublin to do something ‘important’ we get counted as a Dubliner!. I can assure you, though, that most border-region Prods are not sulking in a corner, they are working hard, farming, enjoying the fruits of our celtic tiger, hoping their kids get enough points to get a good college course, and so on. We even get involved in politics (much to the discomfort of our more northerly cousins) – we include county councillors (eg Daithi Alcorn) and TDs (Seymour Crawford). I even know of northern Protestants who have moved across the border into the south, presumably because they can’t stand the tenseness of the north – even as a northern Prod they find life in the south preferrable. I can’t say I blame them.

  • barnshee

    This is a spoof it must be ?
    having reduced the prod to what?– 2.5 3 % of the pop we now get this drivel “self-inflict upon themselves” my posterior I am the descendent on two sides from people driven out of the republic via murder intimidation and boycott. but of course it never happened.

    Then we have the “Plenty of northern Protestants” crap what 3 or 4? How can I put this politely no I can`t — fuck off and peddle you propaganda elswhere

  • Stephen Copeland

    barnshee,

    The Protestant population in the south is increasing.

    Ironically, the catastrophic decline that we saw for much of the past while has been evident since 1861 (the first real census) – in other words, even at the height of ’empire’, with Queen Vic presiding over a quarter of the world, and her grip on Ireland un-weakened, the Prods were leaving in their droves. The effect of independence in 1922 was extremely small, and largely limited only to garrison towns. I wonder why that was?

    In any case, only since the achievement of independence (in the south, so far 🙂 )has the drop in the Protestant population been halted and started to reverse.

    It seems to me that independence and affluence have served the southern Protestant population better that the grip of the Empire.

  • barnshee

    sc

    Imports of our coloured bros don`t count
    ” the drop in the Protestant population been halted and started to reverse. ”

    I fear you grasp on arithmetic may need some work from 25% to 2.5% is a FALL

  • kensei

    “I fear you grasp on arithmetic may need some work from 25% to 2.5% is a FALL”

    I fear your English might need some work as there is no contradiction here.

  • Brian O’Donnell

    “This is a spoof it must be ?
    having reduced the prod to what?– 2.5 3 % of the pop we now get this drivel “self-inflict upon themselves” my posterior I am the descendent on two sides from people driven out of the republic via murder intimidation and boycott. but of course it never happened.

    Then we have the “Plenty of northern Protestants” crap what 3 or 4? How can I put this politely no I can`t—fuck off and peddle you propaganda elswhere.”

    Surely the situation in 2006 is more relevant to this question that something that allegedly happened in the 20’s? Can you move beyond the 20’s in your perception of the Republic?

  • Brian Boru

    “Imports of our coloured bros don`t count”

    Why not?

    Anyway many Protestants of traditional background have returned in recent years, and many have converted over the scandals in the Catholic Church.

    I accept that during the War of Independence informers were targeted, but they brought that on themselves after all there had been a mandate in 1918 for independence and they flouted it and helped oppress it.

  • Stephen Copeland

    barnshee,

    I fear you grasp on arithmetic may need some work from 25% to 2.5% is a FALL

    Indeed it is!

    It would be more impressive if it bore any relation to the facts, though. Protestants have never been 25% of the 26 County population in recorded history (estimates pre-19th century are variable, to say the least). From 1861 onwards, when census results started to be reliable, they barely topped 10%.

    Nobody questions that there has been a fall in the protestant population – we merely differ on its reasons. As a southern Prod myself, I see several reason close up. The big one is inter-marriage. My own extended family has almost disappeared in the last 30 odd years through that – there are only a very few Prod-Prod marriages that I can think of. But, guess what – nobody really gives a damn, because we simply aren’t very interested in religion (‘we’ being people under a certain age). To be honest, I don’t have a problem with people being nominally Catholic or nominally Protestant – the reality is that we are all post-religious. So if my cousins, neices and nephews are nominally Catholic, I don’t care, because it doesn’t change my feelings towards them, or their own sense of family and community. We all go to each others events – marriages, christenings, funerals, in whatever church they happen to be in. To be brutally honest, I don’t really care if the Protestant religions die out or not – I am happily watching all religions die out! Whether the Catholic church last a few years longer that the C of I doesn’t bother me, because it is going too.

    Wolfe Tone was right. He just didn’t realise that the replacement of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter would come about through the decay and death of all organised religions.

  • Brian Boru

    I think part of the reason Northern Unionists see the South as a bogeyman is that they view us through the prism of Northern society and their experiences of the conflict. This is an incorrect prism to view the South through because it is a very different society and with the exception of a genuinely tiny minority a remarkably non-sectarian one.

  • hotdogx

    I dont usually post, i prefer to read but after banshees last i just had to say somethin, and im from leitrim just up the road from stephen

    Barnshee, do you not think that since 1920 if the republic is such a cold house for us prods that there would be protests massive civil rights movements social unrest etc, well we havent had any of that here and its not a sectarian state like northern ireland built on foundations of sectarianisim.

    As stephen rightly points out dividing the country put my region of ireland at a massive dissadvantage protestant or catholic and many had to go to dublin to make big moves.

    Your sectarian govenment:
    1 brought on the closure of large sections of our national rail network, the leitrim and nothern couties railway, donegal and derry railways not to mention cavan monaghan fermanagh tyrone, no trains left there either!

    2 Built walls blocking roads whitch crossed the border cutting the region off!

    3 The m1 motorway in the wrong direction The N1, N2 and N3 cut by the boarder.

    Banshee, you should stop listening to unionist fear poropaganda and visit the republic and open your mind a little you might like it better than NI. In my opinion your post with its bad language shows unionism clutching at straws trying to justify its existance in a modern ireland,and as with any cornerned man with no good point to make, your only option is to fight back!

