Identity as a weapon

Even the UnIrish may be Irish too but both the Hawk and the Sparrow can accurately claim to be birds so it is perhaps a statement of limited usefulness.Browse some of the Unionist blog sites like 3000 Versts or A Pint Of Unionist Lite and the authors are quick to take umbrage at Nationalist co-option of “Irish” but search their sites and you will find precious little to do with the either the state to their south or of the other set of people that have pride in that name, save where it impacts on their own narrow interest. Unionist Lite helpfully includes a list of tags: neither “Ireland” nor “Republic” appear there. There is plenty on advantage of the Union and how it is superior to a Nationalist model and can accommodate everyone, plenty on why Nationalist (or Nationalist policy) X is bad. But in terms of interest in the actual people – North or South- what makes them tick and why, they are as barren as any Nationalist or Republican blog on Unionists. Plenty of pontificating, little attempt at understanding.

This strikes me as identity as a weapon; the claim to an Irish identity has less to do with a genuine desire to express and add to that heritage and more to do with blocking the others expression of their identity. It’s the same logic that seeks to ban tricolours on St Patrick’s Day in Belfast or block Irish citizens from playing for the team they identify with. The formulation is simple: if you accept the logic, then you must bow to Unionist wishes for fear of offending, if you do not accept it, then you are a hypocrite for going against the principles you espouse.

Even if the motivation behind the challenge is dubious, the challenge still remains. So how to deal with it? It is a knotty problem as I suspect those that formulate it know. Two points come to mind. The first is that we must reject the idea that I somehow have to hide my identity under a bushel for fear of offending you. I am proud of my heritage and would fiercely defend my right to celebrate and defend it. If you have an issue with my identity, then the problem is with you and not me. Similarly, if you have something different to add, something you feel is important, then it is up to you to push that and make sure your voice is heard. The Irish language movement, or the success of Irish music, or even the dominance of Nationalist culture as “Irish” happened because people did just that. It was important to them and they were prepared to make themselves heard. The expectation of the same seems a minimal requirement. The flipside is that Republicanism has to be open to that. It has to make space for alternative views, alternative conceptions of “Irish” and welcome them in. It is easy to be dismissive and to lose points of contact or shared experience by cultural chauvinism; much harder to allow other views and ideas to flow freely.

This is important beyond the traditional Orange / Green divide. Whatever the long run economic impact of the downturn, both jurisdictions have sizeable immigrant populations that are wth us for the long haul. What does it mean to be Polish-Irish, African-Irish, Chinese-Irish? It is probably something different that went before. If we shut ourselves into a purely Gaelic shell we miss the chance to grow and enrich our culture and potentially lock out whole sections of populace from wider society and civic institutions, damaging everyone. In terms of loyalties, Unionism will always prevent a particular problem for Republicans due to their insistence on rule from outside the island, but there are lessor questions that face immigrant communities. Ireland has benefited greatly from second and third generation immigrants identifying with it – this process could easily run in reverse. Can we embrace some wider dispersion of loyalties and avoid applying “Cricket tests”? This seems like a key challenge going forward.

  • Dewi

    Odd thing is dynamic – Orange stuff just seems so like 1780s – which might have been cool at the time but things have changed since then – that’s not being uninclusive but it’s surely time to re-evaluate.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Contrary to the Trimblesque spin the architecture of the GFA places the constitutional future of Norn Iron centre stage.

    The British have now given the people of Norn Iron a status similar to those of Hong Kong pre-handover i.e. it belongs to another nation – the Irish nation (as the people of Ireland North and South and not Britain, now decide its constitutional status) but its British status is not determined by timeframe as in Hong Kong but by the electorate.

    As Britain has recognised in the GFA that the people of Norn are now a part of the Irish Nation but Norn Iron still retains its British status it is hardly suprising that Unionists and Nationalists would both feel defensive about the strength of their respective claims of national identity.

    If people didnt want “Cricket tests” then they should not have signed up to GFA.

  • Nomad

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it,

    I like how you added your last line to make it look like you actually read Kensei’s post!!

    Ken,

    Good post- it seems like continued mature leadership is required to keep developing an appreciation, or at least a tolerance of the views and identity of others. In the same way Paisley Snr was on Raidio Failte recently offering further leadership to the Prodestant community by doing. The conversation often gets carried wayward by those resetting the agenda with the same fears and rhetoric and nothing else.

    That said, an individual *being* Irish, or British, doesn’t really need to be shouted about in itself.

    Things like The Irish Language Act would probably go further too, if BOTH sides would visibly meet in the middle somewhere. Unfortunately, while everyone is free to express themselves, to get new things legislated there will need to be some sort of joint consensus, and joint appreciation of identity. We should all know by now, saying the same things over and over does not always resonate with our neighbours.

  • OC

    Is “Prodestant” offensive in the way that some contend that “Oirish” is?

  • Nomad

    I hope not, as I am sure had I have spell checked, it would not have appeared in the post! Long day.

    [Mick- Can we have a spell check option when Slugger is magically updated!]

  • ABC

    “It’s the same logic that seeks to ban tricolours on St Patrick’s Day in Belfast”

    Waving the Republic of Ireland flag in Belfast at shared events is hardly contributing to good community relations. If you choose to have a foreign RoI passport, big deal- it saves the UK Government having to look after you when you misbehave abroad! But you are living in the United Kingdom. I know it’s difficult for you to come to terms with that, but you must start that journey- and learn to enjoy your Northern Irish identity within the British context.

  • kensei

    ABC

    http://www.london.gov.uk/stpatricksday/festival/index.jsp

    You might catch a glimpse of something shocking in the picture.

    The jurisdiction is irrelevant to my identity. It’s your problem.

  • ABC

    to kensei :-

    London has many events celebrating British, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Ulster culture. Flags of every nation are flown. Unlike events in Dublin.

