President McAleese hosting 12th July Garden Party at Áras an Uachtaráin

The Republic of Ireland’s President, Mary McAleese, is hosting a 12th July garden party today to mark the Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, it’s the tenth reception hosted by President McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin to mark July 12th and is the only State-funded celebration to mark the Twelfth in the Republic. From the President’s website

President McAleese will host a garden party at Áras an Uachtaráin today to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. The event will commemorate the events of 1690 and the resulting shared history of Ireland, North and South.

Almost 350 guests from all traditions and parts of the island will attend the event which will celebrate Williamite and Jacobite culture, with entertainment provided by the Irish Defence Forces pipers, the Corps of Drums, 2nd Batallion, Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, Irish and Ulster-Scot dancers.

Adds Statement from President McAleese

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  • Cruimh

    “Ulster-Scot dancers”

    God help us all – that has convinced me that the 12th of July has to stop. Now.

  • overhere

    Good on her, nice to see someone trying to move on and not cause trouble.
    Now if only the OO would reciprocate and meet with the nationalist people in the north and work out something to everyone’s benifit.

    After allI am sure the OO wold not mind marching behind a band in these areas playing tunes like Danny Boy Star of te County Down etc and the nationalists would have no problem with that either.

    The only proviso being that no paramiliary flags banners or the hangers on are there as these are the things which cause the trouble every year.

  • “and the nationalists would have no problem with that either.”

    Really?

    “The only proviso being that no paramiliary flags banners”

    There shouldn’t be any at all to be honest, although there might be some disagreement over UVF ones that are intended to symbolise the UVF of old that went to the Somme in WWI as distinct from the modern-day pretenders.

    “or the hangers on are there as these are the things which cause the trouble every year.”

    I suppose those spectators who make a day of walking along with the bands/orangement could be “re-routed” and meet up with them at another point on the route in the interests of compromise.

    But that’s just my 2 cents and sadly I speak for nobody but myself.

  • Pete Baker

    Before this thread becomes derailed by the mention of the O-word.. or even the OO-words..

    Can I just point out that the event noted

    “.. will commemorate the events of 1690 and the resulting shared history of Ireland, North and South.

  • Dewi

    Jacobite culture ? …Now which side’s is that ?

  • overhere

    Pete not wanting to derail but I assume the OO were there as well and as such could they not learn something. It is a shared history and if they would only look beyound these shores more to do with European politics than they ever mention

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    I can only assume that’s a reference to those who believe in an absolute monarchy – i.e. divinely appointed and all that comes with it.

    Rather than a constitutional monarch, that is.

  • Pete Baker

    overhere

    Not just ‘they’, surely? ;o)

  • overhere

    hell yea, all of you could learn something if only you could raise you eyes up from the ground and looked around you, as my father used to say “knowledge is easy carried”

  • Dewi

    What a strange place, burning Orange Halls and Tricolours and now Jacobite folk dancers.

  • inuit_g

    A few years ago (I think around 2003) I had the pleasure of attending a fantastic 12th Reception at the Aras along with a whole bunch of people including from the Reform Movement, Orangemen from right across Ireland and various other oddballs of minority identity in the South.

    I think this has been a very positive initiative, and there’s certainly no doubting the very real and genuine sincerity of President McAleese and her own personal commitment to reconciliation between the two traditions.

    On the whole I think her sustained commitment to reconciliation over the years is by far the truer reflection of her character – much more so than her offensive comment comparing unionists to nazis, which she clearly regretted.

    I was also very impressed by the fact that the Twelfth Reception at the Aras wasn’t merely yer usual bridge-building exercise between north and south, but was also clearly aimed at respecting the Republic’s own irish-british minority, and especially her Orange community.

    It certainly made a real impression on me at the time that southern unionists of all shapes and sizes from probably every county in the Republic (there would have been at least a few hundred on the night I was there!) were given such a warm and clearly heartfelt welcome by the President at Aras an Uachtharainn.

    I hope the next step on from this is for the Orange to hold a properly-organised parade on the streets of Dublin which in particular would be the first time in the living memory of most Southern Orangemen could express their identity on the streets of their capital.

  • Unblinkered

    Oh Aye, and maybe the people who would like to commemorate say the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995 should do so too – as an expression of a cultural memmory.
    Let us remind ourselves that what the OO commemotation celebrates was the prelude to the biggest ethnic cleansing ever committed against the people of this island. Nothing more or nothing less and that it why the “KAT” and other slogans heard at 11th night bonfires are ENTIRELY consistent with the “culture”

  • Cahal

    inuit_g, what’s a southern unionist? People who want the republic to become part of the UK? Do these people exist outside reform?

  • Rory

    What with all those grat big Merc and Beemer tyres available I bet they had a cracking bonefire.

    What do “Ulster-Scots dancers” actually perform?

    I can only imagine some form of pole-dancing with a banner standard replacing the pole (and that’s just the males). Not an uplifting experience I would imagine.

    On a happier note I must report that there were no sightings of any Orange parades in sunny Tottenham today. Sometimes I think that their absence is one of the very few signs of civilisation in poor old Tottenham. But it’ll do to be going on with.

  • Orange_Surprise.

    I did a search on Flickr for photos from today. My search terms were “Orange Parade 2007”. I got the following photo. Not exactly what I expected.
    http://flickr.com/photos/papester/698182546/

  • curious

    ‘what’s a southern unionist? Do these people exist outside reform?’

