“Whatever you say: say nothing”

The Church of Ireland’s Hard Gospel project has released a report on the experiences of border Protestants during the troubles. The report has been funded by the Irish government and the International Fund for Ireland. (PDF file here).

The report is quoted by the BBC, Belfast Telegraph and Irish News.

It is an extensive report but as always with these things a few parts seem to be attracting most media attention:
“The question of whether or not there had been a concerted campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Border regions was for most interviewees an accepted fact,” the report has found.
“Many people were able to articulate various detailed accounts of how this occurred in practice, identifying the individuals and families directly affected and in some cases going further and identifying those they believed – often citing this as ‘common knowledge’ – had carried out the acts of violent terrorism.”
The report adds: “What was in no doubt was the vicious finality and painful legacy visited upon the few and observed from a distance by the many.
One person was unequivocal: ”It wasn’t ‘the Troubles’, it was violence!’
Another commented: ”When you reflect on what happened to the Border Protestant people during the Troubles it’s amazing that the population remained as settled as it did.”

The election of Bobby Sands as MP for Fermanagh / South Tyrone remained a very significant issue:
“Many Protestants and unionists saw it, both then and now, as a clear and unambiguous vote of support for the retention of the ‘armed struggle’ and the purging of Protestants from the land,” the report said.
“They couldn’t understand it then and they still can’t. The collective ‘nailing of the colours to the mast’ was stark and shocking, but made things very clear – whatever about our previous neighbourliness, whatever about our friendly and co-operative arrangements, all of that is now over.”
The report revealed a complex picture where personal grief and anger have become intertwined with the history of the Troubles.
Equally, however, “A number of lay people reported that they had a strong sense that their Roman Catholic neighbours did not approve of or support the campaign of terror and violence that the IRA waged against the border Protestant people but that they suspected that their neighbours were unable to communicate as much or reach out a hand of friendship for fear of possible repercussions.”

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Living in the border counties as a Protestant would not have been easy, just imagine what it would be like if the British forces were not there to protect them?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Were the ‘troubles’ A) a ‘war’ or B) a ‘murder campaign’ or C) something in between.

    I’m a sort of in-betweener myself.

    The hunger strike proved to Unionists that when it came down to it that most Nationalists were an A) or a C).

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]The hunger strike proved to Unionists that when it came down to it that most Nationalists were an A) or a C).”[/i]

    The cries from Republicans that their murderous and criminal acts were political is similar to Michael Stone demanding his actions was performance art. It was and is simply a pathetic attempt to rewrite the wrongs they committed.

    The thing that is most pathetic and about it all, is that the Pope backed the hunger strikers in their attempt to declassify their terrorist crimes. Hardly surprising as he’s capable of washing away sin with a few murmers and chants.

    The majority of Irish Catholics north and South of the border joined in on this pathetic attempt to declassify terrorism as some sort of political act. The support the Pope and the Irish people gave to these murderers and criminals will stick to them like the shit stuck on the walls of Bobby Sands cell. It will forever tarnish the nature of Irish Republican and Irish Catholicism and only the Irish Catholics themselves can change that wrong by denoucing all terrorists as criminals, that includes the hunger strikers.

    The Shame is on them!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ulsters my homeland

    “the Irish people gave to these murderers and criminals will stick to them like the shit stuck on the walls of Bobby Sands cell”

    The Englezes then let them out of prison and put them into government and coerced the Unionist community to accept that or face greater ROI involvement in Norn Iron. What says you about those those to whom you swear your political allegiance?

  • barnshee

    Oh dear oh dear what ? most roman catholics support(ed) murderous bastards. “Oh no we only really supported them when they stopped” LOL

  • truth and justice

    Turgon

    I wonder is it ever possible for you to put a positive spread on Slugger or do you feel that with the way your life has turned out that you must preach the word of doom and gloom at all times?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    barnshee

    “Oh no we only really supported them when they stopped” LOL ”

    Well the Englezes sent their army to fight them and then when it was all over treated them like statesmen. Any LOLs for that?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Sammy

    People change, Thatcher changed and I will not be blaming her and my government as they were not the ones demanding terrorism be declassified. The people demanding and supporting terrorists be given political status are the ones who will be burdened with the shameful support they gave long into this century.

    911 made a difference to how people perceive political prisoners, even those who had sympathies with IRA terrorism. It opened the eyes of the ordinary Nationalist and Roman Catholic who were lead blind by their Priest or politician into supporting this pathetic attempt to declassify terror. The Irish Catholic is slowly opening his eyes and realising the true nature of terror, and by God, it’s long overdue, but it’s warmly welcomed by all of us who see murder and crime for what it truly is.