    Saying “it’s your problem” is not a very mature statement (but very Republican). You are aware of the sensitivities of the situation in Northern Ireland. In such a context, flying a foreign RoI flag in shared spaces is rightly seen as a provocative gensture. Pretending you don’t live in the UK doesn’t solve anything. Time to acknowledge, move on and enjoy life in British Northern Ireland!

  • kensei

    ABC

    London has….

    Special pleading. Next.

    You are aware of the sensitivities of the situation in Northern Ireland.

    Correct. You need to get over it.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    ABC

    “Pretending you don’t live in the UK doesn’t solve anything. Time to acknowledge, move on and enjoy life in British Northern Ireland! ”

    Pretending you are not part of the Irish Nation doesn’t solve anything. Time to acknowledge, move on and enjoy life on the Irish island of Ireland

  • Democratic

    I have no problem with Nationalists/Republicans having their own version of the 12th July on St’ Pat’s Day – but please be honest with yourselves about it – seeking to blame the other side for the genuine feelings that “themmuns” flags and anthems evoke after 30 years of troubles here is intellectually dishonest in the extreme in my opinion….

  • kensei

    Democratic

    I am not suggesting a “12th fo July”. Indeed, if people read the whole piece, I state we should be open to other conceptions of Irish and make space for it.

    I have no doubt some people genuinely cannot abide seeing a tricolour. That does not make it any more justifiable. It’s not a matter of “blame”, it’s simply recognising the people that have the problem.

  • Driftwood

    What is the actual difference between being ‘Irish’ or ‘British’? Our so called culture is mostly imported from America and is rapidly losing all connections with history. good thing too.
    I identify myself as ‘Mammal’.

  • Democratic

    “I have no doubt some people genuinely cannot abide seeing a tricolour”
    Without getting into the usual mud-slinging it is generally when it is used out of context and presented as representative of all is when the problems begin (such as St Pat’s day in NI) – just like if I where to try to impress upon you that the Union Jack represents you too – technically true in theory but sure to get the fists clenching in reality.
    Anyway your overall point I can see from the truly republican mindset and can understand that your heart is in the right place alright. However using an example of the London St’ Pat’s parade for a comparitvely small Irish community by enlarge as an example of how things could be doesn’t really resonate here when those in London were never really involved in a conflict with their Irish neighbours nor ever presented with a feeling of siege being placed on their loyalties and identity. How to square that circle I don’t know – but to simply tell someone that it is their problem how they perceive such events is both irresponsible and like I said intellectually dishonest.

  • kensei

    Without getting into the usual mud-slinging it is generally when it is used out of context and presented as representative of all is when the problems begin

    I believe I covered that. Making sure your voice is heard is not up to me. I can facilitate, but that’s it.

    However using an example of the London St’ Pat’s parade for a comparitvely small Irish community by enlarge as an example of how things could be doesn’t really resonate here when those in London were never really involved in a conflict with their Irish neighbours

    O RLY?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_London#Irish_republican_attacks_during_the_troubles

    Once again: Special Pleading.

    How to square that circle I don’t know – but to simply tell someone that it is their problem how they perceive such events is both irresponsible and like I said intellectually dishonest.

    I think you’ll find my position entirely intellectually and internally consistent. The fact that you cannot handle that it’s your problem, that it annoys me telling you its your problem, does not make it any less of your problem. Sometimes people have to hear some stuff they don’t like.

    And really, people are focusing on the least inetrsting part of the argument here. Predictably.

  • Democratic

    Jesus Kensei – are you going to stamp your feet at me?…
    Listen you can tell me that it’s my problem ’til your blue in the face – there is truth that everyone should be made to examine their attitudes certainly but the whole truth is that it is a much your problem as mine – perhaps if their was a way to tackle the issue without trying to shout down the opposition or denounce them as anti-peace and progress as the old style Shinners would do as I remember….
    BTW – special pleading – eh?

  • kensei

    Democratic

    Jesus Kensei – are you going to stamp your feet at me?…

    No, I am going to calmly lay down the facts. You can spin it how you like, but if you have an issue with tricolours then I am sorry. Not a lot I can do on it though.

    Listen you can tell me that it’s my problem ‘til your blue in the face – there is truth that everyone should be made to examine their attitudes certainly but the whole truth is that it is a much your problem as mine

    I am an Irish republican and have never seen the need to apologise for it. I do not intend to start. If you have an issue with that I am not about to start apologising or playing it down for fear of fofendign you. The position cannot be justified on a rational basis.

    – perhaps if their was a way to tackle the issue without trying to shout down the opposition or denounce them as anti-peace and progress as the old style Shinners would do as I remember….

    I am not shouting you down. But I believe very sincerely you are wrong here, I do not believe your position can be justified and if you are going to kepp repeating it, I am going to keep telling you that.

    BTW – special pleading – eh?

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/special-pleading.html

  • Democratic

    Ok Kensei ignoring all the irrelevant bits – if you really are just going to keep telling “themmuns” if they have a problem with your flags and anthems etc they can metaphorically go stick their “unjustified” manufactured issues and the fault for this lies squarely with “themmuns” then yes I agree we are done here – good luck with the continuation of your Republican project….

  • kensei

    Democratic

    Ok Kensei ignoring all the irrelevant bits – if you really are just going to keep telling “themmuns” if they have a problem with your flags and anthems etc they can metaphorically go stick their “unjustified” manufactured issues and the fault for this lies squarely with “themmuns”

    Am I throwing around blame for anything? No, I am not sure where the conception of “blame” comes from, unless I can be blamed for being what I am.

    Am I telling anyone anything? No. This is an intellectual exercise on how to approach a particular issue. In practice it simply means refusal to compromise when it comes to expresing my identity, and asking people to justify their position if they question it. Which, like you, they will spectacularly fail to do. They’ll come up with special pleading, straw men, emotional appeal, fallacious arguments. But I have yet to see one good reason why Unionists being Irish means I have to hide mine. Perhaps they will come up with a specific issue that has merit. Then by all means look at that issue on its own merits, but it is in no way generalisable. It is unfortunate if that places people in opposition, but it is the only possible position I can see to take.