    Very few of them Cahal, After partition, Irish republicanism exacted a brutal revenge on the old tribal enemy

    The Fate of the Southern Unionists by Geoffrey Wheatcroft.
    [url]http://www.reform.org/TheReformMovement_files/article_files/articles/southernunis.htm[/url

  • Nevin

    “the relationship between Ireland and Great Britain has never been better”

    Is she trying to present herself as the president of the island of Ireland?

  • Rory

    What exactly does President McAleese have to celebrate about the Battle of the Boyne? The overthrow of a legitimate king, James, by a hired mercenary prince on the make, William of Orange and the resulting slaughter and repression in Ireland?

    What next? A jolly commemoration of Cromwell’s slaughterfest at Drogheda perhaps.

    Perhaps she might use her influence to extend these jollities internationally. The Japanese Emperor might wish to host a Hiroshima Day Commemoration shindig and the White House could have a big knees-up day to concelebrate the triple assassinations of JFK, Dr King and RFK (and maybe even throw in Ol’ Abe for old time’s sake). Godwin’s Law inhibits me from further expansion.

  • Cruimh

    Was James the legitimate King?

  • inuit_g

    inuit_g, what’s a southern unionist? People who want the republic to become part of the UK? Do these people exist outside reform?

    Hi Cahal whilst certainly there would be people happy to describe themselves as “southern unionist” probably a more embracing description would be “Irish-British” – people who identify as much with Ireland and Irishness as any nationallist, but who would also identify with the wider British identity across these islands.

    Some such as myself do identify with the description “unionist” whereas others who would have a strong sense of Irish-British identity would not readily identify as “unionist” – perhaps because ‘unionism’ as an idea has over the years become so associated with Northern Ireland – and also because it might seem to convey the wrong impression of someone just chomping at the bit to fight a referendum to get Ireland back into the UK!

    Personally I have never had any hesitation in identifying as Unionist because my own long-term aspiration would indeed be to see all the peoples of these islands united together again – and whilst of course this may be highly unlikely to ever imagine happening I feel this is every bit equally legitimate for unionists to aspire to unity for these islands as a whole, as it is for nationalists to aspire to an Irish unity separated from the rest of these islands.

    Also whilst I hold dual citizenship it is my UK citizenship which is more important to me – both my passports have the Irish harp on them but whilst the harp on my Irish pasport stands alone the harp on my British passport stands next to the symbols for Scotland, England and Wales which is simply how I see my Irishness.

    None of that takes away from my deep-rooted respect for the strides the Republic has taken in recent years in terms of both reaching out to Northern Unionists and in terms of respecting its own much smaller minority of Irish-British identity.

    We’ve seen the removal of the territorial claim, the presidential welcome for the Orange Order at the Aras and most recently the Taoiseach’s speech to the Houses of Parliament in which he talked explicitly about the British tradition across “the island of Ireland” referring to the “thriving community of unionist people proud of who they are, where they come from, and what they hope for”.

    It may not have made the headlines up here but I know that speech was forwarded widely in the south and many people of minority identity in the Republic will have really appreciated that the Taoiseach of the Republic not merely acknowledged the unionist identity in the south, but spoke so warmly and positively and generously about us.

    It was a wonderful break from the old habit of Irish governments refering to unionists only in Northern Ireland terms as though some kind of forcefield descended over the border in 1922 and sucked up all the Redmondites and Southern Unionists!

    Of course there are still differences – I remember being down in Dublin the day they held the huge Soviet-style military parade to mark the Easter Rising. I couldn’t have felt more foreign and alien in Dublin that day if I’d been in Outer Mongolia – and this was a city I’d lived in for 8 years!

    Still though if that’s how nationalists decide they want to mark the significance of 1916 that’s really up to them.

    Hopefully by the time the centenary rolls around in 2016 we’ll all have moved on a wee bit and nationalism will have decided on a more appropriate way of marking the Easter Rising than with a clunking display of the Republic’s military hardware down O’Connell Street.

    And by the same token hopefully Unionism will have decided that the 12th should be all about strong, positive confident celebration of Loyalist British identity and has nothing to do with insulting the identity of nationalists by actions such as burning the flag of Northern Ireland’s nearest neighbor.

    apologies for very long-winded explanation! mebbe its the day thats in it!

  • Dewi

    inuit_g

    Thoughtful and interesting – I’ve come to the view that Northern unionists would be more content under Dublin rule than by a Sinn Fein led administration in Belfast.

    “We’ve seen the removal of the territorial claim, the presidential welcome for the Orange Order at the Aras and most recently the Taoiseach’s speech to the Houses of Parliament in which he talked explicitly about the British tradition across “the island of Ireland” referring to the “thriving community of unionist people proud of who they are, where they come from, and what they hope for”.

    Can’t say fairer than that.

  • curious @ 06:47 PM:

    Small correction (this is one bloodfest I’m not getting involved in).

    The review you cite is by Geoffrey Wheatcroft. The book he is reviewing is by R. B. McDowell (sometime Junior Dean of TCD and greatly-loved “character”).

    Crisis and Decline: The Fate of the Southern Unionists is now out-of-print: anyone in possession of a decent copy could finance the week’s housekeeping. Alternatively, I’ll give it a lifetime of care and attention for free.

  • Dewi

    MR – where did u march and how did it go ? And what’s happened to Turgon ?

  • inuit_g,
    please tell me…. for the sake of humankind that you haven’t met Keith “Bucks Fizz” Mills and will ever breed with him ???!?!??!