    No longer will the Irish Catholic be lead blind by the blind.

  • lurker

    “The support the Pope and the Irish people gave to these murderers and criminals…”

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Sep 27, 2008 @ 01:46 PM

    “Theres no such thing as an Irish people”

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Sep 25, 2008 @ 06:06 PM

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘..most roman catholics support(ed) murderous bastards.’

    Anyone else see the current issue of the Shankill Mirror, over half a page in the obits dedicated to the one and only Top Gun.

    Nevermind the fact that through supporting british crown forces, unionism had their own ‘legitimate’ murdering bastards, to say nothing of the wallpaper hi !

    It seems some people think that one day republicans decided they’d start killing people, whilst pretending there were no preceeding factors or centuries of turmoil. For many it seems the clock started when the first republican bullet was fired. Laughable. Sammy is correct, the brits released them because they knew different and how it must boil the blood of the colonial lackeys, ha ha !

    Oh and anyone else see what the idiot Cllr Stevenson wrote in the Kilmainham Gaol visitors book? it is typical of unionisms attitude that the british can do no wrong and if you resist your a scummy criminal. Colonial mentality at its finest.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ulsters my homeland

    If the Provos were murderous criminals how do you reconcile your own governement coercing Unionists – the UU were torn apart – into sharing government with them?

  • The protestants of south tyrone/fermanagh learned that they were in a war.It took the prods in the east of ulster a while longer to realise their situation but they were eventually forced into signing a treaty with the representatives of the IRA which was the Good Friday Agreement.
    Or did they sign an agreement with a bunch of criminals.
    Some unionists/loyalists are still in denial.

  • TAFKABO

    It seems some people will disuss anything, anything but the topic of this thread.
    You’d almost think it made uncomfortable reading for them.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]If the Provos were murderous criminals how do you reconcile your own governement coercing Unionists – the UU were torn apart – into sharing government with them?”[/i]

    First of all Sammy, there is no if’s and but’s about IRA/Sinn Fein being murderous criminals. They simply are. As for our government coercing Unionists, you’re living in a fantasy world. Unionists have been reasoning with Republican murderers (indirectly using Priests) for decades, so your point about the British government is nonsense.

    I suspect that you’ll now try to ask how I reconcile that Unionists were talking with Republican murderers (indirectly or not). I’ll answer it now to save you the bother. People change, even Republican murderers, but if they think they can rewrite history to make their past actions seem justified, they have another thing coming.

    That’s the issue here, it has nothing to do with how I or anyone else feels about reasoning with Republican terrorists or any terrorist for that matter. The issue is about rewriting past crimes and terror as some type of legitimate action. There is no excuse for crime and terror and there never shall be.

  • Dewi

    Thanks for the link Turgon. A very well written and interesting report:

    2 Specifics:

    The “tried and tested” practice of going to concillors and politicians of the other side for help. Truly how common is this practice?

    Is farming really such a centrality of Fermanagh existance?

    P.S. Funded by the Irish Government.

  • Alan

    I lived on a small family farm in south Fermanagh during the troubles. It was a truely horrible time. None of my family had any security force connections but we were still threatened and intimidated. Many family friends were murdered and it did feel at one stage that the idea was to make protestant farmers leave…..many did, to Canada and Scotland. I do want to put on record though the fantastic support of most of our catholic friends and neighbours. Thank God it is behind us now and these events should not be so glibly treated here on slugger like some kind of political knockabout.

  • Turgon

    It was Sammy McNally what done it,
    I largely agree with how you analyse nationalists thinking (not that I would know). I think the problem, and it is one that this report graphically illustrates, is that the overwhelming majority of the unionist community even more so in border areas do not see what happened as a war.

    By coincidence only last week it was being explained to me how a Fermanagh border family had to do what was referred to as “An overnight flit.”

    Truth and justice,
    You accuse me of negativity. Well maybe but I do think this report is important. I know you have told us before you are from Bangor and as such may have little understanding of what happened down here: I only know the detail of it through my in laws but I would have thought that to a DUP supporter like yourself or indeed any unionist it would make interesting reading. Would you rather we brush the inconvient issues of the past under the carpet? Maybe you would rather people did not mention what the military wing of SF did in this community?

    I also wholeheartedly agree with TAFKABO that there seems to be limited interest in engaging with what this report actually tells us about the past and present experiences of Fermanagh and Tyrone Protestants.