    I could have swore that wasn’t all I said though.

  • So essentially my contention that I am Irish and that Irish nationalism doesn’t have a monopoly on the term is just a tactical ploy to wrongfoot republicans. Ok. Rather than dignify that with careful consideration I think I might just do some work.

  • Alan

    Kensei

    If there was to be a united island of Ireland tomorrow, do you think that the tricolour and the soldier’s song are capable of uniting it?

  • Billy Fish

    Such arrogant drivel.

    Reminds me of my life in education when I was required to wade through similar self-serving nonsense and how I lamented the department’s decision to ever allow degree studies into the Northern Ireland prison system.

  • Kensei

    Chekov

    I certainly believe that is an element within Unionism. Whether or not that applies to you in particular, I have no idea. The complete lack of interest in the people except as political actors in a wider game is fairly clear from your site, however. You probably have more interest in Russians than in other Irishmen.

    That’s fine. But this tends to be something thrown up at Republicans; I am simply pointing out that for all the talk of brave new dawns, that cuts both ways.

  • Kensei

    Alan

    If there was to be a united island of Ireland tomorrow, do you think that the tricolour and the soldier’s song are capable of uniting it?

    That’s not the point. Do you think they would still mean something to me, and to other people on the island?

    Whether or not it would end up as the flag or anthem of a United State, that state would have to have room for Gaelic Irishness and current Unionist Irishness and Immigrant Irishness. So it means room for the Tricolour, but also room for the Stormont Banner and immigrant culture.

    I love how people take only half the argument.

    Billy

    Man playing will be nuked. One warning, and that’s it.

  • Democratic

    What compromise on the expression of your identity would you like to see Kensei – I do not recall ever stating that you should apologise for “who you are” nor what you hold to. It is you who are constructing straw men here.
    Am I required to have no issue with symbols, flags anthems etc, to be progressive? In that case you will find few progressive individuals in this country no?
    “But I have yet to see one good reason why Unionists being Irish means I have to hide mine.”
    I don’t know what this means I’m afraid could you explain?

  • “The complete lack of interest in the people except as political actors in a wider game is fairly clear from your site, however.”

    That’s quite a judgment to make from posts on a web log disproportionately concerned with politics. In consideration of your sensibilities I’ll be cramming in the human interest stories from now on.

  • Kensei

    Democratic

    Am I required to have no issue with symbols, flags anthems etc, to be progressive?

    Within reason.

    In that case you will find few progressive individuals in this country no?

    Yes. And?

    Chekov

    That’s quite a judgment to make from posts on a web log disproportionately concerned with politics. In consideration of your sensibilities I’ll be cramming in the human interest stories from now on.

    I should have thought that if you had an interest in politics and expanding yoru base you would naturally have an interest in the people you are trying to attract, even from a political perspective. Also lots of why the Union is great, Britishness, British x, British y. Almsot next to nothing on anythign on Ireland. I think you had a post up on Harrington once. It is clear where your focus and interests lie. Not unexpected, but again, just pointing out that its not simply Republicans that have issues here.

    And in any case, posts on darts, football, books, film – you throw up occassional things that interest you. Apparently little about Ireland interests you.

  • Alan

    Kensei

    You talk about N.I. unionist’s insistance about having outside rule yet the republic’s goverment could not pass a law unless approved by the vatican’s representative’s in the country. I know things have changed over the past fifteen years, mainly due to the child abuse scandal, yet the republic’s goverment deemed it ok to pay taxpayers money to compensate the abused on behalf of the Roman Catholic church.

    I noticed recently that at the R.C. archbishop of Dublin new year mass the President, a senior army officer representing Brian Cowan, the commandant of republic’s armed forces, the senior judge in the country, Gardia commissioner and other high ranking officials in the south were in attendance in official capacity. Do they attend other dononination’s in such numbers or is the republic returning to it’s catholic roots.

    I would just like to add that they are perfectly entitled to attend the church of their choice in a personal capacity but I really believe that church and state in whatever country need to be completely seperate.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Jaypers, here’s another mud wrestling session.

    “Even the UnIrish may be Irish too but both the Hawk and the Sparrow can accurately claim to be birds so it is perhaps a statement of limited usefulness.”

    Indeed, but the Sparrow is a member of the Passeridae bird family.

    The Hawk is a member of the of the Accipitridae bird family.

    But, I think this is where Irish Republican Nationalists get it wrong is when they try to tell Northern Irish Unionists what they are. Unionists know perfectly well who they are, I’m sure…British citizens first and foremost, no doubt! It is the fundamental difference of which they are very proud, and that’s the unique difference they have with the Irish Nationalists of Northern Ireland and the whole of Ireland.

    So let’s leave it at that then and stop harking on at them about how Irish they are (like us), when in fact they have their special differences that they would like to maintain unhindered, ie their very Britishness!

    Love it or hate it, Irish Republican Natonalist folk accept it. Constantly niggling at folk just irritates them. Leave them be!

    BTW, Folk from anywhere in the world that are too nationalistic about where they are from can be so nauseating….and ain’t that the truth and whether it be…Northern Ireland, Ireland, Britain etc..!

  • Democratic

    That all I’m getting Kensei then?
    This is who I am – this is what I love – f*ck you if you don’t like it – that’s your problem!
    Good luck with your mature approach to such sensitive issues. Like I said by all means have a “Nationalist 12th” on St. Pat’s Day or whatever currently unspecified expression of your identity you would like you see – but please don’t ask “themmuns” to cheer for you though….

  • Kensei

    Alan

    The Republic doesn’t have an Established Church unlike the UK. Whoopsie. It would be a bit odd if they turned up to Christmas Mass in personal but not official capacities. I am sure in the event of Ireland ever being reunified Unionists can stipulate this as a precondition. Or not.