  • Dewi @ 09:59 PM:

    [1] I made my solitary way to the Muswell Hill Sainsbury’s, all the way to the household cleaners in the far back corner, past the booze, collected milk and the makings of an evening meal. Then I made a proud parade all the way home.

    No bonfires. No banners (except “second half price”). No pipes, No drums. And I didn’t even have to dress up.

    [2] When Maeglin, Turgon’s nephew, betrayed the city of Gondolin, and it was destroyed by the hosts of Morgoth, Gondolin fought to a valiant death. (Oh, how I detest Tolkien, and despise myself for remembering that.)

    Is this “on topic”?

  • Cruimh

    Is that the supermarket opposite the cinema , just down the street from the St James Cafe ?

  • Dewi @ 09:59 PM:

    Err, further correction, chaps.

    I think that should be “Turgon fought to a valiant death”. Blame it on the parade route past the booze gondolas.

  • Cruimh @ 10:21 PM:

    I sincerely hope so: else it’s been a Tesco “false flag” operation for more years than I like to count.

    Or does that belong in another thread?

  • Cruimh

    St James Cafe used to do wonderful breakfasts – and there was a superb classical music shop and a good independent bookshop – wonderful lace to mooch around on a visit!

  • Cruimh @ 10:37 PM:
    The two bookshops (you’ve forgotten the Children’s Bookshop across the road) are still doing business. The St James’s Cafe has suffered the tart-up. The John Baird is in yet another revamp, this time as a Thai restaurant. And we have a CPZ.

    “wonderful place to mooch around on a visit!”
    Yep, we’re nearly as popular as Port Stewart on a wet day in February.

  • Cruimh

    Most certainly hadn’t forgotten the childrens bookshop with the wonderful woman – or the cypriot barbers – they are on a different side of the street! Is ‘Toffs’ still in business round the corner?

  • Cruimh @ 10:53 PM:

    All present and correct: the barber’s has a banner (must now be over a year old) proclaiming a century in the business.

    “Toff’s” remains a local phenomenon. I like to tell the story of crossing the Charles Bridge in Prague to be confronted with a “Toff’s” t-shirt. And don’t forget “Fairport” round the corner into Fortis Green, original home of the Convention. Or the Clissold Arms where the Kinks did their first gig.

    Yeah, Muswell Hill — all human life is there. And even the odd death. But, as I say, no banners, few flags, and definitely no painted kerb-stones.

  • Porlock

    inuit_g

    Please tell me that you’re not a member of the UUP who also happens to be employed by them?

    Porlock

  • Cruimh

    To please Pete, a man of refined culture, and take things back onto the topic – do you think they all made love in the grass ‘outside Áras an Uachtaráin’ ?

  • Dewi

    To please Pete, a man of refined culture, and take things back onto the topic – do you think they all made love in the grass ‘outside Áras an Uachtaráin’

    No – they were all away with the fairies…sorry

  • Cruimh @ 11:08 PM:

    Only if they’ve got the dog-walkers to bring little plastic baggies. Hey! since ther’s now control on supermarket bags, how do the dog-walkers manage it?

    Or would it be a republican dog’s right to revenge?

    (Is that refined enough to pass muster?)

  • Dewi

    “Dewi @ 09:59 PM:

    [1] I made my solitary way to the Muswell Hill Sainsbury’s, all the way to the household cleaners in the far back corner, past the booze, collected milk and the makings of an evening meal. Then I made a proud parade all the way home.

    No bonfires. No banners (except “second half price”). No pipes, No drums. And I didn’t even have to dress up.

    [2] When Maeglin, Turgon’s nephew, betrayed the city of Gondolin, and it was destroyed by the hosts of Morgoth, Gondolin fought to a valiant death. (Oh, how I detest Tolkien, and despise myself for remembering that.)

    Is this “on topic”?”

    Was that a principled reason not to march or do u just not like it ?

    I always thought Frodo was a spoilt git – much preferred “The Hobbit” – Smaug was my favourite – analagous to Wales defending its coal against greedy dwarfish English mine owners !

  • Old Shankill Prod

    MR

    Thank you so much for reference to the Clissold Arms. Used to be my much loved local butI couldn’t remember the name till you brought it up. Tempus fugit and all that.

  • Dewi @ 11:27 PM:

    … greedy dwarfish English mine owners!

    Be careful, Dewi Boy! Too many of the buggers were home-grown.

    Let’s not forget (oh no, let’s never forget) the names of the guilty. There was David Davies “the Ocean” of Llandinam, W.T.Lewis (Lord Merthyr) of Lewis Merthyr Consolidated Collieries, D.A.Thomas (Lord Rhondda) of the Cambrian Combine, and Tom ‘Poverty and Death’ Powell of the Powell Duffryn Coal Company.

    Admittedly in the lists of bastardy they were a long way behind the likes of Lord Londonderry (sorry, chaps, that one doesn’t Stroke).

  • rodgerseric

    Unblinkered

    “the biggest ethnic cleansing ever committed against the people of this island”

    For my money the ’41 gets the guernsey for that.

  • This just shows how redundant a post the Presidency is.

  • Rory

    Good point, Sean Graham etc…. Ever since Carroll O’Daly was crucified for displaying some measure of integrity and respect for his office the Irish presidency has become as much a exercise in political whoredom as the English monarchy.

    Which brings me to the BBC’s big news tonight..

    But what, I wonder, is Mary McAleese’s excuse?