    Dewi,
    Farming is pretty central to the Fermanagh economy. You must remember that even Enniskillen town is actually very small: smaller than Carmarthen. Also even the non farmers are very likely to have some farming relatives.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    UMH

    “Unionists have been reasoning with Republican murderers (indirectly using Priests) for decades, so your point about the British government is nonsense. ”

    I take it you agree that the Engleze government coerced Unionists into sharing power with what most Unionists believed were a criminal murder gang?

    If you feel bitter about Nationalist views towards the Provo campaign I cant see how you dont feel outraged by the Engleze governement who actually allowed the Provos out of prison and into governement as well as removing the UDR and the RUC while allowing the Provos into Stormo without even disarming.

    Turgon,

    I’m not suggesting that there is any comparison between the way Catholis were treated in Northern Ireland and black were treated in SA – but do you not think that there are comparisons with white farmers whose familiers were killed by the ANC who had to swallow their hate for ther ANC and accept them in governement?

    The problem for Protestant communities, particualry in rural areas sorrounded by Nationalists is that were on the wrong side of the tide of history when the most recent outbreak of violent rejection of British rule broke out. But although there was undoubtedly a sectarian element to the Provo campaign its main driver was not anti-Protestant nor anti-British but but anti-British rule in Ireland.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]I take it you agree that the Engleze government coerced Unionists into sharing power with what most Unionists believed were a criminal murder gang? “[/i]

    I answered your question and no matter how many times you repeat the question the answer will still be the same.

    Crime is Crime, even Republican crime. Now go suck on a nice egg.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]I lived on a small family farm in south Fermanagh during the troubles. It was a truely horrible time. None of my family had any security force connections but we were still threatened and intimidated. Many family friends were murdered and it did feel at one stage that the idea was to make protestant farmers leave…..many did, to Canada and Scotland. I do want to put on record though the fantastic support of most of our catholic friends and neighbours. Thank God it is behind us now and these events should not be so glibly treated here on slugger like some kind of political knockabout. “[/i]

    I want to congratulate you for posting Alan, even although Slugger can’t be bothered. Crime should never be politiicised and we all should stand up for that.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ulsters my homeland

    I dont think you have answered my question.

    But this is the problem for Unionists – they have to maintain the double-think of condemning Nationalsits for not viewing the SF/IRA as a murder gang and yet they remain loyal to a British state that insists they share power with the ‘criminals’ they have released from prison and they are even happy to allow SF/IRA to run the Police and Justices departments.

    There are 2 logical explanations for this behaviour – either the Englezes dont share Unionists view of SF/IRA as a murder gang or they must be the most treachorous lundies since the boy Lundy himself.

  • Reader

    It was Sammy: There are 2 logical explanations for this behaviour – either the Englezes dont share Unionists view of SF/IRA as a murder gang or they must be the most treachorous lundies since the boy Lundy himself.
    I can’t speak for UMH or Turgon, since I have been a pro-agreement unionist since the Forum was elected over a decade ago. Does your logic make me a lundy in the same way as the British Government? I reckon, like all of the pro-agreement parties and participants, I made some serious compromises to get from where we were to where we are.
    Of course, you might think that nationalism did not compromise any of their principles to sign up the GFA. Is that your position? Or are SF and the SDLP also ‘lundies’ on the other side?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Reader,

    of course Nationalism compromised – and rightly so.

    My point is this – if the Englezes truly believed that the Provos were a murder gang – as most Unionists seem to believe – then from a Unionist viewpoint they would have been the biggest Lundies since Lundy himself – for forcing the Unionist politicians(via political threats) to share power with them.

    The reality is – the Englezes knew – that far from being a murder gang SF/IRA represented the violent reaction to the pigs Mickey that partition was and that they were partly responsible for the ensuing mess we all ended up in – in the shape of the troubles- hand of Hsitory and all that. The SF leaderships post-settlement behaviour has shown them to be far more like statesmen than criminals who have accepted a fair compromise. Any fair evaluation of the facts would support this view but is probably too painful for most Unionists to concede.

  • Greenflag

    Alan ,

    ‘Thank God it is behind us now ‘

    I would’nt thank God . I’d thank the British , Irish and American Governments for their patience in expending so much time and effort in trying to persuade recalcitrant ‘Unionism ‘ to accept the political fact of life that the ‘former ‘ political entity of Northern Ireland (1920 to 1972) was never going to come back and that power sharing with Irish nationalists and republicans would be the only deal going forward . Some Unionists to judge from some of the posts here have apparently still not got the message .