    The Catholic Church’s influence has been waning for a lot longer than 15 years and this isan old tired argument that has nothing to do with this thread.

    Greagoir

    Yes. My point about birds is really excellent, isn’t it?

    I am very specifically not telling people who they are, or “harking” at them. The little debate with Chekov is a side show, it isn’t personal. But the challenge is laid down by Mick amongst others, that republicans need to find some way of dealing with it. I’m merely considering it. I have a few relatedy things to add, which will probably pop up when I can be bothered.

  • Kensei

    Democratic

    You appear to have a problem reading everything I write. And unable to justify why you should not be able to tolerate a tricolour, you have a pop. Try again.

  • GGN

    Kensei,

    There is something I dont get here.

    Look, on the the question of Unionist’s identity I have absolutely no idea, how would I, I am not a unionist and in my experience if you ask a ten unionists what their nationality is you could well get ten answers, the common thread is ‘Britishness’ in some sense however.

    But how unionists describe themselves is not something I would see as any of my business.

  • Kensei

    GGN

    But how unionists describe themselves is not something I would see as any of my business.

    It is if you consider the meaning of the Tricolour. It is when they say they are “Irish” in some sense. It is if you are seeking to promote a common Irish identity.

    I have tried to point out that it isn’t for me to define it for them, or push it. If an Irishidentity is important to Chekov, then it is up to him to push it. But I do think it is important to be open to it, and to leave space for it.

  • Greenflag

    driftwood ,

    ‘I identify myself as ‘Mammal’. ‘

    But are you a Unionist ‘mammal’ or a Republican ‘mammal’ or a Protestant mammal or a Catholic mammal -a British mammal or an Irish or an American ‘mammal ‘ ?

    BTW ‘rats’ are also mammals 😉 Welcome to the club 😉

  • alan

    Kensei

    I don’t think that you answered my question regarding what could unite a new agreed Ireland. I been married long enough to know that to have a successful marriage both partners need to compromise. My wife and I come from totally different social backgrounds. We think differently politically and disagree on many things, but we do not go out of the way to annoy one another. If you do not see that as regards the flag and anthems issue then you are blind or incredibly niave.

    Go into any Orange hall say in Donegal and you will find many things british, like flags and pictures of royalty. They do not display them openly because that might annoy a few people so they cherish them privately. That is what you need to do if there was ever an agreed Ireland.

  • GGN

    Kensei,

    I wouldnt have considered there to be no space for it.

    “common Irish identity”

    I am not overly interested in identity but surely ‘mulitple’ identities are more preferable?

  • Kensei

    Alan

    Go into any Orange hall say in Donegal and you will find many things british, like flags and pictures of royalty. They do not display them openly because that might annoy a few people so they cherish them privately. That is what you need to do if there was ever an agreed Ireland.

    No. If they want to display them, then it should be their constitionally protected right to do so. If it offends other people, then the issue is with them. Congratulations! You are the first person to notice this cuts both ways.

    There would need to be compromise in the public sphere. That can take many forms; part neutrality probably, and part equal celebration. I am not a great fan of moves ot push the Tricolour in public buildings in NI (though happy to see the Union Jack displayed no more than needed), because at the end of the day NI is adminstratively part of the UK and Republicans should not forget it, or kid themselves otherwise. But if there is a civic celebration on St Patrick’s Day, trying to kid yourself that half the populatuion of the city identifies with the Tricolour is stupid and ultimately futile. Better focus on ensuring it does not crowd out those that don’t, and there is a welcome place for them.

  • Kensei

    GGN

    We are talking about an overarching one here – “Irish”.

  • Democratic

    Back to the feet stamping Kensei….can’t tolerate a tricolour? – I thought I dealt with that issue in very first couple of posts – staw men indeed!
    Since it looks like this ain’t going anywhere and and since you don’t really seem interested in any debate beyond “that’s your problem” I think I’ll bow out before the tempers and cliche’s rise up.
    You appear now to be getting your battles split toward too many fronts anyway for my liking and that’s unfair.

  • Greenflag

    FF (fast forward ) 2020 , somewhat exaggerated and assumes more historical ‘ignorance’ on the parts of Comrades Chekov and Kensei than is the actual case

    Former British Unionist Chekov applies for membership of Fianna Fail and is required to answer a few questions .

    ‘Who was Eamon De Valera ‘

    ‘I don’t know ‘ replies Chekov

    ‘Patrick Pearse ?’

    ‘Never heard of him !’

    ‘Are you playing games with me ?’ asks membership secretary Kensei .

    ‘Not at all ‘ says Chekov . ‘Have you heard of King William of Orange ‘

    ‘No ‘ says Kensei

    ‘Cranmer and the Martyrs ?’

    ‘No’

    ‘What about roaring Hanna ?’

    ‘never heard of him ‘

    ‘The Duke of Abercorn ?’

    ‘No’

    ‘Well ‘ says Chekov . ‘That’s the way it goes . You’ve got your friends and historical pin ups and I’ve got mine’

  • eranu

    kensei, would you support a NI flag and a tricolour being part of the belfast st pats parade? could you see the 2 flags being carried from the start of the parade in west belfast to the city centre?

    it seems to me that on a day for irish people, if any flags are going to be involved then it should really be the flags of both irish states covering the entire island, for completeness.
    for total completeness, southern parades such as in dublin should also carry the NI flag if they are to be entirely accurate of all of ireland. any southerners care to comment on the chances of an NI flag being carried along with the tricolour in the dublin st pats parade without a riot?

  • Alan

    Kensei

    I do know that there is no official connection between The R.C. church and state but is was in the constitution (article 44) up until the seventies that the state recognises the special position of the holy apostolic and R.C. church as guardian of the faith professed by the great majority of its citizens. It certainly did not recognise the special position the the c.o.i. and presbyterian chuches as guardian of the faith of the minority of citizens. I still ask the question why was tax payers money used instead of the R.C. church’s money?