    [See commenting policy – edited moderator]

  • I Remember Still

    It should never be forgotten that the activities of Orange marchers and their supporters directly led to the deaths of
    Darren Murray (1996)
    Michael McGoldrick (1996)
    Robert Hamill (1997)
    Bernadatte Martin (1997)
    Greg Taylor (1997)
    Adrian Lamph (1998)
    Ciaran Heffron (1998)
    the three young Quinn boys, Richard (11), Mark (nine) and Jason (eight) (1998)
    James Morgan (1998)
    Frankie Reilly (1998)
    Rosemary Nelson (1999)
    Elizabeth O’Neill (1999)

    An t-Uachtaráin, Mary McAleese, should at least remember Rosemary Nelson as she attended Rosemary’s funeral in Lurgan, where she also tried to avoid, in the Parochial House adjoining St Peter’s church, those Portadown Nationalists who wished to speak with her.

    The following links are worth reading:

    http://www.garvaghyroad.org/mccafferty.html

    http://www.garvaghyroad.org/mcgurk.html

  • Dewi

    “Be careful, Dewi Boy! Too many of the buggers were home-grown.

    Let’s not forget (oh no, let’s never forget) the names of the guilty. There was David Davies “the Ocean” of Llandinam, W.T.Lewis (Lord Merthyr) of Lewis Merthyr Consolidated Collieries, D.A.Thomas (Lord Rhondda) of the Cambrian Combine, and Tom ‘Poverty and Death’ Powell of the Powell Duffryn Coal Company.

    Admittedly in the lists of bastardy they were a long way behind the likes of Lord Londonderry (sorry, chaps, that one doesn’t Stroke).”

    Hells Bells Malcolm mun – can’t I have some prejudice ?
    Interesting tangential geekish stuff we reckon P&D (for Poverty and death or Powell Dyffryn) was the first widely used acronym in the world.
    How do u type “snore” ?

  • DK

    Fair play to Mary – the Irish Republic is becoming more mixed with every census. New data was released today. 87.8% of the population put their nationality as “Irish”, 2.9% from the new EU acession states (e.g. Poland), 2.7% UK, 1.1% as “other” irish (e.g. Anglo-Irish, Irish-American, etc.), 1.1% as Asian, 1.1% did not state nationality, 1.0% from EU (excluding UK & acession states), followed by africans (0.8%), americans (0.3%),etc

    For birthplace, though, the picture is even more interesting: 85.3% were born in RoI, 5.3% in Britain, 1.2% in NI, 1.5% in Poland, 0.6% in Lithuanua, 1.9% elsewhere in EU, 0.7% in non-EU Europe, 1.3% in Asia, 1.0% in Africa, 0.6% in USA.

    SO… 14.7% of the population was not born in the Republic, and 12.2% have a different nationality. This is a big demographic change in 4 years from 2002 where the figures were 10.4% and 8.4% respectively.

  • Dewi

    DK – does it state total population ? Interested in how many people the 1.5% Poles are ?

  • DK

    Yes it does: 63,090 Poles. Perceived figure is that this should be 3 times as many, but that is how many filled in their 2006 census form. Compares to 221,609 born in Britain and 50,172 born in NI. 2002 there was no figure for Poles, but there were 198,587 born in Britain and 49,928 born in NI. 2002 gives Europe other than UK/Ireland = 59,036 while the accumulated Europe figure other than UK/Ireland (but including Poles etc) in 2006 is 194,225.

  • Interesting stuff, indeed: but look also at the summary table, which shows “religion and nationality”.

    This is related to earlier contributions in this thread, initiated by inuit_g @ 04:21 PM: what happened to the southern unionists? [A topic I swore off.]

    Of course, there isn’t a neat equation between protestant and unionist, and I am not making that parallel, lest anyone accuses me thereof. It’s more subtle than that.

    We now see that the CofI is down to 119,000 (2.8%), and all non-RC denominations are under 200,000 (4.8%). Added to which are 32,000 Moslems and 54,000 “other stated religions” (which totals up to just on 2%). Good to see 175,000 non-believers and 67,000 not saying.

    Let it be recorded that Éire had its first President in Douglas Hyde, son of the Church of Ireland rector of Kilmactranny. Before independence, 10% of the 26-counties’ population were Protestant: by 1990 it was barely 3% (and seems barely to have stabilised at that). Cork once had Gerald Goldberg as its Lord Mayor. In the 1920s, there were 400+ members of the Jewish community in Cork. When Dick Hogan interviewed Goldberg (for the Irish Times, 17 Feb 1998), there were only eight practising Jews left in the city.

    The 1916 Proclamation stated:
    The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities for allits citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally …

    The 1922 settlement was totally secular.

    The 1937 Constitution preamble aspired:
    that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured; true social order attained and the unity of our country restored and concord established with other nations.

    It then endorsed, in Article 44, the special position of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church as the guardian of the Faith. Aged relics like me remember that even that wasn’t enough for Fr Fahey and the theocrats of Maria Duce.

    The result was continued emigration of the minorities, who were disproportionately merchants and professionals.

  • splurge

    She is not the “President of the Republic of Ireland” – there is no such person. She is the President of Ireland.

  • Dewi

    Thanks DK…I wonder how many Poles are left in Poland – a fairly massive population movement in such a short time to all over Western Europe.

    “The result was continued emigration of the minorities, who were disproportionately merchants and professionals.”

    MR – It does look like that has now come to an end.

  • “…Aged relics like me remember that even that wasn’t enough for Fr Fahey and the theocrats of Maria Duce.
    The result was continued emigration of the minorities, who were disproportionately merchants and professionals. “

    Jews emigrated from Ireland because of Bunreacht na hEireann!?? You are having a laugh or believing your own propaganda. Yeah Ben Briscoe and Alan Shatter really suffered because of Dev.