    ‘these events should not be so glibly treated here on slugger like some kind of political knockabout.’

    Correct . It can’t have been easy for those living in isolated communities . And I’m sure many were intimidated out . We can all repeat several times a day that it should never have happened . But it did . We have to hope it will never happen again.

    Maybe Northern Ireland should never have happened in the first place . It certainly seems to have caused a lot more trouble and human suffering among all sections of it’s communities than it’s worth 🙁

  • I am simply appalled at the lack of pick up on the posting from Alan in Fermanagh.
    He shows us the best and at the same time the worst of what went on in the Border areas.
    Everyone was trapped either by accident of birth to a particular religious/political tribe or into an adult powerlessness by by that accident.
    But the isolated farmers and families lived through their own particular Hell throughout.
    It’s not over though I’m afraid.
    What happened in the Border areas was a form of (God I hate this term) ethnic cleansing just as bad as Bombay Street was at the beginning of the madness, but was simply done over a longer term and without the interest of the media.
    By and large it was successful and a tactic that will not be forgotten, on either side.
    The major winners of Protestant farms sold were not banks and building societies but well established SF/IRA figures (come home Slab all is forgiven here in Co. Down)and the remaining farmers all along the Border know it.
    Even if the world has forgotten, or rather lost interest.
    Is the hand of history really on the shoulder of your success here I wonder Mr Blair?
    The sadness of the situation is that friends and people who just knew each other stood by and let this happen because it was death not to.
    Politics has to work for a civil society to work and the worry now is that those numpties in the Assembly who think simply because they have learned to talk they will always be saying worth listening to won’t work the politics and inexorably we slide back into the same old same old.

  • Hugh Dubh Oneil

    UMH
    “Crime is Crime”do you consider that craig and carson should have been arrested and sentenced to jailtime for illegal gunrunning and encouraging an armed insurrection against the British government!

  • iain

    Shocking hypocrisy from loyalism as usual. More Catholics died than Protestants during the ‘troubles/murder fest’ despite the catholic population being about half that of the protestant during much of that period. Basically a catholic was twice as likely to be a victim than a protestant so it was really a war against the catholic population of NI. Yet the myth persists.

  • Alan

    Iain. Where do you get your figures from and are you including the denomination of members of the British Army? At any rate I do think that citing statistics in terms of proportinate death rates does not really address the moral issue. Surely all deaths are to be condemned. Either side does not gain a moral victory just by cliaming that ‘more of us died’.

  • RepublicanStones

    Alan are you suggesting that members of the british army were targeted because of their religion?

  • Alan

    Of course not…are you? This just goes to reinforce my point that a raw Protestant/Catholic headcount does little to inform us in terms of the legitimacy or moral rights/wrongs of any actions.

  • iain

    “Surely all deaths are to be condemned. Either side does not gain a moral victory just by cliaming that ‘more of us died’.”

    Alan, it might surprise you that I happen to agree with you. My issue is with the hypocrisy. I’m almost certain that some of the Loyalists that come onto this site to condemn IRA killers will happily wear a poppy in November to comemorate soldiers that fought for their country. What do they think fighting for your country involves if not killing. More civilians died in Dresden in one night than dies during the whole “troubles/murder fest” yet those bomber pilots are heroes for some reason. Are British Army officiers that helped suppress the Mau Mau uprising also heroes. It’s a perversity of our society that violent men are glorified, often by religious fanatics/fundamentalists/mentalists.

  • Turgon

    Alan,
    I do not usually respond to the nonsense of the likes of iain. however, since you asked. he does this by selectively quoting the Sutton Index. If one divides the dead into Protestant, Roman Catholic and Not from NI: more Roman Catholics (1523)were killed than Protestants (1287). This ignores those not from NI killed here and elsewhere. Here is the link.

    These statistics do also, however, show that the single organisation responsible for the largest number of Roman Catholic deaths was of course the IRA.

    It all shows you can prove what you want with statistics. There are of course lies, damned lies and statistics.

  • Alan

    Turgon.
    Thanks for the link. I agree about the dangers of statistics without context, it is such a pity we all love to throw them in when it suits our view.

  • Reader

    It was Sammy: of course Nationalism compromised – and rightly so.
    Then here is the next step: The GFA set up mandatory coalition between any party of bigots, zealots, mopes or dinosaurs who could scrape up around 10% of the vote. That isn’t automatic endorsement of each one of those parties. And the rules aren’t limited to just the four parties we have seen so far, either. There could be worse in future.
    Likewise when the nationalist parties accepted Stormont and the Principle of Consent as compromises they had to swallow, they didn’t thereby endorse partition.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Reader,

    the Peace Process and political settlement were essentially a deal between the Provos and the Englezes as dreamt up by Johnny Hume.