    Why was this article removed? Was it because it was offensive to the non R.C. citizens of the republic?

    I’m a big rugby fan yey I have never watched an Ireland home game because of the insistance of flying the tricolour and playing the soldier’s song at home games. Away games are different as the I.R.F.U have neutralised them for unionist’s by using only Irelands call and the rugby flag at the games and I sing it with gusto along with the rest of people from this island. I know many Munster fans dislike this song and are unhappy as they claim it to be unpatriotic, but is called compromise.

  • Mack

    Eranu

    It might be a better idea to agree a flag for Northern Ireland first. Once that is done – the flag should be flown at the front of the Dublin parade, never mind Belfast!

  • Mack

    Alan

    Abuse compensation
    The government took assets of the RC church, mostly property but also other investments. This meant they did not have to sell those assets at fire sale prices. The government then paid the compensation to the victims. This arrangement prevented the RC church from declaring bankruptacy in Ireland which may have meant the victims getting nothing, or getting less than was awarded – at a very later date.

    Remember, some of the abusers were teachers in RC run schools within the state system. The state can’t be absolved for responsibility for that.

    Ireland has a secular society
    Ireland is secular state and secular society today – it was not in the past. Neither was the UK (in fact the UK government continued very severe sanctions against Roman Catholics in Ireland for many years after the Act of Union).

    Rugby
    Such compromises are neccesary when fielding a joint team. See my comment above to Eranu – if Northern Ireland had an agreed flag I’m sure that would be flown. Ireland is a sovereign independent nation – it is reasonable that she play her anthem and fly her flag at national sporting events in Ireland. I would suggest again, that if Northern Ireland had an agreed anthem, cross-community political pressure could be brought to bear on the IRFU to play that anthem and only that anthem in Belfast.

  • Kensei

    DC

    I gave a notional example; replace with any other appropriate one of your choosing. If you cannot tolerate me expressing my identity, then you are just a wee bit bigotted. It’s ok: I’m sure with time you can deal with. There is no nice way of putting this, or any wiggle room I can give you.

    By this stage I am not sure what you are talking about. Keep trying, though.

    Alan

    Actually, the Constitution also stated:

    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.

    It was rmeoved because while seen as liberal at the time, it came to be viewed as outdated.

    Again — wandering off topic there.

  • Matt Smith

    Kensei

    “Billy

    Man playing will be nuked. One warning, and that’s it.

    Posted by Kensei on Jan 15, 2009 @ 11:23 AM”

    Said like a true narrow minded and aggresive Republican.

  • frustrated democrat

    Kensei

    The problem was created when the people of the 26 counties decided to call themseves Ireland instead of the Republic of Ireland or Southern Ireland (ignoring the Donegal problem).

    Most protestants who say they are Irish do so because they were born on the island of Ireland, in Northern Ireland, not because they are claiming allegiance to the 26 counties.

    If there was to be reunification it would now be of the island, not the countries which are politically separate and would have to unify under something completely new not going back to the old Ireland of 1920.

    The only problem I see with flags is when they are used to be provocative not when they are used to proclaim genuine identity, the problem is sometimes identifying which is which.

  • Alan

    I don’t have a problem with the Republic’s flag and anthem being used at games or event’s which the republic’s team is participating in. The Ireland rugby team is not the republic’s team. It is an all Ireland team played for and supported by people from both jurisdictions. There is no absolutely no need for this contentious anthem and flag to be used for the all Ireland rugby team games. I believe it was De Valera who instigated the playing of the soldiers song at home games in 1936. Maybe it’s time to move on and start to respect the unionist’s who have to just grin and bear it every time they support their team at “home games”.

  • Driftwood

    Greenflag
    Atheist Mammal

    The terms irish and british are meaningless.

    Didnt we all used to live in Gondwanaland?

    As for culture, all American now

    From Catch-22

    The frog is almost five hundred million years old. Could you really say with much certainly that America, with all its strength and prosperity, with its fighting man that is second to none, and with its standard of living that is the highest in the world, will last as long as. . .the frog?

  • Kensei

    Matt

    Said like a true narrow minded and aggresive Republican.

    I don’t make the rules.

    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/archives/2005/07/commenting_poli.php

  • Democratic

    “By this stage I am not sure what you are talking about. Keep trying, though”
    LOL – I was just thinking the same thing about your most recent posting Kensei – and please stop throwing things I never said back at me…..It’s getting tiresome – you could just shout Tiocfaidh ár lá at me instead or call me an enemy of the peace process – you know you want to.
    To Mack: in the instance of an agreed anthem for NI being played at cross-border sporting activities – in the case of the Rugby wouldn’t that mean NI Nationlists getting the best of both worlds as they claim to be represented by the S.S. anyway – wouldn’t it follow that Unionists also have a right to hear the anthem to which they hold affiliation to – rather than some hodge-podge that Nationalists won’t care about because they are getting their cake and eating it anyway?

  • Dec

    Billy

    Man playing will be nuked. One warning, and that’s it.

    Posted by Kensei on Jan 15, 2009 @ 11:23 AM”

    Said like a true narrow minded and aggresive Republican.

    It’s the website’s commenting policy. If you don’t like it I suggest you toddle off to OWC where you heap all the abuse you wish to on Irish Catholics.

    The problem was created when the people of the 26 counties decided to call themseves Ireland instead of the Republic of Ireland or Southern Ireland (ignoring the Donegal problem).

    Fd

    I honestly don’t know where to start with that one particularly with unionism’s insistence on referring to Northern Ireland (which also ignores the ‘Donegal problem’) with whatever takes their fancy on any given day – Ulster, the Province, Britain etc and then getting all narky when someone call’s it ‘the North’.

  • Kensei

    Democratic

    you could just shout Tiocfaidh ár lá at me instead or call me an enemy of the peace process – you know you want to.