    In your selective posting from the constitution you only mention Section 2 regarding the Catholic church. You seem to have forgotten to add Article 44 Section 3 “The State also recognises the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish Congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution.”. Written by Dev at a time when the Jewish communities weren’t finding it too comfortable living in Der Fatherland.

    I think you might have move from ‘aged relic’ to ‘bewildered’ otherwise just keep believing your pathetic little theories.

  • anonymous @ 03:07 PM:

    I am always amazed at how any reference to Judaism, however neutral, brings forth such responses.

    I have re-read my previous posting, and can detect only a couple of moments when I was not being strictly factual. I see nothing therein to regret.

    Yes, I am well aware of the other, subordinate, clauses of Section 44. They are, however, subordinate to the main clause.

    As to the specific point anonymous makes, I’ll again try to be factual.

    By the end of WWII there were about 6,000 in the Jewish community in Ireland. Now, there may be half that number. The attrition has been ascribed to:
    > the establishment of the State of Israel. I am assured that today there are more Irish-born Jews in Israel than there are in Ireland.
    > economic migration, especially to the USA.
    > assimilation as a result of the Catholic Church’s previous requirement to convert on marriage, and the subsequent requirement for children to be raised in the Catholic faith.

    I hope there is nothing contentious or confused in that analysis.

    I am trying to recognise two sides of the issue.

    On the one hand, the second great Irish emigration contributed to the wider world in many ways. To stick with just the Jewish contingent for a moment more, I recall waking one morning to the sound of the BBC Today programme, and, half-asleep, trying to place an educated Dublin voice. It took a while to work out it was Belfast-born, Old [Dublin] Wesleyan Chaim Herzog, President of Israel.

    But on the other hand I would suggest that Ireland, between (say) the 1940s and the 1980s, unnecessarily lost a great deal of talent with the alienation, for whatever reasons, of the religious minorities.

    Yes, of course I am being selective in quoting the 1937 Constitution. If we were to go further into its implications, I would also want to point to Article 41:

    … the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

    The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

    That was widely resisted and resented in 1937. Dorothy Macardle, Republican stalwart and, in The Irish Republic, virtually de Valera’s hagiographer, wrote to him to complain:
    as the constitution stands, I do not see how anyone holding advanced views on the rights of women can support it, and that is a tragic dilemma for those who have been loyal and ardent workers in the national cause.

    The result of that Article was even more devastating to Ireland. Women emigrated in greater numbers than men. Result: by the 1950s Ireland had the lowest marriage rate and lowest birthrate in western Europe.

    This ought not become another thread which descends into pointless abuse. Believe it or not, I am trying to be positive here, to celebrate how far we have come, how fast, and how successfully.

  • Cruimh

    “She is not the “President of the Republic of Ireland” – there is no such person. She is the President of Ireland. ”

    She is only president of one part of the Island of Ireland.

  • kensei

    You are conflating symptoms and causes, Malcolm. The “special position” is a symptom of the influence of the Catholic Church, not a cause. At the time it was seen as relatively enlightened and the subordinate clause welcomed, particularly by Jews. That influence would have remained tight regardless of the content of Bunreacht na hEirinn.

    You also link that to the decline of the Protestant and Jewish populations. It should be noted that the Protestant populations as a percentage were falling well before partition. The main causes, certainly once we get out of the post War of Independence period, are the Catholic Church requiring mixed marriages to produce Catholic children (this is an amazingly fast way to cut a population size, assuming even a moderate number of mixed marriages) and the economic situation. I would suggest the influence of the Catholic Church was important, but secondary to that.

  • inuit_g

    Dewi

    Thoughtful and interesting – I’ve come to the view that Northern unionists would be more content under Dublin rule than by a Sinn Fein led administration in Belfast.

    Hi Dewi – gotta say I would totally disagree with you on this one – now that the deal’s been done I believe Northern Ireland position in the Union is now stronger than it has ever been in all its history, especially now that power-sharing and devolution have been established and supported by both the Unionist parties and the vast majority of Unionist voters – and also given the real changes in attitude in the South in the years since 1998.

    I see power-sharing as an opportunity to both build a shared society and also to really strengthen and underpin long-term consensus behind for the Union – if unionism focuses on building a shared society in the Union I would imagine it could potentially build something like a 70%+ consensus against changing the constitutional status and the warmest possible house for the other 30%.

    And whilst almost everybody in the South would like to see Irish unity, this is much more now seen in the deeper and more meaningful sense of building unity between the two traditions. I don’t think forcing the unionist tradition where it doesn’t want to go fits in to the idea of Irish nationalism held nowadays by many in the south – in fact many would think this goes against the meaning of Irish nationalism. Not only has the Republic written into the Principle of Consent into the constitution but I think this is also reflected more meaningfully in attitudes on the ground too.

    Whilst I’m sure people in the South would be delighted to vote for unity in the unlikely event of unionists ever wanting it – I really can’t see a majority down there these days ever voting to bludgeon unionists on a 50%+1 basis into a united Ireland against their will, which is the most likely basis a consent referendum would be called.

    Where on earth would be the sense in any southern voter in wanting to forcibly inherit a million hostile unionists, 90%+ of whom don’t even identify as “Irish” at all (before the Troubles a third of unionists identified as Irish but that’s what 30 years of trying to violently bomb and bludgeon people out of their own country results in). It would also just result in an instant Quebec situation.