    It is inconcievable that if the Provos were a criminal murder gang that a) the Englezes would have cut a deal with them b) The Nationalist population would have voted for them and c) they would have conducted themselves in such a statesmanlike fashion both at home and abroad since the settlement.

    Unionists, because of the suffering visited on their community by the Provos, are understandably reluctant to see past their murder gang theory but failure to do so will probably bring further setback upon their community which we are possibly about to see with their failure to do the Englezes bidding with Police and Justice.

  • iain

    Alan,
    I don’t support killings by the IRA. I don’t support the IRA. I have never, or would never vote for Sinn Fein. However, the hypocrisy of loyalism irritates me.

    “The election of Bobby Sands as MP for Fermanagh / South Tyrone remained a very significant issue:
    “Many Protestants and unionists saw it, both then and now, as a clear and unambiguous vote of support for the retention of the ‘armed struggle’ and the purging of Protestants from the land,” the report said.”

    Equally, voting for parties (i.e. the DUP and the OUP) that support the state whose forces killed 13 people on bloody Sunday might be seen by the nationalist community as support for the suppression of the nationalist community. Had any of those who were killed on Bloody Sunday been convicted of a crime? Were they not entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty? All killing is wrong. Including the killings you like/agree with. And aside from that, why say armed struggle when that really means murder. Just say murder.

  • Richard James

    “The Englezes then let them out of prison and put them into government and coerced the Unionist community to accept that or face greater ROI involvement in Norn Iron. What says you about those those to whom you swear your political allegiance?”

    I don’t know a single Unionist who has sworn allegience to Blair’s government, are any administration.

    Incidentally the same goes for any Englezes I know.

  • Richard James

    Sammy,

    I take it from your posts you wouldn’t regard killing people for no other reason than they are Protestant as being either criminal or murder?

  • iain

    “These statistics do also, however, show that the single organisation responsible for the largest number of Roman Catholic deaths was of course the IRA.”

    Well there you are! so much for the IRA sectarian murder campaign, unless it was a sectarian murder campaign against catholics.

  • Peter Brown

    Iain

    Are you Bob in disguise?

    The catholics killed by the IRA were presumably labelled as collaborators who were legitimate targets or colateral damage mistakes and therefore not sectarian.

    The protestants were killed because of their religion or to be more accurate their perceived political beleiefs in the same crude way that nearly all the catholics killed by loylaists were shot simply because of their beliefs.

    And to attempt to draw a comparison bewteen SF & DUP/UUP or Carson and Craig has been dealt with a length on other threads. Who was killed by the 1912 UVF? Which DUP / UUP politician claimed to have an armalite in one hand and a ballot box in the other?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “The question of whether or not there had been a concerted campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Border regions was for most interviewees an accepted fact.”

    The killing of Unionist folk by the IRA along the border was indeed blatant sectarian murder. An horrendous crime on the rural Unionist community! It was another awful facet of the Troubles!

    However, I could be a bad little bastard and accuse Unionists of MOPERY here, as Nationalists are accused of quite often by hardline Unionists when they mention past grievances. ‘Forget about it and move on’ Nationalists are told; the ‘Most Oppressed People’ is bandied about with a sneer, as Unionist folk don’t want to know. Out of sight, out of mind! The whole genesis of the Troubles kinda becoming lost!

  • Greenflag

    Belfast greyhound,

    ‘I am simply appalled at the lack of pick up on the posting from Alan in Fermanagh. ‘

    In what sense ? Not enough replies or insufficient lack of empathy /sympathy? Could it simply be that people have had enough of NI and it’s endemic navel gazing into the past ?. I don’t want to appear callous to the victims but there is a strong feeling that while unearthing the ‘facts’ is always good if only for the official record -the public is not enamoured of re opening old wounds for fear the scab will fall off and the bleeding recommences ?

    ‘He shows us the best and at the same time the worst of what went on in the Border areas.’

    That he does -and so does the official report .