    And speaking of man playing…

    seeking to blame the other side for the genuine feelings that “themmuns” flags and anthems evoke after 30 years of troubles here is intellectually dishonest in the extreme in my opinion….

    Appeal to emotion: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-emotion.html

    t. However using an example of the London St’ Pat’s parade for a comparitvely small Irish community by enlarge as an example of how things could be doesn’t really resonate here

    Special pleading.

    Without getting into the usual mud-slinging it is generally when it is used out of context and presented as representative of all is when the problems begin (such as St Pat’s day in NI)

    Here you are clearly arguing that my expressing my identity by presenting a tricolour in St Pats in Belfast is clearly “out of context”.

    So, yeah, what is your point, Dem? I have been on a remarkable even keel and consistent here. Consider my normal colourful vocabularly.

  • J O’Donovan
  • eranu

    mack, i agree with you about an agreed NI flag and your rugby comments about an anthem etc. i think most northern irish people would too. the problem is that nationalists are against anything that might make their brainwashed catholic voters accept or feel at home in NI. thats basically it in a nutshell. you can see it in the rantings against the conservatives on other threads. hopefully these things will happen, but we’ll have to do it with one arm tied behind our backs.

  • Mack

    Democratic

    in the case of the Rugby wouldn’t that mean NI Nationlists getting the best of both worlds as they claim to be represented by the S.S. anyway – wouldn’t it follow that Unionists also have a right to hear the anthem to which they hold affiliation to – rather than some hodge-podge that Nationalists won’t care about because they are getting their cake and eating it anyway?

    I don’t think so. That’s northern zero-sum logic. To focus solely on the fact that say approx 800,000 of the people on the island of Ireland will get more aural satisfaction from the opening 10 minutes of an international rugby match is to not see the wood for the trees. (Never mind the fact that the vast majority of Irish nationalists on the island and Unionists together won’t get the same satisfaction – but I’m sure we can all manage just fine).

    If you guys in the north can agree an anthem and flag, that I think that would be a huge win for those who like Northen Ireland. Once those symbols are agreed – they effectively become Irish (in the inclusive, geographic sense of the word) and hence should be adopted alongside the symbols of Ireland (Republic) to represent Ireland (geographic) as whole at public celebrations (think St. Patrick’s day parade in New York, 12th of July in Portadown, rugby & Gaelic internationals etc).
    The Northern Ireland symbols would also become British, and could be displayed / played similarly at British events (alongside the Union Jack, GSTQ etc) for example when the British and Irish lions play.

    To look at it hypothetically (perhaps with less emotion). If Scotland consisted of two states – one in the Union and one outside – it would be the symbolism of both Scottish states together that would represent Scotland. The symbolism of the independent state and the Union as a whole would represent the whole of Scotland and the whole of the Union which isn’t quite what’s being celebrated.

    Does this make sense?

  • eranu

    for a flag i favour a red st pats cross on a white background with a big red hand of ulster in the middle. similar to the proportions of the welsh dragon on their flag. for the identity insecure we could put an irish harp and a crown in the left and right triangles.
    sorry about off topic!!

  • Democratic

    “Here you are clearly arguing that my expressing my identity by presenting a tricolour in St Pats in Belfast is clearly “out of context”
    No Kensei – the point was that is does not represent me and mine and trying to impress upon me that my lack of comfort around such displays is due solely to my own bigotry or some sort of mental blockage is naive and/or wilfully intelectually dishonest – no different to those who claim Catholics have historically been very happy to watch the 12th July / 11th bonfires before Sinn Fein got them all het up…BTW – I did say you were very welcome to have a Tricolour festooned St. Pats Day – just don’t expect it to attract much cross-community support or at least you won’t by telling people to stick their concerns up their arse…..

  • Democratic

    Hi Mack – yes it makes sense I suppose and I know your heart is in the right place – but ultimately many Unionists will see your idea as Nationalists (nationwide) as having their cake and eating it no matter how it is dressed up – I couldn’t in all honesty blame them – I suppose its in our natures here! (on both sides) Consider that GSTQ is my National Anthem and always has been – the question that will be asked from Unionists is why can I not hear my preferred song when everyone else does?

  • Kensei

    Democratic

    the point was that is does not represent me and mine and trying to impress upon me that my lack of comfort around such displays is due solely to my own bigotry or some sort of mental blockage is naive and/or wilfully intelectually dishonest

    In what way? Is it my fault for displaying it? What should I do, not display anything for fear of offending you? Or some “neutral” thing that is basically meaningless? How is this my problem? I’m not claiming you have to like it, simply live with it.

    no different to those who claim Catholics have historically been very happy to watch the 12th July / 11th bonfires before Sinn Fein got them all het up

    Not claiming anythinG remotely like that.

    BTW – I did say you were very welcome to have a Tricolour festooned St. Pats Day

    Which is to miss half the argument. Now THAT is intellectually dishonest.

  • Alan

    Can anyone really define what an Irish identity really is? Do you have to pocess an irish passport to be really irish? Do you have to be born on the ireland of ireland to be a true irish person?

    A family friend was in New york state visiting her son about twenty years ago. She got into conversation with group of american lads in a bar one day. She was asked where she came from and then one of them started on about the brits and the nasty prods. She asked him he why he was so concerned about ireland and he answered in his american accent that he was irish. She asked where he was born, and he said new york. She laughed and said that while she was a prod with a british passport, she had been born on the island of ireland which made her irish. As he had been born in the states and in fact had never been in ireland ever, he was not irish but an american. Well he went ballistic and called her for everything under the sun and what made it worse was that his friends agreed with her.

    Like her I’m a prod born on the island of ireland. I have a british passport but i’m also an irishman albeit an northern irish man. I like irish music and have started to learn the irish language in private. I’m irish presbyterian and attend and worship regulary in my church. I vote unionist at every election and have done so for 30 years. I attend N.I. football games and irish rugby away games and I am happy to go anywhere on the island of ireland as long as people respect me for what I am.