    Besides, even if for some reason we unionists make a total horlicks of it and somehow manage to lose a referendum we would still have the Principle of Consent and the first thing we’d do is start working towards the next referendum in 7 years where we could secede and rejoin the Union. Personally for instance I’d guess the first thing i’d be doing that morning other than neckin’ down massive quantities of hangover pills would be setting up the website of the campaign to get NI back in the Union.

    So provided unionism doesn’t for some reason go nuts and reject power-sharing and alienate everybody who’s not a died-in-the-wool hardliner, I think unionism is set fair for the next century with every prospect of winning a consent referendum both north and south – and building an inclusive shared society within the Union in Northern Ireland, genuine respect between the two traditions and the warmest possible house for the nationalist minority.

    And I dont think there’s much prospect of unionism ‘going nuts’. Whilst the last ten years in Unionism have been years of turmoil and division the end result has been solid broad-based consensus in both main Unionist parties supporting govt with SF and the power-sharing structures agreed in the Good Friday Agreement which over the long run will secure Northern Ireland’s constitutional position in a deeper way than ever before in her history.

    If the long-term

  • kensei @ 09:59 PM:

    Actually, I agree with much of what you say; and I thought I had proposed a variety of reasons for the loss of the minority denominations which sound very similar to yours.

    The 1937 Constitution was not extreme in itself: by the standards of its time, it was remarkably liberal. Of course, too, de Valera was constrained by his circumstances. My issues begin with:

    > The 32-county claim was imposed on de Valera by a need to appease his ultras. Did it not also play to the Craigavon gang? And haven’t we been living out those consequences for the last life-time? Was there another way of squaring the circle? Certainly Chamberlain, Malcolm Macdonald, Ernie Bevin and even Churchill were seeking a way round that in 1940. (And, yes, I appreciate, that’s not directly relevant to the thread.)

    > The status granted to the Catholic Church was a departure from the 1916 Declaration and the 1922 Settlement. Was it necessary? Was it a “good thing”? I know that there was as much relief among the minority communities as there was grief among the Catholic hieresiarchs, that it didn’t go further.

    > I threw in the issue of the status of women in my previous posting.

    I am proposing that, in the long term, none of these have been to the benefit of Ireland, its society or its economy.

    On the particular issue, though, I’ve just checked Tim Pat Coogan, Here he is (pages 489-90 in the paperback):
    [Dev’s] official biography states that he expected ‘no trouble’ with the religious article. ‘This proved to be a delusion.’ He had considerable difficulty in persuading some of his Cabinet colleagues on the one hand, notably Gerry Boland, that the provisions were not sectarian and offensive to Northern sentiment, and the Catholic Church on the other that he was doing enough to acknowledge its special provision in Ireland. In the end the ‘special position’ was exactly what he recognized in a Constitution that gave less evidence of republicanism than it did of the influence of that other Irish colonial power, the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. It visualized a state that, while democratic in practice, would be theocratic in precept; and neither at the time of its enactment, nor in today’s Ireland, is it a source of enthusiasm for Irish Protestants.

    My reading is that de Valera (“I would be very glad indeed at the hour of my death to stand over it”) willed the Catholic Ireland he begat with the Constitution. It was de Valera’s legacy, but reflects unfortunate contemporaries: Salazar, Franco and (sorry for this one) Cardinal Pacelli.

    De Valera’s Constitution had one wholly positive aspect: it had a trap-door cluse. It specifically expected and invited further amendment. The tragedy of Ireland after the Emergency is that there were not public leaders able to match de Valera’s stature, and propose ways to move on. The Fifth Amendment of 1972-3 was long overdue.

  • Dewi

    inuit_g
    Another thoughtful post – my point was that it is likely that the Northern Assembly will be “nationalist” controlled before long.

    Aren’t the southern type of nationalists preferable to to you than the northern type ?

  • inuit_g

    Not really Dewi, as an Irish Unionist I would see everybody on these islands as my fellow countrymen, regardless of how much I might differ from them in terms of political outlook.

  • páid

    Folk who criticize President McAleese for holding a civilized celebration to mark the Twelfth of July should explain exactly how the Orange part of Ireland (a third of the national flag) is supposed to celebrate it’s identity.

    Or they are open to the charge of wanting to see Orange culture eliminated.

  • kensei

    “Actually, I agree with much of what you say; and I thought I had proposed a variety of reasons for the loss of the minority denominations which sound very similar to yours.”

    The way it read seemed to be linking Bunreacht to the decline, and that the nature of the state, wa sin itself, the most important reason.

    “The 32-county claim was imposed on de Valera by a need to appease his ultras. Did it not also play to the Craigavon gang? And haven’t we been living out those consequences for the last life-time? Was there another way of squaring the circle? Certainly Chamberlain, Malcolm Macdonald, Ernie Bevin and even Churchill were seeking a way round that in 1940. (And, yes, I appreciate, that’s not directly relevant to the thread.)”

    I don’t believe so. In 1937 I’d suggest things were still somewhat too sharp.

    On living out the consequences, I’m currently very slowly reading Robert Fisk’s “The Great War for Civilisation”. He makes an interesting point that he has spent his career reporting on the outworkings of the World War I settlement – in Ireland, the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia..

    “> The status granted to the Catholic Church was a departure from the 1916 Declaration and the 1922 Settlement. Was it necessary? Was it a “good thing”? I know that there was as much relief among the minority communities as there was grief among the Catholic hieresiarchs, that it didn’t go further.”