    I recall posting on ‘repartition ‘threads that unofficial ‘repartition’/voluntary/involuntary had been underway for decades in NI and the response even here on slugger was that it was ‘not’ happening ‘ . Even when I quoted the numbers re the exodus of unionists from the west bank of Derry – nobody wanted to know or either knew and cared less or to be brutally frank -could do nothing about it anyway as they were/are all trapped by their own accidents of birth . At the mere mention of a fair and agreed ‘repartition’ there was /is a response that it is impractical because there would be too many of themuns on the other side or more simply I would be on the ‘other side’ if it happened and thus want none of it . Understandable of course but then so was the first ‘partition’

    ‘Everyone was trapped either by accident of birth to a particular religious/political tribe or into an adult powerlessness by that accident.’

    Again full marks for the obvious .

    ‘But the isolated farmers and families lived through their own particular Hell throughout.’

    In terms of ‘lives ‘ lost I would think the residents of North , West and East Belfast had their more numerous ‘ hells’ even if they were of a more communal and less isolated nature .

    ‘It’s not over though I’m afraid.’

    Does this mean it’s still going on or is just in limbo awaiting the next ‘melt down’ of the fragile political order that is this Assembly ?

    ”What happened in the Border areas was a form of (God I hate this term) ethnic cleansing just as bad as Bombay Street was at the beginning of the madness, but was simply done over a longer term and without the interest of the media. ‘

    NI was not /is not the Balkans well not yet anyway even if it seems to have diced with that possibility in the past . The reason it will never be ‘allowed’ to become the NW Balkans is because of the nearby presence of both the British and Irish governments .

    As for the ‘media ‘ . What was it Joe Stalin said one human death is a tragedy but millions of deaths are a ‘statistic’ If you are into ‘statistics ‘ best not to look for them in the media unless of course they refer to the latest political opinion polls or the where Britain /Ireland stands in the league table of the world’s drunks :(.

    ‘Is the hand of history really on the shoulder of your success here I wonder Mr Blair? ‘

    What is this supposed to mean ? Are you trying to blame one British Prime Minister for the consequences of British / Unionist policy in Northern Ireland over the past couple of centuries ?

    ‘The sadness of the situation is that friends and people who just knew each other stood by and let this happen because it was death not to.’

    True – most people unionist or nationalist loyalist or republican are ‘live ‘ cowards and have scant interest in becoming ‘dead ‘ heroes . This is a universal human condition and it is one with which either politics or non politics has to work .

    ‘Politics has to work for a civil society to work’

    DUH

    Oxygen is a necessary requirment for breathing. Not too much not too little . At 10% air content you also need an atmosphere and an ozone layer to live .

    The problem with Northern Ireland is that was established in a poor atmosphere and a large minority of it’s population had their ‘oxygen ‘ content ‘reduced ‘. The ‘protective’ ozone layer for too long was restricted to covering mostly those of the unionist persuasion .

    These past few decades have seen various agencies and both governments pump more oxygen into the NI political atmosphere to help it ‘breathe’. But even ‘oxygen ‘ taken to excess can be poisonous.
    We may have reached that point -i.e an overdose of ‘oxygen ‘ in NI’s political atmosphere .

  • Dewi

    Another interesting thing is the universal opposition amongst those questioned to mixed marriages. Whereas in fact a general level of 6% in NI and 2.2% West is quoted by Cain
    Mixed Marriages

    Now 2.2% doesn’t sound a lot but it isstatistically a great deal bigger than 0 and implies, over generations, a considerable degree of mixing. My point – not really sure…

  • Greenflag

    UMH

    ‘The issue is about rewriting past crimes and terror as some type of legitimate action. There is no excuse for crime and terror and there never shall be.’

    These are very fine upstanding words which tell us that black is black and white is white and that east is east and west is west . Full marks for the obvious then.

    However a quick run through of some human history would show that the ‘words’ are not in accord with the historical facts of life and of humanity’s record not just in NI but throughout the world .

    For there to be ‘crime ‘ there first of all has to be law . Law is a ‘human ‘ creation made by men througout the ages . Historically law has often been and still is being used, to the advantage of those who have, as oppossed to those who have not in societies all around the world . Those who rule have the ‘law ‘ on their side . Those who ‘have not’ often find that ‘law’ does not always equate to ‘justice ‘
    The ‘law ‘ has improved in recent centuries at least in respect of the vast majority of citizens in modern democratic states . In many other parts of the world the ‘law’ is often still what the local ‘gangsters’ be they in or out of ‘uniform ‘ say is the law . Anybody who has been ‘shaken ‘ down by ‘uniforms’ at a police check point in parts of Africa or Eastern Europe would understand .