  • Nathan

    Poor barnshee, reduced to having to hurl insults because he cannot deal with civilised discussion.

    I’ve been a commentator on slugger for a while now. I won’t be forced out by sectarian time bombs like yourself – now or at anytime.

    By the way, you should stop pretending you know a shred of detail about the southern Protestant community, because it’s obvious you don’t have a clue.

    Stephen,
    I’ve taken your comments on board – I believe the high life of Irish citizenship to be in Dublin – it’s a shame that some Protestants have such a low-profile, due to where they live in the country i.e. the invisible rural areas.

  • slug

    “So far, since independence, we have removed the religious reasons and the economic reasons that unionism has used against reunification. Has unionism moved even slightly? I don’t think so, which makes me wonder whether those reasons were ever real, or were just a smokescreen. The recent moves by the southern state towards commemorating ‘British’ events like the Somme are another move that should help reassure unionism on, lets say, broad political grounds. If thet lead to no movement whatsoever by unionism, then many people will start to draw conclusions about the true nature of unionism. ”

    It suggests that unionism is largely based on positive attitude to, and experience of, being in the UK rather than anything negative with respect to the Irish Republic.

  • Stephen Copeland

    slug,

    It suggests that unionism is largely based on positive attitude to, and experience of, being in the UK rather than anything negative with respect to the Irish Republic.

    I disagree.

    One of the curious things about the past generation is that relations between Britain (I use the word advisedly) and the south of Ireland have become exremely cordial. Both at ‘state’ level (ie generally government) and at personal level (ie ordinary people in Britain are very positive towards Ireland, and ordinary people in the south of Ireland are very positive about Britain).

    The odd ones out in all of this are the northern Unionists. They do not act like ordinary British people, they do not share the affection that most British people feel towards Ireland and the Irish, and they have not matured like their fellow citizens. They remain largely stuck in a backwater more reminiscent of the 1950s than the 21st century.

    If they were ‘simply British’, then they would share the ordinary British affection for Ireland, its music, its history, its writers, its sportsmen and women, and so on.

    But their behavious shows that they are not like real (ie insular) British people – they are a separate group wedded to their archaic dislikes. And that indicates that their refusal to mellow in their relationship with the majority community on the island, unlike the insular British, is based not on their affinity to those insular British, but to a wholy different dynamic.

    Watch the representatives of the UK in their dealings with their Irish counterparts – Blair with Ahern, Hain with another Ahern, Elizabeth Windor with Mary McAleese, and so on. Warm, normal, friendly relations. Compare (and contrast) the attitudes of the elected representatives of unionism.

  • slug

    Stephen

    I suppose if this goes on the Queen might get an invite eventually 🙂

    I would say that in the last while unionist politicians, and people from the unionist community, have also become warmer towards representatives of and people from the Irish Republic. An example being Ballymena Academy inviting the Irish President to visit.

    I would theerfore maintain that the reason the unionist community have not become any less unionist, despite many welcome changes in the Irish Republic, is largely based on positive attitude to, and experience of, being in the UK rather than anything negative with respect to the Irish Republic.

  • lib2016

    Stephen,

    It’s a huge simplification but unionists seem to me to run the range from what might be called Ulster-British to Ulster-Loyalist. There used to be an Anglo-Irish element but they seem to have gone native.

    The Ulster-British element has been destroyed politically and the middleclass part of it is becoming more and more international, like the middleclass everywhere. They seem to be dropping out of political life.

    Which leaves us with the Ulster-Loyalist element and I’ve no easy answers for how we can open up a decent relationship with them. They don’t seem to have an idealogy nor are they particularly loyal to Britain. It’s just an identity, like a football hooligan’s or the Crips and the Bloods. How can one appeal to people whose identity is built around hating you?

  • hotdogx

    unionism has become emotional as opposed to logical. There are alot of dont knows in NI regarding a UI maybe opinions will swing in favour of a UI quicker than we think. Imagine what would happen if some of those railways i mentioned earlier were reopened such as eniskillen sligo and derry as part of cross boarder bodies

  • Stephen Copeland

    slug,

    As far as I know McAleese has already invited Windsor over – their diary people are just trying to agree a date.

    It is not just Ballymena Academy McAleese has visited. Only a few weeks ago (on the same day Tony and Bertie were in Belfast) she visited my alma mater, the uber-unionist Campbell College.

    My point is not about unionists being converted into nationalists, it is about unionists being converted into plain good neighbours. It hasn’t happened, even with all of their ‘obstacles’ being past history. Charles Wales-Cornwall-Windsor is a happy and welcome visitor to the south, but yet his soon-to-be subject Paisley cannot bring himself to come except on safari, Trimble has yet to apologise for his appalling manners, and John Laird … well …

    lib2016,

    The Ulster-British element … seem to be dropping out of political life.

    There was an interesting (very small) exchange on another thread (Bonefire of the vanities) a few minutes ago where Belfast Gonzo, exactly one of those ‘Ulster British’, and previously active in the Alliance Party, admitted that he had just done exactly that.

  • slug

    Stephen

    “My point is not about unionists being converted into nationalists”

    I think I misinterpreted your earlier point. I thought you were suggesting that unionist-friendly changes in the Irish Republic – such as removing the constitutional claim and recognising the Irish WW1 dead – should have resulted in unionists becoming less pro-union. In fact you were wondering why they had not resulted in unionists becoming warmer to the Irish Republc. If you accept the premise, its a fair question.

    In fact I would argue that these changes, such as recognising the Irish WW1 dead, have indeed warmed relations between unionists and the Irish government. I would say that these relations are better than 20 years ago at political and community level. This is an ongoing process.