    I am remarkably indifferent to it. The “special position” grants no legal powers and the 1937 Constitution is explicit in other places guaranteeing religious freedom. In fact, as a piece of politicking it’s a rather neat sleight of hand. I should add it would never have made it in a unpartitioned Ireland.

    It’s badness is in PR, more than anything else.

    “I am proposing that, in the long term, none of these have been to the benefit of Ireland, its society or its economy.”

    Perhaps not, but I don’t believe they are hugely significant, in context. Social norms and peer pressure is many ways much more significant than legal documents; it is difficult to see how Ireland could have avoided the strong influence of the Catholic Church in the post Independence era. It would have taken a fevered leadership rarely seen in order to overturn it, and I don’t see where there would have came from – almost all the major Irish leaders were Catholic to some degree, usually at least as much as their Republicanism. Needing to keep almost a million Prods on side? Possibly. 95% Catholic population? Fuck all hope.

    And I don’t believe Unionism would have been one iota warmer to the Southern state if Articles 2 and 3 weren’t in there, by the by.

    “In the end the ‘special position’ was exactly what he recognized in a Constitution that gave less evidence of republicanism than it did of the influence of that other Irish colonial power, the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. It visualized a state that, while democratic in practice, would be theocratic in precept; and neither at the time of its enactment, nor in today’s Ireland, is it a source of enthusiasm for Irish Protestants.”

    Words like “theocratic” are bandied about far too loosely. The state was certainly a cold house for Protestants but the institutions of state remained secular, and as pointed out on a few threads here, things were not quite as extreme as often portrayed.

    “My reading is that de Valera (“I would be very glad indeed at the hour of my death to stand over it”) willed the Catholic Ireland he begat with the Constitution. It was de Valera’s legacy, but reflects unfortunate contemporaries: Salazar, Franco and (sorry for this one) Cardinal Pacelli.”

    I think de Valera certainly willed a more Catholic Ireland, but the comparisons are somewhat inappropriate, especially considering that while most of Europe chased after various isms, Ireland remained democratic. It is certainly possible that without such a huge figure, Ireland could have fallen prey to a more base Nationalism.

    There is also a tendency to suggest any of the good things that came out of the 1937 Constitution de Valera got right by accident. There was a thread on that a few weeks back. I don’t think that is the case. Dev basically allowed the Catholic Church control of social policy, but the Constitution was relatively liberal (certainly considering the constraints) and allowed both amendment, as you point out) but also protection through the Supreme courts. If it hadn’t have included that robustness, it never could have survived. And I don’t think Dev did that by accident.

  • Objectivist

    but that’s what 30 years of trying to violently bomb and bludgeon people out of their own country results in
    Please remember that there was a parallel loyalist campaign of bombing and bludgeoning which actually prededed it and outlasted it.Also the Troubles would never have occurred were it not for the previous 50 years of unionist misrule during which they squandered any chance of enticing Catholics into the unionist fold (I take the oft-quoted opinion polls with a pinch of salt BTW so please don’t bother dragging them up).
    As for the rest of your postings:
    ‘The wish is the father of the thought’.
    The Reform outfit are a bunch of lovable loopers – the Irish political equivalent of the Flat Earth Society.

  • Nevin

    “Also the Troubles would never have occurred were it not for the previous 50 years of unionist misrule”

    I thought they occurred because Northern Ireland was part of the UK; I also think they are likely to reoccur as we – Unionists, Nationalists and Others – don’t have shared constitutional goals.

  • JC

    The event will commemorate the events of 1690 and the resulting shared history of Ireland, North and South.

    You omitted Catholic and Protestant as many papally financed mercenaries were involved in William’s army.

  • Nevin

    “350 guests from all traditions”

    Well, apart from the Orange ‘tradition’ – who were otherwise engaged. Peculiar timing …

  • Cruimh

    My invitation must have been lost in the post!

  • kensei @ 02:16 AM

    We are obviously not going to achieve a meeting of minds here (did such a thing ever happen on Slugger?)

    However, I still see you making parts of my case for me. For example:

    The state was certainly a cold house for Protestants but the institutions of state remained secular…
    The first clause there is my case, but the second falls because the Catholic Church was arbiter of so much of social policy (as you concede later). Indeed, Diarmaid Ferriter’s The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000 eloquently makes the point in the index: “Social welfare, See also Catholic Church” [page 880, paperback edition.]

    And on a smaller issue, I am a bit at a loss to comprehend I should add it would never have made it in a unpartitioned Ireland. Does the “it” mean the Constitution, the “special position” or “religious freedom”? Between 1869 and 1937 there was no “special position” for any denomination; and “religious freedom” seemed to apply (individuals’ prejudices and the status of Dublin Castle’s Chapel Royal notwithstanding). I think you need to address why the 1916 Declaration felt no need to specify status for Roman Catholicism, but twenty years later it was an essential integral feature. (Were I trying to be inflammatory, I might be querying whether the men and women of 1916 were more godless than those of 1937. I guess Connolly and Markiewicz probably qualify.)

    I see this as an analogy to a moment in Gore Vidal’s playscript The Best Man. The old President (a hybrid of Eisenhower and Truman) tells the young contender (an Adlai Stevenson figure, played on screen by Henry Fonda): “When I went into politics, you had to pour God over everything, like tomato ketchup.” What goes around, comes around; and forty years on we are back to the ketchup scenario in US politics. Yet, the US has the First Amendment: “no law respecting the establishment of a religion”.

    You are also right to finger the Supreme Court, which has repeatedly rescued the chestnuts from the fire. I note how, since the 1950s, the Court has always been ahead of the politicians in liberalising Irish life.