    To say there is no ‘excuse’ for crime and terror EVER is to say that mankind everywhere must endure and accept whatever ‘tyranny’ is imposed on them by the power of the day . It means that the French and American and Russian revolutions and yes even the Irish uprising should never have happened . It means that the Penal Laws should still be in force and that slavery is fine . It means that a large number of famous historical figures from George Washington to Eamon De Valera to Micheael Collins to Nelson Mandela to Menachim Begin to Edward Carson to Wat Tyler were ‘wrong’ and that the British Empire and Medieval Feudalism was ‘right ‘.

    What happened in NI over the past 40 years or the previous 40 or in Ireland over the past 800 and everywhere else in the world happened . Events have consequences and often those who cause events have delivered unto them unintended consequences . We all try to live with the consequences and try to move on .

    Would those who committed the 9/11 atrocity in New York have thought twice had they known that their atrocity would result in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and the destabilisation of the Middle East ?

    I don’t believe so . Such is the ‘mind ‘ of some of those of the fundamentalist fanatical religious mindset that the ‘end’ always justifies the means because their God has told them even if that message was delivered ‘second hand ‘ via one of God’s self appointed bearded messengers or armed thugs .

    Beware the ‘fundamentalist’ mind set . Be it in religion or politics or for that matter in the ‘free market’

    They have been known to deliver the very opposite of what they said they intended to deliver .

    Of course at the time of their promises they had of course the best of intentions 🙁

  • Greenflag

    I actually read the report focusing on the summaries .

    Overall it seems to be suggesting that the Border Protestants should become more like the Catholics and the maybe the Catholics more like the Protestants .

    In a world where the next American President may be the result of ‘mixed ‘ marriage and has family stretched across three continents -Fermanagh seems more than a little ‘bizarre’ . And yet anybody who has been there and met it’s people would not come away with the view that these people are ‘ahem ‘ bizarre’ .

    The question is would there be ‘border protestants’ without a border ? The ‘mentality ‘ ascribed to border protestants in some mirrors the ‘mentality ‘ ascribed to those catholics living in majority ‘unionist areas and indeed of ‘minority’ mentalities everywhere .Only in it’s particular local political framework and recent history does Fermanagh stick out

    The opposition to ‘mixed marriages ‘ is a natural and understandable reaction to the fear of a minority community becoming even more of a minority community .

    Assuming for the sake of argument that all Catholics and Protestants in Fermanagh tomorrow became atheists would the ‘fears’ of the former border protestants disappear ?

    No they would’nt because at base these ‘fears’ are derivative second hand from the main fear which is that of being ‘submerged ‘ in an all Ireland State . . Fermanagh Unionists know that their fellow unionists in Cos Monaghan , Cavan and Donegal were ‘sold out’ in 1920 . They are not unmindful that they could be next down the road in the event that ‘power sharing ‘ politics fails again .

    Marrying out of one’s religious community in border areas is seen effectively as ‘selling out’ on the constitutional question . It has little to do with religious mores per se -more a case of weakening still further an already weakened community which strives to maintain it’s own self of itself in a fast changing world .

    It’s not a problem confined to Fermanagh alone .It’s one which affects people in many parts of Ireland and the world as people strive to ‘accomodate’ people of other national, cultural and religious backgrounds into their communities .

    What gives Fermanagh it’s unique edge in this instance is I think a kind of ‘understanding ‘ among border protestants that the ‘present political ‘ accomodation will be just of a temporary nature .

    Looking at how the politicians in NI have performed over the past year I’d have to agree that ‘it’s not over yet’ but I do believe that the worst is over -which is of course no grounds for complacency or dilly dallying and all the more reason to push ahead with Justice devolution assuming of course that the DUP/SF actually do want ‘devolution’ to succeed .

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Richard James

    “I take it from your posts you wouldn’t regard killing people for no other reason than they are Protestant as being either criminal or murder? ”

    I would regard it as murder and criminal – there were aspects of of the campaigns by the Provos and the Engleze army that fell into this category. I dont think either of their campaigns should though be described as a murder campaign.

    “I don’t know a single Unionist who has sworn allegience to Blair’s government, are any administration. ”

    I meant allegaince to the state – all the mainstream Englzes parties were in favour of the GFA and the coercing of Unionists into accepting a settlement. If Unionists are outraged that Nationalists dont see the the IRA/SF as a murder gang it follows they should be far more outraged that the Englezes effectively treated IRA/SF as statesmen by allowing them into government and granted them numerous political concessions.