    Also I have no desire to be governed by politician’s ( whether corrupt or otherwise) from Dublin

    This is the definition of one Irishman.

  • Kensei

    Alan

    Also I have no desire to be governed by politician’s ( whether corrupt or otherwise) from Dublin

    What I have never been able to get my head round is why Presbyterians – apparently fiercely independent, suspicious of hierarchy and backbone of the US Revolution and 1798 and apparently often more pissed off than Nationalism by perceived outside interference – desire to be ruled by politicians from England.

  • Democratic

    “In what way? Is it my fault for displaying it? What should I do, not display anything for fear of offending you? Or some “neutral” thing that is basically meaningless? How is this my problem? I’m not claiming you have to like it, simply live with it.” The fact the matter is Kensei as you well know – neither side is comfortable with overt displays of the other sides Nationalism – they go out of their way to avoid it – is this bigotry or is it off the back of more complex social issues invariably associatied with the recent conflict. You know the answer. The best you can wish for is indeed tolerance if you are dead against neutrality for something like St Pats. Day – I will give that to you without hesitation – I won’t however have any desire to stand beside you in such a parade……and I’m not missing half the argument by exchanging examples with the 12th July – nothing alters when its reversed……

  • Kensei

    Democratic

    they go out of their way to avoid it – is this bigotry or is it off the back of more complex social issues invariably associatied with the recent conflict. You know the answer

    Yes. I sincerely believe “complex social factors” is a way of dressing up “intolerant”. There may be reasons behind that intoelrance or discomfort that are understandable, but it is what it is. I believe we need to move to a place where we are comfortable with each other, rather thasn hiding. If there are specific issues (and I’d certainly have that with say, the OO) then they can be dealt with specifically and not by general banning of expression.

    Perhaps that is idealistic, but that is the way I see it.

  • Mack

    Alan –

    The word Irish has a lot of different meanings, due to the complexity of our situation.

    Some defitions of Irish

    Someone from the island of Ireland
    Somone with an Irish cultural identity
    Member of the Irish nation
    Citizen of the the Irish state
    Irish citizen and a member of the Irish nation on the island of Ireland but outside the Irish state
    Member of the Irish disapora

    etc.

    What you’ve described above I would say is clearly Irish, but I guess you probably don’t consider yourself a citizen of the Irish state. I don’t know whether you consider yourself part of the Irish nation?

    The Agreement opens up the logical possibility of being part of the Irish nation but still opposing the expressed self-determination of a simple majority of that nation. Because the nation itself has accepted that it’s self-determination can only be expressed via separate referenda in each state ( with each state having a veto). In other words a Unionist can logically and morally claim to be part of the Irish nation and oppose Irish unity – so long as they accept that should a majority in favour in both juristictions emerge they will abide by it’s decision.

  • Alan

    In reply to post no.13. I’ve no idea who sent it as there is no nane attached to it as far as I can see. Can someone enlighten a techno phobe why that is?

    Look I wasn’t born in 1798! I can’t speak for the Presbyterian’ of yore but I know about Scullabogue and the atrocities which happened. Maybe that’s why presbies turned face and started to look to england.

    I had a conversation with a minister recently, and to my surprise he is of the mind that N.I. should become an independant state if it was possible. Independant of London and independant of Dublin. I am in total agreement with him. I know this view is in the minority but it seems the most natural compromise to the situation we find ourselves in.

    I doubt there are any many republican’s who would appreciate this thought as it obviously falls short of their holy grail of a green, white and orange, soldier song anthemed irish republic.

    How’s that for a bit of independant thinking.

  • Billy Fish

    So the comment ‘arrogant drivel’ in my earlier post is man-playing? Or was it the second paragraph that touched a nerve?

    I could say that the immediate threatening response also indicated a high level of arrogance as I have no knowledge of any poster’s biography, and to think that I would have such knowledge betrays the poster as being a trifle too far up their own a***.

    However I would, of course, never say such a thing as it too could be taken as man-playing.

    The fact that ‘Dec’s post can then define my comments as an “attack” on an “Irish Catholic” and that post sits without comment makes me conclude that man-playing is cited only in respect of a select group of ‘men’.

    However as the thread author is one of the Slugger Chosen the ball is his to play as he wills.

    I’ll get my coat, bye.

  • Dec

    I had a conversation with a minister recently, and to my surprise he is of the mind that N.I. should become an independant state if it was possible. Independant of London and independant of Dublin. I am in total agreement with him. I know this view is in the minority but it seems the most natural compromise to the situation we find ourselves in.

    Eh, Joint Authority?

  • Dec

    The fact that ‘Dec’s post can then define my comments as an “attack” on an “Irish Catholic” and that post sits without comment makes me conclude that man-playing is cited only in respect of a select group of ‘men’

    Actually I didn’t but I know OWC has a lot laxer rules on man-playing with Irish/Catholics (or ‘Beggars’ in the OWC vernacular) being a favourite target. Just trying to be helpful.

  • Mack

    Dec

    The only problem with joint authority, is that I’d end up paying higher taxes just to see the Tricolour fly alongside the Union Jack at Stormont. What else would change? NI would be permanently trapped as a dependent state. I think in a united Ireland the north could be weaned of subvention and pay it’s own way eventually.

    Independence for Northern Ireland would force both sides to work together – sink or swim. The state would sink without trace if did not reflect both cultures and was not able to earn the allegiance of the vast majority on both sides in the north. I would question whether people on both sides in the north are ready for such a harsh and testing challenge though.

  • Alan

    I’m no sure how you get joint athourity out of independant of London and Dublin.

  • PaddyReilly

    What I have never been able to get my head round is why Presbyterians – apparently fiercely independent, suspicious of hierarchy and backbone of the US Revolution and 1798 and apparently often more pissed off than Nationalism by perceived outside interference – desire to be ruled by politicians from England.