    My essential issue with you is that the 1937 Constitution did have pernicious consequences:
    > it was instrumental in telling non-Roman Catholic Irish that they were better off elsewhere;
    > Section 44’s “Küche, Kirche, Kinder” was an anachronism even then. The disproportionate emigration of women exacerbated social and economic problems;
    > It fossilized Irish attitudes and development for the next quarter-century. This is consistent with the Constitution being rural attitudes versus urban ones (see below). I repeat: at the end of WW2, Ireland was number eight in the world’s economies by GDP. The decline was consistent until Lemass took things by the throat and implemented the Whitaker Plan.
    > Obviously there was need to tidy up the 1922 Settlement, but the 1937 Constitution was willed, not necessitated. Its main beneficiary was de Valera himself.

    Might I finally throw in the result of the referendum on the 1937 Constitution. The vote was astonishingly tight: 685,105 in favour out of a total vote of 1,346,207. Dublin and Wicklow, significantly, voted against it. Tim Pat Coogan (pages 498-9) wryly comments that the figures were 26% for, 20% against, 22% not voting, and 32% ineligible because of the border: “In the circumstances the numbers 26 and 32 have a certain ironic symbolism”.

  • kensei

    “The first clause there is my case, but the second falls because the Catholic Church was arbiter of so much of social policy (as you concede later). Indeed, Diarmaid Ferriter’s The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000 eloquently makes the point in the index: “Social welfare, See also Catholic Church” [page 880, paperback edition.]”

    We need to make a distinction between policy and the institutions. The policy of successive Irish governments was to allow the Catholic Church control over social policy, more or less. The institutions that administered that policy were secular. That is why they have survived, and as you pointed out previously, a larger figure could have changed direction.

    “Does the “it” mean the Constitution, the “special position” or “religious freedom”?”

    The special position. Unthinkable it would have been in, or voted through.

    “I think you need to address why the 1916 Declaration felt no need to specify status for Roman Catholicism, but twenty years later it was an essential integral feature.”

    There were political pressures in 1937 that weren’t there in 1916 or 1922. It is a product of internal politics. Unhelpfully, the British also shot all the untempered idealists.

    There is suggestions that Connolly was reasonably devout Catholic.

    “Yet, the US has the First Amendment: “no law respecting the establishment of a religion”.”

    Article 44.2:

    1. Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.
    2. The State guarantees not to endow any religion.
    3. The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status.

    Fairly explicit, no?

    “My essential issue with you is that the 1937 Constitution did have pernicious consequences:”

    In truth, I think the point we disagree on is the question whether the 1937 was a symptom or cause of those things. I can’t see how it isn’t merely another symptom. The dominance of the Catholic Church seemed inevitable given the support of Dev and the lack of any serious counterbalancing forces. If he leaders of 1916 had have lived, they eventually would have pulled in different directions and produced a more dynamic politics. If Collins had have lived, things may have been significantly different – Dev certainly couldn’t have dominated in the same way, anyway. If the state had have included a three quarters of a million Protestants, things would have been different or there would have been civil war. But given the post-Independence settlement, and the figures available, would the removal of the special position and the clauses re: women made a button of difference to policy? I can’t see it.

  • kensei @ 01:16 PM:

    Why do I know we are going to have Groundhog Day on this one, as Slugger moves from thread to thread?

    You say, quite reasonably: The policy of successive Irish governments was to allow the Catholic Church control over social policy, more or less. The institutions that administered that policy were secular. Result: customsmen were rummaging baggage to seek out books on the Index Librorum Prohitorum and condoms. And that’s without getting into really big things like the Noel Browne (health care) and Frank Edwards (freedom of thought) affairs. Or the horrors of orphanages. Need I continue? Hmm, why not.

    I have used Brian Girvin’s The Emergency before, and do so again, without apology, because he is a far better writer than I. Here he is, summing up the Ireland of the 1950s, the Ireland de Valera and his Constitution made, when emigration (again, note, disproportionately women) was neatly cancelling out the birth-rate, when the proportion of women in work and the marriage rate were the lowest in Europe, when the rural communities (de Valera’s heartland and ideal of Irish society) were sick to death:
    For those who continued to live in Ireland, there were attractions. It was safe, stable and conservative, emphasizing traditional Catholic-nationalist values. It was a society largely unconcerned about the outside world, but perhaps irritated that the outside world did not take notice of it.

    I can just remember that stagnant, stultifying, navel-gazing self-satisfaction. It lingered on into the 1990s. Mary Kenny gave it suitable quietus in Goodbye to Catholic Ireland, which she declared was:
    steeped in the morals characteristic of Imperial Rome in its declining years … One Monday in November 1994 the three leading stories on RTÉ were the political repercussions following the Brendan Smyth case, the collapse and death of a Dublin priest in a Gay sauna club and the conviction of a Galway priest for a sexual assault on a young man.

    Note, please, the “political repercussions” of a case involving a paedophile priest, which brought about the ignominious collapse of the Government. That, too, is an unintended but implicit consequence of the 1937 Constitution.

    In exchange for that, I’ll have decent financial skullduggery among the High and Mighty any time.

    No: the caravan has moved on. We don’t want or need to go back. But let us learn the lessons of our history.

  • Norn chick

    Inuit,
    The 26 county area struggled for centuries to extricate themselves from the nightmare of British persecution during which millions of their people were genocidally slaughtered.Why should they return like an abused spouse?

  • Norn chick @ 07:16 PM:

    Oh. My. God.