  • Greenflag

    IWSMNWDI,

    ‘If Unionists are outraged that Nationalists dont see the the IRA/SF as a murder gang it follows they should be far more outraged that the Englezes effectively treated IRA/SF as statesmen by allowing them into government and granted them numerous political concessions. ‘

    Unionists can’t afford to be too outraged at British policy in NI . There is that 6 billion a year . Unionist politicians are only too well aware that there is scant sympathy for their position except perhaps among some of the more right wing Tories . Such sympathy is of course directly correlated to the number of seats which Unionists may elect to Westminster and their possible use in a tight election result .

    One note in the report which mentioned Unionist ‘disbelief’ or ‘horror ‘ that Republicans and Nationalists ignored their RC Bishops re the hunger strikers struck me as indicative of the vast empty space which is ‘Unionist’ knowledge or awareness of Irish history . Irish history is mostly a matter of supreme indifference to British people living in Torquay , Tunbridge Wells , Sunderland , Inverness or Carmarthen but to people in Fermanagh , Tyrone , Armagh etc it seems to be that more than a smattering of knowledge would be helpful at least during times of upheaval and political uncertainty i.e (NI 1968 to the present ).For Unionists to have some chance of crossing the sectarian barrier for votes even for second and lower preference votes .

    Anyone who understood their irish history would have known that in any ‘conflict ‘ between the RC Church and the Hunger Strikers the latter would have won . The RC Church is not a democratic institution and in the not so distant past (1800 to 1910 )it has ‘wavered between support for and opposition to the Union depending on the colour of the political environment . The ‘greener’ their congregations became the ‘greener’ became the bishops . Was’nt there a Kerry/Cork Bishop who loudly proclaimed from the pulpit that ‘hell was’nt hot enough or eternity long enough for the Fenians ‘

    Although the RC’s influence to determine the ‘political agenda was greater in 1981 than it is todayit was nothing like it had been in the 1950’s when Archbishop McQuaid felt emboldened or arrogant enough to suggest that the Yugoslav “communist ‘ soccer team Red Star Belgrade should not be allowed to play in Ireland .

    For most of us in the Republic we Irish are Irish first and being catholic, protestant or jewish or anything else is increasingly lower down the list of self identification markers .

    For Northern Irelands ‘border ‘ protestants living in a part of a divided State where they are a local minority – with most having at best a cursory acquaintanceship with Irish history the ‘ease’ with which Southerners or even Northern nationalists can appear to ‘ignore’ their God in support of a political cause/party must strike many as ‘alien’

    It is . BUt it’s no more ‘alien’ than the ‘ease’ with which English , Scots and Welsh and French and Germans do the same . It’s the ‘northern ‘ unionist mentality which is ‘alien ‘ at least from a wider modern European perspective .

    Not that that would bother some of our self ‘chosen ‘ people in the least.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Greenflag,

    yes, it is indeed a fine example of double-think by Unionists.

    My favourite example of republican double-think is expecting the Englezes to reveal all about their antics ( which they have done at least in relation to Bloody Sunday) and Grizzly pretending he only wore a black beret as a fashion statement.

  • Steve

    My favourite example of republican double-think is expecting the Englezes to reveal all about their antics ( which they have done at least in relation to Bloody Sunday)

    You dont actually believe this do you?

  • Greenflag

    IWSMNWDI,

    ‘My favourite example of republican double-think is expecting the Englezes to reveal all about their antics ( which they have done at least in relation to Bloody Sunday) and Grizzly pretending he only wore a black beret as a fashion statement.’

    Well yes but surely the biggest example of ‘republican ‘ doublethink’ is that a UI can be seen on the horizon 😉

    My life experiences in parts of the world where the ‘horizon’ could be seen tells me otherwise. I’ve always noticed that the nearer I approach said horizon the further away it recedes 😉

    Perhaps it’s because I live on a curved ball :)Our Northern neighbours are restricted alas by the flat earth of their unique self enclosed universe, and the all encompassing separate universes of the ‘British Fata Morgana ‘ and the ‘Republican Illusion ‘ where both stretch on into an infinity that is /will can only even flatter in the future than it is in the present 🙁

    But there is a silver lining 🙂 At least you can’t fall off a flat earth 😉

    Nobody has in the last 6,000 years anyway according to reports emanating from DUP sources connected to the ‘creationist’ school of scientific thought 🙁

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Greenflag,

    the UI thing is more a case of wishful thinking – undoubtedly fuelled by the reluctance of the lazy academic feckers in Norn Iron to analyse the 2001 census data properly.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0910/bethany.html

    It looks like Protestants in Eire did indeed have a rough time.