“it seems childish to now strain at the gnat..”

In the Irish Independent, Maurice Hayes revisits a topic that he was much more candid about previously.. But he does end on an equally candid view of another recent kerfuffle.

In the middle of all this, in a farcical sideshow, the DUP is infuriated by the actions of a Sinn Fein Minister in making textual changes to an agreed Executive paper in order to replace all direct references to Northern Ireland. Like a demented sub-editor in the RTE newsroom, which for years has been doing the most absurd verbal gymnastics rather than mention those dreaded words, he has been changing Northern Ireland into the North, or some other convenient euphemism.

Having swallowed the camel of the principle of consent, and the affirmation of the constitutional position of Northern Ireland in the Good Friday Agreement, it seems childish to now strain at the gnat of actually using the name of the entity you are engaged in governing. Serious politicians (and sub-editors) should have better things to worry about.

Echoes of Eamonn McCann? Of course, “If we are serious about a truly shared future..”

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  • Congal Claen

    Horseman,

    “The term ‘British’ is also used as a shorthand for ‘citizen of the UK’.”

    The same applies to Irish. Exactly the same.

    “You lost me, however, at your attempt to subsume Ireland into something called the ‘British isles’ (a term most Irish people reject, BTW).”

    The same applies with Ireland – subsumes NI into Ireland. Exactly the same. The majority of people in the British Isles do not reject the term, British Isles BTW. Nor do the majority of the rest of the world.

    “Having thus attempted to subsume, you then went on to extend a loaded adjective (’British’) to all inhabitants of these so-called ‘British isles’.”

    You mean the way you used the loaded adjective Irish to all inhabitants of the so-called Ireland. Again, exactly the same.

    Remember you used…

    “Irish = of Ireland.”

    and then just in case there was any doubt…

    “[PS, to make it clear, ‘Ireland’ as in the island]”

    There’s no logic to your argument.

  • Congal Claen

    “The term ‘British’ is also used as a shorthand for ‘citizen of the UK’.”

    The same applies to Irish. Exactly the same.

    Um, no, actually. That’s why I said ‘shorthand’. Irish is the direct adjective relating to Ireland. British is the direct adjective relating to Britain. If there was an adjective from UK (thank god there isn’t) it would be a mouthful like ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland … ish’. Hence the use of a shorthand, i.e. ‘British’ to replace the non-existent mouthful.

    … The same applies with Ireland – subsumes NI into Ireland …

    I don’t want to have to point out the bleedin’ obvious, but what exactly does the ‘I’ in NI stand for?

    … way you used the loaded adjective Irish to all inhabitants of the so-called Ireland.

    Yes, because they are all inhabitants of the island of Ireland. So the adjective (if not the nationality) fits. And in case you are thinking that NI is not part of Ireland, please reflect on the term ‘Northern Ireland’.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Horseman,

    “Um, no, actually. That’s why I said ‘shorthand’. Irish is the direct adjective relating to Ireland. British is the direct adjective relating to Britain.”

    What we were talking about was that Irish can mean citizen of a state yet also mean “of Ireland” geographically. In the same way British can be citizenship and a geographic descriptor. What you have an issue with is the use of British Isles to include the island of Ireland. The majority in these islands consider it so. As does the world. Only Irish nationalists think British relates only to Britain.

    “If there was an adjective from UK (thank god there isn’t) it would be a mouthful like ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland … ish’. Hence the use of a shorthand, i.e. ‘British’ to replace the non-existent mouthful.”

    Thankfully we don’t have to use such an adjective as “British” has been around for millenia.

    “Yes, because they are all inhabitants of the island of Ireland. So the adjective (if not the nationality) fits.”

    And therefore logic dictates that so are inhabitants of the British Isles British. And as you say, “So the adjective (if not the nationality) fits.”

    “And in case you are thinking that NI is not part of Ireland, please reflect on the term ‘Northern Ireland’.”

    Geographically yes. Obviously. And Ireland is part of the British Isles whether you like it or not. There’s one of us needs to reflect. Let’s face facts Horseman – it’s you!

  • Congal Claen,

    We’ve reached stalemate. Thanks for your time. Bye now.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Horseman,

    Yip. I think we’ll have to let others decide.

    Let me leave on this – if you had been switched at birth with the likes of Mervyn Storey you would have grown up to believe you were British and not Irish. Equally illogical. You appear to be a victim of circumstance not logic.

  • Tazia Doll

    “It is ‘the north’, it is part of Ireland.”

    RoI is the most Northy part. Sinn Fein are just being lame fisted, they are in a British administration, in Northern Ireland.

    The administration’s name of the place or the name of the little state is Northern Ireland. I can call a pig a horse, however, it is still a pig. That’s life.

  • RepublicanStones

    Indeed Tazia, people can claim the north of Ireland is Britain or british all they want, it is however Irish. Glad we agree.

  • in that case

    “Indeed Tazia, people can claim the north of Ireland is Britain or british all they want, it is however Irish. Glad we agree. ”

    …i look forward to popping out to spend a few euros, send the kids to school to prepare for ‘Leaving Certs’ and cast a cote in the next election for a FF a FG TD to represent me in my constituency.

    Meanwhile….in a paralell universe where the rest of us live (hint..Northern Ireland) it’s Westminster / Local Assembly elections, Sterling, A Levels, NHS, A Levels and GCSEs.
    Where do these people get this funny british thing from…I wonder, I really do.

  • RepublicanStones

    Ahh another one who thinks that irishness is dependant upon which political system your governed by. Who seems also to base his nationality upon monetary terms and exams???????
    Tell me brainbox, considering you can spend euro in Belfast what is your point about sterling? Does a spainyard who visits London turn british for the duration of his stay because he spends money with Lizzie’s face upon it? I expect the Tibetans are living on Chinese soil, you probably think they are chinese? You are right, many of us live in ‘Northern Ireland’ and the clue is in the name.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi RS,

    You can be British AND Irish. Although Ireland is not part of Britain. It can be, and by the majority of cartographers the world over, is described British as it’s part of the British Isles. In the same way the Isle of Wight is British even tho’ it’s not part of Britain. Or Tory Island is irish even tho it’s not part of Ireland. In the same way the British Isles are European. All geographically speaking. NI isn’t Irish politically speaking in the same way the Republic isn’t British. And as you’ve highlighted, Nations don’t always fit into geographic boundaries. So it all depends what you mean by Irishness…

  • runciter

    Ireland [..] is described British […] the Republic isn’t British.

    Right.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Although Ireland is not part of Britain.’

    Factually correct.

    ‘It can be, and by the majority of cartographers the world over, is described British…’

    So its not part of britain, but it can be????
    Also you must have some address book if you have spoken to the majority of mapmakers in the world.
    furthermore you seem to have relegated Ireland to being an Isle, like the isle of Wight. An Isle of Britain, Ireland is not.

    ‘NI isn’t Irish politically speaking in the same way the Republic isn’t British.’

    Realistically speaking the north of Ireland is Irish. You must then think that Tibet isn’t politically Tibetan. Also the term you hold so dear the ‘British Isles’ is well outdated and inaccurate. You must still refer to Sri Lanka as Ceylon.