    I think the idea is actually that the politicians in England take orders from the Presbyterians. Frequent strikes, revolts etc are necessary to remind them of their duty to do so.

    What happened after 1798 is that the Scots Irish who wanted pure Republicanism managed to move to America, and the Scots Irish who favoured the British Crown contrived to move back to Ulster. Those who weren’t particularly worried changed sides, particularly after electoral reform in 1832 (I think) brought them into the British voting polity.

  • Kensei

    Mack

    Independence for Northern Ireland would force both sides to work together – sink or swim. The state would sink without trace if did not reflect both cultures and was not able to earn the allegiance of the vast majority on both sides in the north. I would question whether people on both sides in the north are ready for such a harsh and testing challenge though.

    It is irrelevant — well I appreciate where Alan is coming from and would ee it as a superior situation than now, neither side wants it and it is in fact, a solutiion that would displease almost everyone.

  • Mack

    Alan

    I think from this ..

    it seems the most natural compromise to the situation we find ourselves in.

  • Mack

    Kensei

    That’s the nature of real hard compromises.

    If I was a political leader in the north, given the current balance and likely balance for the next couple of decades, and my opponents offered that as a genuine compromise that would be worked in good faith and with goodwill – I’d bite their hands of to take it…

  • Mack

    To flesh that out a bit.

    Small differences in any kind of growth are exponential if they persist. While the communities in the north are currently relatively close in strength (with the nationalist community growing faster), there is no guarantee at all what the situation will be in 50,100, 200 or 500 years time. Any opportunity to permentantly protect the survival of your culture, so that it takes part in future cultural evolution rather than wasting away, in that area should be looked at seriously. If northerners can find away to unite – you’ll ensure that your culture won’t be out-competed by the other at some later date.

    There is no upper or lower limit on relative strength of the Irish / British cultures in the north.

  • Driftwood

    Mack
    Can you explain to me: What is British or Irish ‘culture’? Premiership football, Eastenders, X Factor, pubs, shopping in Tesco/Asda, going for a curry, Wii and playstations, etc etc.
    Apart from flags and emblems, what difference would a United Ireland make to most people in Northern Ireland if it were granted tomorrow?
    Leaving aside the massive westminster subvention, and the public sector pensions dependent on GB, I think it would make little difference. The physical border is non-existant. The political parties in the republic are mirror images of mainland UK. I don’t see people from the south as ‘foreigners’ nor do I see people from England as such. Apart from a few myopic dinosaurs we are all joined at the hip.

  • Driftwood,

    there is no major left wing party in the south. Not that UK Labour is that left wing anymore, but southern politics is well to the right of the UK. So the mirror is not exact. And alas people concentrate on the small differences and not the big similarities.

  • edward

    The public sector pensions would still be liable by the UK as they are UK employees not UI employees. They would be the same as any expat’s pensions

  • Greenflag

    garibaldi ,

    ‘but southern politics is well to the right of the UK. ‘

    If you just look at relative party strengths i.e Irish Labour + SF v FF + FG is about a 20% to 80% split but at issue level most political areas are not that different except that Irish TD’s are a lot closer to their constituents than British MP’s simply because of the numbers and the system of Proportional Representation . There are some social issues on which Irish opinion is a lot more conservative than English but that also applies to Northern Ireland opinion also .

    Driftwood ,

    ‘Apart from flags and emblems, what difference would a United Ireland make to most people in Northern Ireland if it were granted tomorrow?’

    None apart from the fact that it’s politicians would suffer an rude awakening to economic realities and probable heart attacks .With no Westminster to run to for ‘financial ‘ support they might even start to behave and act responsibly .

    Don’t worry it’s a nightmare .Probably won’t happen in your time .

  • Greenflag,

    If you look at the economic responses to the current crisis you can see the difference, nevermind in things like healthcards etc. The republic has no significant social democratic tradition. And a hell of a lot of the PSF vote is FF populist green rather than social democratic – just look where their TDs are elected.

  • Mack

    Driftwood

    Yep – tons of broad similarities, we belong to a related family of nations like the Scandinavians, imho – Irish, English Scottish, Welsh, Aussies, Kiwis maybe even North Americans.
    Though for a few differences – going to Croker to watch an International Rules match, or standard GAA football or hurling. The Irish language, hiberno-English, Ulster-English & Ulster-Scots and attitudes to them. Then there are local authors, poets, playwrights, plays, comedians (heard much of Northern comedian Colin Murphy? The guy from the latest harp ad – he’s never off the tv in the south), sports matches and tv shows that create points of reference for our daily conversations. Regional differences in cuisine (ahem), and even how food is eaten. In the north we always had Christmas dinner early (e.g. around 1.30 – 2.30) where as in the south they have it later (5-6). Social institutions such as the Orange Order, Hibernians and GAA. Not forgeting folk histories and traditions. There’s tons more you could add to this list – but if people thought none of these was worth preserving and evolving – rather than giving up – why the fuss?

    Politically there are also a lot similarities we run on pretty much the same – slightly flawed – political system. It’s flawed, because it we both fail on separation of powers. The Executive is selected from the Legislature. The USA gets the theory right.
    There are also lots of differences politically – that result in Ireland (Republic) being better run (imho) than NI.

    United Ireland?
    You asked what difference a united Ireland would make. I think it would probably work really well, or be a disaster. If the Ulster unionists give it a full go, and any sectarian northern nationalist triumphalism kept in check – it would work well. Nordies would make up a large portion of the Irish electorate – and thus could actually participate in the running of a country. Ireland (Republic) has been pretty effective at tailoring policies to suit it’s situation. Northern Ireland is an after thought for the government in Westminister. This should mean better economic growth / more opportunities in a united Ireland.
    On the other hand – if there was continued conflict it would probably be an expensive disaster.

  • Lidle Richard

    AS Daniel O Donnell is related to Niall Noígíallach, a former Ulster King, that makes him British not Irish.
    Thank you very much for inflicting him on us.

  • Cap’n bob